The possibilities of the internet are truly endless, thus it is no surprise that so many businesses begin online. The modern day ‘yellow pages’ is faster, more efficient, user-friendly and generates higher results than any business directory before, making it almost impossible to create a target audience if you’re not on the internet. Seriously though, if you’re not on the internet do you or your business even exist? It is so important that your business is not just on the internet but has a well-established online presence too. Building an online eCommerce business from scratch can be challenging to say the least. It can be intimidating trying to follow the hundreds of steps, paths and choices out there to get to the finish line, let alone reach the finish line whilst generating traffic and sales. It can be simple, if you want it to be. It doesn’t have to cause paralysis, be overly complicated, cost lots of money or take a great deal of time. Whether you’re an existing business or you’re brand new to the world of digital there are a few steps that should be followed in order to achieve success.
Brainstorm | Establish your Niche | Define Your Target Market
The majority of good ideas stem from the drawing board, an effective mind map or a detailed plan. Brainstorming is an important step that shouldn’t be missed. You can never have too much research or know too much around the structure and developments of your own business. Knowledge is power. You need to have a thorough understanding of the digital market and how you wish to fit into it.
First you need to look at what the market is currently offering and see if the product or service you wish to offer is significantly different from what is already out there. Offering something that is in demand from your target audience and something that is different from what your competitors are currently selling is vital to the success of your company and should be thought about properly. Formulate a well thought out and thorough business plan that will generate profit and prosperity and get ready for your next step.
Next is to identify and understand your target market utilizing your knowledge to best personalise what it is that your target audience wants, and to figure out a way to make what you’re offering even more desirable to them.
Let us use FancyInc as an example. They are a leading supplier of branded corporate gifts and clothing, with a reputation for offering rapid turnaround on all branded merchandise. Not only do FancyInc take care of all your promotional gift requirements quickly and reliably at a reasonable price, they also set themselves apart from their competition by providing innovative, forward thinking promotional and corporate products which include a variety of gifts with different designs, different economic objectives and a multitude of purposes. By harnessing the power of promotional items to increase engagement and brand recognition, youur client’s intention to purchase your business product or service will be positively influenced.
Design & Market | Consider Different Marketing Channels
Once you have decided on a target market and a product or service, it’s time to start the actual creation of your online storefront. You can hire a web designer who will talk you through this process, however, if you are tech savvy, you will be able to start off your build and design without the help of a professional.
Easy to Use Website
The first step is choosing a CMS – Content Management Software. This is your storefront: a place where everything and anything about your business belongs. Software like WordPress and Joomla are most popular. Once you have picked the right CMS to suit your specific needs, it’s time to design your layout. The trick is to keep your design simplistic, efficient and consistent. There must be an overall design aesthetic that runs through the various pages of the website as well as the same navigation system throughout. This not only makes your site look and feel professional but draws the attention of the consumer to the page due to it’s user-friendly appearance. While it may be tempting to cram in as much information and graphics as possible, bear in mind that you don’t want your website to be overwhelmingly busy but rather aim for a site that’s visually appealing and one that will allow your customer to have a positive experience – one that will hopefully generate a sale. Media elements should be used sparingly and only if they are going to emphasize a point of the message.
Create Good Content
There is no point in having an amazing, well-thought-out website with a great user experience if nobody gets to experience it. Growing an audience is vital to your company’s online presence survival, and, hopefully, you have picked a product or service that you know is in high demand and that you can generate traffic through your website. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information, it is important that your business’s written and visual content is not only unique and relevant, but resonates with your intended audience. In doing so, keep the following in mind:
1. Create content that is authentic and as original as possible.
2.Write copy that sells.
3.Create strong social profiles on the various social media platforms.
4.Cross-promote your business across all social profiles that you have created and are actively managing.
5.Use branded imagery and authentic media – media is a huge content generator, with infographics, GIFs and social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat image content is at its highest shareability generating content that reaches wider audiences.
6.Guest posts: websites that have great authority on Google offer the opportunity for extensive exposure and can potentially get you millions of potential lead and sales. Writing for these top blogs/businesses will build your company authority on the internet, grow your social media presence, drive more traffic to your homepage and ultimately generate more sales.
7. Having a blog is also a great way to keep your customers updated on the latest information surrounding your business. It also drives more traffic to your website as your content covers a wider variety of information surrounding your business. It allows you to engage with your target audience, keep up to date on their feedback, criticism and reviews – this also allows you to build a network of people interested or connected to your industry. A blog can actually also help you to learn more about your business and potential breakthroughs in your specific field. In addition it can give you insight into how your company is viewed by others.
Utilize Digital Marketing
It is best to utilize an agency or in-house team to help manage your online authority and business rankings, and also to create organic rankings and traffic to your website. SEO is a must have step in the development of your online business and without your SEO team’s knowledge, and power, your potential to succeed in the content heavy world of the web is far more difficult than you may think it to be. SEO brings about transparent results to all businesses showing its importance and authority in the online sector. Below is a graph illustrating the recorded results of FancyInc’s increased organic traffic after implementing a campaign carried out by our agency, Ruby Digital.
Consistency is your website’s best friend. It is important that your site never lay dormant and that updates and changes take place regularly. There needs to be a strong presence resonating from your websites at all time. With so much information being thrown at us every day, it is crucial to stay ahead of the pack. You need to show your customers that you are visible, easy to find and ready to help.
Motivation to Monetize | Different Marketing Channels
The internet gives us the ability to reach avast amount of people, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, throughout world in order increase our profits. It’s important that you have planned your website with the end goal of generating an income. You need to have put together a content plan that: a) aligns with your promotion schedule b) plans which products and services you will be offering to your customer, and c) uses your exposure to sell premium offerings.
A few points to ponder:
1. Affiliate marketing: although this isn’t always an instant way to make money, it is a long-term strategy for online earnings.
2. Google sees you as an authority when you consistently provide good quality information to your visitors.
3. Membership programmes which create recurring income from the same loyal customers could be considered.
4. Networking with other industry leaders to share insights and capture international audiences can be extremely beneficial.
5.Consultation services are a quick and easy way to make money through advice given either online, via email or person.
Refine & Launch | Establish a Ways of Evaluation
It’s important to remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that it may take time to fully optimise your website and its performance. It’s all about trial and error and figuring out what is going to be easiest for you to manage and for your clients to understand. Once you have a plan implemented, study what works and what doesn’t, and make changes. The internet is dynamic and is forever adapting and changing. Use it to your advantage and be ready to come up with new solutions to every problem. By the time you have hit around 1000 ‘true fan’ customers the business is in the right place for substantial growth as it now has a solid foundation to implement new changes, promotions and deals.
Starting a new business is never easy – especially online where there is sea of content being thrown at us on a daily basis. Having a successful online business takes a tremendous amount of dedication, time, focus and persistence. It can be challenging and frustrating, but the lifestyle of true freedom and the increased profit it creates are priceless, and makes it all worthwhile in the end.