When building your online business, start by deciding what you love to do. What interests you? What would do even if you weren’t paid to do it? Next, set SMART goals around this core interest to bring it into the world. Finally, create an e-commerce business around your idea.
Let’s take a quick look at each of these elements.
- Finding Your Passion
First, what you love to do has to be something that you can monetize.
Two quick examples:
- · If you love to write, then you could create a blog that teaches other people how to become good writers.
- · If you love shopping for electronics, then you could build an Amazon store to share your product knowledge with others.
Next, use SMART goals. Define how to convert your big idea into goals:
- · Specific: How will you use your passion to create value for others?
- · Measurable: How will you know if you are making progress? Select benchmarks and milestones.
- · Attainable: Do you have the necessary skills to make it happen?
- · Realistic: Do you have enough resources or can you get the resources you need to make it work?
- · Time-bound: What is your deadline? (If you miss the deadline, just set another.)
- Building Your Platform
Finally, create a platform for your business. Create a website, a blog, and social media marketing. In this setup, use email marketing as the central engine that powers your business. One way to generate traffic to your website is to use a professional service like Horizon email advertising to attract your target audience.
Now that we’ve covered the three things you need to think about to start your own home business, let’s focus on unpacking the last element, creating a platform, in a little more detail.
How to Build Your Platform
The first thing you will need is a website. You can either build your own, using a template provided by a hosting account, or hire someone on a job site to build one for you.
Once you’ve got your website all set up, test it for usability to make sure that your visitors can easily navigate around the website. Also, make it an e-commerce site with shopping cart functionality so that you can sell directly from the website.
While your website will serve as a type of virtual store or catalog, you also need a way to build relationships with people. That is why you need to build a blog as well. The best blogs are self-hosted blogs, as you could lose your entire blog if you build it on a third party platform. Try to blog at least once a week, creating informative posts about your niche.
Once you’ve set up your platform, you need a way to reach out and connect with your audience.
There are two ways to connect with potential customers online.
- Social Media.
Create a profile on the major social media websites: Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and LinkedIn. Learn how these platforms work and how to establish your brand on them without appearing salesy. Start with the biggest ones, then expand join a few more if you desire, like Pinterest and Reddit. If you build out too fast, you will get overwhelmed and neglect your primary social media platforms.
- Email Marketing.
Create a newsletter around your topic so that you can send subscribers promotional emails and high-value content on a regular basis. How regular depends on your niche, but a minimum should be once a week.
Here are 4 ways to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns:
- Use a good email provider service to ensure the highest deliverability rates.
- Use a service to make sure that your email subscriber list is always up-to-date. If you send emails to lists that are no longer active, you are paying for an inflated list. If the list of dead email addresses grows large, you will be blacklisted by Google and Yahoo email services.
- Study copywriting or hire a copywriter. Copywriting skills are essential for success in email marketing. A good copywriter will know what subject lines to create to get people to open the email. When the email has good copywriting, readers are much more likely to click the link that will lead to your sales page.
- Treat your subscribers like gold. Be warm and friendly in your emails and when you meet them on social media or reply to their comments on your blog. Don’t burn your list by inundating them with emails (unless, of course, you’ve built up a great relationship with them and they just love hearing from you). Another thing you must do is to send out more content emails then promotional offers. If you only send content emails, then your subscribers will not be interested in buying when you finally send a promotional email. Conversely, your subscribers will be irritated if all you do is send promotional emails and they will unsubscribe.
Don’t Skip Steps!
Many people fail at building a home-business because they miss the first two critical steps outlined here. Instead, they jump straight into building their platform. If you don’t identify your passion, then you will enter a niche that you will lose interest in. If you don’t set SMART goals, then you won’t have the mindset, discipline, structure, and direction you need to succeed.