An online business comes with a different set of challenges that entrepreneurs and leadership teams must meet. In today’s digital world, online businesses face stiff competition. If you want to leverage the benefits of the internet and create an online business that stands out from the crowd, here are six of the most important tips and tools to help you do that.
Enter an affordable niche
Finding a niche that’s affordable and on its ascendency is an effective way to gain market share and avoid jumping into an oversaturated market. In-depth research will be required to study whether a particular market is already saturated, how many other competitors are already in the field, and many other aspects that can spell out success (or failure) for your business. Luckily, there are tools like Google’s External Keyword Tool, that will help you find both local and global search volumes for certain keywords as well as competitiveness for those keywords. Sites like Statista offer in depth reports on things like industry size and give you an overview of what you’re getting yourself into.
Optimize your web presence
Building a website should not be an issue in 2020, given the wide range of tools available. WIX.com or WordPress are two great platforms to get you started. Shopify and WooCommerce are two excellent options with more e-commerce-focused features. Whatever option you choose, keep in mind that optimization does not end with the platform. Hosting is another important consideration. There are affordable options like Bluehost that offer low cost hosting as well as higher end hosting. I seriously suggest paying a bit more in this area, as Google does factor in your site’s load speed when assessing the value your site brings to searchers. A strong SEO strategy, with a focus on link building, content marketing, on-page optimization and all the bells and whistles should also be a key focus for your site.
Pay attention to branding
One of the first considerations you’ll need when designing your site is branding. This starts with a solid logo. Fortunately, for businesses on a budget, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars working with an agency to create a nice logo. There are plenty of great options available for online logo makers. You’ll also need to consider your brand’s message and how you want to be perceived by your target audience. Your brand should embody the spirit of your organization, the value you bring to your customers and the values, mission and vision of your team. It should be memorable, as this is an opportunity to stand out from the crowd. A great example of branding helping a company grab market share quickly is Dollar Shave Club. We’ve all seen the humorous videos that tout the quality of the club’s blades available at a reasonable price compared to the established brands.
Invest in digital marketing
Spreading the word to a wide audience won’t be possible without investing in digital marketing. First, you’ll need insights about where your audience is hanging out online so you can target them more effectively. With tools like Google Trends, Ahrefs, AppAnnie, SimilarWeb, and Facebook Audience Insights, you can develop a fuller understanding of your target audience members’ online activities. This will allow you to develop an optimal digital marketing strategy that consistently increases your audience size and helps generates sales. A great degree of flexibility will be required to keep pace with market developments, so be sure to stay on top of the latest trends and your customers’ changing preferences.
Provide reliable customer support
Developing a close relationship with customers will be key in proving that your business is focused on catering to your customers’ needs and keeping them coming back for more. Olark, Hootsuite, and Nicereply are just three of the tools that can help you provide good customer support. These tools allow you to avoid all of the time and effort that comes with trying to stay constantly engaged with customers. Tools like these save time and allow you to focus on other tasks. In addition, your customers will have a positive service experience and be more inclined to become return customers. As you likely know, it costs far more to attract a new customer than it does to maintain an existing one, so a focus on customer support is critical.
Understanding how your business is performing and whether your marketing tactics are working is absolutely imperative to the success if your business. In order to improve your services and stay ahead of competition you must continuously analyze performance, track market changes and keep on top of key metrics. SAP Business Intelligence provides several advanced analytics solutions, including BI predictive analytics, machine learning, and others. Datapine, MicroStrategy, or the traditional Google Analytics will help you dig into the performance of your website and other marketing efforts and determine what is working and what needs to change.
Collect customer feedback
In order to truly understand the impact on the customer experience and the level of satisfaction with your products or services, you will need to collect feedback from your customers. GetFeedback, Client Heartbeat, Customer Sure, or SurveyMonkey are a few great customer feedback tools to utilize. Processing how your customers relate to your business will help you adapt and make changes before sales drop or clients become dissatisfied. Conduct surveys and focus groups as well as other efforts to gain continuous insights. You may uncover things like issues in the transaction process, suggestions for upgrades to your products or new products, problems with your customer service or gaps in business
Wrapping it up
If you want to be successful in today’s digital world, it takes more than simply setting up a website. There are many considerations that go into online success, and if you fail to plan…well, you know the rest. So, take the steps above and get your business online, your brand in shape and your customer service rolling along smoothly. Following the above steps will put you in a solid position to enjoy online business success.