Running Your Online Business
The internet has truly revolutionized the way that we do business. It has allowed for small, independent brands to grow into major corporations and entrepreneurs to build companies in record times. With that said, running an eCommerce business is no small feat. In order to be successful, you have to have a unique offering and a voice that stands out against the competition.
That’s why we sat down with 11 internet business owners and asked them what it takes to run a successful and profitable business online. Keep reading to hear their insights and gain a competitive edge in your industry!
Remain in the Minds of Your Audience
Stay up to date and post frequently. When you run an internet business, your life is online and you need to keep it relevant. Engage with your customers, post blogs, or offer new deals. Keeping your business fresh will allow you to get the best benefits and remain in the minds of your audience.
- Vanessa Molica, The Lash Professional
Showcase the Quality of Your Products
Social media will be your best friend when it comes to running a successful online business. You do not have a store where potential customers can go see your products, which means that your website and social media pages need to be up-to-date and engaging, so customers can see what you have to offer. Also, purchasing ads for your business on places like Instagram and Facebook is a great way to get exposure amongst potential customers –and reach even more people than you would in a traditional, physical business. It comes down to gaining exposure and showcasing the quality of your products.
- Peter Babichenko, Sahara Case
Customer Live Chats
Internet business should run as smoothly as possible. Since everything is virtual, customer live chats should be as efficient as face-to-face conversations. Some companies reply instantly when someone asks for help which leads to customer loyalty. The happy customers become ambassadors for our company because of this feature of live chats available on our platform.
- Sara Yusupov, iHeartRadio
Automate Your Operations
The best way to run a successful and profitable internet business is to make it as self-serve as possible. This is why SaaS is gaining popularity because most of the business can run itself. We have cases where SaaS companies with 10k and more customers are run by teams of 5-10 people. This is what you should aim for!
- Dmytro Okunyev, Chanty
Find Your Angle
If you're an eCommerce company, you're not going to directly compete with Amazon, so don't even try. Have a great backstory, or pitch yourself against a larger competitor and list the reasons you are better. If it's not price, make it about service and support. Find your angle.
- Doug Dennison, MailNinja
My best tip on how to run a successful, and profitable, internet business is to niche down. For example, my business only serves financial advisors. Niching down makes doing business a lot easier because not only can my marketing dollars stretch more, but I can also solve advisors' problems more efficiently because I encounter them all the time.
- James Pollard, The Advisor Coach LLC
Obsess Over Great Customer Experience
Focus on making your current customers happy. Check in regularly to see how your product or service is working for them, and why. If you can make check-ins more casual and conversational, this will create comfort between your team and the customer to freely share information more regularly. This gives you key feedback that will make your offering better, and will also let your customer know that you're there to support them. Ultimately, the vast majority of our business has come from word-of-mouth referrals. And the vast majority of those referrals have been from existing customers.
- Husam Machlovi, With Pulp
Know Competitive Keywords
If you're launching an internet business, you need to have a strategy in place for how people will actually find your company on the web. This strategy should include organic (SEO) and paid (SEM) traffic. When you're launching, make a list of keywords that if someone searched your company, you would want to appear on page one of Google. Then, from that list of primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords, check out your potential competition to see how they're ranking for those keywords.
- Lauren Patrick, Curricula
Choose Big Bets Carefully
One of the great things about running an internet business is that it may not be very expensive to bring your idea to life. While your overhead is a lot lower than a traditional business, there are also fewer barriers to entry, so it's easy to get lost among competitors. To set yourself apart, you need to be ready to make a few well-chosen bets. Is there a special marketing channel to invest time or money in? Can you position yourself for a particular niche or set a better price point? Pick one or two things that you think will give you a leg up and go after them.
- Elliot Brown, OnPay
Outsource Work to Experts
One of the best things that you can do with an internet business is to outsource work to experts. Not only does this improve quality but it also saves time. Look to outsource things like graphic design, SEO, and PR outreach if possible. This will free up your time to focus on providing excellent service to existing customers.
- Liam Quinn, Reach interactive
Use the Absence of Rent Cost Towards Marketing Efforts
When you run an internet business, you need to invest in marketing to make up for the lack of a storefront. Businesses like restaurants and retail stores can expect some quantity of visitors that correlates with how busy the area is. Online, you don't have the significant rent cost, but you also don't have the benefits that come with it. Instead, you need to invest in marketing. As a rule of thumb, I would recommend you allocated at least 10% of your budget to marketing initiatives, which could include areas like content and advertising.
- Tasia Duske, Museum Hack
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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.