015: Four Key Pieces of A Successful Online Business
Last December, I sat down and made plans for the new year. One of my goals this year is to focus on building my list.
This really is key in any business because your email list is made of a group of people who are really interested in what you are teaching and they are trusting you to help solve their real problems.
In my biz, I not only show folks how to use ConvertKit to automate the different parts of their business but I am also showing how to monetize their activities online. And so building a list is at the core of a income-generating, profitable business. And who doesn't want to see money rolling in as a result of their online activities, right?
So if we zoom in further into that goal (of building a list), we find that there is another important component at play ---> and that's increasing traffic to your site.
(Some folks prefer an audio/visual version than a written post. So if you'd rather listen to this blog post, click the video below where you can hear me read this post!)
1. Increasing Traffic To Your Website
Increasing traffic basically is about getting your website in front of an increasing number of people and more importantly, in front of the relevant people for whom your content, your products and your website as a whole will be useful.
There are two ways to increase traffic to your site. One is using paid advertisement such as placing ads on social media platforms (Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, etc). The other is using free options that can be equally if not at times even more effective in the long-term. Both are legitimate ways of getting your website to be seen by your target audience.
Which one do I like? The latter - the free route.
2 Reasons Why I Love Free Means of Increasing traffic
Why do I love free traffic? For two reasons:
1. For new bloggers or online entrepreneurs who are not yet generating a sizable income/profit from their online activities, the idea of spending money on ads can be daunting. Yes, ads will bring in quick results. But if you are on a learning curve in that area as well (how to use ads effectively), then that whole route can turn costly. One may invest in ads but end up paying a price for experimentation. Plus, the results may vary.
2. Free traffic seems within reach. With your own efforts on the free traffic route you can grow your list - may be slightly slower than with paid traffic. But there is a wonderful thing about this process. You will see the growth of your list over a period of time - time that will also allow you to build the other pillars of your business which will make that list (folks on that list) stay with you longer and convert into customers better.
So now after having a facebook page and a youtube channel, I've finally joined the bandwagon! I am on Pinterest starting Feb 13th, 2017! Pinterest has had so many rave reviews as serving as a huge referrer for traffic that I cannot ignore it! As the year goes on, I'll share my findings and show you how I use it to grow my business.
There are many other free traffic generating avenues such as webinars with partners in your field, something I am very much interested in exploring this year. (Hint: if you'd like to introduce me to your audience, just drop me a line and we can figure out something amazing!)
2. Give Valuable Content
What good does it do if you create all this massive traffic to your site but there's nothing for those folks to stick around for. That's why creating good, useful content is fundamental to making your online biz rock n' roll.
Of course, this is not an easy thing. Most bloggers aim to blog once a week (according to a recent study), but barely accomplish that goal. And I get it. With running the many pieces of a business, and if you are a householder, then balancing that with running a home can be very challenging. On top of that you may be working on other personal goals like staying fit and eating healthy. It all eats up on your time.
When the one week mark comes along, we end up creating something just for the sake of publishing - for the sake of keeping our commitment of releasing weekly content. I completely fell for that in my last business where meeting that weekly deadline became more important than creating really good content.
That's why I don't recommend that you make blogging every week your goal. Surprised? It is surprising in the light that I am advocating having valuable content on your site.
What I recommend instead is this:
Make it your goal to create valuable content that is useful for your audience. And make it your goal to commit a half hour or an hour everyday.
I have just begun doing that and it works like magic. The idea here is that we focus on what actions will support us in achieving the end goal. So in my case, my goal is to create valuable content for my audience. And what supports that goal is to invest about an hour a day towards that. So I focus now on making sure that I get that hour in every single day.
This is the way, I can make sure that my blog is constantly growing as a resource for online entrepreneurs wanting to monetize their blog and build an impactful business. Otherwise client projects, daily administrative tasks, and all the other items on my to-do list will overtake my worklife!
3. Create Opt-in Opportunities
Once step 1 and 2 are doing their job, meaning you are increasing your traffic and you have valuable content on your site, you gotta make sure that Step 3 is ready. And Step 3 is all about having multiple opportunities on your site for your visitor/your target audience to join your list.
In fact, this Step 3 could actually be Step 1. Think of it this way. Let's say you are having some friends over for dinner. You know that they will be coming over on Friday evening. In our analogy, your friends are your target audience (1. Create Traffic). Say you've planned to prepare a nice risotto dish. That's the valuable content you are offering (2. Create Valuable Content). But for some reason, there are no doors in this house. Yep, in this crazy example, the house has no doors.
So your confused friends are outside your house. They can even smell the nice delicious risotto. But there is no way for them to get into the house.
I know it's a far-fetched analogy - which house does not have doors?? Thankfully, I do not know of any. But you see what I mean, right?
Create several doorways into your home
The doors in this analogy are the entry ways for your friends to come inside you house so they can try the mouth-watering deliciousness that you've promised them. (It must be lunch time as I am getting really hungry writing this!).
So make Step 3 an important piece of your website strategy. Create opt-ins for your visitor to join your list. Now make sure it is not the plain old "join my newsletter" - because that is not very high-converting. (In other blogs, I will show you some example of really good opt-ins). And then make sure it is not hidden on some obscure page - make it really present everywhere on your site (in your sidebar, in the navigation, at the end of your blog post, in the footer of your site, etc)
4. Create a mini-product
One big mistake I made in my last business is to create a very large full-blown flagship online course. It had 6 video modules with about 45 videos - all shot outdoors in beautiful waterfall setting. It took me a year and half to complete and lots of $$$ in equipment and time. And I did that before I had a big list of interested and engaged audience. Learning lesson, indeed!
So, that's why in this new business, I am focussing on serving my clients, creating useful content, increasing traffic to my site and building my list. After a bit of exposure to the problems that online entrepreneurs are facing, I will embark on creating a small digital product. It may be an ebook, video training, coaching program or an online course.
I don't know what it will be exactly but it will be something small. Something that I can quickly create, test it out to see if it is wanted in the marketplace and then go about creating an extended version for it.
So that's what I recommend to you: Create a Mini-Product!
So here is how I break it down:
Create Valuable Content
Create Opt-in Opportunities
Create A Mini-Product
So there you have it - my four main areas that I recommend any new blogger to focus on. If you get this into your daily routine and rhythm, you will make great progress, my friend!
Takeaway: Now take a look at your own business. Which of the four areas could you work on? Can you dedicate an hour a day for that category? Try it. Do it for a week and see how the momentum is created. Share in the comments what challenge you are facing in growing your business and how you plan of resolving it.
I hope this has been helpful. I wish you good luck in moving forward in pursuing your dreams. Keep taking the right action and let's make it happen!