Now, more than ever, is the time to start an online business. With so many people staying at home and businesses closing their doors, there’s never been a better opportunity to get your products or services in front of more people. And with the internet making it easier than ever to get started, there’s no excuse not to give it a try.
So what are you waiting for? Here are four steps to starting your own online business during the COVID pandemic.
Step 1: Choose Your Platform
The first thing you need to do is set up your online presence. There are plenty of options for this depending on what you want to sell, how big your budget is, and what kind of knowledge or experience you have. The most popular options are eBay (for smaller items), Etsy (for more artistic items), or Shopify (for larger items or more professional-looking storefronts).
If you want to sell physical products, it’s usually best to go with either eBay or Etsy. Both sites let virtually anyone become an online seller, and offer easy-to-use systems for managing inventory, processing payments, and shipping orders. And on top of all that, they both have extensive and active communities of other sellers who can provide advice and support long after you open your storefront.
On the other hand, if you’re selling virtual products (such as an ebook), or want to create a more professional-looking storefront, then Shopify might be the better option for you. It’s a little more expensive than eBay or Etsy, but as an online store builder it’s much more advanced and comes with a variety of tools for managing your inventory, processing payments, and even building up a list of email subscribers.
Step 2: Set Your Prices
Once you’ve chosen your storefront platform and started filling it with products or services to sell, the next step is to set your prices. This may seem daunting at first, but as long as you do a bit of research and make sure you’re following industry standards you should have no problem getting it right.
To find out how much people are paying for similar products or services, just take a look around your community – local businesses will often give out prices for similar services as a way of drumming up interest. Alternatively, if you’re selling online, just take a look at some other storefronts that offer the same service or product and see how they price it. That’ll give you a good idea of what your target market is willing to pay.
Step 3: Reach Out To Your Target Market
Now that you’ve chosen your storefront platform and set up an attractive, professional-looking store front to sell your products or services through it’s time to actually start selling. Of course, in order to do that you’ll need lots of potential customers out there to choose from! So the trick here is to take a look at who your target market is and how you can get in touch with them.
For example, if your target market is teen girls then you’ll want to look on social media sites like Facebook or Instagram for pages dedicated to teen fashion or beauty bloggers. You can even create a page yourself dedicated specifically to your products or services. These types of accounts are perfect because not only are they full of potential customers, but they have already established trust with their communities so the likelihood of them being interested in your products is much higher.
If you’re selling online rather than physical products, then an email list is one of the best ways to reach out to your target market. Most storefronts will have built-in tools for building up this list, and it’s a fantastic way for you to stay in touch with your customers and tell them about any new services or products that they might be interested in.
Finally, don’t just focus on finding the “perfect” target market: one of the best things about online selling is that you can sell to multiple different markets at once. For example, if you sell photos online then you might find that photographers are your main target market, but it’s also worth looking into selling to the subjects of those photos (such as event planners) because chances are they’ll know other people who would be interested in what you have to offer.
Step 4: Maximize Your Sales By Cross-Promoting On Websites And Online Communities
Once you’ve picked your target market and gotten in touch with them using the tips above, it’s time to start selling! One of the best ways to do this is by taking advantage of the wealth of resources that are available online. Communities like Reddit or StumbleUpon can be great places for driving traffic to your storefront, for example.
But don’t just sell on other people’s websites and communities: many of these sites (such as Reddit) encourage their members to submit content that they’ve created, so if you can find a way to contribute something of value then people will be more likely to visit your storefront and make purchases. If you’re struggling to think of something that would be valuable enough for people that don’t already know you, then it might be worth looking into writing an eBook or creating a series of webinars.
For example, if you’re selling online courses on how to use Adobe Photoshop then you could offer one free webinar per week where viewers can ask you questions. You can even get sponsors for these webinars that are relevant to your niche, which might help you make more money while also reaching out to a new audience.
What’s the best way to reach out to target markets?
The best way to reach out to your target market is through social media accounts or pages dedicated to your target market. This way you can connect with your customers in a space where they already have a high level of trust in the content being shared.
What’s the best way to maximize sales?
The easiest and most effective way to sell more products is by finding ways to cross-promote on other websites and online communities. This will increase the number of people who have access to your content and will give you a higher chance of being seen by potential customers.
What’s the takeaway message about starting an online business?
It’s clear that problems can occur at any time that will stop life running as usual. What we imagined was normal two or three years ago won’t always be considered normal – and there’s a risk that the world could be on lockdown once again in the future.
The best way to protect your income against these problems is to run your own online business. However, the most important part of starting an online business is actually starting one. You can have all the knowledge in the world about how to successfully run your business but if you never start then nothing will ever get done. So, with that said, go build something!
Want a step by step guide to starting an online business? Click here!