Many small business owners, particularly those who are adding an online component to their business or are new to online marketing, try to take shortcuts to the point where it actually kills their business — all the while nickel and diming themselves into the poor house.
While there are countless examples I could point to, let’s stick with the business owner who refuses to sign up for the shopping cart because it’s “too expensive” and yet wants to offer, and charge for, group programs, downloadable products, paid teleclass series, etc.
By the time she’s done trying to make her systems speak to each other — usually PayPal and some program/Outlook/customized setup — or hiring someone to do it for her, she’s spent way more money than the shopping cart would have cost…
- her clients aren’t getting the transparent experience they expect in today’s online world,
- she’s unable to provide Exquisite Client Care(tm) as there’s no auto follow-up system in place, and
- she ends up being extremely flustered and frustrated
Now this doesn’t mean that the shopping cart is the “be all, end all” of having an online business, but it is one of the basic things you need if you have any hopes of generating consistent revenue from your online activities.
My Request To You
If you have an online business and are wondering why you’re not seeing the revenue or “lifestyle” you were expecting, it’s time to revisit the “basics”.
One of my clients referred to these as “Sandy’s Hierarchy of Online Business Needs” and, while we’re not covering all of them today, here’s a start:
- Opt-in/Sign-up Page (or website) with FREE giveaway — this is a means to collect names and email addresses AND auto populate them into a database.
- Autodelivery of your free giveaway — I like the shopping cart for this, but can be another system as long as it’s tied to your database from #1.
- E-mail Newsletter or other regular “touches” which benefit more than promote — Sent out consistently, more-than-monthly to build a relationship and see results, offering something your blog/Tweets/Facebook posts don’t.
- Way to collect money for products, programs, teleclass series, etc. — must tie in to #1 above and allow you to send unlimited nurturing sequences (often called “autoresponders”) for automated client follow-up.
There are other things you need of course: knowing your ideal client, products, an offering that others want, etc. yet without the above, you’re not building a real business — one that’s sustainable AND successful and has the ability to give you the “lifestyle” so often talked about.
While this certainly isn’t the only *right* way to build your online business, you want to ensure that all your systems “speak” to each other and that you, personally, have a basic familiarity with them so things run as smoothly as possible as often as possible.© Copyright 2013 Sandra P. Martini