How to Start Your Online Business

A Step by Step Guide

Know your customer (part 1)

Your number 1 focus when building an online business, should be to help people. That being said, you have to know who your going to help. Your customer. You need to first determine who your customer is, what they purchase often, and why they are purchasing online.

Once you understand your customer, the easier it will be to have them make a purchase. We all know the purpose of any online business is to sell a product or service to a visitor to our sites, and make a profit. But to be able to create a profit, you must have customers and you must be able to sell to these customers. This is called “customer comprehension”.

You have to be promoting a product or service that people are actually looking for and not what You think they want. It is a common mistake online businesses make. They build a site and promote their product or service before understanding who their audience is

Do not assume you know what your customer wants,
research and understand what they want

There are steps that someone will take before buying a product or service online that you need to understand. When someone learns of a product/service that they are interested in, the steps they take are statistically the same. Not always, but more then not. 

(1) A customer will rarely buy on their first point of contact 
(2) It will typically take a potential customer 7 contacts with a product or service before they buy 
(3) Customers will not buy from a site or person they don’t trust
(4) A customer is looking to exchange money for something that will help them
(5) Customers are looking to reviews more now than ever before a purchase
(6) The majority of customers can spot a phony presentation

There are 3 stages a customer goes through before purchasing

Every step or stage a potential customer advances to brings them closer to being a Paying customer, which is your ultimate goal. Once you understand these stages, the better you can approach those potential customers. Ideally you want them when they are in the last stage, purchase. 

I also think there is one more stage that comes after them, loyalty.
For lack of a better term, its staying in touch with your buyer
Make sure you have an email marketing campaign

(1) Awareness

People today will sometimes research a product to death. They are hungry for information. I have quoted on my site a line from the movie Wall Street, “The most valuable commodity I know of is Information“. Keep this thought in mind when writing content on your site about a particular product or service. 

People love to learn before they buy. Although some peoples purchasing decisions are more spontaneous than others, most people want to learn about a concept before they consider buying. They will research through television, Facebook, Twitter, a Google search, a magazine, personal contact, from a celebrity, or a news website.

(2) Evaluation

What you can offer people that are in this stage is reviews. Your reviews should be detailed, honest and informative. Cover each aspect of the product or service that would be important to your potential customer. You should have bought the product yourself or have a good understanding of it. 

There are some people that have already made up their minds on the product they want. They may have read a newspaper or magazine article, and their done with research and want to buy it now. 

The majority of people want to evaluate the product they are interested in. They will compare it to other similar items while they are making up their minds. The features and functions will be high on their list at this point and not the price. 

(3) Purchase

The final phase is the purchase. As Internet marketers this is where the profit comes. Unless a potential customer takes action, there is no profit. To fulfill the lifecycle of an online customer, a purchase must be made.

When people are in the last stage, purchase, it is very difficult to sway them from their decision.   They have already done all the research and have made the decision to buy. Its at this point that they will do a google search for “best price for___” or “purchase _____”, “order ____”. It would be great to capture all the people in this stage, but unlikely. 

The best way to be on the receiving end of the 3 stages is to capture them at stage 1 or 2 and walk them through the whole process. It is very hard to capture someone in the buying stage if you haven’t already been in contact with them through your site.

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 In part 2 I talk about how you approach your targeted customer
and the best ways to capture their attention

Know your customer, part 2

Till next time, all my best,
Doug

PS: Would love a comment if you have a minute…Thanks

2 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Great article. Very information. Love how you break down the customer purchasing process online. I like how you emphasized on customers want information before they decide the want to buy something. Definitely a great takeaway.

    • Jeff,
      Thanks for your comment. Many people starting an online business don’t understand the customer buying cycle and how to capture them at the right time during this cycle.
      Glad the information was helpful and wish you all the best to your online success.
      Doug

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