In building and growing an online business, or one with a strong online component, there are several must-have tools which will allow you to not only have passive revenue, but to enjoy multiple streams of it.
Here’s a quick rundown of the most basic tools (there are other, more advanced tools which will be covered in a separate article):
1. A Shopping Cart.
An online shopping cart allows you to sell digital products, have them automatically delivered to your clients and automate the follow-up so you’re not sending emails all day and night.
I use and highly recommend KickStart Cart as an all-in-one shopping cart and autoresponder service. The Pro Version is $99.00/month (U.S.). If you’re not yet offering products, you can get the Starter ($34/mo) or Basic ($59/mo) versions.
And in order to easily accept MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover Card, you’ll want to link your shopping cart with a merchant account using a payment gateway.
2. An Email Marketing System/Service.
An email marketing system allows you to send ezines, solo e-mails and contact your prospect list whenever you wish.
While you can, and many people do, use your shopping cart for this, I prefer to use a separate system (due to deliverability issues) and use Constant Contact.
I continue to test deliverability between Constant Contact and Kickstart Cart (which is one of the 1ShoppingCart brands – they all have the same issues) and, for now, remain with this choice.
3. A Website, Blogsite or Other Opt-in Page.
In any online business, your primary goal is to have ideal prospects sign up to your list so they can receive your ezine and other information.
The way to make this happen is by placing an opt-in box on a website, blogsite or single opt-in page.
The one you choose is completely up to you as all have been proven successful. The nice thing about a blogsite is that you can get it up and running quickly and inexpensively and your hosting is usually included.
If you’re doing it yourself, I recommend TypePad for blogs/blogsites as it’s easy-to-use and has responsive support staff.
4. An Incentive to Sign-up.
People are busy. We all receive too much in our email inboxes these days and will only part with our information if there is something in it for us: a special report that we’re interested in, an audio series which will give us new information, a checklist that would be handy to have.
You need to have some incentive on your website/blogsite/opt-in page in order for people to part with their names and email addresses.
The report/audio/checklist is WHAT you’re giving them. Your ezine? It’s the bonus gift they receive as a result of requesting the report.
5. A Mentor.
If you’re starting out or currently stuck in your online business efforts, you will want to strongly consider partnering with a mentor who can keep you focused and accountable while guiding you through the distractions (and there are MANY!).
You’ll want to chat with a few different people to see who you best resonate with.
The time and money spent with a good mentor will save you hours and thousands of dollars in learning and mistakes, not to mention how much sooner the revenue will start coming in!
The above is by no means a complete listing of everything you’ll need in your business, but these 5 tools will see you WELL on your way to a 6-figure business.
The next item? You’ll have to wait for the next issue for that! 🙂
My Request to You
If you’ve read the above and are shaking your head saying “I’ve done/have all of the above and STILL nothing’s happening”, then it’s time to reevaluate:
Is your Incentive something your ideal client is interested in? If you’re getting lots of traffic to your site, but no one’s signing up, the answer is “nope”, or you’re not presenting it correctly.
Is your ezine providing information and content which is relevant to your ideal clients? If you’re seeing a lot of unsubscribes, it’s time to revisit what you’re doing.
Do you have a mentor (or coach) who gives you broad strokes, but doesn’t provide the actual steps of what you need to do when in order to move forward? If so, you need to ask if this is the right person for you at this time.
You, and only you, control your business and your level of success. What do YOU want and how much do you want it? The right tools will get you there so much faster!© Copyright 2008 Sandra P. Martini