How to Launch Your Online Business Using 4 Steps to Stand Out
Launching an online business can be overwhelming at times. A few steps in the right direction can make all the difference.
The way we do business is no longer what it once was. Ongoing changes continue to emerge with every technological advancement.
A few of these developments include the debut of the Internet, the Web, and smart devices.
Another major shift, reshaping the business world, stems from alterations in buying behavior. Consumers are making companies evolve along with them.
This includes creating an incline in the number of online stores. Businesses must keep up with the steadily growing trend of online shopping.
In 2019, customers spent $602 Billion buying from online companies.
To launch an online business, there are several essential steps you will need to take.
How To Start and Maximize Your Online Business
Starting an online business does not happen overnight. You will need to follow particular steps and use best practices to ensure the launch is a success.
To start, you need to organize your web assets long before opening your online store. This process extends further than only organizing your business.
Instead, you need to establish all web assets to examine them. This can include your website, social media profiles, and hosting account. These items are significant in helping you launch an online business.
Once you determine which online assets are relevant, verify that all are in working order. You must optimize each of them and fix any areas needing improvement.
All social media site descriptions and webpages should include relevant keywords. Update your web assets with the latest information about your company and products.
With assets ready to promote your business, take steps towards introducing it online.
4 Essential Steps to Launch an Online Business that Stands Out
Follow these steps to launch an online store that will not only survive, but thrive.
1. Identify a Problem in the Market and Create Solutions
When starting an online business, you want to avoid tunnel vision. Some make the mistake of focusing only on products, causing them to ignore the bigger picture.
Although what you offer is an essential part of the process, it is vital to go beyond it. You need to know who you are selling to, which requires research into your target market.
The key is to identify the needs of customers and to provide solutions missing from the market.
Before launching an online business, you need to develop a purpose.
Discover why buyers should visit your online store. Furthermore, define why they should buy from you and not the competition.
If the purpose is to solve customer problems that have few (if any) existing solutions, you need to find this out.
You can discover all the information you need by researching your online market.
Below are a few methods you can use:
- Join relevant online forums.
- Engage in social media groups that include many individuals from your target market.
- Observe conversations to identify common problems customers are experiencing.
- Conduct keyword research for popular search terms that have few existing sites. Fewer sites mean fewer competitors.
- Visit the sites of your competitors to find out how they are responding to customer needs.
- Review and, if possible, remodel sales funnels to create better sales processes.
Users pay more attention to businesses that pay attention to meeting their needs.
2. Create a Simple and Effective Sales Funnel
After finding issues in your target market and ways to solve them, create a simple sales funnel.
Simplicity is key to creating a sales funnel. After all, you only have five seconds, at most, to grab an individual’s attention.
Using a simple sales funnel, you can upsell to customers better. You can also keep buyers coming back for more. Substantially increasing the lifetime value of your customers.
If you use a complicated sales funnel, you will create a distance between you and customers. This will hurt the launch of your online business.
A simple and effective sales funnel is the best process. It allows you to bring your potential customer one step closer to a buying decision.
Using a series of marketing actions, they can do the selling for you. i.e., automated emails and original content.
When building a website, six vital factors can affect the launch of the business.
Each can notably impact on your customer's perspectives and shopping choices.
The vital question you must ask yourself about your website is,
"Will your site be a place where people will want to spend their time exploring and buying products? "
If not, your website is not complete.
Your site needs to fit your brand image and provide a consistent message. The goal is to use language, content, and functionality to leverage your website.
Every visitor needs to develop an excellent first impression. Thus, building an appealing and user-friendly website needs to be a top priority.
Your site should assist you in the delivery of a simple and effective sales funnel process.
3. Protect Your Brand’s Online Reputation
Every online business is nothing without its reputation. Customers rely heavily on recommendations and reviews of others.
Studies show that online reviews influence the purchase decisions for 93% of consumers.
Any mistakes made by your business, big or small, can significantly hurt your brand.
Even businesses with only one negative article risk losing up to 22% of customers. If three negative articles pop up in a search query, the potential for lost customers increases to 59.2%.
The key is to stay on top of what is being said about your business online. Your brand needs to build a reputation management strategy.
Have positive reviews receive a “thank you,” and negative ones get the chance for a resolution.
This may require the hire of an outside person, contractor, or vendor to manage. As your reputation is a serious matter, you want to make sure you are placing it in the right hands.
Having a reputation strategy in place before your launch will keep you one step ahead.
Your company needs to locate and respond to all negative and positive reviews. This may call for the help of online social tools and practical methods.
With a dedicated person who can respond quickly, your reputation can shine.
Social Tools and Methods:
- Have a firm set of branding and social media guidelines for employees who post on behalf of your brand.
- Set up a Google Alerts notification for your brand.
- Check every notification and @ mentions on all business social media profiles.
- Review and respond to blog comments.
- Highlight positive reviews.
- Respond within 24-48 hours, at most, to all negative and positive mentions of your business. Ideally, you want to reply within minutes, if possible.
- Do not use automated responses or scripts.
- Create Press Releases about the launch and submit them to various PR sites.
- Write relevant blog posts to build content, brand awareness, and a positive reputation.
Provide training to employees on how to deal with customer complaints. And make sure your entire team adopts a mindset of solving problems, even if the customer is wrong.
Encourage the reviewer to want to take the issue offline. Ask if your company can call them or if they wish to connect with you in person (if this option is available).
If the buyer does not respond in a decent amount of time, follow-up with them.
Most of the initial correspondence will be public. Thus, those who leave reviews will see your responses, and so will other customers and potential buyers.
It makes how you reply even more essential, as it can influence many people. Yet, no response is the worst thing you can do. Also, if you connect with the customer offline, the public does not know this is happening.
They will only see the review and assume it is not being handled by your business. Thus, you must always publicly respond.
Stay away from pointing fingers and placing blame. It is easy for an internal employee to succumb to arguing with customers. Most negative reviews mention co-workers (or even them).
Many online companies will hire contractors to ensure lowering bias and emotion. The focus needs to be on repairing trust, fixing issues, and working with customers.
Launching an online business that remains successful must have a positive reputation.
4. Establish Your Credibility as an Expert
Potential buyers turn to the Web to examine business information. People buy from trustworthy businesses. Ones that not only have an excellent reputation but also online credibility.
Words left by shoppers are influencing buyer’s decisions, and so is the content they find online.
Thus, avoiding “spammy” links, information, and associations are vital. Staying away from negativity helps build credibility when launching your online business.
To harness the way customers use the Internet, use methods to show you are an expert in your industry.
Methods to show you are an expert:
- Work with other relevant and credible online sites that agree to mention your site. They will also include a link to that useful information on your website.
- Make sure the content you share with others and on your own site does not come across as forced or unnatural.
- Focus on using keywords that customers will use when conducting an online search.
- Provide helpful and free information on various social media platforms.
- Use different content formats: blog articles, videos, templates, e-books, short courses, checklists, etc.
- Include “share/send to a friend” links for useful content on your site, blog, and inside emails.
- Create an email marketing list to send a weekly or monthly newsletter.
- Position yourself as an expert on online industry forums.
Soon, you will see an uptick in site visitors and search rankings.
When launching online, you must identify your target audience and how to drive sales. But this is the basic knowledge that every company does before its online start date.
The launch of your online business needs to be different.
Take your company one step further by using these four steps that will make your launch day stand out.