Is your dream to quit that full-time job, what with that horrible boss, the mind-numbing work or an awful commute? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Last year the website MarketWatch reported that “Some 39% of employees hope to own their own business, according to a new survey released by the University of Phoenix Business School.” While not all of that 39% hope to open an online business you can bet that many of them do.
To say those small businesses are booming would actually be an understatement. According to Forbes, “Approximately 543,000 new businesses get started each month.” Of course, not all of these are online businesses but it doesn’t take a clairvoyant to guess that many of them were.
There are many advantages
There is no mystery as to why people start an online business. For one thing, it doesn’t cost very much. The website PC World recently had an article titled How to Start an Online Business for $100. Also, it’s a type of business you can operate out of your home, in your pajamas and possibly end up earning thousands and thousands of dollars. If this sounds attractive there are six things you need to know to be successful as an online marketer.
#1. Regardless of what you sell, you need good content
If you’ve spent any time at all studying about making money online you’ve undoubtedly run into the phrase that “content is king.” We think this was probably first coined maybe five years ago but it’s just as true today. Regardless of the type of business you want to start, content is crucial. If you have great content it will lead to many good things including:
- Enhanced customer engagement
- SEO visibility
- Social media signals
- Referral links
- Enhanced traffic
To know whether you have great content ask yourself would you actually read it? Or even better would your target audience read it? If you believe the answer might be no, don’t make excuses. Get to work to make it better.
#2. Never forget you’re selling to people
Once you get into online marketing it’s easy to start viewing your traffic as just statistics that need to be improved. This is a mistake to never make. No real online business success story ever came as a result of disregarding the site’s audience. Huge sites such as Google do their best to meet the needs of their users. It makes absolutely no sense to do the opposite. This is especially true if you’re starting an eCommerce business as the only way you’ll be able to sell things effectively online is by really engaging with your customers.
#3. Your social media needs to be more than just a bot
Another rule of successful online marketing is that your social media presence needs to be something more than just a bot. If you don’t believe this, go to Twitter and start adding people that are promoting a commercial product and that have between 500 to 5,000 followers. If you try to interact with them the odds are the only thing you’ll get back is a bot response, which could be an automated request or a simple introductory message. Almost everyone is using this type of approach so interaction just gets down to bots communicating with other bots – and no one benefits.
There are a number of ways to advertise online but if your goal is to sell something you need to find the people that have the most interest in what you have to offer. If you do some market research you should be able to optimize your advertising budget and increase your sales. Don’t be afraid to check out other similar companies to see what they’re doing to reach their customers. Also, keep testing and honing the scope of your advertising. There is just no magic mathematical formula. The only to become successful is through testing and more testing.
#5. Don’t just do pay-per-click
Many people begin by believing that all they need to do is put up a decent website and then boost traffic through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and they will soon be making money. The problem with this is that pay-per-per click ads don’t yield the best conversion rates. What you really need to succeed is natural traffic, which is people that are searching for a solution to a problem that you can help them solve.
#6. Product photos are what sells
If you’re selling used products on eBay or Amazon then amateur product photography is probably okay. But if you’re selling products online from your own website you really need professional product photography. That’s because it has the potential for a lot of engagement and second, it’s right behind video content in terms of shareability. In addition, when a person is trying to decide whether or not to buy a product online a good photograph can mean a world of difference. Your customers can’t touch or hold your product in their hands. Specifications, charts and text descriptions are great but nothing beats good photos. And the more costly the product you’re selling the better the photographs need to be.
The biggest reason why people fail
The Success Resources website had an article recently titled The Biggest Reason Why People Fail in Internet Marketing. And what was that reason? It’s not because of money, time, knowledge or even skill. According to this article, the biggest reason people fail to make money online is because they didn’t act. And why do they fail to act? A lot of people spend too much time learning all they can about some specific strategy for making money. But that doesn’t help until they actually do something. It’s that old paralysis by analysis thing. Just pick something and start doing it today.
Second, too many people feel they have to do it perfectly. Well, you don’t have to. Worry about that fancy packaging later. Just get going. If you don’t get in the game you can’t win either big or small.
Finally, you don’t have to do things alone. There are many tools and resources available to help with making money online. Maybe you need a coach or teacher to help you get things done. But whether you need some tools, training or a teacher now is the time to act. Just don’t sit there. Get going.