Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How to kick-start your business online

You have just started an online business or are a small business owner and do not have a big marketing budget, so how do you kick start your business? How do you leverage the internet to take it to the next level? While you may have little or no budget for online marketing, you could focus on these 4 key areas, that will yield return in the medium to long term:

     1: Invest in a good website

As some online marketing experts say, having a good website is like putting your best foot forward on your first date! You want the visitor have a good first impression and then want to get to know more about you, wanting to meet again and eventually turning this into a long-term relationship. So, having a good website is must. The website doesn’t need to be fancy, but just getting the basics right and keeping user experience and useful content on top of your priority list as you develop that website will pay off tremendously. Click here  to understand the key elements of a good website.

2: Increase hits on your website

As an online business, this would be one of your biggest priorities. Higher traffic means better rankings and more searchable your business is. Some of the ways to increase traffic are:
  • Send bulk emails to prospects to create awareness about your website. Start with your own family/friends/professional network/any potential customer database that you can get hold of.
  • Use social media – Just creating a very active presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn will help drive traffic to your site. Follow industry experts, influencers, and create a presence anywhere and everywhere your target audience is.
  • Blogging about your industry/domain would be an excellent way to get traffic on your site. 
  •  Get your business featured in entrepreneurship, industry showcase and any other sites where you can get good PR. 
  •  Post regularly on forums with the aim to provide useful information.
  • Run Pay-per-click campaigns. While this is an expensive way but will definitely get you some hits and visibility.
  • Invest in SEO. This is a slow and long term strategy but helps bring sustainable traffic to your site.
     3: Increase registered user base and increasing engagement of existing user base

Increasing hits on your site must be accompanied by increasing engagement of your existing visitors/registered customer base. Some of the things to think about are:
  • Giving your users more and more reasons to come to your site
  • Giving your users to interact with your site and potentially even create content (user generated content)
  • Incentivizing referrals – how to get existing users to get more users registered 
  • Increasing conversation on and about your site 
  •  Building a community so that it becomes more than a website – it becomes a cohesive community that people want to nurture
4: Decide how to make money

If you are not directly selling a product or service and have a portal with valuable content, then how your site will make money is something that you will need to work out sooner or later. While creating the right portal is the first step, but cash is what keeps a business alive. So, start spending some thought on this upfront. For this we would recommend the following:
  • Do a case study of other similar sites and see if there are any lessons to be learned 
  • Start exploring the idea of partnerships with companies/websites that might have opportunities to sell their products/services to your user base.
  • Consider renting out space on your site for ads, using services like adsense
  • Think of a freemium model where access to some of your offerings is free and some is paid 

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By consistently investing your time and effort in the above, you will pave the way to a successful online business.

article originally posted on amazines

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