With billions of web pages and countless email messages — a good percentage of which are spam — building a successful business on the Internet is hard work. Many entrepreneurs seek to create a ‘full-time’ income (whatever that may mean to each individual) yet find that making just a few sales is still a struggle. Have you ever looked at your online earnings and wished you could do better? If so, then it’s time for a change. Doing the same things will give the same results! Here are just a few suggestions for building your online business:
- Give your website and/or sales letter a makeover. For example, some sites offer lots of free content, as a way to help people while building credibility. Others are much more direct: the entire website consists of a single sales letter. Many argue that these ‘mini-sites’ are far more effective in generating sales because they don’t have any distractions – the visitor can focus on what you have to say. That doesn’t mean you have to give up your content site … but consider creating a mini-site to help drive sales. As for the sales letter, if copywriting isn’t your strength, then hire someone to do it for you. Sure, it costs money — but a good sales letter can pay for itself many times over. Financial Worries? Lose those worries by adding a second paycheck! Things don’t stay the same online for very long! Don’t be afraid to experiment. Just remember to keep backups so that you can always revert to the old version if your experiment doesn’t produce the results you want.
- Don’t forget about the ‘real world’. There’s life outside of cyberspace! Many people prefer to be contacted by postal mail. Email has become so clogged with spam that it can be very difficult to get people to read (or even SEE) your message!
- Evaluate your income stream. How stable is your income? Are you protected against income fluctuations? Will you be okay if one of your income streams disappears, and how long will it take to recover? You can also ‘widen’ your income stream by creating additional sources of revenue. For example, someone who sells a cookbook or recipes can also offer their services as a ‘menu planner’: working within a set of guidelines (time, budget, cooking skills, dietary restrictions…), the menu planner can create ‘custom’ recipes for her customers. Whatever you choose to do, find other opportunities to add to your bottom line.
- Read, read, read. Education never stops! There’s always something new to learn, and even one golden nugget of information or inspiration could be responsible for a significant boost in your business! There are countless manuals available to show you how to market your business… but realistically, you only have a limited amount of time you can devote to really reading and absorbing the information. You might choose to purchase a number of manuals, but select one of them and resolve to seriously study the material — then take action on what you learn.
- Try to turn customers into *repeat* customers. What ideas do you have for a complementary product? It’s easier to sell to a happy customer than it is to sell to someone who’s never had any experience with your products before. Let your existing customers know about your new products. If you sell services, be sure to touch base with your customers every so often — remind them that you’re still around and available for work. You can even offer incentives or discounts for the next time they use your services. Keeping customers happy is obviously important if you’re planning on building a viable long-term business. Happy customers can turn into both repeat customers as well as a source of referral business. But no matter how hard you try, you will never make everyone happy — so don’t fall into the trap of spending so much time and effort with one customer that you alienate or ignore the rest.
- Form new partnerships in areas you’ve never considered before. Perhaps you’ve always targeted a certain type of business with which to form joint ventures. For example, someone who sells a fitness tape might have always approached weight-loss sites with partnership proposals. Instead, try to think of other markets that could also use your product. In the above example, new moms who are trying to become active again might appreciate a fitness tape. Or how about stressed-out corporate ‘worker bees’ who need a way to relax?
- Build for the future. How can you attract more customers? Is your customer service up to par? How can you use your current customer base to expand your profits? Concentrate on methods that allow you to build a business relationship with your customers — a common example is to publish a quality newsletter to help you stay in touch, build credibility, and help to keep your business near the forefront of your readers’ thoughts.