Steps Towards an Effective Online Business4 min read
Realistically, creating and running an effective online business may be several hundred, not 11, but it will serve as a guide to the direction of your business. Contrary to what you may have heard rife on the internet, there are no get-rich-quick cookie cutters on the internet. Not only is every online business different, what worked for one person or month may not work for another person or the next month.
The internet is constantly changing, and online marketplaces are inherently different this year than last year. Every month there are new technology upgrades that impact the online business environment. What worked for one person when they were the first to sell a certain product in a certain way may not work six months later when they’ve sold their idea to 40,000 other marketers and they all start promoting it. The traffic-generating tactics are very different from a year ago and hardly resemble the profitable strategies of three years ago.
These 11 steps are just a high-level overview of what needs to happen for your online business to be successful. They are fundamental, and while the strategy to implement them is different today than it was a few years ago, the basic steps remain the same.
- Develop or invent a product. You need to find products that meet current needs. A 5 year old product that you can buy for a dollar or get for free probably won’t meet today’s consumer needs. You must be willing to pay for the right to sell a currently useful product or become an affiliate marketer where you promote popular products in exchange for a percentage of the revenue from the sale.
- Decide how potential customers will see your products and sales pitches. If you are developing your own product or acquiring the rights to sell someone else’s product, you need a website. Here are a few tips: Instead of accepting free web hosting, buy your own domain name and pay to have your domain name and website hosted by a professional web hosting company with a reputable history. When your free web hosting company goes bankrupt, they usually take your startup business with them.
- Once your website is up and running you will need to develop sales scripts and web copy unless you are using an affiliate program that provides sales pages. Next to your web hosting decision, this is probably the most important thing you can do. You may be tempted to write your own sales pitch at first, but unless you already have plenty of experience in the offline market writing effective sales letters, you really should invest in some web copywriting courses. Willing to spend money upfront to learn this skill. Too many marketers try to grow in this space and after a few months of losing money online, finally give up and buy the knowledge to write a great sales pitch. Do the opposite – buy knowledge first and start selling from scratch. Customers don’t just buy because you have a website – they buy from a website that best convinces them that they have the best product for their needs.
- You must develop a working traffic source. You may run out of money when you start out, and that’s okay. Assuming you were willing to spend some money to write a decent sales letter and web host, you might be able to skimp in the traffic arena for a while if you have plenty of time. If you don’t have the money to advertise or the time to find inexpensive advertising, don’t attempt an online business. If you go the low cost route – know two things up front – the returns will be very small and you will spend a lot of time driving traffic. Once you start making sales, you need to invest your income in paid forms to generate traffic. Otherwise, you’ll run out of enthusiasm for generating free traffic, and without reinvesting the earnings from your first sale into advertising, you’re doomed. Good but time-consuming sources of low-cost traffic include: writing articles and publishing them in article directories, low-cost classified ads, and ezine ads. You may see exaggerated ads for thousands or cheap visitors or millions of other cheap banner ads – both methods might have worked 2 years ago but are certainly worthless today.
- Once you start getting traffic to your online business site, you should keep detailed records of where the traffic is coming from and what percentage of visitors from each source buy your product. If you have visitors who charge $50 per hundred visitors but are only buying an average of $25 per hundred visitors, revenue may feel good, but you are not profitable and are losing money. By tracking your spend for each visitor type and your earnings for the same traffic source, you can determine which campaigns to change or eliminate, and which to increase in intensity.
- By following this pattern of steps and keeping careful records (there are many great website tracking software on the market that can help you with this), you can develop a profitable online business. Again, it won’t happen overnight, and you won’t get rich quick. However, if you build a solid online business with a solid foundation and are willing to spend some money to learn how to do it right, you can really be successful in online business.