Starting an online business appeals to way more people these days than starting a physical business. It can be a lot less stressful, and many can be started with little capital to begin with. However, if you want success, you need to be prepared to work hard. How can you be sure you have everything you need to begin? Here are 10 non-negotiable things you need:
A Website (Duh)
All online businesses need a website, that goes without saying. However, there are a few specific things your website needs to be if you want it to be a success. I wouldn’t recommend designing it yourself unless you’re a fully fledged web designer and this is the way you’ll be offering your services. You’ll probably need to pay more than you’d like to a professional company to have your site designed and finished, but it’ll be so worth it! A professional looking site that a user finds simple to navigate is so important and can make a huge difference to your success. Try getting quotes from different companies, but don’t just go for the cheapest one. Go for the one that seems the best value for money with the most features. You should be able to see a portfolio and speak to references before making your final decision.
An Unbeatable Product or Service
This one should be pretty obvious too; you need an unbeatable product/service. Are you confident that your product or service is as good as you can get it? Don’t get too confident even if you’re sure that it is as good as you can get it – it won’t sell itself. You need to be sure you have the other 9 things in this guide to make it work.
Social Media Pages
If you’re not on social media, you must be living in the stone age. Just about everybody has a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account. Most of the time, they have all 3! Having social media pages like this is a great idea for businesses. Why? Well, you can post interesting, useful content to get more shares and exposure. You can engage with your target market. You can let people know you’re a trustworthy, modern company. Having social proof and feedback from social media users helps potential clients to see the benefit in working with you too. You just need to make sure that you keep them up consistently. Don’t have 5 different social profiles if you can’t keep up with them. They should be regularly updated to have any benefit on your marketing campaign.
Social Media Advertising
Not only can you build profiles on social media, you can set up targeted ads with them too. These ads are very effective, as they help to target people you feel your product/service is perfect for. You can target people based on age, gender, interests, hobbies, and more. You’re much more likely to get a return from this than from setting up a random advertisement that anybody could see!
A Strong SEO Strategy
Search engine optimisation is crucial for all online businesses. Optimising your website so that it shows up when a relevant search is made will usually lead to more traffic, exposure, and conversions. You just need to make sure that you complete accurate keyword research, so you’re showing up for people who are interested in your product or service. Using a keyword like ‘blue ducks’ when you sell ‘pink ducks’ will only leave searchers frustrated and you no better off.
Software to Make Your Life More Bearable
Certain software can make your life much more bearable as an online business. There are too many applications to list here, especially since we don’t know precisely what you’re doing. Just do your research and you should find lots of programs that can make your day to day life easier. There’s Mailcleaner for spam, Neetrix for business management, and Xero for accounting.
A Consistent Brand Personality
Your brand personality is very important, as it’ll make an impression on the people you interact with through social media and blogs. Do you want a fun brand personality? Intelligent? Serious? You can choose anything at all providing it’s appropriate. Make sure everybody who handles your social media accounts, blogs, and ad campaigns is aware of the personality to be used for consistency. If you do this, your audience will begin to feel as if they know you better!
A blog is a wonderful tool for an online business. You’ll tend to get more search traffic by adding regular content to a blog, and you can increase your following by writing informative articles. The people who read your blogs will be more likely to work with you in future! You can share tips, or even just what goes on behind the scenes where you work. Do a mix for variety purposes.
Amazing Customer Service
Customer service, whether you’re offline or online is so important. An amazing customer service attitude should be had by all existing companies, but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Think about it: when a customer shops with you, they’re not just shopping for the product. It’s the entire experience. Go the extra mile for your customers, recognise loyalty, and give them discounts. They’ll keep coming back to you!
Original and Helpful Site Content
The content you write on your site should be original and helpful too. If you have a power tool site and you’re selling a special hammer that works in the same way as Doctor Who’s sonic screwdriver, don’t just describe it as a ‘sonic hammer’. Explain what it can do and why it can be useful to your customers. Your words should paint a picture in your visitor’s heads and make them want to buy. Always be original though, and double check for grammar/spelling errors!
If you have these 10 things, your online business can’t go far wrong. Is there anything else you think online businesses can’t function without? Leave a comment to let us know!