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There is a proven sequence of steps that one can follow to guarantee success when starting a small online business. Thousands of people have started and grown successful businesses by doing all of the following:
• Find a need and fill it
• Writing copy that sells
• Designing an easy-to-use website
• Use search engines to drive traffic to the site
1. Find a need and fill it
Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second. To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:
Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they're trying to solve. Do keyword research to find keywords that a lot of people are searching, but for which not many sites are competing. Check out your potential competitors by visiting their sites and taking note of what they're doing to fill the demand. Then you can use what you have learned and create a product for a market that already exists and do it better than the competition.
2. Write copy that sells
There's a proven sales copy formula that takes visitors through the selling process from the moment they arrive to the moment they make a purchase: Arouse interest with a compelling headline. Describe the problem your product solves. Establish your credibility as a solver of this problem. Add testimonials from people who have used your product. Talk about the product and how it benefits the user. Make an offer. Make a strong guarantee. Create urgency. Ask for the sale.
Throughout your copy, you need to focus on how your product or service is uniquely able solve people's problems or make their lives better. Think like a customer and ask questions like What's in it for me?
3. Design and build your website
Once you've got your market and product, and you've nailed down your selling process, now you're ready for your small-business web design. Remember to keep it simple. You have fewer than five seconds to grab someone's attention otherwise they are gone, never to be seen again. Some important tips to bear in mind include choosing one or two plain fonts on a white background. Making your navigation clear and simple, and the same on every page. Only use graphics, audio or video if they enhance your message. Include an opt-in offer so you can collect e-mail addresses. Your website is your online storefront, so make it customer-friendly.
4. Use search engines to drive targeted buyers to your site
Pay-per-click advertising is the easiest way to get traffic to a brand-new site. It has two advantages over waiting for the traffic to come to you organically. First, PPC ads show up on the search pages immediately, and second, PPC ads allow you to test different keywords, as well as headlines, prices and selling approaches. Not only do you get immediate traffic, but you can also use PPC ads to discover your best, highest-converting keywords. Then you can distribute the keywords throughout your site in your copy and code, which will help your rankings in the organic search results.
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