Drive Traffic to Your Online Business

A friend of ours is wondering if she’s just dreaming, or if building online business traffic is a reality in her niche.
She’s been searching for another income stream to fill in the gap left when her 401K became a 201K. She has two e-books written and ready to go. She’s got a unique selling point (USP) and knows what she needs to do in order to launch a website and get it in gear.
But she’s hesitating. Why? She worries that so many other people have beat her to it. How can she possibly make a significant income online when big, established companies already supply what she has to offer?
She could have been me six years ago. I never believed that our e-books would sell at all, let alone pay the rent (or expand into a flourishing full-time business). I told her I’d had the same worries.
She wasn’t convinced.
“But that was six years ago,” she said. “Think how many businesses have popped up online since.”
This is so not a problem. If you’re worried, like our friend, about making money online, listen to why this is still a great time to create an online business.
First of all, half the people in the US don’t even have broadband. Many who do have access don’t use it. Yet. They will have it and they will be using it because it’s fast and efficient.
It’s tempting to judge the entire world’s behavior on what your friends are doing. However, when you’re cooking up an online business idea it’s important to step back and see the bigger picture. Keep in mind, it is the World Wide Web.
As more of our daily interactions go online, things such as banking, shopping, education, access to personal health care records, the Web will continue to grow. In other words, the train has not yet left the station. There’s still plenty of available seating and time to climb onboard.Building online business traffic is our buddy’s main concern. So I reminded her that due to an Internet principle called net neutrality, she does indeed have a fair shot at bringing traffic to her website. She knows that:
Traffic = people = business = success
And the same goes for you of course. No matter who you’re up against.
4 ways to build online business traffic:
1. Be the one they turn to.
Distinguish yourself and your company by responding to questions and emails quickly. Offer intelligent, personal replies and try to solve your customers’ problems. It’s easy to beat the competition, as many bigger companies don’t bother.
Recently, I had a problem with our Internet service company (Charter). I chatted online with a customer service agent. She answered questions that I wasn’t asking, and didn’t answer the ones that I was. I was passed to another agent when finally the first one admitted she lacked the authority to make the changes I wanted to my account. The conversation was frustrating and took over an hour. You can do way better than that.
2. Offer your secrets for free.
Transparency sells. When you give away your top secret info, a funny thing happens. Instead of losing customers, you build trust. Okay, you might lose a few. A small percent will take the free thing and never come back.
However, A large percent will appreciate what you have given them, Remember, this market is world wide. The idea is to give it away, give it away, (I’ve got a Red Hot Chili Pepper tune stuck in my head now), using parameters you’re comfortable with, such as a product sample, a limited-time membership, or a service they want and need.
These people will like you. A lot. They’ll even spread the word by sending tweet e-mail and chatting about the cool thing you do. All of which builds traffic to your online business. And definitely establishes you as occupying a notch higher and better (and nicer!) than the competition.
Building online business traffic means allowing your customers to get a taste of what you’ve got. So if you want people to buy your e-books or become a member of your website, pull back the curtain and invite them to check out what they’ll get.
3. Be easy to remember.
Your website, your online business, has a distinct persona made up of its title, its aesthetic appearance, and its USP. You choose these aspects for many reasons, perhaps not all of them even very consciously.
How do you think other people perceive your business’s online persona?
Consider what makes you remember someone you meet. Their style, their positive energy. What is that special thing that makes them stand apart from the rest of the herd? Offer something a little different than the competition.
Just as a good novelist or columnist does, know who your people are, your audience, and then write (or design) for them. Don’t attempt to appeal to everyone, because you can’t pull that off (unless maybe you’re offering free money with no strings! If you are — call me.);)
4. Offer the 3 Cs — Courtesy, Consistency, and Credibility.
Be courteous. Make it a core part of your mission to be nice to people. Not just people you think will become your customers, but everybody. Even the cranky, bitchy ones. Chances are, you won’t remember them but they will remember you. You wouldn’t want to get the type of mention I felt compelled to give Charter, would you?
Write standard responses that you can copy and paste and send out quickly. That way, when you’re having a difficult day, or you’re just too busy making money online to respond to your customers immediately, they won’t get the brunt of it.
Be consistent. Write a post a week, or three or five or whatever you’ve determined is a good rhythm for your web business.
Consistently deliver excellent service, a superb product, or valuable, reliable information. Show your appreciation for loyal customers who have paid for your service or product. Ask them how else you can help.
If you are working with a partner (as I am), be sure you check each other’s work occasionally, if not more often, to be certain you are portraying consistency with your customers. It’s perfectly fine to express your different styles, just make sure you don’t confuse your customers.
Be credible. Your reputation online is the backbone of your business. Make customers question your credibility, and risk destroying your hard work. The good news is, this is easy enough to do. Simply know yourself, know what your mission is, and use the other two Cs above to deliver it.
Building online business traffic is the biggest key to Internet entrepreneurial success. Without it, you have a nice website that nobody ever sees. Make the effort to bring traffic to see what you’re up to, and you’re in business.

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