Anyone can successfully start an online business as long as using the right guide. By reading this guide, you have started the first steps of your online business success!
In this article, you will find ways to learn the online business for beginners. Starting from determining the product to be sold to marketing the product.
How do you learn the business for beginners? Check out below!
Learning Online Business for Beginners
Starting an online business is not easy, but not impossible. There are at least nine main steps in starting and learning a free online business. The seven steps are:
Discover the Problems Facing the Market
Products are a vital component in online business. With products that fit the market’s needs, you still have the potential to win the market. What happens if you provide a product that is not needed by the market? Most likely fail!
The statement above is not without proof. According to CBS Insight’s research, 42 percent of startups went bankrupt because they failed to identify market needs.
Why did they fail? Because the products they offer do not succeed in solving consumer problems.
Remember, by buying your product, the first thing that is on the minds of consumers is that their problem is solved.
So when starting an online business, whatever type of business it is, the first thing you have to think about is whether your product is needed by the market? Does your product solve consumer problems?
Identification of problems faced by consumers
How to find products that the market needs? The first step you must take in learning online business is find a problem! Yup, absolutely right, you have to find and identify what kind of problems the market is facing.
No need to worry about running out of trouble. There are hundreds or even thousands of problems facing consumers. You need to do field observations to find problems that are really faced by many people.
Look for business opportunities anywhere
To find the right problem, you have to be open to any possibilities. Don’t get hung up on your own assumptions. You need observation on the internet, social media, review forums, marketplaces, to Facebook groups.
In addition, you also need to talk directly with market samples. You can hold a simple interview to get direct insights from people who are facing the problem.
Choose a problem with business potential
In the steps of learning online business for beginners before, you’ve been looking for and identify problems facing the market. You can find dozens or even hundreds of problems facing the market. Now is the time for you to choose which problems you can overcome.
Not all problems have the potential to become an online business. You need to cross out problems that don’t have business potential. Then choose one problem that has business potential and you have the solution.
After choosing one problem that has business potential, now is the time to start focusing research in that field. Why must market research first? Because this is one of the best ways to find business ideas online.
You need objective data as a strong online business foundation. Through this market research, you can get these data. So you can make decisions based on objective data, not just assumptions and opinions.
The easiest way to check online business trends is by keyword research in search engines. What do people look for when searching for these problems in search engines? From the search results, you can find solutions like what they need.
In addition, you also need to check the search trends, what keywords are related, how much the search volume, until the location of the search. You can run this keyword research using the keyword tool. There are several keyword tools that you can use.
In addition to trends in Google search results, you also need to check trends on social media. Social media is a place where people can express their complaints, including reviewing products or services.
Type keywords that are related to the problem you found in the social media search column. You will find various people’s posts about the problem.
Join the forum
Consumers usually also have their own forums or groups to discuss the products they use. For example, consumers of makeup and skincare products have forums such as Female Daily.
Another example, the best hosting and domain hosting consumers have a Web Hosting Discussion forum.
Make a survey
After getting various findings on search engines, social media, and online forums, you can make a survey. The information you get from various media is just a surface problem.
Through surveys, you can get even more detailed information. In addition, you can also ask questions that you do not find in the media above.
With surveys, you can also ask for advice and input from potential customers directly.
“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”
It seems that the above saying is suitable when you start an online business. To beat a competitor, you must learn them first. What are their strengths, how do they approach consumers, to what their shortcomings?
With this information, you can make products that can compete with competitors. To analyze competition with competitors, here are the steps:
You can classify competitors into three main categories, namely main competitors, secondary competitors, and tertiary competitors. A full explanation is below:
Main competitors: they are businesses that have the same target market as your business or businesses that have products similar to yours.
Secondary competitors: they offer the same product but target different markets. For example, if you have a guest house business, your secondary competitor is a five-star hotel.
Tertiary competitors: they do not directly compete with your target market. However, they produce products that are still directly related to your product.
Grouping competitors helps you to focus. Your first priority is to win the competition with online businesses in the main competitor’s category.
Visit the competitor’s website
After classifying your competitors, you can start focusing on several competitors, especially your main competitors. Visit their website and pay attention to every detail. Here are some questions that can help you identify competitor websites:
- What are the photos of their products like? How do they display the product and its details?
- What does the product description contain? How detailed is the information they provide?
- What does a call to action (CTA) look like on their website?
- Do they provide newsletters? If yes, what benefits do they provide to subscribers?
- How do they display social media on the website?
- How fast does their website load?
- Has their website been optimized for mobile devices?
- Do they have a blog? If so, what is the blog content like?
- What kind of customer service methods do they provide? Do they provide 24-hour assistance services?
- Try their support service and notice how long they need to respond to your message.
- Do they have a special promotion page? If so, what kind of promotions do they offer? How often do they hold promotions?
- What are the main menus on their website?
- Do they display consumer testimonials on the website?
- What payment methods do they offer?
- What shipping methods do they provide?
The list of questions above is only part of the important things that need to be considered when analyzing a competitor’s website. You can add questions that suit your competitors’ needs and websites. In essence, you have to create a website that is far better than competitors.
In addition to the official website, you also need to analyze competitors’ social media. Here are some questions that can help you analyze competitors’ social media:
- What social media do they use?
- How active are they posting on social media?
- Are they responsive to customer comments on social media?
- What is the concept of their posting on social media?
- Do they utilize influencers on social media? If so, who are the influencers?
Look for competitor reviews
Analyzing competitors’ websites and social media is not enough, you also need to check their customer reviews. From product reviews, you can get important information about the advantages and disadvantages of competitors directly from customers.
- Here is a list of questions to help you analyze competitor customer reviews:
- What makes a customer satisfied with a competitor’s product?
- What do customers complain about competitors’ products?
- Is the price of a competitor’s product too expensive for the customer or is it right?
- How long does it take for competitors to deliver goods?
- What features are the most important according to the customer?
- Are customers satisfied with the customer service from competitors?
- What do customers expect from competitor products?
- Is the competitor’s product enough to solve the customer’s problem?
Identify competitors’ market positioning
After analyzing your website, social media, and competitor customer reviews, you can conclude your competitors’ market positioning. Market positioning is the image or product image that is in customer perception.
For example, although they both sell cars, Lexus and Avanza have different market positioning. On one hand, Lexus positioned the car as a symbol of luxury. On the other hand, Avanza positions its car as a family car at an affordable price.
To make it easier to identify a competitor’s market positioning, you can use the question template below:
What are customers looking for in competitor products? Are they looking for cheap prices? Or do they look for certain benefits regardless of price?
What does the competitor highlight to win the competition? What features and benefits do they highlight most often in their advertisements and promotions?
What are the competitors’ unique products?
For the sake of getting as much information, you can register their newsletter, subscribe to the blog, or even buy the product. That way, you can identify in depth what stands out and what is lacking from competitors.
Compare competitor prices
Price is still one of the most important factors that consumers consider when buying a product. According to Stax Insight, 50 percent of consumers consider price as one of the main factors when buying a product.
Therefore, you should compare the prices of all your competitors’ products. What is the average price of the same product on the market? At what number, consumers are willing to spend money to buy the product.
Look for Business Models
Your research does not stop at the target customers and the products that will be sold. Next, you need to choose which business model is the most profitable. Because even if you sell the same product, how to sell it can vary.
In order to better understand, we will just talk about examples. Say you are interested in selling a tablet specifically for reading ebooks. If you have enough capital, you can stock up some physical products to sell through the website or marketplace.
Another case when you do not have capital. You need to work with suppliers who sell tablets, then sell them through the dropship system. That way, you don’t need to worry about the product stock and inventory.
Another scenario does not involve selling physical products. If you feel comfortable being a blogger and working with brands to promote products, then you might be suitable to get involved in affiliate marketing schemes or become a publisher via Google Adsense.
With an affiliate program, you will get a link or specific code used by potential customers to shop. If potential customers shop through a link or use a specific code from you, you will get a commission from the transaction.
Whatever your choice of online business model, in the end, you still need to prepare technical things to run an online business. In the next section, we will discuss how to display online business through websites and marketplaces.
Determine the Target Market
Market research and analysis of competitors that you have done above become the basis for the next step, which is determining the target market. A target market is a group of people with the same characteristics and the possibility of buying the product you made.
Each product has its own market. For example, although both watches, Rolex and Casio have different target markets. Rolex is targeting the high-class market, while Casio is targeting the middle-class market.
With a more specific target market, you can develop products that fit your market needs. In addition, you will also be easier to develop marketing strategies.
Group the target market
At least you need to group your target market based on two main factors, namely demographics and psychography.
Here you are indeed required to estimate who your potential customers are, but that does not mean you can be careless. You can use the data obtained in the previous steps to determine the general characteristics of your potential customers.
Create a specific Persona Buyer
With the data above, it is time for you to create a buyer persona. Persona buyers are the ideal description of your product buyers. Usually, to be able to make buyer persona, interview sessions are needed with several consumers.
That way you can get a more realistic picture of what your customers are like.
There are two types of buyer persona, namely positive and negative buyer persona. Positive persona buyers are people who are most likely to buy your product.
On the other hand, a negative buyer persona is the opposite of positive buyer persona, they have no potential to buy your product.
For example, high-end clothing brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Versace. The positive persona buyers are those from the upper economic circles, while the negative persona buyers are the lower-middle economic circles.
By limiting the target market to certain groups, you can focus on mastering that target market. In addition, you can also more easily develop a marketing strategy that suits your target market.
What Products Can You Sell Online?
After doing market research, competitor analysis, and determining the target market, now all you have to do is determine the product you will sell. Well, what products can you sell online?
That question certainly can only be answered based on data from market research, competitor analysis, and your target market. Make sure the products you make fit the needs of the target market.
Create a Website
Starting an online business is not really good if you have not created a website. Like selling offline that requires a store, online businesses also need a “shop”. Why does it have to be a website? Why make a website for your online business?
Because customers want it. According to a Verisign survey, as many as 56 percent of people don’t believe in online businesses that don’t have a website.
What happens if customers don’t believe in your online business? Yes, surely they are looking for other alternatives. Remember, there are many competitors out there who can win your customers.
If you don’t want customers to run to competitors, you have to convince them that your online business really exists and not be a hoax. Well, one of the most effective ways to convince customers is to have an official website.
By creating an official website, you will have a domain. Simply put, a domain is a unique website address and it is not possible to have two exact same domain names. So you can easily direct consumers to visit the official website that you have created.
Creating a website for an online business is easy. You don’t need to master programming or coding to create a website. How to? You can use WordPress to create an online business website.
Market Products with the Right Strategy
Now is the time to market the online business that you have built. Online business marketing can not be careless. You need the right strategy to be able to market your online business to the right target market with the right marketing message. The following online business marketing strategies that you can apply:
Take advantage of Google My Business
The first thing you need to do is register an online business on Google My Business. Google My Business is a feature for business owners that is useful for making it easier for potential customers to find out complete information about their business.
From business names, company addresses, company telephone numbers, company email addresses, hours of operation, company websites, office photos, to customer reviews.
Although it looks trivial, Google My Business has many benefits. From businesses appearing on Google Maps, customer reviews, to communication media for customers.
In addition, utilizing Google My Business is the best way to promote online businesses to potential customers nearby.
So make sure your business is registered with Google My Business.
To be easily found by potential customers on Google, your online business website must be on the first page of search results. You have to compete with thousands or even tens of thousands of other websites to get first place on Google.
Then how do you get your website to appear on the first page of Google search results? The trick is with SEO optimization. You can learn SEO optimization steps through this free ebook.
It is mandatory for online business owners to use social media as a marketing channel. Considering that Indonesian people are indeed active communities in social networks.
Therefore, one of the best ways to promote your online business is to utilize social media.
However, you cannot carelessly use social media for online business.
Managing social media without a strategy is the same as working without a plan. It is not clear what targets you want to achieve, who you want to reach, and what problems you want to solve.
Running social media marketing without a strategy will negatively affect your business. Therefore, the first step in social media marketing is to strategize.
Apart from the three strategic steps above, there are still many other steps. You can read the full explanation in the article Marketing Strategies for Online Business.
Retain Loyal Customers
You can continue to target to get new customers. But don’t forget, old customers are just as important.
Instead, make a promotion to get new customers more expensive. Especially when compared to caring for your old customers. The cost to get new customers can even reach 25 times compared to maintaining relationships with loyal customers.
If you focus on encouraging transactions from old customers by up to 5 percent, you can increase profits from 25 to 95 percent. Amazing, right?
Want to know ways to retain online business customers? Let’s check one by one below!
Dedicate Customer Support to customers. A study called “not appreciated” as a reason customers no longer want to buy a product. Though there will be times when your product or service is less prime.
There will also be times when your customers have questions or complaints about brands.
If you are unable to handle customer complaints, be prepared to lose loyal customers. Therefore, you should invest in customer support for your brand.
Loyalty card. Loyalty cards are one way to encourage customers to continue to buy and use a brand. Loyalty card systems generally provide certain points that are saved up to a certain value. Then, customers will get a free gift or product.
This system is quite effective for B2C business models. Retail products or daily necessities usually adopt lots of loyalty cards. Because that’s the kind of product that repeat purchases.
If you are interested in adopting a loyalty card system, make sure you give customers plenty of options to get points. Not just buying, you can give points for review or share content about the brand.
Email marketing. Not all customers follow a brand’s social media. They also don’t necessarily check your brand’s website or marketplace. Therefore, contacting customers via email is a more effective way.
Communication via email or email marketing is an effective and personalized way. In this way, you can promote the latest products to specific customer segments.
To find out more about email marketing, read our article on this one: A Complete Guide to Creating Effective Email Marketing.
Are You Ready to Start an Online Business from Zero?
How? Do you understand how to start an online business from scratch?
Hopefully, the above explanation can be a useful free online business learning material for you. The article about learning online business for beginners is hoped that it will not only become reading material. But, it also helps you start an online business until success.