There’s a practical reason why online businesses are so popular today. These reasons are numerous, for instance:
- You don’t need an actual office (saving money on rent)
- You can hire from all over the globe (infinite talent pool)
- You can have clients from all over the globe (infinite customer pool)
The reason why it was never used before is because the technology wasn’t there yet. Still, even when technology advanced, societal norms had some catching up to do. The 2020 pandemic was that trigger that showed everyone that many industries could run fully remotely. So, for those interested in launching a successful online business, here are seven tips you should hear.
1. Do your research
A great thing about researching a successful online business lies in the fact that you get a customer’s perspective. Roleplay someone looking for your services for the very first time. Google the most logical keyword and see what comes up.
The most important thing in business is that you can answer one question right off the top of your head – why would someone buy from you and not anyone else? This is your USP (unique sales proposition).
Spend some time researching your competition and even try ordering something from them. Make an order and see how they will handle the situation. Check what the process would look like. What would you do differently? What would you do better? Sometimes, the answers are right up there; you just need to find them.
2. Improve your online presence
To buy from you, people first have to find you. How will they do this? Figure out every available strategy and do something about them. Naturally, you want to start by making a site and registering your social media profiles. You must be active on multiple channels to optimize your online business activity.
The next step is to consider your SEO. Previously, we’ve mentioned that most people find you through googling keywords. With the help of SEO, you can increase your online visibility to the point where people discover you independently. There’s a hidden perk because people often believe worse-ranked sites have lower authority and trustworthiness. You can gain extra points and enjoy a massive traffic boost.
Lastly, find out how to make your offers more sharable. Read about why people share and try to apply some of these principles. You may even want to start a contest or a referral program (to create some extra sharing incentive).
3. Organize an online team
Online businesses usually work with remote teams, meaning they have a collaboration platform through which the workflow functions. This is a means of project management, file sharing, schedule-making, and all the other processes that this entails.
It’s also worth mentioning that these teams are sometimes international. In other words, managing proper work hours will be even harder if you can try to set deadlines instead of insisting on work hours.
You could also find remote employee monitoring software and give your team flexible work hours. This way, they can work at any point as long as they clock in a set number of hours each day/week. On the other hand, this is not a very popular method, and many people find it invasive.
4. Automate whatever you can
By automating, you can significantly reduce your workload, but this is just one of the reasons why it’s a good idea. First of all, it will speed up the process, which your customers will appreciate. It will also reduce/eliminate the likelihood of human error. This is important for any business.
The main reason why you want to automate is scalability. Sure, you’ll have a few purchases early on, but what happens when you take off? Soon, the workload will be too hard to handle, so you need to figure out the best possible approach.
Whether you’re selling from your website, social media, or a third-party marketplace doesn’t matter. Even on platforms like Amazon or Shopify, you can find a suitable tool to streamline the process. For instance, Automation Empire Amazon FBA can help you with the former, and it really doesn’t take too long to set up.
5. Figure out the payment gateways
When working online, you’ll have clients and customers from all over the globe. Most have access to PayPal; however, this is not always the best or preferred way of doing business. While including PayPal as an option is a no-brainer, why stop there?
Imagine a scenario where a customer decides to buy your product or hire your services and sees that you’re not supporting their payment gateway. Is your customer going to stick around, buy something else, or apply for a payment method that you support, or will they just leave somewhere else? Which do you think is more likely?
Also, remember that just picking the right platform won’t be enough. You need to become more finance-savvy. This is beneficial even for those who plan to get a virtual bookkeeper or an online accountant. This way, you’ll get a better insight, and you’ll benefit more from their assistance.
6. Retain your current customers
According to Frank Boulbon, Chief Revenue Officer at Verizon, retaining existing customers is more important than acquiring new ones. There is much data to support this. About 20% of your most loyal customers make 80% of your profit. Also, retaining a customer’s five times cheaper than getting a new one.
So, how do you retain customers? Simple, you start with a great customer experience. With a good enough customer experience, they’re likely to return either way. Second, you might want to try starting a loyalty program. Award points for each purchase and give them a reason to come back again and again.
Finally, make sure that you follow up on them after the purchase. Post-sale follow-up is probably the most important step in generating return customers. Needless to say, this can be automated with the right email marketing platform.
7. Set up your own business culture
One thing that often gets underestimated is the importance of your business culture. As an enterprise, you must have your own ethics code. This is something that will make you unique and ensure that you build a lasting connection with your customers.
While people know that everyone is in the business world to make a profit, they want to see that you are more than just that. Sure, a lax return policy may attract friendly fraud, but it will also save bridges with customers that would otherwise be burned.
Since most of your staff will work online, it will be much harder to instill a sense of belonging into them. With the right business culture, this task will be a lot easier. Like your customers, your employees must understand that your vision goes beyond just making money. Moreover, it will help you recognize those who are a great cultural fit.
An online business is still a business, meaning there are some principles you cannot go around. You still need the following:
- A great USP
- A strong team
- Well-organized workflow
- Decent accounting
- Efficient customer relations
The only difference between an online business and a conventional business lies in the means of achieving it. With this guide, you’ll know exactly which areas to focus on and which types of tools will help you get it.