7 steps to running an online business successfully
You are eager to run your online business successfully? You’re right since 98% of people who start an online business fail. Be part of the successful 2% by following these 7 steps on how to run an online business that makes money.
Here are the 7 steps:
- Add quality content to your website
- Become an affiliate marketer
- Write copy that brings the sales
- Drive traffic to your site organically
- Do marketing and advertising
- Establish yourself as an expert in your niche
- Increase your income through ads, back-end sales and upselling
Before learning to run an online business successfully, you must start one. Click here to learn the 6 steps to starting a successful online business
Step 1: Add quality content to your website
After Google’s 2014 algorithms change, the priority for ranking pages and websites was placed on rich content. You must therefore write with intent and from the customer’s perspective.
Rich content is the magnet which will attract visitors to your site so that you can convert them into prospects and ultimately sell your product to them.
But how can you write content that will attract the right kind of visitors to your site?
By doing keyword research.
This will put you on the same wavelength as your potential visitors.
Now, what do potential visitors do when looking for a particular product or subject?
They type search terms into Google search.
Take someone who wants to learn how to start and run an online business successfully. They may type in phrases like “how to start an online business with no money,” “how to make an online business successful,” etc. These search terms are the keywords.
So when you are going to create content for your website you also need to do keyword research using phrases related to your idea.
This will show you if people are searching for your idea. If they are, then you are good to go. If not, then you either modify your idea or change it to something similar people are searching for.
Should your idea be good, you now consider the search volume i.e. how many people are searching for it. Then you look at the competition, which is, the websites already established in your niche idea which you will come up against if you wrote a piece with those keywords. If there are many, generally over 300, then you are going to have it difficult beating them to rank in Google. But if you found 300 or less competing sites, then you can attract visitors with your piece.
You may even find the number of visitors you can attract per month with your idea if you rank on the first page of Google.
There are a lot of tools to use to do all of the above research. Some are free and others require a paid subscription. My favourite in the list of the free ones are TheHoth and Google AdWords tool. For the paid version I stick to Jaaxy.
Step 2: Become an Affiliate Marketer
As an online entrepreneur, you can sell someone else’s products on your website against the payment of a commission. Many webmasters use affiliate programs to make good money online.
The foremost good thing about affiliate marketing is that most of the affiliate programs are free to join (See Affiliate marketing). Maybe the most popular one is ClickBank where you can earn up to 75% commission on digital products.
When you sign up for an affiliate program, you will be assigned an affiliate link with a unique affiliate ID. This is generally what you will use to market the products of the merchant.
Normally you promote the merchant’s product on your site, using reviews, banners and your affiliate link. If a person visits your site and clicks on the link, that takes them to the merchant’s website. If they purchase the product, you get a commission on the sale.
Maybe you’re wondering: and what if they don’t make a purchase then? Of course you don’t get a commission. But your effort may not be in vain. By clicking on a link on your website, the visitor’s IP is logged and a cookie is placed in their browser for tracking purposes. And should they buy the product within a certain period of time, you still will be credited with the sale.
Step 3: Write copy that brings the sales
There’s a proven sales copy formula that takes people through the selling process from the moment they visit your site up to when they make a purchase.
Here are the 9 steps:
- Arouse a visitor’s interest in a product with a compelling headline.
- State the problem your product solves.
- Talk about the product and how it benefits the user.
- Emphasize your credibility as a solver of that problem.
- Add verifiable testimonials from people who have used your product.
- Make an offer.
- Give a strong guarantee.
- Create urgency.
- Ask for the sale.
Throughout your copy, think like a customer does by asking: “What’s in it for me?” This will enable you to focus on how your product is uniquely able to solve people’s problems.
Step 4: Drive Traffic to Your Website Organically
If you want to know how to start an online business successfully, keep this simple formula in mind: no traffic, no sales.
There are a lot of websites out there whose structures aren’t any complicated. All you find on them are mostly a lot of content and ads. But they consistently generate cool five-figure monthly incomes.
How do they do it?
As I said above, the key factor in building a successful online business at this stage is traffic. So if you can’t drive sufficient traffic to your website and offers, your income will suck.
But if you can successfully build lots of traffic to your website and offers, it’s likely you will generate generous income from them.
One way to do that is to include “send to a friend” links on valuable content on your website.
These long, detailed articles have become very popular among blog readers. They have inspired a lot of people (hundreds, the author claims) to start their own websites. The author again says some of those people are doing quite well now.
And you can do it too.
SEO simply describes steps you take in order to make your content rank on the first page of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP).
Keyword research we talked about in the preceding paragraph is one of such steps.
For a little more information about search engine optimization, see 15 SEO Writing Tips To Get Content Read, Shared and Ranked by one of my favourite bloggers, John Paul Aguiar.
Step 5: Do Marketing and Advertising
Quality content and SEO alone may not bring you the traffic and the success you need online. So you may need to resort to marketing and paid advertising.
You’ve no doubt heard the expression: The money is in the list.
Yes, if you want to make money online, you need to use email marketing to build a list.
The reason is simple. Visitors to websites hardly click on the affiliate links and banners to buy products. It is estimated by marketers that for somebody to buy a product, you need to show it to them at least 7 times.
Do you think a visitor will keep coming back to your site to click as many times on the same link?
Also, a visitor who comes to your site may not come back again or so quickly. So you must seize the opportunity to bait them with a great free stuff for them to give you their email by subscribing to your newsletter or email list.
Then you send them useful information at regular intervals destined to solve a problem they have.
Finally these people end up appreciating your “helpfulness” and reward you by buying some of the products you propose in your email newsletters to solve their problems.
Having quality content on your site is the number one step to capturing leads. This is what will make people visit and become subscribers. Nothing will make a visitor hit the back button quicker than junk on a website.
Note that when you begin building an opt-in list, you’re creating one of the most inestimable assets of your online business.
For several reasons:
Subscribers give you permission to send them e-mail. And you’ll be sending them something they’ve asked for and which they know they’ll love. This will enable you develop lifetime relationships with them.
The advantages are that:
- Anyone who visits your site and opts in to your list is a very hot lead.
- With email marketing, you can measure the response rate which can be seen in the back office of your email autoresponder account.
- E-mail marketing is not only far cheaper but also much more effective than print, radio or TV because it’s highly targeted.
- With email, you’ve a better dream tool for following up with your leads.
Further, you can advertise your website on other sites, such as classified ads sites, especially through multi-site posting. This creates huge awareness for the existence of your site.
Are you looking for the easiest way to get traffic to your brand-new site and easily sell your products? Then Pay-per-click advertising or PPC ad is your answer.
Here are three of its advantages over organic traffic:
- PPC ads show up on the search pages, enabling you to get immediate traffic and hungry eyeballs on your offers.
- PPC ads enable you to test different headlines, keywords, prices and selling approaches.
- PPC ads enable you to discover your best, highest-converting keywords which you can distribute throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
You can also buy Solo ads, that is, paying a webmaster with a very large list and lots of traffic to send you some of that traffic.
These ways enable you to create awareness of your site.
Please remember this: more adverts give you more exposure, more exposure brings more subscribers, more subscribers will lead to more conversions, and more conversions will make you more money.
Step 6: Establish Yourself as an Expert in Your Niche
The Internet is a source of valuable information for people. Create expert articles, videos, reports or any other content that they will find useful. Distribute them free through web article directories.
Also become a regular contributor in industry forums and on social networking sites.
Thus, you must create a business account on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Add Flickr and Pinterest if your business is graphic-oriented. Link those sites back to your main website, and your website to all of them.
For better results, always cross-post to all your social media sites.
Your target market hangs out in forums and networking sites. Posting expert content there will make them want to check out your site. This brings you traffic.
When you include a link to your site with each piece of information you share, people who appreciate your expert ideas will click it and go to your site. This will drive more traffic to your site and give you better search engine rankings.
Every site that posts your content will link back to yours. Search engines appreciate links from such relevant sites and will therefore reward you with rankings.
Step 7: Increase Your Income Through Contextual Ads, Back-end Sales and Upselling
Google AdSense is the most important.
Like the others, it is a revenue-sharing opportunity that displays ads for goods and services that are relevant to the theme of your site, and targeted to the needs of your site’s visitors. You get paid a small amount for displaying the ad on your page, or when your website visitors click on them.
No doubt much of your income will come from sales. Closing the first sale will be the most delicate and the most expensive for you. On the other hand you have the advantage of developing every customer’s lifetime value.
In effect, it is estimated that at least 36 percent of people who have purchased from you will do so again if you follow up with them.
The marketing strategy to use to get them to buy again is back-end selling and upselling. This consists in:
- Offering related products on your “Thank You” page after a purchase is completed.
- Proposing products that complement a buyer’s original purchase.
- Sending out electronic loyalty coupons purchasers can redeem on their next visit.
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Do you know any other step about running an online business successfully? Or has this piece aroused some ideas in you? Let us know in the comments box below. Thank you.
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Editor’s note: This piece was part of How to start and run an online business successfully. It has been slightly revised for those seeking only this type of information.Akoli