Starting your own business is an exciting prospect for many and the internet has transformed how we do business. Starting an online business is far cheaper than opening a physical store or office, so there’s plenty of appeal for budding entrepreneurs. Before you buy that custom domain, however, here are some things you need to know.
1. Research the market
Maybe you remember how big fidget spinners were in 2017 so you think, ‘I’ll sell fidget spinners online!’. A few minutes of market research will tell you that not only is this market saturated, it also peaked in 2017 and the craze is well and truly over. If you want to set up an online business, market research should be your first step. Make sure there is a market for what you want to sell, find out how many competitors you have, and figure out if you can really break into it. Niche products and services are released every year and while we don’t know what next year’s fidget spinner will be, research should at least give you some hints.
2. Digital marketing is essential
Marketing an online business is very different to marketing a traditional brick-and-mortar business. Social media campaigns, email lists, and search engine optimization are a handful of the ways that marketing transforms when businesses move online. When you’re getting started, hiring a digital marketing agency like fastfwd Birmingham will get you to grips with the essentials and ensure that your website is visible when it launches. Digital marketing will also help you drive traffic, increase conversions, and create content that attracts potential customers to your products or services.
3. Always be analyzing
When you own a physical store, it’s easy to see where things are going right or wrong. You can see visitors being drawn to certain displays and listen to interactions between your staff and customers. This isn’t the case with an online business. Luckily, there are online tracking tools that help business owners view and analyze their website’s performance. The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with Google Analytics and plan ahead how you will continually monitor and review your online business.
4. Customers can make or break you
One advantage of any online business is you rarely, if ever, have to deal with angry customers shouting at you. There will, however, be angry customers and online reviews can quickly decimate an online business’s success. Online reviews and other forms of customer interaction with your brand, such as social media shares, can also do a world of good. Even though you’re not dealing with customers face-to-face, providing an excellent customer experience and fantastic customer support is just as important when you run an online business.
5. You’re only as good as your website
Even if your business isn’t offering web design services, customers expect a fast, sleek website. Poor loading speeds, outdated graphics, and confusing layouts are off putting and will significantly damage your conversions. Designing a good website for your online business is essential if you want to succeed. If that means investing in a web designer early on, you’ll soon find it is money well spent.