Starting a Startup: The Dos and Don’ts of Opening an Online Business

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A year after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the world is starting to recover inch by inch. The number of cases and deaths are continuing to fall. The economy is on track to recover to its state pre-pandemic. According to CNN, it’s now operating at 89% of its normal level. Unfortunately, scars still remain despite the great progress. In fact, the current unemployment rate is 6.1% which is well above the 3.5% average before the virus hit. In turn, a lot of people have turned to online businesses for their livelihood.

But while it’s easy to set up a website and social media accounts, it’s another thing to actually earn money from it. Before you start your very own venture on the internet, here are some things to do and mistakes to avoid to get a return on your investment:

Do: Create an Online Strategy

Make a carefully considered plan. Each step has to have a reason and should put you a step closer to reach your targets. To begin, you will have to do a fair amount of research. It’s not enough to open an Instagram account and hope customers will come flocking to you. Because of the oversaturated market, consumers see dozens of choices before they ever come across your posts.

To start, check out what your would-be competitors are doing. Most likely, they have an aggressive digital marketing campaign that puts them at the top of results pages. They may have the advantage of time but you can always get front page by hiring a competent SEO company. Find out the trends and what’s driving people’s interest, so you’ll know how to market your products.

Don’t: Be Fooled by Big Numbers

One of the emerging facets of digital marketing is influencer marketing. It involves working with a person with a good social media following to promote a brand or a product. In the era of social networking sites, it’s easy to think that bigger is better. But it’s not always the case. If it’s not done right, it might cost you losses instead of earning profits.

Before you get in touch with the most popular influencer you can find, peruse your choices first. To maximize the chances of getting a return on your investment, choose someone who aligns with your brand. For example, if you sell sunscreen, consider hiring an athlete instead of a model. Athletes like swimmers and tennis players spend a lot of time under the sun. Having pros use your products immediately sends the message that it works great even under strenuous conditions.

Another important factor to consider is the engagement rates. Having an impressive following is one thing but it’s a completely different thing to get consistent engagement on your posts. See how an influencer’s audience react to their photos and videos. Take it as a red flag if mostly bot accounts engage or there aren’t many comments or likes. Anyone can buy their way into having thousands of followers.

Do: Be Timely and Responsive

woman using her phone

It’s easy to shop online. You just need a device with internet access, and you can pretty much buy anything under the sun. Unfortunately, you’ll encounter a problem sooner or later. There might be a package that wasn’t delivered on time or a product that was shipped to the wrong address. The important thing is how you handle these issues.

Give customers an avenue to address their concerns. This has two main benefits. It will streamline your processes. You won’t mix up complaints with orders or business transaction emails. Another advantage is that this will prevent angry customers from bombarding the comment sections. It’s not just a bad look but will deter potential consumers as well. If you don’t have enough time to get a hold of everything, you can hire a virtual assistant to answer your emails.

Don’t: Make Promises You Can’t Deliver

If there’s one thing that you must avoid in business, it’s to disappoint your customers. The effect is two-fold: you’ll lose a client and it will negatively impact your reputation. This is because dissatisfied customers are more likely to post their reviews online rather than happy clients.

To limit negative experiences, manage your customers’ expectations. Don’t advertise something that you can’t consistently deliver. Or, at least, have a flexible policy. Let people know that they can return and exchange something that’s not satisfactory. You can also give them a voucher or a discount for their trouble. A nice gesture can go far in ensuring you’ll have a loyal client base.

Anyone can start an online business but not everyone is successful. Do your research, draw up plans, and focus on your customers.

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