The e-commerce market is growing exponentially. Online sales have grown by approximately 0.2% every quarter for the last eight years – so it’s no wonder many new entrepreneurs want a slice of the action. However, despite the fact that the market is a relatively new phenomenon, there is a tried and tested approach when it comes to how to start a new online business with some mileage. Anyone – whether they’re a seasoned entrepreneur or starting their own venture for the first time – should follow these simple steps. Below, we run you through how to start a new online business that will actually grow.
How to start a new online business that succeeds in 6 steps
1. Create a solution
Most new entrepreneurs take a product first, market second, approach to founding their new business. However, this is a critical mistake; to increase your chances of establishing a venture with some longevity, find a gap in the market and fill it. The key is offering consumers a solution to a problem. This might seem like a daunting task at first, but thanks to the Internet, is now far easier. Start off by searching social media and online forums – is there something your target audience say they wish they had? Or is there a feature of a product they always complain about? Check out your potential competitors’ websites and see what they’re doing in response to these problems if anything. With this information, you can begin developing a product that offers a solution.
2. Write, design, and build a great website
It may seem like an obvious point, but we can’t overemphasize the importance of a great website when it comes to starting a new online business. In the days of micro-moment searching and social media, people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. Therefore, you need to make sure your website is eye-catching. However, the key to this isn’t particularly new-fangled – nine times out of ten, simplicity is key. We suggest these three key principles:
•Make sure your website is clean and legible, in easy-to-read fonts and colors.
•Ensure your navigation bar is simple, clean, and uncluttered.
•Make the buyer journey straightforward, with no more than one or two clicks.
Aside from design, web copy is an essential part of internet marketing for small business. Write a headline that will spark interest and briefly describe the problem your product solves. Establish your credibility as an authority and emphasize your product’s benefits. Ensure your copy includes a call-to-action that compels the visitor to make a purchase. Remember – focus on how your product or service has a unique capacity to meet their needs.
3. Leverage SEO
Embedded within your copy is one of the most important marketing tactics for small businesses – search engine optimization. Today, the vast majority of consumers will Google a product or service before looking anywhere else. SEO will help attract these customers to your site by inserting searchable phrases into your website’s copy. The best way to find out about relevant keywords is to work with a digital marketer, however, the Google Trends tool has made it easier for small business owners to do some DIY research. Furthermore, pay-per-click adverts are a simple way to attract traffic to a new website. Not only do these ads guarantee you a spot in search results, but they also allow you to test keyword conversion rates.
4. Position yourself as an expert
Consumers turn to the Internet when they want information – and providing that information is key to attracting people to your website. Share interesting information, articles, and videos on social media, alongside links to your website. This information will not only help to position your brand as an expert in the field, but it will also cultivate consumer trust. Furthermore, be sure to include share links on the bottom of articles and videos. After all, people are far more likely to share something informative than a sales message, so make sure it’s easy for them to spread the word.
5. Recognize the value of email marketing
Despite the hype around social media and content marketing, email is still a critical component of online marketing strategies for small business. When it comes to how to start a new online business that actually grows, staying in touch with your customers is essential. Remember, when people sign up to your newsletter, they’ve given you express permission to content them – so leverage it. They are, in business terms, a very hot lead. Not only does email marketing give you a direct line for sales messages, it is also 100% quantifiable.
6. Cross-sell, upsell, and nurture loyalty
Developing customer lifetime value is essential to any business and e-commerce is no different. Although converting new leads is an uphill struggle, statistically, a customer is far more likely to make another purchase. Therefore, return customers are by far the most efficient and profitable. To leverage these opportunities to maximum effect, exploit opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling by marketing complementary purchases. Furthermore, you should always reward customers for their loyalty. For instance, offer special discounts on second-time purchases or added extras.
Why getting back to basics is the key to growth
In the world of e-commerce, a new disruptor is around every corner. However, the basic principles of how to expand a business online endure. Even if you’re an experienced entrepreneur, reviewing your digital marketing strategy is important to ensuring the long-term success of your venture. Continually reflect on these points to make sure you are leveraging the potential of e-commerce to maximum effect. With these fundamental principles, the question of how to start a new online business that actually grows need not be such a mystery.