Once you’ve built your e-commerce store it’s great to get involved in the online community. You’ll learn new things and have some of your blind spots revealed. There are a number of places to go. I’ll outline my experiences with the online community and link to some of the options available.
Real world meet-ups – offline e-commerce communities
I’m starting with this because this can be one of the most effective learning resources you have at your disposal. Most large cities have a a local meetup for e-commerce and/or your chosen e-commerce platform. If you don’t have one, then please start one! You’ll be surprised how many other people are in the e-commerce world and close by.
It’s been a year since we started the WooCommerce London Meetup and it’s going strong. In January I gave a talk about site metrics at the PayPal offices. The best thing is the mix of skills. There are store owners, developers, designers and everything in between. There are lots of aspiring entrepreneurs too. If you are just curious, pop along.
There are Shopify, Magento, Etsy meet ups. There are drop shipping and marketing meet ups. You’ll find a real range.
Social Media Hang outs
Something I’ve been engaged with in the last year has been Facebook groups about e-commerce. I’m on about 10 now and they are all very different. It’s quite fascinating how the etiquette, language and content differs between them. Needless to say, some are better than others.
I think they are a fantastic resource and I contribute to them a lot. However there are a few problems with them. First is the obvious one that afflicts every online space. The tone and language used can be unprofessional and rude at times. I always consider how I present myself at the offline events and do my best to mirror that online. Others do not and as a consequence you can get some brash and arrogant opinions.
Often these opinions are louder than others but are not correct. So there is quite a lot of mis-information on these Facebook groups.
Who would have thought it! People on the internet all think they are experts!
The other problem I have is with a few groups who take aspirational and motivational encouragement to a new dimension. There are a few posters who constantly push the idea that anyone can jump from zero to $100,000 per month at the flick of a switch. They post regular images of their store statistics which look doctored.
They often follow through with a promotion to their own business building programme. That’s not building an e-commerce community, that’s building a personal pyramid scheme.
I dislike these because they increase the noise of the channel and set wrong expectations about the journey of an e-commerce entrepreneur.
There are lots of FB groups so I won’t list them. Head to your search bar and type in your platform to find a group for you.
I think Forums are fantastic. The replies are often more composed and specific. There are multiple forum topics so you can focus in on a specific area you want to learn about.
My favourite two forums are:
We found that although there were lots of developer and platform focused places to chat, there were not many places to learn about marketing. The good thing about e-commerce marketing is that the principles apply across all the different platforms. It doesn’t matter if you have a Magento site or a Shopify site – conversion rate is conversion rate.
For this reason we’ve launched our Marketing Answers site over at YoGrow. We have a vote system in place so only the best answers get your attention. We know how frustrating it is when there is a lot of noise.
If you have any questions, or can contribute to an answer, please check it out.