As I already wrote on this blog, there are many benefits to starting an online business today. Apart from the obvious ones, working from home in your sweatpants (if you’re that sort of person, which is cool), choosing your own working hours, cutting down on extra expenses by not renting additional real estate for your business, you can also reach a much bigger network of clients and buyers, increase your earning potential and truly get to know your audience on a more personal level. You can actually see who they are, what they like and what they dislike. Why is this important? – Well, because it lets you figure out how to up your marketing game and conversion rates by feeding your potential customers with data, products and offers they actually would be interested in.
These are just some of the key advantages of owning an online business. Everyone who has figured out how to make the most of their online presence is currently knee deep in profit.
Although this all sounds fine and dandy, running an online business isn’t really that easy. There are always new challenges you’ll have to face if you want to keep your brand relevant and one step in front of your direct competitors. It doesn’t matter if you run a service-based business or an online store, you’re definitely going to face some trouble on your road to conquering your niche market on the web.
I don’t know how it is in your line of work, but we often hear from our clients complain about online marketing. They say that it’s a tough cookie for them to swallow. It’s just something that isn’t quite that easy for them to navigate.
AltusHost was, is and always will be a company that focuses on giving its clients more than 110%. That’s why we constantly share all sorts of marketing advice and hacks on our blog.
So, after writing that, you can probably figure out that the biggest challenges that the majority of new online business owners are facing today are mostly marketing related. So, without further to do, let’s dig into some of the most common nightmare scenarios for our new online entrepreneurs:
Finding Your Audience
It can be hard for new online businesses to get their message across the web to their potential consumers. Fortunately for them, there are many ways on how to overcome this problem. When doing social media, not all platforms are applicable to your business. When starting with social marketing, most business make the same mistake – they instantly fire on all channels.
Adding blogs, Facebook Pages and Tumblr, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram to your plate at the very same time can be a bit much for those inexperienced online entrepreneurs.
They find themselves overwhelmed to the point where they would rather just go back to their old ways. And they probably should, because building an audience on one social network is hard enough. Doing them all at once from zero to hero is a full-time job that requires a lot experimenting and learning.
You can be active as much as you want to, but some channel just won’t work for you. Knowing this, it’s important to have the objective for your social media marketing. Remember, each platform, no matter how similar it may feel, has different uses and purposes. Before you invest any effort into creating and promoting your content, you should always first test it out as a user. Next to that. once you’re familiar with the whole concept of the platform, what it’s like, what do people share on it, and what kind of posts provoke engagement, then, and only then, you should start thinking of participating on it as a brand.
In order to stay competitive, you and your business must create a customer-centric marketing plan that has the power to build and secure relationships with your target market. One of the best ways to do this is through email and content marketing with companies.
As I already mentioned on this blog, brands like MOZ, Buffer and GrooveHQ have a firm grasp on this concept. They know how to engage their audience, provide additional value for them via content marketing, and keep them coming back for more and more.
I really love MOZ. I think Rand Fishkin has made that brand into a real powerhouse on the internet.
MOZ is one of those few brands who really know how to reach out to their customers with fresh and useful content, engage them via social media, and stay ahead of the competition.
Being customer-centric, MOZ knows the importance of fulfilling their consumers wants and needs in ways that exceed their expectations. Rand and his crew really know what it means highly-competitive brand who has some real value behind it, should take a page out of Rand’s book.
Like I already wrote many, many times here – offering quality service is not nearly enough, if you want to successful in business today. To stay alive in this highly competitive world, you always need to be one step ahead in front of your direct competitors. You always need to think of way how to provide additional value for your customers. Why? – Well, because if you don’t, there are hundreds of companies out there that will.
Working as a marketing manager for a well-known web hosting company that has around 10.000 active clients, every single day off my life I have to figure out how to keep them satisfied, entertained and hungry for more. If I don’t, someone’s gonna steal them from me.
So far, it’s been going good for me. My 3 Step Customer Retention tactic is paying off. Customer activism has become present in almost every industry across the world. Companies who fail to keep up with changes in their customers taste, behavior, needs and expectations are beginning to fall behind. They’re struggling to keep up because they detached from their consumers. Nowadays, things change faster than ever before. Even the smallest niche microtrends today can overnight grow into industries of their own. It’s your job to be omnipresent and to see in what sort of thing are your customers into, and how to use their passion to your advantage.
Cash Flow / Finance Management
When running an online business, as any other, it’s of crucial importance that you keep track of your money – how it’s spent, where it’s coming from and where it’s going. Good cash control is important for any type of business, especially a growing one.
As an entrepreneur of a starting business, you have to be really careful on how you spend your budget. You cannot just swing your credit card around and hope that everything will turn out for the best.
No. You cannot spend a fortune on AdWords, if you don’t really know how to setup your campaigns and target your desired audiences who are more likely to convert.
Being active in this business, I have seen a lot of good firms fail due to poor money management. I don’t know why, more often than not, people tend to lose all control and start spending their company’s cash on personal things. Cars, boats, insane vacations – these are just some of the more common idiotic things that I’ve seen suck the life force out of potentially good companies.
Making the best use of your budget should be on top of your business planning list. With limited resources, you will need to pass on some opportunities and carefully invest in something that won’t suck up all your money.
Every element of your company’s capital should be carefully controlled to maximise your investment and free cash flow. Smart credit management and tight control of overdue debts is essential.
Good stock control and effective supplier management will also play a more important part in your success as your business grows.
Thank you for reading this post. If you have any question, feel free to write them down in the comments section below.
That’s it for now,
See you soon again,
Goran @ AltusHost B.V.