From Idea to Income – How to Start A Successful Online Business (Especially If You’re A Newbie)
Starting a successful online business is hard. That’s not true.
Sure, starting anything when you don’t know what you’re doing will seem difficult – probably impossible. But that’s why you’re reading this now; to go from “what the heck am I doing?!” to “heck, I did that!”
In 2009 when we decided to take the idea of the digital Martech to an online market, we knew very little (read nothing at all) about creating a platform, promoting our website and gaining customers. All we had was the idea and a need to convert that into income.
Since we’ve been in business for 13years, we’ve certainly gone through the pitfalls and highlights of operating a successful online business. And we are very excited to share these tips and tricks with you so it will be much easier for you to start your online business.
Identify your passion
You may have already done so, given that you’re now seeking to start your business but if you haven’t done so, make a list of at least 10 things you find interesting.
Running an online business is no different than operating a brick-and-mortar store. There will be days of frustration and if you aren’t passionate about what you’re doing, you may easily think of quitting. So do something you would want to do even if you weren’t being paid.
Can’t find your passions? That’s OK. Think about some things you look forward to doing in your spare time or look at the subject of books, movies, and conversations you find memorable. You’ll pick up a pattern and come closer to identifying the things you truly care about.
Find a problem related to your passion that you’d like to solve
Always remember, people don’t buy products, they buy solutions. So you need to identify what problems your highest priority passion can solve.
For example, you’re passionate about fitness but aren’t sure which area of fitness you’re likely to make money.
Go through forums such as Quora or find threads related to your niche. What questions are people asking, are they getting the right type of information? Can you answer the questions? How would they benefit from your online offering?
Keywords are the bread and butter of your online business. With the right ones, you can drive targeted web traffic to your website for free! If you do it right, your business sales will be soaring in no time.
Keywords are words or phrases that tell what your content is about. On the web, they are used in two ways: 1) as the terms users enter into search engines to find relevant information 2) the words that identify the content of a website.
You must know how persons in your niche are searching as this will help you to determine the type of content you use on your website and how to tailor it so that search engines find your website easily.
One of the best and free keyword research tool is Google Adwords: Keyword Planner. It’s simple to use and perfect for new online business owners.
Simply enter your keyword or keywords into the search box. The tool then provides you with other ideas that you could use as well as average monthly searches and competition – the number of advertisers worldwide who are bidding on each keyword relative to all keywords across the platform. You want to aim for Low competition keywords when you’re just starting your online business.
Design a user-friendly website
Your website sucks! That’s not good news for any business owner. But it’s what we heard when we built our first website.
Why did it suck? Users found it difficult to navigate!
In building your website, make it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab a visitor’s attention (yeah, competition is stiff).
- Forget about the sparkles and all the colors of the rainbow. Choose no more than two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make navigation simple. Users must find the information that they are looking for easily. If they have to pause to search of buttons, you are going to lose them.
- Ensure your information is easy to scan. Most website visitors will not read your entire content. Therefore, present information in digestible chunks with appropriate headlines.
- Quick loading is key. With so many websites competing for visitors, no one has the time or patience to wait on your website to load. It should be visible the moment someone clicks the site’s link. To get a quick loading site, remove all additional elements like graphics, video and audio that don’t enhance your message.
- Easy purchase. Make it super easy for people to pay for your product or service. It should take no more than two clicks to get to checkout.
Write Sales Copy That Converts
The goal of the sales copy is to convince your potential customers to buy your product or service. You need to write copy that places your offer in such an attractive light, that the reader can’t say ‘no’. Where we went wrong was selling the product to our website visitors and not the problem it solved.
Avoid doing that.
People don’t buy products, they buy solutions. Your sales copy should hit their pain points and clearly state how your offer will provide relief. If you aren’t certain how to write killer sales copy, you could buy a few books on the subject matter or check out these guys. Either way, do your research on the best ways to create copy that converts visitors to paying customers.
Use PPC Marketing To Drive Traffic To Your Website
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a model of online business marketing in which advertisers pay each time one of their ads is clicked. In other words, it’s a way to buy visits to your website rather than waiting to earn them organically. It’s a great way for new online business owners to get much-needed traffic when they launch their websites.
Advertising through search engines is one of the most popular forms of PPC. Advertisers bid for ad placement in a search engine’s sponsored links when a search is done using a keyword related to their business.
PPC allows you to not only get immediate and relevant traffic but you can also use it to test how well your keywords convert. Once you’ve found a winning keyword, you can distribute it throughout your website.
Establish a positive reputation online
Social media has made it easier for businesses to connect directly with people and humanize their brands. Customers, on the other hand, have used a company’s social media presence or lack thereof as validation for doing business. It means that a company’s online reputation is critical to the growth of a business.
Before you can dispel myths about your brand, you must first know what is being said. This is known as social listening. Use social listening tools like Mention and Awario to monitor mentions of your brand, competitors or industry.
Focus on your niche
After you have defined your niche, focus on your social media content on related areas. Use appropriate keywords as often as you can and be consistent in your content and conversation. Once social media users can associate you with a focused message, they are more likely to trust you.
Social media users want to engage with the human behind brands. Try to tailor your message without corporate jargons and engage with customers at their level.
Have an impact
The content you publish – whether on your website or social media sites must be useful. No one will consume content that has no specific purpose. How does your content solve problems? If you can’t answer that quickly and effectively, then it’s time to revamp.
Leverage the power of email marketing
Email marketing is using email to promote your products and services to customers who have visited your website and opted in for these emails. The content that are you sending can be anything you wish persons in this group to know about your company or content.
So it can take the form of newsletters, product announcements, your latest blog post or a testimonial. Email marketing can be used to generate website traffic, product signups or leads.
By promoting your brand through emails to your customers, you are developing a long-lasting relationship with them and the response rate is 100 per cent measurable. Furthermore, it is much cheaper than other forms of marketing such as adverts in print or electronic media.
Reward loyalty for return buyers
Once you have gained a customer and they are happy with their purchase, it is 36 per cent more likely that they will purchase again if you follow up. You can:
- Offer discounts through email marketing on the second purchase
- Promote ‘refer a friend’ discounts
- Offer related products to their first order on your ‘Thank You’ page after they have purchased
- Show them products that complement their original product before they get to check-out
Give your customers well-thought-through gifts to reward them for shopping and they will return.
Starting and running a successful online business can be tedious if you don’t have a sound plan. Follow these steps to ensure you avoid the mistakes so many online entrepreneurs make.
Just one more tip. Don’t forget to share this post!