Thursday, May 16, 2013

Online Business - How to manage an online business effectively!

Large corporations inoculate their business from failure

Daniel Hines, Marketing Expert weighs in;

New online businesses start and fail everyday. It is no wonder why everyone is looking for the secret to managing them effectively. Is there some special sauce that you need in your online business management? Is there something missing that others have and you do not? It is quite possible. I remember when I designed my first website. It was plain, I was fourteen and I thought just being online was enough to get people and turn a profit. Those were the days. What worked yesterday doesn't work any longer today. Below are the main aspects that need your attention if you want to survive.

Pre-Launch Process (How to prevent Murphy's law)

Have you ever heard the saying “make sure you have all your ducks in a row?” The biggest thing many online business owners and entrepreneurs do, is get carried away. They start to focus on their target date of reaching profitability which is not a bad thing. However, if you start to rush in any situation, mistakes can easily be made. Most of the time when launching an online business it is the little problems that end up being the most time consuming.

Push your launch date 1-2 months (If you plan on being ready to launch in June, push it to August). This will stop Murphy’s law from discouraging your mindset. Ever since I could remember, I went to work 1 hour earlier than I needed to be there. Effectively, I was never late regardless of traffic or other travel related issues. The best thing is that I have time to sit back and really enjoy drinking my coffee before enjoying my work!

Also, make sure everything is scheduled to be completed. So to say, if you need outside services get them taking care of, set your contracts and build your relationship with service providers ahead of time. This will save time if problems arise later.

Prepare your online sales, support and IT teams through pre-launch sales, support and tech problems. This will give you a good idea about what is missing and what needs to be changed to run the most efficiently before you put your marketing budget to use.

Advertising (Put your eggs into many baskets)

One of the most important variables of success in an online business are the traffic generators. Without traffic you cannot sell your product, very simple. How do you get traffic to your website? You need quality traffic sources or paid advertising. Paid advertising is the best way to go initially this will bring in very targeted and interested leads to your website.

Until you put in place some solid traffic generators refrain from dedicating large percentages of your marketing budget to a few places. The direction that will provide a more positive result will be to spread out your budget to many different paid advertising sources. Then you can identify the campaigns that are truly bringing in the quality leads and dedicate budget accordingly.

Tracking (Stop shooting in the dark)

Being the owner or manager of an online business, you need to know where your positive results are coming from and of course, where you are weak. The great thing is that there are solutions available in these times of online businesses and easy access to information, that you can find application that can provide the A-Z solution for your online business needs. These solutions give you control of the entire lead to customer journey and maximize conversion, actually, prevent losing customers. Without tracking that shows result oriented statistics you will always be shooting in the dark.

Know your prospects (Market like the big dogs)

Is it even possible to know your prospects before they even know you, of course but you will need instant and real-time information to accomplish this. I can tell you there is not many companies that can really provide, however there is one who will give you truly track-able real-time information on your web-traffic. If you do not know who your clients are then you will not who to target, if you do not know each step that your visitors are taking in your website you will not know what is most interesting in your website. therefore, your results are limited unless you have the solution to get real-time information.

It is not enough to read the statistics of what has happened after the fact, it takes the ability to see what is happening, and what and who is responsible in real-time. This way you can prevent unwanted situations and drive more revenue.

If you want to market like the big dogs, then you need to know your prospects and market directly to their interests. Think of your website as a maze of information that will lead visitors to buying, give yourself the power to align information need most used in make a purchasing decision. Then your prospects will walk directly to the payment door.

Organization (The tree of information)

Remember those days in University when you needed to study for the final but couldn't find any of your notes under all the clothes and pizza boxes? People come to your website to access information, to research and to study before making their purchasing decision. At the same time your teams need to readily access information to guide prospects to buying. Many Online businesses fail due to the reason they do not have readily accessible information or it is hard to locate for their prospects or worse, their sales and support teams.

A system has to be in place for information to be organized, categorized and easily accessible, both in house and externally. Create your company knowledgebase and support desk in one place. Think of your organization as a tree; with management as the roots, your staff as the trunk, the branches your clients and the leaves of the tree, the ever changing sources of information needed to nourish the growth of your company.

Consistency (A well oiled machine)

After the workflow is in place, the only thing left is to keep the gears rotating. Consistency in methodology is a necessity or the reigns will slip into the hands of your competitors, who are looking to conquer the market just as you are.

It is said that consistency is a maker or breaker, personally I do not put so much weight on it. Just as important as consistency is flexibility. Without flexibility a branch will easily snap instead of strengthening over time. so keep a flexible but consistent approach to adjusting your business processes. You must become a well oiled machine to keep the gears turning in the right direction

Finding the right software (Software that brought me to life)

With so many solutions on the market, how do you know which is best for your company? Is there a software that can give you the power to effectively manage your online business?

I was lucky, with everything moving towards A-Z solutions like the large corporations use, there is a company that is returning the power to small and medium online businesses. Their solution is all that is needed to control the entire lifecycle of visitors to your website. Now, you can manage your online business effectively.

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