How to create an email newsletter

Once you have setup your online business you will want to know how to create an email newsletter.

Creating an email newsletter is important for a number of reasons.

  1. Stay in touch with existing customers
  2. Reach out to new leads and potential customers to convert them to customers
  3. Increase traffic to your website, which is great for Google rankings

Social media, online advertising, offline advertising, event marketing and the many other ways its possible to market your business online  and many businesses forget about the power of email as a marketing channel.

But email has stayed and prevailed.  Results have shown that consumer behaviour includes regularly checking emails.

If you love to travel, an email newsletter in your inbox announcing airfare sales will draw you to the website to check for options, opportunities and start you planning your next holiday.  You might not book right then, or you might, but you have definitely been reminded of the company, their services and the opportunity they provide.

If you’re still not sure about investing the time and effort into setting up and regularly crafting an email newsletter, then you might be surprised its very easy and in our Business Creation Toolkit we can show you how to create an email newsletter in just 10 ninutes.

Once you have started you will find it is actually VERY quickly something you can establish into your regular routine to promote your business. You will also find that setting it up to be as effective as possible is the next step you will want to take.

How to Create an Email Newsletter – step by step:

You can create an email newsletter simply by writing some text, copy and pasting it into an email and hitting send.

BUT there are anti-spam laws and some tips that can help you create an effective email newsletter that is scalable. For starters, if you send (even using BCC) to lots of people at once, you can quickly find yourself in the ‘spam’ folder of the people that you want to read your email (and no one reads their spam!).  If you have time to send your email newsletter to each person individually, that’s great… but you will quickly want a scalable option that frees up your time – that’s were email newsletter platforms come in.

Step 1) Choose an email newsletter platform

Popular options that we have tried and like include:

  • Active Campaign
  • Mailchimp
  • Convertkit

Each of them come into their own strengths at different times. If you are looking for a full-fledge sales platform powerhouse that will incorporate everything (Landing Pages, Email Marketing, Customer Database, Sales Optimisation etc.) then Clickfunnels is also an option – it does have a premium price tag though.

All these platforms have a lot of resources to help you get started. In our Business Creation Toolkit we show you step by ste

 

 

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3 ways to increase online sales

The Art of Online Sales – How to increase online sales in your business

Once you have an online business setup, your next challenge is how to increase online sales.

Whether you are selling products or services – you want conversions – that is, turning online visitors to your social media and website into customers.

Increasing online sales is the primary goal of businesses, large and small alike – offline or online.

If you are not planning on increasing your online sales, thaat means you have the perfect number of customers and sales to meet your business goals.

Whether you run a retail business or are an ecommerce giant like Amazon, increasing sales is a key target, most business plans have a ‘sales’ section for just this reason.

Setting sales targets: To achieve x in revenue  then you need to know how many sales are required to meet those targets.

If you haven’t set any sales targets, take a moment to set them, having targets lets you create a plan to reach them.

Many online courses, consultants and coaches are now using dedicated landing pages (also called lead pages) to increase their conversion rates. These pages are provided by companies like Clickfunnels who also focus heavily on training their customers to increase their conversions. More and more, these Landing Page templates are included in WordPress themes and plugins and email marketing software such as Convertkit.

If you run an ecommerce store, then a different set of tools and techniques are required, more similar to those you would see in a traditional retail outlet – special offers, loyalty programs, attractive visual displays of products on your storefront.

You can also hire a company that specialises in boosting traffic and conversions – a digital marketing agency – that will look at the whole picture… how to increase traffic to your website (social media, online advertising, email marketing, offline advertising) and how to optimise your website for sales.

Using tools such as Google Analytics (Free), HotJar and others that give you insights into where your traffic is coming from, what pages on the site they are visiting and how many are leaving without convertig is really essential so that you can try new things to improve your online sales. If you haven’t got any reports setup, then do this first!

There are three ways to increase online sales:

  1. Get more customers
  2. Increase the order size (so instead of spending $19.95 they spend $49.95)
  3. Increase the number of repeat orders from your customers (this is where staying in touch with your customers becomes very important).

If you have 1000 visitors a month to your site and only 10 are becoming customers – your conversion rate is 1%.

The average conversion rate is often quoted as 2-3% so this is an area tofocus on – converting more customers.

Once they are converting better, the you can look at upsells, add-on services, etc. (i.e Increase the order size) and following up with your customers through email marketing and social media advertising to get repeat ordeers.

Check out Neil Patel’s advice below on how to improve conversion rates.

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Creating business goals

Setting and creating business goals when you start an online business

Setting and creating business goals when you start an online business helps to create focus for your online business. They also allow you to establish the critical strategies and actions needed to achieve your goals.

Having clear, well-defined online business goals can also:

  • help your business grow
  • clarify your sales and marketing objectives
  • clearly define the direction your business is heading in.

When you are just getting started, business goal setting is especially important. Once you have started your online business, checking back in on your business goals regularly allows you to:

  • consider whether you are on track to achieving them
  • look at what needs improving to meet your goals, and also
  • whether your goals need revising.

Creating SMART Goals for your online business

SMART goals are commonly used. They mean your business goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Realistic
  • Targeted

You can learn more about setting SMART goals for your online business here.

A SMART Goal examples could be: Achieve a net profit of $2000 per month in the first year of business (by December 2020).

Instead of  simply ‘I want to grow my business to achieve a profit’.

By including a specific, measurable, achievable and relistic target you create a much ore focused goal that clearly states what you plan to achieve.

Creating a business plan to set your business goals

If you take the important step of writing a business plan, your business goals are created as part of that document.

Goal writing does not have to be overly complicated, neither does creating a business plan – however they can make a very big difference to the overall success of your online business. They help you to understand the actions needed to achieve your business goals and set out the strategies, tools and tactics you will use.

For example – we discuss in How to increase online sales in your business that one of the 3 ways to increase sales is to increase the number of sales made by existing customers. An important aspect of achieving repeat sales from customers is that hey have a positive experience the first time! So, improving or maintaining overall customer satisfaction may be one of your business goals, that ultimately helps you to achieve your profit goals.

One method of writing business plans that has been really popular in recent times is the Lean Business Plan which is a business plan on a page. You may want more detail than that, if so there are many great free resources available for creating a business plan.

An online business has many similarities with a traditional business and having a budget, sales and marketing plan and business plan are three things that are essential. Together these documents will give you your sales targets, marketing objectives and business goals – along with the budget that will help you to achieve them without going broke in the process!

Whether your end goal is to sell a business and start the next one, or to build a business and team that scales and grows over time and becomes your full time living, these strategic documents are important guides on your path to business success.

 

 

 

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Creating a business plan for online business

Creating a business plan for online business is as important as it is in any business.

Your business plan is your guide to success.

It defines:

  • What your business goals are.
  • Who your potential customers are, where you will find them and how you will reach them
  • Who your competitors are
  • What your sales targets are
  • Your budget

Its also your forward plan… detailing the strategies, tactics and actions you will focus on to meet your online business goals.

These are all crucial things to know and understand.

The clarity it will give you to take meaningful steps in the right direction is important. Too many steps down the wrong path can be expensive and time consuming. So, perhaps a better way to look at your business plan is that it is your map. It will help you navigate your online business journey.

Once you have a business plan you can set it in motion. It doesn’t need to be a 100 page masterpiece. It can be very simple.

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The online business creation process

I don’t know about you but for me, the online business creation process is one of the most fun parts of the entire business journey.

Creation happens at many parts of the business journey. Russell Brunson talks about “creating new offers” as the favourite part of his online journey. “Its one of the things that I enjoy most and keeps me excited to wake up each day” Russell says. Russel is the founder of Clickfunnels which is a an online sales and marketing platform so that makes sense. He has connected his passion for sales with a tech platform that is used by many entreprenerurs to setup their sales platform.

Personally, I love the moment where you have a flash of inspiration. You have spitted an opportunity, a potential niche or problem you can solve.

I then do a couple of things…

  1. Quick research: is anyone else doing it and are they doing it well? Is there a potential audience? If the idea still has merit…
  2. Sketch an outline of my idea on paper, fleshing out the details a little bit, the start of a plan.
  3. Start brainstorming names, some people say this is wayyyyy too early, but I like getting a business name and domain registered, an outline done and be ready to test the concept as quickly as possible!
  4. Branding. What can I say, I am a marketer and I know a coherent brand makes you much more memorable… it can also be evolved so I pull sonething together in Canva for the test.
  5. More research into my audience so I know how to connect with them.
  6. Get my social media accounts setup.
  7. Get my website setup ready to test.
  8. Get my email marketing platform setuo.
  9. Develop the products
  10. Create the content and finish off social media, initial email marketing campaigbs and website
  11. Start testing by getting traffic from different a sources to the site to test…

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Starting an online business in 2020

Starting an online business in 2020 is going to present new opportunities as technology delivers.

There will also be challenges as the Internet gets busier and busier everyday.

Tools such as AI will allow businesses to gain better insights and understanding of their customers and successfully using these to connect with your customers will be more important than ever.

Lead generation will stay a key focus for online business, as will optimising conversions and delivering customer satisfaction so that clients stay with them.

I challenge people to consider reducing the amount of copy and content they put out and focus on quality. Ever clicked on an article only to discover there is 2hrs of reading to get through to get the good stuff? Sigh. Its not that you are unwilling to make the effort… its that time is precious.

So, what do I encourage every business owner to do this year? Keep it powerful, keep it high quality and value their customers time and money.  Finally, ensure customer satisfaction stays high.

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Creating a website for your business

Creating a website for your business.

One of the first steps of starting an online business is creating a website for your business. There is a step before that though, because you will need to know what you plan to call the business.  So, it all starts with a business name. Then a website address. Then getting your website built.

If you are ready to plunge on in, then check out the links below to all the essentials you will need including:

  • Domain name (your website address)
  • Website hosting (if you are building a website on WordPress). We use Siteground and have for years because they have great performance, incredible tech support for when things go wrong and make it really simple to get WordPress setup ready to start building out your website.
  • Shopify (if you want a fully hosted, ecommerce solution)
  • Email hosting with Google Apps or Microsoft Office (so you can have an email address like me@mywebsite) or for a free option, just create a Gmail account.

DIY Creating a website for your business

If you plan to DIY creating website for your business then there will be learning involved. That learning can then help you manage your website later, or it can be time spent that you don’t get back.  The answer to DIY or not to DIY is often based in your budget (which we covered in How much does it cost to start an online business?). It can also be down to your technical ability or ability to learn and pick up new things.  There are certainly a range of platforms that make it simpler these days such as SquareSpace, Wix, WordPress and Shopify but sometimes the costs in different plaforms only become apparent later.  For instance, through apps that you need to purchase to get the functionality you want.

Getting Expert help creating a website for your business

Depending on where you are on the time versus money equation, and also your technical ability, skills and experience – getting expert help can be really sensible.  Especially for creating a website for your business. There is a lot moving parts with a website that really works and while we make it as simple for you as possible in our guides. There is a reality that it just isn’t for everyone and sometimes, strong foundations means getting your website setup by an expert.

 

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How much does it cost to start an online business?

Every online business owner needs to consider how much does it cost to start an online business.

Knowing how much it costs and setting your budget is important. Be realistic about whether you will have the money available to start an online business and launch it to your target market successfully.

Starting an online business can have much lower start up costs compared to a bricks and mortar retailer. But, it is not free and a plan and budget are essential for success.

Costs vary wildly depending on how deep your products are, how competitive the market, what type of online business you plan to start and also whether you plan to do most of the work yourself. If you plan to outsource to website developers, bookkeepers, digital marketing agencies and have virtual assistants keep everything running then your costs will increase significantly.

Cost to start an online business

  • Domain name (website address) – $20-50 / year. Depending on what you want (a .com and / or a .com.au). Also additional extras such as domain privacy so that you don’t get hit by spammers from day one. Some domain companies also charge you extra for setting up forwarding to your email hosting through Google Apps, Micorosft 365, etc. (see below).
  • Email address and hosting – $7 to 15/mth. This can be a free gmail account, or you can pay for Google Apps which allows you to use your domain in your email address, i.e. me@mywebsite.com. Microsoft 365 is also a good option as it also provides the Microsoft products such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel.
  • Website hosting (where your website is stored) –  $200/yr to $1000./yr.  This is a very big variable as it depends on whether you use a platform like WordPress which is free. WordPress is free but your site still needs to be store on webiste hosting and we use Siteground for this. Alternartively there are services like Shopify which is an ecommerce platform that takes care of the hosting and the tech for you but will potentially cost you more later as there are ongoing monthly costs and also paid apps, etc. you use.
  • Business registration – you will want to register your business at some point to ensure you are trading legally, in Australia that is through the Australian Business Registry.
  • Marketing and advertising – this where the budget starts to really vary, some people are happy to start spending $3000/mth on online advertising from day 1, others want to use the power of social media, their networks, email, etc.

Other Platforms and Tools

You will likely also need are email marketing platform, social media management tools, and accounting software (for example).  These can all greatly impact your budget. If you plan to start on a shoestring you may avoid a lot of these costs initially until you have proven your idea works.

Getting started with your online business

Our resources page has links to the tools and resoures we have used when helping businesses get started online and to manage our own online businesses.

You may also want to check out our article on How to Start An Online Business or check out our workbook on Six Ways to Start Your Online Business.

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How to Start An Online Business

First steps and ideas on how to start an online business

If you are starting your research into how to start an online business, you may be staring down one of these two options:

  1. Trying to get an existing business or product that’s working well offline into the online market. Or,
  2. Looking to setup an online business from scratch.

There are three essential things that any business needs to operate online:

  • A business name
  • A website address or domain name (unless you plan to only sell through a marketplace such as Ebay, Gumtree, Udemy, etc.)
  • Email address

Without these three things, its very hard to operate an online business.

There are other logical things such as:

  • A way to take payments
  • A way to obtain customers (i.e. advertising, through social media, email marketing)

We have created a resource page with links to tools that can help you get these sorted.

If you want to start an online business from scratch, its likely you either:

  1. Have an idea and want to turn it into a reality.
  2. Are exploring ideas for how to start an online business and types of businesses.

Online business models to consider when starting an online business:

Online business models to choose from when starting an online business:

  • Affiliate Marketing – where your online business centres around being paid to promote other people’s products and services.  If someone purchases a product or service they first heard about through you, you can receive a commission.
  • Print-On-Demand – this is where you produce products such as mugs, tshirst or other goods that are only produced when the customer orders them. The order goes to a Print On Demand supplier to produce the customer’s product and ships directly to them. Ogo is an example of an Australian company that offers Print on Demand Services.
  • Selling Digital Products or Marketing Services – whether it is a course, consulting, coaching or an actual digital product this online business model means that you aren’t selling physical goods.
  • Drop Shipping – This online business is where you list items for sale in an online store and when the customer orders it, you place an order with your supplier who ships it directly to the customer. No need to hold stock or manage the shipping / packaging element!
  • Fulfillment By Amazon – This online business model is where you purchase products and market them through the Amazon store, when a customer purchases the product, Amazon picks, packs and does the shipping (fulfilment) for you.
  • SAAS – Software As A Service – If you are a techie or developer this maybe an option for you as an online business. Types of SAAS include Xero (SAAS accounting software), Mobile Apps or a Plugin for WordPress.

Each of these different options for starting an online business suit different skill sets, experience and preferences.

 

 

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