You could call this short article a Quick-Start Guide to Insider Internet Success. We’ll explore the philosophies and practices that create successful businesses online and how you can do the same.
Building a successful business online, in its simplest form, comprises of four steps:
- Finding a hungry, profitable marketplace (identifying a need amongst a group of people)
- Creating and sourcing high-quality products or services to deliver
- Creating a framework for relationship building and sales conversion
- Spreading the word and maximising transaction value.
Let’s take a look at each step briefly.
Finding a hungry and profitable marketplace
The first step to starting an internet-based business is to decide which market you are going to serve. By finding a group of people with a hungry need for something, you can then start to define your business purpose, your objectives and your mission. Finding a marketplace that needs or wants something is absolutely crucial to deciding what you need to sell. Not only that, will the marketplace that wants or needs something be prepared to pay for it?
So how do you find a marketplace (or niche) that is going to turn into a highly successful and profitable business for you? First, start from home. Look at your interests and hobbies and identify what your wants and needs are. It’s likely that others will have the same. Second, carry out your research. Ask friends and family questions to try to elicit their needs and wants as well.
As you begin to narrow down your list of wants and needs, you need to check whether there is already competition. Competition is healthy; it’s a sign that a particular marketplace has money to spend and is usually worth the effort to continue. It is very rare to find marketplaces with zero competition on the internet. The question is – how can you serve your market so you are perceived much better than your competitor?
Creating and sourcing high-quality products or services to deliver
Once you’ve put your markets through more tests and identified a need to serve, you’ll need to create a package to sell. What is their need and how best can it be solved? Will you need to deliver timeless information or consumable products? If it’s information, will it be best consumed through reading text, listening to audio or watching a video? How will you package it?
Perhaps it’s a service that needs to be delivered. Is it a time-consuming service for you, or a quick and easy, automated or outsourced service? Is it a service that needs delivery regularly (like monthly, quarterly or annually) or is it a one-off service? Finally, will you create these products and services yourself, or will you source the production?
Creating a framework for relationship building and sales conversion
Once you’ve identified a marketplace, a need that requires servicing and a product or service to deliver, you’ll need to create all the mechanisms to make it happen. You’ll need to think about how you’re going to build relationships with your prospects and customers, how you’re going to convert prospects into customers and how you’ll deliver the package.
First, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to deal with visitors at your website. What will you offer your visitors to stay involved? How will you keep them enticed about your topic? What will you communicate in the follow up to your prospects? The key here is to know exactly what your message is so that you can sell the dream, its benefits and whatever else in order to convince the prospect of your product.
Second, you’ll need to focus on giving value. Give, without expectation. Allow your knowledge, your tips, your ideas and how-to information to freely flow. Sell the sizzle, not the steak. By being free with your information, yet not giving everything away, you start to gain trust from your prospects and become recognised as a trusted advisor or brand. Elevating your positioning to that of a trusted advisor or brand is a huge step in the direction of outperforming your competition and attracting new business.
Third, you will want to implement as many ways as possible to help convert and close the sale. Using customer service widgets, automated agents, videos, Q&A webinars, postcards, plus more. Decide how best your market receives information and install some of these converting elements in the right place to help you drive more prospects to become new customers.
Spreading the word and maximising transaction value
Once you’ve got your website and all the framework set up, you’ll need to start promoting. Traffic, as we know it, is the lifeblood of your online success. Without visitors, no matter how high your conversion rate, your site is dead. You also want to attract visitors all throughout the year – steadily increasing as each week goes by.
In order to start promoting, you’ll need to master your key message. Every successful entrepreneur knows the key message and benefit behind his or her product or service. Knowing this helps you target your pitch in the right way and convert easily. To figure out your key message, you must know who your target market is and what major benefit they will get as a result of consuming your product.
Then start to promote. Use the internet and the offline world in both free and paid ways to get as many people aware and visiting your website. Use paid methods like online advertising for instant, highly targeted traffic and use methods like article marketing and link swapping for generating steady, constant streams of traffic throughout the year. Also use affiliate and referral marketing in order to leverage the help and support of your fans to drive even more people to your website.
Finally, if you’re going to make a lot of money online, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to maximisethe sale. Getting new visitors and customers isn’t always easy, so why not find ways to get your current customers to pay you even more by bulking together other products and offering customer-only discounts? Get creative.