5 Essentials For Building an Online Business

was speaking at the Boston Better Business Bureau Small Business Summit and one of the things that I was speaking about were

The 5 essentials you need for building an online business

As you know, I love talking about all the things and elements needed to build an online business successfully. I like to call it an online business ecosystem. 

They’re composed of these six core elements: 

      1. Finance 
      2. Mindset
      3. Technology 
      4. Strategy 
      5. Marketing & Sales 
      6. Implementation and Action

Each one of those things has their own sub-category of things. Implementation and action, however, are kind of a vibrant thread that weaves through all the different elements within your ecosystem. When you think about building a successful online business, it becomes really important to understand how all of those different elements are integrated. 

Today, I will focus on 

      • the marketing aspects 
      • the sales aspects and
      • the technology aspects

One of the things that I learned in my agency was oftentimes people would come to me and they would want social media help, yet they wouldn’t have the next step in place, in order to move forward. Ultimately, we would market like crazy and then their goals would fall flat. Alternatively, you might have somebody who has a freebie and gets people on their lists but then they don’t actively market to them.

15 years ago, I had this woman who bought a website from me and it was one of the first WordPress Websites I built. She was a daycare provider who was local to where I lived at the time. She really wanted to leverage the website in local Google search. One day she called me up and was completely irated. “Jamie, this website just isn’t selling. I haven’t sold to anyone! I haven’t gotten any new customers!” At the time, whenever I was passing off a website to a client, I would show them here’s how to log in, here’s how to get your notifications, here’s how to get your contact form, which was also forwarding to our email address. I logged in to the website and discovered that she had over 30 unanswered ‘contact us’ forms in her inbox…

This is sort of what happens in the online world today. People market but they’ll have either three or four calls to action or no call to action at all. There is no real singular focus and strategic intent behind the marketing that they are doing. What happens is that there is this disconnect and this gap between your ideal client and that next step you want them to take. 

The more gaps there are in your ecosystem, the more you’re going to lose people along the way.

Let’s go back to the daycare lady. Parents were not actively looking for daycares in the middle of the day, but rather at night. They’d fill out the contact form and expect a call or email the next day. She was very much in array about that and wanted to turn the contact form off, even though it was the most visited page on her website.

I share this because you have to understand your human and you have to understand who you’re marketing to. I love that term human which Julie Stoian talks about in the program Funnel Gorgeous, that I am a part of with her. She is an uber expert/ guru Funnel Builder.

She talks about it as your human and I love that language because I often feel like prospects really kind of disconnect from that. When you can think about your human and how this person thinks, believes, feels what keeps them up at night, what makes them happy, what makes them sad and everything in between, I think that it really becomes much easier to get to know them and to market to them because you know them on a deeper level.

Ultimately when your human experience is your brand and your business, they should be shaking their head saying, “Yes, I want xyz…. How did Jamie get inside my head?” That’s what you want them to feel. Oftentimes at this stage it gets glossed over. With the daycare example, clearly the parents didn’t want to have to deal with it during the day. They want to be able to do it at night after they got out of work. 

      • Understanding your human
      • Understand what motivates them, 
      • Understand what they believe the problem is,
      • Understand any potential products or services that they’ve tried in relation to your product, where do they hang out online?

All of these things you have to know on a deeper level and sadly this is something that gets completely glossed over. You might know the demographics, which is important, but you have to take it to a deeper level. Don’t glaze over that. Dig deep because it’ll give you an amazing foundation for success later on.

What is the client journey

This is the second element in the five essential elements for building an online business. Often, I think we forget that we need to create that in-person experience online when we have an online business. We cannot presume that a prospective client or our prospective human knows what steps to take next without us telling them. Ultimately, I like to think of it as chutes and ladders or Candy Land. You ultimately want to take them on this journey.

Here are all the steps that they’re going to take and yes, there may be some shortcuts along the way to get to your signature program. However, the fact of the matter is most people are going to need multiple touch points to go from prospect to client and raving fan. 

Let’s say you meet somebody on social media:

      1. You want them to get on your email list. 
      2. Next you want them to receive your nurture sequence
      3. At the end of your nurture sequence you want them to sign up for your masterclass 
      4. After your masterclass you want them to sign up for your signature program
      5. After they sign up for your signature program you want them to possibly become an affiliate or go to your events etc..

Having an understanding of what those steps are, where that process is happening and the content that somebody needs to see to convert and what call to action are need in that section, is very important. That makes it really easy to ensure that there are no gaps. It’s also really easy to ensure, “You know what, you’re not for me, get out of my Candy Land world”. I bring this up because often we neglect to market with a singular focus.

What happens is we’ll have multiple calls to action or multiple things that we want somebody to do and if you have a really solid mapped out client journey, then it’s really easy to determine where the people are. When it’s easy to determine where the people are, it’s really easy to say, this is the content they need in order to see that’s going to get them to that next step. Figuring out what that next step is and marketing with that singular focus becomes very easy because it’s just a process. 

Publish content

This is the third element in the five essential elements for building an online business. You’re going to have to publish content. I love publishing content but often people come to me and they’re completely overwhelmed by it and not sure how they should deal with it. I get it! Once you step on the content hamster wheel, you can get really overwhelmed because you really can’t get off, you have to keep publishing content. So, here’s something that might help. Think of it in three ways: macro, micro and nano.

      • Macro content is that long form content. It’s YouTube, a podcast, a blog. It has longevity, it lasts for days, weeks, months or maybe even years. I have a YouTube post on Canvas that is probably one of my least favorite pieces of content I’ve created, but yet it’s still plugging and chugging away and getting views each and every week. It’s jam packed with information and it just pays you dividends over and over and over again. 
      • Micro content & Nano content is the social media content that you use to promote your macro content. Micro content and nano content are generally the posts that you see on social media. Micro content is asking somebody to take that next step. Nano content is typically the “comment below, engage here”. It’s keeping them on that platform but it’s a piece of content that you’ve then repurposed from that macro content. 

85% of all the content I create online, is all based on macro content I create! 

It makes a world of a difference because as an entrepreneur, I don’t have a lot of time to sit and write social media posts after social media posts. So, when I can create one piece of macro content and then turn that into micro and nano content and delegate that, it becomes super easy!

Make it easy to buy

This is the fourth element in the five essential elements for building an online business. Make it easy and simple for people to buy. I cannot stress this enough! People love to buy but they hate to be sold. If you can make it as simple as possible for people to buy, you’re going to increase sales. 6 years ago, I worked with a cookie company. In the beginning I was hired to do social media. Soon I also did some strategy as I noticed they only had a 30% checkout rate.

Only 30% of their clients finished checking out because they had an 8-step checkout process! We came in and made a one-page, two step checkout. We weren’t running ads, the traffic wasn’t dropping drastically and completion rates went up to 80%. So, when you are thinking about your ideal client and making it easy for them to buy, remember to consider that people love to buy but hate to be sold to. Take them through what that checkout process is.

“You don’t want to lose them along the way because you’re making it difficult for them to check out”

How are you going to take someone in and get them to take out their credit card? You want it to be as simple as possible! You don’t want to lose them along the way because you’re making it difficult for them to check out. Maybe you are thinking, “Well, Jamie, I don’t have people buying from me online.” Maybe you don’t, but you still have a “book a call with me” call to action. Allow them to book a call and pick a time. Don’t make them email you and wait for a response. Don’t make them go through a lot of hoops to buy from you.

You want to make it really simple for people to buy from you. Share your pricing. Be willing to do these things so that you can get them to move to that next step. It’s really important and it’s something that’s overlooked. When you make it too difficult to buy, people are just going to go somewhere else.

Be Consistent

This is the fifth element in the five essential elements for building an online business. Be consistent. When I talk about consistency, I’m not talking about three months of consistency. I’m talking about being consistent for the next year. Showing every week for the next 52 weeks, 80 to 90% of the time. Every year I up my own consistency game. In 2017, I doubled the business as a result of my consistency in 2016.

2016 was the turning point for me. That’s, where I got really intentional about making macro content and micro content and putting myself out there. Once I did that, the business doubled, and it doubled again in 2018 and again in 2019. I share this with you because consistency pays dividends for a long period of time. You have to really understand that. 

If you’re selling a product under $100, you’ll probably start to see results in one to three months. However, if you are not seeing results after six months and you’re selling a higher ticket item, then it comes down to a couple of things. 

Social media is an art and a science: 

      • How engaged is your community? 
      • Are you sure you have the right people following you? 
      • Are you running Facebook ads? 
      • Are you emailing your list? 
      • Are you showing enough value? 
      • Are you speaking to the problem that the person believes they have? 

All of those things factor into conversions of social media.

Consistency is the key to making money off the internet. 

When you are inconsistent, it’s just a nightmare because the starting and the stopping of being consistent is something that I see all the time. It’s super detrimental to success. If a prospect goes to your Facebook page and you haven’t posted in months and Facebook is one of the two platforms that you’re choosing to show up on, it subconsciously sends the message of “Hey, I don’t really take this too seriously”, and that is not a good message you want to send.

I’m not suggesting that you have to post every single day. What I’m saying is you want to be able to take two posts a week and do them consistently at a high level. One time or two times a week, whatever it is, but commit to it and make sure that you’re doing it each and every single week. No matter what. Day in and day out, week in and week out, month in and month out, year after year and then you’ll start to see results.

Oftentimes the starting and the stopping is quite possibly one of the worst things that you could do or changing your audience. That is why it’s so important to get that ironed out in the beginning.

I share all of this with you, because I’ve seen a lot in my 17 years in business and I truly believe you can be successful online. It’s just a matter of having the right pieces in place. I often think that what I covered in this post is something that people often forget about and they overlook some of those things.

Ultimately, it’s not always the easiest thing to do, nor is it always the most comfortable thing to do but it’s what needs to be done to be successful. The more you can get those foundational pieces and the more you can move into an ongoing marketing status, where you just have this maintenance of what you’re doing, it’s a really cool place to be. 

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to join me inside of our Facebook group, Making Marketing Simple with me, Jamie Palmer.


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