5 Essential Strategies to Online Business Success
When it comes to starting a business online, many people struggle with where to actually begin. Should you build your own website and start selling stuff? Should you start posting on social media five times a day talking about your business? If you aren’t sure what to do, you’re not alone. Every successful online business, guru, expert, online store, etc. started at zero. We can clearly see the success that some of them have had growing their business online, but we don’t see the countless others who tried to start and failed. We want to help you get into the first group, not the second.
Today, we’re going to get you started on the right path and help you cut through the noise around building an online business. Before you ever build a fancy website or start selling something, you need to do a few things first. Nail these strategies and you’ll get a huge head start on everyone else, and you’ll grow faster and more consistently over time.
Here are the five essential strategies for building an online business when starting from scratch.
Get crystal clear on who your customer is.
The sad truth is, many businesses don’t know who their ideal customer is. They’re just hoping to sell to anyone and everyone who will buy from them. If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, how will you know how to market your products? When thinking about who you most want to serve, get specific. Instead of defining your customer as “women who want to start a business,” dig deeper until it’s “35-year-old working moms who want to start a side business working from home to replace their current income.”
This is also the reason people struggle to create content consistently online. You might be asking, ”what do I say online?” when what you’re really asking is “who is my ideal audience?”. The more specific you can get, the better. If you are starting from scratch and think you don’t know who your ideal customer is yet, then pick one anyway. Who do you most want to serve? Once you start attracting this audience, you will be able to determine if you should keep going in that direction or to pivot to a different audience.
Know your one thing.
Choose one topic to focus on and don’t waver from it. Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, says,
“Success demands singleness of purpose. It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.”
If you had to choose only one thing to do in your online business, what would it be? If you only sold one product, what would it be? So many people make the mistake of trying to do ten different things right out of the gate, and those people eventually quit.
If you want to sell clothes online, start with just t-shirts.
If you want to blog about your life, start with just your life as a mom.
If you are a photographer and want to take your business online, start with just one online photography course about one tutor of photography.
Whatever it is that you do, start with one thing. You can add more down the road, but focus on and master the one thing first.
This also applies to making money online. Choose one revenue stream when you start. There are about a thousand ways to make money online. Many experts even tell you to “diversify” and have up to seven different revenue streams: ads on your website, digital products, online courses, ebooks, physical products…the list is a long one. The problem is that if you’re starting from scratch and you try to create seven revenue streams, you’ll likely not create any. Eventually, you can add more streams of revenue to your business, but start with just one until you master it. If you sell online courses, make that your one stream to start. If you sell physical products, make that your one stream to start.
Start building an email list.
This might be the most important item on this list in terms of actively growing a business online. Build an email list of your ideal audience. Email is such a powerful marketing tool because we value our email addresses and only give it in exchange for something that adds value to our lives. If you get someone’s email address, then they are interested in what you have to offer.
An email list is like a group of warm leads who are waiting for you to give them something to buy. Not everyone on your list will buy, but they are much more likely to buy than a cold lead who has never heard of you.
How do you grow an email list? You give something of value to your audience in exchange for it. Just put up a simple website with an email opt-in section, then offer a coupon, a free PDF, an exclusive video, or something else that is valuable. Your ideal customer will gladly give you their email address for it. You can then nurture them toward the sale through trust-building emails.
Create and share content regularly.
If you are starting from scratch online, you’ll need to start establishing yourself as a trusted resource right away. People buy from brands and businesses they trust. You can build trust by producing valuable content tailored to your audience. Can you write? Start a blog. Are you a good speaker? Start a podcast. Are you decent in front of a camera? Start a YouTube channel. Can you take great photos? Create a social media page.
There are many ways to share content online. Remember, just choose one method to start. Master that one method before you add in others. Most of all, plan on creating and sharing content for at least two years before you “give up.” It will be a chore early on as you build the habit of creating content. However, as long as you know your audience, you’ll have something to say. Focus on providing value before you think about selling. Build your audience and then sell to them once they trust you.
Ignore the doubts.
Starting a business from scratch online can be challenging, especially mentally. You will have to step out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there in ways you may not be used to. You also might be tempted with “shiny object syndrome,” where you chase after everything that looks like it could make you money. We do this because we aren’t sure if what we’re doing will work, so we look for “guarantees” that are sold to us by other marketers.
Whatever you set out to sell online, believe in it. Your audience will feed off of your confidence and your bottom line will reflect it. Stay true to your mission – or create a mission if you don’t already have one. Having a clear mission for your business, even if it’s just you right now, will keep you on track, help you filter out the things that are just distractions, and direct you in working with the right people.
So many people struggle with where to start online and wonder if they’re doing it right. If you are starting an online business or wanting to take your business online and want to do it right, we’re here to help. At Dock Line, we can give you the rock-solid foundation you need to become a successful online business. We build websites, run social media pages, write blog articles, make videos, and so many other things just for businesses like yours.
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