Starting an web business is a great way to make money online, but there are a few essential elements all good enterprises have in common.
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A successful online business starts with creating a stunning and professional website. Having taken into account the sterling advice from the other experts on Minute Hack, I’m assuming you’ve created a masterpiece that’s optimised for mobile and social media.
You may think it all ends there but now is the time to master the digital techniques that drive customers and prospective customers to your online business – no matter what it is – and get them to the ever-important point of purchase.
So, how do you attract customers?
Don’t be fooled into thinking that social media is all about Twitter and Facebook. If your audience isn’t using these platforms, then why be there? Start by understanding who your audience is. Think about which channels they are using. There is an array of platforms, including Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Snapchat, the current favourite of Generation Z.
It’s also important to take into account what you are trying to sell. If you have a particularly stunning product – whether it’s food, fashion or tech – image-driven social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest will help you make the most of your stock.
Just make sure that the photography you upload and share is first-class: you want to make sure you're doing your business justice.
Photography is all-important, but needn't break the bank
On the other hand, if you’re selling a service or want to engage other companies, tools like LinkedIn and Facebook might be more appropriate.
Content is king
Catch your customers’ attention without using paid-for channels cheaply by creating and sharing your own content. Developing and distributing information or advice will generate organic interest, just make sure it’s meaningful and directly addresses the audience you’re targeting.
Don't forget video. The highest engagement levels come from entertaining and shareable video content on platforms like Facebook, Vimeo, YouTube and Periscope.
You’ve used digital marketing techniques to encourage customers to your website, but how do you get them to stay on your site and make a purchase, or request your services?
ecommerce is a must
First things first – have you got a reliable and intuitive ecommerce platform built-in? There are great tools you can use to help sell online. Ultimately, the beauty of a professional ecommerce site isn’t just to make money from your site, rather to have an online presence for your business.
A professional ecommerce platform should enable you to create an appealing site, update your products easily, manage your inventory, hold sales, offer coupons, get shipping rates and connect with your customers through email marketing.
You can also have the added bonus of being able to create your own design, so not only is it easy to build it, it's also appealing and stunning.
The easier and more seamless it is for customers to buy from you, the less likely you are to lose them to a competitor. That goes for payment options too; whether it’s PayPal or debit or credit cards.
Buying from your site should be easy-peasy
If you offer a service, finding a solution to handle your scheduling can be difficult.
Wix Bookings launched earlier this year so that businesses don’t have to stress over scheduling online appointments, in fact it means that you’re more likely to drive business by making it easier for customers and potential customers to book your services, and it’s available 24/7.
You can accept payments through the tool too, making it easier for you to run your business and for your customers to sign up to your service instead of looking elsewhere.
Online booking tools should also link to your online calendars, like Google. This will ensure that you can stay up-to-date and on top of your appointments across all of your devices, so you know what to expect wherever you are.
If you consider automatic notifications as well, these can be sent out to you and your clients to make life easier and to give your professional edge with a personal touch.
Being successful online doesn’t need to be costly, and it doesn’t need to take up your valuable time – which is sparse when starting a new business.
The key to a successful online business is a cleverly planned social media and content strategy, this will attract your target audience to your site, after that all you have to do is make their life as easy as possible by offering them the best possible tools.