7 Tips to Start an Online Business
Do you want to be in complete control of your financial future? Well, all of us would love to do that dearly. But we are hampered at times, as we lack the capital to establish a franchise or to set up a storefront.
Online business is what you can consider starting in such a scenario. With an online store of your own, you can reach up to millions of potential customers without having to invest in a retail space. However, you will require a superb product and a splendid marketing plan to back you up.
How to Start a Business Online
1. Identify a need to fill
Many people are starting an online business select the product first, without assessing the market for it. This is a definite mistake, and you should do the other way round. Select a market and identify a need therein. Do online market research and find people (or groups of people) who are looking to find out a solution for a particular need.
You may visit online forums to find peoples’ queries and to see whether they are getting any solutions for them. Also, search for those keywords/problem statements searched by a lot of people but not many sites/companies is competing to fill the demand.
Do a ‘competition survey’ to find out who your competitors are and what their strategies are to meet the demand. Assimilate all the information and create a product to fill the identified need for the market.
2. Write an effective sales copy
Design an effective sales copy that keeps the visitors interested throughout the selling process and till the time they buy the product. Make the visitor understand how your product can solve his need or can make his life better in a unique way. Keep in mind the following points-
- Use a captivating headline to arouse user interest
- Describe the problem solved by your product
- Showcase testimonials/reviews from satisfied users of your product
- Make an offer with a strong guarantee
- Create urgency and ask for a purchase
3. Build and design your website
Once you have nailed down your market and the product, it’s time to make your online presence with your website. Remember you need to keep it simple, yet, inviting as you have merely a few seconds to make that long-lasting impression on your potential customers. Keep the below-mentioned points in mind-
- Your website will do the selling for you. Make it engaging and professional enough
- Your navigation should be easy and clear enough
- Include an opt-in offer so that you can get the email or any other address to communicate the customer
- The customer should not need more than 2 clicks to land on the payment page
- Make the online purchasing process hassle-free.
4. Drive targeted customers to your site through search engines
Use ‘pay per click’ (PPC) advertising as it’s the most efficient way to draw traffic to a new site. PPC ads appear immediately on the search pages, and they also make it possible for you to test and discover the best keywords, selling approaches and prices. You can then distribute the identified keywords in your copy and code and throughout your site. This will improve your rankings in the search results.
5. Build an expert reputation for your site
People are always on the lookout for quality information on the internet. Provide information for free, and you will experience a better inflow of traffic towards your site. But, do not forget to include a link towards your site, along with these pieces of information. The following points will be useful for you-
- Create useful contents in the form of engaging articles/videos and distribute through social media platforms/online article directories.
- Be actively involved in social networking sites/ industry forums where your target customers freak out frequently.
- Insert “share with your friend” links on high-value contents published on your website.
6. Turn visitors into buyers through email marketing
In one of our previous sections, we talked about creating an opt-in offer for your visitors, which can prove to be one of your most valuable assets. With the help of this, you have received permissions from your subscribers and customers to send emails to them. This means-
- You have got a chance to develop a long-lasting relationship with your potential customers
- You can measure their response accurately
- You can use the immense power offered by email marketing which is more targeted, more effective and cheaper than television and print advertising.
A visitor who opts into your email list is by himself perfect lead. Email is the most effective tool to build on that lead any day.
7. Use the power of upselling and Back-end sales
One of the most essential online marketing strategies is to work on the lifetime value of each and every customer. Researches have shown that about 40 % of your ‘one-time' customers are more likely to purchase from you again if you do a proper follow-up with them. Closing the first sale on a positive note is by far the most difficult part (most expensive too!). Therefore, it's highly imperative for you to build on your first sale and use the power of upselling and back-end sales to make your customers buy again and again from you. Be mindful of the following points-
- Offer them products to complement their original buy from you
- Provide them loyalty coupons which they can redeem in subsequent visits
- Invite them to customer loyalty events and make them feel ‘valued’.
You will realize in due course that to start an online business can be easy if you do your research and lay the groundwork before you start. Remember, ‘a job well begun is half done’! You can make good money out of your online business if you follow the steps mentioned above and work on a few essentials to succeed. Regardless of how fast the ‘operations' of the internet can change with time, certain fundamentals about a successful online business do not change at all. Hence, do the basics right and reap the benefits of a successful online business. Good luck!