For many people, online business is not a cup of tea. Some have been involved in it for so many years without much progress. Others even complain that it’s too hard and therefore not worth doing.
Those complaints are obviously based on their experiences. But can we say that their experiences are universal? Certainly not! It may just be a result of lack of guidance. Those involved may have never been properly guided as far as online business is concerned.
This article therefore provides the necessary guidance to help you in your quest to successful start an online business.
The 4 Steps
Starting an online business – as I’ve experienced – can be broken down into four steps. Four steps that will end up taking any newbie to having a complete online business. The four steps, unlike what is shared by many out there, are straightforward as you will find out below.
1. Choose a niche
2. Establish your web presence
3. Create relevant content consistently
4. (Engage and) Promote your offer
As straightforward as that.
And what’s interesting is that each step above can be likened to the steps that apply in the case of a brick and mortar business offline. In a brick and mortar business, you:
– first need to have a product (or service) that your business is centered around – that’s the niche part in online business
– Then you establish how / where to sell it – your web presence
– Next, you make the product (or service) available or accessible – content creation
– And finally, you advertise it – the promotion part
Let’s delve into each step a little more.
1. Choose a Niche
For most newbies, the word “niche” constitutes the first road bump in their online business journey. One often hears questions like, “What’s a niche?” How do I choose a niche? What if I choose a “wrong” niche? and others in that line.
What’s a niche
To begin with, let’s say what a niche is. A niche is the area you wish to educate your audience about in your online business. It could be basketball, animal care, personal hygiene – just anything, for that matter. There’s actually no such thing as “wrong niche”. It all depends on you.
Moreover, you do not need to be an expert in your niche before starting out. Extensive research is key to you becoming quite knowledgeable and possibly an authority in your chosen niche.
No-one operates in a niche successfully without doing research. Even those who are already experts in particular areas – perhaps because it’s their profession – still need to carry out some research.
How to choose a niche
As mentioned earlier, no niche is “wrong” in itself. What counts instead is your interest or passion for the niche concerned. That is, choose a niche which you have great interest in or strong passion for, and not because others recommend it. That’s because when you have great interest in something, you go after it with your all, which is key to succeeding.
Do you know a youngster who’s like crazy about music, who usually goes around with an earphone, possibly dancing to R & B tunes? I mean, everything about him is just music?
The fact is, we’re all like that youngster. The difference may lie in our nature, our age, our approach, our beliefs, etc. We may not appear as fans of the music niche as is that youngster, but we have things that “turn us on”, things that we’re moved by. It may be sports, child education, treatment for a condition, or even travels.
Those are the sort of things we should choose as niche when envisaging beginning an online business – things we have passion for.
Why do I say so?
Simple. Success comes through commitment, and commitment is based on passion. So, choosing a niche you’re not passionate about will not give you the urge to continue with it when things go wrong as they will, at some point.
Having a passion as your niche is the fuel that’ll keep you going even when things get tough.
2. Establish Your Web Presence
In order words, have a place on the internet where you can interface with your audience. A web presence could be in different forms:
A website is the most common form of web presence, though it’s despised by some as “obsolete” for running an online business today. However, a website remains quite effective as a form of web presence. See the advantages of owning a website in this previous article of mine.
Social media platforms also constitute a form of web presence. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. are not only intended to showcase one’s life; millions also use them to create and promote their content.
Landing Pages. Perhaps the most recent and possibly the most revolutionary web presence are landing pages. They’re quite effective when applied to specific marketing campaigns, but are regarded by some as being restrictive. More and more internet marketers are however employing landing pages in their campaigns because of their targeted approach and one-time set-up process.
YouTube: Another way to get your business to reach internet users around the world is by producing video content on Youtube.
3. Create Relevant Content Consistently
Irrespective of the form of web presence employed, you’ll have to regularly carry out relevant research and CONSISTENTLY create content for your audience. That will always keep them “tuned in” to your message. I always say, business does not like inconsistency. It’s quite frustrating when your followers repeatedly visit your website, social media page or whatever and find that your content hasn’t been updated for a long time. It shows lack of seriousness on your part, and discourages people from following you, and consequently adversely impact your business.
So, before beginning a website or a YouTube channel, for example, ensure that you’ll have the time to research various aspects of your niche and consistently create and update your content, lest they become obsolete, and eventually irrelevant.
Perhaps the only exception to this is the use of landing pages. As I mentioned earlier, landing pages involve a one-time set up process after which there’s no reason to update them unless if a particular need arises.
In other words, apart from landing pages, other forms of web presence would require a constant update of articles, posts, or videos, accordingly.
4. Promote your offer
Content created is almost of no use if it’s not put before an audience. Imagine having a store in an isolated part of town with all the best goods one can imagine, but with no-one being aware. Totally useless! That’s how content is if it’s not promoted. The essence of promoting your content is to attract buyers to your offers included in the content.
Content gets promoted by two distinct means: free and paid. The free means or free traffic involves directing traffic using personal promotion techniques as well as search engine optimization (SEO) which is free of charge. Whereas the paid means lets you rely on traffic websites, social media platforms, advertising entities, etc. to direct traffic to your content for a cost.
Whatever the case is, be sure to get your content out there to your audience. It is by that means that they will come in contact with your offers. That’s the way to succeed with your online business.
The above are clear steps you can follow to become successful with online business.
Step 1 is carried out only once for every online business you start. Step 2, on the other hand, may be applied multiple times, depending on the impact you intend your business to have and the fruits you wish to reap. For a particular niche or online business, for example, you could have a website, several social media pages, a YouTube channel and even a number of funnels put in place.
Steps 3 and 4 are the most challenging. They require a kind of perpetual action. Here, you are required to consistently create content and carry out constant promotion. It’s in this that your online business endeavor will know success.
For example, if you choose a website or YouTube as your form of web presence, you must set aside sufficient time – and possibly money – not only to create content, but also to research about and promote that content. If on the other hand you happen to go the funnel route, you must be prepared financially to meet up with the recurring costs attached.
Unfortunately, this is where many online business owners give up and their businesses die. To succeed at the level of these two final steps, you must be prepared to spend time or money, or both. Sad to remark that most people who start online businesses are either too busy to create content or financially impotent to pay for services and methods that would fast track their success.
They finish by giving up or if they stay in it, they either lack relevant impetus to continue the fight or are fighting a losing battle in their quest for success online.
Do not approach online business in that manner. Apply these four proven steps to the letter and you’ll see your online business explode.