Almost 2 billion people made at least one online purchase in 2019. That number is trending upward again this year, and for good reason, as online shopping is easier now to do more than ever before.
Because of this, people are opening up new online businesses each day. If your goal is to be your own boss one day, too, you need to make sure you know how to start an online business before quitting your day job.
The good news? We can help you out!
In this article, we’ll give you a step-by-step guide that you can use to launch your own online business. From the planning process to making changes as the years go by, will give you all the tips and tricks you need to know to find success.
Decide on Your Target Audience
Before you open an online store or start designing products, you first need to decide who your target audience is going to be. If you’ve been thinking about opening an online business for a while now, odds are you already have a solid idea of who your target audience is.
With that in mind, zeroing in on that niche, even more, is a great idea, especially for new businesses, as the market is overcrowded and tough to break into.
A pro tip? Use Google’s Keyword Planner to locate a niche audience that has a high traffic search number but a low competition number. That way you can find an easier niche to break into, increasing your chances of finding success that much faster.
Figure Out What Your Monetizing
This might sound a bit obvious but hear us out…
Another thing that you need to do before you open up an online business is to decide how you’re going to be making money. Are you opening an online store? Are selling information via a subscription service?
Regardless of what your answer is, having a clear idea of what you’re doing will help you decide what’s the best way to proceed going forward. This step can also lead to you discovering more ways you can make money, which is a good thing, as multiple revenue streams are always a good idea.
Get Licenses, Permits, and Registration
Every online business is different. Depending on what you’re selling, and where you live, will determine what all you need to do to run your business legally.
So, do some research to find out what licenses, permits, and other forms of registration you need to take care of before opening your online business. Don’t skip out on this step, or delay it, either, as it can lead to some hefty fines that can send your business into a financial panic in a hurry.
Create Your Branding Materials
Of course, every online business needs branding materials in place before going live. After all, how can you promote your brand without a name and logo?
With that in mind, it’s important to note just how crucial these things can be to the overall success of your business. A solid name and logo can make you stand out online in the best way possible, which of course is important to your long-term success.
Because of this, we recommend that you take your time when creating branding materials. If graphic design and marketing isn’t your strong suit, it’s also well worth it to outsource this process completely to a design firm.
Invest in a Quality Website
Once you have a solid business plan in place, and you’ve got your brand’s identity squared away, your next step should be to create a website.
Even if your business will focus more on social media websites, like Instagram and YouTube, it’s still a good idea to have a solid website in place. That way users can find everything there is to know about you and your business in one place. It also makes you look more credible and legitimate, which is something you’ll need to once again stand out from the crowd.
If you’re starting a blog or an online store, getting help with your website may be worth considering,. This is especially true if you’ve never made a website before, and thus, don’t have experience in this department.
Focus on Mobile Users First
Over 50% of all web traffic comes from mobile users. That number is expected to continue to rise over the next few years, as mobile devices are more prevalent now than ever before.
Because of this, it’s important that you make sure that your online business is built from the ground up with mobile users in mind. Things like a mobile-friendly website, and the ability to make purchases on mobile devices, is an absolute must-have for any online business.
Find Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Site
After your online business is launched, your next biggest concern is going to be figuring out how to get customers. If your online business is like most, odds are that’s going to be driving web traffic to your website where your products or goods are being sold.
We’ll be honest. Driving web traffic to a new website can be tough. This is especially true if you’re operating in a competitive niche. But it can be done, as long as you’re creating and determined with how you go about doing things.
For example, something like blogging can bring tons of traffic to your site. So, if you understand keyword research, and enjoy writing, consider giving blogging a shot.
The best part? Should you find success with blogging, you can monetize your blog using Google AdSense. That will give you one more revenue stream that you can use to help keep your online business alive.
Invest in Social Media Marketing
Need to find a way to drive traffic to your website fast? Don’t have time to get a blog off the ground. Invest a ton of resources into social media marketing.
There are billions of social media users out there. If you can figure out which social media websites your niche’s audience is most active on, you can get tons of web traffic from people who actually care about whatever it is you’re selling.
The best part? You can do all of this in-house after a bit of research on how to master social media marketing. It’s cost-effective, efficient, and can give you big-budget results.
Consider Using Email Marketing
The biggest downside to social media marketing is having to compete with other people on a user’s timeline or social media feed. And while there’s still competition with email marketing, it does give you a better chance of making an impression, which of course is the overall goal of any marketing strategy.
So, as soon as you’ve launched your website, go ahead and install an email marketing plugin. Once you have some email addresses to work with, take your time crafting your first email marketing campaign.
Give users who take the time to read your email a real incentive to act. End with a call to action that is tempting, perhaps a coupon code or something that makes your product or service too good to miss out on in the current moment.
Listen and Refine
After you’ve launched your online business, it won’t take long for your customers to start giving you some valuable feedback. Sure, actual comments are helpful and encouraged. But that’s not the only thing you should be paying attention to going forward.
Your analytics, in particular, should be analyzed daily. Knowing how much money you’re making, and what is making you that money, is key to crafting and refining your business plan.
Your sales numbers aren’t the only numbers you should be looking at, either. Breaking down every marketing strategy and seeing what works, and what doesn’t, will help you come up with future advertising strategies.
Need help processing sales? Consider outsourcing all your processing needs to InLog INC. They’ll make sure that your customer service is the best out of anyone else in your niche.
Still, Figuring Out How to Start an Online Business?
When it comes to knowing how to start an online business, having a solid plan in place long before you make your first sale is the key. Know who your target audience is, and what they want from you, and try to deliver that to the best of your ability.
Looking for more ways you can take your business to the next level? Check back with our blog often, as we’re always talking about the latest in advertising and finance management.