It’s never been easier to start your own business. Online businesses don’t need any office space and they can be managed from anywhere as long as you have a good internet connection. The ease of starting an online business has inspired thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners to give their ideas a shot – but not everyone succeeds.
Online businesses tend to grow pretty fast. Usually, within the first two to three years, an online business is able to find their place in the online marketplace. Businesses that still struggle at this point don’t make it much further down the line.
The key to a successful online business lies in long-term thinking and strategizing about how you can sustain your business. Every step you take towards success should be thought out right from the start.
Like any other business, running a successful online business will require you to invest your time and energy into building and scaling your business.
Here is how you run a successful online business, from the planning stage through to execution.
1) Find a Niche for Yourself
You can’t start an online business unless you have a product or service to sell. Before you sit down to write your business plan, you’ll need to understand what you’re selling. There are certain important questions you should be asking yourself at this point:
- What is the product or service you’re selling?
- Is there an existing market for that product or service?
- If so, is that market saturated? Can you add anything of value to that industry?
If you find that you’re not adding anything new to the online marketplace, then scrap the idea. When it comes to business, you’re selling to the consumers, so selling them what they want or need will help you increase sales.
At the same time, if you find that there is no demand for a certain product or service, then you should reconsider what you’re selling.
To run a successful online business, you need to find a niche within a crowded marketplace. Take clothes for example, thousands of online businesses sell clothes. If you want your products to stand out, then instead of selling all kinds of clothes, narrow your focus. You can either sell clothes to a certain age group, or clothes that represent a certain style, or ideology etc. Anything that distinguishes you from the competition and makes you seem like the authority in your niche will attract more customers to your online business.
2) Market Research
Here, you’ll be doing research on your competition, as well as on your customers. Understanding your customers will help you sell to them more successfully. These days, customers resonate more with brands that value them as people over seeing them as sales figures.
Finding how to show your customers that you care about them will generate higher engagement for your brand. To discover how you can do this, research what your competition is doing. They probably already have their social media channels and websites set up.
Visit competitors to see what they are doing, what kind of keywords they are using, and how they advertise to their customers. Since your customer bases may overlap, finding out what makes their brand successful could be key when building an online marketing strategy to make your online business a success too.
3) Sort Out Your Online Assets
These include everything from your social media platforms to your website, as well as any online tools you use, your domain, hosting site, etc. Everything that represents your brand and goes online is part of your online assets.
Every successful online business has a great website. You can bring in a website developer if you don’t know how to make your own. Hiring a graphic designer would also be a good idea, especially if you want your website to look good. A graphic designer can also work on your branding collaterals with you, such as your logo, brand colours, social media posts, and more.
Your website should be SEO integrated. Successful business owners use search engine optimisation not only on their websites, but across their social media profiles as well.
When you’re choosing your social media platforms, use the market research you did on your consumers to understand which platforms they frequent. You shouldn’t create social media profiles on every online platform, but those that your target audience frequent.
4) Don’t Forget Digital Marketing
The secret ingredient that can turn your online business into a success is your marketing strategy. For online businesses, this tends to be dominated by social media and email marketing.
Social media marketing needs consistent effort, patience and persistence. You’ll have to build your customer base slowly. Remember that it’s much easier to sell your products and services to a customer who has previously bought something from you. Keeping this in mind, your email marketing list becomes important.
Build your email marketing list right from the start. Over time, as your customer base grows start to categorise your customers into different lists based on their shopping preferences, recent purchases, or other criteria. Now, craft personalised messages for these categories and send them to your customers. Email marketing has a very high click through rate. You may find that you end up making more sales through email marketing.
5) Establish Your Online Reputation
As an online business owner, your reputation is everything. You’ll need to ensure that you meet all your priorities and commitments.
One area you shouldn’t overlook involves protecting your customer’s privacy. You can also be held legally liable if customer data is compromised in any way.
Invest in a good online security software. Keep backups of all the client information you have and store them in multiple devices. If there’s any information that you don’t need to store, like credit card information, then find ways to delete it. Install software that will automatically get rid of such data for you.
Regularly engage with your consumers through your social media channels, and actively try to increase engagement rates. You can do this by replying to consumer queries, starting online pills and contests, or even a survey. If you can establish yourself as an authority in your niche, then this also helps you to build a successful long-lasting business.
But before you can build your successful online business, you should consider getting Public Liability insurance for your online business. Public Liability insurance* covers legal fees and compensation costs if a customer, member of the public or a supplier claims against you for injury or damage to their property as a result of your alleged negligent business activities. Many Public Liability insurance policies also provide Product Liability* Insurance which protects against claims by third parties relating to property damage or injury caused by your business products.
BizCover offers business insurance for online businesses. With your Public Liability insurance in place, you can continue building your online business. Find Public Liability insurance quotes online with BizCover.
*As with any insurance, cover will be subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions contained in the policy wording. The information contained on this web page is general only and should not be relied upon as advice.