Building a successful online business can be challenging as it doesn’t offer overnight success or immediate gratification, but it’s one of the single biggest steps anyone can take to achieve the financial and career freedom that most people only read (or hear about) online.
If you’re ready to start an online business from scratch, or you already own an online business but sales aren’t where you need them to be, this article covers four essential tactics to building a successful business online with actionable tips for long-term sustainable growth.
Find a Market and Build a Business
Most people make the mistake of building a business first and finding a market second. You know the guy who said, “Build it and they will come.” That guy is now broke. Why? He put so much focus on building a business and did not stop to consider whether there’s a market for the service or product until it was too late.
Don’t be one of the thousands of budding entrepreneurs who start promising businesses only to have all their investment and efforts crash and burn because they didn’t prioritize finding a market over building a business. The trick to finding customers is to look for a group of people with a problem with very few (or no) solutions currently available.
Lucky for you, the internet all but hands you this information as you can check out online groups, forums, and pages to see what problems people would like solved. Do a quick keyword research of the questions a lot of people are asking and find the ones with the least competition but high search volume. You can then visit competitor sites and review the products and services offered, taking note of what they’re doing and what you would do differently. Once you have this knowledge, use the information to create a product for your specific market with your unique selling point.
Design and Optimize Website to Rank in Search Engines
In today’s age of the internet, website traffic is an essential factor in creating a successful online business. Optimizing your website helps you rank in search engines, making it easy for potential customers to find you when looking for the products you offer.
Pages that take too long to load with weird disorganized navigation and different fonts or colors on various tabs distract potential customers, and preoccupied visitors don’t have time to figure out your chaotic site navigation and inconsistent design. If your website is difficult to use, most customers will abandon their carts and think twice before visiting your store again.
Remember: you only have 15 seconds to impress visitors to your site, so give your website visitors a seamless user experience. Ensuring every millimeter of your site is consistent on all devices. This is something that matters to your website visitors.
When you pay attention to what matters to your customers, they tend to reciprocate and you’ll attract more customers, thus increasing sales and padding your profits.
Write Selling Content
It doesn’t matter whether you have a freelance website, an e-commerce store, or are selling an online course; to be successful, you’ll need to write effective copy that will sell. Your website may be optimized for search engines and your product idea may have a solid market, but if you don’t know how to drive customers through the sales funnel, from interest to consideration to purchase, you’ll probably not reach your full profit potential.
Searchers visit websites with all sorts of intentions– informational, navigational, transactional, and commercial investigation—and if your target audience (the latter group) likes what they see, they’ll check out your product/service copy. Your content needs to focus on the unique problem you solve for your typical customer. In simple terms: tell potential customers what’s in it for them.
- How do you do that?
- Use a headline that arouses interest.
- Write short and clear sentences, speaking to your ideal customer.
- Mention the problem your product/service solves, forming a connection with your readers.
- Give a step-by-step guideline on how you solve the problem to establish your company as an ideal solution.
- End with a call to action that creates a sense of urgency.
Build an Audience Beyond Social Media
Social media platforms are publicly traded companies that answer to shareholders when they don’t turn a profit. So, unless you sign up for a paid account, your pages, posts, and product listings may not reach the audience you’ve built. And while social media is a powerful tool, such limitations make it difficult to grow your business organically.
Online entrepreneurs on a tight budget should focus on building their business beyond social media. For example, Research podcasts are always looking for people with your expertise, so you could write to them and express your interest in appearing on the show. You could also write guest posts to generate buzz for your business and drive traffic to your website.
Additionally, consider doing a free webinar to build your email list as email marketing offers a cheaper alternative to paid search ads– mostly because 69% of customers like receiving promotional emails from their favorite e-commerce stores.
A million things go into creating a successful business online, but building your business should come second to finding a market for your products/services. To set yourself up for success, focus on creating a seamless user experience with optimized content that gets you ranked on search engines. In a world where social media has become over-commercialized, building your audience beyond online platforms gives you a cheaper (quicker) way of putting your business in front of the right customers.