Setting up an online business is easy. Unlike an offline business, you do not need a physical location and all the hassles that come in rents and taxes. All you need for an online business is a web or social media presence, or both. But this is where the ease stops. Managing an online business and guiding it to profitability requires a lot of hard work.
For an offline business, you may not have to deal with competition depending on the location of your premises. But in an online business, competition is inevitable. With the ease of setting up an online business, the internet is a hotbed of many businesses. Thus, you have to be at the top of your game to maintain visibility and become profitable. Here are some steps that will help you achieve this:
Stay in Touch With Your Customers Through Email Marketing
It is easy for a customer to forget a vendor once they’ve received the product or service paid for, even if the product or service is of excellent quality. Therefore, as an online vendor, you have to imprint yourself in the mind of your clients. And keeping an email list is a veritable way to achieve this.
Email marketing affords you the chance to be in the mind of your customers always. The mistake many online businesses make is that they keep bombarding the clients with sales, discounts, new releases, etc. But the truth is human beings do not like parting with their money, so they would tend to ignore you if you are all about selling, selling, selling.
Thus, to use email effectively, you have to show your customers that you care about them. Share stories that are in line with your business. Let these stories inspire and motivate. Also, you could share educational tips with clients. For instance, tips on how to use reviews to shop for quality products online.
By showing your clients that you care about them beyond their money, you carve a space for yourself in their minds, and when you offer them a product, they would be more willing to buy.
Use SEO to Maintain Visibility
In the popular TV series, Game of Thrones, Arya Stark had to climb onto the pedestal of Baelor’s statue to witness the execution of her father. This was because she was so small and could not see over the heads of the crowd that thronged the Great Sept of Baelor.
You need SEO to boost your site rankings and drive traffic to it. To effectively use SEO, you would have to consistently churn out content that contains titles, keywords and links peculiar to your niche. When you do this, people can easily spot your site when they make searches on Google. You also have to keep yourself abreast of industry keywords because they change frequently.
Learn and Keep Learning
The online marketplace is as dynamic as it is vast. Things keep changing. And you have to keep up with these changes. Doing this requires that you always improve yourself by learning, unlearning and relearning. You have to furnish yourself with digital marketing skills like data analysis, writing and editing, SEO and SEM skills, social media marketing, social media advertising, and email marketing skills .
There are online platforms where an entrepreneur can learn these skills through free and premium courses.
A rigid online entrepreneur may quickly fade out of business. A person running a business offline may risk being rigid because they would have loyal customers who would always patronize them. But this is not so online.
Make Your Website User-Friendly
In the book, Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built, Duncan Clark noted that among the other reasons why Alibaba was successful in China, one significant reason was that the Chinese found the website more user-friendly than other online commerce sites.
An average internet user is always in a hurry. This is why the internet is riddled with images, tweets, memes and skits—short, direct and easy-to-consume contents. So your website must have a user-friendly interface. It should not be cluttered with lots of information and ads. It should be easy to navigate, because a user would be turned off if it is not. Also, the information on your homepage should be succinct and captivating.
So there you have it: Five simple steps to create a profitable online business. Apply them to your business and see the difference.