The ultimate dream is to become your own boss, to have real autonomy and control over your time and actions. Businesses rise and fall every year, but the most successful ones are consistent and passionate about what they do.
Technology and the opportunity to build a business online, from your home, have opened up the possibility of starting and growing a successful business to anyone who is willing to put the work in to learn the craft and apply that learning in a disciplined and consistent manner.
Read on to learn how to start your online business with these effective and proven 4 steps.
1. Choose a Market
The most important stage in starting your online business is to choose a clear and growing niche. It helps of course if the niche is something that you care about or even have some expertise in. That passion will shine through as authenticity, you can’t fake it and it is much more likely to retain customers.
To attract customers in the first place, though, you need to select a niche with space for a new entrant like yourself. Do some serious competitor analysis. Start by reviewing their online presence and customer reviews. What are their weaknesses and is there scope for you to capitalise on those. For an online business, you should also review the potential for building search engine rankings against your competitors on a range of suitable key words and key phrases, using tools like Ahrefs or Semrush.
2. Utilize Sales Funnels
If your online business includes the sale of products of any kind, then you need to think about sales funnels. Simply put, sales funnels are powerful tools for converting web visitors into paying customers. According to digital marketing specialists at FreedomBoundBusiness.com sales funnel builder software is one of the most valuable business-building tools for online businesses that are available. They have become significantly more user-friendly and easy to implement in recent years. These software tools or funnel buckets have a user-friendly editor, testing pages, cationic follow-up tools to send emails and built-in affiliate software to attract marketers to promote your products. The most appealing aspect of sales funnels is the one-click up-sells and down-sells system, allowing you to convert visitors to paying customers more efficiently. The idea is to sell a product via paid advertisements and increase your ROI levels by increasing the customer’s cart value.
3. Design a User-Friendly Website
If your website is too clunky, busy or confusing customers will vote with their fingers and move on quickly. The online customer is very impatient. If your site is too slow to load, they’re gone. If navigation isn’t clear, they’re gone. The fact is that the online customer is so much more decisive and basically rude than they would ever be in real life! The flip side is that it is much easier to test customer responses to design changes and not have your data distorted by polite lies.
As a starting point, when you design your website, follow these customer-centric principles.
- Have a clear brand image that sums up your values and cuts across every element of your design and customer relationships. So, if your brand aims to be youthful and edgy, that idea needs to be reflected in your images, colours, fonts and text.
- Navigation needs to be very clear and concise. Have an accessible menu bar and follow the three-click rule, where customers can access the information they need in a maximum of three clicks.
- Mobile first. Being mobile compatible is no longer enough. These days the majority of visits are on a phone, so make sure that your website works well on all formats, especially mobile.
- Keep it simple. Keep the website uncluttered, with lots of space. Less is more. That applies to design, as well as features and tools. Too much going on not only confuses visitors, it also slows the website down, which magnifies customer frustration and exit rates.
- Have a search bar. It’s one of the simplest but most effective tools.
4. Implement Email Marketing Strategies
One of the oldest but most effective marketing strategies involves email campaigns. Always build an opt-in list for emails, it’s a valuable asset that can make your platform grow. The idea is to convince leads and possible paying customers to permit you to send them emails, allowing you to develop a strong relationship with your audience.
The email marketing strategy is cost-effective and reliable when you make your emails personal, and your customers feel appreciated and heard. Personal follow-ups increase customer retention levels tremendously, improving your success chances online over time.
The key is to make your business easily accessible by any online user, increasing visibility, and positive exposure levels.
Building an online business is not complicated. Like anything worth achieving in life, the key is hard work and self-discipline. The tools and information you need to succeed are all easily available. The rest is up to you.