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Published on July 27th, 2017 | by Guest

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5 Actionable Steps for Starting an Online Business Right Now

An online store can be a great way to start a business in this age of digital developments and mobility. In fact, a simple search on many social media platforms will reveal that there is a plethora of young, budding entrepreneurs making their start with an online store – some of them even barely in their teens.

With the Internet’s reach not being limited to a certain space or location, it’s definitely a landscape worth checking out and trying for yourself. And the beauty of an online store is that you don’t have to concern yourself with all the other details, such as location, permits, and the like.

But like with any business, it still takes some solid planning and executions to make it work. Here are our top steps into setting up an online store for your business and how to make it a success.

Image from Kaksimedia.com

STEP 1: Set up and design

There are a lot of platforms that you can use when it comes to starting your online store, and there are various pros and cons for each. You can either register for your own domain and a hosting service then build your online store’s website from the ground up, use an ecommerce platform, or even start a store in one or multiple social media platforms.

Afterwards, it’s time to decide on the face and design of your online shop. Here are some important features to keep in mind:

  • Font and color scheme. Choose one to two plain fonts and color schemes that you think would be a great identifier for your shop. It’s recommended that you use your shop’s existing fonts and color scheme for all future posts and all the pages in your website so the branding stays throughout.
  • Navigation. The navigation system should be clear, simple, and consistent – after all, it’s the thing that your visitors will depend on in terms of browsing through your online store. It should also be easy to access even when on a mobile browser. In case you are planning of an app, the navigation should also be easy to see and access, but won’t hinder the overall scrolling or browsing experience.
  • Graphics and multimedia. Use audio or video if they help enhance your message, but if the you don’t have the time, money or effort to make one, it’s perfectly fine to forego them and just use images. Also, remember that your products would need high-quality visuals – especially for clothes.
  • Opt-in offer. This is perfect for gathering subscribers for your email marketing efforts and e-newsletters (which is highly recommended). Opt-in offers can come in many forms – from popups to a full-page splash that can be scrolled.
  • Easy shopping experience. Don’t make it difficult for your customers to get to the checkout or access their cart. There should only be two clicks at most that separates the customer and their checkout.

STEP 2: Gather traffic

This step mainly is for those who choose to have their own website or have a website with an ecommerce function. Traffic is one of the greatest factors that will influence the success of your online store, especially for websites. The whole point of having an online store is reaching a market that extends far beyond the where you are located, because they are your potential customers.

Getting this kind of traffic organically may be a little hard if you’re new, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have any other option available. Here are some recommended ways you can drive traffic to your website:

  • Pay Per Click (PPC) – Buying traffic from Google AdWords is the quickest way you can gather traffic and can give you thousands of visitors at only the fraction of the costs you incur, but it’s also the most brutal when done wrong. It takes some work and studying to master it, but the pay-off is great.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – This is getting your website as one of the most relevant, if not the most, for keywords you want to be attached to your online store in search engines. It can give you a steady stream of free traffic and thousands of visitors, but it does take some work and time to get it flowing. It is dependent on content you have on your website plus some knowledge on what Google’s algorithms are looking for.

STEP 3: Become an expert

We mentioned the power of content for driving market when coupled with SEO in the step above. But the power of content doesn’t just lie in how it can help you rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). It can also help you drive more traffic by appearing as an expert of your niche’s problems. Great content is the key to this.

Let’s say you are an online clothing store that sells fashion items for millennials. What you can do is let people know that you can help them decide on what clothes to wear, what item goes with another, the best occasions to pull of certain pieces of clothing, etc.

Investigate on the problems of your niche that need immediate addressing and build upon from there. People come to the Internet to learn something, and this is your ticket to more traffic and more sales for your online store.

When you’ve created your content – anything from an article, an infographic, or even a video – you can promote and spread it out to online article directories and even social media.

STEP 4: Harness the power of email marketing

We mentioned opt-in offers that you can present to your potential customers in exchange for their email address in the first step that we gave. The list of everyone who signed up for these offers is your best asset. They’re practically the people that want to hear from you and want to receive emails about your business. This is a great relationship-building tool for creating a loyal fanbase for your business.

Plan your email marketing around the premise of giving the people what you promised them in exchange for them signing up for your newsletters. Offers, exclusive discounts, updates on the newest items or content –anything that can be of value to them is welcome. It all boils down to what you can offer and how you offer it to them in your email marketing.

STEP 5: Be seen on social media

Social media, is one of the most powerful tools that businesses utilize nowadays. In fact, not using it is detrimental to the success of any business! With the updates and tools that have popped up in recent years, social media has become stronger and more useful not just for its users but for businesses as well. Many online store owners are now starting with social media, but that doesn’t mean that those with websites or use ecommerce platforms have to be left behind.

Facebook has an extensive array of Facebook Advertising tools that can help any eCommerce entrepreneur apart from the advantages of a business page. Out of all the social media platforms today, it has the biggest advantage for businesses, but Twitter for Business and Instagram Business don’t fall behind. Jennifer Fong even states that, with Facebook’s recent changes with its algorithm, brands without an advertising budget won’t get much visibility.

With proper customizations and strategic posting, it can drive traffic to your website, give you more credibility for your SEO efforts, and expand your following by letting you interact with your niche and gather information on their preferences and behavior, which can be used to better your online store.

What other steps did we miss? What step do you feel would be the most successful for your online shop in the near future?

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