10 Ways to Successful Online Start-Ups

    After years of study and start-ups of my own, I’m convinced this is the best, solid way to start an online business and make it succeed long-term. Let me know what you think…

    1). It starts with ideas…
    Start a list! Formulate your product/service business ideas. Subjects you know about or like. Then turn them into an affiliated keywords list (start broad; search engine head terms).

    2). Find demand.
    Test your keyword list in SEO Book tools (e.g., Google AdWords keyword tool) and other keyword analysis tools (e.g., iSpionage.com) to identify top keywords in demand. Ask yourself the question – is this content-in-demand merely for web user trivia and curiosity, or actual desire for services? For example, we search for different desires and use different search terms in Wikipedia or WebMD than we do on Angie’s List.

    3). Competition, Competition, Competition.
    Some of the same aforementioned tools will also indicate other websites currently capitalizing on the keywords from your research. You can do a deep dive; research competitive sites more in depth from the same tools and search results. What are these competitors’ positioning, target messaging and audience? Remember that who we would often identify as primary business competitors are not necessarily heavy online competitors (based on content, keywords and digital presence).

    4). Be the Product.
    Now that you’ve done your research, what have you identified as a product or service in demand with low direct competition? Define your differentiated products/services in demand and your business plan to produce and offer them.

    5). Marketing Strategy and Plan.
    Now let your analysis and business idea drive your positioning, marketing presentation and messaging. What would be the best ways to promote your business for your budget and target audience? Construct your promotions funnel, incentivizations plan and calendar. Your marketing funnel will identify how you plan to build your brand awareness, and then convert consumers into sales and repeat- and up-sales.

    6). Promotional Pushes and Social Media Conversations.
    You’ve got your plan, now follow it! Send your promotions and connect to customer-audience online communities. Slowly but surely, without the hard sell, pull your customers into your marketing funnel and website. Set up customer info-capture landing pages (require info-capture for incentives) – now you have mail list opt-ins! Keep on talkin’ with them.

    7). How Ya Doin’?
    Provide great customer service and always ask customers how you’re doing. Ask customers survey questions that could crowdsource product upsell ideas. You can crowdsource questions in social sites and emails. Find out what your audience is seeking in your industry and how you can serve them better.

    8). Upsales and Affiliates.
    You can’t be everything to your market, but you can set-up convenient and profitable partnerships. Identify your best potential upsell and cross-sell products, plans and affiliate partnerships and put them to work for both of you! Share links and advertising on each others’ websites, event sponsorships and promotions, etc.

    9). Implement and test.

    Screenshot of Search3.com homepage

    Test, test, test. Measure, measure, measure. If you set up your plans and measurements tools correctly, it will be easy to see what works and what needs to change. Retain this visibility; this is your path to success!

    10). Do it all over again.
    Use the same principles above to keep your customers, convert them into your own word-of-mouth marketing team, and keep growing your business and offerings!

    Have a better method? Comment below and let me know what you think. Thanks to Mitch Meyerson’s book Mastering Online Marketing for inspiring this approach!

    Have thoughts on what you read or want discussion? Comment & connect!

    Jake Aull | zenofbrand.com | Websites, SEO, SocialMedia & Design 
    email | 404.259.5550 | @jakeaull | jakeaull.wordpress.com