For the small business, the internet is one of the greatest advantages you have. It creates a more level playing field with the larger companies who have a big fat advertising and marketing budget. For a much smaller cost in time and money, an entrepreneur can practically get the same results online as a much larger business.
In this article, we’ll discuss a simple four-step process that anyone can use to create a money-making system on the web. This will work for big business, small business, or even a single entrepreneur looking to sell his or her skills or products.
This is not one of those get rich quick schemes. When we say system, we’re not talking about something you have to buy. This is a system or a tactic with four associated strategies to create a website that makes you money. This will give you the foundation to succeed online. After reading this, you will either want to do more research to get more detailed information and / or you will want to consult with an internet marketing professional to plan your specific campaign.
Step 1 – Prepare your Website
Before you can begin turning your company website into a money maker, you have to have one. If you have one, you have to prepare it for your campaign. Keep in mind that when we speak here about your website making you money, this does not necessarily mean an online store. Your website may not, in and of itself, be a point of sale. But it can be the key that unlocks a sale, or anything in between.
There are several main things you will want your website to do or to have in order to be prepared. The first of these is that your site must actually be well-planned and well-constructed. It should be fast-loading, easy to navigate and clear in its intentions and what it has to say. When people arrive, they should be able to figure out almost instantly who you are, what you’re about and what value they’ll get out of being there.
The second thing you need to do is optimize your site for the search engines. You’ve probably heard the term SEO, well this is what it means. The site’s key elements must be set up for maximum search ability. Your content must also be keyword rich while at the same time being reader friendly. This is very important. After all, there is no point in driving traffic to your website if when they get there it’s filled with gibberish. SEO is a critical component in your online marketing efforts and should not be overlooked. We’re fond of saying that it’s not the whole picture, but SEO is certainly an important piece of the puzzle.
The third part of this step is to make sure that your website offers something of value. This goes beyond the obvious offering of your product or service. The site should also contain relevant information, video or articles on the product or service. You can also add interactive features that allow the visitor to connect with you whether they are ready to buy or not. You might have a newsletter, free opt-in offer, links to resources and so on. Give them multiple ways to connect with you and for you to get them into an email list.
Step 2 – Set up Off-site Accounts
This is where you will branch out into the cyber jungle. In today’s market, it’s not enough to just put up a website. The days of thinking that if you build it, they will come are long gone. You must spread yourself out a little.
There is a dizzying array of options here, so let’s keep it simple. For beginners, pick four main off-site locations to set yourself up. This can vary depending on what you do, but a good start might be a Facebook page, A LinkedIn account, a YouTube channel and a blog. Just these four will give you a pretty good start, and certainly give you or your internet marketer plenty to manage.
There are a few things to keep in mind when setting these accounts up. First, make sure that they contain both personal as well as business information. People connect more with individuals than faceless companies. Set yourself up as the face of ABC industries. Ensure that each of these accounts has a working link back to your website, and to each other. This is critical. Make sure that all information is up to date and accurate as well.
You will use these accounts to promote yourself, post updates, new information, third-party information and communicate with your networks. Also make sure that once set up, your website has clear links back to these accounts as well.
Step 3 – Content marketing
Here is where you or your marketer will begin to publish content on the web that will be linked back to you. This is a huge benefit because it provides quality back links, which helps your search rankings and drives traffic. Publishing content is also another area where SEO must be used. Remember, if something can be searched, it can be optimized.
Here is a brief list of some effective content marketing strategies:
Articles: write and publish informative articles that are related to what you do. Create at least three or four variations of each so that you can publish them on different article directories. This increases the amount of content out there to be searched while keeping it unique.
Blog: write frequent posts in your blog. Remember to promptly respond to comments and other posts.
Videos: use your YouTube channel. Create a series of how to or educational videos about you and your business that give real value to the viewer and that drive traffic back to you.
Post free ads: There are dozens of free advertising sites. Make use of them and put up ads to your website, blogs, articles and more.
Guest blog: Go out there and write posts or comments on others’ blogs. This is a great way to increase your exposure and create more relevant links.
PPC’s: Don’t’ be afraid to do a little pay per click advertising. Even for a small amount of money, you can drive some good quality traffic to your sites, your blogs or wherever you want.
Step 4 – interact and Cross-promote
There is something important to keep in mind here. When you are promoting yourself, be careful to keep a balance between direct self-promotion and independent information that is relevant. You’re not just going for a hard sell. You want to build a reputation of authority.
It is in this step where you will actively participate online to promote yourself and your information. This is where you will post on your Facebook, interact with the community on YouTube, create connections on LinkedIn and write for your blog. But as stated, go about this carefully. Use the 80/20 rule. This means that the majority of the time, your posts and information is not directly related to pushing your products and services. Save that for the twenty percent.
One good way to interact is to join one or two discussion forums that relate to what you do. After a short time, they will allow you to post links and even create a profile with a link back to your websites. This is a great opportunity to network and build a community because you can easily become a source of answers to others’ questions.
Use everything you’ve created including your website, your social media, your YouTube, your blogs, your forums and link each of these to each other as well as your website. This is how you build a huge spider web of relevant sites around yours, and vastly improve your search rankings, website traffic and conversion rates.
Yes, we did blow through this pretty fast. In each of these steps, there is certainly a lot of detail that needs to be understood. But with this simple step by step framework, you can create a system of success for yourself, your website and your company. It’s going to be some work and certainly will require an investment of time and possibly money. In the long run, however, the amount of success you will generate will be worth it. Remember that most of the things mentioned here build upon themselves and increase all on their own. After a time, your systems will pump a steady stream of visitors and income into your business.