It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when starting an online business. There’s so much competition, and you don’t know how to stand out in this changing market. It seems like every day there is a new trend or must-do to stay ahead of your competition, who seems to be miles in front of you already. While starting a business of any kind is inherently risky, there are a few tips that can help you run your small business online with ease. Keep reading for a guide to starting a successful online small business today!
Step 1: Learn Your Audience
If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re selling to nobody. As a business owner, you need to understand your audience inside and out. How old is your audience? Where do they spend their time online? These are all questions you need to ask before you launch your marketing strategy. Jayson DeMers of Entrepreneur encourages businesses to create an audience persona. He says, “This persona is basically a fictional character who exhibits all the traits of an ‘average’ member of your target audience.” Create your own ideal customer, and customize everything for them!
Step 2: Create a Great Website
Having a great website doesn’t mean having an expensive website. You need a website that works will in today’s world if you want to keep up with big-name brands. Dan Scalco, the founder of Digitalux, shares that all business owners need to have websites that focus on quality over quantity, clear calls to action, and mobile responsive website. Without these basic things, your website doesn’t stand a chance of attracting the right users.
In general, your website needs to have a clear, easy to use design. That means it’s easy to navigate from page to page, and customers can easily find things like their shopping cart or contact options. Your website should also display well on all screens, making mobile-optimization a must!
Step 3: Choose the Best Merchant Account
Merchant accounts are how you process payments online. One of the biggest problems facing online businesses is abandoned carts. If you don’t have a streamlined checkout process, you’re going to lose customers. It’s as simple as that! Though choosing a merchant account might sound like a big decision, it’s easier than you think.
Step 4: Market on the Right Platforms
Not all platforms are created equal. In the age of social media, you might think it makes the most sense to market on all platforms. Diversity is best, right? Wrong. A lot of new businesses waste a lot of time (and money!) marketing on platforms that don’t work for them. This all goes back to the first step: knowing your audience. Where does your audience spend time online? Imagine a small, veteran-owned business such as Embleholics that is trying to reach their B2B customers through a website. A company such as theirs has focused on online content, as that’s what they found out to be the main lead-generation tool for their audience – companies that want to offer military memorabilia to their employees or customers.
Jo Roberts of Marketing Week, a popular marketing blog, says, “Recognising how and where a target audience wants to view content is key to maximising its impact.” Instead of throwing all your eggs in every basket, focus on one or two known to be successful with your audience.
Finding Online Business Success
Yes, there is a lot of competition online today. But there has also never been a better time to start your own online business! Things change quickly online, and what works today might not work tomorrow. Your best strategy is to create a great foundation using the steps above while being willing to adapt to new changes in marketing trends!