How to Get Business Online (part 1)

If you’re reading this, you are most likely a business owner looking to get business online, i.e. market your products or services on the Internet. So what should you do first? What should you do next? Where can you find more information?

The answer is: right here, of course. Let’s start at the beginning, then, shall we?

Finding a Niche

In the offline world, when customers want to buy something (say a bottle of olive oil), this is what they do:

  1. They go shopping at the nearest mall or shopping center
  2. They enter the store where the product is most likely to be sold (say Wal Mart)
  3. They find the shelf or aisle in which the product is kept
  4. On that shelf, they typically find several types and several brands of their product
  5. They start reading labels and price tags and compare the different options against one another and against their needs
  6. They decide what to buy and add it to their shopping basket, in which there are other, completely unrelated products

Sounds familiar?

In the Internet world, however, things are totally different. When Internet shoppers want to buy something (say a bottle of olive oil):

  1. They go looking for information using their favorite search engine (say Google)
  2. They type in “olive oil”
  3. They take a look at the title, description and URL of the websites listed and consider ways to fine tune their search
  4. They type in a more specific search query (say “extra virgin olive oil” or “cold pressed olive oil”)
  5. They take a look at the title, description and URL of the websites listed and pick out the most relevant sites
  6. They visit only the sites that seem relevant, typically from top to bottom, and stop reading when they believe they have enough information
  7. Now they are ready to buy
  8. They look for sites that sell their preferred choice of olive oil, possibly by searching for “buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil” or by clicking one of the sponsored links around the search results
  9. They directly “land” on the page that sells what they were looking for and they buy it

Different, isn’t it?

Bottles of olive oil So you see, even if you have a pretty successful offline business selling olive oil, putting up a website featuring all your products on one page or mixing your shopping cart with some history of olive oil or olive oil recipes will get you absolutely nowhere on the Internet compared with sites that have a page dedicated to one very specific thing – cold pressed extra virgin olive oil. One click to get to it, one click to buy.

The upside, of course, is that you can have as many pages as you need on your website, so you don’t have to save. There’s not rent to pay for commercial space by the square foot, no cleaning for the extra pages, only the setup cost. But the returns, oh, the returns!

The difference between having your website listed at the top of the first page of search results and having it listed on, say, page 15, is pretty much like the difference between having a website and not having one. So you must identify your online niches first, and then have your website designed to have dedicated pages for each niche.

Doing this step first makes all the rest of your search engine optimization (SEO) possible. If you don’t do this first, you are effectively crippling anything you will do later on.

Of course, being deeply involved in your own business and having an offline mindset, it is best to engage an Internet marketing consultant to help generate ideas and check how often people search for them, because some niches are not worth your effort. Not wasting your time and money on those niches and discovering “golden nuggets” you couldn’t think of yourself will bring you more than enough value to cover anything the Internet marketer will charge. Guaranteed.

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