One of the reasons a purchase can turn out to be a shiny object or attending a webinar a waste of time is that the material is designed for a stage in your business’s growth you haven’t reached yet. It’s no use digging into case studies of how big brands use their reputation and social media followers to make sales when you only have a couple of posts on your blog and nothing to sell. If you ever get to their position it’s likely the methods they are using will be outdated by then.
If you’re just starting online you need to focus on the basics. If you have practically no traffic, few Facebook fans and only a handful of subscribers in your autoresponder it’s not exactly the right time to set up some A/B split testing.
So what should be in place before you become more ambitious?
1. A familiarity with your target audience before approaching them
To have followers you have to be clear who your target audience is, where you can find them and what you can offer them that they will want.
2. Have something worth following if you want followers and subscribers
You must have something that is of interest to your audience and make a connection with the audience you plan to grow. Ideally you should provide resources, information and/or services that make them think “I love visiting their site because they speak to me and help me so much!”
3. A growing audience that consumes your content
You can’t have your content shared via social media and have others recommend you if no one is reading your posts, listening to your podcasts, or watching your videos. That means you have to market your content. A common mistake is to spend a lot of effort creating content then spending hardly any time placing it where your audience will find it.
4. Enough traffic before you start worrying about conversion
Making decisions based on things like split testing or audience targeting depends on statistics, and for those to be valid you need large enough numbers. Spotting that 12 people out of 40 act a certain way proves nothing if you are looking to improve conversions. You need a much bigger sample so that the stats are significant and trustworthy. Work on getting more traffic to make the stats worth looking at.
5. Enough subscribers before worrying about click throughs
Having people respond to your emails is also a step by step process. First you need to provide a good, clearly explained lead magnet to persuade your audience to optin, then you have to get them to open your emails. Once that number grows, only then should you start worrying about whether they click on the links within your emails.
An online business is like any other. First you need to get the basics right and then you need to develop over time. It’s a collection of step by step processes. The next time you are about to make a purchase or sign up to a webinar ask yourself if this is the step you should be acting on now, or whether there is an earlier step in your business that you should be focussing on.