5 Questions To Ask Before Starting Your Own Online Business

When you start your own online business you have the potential to reach customers from all over the world, around the clock, every day of the year. But the internet is a competitive environment and there are a several questions that you need to ask yourself before you jump in.

1. Why Do You Want To Start Your Own Online Business In The First Place?

You may want to start your own online business purely for the income that you hope it will generate. But the internet is not a way to get rich quick. It will involve work, time and resources before you see any return. Keep in mind that a business only becomes successful on account of its customers and if you don’t offer your customers any value, they won’t buy from you.

2. What Type Of Business Will You Start?

There are various business alternatives when you start your own online business. For example, you may choose to create your own products or you may prefer to sell other peoples’ products who will pay you commissions on your sales. You might sell tangible products that are delivered to the customer’s door or digital products that a customer can immediately download to their computer.

3. Who Are Your Target Audience?

You need to be aware of your target audience. Focusing in on a target audience is something that you can dig into even deeper by developing a particular specialized niche or sub-niche. In doing this, you will be sure that you have targeted on a particular need for a specific customer.

4. Do You Have An Action Plan?

Establishing objectives and measuring them is crucial when starting your own online business. Put a plan into action, but give yourself flexibility to develop on that original plan. Be certain that you know if there is sufficient demand for the product or service you are offering or will be just another internet business offering the same old thing?

5. How Much Time And Money Are You Prepared To Spend?

Ask yourself how much time and money you are prepared to commit to your new online business. You can’t expect to spend minimal time and money and get a huge return. Even though the costs of starting your own online business are less than starting a traditional ‘offline’ business, you will need to set aside a budget for important software and your marketing and advertising.

Affiliate Marketing Tips For a Successful Lucrative Business

Affiliate marketing can be a very profitable business if you know how to do it right. Like in many other fields, experience will form the skill. Keep in mind, learning by trial and error could end up costing you a lot of money, so it is better to also learn from others, in order to avoid throwing money down the drain.

The number one piece of advice I can give you is to choose your affiliate offers wisely. It is essential, in order for you to be successful, to promote a great product that people want and appreciate. If you promote questionable products from no-name companies, chances are, you will only end up failing and form yourself with the wrong belief that affiliate marketing is only a scam and it does not work. That is absolutely wrong. Done properly, affiliate marketing is definitely a very honest business that can be extremely lucrative.

If you have somewhat of a budget to start with and you need to make some money fast, you will most likely need to do some paid advertising. If you decide to go with PPC, always estimate extremely well how much you can afford to bid on keywords in order to be able to make money at the end of the day. For example if you spend $100 to make $99, you have already lost the game. PPC is both an art and a precise science. Do not disregard either of these two aspects.

The art is to locate those keywords that have high volume of searches all year-round and not much competition. This is a great way to be able to lower your bids and make decent profits. If a keyword is extremely competitive, it will be exceedingly hard for you to master it and make money. The reason for this, is that the big sharks in this business definitely have better affiliate deals than you do, so they are better able to afford to bid more and still make profits. This is how affiliate programs work: the big money makers will always be rewarded will a few additional bonuses and benefits because every vendor desires to have motivated and competent affiliates who can make their business prosper.

If you are new to affiliate marketing, you might want to start small and concentrate all your efforts on SEO instead of starting with PPC. SEO takes more time, but it can be much less expensive, so you decrease the damage in case you are not very successful with it. At any rate, as a rule of thumb, sidebar banners convert worse volume and you most likely will not make much money at all from your banners. Reviews of products and services are the best converters. This can be difficult, however, because customers are pretty smart. You need to write your reviews as if you have used and enjoy the product and now you want to share that experience with others.

You might have a better chance of finding success in the early stages of your affiliate marketing venture if you can indeed try all the products which you choose to endorse. People can really feel when you are speaking from your own experience. Not to mention, if you actually own and use the products, you will have the chance to take pictures and put together original articles full of relevant images. This is a great way to attract people to buy the products you are marketing, thus making you a commission.

Use the information in this article to better help you become successful with your affiliate marketing efforts. If you can avoid wasting money from the start you will be further ahead then most.

Important Marketing Strategies For Small Scale Enterprises

With the advent of science and technology, there has been massive industrialization in different countries of the world. Population boom in the major countries of the world has also increased demand for goods and services offering greater business opportunities to commercial enterprises. But there are so many business organizations, that unless potent marketing strategies are followed, it will be difficult for an individual organization to survive. Some of the most prominent promotional policies are:

Placing Exhibition Stands – Using exhibition stands is one of the earliest ways of marketing goods and services. This process is generally followed at trade fairs. The basic idea is to capture the imagination of the customers through captivating colors, designs and messages. This business strategy can also be used during the launch of new products or services. Some times free gifts are given to visitors to earn their goodwill and arouse their interest in the products and services of the company.

Social media promotion – For a small business entrepreneur social media is an absolute boon. It has got unlimited potential and is not affected by geographical restrictions. Through social media, a business enterprise can reach a large number of prospective customers. This can be done without even making any significant investment. All you need to do is to open your account on various social media websites. You have to then make regular updates regarding your products and services. You can also specify latest product launches or new discounts offered to customers.

Reference marketing – This is one form of marketing which can be extremely useful for a small scale enterprise. As the owner of a business enterprise, you can ask your friends, relatives etc. to spread knowledge about your products and services in the concerned market segment. By effectively using this form of marketing, a new start up can acquire a lot of customers. The old customers can also be used for referral marketing. A business entrepreneur can persuade his old customers to spread knowledge regarding their services in their social or professional circle.

Door to door marketing – Suppose, you have opened a new restaurant at a locality. Then it is obvious,it will take some time for the people of that locality to know about your restaurant. But if you can assign your employees the task of distributing pamphlets containing information related to your products and the special discounts which you have for your customers, then you might see many visitors in your restaurant.

The Future of eCommerce Business in Sri Lanka

eCommerce is not new to the world but it is relatively new to Sri Lanka. There have been the global players of the eCommerce market who have been serving the needs of a few Sri Lankan people, but that was not enough. The need of the people, the vacuum existed in the market and some skilled businessmen made it possible for the eCommerce business to emerge in the country. The local players are still at their beginning stage.

Considering the world market for eCommerce , the Sri Lankan market is pretty small. This is one of the major facts that are in favor of the local players. If it were something like the Indian market with several millions of customers for eCommerce , the local players would have been taken away by the international players. However, the fact is that the Sri Lankan eCommerce market is still considered by many international players.

It is well recognized by the Sri Lankan companies that the future of Sri Lankan eCommerce business is very positive and hopeful. Some people at the higher management levels from these companies think that it is only a tip of the iceberg now. There is much to be experienced in the future.

It is quite true that the market has not been reached by the local players. In fact not even five percent of the market has been reached by all local players combined. Within the reached market, around ten percent is covered by the international players. What this means is that although the international companies are not giving considerable effort to keep targeting the Sri Lankan market, they still have an impact on it. One reason for this trend might be the spreading of Sri Lankans who live all around the world. These people have a worldwide presence so that makes them to order products through internationally known eCommerce businesses to be sent to their friends and family back in Sri Lanka. This in turn gives exposure to the locally residing people who then start continuing.

Sri Lanka is one of the developing countries in Asia. Especially the post conflict conditions have favored businesses to hype in an exponential rate of growth. If you had visited Sri Lanka within the past two years, you could have witnessed new building projects everywhere; specially in the capital city, Colombo.

People are moving from a third world status to a more advanced status. The lifestyles of people are changing dramatically. For a country that was affected by internal conflicts for over half a century, the literacy rate is surprisingly high at 92 percent. This is another important factor that makes eCommerce more than possible. These people are moving towards a more technologically advanced lifestyle. Also the global impact of technology has made it possible for people to carry the entire internet literally in their hands. People can just place an order online from their phone while they are travelling. Someone might not be wealthy enough to own a car in this country but they still place an order while travelling in a public transportation bus.

One of the other major reasons why eCommerce is going to skyrocket in Sri Lanka in the coming years is that the businesses of the country which have developed enough to contribute new products to the local market. There have been many restrictions in the last decade for imports. Now that the country has come out of the internal mess, the international businesses are more than welcome there. There have been many foreign business vendors who have placed their products in the market with quite a few successful business stories.

Sri Lanka does not have a greying population unlike most developed countries. This is another opportunity for the nation to adapt to new trends. It is relatively hard for elderly people to adapt to new trends. Youngsters are instinctively inclined towards adapting to new trends. Since the Sri Lankan population consists a larger proportion of youngsters, it is clearly visible that their fashion would change towards an eCommerce market than a traditional shopping place. This is already happening in the country, but not the eCommerce is not perfect yet.

The market has not been reached in full because most of the internal players are beginners and have no sufficient funds to meet a bigger portion of the market. Apart from the financial concerns, the local eCommerce businesses do not have enough experience to learn from and then adapt to new tactics. Despite lack of adaptation from the local eCommerce businesses, the customers do change their service providers. This is one of the indications that not all the customers are satisfied with just one such service provider. It is common for almost all Sri Lankan eCommerce businesses because they are indigenous and have no place to build a business model based upon. They cannot simply copy the international businesses and their business models because the conditions on the ground are not similar to what existed while the international players started their businesses.

It is a unique field where the first ones to enter the right position will harvest more than half of the potential eCommerce market in Sri Lanka. There will be not much competition between the first ranking service provider and the second ranking services provider. This is because of the smaller population of the country and the trust is mostly built by word of mouth in the culture. Once the first ranking service provider reaches the first rank; the people will spread the word.

It is a peak time now in Sri Lanka than ever before. As mentioned, the market was very open and was very much unattended in the past. Now the local players are starting to attend the market. In the process, the people are experiencing first hand and first time experience. This is very important that the service providers must retain their reputation. If a customer comes to an eCommerce business for the first time, and the first experience is not satisfactory then it is more likely that the customer will not turn to that particular provider again. So, the real competition between the local players now is not to build up their sale volumes, but to build up their reputation by fulfilling every single order to the highest of expectations from the customers.

Once the customer base is built, the sale volume will automatically take over. If the customer base is destroyed, then the effects will be long term. A not so satisfied customer will always be spreading the negative thoughts. We humans have a tendency to listen and to be worried about negative things. This will lead potential customers to turn away from the service providers.

The exponential growth of the eCommerce business will be there for a time until when there is nobody left who has never heard about eCommerce business. There are enough people in Sri Lanka that have no idea of what an eCommerce business is. It is these people who are the potential customers for the exponential growth. Once these people are all reached, the exponential growth will cease. Given the media, the campaigns run by the local eCommerce businesses and the population of Sri Lanka, this would continue up to the first quarter of 2017. That is the possible timeline when the exponential growth will cease.

After that time, it would be impossible to change the ratings of the service providers. Whoever leads at the time when the exponential growth ceases will remain the market leader. The reason is because even if the second leading provider made enough efforts, there will be no fresh customer base to support the growth. There would still be growth, but not an exponential one. It is now, that everyone in the eCommerce business should build up their reputation so that they become the leaders in two years and then remain so for almost ever.

10 Strategies to Market Your Book Online

There must be 101 ways to market your business book, and you don’t have to wait until you’ve finished it to start. Actually the earlier you begin to promote your book and tell people about it, the more motivated you will be to actually finish it!

There are too many people who wait until their publish date before they do any marketing. Then they wonder why they don’t have the right strategies in place to sell their book, and struggle to use it as an effective marketing tool to generate more clients and get more business.

If you don’t have an effective sales funnel in place, if you do sell your book, it won’t lead anywhere.
If you don’t have a community of people waiting for your book, then no-one is going to know that it exists.
If you just let it sit on Amazon and hope, then writing it will simply be a waste of your time.

Let me give you an overview of some of the online strategies that you can take at various stages of your book’s launch to market it online.

Book pre-launch

1. Tell people you are writing your book before you’ve even started. In the online world, this will probably be via social media or your newsletter list. There’s nothing like someone asking you how your book is going to get you focused. It’s also a great way to tell people how you’re getting on and get feedback from those who are interested in your business topic.

2. Get input from those you tell. Do a survey or find people to interview to get clear about what they want from your book. Some of my clients have found this to be a great way to build their community and reach more people than they may have done without the promise of a book.

3. When you’re clear on your message and what you’re sharing, use social media to share snippets and nuggets from your book and your blog to give some of the key messages. Canva is a great tool to create graphics to promote your book. Just make sure you include your web address with any of your tips.

4. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway!) that the message on your website needs to be congruent with the message in your book. But it’s also about building a community of people who love what you have to say. Make sure you have an effective lead magnet on your website that enables you to create a list of people interested in your services and your forthcoming book. This will help you to find people who are ready to buy from you. Ideally this lead magnet feeds into your book, thus creating a demand, or you could give away a chapter or two or your book, just like some of my clients.

5. Pre-sell your book via a squeezepage on your website. If you’re worried about generating income whilst writing the book, want to fund publishing, or want to create an immediate buzz, then sell your book now. This is a great way to bring in some income and it certainly gives you the incentive to get it finished.

Book launch

6. Once you’ve published your book, having an Amazon launch is a great way to create a frenzy. There are simple tricks that will help you to have the perfect launch. The secret is to get lots of people helping you to promote it on a particular day and give away great bonuses when people sign up. My first book reached #1 on Amazon by using the particular method that I share with my clients.

7. Even if you don’t do a full Amazon launch, you can tell your list how they can buy your book and a webinar is a great way to get people interested in your message. Sharing some of the key messages, stories and details will help them to buy into what you have to say.

8. Get some great online PR for your book. You can guest blog for complementary business owners, write an article for an online magazine, or share your story with the Huffington Post.

9. Who else do you know who can help you? Ask people or magazines to review your book for you and share with their readers, and also remember to request that people share these reviews on Amazon.

Book post-launch

10. The online marketing for your book is not finished once you’ve launched it. You can continue doing some of the strategies above and ongoing promotion might include webinars, interviews, podcasts, videos or masterclasses, commenting on forums where you can share your expertise, continuing to give great content to your list, and working with joint venture partners to get your message out to more people.

Repetition Is the Mother of Branding

Repetition in some contexts can be boring. Not so with your brand.

Repeating core attributes or strengths of what you offer is a necessity. Those core strengths are what create your brand. They help your prospective clients and customers to recognize you.

Your brand distinguishes you, sets you apart. The process of creating a brand is getting really clear about your or your business’ strengths, and repeating that message, over and over.

The more consistent you are, the more easily recognizable your brand becomes over time.

I know I used to be afraid of repeating myself too much. What if my prospective clients think I have nothing new to say, that I’m being boring, or that I am hammering a point to death. You might feel the same way!

In reality, people do not hang on every word that you say or write. Not surprising, right? People tune in for a bit, then go off to other things before (hopefully) coming back. When you offer great information, they’ll be back.

And each time they do come back, by repeating yourself, you increase the likelihood that they will hear the key points you want to make about the value that you offer.

We all learn by repetition. Marketing your product or service really is a form of teaching. It’s teaching clients and prospective clients or customers about the value of what you offer.

So going over the same point in different ways, over time, makes a significant impression. You want your message to stay with people, so you can deliver the awesome service or product that you are making available.

Repetition serves an additional purpose. It provides stability through consistency. People know what to expect from you, and that helps support them in making a buying decision.

Not only does repetition strengthen your branding message, it makes you more likeable to those automated search engine algorithms that determine your ranking in online searches.

Here’s an easy way to approach this whole branding idea: think of 5 words or phrases that highlight your best traits, your biggest strengths. Work from the perspective of your business offerings: what is the best of what you offer? These strengths form the core attributes of your brand.

Repeating those strengths will reinforce in people’s minds the essence of what you do, the heart of it.

So, on your website, include those keywords or phrases in the website copy, preferably in the titles as well as the text.

You can expand this key strength branding into other areas of your outreach.

When participating in social media, use your 5 core strengths repeatedly. Mention them in your profile/bio, your posts, and even in comments that you make on other people’s pages or profiles.

For example, in LinkedIn, you can reinforce your message and build up your brand by including your core strengths in your summary, your experience descriptions, your endorsements, and in any content that you add.

A big opportunity for brand-supporting repetition lies in any new content you produce, like blog posts. This content can be put to advantage by reusing and repurposing it for press releases or social media outlets. That also adds to your message consistency.

For example, take a sentence or two from a blog post and include it as a Facebook status update, or a Twitter tweet. That repetition helps put the key messages from your article out beyond the blogosphere into a bigger realm.

Leverage opportunities to reinforce your brand by making best use of what’s available.

One example: you get limited space to create your bio/profile in most social media tools. Use all of it! Repeating your core strengths in different ways will bring your message home.

Another option: in LinkedIn, you can expand your experience descriptions beyond the rote job title approach. Instead, break down your experience by the key strengths you’ve identified, or the functions that relate directly to them.

By repeating the essence of what you offer, your core strengths, you’re doing your clients, customers, and prospects an enormous favor. Make it easy on them. While they’ve been off doing other things, you can consistently create multiple opportunities for them to hear you.