How to Start Your Own Online Business: A Beginner’s Guide
Starting an online business is easy in today's society because of the numerous online platforms that allow you to sell items to people all over the world. There are many ways to go about selling things online, but how do you start an online business? This article will provide you with a checklist that will assure your online business is successful.
Before we dive into the details of creating an online business, you must determine what your business will sell. Is your business providing services or merchandise? If you are selling services, you may want to consider advertising and selling your services in other mediums. The most profitable online products are items that can be downloaded and instantly purchased like iTunes sells music or class notes. Once you know what you are selling, you must establish yourself online by creating or joining a platform to sell your products or services.
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How to Make a Facebook Page
Establishing your Online Business
If your business is new to the internet, you need to establish a brand online. Before you start promoting your brand, you need to create all of the necessary profiles and pages to make your brand searchable on as many platforms as are relevant to your business. Here are some suggestions on where to put your business online:
- Facebook: Every business in this time should have a Facebook page. Do not make a profile for your business, but make a "Page" that people can "Like". Not only is Facebook the most popular social media site in the world, but it is the quickest way to share information.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great tool for building a fan-base and potential customers. By using hash tags and posting relevant links to sites outside of your brand, you will gain and keep followers that are interested in the type of things you are posting.
- Pinterest: One of the fastest-emerging social media websites is Pinterest, which allows users to "Pin" photos to their online bulletin board. A pinned image links to the site it is from; it is shared so quickly that interesting products can sell out in minutes if a photo is eye-catching. Another great feature of Pinterest is the option to display the price on the photo. Just type "$" and the dollar amount and it will appear on the photo.
- Blogger: Blogs are a great way to communicate useful information to your customers. If you have a jewelry company, you may want to have a jewelry fashion or jewelry care blog that attracts customers from search engines and contains links to your online store. Blogger is the best platform for blogging because of its easy-to-use, customizable features.
Where to Sell Your Products Online
After you have created and designed your social media sites to appeal to your customer base, you will need to determine where to sell your products online. Making your own website is desirable because of the control you have over SEO, but, selling platforms like WePay, eBay, Amazon, etc. already have an established customer base. These platforms also categorize your products so that they can be found through numerous avenues.
Having your own site is beneficial since you will not have to pay one of the larger sites a percent of each sale. See the chart below for an outline of some rates of seller fees.
Etsy vs. eBay vs. WePay
Creating a Buzz for your Online Business
The following are some ideas for creating a buzz that will attract potential customers to your online store:
- Creating a contest: Online contests are very popular and can be effective in creating a brand. Make either a contest that only buyers can win (like Willy Wonka's golden tickets) or simply create one that leads people to your website. An example of the latter would be to ask contestants to create a video that gives the best jewelry care tips. Offer free merchandise or cash for a prize.
- Facebook Ads: Facebook ads are a great way to create a quick buzz because they target potential customers that are likely to buy your product based on what they are searching for online.
- Creating a Fundraiser on Kickstarter: If you have a specific goal for your business (i.e. purchasing a vital piece of equipment, raising funds for a good cause, etc.), you can create a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.org. This will not only generate a buzz, but create income. Make sure to have a great video to promote it on social media sites.
- Creating a meme: If you have young friends, chances are that your Facebook feed is crowded with memes, images that have usually humorous text over them. Make sure that your meme is relevant to what you are selling and will somehow convince readers to share and look up your business.
This Hub was last updated on September 30, 2012
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