Surviving Your Online Business

14 November 2008, by A. Cedilla

These days, almost everyone wants to make money on the Internet. The majority of them, however, need to go back to some of the basics outlined below. There is entirely too much hype, too much reliance on the next miracle product/affiliate program/viral whatever –or some other short cut — to save time and actual work.

The truth is, for anyone planning to work on-line, whatever business venture you start will not explode into fame and riches overnight, and you will need to adhere to some of the same basic principles that offline stores use to get customers in the door.

The first thing you need to do is realize that the Internet is a place where you have to establish your creditability on each and every transaction with your customers.

Doing what you say you will, offering quality products that you yourself have tried, and maintaining an attitude that the customer needs to have the reassurance to do business with you, will get you more dollars than high pressure sales tricks.

There is no reason for a customer to trust you unless you offer your complete name, business name, address and a way to contact you within your website or your order form. A thank you note also helps the customer to confirm that their order was processed correctly and gives you a chance to acknowledge again their value to you and your respect for them.

Make your website easy to navigate. Let the products and the way to purchase them stand out. Don’t add a bunch of other filler or banners and items that only take away from your main focus – your product or service.

When a shopping cart or buy button is presented, make sure that it is a smooth transaction and ask for as little information as possible to get the order confirmed. People hate to fill out tons of lines on your form and will leave if you try to ask them everything under the sun about their situation on the first contact.

Also, make sure that they are aware of your privacy policy and that you will never share their information.

Remember, the goal is to either get them to purchase a product or to get them to leave their email address and first name so that you can contact them again with tips, articles, and other software or items that will be of interest to them.

Let them receive something for nothing for a while as everyone loves free items and they will look forward to receiving your newsletter. Most people will not buy on their first contact with you or your website, so you need to reinforce your trustworthiness.

When you send out a newsletter, don’t send it too often. Once a week or twice a month is much better than three times a week. Always use the same format and make it quick, swift and to the point.

This is not the place to write your life history and what you did for entertainment that weekend. It is a method that you can communicate with your customer and encourage them to trust and place their confidence in you. Anything that you can do to that end will reward you many times over.

If you have a product that others are marketing, check out their websites. Find the top people in your business and see what they are doing. You can search Google or Yahoo or any of the other major search engines to come up with these competitor’s websites just by inserting keywords relevant to your industry and seeing the top ten that come up.

Do not copy what they have on their websites, but just get the feel for the website and why they are successful. Make notes as you scroll through the website and see what you like about their website, how they showcase their products, their ease of use, their ability to explain their product or service in easy to understand wording, and how their guarantee works — anything that will help you to understand why someone would come to this website and feel comfortable with their decision to purchase from this vendor.

Make sure the colors on your website convey the mood you are trying to establish. If you don’t know what colors can do for your website, then do a search and some reading and learn the combinations that are pleasing to the eye.

Do not load the website up with graphics that are not necessary. Even flash introductions seem to be on the way out lately. Everyone has moved back to the website being functional, and less is more here. You will have more customers, more visitors, and more orders for your company if you keep things simple but professional.

Make your headline and subheadings grab the attention of the reader. Most people will only stay on a site for a very short time unless they are lured through curiosity to find out more about what you’re offering. So, lead their mind where you want it to be within the first headline and first couple of sentences.

Avoid mundane headings like Welcome to My Website or I am so glad to have you visit – I am happy to be able to show you my products. Do use headings like, “Are You Afraid You Are Being Left Out? ”

Your goal is to direct the customer’s mindset and allow them time to indulge in reading your website. If they think they will find some value within your words, products or services, then you will continue to keep their interest if you are honest with them. Usually, the first hint of the self-indulgence type of sales words and the customer is long gone.

Fulfill a need, provide an excellent service, make the website easy to understand, and do not be pushy or extreme in your declarations. Then you will have the basics down of making your Internet business lasting and successful.

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