It’s been a while since the internet made a transition from being solely a source of entertainment to a source of income of many enthusiasts who decided to cash in on their creativity. Today everybody can sell services or products online, but that doesn’t mean starting a business online can be done without adequate preparation and knowledge. It’s not rocket science, but there are a number of potential mistakes possible, so we’ve prepared a list of things to pay attention to before you launch.
You Are Your Biggest Investment
Investing in online business is mainly investing in yourself – the success of any business is proportional to the success of the people running it. You need to invest time to learn all about online business laws – things such as trademark considerations, zoning laws, shipping restrictions, etc. These things are like landmines waiting to blow up in your face and that could easily derail your business before it gets off the ground, so you need to educate yourself in order to avoid them. But you should also invest both time and money to acquire knowledge and skills that will put you in an advantageous position ahead of the competition – this can be done through further education, reading business books, blogging memberships, etc. You need to invest wisely as you would in the market – if you’re considering an online course, make sure it’s a nationally recognized one lead by industry experts able to provide you with a skill set that can be used across multiple industries.
Locating the Need
Don’t make the mistake of looking for a product before finding the market. No matter how great, any business idea is useless if it doesn’t fill a certain need. The first step should be to locate a group of people in search of a solution to a certain problem without many results. Go through online forums to see which problems they are trying to solve and what questions are being asked, perform keyword research to find keywords with frequent use but not much competition. The best way to find out what’s working – and where there’s room for improvement – is to conduct a competitor analysis. All these things are the foundation of marketing and sales. Going through them you’ll understand the market scenario, create a product for an existing market and fill the needs which your competitors didn’t.
From Services to Products
Once you locate the need, you need to come up with an appropriate business plan that will make sure you fill it successfully. It is all about getting the right idea about the possibility of success. The best trick out there is to start with services and slowly move towards products. There are two reasons for that. First, when you’re starting a business, you have more time than money. Second, starting with services will further deepen your research of the market – you’ll get acquainted with your target audience and improve your services/products. If you achieve perfection with the services you’ll be aware of all your advantages and weak points, which will make your products fail-proof on the already-tested market.
Building the Core
Now that you have a product and your business idea completely mapped out, you need to build a website. Before setting it up, you need to pay special attention to its location and choose the domain name carefully. Your website is the core of your online business and in order to keep the customers coming (and returning), you need to keep the design simple. To make it customer-friendly, make sure the navigation is simple, clear, and the same on each page. Stick to plain fonts and simple backgrounds. Make use of all resources that will enhance your message – video, audio, and graphics. And, most importantly, make the buying process as easy as possible – there should be no more than two clicks between the checkout and potential customers.
Establishing a Reputation
Better search engine rankings and more traffic required to get your business off the ground depend on your reputation. Since the internet is all about finding information, providing that information for free is the best way to establish a reputation. The trick is to plant a link to your website in each tidbit of information you provide. That way you’ll not only reach new readers, but each site that posts your content will link back to yours. That will certainly lead to better rankings since search engines simply adore links from relevant sites. Keep in mind that your content shouldn’t be only free, but also relevant and expert. Any kind of content you create needs to be useful and engaging, establishing you as an active expert in the industry. Distribute it through social media platforms where your customer base hangs out. The established reputation is a cornerstone of future marketing strategies that will promote your newly-established business.
Building a Lasting Relationship
There are many marketing strategies to choose from and it should be tailored to the nature of your business, but one kind is crucial at the beginning – email marketing. An opt-in list is among the most valuable assets of any online business since it’s a tool for building a lasting relationship with your prospects and customers. The fact that they’ve given you permission to send them an email means you’ve succeeded to give them something they’ve asked for and that lifetime relationship with a 100% percent measurable response is under development. In short, each person that opts into your list is a hot lead, and when it comes to following those leads, email is the best tool there is. So keep your list regular and well-maintained, and be quick with your responses.
The internet changes incredibly fast, but the principles of starting and growing a successful online business remains the same. And that’s precisely what this list represents – the basics you can’t go wrong with.
Theodora is a passionate blogger from Sydney and she is someone you would call an IT nerd that travels the world. Also, she takes great interest in housing and helping people. Besides that, she loves martial arts and enjoying the nature.