There is and has been a proven formula of steps that anyone could follow to guarantee your success when you are starting a small online business. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow their businesses online and where very successful by doing the following:
- Find a need and fill it. For example, many have financial problems so, I teach people how to make money online.
- Write copy that sells.
- Create an easy-to-use website.
- Use search engine optimization (SEO) to drive traffic to your site.
- Establish an expert reputation and brand yourself.
- Follow up with your customers and subscribers with email marketing.
- Increase your income through back-end sales and up-selling.
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 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.
Step 2: Write copy that sells.
There is a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they buy something:
- Enhance 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?”
Step 3: Design and build your website.
Once you have gotten your market and product, and you’ve finalized your selling process, now you are ready to start designing your small-business site. Remember, keep it simple. You have less than five seconds to grab your viewers attention–otherwise they are gone, never to be seen again. keep these important tips in mind:
- Choose one or two plain fonts on a white background.
- Make it clear simple and easy to navigate through, and the same on every page.
- Only use images, audio or videos if they enhance your message.
- Include an opt-in offer to collect e-mail addresses.
- Make it easy to purchase–no more than two clicks between potential customer and checkout.
- Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
Related: Step By Step Web Building Process.
Step 4: Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your website.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a new site. It has two advantages over waiting for organic traffic to come to your site. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, you can test different keywords with PPC ads, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. You not only get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can spread out the keywords on your site in your copy and code, which will help build 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 to other sites for free, and you will see more traffic and better rankings in the search engine. The secret is to always include a link to your site with each tidbit of information.
- Give away free, expert content. Create posts, videos or any content that people will find useful. Distribute that content through online article directories or social media sites.
- Include “Share” 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 email marketing to turn visitors into buyers.
Build an opt-in list, you will be creating one of the most valuable assets of your online business. Your customers and subscribers give you permission to send them emails. This means:
- You are giving them something they have asked for.
- You are creating lifetime relationships with them.
- The response is 100 percent measurable.
- Email marketing is cheaper and more effective than print, TV or radio because it is highly targeted traffic.
Anyone who visits your site and opts in to your list is a very hot lead. There is no better tool than email for following up with your leads.
Step 7: Increase your income through back-end sales and up-selling.
One of the most important internet marketing strategies is to develop every customer’s lifetime value. About 36 percent of the people who buy from you once will buy from you again if you follow up with them. Closing that first sale is the most difficult part–it’s also 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 coupons that they can redeem for their loyalty on their next visit.
- Offer related products on your “Thank You” page after they purchase.
Reward your customers for being loyal and they will stay loyal.
Changes are made to the internet so much that one year online is equivalent to about five years in the real world. But the elements of how to start and grow a successful business online has not changed at all. If you are just now starting a small business online, stick to this formula. If you have a little more experience online, do a quick review and check to see if you’re missing a step, or never did in the first place. You can not go wrong with the basics.
For More info about how to start an online business visit my blog: DeWayneBenford.com