Here’s the bad news: Thousands of people start an online business every day. However, only a small percentage of these online businesses actually succeed.
Here’s the good news: There are certain basic rules you can follow to turn your online business into a successful one. Here are the 9 prime rules for running a successful online business.
The 9 Golden Rules For Running An Online Business
1 – Keep Your Website Design Simple and Well-Organized
People have a tendency to want to over-design their website in an effort to make it stand out or look cool. They may add flash animation, sound in the background, and load the site up with large graphics. This is a huge mistake, especially for business-oriented websites. It is much more important to make sure your design is organized in a way that visitors can easily find what they are looking for at a glance. Music blaring out is actually a pet peeve of many internet shoppers, especially if they are surfing at work as many do. You also want to make sure that the text is easy to read. Dark text on a simple light background is the safest way to go.
Apple.com is the perfect example of a well designed website. Apple.com has some of the best web designers in the world who develop their website, check them out and also other big company sites for ideas if need be.
2 – Respond To Your Visitors Promptly
When a visitor, a potential customer, emails you or fills out your contact form, it is imperative that you get back to them as soon as possible. People always take mental note of how long it takes an online business to get back to them. Even if you are on vacation, you should either have an employee answering the emails in your absence or take your laptop along and answer the emails while your out-of-town.
There is way too much competition out there now for you to let potential clients slip through the cracks because you weren’t diligent enough to follow through.
3 – Engage Your Visitors
If you can turn your visitors into active participants on your website, you will increase loyalty and sales. The simplest way to do this is to add a blog and open it up for comments from your visitors. Advertise your posts in your newsletter and ask for comments. For larger sites, you may want to add a discussion board where your visitors can create their own topics.
Set yourself up on a number of Social Media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or LinkedIn and conversate/share/inform your customers with high quality answers and content. Also make sure that you have a follow, Fan Page ‘Like” widget or a Pinterest badge on your website so that people can follow you through their favorite social media platform and stay in tune with your progress and updates.
Checkout Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice on growing your business using social media, Gary is an Ace! and definitely someone you should look up to in the Online Business world.
4 – Give Your Visitors a Reason To Come Back
Repeat visitors to your online business will increase sales for sure. You can give your visitors a reason to come back in many ways. For example, you can let them know that once a month you post a one-day only sale. Another example might be to write an article and let the readers know there will be a follow-up next month. Make the topic of the follow-up something that people really want to know.
Just adding quality content on a regular basis is a good way to get repeat visitors.
5 – Do Not Over-Sell To Your Visitors
No one likes a pushy salesperson in a brick and mortar business. Online business are no different in this aspect. People hate to feel like they are being overly pressured to buy something. You can point out the advantages of your product or service but try not to over-sell. Watch out for superlative spammy language too. It will usually backfire on you!
6 – Do Not Over Optimize Your Website
You have probably heard of the term, “search engine optimization” or SEO. This is where people design their webpages with the intent of ranking higher in the search engines, particularly Google. Many online businesses push this way too far. Their sites end up being demoted or even banned from the search results because the search engines view their efforts as spam. Over optimizing pages also makes them less likeable and readable by real human beings.
7 – Do Not List Your Website In Bad Neighbourhoods
For a long time, it has been well-known that Google and other search engines look at how many links there are to a website as one important factor in determining how to rank that website in the search engine results. This has prompted online business owners to want to get as many links as they can. Sometimes they even pay for links in directories and blogs. However, in most cases, these paid links are sites that are known as bad neighborhoods by the search engines. In other words, they are spammy sites and having your website listed in them can actually hurt you, not help you!
8 – Maintain a High Quality Mailing List
Ask your visitors to sign up for your newsletter when they come to your online business site. Give them an incentive to do so such as a free report or free e-course on a topic related to your business. Having said this, respect your visitors and their time. Be sure not to send out your newsletter too often, perhaps once a month and occasionally send a special announcement. Also, make sure to put quality content in your newsletter and give your subscribers an easy way to opt out.
9 – Remember At The End Of The Day Your Customers Are STILL Real People
A lot of people forget this, they are not treating their customers as real human beings and are not putting themselves in the customers shoes. Customer service will always be around, that’s why we need to stay good at looking after our clients. If you can’t help them with their request, get back to them and let them know that you have exhausted every avenue to find a way and maybe even refer them onto someone who can help them. Even though you may not be able to help them at that very point in time, they WILL remember you went the extra mile for them and will tell their friends via word of mouth or by social media (which would be great promotion for you), either way, you can rest your head at night knowing that you are doing everything you can to hold a good name for your business and that every one that deals with you is satisfied. Tony Hsieh has his staff at Zappos practice this commitment with their customers and he has managed to build his online retail store to a $1.2 Billion Dollar company.
This is how you secure yourself as the “go to guy in your industry”, and as time goes by and all these “short attention span, new comers” are so use to ONLY dealing with their customers over a keyboard and text conversation, they will be skimming over life long customers and potentially huge clients for the future.
No matter how digital the business world gets, you are and will always be DEALING WITH REAL PEOPLE. Reputation is everything, don’t forget that.
Article By Joel Brown | Addicted2Success.com