Back in the days when the internet was starting, online business wasn’t a thing. Most businesses have to have a physical store. Also, marketing strategies are traditional and target local customers. Although it started to open up in the late 70s to early 80s, most people learn about a business through word of mouth, magazines, or television.
In the past, people who start a business are those who have enough money. But now, anyone can start a business with no money. Thanks to the expansion and growth of technology, online businesses are within reach.
Whether your online business has been around for years or planning to start one, there are plenty of platforms you can choose to market or sell products. The beauty of the internet for online businesses is that you get to sell your products and market your business globally.
But starting an online business is scary. Even though it sounds easy, there are still steps you need to follow on how to start an online business so you can succeed.
So, if you want to venture out of your 9 to 5 job or be your own boss, starting an online business is the best choice you can have. But you may ask, how to start an online business?
Here we have put together some tips for you. So, sit down, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and read.
Tips to Start an Online Business
Determine Your Niche
Niche means a target area. It’s a part you want to focus on. Determining your niche can make or break your business. You can’t just decide to start an online business for women’s shoes. Why?
There are plenty of companies that are already selling women’s shoes. It’s a popular niche. A better way is to be specific by knowing your niche market. That means being precise on what will sell.
Let’s go back to women’s shoes. You can sell women’s shoes by providing more specific products like women’s shoes for professionals, vegans, mothers, and so on. Do you get what we mean?
Now, how to determine what niche market is best for you? Do some research.
You can go online to forums and read about what people want or need. Finding solutions to people’s problems can be a great way to start your online business.
Then, do keyword research. You want to use keywords that are frequently used by people. In such a way, they can find you easily online. But take note, don’t go for keywords with tons of competition.
You can also check potential competitors. See if they offer what you are going to sell and what is working for them. You aim to outshine them.
Research What You Need
After determining your niche for your online business, you need to do some research. Besides researching your competitors, there are some things you need to know before starting your online business.
First, research your product and what form you want to sell. You can offer digital products, physical goods, services, or both of anything. It depends on your niche.
You’ll also need to search for materials, suppliers, and shipping methods for your items if it’s physical.
Aside from the products, learning about local and international online business law is also crucial. Some countries require online business registration. Meanwhile, other countries can freely start their online business with no permit.
You need to know who your target audiences are. By conducting experiments and research, you can find who and what your target audiences want and need. Check on demographics and psychographics to learn who your ideal buyer is, what they are looking for, and what will push them to purchase a product.
Jumping immediately to start an online business is never an option. You always have to do your research if you want your online business to succeed.
Choose Your Platform
Before, you could only sell products online when you had a website. Now, you have other ways to sell.
You can build your website, choose an online marketplace, or sell on social media.
When choosing the platform you want, you have to think of your niche and target audience. For example, if you sell women’s shoes for professionals, it’s best to build your website. If you sell handmade products, an online e-commerce marketplace like Etsy is a good start.
Building a website can be done by hiring a professional or by yourself. There are plenty of tips online on how you can start your website.
When creating your website, always make sure to keep things simple. Don’t make it difficult for your audience to look for what they want. Also, make the paying process simple.
Invest in a Security Software Program
Online business means you need to collect payments online. With the ever-growing cybersecurity threats, keeping online payments and identities safe is crucial.
Choose payment system services that provide better security and have a good reputation. Install a security software program on your computer or any device that’s managing the backend of your website.
Also, make sure that the connection between you and your customers is always encrypted. You can use an SSL certificate for your website.
Choose a Name
You need to think of a name that people can easily remember and define your business. But that doesn’t mean you have to choose a business name similar to others.
Make sure it is easy to remember, and you can buy a domain name for it when starting your website.
Define Your Brand Identity
Branding defines the vibe of a business. Like when people see sportswear, they immediately think of Nike or Adidas. That’s because they have already established their brand identity.
Your brand should be part of everything you do and create. That means it includes your logo, web design, marketing strategies, color, typography, and more. Everything must work together.
Your brand will make people remember you, particularly if they need something to purchase.
Building Your Online Store
When choosing a website as your platform to sell your products, you have to consider some things. Aside from the web design, you need to think of search engines, compatibility with mobile devices, and more.
When including product images, choose one that is clear, and when people zoom in, they can still clearly see the details. VR and AR are an excellent addition to your customers’ shopping experience. Maybe if your business seems to work, you can add such features.
Write descriptions that your customers can understand. Include every detail and function of the product if necessary. Also, you can conduct keyword research when writing your product title and description. It will take time, but it’s worth it.
Market Your Business
Now, you have finally registered your business, stock on inventories, and launched your online shop. It’s time to market your online business.
Every online business doesn’t start out having customers at their door waiting, not unless you are a celebrity or have a social media presence before, then good for you. But other people who want to start an online business need to market it.
There are many ways you can make your business visible to your target audience.
Using the right social media platform can help you find who your target audiences are. Create marketing strategies that will make you visible to your audience. Just make sure that you don’t sound like you’re selling something. Your content should add value to anyone who sees your social media accounts.
You can choose to use photos or videos for your social media posting. But recently, video has been the most consumed form of media online. So, we recommend you make one. You can create short, high-quality videos to gain more followers.
Email marketing is an old strategy that continues to work in our modern society. Why? It is because it is an opt-in list that your potential leads gave you. You can use these email subscribers to send content, coupons, sales, and more.
What is even great with email marketing is that you target your specific audience. These are people who show interest in your business and brand. That means they are one click away from buying your product.
Leveraging influencers to gain more traffic to your website is another effective marketing strategy. You can collaborate with micro-influencers within your niche. Why micro-influencers?
Micro influencers, although the following is not as many as that of a famous influencer, they have a highly engaging audience. Their community is far more supportive, and that’s why micro-influencers can easily influence people to buy what they are selling.
But make sure to choose an influencer within your niche.
You can make a deal with them. You can pay in cash or send samples of your products.
Remember when we said that you have to think about mobile compatibility earlier? That’s because it’s part of SEO marketing.
SEO marketing is a way to organically gain traffic to your website. It is done by using keywords within your niche that sells. You can use the keywords on your products and other content.
We recommend you add a blog section to your website. There you can start creating content and use relevant keywords to rank on top of search engines.
Learn how to improve your SEO strategies with this article.
Some platforms offer paid ads. If you have the budget, you can opt for Google’s pay-per-click advertising strategy. It means you only pay Google when someone clicks on your ad.
Pay-per-click (PPC) is a bit expensive, and you need to conduct more research on keywords and bidding.
But if you have a tight budget, you can advertise on social media. Three of the best platforms you can advertise your business are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
For Facebook and Instagram, you can choose your target audience, how long your ad will run, and the budget you have.
Always study the traffic that enters your website and social media accounts. Using the data from these platforms will help you determine your marketing strategies and what product sells best in your online shop.
Now that you have helpful tips to start an online business, you can jump ahead and do your thing. By following these tips, you don’t have to be overwhelmed when starting your online business. You can easily follow the steps and make some minor adjustments when needed.
Don’t sweat things out. Everyone doesn’t know what they are doing when beginning a business. You’ll eventually learn as you go. All you have to do is push through it and learn how to satisfy your audience for more sales.