Effective Internet Business Strategies Take Work

by WorkFromHome on November 22, 2011

The world of online commerce offers an inviting field of opportunity for creative entrepreneurs, but it’s not enough to just launch a website and wait for customers to come. Success in ecommerce demands a great deal of knowledge, thought and attention. If you intend to get ahead of the competition with your traditional or work from home business, you had better have some smart Internet business strategies in place.

A business strategy is not just a set of tactics and activities, it needs to be a clear-cut diagram for gaining a marketing advantage. The word “strategy” by its very definition is a plan of action with specific goals in mind. Start by looking objectively at the strengths and weaknesses of your company as well as those of your competition. You will quickly learn to develop strategies that make good sense for your unique business model.

How to Develop Internet Business Strategies

The foundation of any successful company is a written business plan, and it’s no different when developing online marketing strategies. You can build a powerful map to success if you first take a good, long look at your online business from top to bottom and from the inside out.

To fully comprehend your business’ potential, start by defining what makes it unique and valuable. Identify your target markets as well as your competition in the marketplace. Define consumer incentives and benefits. Outline specific goals and objectives for your business. These preliminary steps can set a firm foundation to help you develop effective Internet business strategies.

Define Your Value Proposition
Why should someone do business with you over your competitors? What does your business have or what does it do better than anyone else on the web? There are many ways for a business to define its value proposition, such as:

  • Excellent customer service
  • Low prices
  • Good selection of products
  • Free shipping or other discounts

Identify Your Target Markets
Who is your prime customer? What age groups, gender, or lifestyles are they likely to include? Are they more likely to use a traditional home PC, or is your target market trending towards the use of smartphones and other mobile technologies? Web analytics are useful for identifying target markets.

Identify Your Competition
Take a close look at the top websites in your field. Find the two or three websites that rank highest for your most competitive keywords in the search engine results. Study their home pages as well as customer service, about, product pages, social media, and other web pages.

  • Do your competitors have anything in common? What sets them apart?
  • What are their strengths and weaknesses?
  • What is their value proposition, if any?
  • What types of incentives or promotions do they use?
  • In what aspects is your business the same as the competition, and how does it differ?

Define Consumer Incentives and Benefits

  • Why should someone care about your products or services?
  • What would motivate someone to spend money on your website?
  • How would it benefit the consumer to do business with you?
  • Does your business offer any valuable incentives?

Outline Goals and Objectives
Here is where it may be tempting for the online business owner to simply wish for more success, but a true Internet business strategy must include measurable goals or a specific set of objectives. It can be any quantifiable target that serves a primary business function. Establish a firm objective and the strategies for success will quickly begin to form.

For example, here are three goals that most online businesses would deem worthy of strategizing:

  1. Increase rate of conversions
  2. Increase average order value
  3. Improve rates of re-order

How to Implement Internet Business Strategies

With the preliminary groundwork out of the way, a strategic path to your goal line should be more obvious. Keeping in mind all you have learned about your own unique business makes it easier to recognize the strategies that will work, and to eliminate ideas that are bound to fail. Now you can begin to outline a few short- and long-term strategies to help you reach, and perhaps even exceed, your goals.

Below are examples of effective online business strategies that could help you achieve the three goals outlined above:

Improve Conversion Rate

  • Demonstrate your value proposition up front by placing discount codes and specials prominently on the home page
  • Make it easy to find your products by enabling on-site search
  • Show products from several different views, including videos and unique descriptions
  • Provide multiple ways for customers to pay for products (i.e., PayPal, Google Check Out, credit cards, etc.)
  • Boost consumer confidence in your website’s data security by posting trust marks in a prominent position on sales pages
  • Whenever a shopping cart is abandoned, send a triggered email with a friendly message and a special offer that entices your customer to complete the purchase

Increase Average Order Value

  • Offer a discount for purchases of products by the case, or in multiples
  • Offer reduced or free shipping for purchases that reach a certain dollar figure
  • Cross-sell on product pages by showing similar or related products that might also be of interest
  • Up-sell by suggesting items that can be bundled with the original purchase (for example, a customer who is in the process of buying a pair of running shoes could be shown a reminder to also buy socks.)

Improve Rates of Re-order

  • Always send a thank-you along with the sales receipt; a hand-written note tucked in the shipping box can be particularly effective
  • Whenever a purchase occurs, immediately send the buyer a discount coupon for his or her next purchase
  • Invite customers to fan you on social media sites to build loyalty
  • Send an occasional newsletter with inviting discount offers
  • Provide meaningful ways for consumers to engage with your brand after the sale, like contests and consumer reviews

Conclusion

Learn all you can about your direct competition and your target market, then apply that knowledge to build a strong set of strategies for your Internet business. Discover the unique characteristics that set your business apart from the competition, and look for ways to highlight that value proposition in its best light. Set specific, quantifiable goals or objectives, and outline a strategic path to reach your target.

Lastly, and most important of all, is to monitor and measure the success rates of your strategies. As time goes by, continue to keep a watchful eye on your competition, and stay in frequent contact with your customer base to maintain loyalty. Do not become complacent. Keep your attention on these important market variables for the long term, and continue developing new and better Internet business strategies to meet your target goals.

Related Articles:

Previous post:

Next post: