Running any online business is both exciting, rewarding, and frustrating. On the one hand, you are creating value for people while also using your skills, expertise, and passions. On the other hand, you have to build something from scratch, compete with many other entrepreneurs and businesses, as well as manage your day-to-day activities. Whether you’re running an e-commerce store, an affiliate marketing business, or even an online coaching business, the activities you do consistently can make or break your online business.
There are many types of online businesses out there. Each one is unique. However, the online business that can maintain consistency in doing the right things will have a much greater chance of success. In this article, we will outline 7 key activities for any online business.
7 Key Activities for Any Online Business
1. Market Research
Market research is an important activity for any business. It involves researching the market and analyzing your competitors to better understand how to improve your product or service so it’s better than the ones offered by your competitors. For an online business, market research is not something that should be done just once. The world of online business changes constantly. And customers’ preferences and desires change too. For your online business to succeed, you must conduct market research frequently enough to stay ahead of the curve.
Market research helps you understand:
- Who are your customers? What do they want?
- How much money are customers willing to spend on your product or service?
- What do your customers expect from you?
- How many people search for products and services that are similar to yours?
- How many people buy those types of products and/or services? What kinds of people buy them?
- Which of these products/services are already available in the market, and how different are they from one another?
2. Keeping Up With Inventory and Availability
The online world gives customers seemingly unlimited options when it comes to products and services. If a customer was at a physical location and wanted a product that was out of stock, they would need to drive to another retail store to find what they are looking for. Not true with online businesses
With online businesses, another buying option is just a click away. This is why it is important to maintain inventory for your best-selling items. If you are offering a service, also make sure that you maintain some availability. The more reliable you are with maintaining your product’s availability, the more loyal your customers will be.
2. Evaluating Revenue Streams
Your business model should include a plan for evaluating the revenue streams you are currently working with. Your plan is important because you need to know how much each stream generates and whether it’s worth continuing to pursue each one.
The first step in evaluating your current revenue streams is analyzing them. You will want to look at the costs associated with each stream, its past performance, and its current state. If a revenue stream has been performing poorly or requires too many resources, it may be time for you to consider cutting ties with that source of income.
Examples of revenue streams in an online business include:
- Physical product sales
- Affiliate marketing
- Digital sales
- Memberships and subscriptions
3. Targeted Marketing
As an online business, your marketing strategy has the potential to reach billions of people. However, not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer. That is why it is important to use your resources wisely. Targeted marketing involves defining your target market, understanding its pain points, and figuring out how to reach them.
After determining who your customers are and what they want, you can tailor your product or service specifically for that audience. You’ll also have a better idea of how much you need to spend on advertising to reach them.
Here’s how to conduct targeted marketing:
- Define your target market
- Understand their pain points (What problem do they want to be solved?)
- Consider both demographics and psychographics
- Assess the competition
4. Getting Customer Feedback
Getting customer feedback is an important part of your business model. Especially an online business model. You can use it to improve your product or service and ensure that people are satisfied with the work you’re doing for them. Getting customer feedback is a key activity that you should not ignore.
You can obtain this information using two methods: surveys and social media interactions. Both can be useful, but a survey may be more effective if you want to collect specific data about how customers feel about various aspects of their experience with your company over some time. Social media interactions provide real-time customer feedback—you can see what they think immediately.
5. Constantly Innovating and Adapting Your Tech
As we mentioned earlier, running any online business means that you must change as technology advances. You must stay on top of industry trends to keep your model up to date. If you don’t, your online business will quickly become obsolete. Don’t be afraid of change—it may be hard at first, but it will allow you to keep things fresh and interesting for yourself and your customers. Be willing to pivot and adjust as needed, while keeping the vision of what you want in mind.
Building a habit of constant innovation will help your online business stay relevant. The activity of adapting will also ensure your venture survives the changing online business landscape.
6. Improving the Sales Process
Another key activity your online business should focus on is the sales process. Implementing a new sales process can be difficult and expensive, but it’s critical to growing your online business. When you do this effectively, you can improve the customer experience and build trust with customers while also increasing revenue.
An improved sales process will also help you:
- Focus on the buyer’s journey
- Use data to make better decisions
- Understand your customer’s needs
- Improve your sales funnel by using the most effective strategy
7. Maintain a Strong Value Proposition
A value proposition is what the company offers that makes it unique and valuable to consumers. This encompasses the products and services offered and how they are delivered or perceived by customers. When considering your value proposition, you should consider how it differs from other aspects of your business model.
Value propositions can differ significantly from one industry to another. For example, a hotel’s value proposition may focus on room comfort and convenience, whereas a car rental service might emphasize convenience and affordability. To help clarify this concept for yourself, think about what sets you apart from competitors, who is your target audience, and why someone would choose to buy from your business over another.
Every company doesn’t need an elaborate mission or vision statement. These are often too vague for day-to-day use in business planning. Instead, focus on outlining what matters most when building strategies around core values such as quality service delivery.
A strong value proposition has four key characteristics:
- It’s simple enough that customers understand what they are consuming
- It clarifies why the customer should buy from you instead of someone else
- It’s short
- It has proof of excellence, such as testimonials
The most important thing to remember is that you can’t expect your business model to be perfect right away. It’s a work in progress, and there will always be new ideas to try and elements to improve upon. But if you keep these key activities in mind, you’ll be on your way to creating a more effective business model for yourself—and maybe even help others do the same.