If you have taken the first vital steps in setting up a viable online business, you will know that it requires extreme levels of effort, planning, and business intelligence to get it to the stage where it is generating meaningful levels of income. The online marketplace is characterized by high levels of competition in every sector, with ever-increasing numbers of new businesses entering the market. It is a fact that 90% of eCommerce businesses fail in their first 120 days of operation. This startling statistic should demonstrate just how competitive the online marketplace is. Put simply, a business needs to offer an outstanding product or service online to survive the first stages of trading. In addition, they must strive to build brand awareness quickly in a crowded marketplace where customers may not even be aware of your existence. If you have successfully navigated the early stages of trading and are looking to grow your online business, this article will help by signposting 6 highly effective strategies.
1. Content is King
When it comes to gaining an ever-increasing customer base online, content truly is king. As many online businesses are 100% online and have no physical premises, customers will judge the value of your business based on what they see online. All content, whether it be promotional materials or product pages, should be professionally designed and eye-catching. When writing product descriptions or blogs for the website, the content needs to appeal directly to the target market. The language used should reflect this market’s values and beliefs. Another important fact when including web content is to ensure that any images used are high quality, especially when showing products. As products are bought online instead of in physical stores, the customer will need to see the product from several angles, all in high resolution. Put simply, poor-quality images can make a product or service seem cheap or unappealing. Ensure that all web content is high quality and you will be taking a vital step to putting the idea of quality into your customers’ minds.
2. A professional and accessible website
You need to design a professional website of similar quality to your content. It is a fact that poor-quality web design will drive customers away from your site and will make retaining customers exceptionally difficult. Poor web design can result in slow web page loading, which is guaranteed to damage the perception of the business in the customers’ eyes. Also, it is worth bearing in mind that today’s online shoppers will be accessing websites through a range of devices. Increasingly customers are using smartphones to make their purchases online. This means that webpages should be easy to navigate on smaller screens as well as via tablets and conventional laptops. If a customer has trouble navigating effectively on a smaller screen (if buttons are difficult to access or a lot of scrolling is involved), this will make the overall shopping experience a negative one.
3. Ensure the website is SEO friendly
Having a professional-looking website is of little value if your target customers aren’t even aware of your existence. Today in 2022, the value of search engine optimization (SEO) cannot be overstated. It directly affects where your online business will rank on the all-important organic searches. Placing high up on the first page of Google search results can drive far more traffic to your site than being on the subsequent pages. Effective SEO is achieved by getting multiple aspects across your website. Writing informative blogs that are well-researched and having suitable links to other reputable sites are elements vital to ensuring high levels of SEO. In addition, cultivating additional backlinks from other reputable companies can do wonders for SEO. In reality, there are a wide range of factors that directly influence SEO performance, and there is a need for expert levels of knowledge. As a result of this, it is advised that many online companies choose to seek the services of SEO experts such as clickintelligence.co.uk to ensure that their site gets the traffic it deserves.
4. Leverage social media
Social media channels such as Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube can be excellent platforms to undertake low-cost but effective promotional activities. For short but memorable ad campaigns that link back to the company website to eye-catching promotions that excite viewers and create a growing customer base, social media can be an extremely powerful tool. It is worth watching the promo campaigns of rival companies that have similar target markets to see how your ad campaigns can be geared to appeal to this market. As a rule, ad campaigns and general promotional activities should have consistent branding and style to build a consistent brand image.
5. Know Your Customers
Having in-depth knowledge of your customer base is a vital step in retaining them and attracting similar-minded new customers. Knowing customers should not just be an activity that is confined to the early stages of setting up a business plan; it should be an activity that is carried out on a perpetual basis. Look to harness the power of online surveys to gain ongoing insights into your customer base and offer incentives for the completion of surveys, such as 10% off vouchers for their next purchase. It can also be highly valuable to harness the power of the data that is collected on customer purchase behavior or when a customer accesses the company website. The insights gained from these activities can help drive positive improvements and can also help to know when to change product lines or offer promotions.
6. First-class customer support
As a final thought, it is incredibly important for any online business to offer a first-class customer support service. Customers will have a range of questions and queries and occasionally may feel that they have not received the best levels of service for a variety of reasons. Being able to provide customers with a timely response to their questions and comments is a key way to retain customers and ensure repeat business. Put simply, a business that does not react quickly to its customers when they make contact is one that will suffer increasing levels of customer churn.
To sum up
To grow an online business, it is important to ensure that the website is professional and functional, with high-quality content present at every click. The site must take steps to improve its SEO attributes and should harness the power of social media for low-cost but effective promotional activities. Online businesses need an in-depth understanding of their customer base to retain them and must offer first-class customer support services for the same reasons.