When you start an online business, your chances of success exponentially if you use a process tried and tested by successful entrepreneurs. Why waste time reinventing the wheel?
The basics of an online business consist of three primary steps — coming up with a great product idea, getting the best infrastructure you can afford, which in online business translates into getting the best web hosting along with other things, and marketing your business.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these steps in more detail.
A Great Product Idea
How do you find a profitable niche? It all starts with research on your subject matter expertise. So, if you’re a talented writer and want to teach other people how to write, your first task is to figure out if people have a strong interest in learning how to write. How do you find out? Visit online writing forums, browse the threads, talk to people, and find out more about their wants, needs, and desires.
Then refine any ideas you’ve gathered through keyword research. What do people who want to learn how to write want to learn? Why do they want to learn how to write better?
You may come up with surprising answers. You may, for instance, have intended to teach people how to earn an independent living for themselves as freelance writers, but you find that there is an unmet need from people who want to learn how to write better for their corporate jobs. You’ve just found a niche where there is less competition and people are willing to pay a higher amount for a good online course. Meanwhile, the “how to be a freelance writer” market has too much competition for you to stand out in that niche.
When choosing a niche, it’s important to realize that you aren’t confined to just selling digital products.Your niche could also be a physical product, like an online vintage shop. You would simply fulfill order through drop-shipping. Whatever niche you choose, just be sure that you’re feeding a hungry crowd.
For any online business, the first interaction of your customers is with the website or your app. You need to put your business on the best infrastructure, including the right kind of website or app that provides the best user experience powered by the web hosting infrastructure. As far as finding the right hosting servers for your websites and apps is concerned, there are all sorts of hosting packages are available online, with a wide range of prices, how do you choose? It’s simple. Choose the best package that you can afford. Don’t just judge a web hosting provider by their sales copy or by their pricing but by the value you get for the money you pay. The best way to select a web hosting provider is to read reviews to see who has the best reputation and who offers the best value.
In terms of functionality, what you want is plenty of space for disk storage and domain hosting allowances. Moreover, if you plan to build your own website and don’t have developer skills, you will need a free drag-and-drop website builder. You also have to consider technical things like uptime, speed, backups, security, and so on. In short, don’t make a snap decision or simply go by a top guru’s recommendation, but do as much research as possible on features and benefits.
Next, design and build a website that users will find easy to navigate.
Marketing Your Business
So far, we’ve discussed how to setup your business, but your business success will be based on how well you market your website.
The most important thing you can do is to create plenty of fresh, informative content on a regular basis. For this, you’ll need to add a blog to your website. You’ll also need to get good at promoting your blog posts via social media.
However, while excellent content will establish your reputation as someone who knows what they are talking about, this alone won’t make you money. It doesn’t matter how great your product is, it won’t sell itself. For your product to “fly off the shelves” you need to either hire a copywriter or learn how to write your own irresistible copy.
So how do you get plenty of traffic? You should use both free and paid traffic methods. Free traffic will cost you time while paid traffic will cost you money. Using both will help you get immediate traffic while building up your organic traffic sources.
Finally, you need to develop a relationship with your customers. You can do this through email marketing, through interacting with customers on social media, and by having free webinars, where you provide plenty of free content and then close with a special product offer.
Once your initial offering sells well, you can increase your income through affiliate marketing, selling other people’s products to your list. Find merchants who sell products that will complement but not compete with your product offer.