When you hear the term, “Online Marketing Guru”, what do you picture?
I bet you are like the majority of us who see a man in his boxer shorts eating Little Debbie’s oatmeal cream pies as he catches the season premier of Duck Dynasty on his TiVo. While he’s laughing with a mouth full of savory goodness, money made from his online business is steadily flowing into his personal bank account.
And you think to yourself, this could be you…
Sure, this could happen. You can make a killing online – quietly pruning your own private money tree nestled in your 50 acre back yard. You could be making money while you’re eating Bon Bons on the couch, or better yet, as you’re sipping a fruity alcoholic cocktail, with an umbrella sticking out of it, while kicking back at an all-inclusive resort on the French Riviera.
If the first thought and question that crosses your mind and quickly stems from this vision is, “Sign me up – How do I get started?”, I’d suggest taking a minute to recompile your thoughts and come back to join the rest of us in reality.
Not to burst your bubble, but you may be surprised to find out that the majority of new online businesses fail within their first year. Why? The answer lies in the title of this article.
There’s a lot of work involved in successfully starting, advertising, and managing your online business. If you’re willing to put in the blood, sweat, and tears into building a successful website and managing the day-to-day tasks associated with it, you will reap the rewards far beyond what any flavorful treat could do to your taste buds. Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s recap why most online businesses take a nose dive before they can even get off the ground.
Most common pitfalls that lead to online business failure:
- Taking action too quickly. When your mind is wrapped around the dollar signs, it is only natural to make hasty decisions without taking the unintended consequences into consideration. Try taking a step back and giving your business the opportunity to reach its full potential. This means investing the initial working capital necessary to make this business venture worthwhile.
- Lack of experience or Internet knowledge. Do you, like many people over the age of 65, think that “Firefox” is a type of animal? Do you often confuse “MySpace” with your own private space bubble that nobody can invade? To your knowledge, is “twitter” what your heart does when it beats more rapidly than normal? If your answer was “yes” to any of the above questions, you have some research to do. In an effort to maximize your potential for online success, you must know how web tools work (SEO, SEM, social media and email marketing, etc.) and what your competitors are doing to cut through the Internet clutter and generate website traffic. If you don’t know the Internet frontwards, backwards, sideways, and inside out in this business, you’re equivalent to the ugly kid in a beauty pageant. You just won’t win.
- Poorly designed website. When you see an unattractive, overweight, single lady sitting alone at a bar, is your first thought, “I bet she has a great personality”? I didn’t think so. Human beings are extremely judgmental in nature and generate first impressions of others within the first 7 seconds upon meeting them. What does this mean for your online business? When your website is the face of your business and the first consumer touch point to your brand, a positive first impression is a no-brainer. If you want those who browse your website to disregard their ADD tendencies and concentrate on your website for an extended period of time, you better believe it has to be aesthetically pleasing and easily navigable.
- Lack of focus. I know you are trying to be the best. We all do. However, being the best doesn’t involve selling anything and everything under the sun. When you claim to be an expert auto mechanic, don’t try and sell tools used exclusively for the home. Anything you can do, Home Depot can do it better. To add salt to the wound, you put your credibility on the line when you lose focus and stray too far from your primary business objectives. Exploit your own unique industry strengths to appeal to a select target market of those who value and benefit from your specific products and services. As the saying goes, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
- Putting too much on your plate. When you load your Thanksgiving plate to the point where it reaches eye level when you are sitting upright, chances are you won’t finish it. Even if you force the last bite down your throat like you’re competing at the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Competition, you will most likely suffer the effects of a food coma that your husband or wife will NOT thank you for later. Building an online business is a heavily involved process that comes with a laundry list of different skills and “to-dos.” When the load gets a bit too heavy to take everything on yourself, consider outsourcing items that you are not quite familiar with or simply don’t have the time to successfully implement in its entirety. To outsource or not to outsource? That is the question.
Once you have built the infrastructure of your business, researched the inner workings of the Internet, created a killer website, and mapped out a cohesive business plan, you may be antsy to set a launch date and get the show on the road.
However, just when you think it’s time to go live is when you must go back to the drawing board. You aren’t going to experience success and online recognition without developing a database of future users and loyal customers. This is where email marketing comes into play. With potential to reach hundreds of thousands of avid Internet users that fit your demographic targeting criteria, your message will circulate among the masses and generate a “buzz” to bring new traffic to your website.
How to effectively use Email Marketing to kick start your website.
If you are a novice in the field of email marketing, research how managed email marketing services can help jump start your business. With this service, you receive one-on-one guidance in all stages of the email marketing process, from the design and development of your email creative to the execution, evaluation and deployment of your email campaign.
If you have already gotten your feet off the ground but just need to streamline your offer toward a specific subset of the population, consider how targeted email marketing services can take your business to the next level.
Lastly, if you have a general B2B or B2C offer and are looking to get the most bang for your buck, unleash the power of the Guaranteed Opens Program to generate mass exposure, all while being assured that your emails are being delivered to the inbox and opened. With access to a live tracking link monitoring your results in real-time, you are able to set a benchmark for constant improvement.
The opportunity is out there. The majority of entrepreneurs are misguided into thinking it’s an easy business venture, and this accounts for the exponential rate of business failure. If you educate yourself on what to avoid and are able to overcome the hurdles in the process, you could be sitting on a remote beach right about now. Think about it.
Rememeber, You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. –Wayne Gretzky