The 3 Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Starting Your Online Business

Starting any business has many pitfalls…

… but with the speed of setting up an online business these days, the planning takes on renewed importance. But by far the very biggest problems will happen early on in your online business start-up.

The top three biggest mistakes you can make when starting your online business – the ones which you must avoid at all costs – are not doing your research, spending money blindly on advertising, and not building and caring for your list. If you don’t get these right, the chances of success are next to zero.

Mistake #1 – Not doing your research

This one applies to both on and offline business. If you don’t do your research properly, then you really don’t have any chance of success. While it is best to stick with what you already know, if your interests lead to an item or service that no one else is interested in, no sales.

Once you’ve decided that you’ve picked a hot item to sell, it is critical that you take the time to find out what your target market thinks.

Do they really want to buy?

If so, where do they usually buy this product?

Can you compete with that source?

If yes, then how can you actually reach them?

Will your product really meet their needs?

Mistake #2 – Spending money blindly on advertising

A lot of people assume that you must spend a lot of money on advertising. While that is the norm for offline businesses, it isn’t for online. In the online world, people want to know first that they can trust you. Getting them to look at your advertising is no guarantee of a sale.

While advertising can quickly get traffic to your website, will they stay once they get there? They will want to know enough about you to get a feeling they can trust you. Giving them free, valuable information is a way to build this trust. Get free information up on your site and then promote your site for free through today’s social websites.

That’s not to say not to use paid advertising. On the web, paid advertising generally relies on picking the right keywords. So before you even start trying to advertise, you need to learn about keywords and how to pick the ones that will get people to your site. It’s crucial to do proper research into what kind of keywords you should be bidding on or which type of sites should be advertising on.

Researching this ahead of time will save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the coming months.

Mistake #3 – Not building a list or not following up

One of the biggest mistakes people make is neglecting opportunities to build their database of customers. You need to keep all contact information. At a bare minimum you need an email address. From this you can build a list of contacts that you can keep informed about what you are doing, what you have available, and how you can serve them.

This is easily done with an e-mail autoresponder service. These systems allow you to gather the names and e-mail addresses of all of your leads and active customers.

Offer something free on your website in exchange for names and email addresses. Make it worthwhile or people won’t be interested. Create the sign-up form in your autoresponder, but before you post it to your website, make sure that you already have the automatic response created and posted in your autoresponder. This first message automatically thanks them for registering and provides them with the promised gift.

If you let your customers and leads disappear, you essentially have to keep spending money to bring in new leads in customers. Ask any sales person. They’ll tell you it’s much cheaper to keep old leads than to have to continuously get new ones.

If you retain them on a database, like your autoresponder, you have the chance to survey them, follow-up with promotional offers, and generally build a better relationship so that you can sell future products to them… all without having to go out and find new customers. Getting new customers basically means starting from the beginning over and over and over again!

So, remember. Research first to determine the right product to sell to the right market. ¬†Take care in how you spend your advertising money and time. And once you get leads or customers treat them well! The best referrals are still word of mouth. You treat them well and they’ll tell their friends about you and that’s what makes business grow!