Today there are more opportunities than ever before to start your own online business – and in many cases, very limited capital is required to get yourself up and running. Use the five tips below to begin your online business journey.
1. Identify Your Niche And Target Customers
Before typing a word of content or signing up to a payment platform, you need to think carefully about the purpose of your business: what its niche or USP (unique selling point) is, what does your business model look like, and who and where are your target customers.
Having a really good grasp of these things is the basis of a sound business plan and will inform all your other choices in terms of setting up. In turn, this can save you a lot of money, speed up the process of getting off the ground, and ensure that your marketing is effective. Visit https://www.profitableventure.com/business-ideas-for-small-towns/.
Do plenty of research, and look at your competitors, or those offering a similar product or service, to see what they’re getting right and where they might be missing a trick. To find your customers, consider what problem your product or service solves or why your potential customers need or want it in their lives.
From here, you can begin to think about demographics, such as the age, geographical location, career, and education level of your target audience, in order to tailor your product or service and make your marketing as effective as possible.
2. Think About Your Brand And Image
Getting these things right can make a huge impact on how your potential customers view your business. Consider what you’re selling, and who you’re selling it to, and how you want your business to be perceived.
For example, is sustainability a key concern of your venture, and will your marketing be targeted at those who have a similar outlook? If so, then make sure that this is reflected not only in the content of your website and marketing materials but in their design and overall aesthetic.
When putting together your branding, you will need to think about your business’ logo, the color scheme, page layout, typography, and the types and styles of photos and images that you will use. Make sure that all of these elements work together cohesively and that they all support the image you want your business to project.
3. Build A Great Website
Now that you’ve got your business plan in place and a clear focus on what you want to achieve and how you’re going to go about it, it’s time to build the most important element of your new online business: your website. There are several website-building platforms available to help you do this efficiently, so take some time to research the options out there.
One such website builder available is reviewed here – check it out; this particular option offers an automated site designer alongside a range of customization tools so that you can achieve a professional-looking, unique website that perfectly reflects your brand. This builder’s plans include web hosting, and if you take up a one-year plan, a free SSL certificate and a domain are thrown in, too.
When you’re creating your website, ensure all the text is free of grammatical errors and typos: these sorts of mistakes can seriously undermine the credibility of your business. Also, be sure to make each page appear visually appealing by using well-chosen and well-placed images and breaking up text so that it’s reader-friendly. Create your site with ease of navigation in mind, and you may want to incorporate a faq page if you think this would be useful to your visitors.
Think about SEO (search engine optimization) and do some research, if necessary, to learn how to use it within your site. Make sure that the keywords you do incorporate are used as naturally as possible, and avoid keyword ‘stuffing,’ which is the practice of filling a page with particular words or phrases in a bid to have your site appear higher in the search results.
Keyword stuffing is one of the quickest ways to put off your visitors. Before publishing your site, go through every single page with a fine tooth comb, checking for errors and also making sure that everything works as it should, including all links and forms.
4. Incorporate Ways To Pay
Next, it’s time to think about how you’re going to facilitate taking online payments from your customers or clients. There are several options here. Firstly, some website builders feature eCommerce tools as part of their packages, making it quick and easy to incorporate this element into your site.
Secondly, you could use one of the many online payment solutions available to allow customers to pay using a variety of methods at the checkout. It’s important to offer multiple ways to pay in order to remove any possible obstacle to purchasing and boost your conversion figures.
Adding Paypal as a payment option is easy to do and is the preferred payment option for many people, and this is worth keeping in mind. Finally, ensure that the route that the customer follows, from putting an item into their basket to checking out, is as seamless and hassle-free as possible.
To this end, keep the design of your checkout page the same as that featured throughout the rest of the site, don’t require visitors to sign up for an account before completing their purchase, and avoid using lengthy forms asking for copious amounts of personal details from your customer, as this can result in them abandoning their virtual basket and clicking away from your site.
5. Get The Message Out There
Now that your website is up and running and ready to start taking orders, think about how you’re going to market your business to drive traffic to your site. You may want to consider PPC (pay per click) ads placed on various social networks or in search results. This type of advertising is one of the most effective ways to boost the awareness of a new brand. Paid partnership with social influencers is another quick way to see results.
Email marketing can be effective, too. Invite visitors and customers to your site to sign up to your mailing list to receive news and discounts, and build a robust list of subscribers from this. Campaigns and promotions can be specifically targeted to groups within this list based on prior purchases.
Be sure to create a social media presence for your online business, and cross-promote with your main website; building a list of followers can organically drive a significant increase in traffic to your site.