|Everyday I talk with people who want to get started on the internet with their own business. But the whole process seems a mystery to them whether they have an affiliate marketing program, a real estate course or they sell health and fitness products. The easiest way I found to walk people through the basic building blocks is to use a real life example of building a brick and mortar business. Success on the internet is possible when you know how to build it and drive targeted traffic to your website.
Let's say you wanted to open a coffee shop that would rival Starbuck'sŪ. Where would you begin? You would probably want to do some kind of research to see how many coffee shops were in your town or city. After all, if there are 5 in a ten mile radius, you might want to think about a different location or how you would make your coffee shop unique enough to slaughter the competition.
1. Identify your niche
Well, it's not much different on the web. You want to first identify your niche. First, let's quickly explain what a niche is and isn't. If you are selling every affiliate marketing program under the sun, this is not a niche. A niche would be to focus on affiliate programs in a specific field like health and fitness. Then you want to find out what the top websites are by typing 'health and fitness' into Google. Here you can see the top 10 sites that Google says are important. Remember that even the category 'health and fitness' can be broken down into further niches like weight loss for women or top 20 health products for longevity. See what your competition is doing and how you could do it different or better.
Another way to look for niches is to use Overture's search term tool. Place your keyword in the box and hit go. Overture will spit out anything relevant to that keyword. It will show you possible niches you hadn't thought of and how many people search for that keyword. For example, you may put in coffee beans and it may show you that organically grown and processed coffee beans are all the rage.
2. Build a user friendly website
Back to the coffee shop. Next thing you might do is have the shop built in a good location where traffic can come and go easily. You too must build a website that has what people are looking for, is easy to navigate, easy to shop and checkout with friendly customer service. Tip: If you are selling weight loss products, don't try and sell power tools. While this may sound obvious, many people try to take the 'sell everything' they can approach and what happens is they end up selling nothing.
What will the environment of the coffee shop be like? What experience do you want your customers to have? Your customers will be entering your website with expectations of finding the information they need and the products they want. In that order. You might invite them to sign up for a free 7 part report on 'how to lose 10lbs guaranteed over the next 30 days eating healthy.' At the end of that report you can encourage them to look at your weight loss supplements or vitamins.
3. Good navigation
As in the coffee shop, have your items for sale laid out in a well organized fashion so the buyer can order exactly what they want with little effort except to give you their credit card number. It is best to have your products grouped and images optimized for fast page loads. Think about what you like. Do you want to see ten products described well on a page or fifty crammed in? As you would have nice displays in your coffee shop so will you on your website.
4. Offer something better than your competition does
What other things could you do to enhance your buyer's experience? In a coffee shop you could offer free samples of new drinks or have a discount card for people who drink coffee with you every morning. On your website, you can offer free tips, reports and discounts on volume buys or repeat purchases.
5. Market wisely
So, how do you get people to come try your coffee shop? Typically, a brick and mortar business will advertise in the local paper. It may be that you have the coffee that is guaranteed to get them going in the morning, free internet access, homemade muffins or the freshest coffee beans available. With your website, you may do pay-per-click advertising, exchange reciprocal links or write articles.
Traffic must come in the door of your website, like what they see and hopefully buy from you.
While most of these tips are common sense, it is amazing how few people actually use these critical ingredients in their online business. Pretend you are a customer arriving to your web store for the first time. What could you do to make the whole experience better?
About the Author: Jan Peterson founder of http://www.goldstarreview.com researches and reviews business opportunities including internet marketing, real estate investing, affiliate marketing, financial investing and more. Over 400 FREE reports available.
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