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Everything You Need to Know to Build a Successful Online Business

The world has largely moved online, and knowing how to conduct business online has become essential to success. But how do you build and conduct a successful online business? This outline will help you build one from the ground up.

Decide on a Business Model

Figure out the kind of business you want to build. There are several types of business models that will do well online, like:

● Ecommerce business (selling physical products online)

● Affiliate marketing business (selling other people’s products online in return for commission)

● Consulting or freelance business (selling your skills online)

● Digital product business (creating and selling educational courses, design templates, or ebooks online)

● Social media-based business (monetizing your social media following through online brand partnerships or content subscription groups)

Find the Pain Point

What is the need that your online business will fill? Research the market, your competition, and potential customers to find the gaps your business can fill. Go straight to the source and ask customers about what they want and need through customer surveys, look up frequently asked industry questions on Quora or Google, or research common complaints customers have about your competition.

Create a Great Product

Whether offering your skills, online content, affiliate product, physical or digital products, take time to make sure that what you are offering your audience is the best of the best. You might need to do product research, hire a copyeditor to go through your written content, research affiliate opportunities, or develop your marketable skills.

Create Your Ideal Customer

Create a made up person whose struggles align perfectly with the need your business is trying to fill. Having a defined “ideal customer” helps streamline and focus your marketing efforts and communication to cater to one specific person, rather than a vague audience.

Build a Brand

Your brand tells the world who you are and what you stand for, and it needs to grab the attention of your audience. To create your brand, think about what makes your business unique. What do you offer that no one else does? What is your personality, mission, or values? Choose styles, fonts, and colors that best reflect the answers to these questions. Y​our logo, packaging, marketing materials, business cards, and website all need to follow your brand and brand colors.

Create a Business Website

Your website is the online equivalent to the brick-and-mortar storefront. First impressions matter, and your website needs to make a good one if you want to retain your customers and convince them to spend their money.

Use your brand colors, make sure your business logo is visible, and make your website responsive. Make it easy to navigate, and easy to find and purchase your products or services. It does you no good if a customer decides to purchase, but loses interest because of the hoops they need to jump through before reaching checkout. Make sure the website can be viewed on both mobile devices and desktop computers.

Comply with the Law

Avoid future headaches and make sure your business is legal right off the bat. Find out what kind of paperwork you need to file in order to establish and register a business in the state you reside in. Set up a business bank account, find out whether or not you need to apply for a tax identification number (TIN), charge sales tax, or file quarterly federal or state taxes. It’s a good idea to talk to a certified small business accountant to avoid mistakes that might cost you considerable amounts in the long run.

Figure out Logistics

Depending on the online business model you choose, you might need to pick a digital platform, a website host, a learning platform for your online course, or a online shop to sell your products. Regardless of what services or products you offer, you will need to figure out how to process payments. If you offer physical products you’ll need to figure out the logistics of manufacturing and shipping. As your business grows, the logistics will change as well.

Market Your Product

You know what your online business has to offer your audience, now you need to pick a marketing strategy that will let your audience know. Email campaigns, paid advertising, partnerships, content marketing, or social media presence are just a few of the ways you can connect with your potential customers.

● Email

Use a pop-up window to ask visitors to your website to subscribe to your emails. Then send a welcome email to new subscribers, a few days later an email featuring your best-sellers, then an email containing a coupon code..

Paid Advertising

Buy display ads on websites where your ideal customer spends time, use facebook ads to target your competitor followers, or let Google AdWords advertise your products to customers who search for certain phrases.

● Content Marketing

Use educational content such as ebooks, Q and A’s, or articles to establish your business as an expert within the industry and create trust between you and your potential customers. Your customers might not be ready to make a purchase, yet, but if you show them you know what you’re talking about, you will be at the top of their list when they’re ready to make a purchase.

Social Media Presence

Find the social media platform your ideal customer spends their time on and establish your presence there. Publish content that educates your audience, answer their questions, and engage with them.

Partnerships

Find businesses that have audiences similar to yours and consider partnering with them by offering their customers discounts, posting guest posts on their blogs, or even collaborating on projects.

Building a successful online business isn’t as hard as it looks. Follow these steps, and you’ll be well on your way.

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