When you first enter the world of Internet marketing, the amount of things you have to learn in a short time can be overwhelming! Because there are a so many things to learn, it’s easy to make mistakes early on that could hurt your ability to make money online.
In this post, I am going to talk about a huge mistake we made when we first got into business online, and hopefully help you avoid the error that probably cost us thousands of dollars in sales.
Here we go
When I started our first website, I was so focused on getting my logo right, designing the nice looking website, and perfecting my SEO that I didn’t even pay attention to the most important component of any business: my audience (the customers)!
I started a digital download service for teachers where they could submit and share worksheets and other activities for free. My goal was to put ads all over the pages where the activities were found. The plan was for teachers to come to the site, download a worksheet, and maybe click on an ad that paid us on a per click basis.
The site was a moderate success and actually helped us earn our first money online. Hundreds of visitors started coming through the site, downloading content, and occasionally clicking on ads.
One night I received a comment from a visitor that said, “Do you sell lesson plans that go with these worksheets?” At first I thought, “What a great idea! They come looking for the free content and there is a related product to buy!”
Selling products is way more profitable than ad clicks, this could be a whole new way to earn money online.
I started looking at the numbers. I noticed that hundreds of people had downloaded a particular activity. If only a fraction of those visitors had bought a $10 product instead of clicked on a $1 ad, it could have meant hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in income!
Then it hit me… I could just go ahead and make the product and send it to all the people that had downloaded the related worksheet! I knew they were interested in the subject. I had their attention and good will by giving them a free product. Now I just had to give them more of what they already wanted!
There was a HUGE problem though.
I didn’t know who any of my visitors were. Hundreds of people had been through that page, but they were just random people jumping on my sight from Google. Anonymous web surfers who got what they want and left without even thinking there was more there for them to see and buy.
I was sick. How could I have made such a huge mistake. All these people walking into my online store, practically begging to buy something…and I let them leave without even asking for their name.
I started looking for ways to gather information about my visitors. As I began to look for solutions, I discovered a powerful saying in the Internet marketing world: “the money is in the list.” I needed to gather the names of my visitors, a way to contact them with offers (email, phone, etc.), and keep the information in a permanent customer list. That way when I had something to sell, I’d have people to actually sell it to!
But how could I do that?
A simple contact form and manually enter them into a spreadsheet? That would take forever!
And how could I convince people to give me their information without seeming too pushy?
Our answer to the first question is a powerful tool called Aweber. Aweber lets you create simple, easy to use forms that collect information about your visitors. You can get a visitors name, email, phone number…anything you want.
Then, also using Aweber, you can create mass emails that contact everyone on your list at once! So when you have a new product for sale, you can just notify your list and people will come and buy it!
Aweber revolutionized our business. We went from making hundreds of dollars a month, to thousands of dollars a month almost overnight. Once we had a list of people who were already interested in our products, selling those products became easy.
But how do you convince someone to give you their name and email? Easy. You give them really awesome stuff for free!
People were already coming to my website for the free content. The only thing I changed is I required those visitors to give me their information in exchange for the free stuff. Then I created products to support the free content, and sold those products at a premium to the people that downloaded the freebies.
Collecting emails with Aweber is what took our online business to the next level. It drives me crazy to think about how much money we left on the table by not collecting emails from the very beginning of our business.
When Jocelyn started her first website, she put the email form on it from day one. In a month she had collected hundreds of names and emails. When she launched her first product, she notified her list and made more money in a week than we made in a month at our day jobs!
Now, whenever we launch a new website, the first thing we do is put up an email opt-in form with a free product. Even before we post the first article or piece of content. It really is THE most important thing you can do when you work online!
So don’t make the same mistake we did. If you are just getting started in online business, get started with Aweber today before you miss out on hundreds or even thousands of dollars in sales like we did.
Remember: “The money is in the list.”
– To learn more about how we use Aweber in our online business, click this link.
What is a mistake you made when you first started your online business?
Share in the comments!