It seems like every day you hear about another success story of someone who built a massively successful business online from scratch.
With the number of online users increasing every year, there’s an abundance of opportunities in almost any industry to carve out your own space and become a success story that others talk about.
However, one thing that often gets overlooked is the amount of work and dedication it takes to succeed online. In most, if not all cases of success, there was a long and challenging process of failing and making mistakes until the right formula was found.
But how to make sure that you avoid them?
Well, the best approach is to try and learn from the mistakes of others – that way, you may be able to speed up the process of reaching your goals and get where you want to go quicker.
And while starting a new business may seem like a daunting task, at least then you have complete control of every decision and don’t have to take on the risks when buying an online business from someone else.
So, to get you on the right track, here are four mistakes that are very common among less experienced entrepreneurs, which you should focus on avoiding at all costs.
Not Having a Clear Plan of Action
Starting a business is a process that has specific steps you need to follow. Unfortunately, many people don’t think that they should apply when starting a business online.
Perhaps that has something to do with the “get-rich-quick” mentality that is promoted by a lot of online marketers, but aspiring entrepreneurs don’t seem to think that they need to follow the basic principles of building a business and try to look for shortcuts every step of the way.
However, that’s just not how it works.
Even though you can put together a website in a matter of hours, that won’t be very useful if you aren’t able to attract traffic, or if you can’t develop an offer and messages that get people to take action.
But where to get started?
Well, the first step is figuring out who you want to reach and what your business will be centered around.
You need to find a simple business plan template that will help you lay out the basic information about your business, and then start developing a customer avatar of the ideal person that you would like to attract.
Then, you need to figure out your plan of action and list out the things that you’ll need to launch your online business and reach your goals. Only when you map out a clear and specific plan can you expect to stay on track and not forget crucial details that go into making your site work.
Creating Mediocre Content
Content is at the heart of what marketing online is all about.
No matter your niche, the primary reason people will visit your site is to learn more about your products or services, so the quality of the information that you present will be the deciding factor in whether you can convert those visitors into customers or not.
In fact, without good content, it’s questionable if you’ll be able to attract any customers to begin with – people need a reason to go to your site, and in most cases that involves at least some sort of content, whether it’s a video, a blog article, a social media post, or even a banner ad.
What’s more, content plays a crucial role in how you are able to position your brand as well. With content, you can educate your prospective customers, help them overcome challenges, break down their objections, and guide them towards the conclusions that you want them to make.
And by guest posting on blogs relevant to your niche, you can get in front of an audience you wouldn’t have been able to access otherwise and showcase your expertise and point of view, which can serve as a powerful lead generation strategy on its own.
Finally, with the help of content, you can give a significant boost to your SEO efforts – Google has learned to recognize quality and informative content, and the best articles on any given topic usually end up on the top pages of the SERPs.
With quality content, you will have a much easier time getting your articles linked back to from other sources, which will give you even better chances of climbing on search engine rankings.
But how can you create content that will help your online business take off?
Well, the process isn’t easy, but the rewards are too great for you not to make an effort to implement it.
The first step is analyzing the landscape of what others are writing about in your niche. Go through the most popular blogs, publications, your competitor’s websites, as well as social media groups, and see what types of topics are talked about the most and get the best response.
Then look at the content itself – ask questions such as how long is it? What are the biggest pain points that are addressed? How is it structured? What voice is used most commonly?
Once you have a solid grasp of what others are doing, you’ll have a much easier time understanding what you need to do to stand out and do better than others.
Look for opportunities to fill information gaps or write about a topic from a different angle – people in most niches are always looking for new perspectives on various issues, so that’s the fastest way to generate traction for your blog.
One of the most important aspects of running a successful business online is positioning yourself as a reliable and professional company in the eyes of your target audience.
Unfortunately, that’s something that many entrepreneurs struggle with.
They have websites that look amateurish, without a singular focus or feel, and because of that, they drive a large part of their prospective customers away.
Today’s online consumers are especially careful about who they choose to do business with – they’re more aware of the risks that come with shopping online and know what to look for in a website that can be trusted to buy from.
So, what are the most critical aspects you should focus on?
Well, the first step is building a unified brand identity that’s present throughout your site. You should try and establish a consistent style that includes your branding elements, color schemes, and even the voice that you use in all of your communications and copy.
The next step is making sure that your site looks reliable. There are relatively simple ways to instantly boost the credibility of your website such as adding an SSL certificate, making sure your site is convenient to view on any device, and creating navigation that makes sense from the user’s perspective.
Even seemingly minor things like making sure you choose the right Facebook Event photo size can make a significant difference, as consumers can be put off by any single unprofessional element of your communications.
If you run an online store, choosing the right eCommerce software can help you address of a lot of these issues, but you still need to make a conscious effort to look at your on-site and off-site efforts from the perspective of the people that you are trying to reach.
Not Addressing Customer Complaints
There probably isn’t a quicker way to ruin your reputation online than failing to deal with customer complaints in an efficient manner.
Your customers need to know that you’ll help them resolve any issues because otherwise, they will go with your more established competitors, as around half of all U.S. e-commerce shoppers already buy on Amazon.
But how can you make sure that you provide excellent customer support to your customers?
Well, first, you need to develop an effective system for receiving and dealing with the complaints and questions from your prospects and customers.
That involves putting together a motivated and engaged support team that understands the importance of satisfying every customer, developing a base for the most common questions and issues using knowledge base software, and implementing multiple ways for customers to reach you.
For instance, you should actively encourage customers to share their input by having a way to collect customer feedback on your website, as that can help you get in front of many potential issues before a larger part of your audience is exposed to them.
Even a single bad customer experience can go viral and cause your company irreparable damage, so no matter which platform your customers reach out on, you need to be present and willing to help.