C-Suite Advisory

Starting An Online Business – Keeping Ahead Of The Trend

Keeping up with market trends is never simple – especially when starting a brand new online business. With so many digital businesses emerging every day, it has never been more important to get ahead – and stay there. 

From fresh technology trends to the latest ways to process checks or retail payments, analyzing the market means you can create a business plan that works.

Follow industry influencers and keep up with the latest publications 

As your business takes off, free time may become a valuable commodity. But, it is helpful to take time out to connect with those higher up in the industry. If you don’t, it’s easy to get caught up in day-to-day operations, and to lose sight of your overall ambitions. 

Seek out as many industry influencers as possible, using social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. When you’re ready to delve deeper, tools like BuzzSumo have tabs to enable keyword search – designed to connect businesses with the biggest influencers in their industry.

As well as subscribing to industry magazines, listening to industry podcasts is a highly efficient way to keep up with the latest news and conversation in your sector. This way, you can delve deep into the latest innovations with flexibility – and you can pop these on in the car, for example, to catch up while you’re on the go.

Identify your customer base 

As the owner of a brand new online business, marketing will be a core aspect of your business strategy. With no high street presence, your success depends 100 per cent on your digital presence.

But, before you invest in marketing efforts, you need to profile your customer base. Think about key demographic questions: age, gender, behavior, marital and parental status, geographical location – as well as income.

Once you’ve defined your customer demographics, use this information to decide on the best marketing strategy to make your reach convert into profit. 

Make the most of analytics 

Using business analytics means you can make smarter decisions. Making intelligent early decisions is vital for a successful business, so this isn’t a step to skip.

But, to really make the most of business analytics tools, it is important to process data correctly. It can be easy to get lost in Big Data, so you need to ensure you’re using a tool you really understand.

Choose an analytics tool with a surveys feature, so you can gather personal insights directly from your customer base. Since surveys are customizable, you can ask the questions you want to know. 

Observe the online presence of your competitors 

Done right, this is your most useful weapon against the risk of falling behind the competition. Your competitors will include large, established businesses within your niche, as well as other online businesses. If similar companies are using new, more efficient website designs, you need to know.

The trick to effective competitor research is to go beyond Google. Set up alerts for activity from competitor sites, and keep an eye of their social presence too. 

Hire a quality site host 

As an online business, your site is your empire. If you wouldn’t choose sub-standard retail premises on the high street, don’t over-economize on website design and hosting. A good provider can help your site stay optimized, and make web traffic convert into sales.

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Megan Batchelor
Executive features editor at The CEOWORLD magazine and lover of reality TV. I eat cereal for breakfast, lunch and dinner.