3 Things To Consider Before Bringing Your Business Online
1. What product / service are you selling? Are they suitable for the Internet?
You may have already seen a lot of online stores are selling clothes, computer equipment, phone accessories, toys and so on.
First question you need to ask yourself and your business, are your product or service suitable and feasible to bring it online?
The answer is - YES
Why I say yes before even knowing what's your product or service? It's because in this 21st century, the Internet world is so big and a whole lot of population is using the Internet everyday! This population is still growing at a very fast rate and the numbers are increasing daily. You will never want to lose out this market!
According to InternetWorldStats, there are currently more than 7 billions of Internet users worldwide!
Depending on the country you are living in, the number varies, but this is a huge and potential market that you should never neglect!
US has one of the largest population of online shoppers, so if you happen to reside in US, you should run your business online definitely to gain competitive advantage.
Hence, you should bring your business online, right now, at this moment no matter what you are selling!
2. How should you approach the Internet users?
Direct approach, referral, advertising, word of mouth or mass marketing?
Now you have decided to bring your business online, so how you should approach the market?
Most business failed in the Internet because they do not have the knowledge, experience or using the wrong approach to reach the market, or worse, they never really REACH the market.
When I say bringing your business online, it is not as simple as just making your own business website and that's it. You will need a good plan, a strategy, and set your objectives before you start doing anything.
Targeting is one of the most important element you need to plan properly before you start putting effort or spending money in your marketing plan.
Determine who is your target audience, what is the demographic of your potential customers, what are their interest, where do they spend time on, when are their most active time online etc.
Firstly, if your product or service is not so convenient to sell online, for example like hair grooming service, selling cars which you can't just ship it over easily, then your business appearance in the Internet should be slightly different than those ordinary online stores.
Now, wonder how to approach the market with your product and service offering?
You may want to follow this guideline according to your product or service nature:
Type A: Hard to ship's products
- Build an online catalog to showcase all your products, make sure to leave product information clearly and a contact method
Type B: Easy to ship's products
- Set up an e-commerce store in which you can accept order and payment directly and ship the product to your customers' doorsteps.
Type C: Service that can't deliver online (eg. hair salon)
- Build an online booking form or time table, let your customer book their session before they visit! Remember to include your service portfolio and testimonials!
Type D: Service that can be carried out online
- No need for explanation is it? Just make sure you list out your service package nicely and the price accurately. No one likes to get a price difference than stated during checkout.
3. What is Your Internet Marketing Strategy?
Just like in traditional offline business, you need good marketing strategy in order to be successful.
Online business is not much different than offline business, you will need to streamline and craft out your own unique and creative marketing strategy in order to attract your customers!
However, if you are totally new in Internet Marketing, there is two ways you can consider.
1) Learn yourself, all about SEO - Search Engine Optimzation, Forum posting, backlinking, analytic, social media marketing, creative web design etc.
2) Hire an Internet Marketer - spend some money and outsource this tedious work to other!
If you chose to learn it yourself, give yourself one month duration before you start your online business! Learn everything and as detail as you can about Internet Marketing, from organic SEO to paid advertising.
From there, you will know what to do once your website is online. You will know how to drive organic traffic, and where to expose your product or website links, how to manage your online advertisement to ensure high ROI (Return of Investment) and CTR (Click Through Rate).
Another point to remember, DO NOT involve in Blackhat SEO as this will get your website penalise greatly by Google and you are actually digging your own grave for your business!
Opt for either the organic way, or the paid advertising way.
Once you got it sorted out, well, you can then START YOUR ONLINE BUSINESS!
Secret Recipe is one of the most famous cake restaurant in Asia. Having almost at least one franchise branch in every states, they decide to take their business online.
So how do this cake seller sells on the Internet?
They opened an online web store and allow their customers to choose their own flavor and one of their favorite in menu. Customers can place an order and get their cake shipped to their house!
Lifework is one of my client who I designed a website for them.
They are a job recruiting agency, they are doing the very traditional way of recruiting whereby they only serve walk in job seekers and then link them to relevant job openings.
After few months of operation they realize this is not going to work for them as their office exposure is very, very low.
So they decided to confront me to build a website for them.
How a job recruitment agency makes their online presence?
I've build a website for them which introduce about them, what services they provide and how job seekers can contact them if they are looking for a job. All of these can be done easily via the Internet!
Lifework is now helping more than 50 job seekers to get their job monthly, just through the Internet!
Do you have your own online store?
Online vs Offline Business
No, else very high operating cost
No, limited to your shop location
YES, Internet is global reach
Easy browsing of products and service
No, your shop can only display a limited amount of product unless you have a HUGE store
Higher and better
Customers' Impulse Purchase
Depend on salesperson
Depend on up sell strategy