How to Get the Most out of the Internet for Growing your Home Business
Do you ever dream of running a home business? 8 million people are already doing so and, whilst there is obviously an element of risk, you can use all the help tools available to you to grow your business and share ideas with others. Chief tool? The internet (obviously).
Startacus have put together some key aspects of online business to help you get the most out of the internet in your journey towards home business success!
No matter how unique you believe your product or service to be, it never stops being important to keep an eye on the market.
The internet is by far the quickest and easiest way to identify key competitors and ensure you have a unique selling point that will make your business stand out.
Just as important as seeking out product inspiration is making sure that your website and shop are up-to-date and offering your customers the best experience available. Keep an eye on competitor sites for inspiration but never try to recreate!
Creating an attractive and easy-to-navigate website is key to achieving sales success as an online business. Depending on your budget, you could use a little design experience to create a website that meets your requirements, or you could pay a professional website designer to put your big ideas into practice for you. Make sure that your site walks customers through the purchasing process making it as easy as possible.
There are few product-based home businesses that don’t use an online shop these days. E-commerce makes it possible for customers to compare and purchase an item within moments of seeing it. Spend some time researching the perfect e-commerce solution for your needs, whether you opt for a ready-made service such as Shopify or Bigcommerce, or ask your web designer to include a shopping cart function on your site.
Online marketing is a treasure trove of creative ways to get your voice heard. As well as focusing on an informative, attractive website and e-shop, you can use the web’s wealth of social media platforms to get the buzz out. Facebook and Twitter are great starting points for sharing text, photos and images, and building up a dedicated group of followers – whether in the local area or around the world.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is another crucial way to harness the power of the internet and make it work for your brand. In the simplest sense, this means carefully choosing the wording of your website to ensure that it is placed highly in relevant search engine results.
Consider investing in pay-per-click advertising searches such as Google Adwords to boost your ratings and direct more of your target audience to your site.
“One of the biggest daily challenges is building trust through one’s website,” explains Billy. “When a consumer goes into a high street shop and sees a product they like, they usually don’t think about it twice before purchasing. When purchasing online, many doubts will come in.”
As with any business, flawless customer service is the only way to ensure repeat custom and word-of-mouth referrals. Display contact details clearly on your website, and ensure that there’s always someone on hand to respond to customer queries in a timely way – whether online or via the phone.
Bear in mind that web-savvy consumers often use business’ Twitter and Facebook profiles to ask questions and make comments on the service they receive. Adding to these conversations, and responding to queries in a friendly and approachable manner can speak volumes about your company, and offering personal touches in a very public arena will ensure that you are held in high regard by customers.
Google+ in particular allows customer reviews to influence your visibility in Google searches. For example, searching “hairdresser Brighton” on Google brings up three interactive Google+ results, including business’ locations, contact details and star rating based on customer reviews. Maintaining your company’s Google+ page with up-to-date information, and encouraging customers to leave reviews, can boost your visibility and appeal significantly in location-based searches.
When it comes to the vast range of online home-based businesses, each with their own unique needs and target audiences, there is no one formula that will guarantee success. However, the internet gives you complete freedom to explore and experiment until you find the combination of tools that works for you.”