The First 90 Days: Establishing Your New Business Online
Each day, people all over the world are starting online businesses as a way to either supplement or replace their current income. Establishing an online business, just like an offline business, requires research, planning, gaining skills, and strategic thinking, not to mention a lot of work.
It helps to have some business experience prior to starting this journey. One of the reasons most people trying to make money online fail miserably is not just the mindset, but a failure to start an online business to make money in the first place.
If you’re thinking of starting up an online business, there are some key issues and areas you need to address to get your dreams off the ground. In this article, we will cover some basic things to know before setting up an online business, that many people ignore.
Why are you venturing into online business?
You need to clearly identify your reasons for starting this business. Are you appealing to a gap in the market that you’ve noticed or are you basing your business on your passions and lifestyle? Do you want to establish this business purely for financial gain or to, first and foremost, meet a consumer need or demand? It doesn’t matter which of these reasons you claim as your reason for establishing an online business, it’s only important that you clearly identify your reasons and intentions.
If you know why you are embarking on this particular journey, you have a greater idea of what goals you will put in place and the direction in which you’d like to be heading. A clear direction will feed into clear goals, and once you establish your business goals, you can construct an online strategy to achieve these goals. At that point in the process, you can then decide if you want to go it alone or employ the services of an online marketing specialist to really give your strategy some additional drive. In either case, you need to do the following.
Identify your target audience – You need to know your target audience inside and out. Without a clear idea of the group you are marketing to, how will you market your business towards them? Ask yourself questions about your ideal audience: how old are they? What gender are they? What are their likes and dislikes? What problems do they need solutions for?
The more you know about this group of people, the more you can target your marketing efforts to entice their business and increase your sales success. An excellent example is analyzing the target market of a retail fashion store. Is it a boutique store or budget friendly? Is it targeting young females or catering to the needs of tall men?
The best and surest way to determine your target market (and thus, how you will market your business to them) is by sitting down and putting yourself in their shoes. Figure out their likes, dislikes, their needs, and so on, and you’ll have a firm base from which to develop an online strategy for your business.
Create an enticing website – Unless you’re an accomplished designer, here is when you will almost definitely need to employ a professional designer to design your business website. This is a job for professionals because your website design will need to encompass a strong brand image, captivating content, a unique and memorable domain name, and enticing design elements to tie it all together. More often than not, your website will be the deciding factor in whether prospective customers will purchase from you or make an inquiry – and you have about three seconds to make a positive impression. So, copious amounts of text or headache-inducing graphics should be used sparingly, if at all. And remember, consistency is key; whether in the context of branding, font choices, logos, or color coordination, always make sure you are consistent across all your brand collateral – both offline and online.
Take advantage of traffic generating tools – By traffic generating tools, I mean Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC) resources. You can utilize particular keywords relating to your business and SEO tactics to push your business’ website listing higher in search engine rankings. More people are likely to click on the first few search results and this gains your business increased online credibility and weight.
Search Engine Optimization is also a practice that is absolutely free to use. Pay-Per-Click Advertising, though not free, is a quick and effective way to get your business noticed on popular search engines. PPC Advertising positions your advertisements in the ‘featured’ areas on search engines and using PPC, you have a higher number of resources to monitor, track, and adjust your advertising efforts. Ever seenthe sidebar adds that creep up when you Google something? Those are feature ads, and your business could be the next feature.
Track, reassess, and refine your processes. -Google Analytics is a free platform that enables you to keep track of your site rankings, visitor data, keyword performance, and much more so that you can pinpoint the successful and underperforming aspects of your marketing and advertising campaigns. You can track this information down to the smallest detail and modify elements of your efforts to achieve short-term goals quickly and efficiently. All of this information is exceedingly valuable when trying to build a strong online business.
The first 90 days of any new business can be stressful. Follow the simple tips above and stay positive. If something isn’t working, figure out why and how to change it. There have a been a lot of great businesses that have failed because the entrepreneurs behind them weren’t persistant.