Starting an online business is becoming increasingly popular as the desire for a better work-life balance increases. No less than 62% of adults believe that entrepreneurship is a good career [1].

Here are 3 key steps in starting an online business:

1. Identify a current problem for your target market

Determining a genuine problem that your target market is facing is critical to success in starting an online business. To identify the problem, you first need to research your target market. Spend time exploring the social media platforms and forums where they are discussing their problems.

Finding out what they are struggling with right now will provide you with some ideas as to how to position your product or service. An irresistible offer is essential in attracting your target market and in building an email list.

2. Build your email list

Your email list may well be your online business’ greatest asset. Social media can be a highly effective way in which to build your email list. Creating a video on YouTube, running a Facebook Ad or creating a series of blog posts are three leading ways in which you can get your offer in front of the right people.

Still not sure that building an email list will justify the time required? In 2019, email generated $38 for every $1 spent [2]. Once you have built your email list (which is an on-going process), you can now begin to get your products or services in front of your prospects and into your sales funnel.

3. Create a sales funnel

Having identified your target market and started to reach out to them via email, you need a process that turns those leads into customers through your sales funnel.

Sales funnels enable you to define the process and to track individual prospects (potential customers) as they progress through it, building the relationship at every stage. Sales funnels are made up of several stages and each one requires specific attention. By far the most popular sales funnel model is AIDA which has 4 stages: Attention, Interest, Desire and Action.

  • Attention Stage

Organic search marketing, blog posts, social media posts, Facebook Ads or Google Ads. At this stage, you may be offering potential customers something for free in return for their email address. Getting that email address is vital in the following stages.

  • Interest Stage

Having attracted their attention, you now need to develop their interest in your product or service. What problems does it solve? Why is it better / cheaper / faster than the competitors? Focus on the benefits.

  • Desire Stage

Creating desire through follow-up contact including email marketing and other content such as webinars that sell the products or services based upon the results they can deliver for the prospective customer. Customers buy results not features. Show them how others have achieved their desired benefits.

  • Action Stage

If the preceding stages have been handled effectively, closing the sale should be a natural next step. Make it frictionless and easy to do, ideally online.

Conclusion

Whilst there are no guarantees in starting an online business, there are a number of key steps that can shorten the odds of success for you. Good luck!

[1] https://gemconsortium.org/report/gem-2016-2017-global-report

[2] https://www.emailmonday.com/dma-national-client-email-report-2015/