The Online Marketing Myth
I think that many online marketers have done a disservice to new entrepreneurs by perpetuating the myth that online marketing is a great way to get rich quick.
Look around, there are plenty of so called push button systems out there promising instant riches, tons of traffic to your website and all with no work on your part. Most reasonable people know in their gut that if it sounds to good to be true it probably is but still many get swept away by the excitement and allure of easy money and waste a lot of time and money in the process.
Don’t get me wrong, I think an online business is a great idea and can be very lucrative, but I don’t think it is any easier than any other type of business. It does have certain advantages and for me the main ones are time and location freedom. It is just as easy to type a blog post at midnight as it is from 9-5 and anywhere your laptop is located can be your office.
Just realize that no matter what you may hear, running an online business is work, and actually getting it started is a lot of work. No more than any other business and in my experience it actually has quite a few parallels with the off line world. You need to build a community of people that are interested in your specialty ( A niche market is even more important online) and grow a relationship with them. If you focus on just making money, chances are you will burn out long before you are making enough to pay the bills.
My steps for building an online business are focused on using your passions and talents as fuel to get you over the initial hump of starting an online business. In the beginning, any new business venture is usually a lot of work for little financial reward, which means that you need to be doing something that fires you up so that when you feel like throwing in the towel and giving up it is not so hard to get motivated. At least for myself, if I am only motivating myself with money, it is hard to stay passionate about what I am doing.
Find A Niche You Are Passionate About
I know you are passionate about health and wellness, but you will need to narrow it down to a very specific target market if you want to succeed online. Many people have this chosen for them, usually through some health challenge they have or someone they love has had. Make sure it is something you can stay really interested in and focused on for at least a few years. Nobody says you can’t broaden your scope, but initially you need to focus on a very specific audience.
Do Keyword Research Before Anything Else
So many people get a great idea, build a website, create a product and then wonder why they can’t get anyone to find them online.
There are a few ways to get people to find you online, but targeted search engine traffic should be a cornerstone of your strategy. It takes awhile to master, but once you have your content on page 1 of Google for a decent search term, you WILL get traffic.
It is amazing the difference one letter can make when doing keyword research. Let take 2 search terms that someone whose target audience is people struggling with Diabetes might think of using.
Even if you got on page 1 of Google for the term “diabetes diets” you still wouldn’t get a lot of search engine traffic. This doesn’t mean this is a horrible keyword, and lower searched keyword terms are very useful for doing things like targeted blog posts, but you don’t want something like this as one of your main keywords.
Build Your Tribe
Whatever your niche is, they key to online marketing is to grow a community of people who are interested in what you are doing. Just writing a blog is not enough anymore. Social networking has made it easier to connect with people than ever before, but there is a catch. If you join a group or forum on places like Facebook or LinkedIn, you will find lots of people interested in your topic. Just going here and “selling” your services is not usually the best plan of attack.
People go to social networks to connect with others that have similar interests, not to be “sold”. Use these places to connect with people and be seen as an expert in your field. This is not an overnight plan, but over time you will be able to establish yourself as an authority.
Create Programs and Products That Your Niche Wants and Needs
While you are spending time in social networks becoming an “authority” in your field make sure to pay attention to what people are saying and what questions they are asking. It’s much easier to promote a program you create if it is something people want and need. Another important piece of this is don’t spend years creating the “perfect” program. When you get a great idea, go for it! If it is an online coaching program, try to find a few people who are interested and just do it.
I know I have fallen into the trap of having to have everything perfect before taking any action, which can become an endless cycle. Once you do an online program once, you will have the confidence and momentum to create something bigger. The best part of this strategy is that you can get paid to actually create your content. I’m not suggesting flying blind, but as you teach others, it will become more apparent what works and what doesn’t. Keep what works, and improve on the rest.
Taking your practice online is a wonderful way to grow your business, increase your freedom and get your message out to the world. It is not usually an overnight success, but if you do your research and create great programs that people want and need, you will succeed. I look forward to seeing what you create as you take your message online and positively affect a greater audience.
By Geoff Young