An online business is a one that can reach the rest of the world by taking advantage of the limitless power of the internet. It provides endless opportunities to cheaply promote your products using a new and attractive interface.
The virtual world of the internet is an ever changing one. Still, the rules of how to create and develop a #successful online business have always been the same. If you’re intending to start an online business, stick to this sequence. If you’ve already started your own online adventure, do a quick review and see if there’s a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing in the first place. You can’t go wrong with the basics:
- Find a need and fill it
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.To boost your chances of #success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:
Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing.
Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they’re doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you’ve learned and create a product for a market that already exists–and do it better than the competition.
- Write copy that sells
There’s a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase:
- Arouse interest with a compelling headline.
- Describe the problem your product solves.
- Establish your credibility as a solver of this problem.
- Add testimonials from people who have used your product.
- Talk about the product and how it benefits the user.
- Make an offer.
- Make a strong guarantee.
- Create urgency.
- Ask for the sale.
Throughout your copy, you need to focus on how your product or service is uniquely able solve people’s problems or make their lives better. Think like a customer and ask “What’s in it for me?”
- Design and build your website
Once you’ve got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone’s attention–otherwise they’re gone, never to be seen again. Some important #tips to keep in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page.
- Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to buy–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
- Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site
Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
- Establish an expert reputation for yourself
People use the internet to find information. Provide that information for free to other sites, and you’ll see more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.
Give away free, expert content. Create articles, videos or any other content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
Include “send to a friend” links on valuable content on your website.
Become an active expert in industry forums and social networking sites where your target market hangs out.
You’ll reach new readers. But even better, every site that posts your content will link back to yours. Search engines love links from relevant sites and will reward you in the rankings.
- Use the power of e-mail #marketing to turn visitors into buyers.
When you build an opt-in list, you’re creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business. Your customers and subscribers have given you permission to send them e-mail. That means:
- You’re giving them something they’ve asked for.
- You’re developing lifetime relationships with them.
- The response is 100 percent measurable.
- E-mail marketing is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it’s highly targeted.
Anyone who visits your site and opts in to your list is a very hot lead. And there’s no better tool than e-mail for following up with those leads.
- Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling
One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to develop every customer’s lifetime value. At least 36 percent of people who have purchased from you once will buy from you again if you follow up with them. Closing that first sale is by far the most difficult part–not to mention the most expensive. So use back-end selling and up-selling to get them to buy again:
- Offer products that complement their original purchase.
- Send out electronic loyalty coupons they can redeem on their next visit.
- Offer related products on your “Thank You” page after they purchase.
- Reward your customers for their loyalty and they’ll become even more loyal.
- Offer Value
This has to be the most important factor in any online business, not only do you have to offer your guests something of value whether it be information, a tool, or advice it has to be better and different from what they can get elsewhere.
- Build Relationships
If you’re serious about working online this is a must. Building relationships with your visitors is crucial to building trust which is the basis for any potential sales. Try offering something for free to your guests, but make sure it’s a solid product and not just another 2 dollar eBook.
- Find Information
Always be on the lookout for new developments and technologies that can improve your business. Online traffic is the building block of success, thus you should always be striving to increase it. Although be wary of the latest and greatest, focus on building a site with tons of original content instead.
- Perform Testing/Tracking
Once you begin to see an increase in traffic and sales it’s vital to start tracking everything. You want to track, where your sales are coming from, which advertisements are converting, and most importantly what’s not working. You may be hesitant about paying a monthly fee for a tracking service but take my word for it; they pay for themselves. Once you start launching more efficient campaigns you’ll immediately see the difference in your profit margins. I use Aweber as an Autoresponder and for tracking.
- Use Repetition
This is a no-brainer, and the reason why tracking is so important. Once you see what’s working do it over and over again. If you find that one keyword is showing significant sales spend time on keyword research and try to find a similar one. This will also help you narrow down where you should be focusing your energy.
- Use Time Management
The irony is that the most appealing aspect of a work at home business is also your worst enemy. There are a plethora of distractions at home that can have you waste away entire days. To avoid these pitfalls try a couple things. Develop a work week schedule that you and family members will respect. Have a plan of action for each day; this will keep you focused and productive the entire day. Finally, limit distractions such as television or unnecessary web browsing.