If you are thinking of starting an online business despite the business closures and layoffs happening left and right across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, it might not be such a bad idea.
According to a CNBC report, entrepreneurs and start-up investors believe that the coronavirus pandemic might be the perfect opportunity to start a new venture from home, calling this time in history a “catalyst to creation.”
To help you start and grow your online business, here are a few things you need to know:
Find a need to fill
The pandemic curbed social interactions. People are staying at home most of the time, and work-at-home setups are on the rise to prevent COVID-19 transmissions. Suddenly, more people are having food delivered or cooking their meals instead of eating out. Corporate attire is out; comfort clothing is in. Sales of lip products dropped, while sales of eye makeup and false eyelashes increased. The reason? People are wearing masks when going out, so they try to emphasize the eyes by putting on mascara, eyebrow liner, and false eyelashes. These lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic brought about new needs. Take note of these to determine which products to sell for your online business.
Get reliable business ‘partners’
As they say, “No man is an island.” Even if you’re opening an online business on your own, you still need the help of other service providers. These are your suppliers, couriers, marketers—all those involved in the selling process.
For example, if you are going to sell comfort clothing, unless you are going to make them yourself, you will have to find a clothing manufacturer. Then, you will need a supplier for the right packing materials such as poly bubble mailers to ensure the safe transport of clothes. You will also need a reliable courier to ensure the prompt delivery of orders.
Build your website
Once you’ve identified the need that you’re going to fill in and planned how to acquire and sell your products, you are ready to create your website.
Decide your domain name and web host. Choose a design that matches the nature of your business and your branding to appeal to your target market, but keep it neat and simple to provide easy navigation. A user-friendly website allows potential customers to browse through your products quickly and make a hassle-free purchase. This means that you also have to integrate online payment into your site to set up a convenient payment system.
Choose the right platform for your business
Consider the nature of your business. For business-to-business (B2B) companies, LinkedIn will connect you with potential clients. For business-to-customer (B2C) companies, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter will help you gain visibility and customer engagement. Meanwhile, YouTube allows both B2B and B2C companies to share content and interact with their respective target markets.
Write compelling marketing copy
Generate sales by writing catchy headlines, using an engaging or entertaining voice, identifying your unique selling proposition, adding testimonials, and including a call-to-action. If you have the budget, you can hire a professional copywriter to work on your marketing copy. You can also involve video content creators if you want to include videos in your marketing strategy.
Maintain your online presence
It is easy to slack off on maintaining online presence once you get regular customers and build a reputation for your business. This is a no-no. As an online business, visibility is your bread and butter. You have to remind your customers always that you are here to cater to their needs. Build your relationship with them as if they were your friend. Allow them to learn more about you. Let them know what you’re up to. Get to know them. Talk to them.
To boost your online presence, you can maximize email marketing to send daily, weekly, or monthly emails to your customer list to inform them about new products, special offers, process updates, and other news. You can also use social media management platforms like HootSuite to automatically schedule posts on your behalf.
Taking a leap of faith
A true-blooded entrepreneur knows when to make an opportunity out of a crisis. Remember, carefully assessing consumer behavior—following trends and doing thorough research—will serve as your ticket to determining which new needs have to be addressed. By opening an online business, you might be on the road to helping solve some of the problems arising from the pandemic. The key to your success and longevity lies in proving your company’s relevance in the industry today and in the future, even when the pandemic has passed.