Overwhelmed, overworked, and not seeing a profit in your business yet? This needs to change!
Hands up if you have tons of half-finished items are on your to-do list! I hear you.
I used to be in the exact same position. I didn’t have a strategic plan of action to implement and I was working 12 hour days on things I wasn’t even sure was helping my business. I was scatterbrained and tried a little of this, a little of that, and more, thinking it might help but not knowing for sure. After working 12 hours I couldn’t look back and pinpoint what exactly I was working toward other than just trying to keep my head above water.
Now, I work less, make way more, and work more efficiently! Woohoo!
What changed? I created a profit plan and my friend, Haley Burkhead, taught me exactly how to do just that.
I joined Haley in the Profit Planner Lounge and I found out which tasks bring me the most money. I also cut out everything that was draining my energy and automated what was driving profit! (This automation was HUGE for me!) The tools you work with Haley on alone are business-changing, but then you get so much more help from Haley and the awesome community.
So, what exactly is the Profit Planner Lounge?
It’s a place to automate your:
- High Priority Tasks
- To-Do List (on a color-coded, recurring calendar)
When you join, you’ll be able to break your income goals down into daily, actionable, color-coded tasks that make you more money, not migraines!
Click here to join me and learn more about the Profit Planner Lounge
In today’s fast-paced world of SEO and SEM, its easy to overlook the one element that a lot of web design lacks—common sense! It is easy to become so obsessed with seducing traffic and boosting your search engine rankings that we overlook the simplest details.
I like to think that my approach to business is one part experience,one part research and two parts common sense. I know our business; that’s my experience. I read as much as I possibly can to strike a balance in my efforts between tried and true and newer methods of business planning and marketing. But to me, the most important, and often lacking in my opinion, is the common sense part of running any business, especially online.
In working on both our own business and our client’s, I have found that too often I can get too focused on the technical aspects of my website and business. We are constantly inundated with tips, tricks and techniques for getting more traffic and finding new leads. Please don’t think I’m discounting any of those or disparaging those giving advice. On the contrary, I think it is necessary to take in as much information as possible in determining your own strategies. The problem, in my eyes, lies in getting too involved in these “new” concepts and losing sight or doubt your innate sense of how to do things.
I am not suggesting any hot new modes of marketing, nor am I guaranteeing any way of making thousands of dollars a week! I am merely suggesting that before, during and after implementing any new techniques, you always take a look at your website and all your materials from your customer’s point of view. Better yet, have someone else take a look.
Make sure that you have had your site designed and written your copy in a way that is accessible to both ends of the spectrum: the techies and the technically challenged alike. In a perfect world, each visitor to your site would be very computer and internet savvy. Unfortunately, we all know it is not a perfect world. You must make your site as user-friendly as possible.
I spent a lot of time designing our website. I put a lot of thought into what we wanted to say, how we wanted to say it and how we wanted it to function. Those are all important things to consider and steps that must not be skipped. However, shortly after launching the site I discovered what we could improve.
The first thing I did when I uploaded our new website design was to inform all my friends and family. I knew within two days that I needed to make things a whole lot simpler! I had not taken into account that I have grown up in the internet age and things that I take for granted like knowing how to navigate a site via a site map or navigation bar are not second nature to everyone. I got the best feedback from my 91 year old grandfather who really wanted to see the whole site and know what it was all about. He tries so hard to keep up with the technology, but using the internet is not his cup of tea.
After speaking with him and a few other relatives, I sat down and took a hard look at our site. I tried to simplify things as much as possible. I didn’t change the copy because I had made a point to write copy that was inviting to potential clients from any background. I used my keywords as much as I felt comfortable doing without sounding like a broken record.
Albert Einstein once said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” In our excitement to boost our search engine rankings and generate traffic, I think it’s important to remember those words. The more people who can use your site and hear your message, the more customers you will have!
Credibility is one of the most critical factors that will affect your online business success. Being credible is simply the perception of being trustworthy and believable. Why do people buy brand name goods and services on the Internet and in the offline world? One of the key reasons is that the brand represents a level of quality that they know and trust.
1. Consistency is Key
So how can you build credibility on the Internet for your business? A key factor is being consistent. People are more likely to trust a business or person who acts in a similar manner most of the time. For example, if you publish a newsletter to your customers or potential clients, aim for similar quality in each issue. Also, be consistent in your style of writing. Publish on a regular basis because irregular publication schedules cause confusion in the minds of your readers.
Consistency applies to every aspect of your business. Don’t change your guarantee terms every couple of weeks. Ensure that all your products or services consistently meet the quality and value standards that you are promoting.
3. Free Offers & Trials
Credibility is something that is earned. Therefore, you need to give of yourself to get trust back in return. There are many ways to do this. If you can, offer free trial periods so the customer can try before they buy. This process enables the potential customer to check that your product will do the job you say that it will.
4. Share your Knowledge
Sharing your knowledge is a useful way to build your credibility. This can be done through monitoring discussion lists and boards that your potential customers frequent. Answer questions that they pose. Be a regular contributor to the list so that people come to know and respect your knowledge.
5. Be Honest
Making outlandish claims in advertisements or on your web site can harm your credibility. Telling the truth is always the best way. Ensure that your products or services provide more value than promised. Under promise and over deliver. Take the time to walk in your customers’ shoes before writing your ad copy or your web site promotional material. This will enable you to clearly state benefits that your potential customers are looking for in a way that they will find believable.
Testimonials can be a powerful way to generate trust in your product or service. Set up systems to gain unsolicited testimonials whenever you can. When you gather testimonials to publish on your site, ensure that you have permission to publish them. Also, never make up testimonials to boost your credibility as more often than not you will be caught and then discredited.
7. Provide Solutions
Don’t just state what your qualifications are on your web site or in your promotional material. Instead, state how your qualifications can benefit your potential customers and solve a problem they have. For example, state how your expertise will provide the solution your prospect needs in a way he or she will understand.
8. Be Available
Following sound business practices will help your credibility also. This includes ensure that your business address and phone numbers are clearly shown on your web site. Also, ensure that you are contactable via phone and email and respond promptly to each contact. Have you had phone messages or email that were never responded to? How did that influence your perception of the business?
9. Be Prompt
Prompt delivery of what has been ordered also helps build the right impression of your business. So too does quickly responding to claims on your guarantee. Efficient business procedures that are focused on providing customer satisfaction will always help your business image and credibility.
Strong credibility takes a long time and much effort to build. It can be destroyed quickly and sometimes can never be regained. For your business to achieve its full potential, it is important that you set standards and live by them so that you are constantly building your credibility. Remember that each thing you do in your business will affect the image of your business. Being focused on providing solutions to your customers, providing consistent quality and value for money, and being accessible will all help you achieve the credibility your business needs to succeed.
I had the opportunity to interview two women with successful online businesses, and both of them had some terrific advice to share. We discussed a few of the things we did right, and a few of the things we did wrong during the past year in our businesses. This information is extremely valuable to other women who are just starting out so I will share the highlights with you.
Importance of Building a List
Firstly, one thing that was outlined is the importance of building a list at some point. So many people who launch a web site decide to start collecting email addresses from visitors as an afterthought, as a method of generating additional revenue once their site is established. But after hearing several online business owners express regret that these people waited to collect emails and as a result lost out on a wide range of income, I now am convinced that offering a newsletter or e-course is usually a top priority for anyone when they publish their site.
If a newsletter sounds intimidating, try a 5 day e-course or online seminar instead. Or maybe place an opt-in box prominently with your site, preferably on every page, that offers something valuable for your visitor in exchange for their own contact information. Write a how-to on the topic of your site, save it as a PDF and offer it as a free download if they opt in. Then when you will be ready to begin sending out a newsletter, you already have subscribers. The fact is that the majority of people who come to your site will not buy anything. But if you get permission to make contact with them again, the chance of them eventually becoming your customer is much better.
Importance of Focus
The second thing these ladies decided on is the importance of focus. Don’t get distracted in your small business and start launching new websites if they don’t fit into your overall business plan and fulfill the needs of your target audience. We only have so much time and energy in a day. Getting involved in too many site projects means that our “bread and butter” website is not going to get the attention it should. That might mean that it is advisable to sell a website or two to produce a laser tight focus. Accomplishing this can actually boost your earnings.
Never Be Content With your Content
The third thing these women were doing right is by providing their target market with outstanding and informative content. Content that kept their readers returning for more, that kept search engines like Google happy, and that sold their products. These women were constantly adding valuable content to their site, newsletter, autoresponder, and blog. I can’t adequately express the importance of this!
Great content also serves as a sort of business partner for you, drawing media and potential business partners. In addition to writing their own content for their websites and blogs, they also purchased premium quality private label rights articles and used that to build additional content for their growing websites.
The interesting thing about a successful online business is that although it takes hard work, focus, and dedication, it really isn’t rocket science. The principles are actually quite easy to implement, you just need to be equipped with the right data and do your research before starting out.
Creating and running an effective online business is realistically comprised of several hundred, rather than five, but this will serve as a guide for the direction of your efforts. Contrary to what you may hear rampantly on the Internet, there is no cookie-cutter, get-rich quick scheme on the web. Not only is every online business different, what works for one person or in one month may not work for another person or in the next month.
The Internet is constantly changing, and the online market is inherently different this year than it was last year. New technological improvements occur monthly, and impact the online business environment. What works for one individual when he is the first to sell a certain product a certain way may not work just six months later when he has sold his idea to 40,000 other marketers, and they all begin to promote it. Traffic generation tactics are significantly different than they were just a year ago, and hardly resemble profitable strategies three years ago.
These 5 steps are simply the bare-bones skeleton of what has to happen for your online business to be successful. They are foundational, and although the implementation strategies are different today than several years ago, the basic steps remain the same.
1. Develop or discover a product or service.
You must find a product that meets today’s needs. A 5-year-old product whose resell rights you can buy for a dollar or get for free probably won’t meet the needs of today’s consumers. You must be willing to pay for the rights to sell a current, useful product, or become an affiliate marketer, where you promote a popular product, and in exchange are paid a percentage of the income from the sale.
2. You will need a website.
Determine how the potential customers can view your product and see a sales presentation. If you develop your own product or purchase the rights to sell someone else’s, you will need a website. A few tips here: Rather than accept free web hosting or free website design, purchase your own domain name, pay to have your web site hosted and designed by a professional with a reputable history.
3. Develop a sales script and web copy
Once you have your web site up and running, unless you are using an affiliate program that supplies a sales page, you must develop a sales script and web copy. This is probably the most important thing you can do. You may be tempted at first to write a sales pitch on your own, but unless you already have a lot of experience in the offline market writing effective sales letters, you need to, absolutely must, invest in a few courses on web copywriting. Be willing to spend some money upfront on learning this skill. Too many marketers try to wing it in this area and after a few months of losing money online, finally break down and purchase the knowledge to write a good sales pitch. Do it the other way around and buy the knowledge first, then start making sales from the beginning. Customers will not buy just because you have a web site—they buy from the website that does the best job of convincing them it has the best product for their need.
4. You must develop a traffic source that works.
When you first begin, you may be on a shoestring, and that is okay. Assuming you have been willing to spend some money on sales letter writing and a decent web host and designer, you may be able to skimp in the traffic arena for awhile, if you have plenty of time. If you do not have money to advertise, nor time to seek out low cost advertising, you probably shouldn’t be attempting an online business. If you do choose to go the low-cost route, know two things up front: the returns are really low and you will spend vast amounts of time on traffic generation. Once you begin to make sales, you must invest your time and income in targeted traffic generation and inbound marketing. If you do not, you will run out of enthusiasm and without reinvesting the income from your first sales into marketing, you are sure to fail. Good sources of low-cost, but time consuming traffic are: writing articles and blogging them, low cost classified ads, and e-zine ads. You may see hyped-up ads for thousands or visitors for a low cost or millions of banner ads for another reasonable price both of these methods may have worked 2 years ago, but they are a sure waste today.
5. Identify traffic sources and keep detailed records.
Once you begin to get traffic to your online business site, you must keep detailed records of where the traffic comes from, and what percentage of visitors from each source are purchasing your product. If you have visitors that cost you $50 per hundred to come to your web site, but on average they only purchase $25 per hundred visitors, the income may feel good, but you are not profitable, and are losing money. By tracking your expenses on each type of visitor and by tracking your revenue on the same sources of visitors, you can determine which campaigns need changes or need to be eliminated and which need to be increased in intensity.
By following this pattern of steps, and by keeping diligent records (there is plenty of good website tracking software on the market that can help you do that), you can develop a profitable online business. Again, it will not happen overnight, and you will not get rich quick. However, if you build a solid online business with a solid foundation, and are willing to spend some money learning how to do it right, you really can become successful in business online.