here is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful businesses by doing the following:
- Find a need and fill it.
- Write copy that sells.
- Design and build an easy-to-use website.
- Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
- Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
- Follow up with your customers and subscribers with e-mail.
- Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.
Anyone, from newbie to seasoned online entrepreneur, can benefit from this process in learning how to start a business online.
Step 1: Find a need and fill it
Most those who find themselves just starting out create the mistake of buying a product first, and a market second.
To boost your odds of success, start with a market. The trick is to discover a group of people who are looking for a solution to a challenge, but not finding quite a few results. The internet makes such a 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.
Step 2: Write copy that sells
There is a proven sales copy system that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the minute they make a invest in:
- 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.
During your copy, you should focus on how your service or product is uniquely capable solve people’s problems or make their own lives better. Think as being a customer and ask “What’s from it for me? inch
Step 3: Design and build your website
When you have got your market and product, and you’ve nailed down your selling process, now you’re ready on your small-business web design. Make sure to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to seize someone’s attention–otherwise they’re removed, never to be noticed again. Some important tips to be aware of:
- 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.
Step 4: Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site
Pay-per-click advertising is the way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over expecting the traffic to arrived at you organically. First, PPC ads make an appearance on the search web pages immediately, and second, PPC ads assist you to test different keywords, in addition to headlines, prices and marketing approaches. Not only will you get immediate traffic, but also you can use PPC ads to find your best, highest-converting key terms. Then you can send out the keywords throughout your blog in your copy and also code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
Step 5: Establish an expert reputation for yourself
People search on the internet to find information. Provide that information at no cost to other sites, and you’ll see much more traffic and better search engine rankings. The secret is to always include a link to your web page with each tidbit connected with 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.
Step 6: Use the power of e-mail marketing to turn visitors into buyers.
When you build an opt-in listing, you’re creating one of the very most valuable assets of your online business. Your customers and subscribers have given you choice to send them e-mail. Meaning:
- 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.
Step 7: Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling
Essentially the most important internet marketing strategies is always to develop every customer’s lifetime value. At least 36 percent of folks who suffer from purchased from you once will purchase from you again if you post disaster with them. Closing that first sale is quite possibly the most difficult part–not to mention by far the most expensive. So use back-end promoting and upselling to encourage 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.
The net changes so fast any particular one year online equals with regards to five years in the real world. But the principles of steps to make and grow a successful online business haven’t changed at many. If you’re just starting a small company online, stick to this specific sequence. If you’ve recently been online awhile, do a quick review and see if there is a step you’re neglecting, or never got around to doing to start with. You can’t go wrong using the basics.