In the early days of any online business, there are preparatory steps to be taken: setting up your shop, getting your inventory together, and of course, budgeting. Budgeting everything! Perhaps the least fun thing about starting a business is spending money before you make money. Putting money into your business means you can do things like open its website, pay for packaging, and even advertising. And while none of that seems like fun, it’s the surest way of making your business prosper.
Imagine it’s 1997. You’re about to launch your handmade Dharma & Greg bobblehead shop online. You’ve got the bobbleheads made, the packaging ready, and a “Good luck!” fax from the full time job you put behind you. Going online, you discover to your horror you have no idea how to make a website. After all, the Internet only came out a week or so ago. How could you have failed so horribly?
Fortunately, it’s not 1997, but twenty years later, and rather than be a confusing and cold place, the Internet has plenty of ways to help you sell your products online. No longer is it necessary to have a website for your store; shopping platforms abound, you now have the option to host your shop on sites like Amazon. But it isn’t just Amazon at your disposal! So which to choose? Let’s explore your options…
Like most consumers, I’m always on the lookout for the best deals on the Internet. I feel guilty buying socks unless I know for sure they’re the fairest price! Sellers on the Internet know that their customers prefer bargains, but it’s hard to always give it to them when they need to turn a profit. So what about wholesale? Is it possible for a seller to offer their goods at that price and still make money? Is it possible for everyone involved in a sell to win?
Meet SEO, your new best friend. The “It” Girl of the Internet, she’s everywhere: Google, Yahoo, Bing, even Ask… SEO, or search engine optimization, is the one you need to know… and the very thing to get your small business blog going places!
All weird personification of Internet terms aside, SEO truly is a marvel. In simplest terms, SEO is the process of changing websites or webpages visibility in search engine results based on specific terms or even just words found on that website or webpage. It works for everything: online stores, blogs, your personal profiles on various social media. Ever tried to Google yourself? It isn’t surprising that when you do that, the top results are always for social media: that’s because your name, as you post, like, and comment, is an effective SEO term!
So now that you’ve got one SEO experience under your belt, how can you effectively apply it your own small business blog? By boosting your blog to the front page of all search engine results, your new pal SEO won’t let you down, and you’ll be impressed just by how easy it is.
Your site is up, your product is ready to go, and here you sit, like a shopkeeper behind a counter, at your computer awaiting your first customer. Congratulations! The hard part is over… or is it?
Whether you’ve been in the game for a while now, or this is your first few steps into the small business world, you might have already considered advertising for your store. And it might scare you! You’ve put all this time and money into the infrastructure of your store, and now you’ve got to spend more time and money?
How often do you check your email? I know I don’t enough, which is why I always miss the best Domino’s coupons—and then all the great Groupon deals, sales at ColourPop, and emails from my grandmother telling me to call her.
Everyone has a certain kind of personal relationship with email, and this extends to the way they check the email lists they willingly (or unwillingly) subscribed to. Email blasts can be so ignored that their email server starts sending them straight to the spam folder. Speaking personally again, it feels only like a rare occurrence that an email can apply to them. And if it isn’t guaranteed that the email is going to be read by the consumer, it begs the question: is email marketing dead?
Everyone has a go-to for online shopping. Me? I’ve bought so much stuff from Amazon and Etsy that I must be the one responsible for keeping them afloat. Myself and other returning customers to these sites all have our reasons to keep coming back for more, but one thing’s for certain: we’re immensely valuable to the success of these stores, and we see something in them too.
With more people online than ever, it’s no wonder online businesses are booming. Sales are up, money’s being made, and even my mom, who uses an iPhone with her index finger, loves Amazon. It’s the perfect time to grow your online business, but how can you make it exceptional? And more importantly: how can you turn your newly-acquired customers into returning customers?
It’s been a good year for you, hasn’t it? The money’s coming in, you’ve got a loyal customer base, and your mother was wrong—you CAN make a living off an online business!
But now that the year’s nearing to a close, it’s time to consider how far your business can go. Black Friday’s just around the corner, and with that, the promise of online sales rising an estimated 17.3%, resulting in $7.23 billion profit. It may only be October, but if those numbers seem appealing, then it’s never too early to prepare.
Continue reading “5 Things You Can Do To Prepare For Your First Black Friday”