An online business is a business that can reach the rest of the world by leveraging the unlimited power of the internet. It can open doors to a completely new segment of marketing and promote your product at a minimum cost. But like any business, you must first understand who your market is, why or how your business will attract them. Whether you decide to hire someone to build your website or online store, here are seven tips to help you build a successful online business:
1. Understand Who Your Customer Is.
- Do extensive market research in advance of launching a new company or taking your current company online. This market research will help you understand who your customer is, where they currently shop and decide what makes your business better than the competition.
- Speak directly to your customer using internet tools like e-mail marketing, website, social media and squeeze pages.
2. Solve Your Customer’s Problems.
- Ask the questions. What are their needs?
- Customize your offering
- Offer the extras, upsell, offer the other items they need.
- Then tell your customer why you are better or how you solve their problem.
- Be clear on your boundaries concerning where you will ship and what you will charge.
3. Get Traffic to Your Website from as Many Places as Possible.
- Search engine optimization (SEO) is not hard, but is time consuming.
- Social media is your voice and method to connect with newcomers.
- Develop a valuable offer like a free e-book containing information; this entices people to sign up to your e-mail list.
- Send traffic to your offer as many ways as possible. Repeat your offer everywhere!
- List your website in directories, this increases your web presence.
- Advertise your business where your customer is found.
- Use your e-mail list to market your business, educate and create a relationship with customers.
- Create a website that is scalable and will allow you to sell additional products and up-sell to bigger offers. Once you figure out how to sell online, you can pretty much sell anything if the right systems are in place.
4. Add an Easy Payment Method.
- Make it EASY to buy and offer multiple opportunities to pay.
- Use a proven payment method, cart or website like Shopify or PayPal.
5. Use Webmaster Tools to Determine How Your Site is Actually Working.
- View Google Webmaster guidelines
- Be consistent with your address, either use www or don’t, but be consistent.
- Do your keyword research.
- Create high quality content.
- Create a sitemap to be indexed by search engines, and allow your viewers the ability to find something quickly.
- Use your existing web address where possible. A new web address may take months to be recognized by search engines.
- Verify your site with Google.
- Keep an eye on your reputation by using scraping software to see how people are talking about you on the internet (some companies’ offer this services for free).
6. Understand Conversion Testing.
- Test different ads, offers, squeeze pages. Find out what your rate of conversion is (how many people land on the page and actually sign up or buy your offer or product).
- Use tools like Facebook Ads, which allow you to run multiple ads at the same time, with different images and/or copy to test what works, which ads do people respond to?
7. Use Tech Support.
- Not everyone is a computer programmer, and nor should you expect to be. Is your strength the creative, customer services and sales side of the business? No one expects you to do it all. Hire help in building your website and SEO where needed. These days you can do a lot by yourself, but when you are stumped, pay for piece work to get the more difficult challenges managed. I recently had a stubborn back end problem on a website fixed within a day for $5. My time (and sanity) is worth more than that, and so is yours!