Starting an e-commerce business is no small task; many demands need to be met—both temporal and financial—several decisions to be made and other factors that need to align for your business to be a success. Whether you’re supplementing a traditional brick-and-mortar operation with an online presence or your business exists solely in the digital realm, it’s important to know the best practices to help your business grow. Here we take a look at the top 5 strategies for growing your business online.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, means structuring your online content in such a way to increase your business’s chances of appearing higher on the list of results for search engines. It’s impossible to control search results completely but there are small aspects you can control like making sure your website is mobile-friendly and being present on social media. Other things to keep in mind when it comes to SEO are including concise titles, keywords and descriptions in your posts. Remember, every business is different so what SEO strategies will work for you will depend on the type of business you have.
Build your online reputation
One of the best ways to build your business’s reputation online is through positive customer testimonials. Positive reviews about your business are a sign of its trustworthiness and are critical for your business’s success. According to a 2018 consumer review survey by BrightLocal, 97% of customers read online reviews before they buy and 57% of people will only use a business with 4 or more stars. Not only are these positive testimonials almost as good as personal recommendations, they also increase your business’s SEO-ranking and therefore its visibility.
Search engines will reward your business if it appears as though you have hoards of
customers who are satisfied with your product or service, which in turn will lead more customers to you. This is especially important if your target demographic is millennials (18-34) as 80% of them have written a testimonial and 95% of them read reviews for local businesses.
Invest your time wisely and know when to invest
When you first start a business, you usually end up taking on a majority of the workload
because you have to. As your business grows there become more and more tasks that need to be completed but still only 24 hours to work with. By utilizing tools like Hootsuite and Buffer, business owners can automate their social media posting, which is hugely important but time-consuming. There are also tools like QuickBooks, which provide accounting software capable of accepting payments, bill management and payroll functions. While QuickBooks is not free, it’s value comes from the time that you’ll save that can be put towards other important business functions and ensuring the work is done professionally and efficiently.
Another option to consider as your business grows is outsourcing to deal with an increased workload. Online marketplaces like Fiverr and Freelancer.com are convenient, easy to use and help lead you to professionals with a variety of skills that can be hired for short-term work. As the old adage goes, you gotta spend money to make money.
Get into your customer’s heads
Understanding human psychology is a powerful tool in business and marketing. If you
understand how people think and what they react to, you can reach them more effectively. From relatively simple things like what colours people associate with certain traits and emotions, to understanding how to use language to affect the way people think of something, psychology can be used to help grow your business. Social Proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others because they believe those actions are reflective of the correct behaviour. Marketers, for example, use this phenomenon by showing their customers that people already like and trust their business. They do this by sharing their statistics, subscriber counts, customer testimonials among other things.
FOMO, or the fear of missing out, is a psychological term used to describe the anxiety people feel about missing out on something trendy or exciting. Businesses can take advantage of that to increase sales and conversions by adding scarcity or
exclusivity to your offers.
Take your business global
For most entrepreneurs, their first target market is their immediate geographical area. However, one of the best ways to grow your e-commerce business is to appeal to a global audience and the internet makes it easier to do that. If you plan on making your e-commerce business global, you must do your research on: how shoppers purchase goods online when are seasonal sales peaks and holidays, local and international laws, shipping and distribution logistics among other things. Make sure you have an understanding of cultural customs, taboos and trends before you try to establish an online presence in another country.
E-commerce platforms like BigCommerce allow your e-commerce shop to operate in over 150 countries, display in almost any language and accept payments in most currencies. Meanwhile, gateways like PayPal and Stripe allow users to simply and accurately pay in their own currency without transaction fees. PayPal Passport is also a great resource for finding more information on how to bring your business to the world.