Tips for running a successful online business

The advent of the digital age has gone hand-in-hand with a surge of technology into our daily lives. Consumers have found new ways to engage with brands, discover local businesses, and share their purchases with friends and family. As such, the internet’s ever-expanding capabilities have given the business a new frontier to expand to as well; online. In turn, digital marketing thrives, and digital marketing agencies offer substantial lucrative services. Nonetheless, running an online business successfully is no easy task, and it often comes with distinct pitfalls. Therefore, let us dedicate this article to consolidating known and unknown tips for running a successful online business.

Running a successful online business

The challenges of running a successful online business are twofold; they include challenges any business faces, and challenges that the online component entails. From identifying SEO scams to ensuring optimal ROI for each investment, there are almost too many tasks and hurdles to cover in a single article. Nonetheless, there are some universally useful tips that one should always keep in mind.

Build a strong social media presence for your online business…

There is no question that an optimal social media presence is vital. For years, studies consistently show that social media are an invaluable tool, generating leads, and boosting traffic. As such, the very first step towards running a successful online business should be to establish a good social media presence.

An illustration of people communicating through social media.
Social media are a valuable marketing tool for your online business.

Therefore, you should research social media options and decide which social media channel is right for your business. Should you harness the power of social media effectively, you will have an excellent, cost-effective digital marketing tool at your disposal.

…and maintain a good brand image online.

As you delve into social media, you should keep in mind that your brand’s online image depends on it. Mistakes, factual inaccuracies, or tonal inconsistencies can damage your image, as can unanswered customer feedback. Thus, running a successful online business hinges on your ability to address them both.

For one, you should ensure that your employees are fully aware of your guidelines and tone to avoid the aforementioned mistakes. Consider investing in CRM software to help your employees stay coordinated and keep your social media channels consolidated. As you do, make sure that you leave no customer feedback unanswered. Dissatisfied customers who see no solution to their grievances will leave negative feedback, so make sure they hear from you.

Keep an eye on online business trends…

The world of digital marketing changes constantly. The effectiveness of various strategies fluctuates, and those who stay on top of emerging trends thrive. Therefore, running a successful online business depends on your ability to discern trends and adapt to them before the competition.

An upward white arrow on a blackboard.
Trends rise and fall, and keen observers must adjust to them early.

…and keep an eye on the competition.

With ever-fierce competition, running a successful online business requires that you diversify yourself from your competitors. However, analyzing their successes and failures is still an invaluable tactic to consider.

Perform SWOT analyses on your competitors. Pay attention to their online activity and tactics, such as:

  • Social media and GMB activity
  • Interactions with customers
  • Keyword usage
  • Content strategies

No two businesses are the same, of course, and you should not copy your competitors to the letter. However, learning from their successes and failures can help you plan ahead and outdo them.

Use Google My Business (GMB)…

On the subject of GMB, it is also advisable that you use it effectively. About half of all businesses don’t use it much or at all, so it presents an opportunity to diversify yourself from your peers. Not all businesses will benefit from it equally, but it is a powerful, and free, tool for local SEO. Furthermore, many CRM solutions support GMB integration, so it will not disrupt your operations.

Follow SEO best practices to create engaging, effective GMB posts that will help your business thrive online. As you do, make sure to adhere to the aforementioned social media criteria. Customers value quality, accuracy, and a conversational, engaging tone – and GMB is no different in this regard.

…and keep your online business website accessible and optimized.

As you work on your social media channels and GMB, you should remember that they serve to generate traffic to your main website. Therefore, your main website should be pristine, organized, and accessible. A website that looks unprofessional can drive customers away and tarnish your brand reputation, and ineffective CTAs will hamper sales.

There are many platforms you can use for your online business website, but WordPress is a safe, popular choice. It offers user-friendliness, security, SEO tools, and endless customization options through plugins and add-ons – all assets towards building a professional, optimized site you’ll need to run a successful online business.

Optimize your email marketing campaign…

Furthermore, no business is a stranger to the need for effective email marketing campaigns. As such, you should ensure you grow your email list as efficiently as possible. As you do, remember the following common tips:

Ask for permission

Aggressively seeking to expand your list may have you send emails to people who don’t want them. Remember that this is an ineffective – and sometimes illegal – strategy, and that it’s best to confirm your contacts’ interest beforehand.

Segment your lists

In much the same way as CRM software and social media analytics, it is vital that you remember to segment your lists. Use lead analysis tools to personalize your emails and decide when it’s best to reach out or follow-up.

Don’t use purchased lists

As appealing an option as they may sound like, purchased lists are simply not worth your time. They can lead to higher email bounce rates, and can often come with legal repercussions. Avoid them at all costs, and seek to expand your list organically instead.

…and ensure your online business’s financial sustainability.

A metal briefcase full of US dollars.
Financial sustainability is a crucial factor when running a successful online business.

Lastly, you should absolutely make sure that you’re financially self-sustainable, especially if you come to consider loans. Fortunately, running a successful online business doesn’t require as much initial capital, but expansion rarely comes without risks. You should thus calculate your efforts, ensure you maximize the ROI of your investments, and remain prudent as you refine your operations. There are many factors that can cause a business to fail, and it is vital to know to quit when it does. However, financial sustainability is one such factor you can meaningfully strive to avoid.

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