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An Online Business, Do I or Don't I?
by Gary E Layton
Do I or Don't I? That is a question many of us ask when it comes to starting up or joining an online business. Most of us have heard of the vast amounts of money generated through the Internet but how many of us personally know anyone who has done it. Ten to one you know someone who has tried it and lost their shirt doing it. Why do you suppose that these failures occur?
Let's talk about it.
There are many reasons people fail in an online business, however, there are just as many reasons why some people succeed. The reasons for failure or success are all tied to some basic factors regarding any type of business offline or online.
What are these basic factors?
All businesses are tied to selling either a product or a service. This being the case we can then understand the importance of products and services to any business.
What makes a product or service viable is a real or perceived need for them in the marketplace.
Next, is the product or service of the quality desired to meet the need?
Then, is it affordable to the majority of consumers?
Can it be delivered in an easy and timely fashion?
What is the competition?
Can the product or service be guaranteed to the satisfaction of the consumer?
Simple questions right?
Wrong? The answers to the above questions can consume much money and time to find the answers you need. Even then you can never be sure until the product or service is offered to the consumers and they open their wallets and then buy the product or service.
Either they sell or they don't. That's the final results.
So what does this all mean?
Basically it means that you can have the most attractive, useful and affordable products and services available but they must still be sold.
What can we do?
I reckon we better look at how we can our sell our products and services.
What do we look at?
Well, first of all we must learn that the basics of marketing apply to all types of offline and online businesses. Because we are talking primarily of an online business here that is where we will concentrate our efforts.
I'm sure we are all familiar with the marketing principles of time utility, location, inventory, transportation and ease of payment, promotion, advertisement and warranty.
What does this mean to the online marketer?
First of all an online marketer does not normally need to worry about buying, leasing or renting a business location or store. Nor do we need to worry about inventories or the physical shipping of products. The exception of course being on online Mart or Shopping Service. Even then the marketer does not normally become involved in the physical shipping of goods.
So where does that take us?
It takes us to the product or service itself and the promotional and advertising aspects of marketing that should concern us the most.
We must also consider the consumer payment system and the warranties we must provide, however, these last two factors are easily solved and of no great concern to this conversation.
So, where does that leave us?
It leaves us with the very basic problems of the quality and need for our products or services and how can we best sell them to consumers.
Well, first of all we face the problem of choosing a theme portraying our business to the consumers in such a way as to gain their confidence that we are a legitimate enterprise and will produce what we promise.
The theme you choose is the image you wish to portray to the consumer that reinforces the need that is out there and actually builds the interest to read your advertisements and purchase your products or services.
Above all else your theme must portray a professional aura and an earnest desire to produce customer satisfaction and enhance consumer trust in your business enterprise.
To this end you must always develop and put in place a customer service and relations system ready to go when you launch your products and service into the world of E-Commerce.
OK, we have a well designed and professional looking web site. We know that our products and services fill a need for the consumer. We have thought out and built a responsive customer service and relations system. Now What? Now we get down to the nuts and bolts of promoting and advertising your business, products and services.
First, all available promotional and advertising media can and should be considered for use in getting your message out to the consumer. The largest factor here is the costs involved and your ability to pay those costs.
I think we all understand that the available media includes newspaper ads; dedicated print media such as The Nickel; trade magazines; flyers and other handouts; radio and television; and of course the online media such as Email, Web Sites; Banner Ads, Pop-Up Ads; Ezines; Newsletters and the like.
Knowing this and knowing how best to use the media is a separate question. One that deserves careful consideration before jumping off in all directions at once.
In many cases, any online business you may join as an Affiliate has an advertising program pretty well laid out for you to follow and probably provides some basic tools to use in implementing your advertising program. This is fine, but if it were me I would like to be able to supplement this program through my own efforts and enhance the chance for success. There is no one better able to help you than yourself.
An important factor for consideration here is the time you have available to do all the good things we are talking about.
Most of us who become involved in an online business do so for one primary purpose and that is to supplement our income on a part-time basis. Notice I said part-time. This being the case any business activity we engage in must be designed to work on a part-time basis.
We will just not have the time available it takes to run a business that takes more than four hours a day. This being the case we better find techniques and methods which allow us to accomplish things without a lot of time being involved.
Because we are working on a limited time and money budget we must carefully select the media we choose to use in presenting our ad copy to the consumer. There exists on the net now plenty of good advice to help you choose a media. Just don't go hog wild. Select a couple of media. Select your ad copy and get it out to the world.
All of us can learn how to write and place effective promotional and advertising ad copy. There is enough free information on the Internet to make sure of that. What we will not have the time to do effectively, is build a system to accurately record and provide the data we need to assure the effectiveness of our promotional and advertising efforts. Beside that, not many of us have the technical expertise to develop such systems.
Such Ad Tracking systems do exist and you must find them, assess their capabilities to meet your needs. Both from the required data aspects and your ability to afford them.
An efficient and accurate Ad Tracker is absolutely essential to your online success and will save you time and money. So take my advice, check them out.
Ad Trackers are a tool which can go a long way in helping to answer the question 'An Online Business - Do or Don't I
About the author:
Gary Layton is co-owner of PathTrax.com. By providing their users the ability to measure and track results connected to a specific ad or advertising media, PathTrax is helping small businesses expand the profits in their bottom line. PathTrax delivers flexible tracking URL's to track Who, Where, When, How Many? All for only pennies per day. http://PathTrax.com/x.pl/GL121,3