Over 65 percent of people in America still believe that the American Dream is within reach. However, they also believe that in order to do so requires a certain level of financial stability. The best way to achieve this is to become an entrepreneur and eventually sell your business for a big profit. However, this means you need to begin an online startup and grow it to a decent size.
Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done, especially when 20 percent of startups fail within their first year. Therefore, in order to get to a point where the company can be sold for a significant chunk of money, it first needs to focus on circumventing the common challenges facing online businesses and finding a way to successfully grow itself. Here are the five biggest challenges of growing an online business and how to overcome them.
Fierce Online Competition
In many ways, competition is the foundation of capitalism. However, when it comes to operating a small online business, competition can often be overwhelming. Having a little bit of friendly competition is good for business because it forces companies to be innovative. Unfortunately, when it comes to the online marketplace, there seems to be simply too much competition in most industries nowadays. In fact, there are as many as 24 million e-commerce sites in the world. This can often make it hard to find ways to stand out amongst the endless sea of other competitors.
Luckily, there are a few things that can be done to improve the chances of potential customers noticing your online business before any of your competitors. One of the most effective things to do is to ensure that your website is developed in a professional style that is in compliance with the current Google algorithms. This will help on two distinct fronts.
Firstly, it will help your online business rank higher in search results, which will lead to higher click-through rates. The second way in which this will assist you is by being eye-catching as soon as the web page loads. Being greeted with a professional-looking website can often be enough to convince a customer to do business with you.
Getting new customers to visit your site is only part of the challenge online entrepreneurs face. Once they are on your site, you need to find a way to convert them into returning customers. Having a loyal customer base that repeatedly does business with your site can help to vastly improve your annual revenue.
Not only will it result in more sales, but it will also lower your costs. This is because acquiring a new customer often costs up to five times as much as retaining a current customer. Therefore, online companies need to find a way to retain customers as much as possible.
Unfortunately, there is no magical shortcut to ensure customer retention. It requires improvement in every part of the customer experience. However, improving the return and refund policy of your online business is a great start.
When a customer is new to a site, they often have some hesitancy about the product or service quality. In order to help ease their anxieties, successful online startups offer an extremely easy return process. This allows customers to simply send the item back within a certain period of time and receive a full refund if they are not satisfied with a product or service.
So if you want to retain more customers, then you need to make your return and refund policies very simple. This involves having as few steps as possible and following through with your promise to return the customer’s money. This will make the customer much more comfortable with an online business and a lot more likely to continue doing business with them in the future.
Getting Sufficient Revenue
It is obvious that to be a successful online business, you need to get a lot of revenue. What is not obvious is how to go about doing this. There are a lot of different methods that can be used to help improve revenue. Some of the most popular include lowering product prices or reducing operations costs. However, one of the most sustainable ways to get higher amounts of revenue is to increase sales numbers.
Once again, there are numerous ways to go about this. An effective place to start is with the website’s design. It needs to have a layout that is incredibly easy to navigate and a purchasing process that is as short and simple as possible. This will help minimize the frustration that customers experience when dealing with the website, which will help to vastly improve sales numbers.
By overcoming these three challenges, your online business can quickly reach a point where it can be sold for a significant amount of money. Once your company is at a point where you are ready to sell it, visit Flippa to get it sold as quickly as possible for the maximum amount of money.
This guest post was written by Victoria Greene, a freelance writer and founder of the blog site VictoriaEcommerce. You can follow her on Twitter @vickyecommerce.
If you’re an entrepreneur looking to make the most of your new online brand, you can spend hours stressing and still see sluggish sales figures. Quite often, even the most well-intentioned ecommerce merchant can make a few mistakes and entirely miss the mark with their marketing strategy.
This is easy to do, as sites like Google and Facebook regularly change their algorithms and more often than not it’s in favor of the user experience – rather than your business. But don’t worry, this post will offer you five tips for boosting online revenue without even breaking a sweat.
Monitor The Online Chatter
Keep ahead of conversations online with social media monitoring tools. As well as setting up Google Alerts for important industry headlines, you should also identify terms to monitor on social media. Doing this will allow you to jump into interesting conversations and offer your help in the comments section.
Social media analysis tools will also tell you the major influencers in your chosen industry, as well as your audience’s preferred internet haunts. Use these insights to your advantage within your content management strategy.
For more on creating amazing content, check out this previous post.
Opt For Opt-Ins On Your Site
Your ecommerce site needs to capture leads, as well as facilitate sales. If you haven’t set up an email newsletter and email opt-in, get one set up on a site like MailChimp. The first couple of thousand subscribers are free; you will need to start paying for the service when your email list grows.
Your newsletter should present a marketing channel for your best customers. Your email subscribers should receive regular discounts and links to informative content. You can also introduce your new products and run competitions. Do all you can to look after your dedicated 1,000 fans with your email marketing.
Remember, the aim is to get more sign-ups, so use these quick tips:
- Install a pop-up to appear when your customer lands on one of your pages. Alternatively, if you want your opt-in button to be more subtle, create an animated sign-up link
- Create a button that includes a small movement or color shift every three-five seconds. This will catch the visitor’s eye without interfering with the primary task of the page
- Your signup should include a small written Call to Action to give people a reason to click. This could be an offer like free shipping over a certain spend limit or special discounts
Get More Reviews
Reviews offer customers social proof before they buy. It is really the case that the more reviews you have, the more trusted your site becomes in the eyes of consumers. The comments you receive will also provide you with vital feedback on your services. You obviously want to do all you can to get your rating up to five stars.
With all ecommerce hosts, reviews should be included as a default option on all pages. However, to fill your sites with comments, you should also set up an auto email upon purchase. This will trigger your customers to leave a response when their product arrives.
- Within the post-purchase email, you should also encourage your customers to share their photos of your products on social media.
- Set up a branded hashtag and make the user-generated content fun to take part in. This will also help you attract views and hopefully reviews you can post elsewhere.
Double Up On Your Facebook Ads
With Facebook advertising, there are many options for brands looking to create a range of sequential advertising campaigns. This is where you ‘pull’ the reader towards your site through a series of ads that pique their interests. For instance, you may start with a video advertisement in your sequence, followed by a free PDF guide ad pushed to those that watched the entire clip.
You can further boost the individual posts by ‘doubling up’ on content. Add a product gallery below the video upload with the click of a button. This will give you the chance to promote specific products on film.
- You should also look to advertising on alternative social media channels like Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, even Snapchat. Instagram and Snapchat also allow you to experiment with video and filters
- You can also set up shoppable pins (Pinterest) and galleries (Instagram) where customers can click and buy directly
Upsell And Cross-Sell
Customer lifetime value is a key sales metric you need to boost. The better a customer’s experience, the more likely they are to come back to you in the future and refer a friend. Return custom proves (to the customer) that they must trust your brand.
We are all used to seeing product recommendation tabs scrolling along the bottom of product pages. Set up automated tools that help you generate personalized recommendations based on your visitor’s past behaviors. You can find many applications to run from your online storefront, regardless of which ecommerce platform you use.
- You can also create upsell and cross-sell opportunities by creating specific product round-up promotions
- Use audience research to identify common demographic interests and products customers would like to see on your site
Boosting your online revenue comes down to three main things: you need to make your product is valuable to your customers, they need to be ready to buy, and they need to trust your brand. By building social proof, presenting tempting offers, and informing your visitors with relevant content, you can increase sales without breaking a sweat.
The Website Acquisition that Boosted Revenues by 4x with no Additional Traffic
In the Summer of 2015, MonetizeMore purchased a polling site called MisterPoll.com, a website that enables users to create polls, share them and then provide the statistic results. At the time of purchase, MisterPoll.com was only running AdSense directly on-page, which MonetizeMore saw as a huge opportunity to increase MisterPoll.com’s ad revenues without even increasing traffic. MonetizeMore has been in the ad optimization industry since 2010 and has some of the best ad optimization tech and experts in the industry. In this case study, the team at MonetizeMore reveals just how we were able to take a site, and within one month, grow the site’s revenue by 4x.
The MonetizeMore team started by implementing the most widely used ad server in the world called DFP (Google owned). The implementation of the ad server enabled the team to run many revenue sources at once, include direct sales ads and incorporate complex ad optimization techniques. The first technique that was implemented was integrating Google Ad Exchange (AdX). Google Ad Exchange is the best performing demand source in the world. It is even more powerful when integrating in DFP using a technique called dynamic allocation. Since Google owns DFP and Ad Exchange, the two technologies are able to communicate with each other so that DFP always knows what AdX will pay for each impression. As a result, the publisher can be confident that AdX only serves when it is the highest paying demand source. This is a very important part of ad optimization and realizing a publishers’ ad revenue potential.
Once DFP and AdX were implemented, MisterPoll.com saw a revenue increase of about 50%. This was a nice increase but MonetizeMore was not done there. The next step was to implement managed demand ad networks. Managed demand ad networks are traditional ad networks that send ad tags to publishers that have passbacks if the ad network is not able to payout on a minimum RPM for that ad impression. They are implemented in DFP at price priority level and the priority levels are adjusted on a daily basis based on past performance. Six managed demand ad networks were implemented and after a month of optimizing, the ad revenues more than doubled.
The last and most important step to ad optimization was implementing header bidding. Header bidding is a similar process to dynamic allocation for non-Google demand sources. Each header bid network makes a bid via an API, then the highest header bid will compete against Google and the managed demand sources. It is called header bidding because it is enabled via a header container technology which is implemented in the header of the page and the auction happens within the browser before the DFP auction. MonetizeMore has a header container called PubGuru.
Header bidding dramatically increases ad revenues and page RPMs for similar reasons that AdX implemented via dynamic allocation increases page RPM. The technology ensures that the highest bidder wins the ad impression. When you maximize the ad revenue for each ad impression rather than educated guesses via managed demand, you see some incredible increases in ad revenue. This boosted the MisterPoll.com revenues to 4x compared to the monthly revenues before the site was acquired. PubGuru header bidding not only increased the ad revenues but it also:
- Eliminated passback ad impressions which improved site speed
- Decreased blank ad impressions
- Increased the accuracy of DFP reports
- Decreased the daily hours needed for ad optimization
There is no doubt header bidding was the most important implementation on MisterPoll.com that contributed the most to the ad revenue increases and additional benefits. However, the previous 3 steps were integral to the success and also enabled header bidding. If you are considering to purchase a website on Flippa that monetizes via programmatic ads, it is in your best interest to follow the four steps that MonetizeMore followed.
You can complete the four steps on your own or outsource it to a company like MonetizeMore. If you decide to do it on your own, you can use the PubGuru SAAS solution to guide you through each step at your own pace. If you don’t have your own direct account with AdX, you would need to use a company partnered with Google (Like MonetizeMore) to offer AdX demand. If your site gets over 5MM page views per month, you can qualify for a free DFP implementation. If you get more than 20MM page views per month, you can qualify to become a premium publisher and MonetizeMore will handle all ad optimization for you so you can focus on the more important parts of your business.
Whether you decide to outsource your ad optimization or do it in-house, make sure to make a decision and stick to it. The worst thing you can do is ignore this low hanging fruit. Do not settle with just running AdSense. Otherwise, you are leaving a significant portion of revenues on the table, just like MisterPoll.com was.