Taking It To the Web: How To Launch An Online Business

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November 7, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

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Today, there are 644 million websites on the Internet, many of them online businesses. That means a lot of competition if you are thinking of starting your own e-commerce business.

Getting Started

Doing business virtually is still doing business. Tom Antion of the Great Internet Marketing Training Site suggests you approach an online business the way you would with any other: find an in-demand product or service; create a business plan; then figure out what Internet path you want to take. “Focus on a few social media platforms that work for you,” says video strategist Miss K, who has successfully sold two online magazines.

Good Visuals Are Key

“Have clean page layouts,” says Krista Jackson, site manager of Internet retailer Ruby Bag. “Remember that clutter can be bad online. The easier your site is to navigate, the more likely you are to provide a positive user experience. No online shopper wants to work just to get through the website.”

A split test, says Antion, will let you see which designs attract the most attention. “This is how great online marketers maximize the value of every promotion,” he explains to Madame Noire.

Pictures alone don’t make a site great. Write text that is not only informative but attracts attention. “Learn to write sales copy which will also apply to your videos and articles,” says Antion.

Keep Them Coming Back For More

Don’t just look for one-time users, you want to develop relationships with your customers so they keep coming back for more. Special deals and regular sales can help with that. “Deals have increased our sales, as well as promoted customers to return to our site in order to see what the new deals are,” says Jackson, who also emphasizes the positive business impact of good customer service.

How To Promote Your Online Business

To keep your customer base growing, you need to consistently promote your site. Steve Caradano, founder of Italian luxury bed linens seller Vero Linens, turned to bloggers to promote his site and products. He blogged himself as well. “I blogged like crazy. [S]earch engines like new and fresh content. I found other bloggers that had huge followings and sponsored a product giveaway. Regardless of how much I could spend on advertising, I could never tell my message as effectively as they do and with their credibility,” he says.

Using the right keywords for your business is also a way to drive people to your site.

And promote your business directly to your customers. “A lot of e-commerce businesses don’t use social channels or their email newsletters to their advantage,” notes Jackson. “These are all great ways to have a conversation with your customers. Businesses are really missing out when they don’t use those channels to hear back from their customers about what they want.”

And, don’t forget offline promotion. “Network offline to promote your online business,” Miss K tells us. “Use video as an cost-effective and powerful way to promote your business.”

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