Online Business Tools You Need to Start Your Business
|September 14, 2011||Posted by Louise under Online Business Ideas|
For a seed to germinate and grow into a mighty tree, it needs the proper mix of water, temperature and a nutrient-rich soil.
The same goes for your online business. For it to germinate and weather storms and time, you need certain online business tools.
Below I will get into 3 top tools that will not only root your online business firmly into the internet world, but help you create a house or headquarters from which all of your business will flourish. They are not the only tools, mind you, but they are the 3 main ones that will give your business momentum.
Top 3 Online Business Tools – Get it Right From The Start
Tool #1: A Website
You need a website. This website will become your home, your headquarters. It acts as the core of your internet marketing plan, where you brand yourself. In simpler words, it’s where you project your unique ‘face’ to the online world. Without a website, you have little if any internet presence.
Being at the core of your internet marketing plan, your website will also be the central location where you connect and build relationships. As you interact with your market , you will constantly be sending them back to your site (and when I say site, I also mean blog), via links on other blogs or forums, social media sites, and other venues as your marketing strategy grows.
On your site, you will provide content such as articles, videos, images and possibly more that will help your readers and engage them, the basis of forming a trusting and loyal relationship with your market. And who else would buy product from you over and over again, but a loyal trusting reader?
Finally, your website is where you house your content and your products or services. Not only can you use these to help your visitors and clients, but also to direct them to different calls of actions, which could include joining your mailing list for free guidance materials, buying products that solve a problem, or experiencing content that enriches their experience.
Having a website gives you all sorts of control. You control your internet presence, your relationship with your market, the content and products on your site, and hopefully your market’s behaviour. Without a website, you are an anonymous entity pushing product.
A final note about websites: Just make sure not to use one of those already hosted website services, like www.weebly.com or the hosted version of WordPress (choose WordPress.org instead of WordPress.com). You want to have control of your business and host your own site. To do this, you need a domain name and hosting service.
Tool #2: An Autoresponder
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, What You Need Before You Build A List and above, you need a list of loyal followers that will buy from you again and again for you to succeed online.
I’m sure this is not news to you. As you start an online business, you will hear it shouted from every internet rooftop that you need to build a list. Well, you can’t do that effectively without an autoresponder.
An autoresponder like Aweber is an online business tool that permits you to build a list of potential customers (leads or prospects) and email them on a scheduled or on-demand basis. So you can have a series of communications you want to send them at scheduled intervals or you can email them on demand, say when you come across some interesting information you know they could use or a super deal that helps them solve a likely problem.
The autoresponder will provide you with an optin form, which in turn will help you capture one by one email addresses of people who have signed-up for you to contact them. Build good relationships with these members on your list and you’ll make some good sales.
Just be sure to use the right autoresponder as they are not all created equal. You want a service that is easy to use, that will provide a stable home for your list, and that is liked by both service providers and email services and therefore more likely to deliver your emails to your subscriber’s inbox. Read more about autoresponders here.
I have used two different autoresponder services before finding the “one”. It costs a little more than the others, but man is it worth it!
Tool #3: Product
Of course, it goes without saying that you need a product to make sales.
It can be a product you created or someone else’s that you recommend and receive an affiliate commission if that recommendation converts into a sale.
Many beginners feel more comfortable selling others’ products, but many experienced marketers will insist that creating your own is the most profitable way to go. I say start with something. If you need to promote someone else’s product (what we call an affiliate product), then go for it. Eventually, you can do both.
If you go the affiliate route, just remember one thing: what has your name ‘attached’ to it, such as an affiliate product, will affect your reputation. So, make sure it’s a good helpful product that your market wants. Market that product as you learn the internet marketing ropes. Once you accumulate some confidence, you can then create and sell your own product. You can find affiliate products on special sites like www.clickbank.com. Also, many products often have affiliate programs you can join.
Create Your Own Product
Eventually, you want to be able to create your own product. You can potentially sell so much more than you can with affiliate products. Use the same marketing strategies you used for selling others’ stuff. Plus, using your own army of affiliates who will each generate extra traffic and sales, will multiply your results.
Of course, creating your own product can be intimidating and time consuming. You don’t want to spend years writing a book to sell on your site.
And you don’t have to. There are shortcuts that will save you time, a couple of which are:
- Private Label Rights (PLR) materials, which involve altering pre-created product – that you have retained the rights to modify – into something new and unique you can call your own. Unfortunately, many marketers use these products without making any changes, which you don’t want to do. That would be the quickest way to harm your reputation as well as add to the mediocre content often found on the internet.
- Outsourcing the work. If you can’t stand writing or producing content of any type, you can outsource the task to someone else. There are many sites like forums and www.elance.com where you can find others willing to create products for you. Of course, this option costs money. So, be sure to sample their work before hiring or obtain recommendations from fellow marketers.
Some marketers don’t include these tools in their internet marketing strategies. My guess is they use anonymous tactics, poor quality content, and some heavy-duty copywriting. After all, they’re not looking to start anything serious like a relationship! Their success relies mostly on one-time sales and is often short-lived, going where the wind takes them.
But an online business that has:
- a website where you brand yourself, build relationships with your market, control your content and your readers’ behaviors;
- an autoresponder to build a list of subscribers and engage them;
- and a product to offer to visitors and subscribers either for their email address or for money;
wields more control over its development and success. It will grow the roots needed to stand tall and flourish in this crazy, competitive and sometimes inhospitable world of internet marketing.
So, I’ve mentioned the 3 basic tools that will build the foundation you need to grow as a business. If you have other tools you use that you consider basic necessities, please mention them in a comment below.
Keep moving forward…