Image by: University of Salford
By Giovanni Fields
So you’re planning on starting up an online business, huh? That’s great! But before you proceed keep in mind that while it is rather simple to decide to start an online business, it’s an entirely different story to ensure that it meets the success you desire.
The fact is there are millions of entrepreneurs scattered across the internet, and often times distinguishing yourself from the crowd is virtually impossible, especially to those who are mis-taught, ill informed or ignorant.
You may think running a business online is much easier than running a physical, clock-in-to-work organization, but when you account for things like site programming, advertising, customer communication, and all the other miscellaneous tasks that come along with this, running it online may–in some cases–even prove to be more complex than a traditional business.
So to minimize the number of inevitable mistakes you will make during your entrepreneurial adventure, here are 4 rules you need to know before launching your business.
#1) Design & Build Your Website
Yea, you guessed it–your website will probably be the most important component to getting your business off the dock and sending full sail. Being the cornerstone for you and the foundation of your business, it goes without saying that you will want to put enough effort to make it both alluring and simple enough for a highly distracted browser to comprehend.
The latter is especially important because often times your product–especially if you’re a beginner–will be exclusively on your site. And before any customer makes the purchase, they are often times going to screen the site to ensure that what they’re putting their hard earned money into is actually worthy.
Keeping your site relatively simple during the beginning phases is your best bet. A garish and overflowing site may have a reverse effect and intimidate the customer, pushing them away from the product rather than directing them to it.
Your best bet would be to choose a plain font over a white background, make your navigation crisp and easy to use, make your product easy to buy, and last but not least make your site customer friendly. This will ensure that everything your site advertises contributes to the needs of your market.
#2) Use the Power of Email Marketing
One of the greatest benefits about having an online business is your ability to reach out to a wider audience compared to a physical business that caters to locals and tourists exclusively. Striving to opt your target audience into providing their email information–whether by genuine, or tasteless means–will be a great help with spreading the word of your business and drawing in the clients.
And the best part is this form of marketing is cheaper and much more effective than T.V. or print ads because the target audience will be that much greater.
#3) Find a Niche
Finding out what your target market is and what the customers who belong to that market want will be the foundation for all of your future success as an entrepreneur. Making the mistake of looking for the product before the market can result in a misinterpretation of your customers needs and would lead to a lot of wasted time and energy. Start with the market to increase your chances of success.
Visiting online forums and seeing what specific questions people ask and what problems they are working on solving will give you invaluable insight on how you should market your product. An effective trick with this is to interact with the people who seem to have trouble finding results for any of their problems or quarrels, and perhaps offering your own solution to their problem.
This is useful for not only dictating the flow of your product, but also gathering information and using it to effectively fill the demands of the customers by creating a more advanced product for a market that already exists.
#4) Build a Reputation
Building your business’s rapport by offering free, expert content such as creating articles or videos will do you well to both increase your products’ credibility and increase your audience. By providing that information for free–of course, with your article laden with links to your site–to various businesses will result in more traffic and greater search engine rankings.
Social networking is also an effective tool that should be used in order to increase your reputation. Using sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to expose the free, expert information you have will cause you to regularly reach out to new readers–and of course every new reader you manage is also a potential customer.
This should be incentive to become an expert social media user, not only to communicate directly to your targeted audience, but to also build that reputation that will send your business on the first flight to success.
Are you lucky enough to have survived the strenuous process of starting and running a successful online business? We know it was a tough road, but how about reliving your strenuous experiences and sharing below how you made it out alive.