The Truth About Running a Successful Online Business
Have you ever thought about building an online business? Many have, but few have actually followed through. We’ve all seen “experts” online telling us how easy it is, but once we start to look into it things seem to get complicated quickly. Dock Line helps people build online businesses every day, and we want to share with you some of the most important things to understand first. In this article, you’ll discover exactly what it takes to build and run a successful online business.
- It takes a lot of work up front.
Although we are constantly sold the idea that making money online is “so easy”, the truth is that it will take a lot of work. There are so many pieces you need to put in place, research you need to do to get the right pieces, and time to build and implement those pieces. These include your website and all the pages needed to make your business work, copy-writing (extremely important to get this right), design, branding, social media pages, online store components, and so much more. Unless you’re already an expert and know how to do all of this, you’ll have to put in a lot of time to learn, or you’ll need to hire someone to help you. All that is just to get things set up and ready to work. Then you’ll need to invest a lot of time into running the business. This includes advertising, marketing, customer service, fulfillment, and much more. If you’re serious about running an online business be prepared to put in the work, and stick with it for the long haul.
- You will need to put some money into it.
“Free” is a powerful marketing word. We gravitate toward it and give away our information to get something free online. There are many offers online that sell the idea that you can start an online business with no financial investment. While there may be some ways to do that, the truth is that if you’re serious about creating a real online business, it’s going to require more than a free method. When it comes to starting and running a successful online business, you will need to put some money into it…possibly a lot of money up front. Don’t let that push away from your online business idea, though. It’s worth investing money if you know you’ll get a return on your investment. Plan on spending some money building all the components to make your business work (website, software, etc.) and on expert advice to help you do it all right.
- It requires lots of testing.
Once you get all the pieces in place to sell your offer, don’t be surprised if buyers don’t flood to your website and buy what you’re selling. More than likely, it’ll be a slow start, especially if nobody has heard of you online. Even if you do have an audience, your first take on selling something might not go over well. Don’t let that deter you from your idea. Everyone experiences this in some way in the beginning. You’ll need to test your offer, test your sales pages, test your ads, test your copywriting, and many other components of your pitch and presentation. This is one of the reasons online business scares off a lot of people. They don’t understand how common failure is and how many times you need to go back to the drawing board to get things just right. Stick with it, test and test some more, and you’ll make it work.
- Your offer needs to be really good.
More than likely, your product, service or idea is not completely original. There is most certainly something similar already available in the market. However, don’t let that keep you from moving forward with your idea. If anything, it proves that your idea already works. It also means that in order to stand out, your offer needs to be really good. And you will do better if you have multiple offers at several different price points, from low to high. Start with a low price offer, like a book, short video series, intro or sample product or something similar that costs you little to produce and can be acquired without much buying resistance from your potential buyers. More than anything, your initial offer needs to have a much greater perceived value than its price would suggest. For instance, many online entrepreneurs will sell a book with a “Free + Shipping” method that gives the buyer a lot of value for a little investment. They will then use that book purchase as a lead-in to a higher priced item like a course, and then an higher priced item, and so on.
- You need to understand your ideal customer really well.
Nowadays, it’s nearly impossible to make real money through an online business if you don’t know exactly who your ideal customer is. The more specifics you can know, the better. You need to know demographics, yes, but also more detailed information like where they hang out online, what their spending habits are, what hobbies they enjoy, and what gets their attention. You also need to understand exactly how your offer helps them at a core level. Basically, you need to understand the pain they experience that your product “cures”. You also need to know what causes that pain and how they have tried to solve it in the past. The more you know about your perfect customer, the more targeting your offer will be, and the more sales you’ll make.
- You need a funnel that works.
In the online space, a funnel is simply the set of steps that a customer goes through to purchase your offer. When you place your product or service for sale on your website, you need to get potential buyers to see it. That means you need to find out where your customers are online and get them to come to your website. Once they do, you need to move them through your funnel until they are paying customers. Like a real funnel, an online marketing funnel is larger at the top and gets smaller toward the bottom. At the top of the funnel is where everyone first sees your offer. From there, fewer people will get to your website, then even fewer will click on your offer, and even fewer will buy. If your funnel is set up right it can run like clockwork, almost entirely automated, and bring in customers while you sleep. It can be complicated though, so you may need to get some help from an online marketing expert. If one part of your funnel is broken or “leaking” you could lose out on a lot of sales.
- You need to find your customers online and know how to market to them.
Having a working funnel is one thing, but getting people into the funnel is another challenge all its own. You need to find out where your customers are online, what they are searching for, and how they buy. Once you find them, you then need to know how to get in front of them, get their attention, and compel them to check out your offer. This means using methods like SEO, content marketing (including video), social media advertising, and many more strategies. The point is, your online business needs customers and you’ll need to invest in marketing strategies that are proven to work. Yes, you need to spend money to make money, but once you’ve nailed down the exact marketing strategy that works best for your business, you’ll know exactly how much it will cost to get a customer. For instance, if you discover that for every dollar you put in to your marketing machine you make three dollars, you can just keep putting money into your marketing machine and keep making more money than you spend.
This article is not meant to make you shy away online business. Actually, it’s to help you realize exactly what it takes to be successful. Yes, it will take a lot of work up front, but once you get a system that works, it can be a gold mine. If you are serious about starting an online business, let us know. Dock Line now offers a full suite of online marketing services that can build your entire online platform, funnels, marketing pieces, social media channels and so much more. If you’re interest in getting started with an online business, or to get your current business online and crushing it, visit www.thedockline.com or email us at [email protected]
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