18 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Online Business

Bringing back a very popular post from my other blog…please share this post with others.

If any one of these 18 mistakes resonate with you, avoid them or suffer the consequences.

1. I can do this for free. You cannot build a business online for free. Get over it.

2. Build it, and they will come. You cannot just put a website up, and expect to start raking in the profits.

3. Decorate it, “Trick it out”, not for websites…this might work for brick and mortar stores, but online you have to keep it to reasonable level.

4. Lacking a Unique Selling Proposition. You need to generate a real presence online…and you have to be unique.

5. “I don’t have to work hard to succeed online.” Pfui. Sometimes harder.

6. Earn money in your sleep, 24/7/365, etc… Yes, you can, but your business requires attention.

7. “I already know what to do, I don’t need a game plan, plans are for newbies.” You might as well count yourself out now, turn in the keys and go home.

8. Not getting to the point. People have so many other distractions nowadays, you don’t have time to go into theory, just get to the point.

9. Writing for the offline audience is the same as writing for the online audience. Wrong answer, thank you for playing the game.

10. Failing to remember you are dealing with people online. It is so easy to do online, and the impersonal nature of the media can help you lose business as fast as you can gain it.

11. Stopping at the first sale with a customer. Big error, this is only your first contact with a person who said “I trust you”…what are you going to do next?

12. Give them more reasons to show up again and again. It doesn’t stop at the first visit, what are you going to do to keep ‘em coming back?

13. Having a terrible follow up system. Are you following up with someone who gave their email address and name to you by sending endless offers?

14. “I have 10 million hits and no sales…how is that possible?” Traffic isn’t the key, targeted (quality) traffic is.

15. Don’t make them think. Getting your visitors the information they are seeking as quickly and easily as possible should be a primary objective.

16. Lack of focus on your business. There is more ways to make money on the internet than you could write a book on…but you need to pick one and focus on it until it develops profits consistently.

17. Failing to re-invest in your online business. You always need to focus a certain percentage of revenue back into the business.

18. Failing to properly track and monitor your online business. It is so easy to do this online, yet many don’t even try.

Well, there they are, 18 of the most critical mistakes you can make that will kill your online business.

Please feel free to share this post with others who could use the information 🙂

Does Proper Communication Even Matter Any More In Business?

When a client enlists your services, buys your product, etc…it’s sometimes easy to forget how important your product or service is to the life or business of your client.

One of my recent clients was concerned that the potential web designers she was considering for a project weren’t returning her communication at all. Even if the designers are too busy to take on additional work, shouldn’t they communicate that to their potential clients instead of not communicating at all?

Weird. I would think proper communication (both ways, not just one way) would be a normal mode of business online.  Guess it isn’t.

She went on to hire a web graphics person…agreed to terms, communicated well all the way to the end of the project…and POOF!

Nothing.

No communication whatsoever.  No final delivery of the product either.

This web design fits in the business plan of my client…and needed to be finished to move on with that plan. No communication of any type from the designer.

Hmmm…

So the lesson here is this…I guess you could literally create a U.S.P. (Unique Selling Proposition) out of simply maintaining real, prompt, and courteous communication with your clients…as sad as that is.

Sad.

Communicate with your customer base people.

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff - How well do you communicate?

Joseph Ratliff - How well do you communicate?

Forget “How Many” Twitter Followers You Have (And Other Social Media Lessons)…

I’m tired of seeing it.  I gotta post this…

Everywhere I turn, I see a new course on “getting more Twitter followers” this, and “make money on Twitter” that…and while there’s ABSOLUTELY NOTHING wrong with these courses or selling those courses AT ALL…

We’re losing the important focus here people.

Twitter, like business, is about people…not about how many followers I have, how many followers you have, and how much money we’re gonna make using Twitter.

“How many” followers doesn’t matter.

If it sounds like I’m frustrated…I am.

Here’s why…

If your mind is only focused on “how to get more Twitter followers”, you’re missing the point.  Twitter (and all the other popular ones for that matter) is social media folks, so be social, and the number of followers you have will reflect how well you’re doing that (unless you’re a fucking SPAMMER, or using something to “game” Twitter, but that’s for another post entirely).

Don’t play games when marketing in Social Media people…it’s about being social.

That doesn’t mean you have to be talking to other people all the time, but at least part of the time.  Sometimes, you can link to your blog content, or other useful tools…hell, sometimes you can even market stuff, but for Pete’s sake you can’t focus on your following as a greater number equating to greater success.

Your following on Twitter (or any other Social Media for that matter) are people, people!  Why on earth would you think of them as only a number of followers (friends, whatever, etc…)?

Sure, you could “set up” Twitter to drive a bunch of traffic to a money-making offer with thousands of people following you…but with ten times less followers, at least double the income could be generated with a joint-venture, advertising partner, getting connected with people who are connected to more people etc…all set up because you actually treated your followers like people, adding value to their lives without considering how that action will “make you money”.

“All that good stuff happened, because a human decided it.” –Gary Vaynerchuk

End rant.

The lesson for today is…

…if any of the above describes how you currently think about Social Media (i.e. it’s about getting links and traffic), change that.  Instead, start to think about the people in your follower list, your friends list, and make at least one even more valuable contact or joint venture partnership by the end of this week.

Once you do that for the first time, you’ll start to realize it doesn’t matter “how many” followers or friends you have…it only matters how many of them you can get connected with to explode your business.

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff - Lets all be Social in the Social Media

Joseph Ratliff - Let's all be Social in the Social Media

“DoNotReply@MyDomain.com” and Other “What The Heck?” Stuff About Internet Business…

IMPORTANT: This is a rant…and not directed at you personally, unless you are who I am speaking to…

[Begin Rant]

For those of us that actually make a living online and aren’t chasing the latest“money maker”, we are in business to provide value and help others in exchange for the almighty dollar.

So why the heck do some of us hide behind our websites, computer screens, and stupid emails?

And the follow up question…If some of us are doing that, how can it be good for internet business as a whole (not just for the individual playing hide n’ go seek)?

Let’s take those questions, one at a time, starting with why are we hiding…etc…

Here is an all-too common example…probably sitting in your email inbox right now as a matter of fact…

donotreply@I-Am-Too-Good-To-Put-My-Real-Email-Here.com

or a variation of that…like…

aweber101223@autoresponder-email-instead-of-realone.com

Why the hell can’t you put an email address that people can contact you (or a member of your staff) with right there in your autoresponder messages by hitting “reply to”?

It’s available…you are a person…and we are marketing to people right?

Come on folks…you can operate an internet marketing business better than that, can’t you (if you are one of those folks) ?

And yes, I do use a real email for my own autoresponder messages.

Now the qualifiers/excuses for not using a real email (and I am sure there are more)…

Yes, there are people who might misuse your email address…yes, there are people who will try to suck up your time…and yes, there is a book called The 4-Hour Workweek that promotes using autoresponders to manage your time (keyword: manage).

Get over it. We are in a people business, so you, or your customer service/admin staff should be working with people, not trying to hide from them or avoid them.

Instead, here is a novel thought…engage your people (clients, JV Partners, friends, etc…) instead of wasting efforts trying to “shield” yourself from them, start a conversation with them.

And here is a BIG secret…since we are in an age where social marketing is finally taking its place on the Web…

You might actually increase your chances of Joint Venturing, increase online sales, and yes…your marketing efforts will become easier when your customers can access you or your business quickly and easily (go figure, more contact with people=more results from people, hmmm).

Why make it hard for them to get in touch with you or your business at all? There is no good reason to.  But so many internet marketing operations hide in a bunker, it’s not even funny.

A customer should literally be able to send you/your company mail, email you directly (or a general manager etc…), or pick up the phone and call the top-level executive (could be you), to voice a concern that could not be handled.

Do you have to answer your phone? You should, but if the customer has to leave a voicemail…return the call or hire a staff person to do it (a good one, not the cheapest).

The email burning excuse is usually “I get SOOOOO many emails that…”, to which I would say, “Get someone to handle it for you, expand your business, or even better…GET ORGANIZED ENOUGH OR STAFFED TO be able to handle the extra email load and quit whining about it.”

By the way, every single email doesn’t have to be responded to within 20 seconds…just a reasonable amount of time.  Check your inbox twice a day, and just schedule it in (or once again, have someone do it for you).

Next question…
When those that are “hiding” continue doing so…because I know that it is hard to change the habits of business people with just one blog post.

But here’s the reality of that mindset…

Those that “hide” actually make it more difficult for internet business to be conducted…because you reduce the “trust factor” that customers already have a hard time building with businesses all over the place…because today’s customer is already “jaded”.

So quit fucking hiding.

Start to do business with your market, and stop shoving your stuff in front of your market and taking shelter behind false emails, your monitor, false logins on forums etc…


Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff - Theres no such thing as DoNotReply in my book

Joseph Ratliff - There's no such thing as "DoNotReply" in my book

Joseph Ratliff
Internet Business Growth Specialist

Email Address: joe@josephratliff.name

(go ahead, send one , ask me anything in fact, just be prepared for the real, uncensored answer when you do…
[/End Rant]

2 Reasons Why Big Businesses Fail In A Down Economy And What You Can Learn From Them…

You’ve probably heard on the news that major companies are failing left and right in this recession economy (no, I am not making excuses for them).

Circuit City, major automakers, big financial companies, etc….etc…

I believe there are 2 primary reasons they are failing:

1)  They hire minimum wage workers for their critical customer engagement points like sales and support in efforts to please their shareholders (showing their freaking greed and lack of concern for their customer experience).

Circuit City is a prime example of this…but many companies just “put a warm body” out there for their customers, and give that employee some weak sales and product training, then expect that will be “good enough” for their customers…so long as the losses from complaints and refunds doesn’t exceed the profit savings gained by not paying for seasoned help.

Guess what big companies…this model doesn’t implement leverage properly…and while you might be making a profit…you’re not making the profits you could be if you leveraged good salespeople or support personnel instead of unskilled labor with weak training.

Grandpappie used to say “You get what you pay for.” That couldn’t be more true when it comes to leveraging your sales and support staff to big profits.

But as many things work in our business world, the “guys at the top” of these companies are more concerned with short-term profits than the leverage and big-time sales they could be generating…so nothing will change most likely.

2)  They play the blame game on conditions that really have nothing to do with why they are really failing.  One example is displayed on news media “______________ (insert random big company CEO here) blames this downturn in sales on the current recession/economy”.

When they play this blame game…they are basically saying “We’re too fucking lazy to pay real attention to the real reason we’re failing, so we’re going to put our heads in the sand and ride this situation out and hope we can return to our ‘minimum expense, cheap profits’ methodology at some point.”

All I have to say to this is “Wow.”

So what can you learn from this?

Never forget your roots, and design your business systems around the main growth staple for businesses everywhere, people.

As I have said 100 times or more…business is about people, people. 🙂

Joseph Ratliff - How are you treating your customers?

Joseph Ratliff - How are you treating your customers?

P.S. As a follow up to this post, Perry Marshall has also blogged about this and has a MP3 file you can download of one of his mentoring sessions.