There’s no denying that the business world is a highly competitive industry, so knowing how to stand out from the crowd can be tough when you first begin to navigate your way through it. Hundreds of new businesses start up every day, but only a small percentage continue their success in the long term. Many entrepreneurs now choose to start their business solely online, whether it’s due to having smaller start-up funds, or they are looking for less of a risk factor when it comes to making investments.
If you are new to the world of business and are looking to set up your own business online, below are six essential tips which will stand you in good stead:
1. A good website design
As your website will be the only platform customers use to purchase products or hire your service, it is essential that it is designed solely with the user in mind. When first starting out in business, it can be easy to misjudge the fine line between giving your website that unique touch and over-designing the visual appearance to the extent that it appears tacky or difficult to use. With this in mind, try and avoid gimmicks such as flashing images, background sounds or too many category headers. All of these could distract the user and urge them to click the back button. Instead, ensure your web design is well-organized, simple and has the brand’s best interests at the focus. If you feel you need a helping hand, you could always hire the assistance of a web designer.
2. Consider E-Commerce shipping
If your business is product-focused, you need to take into consideration how you will keep on top of the shipping process. For start-up businesses, managing the sales of products and a quick-turnaround time can be overwhelming and time-consuming. Therefore, if you feel you are out of your depth, it may be best to hire a company who are able to take charge of this aspect for you.
A fulfillment service will store and ship your products to the customer, which should take away the stresses of keeping on top of orders. All that is needed from you is to ship off the products to the center and a dedicated team will take care of the rest. The Austin Fulfillment Center is an ideal choice, and you should definitely go here if you are interested in hiring an external shipping service.
3. Respond to customers quickly
When a customer or client contacts you, you must make it your priority to get back to them as soon as possible. You may not realize it, but customers do take note of how long a business responds to any queries, as it determines both efficiency and customer loyalty.
As the business owner, it can be a challenge to keep tabs on the running of the business while on vacation, for example. If you just some need time to switch off, you should ensure an employee is on hand to deal with customer and client queries in your absence. Failure to do so means there is a high likelihood you will lose their custom.
4. The wording of your website copy is important
Although it can be a struggle to make ends meet as a new start-up business, it is natural to give your customers the hard sell. However, doing so could drive your customer away and neglect making a purchase, which is not an effective tactic for achieving long-term customer loyalty. In this regard, a pushy salesperson may be what initially springs to mind when considering a forceful approach, but the same may also be said for the copy on your website. Aim to avoid language that is too sales-focused and instead, market the product in a positive light with a few key selling points.
Depending on how familiar you are with business websites, you may have heard of the term ‘Search Engine Optimization.’ This is a tool in which Google ranks a website in the search engine results based on the keywords used. As a result, many businesses push this strategy too far and are at risk of over-optimizing their website. This can end up with the search engine banning your website for being too spammy. Using keywords within your copy is all about striking the right balance to give it the best chance of being noticed by new customers, while still showcasing the element of professionalism.
5. Be clever with your marketing campaigns
Once you build up a steady customer base, you may decide on setting up a newsletter or SMS campaign because this way your customers are kept up to date with business news, sales, and offers. It can be extremely tempting to message customers frequently, but they will not look favorably on being bombarded.
Many businesses choose to send out weekly or monthly updates, providing that the customer’s best interests are the focus of the message. You should also provide an easy way for customers to ‘opt out’ of the marketing campaign should they wish to do so.
6. Keep on top of your competition
People can now shop from any online business from anywhere in the world, which makes monitoring your online competition crucial for long-term success. The fundamental basis of purchase for most customers is the price, and if they happen to find a better offer, they will most likely shop elsewhere. But price doesn’t necessarily secure the deal, and there are a variety of other factors customers look for when deciding to purchase from a certain business. Such factors include the level of customer service they receive and feedback from other customers.
If you want to find out more about how other businesses run, have a browse through a search engine and analyze the approaches of your main competitors. Consider the types of products and services they offer, the similarities and differences to your business and the way in which they market themselves to potential customers. Keeping up to date with the progressions of your competitors may be the inspiration you need to develop an effective marketing plan.