Starting a business online is not as difficult as a lot of people might think it is.
Fortunately, many people have already started successful online business and there is opportunity to learn from them and copy their methods.
What you will find is that there are 7 steps that most online entrepreneurs use to do this. These 7 key elements have been used over and over again and the method has been proven to work.
Thousands of people have started successful online business using the following 7 steps:
- Find a need and supply a solution
- Write content that helps your audience
- Build an easy-to-use web-site
- Drive traffic to your site by using search engines
- Establish a brand and reputation for yourself
- Follow up with your customers and subscribers via email
- Increase your income with upselling and back-end sales
Anyone, from the complete beginner to those with more experience, can benefit from following this process.
Step 1: Find a need and supply a solution
Many people who are just starting out make the mistake of first finding a product to sell and then trying to find a market for that product. You have a better chance of success if you find the market first. The trick is to find a group of people who are looking for a solution to a problem and not getting many results. The internet makes it quite easy to do this kind of research:
- Find online forums around a topic of interest and see what questions people are asking and what problems they are trying to solve.
- Do keyword research to see what people are searching for, but for which there is not a lot of competition.
- Visit the sites of potential competitors and taking note of what they are doing to fill the demand.
Then you can use this information to create (or find) a product or solution for a market that already exists. Now you just need to do it better than your competitors.
Step 2: Write Content Copy That Sells
You need to take your visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive on your site up to the point where they make a purchase. There is a proven process for this:
- Get their attention with a compelling headline
- Describe the problem that your product will solve.
- Establish your credibility as a solver of this problem.
- Add testimonials from people who have used the product or service.
- Explain the benefits of the product to the user.
- Make an offer.
- Offer a strong guarantee.
- Create urgency around getting the problem solved.
- Ask for the sale.
Throughout the content of your copy you need to focus on how your product or service is uniquely able to solve the problem you have described and improve people’s lives. Think like a customer and keep asking “What’s in it for me?” from the customer’s point of view.
Step 3: Build an easy-to-use web-site
One you know what your target market is (also known as a niche) and you have a product or solution to offer that market and you have worked out your selling process; then you are ready to set up your website.
A simple website design works beat. Keep it clean and clear, don’t let it look too busy. Remember that you only have about 5 seconds to grab the attention of your visitor, otherwise they will move on, never to be seen again.
Keep these important tips in mind when creating your website:
- Choose and easy-to-read font on a white or light grey background
- Keep it simple to navigate and keep it the same on all the pages
- Use graphics, audio and video if it enhances your message
- Have an opt-in offer so that you can collect email addresses
- Make the buying process easy. Not more than 2 clicks between the offer and purchasing the product.
- Keep your website customer-friendly – it is your online store-front
If you can follow these guidelines you will have a great website.
Step 4: Drive traffic to your site by using search engines
If you are writing content that is helpful to your visitors and is solving a need in the market. And if you are using well-researched keywords in your content and headlines. Then you should be able to attract free traffic from the search engines. This is the best method to get free traffic.
You can also use PPC (Pay-Per-Click) advertising to get traffic to a new site if you have a budget for marketing. The two main advantages of this method of advertising are:
- Firstly, the PPC adverts show up on the search engines immediately.
- Secondly, they give you the ability to test different keywords, headlines, prices and selling approaches.
This will help you to discover the best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can use these keywords on your site to help you to get your site ranked in the organic search results.
Step 5: Establish a brand and reputation for yourself
We know that people use the internet to find information. You can provide that information for free to other sites and you will see more traffic coming to your site, and better search engine rankings. This will only work if you use this secret: always include a link to your site with each titbit of information. You also need to be fussy about the quality of the site that you are using to share your information on. Be careful of using low-quality sites.
- Create expert content that you will give away for free. This can be articles, videos, blog posts, infographics and any other useful content.
- Distribute the content you have created though online article directories and social media sites.
- Include social sharing links on the posts and pages on your website.
- Take active part in industry forums relating to your market and on social networking sites where you find like-minded people.
By doing this you will reach new readers. The plus side is that every site that posts your content will link back to your site. These links are called backlinks and search engines will rank your site better if there are decent quality backlinks pointing back at your site.
Step 6: Follow up with your customers and subscribers via email
One of the most valuable assets of an online business is an opt-in list. This is definitely something that you want to create for your business. Once your customers and subscribers have opted-in they have given you permission to send them emails.
- You are giving them something that they have asked for.
- You are building long-term relationships with them.
- Their response to your emails is 100% measurable.
- Marketing to an email list is a lot cheaper and more effective than other marketing methods because it is highly targeted.
When somebody visits your website and opts-in to your list, then you know that these are very hot leads. There is no better tool to follow up those leads than with email.
Step 7: Increase your income with upselling and back-end sales
Developing a customer’s lifetime value is one of the most important internet marketing strategies to learn and develop. If you follow up with your customers, at least 36% of them will buy from you again. Getting the customer and closing the first sale is, without a doubt, the most difficult part. Therefore, it becomes very important to follow up with these customers and use back-end selling and up-selling to get them to buy from you again.
Do you have any experience with starting or running an online business? Please feel free to leave a comment and add any insights that you have. If you have any questions, please also leave a comment and I will get back to you.
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