A Guide to Taking Your Business Online
If there’s ever been a time when online business is important, it’s now.
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Whether you’re doing it out of choice or necessity, taking your business online can boost your brand awareness, expand your clientele and help you build your bottom line. Running an online business takes work, but if you set it up properly, it can be easily sustainable.
Here, we will outline the basic steps you should consider when building your business online. From the seemingly obvious to the more nuanced details, be sure to read and share this guide with anyone who wants to transform their business to be digitally-focused.
Starting an Online Business - The Basic Steps
Taking your business online or starting a new online business isn’t something that looks the same for everyone. In the same way that everyone finds business funding that works for their needs, business owners create online stores according to goals.
In any event, there are some common steps that are worth exploring and sticking to, including the following:
- Fill a need: First things first, you should aim to fill a need. If you have just 10 people who vigorously believe in your brand and vision, you can grow exponentially. It all begins by defining your intended customer, or target audience. Then, you can outline what value, whether it be products or services, that you will deliver to them to fill a need they have.
- Write good copy: Once you have your value proposition, you need to inform the public and your website visitors of who you are and what you do. Your words matter and so does your communication style. Your brand tone of voice should reflect your brand values and be consistent throughout every form of communication you have, including: your website, your social media, your advertisements, products, and direct messages to customers.
- Build your site: Your website is your digital home, and people will come and go very quickly. In fact, if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you’ll lose about 40% of visitors. Along with a speedy site, you want to design your website to be user-friendly and navigate people to take the action you’re hoping for. In technical terms, this is called a conversion – moving a window browser to a customer. You can build your own site with the help of platforms like Shopify or WordPress, or you can hire an expert web designer and developer to do it for you.
- Use SEO: In a world web of websites, you will need to build your website traffic. Along with marketing efforts, part of your strategy should include search engine optimization (SEO). This is so that search engines like Google return your site as an option when people search for your offerings. SEO involves keywords, content and data analytics to get right.
- Customer-first approach: Like all businesses that succeed, putting your customers at the heart and center is necessary. To do so, you’ll want to build reliable customer support and offer many avenues by which customers can get in touch with your team. This could be in the form of phone calls, email, online chat support and just overall good customer care.
Build Your Marketing
Once you have funding for your business, the next step is allocating where and how you will spend the capital.
Don’t ignore marketing. More specifically, invest in marketing!
It’s usually a hard pill to swallow because you won’t be able to see the results right away.
But, once you are up and running, you’ll see the ROI. Some aspects of marking you should familiarize yourself with include:
- Organic traffic from search: Once again, SEO plays a role here. You can grow your organic traffic from being ranked highly in search engine results. This will take time to build and requires some expertise in understanding keywords. You’ll want to implement keywords in your website copy and your blog posts to maximize their benefits.
- Social media: Social media gives you the opportunity to build your following organically or through paid advertising. Running social media accounts is timely, but it can pay off, especially as social media platforms integrate more with e-commerce platforms. It’s another channel to boost brand recognition, gain a loyal customer base and push products.
- Content strategy: Running an online business comes with having a content strategy. Content can be in the form of the written word, webinars, videos and more. Whatever content you choose to produce, it should have a measurable goal in mind. You may be looking to boost brand awareness or drive sales. Your strategy will depend on your goals. Additionally, you’ll want your brand tone of voice to be consistent because your brand has a personality. Consistency is key when content is king.
- Email marketing: For any online retailer, email marketing plays a major role in keeping customers engaged and up-to-date on offerings. It’s best practice to employ an email marketing automation tool to manage drip email marketing campaigns. Along with audience development and segmentation, your email marketing will act like your silent salesperson.
- Data-based decision making: Above all, everything marketing related should be measurable. This is so you can quantify your ROI and allocate funding according to what is giving you the most bang for your buck, as they say. There are marketing agencies that can do this for you, but you can also leverage software tools and systems to help you keep track of your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Plan Your Online Business
Online businesses pop up daily. There are so many reasons why starting an online business or converting your current business to operating online makes sense. Not only will you have low overhead costs, but you can also reach a global audience and quickly adapt to the changing needs of customers.
With a digital business, you can follow trends and adjust your website accordingly.
From branding to content to marketing, there are a few key ingredients to running your online business efficiently. Be sure to line up your process and plan before jumping right in.