Making an online business a reality is a hugely attractive option these days. Websites are affordable to build and operated from your at home – whether as a side business or as you gain momentum. If anything, post-COVID it has seen a significant increase in sales from e-commerce. In addition, with the current economic situation and the rising cost of business overheads the benefit of an online-only business over bricks and mortar is obvious.
Starting with market studies, to launching social media channels and navigating complicated regulations, we’ll walk you through each step of your online business venture and help you start quickly and easily.
Are you looking to get your business in motion? Find out how to begin your online company…
Our top recommendation if you are looking to sell your products online…
1. Conduct market research
Find an idea for an online business
If you’re here, it’s likely you’ve had some ideas for an web business. But, if you’re seeking an idea, the first step is to search for an opportunity.
Ask your family, friends or peers on forums to see if there are any services, products , or content they’d love to have access to online but aren’t in a position to locate.
Also, take a look at your personal experiences. Did you have the time you’ve tried searching for something online but didn’t find the right result?
Study and test the market
Before you commit to investing funds and time into the plan it is important to ensure that it’s likely to succeed.
To help you refine your concept and better understand the potential for it to be successful, you should carry out the following research methods:
1. Conduct an analysis of your competitors
Study all businesses which could be considered to be competitors. Note the way they operate as well as what they’re doing and how they’re performing, and who their customers are.
This will provide you with some idea about who your potential customers might be. This will prompt you to think about how you can be better than your competition.
2. Define your target audience
Knowing which users on the internet you should target will allow you to make the right decisions about how your site functions as well as how it looks and feels. Are they of a certain age, income level or profession? interests or hobbies?
3. Get feedback from your ideas
1. Ask your intended audience to tell you what they think about your concept, whether they’d go to your site and how you can enhance it.
You can also ask friends whom you’ve met (though they have to be individuals who will be sincere in their comments) or organize focus groups, online surveys or even online polls.
2. Select your business model for online
After you’ve decided the goals of your online business going to be about, it’s now time to plan out how you can earn profits from it.
If you’re launching an online store or selling downloads, goods, or services on your website you’ll be operating on an e-commerce model of business earning income from sales.
But, if your site has a different objective – like to provide entertainment or provide information to users – there are three primary methods to make money from it:
Advertising. Businesses pay for advertising on your website (usually through advertising in the form of visuals and sponsored posts). The more traffic you generate the more you can cost customers. The content of these websites generally is free for users to access.
Subscription. These websites are typically free of ads, but instead earn profits by requiring the user to pay a single fee or a monthly subscription fee to gain access to the website’s online service or content.
Fremium. This business model gives customers access to the minimal version of your web-based service for free, however you ask them to purchase benefits and features that are of premium quality.
The best model for you will be determined by the kind of business you’re doing, as well as what you want to accomplish through it. You are able to create a site based on one of these.
Did you know? The Online Business Startup book by Robin Waite provides everything you need to start an online business.
3. Build your site
Although you may think this as a huge technological endeavor, creating websites can be fairly easy.
Additionally, it’s unlikely to be a financial burden Domain names typically be less expensive than PS10 annually, and websites are paid for through affordable monthly fees.
4. Your site should be filled with optimized copy
The purpose of your site is to provide visitors with informative or entertaining content, or to share information about your offline company or sell products, or perform something different, the text on your website needs to:
Make sure your writing is professional and free of mistakes
Explain clearly, and create the public to be interested in the product or service you’re selling
Find out why the user been looking for on your site/this specific page to learn about.
Get ready to be ready for SEO
This is applicable to all of the written content you may possess including “about us” pages, from product information to full-blown writing.
5. Follow the legal guidelines for online businesses rules
If you’re an online company There are legal rules you’ll have to follow – that is in order to stay out of being accused of being prosecuted…
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
In effect since May 2018, the GDPR gives consumers greater access to their own personal information and demands that businesses be honest and transparent in the way they use data.
Under GDPR, companies that operate online have to obtain explicit consent before processing customer’ personal data. They must also be open about how they intend to utilize the data, and provide customers with the right to see the information that a company holds on them, and abide with requests to erase it.
This is a law with teeth. As in the VinciWorks Guide to GDPR states such companies as Amazon, WhatsApp and Grindr have all faced massive GDPR fines in the past few years.
It is yet to be determined what the UK exiting the European Union will affect data protection laws. A government-led consultation on the overhaul of GDPR came to an end at the end of the year which is why the UK is eager to come up with an alternative regulation that is balanced between privacy with business innovation.
If this happens it is possible that you must adhere to GDPR if gather data from non-UK custoners.
6. Create social media channels
It’s becoming almost impossible for businesses no matter how big to have no form or presence on social networks.
It is essentially a marketing tool for free Social media is home to millions of users who use it daily around the world. This means there are numerous chances to place your business noticed by potential customers through these platforms.
Of course, it’s not necessary to go to every platform available. However, it’s worth testing the various platforms to determine which one is most effective for you, before making a commitment to those that get the highest engagement (such as likes, followers comments, shares and more).
If you’re just starting out you can try these suggestions to your Facebook and Twitter pages:
You can organize giveaways or contests. This is an excellent way to encourage people to take part in your brand’s activities.
Pay for advertisements. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram let businesses pay to have their advertisements be featured in targeted users feeds.
Share regularly hyperlinks to your site as well as blog posts, products, and other posts.
Create an appropriate hashtag for your company or brand, and then ask your followers to share it and add to it.
Keep your posts up to date, making sure your tone and the imagery you post is consistent with your brand’s whole.
Respond promptly to any questions or messages from customers who may be contacting you.
Request that customers leave feedback and ratings about your products or services on their social media profiles.
Include hyperlinks on your personal social media accounts on your site.
If you’re looking to run your online business using an advertising basis you might find that you opt to not creating a website to focus on social media.
If you choose to do this you’ll promote and share the items and offerings (having the company charged for them, of course!) through your social media channels. This means that your social media channels will be being an influencer online.
7. Bring traffic to your company
Apart from getting higher in the Google rankings by implementing a good SEO practices (as discussed in Section Four) and having interesting social media profiles (as discussed in section six) There are many other ways you can take to increase visitors to your site.
“Pay-per click” (PPC) marketing
When you run the course of a PPC campaign, your preferred search machine of preference can make sure that your site appears at the top of the results page when a person is searching for a specific key word.
In exchange you’ll pay an engine fee every when a person clicks your hyperlink.
The most popular PPC techniques is Google Ads by which companies can be featured as “Ad” hyperlinks in the upper right-hand corner of the Google search results webpage.
A PPC campaign is fast and efficient way to bring the attention of your website However, it’s up you to decide if the cost of every click will be worth the outcomes you’re receiving.
Remember, the better directed your campaign is, and also the more valuable your landing page is to visitors the higher the number of outcomes you’ll see and the lower Google will charge per click.
This is the practice of regularly sending email marketing (such as electronic newsletters) to your clients and your fans to keep them interested in your brand and keep informed of new developments and special promotions.
Get email addresses to your email list by adding sign-up forms on your site, and then sharing it with your friends on social media.
If you are asking for email addresses in order to build your list of senders, make certain to adhere to the GDPR guidelines.
Marketing through affiliates
Through an affiliate program that you join, you will place ads for your business – either displays or hyperlinks included in articles on other pertinent websites (known as affiliates) at no cost.
If a user clicks on that advertisement, and then goes to your site and buys something and you charge a fee to the affiliate website that the customer clicked through from.
A reputable pr or outreach expert will try to bring your company’s name to the limelight through securing media coverage it, such as in newspapers, magazines, and on websites.
If they get the website to feature or even discuss your company and try to convince the publication to include a link to your site. This can be extremely beneficial from a prominent, high-traffic publication.
If you have an appreciation of the process of PR it is possible to save some cash and tackle doing the job yourself, but PR professionals are more likely to have more contacts in top places.
Along with user and session numbers It is also important to monitor parameters like:
The length of time that people spend per site
It’s the bounce rate (if users arrive at your homepage and going away immediately is a sign that you’re not targeting the right terms)
A conversion percentage (the percent of people who visit your website who actually make purchases)
CAC/CPA (cost per conversion/acquisition – what marketing costs have you had to expend to get each paying customer to your site, and might they be too high?)