To me brainstorming new online business models is a great deal of fun. My team and I really enjoy the challenge of developing innovative ideas and understand the technical freedoms and limitations of the internet. Recently we have had the opportunity to work on some exciting and boundary pushing online strategies. In this post I will share with you some of the key questions we work through to develop an effective online strategy.
In most cases an online strategy is not an off the shelf solution. The internet gives us the freedom to market any combination of products and services and with the technological advancements that are constantly being developed it creates the opportunity to be innovative in the way that they are delivered. These innovations can create a superior user experience and generate a real consumer buzz.
To develop an effective online strategy my team and I like to spend a couple of hours with a client working through (and often brainstorming) what we believe to be some of the key questions. I have grouped them into bite size pieces below. Keep in mind that a lot of these questions are broad stroke and are intended to spark meaningful (and often lengthy) conversations and have natural follow up clarification questions. To keep it relatively simple they are not included here.
Knowing that there is an worthwhile opportunity
- Who is your potential market or markets?
- Are they on the internet?
- Is there a proven demand for your offering?
- Is demand rising or in decline?
- Is there an undersupply, or an oversupply of what you are offering?
Branding your offering
- Is this a new brand, a sub brand or a standalone offering?
- Have you named it to position it correctly for your market?
- Does your brand identity and design style appeal to your market? Does it convey the value of what you have priced it at?
- Does your value proposition communicate the value of your offering clearly and concretely to your market?
- Is your domain name easy to say, memorable and matches your brand name?
Selling your offering
- Do you know what motivates your market to buy?
- What is truly unique about your offering?
- Why will your market buy from you?
- Does your offering require short or long term education to be accepted by your market?
- Does your offering require an introductory offer, or free trial period to make a sale?
Delivering on the sale
- How do you intend to handle online payments?
- Are you delivering locally, interstate, or globally?
- Does your offering require warehousing and shipping? How do you intend to manage this?
- Is your offering a onetime sale, or is there an opportunity for repeat sales, or a subscription sale?
- Does your offering have natural complimentary offerings that you can also provide?
- How do you intend to deliver your customer service?
- How can you add value for your customers over and above your offering? (This question fits in next category too!)
Marketing & Usability – Getting more sales
- Does your offering have an inherent referability? Is there one you can create?
- Is it more important to constantly add new customers, or increase the number of transactions with your existing ones?
- How scalable is your offering?
- Do you know what else can be done on the internet with current technologies that may complement of advance your offering?
- Do you intend to create a community for your clients?
- Have you considered the useability and functionality of your website for your customers, both immediate and for the future evolutions?
Financing, Longevity & Exit
- Is your offering immediately monetizable?
- How many sales do you need to break even and then become profitable?
- What does success look like for you?
- Is your offering a short term or a long term business model?
- What is short term and long term to you?
- Do you have an exit strategy?
- How do you intend to fund your venture (short and long term)?
I hope these questions help you with your online strategy. If you would like to dive deeper into any of these categories or questions, or get some professional help developing your online strategy, simply drop us an email now.