How to Start a Business Online

kiThere is a proven sequence of steps you can follow to guarantee your success when you’re starting a small business online. I’ve seen thousands of people start and grow successful

businesses by doing the following:

  1. Find a need and fill it.
  2. Write copy that sells.
  3. Design and build an easy-to-use website.
  4. Use search engines to drive traffic to your site.
  5. Establish an expert reputation for yourself.
  6. Follow up with your customers and subscribers with e-mail.
  7. Increase your income through back-end sales and upselling.

Anyone, from newbie to seasoned online entrepreneur, can benefit from this process in learning how to start a business online.

Step 1: Find a need and fill it

Most people who are just starting out make the mistake of looking for a product first, and a market second.

To boost your chances of success, start with a market. The trick is to find a group of people who are searching for a solution to a problem, but not finding many results. The internet makes this kind of market research easy:

  • Visit online forums to see what questions people ask and what problems they’re trying to solve.
  • Do keyword
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New Feature Enables Etsy Sellers to Shoot and Edit Product Videos From Smartphones

Etsy has launched a new feature within its mobile app that guides sellers through the process of shooting, editing and publishing simple videos on their smartphones.

With it, the Brooklyn-based DIY-craft ecommerce site wants its sellers to make more videos showcasing the stories behind their products.

The Shop Videos feature on the Sell on Etsy mobile app officially launches today on iOS and Android phones and tablets. Sellers can also produce and edit videos externally and use the new feature to publish videos on their Etsy pages.

The release of the app comes as American adults are spending more and more time consuming video content online. Year by year, more and more of the video content being consumed is being watched on mobile devices, according to a 2015 report from digital marketing information agency eMarketer.

Etsy has seen 60 percent of traffic coming from mobile, according to a recent quarterly financial report. At the same time, the ecommerce platform acknowledges that not all of its 1.5 million sellers have access to expensive professional recording and editing video equipment.

The video editing software walks users through the process of filming short video segments, stitching those clips

It’s 2018 But Nearly Half of US Small Businesses Still Don’t Have a Website

20151020164526-small-business-owner-on-laptopFor some of us, that is: It may be 2018, but 46 percent of  U.S. small businesses still don’t have a website for their company, according to a report released by business-to-business research firm Clutch.

Of the more than 350 small businesses surveyed — the majority of which have less than 10 employees and less than $1 million in annual revenue — cost was listed as the second-most popular reason for not having an online presence. Lack of technical know-how and the need for upkeep were other popular reasons, while 12 percent said that they use social media in place of a static site.

The most popular justification for not having a website, however?

Nearly a third of surveyed respondents said that they didn’t have one because it wasn’t relevant to their business or their industry. That could be a problem. As Max Elman, the founder of Razorfrog Web Design, said in a statement released with the report:

“No matter what type of business you run, if you have customers, it’s necessary to have some sort

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7 Online Marketing Tools That Are Totally Worth the Investment

To do online marketing right, you’ve got to buy the right tools. But what tools are the “right tools”?

After all, some tools are free. Some tools are really complicated. Some are insanely expensive. The point being that with marketing tools, it’s hard to make the right decision.

There are so many alternatives available, and if you haven’t had the chance to experiment with different ones, choosing with confidence becomes especially difficult.

The following list should help. I created it for the agency marketer who’s “trying to do it all.” For the entrepreneur who’s “trying to get her business off the ground.” For the experienced digital marketer who “wants to improve his game.”

Consider this your online marketing-tool cheat sheet — one that can help you skyrocket your marketing.

1. Email marketing (and more): InfusionSoft

What it does: InfusionSoft is a bit on the pricey side, but it’s a powerful tool. Its best features are its automation features, which make it insanely effective for marketing campaigns. My delivery rates with InfusionSoft have been excellent!

How much it costs: InfusionSoft is a powerful yet costly email marketing tool. A one-time startup fee of around $2,000 will get you set up. Thereafter, fees range from

6 Steps to Branding Your Business

Starting a business presents a unique set of problems, but branding that company in a way that appeals to the masses oftentimes presents an even bigger and more challenging proposition. That is why, Jim Signorelli, founder and CEO of marketing firm ESW Partners, has created a six-step process that businesses with hundreds or dozens of employees can follow to help strengthen their brand identity.

While branding is often associated with large corporations and pricey advertising agencies, the truth is that companies of all sizes have a brand and can benefit from telling their story.  According to Signorelli, the process to telling this story and identifying the brand is as simple as telling a story.

“The brand is substituted for the main character who is described as having functional capabilities and is additionally infused with values and beliefs that resonate with audiences,” Signorelli said. “In all cases, the brand’s ultimate goal, apart from increasing sales and profits, is to influence a relationship with the prospect.”

Step One: Collect the Back Story: Successful brand stories must start by gathering relevant information, which includes an assessment of the brand’s culture and the problems and opportunities it faces with competition in the marketplace.

Step Two: Characterize

9 Steps for Sticking With Your Marketing Plan

In The Marketing Plan Handbook, author Robert W. Bly explains how you can develop big-picture marketing plans for pennies on the dollar with his 12-step marketing plan. In this edited excerpt, Bly explains the nine steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the most out of your marketing plan.

Consistency is important when you’re trying to implement a long-term marketng plan, so resist the temptation to abandon a strategy if it doesn’t work immediately. Give it time to work. These nine steps can help you make the most of your well-crafted plan:

  1. Every day, be renewed by your vision. Your mind can be your greatest asset or your most tiring obstacle. So begin your day by renewing your mind with the clarifying power of your vision. When W. Clement Stone and Earl Nightingale both said, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve,” they knew these were far more than simple words on a page. There simply is no substitute for the power of belief. When you believe, obstacles that would throw your entire day into chaos suddenly become bleeps that you just intuitively know how to solve

10 Business Lessons I Learned Studying My Competition

Our competition isn’t just there to beat. They can also teach us how to get better at what we are doing so that we can beat them at their own game. I see my competition as a bar set for me to jump over.

In the business world, anything goes. While some people like to think of scoping out and spying on the competition as a bad thing, I love looking at everything they are doing through a spy glass. This gives me insights into what’s working and I should focus my time on and what isn’t working and I shouldn’t waste my time.

Here’s what my competition is teaching me about productivity across various aspects of their company that’s helping change my business for the better:

1. Content.

While I never copy my competition’s content, I read what they have, if they use a call to action, how they approach what is shared and how often they update their content.

Look to see if your competition is using video, infographics or some other type of content that resonates with your shared audience. It’s also good to know where they are sharing this content to see if there are any places I’m missing opportunities to add or

4 Rookie Errors That Stunt Your Online Business

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

The 6 Best Ecommerce Platforms for Small Businesses

If you were to track the rise of ecommerce in today’s business landscape, you’d have to go back to the dot com crash of 2000. Despite a tanking economy, the businesses that survived the crash quickly started adapting their selling methods, because, even with an economy going down the drain, it was clear that the Internet would hold the key to the future of sales.

Fast forward to 2015 and the U.S. Census Bureau releasing a report on the dollar amount of ecommerce sales that took place within the first quarter of the year — the total amount was 80.3 Billion — and it’s clear to see that ecommerce is only getting stronger. Today’s consumer has time management and convenience on their mind when it comes to purchasing those sweet luxury or necessity items that you’re marketing to them. But, to be on your A-game, you have to be using the right platform to maximize your sales potential.

Related: The Top 5 Reasons You Should Start an Ecommerce Business

Whether you’re struggling to create a pre-ordering option within your current ecommerce marketplace, or you’re anxious to find out how your warehousing setup will interact with your online store, there

5 Steps to Start an Online Business and Living a Much Better Life

As you’re reading this, customers all over the world are spending millions of dollars online. It’s estimated that 2.5 billion people log onto the Internet every day. We live in the Information Age, which has created new opportunities to start or build a business using the power and reach of the Internet.

While the opportunity is there, so is the competition. You can Google any topic and find at least a few entrepreneurs who are serving the market related to that topic. Whether you are growing an existing business through the Internet or starting an online business, you will have to stand out to thrive.

The Internet offers you the opportunity to create a business you love around the lifestyle you want. Operating a business that generates income from anywhere in the world no longer a fantasy. In fact, I’m writing this article on a flight from Maui to Panama. My business is making money as I fly. Here are five steps to create a profitable and successful online business.

1. Pick a profitable topic.

Choosing a topic is a hard enough task on its own. Making sure it’s profitable is where some entrepreneurs sabotage their chances. To create a business your customers have to