As our society moves further into the digital age, more of the income from businesses will come from sales online. Every year, we see sales shift from physical stores to the websites of companies, and online business. There is a tremendous opportunity.
While the opportunity is there, so is the competition from many other entrepreneurs who are trying to reach the same people. There’s a lot of noise online from self-appointed experts claiming they know how to write copy that converts. You’ve probably seen a Facebook ad or two that makes crazy claims of success.
There is a way to grow and build a thriving online business despite the competition. It starts with making smart choices. There are four dumb mistakes even those who are smart make without even realizing it. These mistakes could be keeping you from growing your business and reaching your goals.
1. Focusing too much on the “busy work.”
There are many components and things that need to be done to build an online business, or the online part of your business. It’s easy to get stuck on what I call the “busy work.” The busy work can be things like:
- Always making changes or adding different things to your website.
- Spending too much time on social media marketing.
- Constantly checking your stats and getting caught up in what they mean.
All of these things are necessary for building an online business, but only in moderation — there has to be a balance. Most of your focus online should be to build a loyal and engaged audience. You can have the best website in the world, but if no one sees it, you won’t make money. Focus on the things that build your audience instead of the busy work.
Related: Stop Wasting Time, Especially When It Comes to Social Media
2. Chasing what’s hot at the moment.
As I write this, Blab, Periscope, and Facebook Mentions are currently the new “must use” tools/strategies. In six months, who knows what will be the new hot thing. The point is, there will always be some new shiny object that people will say you need to use to grow your business.
They may or may not help your business, and that’s the point. You should know what would help you where you are in your building efforts. This has to be about what’s right for you, not what’s hot. Chasing what’s trending will have you busy, but broke.
3. Not planning content and promotions.
A lot of websites post content based off of what’s on their mind or what’s popular. This is a bad strategy. A good content strategy starts with what promotions you will be having. The content is then designed to answer questions and demonstrate value in a way that makes your leads want to buy into the promotion when it’s offered.
One example. Let’s say you’re in the relationship space and have a course that helps couples. You plan to offer this course in February. Your content in January should be helpful tips, tricks and advice for couples. At the end of January, you simply let your audience know you’re offering more extensive help in your course. The content you created led to the course. This isn’t to say you’ll never cover a trending topic, but you have a definite plan that leads to income for your business.
Related: 5 Tips to Creating a Successful Content-Marketing Campaign
4. Chasing after people who aren’t interested and won’t be.
Facebook groups are a valuable resource for entrepreneurs. Groups are your chance to connect with your audience in an intimate way. One thing you notice in Facebook groups is the people who use the group as an attempt to get new business. They’re constantly posting sales pitches that get ignored because they look desperate. You also see this a lot through email — the cold pitches that are so far off it’s an easy delete.
It works the same way with any of your marketing efforts made to people who aren’t interested and probably never will be. Go where your audience is and where they spend money. Get exposure in mainstream publications, such as Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, and so on. Instead of chasing the same audience as everyone else, chase the millions who read these publications every day.
It took eight months before I made real money in my online business. I spent too much time on the busy work and chasing what was popular in my niche. I wasted the one resource I can never recover: my time. Once I shifted my focus, I was able to grow my business. Today, I’m in love with writing, speaking all over the world and consulting entrepreneurs/companies.
If you are making any of these mistakes, make a shift. When you focus on making connections and building trust online, you will stand out from all the others shouting for attention. Being different is the secret to reaching people and building a business you cherish.