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5 Tips for Expanding Your Local Business Online

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 7/03/2016 Michelle McGlade
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Are you looking for ways to take part or all of your local business to the global stage? While technology continues to increase accessibility to global audiences, speaking from experience, it is quite different to launch and build your business online versus in your local market.
Local business owners looking to get in to the online marketplace can expect a huge learning curve to get up to speed on squeeze pages, opt ins, sales funnels and much more, not to mention the technology behind these tools.
To end the overwhelm and get you focused on the right action steps to take your local business online, here are the exact steps I took when I first started - and the steps that led me to book $11,000 in my first three months online while I was still operating my brick and mortar business full-time.
Establish Yourself as the Expert
People buy from people they know, like and trust. Making a connection online is more difficult and takes more time than in your local market. For this reason, establishing yourself as the expert right away is critical.
Ensure your online profiles are complete and highlight your breadth of experience and specific expertise. Utilize up to date high quality photos of yourself that ensure you are looking at the camera with an approachable expression. Finally, create a strong brand identity that speaks to your target audience and communicate it clearly and consistently across all online channels.
Provide High Value for Your Audience
Content is king online and your potential clients have access to unlimited information. To stand out from the crowd under promise and over deliver in every aspect of your business. More specifically, with your content; do not be afraid to put your very best stuff out there for free.
Grab your target audience's attention by creating a free opt in offer. Ideas include a video series, mini course, e-book, audio training or checklist. Make sure the information you provide is easy to digest and high value by solving a key problem for your target audience.
Follow Up and Consistently Communicate
Those who are opting in to your list desire to hear your message. Facilitate the opportunity for your audience to get to know, like and trust you by consistently communicating with them.
Create an autoresponder series of 6-8 emails to follow up with your audience from the opt in. The goal of this series is to introduce your audience to you and allow them to learn more about you. Create a call to action or make them an offer at the end of your email sequence.
Do not stop there. Create an ongoing communication plan for your email list. Choose a schedule and stick to it, let your audience know when they can expect to hear from you.
Build Your Online Presence
Building an online business requires you to show up on a consistent basis and show off who you are and what you have to offer. Be relentless about putting yourself out there and consistently providing value.
Keep in mind the 80/20 rule. Sell your products or services 20% of the time and focus on engaging and helping others 80% of the time.
Given the endless places online to promote your products or services, pick three places to start and select the online channels where your target audience is most accessible. Just remember, building a relationship that leads to sales is about value and consistency!
Establish and Lead an Online Community
Creating a place for your target audience to hang out online where you can interact with them, continue to provide valuable content, and promote your offerings will lead to future sales.
Establish and build an online community, on Facebook or LinkedIn for example, to further position yourself as the expert, build your credibility and strengthen the know, like and trust factor.
Invite people you know to your group who may be interested. Promote the group to your email list and via online channels. Send a personal message to contacts from your Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts.
A successful online group requires daily participation on your part to build and keep the momentum going. The initial investment is worth it in the long run, but if you are not in a position to execute at this level, this may not be the next best step for you.
These five elements of an online business when executed with consistency produce results over time. They are the elements of a strong foundation of a successful online business and will place you ahead of the competition when bringing part or all of your local business online.

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