Often, the hardest part of building an online business isn’t starting – it’s marketing your business once you’ve launched it. To help you grow your online business from a small start-up to a successful company, below are five quick tips to optimize your business model.
- Make Use of your Support Team
It’s very easy for business owners to become so involved in the nuts and bolts of their business that they end up doing the majority of the work. This is great in the beginning, but if your business is going to grow, you need to take a step back from the day-to-day operations and start thinking about strategies to expand. This is good advice for all businesses, but it’s especially true for online companies, as it’s a lot easier to forget to delegate when your team isn’t physically around you. While your business is growing, you also don’t want to be relying on it as your main source of income. While this might sound counterintuitive, having to take a large portion of the business’ earnings in order to support yourself means that you have less money to put toward the business itself. While your site is growing, find another way to support yourself, and make the business your full-time once it’s gotten off the ground.
- Website Design
Maybe you’re happy with your host and CMS, but if your website doesn’t look clean and professional, that can turn customers away too. You don’t need to pay a professional designer to build your website, but you do need to think about how to make your site enticing to customers without adding so much flash that people feel confused. Navigation is another important thing to think about. If people feel like they can’t easily find what they’re looking for, they’ll go elsewhere to shop.
- Be Easily Accessible
You want it to be easy for customers to contact you if they have any questions, concerns, or feedback. Not only will this give you valuable insight into how customers are experiencing your business from the other end, but it will help you to quickly address any problems or concerns that customers may have. The easiest way to make yourself accessible to customers without giving out your email address is to set up a contact form on your website. This is a standard part of most business websites, so it’s something most customers will be familiar with using, and it will help streamline your mail so that you know which of your communications are coming from customers.
- Entice New Customers
In order to grow your business, you need to give people a reason to work with you. In the beginning, this will usually translate to a “sales funnel,” or an up-front offer that will entice people to enter your site. That can take on a number of different strategies, depending on what kind of business you run. But free offers are usually your best bet – things like free-plus-shipping offers, bonus ebooks, checklists, cheat sheets, and even webinars.
Another strategy is to create an email list. This is an easy way to communicate with one-time visitors to your site, which will increase the chances of them coming back. You don’t want your business to be built on one-time purchases; you want to establish a loyal customer base. There are a few email marketing service providers that can help you to engage your customers and turn a one-time purchase into a consistent source of income.
- Optimize your SEO
If your site isn’t coming up in Google searches, it’s going to dramatically decrease the likelihood that someone will find your site without being directly recommended through an ad. The first thing to check is your site’s visibility. Many website building platforms have settings place for you to hide your website from search engines. This is intended to give you time to work on your site without disturbing visitors. However, if this setting has been accidentally tripped, then that means your business isn’t appearing in related searches.
URLs can also hurt your search engine visibility. Make sure that, as much as possible, your URLs are easy to read and structured with keywords that clearly explain the function of the page. That being said, if your site has been running for more than 6 months, changing your permalinks can actually hurt your SEO.
Google Console is a set of tools powered by Google to help website owners monitor their search engine visibility. If you haven’t already, add your site to Google Console. This will provide you with all kinds of data, including how your pages appear in search results, what keywords people are actually using to find your site, and how often your pages are clicked.