Despite popular belief, purchasing a domain name and putting up a website does not mean you have an online business. Heck… even after you start to generate some traffic to the site and start to get some sales, I would say that you still don’t have an online business. If this sounds like you, don’t get angry, it’s okay, you’re just like millions of other people trying to do the same thing. Except you’re different… you want a real online business and have what it takes to to build one. In today’s post, I want to talk about the five components of running a successful and thriving online business and help you truly be different from everyone else.
Treat Your Online Business Like A Real Business
The first thing you need to do when getting started is to treat your online business like a real business. No business owner in their right mind would only put 1-2 hours per day into their business and expect it to be successful. They work 10-12 hour per day and often times work late into the night after their spouse and children go to sleep. This is one of the biggest problems when it comes to running an online business, mostly because people think they can work their full-time job and invest very little each day into a “side project” and get a big return on their efforts. It’s just not going to happen.
Instead, you need to put some real hours into your business. If you need to work a day job to make ends meet, hire some interns to help during the day and then burn the midnight oil after it’s lights out for your family. At the end of the day, you will get what you put into it, so do it right. You’ll thank me later 🙂
Diversify Your Website Traffic
The second thing you need to do when running an online business is to diversify the traffic coming to your website. Too many online businesses put all their eggs into the SEO basket and when Google makes massive tweaks to their algorithm and their traffic dries up, it devastates their business. I’ve even seen some clients cancel their agreements because they were forced to close their doors after years of bad SEO.
So what does diversified traffic mean? Is it two sources of traffic? Three sources? Sure, but that’s not going to be good enough either. If you want to build an online business that thrives for years to come, you need to get less dependent on traffic coming from the search engines and get more traffic from as many sources as possible. You should be building backlinks that provide referral traffic, you should be participating in social media, you should be repurposing content and sending it out to SlideShare and YouTube, and so forth. That way if Google slaps you and takes away your traffic, your business can survive.
Understand Your Target Market
The third thing you need to do to build a successful online business is to completely understand your target market/buyer personas and understand each and every one of their needs. This should be done through very thorough research of your customers or potential customers. It’s not enough to just do some online marketing, drive some traffic, and hope they buy your product or service. Understand them and deliver what meets their needs.
Meet All of The Needs of Your Customers
The fourth thing goes hand in hand with understanding your target market and that is meeting all of the needs of your customers. Not just one, not just two, but ALL of them. So what does this mean exactly? Let’s take a company who sells iPhone cases like our example. Chances are good that people purchasing iPhone cases will probably need screen protectors and car chargers as well. Instead of your customer purchasing a case from you and then going elsewhere to purchase the screen protector and car charger, you should offer all of it on your website and work to increase the order amount from each customer. In essence, we are trying to increase the lifetime value of each customer, which will impact your bottom line dramatically. This may mean that you have to go out and get more product or it may mean that you have to create some partnerships with other businesses who offer complementary products and services. Regardless of the situation and how much work it will require of you, you need to put in the time to do so. Again, you’ll thank me later 🙂
Always Be Testing
The last thing you need to be doing is testing every element of your website to increase the number of conversions or transactions. With all of the tools on the market, conversion testing is easy and if you’ve never done any testing before, you should be able to dramatically improve your conversion rate with a few tweaks. You should be testing calls to action, form length, content placement and so forth.
As you can clearly see, running a successful and thriving online business is tough and requires a lot of work. That’s why so many people try and fail. What else do you feel is necessary to grow an online business. Please share with us in the comments section below.