Starting a business online in this current era is easier than ever. There are numerous options to consider when starting a home-based business. You can sell hard goods that are trendy or have a lot of market coverage. To sell something online, you need to have a website where you can display all your products, so the customers can view them easily. Here is one of the best ways to sell your hard goods.
Just like you display all your products in a store, the same way you can put all the products on your e-commerce store, it is the most preferred way to grow your work and let more people know about your business. For example, if you are an artist, you can make your own art related website and sell your artwork by delivering them to the doorstep. Similarly, you can sell any good that you think you are comfortable with.
You can create an e-commerce store on BigCommerce, Magneto, Shopify, WooCommerce etc. without too much in-depth technical knowledge.
Now let’s continue to the other major section of the article in which you will get to know about some important things to consider when getting into the world of online business.
1. Find a market, find a need, and fill it
Before getting started online, it is essential to consider what market you are entering. Most people get this step wrong by looking for a product first and the market second. You won’t be able to get good results if you are not choosing the target market wisely. You should get your priorities straight in the beginning by starting with a market, finding the problem that many people are facing and solving it with your product.
Here are some tips you can follow to get a great start in market research:
- Visit social media pages and online forums to see what problems people are facing and demanding in return.
- If you have a chosen a product in mind that you are going to sell then it would the right time to visit your competitor’s site and take note of what they are offering, what response they are receiving and how you can provide the similar products in a much better way.
- Get a bit technical and do keyword-research according to what you will be selling. Find keywords that are low in competition but high in search.
2. Register your business
Registering your business according to your state’ law is of paramount importance if you want to extend it in future. To make your business official, first, you need to choose an official business name and then fill out some paperwork. Registering your business can also help you issue a writ for breach of copyright in case someone copies something from your website.
Before getting registered, you should consider your production and shipping costs, taxes and web hosting fee to get your business plan laid out in a much better way.
3. Design and Build your Website
Website development is one of the major parts of starting a business online. Once you are done with choosing a specific market and products to offer then congratulations, you are eligible for creating a website for your business. Always remember that your website is your business’ identity and you only have 5 seconds to grab the visitors’ attention otherwise they will leave and never be seen again.
Here are some key points to keep in mind while designing and building your website:
- Make sure your website’s design is clear and simple– it shouldn’t have more than two fonts, otherwise the overall appeal would look quite messy.
- Make simple navigation to promote user-friendliness– every page of your website must have clear and consistent navigation.
- Make the buying process easier for the customer because that’s what your main goal is, right? There shouldn’t be more than 2 clicks between your customer and the checkout.
- As most people use their smartphones to explore the internet and shopping websites, make sure that your website’s design is mobile-friendly so people can easily interact with it right from their phones. A mobile-friendly website also gets high organic traffic because Google supports such websites.
To make your website stand out in terms of identity and visibility, make sure you get an appropriate name for it. You should first register a domain name, so you can market your website and make a logo according to it. Domain.com and GoDaddy.com are two of the most famous sites to get a domain name registered, all you have to do is type some names you are interested in to see if they are available and once you land on the desired name, you can simply register it.
The second important thing for website development is getting the web hosting services; you can also choose a free web hosting service but it is recommended to opt for a paid one if you are serious about running your business long term. Choose a service that is well-structured and offers a nice control panel so you can manage all your data and storage in an organized way. Bluehost, HostGator, GoDaddy, InMotionHosting are some of the best websites that provide quality web hosting services.
Developing and designing a website needs technical knowledge of programming languages and development tools, if you don’t want to get into too much technicality then considering a CMS (Content Management System) platform can be a great choice.
WordPress is one of the best and popular platforms for easy and efficient website development. It is perfect for small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to get an appropriate website in the beginning without investing too much time and money into just development. You can find thousands of ready-made templates that you can customize according to your requirements and one the other hand it is really easy to find a freelance WordPress developer in case you are stuck somewhere.
If you have some coding knowledge and want to develop an advanced and highly customized e-commerce website, then Joomla is the second-best option. You can also find several freelance designers and developers to create an amazing e-commerce website for you at a cheap price.
Now once you are all done with your website’s name, hosting, design and development, it’s time to go ahead and consider some more important things such as:
- Content Marketing and Blogging
Content marketing is not something someone might think of before starting a business online and it is always considered as a side thing, but a blog can really enhance the overall value of your website. If you don’t want to work on content marketing in the beginning, then make sure whatever template or design you choose to build the website should have an option to add a blog later without requiring a major reconstruction of your website.
If you are thinking to sell hard goods such as paintings, clothes, shoes, jewelry etc. then you can have content written accordingly and then drive the traffic to the products from your articles.
- Affiliate partnerships and Monetization– Involvement of the Third party
If you are into e-commerce business, then considering monetization through affiliate partnership and on-site ads can really be profitable and increase your revenue without any effort. When incorporating third-party ads, make sure you do not put so many ads in the beginning because it might confuse your potential customers about the actual thing you are trying to sell. The tip here is that you should focus on your real business (selling goods) while also sponsoring third-party ads on your site so you can earn more in less time.
- Setting up the shopping cart
An e-commerce website is of no use if it doesn’t have an efficient shopping cart. If you are working with a paid e-commerce template, you will get an integrated shopping cart that can also be customized according to your products but if you are building a website from scratch then it’s really important to choose a shopping card provider who can integrate with your backend server (Hosting server) and payment gateway without any problem.
- Setting up a payment gateway (merchant account)
A payment gateway is provided by a payment processor that is a company responsible for moving the money from the customer’s account to your business account in a secure and reliable way. Different payment processors have different rates according to their services so it is important to choose the one that perfectly aligns with your business and financial needs.
4. Getting traffic to your website
There are several ways to get traffic to your website, some are paid, and some are free. Now it totally depends on you that from where and how you want to get the traffic from. If you want a rapid hike in the engagement rate on your website and it is perfectly fine for you to invest some money into your business online, then choosing PPC (pay per click) advertising is a great option. You can start a PPC campaign on Google, YouTube or Facebook, and you only have to pay for the actual clicks on your content/ad.
PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately enabling more people to know about your offered products and you don’t even have to wait for the traffic to come organically. The second-best benefit of PPC is that you can also test your keywords, titles, and strategies so you can easily discover the best-selling approach. Once you get to know what your highest-converting keywords are, you can utilize them in your content, title, and code which will increase your ranking in the search results organically.
Here are 3 traffic types:
- Can take time to come but builds up naturally
- Traffic comes through Google or any other search engine
- Highly convertible traffic– search engines love it
- Not organic and doesn’t come naturally
- The more you pay, the more traffic you will get
- An expensive way but can get more traffic in less time
- Most preferred method for quick engagement rate
- Requires appropriate keyword knowledge
- Kind of organic in nature
- Search engines are a major driver of this traffic if your content is well-optimized
- Comes through links, articles, and on-site ads
5. Email marketing and email services
Email marketing can turn a visitor into a buyer without any extensive effort. Make sure when you build a website for your online business, you also find a suitable email service to embed so you can interact with your visitors in the right way. You can put a “Subscribe Now” button on your website for the visitors to get the latest information through emails. Anyone who opts-in to your email list is a hot lead and there is no better and cheap tool than email marketing for following up with your lead.
Here are some of the top email services you can find to integrate with your website
When choosing the email marketing, there are two things to consider:
A Single opt-in email is when the user subscribes to your email list and is automatically added without any confirmation. This may be the fastest method to add the people to your list but it isn’t much reliable as you will likely get a lot of fake and spam emails added too.
A double opt-in email is when the user subscribes to your email list and is then required to confirm their email through a link. It is the most reliable way for email marketing because you get better engagement rate and are protected from scammers/fake email addresses.
Some key benefits of email marketing:
- Development of a strong and lifetime relationship with the customer
- Cheaper than other marketing mediums such as print, radio, TV etc.
- Highly targeted marketing approach
- The response is 100% measurable
- Easy to reach a global audience
6. Upselling for more income
At least 36% people who have purchased from you will buy again if they are happy with their first purchase. The most important aspect of a business is to create loyalty and value for your business and you can easily make loyal customers by offering them loyalty coupons or codes that they can use on their next purchase. Those loyalty coupons won’t just make your customers loyal to you but also make them return to your website and refer it to many other people. Always remember, if you reward your customers for their loyalty, they will become even more loyal to you.
You can also offer related products on the “Thank you for shopping” page after their first purchase.
- Utilize the power of social media
With your website made and ready to hit the market, you should also utilize the power of social media to expand your online footprint. It does not matter what products you are selling; social media always has a place for you to fit in and getting your name in the air is the key to internet success.
What you can do is create your business account on top social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. It will allow you to reach millions of people in a much interactive and easy way without any massive investment. You can post the latest news and products to your social media accounts for people to see and the trick here is linking all your posts back to your main website, so your real goal can be achieved neutrally. It is a great way to engage your target audience and direct them to your website.
Selling your products online to the people might be something difficult but if you are persistent and follow this guide thoroughly, you will surely be able to earn a good amount of money easily. However, the key to success in online business is making sure that you are filling the gap in the market, so your product can be sold quickly. Best of luck with your business online!