Foolproof Strategy for the Success of an Online Business
There was a time when an online business was seen as a fad, i.e., a trend that gets disappeared soon. Then, came a time when running an online business became a rising phenomenon due to the inherent profitability factor. In today’s time, having an online storefront has become absolutely necessary to thrive.
The present era is dominated by the internet, and so, you cannot imagine staying relevant in the market without leveraging the power of this amazing technology. From simple tasks like scheduling appointments and booking movie tickets to crucial tasks like sourcing employees and finding romantic partners, a lot of tasks are carried out with the help of the Internet. Both individuals and business firms use the Internet for various purposes.
So, the fact that people search for almost every product and service online before making a purchase should not come as a surprise. In order to ensure that this fact does not become a risk or threat and instead become an opportunity for your business, you need to sell or at least advertise online.
Now, talking about how business firms operate digitally, there are different scenarios that can occur. For example, some businesses work purely on an online model, such as an ecommerce business that has no physical store. Some business firms engage in both offline and online selling. Business enterprises that cannot serve their customers online, for example, car repair centres build a digital presence through online directories, websites, and social media channels to generate leads.
Thus, irrespective of the type, size, or location of your business, you need to have at least some level of an online presence. Depending on your business, you can opt to have a listing in a local online directory, a full-fledged ecommerce store, or even more.
What is the Scope of an Online Business in Australia?
In this blog post, we will focus only on those businesses that follow a purely online model or a hybrid model. Business firms with a hybrid model sell both offline and online. We will share some wonderful tips using which you can create a foolproof strategy for having a successful online business.
But before we head on to the tips or techniques for creating an online business strategy, let us draw your attention to the importance of treating your offline and online stores as different entities. Many entrepreneurs who run a profitable physical store remain under the impression that their offline reputation is enough to grow their digital store.
However, it cannot be further from the truth as digital space is filled with businesses across all industries and geographical locations. Even your competitors who don’t own any offline presence might be active online, and in some cases, much before you entered the digital space.
Therefore, you must put your best foot forward to create a distinct identity for your business. When you go digital, your target market increases, and so do the customer expectations. You need to come up with brilliant ways for building a strong online presence. It includes not only crafting a good brand story but also employing great online marketing methods.
When your business stands out from the competition, you can capture the attention of your customers. When your existing customers find you online, they would certainly want to buy from you. Your prospective customers will choose your products and services if you strike the right chord with them.
With a well-thought-out online business plan, any business enterprise has an impeccable scope for achieving success in not just Australia but all over the world. After all, the best part about an online business is that it can sell to customers worldwide by either using delivery partners or online marketplaces.
How to Become a Successful Online Business Owner?
Before you launch your business online, whether it’s completely new or has a well-established offline counterpart, you should have a clear idea of how will you navigate the digital space. Without due research, proper tools, and effective techniques, you can end up making a recipe for disaster. Building a reputation in the online world is not easy even for those businesses that enjoy huge success and customer loyalty offline.
Even the most successful online businesses have their fair share of failures and drawbacks. In this technologically-advanced and fast-paced era, changes happen almost every minute. The online business world is not an exception. The perceptions and behaviour of people keep changing.
Hence, the online business promotion tactics also have to be modified to accommodate these changes. Entrepreneurs have to evaluate their approach constantly. On the basis of the tried-and-tested methods and the latest trends, they need to adopt a multi-faceted and holistic approach. As an online or a hybrid business owner, you should put such systems in place that can enable you to yield the best results for all your efforts.
Many successful online entrepreneurs share their stories with the world through different mediums. By taking inspiration from their stories as well as considering the current market scenario, we have curated a list of tips that you can implement for making sure that the strategies you devise are foolproof.
As a little piece of advice, we want to tell you that you should not think about “how to start a successful online business” while beginning your online business journey. Instead, you should worry about providing value to your customers.
The basics of establishing a trustworthy business remain the same, whether you operate online or offline. Once you complete your online business set up, you should perform your business activities diligently to win the hearts of your customers, and thereby, make your way towards success.
Let’s dive into the tips for successful online business
- Define Goals and Targets
- Build Your Digital Assets
- Research about Competitors and Target Market
- Ensure Your Digital Assets are Up to the Mark
- Communicate and Engage with Your Audience
- Invest in Online Business Marketing
- Utilise the Power of Content Marketing
- Perfect the Technology on Your Digital Assets
- Keep the Data of Your Customers Safe and Confidential
- Maintain the Online Reputation of Your Business
- Formulate an Effective Online Marketing Strategy
Just like every aspect of your life, your business should also have pre-defined goals. These goals should be realistic, measurable, and achievable. You can set the goals for your business depending on certain factors. If your online presence is just meant for bringing customers to your offline store, your business goals will be different than the entrepreneur who doesn’t have any offline store and sells only via an ecommerce site.
Therefore, you need to keep some points in mind to decide on your goals while starting an online business. Based on your business type, model, and location, you can set your goals in terms of revenue, website traffic, time spent by visitors on your website, social media followers, percentage of online sales in overall sales, and so on.
Once your goals are clear, you need to break them into small targets. You need to accomplish these targets in a pre-determined duration, such as one month, six months, or one year. After the end of each duration, you can evaluate the progress to find out whether you are on the right path to achieve your goals and targets or not.
The first step in leveraging online business opportunities is to build digital assets. Website, social media accounts, and blogs on third-party platforms (for example, wordpress.com and blogger.com) are different types of digital assets that an online business can own. These assets represent and authenticate your business in the online world.
Based on your goals, targets, and other parameters, you can create your digital assets or properties. You should share all your requirements with the designers and developers who will build your website. If you are setting up an online business on a small scale, you should outsource the work of getting your website made by a specialised agency instead of hiring an in-house developer.
Having a successful online business without social media is not possible in today’s time. Entrepreneurs or their team members should handle the task of creating social media platforms. But if you can’t manage it on your own, you can outsource that task as well.
Even the best online business to start will not become profitable if it fails to entice customers. Your online business will grow by leaps and bounds only when you are able to please your customers consistently. In order to rank high in terms of customer satisfaction, you should first have an idea of the exact target market that your products or services appeal to.
You need to define your target market and create buyer personas accordingly. A buyer persona depicts your ideal customer. It is made by using demographic details, occupation, behaviour, interests, and more. When you find out what is your target market, you can easily find out who are your competitors. You need to research about these competitors by conducting a competitor analysis.
If you want to fulfil your dream of building a successful online business, you cannot ignore competitor analysis or competitive analysis. You need to identify businesses that are your competitors as per your business type and size and target market. Then, you need to understand their strengths and weaknesses as well as their online marketing strategy.
After you are clear about how your competitors are operating and whom they are serving, you can carry out a SWOT analysis for your business. With the help of the information gathered by performing these steps, you can create different funnels, like a sales funnel, customer acquisition funnel, email marketing funnel, etc.
The digital assets of your business, viz., website, social media profiles, and more should be up to the mark as per your target market. They should be designed and built in such a way that you can beat your competitors. If you want, you can approach an experienced online business strategy consultant. They might review your digital properties to ensure that all the necessary criteria are met.
If you are starting an ecommerce business, you will have to take your website quite seriously as it will act as a digital storefront for your business. Whether you have an online selling business or not, your website should have all the functionalities needed. Along with having a clean user interface and easy navigation, your website should have high loading speed and low downtime.
Your website should have all the relevant information so that your business looks legitimate as verifying the legitimacy is one of the biggest reasons why people resort to the Internet. The social media accounts of your business firm should also have all the necessary details. Most importantly, your website should be compatible with all types of devices, operating systems, and screen sizes.
Being online enables you to communicate with your existing and potential customers easily and quickly. Your website and social media profiles should have your contact details, for example, email address, and phone number. The visitors to your website can reach you by using these details. You can even put clickable buttons for sending an email and making a phone call.
An enquiry form on your website is also beneficial. Whenever someone sends an enquiry to you through email, phone, enquiry form, or social media channels, you should reply to them as soon as possible. You can also opt to have a chatbot on your website.
If you are not available online, you can set an automatic reply to let the enquirers know that you will get back to them in the shortest time possible. In the meantime, you can ask for their contact details so that you can call them back or send a reply through email. Along with replying to your audience, you should also engage with them whenever possible.
Creating digital assets is not enough when it comes to staying ahead of the competition. Just like your offline store needs promotion in the form of banners and signboards, your online store also needs promotion in the form of organic ranking and paid advertisement campaigns.
When your website gets a high organic ranking, i.e., ranks high on search engine result pages (SERPs), the chances of getting it clicked by users surfing the web increase a lot. Practices like search engine optimisation and landing page optimisation can bring your website to the top of SERPs. If you can’t wait for the improvement of organic ranking, you can use online advertisement programs like Google Ads.
You can hire the services of a reliable SEO and internet marketing firm to strengthen your digital presence, and thereby, increase the bottom line of your business. If your budget allows, you can also build an in-house team that will take care of your needs regarding online business growth strategy.
Content marketing has become a key to successful online businesses nowadays. The case studies of successful online companies show that creating exceptional and high-quality content is the first step toward making a mark in the world of online businesses. Even digital marketing firms and experts are of the opinion that the trend of using content marketing to grow online businesses is here to stay.
You need to share unique, informative, and captivating content through the blog section of your website. Articles, case studies, and infographics are some of the types of content that you can create and share. You can also host webinars and build courses to educate your targeted customers. But these webinars and courses should be arranged with the intention of helping your audience.
The whole point of content marketing is to resolve the problems that existing and potential customers might be facing. Generating leads and making sales should be secondary motives. Along with your website, your social media accounts can also be great mediums for sharing interesting content pieces in different forms, such as long articles, short posts, videos, images, and so on.
The technology aspect of your online business should be perfect in all ways. The biggest benefit of running an online business is that you can use technology for various purposes to give your customers a wholesome experience.
Building a successful ecommerce business is not possible without using the latest technology in your digital assets. The catalogue of products on your website should get updated in real-time to reflect the changes in the inventory level, addition and removal of stock keeping units, changes in prices, introduction of discount schemes, and so on.
If you sell through your social media accounts, these details should get refreshed there as well. You can use artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR) and other technologies on your digital properties to create personalised shopping experiences for your customers.
Ecommerce companies get access to the sensitive data of their customers. Name, residential address, workplace address, phone number, credit card number, debit card number, bank account number, and internet banking details are some of the data that ecommerce business firms gather when customers make any purchase.
At times, online businesses collect data even if website visitors don’t buy any product or service. It usually happens when visitors download any free material, fill out an enquiry form, take an online quiz, register for a webinar, or sign up for any course.
You need to make sure that all the data of your website visitors, social media followers, and customers remain safe and confidential at all times. Data protection, data security, and data privacy are serious concerns in the present era. By assuring your audience that their details are safe, you can earn their trust, which goes a long way in establishing a long-term relationship with them.
Creating and maintaining a reputation is as difficult in the digital world as it is in the real world. You need to ensure that your business gets only positive word-of-mouth publicity on the Internet. People, these days, share their experiences about using different products and services by writing reviews online. Google reviews, dedicated review websites, and social media channels are platforms on which reviews are written.
If you want to have a successful online business, you should keep an eye on every review written for your product offerings, customer service, and overall business. If someone posts a bad review, you should respond to the review in a polite manner. You should also provide the solution to dissatisfied customers. Whenever any customer gets happy with your products or services, whether the first time or later, you should ask them to post a review about your business.
Along with customers, employees also post reviews for a business firm. If any of your current or previous employees write a review on any platform, show your appreciation towards them. If they mention any problem or grievance you should resolve it without engaging in arguments on the Internet.
You might feel that we have already covered this point above while suggesting you hire an SEO and internet marketing company. But this point is different, as we want to highlight the importance of using analytics of your digital properties.
Consulting a specialist or creating a strategy is not enough. You should work in tandem with them as no one knows your business better than you. The strategies that you formulate and implement should be the best marketing strategies for online businesses. You should incorporate various latest trends and online marketing tactics in your plans and strategies.
You need to analyse the results of your efforts at periodic intervals. Tools like Google Analytics can help you in this. If your online ad campaign is not yielding the expected outcome, you can modify it or stop it altogether to avoid wasting further resources.
The methods described in the list above are just the tip of the iceberg. When you go on a mission of setting up a successful online business, you need to pay attention to hundreds of points. You will have to take care of all the factors contributing to the success of an online business.
Numerous online marketing options are available at your disposal. These options include but are not limited to SEO, SMO, advertisements, retargeting, email marketing, and content marketing. You can launch and publicise new promotional offers from time to time. You can come up with different contests to give your products or services for free to new customers.
Convincing both existing and prospective customers to choose your business from thousands of other online businesses is not easy. You need to put genuine efforts into showing your customers that you value them. Wishing your customers on special occasions through email and other mediums is a perfect example.
Whether you hire the services of an agency or build an in-house team for website development and digital marketing, you should make sure that your digital assets reflect the vision, mission, values, philosophy, ethos, and more related to your business. Customers should feel the same level of trust while visiting your offline and online stores.
Almost every entrepreneur keeps wondering, “how long does it take for an online business to become successful?”. The answer to this question is that there is no definite or fixed time period. So, you need to show patience, perseverance, and determination. For the success of your online business, it’s imperative that you avoid getting stressed and overwhelmed with every little setback that you encounter. With innovation and creativity, you can even make a successful online business from home.
We hope that this blog helps you in some or the other way regarding how to be a successful online entrepreneur. If you think that you have some important points that you want to share, please let us know via the comment box below.