Doing business online is one of the best decisions you can ever make as an entrepreneur. Online businesses have a huge earning potential and benefit from a variety of growth opportunities. They also provide global access 24 hours, seven days a week and create a conducive environment for improved customer service, increased professionalism, cost savings and faster delivery of products. But how do you start an online business? Here is a step-by-step guideline that will help you get started.
Research the Market
Conduct a thorough market research to find what needs are yet to be fulfilled. Look for a group of customers who are searching the market for a solution but are unable to find many results. You can visit online forums to see what queries people have and what problems they are struggling to solve. Use Google, Bing or Yahoo to find keywords that most people search for, but for which, not many websites provide answers to. You can then apply what you have learned to build a product.
Register the Business
You need to register your online business to avoid legal disputes with the local authorities. This means you have to choose an official business name and fill out appropriate application forms and other paperwork. Business registration requirements differ with state. So check with the relevant department in your state to know what is required of you.
Create a Website
Once you have identified the product you want to sell and registered the business, come up with an attractive website. Make sure the website is SEO optimized to increase its search engine ranking and generate more traffic. It is wise you contact SEO outsourcing services for highly effective optimization strategies.
In addition to SEO, your website must be user-friendly and be able to run on desktops, smartphones and tablets. Its interface must have the right fonts, attractive colors and high-quality content. Also, you should make it easy to for your customers to buy from the site by ensuring there are no more than two clicks between the product link and the checkout.
Create an E-Commerce Application
You will need an e-commerce software to allow prospective customers to view your products, enter their personal information and make highly secure purchases. The software must safely store confidential information such as credit card details and social security numbers. Alternatively, you can use sites such as Volusion and Shopify to get custom made templates and credit card processing services.
Establish a Good Reputation for Yourself
A larger percentage of people use the internet to buy products and find information. Establish yourself as an expert in your area and provide such information for free. You can do this directly on your website or on other sites that rank highly in search engines. Provide free expert content through articles, videos or podcasts and include links that allow visitors to share with friends. Doing this repeatedly will bring in more traffic to your site and improve your search engine ranking significantly.
Use Email Marketing to Get More Buyers
You can increase the number of people who convert using email marketing. When you contact people directly through their email inbox, you are showing them that they you have a personal connection with them. They will be more willing to do business with you than a competitor who does not use emails. Using email also means you are giving your visitors what they asked for, building trust and loyalty in the process.
You need to be more social than ever if you want to succeed in online business. Get some business cards and be ready to chat and shake hands with strangers. Create an account on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other social media platform and interact with your followers. Be there to answer their questions and address their problems.
Become an Affiliate Marketer
Many online businesses earn a considerable amount of money through affiliate marketing. When you join an affiliate marketing program, you are given an affiliate link and ID. The link will be used to buy the products from the merchant you are working with. You will be given a commission if a person buys the product provided through your link. This provides an additional way to earn money on your business’ website.
Starting an online business is very cheap when compared with an offline business. Unlike physical location where you need a premise to rent and many business permits, you only require a strong internet connection, reliable web hosting service provider and functional website when establishing a business online.