Five Steps To Building An Online Business In 7 Days
Building an online business from scratch is not a complex, theoretical, or even mystical machine. In fact, the entire process can be (and should be) broken down into a few basic steps. Sadly, most of the
foundation gets lost in widgets and gadgets – many of which are very good, but need a foundation to build upon.
Search engine optimization, pay-per-click, article marketing, keyword research, and all of the other
supposed “steps” of building an online business mean absolutely nothing without a proper foundation. Building this foundation can be broken into five major steps: picking a market, building a website, creating an
offer, marketing the offer, and scaling. These four steps are explained below:
Step 1: Pick A Market (also known as “choosing a niche”)
You can run advertising out your ears (and pay out the wazoo in the process), but if the people you’re targeting don’t spend money, then you’re not going to get any of it.
There are four major markets: health, wealth, relationships, and expensive hobbies (“pets” is one rare exception to this rule, although it may be considered an expensive hobby). These four major markets have been proven to contain buyers and many “evergreen” niches, and your first attempt at building an online business should be in a market that fits into one of them.
Each major market can be divided into a variety of different subgroups (niches). For example, “health” covers muscle building, weight loss, running, alternative medicine, six-pack abs, and on and on. Relationships can cover weddings, marriage repair, long distance relationships, networking, dating, and on and on. The niche you choose should cover a subgroup of one of the major four markets – if it does not fit into one of the four big markets, then it’s time that you reconsidered your niche.
A good niche must be proven to spend money (look for a good amount of competition, repeat buyers, and the potential for several and expensive products), have multiple complimentary products to sell, and be large enough to scale.
Some of my favorite niches include muscle building, weight loss, investing, hypnosis, and alternative medicine.
Step Two: Build A Website
This step could be skipped in this outline, but past surveys have suggested that as much as 80% of would-be internet entrepreneurs never reach the point of owning their own website. This is completely unacceptable, because it takes about six minutes to have a functional website in place.
- Choose a domain name (relate it to your chosen niche)
- Install WordPress on your host using Fantastico (Google it)
- Add SqueezeTheme to your website.
- Learn how to use WordPress (YouTube videos abound)
If you have no experience building websites, or if the process just gives you the creeps, use the WordPress Express tool created by the good folks at Wealthy Affiliate.
Step Three: Create An Offer
Your offer is the entire foundation of your business. Getting traffic, optimizing your website, and the latest gadgets and software mean nothing if you have no offer. For most people, this means selling a product (you may have heard the term “front end offer”). However, an offer is just some sort of exchange. For many people, an offer is the simply exchange of a piece of content for piece of contact information.
Collecting someone’s email address is a means of exchange; a visitor gives you his or her email address in exchange for your bribe or content piece. This simple exchange can be the front end offer of your business, because it can now be scaled.
At the most basic level, your offer can be derived from a “hook” that is on a product’s sales page, or a YouTube video that solves a common problem had by your niche. A more complex offer would be an interview that you conducted with a product owner. Whatever you use as your hook, your offer should always be monetized as soon as you capture the lead. At a basic level, a short piece of content received after someone opts in should be followed by an affiliate link.
In doing this, you accomplish a few things:
- build a customer list that can be sold to again and again
- monetize the traffic that comes to the website
- structure the foundation of an offer than can be scaled and tweaked
Keep your business simple by using AWeber to collect email addresses and create opt-in pages so that you can have offers on your websites. Once in place, create follow up sequences that provide content for your subscriber base while including a call-to-action.
Step Four: Market Your Offer
Traffic generation, testing, and advertising mean little until an offer is established in a buyers’ niche. (This is why most people who attempt to build a business by just writing articles are building a house on the sand.) When a proper foundation is in place, it is only then that marketing becomes relevant.
Your offer solves a problem that your niche has, and if it is compelling enough, then it will convert. If it does not convert, then test it until it does convert. To do this, use Google Analytics to test the headline, the opt-in box, the copy, and the very bribe to increase your conversion rate.
Now, article marketing, pay-per-click, optimizing your page for the search engines, Facebook ads, or any other means of promotion make sense, because they each funnel back to your offer. Most people make the mistake of getting good at each of these strategies without ever having an offer to promote. That’s why most people have ‘head knowledge’ of online marketing but never make a dime online. However, with a winning offer in place, you can grab as much traffic as possible with the knowledge that it will be profitable.
For those wary of spending money for advertising, writing articles to promote your offer makes the most sense. Stick with EzineArticles.com, because quality articles get picked up and republished by other website owners. You can use the Bum Marketing Method to target keywords with little competition, giving you an immediate boost in traffic with every article that you submit.
Consistent article marketing alone will send a stream of visitors to your offer, and if you’ve connected with your market, then you’ll start to receive opt-ins. And if your follow up sequence is successful at selling relevant products to your subscribers, then each opt-in will bring back dollars.
When your offer is proven to be valuable, then you can begin buying traffic and/or establishing long-term traffic sources, including search engine optimization, media buys, and pay per click.
Step Five: Scale
Your offer is profitable, and there are plenty more products to promote, because you’re in a buying market. Your list is growing, and every new subscriber puts more money in your pocket.
To take it to the next level, you need to fight for every inch. They can come from a few sources:
- increasing conversions
- increasing traffic
- selling more products
- selling your own products
- expanding your reach by creating new offers
Increasing your conversions allows you to make more money with the same amount of traffic. This can only come from testing new elements of your offer.
Since each new subscriber puts money into your pocket, you can afford to pay for traffic to get more subscribers. Most of your money should come from the backend of your business, allowing you to break even on the front end. If you’re making money on the front end of your business, then there’s room for you to be more aggressive in your traffic generation; increase your ad spend and broaden your reach.
As your customer base stays with you longer, you can continue to sell new products. Participate in product launches, test different types of products to your list, and review products within your market. Do not get locked into selling just one product to your market; continue adding more and more products into your sales funnel.
As you do so, you’ll become an authority in your market, and others in your industry will respect you, reach out to you, and desire for you to be a part of their network. At this point, you may be ready to launch your own products, and you have the customer base to do it. If you’ve only ever been an affiliate, then this alone can triple and quadruple your income, because you control the chain (and other affiliates will begin selling it for you).
Even if you never feel comfortable rolling out your own products, you can expand your reach by targeting other segments of your market. Creating new offers within the same market allows you to reach new types of customers in the same market and expand your overall influence in the industry.
Making It Happen
Most people attempt to build a home based business by focusing on one aspect of internet marketing without ever having an offer. This is why motivational speeches and cries to “take action” fall on deaf ears. One can take action without a foundation, but the end result is that they will always crash.
That’s why it is essential to the success of your business that you start in a proven market and create a unique offer within that market. It is then that traffic begins to be profitable, that success becomes trackable, and that results can be scaled.
The internet makes all of this not only possible, but unbelievably attainable. Even if you have nothing to sell, affiliate marketing makes it possible to sell other people’s products, simplifying the process even more. The entire foundation of a business can be built within hours, and prospects can provide immediate feedback while seeing your offer with the click of a few buttons. And with a foundation in place in a buying niche and a unique and profitable offer, a legitimate and sustainable business can be scaled into a life-changing venture.