I’m a big fan of online businesses. They provide uncapped income potential, freedom and the ability to impact people’s lives in a positive way.
But starting a business isn’t easy. It takes hustle, heart and hard work. More importantly, it requires some strategic planning to be profitable.
This is business after all. I don’t know about you, but I never aspired to have “flash in the pan” success. I want longevity. I’m focused on creating a sustainable business. Everything else is for the birds.
In order to create a sustainable business, I learned (the hard way) that I need to leverage the resources and tools available to me. I need to create a system.
Nothing fancy, just something that works. In my case, press send and get paid….automatically.
If you think about the greats in just about any industry, they all had some type of infrastructure or system in place. Let’s take Henry Ford for example. The secret sauce to his car manufacturing empire was the assembly line.
Ford wanted to create a simple, sturdy and inexpensive car that everyone could afford. First, he needed to figure out a way to build the Model T more efficiently. Upon implementing the assembly line (the system), Ford was able to reduce the time it took to build a car from 12 hours to 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Now that’s innovation. Truthfully, you don’t even have to be innovative but you do have to have a system in place.
So if you’re going to create a sustainable business online, you’re going to have to construct three very important systems.
The first is a system for getting people’s attention. Not just anybody, but the attention of your ideal clients. The second system is for getting these folks to subscribe to your email list. I can’t stress how important this part is to your business. The third, and most important, is getting people to buy your products and services.
I know that’s a lot to process at once so let’s unpack this together…
Getting your audience’s attention is the first step in building a sustainable business.
Why? Because people can’t buy what they don’t see.
Attention is one of the greatest forms of currency right now, especially on the Internet. To get your audience’s attention you’re going to have to differentiate yourself and create compelling content. Eventually, they’ll come visit your site.
Your content can take a few different forms. It can be shared as text, audio or video. Whatever you choose, make sure that it’s valuable and helping people solve problems.
Once you get people to your site, your job is to get them to subscribe to your email list. Email is a proven means of communication that gives you direct access to people who want/need what you have to offer.
The real power of email is the ability to build trust. You know, develop long-term relationships. Think about it, it’s like having a one-one-one conversation with thousands of people at the same time.
It’s powerful and it scales.
When folks sign up for your email list, your focus should be on building relationships. A well-designed onboarding sequence is perfect for building trust. Tell them who you are and what you stand for. Ask them what they’re struggling with and help them get a small win or two.
If you treat the permission and access to your new “crew” with care, you’ll have a highly responsive audience. For example, when you send an email your audience will open, read and click-through on your links.
Again, your content has to be compelling. Make sure it’s a perfect blend of informative, entertaining and persuasive.
After you get your crew’s attention and email address, it’s time to focus on the third system.
You remember the part about us doing business right? ‘Cause now it’s time to sell.
The third essential system for building an online business is getting people to buy your product or service. Your sales funnel can literally make or break your business. How you choose to sell is up to you, but you need to have the infrastructure in place to be able to close sales with a good level of certainty.
At this point, you’ve earned their trust and have a great offer (don’t sell wack stuff). Now like ramen noodles, just add water. Except in this case the water is urgency.
Urgency is usually created in one of two ways, limited supply or limited time. For example, let’s you’re a coach looking to fill your new coaching program. You could emphasis the fact that you only have 10 spots available for sale. What if your business is more service based? Like a copywriter. You could emphasis the fact that clients will only be able to book you at a special rate during April. See what I’m doing?
It’s something about human psychology that motivates us take action when we’re about to lose something of value. As long as you’re ethical about it, use this to compel your audience to buy now instead of later.
You can also create urgency on a webinar where you give away free content. Then, give them an opportunity to buy your product/service at the very end of your presentation. If speaking isn’t your thing, create a free 5-day email course that pitches your product or service.
Again, the tools and tactics don’t matter nearly as much as the overall systems do.
Choose one, test and iterate.