By Kevin Shortall
You know you want to start a business and you’ve been researching your options. Whatever stage you are at in your startup planning, you should consider the advantages an online business offers. In this article, we will examine those advantages in detail and also provide tips on starting a successful online business.
3 reasons to start an online business
1. An online business is relatively inexpensive to start
Many successful online businesses have been started with budgets less than $100. It is possible to set up a successful business with a laptop (which you likely already have) and by purchasing a domain name and some basic office supplies.
There are many free website builder software options available, such as WordPress and Wix. Compare this to operating a brick-and-mortar type business where you have to pay rent, purchase inventory, and perhaps hire staff, and you can see how relatively risk free (from a financial point of view) setting up some online businesses can be.
2. Unlimited market size and potential
Most entrepreneurs will agree that one of the main advantages of running an online business is the size of the market available to them. In most brick-and-mortar businesses you cater to the local community and surrounding areas. When you operate on online business, the world is your oyster. More and more people are going to the internet to purchase goods and services. By 2023, e-commerce is expected to account for 22.3% of global retail sales.
3. An online business runs 24/7
Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, your online business will run 24/7. This has huge advantages, particularly if you sell to customers outside your time zone. You can even automate email sales campaigns to run during non-business hours, so they arrive in your prospects’/customers’ inbox during their working hours.
You may also use paid social media ads, such as Facebook Ads or Google Ads, to sell your products or services every hour of the day, every day of the week. All of this means you can generate sales even when you are not working.
5 tips to running a successful online business
Based on the above reasons, you can see the benefits of running an online business. However, this is all fine providing your business is generating a profit.
We will now share five ways you can help ensure your online business is a success and generates a good profit.
1. Create a great online presence
This tip goes with out saying, but remember having a strong online presence means much more than just having a great website. In order to be successful online, you also need to use social media effectively. You do not need to be on every social network, but you need to be very visible on the primary platforms your target audience uses.
Also, make sure your website is optimized, and consider paid ads on search engines, such as Google, and the various social channels, such as Facebook.
2. Serve as much as sell
It is easy to focus all your time on selling while ignoring your target market’s problems and concerns. Today’s consumers can be quick to block out online marketing and sales content, but respond well to free, high-quality content that you create for your website/blog, email newsletters, and social media. When you provide this content, you are still marketing; however, you are marketing the content—not your products or services. Selling is done in the background.
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3. Get a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) number
A Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) number is a 20-digit alphanumeric code which enables every legal entity that is party to a financial transaction to be identified all over the world. If you are selling online in other jurisdictions, your prospects want to know who they are dealing with, and with cybercrime at an all-time high, companies will take the time to assess whether you are legitimate. LEI numbers can go a long way in solving this problem by allowing your prospect to access up-to-date information about your company and get a clear picture of your identity.
4. Use email marketing
Email marketing has been around for quite a while and has proven to be a very successful marketing method if done correctly. With email marketing, prospects and existing customers receive emails targeted specifically to their micro niche.
For example, let’s say you run an online store selling laptops. If you have prospects or customers who have a specific interest in Toshiba laptops with 8GM RAM and above, when you get new Toshiba laptops that meet those specifications, you can send a highly targeted email to this segment of your prospect/customer base, and you should see some very positive results. Of course, this example can be applied to other products or services in many industries.
Email marketing software comes with quite sophisticated analytics options which allow you to monitor open rates, links clicked, and other buyer behaviors, which is great knowledge to have for increasing sales.
5. Video marketing
Video marketing, using videos to promote your products or services, is an area of huge growth, and businesses should consider adding video to their overall content marketing strategy. Video marketing has the ability to influence buyer decisions, increase traffic to your website and, ultimately, grow your revenue.
Videos are also great for SEO, as search engines, such as Google, appear to prioritize them in search results. Video also builds trust and credibility, enabling you to connect with your viewer. Video also encourages social shares, which is like getting a referral for your business.
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