Why go Online?

With the advent of laptops, smartphones and latterly tablets, consumers are now shopping on the move and accessing information from wherever they are. People want information right now and often jump between devices and physical high street shops in order to complete a shopping experience.

Many businesses have moved into digital marketing as a way of advertising in a new medium and to a wider audience than they were used to previously. But what about those businesses that are exclusively online? What are the benefits?

–       Less risk – an almost try before you buy – You ensure it’s a viable product before moving into physical premises

–       Lower business start-up and running costs –You can work from home and alone to begin with

–       Freedom to work and live wherever you want

–       Allows a higher percentage of your budget to go towards marketing

Setting up your business online can only be achieved once you have conducted market research to ensure that you understand your target market, your competition and your pricing structure. An online business is also bound by the same laws as a business opened on physical premises-with this in mind you might want to consider using virtual offices. They are a great way for new, online businesses, to have an official business address that handles all correspondence and also acts as a layer of security as an alternative to publicising your home address.

As an online business you will have to pay tax in accordance with your business status, become VAT registered if your business is likely to exceed the annual threshold of £73,000 in sales – as well as having to observe data protection legislation relating to the storing and sharing of customer and user information on your website.

Choose your Platform?

Now you’ve decided to definitely start an online business, what form will it take? There are a few options available to you to make revenue through your new online venture:

1)    E-Commerce Website – a website that allows you to sell your product or service online. Depending on what your company offers, customers can either download or arrange home delivery of the product or service purchased.

2)    Advertising – Utilising a website that ensures continual improvement and remains interesting and engaging. Once a large user following has been built you can then entice advertisers to your website. You can make a living through selling white spaces on your website to advertisers keen to have their brand appear on a popular website.

3)    Subscription Service – A website that provides a quality of engagement, information and entertainment but relies on subscription numbers rather than purely advertising, although this model often includes advertising revenue alongside user payments.

4)    Freemium – A simple way of enticing users to keep entering your site but leave them wanting more, a freemium site will have a basic free service but premium features hidden behind a paywall.

Any or all of these website models are available to a new online business. There is also scope to have a website that is easily managed, edited and updated by you.. E-commerce websites need a more comprehensive build than a standard website that just holds information – requiring secure systems that will hold safe your customers payment information as well as your products and services. The right digital marketing company will talk you through your options and help you make the right choice for your brand, your budget and where you see your online business growing.

Choose a domain name wisely as it will give a first impression of your business to users. These days it can be quite difficult to find the perfect domain name as so many have been bought by companies the world over, either to use themselves or as a precaution to protect their individual brands from competitors. This makes it even more important that you take your time and choose wisely.

Marketing Your Business Online

As a result of the lower cost related with starting a business online you may find yourself with a bit more of a budget to play around with for your marketing. Digital marketing agencies can assist you with graphic design, creating a logo and identifiable brand that can imaginatively portray your company in an online presence – whether through website designor specific branding for social media and other forms of online advertising.

Digital marketing agencies are available to assist you in marketing your new company online. They can help you with services such as graphic design and logo design that can lead into a website design that imaginatively portrays your brand in an online presence.

Once your website is live then you can more effectively market it to entice new custom. Digital marketing services such as search engine optimisation (SEO) and paid search marketing can help bring relevant traffic to your website, while good copywriting, video production and on page design can help convert users once they have reached your website. On top of all this the new word of mouth with a global reach is social media – a professional firm can help you find and deliver your voice online.

Now you’ve seen the benefits and negative points relating to starting a business online, but what are your next steps?

Take the time to read through our helpful guides for start-up businesses and small business. We can help you identify the right route to take for your new business and help you lay strong foundations for a long term and successful future.
Our Free Download section is also full of templates which will help you get started.

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