You’ve done the research. You’ve built your website. And now, you’re ready to start your own online business.
Starting an online business may seem simple at first glance. You find a need, your target market, and set up a website with content that drives traffic. But, you can’t stop there.
Essential Tools for an Online Business
To start an e-business that will succeed long-term, you need these essential tools.
Live Chat for Customer Service
Today’s customers seek customer service through a variety of channels: email, social media, phone, and even web forms. But, a new customer support channel has emerged over recent years: live chat.
According to the results of a study conducted by Zendesk, customers who use live chat as a means of customer service are satisfied a higher percentage of the time than those who choose other channels.
And it’s not just customers who benefit from the option for live chat with a customer support agent. Zendesk also found that businesses that use live chat receive fewer tickets via email and web forms, which tells us two things. First, customers prefer to talk to customer support agents in real time. And second, businesses that use real-time customer support channels are able to address the needs of more customers without piles of trouble tickets to manage.
Virtual Phone Numbers (And A System to Help You Manage Them)
A phone number? But, isn’t the whole point of an e-business is that customers can make purchases, use your services, and access customer support without having to pick up the phone?
True — some of your customers will come and go without ever looking for a phone number. But, that isn’t the case for all of them. And having a phone number can help build trust with your prospects and your customer base. It is a direct point of contact that customers know they can use if they have questions or concerns about the products or services you offer.
For more information on why phone support is essential for online businesses, check out this article.
Website Analytics and Reporting Tools
As the owner or manager of an online business, you should live and breathe analytics and reporting. Free tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide valuable insights into where your visitors come from, when they visit your site most frequently, and what types of things your top converting visitors shop for and browse online. With this data in hand, you can optimize your existing site content and refine your digital advertising strategies to attract more qualified prospects and provide comprehensive support to your existing customers.
As we discussed previously, not every prospect or customer will interact with your website the same way. While many of your customers will breeze through your shopping cart or fill out a web form to learn more about your business, countless others will choose to pick up the phone and contact your e-business. In fact, a study by Invoca, a Call Intelligence company based in the United States, reports that 65% of prospects prefer to contact a business by phone and speak to a live person.
Without call tracking, you have no way of determining how these prospects found your site.
By using different phone numbers for different landing pages and campaigns, you can track exactly where your leads are coming from, and identify which campaigns are most profitable for your online business.
Running a Successful Online Business
Running an online business is not as easy as it looks. For more information on how to build the foundation for a successful e-commerce or e-business, explore these related articles: