The majority of online businesses do not make enough money to have a significant effect on the lives of their owners. In fact, over 90% of them fail within the first 6 months! There is usually a good reason for this. In this article, I will go over the three most common traps that I have personally seen lead to the failure of many online businesses, and let you konw what you can do to avoid them.
Trap #1 – No Marketing Strategy
If you have ever launched a website or app, my guess is that it did not take very long for you to realize how difficult it is to get people to visit or download. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the main reason why many online businesses fail is because they are not able to garner enough traffic to generate sales consistently. When I refer to sales, this can be the literal sale of products and services, or indirect sales like in case of "selling" advertisements to the eyes of your consumers.
The reason for this usually falls into one of two camps:
- Too much reliance on "passive" traffic.
- No active strategies have been deployed to attract new visitors/users to the website/app.
Even Passive Traffic Requires Active work
Now, I have definitely seen cases where passive strategies like SEO and word of mouth legitimately succeed in drawing a large amount of traffic to a website. However, the funny thing that this “passive” traffic requires active work in order to be sustainable in the long term.
In the majority of cases, SEO strategies take years to work and requires constant tweaking and consistent content creation to maintain. SEO gurus love to tout the benefits of all this free traffic you will be getting from Google, but do not mention to the hours of work needed to create and maintain the content.
When it comes to word of mouth, the reality is that the initial surge you get from telling your friends and family has a tendency to fall off extremely quickly. I am sorry to burst your bubble, but these people are not real customers. They did not download your app or visit your website because of its merits; they did it because you asked them to. Essentially, they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
To generate traffic that can sustain an online business over the long term you will need to use a combination of active and passive marketing strategies.
Experiment with various active traffic generation methods. Once you find one that yields results; systematize it, hire an employee to deploy and manage it, and then spend the time you have now saved experimenting with other strategies on the side. This is what you will have to do to generate leads and sales consistently for your online business.
Trap #2 – Having the Wrong Attitude
As we covered in the last trap, the majority of people who start online businesses seem to believe that all they need to do is put up their website online, tell a few friends and/or family members and … whala! Money printing machine complete.
They do not approach their website as a real business, but instead as a quick easy money scheme. As a result of adopting this mentality, their approach to growth and sustainability thereafter will always lean towards “tricks” and “hacks” as the appeal of low investment with high rewards will resonate powerfully with their psychology.
This is a garbage mentality that needs to be thrown away if you want to increase your chances of actually succeeding in the online business marketplace.
Instead of thinking solely about the easiest ways to make money, you should instead focus how to provide the best value and service to your customers. This simple shift in mindset will completely transform the approach you take in your business. Instead of money, most of your mental energy will now be directed towards service, and your customers will see and feel this.
Earning Money is the results of success, and success is in direct proportion to our service. – Earl Nightingale
The decision to part with money is largely emotional. Your customers/visitors/users can feel if you are putting effort into maintaining and improving your service. It is a genuine expression that will show itself in your messaging, aesthetics, pricing, and upgrades. On the other end, if they feel like you are just trying to extract money from their pockets anyway you can, they will be turned off, which will ironically result in no money changing hands.
Trap #3 - Poor Customer Service
Due to the nature of how digital businesses operate, there is a tendency to start viewing your customer as a username or email address. Many online business owners quickly fall into this trap and are unable to grow because of it.
They forget that at the end of the day, they are providing a service or product to a real person.
Your customers are the core of your business and pleasing them should be one of your top priorities. Repeat customers are the cornerstone of most if not every successful business, so it is critical that you do everything in your power to achieve this.
For the most part, the easiest way to build a relationship with a buyer and transform them into a loyal customer is to provide them with a great experience during and after their purchase. You need them to feel great on an emotionally level during the process. They also need to know that they will receive support after the purchase is complete in case of any issues. Relationships are built on trust.
If you have an online business but cannot think of any way to increase repeat sales, scroll to the bottom of this page and contact me for a consulting session. I will do an analysis of your website/app and highlight ways in which it can be updated to improve your customer relationships and get you to the elusive treasure of repeat business. If you do not have access to a software developer who can implement these changes, I have you covered there as well.
Focus on service. The money will come thereafter.