Before I even start telling you how to grow an online business, I want you to embrace one thing:
You don't have to have an MBA or be a guru in anything to make money online.
The people making money online are the ones putting things out into the universe in exchange for money.
Sitting on your couch daydreaming about the value you can offer the world will make you exactly ZERO DOLLARS.
Putting your best product out there and asking people to pay you a fair amount for it will get you...more than zero dollars. If you do it the right way. Procrastination and perfection are the #1 killers of all potential online businesses. Give people your best value. When you improve, improve the value. Grow, change, evolve.
But none of that will happen if you don't START.
Now that the pep-talk is out of the way...let's take a look at the three steps you need to grow an online business.
No matter how many social media accounts you have, branding color schemes, logos, website designers, influencers, YouTube channel subscribers or affiliate marketers, at the end of the day there are really only 3 things you need to do every day to make money.
These steps are simple and effective, and when you make them part of your daily routine you will begin to see massive changes. Don't be fooled by their simplicity. They are powerful.
Step One: Add to Your Email List
I know what you're thinking....add to my email list????
Add to my email list?????? (cue hysterical hair pulling and maniacal laugh).
What do you think I've been trying to do??????
But, let me make a bold claim.
If you and I were to sit down and really look at your business, I would bet that you do alot of work trying to get attention, create a brand and make a name for yourself....but very little of it is aimed at growing an email list.
If you are posting on social media, doing live videos, and creating YouTube channels, you aren't growing your list, per se.
The point of EVERY SINGLE MARKETING ACTIVITY you participate in has to have ONE GOAL = get the email of people who resonate with your work.
In order to do that, you have to offer them something in exchange for their email address....something that will help them in such a drastic way that they would have paid for it but are happy to have it for free.
To build a list, all you really need is an opt-in page (or lead page).
Simply create a short, value-packed piece of information that your target audience will LOVE. Think ebooks, pdfs, video training with a worksheet, checklist, or a free consultation with you. Then you can upload it to Google Drive and connect it to your email autoresponder. Voila!
For example, if you have a health and wellness company, you could create a "Daily Checklist to Lose 10 Pounds in One Month" or a "FREE Health Assessment Consultation".
From that point on, everything you do should be aimed at getting people to visit your opt-in page.
When you do a live video on Facebook, you should end with "if you like this tip, click the link below to get a FREE "name of freebie".
If you create a YouTube video, include your opt-in link in the description and draw attention to it during your video.
When you do interviews, or run ads, or post on social media, everything you do should point people to your opt-in. Because it doesn't matter how many people know your face, your brand or your logo....it matters how many engaged, interested people that you have their email address.
Step Two: Show Them What You Know
Being successful as an online entrepreneur would be so much easier if the world wasn't full of people posting pictures of themselves on vacation in Hawaii and claiming to know how to help you manifest a million dollars overnight...when the picture was from three years ago... when their parents paid... and they have like $3 in their bank account.
Alas, I digress.
Posers, fakers, and liars aside, in today's online landscape you have to prove who you say you are.
A lot of people try to do this with pictures of cars they supposedly own or stacks of cash. They try to sell you with their "results" instead of just giving you what they say they can.
But we don't have time for all that nonsense.
It helps no one, costs a lot of money, and pretty much makes it impossible to create a relationship with customers.
Instead, focus on helping people.
Create blog posts, videos, products and training that give value to the people you are trying to serve - and share that information with them.
You don't have to give away everything. Tell stories about yourself. Connect with people, show them success stories, give them tips and tricks. In fact, FREE VALUE is about showing them who you are, that you understand where they are and that you can help.
You are in business to make money, so don't feel like you have to give everything away.
More than anything, give of yourself. Give your time and your attention to your audience and they will notice. Share things with them that move you, that inspire you, books you are reading, blogs you follow, social media hangouts you enjoy, movies you love.
Be authentic, be open and be helpful.
The top two things people look for online (especially in social media) are things that make them laugh and things that make them feel connected. Help them do that and you've won your audience.
You don't have to come up with new, fresh content for every single platform. Repurpose the information that you create across multiple platforms. Turn a blog post into a social media blast and a Tweet, a live video and a Pinterest pin. And make sure that everything you do is pulling your audience into your opt-in page.
When you make it known who you are, what you stand for and what you do, you not only attract the right people to your list, you repel the wrong people.
When you stop caring so much what the world thinks and start spreading your value all over the place you will automatically find yourself attracting the right audience, creating an authentic brand and making effortless sales.
So create content that is true to who you are.
Step Three: Sell Something
If you have a problem with selling, bear with me. Because what I am going to tell you is going to be difficult to hear, but let me explain.
The only way to make money is to sell.
Not used car salesman kind of sales, but real value exchanged for money.
There is nothing wrong with charging for your expertise, your products and your time.
In fact, people expect it, and they place more value on the knowledge that you share with them when they know that you charge for your knowledge.
When you offer free content that is valuable and enjoyable, they want more, and they naturally assume that if the free content is good, then the content you pay for must be amazing.
This is neither sleazy nor wrong.
Think about all the things you spend money on: groceries, going out to eat, buying gifts for friends, getting your nails done, clothes for your kids. All of the things that you spend money on have value and they help you do what you need or want to do.
In the same way, what you have to offer gives value to the people who use it.
You may not think that knowing how to knit a scarf is much of an accomplishment, but for someone who wants to learn, it is a skill worth paying to learn.
Accept that not only are you offering a skill that is worth paying for, but it is one that people are willing to pay to learn.
And that is where the work you did in steps 1 & 2 now comes in handy.
Because when people are on your email list and they know your value from all of the free content you bestow upon them, they are willing to pay for your products or services.
Nurturing your email list with valuable content gets them ready to buy from you when the time is right.
Send out emails every day or every Tuesday or three days a week or whatever schedule works for you, but pick a regularly scheduled time and email your list.
Then, for every 3-4 emails you send out you can offer what you are selling. Or, even better, put a footer in your emails with links to your products and services without mentioning them in the email content. Then use a hard sell less often.
Whether you sell vitamins or ebooks, this process works.
You just have to find the people that connect with your message, give them your message and then sell them what you're selling.
In fact, when you do this consistently, people will come to expect two things from you - valuable free content AND great paid offers.
Focus on helping others, treating them with respect and giving them the same kind of content that you would be excited to receive. It doesn't have to be based in fear or scarcity - give from a heart that overflows with knowledge and the desire to help.