There are dozens of ways to make money online. You can become an Amazon Seller, you can earn advertising dollars through your blog, you can sell products through your own ecommerce site or an online market, and you can monetize your skills to become an internet-based freelancer. That’s only a few of your options. Unfortunately, there are also many potential mistakes that can limit your success.
Here are ten mistakes that are particularly important to avoid in online business –
1. Failing to Research What Others Have Done
Let’s be honest. Chances are, whatever you’re doing to make money online isn’t 100% original. That’s okay. The key to making money online isn’t to do something that nobody else has done. It’s to create an opportunity within whatever market you are entering.
In order to do that, you have to research what others in your space have done. More importantly, you have to identify those important gaps where they have left needs unmet. Perhaps your predecessors have failed to target a particular demographic. Maybe they aren’t offering the range of products they should.
Do your research. Check out your competitors’ social media sites. What do their customers love best, and what do they complain about? Don’t forget consumer review sites either. When you learn how businesses are failing to satisfy customers, you also learn how you can succeed.
2. Selling And Marketing Based on Your Preferences
As a general rule, people are most successful when they do something they enjoy. On the other hand, it’s important to avoid self-indulgence. You have to be aware of what your customers want, and you have to provide that to them.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you’ve created an ecommerce site to sell cookbooks. Your particular passion is cookbooks created by local chefs, churches, and community organizations. That’s okay. However, unless your audience is equally passionate about these cookbooks, you won’t sell product. That might mean that you have to offer cookbooks from celebrity chefs that have high demand in addition to the cookbooks you enjoy.
3. Not Bringing in The Professionals When You Need Them
Your online business will be most successful when you focus on your talents and applying those to your company. For the rest, you are better off delegating tasks to the professionals who are best able to handle them. Don’t fracture your time, skills, or talents.
There’s another reason to bring in the professionals. You’re simply going to get results that work better and are more attractive. This is especially true when it comes to your website and the content you publish.
4. Monetizing Too Soon
Sometimes, it’s important to establish yourself before you monetize. If you have a blog or website dedicated to a certain interest or passion, this is especially true. Move too soon, and people may assume that you don’t really care about the subject of your blog or website, you just want to spam people.
Think of it from the customer’s point of view. They come to your website. They don’t see many blog posts, images, or web content. You also don’t have many followers. What they do see is links to advertisers. They see pop up ads hawking whatever you’re trying to sell.
If you haven’t established yourself, if you haven’t developed an audience, why should people spend money on your affiliate products or even what you’ve offered for sale? Establish trust and thought leadership before you start selling products.
5. Failing to Optimize Your Blog or Website
Your website should be easy for your customers to find, and easy for them to navigate once they arrive. This begins with optimizing your site for SEO by providing great, original, and visual content. You can also optimize by ensuring that your site is mobile friendly.
There are also other things you can do. You can publish new content frequently. You can link to your own content from within your posts, and you can work to earn links from others. You can also take technical steps such as optimizing the images on your website and blog.
6. Forgetting to Follow up With Customers
When should you follow up with customers? Basically, anytime a customer or potential customer has interacted with your brand in any way, they deserve some sort of follow up. If they review your company online, respond to them. If they comment on a social media post, at the very least like that post. When a customer makes a purchase, follow that up with as personal a thank you as is reasonably possible.
Don’t pass up other opportunities to follow up and connect with customers and those who are interested. Find discussion groups on Facebook, participate in trending topics on twitter that are related to your industry, Take a look at Quora and other question and answer sites as well. Finally, keep track of customer shopping carts. Reminding a customer that they have an abandoned shopping cart, and asking if they need help or offering an incentive to close the sale can really have a positive impact, even if only a fraction of the customers respond.
7. Not Using Social Media to Your Advantage
Sadly, many online business owners do themselves more harm than good when it comes to social media. Worse, some of them do not participate at all.. That’s a shame because something like keeping and updating a blog a couple times a week, publishing pictures on Instagram, and sharing updates about your business are all great ways to drive traffic to your website and increase your online footprint.
8. Dishonest or Disingenuous Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a legitimate and effective way to earn money online. However, your approach is very important. First, you must be careful to select an affiliate program that is reputable and that offers products and services that your audience is interested in. Once you’ve done that, you must also decide how you’re going to share your affiliate links.
Some bloggers will incorporate those links into their content. This works well, if that can be done naturally. When it’s forced, and links aren’t relevant to your content that’s a real turn off. Other bloggers simply include affiliate links on their web pages, similar to advertisements.
Whatever affiliate program you choose or how you choose to display those links, keep one thing in mind. Always be upfront that a product you are promoting and links that you are sharing is part of an affiliate program.
9. Ignoring Your Passions
There are people who can successfully run online businesses strictly as a means to make money. They’ll start a website or blog selling whatever they believe will make money, they’ll monetize it, and will operate it until it’s time to flip it or move onto the next enterprise. However, most people aren’t like that. For most, starting an online business grows from a passion.
Unfortunately, as businesses grow, it can be easy to get caught up in the daily operations of it all and forget why you launched in the first place. Remember that part of your appeal to your target audience is your passion for and knowledge of your products or services. Take time to stay on top of trends in your industry and explore new products. That will enable you to keep your customers interested with new products and up to date content and insights.
10. Having a Weak Infrastructure
Your online business is only going to be successful if it can hold up under the demands of your customers. That means your networks, servers, hosting, etc. must all be robust enough to handle traffic and service demands. You must also have adequate human resources such as customer support agents.
Imagine introducing a new product line or holding a sales event. You successfully get the word out, and customers start placing orders. Then, your website slows down to crawl. After that, it stops working entirely. Now you’ve got frustrated customers and you’re missing out on revenue. Stay on top of system maintenance, and be sure your hosting provider can handle the demands of your business.
You have so many options available to you when it comes to earning money online. Do things the right way, and you can create profitability and growth. By avoiding the ten potential pitfalls listed above, you can better ensure your future success.