One of the most viable avenues of income today is an online business. It comes from the growing needs of the household and the convenience offered by apps and websites to get those. However, it isn’t as simple as choosing a product you want and then start selling them on online hubs. There are strategies involved in ensuring the success of your online store, steps which you can take once you start your own.
Here, we will explore best practices you can use and provide a helpful blueprint to guide you on your own online venture.
Finding a problem to solve
Remove from your mind the need to make money, at least for now. When starting a business, and this applies to brick and mortar businesses too, always start with why you want to do it and what problem you are aiming to solve.
The number one reason why some small businesses don’t prosper is because they are so focused on the numbers that they forget the reason for starting the business in the first place. Every venture starts with finding a need, and your business is supposed to fill it.
So let’s say that you want to start a clothing store. There are hundreds of online clothing shops out there, how are you planning to stand out? You realised that there aren’t a lot of online shops that cater to plus size bodies, so you decide to release a clothing line specifically for them. You have casual wear, formal, sports, and street.
That is searching for what is lacking in the industry and making something out of it by providing the solution. But if you’re struggling to figure out where you can look for these problems you can solve, you can do the following:
- Going to online forums and reading frequently asked questions that have no concrete answer.
- Conduct keyword research and find keywords that very few sites are competing to target.
- Evaluate your competition and see how they are filling a need. You can target this problem and provide a much better solution than what your competitors are providing.
Branding is more than just your logo design. It is the amalgamation of your design and content choices that aims to help with customer retention.
It starts with choosing the right name for your store. Keep it short and simple so that it is easier to remember and can fit your marketing materials effortlessly. The challenge here is choosing a name that is also unique enough to stand out from hundreds of online stores. Because if a name sounds really good to you, chances are another company has thought of it too.
You can follow these simple tips in naming your brand:
- Tweak existing words used in the industry you’ve chosen, or simply use alliteration (two words starting with the same letter) or rhyming words
- Make up a word
- Use a word or name that has a personal meaning
Then comes the font and colour choice. You don’t need to be a design expert, but do familiarise yourself with the psychology of colour. You must know that certain colours evoke specific emotions and that there are shades associated with a specific industry. For fonts, get to know what sans serif and serif fonts are so that you can play around with it once you’re already designing your website.
Start building your website
Now that you know what your brand name is, it is time to begin with a domain name search to check whether your chosen name for the store has been taken already. If not, go ahead and purchase it from your chosen Internet registrar like Crazy Domains. If it is taken, use the WHOIS lookup to find out who the owner is and consider negotiating with them so you can get the name.
Internet registrars usually come with website builders already. After making the domain name purchase, you can immediately start designing and building your website. Website builders offer templates you can manipulate, so you don’t need to know how to code to build a website. All you need to do is to drag and drop each element of the template, upload high quality photos, and change up the colour to match your brand.
Ensure that your navigation is intuitive and very easy to understand. One of the biggest killers of conversion is a complicated website navigation. Remember that each visitor has an objective in mind. Whether it’s to get to know your products more or just browse through your inventory, as soon as a visitor lands on your page, they must know where to go to find what they want to see.
Create good and enticing content
Content will forever be the main driver of sales in any online marketing strategy. This means that for each copy you put on your website, it must have a purpose.
Make sure you’re able to do the following:
- Have a killer headline to get their attention
- Mention the problem your product will solve and why you’re the perfect choice
- Add reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers, as well as awards if you’re recognised for your products and customer service
- Talk about your unique selling point
- Introduce an offer and then create urgency
- Guarantee user protection (e.g. trusted couriers, instant order confirmation, etc.)
It is important that you put yourself in their shoes when creating the content by asking, “why would I buy this product over somebody else’s?” Only then can you convince them to push through with their purchase.
Additionally, you can establish yourself as an expert in your industry by publishing well-researched articles that are relevant to your customers. These can be how-tos, ultimate guides, case studies, tips, and more. You can diversify your content by producing other media like videos, infographics, podcasts, and slideshows.
Let your creativity take the reins when creating good, shareable content.
Starting an online business is all about relevance. If you’re offering what everybody else is offering, then you’ll simply be just noise on the Internet. Find a need, solve it, create good content, and have solid branding — these are the ingredients to a successful online venture.