Three tips to kick-start an online business

Today, we’re going to spice things up a bit and do some hypothetical role play. 🌶

Let’s say our dear friend, Nate, was about to launch an online store and asked us for our most valuable tips for social media marketing.

The first thing you’d probably ask would be “What kind of stuff will you be selling?”

To which Nate would tell us that he’d be selling sporting gear and equipment.

… I know what you’re thinking: Vanessa? Sports? 😂 #LolWot

It’s not really my style, but social media marketing is.

So what could our most valuable tips for Nate be?

  1. Keep your product at the centre of all that you do
  2. Get to know your brand, inside and out
  3. Select the right channel(s) and use it the right way

Keep on reading if you’d like to know what exactly these mean. 🤓

Tip #1: Keep your product at the centre of all that you do

It’s important for Nate to know that his product(s) need to lie at the centre of everything that he does – from the quality of the product to understanding consumer needs to advertising (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019).

Think cricket bats, basketballs, hiking boots, mouthguards – you name it.

… which actually makes me think that bundling may be a good option for Nate to offer his consumers, don’t you think?

In case you’re not sure what bundling is, it combines numerous products or services which you can offer to your consumers (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019).

It’s typically seen amongst information-based services like newspapers and magazines (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019), but it could be a good idea for Nate to develop bundles to appeal to specific sports which in turns provides his customers the chance to save a bit of money (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019).

For example, Nate could offer a tennis bundle (Image 1) that includes a tennis racket, tennis balls and a racket bag (Tennis Australia, 2019) at a lower price in comparison to buying these products separately. 🎾

Image 1: Tennis bundle (Unsplash, 2019)

Tip #2: Get to know your brand, inside and out

Technically, branding is a product variable within the traditional marketing mix (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019), but we’re not a traditional generation, are we? 😉 #Millennial

Branding has always been extremely important as it is what differentiates you from your competitors within your industry (Sinha, 2018; Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). It’s more than just your name and logo, it also includes your choices that you make as a business (Singha, 2918).

For Nate to be able to develop a brand, he should be able to identify his brand equity which are the elements that add value to your business (Sinha, 2018; Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). They make you shiny, if you will. ⭐️

These elements include the brand:

  • Domain;
  • Heritage;
  • Values;
  • Assets;
  • Personality; and
  • Reflection (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019).

The brand domain refers to the key target markets and the industry in which the company competes in (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). For Nate, this market would include the sporting industry, athletes of all levels and individuals relevant to sport (e.g. coaches, managers, etc.). ⚽️

Brand heritage is all about the business’s history and culture (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). We could ask questions like:

  • What got you involved in this type of business?
  • Why did you want to launch an online store for sporting gear and equipment?
  • What’s your mission?
  • What do you see in your company’s future?

The values of the brand are crucial, as these are the characteristics which help shape a brand (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). This is all the nitty-gritty aspects of a product, so Nate should know what kind of pricing he’d like to ask for, the quality of his products and how well they perform (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). Who’s going to want to spend $170 on a tennis racket (Rebel Sport, 2019) if it only lasts two weeks? Surely any racket that costs that much will last ages. 🙄

When we’re talkin’ brand assets, we’re talkin’ names, colours, logos, symbols, images (Sinha, 2018; Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019) – the entire lot! It’s important for Nate to think about what his consumers will see, and how they will interpret this as a brand.

My personal favourite: brand personality. If you recall the blog post I wrote last week on Frank Body, the founders developed a persona that their target audience could connect with (Hum, 2018), and that’s just one successful example.

Nate doesn’t necessarily need to create a personality to reach his target market, but he should be able to identify certain characteristics that best define his company (Sinha, 2018; Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). Perhaps we should get him to think of some buzz words to help him out? 🤔

Brand reflection is how a customer sees themselves after purchasing from a business (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). I personally believe that all of these elements lead up to this reflection, as you’d want your customer to feel positive about choosing to purchase from you.

Tip #3: Select the right channel(s) and use it the right way

It’s a no brainer that Nate would need to get a website set up but in terms of social media, I think the scary thing is that there are so many platforms out there and you’ve gotta be smart about which one you put your business on. #Yikes

It’s important for Nate to know where most of his intended audience spends their time; that way, he can tap into a market that is likely to appeal to his product offering (Ogweng, 2018). For example, if he’s going to be Canberra-based, then he should recognise that creating a Twitter account wouldn’t be ideal for a city that aren’t heavy users of the platform. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Understanding how to use social media is crucial for Nate. Instagram has a cool feature now where users can actually shop as they’re scrolling through their feed or going through Stories – see Image 2 (Instagram, 2019).

Image 2: Shopping feature on Instagram (Instagram, 2019)

If a potential customer was on Nate’s Instagram and saw a pair of footy boots that they really wanted, they could tap on the product tag or product sticker that would lead to his website to make a purchase (Instagram, 2019). And ultimately, increase website traffic. 👏 #DoubleWhammy

We could help Nate out with the content that he posts online by developing a set of content pillars to help guide him through content creation (Coates & Iannelli, 2019). Content pillars are the broad themes which will ensure that whatever he posts for his business, actually aligns with his brand and is the foundation of his strategy (Barnhart, 2018; Coates & Iannelli, 2019).

To be honest, there are so many tactics out there that could help Nate out, but I really do think these three tips are important to get right before going full steam ahead.

It’s all about planning, and planning again (Image 3). 💥 #TrialAndError

Image 3: Planning content is an important aspect of your social media strategy (Unsplash, 2019)

Now, that’s a wrap on my blog posts for Digital Marketing!

For those who have been with me since day one, I’d like to thank you for taking the time out of your day to read what I have to say. Hopefully I can continue this site as a way for me to share my learning and professional journey.

VP. ✨

References

Chaffey, D. & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2019). Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. United Kingdom: Pearson.

Coates, E. & Iannelli, R. (2019). Social School. Canberra: Ivy Social & Good Day PR.

Hum, S. (2018). How Frank Body Used Word-of-Mouth and $5,000 to Become a Multi-Million Dollar Skincare Brand [Web log post]. Retrieved from: https://www.referralcandy.com/blog/frank-body-word-of-mouth/

Instagram. (2019). About Shopping on Instagram [Website]. Retrieved from Instagram: https://help.instagram.com/191462054687226

Ogweng, S. (2018, December 27). The Ultimate Guide To Choosing The Best Social Media Channels For Your Business [Web log post]. Retrieved from Sked Social: https://skedsocial.com/blog/social-media-channels-for-your-business/

Rebel Sport. (2019). Head IG Challenge MP Tennis Racquet [Website]. Retrieved from Rebel Sport: https://www.rebelsport.com.au/p/head-ig-challenge-mp-tennis-racquet-M58105401.html?dwvar_M58105401_color=Black&cgid=REB012001#start=1

Sinha, A. (2018, May 14). Six Reasons Branding Is More Important Than Ever Before [Web log post]. Retrieved from Entrepreneur India: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/313369

Tennis Australia. (2019). What equipment do I need to play tennis? [Website]. Retrieved from Tennis Australia: https://www.tennis.com.au/play/equipment/what-equipment-do-i-need-to-play-tennis

5 thoughts on “Three tips to kick-start an online business

  1. TheTraineeSuperhuman

    Really liked your article and very much appreciated the thought and research that went into writing it, valuable information for all!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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