The Beginner’s Guide to Launching an Online Business

15th December 2014

There is much to consider when effectively launching an online business, and for beginners it’s understandably a daunting prospect. Before you can make the first sale or sign up, there are some fundamental starting points all budding entrepreneurs need to consider. Launching a successful business begins with a product or service that people want, a price people are willing to pay, and a solid marketing strategy to help spread the word – but that’s not all. Below are some major things to consider, so read on!

The Research Phase

Firstly you need to ensure that whatever it is you are selling, people want it. A sizeable number of competitors may seem daunting, but actually shows there is a market for what you are selling. Researching what you are offering in relation to your competitors can give an insight into your unique selling point and how you differ. This is also known as your value proposition. Then it’s important to identify who the likely customers are going to be so these can be targeted in the pre and post launch phases.

Looking at comparable products will give you insights into the price point, how the products are marketed, and how they are sold online. This includes the e-commerce system, the web development platform and how the services are delivered. A competitor analysis is essential research and offers serious food for thought to how you will position and price your own product/service.

Plan Website Design and Build

Since your business ‘shopfront’ comes in website form, it’s important to plan how the site will be structured including the purpose for each page on the site. This could include:

• Product specific pages or services pages including product photographs and descriptions
• A secure area of the site to capture payment details and arrange shipping
• An about us or company page to put a human face to the business
• A home page which provides an overview of what is it you do and helps to navigate visitors around the site
• A blog or news area to keep customers updated with specials or useful information related to the industry or lifestyle your product aligns with. If you lack the time to do this properly, website management companies such as The Print Group can help with this.

At this point it’s important to secure the best domain name, which is usually a short, easy-to-remember URL that includes your business name. Also secure the relevant social media accounts to help publicise your products later on. It’s a smart idea to have an email capture field for those who arrive on the landing page; this will allow you to communicate with those interested in your products through future email newsletters and keep them updated on all developments before launch date.

Create a Marketing Strategy

It’s not enough to sit back and wait for people to find you on the internet – you need to find them. This means being active online, including targeting online communities where your target market is likely to be, so you can spread the word, as well as being willing to share information and answer questions online. Once you’ve got customers and sales, focus on keeping them informed and engaged by posting new content regularly on the site and keeping them informed of special offers and new products via your email marketing efforts.

No one ever said it would be easy, but the potential benefits are definitely are worth the effort, research – and yes the stress. Who knows where your online business could take you and what opportunities it could lead to? Giving your online business a strong footing with solid research and planning before the launch will set the tone for a successful and well considered venture right from the outset.

Corey is an all round tech guru who has worked at some major blue chip companies. He started Poweronemedia to share his views and knowledge with the rest of the blogging world.