Whether you are an expert, coach, speaker, real estate guru, fitness trainer, consultant, solopreneur, chef, TV personality, own a small business or want to pursue a dream or passion, having an online presence is an important step in attracting new clients and making money. Therefore, a blog is a crucial component to your success. Think of your blog as a store that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Your blog is always advertising your wares, skills, services and products. Therefore, in order for your business (and blog) to be profitable, you need to focus on things like attracting clients and paying customers, drawing interest from the media and acquiring loyal fans. If you have no idea how to do that, no worries. Here are 5 tools that can jump start your business and explode its growth…
1. Email Subscription Service
Every time you go to a website, they are asking you for your email address. Why is that? Why do they want your email address so bad? The short answer is so they can contact you via email on a regular basis to sell you their products and services. An email subscriber service allows you to capture a person’s email address along with their name, address, phone number or any other bit of information you decide to ask for. So you create a list of people who are interested your product and services. Once you have this list, you can email people on this list newsletters, upcoming events, coupons and offers about your products and services. You write one newsletter or email and it is sent out to your list and everyone will receive it in their email inbox. Because of anti-spam laws, people have to give permission for you to contact them via email about your business on a regular basis.
Now you may be wondering why you can’t send out newsletters to your email list through your Hotmail, Gmail or Yahoo account. Well, those accounts have limits as to how many emails you can send per day and to how many people you can send them to. For example, if you wanted to send a newsletter to 1,000 people, you could not do that through your regular email account. Mainly because Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo think that if you are sending out that many emails on a personal account, you are spamming people and will block you from sending those emails. Therefore, you need to get a service that allows you to send out unlimited emails to large amounts of people for your business.
This is the first thing you need to do. Period. If you only do one thing on this list, do this one. Get your email subscriber list set up right away. I frequent a popular Internet marketer online and he has a quote about email lists. He always says that “the money is in the list”. If you an expert who wants to build their brand or have an online business, then you need to think about email marketing as an income-generating strategy. I suggest investing in email subscription service like aweber (which I personally use) which incurs a small fee each month. However, there are free email subscription services like MailChimp that work great if you are just starting out and are on a tight or non-existent budget. So, what are you waiting for? Pick a service and start building your email list today! Go get those coins!
2. PayPal Account
If you want to run an online business, you must have a way for your customers to pay for your products and services online. This is a must for any online business. No one wants to go to your site, decide to buy a product and then have to call a number to order it or worse wait until business hours to call and place an order. You will lose money that way. PayPal lets customers make an instant payment to you from their bank account or credit card.
Some people a funny about doing financial transactions online. They are afraid someone will steal their money if they use online banking and don’t trust putting in their credit card information online to buy something. Well, I want to assure you that PayPal is 100% safe and secure. PayPal has a full range of services they offer. You can use PayPal to set up one time or recurring payments (like if you have a membership site where members pay $39 a month or $99 a year), take donations and many other useful options. PayPal is the standard in the online payment industry and is integrated with other online retailers like Amazon, eBay and many others. It takes a few days to set up your PayPal account because they verify each user and their bank account. So don’t hesitate. Go and set up your PayPal account today.
3. eJunkie Account
In your online business, you’re selling valuable stuff to your customers online. You may be selling DVDs, eBooks, online training courses or whatever. The cool thing about eJunkie is that they deliver your digital product to your customer once a payment is made. Let’s look at a specific example. Let’s assume you’re selling an eBook on your blog and you’re using PayPal for payment. When someone buys your eBook, you get an email from PayPal saying someone has bought your eBook and they are depositing the money in your bank account (sans a small 3% usage fee). Awesome! Now, you have to follow through and email your customer with a copy of your eBook they just bought. But wait a minute. What if that customer forwards your email with the eBook attached to 10, 20 or 100 of their friends? Or worse, posts it on some online forum for anyone to download and read? You’ve just lost out on countless sales.
Here’s another scenario. What if you sell 20,000 copies of your eBook in the first week it’s released? That’s not unheard of. I’ve seen it happen. Do you want to be responsible for sending out 20,000 emails in one week? I don’t! Well, eJunkie works with your PayPal account to collect payment and then send the digital product to your customer – all for only $5 a month. What is also cool about eJunkie is that they only allow one person to download or access your product. Thus, cutting down on theft. You can also sell physical products through eJunkie, as well. Now get cracking on that eBook. You’ve got money to make.
4. Social Media Management System
In today’s super-connected world, you need social media to promote your blog, business, or brand. I suggest you set up Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram accounts that are separate from your personal social media accounts that you may already have. If that is too much for you, then at the very least get a Twitter account and a Facebook page. But speaking from personal experience, trying to post to each social media account on a regular basis is time-consuming. Fortunately, there is an easy fix to this problem.
I’m about working smarter not harder so here’s what you should do. Find one social media network that you like the best, like Twitter or Facebook and update it regularly. Because it may be easy for you to send out a tweet every morning on the train while you ride into the city for work. But you just can’t get into posting on Facebook or LinkedIn. So, post to one social media network that you like, then use a tool like HootSuite or Twitterfeed to have your posts update to all your other social media accounts automatically. These services are free to use but some charge a monthly fee for advanced features. The free versions do the job brilliantly, so use them while you are getting started. As your online audience and profits increase, maybe then you can think about paying for advanced features or hiring someone to take over the social media presence for your business. But for right now, get your business social media accounts set up and use a social media management system that will help show your messages on all your social media accounts.
5. Business Cards
A business card? Why? It’s not high-tech but it never goes out of style. Now, some people fight me on this one but I stand by it. You may have a blog and an online business, but you still need to get out there and meet people who can help you or you can help. Attending conferences, trade shows, conventions, workshops, hang outs, meet ups and any other networking event is a must to grow your business. Nothing beats personal one-on-one contact. And remember, everyone you meet and personally connect with will not be tech savvy or established. They may be just starting out and not have a site. Or that person may be a potential customer interested in your business. That’s why business cards are so important. Always keep your business cards handy, in your purse, backpack, briefcase, fanny-pack, gym bag, glove compartment, messenger bag, man-purse or whatever. I cannot tell you how many business cards I have handout out in Target. If you don’t have something to put in their hand, it may be hard to keep that connection.
Don’t stress out about what to put on your business card if you’re just getting established. No one really cares that you don’t have office space or a receptionist to answer you calls. I wouldn’t recommend putting your home address on your business card. All you really need on your card is your name, business name and an email address. If you have a website set up, put that address on your card and if you’re comfortable, a cell-phone or Google voice number. I don’t recommend putting a home phone number on a business card. Some hints, if you can afford it, use the front and back of the card. You can put a photo of yourself (a good thing to do to forge that personal connection) on your card. Or put a QR code on the back so people with mobile phones can scan the bar code and pull up your website instantly. Presto! I always get my business cards through Vistaprint.com. They are cheap and offer thousands of templates and designs to customize and create your business cards with. Get your business cards done and you’ll be good to go!
What tools do you use for your business that I did not mention in this blog post?