5 Steps to Thrive (Not Just Survive) in Online Business

With so many businesses pulling back in today’s shaken economy, especially with advertising dollars, maybe you could be taking advantage of the situation by setting your goals to thrive, not just survive.

Below are 5 Steps to set a good foundation for consistent growth for an online business looking to expand.  To learn more, stay tuned for an upcoming video interview with Brent of ThriveAmerica.com and yours truly.

STEP ONE : Identify your Biggest Pains

Don’t act desperate and just try everything out there that claims to make your business succeed. You’ll drown. You know your business better than anyone, so decide what key “pains” you have right now and focus on solving them first. Keep an open mind, however. Recognize new opportunities without getting sidetracked.

Action Item: Do a mind map or make a drawing of some sort to help get your ideas on paper. You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after getting everything on paper.

STEP TWO : Know Your Competitor

If the sites you consider as your competitor is getting over 4x the traffic you are, they probably aren’t your competitors. They will be, however, if you dissect valuable information from a competitive analysis and learn more about your market. Focus on data such as, where your competitor is getting traffic from, what keywords your competitor is using, and visitor trending.

Action Item: Compare your site’s traffic to a few of your competitor’s websites by using Alexa, Compete, or Quantcast. Pay particular attention to trends that might tell you something.

STEP THREE : Study Keywords

Keywords will tell you how to best direct your online marketing campaign. Not only can you find where the largest search volume is, but you can also find what most professional SEO professionals would consider “low-hanging fruit,” terms that get decent traffic but have low competition to rank well on search engines. Finally, a keyword study can help identify a niche that you might not have even originally considered.

Action Item: Start out with at least 5 seed keywords. These keywords should be a somewhat vague assumption as what you imagine someone would type to find you or keywords that you would consider to be the most beneficial to be ranked #1. Use keyword discovery tools such as Wordtracker, Trellian, or KeywordSpy to help you find even more relevant keywords and even niche keywords or “low-hanging fruit.”

STEP FOUR : Time to Test and Drive Qualified Traffic

It’s time to put the competitive analysis and keyword study to use. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) marketing is a very quick way to quickly bring traffic to your site and begin collecting valuable data from real live and qualified prospects.

Action Item: Start a Google Adwords campaign and commit to an advertising budget that you feel comfortable with for at least two weeks, preferably one month. Load up your first campaign with the seed keywords you’ve started with and additional keywords you’ve discovered. Follow Google’s instructions carefully. Now may be the time for you to look for professional help in setting up and managing a well run PPC campaign.

STEP FIVE : Optimize your Site for SEO and Conversion

Hopefully you’ve seen some success in your test! Now that you have some data to analyze, you can use it to improve On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO to drive organic search engine traffic to your site. Focus on making your site convert. Is there a call to action? Can the visitor see how to contact you easily? What is the value? What makes you different from any other competitor? Is it being advertised?

Action Item: Use a reputable free website seo optimizer to show how you can improve On-Page SEO for your site. Follow the instructions carefully or get a trusted seo company to do the work for you. Use other great web analytics tools such as ClickTale, CrazyEgg, or RobotReplay to further analyze your visitors behaviors on your site. Start out by finding where bounce rates are highest and identifying conversion funnels.

This of course isn’t all there is, but these 5 simple steps are a great way to get a solid foundation for a long lasting growth oriented online marketing campaign.  Please comment!

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