As an entrepreneur, the Internet offers you with countless opportunities to offer your physical products, digital products, or services. Do you have a good idea, but you’re unsure what’s involved and what you should think about?
In this blog I will share useful tips that will help you be well prepared to make a successful start with your online business.
1. Genuinely believe in your own success
If you don’t believe in your own success, who will? Having faith in what you are going to do is an absolute necessity. You can only be successful if you are convinced of your own idea or plans. Why would anyone buy a product or service if even the provider (you!) does not fully support it?
Of course, it is not always easy to (continue to) believe in your own ideas. Especially when you start an online business, there will be people in your circle of friends and family who are skeptical or see obstacles. Don’t let them throw you off course, and keep believing in your success!
2. Identify your target audience’s key problem
In order for your online business to be successful, you need to think about the problem you want to solve in advance. You read it correctly: a problem. Because where there is a problem, there is a market.
Your product can be very well thought of as it is: if there is no market and no target group for it, it will be no use to you. So, before you define your product or service, perform research about what exactly your target audience needs or is interested in.
Go and do some research. Visit forums where your target audience is active and see what concerns them. Or search Google to find out what popular search terms are. The best research is by asking your target group directly, for example, through an interview or a questionnaire.
3. Come up with an ideal solution to the problem
Now that you know what problem you want to tackle for your potential customers, you need to work on defining a suitable solution for it. In other words: you create a solution with your product service. What can you do particularly well, and what is it worth? And how can you translate that into a digital product? Write this down for yourself.
There are countless ways to make money with your online business. For example, you can start an online store, offer e-learning, and develop software or an app. You can also offer online coaching or create video courses. Put all your hunches and ideas on paper and move on to the next tip.
4. Conduct market research
After you have written down all your ideas, you should conduct an online market and competitive analysis. Such a market research can be scary, as you may be discouraged by the fact that there are already so many others doing pretty much the same thing. Know that it is actually a good sign that there is competition. You then know for sure that there is demand for the type of product or service you want to offer.
Your competitors have probably been active for some time. You may also assume that their current offerings are the result of much trial and error. You can use this to your advantage. Read more about this in the next tip.
5. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
At school you learned that you should not imitate others but go for your own inspiration and ideas. It’s different with online businesses. You don’t need a new idea to become successful. Let go of the idea that you need to reinvent the wheel.
Look at how others in your field (and beyond) run their online business. Write down everything that inspires you and what fits you. See what strategies are being used. Then brainstorm what your product or service will look like. Use all the inspiration, but always make it your own approach.
You as a person are the part that convinces your target group, along with your product, knowledge and expertise. This is also the reason why people decide to buy from you. So instead of waiting for the ideal idea or trying too much, you start right away with a good foundation.
6. Make sure you set big and small goals
If you have a vision and a plan and you believe in your own success, you already have a good foundation for your online business. You also need to set goals. Remember: if you don’t set goals, you can’t achieve goals.
Make sure you set small goals but also big goals that at first seem a bit too far out of reach. However, if your main goals are too small, they won’t be challenging enough, and your online business won’t grow.
Choose a big goal and divide that goal into smaller goals that you can achieve. This way, you always have the big goal in mind, but you can still celebrate successes along the way. That keeps the motivation.
Always make sure your goal is well defined. For example: “Within a year, I want to generate an income of 4,000 euros per month with my online business”. With this goal in mind, you know what you have to do.
7. Provide engaging content on your website
Your website is the perfect place to present your services and products online. Your website works like an online business card. All text should directly appeal to your target audience.
Provide catchy headers and address the problem of your target group (because that’s what they’re looking for after all). Then explain to potential customers what perfect solution you have for their problem and why they should come to you (the expert).
I also recommend that you regularly publish new content on your website. For example, you can post blog posts regularly. In the blogs you focus on topics that really appeal to your target audience. Let your texts show that you are an expert in your field.
After all, it is also important to analyze the success of your website and to respond to that. I understand if this is too technical for you, but know that it is important and that you can use the expertise of others.
8. Provide a few appealing reviews
Everyone knows the power of reviews. A few words of praise from satisfied customers immediately increase confidence in you and your product or service. Always encourage satisfied customers to leave a review. You can do that on your website but also on social media.
Something as simple as sending an email to people who have recently made a purchase or sharing a request on social media can get you some great reviews right away. People are happy to give a review if they are satisfied. You just need to ask for it ;-).
9. Be present where your target group is
Making use of the enormous reach of social media is a perfect way to attract new customers. Do you ever wonder where you exactly need to work on your online visibility?
Many entrepreneurs think they have to be visible everywhere. That is simply not feasible. Especially if you want to share good and engaging content that is different on each platform, to start with, look at your type of customer. Do you have businesses as customers? Then LinkedIn is the place to be. But also know that the people who work at the business are probably also active on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest in their free time.
It’s smart to find out where your target audience is active mainly. Do some research and ensure you are findable and active on the platforms on which your target group is active. Really take the time for this.
10. Get serious about social media marketing
Social media marketing is a specific marketing technique. It involves using social media to achieve your predetermined goals.
It is an interactive form of marketing aimed at engaging your ideal customers on various online platforms. Think about Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Youtube, or Pinterest.
You may already be doing something in this area. Now that you’re also getting started online, it’s all the more important that you really approach your social media marketing in a well thought-out and professional manner.
11. Just start
All your crafted plans are worth nothing if you don’t put them into practice. Many online business ideas fail because they never end up being realized. Out of fear of failure, many people try to adjust their plans in advance until they seem perfect. But remember: (almost) no one can come up with the perfect approach all at once.
When you have created a great plan, start with your online business as soon as possible. You will learn what works and what doesn’t in practice. This way, you gradually gain experience, and you can keep improving your online business to reach your goals.
12. Actively seek out contact with your (potential) customers
You can directly and easily get in touch with your ideal customer through social media. Now you know where your target group is active, you can easily reach them. You can do this by regularly posting messages on the platforms.
It is important that everything you post is interesting and inspiring for your target audience. Post regularly to ensure that it looks professional.
Don’t have inspiration about what to post about? No problem. You can use my social media content calendar, for example.
13. Stay in the spotlight with email marketing
Besides social media, you can also stay in touch with your target audience through a newsletter. Make sure that you have trigger on your website that appeals to your target audience. By signing up, people get on your mailing list, and you can reach them through your newsletter.
Send a newsletter at least once a month. Two-weekly or even weekly is even better. In the email, you can inspire and inform your target audience about what you are doing and what moves you. They are always interested in the person behind a company.
After all, you can also make great offers that you only share in your newsletter. This makes it even more interesting for the recipient to read your newsletters.
Take these tips and get a good start with your online business. Good luck!
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