I get a lot of questions about how to build a business online. Here’s some of the top questions and answers to help you get your own online business started and profitable.
Q. I keep hearing that I’ve got to get people to know me, like me and trust me before they’ll buy from me, but how do I do that?
A. You’ve got two choices, and I recommend you do both. First, position yourself as an expert in your field. If you’re not an expert, surround yourself with experts by interviewing them, letting them guest post to your blog and working with them. Second, be generous. Give away great content that instills confidence in your abilities and expertise that builds your reputation. Offer free tele-classes or podcasts, guest post on popular blogs with info-packed posts, and author a book or report.
The better your free content is, the more people will trust you and your content. As an added bonus they’ll also be more likely to share your content with others, thereby helping you to build your reputation and your following.
Q. Is there a way to reach a wider audience while simultaneously delivering more value to my current customers?
A. You might consider lining up some partnerships or joint ventures in your niche. First, make a list of the areas your customers are interested in. You’re not looking for direct competition here, but rather complimentary sub-niches. For example, if you teach how to do Forex with a certain method, your customers will likely be interested in how to trade on Forex with other methods, and even how to invest in other areas besides the Forex market.
Once you make your list of areas, choose an expert in each that you’d like to partner with. Go online to get their contact information and then approach them with a win-win-win reason of why they should partner with you. They should benefit, you should benefit and of course your customers need to benefit as well.
Do something together that you can offer to both your customers and your partner’s customers, whether it’s a free webinar with an offer at the end, or creating a series of videos together, or even creating a new membership with a free introductory period. This will add value to your customers and theirs, as well as expanding your reach to a wider audience.
Q. I’m just a newbie in my niche – how do I approach the “big dogs” and get their attention so they’ll partner with me?
A. Two words – help them. Comment on their posts, share their stuff through social media, ask if you can re-post their work to your blog, etc. Find a way to be of service to them so that you can get on their radar and start building a relationship for the long haul.
Note that the bigger the person you’re targeting (IE: The larger their following and the greater their influence in your market) the longer it’s going to take to attract their attention as someone they might want to work with. It’s recommended that you begin by targeting more accessible people and work your way up to the giants of your industry.
Also, consider writing a book, devoting one chapter to each “big dog” you are targeting. In this manner you can make friends with these players, and some of them will actually end up promoting your book to their audience.
Q. I keep hearing that I need to “have a story” to share with prospects. What does this mean?
A. In a marketing context, ‘your story’ is what led to you doing what you do today. For example, someone who teaches basketball techniques may have been a lousy basketball player themselves until they learned and mastered certain fundamentals and techniques that caused them to become an all star player. In a nutshell, that’s their story. Of course they’re going to want to embellish with details, such as how rotten they felt when they got laughed at for missing the easiest of shots.
The purpose of having your own story and sharing it with your readers is to make a connection. Someone having trouble making the junior varsity basketball team wants to know you went through some of the same trials and tribulations they are experiencing. This bonds them to you and causes them to be far more receptive to your message. Remember, “birds of a feather flock together.” Once they realize you’ve been through the same struggles they’re currently going through, and that you not only persevered but overcame, they’ll want to know exactly how you did it.
Q. But isn’t that manipulating them?
A. Not at all. You are showing that you have indeed walked in their shoes, experienced their problems and found a solution that works.
I heard a story once that illustrates this beautifully. Imagine you’re in a foreign country and you don’t speak the language. For days you’ve been struggling to understand and be understood. Then all of a sudden someone says hello to you in your language, and asks how you are. How would you react? No doubt you’d rush up to that person and start talking, feeling that you finally are making a connection with someone. Imagine the relief you would feel, finally being able to communicate, to understand and most of all to be understood.
Telling your story does the same thing – it creates a bonding connection that lets the prospect know that you understand what they’re going through because you’ve experienced the same problems they have.
Q. If I want to create a product or success system based upon my own personal experiences, how do I go about that?
A. If you’ve become really successful at something, you have a ready-made product you can sell to others who want to master that same skill. Here’s how to get it into product form: Recall where you were at the beginning of your success. What was the first thing you did? The second? Write down everything that you did and put it into step-by-step form.
Now you’ve got the ___ number of steps to accomplishing ___. Name it something appropriate, get the domain for that name and start marketing it. You could do it as an ebook or audio/video course, or you could offer it as a series of webinars or even one-on-one coaching. Each step will represent one chapter in your book, or one webinar, or one coaching session.
HOT TIP: You can use this exact same process to partner with anyone who’s mastered a skill others want to learn. Interview them extensively to discover exactly how they reached their success and then create the product based on the interviews. Split the profits with the expert and rinse and repeat with more experts or the same expert and different topics.
Q. I have a friend and fellow marketer who’s continually writing posts for other people’s blogs. I think she’s foolish because she’s giving away her valuable info on other blogs instead of using it on her own to boost her standing in the search engines. She says it’s worth it because she’s getting new prospects through her guest posts. Who’s right?
A. You both are correct, to a degree. While it’s true that placing her best content on her own blog may help to get her site ranking in the search engines, SEO is always a gamble. On the other hand, guest posting on popular blogs practically guarantees exposure to new prospects as well as new alliances with the blog owners.
When your friend guest posts, she’s hopefully targeting blogs that already receive plenty of traffic interested in her particular niche. This will help her to gain exposure to new audiences and get her endorsed by leaders in her field (the blog owners).
Q. I’ve contacted blog owners about being a guest blogger for them, but because I’m new in the niche I don’t get much response. What can I do?
A. Begin by posting repeatedly in their comments section. Join in the conversation, add relevant comments, ask good questions and answer other people’s questions. Hyperlink your name to your website to get new visitors (this is automatic when you fill out the comment form – just be sure to fill out the website URL box as well as your name, and your name will become a hyperlink to your URL.)
Use a catchy, memorable photo on all of your posts. Register your email address along with your photo at: en.gravatar.com
By taking part in the community, the blog owner will likely notice you and will be far more receptive next time you offer to do a blog post. In addition, visitors to the blog will also begin to recognize you and visit your blog as well.
Q. I write a newsletter, but lately I get the feeling that no one is reading it. What am I doing wrong?
A. You may need to get back in touch with your market to find out what it is they want to know. Go to forums and watch social media to find out what they’re talking about and especially what they’re asking. Ideally you should be answering their questions and helping to solve their problems, because when you do that they will read every word of your newsletter.
Q. I HATE writing headlines and subject lines, and I don’t like using headline templates. Any ideas?
A. Interestingly enough, your best headline is often buried inside your copy or your email. You already know all the best selling points about your product, how best to present it, who your target market is, and how to craft the best call to action. So forget the headline, write your copy or email, and then go back and reread what you just wrote. Oftentimes you’ll find your jewel of a headline right there inside your copy, just waiting for you to pluck it out and place it at the top.