You have decided to start an online business. You have a website ready to go but now you have no idea what to do next. Businesses do not become successful overnight, even on the internet. You may be disappointed if you expect sales to start pouring in by the end of the week you launched your website!
It takes time, work, commitment, perseverance, dedication and belief in yourself and your products to grow your online business. Once you start to create your reputation and build a solid foundation for your business, it will start to grow and sales will increase.
Below are 10 ways you can grow your online business:
Create a website that is simple, useful and easy to navigate. Let your customers know immediately what your site is about; if your visitors can’t figure out what you offer, they will just close you out. Don’t fill your site full of flashy animations, music, and other annoyances. Keep advertising to a minimum — at least don’t let customers dig for your content because all they see are ads. Always have your contact info available for your visitors. Be honest, straightforward and provide a good product or service. Don’t make your customers wait; check to make sure that your website loads fast. Also, give your users the same experience whether they are visiting your website from the desktop, mobile or tablet.
Appreciate Your Customers
Customers do not come easy so you need to show them you appreciate them and deserve their trust. Be available to your customers when they have questions or need help. Answer all emails as quickly as you can and as efficiently as you can. Be willing to go the extra mile to make their experience with you more than satisfactory. Customers are not always right but you can make them feel like they are!
Join Groups and Forums
Join email discussion groups, message boards and other forums to help build your business. In social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin or Google Plus, find groups related to your business and actively engage the other members. Post and answer questions; and participate as much as you can. Offer advice, help, guidance, and ask questions as well. Do not just advertise and leave!
Blog, Blog, and Blog
Blogs have become very popular in a short amount of time. Blogging is very much like writing a newsletter or ezine. You want to post helpful information, resources and more. Update your blog regularly and make it interactive. WordPress is a good place to start your blog.
We all know the sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., but not all of us use them to their full potential. Getting and staying active on these powerful sites are highly proficient ways to expand your contacts, increase your sales, and intensify your online presence. Learn how to repurpose your content — e.g. create a graphic based on your articles — and then post that graphic in sites such as Pinterest or Instagram.
Optimize for Search Engines
Research ways you can improve your site for the search engines. The key is to make sure that you are building your site for the users — and that they find your website useful. Create your site for users; and if users love you, search engines will follow. Sure, you can still use the 90s techniques of search engine optimization — use relevant keywords, bold headlines, effective meta tags, a site map, and update regularly — but now, it’s all about the users. By proving your site’s usefulness to your users will you see an increase in your search engine ranking.
The power of article marketing has increased over the years. If you are not yet writing and submitting articles, I would recommend you get started as soon as you can. Writing articles does not have to be hard. You do not have to use big, technical words. Write like you are letting a friend know how to do something. Make your article straightforward and helpful.
Once you get an article written (include your resource box at the end), share your article. Note though that unlike before where you can blast submit your email to thousands of article directories, doing so now can get your site penalized in the search engines. Instead of submitting your articles to article directories, find a few high quality blogs and online publications and submit your content to them.
Content is king, right? It was true at the start of the Internet, and content still reigns supreme today. The key though, is creating content that your audiences find useful by providing something of value to your visitors and customers. It is all about engaging your customers — and once you succeed, they will share, talk about your content, and basically help spread the word about your business. They will be your best advocates: they will pin the content they love, share it with their friends on Facebook, talk about it on Twitter, and others.
Your Business is Not a Hobby
So many people start a business because they mistakenly think they will not have to work a lot to make money. When I first started online, I was working 12 – 14 hours a day to build my reputation and online presence. After several years I am able to slow down a bit but I must be sure to always be on top of things and to not let my business grow stale. I know not all of us have 12 – 14 hours a day to work but if you stay committed and treat your business as a business and not a hobby or something to do, than you can make your business a success!
Learning how to market yourself and your business with videos can have a big impact on your online presence. In this day and age, we do not need a complicated camera and crew to make a video. You can simply do this at home. Put a little planning into your video, dress appropriately and brush up on your speaking skills. You want to effectively get your message across and you want people to take you seriously. Once you create your video, post it on your site, blog or social media page and amplify your online presence.
Take some time to research these marketing methods and be prepared to follow through. Rushing into things can sometimes backfire and do more damage than good. So, always be learning, expanding and testing your techniques and you will surely escalate your online presence!