Thursday, July 12, 2012

Your Online Business: The 10 Most Important Questions

It has been said that over 90% of small businesses fail within the first five years of getting started.

I can tell you from experience that the first five years can be very tough if you are underfunded and are new to what you are doing.

When I started online I had $14 to my name and a burning desire to make a living online. But I was new to online business and that made things very hard.

Fortunately for me (sounds odd to say it that way) I was so sick that all I had was time. If I was awake I was working. Thankfully, we made it into the 10%

How can you put yourself in the 10% who make it and avoid being in the 90%?

I believe one factor is to ask better questions before you start your online business.

I strongly believe that most people start a business (especially online) without really having enough facts to make that move. It's incredibly easy to buy a product on impulse and think that the act of purchasing has put you into a business.

We have all been there. I have... many times!

The reality is often different. Buying a product can be very casual. If you ask anyone who has succeeded in business, from Apple to your favorite online teacher, you will discover that it takes much more than one purchase to build a real business.

    Here are the questions I would ask if I knew what I know now and were starting over.

1. Who is my ideal customer?

Knowing who your ideal customer is is vital to your success. After all, just as you can't hit a target you cannot see you will be hard-pressed to make sales unless you can identify your perfect customer.

Here are a few questions to ask about your ideal prospective customer.

    Are they a man or woman, or does sex not matter?
    Do they need to be in a certain income bracket?
    Is it important that they have, or don't have, children?
    Is location important? Will you be selling a location-specific product or a language-specific offer?
    Does age matter?

These are just a few examples. The more you know your prospects, the better job you will be able to do with your marketing.

And success in business is mostly about marketing, especially online. Great marketing can sell even marginally good products. Poor marketing would fail to sell the fountain of youth.

2. What do they want?

Notice this because it matters... a lot. I said what do they want, not what do they need.

The #1 lesson I learned in my many years of sales training was this - people buy with emotion and justify their choice with logic.

Most of what people buy is based on what they want, can afford, and fits their self-image.

3. What do they need?

Knowing both what your customer needs and wants is vital. This will help you tailor your sales message, inform your decision about advertising resources and more.

If you really think about needs vs. wants you will find that your product is almost certainly one that people want, not one they need.

Selling to needs and selling to wants is much different, so please take time to think this one through.

4. What are they being offered now?

Once you know who your ideal prospect is, and what product you intend to promote to them, it's time to do some market research.

Just do some searching on Google as you think your customer would do. Then visit some sites (I usually visit 100 or more) and see what they are offering.

HOT TIP: Make notes of the URLs in Evernote (or bookmark them) as you go. You will want to revisit some of these sites later to see what sales approach they are using.

Ignoring what your competitors are doing is bad business. Copying what your competitors are doing is bad business too.

No comments:

Post a Comment