It’s no news that the internet age has come to stay! You must have heard of people who make thousands and even millions from running an online business and you wonder how they do it— is it magic? Of course it’s not. It’s something you too can do if you’re ready to dedicate your time and efforts into it.
Unlike most offline businesses where you have to pay for premises, utilities and even parking which of course requires a substantial amount of investment. With a little amount of money you can start an online business. The advantages are numerous which is why many business owners now incorporate the use of the internet so as to reach more customers.
An online business requires time to set up. You need to have clear goals. First of all you have to ensure you have an excellent product, one which provides value and meets the needs of your target audience. Secondly, you need to know who your target audience is, places they can be found online. Thirdly, you must specifically understand what your goals are, how you plan on achieving them and metrics to measure your success. These are just some of the basic things to be addressed as you start your online business.
If you are thinking of starting an online business or you have one and you’re experiencing difficulty getting by, see highlighted points below for how to effectively run an online business in Nigeria.
Identify an opportunity
Never rush into a business, often times, those who do end up rushing out of it. You need to get clarity and ensure your responses are in the affirmative for the following questions:
- What are your products?
- Does your product add value to people’s lives?
- What problem does your product solve?
- Is there reasonable demand for your products?
- Where can I find my target audience?
- Will your products satisfy people?
These and more are among basic questions you need to ask as part of your research. The research you undergo should include market research and competitive analysis. Results from this will give you answers with which you can come up with possible ways to tailor your business offerings to your audience. You could even find a niche audience you want to focus on. Lastly, this research will inform what kind of product to consider, features/benefits to offer, marketing, pricing structure and lots more.
Now you know what the right product is and who your customers are, it’s time to proceed by setting up your business. Some businesses operate both online and offline, if you don’t plan on having a physical store, how would people see your products, make enquires and make purchase of your product? It’s time to get your digital space ready!
Acquire a domain name
In selecting a great domain name, you must put into consideration your brand name, brand identity and the main purpose of your website. A great domain name makes it easy for your visitors to find you online and navigate to your site. Therefore, make it concise, easy and memorable. Also, if possible avoid using hyphens, strings of numbers or unnecessary words that could hamper your chances of being discovered online.
To buy a good domain name, start by checking if your intended domain name is available. You can do this by searching on www.whois.com/whois. If available, registering the domain name, it usually comes with an annual renewal fee. There are a number of domain name registrars where you can register yours for just a token amount of money. For example, namecheap.com starts from as low as N4, 000 per year.
Build a solid website/blog for your business
Websites or blogs are a necessity for every online business; the benefit from owning one is countless. You can hire the services of a professional web developer to handle the process of building your website. Alternatively, if you have the skill and you’re feeling adventurous you can choose to do it yourself using wix, squarespace, weebly and Jimdo. These website builders power millions of websites.
Building your website is one thing, another crucial factor to ensuring your website is easily found by your customers is to publish relevant content on it. Consistently share blogposts, customer reviews and the likes. You should also ensure your website loads fast, is responsive on either mobile, tablet or desktop. Additionally, your website has to be search engine optimized so that as people are searching for keywords and things that best fit your description your business shows up top in their search results increasing the chances of your business being patronized.
Your website will be center of your business presence in the digital space; through it, you can advertise your products/services around the web on social media sites, forums and through pay-per-click advertising campaigns
Establish a social media presence
Most online activities are carried out on social media platforms. For instance, In Nigeria, out of over 97million internet users, Facebook accounts for 16million active users, instagram accounts for 5million users and twitter, 3million users.
Knowing all of these, its ideal you create social media accounts for your business. Doing this allows you to reach more customers, engage with them and possibly build a better relationship with them. Based on your research findings from the first point – (Identify an opportunity), you should already know what platforms your target audience are active on. Don’t try to be on every platform as you might end up wasting your time and resources. For example, if your audience isn’t on LinkedIn or Twitter, its best you focus your energy on other platforms. Sometimes, even being active on only one social media platform where your audience is does the magic.
After creating social media accounts for your business, go ahead to develop a content strategy. This document will guide your content creation for each account. It should highlight themes, business goals and objectives, so also marketing and sales ideas for your products/services.
Drive traffic to your website/blog
Attracting interested visitors to your website or blog is one tactic to use in churning out profit. As long as you understand some of the fundamentals behind how traffic works. You may start with the organic methods of driving traffic to your website; content marketing, guest blogging, etc. With this, you don’t have to pay any money for web visits. Alternatively, you may also opt for driving web visits via paid ads; display and search, social media marketing, influencer marketing and the likes. To have more ideas on how to drive traffic to your site, you can check here
Monetize your online business
The sole reason for every business is to make profit and grow the business, which is what this last step is all about. You have to decide how you are going to make money from your business online.
You can make profits from your already set up business model where customers pay for your product or service. Don’t forget to have accessible payment services on your website, e.g Interswitch, Paystack etc. You can also make money via brand sponsorships with your website or by signing up with Google Adsense.
In conclusion running an online business isn’t magic, but if you follow these steps with dedication, then you are on your way to starting a successful online business. The benefits of doing online business are numerous which includes the ability to manage your business from anywhere in the world, it’s cheap, it’s environment friendly and many more. Be sure to continually put efforts for long term success.
If you need help running an online business, feel free to contact us here and we’ll sure be of assistance.
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You can as well view the slideshare presentation.