1. Define Your Audience
It is the single most important thing you have to do as a would-be online entrepreneur. Trying to be everything for everyone never works – which means that you have to know your target audience really well and sell something this audience is going to be interested in. The rest of your marketing strategy – how your website looks, what your prices are, how you advertise – will depend on this one factor.
2. Choose Your Web Hosting Provider Carefully
Ask any specialist “What is the most important aspect of a business website?” and you will invariably receive the answer that most find surprising. It is not the design or usability, not even its usefulness to the client – it is the quality of its hosting. Your online store may have the best stock in your market segment, it may be designed in a way that will make visitors buy from you even if they didn’t intend to…but if it is constantly down, slow, or unstable, you simply won’t get visitors. It doesn’t even have to be expensive – these days it isn’t that hard to find cheap cloud hosting – but make sure the hosting provider you choose is reliable.
3. Hire a Decent Designer
Another thing you should never do as an aspiring online entrepreneur is treat the design of your website as an afterthought. How your website looks and how well it is suited to meeting the client’s requirements is the first thing he or she notices when visiting it. Few visitors will put up with ugly design, inconveniences and other mistakes that could have been easily avoided if you hired an expert.
4. Concentrate on Mobile
The time when website owners could treat people who used mobile devices as an insignificant part of their potential clientele are gone. The smartphone market exploded in the course of several short years, and today those who browse using their mobile devices are more numerous than those who only use PCs. And don’t forget that there is an ever-increasing number of those who surf the Internet almost exclusively via smartphones.
All this means that your website simply has to be optimized to mobile devices. If you don’t do it, you are horribly behind the times – nowadays mobile friendliness is even considered a factor in search engine ranking.
5. Establish Social Media Presence
In order to do business, you will have to let people know about yourself. To do this, you’ll have to advertise – but most methods of conventional advertising are closed to small-time entrepreneurs as they are too expensive and limited in effectiveness. Luckily, there are always social networks where you can do your advertising for free (if you do it yourself) or for a reasonable fee (if you hire someone). In the current business climate, a cleverly designed social media campaign may turn out to be much more effective than a TV ad in prime time.
And remember – once you start building a following, engage! There’s a reason it’s called social media. The more social you get, the more your audience will keep coming back for more.
So be sure to keep these five things in mind. Include the solution to these problems in your first-priority plans, prepare everything before setting out – and your chances of success will increase tenfold.
Featured photo credit: Computer!/Hillyne2000 via flickr.com