Starting a business is an exciting and daunting venture. It can be stressful, but oh-so-rewarding at the same time, if executed properly. Starting an online business is even more exciting because you probably know all the perks that come with it, like avoiding rent! What a bonus!
Perhaps your online business venture is just an idea, for now, sitting in your mind’s eye, waiting to burst out and become a reality, or maybe you have already taken your first few baby steps as an online startup and are seeking ways that will further propel you towards success. Whatever the case may be, there are always ways to improve your approach, and we’ve got all the tips that you may not have thought of yet!
I’m quite sure that, by now, you’ve considered possible names for your new business, have drawn up a business plan, decided on the possible colour scheme and maybe even decided on the perfect logo. Perhaps you have fast forwarded ten years into the future, and can see your business’s name shining in glamorous bright lights; as the epic empire that it’s bound to be. Dreaming of these components is the fun part, and is usually the first thing that entrepreneurs think about.
However, there are so many intricate factors that an entrepreneur needs to consider when starting an online business. To make it that much easier for you, we’ve handpicked a successful online business, called Sandwich Baron, to be used as the example and reference point for this article, to better illustrate the points and their importance, for achieving ultimate success.
1. Establish your Niche
The word niche refers to a market, product or service that’s unusual, and significantly different to what is being offered, currently. For example, a restaurant, or fast food establishment is not a niche; there are hundreds, even thousands of them around. However, Sandwich Baron, for example, is a ‘fast food’ establishment, but they specialise in sandwiches and other baked foods, they take online orders and they deliver to the consumer. Now, how many restaurants or fast food outlets offer this service? Not very many-that’s what sets Sandwich Baron apart from the rest.
Now, you need to think of what makes your online business a cut above the rest. Once you understand this, you’ll find it easier to build your brand and have it reflect your uniqueness.
2. Identify your Target Market
Establishing your business’s niche will make identifying your target market, a whole lot easier. Sandwich Baron’s niche is offering convenience, over and above delicious food, making their target market work going people, who perhaps have limited time in the mornings to make themselves a lunch for the day or people who don’t have time to get to a store, to buy lunch. Once you have successfully identified your target market, you should try and learn more about the individuals that make up that pool; their demographics, geographical location, and likes and dislikes. You should have a clear idea of what gets them ticking, and what they’re most interested in, to position your business in line with these factors.
3. Build a Strong Brand and Reputation
Your brand should reflect your values, beliefs, expertise and uniqueness. People should be able to recognise what you stand for, through your projections and brand reputation. Your target customer should be able to resonate with you and recognise the similarities between themselves and your brand. This creates a ’bond’ and contributes to customer loyalty.
4.Consider Effective Marketing Channels
Once you know everything there is to know about your target customer, you’ll be able to identify the most viable marketing channels, to reach them. Effective marketing channels that have been used by Sandwich Baron, and should be considered for your venture, is;
An informative, easy to use website
Sandwich Baron’s website has encouraged interested customers to buy from them, through the quality imagery of their products, their user-friendly interface and clear, bold copy. A website tells your customer who you are, what you do and how you solve their problem. Without a website, your online business is pretty much non-existent, as there’s no place for your customer to gain information about you, place an order or contact you.
Source: Sandwich Baron
Investing in ‘Pay Per Click’ marketing techniques
Pay Per Click, or ‘PPC’ is a marketing technique which enables you to advertise your business on Google’s first page, without first having to achieve a strong SEO. It’s an instant way of achieving visibility and could be in the form of a ‘search ad’ or a ‘display ad’. A search ad will be visible on the first 3 or 4 links of the first page of Google, while the display ad will be visible on the side columns of selected websites and will be displayed as a graphic. Since Sandwich Baron implemented these powerful strategies, they saw not only an increase in page views but also a significant increase in market traction and sales.
Invest in SEO
Another powerful technique, that assists in generating organic traffic to your site, is SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Seeing as you are an online business, you should be serious about generating a strong online presence, and there are a few incredible SEO agencies that will achieve this for you. For example, compelling, informative content, in the form of blogs, newsletters, infographics and so on, which are rich in popular searched keywords, and align with the search engines’ rules on strong SEO strategies, will get you recognised. The search engines, such as Google, will then present your website, or content to the searcher-meaning your website will rank on the first page of Google. This increases your website’s credibility and will drive organic traffic to your site and inevitably translate into increased sales.
Below is a graph illustrating the positive impacts of SEO, experienced by Sandwich Baron.
They saw a steady increase in online visibility, after investing in SEO strategies.
5. Establish Methods of Evaluation
How are you keeping tabs on your progress and growth? Of course, one way of recognising growth is through the rise in revenue, but another way to keep tabs on the number of people that are actually interested in you, is through SEO and PPC. Stats that are generated from SEO and PPC will indicate whether or not people are clicking on your website’s link, and it can even establish how long a potential customer stays on your website. It can further tell whether the person ends up buying from you, or if they decide to rather exit, and perhaps look elsewhere. With this information, you’ll be able to see what aspects you need to work on. Perhaps you need an easier user interface, or even a better website layout and stronger copy.
So, that’s our top tips and we assure you’ll be hitting the big time, after this!