You can build up more equity in a property, and sell it on for profit a few years down the line. You can buy old furniture, and tune it up for sale. You can even buy cars, fix them up; and then sell them on for more than you bought them for.
Well, did you know that you can also flip ecommerce stores and websites in the same way? All you need is a bit of imagination and some know-how to flip your way to web success. Building great websites and businesses, and then selling them on, is a great way for the serial entrepreneur to keep things interesting.
Here is your five-point plan to help you invest in a profitable online business, improve it, and potentially sell it on if you don’t fancy running it yourself.
Find an Agency to Build Your Website
Building a website is relatively easy these days, however, getting it right is worth the investment, so contacting a web design agency to create a well-designed business website that’s immediately ready to start taking enquiries is the safest option.
Struggling to know where to invest? Consider your passions in life, and your own consumption habits. What kind of sites do you visit and buy from on a regular basis (besides the obvious ones like Amazon)?
No matter how you build your website, or what content management system you use — you have to get people to trust you. Your website is a business asset and a sign of professionalism, so don’t skimp on web design t. A good, yet affordable, website will allow your business to scale in a safe and controlled manner.
Serve A Specific Audience: Pinpoint A Niche
You need to find a market for your niche brand, otherwise your business venture will be over before it’s even started. No one will buy from a generic website or business who doesn’t really know who they are — that kind of branding just doesn’t speak to anyone. In terms of SEO, sales and legitimacy — being generic just won’t cut it.
You want to aim for a good understanding of your niche audience, so that you can create messaging that’s going to get your audience to sit up and take notice. You want your customer or prospect to feel like the website is exclusively talking to them.
Tools like Survey monkey can help you reach a wide range of prospective customers at scale. Ask them for honest feedback to find out how you are currently faring. This is a great tool especially if you’re thinking of setting up a primarily Ecommerce website, it allows you to understand how easy or difficult find make orders and if there’s to many clicks in the process from adding to basket to ultimately completing the transaction, instant feedback is critical in this area.
Build Your Brand: Assets In Order
Investing time in your site design will raise the value of your web asset. Meticulously planning your copy and visuals are the primary means of separating your brand from the competition, so ensure that you’ve got a fully-fledged brand on your hands.
Have design assets that cascade across all your channels. Whether it’s Twitter, an email, or a blog post — ensure that your website branding is consistent. You want a strong visual identity to help you stand out from the crowd. When people invest in an online business, the strength of the brand will be a big consideration. Especially if your are looking to take over the ownership of an existing ecommerce store, be ready for extensive design tweaks to bring things in line with your version.
Don’t neglect quality copywriting for SEO purposes. SEO is a no-brainer for an online business. With any products you choose to stock, make sure that you are altering the default listings from your third party supplier. You should use your audience research to come up with a list of keywords you can use in your descriptions and throughout your site’s content. The same goes for lead generation and service websites.
Don’t forget about offline touchpoints like business cards, brochures, and labels. If you are looking to build a strong brand identity (like in the case of a fashion label), printing your logo on products may be a good move. Similarly, business websites will need to have branded assets like cards and brochures printed.
Bring In Sales: Proof Of Concept
No online business is valuable without a proven track record in sales and inquiries. Make sure that your lead generation strategies are working, and that you’ve got commercial landing pages set up to drive conversions.
- Paid search through Google Adwords will help your site rank on search engines and will definitively prove that you’ve got a good business model. Make sure to tweak campaigns on a regular basis and change landing page designs in function of campaign results and priorities. Drawing in organic search is also important for your website’s long term potential. SEO is a staged process made up of optimising site architecture, content creation, a stellar backlink profile, etc.
- For any new web business, Facebook and Instagram are the top two social platforms to invest in for paid advertising campaigns. Start off with a mix of product and lifestyle ads that push people towards following you and checking out your brand. Social media split testing tools and competitor analysis will help you hone in on characteristics that drive sales. Think visually, experiment with different formats, and adjust your targeting until you find your killer formula.
- If you are primarily building to sell a site on for profit, hire a freelance writer to batch-write subject material and install a plugin to check your titles, meta descriptions, and body copy for SEO-suitability.
In a few months, you will hopefully have a profitable web business. At this stage, you can invest in a remote assistant to help you process orders or emails.
Re-Selling Your Store
When eventually selling on your online business or website, you will need to ensure that your listing is comprehensive. A good business for sale ad will make all the difference and show prospective buyers that you’re pedalling a serious business outfit. Be on-hand to answer any questions and clarify on earnings and profits. Money talks, so you have to be ready to talk money. You can list a store for sale on industry sites, or then create a listing somewhere general like Ebay, as well as doing your own targeted social media and email outreach.
Things to cover with a prospective buyer:
- Profits and store revenue trends
- Cost of overheads (like personalised printing)
- Your daily ad revenue spend on each social media channel
- Your follower count and traffic results
- Details of any remote assistants and how much they cost to hire
- Any other relevant information that will help you find a new investor
With the lump sum of capital raised from the sale of your site, you can build a new brand from scratch and start the process again.... It’s the serial entrepreneur’s dream!
This guest article was written by Victoria Greene, a writer and branding expert who blogs at Victoriaecommerce. She offers advice on all aspects of ecommerce, from branding to marketing automation. Big fan of new tech like AI and AR.