Online businesses are rapidly growing in popularity both among newbies and among established entrepreneurs. The reasons for this are fairly simple - low investment, potentially high returns, and excellent scalability. An online business can easily start as a one-person show, and end up being a global enterprise.
What, then, are the steps that lead people towards success - simple steps that the others miss out on?
1. Brand creation. Names like Microsoft, Nike and Louis Vuitton pass our lips easily today, without a thought about how they reached the pedestals they are on right now. Building that brand, however, takes hard work. Building a brand means going all out with your unique sales pitch, and making your name heard among the thousands of others clamoring for attention. As the name continues to be repeated in people's eyes and ears, they will grow to recognize it. The day your company's name becomes enough identification, you know you have built your brand. Ad campaigns of several types can also help you popularize your brand - pay-per-click, affiliate marketing, direct marketing and what have you.
2. Support and trust. People like to know that others are looking out for them, even though this may not always be true. Once you have enticed people into dealing with your company, you have to keep them coming back for more. Punctuality, honesty, discounts/freebies and a cordial manner are essential for building rapport, while the cutting edge can only be gained by reading the customer's mind and anticipating his/her wishes.
3. Making yourself visible. Setting up a website and sitting on it won't get you anywhere online. As soon as you launch your primary web page, you must begin to popularize it. Search engine optimization will only go so far here. You will need backlinks, which you can generate yourself from multiple article directories and blog comments. In addition, use your social networking skills on social media such as twitter, facebook, linkedin and such services. Social bookmarking and a well-maintained blog will also get you added visibility on the Internet.
4. Building community. The core of any business is a set of loyal clients. Even if you manufacture products which last for a very long time, your core group of initial clients will continue to tell new people about the product, and encourage them to buy it. So cultivate your initial customers, and encourage them to get you more business. In fact, you can even involve them in affiliate programs - a method of advertising that still carries some value, as most people only allow affiliate links to products they recommend anyway.
5. Top-notch sales copy. In the end, all your marketing efforts lead people to one page - your sales page. No wonder copywriters are paid astronomical amounts - they have to sharpen their skills to a knife-edge, to generate sales from readers who are growing increasingly clever and wary about purchases.