When starting an online business, you might wonder about the factors contributing to becoming a successful one.
Well, you’re in luck, because in this article, I’ll provide eleven of the most important things you should know when considering running an online business.
Let’s get started.
1. Offer a unique product or service
Having a unique selling point is a fundamental yet often overlooked element in any marketing strategy. It defines what sets your products or services apart from the competition.
You can go and get some ideas for your online business in various ways, by improving an existing product or service or creating a new one entirely.
With that in mind, here are some elements you should consider implementing when creating your product or service’s USP:
- It should be difficult to imitate.
- It should bring a positive and strong impression.
- It should be truly unique.
- It should be easily understood.
Your USP must communicate that your product brings superior value and can only be received if people buy it.
2. Don’t skip the business plan
A great business plan is a crucial tool in your business because it gives you the ability to lay out your goals, creates a strategy for starting your business, and track your progress as your business grows.
A business plan is not just important to you but also essential for attracting investors so they can determine whether your business is worth investing in or not.
Here are some tips for creating a healthy business plan:
- Know your competition and target market.
- Be realistic in terms of resources and timeline.
- Include payout options for investors.
- Describe the facilities and equipment you’ll use in detail.
3. Pick a good domain name
A domain name is not just a technical shortcut to use instead of an Internet protocol (IP) address. It is also a valuable marketing tool that – should it be used appropriately – can successfully attract customers to your site.
Having the right domain name can:
- Give credibility to your business.
- Increases your search engine ranking.
- Expose your business to a global audience.
With that in mind, creating a domain name shouldn’t be done in haste. Here are some tips on coming up with the right domain name:
- Pick a “brandable” domain name – unique and stands out.
- Try keeping it short – preferably between six to fourteen characters.
- Avoid hyphens, doubled letters, and numbers.
- Make sure it’s easy to type and pronounce.
4. Build a visually-appealing website
According to a Google study, it only takes about 50 milliseconds for people to form an opinion about your site based on its visual design and decide whether they stay or leave.
Visual appeal refers to what the eye sees. It’s the shapes, colors, fonts, photos, white space, and the balance between them all. Their roles are to:
- Attract attention.
- Create a great first impression.
- Foster relationships.
- Evoke emotions.
To create a visually-appealing website that fulfills the roles with excellence, you should:
- Make navigation straightforward.
- Keep the layout simple.
- Utilize white space.
- Use easy-to-read fonts.
5. Content is king
While the design is vital for creating first impressions, ultimately, content is the one that will generate sales for you. It’s crucial for a couple of reasons, which are:
- It allows you to connect with potential customers. Content informs people about who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. Having great content can help convince people to choose your site over the others.
- It helps shape where you place in search engine result pages (SERPs).
Fill them in with keywords and phrases related to your niche, and it can help you get discovered in search engines.
To create great content, you need to:
- Keep it original.
- Create strong headlines.
- Be accurate and reliable.
- Make it engaging and thought-provoking.
6. Consistency is key
Consistency is a golden-rule when it comes to website design. Users should be familiar with your site to navigate and find the content they are searching for effortlessly.
With that in mind, here are some of the aspects in web design you should be consistent in:
No matter what page they’re on, the web elements like header, sidebar, and navigation bar should always be in the same place.
You should use the same color palette and fonts throughout your site. Not only will it create a visually-pleasing design, but users will also be able to associate the font and color with your brand easily.
You should have a consistent tone, voice, quality, and quantity of content in your design. Readers will also know when you post your content and how many times a week if you have a consistent posting schedule.
Users will view your site from various platforms, whether it is desktop, tablet, or mobile devices. You should set the way your website responds on those platforms to be identical.
7. Website SEO can skyrocket your business
Search engines are the place where millions of users go to look for solutions for their problems. To become visible to those users, you need to follow a few algorithms known as search engine ranking factors.
SEO (search engine optimization) can help your site get free traffic from search engines by improving your site to rank high on results pages. Here are some ways to do your SEO, which are:
- Do keyword research.
- Improve title tags.
- Do on-page SEO.
- Create content regularly
- Understand web analytics tools.
8. Leverage social media
73% of marketers believe that social media has been a useful tool for their business. Some of their benefits include:
- Getting more qualified leads – because your social media followers are fans of your business.
- Builds a community – social media allows easy sharing of your content and has feedback directly from customers, thus creating an engaged community.
- Helps grow your brand’s reputation – by doing public relations through social media addressing various issues.
- Easily reach your target market – due to the ability to know the demographics of your followers.
Social media and your site should work together seamlessly. To do this, you can either integrate social media into your site or share your site’s content on your social media.
9. Give value to build an email list
An email list is a list of email addresses and names of people who permitted you to send them regular promotions and updates from your business.
It’s imperative because according to statistics, email marketing sees an average of 4,300% return on investment (ROI) for businesses. This can happen because email subscribers are usually very interested in what you are offering.
Some other reasons why an email list is so useful is:
- It is personal.
- It is targeted.
- It has a specific purpose.
- It’s one-on-one communication.
Thus you should give more value to build a great email list because it is one of the most effective methods to get conversions.
10. Collaborate with blogs and influencers
Collaborating with bloggers and influencers is one of the best ways to promote your business and spread awareness. 89% of companies said their ROI is comparable, if not better, than other marketing channels.
Influencer marketing is popular because they already have a dedicated and engaged audience on their platforms.
To know how and who to connect with, you should keep in mind these things:
- Relevance – You need to get an influencer whose audience aligns with your target market.
- Reach – This is the number of people you can get from the influencer’s audience.
- Resonance – How the influencer engages with their audience. Try looking for a follower base with a high engagement rate rather than a large base with little engagement.
11. Focus on the customer
Putting yourself in the customer’s shoes and looking at things from their perspective is important to get a better understanding of what is the ideal solution for them. Customer-focused companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on their customers.
To become customer-focused, you need to have:
- Customer-oriented mindset – This means you prioritize your customers over your priorities and go in-depth to answer the question, “How can I help my customer?”
- Customer-oriented behavior – Not only mindset, but you should also analyze how your business can optimize its performance to appreciate your customers better.Focusing on customers will make it easier to foster mutual engagement since the issues they face become a joint project between them and you as a business with the same goal.
Now you know the necessary need-to-know things when you’re starting an online business. All that’s left is for you to start applying them to your business.
Remember to read these eleven tips thoroughly as they can help you get more engagement and sales.