Are you interested in entrepreneurship? Are you interested in starting up an entire digital kingdom of your own? Are you enthralled by the prospects of planning, processing and developing an entire market for yourself?
Well, then what is stopping you? Well, it looks like there are some snags that might be disrupting your rise to glory. Your business might be waiting to bloom, but due to the lack of some crucial elements, you might be missing out on a spectacle worth living for! You know what I am talking about. The moment when you realize that your business has broken beyond the bonds of its origin and is free to grow, develop and proliferate on its own.
But, where do you start all this? Let’s take an example just to give you an indication of the cardinal laws that govern the digital wilderness.
The 3 Cardinals of Online Business
#1 Design & Development
The first step that you have to take as far as climbing up the mountain of a task that digital empire building is, involves the planting of a seed of identity in a virtual space that your online business or website will call home. Developing an identity for your business is as important as developing a personality is for a child who matures from infancy to adulthood.
The foundation of your identity is your website- which ultimately becomes your model to develop your app, digital advertisement, etc. There are 2 parts to this:
Web Design: Designing is basically made up of everything that the viewer comes in contact with as soon as they land on your website. This includes the overall look and feel of your website. The design of your site gives an apt indication of what elements your business is defined by as well as the inherent conceptualization of business model. We have only started to understand how revealing a design can truly be as far as sending out messages about your business as well as your intentions is concerned. A design is similar to the clothes that you wear, in that they reveal a lot about your personality as well as your mindset.
The seed of identity of your website is sown through the process of logo design, where the intentions behind your business ideals are expressed artistically. The next phases of designing include aspects such as designing of the virtual space that your business calls home, which is embedded in the process known as website design.
Web Development: Development basically takes care of all the background that that goes into making your site that is controlling how every icon, widget, tool works on your site. For this you need programmers who specialize in programming languages such as C++, HTML, Java, PHP. Being at the helm of an online business may involve the need to use special tools and plugins on your site, such as payment processors and API (Application Programming Interfaces).
The integration of plugins and templates is an especially significant point of consideration if you are nurturing your website on a CMS platform like Joomla or WordPress. CMS stands for Content Management System, a platform that enables users to create digital content equipped with low-level details and user-friendly interfaces. We can use this for controlling formatting, history editing, updating versions, managing search bars, integrating plugins, and more. This process of development changes and fluctuates on the basis of the CMS platform on which you are building your website, which means that Joomla development might differ heavily from WordPress development or Magento development.
Development of entire websites and digital empires can be done through the use of frameworks as well. These frameworks provide much greater freedom and flexibility as far as development is concerned, owing to the fact that they are made up of fixed patterns of methods and classes of code. The process of using frameworks for the development of a website includes the practice of Laravel development, Smarty development, Drupal development, Zen Cart development and Zend development.
Let’s face it, your business or website needs to have numerous channels through which it can express itself and reach out to people. A website or business without a dedicated target audience or consumer base is good as a tree without roots. The only way the website or business can grow is if it receives the nectar that all majestic digital creatures crave on the online medium, traffic!
- Know your message- This is the foremost thing you need to be clear about. What are you really advertising? What is it that you are putting out to your consumers? Always remember, what you are producing isn’t always the same as what you are advertising. The lack of proper communication can ultimately be the end of your business or website. Without a voice and an intention, your website will be left out in the vast market of the digital space, with no one to notice it or to acknowledge its presence.
- Know your audience– The motive or intention behind your website or product determines your target audience. A matte lipstick brand will target women in their 20s-30s, while a domestic drill will target husbands. Therefore, once you get the statistics of the specific target population to which your product/service appeals the most, you can initiate the process of increasing connectivity and strengthening the bonds within and without the business.
- Know your medium– In order to truly allow your business to grow beyond the bonds which it was created within during the inception phase, you need to understand how your customers interact and grow with the content/product/service that you offer them. This is of special significance as far as choosing a platform or medium of advertising is concerned. By using different mediums of advertising, you can start paying attention to the various aspects that your audience pays attention to. The medium you use defines the criteria that audiences employ to consume your product or service. Hence, by understanding the behavior of your audience on different mediums, you can play around with the various tactics and techniques by tailoring them according to the differences that is evident among different mediums.
The techniques in this case include aspects such as digital marketing, content marketing and social media marketing.
Automation is another word for response, and is a distinct process which involves both users and producers on the same platform. To be more specific, it is a process that often blurs the lines between plain digital marketing and more advanced software-based techniques of monitoring and analysis. Marketing Automation refer to the use of various software-based tools which can be used to convert repetitive processes into fully automated processes within the body of the business or the website. This is similar to converting certain processes involved in the development and marketing realm of the businesses into functions which occur involuntarily. Imagine this to be similar to shaping involuntary functions of a living organism, such as breathing, pumping of the heart as well as aspects such as digestion.
How can you make use of this?
Marketing automation is the ultimate tool for any aspect of online business development. Often defined by optimum assembly-line software, marketing automation lets you effectively handle your consumer base, right from targeting the right audience to market integration. This helps you to be constantly connected with your consumers through offer-announcing SMSs, appraising emails and active polls, social campaigns and market funneling techniques, without the need to worry about maintenance and management.
Marketing automation by making use of tools like Infusionsoft can cause immense returns for your business. This is possible due to the fact that it creates the opportunity for business owners to automate processes such as market funnel management, API integration, sales cart automation, and more. There are several other tools and practices for ensuring that you gain mastery over the process of automated marketing.
So, there you go mate- you have successfully summed up the stepping stones of online business development. Although, reading material isn’t all what goes into building your empire, it is better to know the depth of the water before you cross the river, isn’t it?
Do let us know your queries, insights and opinions on these aspects that we have explored.