Growing an online business is tough. It takes a time, effort, patience, dedication and a lot of work. Don’t let anyone fool you, there’s no get rich quick schemes. Even those that make a quick buck have put a lot of work into growing their online business. I enjoy finding the time to write on our website about business. We’re so busy anymore, I’m lucky to find the time to write once a month. I enjoy helping others. I didn’t have anyone training me or guiding me, but it was articles by niche experts that helped me learn. I spent years learning before I began working online and I still spend a few hours each week keeping up with SEO. It’s always a benefit to find an author that is experienced and knows his subject manner. So for those of you that find our website, our content, we hope you find it helpful.
So you want to grow an online business. Perhaps you have started growing your online business or you’ve hit a dead end recently. Your business isn’t making sales, not bringing in leads or has no traffic. We’re going to explore some very important keys to operating a successful online business, from the idea concept to an established online business. We’ll take it step by step, focusing on key factors to growing an online business. This article is very long, so bookmark it, copy the URL so it can be your resource content.
My Business Experience
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, growing an online business is no easy task. If you’re not willing to dedicate your life to growing your online business, you’ll never reach your full potential. I’ve been an online web developer for a decade. I started out writing landing pages, sales scripts over 16 years ago. I spent a few years as a ghost writer, where I learned about SEO and SEO writing. Over the last 8 years, I’ve been a professional consultant in web design, web development, SEO, SEM, SMM, SMO, PPC, PR, media, online marketing, sales analysis, landing pages and much more. I also have a degree in Business Management, as well as many training hours in online business.
Work ethic, it can determine the success or failure of your business. I’ve always been fully committed. I take my business serious. I know that my customer’s lively hood is often at stake and chance nothing. I can’t count the number of times I’ve worked 20 hour days, 7 days a week. If you’re willing to put the work in, you’ll go far.
Another tip I’ll give you before we get into the article topic of growing an online business, surround yourself with great people. Even if you’re a single person team now, at some point if you do reach success, you’ll need a good team behind your business. I’m fortunate to have a great team that treat my business like their own. I’ve been blessed and I’m proud to say that.
More important than any of my prior experience, I’m always a student. The online business market is a fast paced world. There’s so many different elements that you have to stay ahead of and the more you take in and learn, the better off you’re going to be in the long run. Never stop learning, never stop improving and if you’re going to grow an online business, surround yourself with smart people! Seriously, having a great team is vital.
Pick A Strong Market
Some of you may not have much of choice when it comes to choosing your business. Others may already have a business and trying to transfer their success online. For the remaining individuals, you may have the choice to decide what type of business you’re going to operate. And if that’s true, you may want to go with a business in a strong market, one that has good market growth outlooks.
Likely, you’ve spent some time thinking about starting your online business. That’s important, the more research and thinking you do, often the better. At least you get an idea of the challenge ahead. Picking the right market and business niche is just as important as operating it. If you can find a niche in demand, a market likely to grow, that may be a wise decision to invest in.
Competition should always be a concern when building your online business. Chances are, someone before you is doing it and successfully. Some markets are saturated, others are not. That’s going to be your job to determine. There’s a wide range of options to deliver high quality traffic to your business. Higher grades of traffic often result in conversions, Here’s you a tip – Learn how the big companies market and promote their business. Match their success. I know you can only do this to an extent, but the more you watch the competition, the more you’re going to know what is needed to perform better. In SEO, we always analyze our competition. Somewhere along the line to be successful, your business is going to need to build market share.
Building Your Online Presence
If you’re first starting out and nobody knows your name, get ready for a long bumpy ride. Don’t feel intimidated, but understand the challenge that lies ahead. Growing an online business is easy in a sense, making that online business successful, that’s the tricky part.
No matter what other platforms you use to drive business and build your brand, you’re going to need to build a website. Your online website will be the cornerstone of your operation. We chose to grow our business on WordPress. It’s a decision that we thought hard about. There’s a reason, WordPress is one of the best content management systems in the world. We don’t have products to sell, we provide services. Therefore, WordPress worked for us.
If you’re selling products, there’s a lot of great options out there. Magneto, Modern Retail and Shopify are 3 strong choices. If you plan to have hundreds/thousands of products, you want a strong back office to make adding products easier. An easy to navigate backend will help save you time and money. I’m sure you’ll have a learning curve with new technology, but a good eCommerce platform is always worth the investment.
No matter where you’re starting, it takes time to grow an online business. The online world is big and growing, plenty of opportunity. And you have to start somewhere. The more online resources you can build, the better. Make connections with influencers, very important. Any type of exposure you can gain in the early stages is a benefit, all good exposure of course. Then again, you may be in a niche where scandals sale.
Search Engine Optimization
This is a term you’ve likely heard about a time or two, search engine optimization, also known as SEO. If you want to be successful online, then you have to learn the basics behind SEO. There’s a lot of different factors when it comes to search engine optimization. In total, some believe there’s over 200 SEO ranking factors that Google uses when determining search engine rankings. SEO can be tough to grasp because it’s always evolving, what worked a week ago may not work now. But in SEO, the basics remain the same and if you want to build online visibility for your business, you need to take the time to get the important SEO factors down.
Some of the strongest SEO ranking factors in 2015 include social media. Social media influence has become more of a ranking factor in SEO. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are 4 of the top social media platforms that affect your SEO rankings. While link building and link values are still important, we feel that Google trust social media signals more, one of the reasons why social influence is among the strongest SEO ranking factors in 2015 and likely beyond.
Social Media Marketing
Millions of businesses use social media to promote their business. There’s a reason, it works. Social media marketing can be a very effective when done correctly. Nearly every major corporation in the world has a Facebook page. Billions of people use Facebook. Facebook is the most popular social media platform. With millions of potential customers using Facebook, the opportunities are always there. If you haven’t, you need to build a business page on Facebook for your company.
There’s hundreds of popular social media platforms that can be used to promote your business and drive traffic to your products and services. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, Reddit, Vines, and many more that can be used. You need to decide which social media accounts will work in favor of your business. For example, if you’re a photographer, Pinterest, Instagram or Flickr may be your top choices due to the photo sharing.
Targeting The Right Keywords
Targeting keywords can be defined as a SEO technique or related to SEO. Most people would agree. However, when it comes to growing your online business, choosing the right keywords to target is vital. Your keywords will be dependent on your business, niche, market, products and services. The goal of targeting keywords is to bring in organic traffic to your website. Organic traffic is one of the best traffic types when it comes to conversions.
You can test and play with certain keywords, organic and paid through Google or other search engines and paid services. Some of you will find that your keywords are already written in stone. If you’re trying to sell products, your keywords are going to be related to those products. If you’re offering specific services, your keywords will be related. And in order to rank for those keywords, you’re going to need content to do so. Always keep a blog on the side.
We’ve been touching on deep subjects throughout this article. Real quickly closing out keywords, you only need one page to rank one keyword. You don’t need a dozen pages using the same keyword. In fact, this is not the way to go about it. You don’t want your keywords fighting one another. One page, one keyword, all you need.
Growing Your Email List
Growing your email list and subscribers is important to any online business owner. I’ll be honest, when I first started out, I said, “I don’t need no email list.” I was wrong. Your email list can generate revenue and traffic for years to come. There’s a variety of different ways that you can grow your email list. Put yourself in your own shoes, when you sign up to an email list, newsletter or subscribe to a site, why do you? We’re often looking for value, something specific. Just another important reason to drive targeted traffic to your popup, landing page or newsletter.
Another common tactic used to generate email subscribers is giving away something of value for free. My advice, try different techniques. Don’t get frustrated if one way or another doesn’t work. It could be a great offer but perhaps you’re targeting the wrong traffic. Run your A/B testing and remember to record everything! Keep your data and results, analyze and plan.
Growing Your Start-Up Online Business
For those of you that are just now making your mark on the world, you have a long road ahead. I suggest reading our complete guide on growing an online business. When you start your online business with no resources, the work can be overwhelming. Many people feel that they can hit the ground running and it is often far from it. This is especially true if you’re trying to grow your start-up on a small budget. Hopefully, you have some funding and investors behind you. If not, you have to start somewhere. Might as well be now.
Great content is my best tip for start-ups on a budget. Use your blog. The goal is to begin the process of targeting keywords. Make the content valuable for readers. Your topic depends on your brand and market. For the sake of this example, we’ll say that our new start-up is in women’s fashion. Our content will focus on that subject. We’ll be looking for online resources related to women’s fashion. Take time to do your research.
When you do your research, you’re looking for established online platforms that can be targeted to gain traffic, exposure and sales to your website. This can be done in the form of a link, profile, forum, post, picture, or some other type of content. Facebook is an easy example. Billions of users on Facebook. You can share your products and content on Facebook. You could look for fashion websites that allow you to share products. A lot can be done and since you’re on a budget, any type of exposure you can get is a benefit in the early stages.
What If Our Start-Up Business Is Funded?
If your start-up business is funded or has funds for growth, you’re a step ahead of the curb. Investing your money properly is crucial. Do you invest in SEO? PPC? Market research? Social media? That’s a great question, right? As a start-up, revenue has to be your main concern. If you only have one round of funding, you have to bring in revenue. How do you do that?
By this time, I hope you have a general idea of what to expect. Again, we try to help everyone out and speak to a wide audience in our articles so you can get that help. Having funding is a big advantage, but you still have to play your cards right. Not to scare you or deter you in anyway, you likely have one opportunity with your funding. Carefully plan your numbers.
No matter how funded your business is, I suggest writing a detailed business plan. There’s several main topics to a business plan. Here’s the main points you need to know.
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Organization and Management
- Products and Services
- Marketing and Sales
- Funding Request
- Financial Projections (For funding)
I always ask for a detailed business plan. I know this can be tough, especially market research. I’ve wrote a few dozen in my time and market analysis will cost you thousands. But the reports are priceless. You need to know your market potential, revenue potential, potential reach. All of this data is helpful. Worth the investment. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t have a detailed business plan, but if you’re looking to get funded, you better make it detailed as possible.
Building Targeted Traffic
In order to have a successful online business, you’re going to have to be able to build and drive targeted traffic to your products and services. And you can use the techniques listed in this article to do that. A customer profile can be built to know exactly who you’re targeting and why. Here’s what you need to know;
- What is the age group that is most likely to buy my product or service?
- Where do my potential customers live?
- What type of occupation would my potential customer have?
- What is the best approach to reach my target audience?
- What types of marketing would be most effective?
Here’s the deal, if you don’t know your customer, you”ll likely fail. Know everything you can about your potential customer. Data is such a crucial element in online development, marketing, SEO. My best advice? Track everything. Google Analytics, Google Webmaster, SEO software, marketing software, email automation, you’re going to need the proper tools to be successful.
Again, everything has to be dependent on the services you provide or the products you sale. You should know your services and products through and through. Know everything you can about them. Most importantly, know and understand why someone would buy them.
You can use different strategies and techniques to build traffic to your business. You know the niche and market you work in. If you have a new business with minimal funding, take the time to research related websites that may give you the opportunity to build traffic and readers. There’s a number of platforms that allow you to publish content on other websites. You could do press release, PR work. My advice, I look for established platforms that fit my customer profile and that website’s traffic needs to be big. At least a few thousand a month.
Become A Leader In Your Niche
One of the biggest tips that I can give you in regards to growing an online business is the fact that you need to become a leader in your niche. It doesn’t matter if it’s digital graphics or men’s shoes, you need to learn your niche through and through. Content is a powerful and great way to show your expertise on any subject manner. This is especially true for those of you that offer services, less for those of you that sell products, excluding software and a few other products that can relate to your services.
How do you become a niche leader? You have to engage with people. I’m not perfect in any stretch, I’ve made my fair share of mistakes over the past decade. One of the biggest mistakes I made was not engaging others and I’m referring to other leaders in my industry. I regret that. Now, I find little time to write and discuss topics in web development, SEO, marketing, ect. Don’t make that mistake. We learn from others, we get ideas from others and in online business, you always need someone.
Video marketing is another great way to express leadership and experience. Most people relate better seeing something visually compared to reading it in an article. YouTube host your videos for free, YouTube has millions of users, it’s a perfect relationship. Not only will you have your videos for promoting, you can also publish them on your blog or use them on landing pages.
Keys To Successfully Growing Your Online Business
We’ve discussed many things in the course of this article to help you begin growing your online business. All of these are proven strategies and techniques to successfully grow an online business. Now, we’re going to discuss the main keys to grow your business.
Brand exposure is important from day one. Some of you may have an online business and physical business. Kudos if you do. Your objective should be to expose your business as much as possible. Writing great content is always an effective growth tactic. Think about YouTube. Video marketing is another great way to build brand awareness. Case studies have shown that we react more to videos, we visually connect with them. YouTube has millions of users, the exact type of platform that can build brand exposure. YouTube is the type of platform you look for.
Building relationships is so important. This goes for all levels. It allows you to open doors, open opportunities that your business may not have had prior. If you’re in the fashion niche, connecting with bloggers may help you get your business discussed and talked about. You may be able to start a referral program that benefits all parties. The more connections you make, the better. These resources can be an immediate benefit now and for years to come.
Customer service is important in any business. Treat your customers and clients like gold. The best referral system is often mouth to mouth referrals. So I’m talking about all areas of customer service. For example, we give our clients 24-7 support. This shows them we care, we want them to come to us with their issues. 80 percent of our referrals are from past and current clients. Work hard for them, treat them with respect and they can become customers for life.
Revenue and sales are the bottom line. If revenue is lower than expenses, you’re going to fail. If you have an unique product that no one else has, you have an advantage. If you’re an affiliate based business, then you have a lot of competition. What do you do when you sell the same products? People do it all the time, Amazon, BeachBody, there’s tens of thousands of affiliate business owners. You’ll have to take the time to figure out how you can drive traffic to your business better than you competition. Not an easy task.
No matter what you offer or sell, you have to generate revenue. As a start-up business, you may find yourself spending more than you’re receiving. This is ok when you’re investing in the business, but it has to be built to turn revenue. Finding your target audience is crucial. Having a professional website is important. Building trust with your customers is important as well.
Continue to adapt and change as needed. Sometimes, you have to make changes. You have to evolve with your customers. You may have to bring in new products or add new services to grow your business. The odds are stacked against you. Most people will fail. However, some put in the work and become great. You can also. Continue to learn about online business, continue to educate yourself with new techniques and your niche. With hard work, dedication and experience, your business can face any challenge that lies ahead.