Submitted by Teo Graca
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4 Basic Requirements for a Successful Web-Based Business
So many people just create a website and think they are in business. Then, when they don't get any customers, they wonder why... In this module, I cover some basic questions, the correct answers and why these are the correct answers.
Do You Have A Written Business Plan? - Step 1
You should have one. Having a written business plan is important, and yet most people don't have this in place. Running a business without a written business plan is like driving without a map. It is a living document and your goals and processes should be easy to update in the plan so that you can evaluate your successes and failure and build your business as you develop best practices!
Many people are attracted to franchises, or other business opportunities because they have a success plan that works, provided you can follow an exacting set of practices. If you are a follower, this may be a good option for you, but if you think you have what it takes to develop a business that touches a unique market that you can dominate, then you may be the entrepreneur that can make your vision into a reality.
We have provided a FREE Entrepreneur Assessment for motivated individuals. In this assessment, you will find some factors associated with being a successful entrepreneur that you may not have consider. CLICK HERE if you have about 10-15 minutes for this instant self-evaluation assessment.
How Many Websites Do You Have - What Does Your Virtual Store Front Look Like? - Step 2
You should have a Virtual Store Front in place. A website or some kind of web pretense is an absolute necessity for any business today. The more websites, the better bigger your web pretense becomes. Even social media accounts that you use to promote your business can be counted as part of your web presence. If you have a written business plan, it should include your social media ASSETS and how you plan to use these to build your business, and when you plan to add other websites. There are so many features you can add to your websites, but I don't have room to go into them here.
Call To Action Strategies on the Web - Step 3
There are THREE main types of Calls to Action on the web:
- Phone Call
- Buy Now
Although most people won't buy not or pick up the phone the first time visiting your website, more people will opt in to some kind of free information offer or some other offer that has real value to them. If you use the Opt-In strategy, you will need to design a drip marketing campaign and employ some automated auto responder or list management technology to handle the communications with your prospects. We recommend using all three strategies so that customers can call, buy now or opt-in - this covers everyone willing to respond to something they like.
There are other conversions you can add to the site, such as social media share buttons like those from the addThis.com and shareThis.com websites. You can also add chat, membership functionality, solicit comments, add a search interface, calendar and scheduling functionality, games, plus much more. These types of features are more like "sticky items" that keep visitors coming back for more. The issue is that almost no first-time visitors will buy from you - it usually takes many touch points, like visits (when visitors come back), drip marketing, subscriptions, newsletters, etc. to get people to buy.
Advertising - Step 4
Advertising is the proactive process of attracting targeted leads to your website. Whether you call it public relations (PR), marketing, lead generation, etc., it is not a passive process. The key difference between the term "advertising" and these other terms is that "advertising" suggests a measurable return on investment. Consider measuring every proactive effort to bring in new targeted leads. In this way you can determine what works, and what works best! Use your successes to fine-tune your Branding Strategy.
Once you get your conversion processes in place and some "sticky items" in place to keep your targeted leads coming back, you need to get some targeted leads to your website. An advertising and marketing plan should be incorporated into your written business plan with very specific goals in terms of generating targeted leads, conversion rates and sales expected from your advertising investment. Your projections are your goals, and measuring success promotes better planning and dependability for your customers.
For web-based businesses, there is no more important investment than advertising. Internet businesses with no leased space are generally saving thousands of dollars per year or month that they can use for advertising. Most don't have many employees because so many processes can be automated. A properly set up company may have just advertising and customer service costs. Hosting and designing a website is a very small expense these days, so what else can you think of that is absolutely necessary for an web-based business? Most common business expenses make up a very small percentage of business expenses.
Brick and Mortar Businesses
Brick and mortar businesses can still use this model, but they have significantly more types of expenses, many of which are larger than their advertising budgets. Think of a brick and mortar business as any business that has a physical location where customers can drop in. Although this course is primarily designed for web-based businesses, the information is still very applicable to brick and mortar businesses too.
Fulfillment Issues - Who Delivers?
Although most web-based businesses can be set up to resell products and services provided by others. This means someone else fulfills the orders and you get an affiliate fee or commission for each sale. Other businesses get involved with fulfillment and take care of delivery themselves. This is a much more complicated business model because it requires employees, a place to store product, and experts to provide services.
Cash flow can become a huge issue for brick and mortar businesses or any business that has significant fulfillment expenses. For all businesses, these 4 basic requirements for a web-based business apply, but businesses without these other expenses have a significant advantage and can spend a much larger percentage of their budgets on advertising and customers service, which are the two primary focuses that will help you establish a successful business of any kind!
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