How to Start a Profitable Online Business

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So you’ve made the decision to start an online business – but where do you begin?  There’s a lot to know and a lot to do.  Here are some important steps you can take to help you along your journey to online success.

Find a Niche You Are Passionate About

It’s important to find a “niche” you like so much, you could talk about it all day. Your niche is the precise nature of your online business.  Make sure to be specific about your niche.  For example, “Sports” and “Football” are too broad.  Your favorite “Team” is narrowing it down a little, but not quite far enough.  “Quarterbacks” that have played for your favorite team could work as a niche, and a specific “Team Member” is also a good example of a niche.  They are clear and specific, and your business niche should also be clear and specific.

Your passion for your niche, whatever that might be, will serve you well when providing content for your online presence. It’s important to keep fresh content (articles, tweets, updates, reviews, and other written material) flowing into your online presence in order to rank high on Google, and draw in lucrative traffic.  Google’s engines search sites for fresh original content, rewarding them with higher rankings.  You must be passionate about your niche to do the regular work of providing quality content.

Learn, Learn, and Keep Learning

When it comes to an online business, You need to know more about your niche than 95% of the people that are in it. You need to become an expert in your field. Inundate yourself with information regarding your niche and spend a lot of time expanding your knowledge base. It is literally one of the best investments one can make.

Pick a Simple Content Management System

Unless your product or service requires you to build a custom site, stick to something like a WordPress platform. WordPress is one of the premier content management systems and is used by some of the most well known fortune 500 companies. WordPress is very versatile and can be customized with endless amounts of themes and plugins. It is also SEO friendly and very easy to use. By choosing a simple CMS, it allows you to focus all your time and energy on building your business as opposed to building your website.

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Grow Your Online Presence

As you may have guessed, growing your online presence requires some work, and won’t give miraculous results overnight.  Rely on your passion to push yourself through to the next level by getting your message out on multiple platforms.  These days, getting content onto social media is as important as having an original website.  You have many options – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.  Research different platforms with your target audience in mind. Facebook and Twitter are great for everyone, but Pinterest may only suit some.  Build your brand and direct people to your product through social media presence. Want a big boost on event days such as launches and sales?  Organize your family and friends to re-post your ad media with links to your website, extending your reach.

Be Generous

Create value for your customers and clients by giving them something totally free.  In the retail world, they call it a “loss leader” – you might call it a sample or freebie.  The loss leader is a valuable tool for building trust and boosting your image.  A common giveaway item for online businesses is a free ebook that you have written.  To get their ebooks, customers sign up with their email accounts, which will build your email list for newsletters and event announcements.  Become a trusted part of your clients’ lives by giving them something of value for free.  Make sure they get enough to feel happy, but leave them wanting more.

Be Yourself

If you have chosen a good niche – one you’re really passionate about – you shouldn’t have a hard time communicating enthusiastically with your audience.  When people make purchases online, they want to feel like they’re connecting with a real person, someone who cares, someone just like them.  Whatever your personality, from high energy to low key, build on those strengths and enhance your natural qualities. Don’t worry about how your competition is doing things; just connect with your audience in a real way.  Avoid gimmicks and false fronts.

Create a Tiered Pricing System

When someone buys from you for the first time, they’re cautious and wary of spending too much, in case it goes wrong for them.  They have to get their feet wet before they take the big plunge, and it’s your job to coax them into the water.  Of course you want to sell your big ticket items, but you’ll sell those items far better if you have 3 or more price points in your system.  You’ve already boosted your likability with a free item of value, so the next step for the customer is making a small purchase.  Have some items priced under $10 that will entice first-time buyers.  Under-promise and over-deliver, and you just might have a repeat customer on your hands.  Your goal is to have them feel comfortable purchasing something at a $200 price point or more.

Testing

So you’ve got your website running, and your social media is picking up – now is the time to begin testing to see what works and what doesn’t.  This will be an ongoing process.  You can’t ignore what people respond to and hope to be successful. This step takes organized planning and goal-setting.  You are going to have to ditch some ideas along the way if they don’t help you reach your goals.  You want all of your energy focused on the most profitable and goal-oriented actions, you just won’t have spare time for anything else.

If you have an excellent media marketing strategy that can prove increased traffic and sales, you might even be able to obtain investments and executive buy-ins.  Your research should go beyond just what people have “liked” or re-tweeted.  Look for what generates the most click-throughs and sales.  Analyze the elements of your marketing campaign, and see what is really working.

Be Patient

I know, you want to start making money immediately – we all do.  But the truth of the matter is this: building your online business is going to take time, dedication, energy, organization, and all the talent you can muster.  There’s no doubt that you can achieve your goals if you really commit yourself to the process, but you will most likely start out with less sales than you hoped for.  Don’t give up.  You’re building something from scratch, and that will take time.  It will pay off later if you keep your head in the game and you do the work.  Stick with it, and you can have a successful online business!

Here is a great video about how to create an online business made by Stefan at Project Life Mastery.

 

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Marc is the founder of Vision Launch Development Group. Vision Launch was created to inspire, empower, and promote social entrepreneurs – and be a vehicle for positive change in the world. Marc is strong proponent of individual freedom, economic empowerment and decentralized peer to peer solutions.