There is an almost overwhelming amount of information about how to succeed in the world of online business. Unfortunately, you have finite resources and must manage your business as efficiently as possible. This is why you should focus your strategy on the models that work.
Every business model will have distinct advantages and disadvantages, but you must remember to choose a business model that suits your lifestyle and your personality. It’s going to take a while to pay off, and the initial choice of business is critical.
So, in this post, I shall be addressing how to start an online business if you are a beginner.
1. Deciding why you want to start an online business
There are many reasons why people want to start an online business. For many, the main reason that they decide to start an online business is to earn extra income. However, for others it may be a part-time passion, which they may, later on, take as a full-time business. Another reason that people decide to start up an online business is that they have more control over their working life. Many want to start an online business, so they can spend more time with their families.
2. Understanding what type of online business you want to start
You need to first decide on what kind of online business you want to start. As you can see below, there are several alternatives, and based on the type you select, you will have various opportunities to monetize your business and generate money.
Below are a few popular types of online businesses which you can look into:
- eCommerce stores offering physical products (Amazon, Etsy, etc.)
- Websites selling digital products (ebooks, online courses, etc.)
- Providing coaching and consulting services (Personal development coach, fitness coach, etc.)
- Selling professional services (digital marketing agencies, software development, web designing, etc.)
- Deploying Sofware as Service (SaaS) to your clients (online tools, subscription-based model)
- Publication of online news (HuffPost, etc.)
- Create niche blogs tailored to your target audience (travel blogs, clothing, fashion blogs, etc. )
3. Create your Business Plan
Creating a business plan is the most important thing you need to do before starting your own business. It serves as a reference to guide you when in doubt or when facing challenges in running your online business.
It should establish your goals and the procedures required to achieve them, identify your target market, list the products/services you want to sell, and define financial requirements, among other things.
4. Identify your Business Structure
There are various business structures that you may select from to make your business legal and for it to run smoothly. You need to determine if you will be a sole proprietor, partnership, or corporation. You should also choose the type of business structure, i.e. S Corp, C Corp, LLC, Partnership, etc.
You can set up an LLC through a company formation agent or a legal professional. You must know the advantages and disadvantages of the various business structures before deciding on which one to choose.
5. Understand your Potential Competitors
Once you evaluate your business structure using the above strategies, the next step is to analyze your potential competitors.
Your potential competitors could be one or two companies who are already established in your market selling products or services that may be similar to what you want to offer your customers.
As an online business entrepreneur, you need to constantly evaluate your concepts and determine if there is sufficient customer demand and that there is room to promote a better product.
The next step is to learn more about your potential competition. You may use several techniques to determine how much traffic they receive, which channels they use to sell their items, and how much your competitors are spending on average on online advertising.
Your research will give you insights into how your competitors are targeting their customers, their pricing, and their marketing strategy. This is crucial information that will help you to gain momentum and figure out your strategy for your online business.
6. Select a Business Name
You need to come up with a name for your online business. A good name should be unique, simple, and easy to remember, reflect what you do, and make people want to learn more about you.
When searching for social media, business-finder sites, and domain name generators or hire an attorney for this task.
7. Identify your Target Customers
This is an important step because the outcome of this exercise will determine how you approach the following steps. At this point, you’re looking for answers to the following questions:
- Who are the customers that will visit your website?
- Who might be interested in your products?
- What are their age gender, and ages?
- What is their level of education?
- What is their annual household income?
- Which social network is the most likely to use?
- Who are your target audience’s online influencers?
- What kind of websites do your customers most likely visit?
- What online groups or forums do they frequently visit?
You can further understand your target audience by implementing a buyer persona approach. A buyer persona is a research-based profile that shall depict your ideal target customer. It describes who your ideal customers are, the challenge they face, and how you can be a solution provider for them.
Getting straight answers isn’t always easy at this stage because you don’t have your data, but you should do this exercise before your start and improve it as you go.
It will be easier to answer these questions later on, once your website is up and running and starts receiving traffic. You can directly ask your customers and community via surveys, or you can analyze your social media following using various tools.
8. Follow the plan with consistency
Once you have a business plan ready, then you need to put in your work hours consistently and reap the benefits of compounding.
Compounding is not only applicable to money but hard work as well. When you work consistently your efforts are compounded one over the other and you will become better at organizing and conducting yourself as an online entrepreneur.
9. Hire the right employees
Your business is unlikely to be successful if you do everything yourself. Hire an accountant, lawyer, web designer, virtual assistant, etc. They will help increase your productivity and profits while allowing you to focus on other essential aspects of growing your online business.
10. Marketing your business effectively
This is one of the most important things you need to do to make your six-figure income online. There are several ways to market your products/services, such as social media, blogging, email marketing, and list building.
11. Start optimizing your website for SEO
Since the algorithms used by Google are never disclosed, it is very difficult to say exactly what you need to do to improve the page rank of your website.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not technically an advertisement. However, it still costs money and time. If you run out of time but you have money, an SEO agency is an option. But, if you run out of money, then here are some SEO tips that I highly recommend with your evaluation.
- do you want more traffic to come to your website?
- do you want to increase the sales conversions ratio of your company?
- do you want to be one of the best search engine websites?
The answer to all your questions is Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
12. Outsource your content creation effectively
If you are running an online business, and if you can’t create the content yourself and you can’t afford to hire more staff, then you need to look into outsourcing your content work. The benefits of outsourcing content creation are plentiful!
Online business owners across the world outsource work every day. When it is time for your online business to start doing it is completely up to you.
I strongly advise that you should outsource content creation if you…
- Don’t have time to complete the project work or task.
- Don’t have the ability to complete the project or task.
- Can’t afford to hire a new employee to complete the work.
- Want high-quality content for a low cost.
So, how to outsource content creation effectively?
The whole process of how to outsource content creation effectively first starts with finding the right company to work with. There are many freelancers out there but the easiest way to find them is by using a platform that supports them.
For example, Fiverr is an online marketplace that connects buyers, like yourself, with freelancers that can do a variety of high-quality professional work.
You can even hire a professional freelancing consultant on Fiverr to help you write a powerful business plan for your upcoming online business. Check out a few of these Top Fiverr Sellers who provide these kinds of services –
With Fiverr, you can outsource a good content writer at an affordable price for your content creation work, insert those relevant Photoshop product images to your content, put in those trendy content quotes, and much more.
For freelance writers to fit your content infrastructure you need to take the following into account –
- Type of Content you want them to work on: Determine the kind of topic you would like your content writer to work on. Is it research-based or does it require a high amount of creative writing, the detailing of the work, number of words, the writing structure layout, etc?
- The volume of Content Creation Required: You need to figure out how often you would need them to deliver new content creation? Will you be implementing a schedule in place or have a deadline?
- Your Main Purpose of Content Creation: It simply states how outsourcing content creation will have an impact on your business? How much information access should be given to the content creators?
- Allocating your Budget: Have you set aside a specific budget for all your content creation needs? How much will you be willing to offer your content creators? Will you hire them on a salary base or hourly base rate?
13. Use influencer marketing to effectively brand your content
An influencer can be sought out from a legal contract, or by a random comment to your post from those who are most followed (by your target audiences) across social media.
Whichever the reason might be, just learn how to take this chance to win your audiences’ awareness and leverage your on-brand content, as the way to make the most out of influencer marketing for your effective branding content (and true brand awareness).
- Secure the right of imagery content usage: Once launching your influencer marketing campaign(s), securing appropriate image (or video) rights should be considered rightly beforehand as they are proven to give the power to let your associated message go viral over social media.
- Repurposing influencer content across owned social media channels: As the positive “side-effect” of imagery rights, repurposing your influencer content by re-posting and tagging them on your owned media has many benefits. The tag attracts their followers to search for your brand while generating interest and familiarity with the campaign itself. Thus, keeping influencer content in your library for future posts will create a seamless experience and help you get more mileage. Just make sure this action has been authorized (as contracted), and don’t be afraid to reuse previously used photos (or feel free to crop the hi-res ones at different angles for different visual looks) for your effective influencer marketing campaigns.
- Resource-ization your content: How many times have you found the resource of tips/advice interesting over the Internet, especially from an influencer’s blog/ social profile? Placing yourself in this context, it is undeniable to be impactful as the ‘selling’ factor was tenderly removed, while your brand becomes friendlier by an influencer’s reposal. So, let’s consider building your content arsenal in collaboration with an influencer, as a helpful resource for audiences making your influencer marketing campaign effective. Again, you can re-use this content across different channels by including snippets on your client’s Instagram channel or pitching them to editors as ready-to-use content.
- Complement your post outreach: Another way to make the most out of your influencer marketing is by incorporating influencer content into your press outreach that can help capture editor interest to land top-tier coverage.
14. Start growing your email list
It’s always a good idea to frequently analyze your email campaigns and redesign them if they are becoming ineffective. Anything as tiny as a bland subject line and preview text can also make your email subscribers completely ignore your emails.
If you want to max your ROI on your email campaigns, then follow these tips:
1. Recognize and understand your audience’s needs and behavior
The content that you forward in your emails must be such that it is relatable to your audience. It’s always a good idea to link a few of your recent blog posts, infographics, videos, and more. Generate and share the things that can directly influence your target audience’s buying purchase. The first thing you need to ensure is building trust between you and your audience. Only then will there be an increase in conversions eventually. You can even utilize your email signature effectively when sending out your emails.
2. Enhance your Subject lines accordingly
Most of the time of the day in a professional person’s life is spent checking emails as they can be important. They decide on which email to open and which one to neglect solely based on the first thing that they see, and that would be the email subject line. So, make it as attention-grabbing as possible. Even non-professionals, at times, do the same.
3. Build trust over time and slowly
You need to keep in mind that the key ingredient for an effective email marketing campaign to be successful is to build a sense of trust and loyalty in your subscribers over time. If you start annoying your audience with spam emails and forcing them to buy something, then you can forget about using affiliate marketing email campaigns for conversions, thus resulting in your subscribers unsubscribing from your email list.
4. Enhance and optimize your emails
Generate roadmaps and group your emails as much as probable. Take a look at the emails that are mostly opened by people and work on advancing them even more. Group and sort them out according to the different audiences and optimize them accordingly.
5. Keep your emails engaging
You need to keep your emails engaging to keep the discussion going by letting your audience do something like responding to your emails, sharing them, and more. A Call-to-Action is a must, but don’t make it look too obvious. As I mentioned earlier, provide value to your readers. People love content that is unique and requires them to do something.
6. Don’t complicate your emails
It’s always a good idea to keep all your emails as simple as possible. A 5000-word essay is not something people will have time and energy to read. Your emails should not be long and boring to read and consist of texts only. That is not something your subscribers will expect from your emails.
Try to keep your emails visually appealing too. People love to read content that has visuals on them.
A good picture is worth a thousand words, and visual emails are extremely important in any marketing campaign. Most of the time, you don’t need to be a photographer. You can download high-resolution stock images from sites like Pixabay and Shutterstock.
Provide value to your readers but keep it simple and easy for them to understand. And, try to avoid technical jargon and abbreviations.
7. Trim your email list occasionally
Even if you put your heart into preparing an email campaign and have years of experience in the field, there are still going to be people who will ignore those emails.
It would be advisable to remove them from your email list periodically. This way you can either make your campaign better or eliminate those users from your list as you know they are not interested in reading those kinds of emails.
Erasing subscribers from your email list might look counterproductive. Nevertheless, it can help in targeting a more accurate audience for your online business.
8. Keep your goals clear and upfront
Keep the content of your email straight to the point so that the user knows what you are talking about. Make sure a Call-to-Action button is in the visible location of your email, and provide valuable content to compel your users to take action.
For this purpose, you can add links, images, and other compelling elements to your email. For new users, keep the emails more general, and for your existing customers and highly interested audiences, add the call-to-action upfront. This increases the chances of emails getting converted a whole lot better.
15. Improve your Website Conversions for SEO
Conversion optimization is the process of increasing conversion rates while minimizing traffic growth. This translates into lower customer acquisition costs in business terms.
For you to develop your online business, here are a few ways you can improve your website conversions for SEO –
- Posting quality content matters – If your website does not contact relevant content for your target audience, it is simply useless. Content is the reason why someone comes to visit your website. Providing high-quality content is the only engine of your website and there is no alternative.
- Keep posting content regularly – One of the best indicators to reveal the relevance of a website is to keep on posting recent content and keep regularly updating it. Write content not only for improving your search engine rankings but also for your targeted readers.
- Improving your website content structure – Improving the content structure of your website is another sure-fire way to get your website ranked well on Google search engines. Hashtags, bold headers, and anchor text allow the user to more easily find the products and services of your website.
- Using social media – Using social media on your website can help increase brand awareness of your online business. Start using social sharing buttons on your website. You can easily install social sharing plugins using the ‘Add New Plugins’ tab from your WordPress dashboard. This will allow your potential customers to write a review about your services and their experience of using your service via social media platforms.
- Do a complete website check – Performing a website audit can help you understand any problems or errors which may arise on your website. Having a neat and clean website design makes it easier for your visitors to navigate better in your site.
- Start adding keywords and keyphrases – Start to use relevant keywords and key phrases in your website content. Placing keywords in your content is extremely important for search engines to recognize your content. You can check out Neil Patel’s Ubersuggests Free Keyword Tool to generate demanding keyword suggestions.
16. Keep expanding and monetizing
You should never stop until you achieve the desired goals for your online business, by creating more products/services, launching a second online business, expanding your target audience, etc. You can also start selling affiliate products or partner with other companies to create unique collaborations such as product bundling, increasing your online business revenue.
17. Rinse and Repeat
Once you start making your six-figure income from your online business, you must keep doing what brought you about starting an online business in the first place. Keep improving on processes, do more of what works best with less focus on things that don’t, and expand your online business even further. You should also be prepared to adjust when a new business concept idea comes along.
So hopefully the information that I have provided to you in this article post will be setting you on your way to starting your first online business. However, keep in mind that the costs of running an online business are significantly lower. This is because you do not require an office and you can work from the comfort of your home.
There is no need to hire anyone, and all you need to get started is to have a good computer and a stable internet connection.
The most important aspect of any online business is to generate targeted traffic to your site. There is no point in having a great product if nobody knows about it. So, you need to get your strategy in place which will allow you to generate the targeted traffic required to bring in all those important visitors, and then sales to your site.
So, the best way to get started with any type of online business is to sit down and write up a plan. Once you have completed this process, you can then start looking into all the above-outlined steps mentioned in this post on how to start your very own online business.
Check out this FREE LIVE Training Below – How To Build Your Online Business From Nothing…
My name is Sujoy Mukherji. I am an Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur & Professional Blogger. Founder of the Affiliate Hub Blog.