Go digital and sell from anywhere to anyone. Here’s how to get started running an online business!
There are many benefits to becoming an online entrepreneur but it’s important to remember that running an online business requires attention to key details that will determine its success. Technology is a major factor and plays a significant role in helping online entrepreneurs reach a good number of target customers. Fortunately, a little technology helps online businesses run with low operation costs since it replaces the need a physical store for your clients.
Take these steps into consideration while building and running an online business:
1. Establish Your Market
It’s important to understand your target market. Knowing where your target audience is found online will help you develop your marketing strategies to reach them quickly. Understanding your core audience will eventually help you find the right message and ways to offer the right products. Carry out research about your market to understand the needs and preferences. For more information on this basic step, click here.
2. Register A Domain Name
You cannot have an online business without registering a domain name. A domain name is your place / spot / address on the internet. There are many companies online where you can buy your domain. Some commonly used ones include Google Domains or GoDaddy. Your domain name is one of the most important factors of branding your online company. Think carefully and choose one that represents your goals well. And while doing so, make sure you’re working with a domain name checker tool to see what’s available. Finding a domain name that’s not taken may be difficult but there are tools in most domain name websites that will offer suggestions and help with your hunt.
3. Host Your Domain
Running an online business without a host of some kind is not possible. A web host offers your online company space on servers. Sometimes, registering a domain name and finding your host can be done with one company – which is much easier. Key features to consider while choosing a web host are:
- The storage capacity
- The security aspect of the server
- Domain based email features
- Up-time percentage
- Marketing tools available
- Ability to offer customer response forms
- Blog hosting capability
- Customer support accessibility
4. Create Your Website’s Design
Building your website can be fun and if you find the right e-commerce platform, is a simple step. This is when your technology and your dream storefront come together. If you feel you lack the web skills to pull together a professional looking site, however, hiring a professional designer may be an easier alternative. While customizing the site yourself may seem complicated, if you’ve chosen a quality e-commerce platform, they likely have a team of designers that can help you customize your website and run your online store.
5. Set Up Online Payment Options
The ability to receive online payment is critical to your online business. It ensures that customers can not only shop but also process transactions on your website. Common online payment platforms include PayPal, Stripe etc. When shopping for your e-commerce software, make you check that they have a variety of payment gateways available. Offering your shoppers the right payment options will significantly affect the success of your business at the start. Choose providers that offer different packages and allow upgrades so you can start at a lower cost and move up as your business grows.
6. Establish Product Delivery Options
7. Create Website Traffic
Having an excellent user experience and great products isn’t there is to running an online business. Remember that e-commerce is cutthroat and there are millions of competitor websites out there. To generate good sales online, you need to attract your target group to your website. Ways to drive traffic to your website include:
- Registering with search engines such as Google, Bing, etc.
- Online advertising using available options such as Facebook ads. Here you can create a page and post a link to your website.
- List your blog in major blog directories.
- Content marketing – this is essential!
In the beginning, choose the best option that will fit your budget while driving quality traffic to your website. As you build your business, incorporate more ways to increase traffic. Creating massive traffic may take time so make sure you’ve chosen an e-commerce software that can help in these tasks. Good software will keep tabs on customer data, financial information, and other analytics that will help your attract future business.
Good e-commerce platforms will also help you partner with and make sales on other channels like Amazon or Facebook. The platform you choose plays a significant role in marketing your business. It’s, therefore, important to research and choose a reputable e-commerce software. It plays a principal role in customer experience and relations.
8. Create an Email List
Capture your website visitors’ email addresses to help you grow your business. Publish useful information regularly to engage your core audience. This type of friendly (but not overwhelming) engagement will help you build clients from prospects and increase rates of customer coming back for your services. Email your web visitors with occasional updates on offers, discounts, and new product notifications. Increase email subscriptions by running promos, contests, or posting offers and discounts on high demand products.
9. Monitor Growth
The growth rate of an online business is a critical point that will help you develop future marketing strategies. Track customer engagement in your website using traffic analyzing tools. These tools help you see how many people are clicking on links and opening emails as well as what products are earning the most interest.
Follow the transactions, comments, and engagement from customers to determine what works and what does not work to see where you need to improve. Google Analytics and most e-commerce platforms will help track your product sales and monitor your business’s growth rate.
10. Other Business Requirements
While running your online business, other consideration may affect its success. These factors include:
- Tax requirements
- Banking services
- Acquiring licenses and trademarks
- Legal requirements that apply to internet marketing.
- Sourcing of products and warehousing
- Accounting and bookkeeping
The Benefits of an Online Business
- Online business helps you reach a large audience.
- Your profits are not determined by the number of customers that can physically contact you.
- With modern technology, you can make sales anytime and anywhere without geographical limitations.
- Selling online helps customers acquire products and services more conveniently when retail stores close.
- It saves time for the customers. A few minutes online is enough to have your order ready.
- E-commerce helps you acquire data on customer responses and understand consumer behaviors.
- Selling online allows you to shift quickly with market trends and interest.
- So much more!
The Bottom Line
After taking care of all the basic steps that are needed before running an online business, you are set to engage your target audience and gather feedback that will help improve your customers’ experience. With the help of some designers and content creators, you can build a website that is a crowd pleaser and easy to transact on. Follow your business plan and evaluate the growth rate. Update your website’s information from time to time to keep your brand fresh and relevant. And most importantly, choose an e-commerce software that helps you!