Whether it’s a brilliant business idea you want to pursue, the desire to break away from a 9-5, or you are part of the 29% who want to be their own boss— launching your online business is an exciting and daunting endeavor. There are a lot of possibilities that come with launching an eCommerce brand. However, having it all figured out and getting your ducks in a row can be extremely hard and stop aspiring small business owners in their tracks.

We’re here to help! This guide will take you through the essential steps you need to complete to get your online business up and running in 2023. 

Create Your Website

When you launch an eCommerce store, your website is your business’s hub. It’s the point of contact your potential customers will have with your business, learn more about what you do, and decide why they should choose you amongst others. It’s also where you display your available products and services for sale.

There are things your eCommerce site must have in order to drive sales successfully. To ensure your site has everything it needs, make sure you do the following:

  1. Choose and purchase a domain name for your business. Try as much as possible to get your domain name close to your business name for brand consistency.
  2. Decide on the platform where you will host your website. If your online business is strictly eCommerce, you may consider using popular eCommerce solutions like Shopify and Squarespace. WordPress is also a good platform and offers WooCommerce for your eCommerce website.
  3. Think about your small business branding, like your logo design, colors, fonts, and visual components.
  4. Build your website. If you have the knowledge and skills, you can build your site yourself. However, if you have the resources and would rather outsource, you can have a professional website designer put it together according to your branding. 
  5. List your products or services on your website. This is crucial since your site will serve as the main pathway to sales. Make sure you have a products page, or that site visitors can select “shop” from a drop-down menu.

Once your site is up and running, congrats! Make sure you put all that hard work to good use by promoting it. Promotion is crucial for getting the word out and traffic to your new website

Set Up Your Business’s Blog

Your blog is where you share helpful and actionable content with your prospects and customers. Your blog can consist of written content and visual elements, like infographics and videos, and is a hub for your audience to access digestible educational resources so they can learn more about you and industry trends

Besides sharing valuable content, a blog is a great way to promote your online business and grow thought leadership. You’ll want to make sure your blog is easily found by including it in your top or bottom site navigation. 

Before you write your first blog post, make sure you carefully consider a strategy and approach that makes the most sense for your business and audience. 

  1. Research your target audience and what interests them.
  2. Narrow down the focus of the blog based on audience research. You may want to create some categories that each blog post will fall under to help keep your blog articles aligned with your strategy and audience needs. 
  3. Design and set up your blog. Decide on a blog template, so you’ll know what each post will look like. Consider adding the ability for readers to share the blog post via social media straight from the page itself. This will help get your content out there to more people who could use it and assist with brand awareness. 
  4. Brainstorm topic ideas and develop a content/editorial calendar. Decide how many blog posts you’ll realistically be able to publish in a week or a month. Perhaps start slow and reevaluate in a couple of months. Remember, quality over quantity!
  5. Conduct keyword research to help with topic creation. You’ll want your topics to align with search phrases your audience uses in their online searches. 
  6. Create, edit, and publish your blog posts. This process may take some time, but again, the result will be quality which is what matters. Make sure you use some tools to help, like Grammarly for editing and CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer for your blog post titles
  7. After you publish your blog post, promote it via social media and in your email marketing

Set Up an Online Payment Process

Before your online business can start generating revenue, you need to define how your customers will pay for your products and services. It’s a good business practice to offer potential customers multiple payment options against using only one. That way, you can cater to diverse groups and individual preferences.

Some standard payment methods people use all over include:

  • Digital wallets (like PayPal)
  • Credit/debit cards
  • In-person payment (if you have a physical walk-in store customers can visit)
  • Bank transfers
  • NFT
  • Cryptocurrency

To ensure safety and security for online buyers and to securely get money to your account irrespective of the payment method customers use, you also need to set up a payment provider. There are numerous payment providers you can integrate into your online store. Some of them are:

  • Paypal
  • Stripe
  • Bitpay
  • Alipay
  • Braintree
  • Paysafecash

Put Your Product Pages Together

The product page is an important element of your online store. It provides potential customers with all the vital information they need to know about each product (or service) listed for sale on your online store.

Follow the three-click rule for your product pages when setting up your website. This means customers should take no more than three clicks to get to their desired product page.

To boost the effectiveness of your product pages, try the following:

  • Create descriptive product names.
  • Use high-quality, true-to-life images and add the option to zoom in on product pictures.
  • Include product prices.
  • Display product availability.
  • Include product options like color, size, and quantity. Also, make it a simple process for buyers to choose these options.
  • Write straight-to-the-point product descriptions.
  • Use testimonials and reviews for social proof.
  • Show related product recommendations.

Use Email Marketing Automation to Send Various eCommerce Emails

Email marketing is an important marketing channel for online business owners. It offers a wide range of marketing possibilities to convert prospects and leads into paying customers, ultimately increasing your online business’s revenue.

As an online store, you should use the following types of emails to promote your brand and products:

  • Welcome emails for creating instant connections with first-time buyers and new subscribers.
  • Promotion emails for showcasing specific products, services, or offers to your audience.
  • Abandoned cart emails to remind potential buyers about products they added to their cart and get them to complete a purchase. 
  • Order confirmation emails to restate important details about a customer’s order. 
  • Survey/Poll/Review emails so you can collect user feedback. 
  • Thank you emails to show your appreciation for a purchase or consistent business. 
  • Product recommendation emails to offer customers a more personalized buying process and boost customer experience.

Automation for Your Online Store

The beauty of email marketing is that you can automate your email outreach, which means you can reach customers at the most opportune times without bogging down your to-do list. With marketing automation, you just create your emails once within your email marketing software and define the actions that will trigger these emails. 

Starting a new business can be challenging, but with our guide, you’ll be on the right track toward making your business a success. And if you’re looking for email marketing software to help your online store reach your audience, sign up for Benchmark Email’s free account today.

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by Benchmark Team