Are you looking a source of extra income or perhaps contemplating to leave the world of employment to finally become your own boss? An online business may just be the answer you’re looking for. With the continued rise of eCommerce and the fast-paced development of information and mobile technology, it’s a viable option for many — even the inexperienced and those with limited cash capital.
Apart from registering your business properly to make it — as the internet says — legit, here are some tips to help get you started.
Find a Niche or Offer an Expertise
When starting any kind of business, it’s best to figure out first which market you want to serve before developing and offering a product. Identifying a market helps boost your chances of success because then you will be providing a solution for an existing problem that don’t have too many results yet. The internet will be helpful in performing a simple market research. For one, you can visit online forums and social media networks to see what kinds of products people are looking for or what problems they have that you may be able to solve for them.
You can also check which keywords are the most searched yet not many businesses are catering to as of yet. For example, many women in the West are big fans of Asian cosmetics, but you’ve found that some products aren’t readily available. Using this information, you can purchase Asian beauty products on wholesale and sell these hard-to-find products to this niche.
Researching about your competitors is also vital, in order to provide a much better customer experience. Again, the internet is a valuable tool in getting this sort of information.
Design a User-Friendly Website
Your website is basically your storefront, so you should design it as if you would a brick and mortar shop — easy to navigate, with all the basic and most relevant information clearly visible in the front page. It’s tempting to use graphics, music, and videos to increase the chances of grabbing someone’s attention but if it doesn’t lend itself to enhancing your business’ core message, then it’s best to leave those bells and whistles out of the equation. A confusing, cluttered layout is likely to push customers away and distract from an otherwise quality product or service.
You should also make it easy for people to check out, ideally no more than two clicks upon opening the online shopping cart. Finally, introductory offers like discounts are a good way to encourage purchase as well as to collect email addresses, which will be valuable in the future to push newsletters, promos, and other marketing efforts.
Optimize Your Advertising and Marketing through Data
Every business needs some form of advertising to get the word out, attract new customers, and keep old ones loyal. There are many ways to advertise online nowadays, but probably the easiest to launch and customize for new websites are pay-per-click (PPC) ads. PPC ads show up on Google search pages immediately — which is something you definitely want for visibility — and you can also test various content like keywords and headlines to know which ones are the most effective. Knowing the latter will help you optimize your site’s content and code, helping drive up your rankings in organic searches.
Meanwhile, using your on-site data will help you determine which aspects of your business you should improve or remove. Are there customers who click the check out button but don’t follow through? Perhaps you need to offer more payment options or reduce the number of steps before the customer completes a transaction. This is just one among many facets of your business that can be influenced by the correct use of data.
Pick the Appropriate Social Media Sites
As of the moment, being on at least one social media site is a business requirement if only to make yourself easier to find online. Depending on the kind of business you establish, you may need to set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, even Flickr or Snapchat. Study the features of each social site and how they can benefit your business. At the very least, your social media accounts will help establish your presence, positive reputation, and credibility, and add another layer or actionable data that will help grow your business.
The digital world evolves so quickly, but these principles haven’t changed even after decades since the advent of eCommerce. Hopefully, these will help you launch your own online venture. Good luck!