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How to start an online business and what promotion metrics to track

Today it is extremely difficult to start your own business "the old fashioned way", if possible. It is necessary to rent premises, follow safety rules (up to the operation of electric kettles) and hire employees. All of the above is just a tiny part of doing business. And it won't pay off soon. But what to do if you have unambiguously decided to "Open a store" but are not sure that there will be enough funds for the above? Then we have an idea — try going online.

Online stores have significantly lower costs and lower trading requirements. But where some restrictions fall, others are erected. Online stores are primarily websites. They require regular technical work, the creation of product catalogs and a user-friendly interface. The above is just a minimum of the required technical elements, and their relevance is non-negotiable. But to promote an online store, a working website is simply not enough.

We live in a time of total absorption of people by social networks, the all-seeing and all-knowing Google and selling services, on the scale of Amazon. After reading the history of their creation, you will see not a multi-billion dollar investment, but gradual growth and long-term payback. But it should be said right away that all the leading platforms at one time became pioneers. How Facebook turned out to be the first large-scale social network, how Google gained popularity thanks to its user-friendly interface and the most relevant search results. If you are not sure about the revolutionary nature of your idea, then you should start with the basics. Namely, define your target audience.

Marketers will help you with this, they will draw up a general portrait of your buyer and work out an advertising campaign. But this is an extremely general definition. Marketing needs more attention. For example, defining your own niche. Unfortunately, no one has ever succeeded in filling everything and right away (due to limited resources).

Business advertising, where should you start?

In order to start an online business, it is extremely important to define exactly what and why you are offering the buyer. Special emphasis should be placed on this. Without accurate ideas about your product, and understanding who you want to sell it to, how it can help customers — without this, starting a business is simply contraindicated.

But how do you find the very idea? Maybe you should conduct social polls, somehow trick questions? It is possible, but this is more relevant for large companies wishing to analyze desires, needs, or simply ask the opinion of non-target consumers. To start an online business, it is advisable to just look at yourself. Consider your problems, “listen to your inner voice,” understand what excites you and how you can correct certain shortcomings. Ask yourself the question "What is stopping me so much?" or “What am I missing?”, only answers like “A couple of billions” are not accepted. If you find a way to save you from dilemmas, then think, maybe you can build a business on this?

This is followed by a market analysis, you can probably find people with requests similar to yours. If you see the possible demand, all that remains is to find the "key to their hearts" — and if this task is entrusted to experienced marketers, then customer sympathies are in your pocket.

But let's take a closer look not at the principles on which an online business is built, but the features of its promotion on the Internet. We will start by creating a business website, after which we will smoothly move on to the plane of important metrics.

How to run a business promotion campaign?

In order for your online business to quickly gain popularity (or at least not to bend from the very beginning), we recommend spending time (and money) on creating a working website. The operability should be understood as the stability of the servers, the usability of the design, the technical condition of the resource itself. Let's consider everything in detail.

Let's start with the need for a stable site in a search engine. The buyer will not wait for your online store to start working. The Internet has taught people to value their time, if you do not give the client what he wants - he will simply go to competitors. For the confident operation of the Internet resource, we recommend contacting specialists who are able to offer a website for a turnkey Internet business. Typically, services of this nature are offered by various digital agencies. In addition to the stable operation of the site, they offer its complete creation from scratch. Starting with the development of business sites: design, interface and ending with the addition of various "chips" (like an online calculator).

Continuing the topic of conversation. An online store website must have a functional and intuitive design. If the buyer has questions like "Where to click?", "What to do now?" — you should make adjustments as soon as possible on the Internet resource. There is a so-called “rule of three clicks”, following which the user should take no more than three clicks to make a purchase (or other targeted action).If the client needs to understand the interface, think "What does this button do?" — then your resource is doing badly, probably customers who want to buy something will abandon the venture and go to competitors.

Last but not least, the quality of the visual effects of the site can be considered. To put it simply - make up the layout. It is important for users that they are greeted with high-quality pictures (which do not disintegrate into pixels) and adequately working animations.

If you are now thinking “why are they needed? Let's just make a background of one color (peach) and a couple of buttons stick it in! Our customer will not be lost! " We are in a hurry to upset you, a site consisting of a couple of lines and three words will not inspire confidence or desire to order advertising

While this is exaggerated, it is imperative that you show your customers good taste and high-quality design (and interface) performance - this will show you as a responsible salesperson. Remember, people want to trust those who take products from, convince them of the safety of the choice. Better than a high-quality execution of the visual and technical condition - just not an option to find.

But as soon as you bring the site to an adequate state, the question arises "how to understand if our web resource is working or are you carrying the next one?" To understand this, pay attention to the metrics. They track user activity on your resource, the flow of customers coming from links placed on third-party resources, and much more. Let's consider them in more detail.

We'll start with LTV (LifeTime Value). The metric refers to the cumulative income from the average duration of the customer's activity with your business."Ummm ... What?" you ask. Let's break it down in simple words.

You set up ads to attract a lead (for example, in a streaming service), a buyer came to you and subscribed. He extended it for a year, and then stopped paying. Then LTV will consist of profit (lead generation costs - direct income). If the product has a large number of users, then thanks to "LifeTime" you can calculate the average time of service use and determine the possible income based on the period data.

This model is also working for other areas of activity, although in cases of business without a subscription system (and other, similar) metrics are somewhat limited, due to the emergence of new tasks and factors. But it all depends on the field of activity. For example, clothing stores. Determining the time of interaction between the client and the catalog is not a problem, especially in view of constant updates and delivery of goods. And in another, more specific field of activity, for example, a printing house, where the time of working with a customer is extremely elastic and depends on many factors that cannot be calculated. In this case, the interaction with the client may end after 5 minutes of placing the order, and you cannot be sure whether he will return or not.

But it's not just the customer's time that matters. It is also important to track the Churn Rate. Every business has it, but you need to try to keep the indicator as low as possible. In the case of a high customer churn rate, lead generation will jump significantly in price. But if you decide to just leave the indicator alone and continue to "bend your line." In the end, you will be faced with an unpleasant picture. The costs of attracting new customers will seem exorbitant, and the effect is simply "zilch".

This metric is most relevant in the areas of software development and sales. Since the level of income in it is as closely related to the volume of the client base as possible. Churn Rate demonstrates the work of the sales department and the overall responsiveness of the company. If the company has properly configured corporate relations, then there will be no problems with audience churn.

Next, we will consider a more precise and definite metric. It is called CAC and determines the cost of attracting customers. It is relevant and important for any business, as it allows you to determine the level of marketing costs. The metric displays data on leads that have paid. It is used to determine the reasons for attracting customers. It should be noted right away that marketing should be approached as comprehensively as possible, namely:

  • Start working on SMM;

  • Launch contextual and targeted advertising;

  • Start SEO promotion;

  • Work with the marketing department.

Also, don't forget to set up a metric to determine your visitor acquisition costs. It is useful because it allows you to carry out calculations for each individual channel, it is especially relevant for SMM services for business, and advertising.

smm business promotion on social networksIn addition to evaluating users, you should adequately determine the value of your own products. The realities of the market are such that your services or products may be overvalued. The ARPU metric will help to calculate this, it is often used in conjunction with ARPPU — the average income per paying user. The growth of these two indicators testifies to the right measures, the correct work of the sales department and marketers. If everything is exactly the opposite, then it is likely that traffic is decreasing and soon it will be necessary to re-evaluate the goods and change the company's strategy.

The last in the account (but not in importance) will be the metric that tracks the regular monthly income of the business. This metric is often associated (and also used) with SaaS, due to its dependence on products that are prepaid (or by subscription). This metric is called MRR and its purpose is to help determine the costs of maintaining the business in the long term (in case of working on the payment models mentioned above). Let's give an example: a user paid for several months, the metric will distribute this amount for a specified period (paid).

Objective assessment of cases is an extremely important element of business. You should not start work without such tools. Let's say right away that there are many metrics in Google that track literally all possible processes on the Internet, but their relevance is not always significant, therefore we recommend contacting specialists in business website promotion.

But it is not only metrics and a well-developed corporate structure and ethics that will help you to make your online business popular and as effective as possible. And also third-party resources. For example, SMM business promotion on social networks. Read on for more details!

Business promotion in social networks

In today's world, it is vital for a business to be represented on platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Now social networks have become a kind of "soul mirror" for companies. Users follow with interest the news related to their favorite brands, participate in promotions and are just looking for new items. But social networks are not only entertainment and informational platforms. Often, companies start up their pages on them in order to establish relationships with the target audience, communicate with customers and, of course, sales.

The above (except for trade) are dealt with by SMM specialists. They are the ones who write posts, work with the audience, notify users about promotions and simply promote the business. Let's talk about their work and its significance further.

Let's say right away that the work of SMM specialists is multifaceted and extremely difficult. You can read more about the tricks of promoting a business on social networks in our blog. In this article, we will try to give you the basics.

How can your business grow with the help of social media? Everything is extremely simple — using these platforms, it is much easier to find your target audience. Most social networks offer users to form a group (names may vary depending on the site). Often this is not just a pile of people, but associations by interests or preferences. Naturally, marketers could not but take advantage of such a "gift" (in the topic of social networks, they are also SMM specialists).

Business promotion of a website on social networks largely depends on the correct setting and conducting of targeted advertising.This is what marketers do, and they define the methods of working with the audience. If you thought, “What's wrong with that? We just start advertising and make money! " then you are deeply mistaken. Often, it is on the preparation of the marketing budget and the determination of the target that mistakes are made and large sums are lost.

In order to avoid annoying errors, we recommend that you entrust the preparation of an advertising plan to professionals. Amateurs will not be able to identify all the subtleties of the audience and service. We will not consider promotion in social networks for a long time, if you are interested in this topic — follow us on social networks! There you will find a lot of new and interesting things! For now, let's take a look at the first steps you should take to grow your online business.

Where to start a business? - tips for beginners

Considering all of the above and the above, a logical question arises — "Are you sure that you need a personal website?" Let's say right off the bat, you don't need to look at Amazon or other supermarkets. These are pioneering companies, they started in the days when Google seemed like a novelty, measure up with them in scale and try to inherit bold decisions — compare to suicide. Think, maybe there is an opportunity to work on ready-made platforms. For example, start with social media.

business development and promotion of sitesIn this case, you need an SMM specialist and the creation of your own group or public (depending on the platform). There you will be able to work with each client directly, and create a deployed network for transitions to the store's website. You don't need to set up infrastructure, develop resources, and spend extra funds.

But in this case, you are likely to find yourself in a "trap", closed within one platform. When launching a business on social networks, keep this point in mind. Also, do not forget about the specifics: communication, advertising and product descriptions should correspond to the wishes of your audience and it is advisable to use a conversational style in your work. If, after social networks, you try to move to other platforms, for example, large online stores, then you will have to change the rhetoric and policy of the company. Business and advertising are likely to change as well.

When starting a business on large online stores, you must take the platform's rules for granted.This is true for all major sites, they are controlled by one company, which does not need excesses and dubious content that can undermine the brand's reputation. Also, unlike social networks, where you can maintain a group for free, online stores always charge taxes, be it a flat fee for a "place", or a percentage of sales.

But working on large platforms like Amazon, Prom, Ebay, you get an indisputable advantage — there are much more chances to establish a large business and find regular customers precisely thanks to such sites. Become a part of a popular brand, trade using its system, established infrastructure. For a small fee (rarely when it exceeds the ill-fated 30%), you have opportunities that the average beginner cannot afford.

True, we cannot do without a brief overview of the results (and the possible future) of this kind of cooperation. At the moment, this is especially true for a business focused on the sale of information technology and services. And we are talking about a litigation between the Epic Game Store (hereinafter referred to as EGS) and Apple. We will not consider the prerequisites and dig deep into the process. Let's briefly introduce you to the essence of the matter.

EGS violated the rules of the Apple platform and introduced a more beneficial payment system for the user, bypassing the App store payment systems. The situation was complicated by a lawsuit for "extortionate 30%" by the Epic Game Store. In response, Apple submitted its application. We will not go into all aspects of the trial. But what is important and why did we pay attention to it.In the future, there may be changes in pricing policy in giant firms such as Google and Apple. Considering that almost all (with the exception of Alibaba and firms that evade taxes in offshore zones) large companies are registered in the United States and follow the laws of that country. Perturbations due to the development of online platforms and their possible violation of antitrust laws are guaranteed.

Try to analyze the state of affairs of the giant platforms as broadly and deeply as possible. Such as Amazon, Google, Apple, etc. To do this, we recommend that you contact analytical agencies or create a department of the appropriate focus on the basis of your own enterprise. Otherwise, you will have to frantically make decisions in an atmosphere of uncertain future.

To avoid all of the above disadvantages, as you already understood, your own online store will allow you. If you have never been interested in Internet technologies and your experience with search engines ends with queries. As we have already said many times, we recommend that you contact the professionals.

With the advent of the resource, immediately start increasing traffic. We also recommend entrusting lead generation (the appearance of potential customers) to specialists, who often offer already “hot” customers who are ready to make purchases. But the acquisition of warm traffic does not mean success. You should be putting out ads, lots of ads! Do not forget to communicate with the audience through social networks, work on the company's image.

Do not stop monitoring trends for a second - they are your life, hesitate and at once lose part of your audience. This does not mean catching nonsense from children on Tik Tok, just try to move away from typical corporatism (absolutely everyone is tired of it). But do not chase after the "youth", you probably saw stupid videos and banners, from companies that do not understand trends and, most importantly, people. Remember, you are you, except for trends and tendencies that cannot be avoided in our time, stay yourself. People love character, try to show your store from a perspective that suits you and be as different as possible from your competitors. Otherwise, you will repeat the situation in the car market of the 2010s. When the cars differed only in the emblem and the shape of the headlights.

Uniqueness is your strong point. It doesn't matter what you do, even the sale of cinema tickets can be beaten in an original and fresh way. Never turn off your head and keep the creative sparkle constantly. If difficulties arise (and they will appear) do not give up and continue to do your job. Even global crises are coming to an end.

For beginners, the option of cooperation with other, not popular brands will be especially relevant. It is much easier to achieve success together than separately. Remember to collaborate with various bloggers, media personalities and other "opinion leaders". Try to get as close to the desired audience as possible and then people will be drawn to you, and what brings you closer than an authoritative opinion and recommendation?

Do not neglect help if you have problems that you probably cannot cope with - contact the professionals. It will cost a pretty penny, but it will pay off. It is better to do all the necessary technical procedures, correctly set up targeted advertising, develop a competent marketing campaign — than then reap the benefits in the form of losses due to incompetent decisions and annoying nonsense + mistakes.

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