How do you succeed in online business? Yes, every second guru may have a different opinion – but when you strip away all of the fancy words and sales talk, much of it comes down to the same basic principles.
Here are 5 rules that will help you make a success of your internet ventures:
1. Pick a niche that interests you:
Some would go as far as saying it would be something you are passionate about. Unfortunately, that isn’t possible for everyone. At the very least, though, it should be something that interests you.
Think logically – if you want to make your online business your next career, and you plan to work on it every day for a long, long time…
If you don’t like what you do, it will eventually become “just another job”. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to simply “switch jobs”, because if you start something new you will be starting from scratch.
If you pick a niche that interests you, even mildly, it is unlikely that working on it will ever become a chore.
After all, if you should start a blog, you will be writing about it regularly, answering questions on social media, writing follow-up emails, and possibly even creating your own products.
That’s a lot of intellectual effort to put into something you don’t really like. And if you have to do it year after year, day after day…
The bottom line is this: If you pick a niche that doesn’t interest you, your online business could be doomed before you start.
So – before you start, it down and make a list of everything that interests you. Most people are able to come up with a list of 40 to 50 ideas. It takes a bit of time to dig through your mind, but it is worth it.
2. Keep the basics as simple as possible:
Fair enough, you will probably have to master some new skills as you go. Some of it is bound to be outside your comfort zone. But here’s the thing…
When you start off, don’t try to create some elaborate machinery simply because it is what you want. And don’t expect everything to be perfect from the word go.
There is a popular saying: “The best way to learn about business is to be in business.”
As such, when you start, keep the basics as simple as possible. Just keep moving forward. On the side, you can keep tinkering to make things better, make additions, and improve the efficiency of your blog or website.
Your core activities, however, should be as simple as possible. The simpler they are, the easier it will be to stick to the plan and to keep going even when you don’t feel like it.
3. Provide the value which your target audience is likely to expect:
Many online business owners get this one completely wrong – and then they can’t figure out why their conversions suck.
Think logically: You have an idea of the type of person you want to attract to your content. If you had to describe your typical visitor as a singular person, what would he or she be like?
More importantly, if he or he were to ask a question (such as a Google search), what does he or he really want to know? Do your visitors expect simple, basic information, or in-depth coverage?
If they want simple answers, and you go off on a technical ramble, you will lose them. If they want more in-depth information, and you offer the basics, you will lose them. If your content is right, but your opt-in freebie and/or follow-up emails is out of touch with their expectations, your conversions will suck.
So – go do some digging around forums or social groups where your potential customers hang out. See what they want to know, and what type of answers they would like to get…
And then build your content and marketing materials around those expectations.
4. Try to appear different – in the right space:
In marketing, you will often hear people talk about having a USP (unique selling proposition), or a UVP (unique value proposition).
Keep in mind that your USP or UVP doesn’t actually have to be that different from the industry norm – it just has to SEEM different. In marketing, perception is everything.
If you can present yourself in such a way that your audience THINKS you are different, you will already be ahead of the pack.
At the same time, think about your positioning. Positioning is a term used to describe where you fit into the market. It describes the space where your abilities and your target audience meet.
Think about what matters to your potential customers or clients. Make a list.
From that list, see which of those needs, concerns, and questions you can address with your current capabilities.
Next, go and look to see how your competitors present themselves. Compare their presentations of themselves with the needs of your prospects.
Are there any of those needs that are not publicly addressed? Even if they are addressed, but not publicly stated, it could leave you with an opportunity to “fill the gap”.
For instance: Let’s say that insurance companies are all competing on rates, with some offering bonuses and with others offering reducing rates based on your history.
From experience, however, you know that filing a claim is a pain in the backside. The first company who positions themselves as “making it easy to claim” will attract clients, even if they are not the cheapest.
They will stand out from the crowd – which is exactly what you want – because they appeared to address a concern which other companies don’t. In reality, their process might not be different from some other companies – but as long as their prospects THINK it is, they will have an edge in the marketplace.
5. Create a routine, and make it a habit
In any business – online or not – there are things that need to be done on a daily basis, and things that need to be done to grow the business to the next level.
In the case of say, a blog, the daily work will revolve around creating content, social media engagement, and doing a little bit of reading to further your self-education (whether it be on marketing, blogging, technical stuff, or copywriting).
In addition to that, there are things that need to be done to grow your blog to the next level – things like creating an opt-in freebie and landing page, setting up your email sequence, tweaking the design of your blog for maximum conversions, improving social profiles, etc.
Budget the time for both of these types of activities. The “growth” activities can be rescheduled if need be, but the daily routine cannot.
As such, create a basic daily routine of working on content, and some basic social engagement. Determine the absolute minimum you can do on any given day.
THAT is your daily routine, and that has to become a habit. Anything you do on top of that is optional. Most of the time you will – especially on social media – but on your worst days, you still have to do the minimum.