If you’re willing to conduct market research, incrementally build your audience, and — most importantly — test, fail and test again, then you’ll able to stand out from the crowd.
Building your online business is a long journey, but one that can be conquered one step at a time.
It’s easy to get ahead of yourself and take too much on in the beginning stages, but taking a measured approach will ensure your success down the road.
Write a comprehensive marketing plan
Even if things change, conceptualizing your business and vetting your ideas is of paramount importance.
Although plans often change and financial projections can never be wholly accurate or precise, they are integral to growing your business, as they serve to guide you through the bumps in the road.
As Eisenhower once said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”
To plan effectively, you’ll need to write a formal business plan. In your business plan, if you have not already created one, you’ll need to address critical aspects of your business and your vision for it as it develops
You’ll need to list goals and objectives, and include financial documents in which you make an educated guess about your profits and losses. You’ll need to backup your revenue projections with research.
Project growth with financial forecasts
Making an accurate forecast requires knowing your market intimately. Too often, small business owners shy away from market research. If your idea is excellent, it will stand up to scrutiny.
The only way to properly investigate whether your idea is worth the time, energy and capital you’ll have to invest in it, is to do your homework.
Ask yourself questions like:
- Is the industry I’m about to enter a growth industry?
- Who is my target market?
- How much of the market could I reasonably claim?
- How are my competitor’s capturing the market?
- How will I learn from my competitors’ tactics?
- What channels is my target market using?
- How will I monetize this business?
- What monetization strategies is my competition using?
Examples of viable monetization strategies:
- Affiliate marketing
- Sponsored content
- Membership site
According to the Harvard Business Review, over 75% of all venture-backed startups fail; a percentage that you can drastically lower if small you devote yourself more earnestly to careful planning.
Even if your company does not require funding to start, completing a comprehensive business plan can help you forge a path that will guide you during the highs and lows of business ownership.
In fact, you’ll need to revisit and revise this plan continually to ensure your business is heading in the right direction.
Concentrate on the user experience to garner customers
After planning your business from top to bottom, you’ll want to garner a fan base a soon as possible. Loyal customers are your lifeblood, so you will need to attract them first. Building an easy-to-use website is of the utmost importance in capturing them.
UX has been proven to increase customer loyalty, bolster perceived brand reliability and credibility, and boost overall revenue. Think of big companies, like Apple, who invest in intuitive user experience design. These brands consistently outperform those who don’t spend money on the user experience.
So while it is important that you craft a meaningful message for product or service, it is equally important to present it in a clean, professional — even stylish — way. Having product managers to help you plan out the launch helps, too.
Research marketing strategies to help your company expand
Once you’ve created a website, you’ll need to expand your reach. There are many avenues to garner an audience.
Facebook is by far the most popular digital marketing tool for small business, with over 60 million business pages published to date, but it is not the only social media platform available to you.
Here are some ideas for building your online audience:
- Harness social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook
- Create a blog and release content regularly
- Publish guest posts on other sites
- Invest in paid advertising, such as Google Ads and Facebook Promoted Posts
The Internet connects 3.9 billion of us every day. Unfortunately, this massive amount of traffic comes with the severe risk of being drowned out in a sea of noise.
Starting your own online business can have various benefits, however, and they often have lower startup costs and higher growth potential.
A successful online company can mean extra income and greater economic freedom without having to win over access to millions of dollars in venture capital.
The key to building your business is assessing its weaknesses and addressing them as quickly as possible. The plan you create for your online company will act as the foundation.
From it, you will structure your website and your brand’s image, which you will communicate through your social media marketing campaigns. Your online business is a living thing and will need constant attention. You’ll need to revise your business plan, your marketing tactics, and your pricing strategy as your audience grows.
Continually planning and restructuring, paired with consistent engagement with your target audience, guarantees not only immediate returns but longevity as well.