Starting your business online

Sponsored post by Community Engine

Did you know online expenditure in Australia is tipped to hit $16 billion this year? That’s a lot of Aussies punching their credit card details onto websites, and regularly.

So it would seem starting a business, finding customers online and selling through your own website should be a piece of cake.

But wait… of that $16b, nearly half actually goes to overseas retailers. What gives?!

how to start a business online

The reality is that just like in the offline world, big retailers have a pretty big advantage over the little guys. They have digital experts on their payroll, big advertising budgets and the resources to spend time building their shops online.

For the average small business owner with a great idea, trying to make it big, the web is a competitive place, and it’s hard enough to know where to start. If you’re an entrepreneur and you haven’t created a website for your business yet, you’re not alone. One piece of research found that 64% of Australian small to medium businesses are in the same boat.

We’ve all heard about how important social media is for business, but again only 27% have a social media presence.

It’s pretty clear; getting your business online isn’t so easy.

Where do I get a website? How much should I spend on it? How do I get shopping facilities and how do I integrate my social media accounts into it?

These are all common questions fielded by the community engine marketing team, so here are some tips on getting started.

1. Establish your brand online

Starting a website is only a small part of the equation. Have a think about how else you can help people find you on the web. Social media and online directories are two options to help you boost your presence. community engine combines all of the above – and it’s super simple to set up.

2. Tell your story

The more content you have on the web, the more customers will be able to discover you. Even better if the content is unique and interesting, as people will be more likely to share it around. This is one of the hardest things for small business owners, finding the time and headspace to write and post! There are free tools that can help you with managing what you post and streamlining it to your various social media accounts, including community engine. Which brings us to…

3. Use word of mouth

It’s said to be oldest and most powerful form of marketing. It doesn’t matter how much you discount your products or how much you spend on advertising. If you can get one person to recommend you to their friends, and then those friends to recommend you on to their friends… well, you get the picture. At community engine we call this ‘harnessing the power of recommendations’ and it’s the most important part of the platform.

So, whether your business has a website or not, don’t fret – there are tools out there to help you compete with the ‘big guys’. Have a think about how you can tell your story… and with the right platform, you could be getting taking some of the $16 billion back in the time it takes to make a cup of tea!

Community engine is giving away a free iPad Mini as part of their Save Time Online competition. Click here for your chance to win.

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