Have a Master Plan
All great businesses have a plan. They know where they want to go and how to get there. Starting a business is like setting off on a journey to a new destination without a map or a clue about how to get there. It can be all too easy to lose your way, arrive late, or not at all. With a master plan and a map, you have vision for your business, more determination to succeed, and are not inclined to give up at the first hurdle. Too many businesses fail because they do not have a plan.
Have a Theme
If you want to build a business with long-term income potential, you should write about products and subjects you are interested in and have some knowledge of.
You'll be far more productive and committed to your business if you are involved with something you have a passion for. It also makes the writing process much easier and it means that you can produce a great many more products with a theme.
Having a theme is vital to your business success because the foundation of your business is your list of subscribers. People will subscribe because they are interested in the subject area around your products. If you start offering products related to a completely different subject, you have no idea whether your prospects have any interest in them whatsoever. You could end up with most of your list unsubscribing.
Your products have to be strongly related to each other and based around a common theme in order to maintain your list and develop your business.
Your products should be offered to customers along a hierarchy of increasing price. You get them hooked with your front-end products; then, when you have gained their trust and confidence in your business, you offer a succession of back-end products. Such items would include courses, DVDs, coaching, etc. All these products have to be related to a theme and in order to organize this hierarchy and your marketing funnel you need a master plan.
Most businesses do not produce business plans. It is no wonder that around 90% of new businesses fail.
So, produce a master plan, create a hierarchy of increasingly valuable products, and make sure they are all related around the same subject area or theme. Then, fill in the details of your plan and set interim goals along the way. Make sure you start with a really top-quality front-end product because this is effectively your “window display”.
Do not just sell to individual customers. Think about selling to other businesses and entrepreneurs (who may have more disposable income and motivation to succeed).
Consider approaching other entrepreneurs and Internet marketers to negotiate joint ventures -- this allows you to approach many more qualified prospects than you could reach on your own and helps you to build your list much quicker.
If you have a product with a large mark-up, consider setting up an affiliate program, where you pay around 50% commission on any sales an affiliate makes. If you have a high-quality range of products, you should have no trouble attracting affiliates.
If you are thinking really big and wanted to try renting an email list, try a reputable list brokering service, where you can rent a list of thousands of customers who have shown an interest in your subject area.
For consumer email lists, there are plenty of targets available. These lists can be broken down by customer interests, age, income, zip code, etc. You can also target products purchased, or campaigns previously responded to.
Remember though that individual consumers need to have opted-in to being on any list you rent. The list therefore needs to be sent by the list owners or managers to ensure the "opt-outs" are effectively managed.
B2B emails do not have to be opted-in, but as with all email communications, you need to provide a no cost opt-out / unsubscribe option in every campaign. You also need to show your company name, registered office (if a Ltd. company), company registration number and telephone number.
List rental agencies, such as ZiffData, comply with legislation governing unsolicited email marketing. Some companies do not, so you must make sure you deal with a reputable company that complies with the laws in your country or area. You do not want to ruin your reputation by being accused of spamming. Have a look at:
Be Prepared for Sales
Make sure you are ready for sales! Check your website and make sure you have your copy spot-on; check your shopping cart and go to a few trial runs to make sure it is working properly. Check every link within your website. You will put customers off immediately if they cannot get through to the page they are looking for. Also, check any links away from your website, and make sure they open in a new window. Do not let people click away from your site and keep them from finding their way back.
Also make sure your product is absolutely ready to send out. You do not want half written or unedited books (just in case you got ahead of yourself, hoping for orders before you finish the book!). Your product has to be completely finished, edited, polished up, and ready to go. You will annoy customers and lose their trust (and the chance of any future orders) if they have to wait to something they have already paid for.
If you have a downloadable product to offer, does it download without any problems? Get a few friends to test out your website before you start marketing to make sure everything works perfectly.
Get an Auto-Responder
Email auto-responders allow you to automate your viral marketing campaigns, send out newsletters and offers, etc., on autopilot. They provide you with full control over your email messages, including their look, feel, and how and when they are sent. An auto-responder really will maximize your online marketing capabilities.
An auto-responder should have a Web-Form HTML Generator that will create a signup form on your website, and save you hours of creating your own codes. You should also have an unsubscribe management system.
You can add features such as a thank you page for new subscribers and even a click tracking and statistical management system that will allow you to assess the effectiveness of your emails -- click tracking can even tell you if people clicked at the top, middle or bottom of your email. You should get a standard stats report, even if you do not add on click tracking as an extra service.
An auto-responder should give instant delivery of your message and allow around 20 message follow-ups. You can send long or short messages in plain text or HTML to your entire list. You should be able to change your message 24-hours a day and personalize your messages. You should be able to get unlimited technical support. Have a look at the following services: