8 Tips For Starting An Online Business

8 Tips For Starting An Online Business

If you want to start an online business then you certainly have a lot to think about. You need to plan out your entire business; that includes investment, budgets, marketing plan, picking an online platform to name a few. Then you need to think about what areas to focus on, build your database, find leads and most importantly – work with the right people to help you along the way. This can be difficult when the market is flooded with so many options. Below we hope to set out 8 tips to starting an online business to make your life a whole lot easier!

  1. Do Your Research

Make sure that you do your research and understand your market and your competitors (if any). Learn from them and work harder to give your customers a better experience, better customer service, better pricing and better shipping options for example. Plan out your customer journey according to their needs. How will they shop on your site? What is the quickest method to converting your website traffic into buying customers? You also need to make sure that you don’t under price your products as well. This may be tempting because it is a great way to get in the market, but this could hinder you later on. Offer great value and customer service and you won’t have to lower your prices/rates.

  1. Make Your Website User Friendly

You need to make sure that your website is user friendly, beautiful and converts you’re audience into buyers. If your site is not user friendly than your users will leave and go to your competition. It’s that simple. Knowing what to add to your website, and what not to add can often be a challenge when starting out but working with User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) experts, can certainly make or break an online business in most cases.

  1. Understand Your Audience

Understanding your audience and offering them true value and giving them what they want will set you apart from your competition. So listen to your audience, ask them what they love and what they don’t love. This will help shape your business profoundly and hopefully make your business much more profitable along the way. Start by creating customer personas. Personas are your target audience, the people who will use your website the most. Start with 2 or 3 personas and start marketing to those types of customers.

  1. Sell International

If you plan to advertise your products to your international buyers, consider having multiple currencies for your customers to choose from so they can view your site easier. Use Translation Tools to translate your website copy to other languages. Create website pop-ups or banners that are specially designed and targeted to overseas IP addresses to welcome them and give them special offers to incentivise them to buy with your online store.

  1. Consider Shipping and Logistics

Shipping costs and logistics is often an overlooked area of online retailing, when starting out. Think … can you and your site handle large orders? Can it handle 100 orders a day or 1000 orders a day? Consider placing a product limitation on your site so you only advertise the stock you have available. Customers love free shipping. So calculate the costs to offer this service and create promotions to suit your business. For example – ‘Free Shipping On Orders Over $99’. This will often increase your average cart size and average order value!

  1. Offer The Right Payment Options

How are you going to let your customers pay? Card? PayPal? Cheque? BPay? Cash? Try to offer as many options as possible, if it suits your business but beware that there are some added costs, like special Payment Gateways. PayPal is definitely recommended and is an easy method to setup. If you’re shipping or trading internationally then look at other options, like the Chinese AliPay for example. Talk to us if you’re unsure of which method to choose.

  1. Find The Right Marketing Channels

Marketing your products or business is possibly the biggest challenge any small business will face when starting an online business or E-commerce store. Thankfully there are lots of options that you can choose from that won’t cost you a fortune. Start by focusing on Social Media, focus on two channels to begin with and work hard to build out your posts, feed, images and content. Find out what channels your customers are using, then simply get involved in their conversations, forums, comments sections and offer your input and create value. Try not to over sell, but simply give advice and share ideas. Be seen as a thought leader in your space. Creating a blog is always another great option, which will help with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This will help your business climb the Google Rankings and help your customers find you online.

  1. Choose An E-commerce Expert To Help You

Having the right team who can help to build your online business and e-commerce store is critical to your success. Pick a team who has experience and understands what it takes to succeed in the online space. There are many components to a successful E-commerce business, and often you can’t take on every single task yourself.

So there you have it, 8 tips to starting an online business! Your business may take some time to get going, but when you have these 8 tips in place, you will start to see great results!

It has never actually been easier to start an online store and Web Design Market can help you with anything to do with your online business. We have plenty of hassle free solutions available for you to choose from so give us a call today on 03 8400 4600 to discuss your next big project!

Sales BOOM: How E-commerce Is Transforming Small Businesses
Sales BOOM!
Sales Boom: How E-commerce Is Transforming Small Businesses

A growing number of small businesses are cashing in on the popularity of online shopping by turning to the Internet to sell their products and services. With online spending in Australia increasing by 12 per cent to $16.2 billion last year, according to NAB figures, there’s never been a more opportune time. While a company website certainly helps attract more customers, embracing e-commerce widens the net even further, offering multiple advantages.

A major benefit is that it helps small businesses remain competitive, particularly against larger corporations. An impressive website can go a long way to attract customers, no matter how small your store is. In fact, many people prefer to purchase products from a ’boutique’ business, therefore whether your business has five or 500 employees is irrelevant.

Selling online also provides small businesses with extra revenue by generating sales 24/7. Customers can place orders at any time of day or night without you having to work extra hours. This is especially appealing to small business owners who are time-poor and want to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Web Design Market - E-commerce Experts

Another bonus of e-commerce is the ability to sell unlimited products. A broad range of items draws a large variety of customers and those who browse for a specific item often end up buying more when something catches their eye. To expand on that, social media users can post images and details about new products with links to their website, encouraging even more sales.

When it comes to Internet marketing, it’s especially important for small businesses to remain prominent. An online store allows customers searching online to find your business by using the correct keywords. It also improves your company’s visibility in Google search listings, places it on online maps and provides a platform for online reviews.

Another incentive to sell online is the crucial market research it provides. Essentially, it allows business operators to understand what customers are thinking. You can determine which items are regularly viewed, which pages are popular and those that users leave most frequently. You can also accurately ascertain how many products are needed.

With these benefits and more, it’s not surprising to see why e-commerce has become an integral part of business today. Those interested in selling online should know that creating an e-commerce website can be both hassle-free and affordable with the right help. Web Design Market Melbourne are a team of digital experts who specialise in quality e-commerce development for small to medium businesses. They use Magento, BigCommerce, WordPress and WIX platforms just to name a few. For a free quote, call (03) 8400 4600.

27 Quick Online Tricks to Get More Customers

Whether you are starting a business, company, or contracting work, you want to be found online. More than 90% of Australians online, this means 9 of 10 of your future customers will be looking for your website, Facebook Page or online business listing. Heck, they might be “Googling” you right now!

If you play the game right, you WILL find success in the online space.

We have been in the field for a while, so let us give you a few pointers.

Below is a collection of Quick Tips to Supercharge Your Online Marketing Efforts. These tips are easy to do, don’t take much time AND deliver big results.

Happy Marketing!

WDM Team

27 Quick Online Tricks to Get More Customers

1. Add a Call To Action (“Request a Quote”, “Call Now”, Call “03 12 34 567 Now”) at the top of every page of your website

2. Get feedback on your site design using Usability Hub: https://usabilityhub.com

You can either step back from your computer monitor while looking at your website and squint your eyes to partially distort your vision and then you will most likely only see basic blocks of your website design and sales copy.

4. Set Up Google Analytics (it’s free!) and see where your site visitors come from and what they are doing on your website (http://www.google.com.au/analytics/)

6.Install Google Web Master Tools. This ensures Google knows about your website and allow you to start appearing in Google quicker.

8.Offer a strong money-back or return guarantee. Get customers over the line by making them a promise. If you are offering your services in market, you should be delivering them anyway.

9.Use Pingler to let Search Engines know about your website. Takes 30 seconds, just plug in your website URL and categories you want to appear for, and Pingler will send alert major search engines. https://pingler.com

10. Add your website to your e-mail signature. Simple.

12. List Your Business on Google & Yellow Pages. You can post on hundreds of online directories, but most will refer to Google and YP anyway.

13.Use Topsy to find out what people are saying about your brand, product, or service on social media such as Twitter and Instagram, for free! http://topsy.com

14. Generate Content Title Ideas with this tool. For when you are stuck for ideas for writing articles that could be of interest to your customers. http://www.portent.com/tools/title-maker

15. Google Your Competitors. Are they doing anything successfully that you can do for yourself?

16. Google Yourself. What sites are linking to you? Are your competitors appearing?

17. Join Industry Associations. The Queensland Government site for businesses has a directory of associations by industry:
http://www.business.qld.gov.au/business/support-tools-grants/support/business-industry-associations/a-z-business-industry-associations

18. Add Social Share Buttons and Track their usage with Add This. See what content is popular with your customers. http://www.addthis.com

19.Run an online only promotion and post on Bargain sites (eg. Ozbargain)

20.Complete your social media account profiles and link to website.

21.Use the Google Keyword Tool to find out how many people are searching for your brand, product or service online. https://adwords.google.com/KeywordPlanner

22.Take a picture of your office and add to the contact page

23.Free to Use Images http://www.freeimages.com/

24.Get the most web un-savvy person you know to test your site.

25. Ask 3 customers/clients for feedback on your site.

26. Ask a question at the end of your blog post, to encourage comments.

27. Share/retweet your older but popular content again.

Reviving the PPC vs. SEO Debate: What Works Better for eCommerce?

The PPC vs. SEO debate is an old one, but has become more interesting of late with the increasing complexity of Google’s search algorithms and the powerful targeting options of the evolving Adwords platform. Irrespective of which method you prefer, you cannot deny the importance of both online marketing channels in driving more leads and sales to businesses. According to a report by Jupiter Research, 81 percent of users find what they are looking for via a search engine.

Many believe that PPC is leading the way in this battle of search engine marketing, especially when it comes to eCommerce. It does in fact have an edge in terms of conversion rates as paid search results have a 1.5x higher chance to convert click-throughs from search engine result pages. However, there are 8.5x more chances for organic results to be clicked compared to paid search results.

THE ONGOING DEBATE

Both PPC and SEO are popular methods to drive traffic. So why this debate between them? While SEO brings in the organic traffic via organic search results, PPC allows you to place a highly targeted ad on Google using specific keywords. Users too don’t mind clicking these ads as Google ensures that these advertisements are predominantly relevant to what they are looking for (based on the keywords in the search term).

There are a few issues with SEO. For example, it involves a set of time-taking activities to get your website ranked higher on SERP (search engine result page). Secondly, there is no guarantee with SEO. That being said, positive ROI is likely with right optimisation efforts. In fact, if done properly SEO can outperform PPC in terms of ROI. But it takes a lot of time and practice apart from skills, resources, financing and a proper strategy to get it right. You will need at least 6 months to generate positive ROI with SEO.

PPC, in contrast, ensures that your brand shows up for specific keyword search right on top position of the SERPs. It’s quick to set up and even faster in generating results, although PPC is a little slower to optimize. In most cases, PPC campaigns help you receive instantaneous results. Besides, they are not affected by algorithm changes. On the downside PPC campaigns can be expensive as you need to pay for every click, whether or not they convert. This means you will end up losing a significant amount of money if your PPC campaign fails.

PPC FOR ECOMMERCE

There is no denying that eCommerce has always relied on PPC. And after the latest additions in AdWords in the form of aggregated Store Reviews (for Google Trusted Stores), Shopping Ads, and Ad Customisers (Sale Countdown), businesses are seeing an increasing return of investment from the effectiveness of these ads.

One PPC strategy for online stores is to bid for revenue, which means you could earn five dollars back for every dollar spent on AdWords. But to do so you need to bid for an expected revenue instead of bidding for clicks and conversions. Here is how selling with PPC works:

  • Bid on a competitive keyword
  • A user search with your keyword and AdWords displays an ad
  • The user clicks the ad and it takes him/her to your landing page
  • The user browses the site and may/may not purchase your product(s)
  • He/she checks out and you need to attribute the sub-total to the keyword

While you cannot control people’ purchase decision with your PPC campaigns, you can certainly influence their decisions. And the good news is that it almost always works for eCommerce sites as the AdWords reporting allows online retailers to identify the top performing products (i.e. keywords) to improve their sales. PPC therefore provides the knowledge, and provides insights which you need to approach SEO for your eCommerce site.

APPROACHING SEO FOR ECOMMERCE

Although eCommerce websites tend to rely on PPC, this alone cannot help you rank higher than your competitors on Google’s search engine result pages. According to a study by Gabe Donnini, “the share of impressions coming from the first position is almost double that for the second position, truly illustrating the value the first spot holds.”

Another study by Optify back in 2011 found that the average CTR (click-through rate) for websites ranking number one was 36.4 percent, whereas those in the second positions had 12.5 percent click-through rate and the third positioned had just 9.5 percent CTR.

Having a strong SEO strategy is therefore essential for your clicks and sales as well as for your brand impressions. To approach SEO for your eCommerce website, begin with in depth research, including both keyword and competitor research. When it comes to keyword research you need to focus on three primary areas:

  • Identify popular keywords for homepage and individual homepage and product pages
  • Find keywords for blog topics, including long-tail keywords
  • Avoid keyword cannibalisation i.e. trying to rank multiple pages of your website for the same keyword

In addition, conduct a thorough competitor research including identifying the keywords your competitors are using, the sources from where they are getting their links (especially for content marketing), and their site architecture. Study their SEO strategy and see what you can do differently to yield better results.

One thing you must remember that “content is key” in SEO; therefore, focus on your content. This has become even more important after Panda and Penguin updates. In addition, the Pigeon update, which was rolled out on July 24, requires you to give more importance to local search as it is now tied more closely to traditional Web ranking signals than ever.

Last but on the least, your SEO efforts should also consider the new mobile-friendly updateMobilegeddon to make your eCommerce website more mobile-friendly. After all, mobile commerce is one of the Big Bets of the eCommerce world at present. According to a 2015 comScore study, smartphones account for almost 20 percent of search activities whereas 9 percent online searchers use tablets from the same purpose.

BEST OF BOTH WORLDS

What you need is a cohesive strategy that combines the two distinct disciplines to help you achieve the best of both worlds. For example, by using both PPC and SEO together you can understand the new keyword opportunities, identify organic keywords with a few impressions but high CTR and vice versa and target them all for your SEO efforts. In other words, test your organic keywords through PPC campaigns and fine tune your strategy accordingly. Similarly, you can use site search data (which is a part of your SEO efforts) to discover better performing PPC keywords.

The benefits of such a cohesive strategy are many. One such benefit is that it helps you combat negative PR. eCommerce brands are often subjected to negative PR; someone out there always has something bad to say about you. It is often inevitable but combining PPC and SEO efforts is a great damage control. Since it helps you dominate both organic and paid search results, you can effectively guide the conversation by controlling the PPC and SEO results for a particular term.

One great example we have seen till date was during the Gulf oil spill. After some time of this unfortunate incident, BP conducted a PPC ad campaign, linked to the term “oil spill,” which took visitors to a page that discussed BP’s cleanup efforts in details. BP ensured that whenever a user searched about oil spill, their PPC ad topped the list to tell people their side of the story.

CONCLUSION

Is there a clear winner?

Perhaps no. Combining PPC and SEO efforts is rather the way to create a winning digital marketing strategy as they are rightly called a match made in heaven. By integrating your organic and paidsearch activity you create a synergy that generates better results in dominating the search space. The secret to do so, however, lies in how you are informing your SEO/PPC strategy based on data derived from the other channel.