If you’ve ever tried to start your own online business and experienced less than desirable results, you probably already realize there’s more to just putting your products on the internet. Even if you have the greatest ecommerce publishing tools in the palm of your hand, you have to know how to use them.
It takes work, but with proper guidance, motivation and patience, you can do it. To help guide you, we’ve provided some “must have” information that will be critical to getting started and on the road to success.
Tip #1: Know Your Message
You know who you are, but do your customers? Your message tells your customer exactly who you are, what you do and why they should do business with your company. If your message isn’t clear, it’s likely that your prospective customers may pass you by.
Here's a scenario that might shed some light on why messaging is so important:
A brand new mother is looking for a carrier for her baby. What is the first thing she does? She searches the internet for reputable products that give her what she needs. She’ll likely land on several websites before she finds what she wants. Company A might be better on price and have many great products, but company B’s website and content is geared more to the mother’s interests. It lists important facts about products, service and support information and even helpful articles that provide insight on how to use the product. At the end of the day the mother has chosen the product from company B because it was more relatable and provided useful information.
Tip #2: Market to Your Customers
There is no such thing as “if you build it, they will come” on the internet any longer. Marketing now means connecting with your customer in a host of ways – not simply through search. You need to make a connection to your customer in a manner that touches their interests and sparks a reason why they should come to you. There are many ways to do this, including the obvious, which are listed below:
- SEO – This is important, yet very misunderstood. Search engine optimization is a tricky topic and unless you are savvy enough to go head to head with thousands of other companies competing in your same space, we recommend hiring a professional to ensure your searches generate clicks, that ultimately convert into sales.
- AdWords – Possibly one of the fastest and easiest ways to generate traffic to your website. It requires that you study keywords and understand how these keywords correspond to the budget you have allocated to marketing. The bigger your budget can afford; the better results will be yielded. If you’re not seeing the conversions you like, it is important to take note of the keywords that deliver the most qualified traffic to your site and find like words or phrases to generate additional momentum and eventual conversions.
- Social Media – This is a great platform for relating to your customer. Most searches performed on social media platforms are very well geared towards user interest. There has been a very promising uptick in the number of conversions recorded that come from social media campaigns. Like AdWords, the bigger your budget, the more people you can reach.
- Analytics – It is very important to know who is coming to your site, how they got there and why they were there. Analytics will help you peer into your traffic and allow you to adjust your messaging to help you improve your customer conversion rates. There are many powerful tools that track and report on customer traffic. Google Analytics is free and very simple to integrate into your Liftoff website.
Tip #3: Achieve “Internet Equity”
Perhaps the hardest obstacle for any new business on the web is gaining reputation with search engines. Hundreds of thousands of sites flood the internet each year. Most of them fail. Search engines have done their due diligence to ensure that reputable, stable and relatable websites are given priority. After your store has been established and you have good, useful content on your website you can begin earning what we’ll call equity, or simply put, search value.
Just like paying down your mortgage, it takes time to gain search equity. Most SEO experts will tell you that brand new websites are often the hardest to get index and take the longest to produce results. Be patient, but diligent.
Tip #4: Find Partners Willing to List Your Website
This probably sounds like speak from the late 90’s. “You’ve got to have a ton of in-linking, oh and you really need out bound linking too!” In a round-about way, yes, this is still very important. Why? Search engines index sites based on reputation among other things. If your site happens to be listed on a few decently ranked websites, chances are your site will be given good credence and will most likely move up in rank.
So are we saying you should link with hundreds of sites? Absolutely not. It’s best to have a few very reputable links with high ranking websites than it is will a bunch of lower ranked, fly by night websites. For a brand new website, reputation ranking can help you reach your goals faster.
Tip #5: Don’t Give Up
Each year, tons of websites are created and each year, tons of websites fail. We encourage you to use our online community to see what others have done to bring them success. There are also loads of qualified professionals that can help you get un-stuck. With so many resources available through Liftoff and our network of successful users, there’s no reason you can’t do something great.
At the end of the day, you have a dream; a goal that you want to achieve. Just because you’ve been enabled to transact business on the internet, doesn’t mean it’ll be easy or fast. With patience, a solid plan and perseverance, you will be successful.