The Internet is a democratic medium for entrepreneurship. Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses, you don't need lots of money or technical experience to start an online business. A simple business model, motivation, and an Internet connection are essential items of your go-digital checklist. But to grow faster, you need to add these 3 digital must-haves: branding, website, and online content.
An online business is a commercial activity that unfolds on the Internet. When you think of online business, there are good chances E-commerce pops up to your mind. But you can include Drop-Shipping or Affiliate Marketing in the list of options.
According to Statistica's report, a staggering 2.14 billion people shopped online in 2021. The same report reveals that the percentage of online shopping has been consistently increasing about 5% per year in the last decade. Today, online shopping represents 19% ($26.7 Trillion) of all global sales.
Besides the increasing demand, set an online business offers other benefits to entrepreneurs.
Let's see 5 of them:
- Ease of creating an online presence
- Global Reach
- Business cycle of 24/7
- Personalized offers based on data insights
- Reduced logistic cost
All good news, right? If you are an entrepreneur thinking about taking your first steps in the business field, going online is a good choice: it requires fewer resources, offers less risk, and allows for greater freedom.
To unlock the full power of digital, you need to pay attention to 3 digital must-haves. Let's see one by one.
1. Build a consistent brand to your online business
Once you have discovered a business idea and defined your services, it's time to build your brand. As Catherine Slade-Brooking, author of Creating a Brand Identity, says, "branding is about creating differentiation, making one product or a service seem different from a competitor product". A successful brand also uses a unique set of elements and values. The goal is to achieve a high degree of recognition by consumers.
Another way of characterizing a brand is by identifying its brand personality. One way of doing this is by choosing a set of human traits to characterize a brand. These traits are grouped into five core dimensions:
- Sincerity: domestic, honest, genuine, and cheerful
- Excitement: daring, spirited, imaginative
- Competence: reliable, responsible, dependable, efficient
- Sophistication: glamorous, pretentious, charming, romantic
- Ruggedness: tough, strong, outdoorsy
To achieve recognition, your brand elements — logo, lettering, color palette, tone of voice — must be consistent across physical materials and digital channels, like Social Media platforms and websites. And talking about the latter, let's move to the second must-have: website.
2. Launch a website to showcase your online business
Creating and launching a website is much easy today than 20 years ago. Nowadays, you don't need to be a ninja developer to build an online presence. For example, if you need an eCommerce website, you can use Shopify's ready-made templates. That sort of technological solution offers you payment integration, back-office to manage your content, and SEO plugins. WordPress is also a great choice, especially if you are thinking of starting a blog business. WordPress has a free and paid version.
Despite the speed of execution and less investment required of ready-made templates, nothing beats personalized website design and development by a professional team. That personalized solution is perfect when you need to structure and design a website tailored to your needs.
By the way, MyBusiness offers you the best of two worlds: it turns your business digital for free and with some degree of customization.
3. Create online content to build a community around your online business
There are many ways and platforms to create and monetize online content. By content creation, we mean writing articles or infographics for blogs and Social Media. And also producing and distributing videos.
Content is all about giving. It's about understanding your customer's pains in daily life and addressing them with helpful and good information formats. If you focus on providing engaging content, you can establish your authority. With time, your brand can be the leading voice in your field.
There are 4 key aspects you need to consider before starting your content:
- What are your customer's needs
- Where are they hanging on the Internet
- What is the tone of voice of your content
- And, last but not least, what are the formats
After figuring out this, you should delineate a content strategy aligned with your business KPIs.
So don't forget: content is a great way to build your community by offering knowledge and tips to people. Good content attracts more followers. And followers can be future clients.
More than ever, the Internet is opening doors to entrepreneurs willing to start building an online business from scratch. The global reach, the reduced costs, and ease of use allure people to start a new online business. Despite lowering the barriers, online business has 3 must-haves any entrepreneur can't neglect: create a brand, build a website, create some meaningful content.