The Internet can be a confusing place to do business. It often seems like there are a million 'gurus' on the Net, all speaking at the same time, and telling you how they have "the" road map to success.
The truth is ... there is no one map. There are many roads to the destination we call success. How long the trip will take depends a great deal on the choices you make.
They say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So here are five steps to get you started on your road to online success.
1. Sell What People Want To Buy.
For a thousand years (or more) small business has thrived on one motto. Find a need and fill it. The Internet is no different that Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart didn't sell what people want they would go out of business in short order.
The best way to find what people want is to ask them. Contact the people you know and ask them what their #1 problem is today. Then tally the results and look for a pattern. Once you find the pattern, find a product or service to meet that need and contact them again.
When you do, good things will begin to happen.
2. Follow Up With Everyone
The people who come to your website will fall into two broad groups. Those who buy and those who don't buy yet. Create a follow up system for the people who don't buy and you will make time your ally, not your enemy.
You don't have to be a great writer to do this. Just jot down the five top reasons people should buy your product and create a short message for each reason. Then put those in an autoresponder and offer people more information. Over time, many will buy your product.
It's equally important to follow up with those who do buy. Be sure to offer them products and services that compliment your own.
For example, it's only logical that someone who buys a car will eventually need their oil changed. In a like manner, people who buy your offer may want products or services that enhance your product's benefits.
3. Use A Simple Sales Site
There is a lot of discussion about how many words should be on your web site. While this debate will continue to rage on, the sites that sell the best seem to be one-page, very simple sales sites. After all, why use more words than necessary.
People are in a hurry today so give them what they want. Tell them clearly why they should buy your product, ask for the order and offer them more information if they choose not to buy now. Simple.
4. Use Automation To Your Advantage
'Automation' is simply a fancy term for letting a computer do the work you would normally do. Perhaps the best example is an autoresponder.
A sequential autoresponder is a program that sends emails out over a period of time. Rather than having to remember who should get which message when, the computer remembers and sends them for you. That is how you are going to follow up with the people are aren't quite ready to buy yet. And you'll use a separate sequence for your customers - to offer them complimentary products and services.
There are ways to process orders, send email follow ups, ask for referrals, place ads and more - all using the power of automation.
While it is important to maintain a personal touch, automating everyday tasks means you will be able to respond faster to inquires and have the time you need to follow up with clients and expand your business.
5. Give Yourself Time
Just as in any business, it takes time to succeed in an online business. Since time is going to march on anyway, why not make time your ally?
Using tools to automate your business will help you save time every day. Having clearly defined goals and objectives will help you have 'staying power' for the long haul.
Using time wisely and being committed to long term success are both vital to your online business.
Success is simple if you keep it simple. One key is to find people who are successful and learn from what they are doing.
When you are offering a popular product using a simple sales page website, are following up using automation to your advantage and are patient enough to let your business grow, you will find that the path to success is short indeed.
Dr. Jeanette Cates is an Internet strategist who works with experts who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into Gold. Her reputation as a speaker and trainer has earned her the title of The Technology Tamer. Jeanette shares her news and views in OnlineSuccessNews.com