When starting a small business online, there is a proven sequence of steps you can take to ensure your success. Thousands of people have started and grown successful businesses by doing the following:
- Find a gap in the market and fill it.
- Create copy that will sell.
- Create an easy-to-navigate website.
- To drive traffic to your website, use search engines.
- Make a name for yourself as an expert.
- Email is a great way to stay in touch with your customers and subscribers.
- Increase your earnings by making back-end sales and upselling.
Anyone, from a beginner to an experienced online entrepreneur, can benefit from this process of learning how to start a business online.
Step 1: Establish a business that meets a need.
Most new entrepreneurs make the mistake of looking for a product first and a market second.
Begin with a market to increase your chances of success. The trick is to find a group of people who are looking for a solution to a problem but aren’t getting very far. This type of market research is made simple by the internet:
Visit online discussion forums to see what questions people are asking and what problems they are attempting to solve.
Conduct keyword research to find keywords that are popular but don’t have a lot of competition from other sites.
Examine your potential competitors’ websites and take note of what they’re doing to meet demand. Then you can apply what you’ve learned to create a product for an already existing market – and do it better than the competition.
Step 2: Create sales copy.
There is a tried-and-true sales copy formula that guides visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive until they make a purchase:
- A compelling headline will pique your interest.
- Describe the issue that your product solves.
- Establish your credibility as a problem solver.
- Include testimonials from customers who have used your product.
- Discuss the product and how it will benefit the user.
- Make a proposal.
- Make a firm guarantee.
- Create a sense of urgency.
- Request a sale.
Throughout your copy, you should emphasise how your product or service is uniquely capable of solving people’s problems or improving their lives. Consider yourself a customer and ask, “What’s in it for me?”
Step 3: Create and design your website.
You’re ready for your small-business web design once you’ve determined your market and product, as well as nailed down your selling process. Remember to keep things as simple as possible. You have less than five seconds to capture someone’s attention, or they’ll be gone, never to be seen again. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- On a white background, use one or two simple fonts.
- Make your navigation clear and consistent across all pages.
- Use graphics, audio, or video only if they add to your message.
- Include an opt-in offer to gather e-mail addresses.
- Make it simple to buy, with no more than two clicks between a potential customer and the checkout page.
- Because your website serves as your online storefront, it should be user-friendly.
Step 4: Use search engines to direct qualified buyers to your website.
Pay-per-click advertising is the simplest way to drive traffic to a new website. It has two advantages over waiting for organic traffic to come to you. First, PPC ads appear immediately on search results pages. Second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices, and selling strategies. You not only get instant traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to find your best, highest-converting keywords. The keywords can then be distributed throughout your site in your copy and code, which will improve your rankings in organic search results.
Step 5: Make a name for yourself as an expert.
The internet is used by people to find information. If you give that information away for free to other websites, you’ll get more traffic and higher search engine rankings. The key is to always include a link to your website with each piece of information.
- Provide free expert content. Make articles, videos, or any other type of content that people will find useful. Distribute it via online article directories or social media sites.
- Include “send to a friend” links on your website’s valuable content.
- Participate in industry forums and social networking sites where your target market congregates.
You will gain new readers. Even better, every site that publishes your content will include a link back to yours. Search engines value relevant site links and will reward you in the rankings. Click here to check out our website careers4u.tv
Step 6: Use email marketing to convert visitors into buyers.
When you create an opt-in list, you’re creating one of your online business’s most valuable assets. Your customers and subscribers have authorised you to send them an email. That is to say:
- You’re giving them something they requested.
- You’re forming relationships with them that will last a lifetime.
- The response is completely quantifiable.
- Because email marketing is highly targeted, it is less expensive and more effective than print, television, or radio.
Anyone who visits your website and opts in to your mailing list is a hot lead. And there is no better tool for following up with those leads than email.
Step 7: Boost your earnings through back-end sales and upselling.
One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to increase the lifetime value of each customer. If you follow up with people who have previously purchased from you, at least 36% of them will buy from you again. Closing the first sale is by far the most difficult and expensive part of the process. So, to persuade them to buy again, use back-end selling and upselling:
- Offer products that are complementary to their initial purchase.
- Send them electronic loyalty coupons that they can use on their next visit.
- After they make a purchase, offer related products on your “Thank You” page.
- Customers will become even more loyal if you reward them for their loyalty.
The internet evolves at such a rapid pace that one year online is equivalent to approximately five years in the real world. However, the fundamentals of starting and growing a successful online business have not changed. Stick to this order if you’re just starting a small business online. If you’ve been online for a while, take a quick look to see if there’s anything you’re missing or never got around to doing in the first place. You can’t go wrong with this.