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Crucial First Actions for Every Online Business Owner

When starting an online business, many people have a single motivation to make money, and make it quick. While this is an understandable goal, and the dream of many, we must divert our attention from "money" to "value" and "meaning". Maybe that sounds cliché, but it is unbelievable how often this one simple concept is ignored. How do we create value and meaning in our businesses? We build relationships. How do we build relationships online? We build a subscriber list. So now the first thing online business owners do is they buy subscribers - many of whom don't really care about what you have to offer anyway.

They are not targeted subscribers and they are the ones who may end up unsubscribing. Instead of thinking about the money, the most crucial thing that every online business owner must do is focus on building, growing, and maintaining their newsletter lists. Now the next thing online business owners will do, and I am guilty of it too, is they will promote and advertise their website, their website's products and services, and their affiliate links in forums, in ezine ads, in offline advertising, in Google Adwords, in their author by-lines, and in traffic exchanges to try and make a sale from their links.

This may very well work for generating sales, but the crucial action we need to take is not promoting and advertising our links, but to promote and advertise our newsletter opt-in page so that we can build our subscriber lists. Sure, sales can come in from strangers around the net, but the most important sales that you can ever make are the ones you get from your list. Why? Because you know that you have built some sort of trust with your subscribers.

They have loyally followed you through your auto-responder series, mixed with messages of your own that have made them say, "Hey, now this is someone I don't mind doing business with!" Once you have made one sale with someone on your list, you can build and maintain that relationship and offer more of value to them. Getting traffic to your site is not about getting people to click on your links and buy something. Getting traffic to your site is about giving people the opportunity to join your list. Unfortunately, opportunity is not enough in this case. Most of us know that we need to have an ezine on our site that visitors can subscribe to.

We've all got one and we think we're ready now to bring in the masses. Wrong again! We have to give people a reason to subscribe to our list. For most people it's not enough to just sign up to get yet another person's mass of emails that will litter their in-boxes and which may never be read.

In fact, it's no bonus to just sign up for someone's newsletter at all! Besides that, our readers want something more. Yes, your newsletter will be packed with free tips and techniques and secret weapons for becoming the next internet marketing millionaire. But our subscribers also need to be enticed with a free special report, a mini e-course, and a special mystery bonus that they will get only after they have opted in. This has to be offered to them fast too, as most visitors won't stay on your page for more than a minute! A pop-up can be an effective way of capturing names and email addresses quickly. Once you've got subscribers, you want to build that relationship with them. There are a few ways to engage your subscribers so that you don't lose them.

If you let your auto-responder do all the work, you may be in trouble. Subscribers know that online business owners are busy people and they have an automatic email system. While this may provide valuable information, it is no substitute for a real relationship. By simply adding your own personal messages and exposing a bit of your own personality, you will start capturing your subscribers' attention, and building trust, honesty, and integrity with them. You also want to inspire your readers to take some kind of action.

By "taking action" I do not mean buying your products and services! I mean involve them in the process. Subscribers can answer a survey you put out about their needs, they can ask questions that you put on a FAQ list, they can participate by telling you what they want to see on your site, they can offer testimonials, and they can become involved in joint ventures. When you promote your opt-in list, give a compelling reason to join, and build a relationship of trust by adding a personal touch and involving your customers in the process, they will begin to see that you have something of value to offer them. It is then that you are on your way to creating a loyal customer base, and eventually you will bring in the money that motivated you in the first place.

Liane Bate owns a Plugin Profit Site web business, is a member of Success University, and the IAHBE. Visit: http://www.HonestMoneyMaking.com and Plugin Profit Site

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