Powerful Strategies to Expand your Online Business
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” – Mae West
1. Email Marketing
Let’s face it. The only reason you are reading this is because of email marketing. Without it you and I would have lost contact long ago. Probably shortly after the first time you visited my blog.
Email marketing is the only reliable way to develop a long-term relationship with your followers. Unlike a social media following, an email list is something you own. It doesn’t depend on the whims of a social media platform.
For example, Facebook has been decreasing their “organic reach” for years now. (It has been reported that by 2016, organic reach was less than 2%.)
That means most people that follow/like you on Facebook will never see what you post on Facebook (unless you pay for their expensive ads and target your followers).
If you depend on third party services of any kind, it is like building your online business on a foundation of sand. It could shift and topple over at any time.
That doesn’t mean you should ignore these platforms, but it is better to use them to help build the assets you own. Assets that will survive when their rules change.
When done correctly, the two most valuable assets that you actually own and control are your blog and your email list. They go hand in hand. With email marketing, your blog is where people go to join your list.
This is more powerful than sending people from your blog directly to affiliate products using your affiliate links. Although that works, you only get one chance to benefit from that visitor.
With email marketing, you value starting a relationship with people over making an immediate sale. You can help people more, and introduce them to more products over time. Done well, this can dramatically increase the lifetime value of each visitor to your blog.
You may have heard the saying: “the money is in the list”. It is true because your list is a direct connection with your followers.
As good as your blog may be, your past visitors won’t be visiting it every day, and perhaps never again.
Your email list is a way to contact all your past followers instantly with a single email. Once you have a few thousand people on your list, this is very powerful indeed.
Basic Elements of Email Marketing
- Lead Magnet – You probably joined my email list to get my 659 Profitable Niche Markets eBook. In email marketing terms, that eBook is a “Lead Magnet”. Nobody will join your list unless you give them a good reason to do so.
- Signup Forms and Squeeze pages – Signup forms can be integrated in your blog pages. When the signup form is on a page where the only option is to signup, this is referred to a squeeze page (e.g. there are no menu items or other links on a squeeze page)
- Auto-Responder Series – A series of emails that everyone joining your list gets automatically after joining (spaced out every few days depending on the schedule you setup). This mini course is an example of that. Use this for evergreen content that all new subscribers would benefit from no matter when they join your list.
- Broadcast Emails – Emails that you send out in real time to your list or a segment of your list. These are used for time-sensitive information. People that join your list after you send a broadcast email will not receive it.
- Email Marketing Platform – You simply cannot do this without an email marketing platform to handle all the details. For example, features like automated unsubscribe links at the bottom of every email you send are required, and not worth your time and trouble to create yourself, even if you are a computer programmer.
I have been using the AWeber email marketing platform for over 10 years now. They keep coming out with useful new features, and are well known for their award-winning training and support.
Below is an example of an AWeber signup form. Use it if you want to learn more about email marketing directly from AWeber specialists.
There is no better way to learn about email marketing than with a short email marketing course via email!
When joining any email list, be sure to check your “junk mail” folder (or equivalent) for the first email.
Then add that sender to your contacts. Some email services like Hotmail are very aggressive with their filtering of emails from unknown senders.
2. Get a jump-start with Email Marketing
The hard part with email marketing is coming up with the content to send people, and finding good affiliate products in profitable niche markets.
If you want a jump-start on all that, consider these done for you email marketing packages.
They include done for you graphics, websites, emails, and lead magnets. Recommended affiliate products in popular niche markets are included.
I purchased an earlier version of these packages when I was first starting out, and found them to be very helpful.
3. Creating your own Online Store
While affiliate marketing is what I focus on for all the reasons mentioned earlier in this mini course, there is no denying the many benefits that come with owning your own online ecommerce store.
The tools now exist to make this much easier than it was in the past. You don’t even need your own products to do this (see the section on Dropshipping with your own online store below).
One of the benefits is you can recruit affiliates to promote your products for you. This can be a very effective way to promote an online business. Since you only pay out commissions when sales are made, you make a profit for every dollar spent.
A downside of owning your own online store is the need to deal with customer service issues. That’s one of the reasons I prefer operating as an affiliate for other online stores.
However, if you are willing to do that, or hire people to do it for you, then owning your own store may be a good option for you. There is a tremendous upside if your online store is successful.
If you are just starting out, you may want to begin by creating an affiliate blog, as described in the earlier lessons.
Then, after you start gaining some traction, consider adding your own online store. It would be very easy to simply change the affiliate links on your blog to point to your own store instead (for similar products).
How to create an Online Store
If you go in this direction, look for software specifically designed for online store creation.
There is still a place for a WordPress blog with this strategy. It helps to drive visitors to your online store, and to connect with your customers.
However, a fit-for-purpose online store builder is a key element of owning your own online store.
An obvious choice is Shopify.
Shopify is an entire ecosystem dedicated to every aspect of online store building. Through their many partners and app developers, they leave no stone unturned.
For example, with just a few clicks, you can install an affiliate app of your choosing. This allows you to start recruiting affiliates to help you promote your online store.
Shopify offers a 14 day free trial (no risk and no credit card required).
If you want to learn more about creating an online store, that free trial is a good place to begin.
4. Dropshipping with your own Online Store
The hardest part of owning an online store used to be managing inventory. Enter dropshipping via your own online store.
By combining dropshipping with your online store, you can automate the entire process.
Customers order from your store. Your supplier ships direct to your customer. No inventory for you to purchase in advance. No warehousing costs. No need for you to handle the products.
The next challenge is finding reliable suppliers, and integrating their products with your online store.
Oberlo allows you to easily import dropshipped products directly into your ecommerce store, and have them shipped directly from your supplier to your customers – in just a few clicks.
Even better, they specialize in Shopify integrations. So much so that Shopify bought them out. They now offer Oberlo as a free app to all Shopify customers.
When I first created this page Oberlo was a separate service you had to buy separately. Now you just join Shopify and get it free, along with lots of other app extensions available on Shopify.
If you are interested in creating your own online store using the dropshipping model, trying Oberlo at Shopify is a good place to begin.
Lesson 6 Homework Assignment
1. Begin gathering more information on any of the online business strategies on this page that interest you. There is lots of high quality information available by following the links provided here in Lesson 6.
2. Catch up on your homework from previous lessons.
Please add your questions, comments, or feedback on this Lesson in the comments section below …
Lesson 1 – The “Critical Steps” to realize your Online Business Destiny
Lesson 2 – Form a Powerful Vision of your Future Self
Lesson 3 – Brainstorming and Prioritizing your Online Business Ideas
Lesson 4 – Research the Profit Potential of your Online Business Ideas
Lesson 5 – Affiliate Blogging – a potent recipe for Online Business Success
Copyright © 2017 – Bradley (Brad) Morgan