How Not To Kill Your Online Business
Now is the time to get all your ducks in a row and go after that startup idea.
Businesses are evolving at a fast rate and can be just as likely to be based out of a basement as an office space. It is said that 80% of small businesses are self-employed individuals and businesses with less than five employees make up 62% of all businesses in the USA.
Once you have gone after your idea of an online business, you need to understand what you need to do to survive in the next two years. Do not make the mistake that many before you have made and kill your online business.
Research and analyze your target clientele
The first step is to gather the tools you need and collect as much data as you can in order to understand your target audience.You need this knowledge and understanding to grow your online business.
Some of the target areas that are important to understand are your audience’s demographics, behaviors, and interests. Here are some tools you can use to help you find this information.
One of the most powerful analyzing software nowadays is Google Analytics.
It offers data on campaigns to get the best return on investment, target locations to find out where your visitors are from, best keywords and content on your site, and understand where your site is not performing well to improve your site.
It isn’t that easy to analyze at first glance, but there are tutorials to guide you how to interpret the data you can get from Google Analytics. Use them well to maximize your campaigns.
Facebook Audience Manager
Marketers knows how powerful Facebook is as an advertising and social giant. It’s very easy to use, especially since the Facebook Audience Manager was launched.
It allows you to customize your ads for the best ROI, like choosing specific audiences, making lists of people using their emails, Facebook IDs, and even phone numbers to target for your Facebook ad campaign.
Research and analyze your competition
Understanding and monitoring your competition is an often overlooked component of running a successful online business.
If you know what your competition is doing, you will learn to anticipate what they will do next and win over their clients while retaining your own.
Remember not to copy and paste what your competition is doing, though. Watch and observe but do not imitate! Here are some tools you can use to help scope out your competition.
Spyfu is a great competitive analysis tool. It allows you to see any place your competitors have ever shown up on Google, any keyword they have purchased on AdWords, every organic rank, and every ad variation in the past 11 years.
SEMrush is one of the best sites to compare almost anything on your competitor’s and your site. It allows you to see organic research such as observing changes in domains and finding out best keywords. You will also find out any advertising research that is worth its weight in gold.
SEMrush will also know your competitor’s ad strategies and budgets, keywords, and if there are new competitors in other ad campaigns. It does deep link analysis, video advertising research, keyword research, and insight on product listing ads.
Produce content regularly
Content is the new driver on the internet for not only aiding with sales funnels and creating links but also in personalizing your brand and engaging new clients.
With links and page load times being two aspects of SEO nowadays, time spent on a page reading unique content is pretty high up there on Google’s main factors of ranking. Once you have found your target audience, your next step should be producing and publishing unique, educational, and engaging content that serves a purpose, idea, or solves your potential customers’ problems. All these will give your site credibility.
By providing fresh new content regularly and keeping your website current, you can definitely avoid killing your online business.
Strategies for content marketing
Creating engaging content is obviously the best way to create a steady audience on your website and increase traffic towards your target keywords or goals.
However, there are other ways of gaining traffic with your content other than the traffic coming to your site. One such way is through guest posting.
Guest posting is when you actually write content onto someone else’s website in order to increase traffic and get a backlink from it. You will get new audiences and if the website you’re guest posting on is more established, you will increase your authority by being published there. Here is a handy list of 1500+ quality blogs that accept guest posts you can check out to start guest posting.
The key to building a great audience is to produce unique and engaging content that is relevant to your brand coupled with credible links that will support your goals.
Create a sales funnel
Every online business needs some type of sales funnel to convert a visitor into a paying customer.
The overall goal is to move a user through an easy and sequential process, going step by step towards the final goal of purchasing the product.
The funnel can be broken up into stages such as awareness, interest, decision, and the call to action on what is usually a landing page of some sort that is crafted specifically towards the goal of the purchase.
Sales funnel strategies
It is good to have separate strategies for varied situations upon purchase. After a product is offered to the potential customer, it is good to have different options presented as well, depending on how much money they have and their overall interest.
Upsell the product
It is a good strategy to have an upsell offer or upgrade to someone who is going to buy a product or just bought one. Once they are about to check out, for instance, you can offer an additional discount on another item with the purchase of the original that will provide more benefit to the customer.
This is great for someone that is really excited about the product; you can feed into their energy to make more money.
Would you rather have just a business class ticket [their intended purchase] or upgrade for just a little bit more cash to first class with lots more leg room and unlimited glasses of champagne?
Downsize the product
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there will be prospective customers who will be leaving the site because of either the price being too high or the product was not as expected.
This scenario is good for a downsize option to offer a cheaper price or a different product to retain the sales and customer.
Communication is everything
After you have done all the dirty work of completing the sale, this is really where all the hard work starts. Most people will stop at this point because they think they have won.
However, real profitable and sustainable businesses understand the importance of a happy customer. Happy customers simply turn into free advertisement, will return to buy more, and will give you honest feedback on your products to make them better.
Use social media so as not to kill your online business
Everyone by now should know how important social media is to any business.
Social media allows the business a direct line of communication to its target audience and potential customers.
Spending time on social media allows for brand awareness, marketing with built-in research tools, driving traffic for better rankings and purchases, and direct customer feedback.
Establish your online presence
Social media is just as important as almost anything else in getting your brand and products out to the target users. The only way to know if your social media campaign is performing or not is to gather and analyze the data.
If your site is under-performing in other areas, figure out what your competitors are successful at and do it better!
Know your best performers
If you have done your research on the behaviors, interests, age, and location of your site visitors, you might have a good idea of what platforms are most optimal to use to reach your audience.
In the end, gaining metrics on all your platforms is the only way to really understand what is performing well and what is not, and what to do next.
Use a social media management tool
Having one dashboard that manages all your social media is an asset to any company and can really produce results.
The ability to plan posts, research the most shared content, and target backlinks to optimally share to the right audience can make your site soar.
Monitor online employees
When working online, it is pretty challenging for a manager to monitor team members all the time.
Using an online time clock such as Clockspot allows for the manager to know exactly when employees start and stop work, eliminate buddy clocking by tracking their GPS on their devices, and also save time and labor on automating payroll and detailed reports related to projects or timesheets.
It is not easy to keep a small business afloat these days, but with all these strategies and apps that you can use, plus the number of resources you can find online, you can be sure to remain competitive even without the big budgets of other companies. Follow this advice and don’t kill your online business.
Wendy Dessler is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.