Website creation sites, graphics generators, automated email as well as an increasing number of tools in the DIY e-commerce toolbox, now make running an online business easier than ever. The convenience of running a business from home as well as the allure of making thousands quickly a la Ship Your Enemies Glitter is tempting, not to mention you avoid money draining costs such as shop fit outs.
We assist budding online businesses day in and day out, so we have collected our five top tips to help you navigate the at time, rough e-commerce seas.
1. Legal Documents – Your Anchor
Your Legal Documents are the equivalent of a building’s cornerstone or a rugby team’s back line. These documents protect you and your business when selling your products or services online. They help you clearly set out that you will not accept payment months after you’ve shipped the goods and that you will abide by the rules set down in the Australian Consumer Law.
Your back line is made up of:
- Business Terms and Conditions (if you sell goods) or a Client Agreement (if you provide services),
Each is necessary, and together, they assist you with running your online business and cementing your relationships with your customers.
2. Your Best Trait on a Date (and in Online Business): Be Genuine!
Consumers love it when you are genuine about the products or services you provide. Better yet, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) considers it so important that it is a rule. You’re sure to be sipping a pina colada if you don’t:
- Post fake reviews on your website or a review platform, a la Citymove Pty Ltd;
- Fail to disclose compulsory booking or service fees, a la Airbnb Ireland and Virgin/Jetstar.
These are examples of behaviour that will land you in hot water. If you can’t back it up, don’t make the claim and if you are unsure, err on the side of caution.
3. Nine Letters – Trademark!
Running an online business is exciting, and part of that excitement comes from creating your brand’s identity – its graphics, logo, the look and feel of the website and the brand name. You have created a unique brand and customers will flock from far and wide. Imagine then that someone takes the name or logo you want to use. You’re then back to square one.
Trademarking your brand name stops your competitors using your name and ensures exclusivity in the name. This is critical given the significance of a brand ‘identity’ to the success of a business. The popularity of brands such as Nike and Apple are a testament to the importance of a secure brand to business success. Lock it in by trademarking.
4. Cheap and Cheerful (and Effective): Email Marketing
One of the most effective ways you can promote your new business to potential customers is by sending emails advertising the latest deals, Instagram post or feature article. You show you are an engaging, responsive brand that your customers will love – fantastic!
Use email marketing for advertising but be sure to follow our tips below to steer clear of having your mail breach the Spam Act 2003:
- Have the consent of the addressee (such as by having them check an ‘I consent to receive newsletters’ box);
- Providing an unsubscribe function in the email; and
- Clearly identifying your business as the sender of the email.
Finally, a tip regarding copyright. Instagram and image-heavy social media marketing is attention grabbing (perfect for all those millennials) and will generate interest in your business. Instagram accounts with thousands of followers are the envy of many businesses aspiring to the pulling power of larger brands.
But, be wary of using images to market your business. Always ensure that you have the copyright owner’s permission, for example, the photographer taking the photo, or you might be breaching copyright law.
Questions? Get in touch on 1300 544 755.