Thursday, October 9, 2014

Looking to get out of the daily grind and start generating passive income? Well, it’s definitely doable, but like any business, it takes time, energy, focus, patience, and investment. There’s no quick and easy way to make good money in anything, and making money online is no different. However, if you can create a viable marketing plan, the freedom, autonomy, and scalability of online businesses may indeed prove more valuable than a traditional offline venture, with less of a time and financial commitment. Here are the first 5 steps to starting any online business.

1. Come up with a viable product or service.

This may be obvious, but it’s worth noting that the first step in earning money online or anywhere else is to come up with a product or service that adds value to consumers’ lives. You might do this by finding a hole somewhere in the market – solve a problem that people are having, whether with mass market appeal or within a particular niche. On a less innovative hand, do some research to discover a current product or service being offered to a niche market, which is doing well but is not overly exploited. Whether coming up with your own idea or utilizing a current product or service, think of ways to add value, solve a problem, and ultimately engage with customers in a positive, helpful, and unique way.

2. Determine your audience

During the product development phase, you must also be especially aware of who your target market is. In other words, which demographic(s) has the problem you are trying to solve? Look at the brand imaging and styles of competitors to see which markets they target. Get to know your customer base—do as much research as you can in understanding their buying habits, likes and dislikes, activities, brand engagement preferences, and where exactly they can be found.

3. Create an Online Marketing Strategy

Now that you know what it is you’re selling and to whom you’re selling, it’s time to research and decide how to advertise your business. How does your particular demographic communicate with other consumers and with brands? What avenues are most relevant to your product or service, and what are your competitors doing to engage with customers? Most important for earning money online, of course, is to develop a professional, well-functioning, branded web site. With emerging technology, there are a growing numbers of very inexpensive ways to create a web site, or hire an affordable designer that can create an online shopping area. Hosting companies’ customer service, like GoDaddy or 1and1, can also walk you through the steps of creating one on your own. Once the site is done, you can start implementing your marketing techniques, which must all integrate and point back to your online store.

4. Track Your Marketing

Make sure your marketing avenues have clear and easy way of tracking conversion success and ROI. Google analytics and other analytics platforms are crucial for tracking how customers are getting to your web site, which customers are making which kind of purchases, and what particular marketing channels are producing the most visitors and conversions. The more detailed analyses you can produce, the more optimized your campaigns can become.

5. Adjust as Necessary

Look at the data now to determine which marketing avenues are working and which aren’t. Analyze to see if certain products or services are selling better than others or not at all. As an online business, you need to determine who is buying, what they’re purchasing, when they’re buying, how they’re getting to your site, and even why they’re becoming customers. Once you understand the metrics, research more marketing tips and do whatever is necessary to focus efforts where they count. Spend more energy on the channels and products that are generating revenue, and less of course on those that aren’t.

In the end, there are no easy ways to “get money,” be it online or anywhere else. Any method that claims to be a “quick fix” or “easy way” is probably full of it. The bottom line is that making money online, just as in the real world, will take time, energy, and some investment, and most of all careful tracking and planning. Earning money and creating a small business is a long-term game with many hills and valleys. But for the persistent small business owner who rolls with the punches and sticks to his guns, success is always possible; and a successful online business, unlike traditional small businesses, can be run from your bedroom or the South of France or wherever your entrepreneurial heart desires.