by Nasreen Shaikh | 20 Nov 2017
Have you ever thought of starting an online business but just weren’t quite sure where to start? I know I have, and I’m sure you have too, otherwise you probably wouldn’t be reading an article on how start one right now…
Its a daunting thought not knowing where to start, but I’ve come across Allen Moon’s proven sequence of steps to help turn our business ideas into action and guarantee its success when launching it online.
I’m going to take you through 6 steps and give you a little bit of advice from a digital marketing protege (aka myself) along the way.
1. Find a need and Fill it
A common mistake many people make when trying to start an online business is they often look for a product to sell before anything else.
However, the trick is to start by looking at a market. Find a group of people within that market who are searching for a solution to a problem, but can’t seem to find it. This is where the heart of your business lies – you are guaranteed potential customers by creating a solution they’ve been looking for all along!
Here are some easy ways to do this:
- Do Keyword research by using tools such as Google’s keyword Planner or KWFinder to find keywords that a lot of people are searching for, but for which not many sites are competing.
- Check out online forums to see what questions people are commonly asking and what problems they’re trying to solve.
- Or you can be a little cheeky and look out for what your potential competitors are doing to create demand for their products. Use that info to create a product for a market that already exists – and do it bigger and better than your competitor!
2. Write Copy that sells
Normally, what really sells a product is how its marketed to your customers. So it’s really important to write copy that convinces them that your product can solve their problem.
In fact, there is a proven sales copy formula that is intended do just that:
- Get them intrigued with a compelling headline
- Describe how your product solves their problem
- Establish credibility
- Add testimonials from people who have used your product
- Talk about how your product benefits them
- Make an offer
- Make a strong guarantee
- Create urgency
- Ask for the sale
Copy that uses this formula has been tested and it gives results! The key thing is to focus on how your product or service can uniquely solve their problem or make their lives better. Think from your customers perspective and answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”.
3. Design and build an easy-to-use website
Now that you’ve got your market, product/service, and the copy to sell it, the next step is to create a website that will introduce your online business to the world!
Don’t worry you don’t need to know the in’s and out’s of coding to build a website, because there are web development platforms that can do it all for you.
4. Drive traffic to your website
While you’re building your site, a great idea is to use social platforms to get the word out. Create social accounts for your business on platforms you think many of your customers will be on – e.g. Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Let potential customers know that your site will be live soon, and that your product/service can help solve their problem. For tips on this, read up on our article “Getting your business started in Social media Marketing”.
Pay attention to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). This helps in optimising your web content for search engines, so that people can find your site organically. To find out more about SEO, check out the “7 fundamentals to help you succeed with SEO”
If you have the budget, one of the best ways to to get traffic to a brand new site is to use Pay-per-click advertising (PPC). These ads show up on search pages immediately, and allows you to test different keywords, and headlines to find out what brings the most traffic to your site. Discover which keywords are working best for you, and use them throughout your site to help increase your search engine ranking.
5. Use email marketing to turn visitors into buyers
Make sure to give visitors on your site an option to opt-in or subscribe. These people that have visited your site and opted in are hot leads, and email marketing can help you turn those visitors into buyers.
My absolute favourite tool for email marketing is MailChimp. So simple and easy to use, its the best way to send emails to your subscribers about upcoming deals, updates, and discounts that can help give them that little push to get them to buy from you.
6. Increase sales through back-end selling and upselling.
The goal here is to develop your customers’ lifetime value. At least 36% of people who have purchased from you once will purchase from you again if you follow up with them.
You can use back-end selling and upsetting methods to do this:
- Offer products that compliment their original purchase
- Offer related or ‘You may also like’ products after they purchase the first time
- Email them coupon or voucher codes to redeem on their next purchase
- Reward your customers for their loyalty, and they’re bound to become even more loyal, and even recommend you to their friends & family
And there you have it, 6 steps that can help you build a successful online business. Stick to the fundamental ideas of these steps and you could be on your way to becoming an online business guru!
Nasreen Shaikh – Digital Marketing student at NZIE