Updated: Jun 21
Supplement sales in North America are a massive industry. They currently have a market size above $40 billion, and that figure will only continue to climb even higher. Compared to physical stores, there's a lot higher profit potential involved if you sell supplements online. Indeed, online sales involve less overhead and fewer extraneous costs.
We are also living in an economy that is becoming more and more reliant on online sales and purchasing. The convenience of online purchases and direct-to-door shipping has quickly changed how people shop and what companies can offer. As a result, an endless number of factors need considering when building an online supplement business. The question for aspiring entrepreneurs is: which are the most important?
Fortunately, there are five critical tips for anyone looking to sell supplements online. Please note that this isn't an exhaustive list, and there are always more ways to improve your web presence. However, these tips will increase website traffic and promote your brand. These boosts will drive your company to increased and sustainable online sales.
Use SEO Techniques To Sell Supplements Online
If you're not deeply involved in the world of web development, you may not have heard the term "SEO" before. SEO is an acronym for "Search Engine Optimization." SEO is an integral part of building website traffic through online search engines like Google or Bing.
Search engines like Google or Bing use bots to compile data and content from websites across the internet, archiving and indexing words, phrases, links, and backlinks. This data goes into algorithms that decide how and where to rank website pages in search engine results for any given search term.
To put it simply, knowing how to build your content around key search words and terms, as well as adding in the correct links, can drastically move you up on the list of Google search results. For example, in one of many surveys done on the subject, over 90% of survey takers said they would click on the first set of results that pop up in a Google search. On top of that, 46% of product searches start on Google.
So, suppose you aren't getting yourself on the top page of Google for online supplement products (or supplement products in general). In that case, you're not going to generate the same level of traffic as your competitors.
So how do you leverage SEO for your products? The easiest way, arguably, is to hire a professional. Content writers and SEO specialists have built a career knowing how to perfect client content for top-tier SEO results. They not only employ SEO and SEM (Search Engine Marketing) tools to find the best possible keywords for your products, but they'll also be able to show you tangible results from these efforts.
Who you decide to hire (if you hire anyone at all) is up to you. If you hire someone, please consider your prospective hire's portfolio and your budget. If you have a large budget, you have the option of both freelancers and larger agencies. Freelancers give a more personal touch and typically have fewer clients. On the other hand, agencies will have a broader range of tools and experts. In addition, they will likely have a faster turnaround due to their team of employees.
In terms of portfolio, make sure the budget matches the level and consistency of work. Shop around, see what different competitors offer, and never be afraid to reject someone. Remember that your first goal is about getting your supplements seen by the masses.
If you aren't looking to spend money on an outside SEO professional, it is possible to teach yourself. Like anything else, you can learn SEO online. LinkedIn has a host of online SEO courses through their LinkedIn Learning platform. There are also several online universities and independent sites that offer the same material. However, if you're the more self-taught type, there are free resources like Moz or YouTube that will allow you to learn at your own pace.
However it is you go about it, you need SEO. Without it, you'll likely find it an uphill battle to get the level of sales you want!
Promotional Videos Sell Supplements Online
What's the second most-used search engine? If you said Bing or Yahoo, you'd be wrong. Google is number one, but number two is YouTube.
Think about it: YouTube is effectively nothing but a search engine - just for video content instead of web pages. For that reason, billions of people use it. YouTube has two billion logged-in monthly users, and 74% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube.
Plus, it's not just YouTube where prospective customers can find these videos. Think about all the places where video content is valuable. You can add it to your email campaigns, on your Twitter posts, on Facebook, and so forth.
And explainer videos demonstrably improve user engagement on websites. They result in longer bounce times as people stay and watch the video. These metrics mean that Google will rank your site higher as its internal algorithms realize that your site has more value (since people spend longer on it!).
Bottom line: without video, it's challenging to build an online presence.
How do you go about building up a library of videos? There are two ways. If you're on a budget, you can shoot the videos yourself. Phone cameras have come a long way, and creating a promotional video on the latest iPhone or Google Pixel will look good.
However, if you can afford professionally shot videos, usually those are going to be better. With professional videos, the lighting will be correct, the editing will be of superior quality, and you can also often add effects and ensure better sound quality. Since these videos will be a primary tool for marketing, investing to ensure they are of the highest quality is almost always worth it!
As for what to make videos about, that's, of course, up to you and your brand. Example ideas include explaining what each supplement is and how it benefits consumers. You could also talk about the science behind each supplement. Finally, testimonial videos often work wonders. If you can find some people willing to sit in front of a camera and say how a particular supplement helped them, that can be an excellent marketing tool!
Unfortunately, many new websites don't look or function as well as they should. These poor aesthetics can directly impact whether your visitors will buy or even look at your products. According to recent research, it takes roughly 50 milliseconds for users to decide whether they like your website or not. So, before even looking at functionality, the front page aesthetic will immediately determine whether users even peruse your products. So, is your website pleasing to the eye? If not, your business is already suffering.
If you pass the 50-millisecond test, then the user will judge you on functionality. For example, how easy is it to navigate the website? Is there a search function? Do you have proper categorization and description of products? Is the checkout page straightforward?
A million little things can get in the way of a user finding the right supplement and going through the purchasing process. The best way to handle this is frequently to hire a website developer. Like SEO specialists help your page climb the ranks of Google, web developers can take your vision and turn it into something tangible and complete.
Having your site become functional and pleasing aesthetically is only half the battle, though. Your website needs to grab people's attention and get them to buy. Understanding the sales funnel and optimizing it is essential. Everything about your site, from the color of the buy button to the text you use, can change your sales numbers. If you're interested in learning which practices work and which don't work, GoodUI is a great place to start. They run experiments and provide the results!
Social Media Marketing
This one is something many people know about, but, sadly, not enough people use it. Social media marketing is an easy-to-execute marketing move that can get your product and brand in front of millions of eyes without an overwhelming amount of effort (plus, you can make use of those videos you've shot!).
It's essential to have a few things figured out before you start using social media for marketing: target audience, promotional design assets, and legal marketing restrictions and requirements.
First off is your target audience. When you go to Facebook or Instagram with a marketing inquiry, one of the first things they're going to ask you is who you're targeting with your ad. Now, supplements have a wide range of users depending on the product, so you'll want to decide what products you're looking to highlight and who you want to see them.
The 20-35 audience is always significant, as they are the most internet-savvy generation. Creating ads for protein powders, creatine, or other bodybuilding supplements is a great way to pull eyes. However, suppose you're looking to create movement in your vitamin supplement. In that case, you can look into older targets. Or, if you're working on a line of pregnancy supplements, you can work with Facebook and Instagram to target women who are or are thinking about becoming pregnant. It all depends on what products you want to highlight and what your product lineup is.
After your target audience, you need the actual visual assets for your ad. If you have graphic design skills, you can create the images or videos yourself. If not, look into freelance or agency designers and video professionals to create the files you'll need to succeed.
Lastly, please make sure to research marketing laws around supplements. Or, better yet, consult with a lawyer in this space. You want to make sure that the images and video you're creating don't violate any regulations, as this will either lead to your ad being denied by Facebook/Instagram or a fine coming your way if a user reports it. You'll need to do the same with any copy involved, as any claims made will need to fit within marketing regulations, so make sure you aren't saying anything that can be deemed misleading or fraudulent about your products.
Once you've dealt with all these, search up how to contact the platform's sales/marketing team. They will walk you through every step, including quotes, invoicing, and metrics to show you exactly how much traffic you got for your money. Don't be afraid to ask for metrics beforehand, too, so you can see an average of what supplement brands see in response to their social media ads.
Use Amazon To Sell Supplements Online
The mecca of all online sales platforms, Amazon, is a legitimate way to make sales and build your brand, and you don't want to miss out on the opportunity.
Amazon accounted for 51.2% of U.S. digital sales in 2020, and there's no way around the idea that this number will only climb over the next decade.
Brands like Vorst and Jamieson are front-and-center when searching Amazon's supplement offerings, so you know it's a viable option when top brands are using it. However, if you're worried about how to get your product on Amazon, the sales giant supplies a beginner's guide in joining the platform as a seller, whether it's for supplements or anything else.
Joining requires a business account, which you can easily create online. From there, you'll need to provide things like a business bank account, government I.D., and tax information to get the account to pass verification stages.
Once you've gone through the verification process, you'll need to pick an individual or professional account (most businesses choose the professional version). Making this choice will allow you to see all the fees involved in selling through Amazon. Make sure to look through all the costs before committing to Amazon. If your budget can't handle the startup, or if the numbers show you making a minor profit after fees, then this may not be the correct route for your supplement business.
If you can handle the fees, then you should be set to start. Amazon will walk you through what you'll need and how to list products, and it's all up from there! Just make sure you understand all taxes, fees, and logistical needs before committing, and you'll be good to go.
Selling Online Requires a Sustained Effort
Ultimately, there are many different ways to sell supplements online, and no one way is perfect for everyone. Some may want to invest and focus solely on their website, and others might find success with professionally shot videos that attract subscribers on YouTube. Through a bit of trial and error, you will find out what works for you and what has the highest ROI for your business.
Building a brand and impressing consumers requires a consistency that you never want to falter on. So, if you're building through social media marketing, never cut corners on the graphic design or copy involved, as your message and image need to be crystal clear. On the other hand, if you're all-in on your website and invest in SEO practices, make sure your website is the best out there. You want every page and every product to pull as many users as possible. You want your store to be in front of any eyes that search for supplements online.
Don't be afraid to take steps to grow bigger. You know and love your product, and you want to bring it to everyone looking for top-quality supplements. Take calculated risks and be wise with your time and money. Don't let anyone tell you it isn't possible. Do your research, know your product, and understand your brand vision. If you have all of these things, you will sell supplements online faster than you ever imagined!