08 May How to Start An Online Business?
Today, just about anyone can make money online.
It will require time, effort, and dedication, but the internet has resulted in an explosion of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs. Check out this simple and straightforward guide on how to start your very own online business:
1. Look for a gap in the market
A gap in the market is an area that existing businesses aren’t serving. This means that there is an opportunity for you to introduce a product or service that people need. Therefore, one of the most important steps in starting a new business is to assess what need you will fill and what your competitors are offering.
You don’t have to create a whole new product to succeed. Do a ton of research and find out what’s popular in other parts of the world. Finding something that is a hit overseas can give you an edge locally because you may be able to introduce a new product or service to your region before the company expands or another company brings it in.
2. Setup your website
Once you’ve determined what product or service you’re going to bring to the market, it’s time to build a great and engaging business website.
Here are a few tips for building a website that can effectively compete in the online marketplace:
- Keep your design simple. Limit the use of fonts, colours, and animated gifs, which can distract visitors.
- Make your site mobile responsive.
- Ensure it’s easy to navigate – nobody wants to be stuck on a website that’s complex and confusing to move around on
- Keep the pages uncluttered. If a site has too much information or visuals, it tends to overload the mind, which causes potential customers to leave.
- Site speed is crucial. If your site takes too long to load, most visitors will go to a competitors site. Keep your softwares updated and optimize images and videos to make sure your site runs smoothly.
- Make it easy for customers to buy what you’re selling.
If you are selling a product, the online shopping experience is vital to success – it can make or break your business. Needless to say, this is a pivotal step.
3. Create strong content that tells a story
Every business has a story, and now it’s your chance to tell yours. Think about your mission, passion, and what sets you apart from the competition, and keep a consistent message throughout your website.
Generally, there are five core pages on a website that are used to tell the brand story – Home, About Us, Products/Services, Testimonials, and Contact Us. Of course, you can add a page for your Blog, Podcasts, or even Downloadable Tools. The idea is to create quality content that tells your story with words (text), graphics, video, and maybe even case studies.
Most importantly, remember that your content should let customers know what makes your offering unique and how it can solve a particular problem they may have.
4. Position yourself as an industry expert
In most cases, you’re not going to be the only one offering a product or service. You will have competition, which means potential customers will have many different options to choose from. Setting yourself apart from your competitors and positioning your business as the one best suited to serve the needs of your target market is essential to your success.
The best way to do this is by sharing free, expert content. Through blogs and social media, you can share your knowledge and expertise with the world and send more traffic to your website. Webinars, podcasts, and online forums, like Reddit, are also great ways to attract and engage with a new audience.
5. Develop a Digital Marketing Plan
The goal of most online businesses is to get your name out there and encourage potential customers to visit your website, and make a purchase. Here are some of the best digital marketing strategies to use:
Search Engine Optimization: Search engines, particularly Google, is the number one source people use to find products and services. Therefore, it’s critical for your business to rank high on search results. The best way for new businesses to get traffic to their site is through pay-per-click advertising.
Email marketing: One of the most important assets an online business can be in possession of is an email list. Once your potential customers/website visitors have given you permission to send them emails, you have the opportunity to build a long-term relationship with them.
Social media marketing: The best social media channels to use will depend on what type of business you have and whom you are targeting. Rather than being active on ALL (or many) platforms, you should focus on two or three at most, that are best suited to your business.
6. Harness the power of back-end sales and upselling
A customer’s interest is piqued when they purchase one product, which means that it’s the perfect opportunity to offer them additional products. Furthermore, selling to existing customers is cheaper and easier than attracting new ones because they’ve clearly shown interest in your brand, and you’ve already developed a relationship with them.
The idea is to make your upsell relevant to the initial purchase. For instance, if a customer has just purchased golf clubs, offer them golf balls or golf shoes to complement the purchase. Make the upselling process as seamless as possible by having a “one-click-upsell” approach, which doesn’t force customers to insert credit card details every time.
Additionally, you can send existing customers loyalty coupons, special offers, and discounts through email marketing.
Starting a new online business today is easier than it has ever been before. Some are lucky, and they come up with that one winning idea that is sustainable, brings in a lot of money while the brand owners aren’t required to work very hard. However, this is often not the case, and I wouldn’t want to glamorise entrepreneurship. You have to commit to your plans, focus on your goals and work hard to achieve them. At the same time, today, there are many tools that you can utilise and build a brand, even from the comfort of your living room.