Starting an online business - The how to guide!

By Ish Naeem Posted Date: 2017-10-09

How to start an online business

When it comes to starting an online business there are overall set of strategies to execute in order to ensure its success. Many people have been able to start and grow and online business by making use of the steps outlined below. Anybody from a new entrepreneur to a veteran can make use of this process to ensure success:

  1. Find a need and provide the solution: A lot of people thinking of starting an online business tend to look for a product they can sell first and then a market to sell it to. This is not the best strategy; instead it’s always best to start with identifying the market. Find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem and can’t seem to find it. Make use of social media and online forums to see what questions people are asking for and what they are looking for. Perform keyword research to figure out what people are actually searching for. Identify and check your competitors’ websites, take note of what they are doing to fill the demand (or solve the problem their customers face). Find out what they are doing to make themselves stand apart from the rest. Once you have all this information you can use it to create a product for a market that already exists and do it better than all the competition. 

  2. Write content that sells: There are proven sales techniques you can use that takes a website visitor through the sales journey from the time they visit the website through to them buying something. When writing your website content always keep in mind how your product or service is able to provide a solution to a problem that people are having. Think about how your product or service will make their lives better. Some of the key points in the sales process are:
    • Use an engaging and compelling headline to capture interest
    • Describe the problem your product or service solves
    • Establish your brand or business’s credibility as a solver of this problem
    • Discuss the product and how it can benefit the customer
    • Include testimonials from others who have used the product or service
    • Make them and offer
    • Give them a strong guarantee
    • Create urgency
    • Ask for the sale (eg: Buy Now!)

  3. Design and develop a user-friendly website: Once you have identified your market, figured out the product or service, as well as planned out your sales process and content you are ready to get the website design done. It’s essential that you keep it simple since you have only a few seconds to capture the visitor's attention and convince them to make a purchase. Having a design with too many elements can be distracting which could then lead to visitors bouncing (leaving) before taking action. Choose an online website builder like Shopify or WordPress and select a simple, effective template. Alternatively, if you have a larger budget then get a custom website designed by professional web designers. Using professionals can save you time and energy while ensuring you get a quality product that works. 

  4. Leverage search engines to get more traffic: Once your website is done, look into both paid Google advertising as well as Search engine optimisation. Google being the most widely used search engine will be your primary resource of traffic, hence ensure that your website is found on Google when people are searching for your target keywords. A pay-per-click advertising strategy is a great way to drive the initial traffic through to your site upon launch until SEO takes over. 

  5. Create a reputation for yourself (and your brand): People make use of online resources to find information about products and services. This includes looking at product forums, reading testimonials and watching reviews. Provide information on your products and services for free to other websites that talk about such products, this will help build a reputation and create awareness. For instance, if your product is something special send a free sample to online reviewers or bloggers to critique, they can then include links back to your website within their articles. 

  6. Follow-up with your customers via email: Staying in touch with your customers especially ones who have previously bought from you via email is a great way to increase sales. Email marketing can be a very effective strategy especially for re-marketing. Based on their online purchase habits on your website, you can suggest similar products or tailored discounts for them. This would increase the likelihood of them clicking on your email and making another purchase.

  7. Increase sales using upsell strategies: Upsell strategies are when the person is making a purchase on your website, before they check out you suggest other products that compliment what they have already added to their basket. For instance they purchase a scented candle you can suggest candle wicks. This provokes them to add the complimenting item to their cart too. Another strategy is to incorporate loyalty cards or coupon codes that they can redeem on their next purchase, thus convincing them to return to your website.