An online business isn’t that complicated. You only need to accomplish 3 things, yet I see many people not able to keep up. Here are the 3 things you need — and I’ll explain each in more detail:
- An audience
- A relationship with your audience
- Offers to put in front of your audience
It doesn’t sound so hard, does it? But I see online entrepreneurs having problems with all 3 areas. This is important because if you miss the mark in any one area, you won’t have a thriving business.
Look for the links in each section, because I’ll give you resources to help you throughout.
Problem #1: Not building your audience
Your audience can consist of your email subscribers, social media followers, people who hear you speak, people who read what you write, website visitors, etc.
If you have an online business, your email subscribers will be the most valuable to you.
But if your list is too small, you won’t be able to make enough income. After all, not everyone will buy. And after a while, those who will buy, buy and the rest will give you diminishing returns, so you always need new people to add to your audience.
There are many ways to grow your audience, but you need to spend time each week on this task. If you don’t, your business will fail. In fact, I see some entrepreneurs who are losing more people through unsubscribers than they’re gaining in new subscribers.
Importantly, the people you ask must be highly targeted to what you offer; you shouldn’t just add anyone to your list because they won’t buy from you. That’s why you offer a free report or video that offers help to people you serve. Only those who are interested in your topic will subscribe to get it.
I see so many online entrepreneurs not focusing on growing their list of subscribers — or not knowing how to accomplish this. They lack the time, attention, and/or knowledge. If you aren’t growing your list each week, you aren’t even getting out of the gate.
One of the best ways to grow your list is by partnering with other entrepreneurs who serve the same audience as you. This can be done very simply and works whether you’re just starting out or have many years of experience.
Check out “5 Ways to Multiply Your Business with Partnering” and you’ll be well on your way. It’s a free guide to partnering.
Problem #2: Not building a relationship with your audience
How do YOU choose who you buy from? Maybe you never thought about it, but you buy from people you feel you’ve come to know over time who, in your judgment, have the knowledge and experience you want. You’ve come to know them, like them (at least a little), and trust them.
How does that happen? They send you regular emails so you discover what they stand for and what they know. You read what they say and start to like and respect them.
They might also blog and when you read their blog, you can take a deep dive into their knowledge and opinions (just like you’re doing now).
The point is that you have to have regular contact with your audience. Not only can’t you let them forget you, but you need to show them your expertise. Otherwise, why would they buy from you?
It’s a shame how many online entrepreneurs simply don’t find the time to email their subscribers. Or don’t know what to write about.
Regular blogging and regular emails to your list are the main way to build a relationship. You can also use Facebook or LinkedIn groups. I recommend inviting your readers to reply to your emails so that when they’re ready to move forward, you can start a 1-on-1 conversation with them.
Finally, you need to tell your subscribers and followers your story, how you got to where you are today. Storytelling is a powerful way to create a bond between you and your subscribers.
Your story has a purpose — it gives your audience hope that they can attain their goals, too. It uplifts and inspires them to take action.
If you haven’t yet written your story, download my free “Write Your Story” worksheet here.
You’ll be able to use it in many places.
Problem #3: Not making regular offers to your audience
It might seem obvious, but you don’t have a business if you aren’t selling products or services. Here’s the problem… If you have one product, after a while, as I mentioned earlier, those people who will buy make a purchase. For the rest, you can’t keep offering the same product over and over again. You either need to bring in a lot more subscribers (leads) or you need more products.
Both are viable business models:
- One products/service and continually finding new people to promote it to
- Many products/services and continually promoting new ones to your audience
Most online entrepreneurs lean to one or the other but of course, it’s a continuum. You might want to offer more products to give people more options or you might want to keep things simple and stick with something like coaching, with a few variations and packages.
If you only offer one product or service, you’ll find that your subscribers need more. You can add to your offers by promoting products from other people as an affiliate. This helps your subscribers because you’re finding them valuable resources. It helps you because you earn an income from affiliate commissions.
You can choose to create more products and you have two options:
- Create your own content yourself
- Buy pre-made content with a Private Label Rights (PLR) license so you can edit it and sell it as your own
Of course, you can use both options. If you buy PLR, make sure you buy only from respected content creators and always edit it and add to it to make it truly something you’ve created.
I see online entrepreneurs struggle to create products. Yet, when you create your own products, you build up your authority and can truly help people more effectively. You need to commit time and attention to product and service creation — as I mentioned previously, you don’t have a business without something to sell.
If you’re having a problem creating products, download my free Product Planning Worksheet, to get the 22 steps you need to follow to plan, create, and market a product.
You can use it for your own content or for PLR.
What’s holding you back?
If one of these areas is tripping you up, download the relevant guide or worksheet and set aside time each week to put attention on that area. Soon, you’ll find that you’re making progress toward your goals!
Have a question or want to make a comment? Use the comment area below and please share this to help other online entrepreneurs who want more success.
Who is Ellen Finkelstein of Change the World Marketing? I have been working online since 1999 and built up 2 websites and subscriber lists that have created a full-time living for me. In 2011, I started teaching others how to do the same. You can read more here.