A lot of people perceive that starting your very own online business can be expensive and risky. However, there are tried and tested ways to make it easier and cost-effective, as long as you totally understand what you’re in for. Here are 7 steps to take that can help you launch your own online business and make it work.
1st Step – Understand online business and establish a clear concept
- Avoid jumping down the deep end by doing this as early as possible.
- Gain as much knowledge as you can about online marketing and online businesses.
- Keep in mind that an online business is something that always utilizes an internet marketing and delivery system.
- If you have not done so yet, invest a lot of your time on the internet to become an expert on how it works.
- Learn more about successful online businesses and discover their success strategies.
- Never come up with a half-baked concept just so you can launch your business already. You have to be an expert at what you’re doing.
- Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What product or service will I offer? And how is this different from similar products or services that are currently available in the market?
- How will you make your marketing and delivery systems different?
- If you’re a small player, it has been proven that a niche market approach is initially more effective than offering your products and services to the whole world.
- However, make sure that you have a web marketing system that is effective and scalable. Don’t waste your money on something that takes a long time to grow, if it does at all.
- Make sure that your system is ideal for the kind of traffic that you’re expecting with your concept. It would be costly to dismantle or keep a system that cannot handle a huge amount of traffic.
2nd Step – Develop a unique selling proposition
- When you have established a clear concept, narrow it down to one or two words to create your unique selling proposition.
- Your unique selling proposition should create a significant distinction between what you offer and the hundreds of similar offerings that are also found online.
- Your unique selling proposition will also allow you to package and present what you’re offering.
- Make sure that your unique selling proposition is clear to ensure that your chances for success are higher.
3rd Step – Get a Good Domain Name
- A good domain name is extremely important and is one way of establishing a brand for your business.
- Obtaining a .com.au domain name has to be done in Australia and should be very similar to an already registered Australian business name.
- Keep in mind though that it is usually not a good idea to use your registered business name as your domain name, especially if it’s not so relevant and memorable to what you’re offering.
- If the .com domain name you’d like to have is no longer available, don’t settle for a hyphenated, .net or .org version of the domain name. In the long run, it can be mixed up with the original .com version.
- If you want to make sure that you’re the only one holding both a .com and .com.au domain name, register your desired name as a .com then register it as a business name in Australia and finally, register it as a .com.au.
4th Step – Have financial security
- You must have available funds for all your start-up expenses. You have to have an accurate computation of how much the online operations will cost you.
- Include a budget for traditional media advertising. While submitting your new site to search engines can be considerably cheaper, it is not enough exposure for you.
- It’s also not recommended that you invest a whole lot of money to speed up your online presence. Doing it gradually is less risky. This way, you’ll get to observe customer flow and utilize their feedback to set the direction of your business’s growth.
5th Step – Create a comprehensive project plan
- It is essential that you take the reins right at the very start of your business. Schedule and assign all launch-related projects. This is more effective when you utilize appropriate project management software such as Microsoft Project or Basecamp.
- Make sure to consult with your team if the scheduling of tasks is doable, make necessary adjustments and if possible, make some allowances in case something takes longer to accomplish than planned.
6th Step – Build an optimized website and effective email systems
- Come up with an introduction to your website and set-up guidelines for interactivity. This will help ensure that majority of site traffic is your target market.
- Have your basic web page templates designed.
- Include site graphics that help clearly illustrate who you are but won’t take too long to load.
- If you’re planning to put up an online newsletter on your site, make it part of your planning stage to subscribe to existing online newsletter and see how they work. Once it’s your turn to construct yours, be sure to create a mock-up and test it first.
- Work with your web designer and developer to come up with a website that can grow with the traffic with minimal chances of it adversely affecting your marketing goals.
- Put up an e-commerce software using a secure server to protect your transactions between your customers and leaves them trusting your business more. Do a research on what’s best for your online business. Such software includes Clickbank, Signio and Open Market Shopsite e-commerce software.
- Apply for a merchant credit card account to be able to accept credit card payments.
- For convenient and even round the clock interactivity, install an online subscription system, listserver as well as an autoresponder. An autoresponder will enable your site visitors to acquire any downloadable materials. With a listserver, you can send out email in bulk to your online database.
- Install a system that will record information about each subscriber. Make sure that you can export it to a downloadable file for easier analysis.
- Install a system that will allow automatic subscription to your online newsletter, easily change member data such as email address and unsubscribing options.
- Ensure that administrator rights are assigned to promptly fix issues that may arise.
7th Step – Implement effective marketing strategies
- Send personalized announcements to your existing customers. If you don’t have any yet, talk to people in your network who are offering products and services that can complement what you have – like they’re selling bread and cheese and you’re selling wines — and ask them if you could send messages to their customer base.
- Try advertising your website in online newsletters published by other online businesses.
- Distribute press releases to relevant publications that are within your area of business.
- Seek out an SEO consultant to assist you with search engine submissions, keywords and optimization of your web pages.
- Purchase effective banner ads in relevant websites.
- Go for link exchange with other sites which have similar target audience to yours.
- Promote word of mouth advertising by requesting happy customers to do testimonials, forward your newsletter or just simply tell their friends about your service.
- Utilize direct mail to tell your target market about your website.
- Distribute promotional materials, such as shirts, mugs, pens, etc. printed with your site’s URL to clients and key prospects.
- Establish yourself as an expert in your business by writing articles, tutorials and blogs and send them to magazines catering to your target market.
- Make sure that your URL is highly visible in your business templates, stationeries, advertisements and all correspondence.
- Advertise via traditional media.
- Submit your URL to directories and the yellow pages.
Checklist for Setting up an Online Business
Online Business Objectives:
Comprehensive short term goals
Comprehensive long term goals
Identify and get to know your target market
Identify your product and its features and benefits
Include your existing database to your online database
Establish clear and easy sales procedures
Implementation and maintenance of backend process
Select a relevant domain name and register it
Connect your domain name to your hosting account
Finalize your website design, layout and navigation chart
Finalize an affiliate software solution
Finalize e-commerce preferences
Enlist the services of a web designer and developer to construct your website
Finalize copy for website
Finalize pricing of products and services
Install visitor monitoring software
Maintenance and Marketing
Finalize components of online newsletter and start publication
Save email addresses
Create email templates and set up autoresponders
Subscribe to online newsletters that are relevant to your business
Conduct a research on the competition, their websites and keywords
Finalize your keyword list and phrases
Finalize your linking strategy and affiliate marketing
Finalize your banner campaign
Establish relationships with relevant websites
Update website on a regular basis
Regular website statistics and reports analysis
Search Engine Optimization
Determine your current ranking
Do webpage optimization
Announce your online presence to search engines
Submit your site to manual submission search engines