There are no shortcuts to success in any form of business.
You need to have an excellent product and have a plan for how you are going to tell people about it. You need to tell them why they should consider it, use it, rent it, buy it or get it for free.
You need to promote your products.
There are so many business models online. You need to be clear about what your business model is and how you expect to make money from it.
Promoting online publishing
The online publishing business is very diverse now, with so many different ways that you can earn an income.
It can no longer be simply defined as writers and authors using Kindle ebook or print on demand paperback publishing.
Nor can blogging be set into one business category.
When there is money to be made from free ebooks, free articles, and free membership, you might start to ask and come to understand that an online business today is very different from what business was in the past.
No matter what form your online small business takes, you will need to find great ways to promote and connect with customers to stand a chance of success.
Whether it is a Tweet, a Facebook post, a content marketing article or press releases, you need to keep finding ways to promote, connect and build relationships.
Let’s start with the obvious. Ebooks and books.
I received a message a few days ago from a new author. To paraphrase, it said, ‘My book has been on sale for a couple of months, but I haven’t sold a copy. What’s wrong with people?’
Well, I had to ask if the author had bought a copy. At least to get things started. No.
Ask good friends and family to buy a copy? No.
Advertising or promotion? No. Well, except for a couple of Facebook posts just after the book was published. Free book campaign. No.
Nothing will ever sell itself.
The above example is extreme, but at the same time, it is not that uncommon.
The ebook and book market is very competitive, so it goes without saying that you need to work to get your book in front of noses to stand a chance of getting sales.
I have probably written more words on this blog about this subject more than any other topic. So I will simply refer you to one about four steps to promote a book to save on repeating myself.
A blog needs a lot of exposure, and hard work to gain traffic
Blogging is easy if you are not concerned about getting lots of readers and making money. All you need is a free blogging platform, and that’s it.
But if you are serious about making blogging, or online publishing as your business, you will have to work hard and publicise it day in and day out to connect with groups of people who are interested in your topic.
Many would instantly think here of social media, RSS feeds and email marketing as the best ways to develop a blog. While these are useful and essential, they are not always the most effective.
The most effective way to gain traffic to a blog is still by using SEO (Search Engine Optimization).
For those not familiar with SEO, it is all about getting the highest possible listing on Google, Bing, and Yahoo to attract new visitors.
The higher position you can reach, the more traffic you will get.
Like anything else online, it is extremely competitive, and it takes a lot of work, every day, to keep one step ahead of competitors.
For new bloggers, there are plenty of free SEO tools available online to help out and get you started.
But for bloggers who are serious about earning an income and attracting potential customers, they will eventually decide to start using a professional suite of SEO tools such as those offered by Semrush, Hrefs or Majestic.
With the right tools, it is much easier to make decisions about effective keywords and monitoring, competitor analysis and ROI on Adwords advertising.
Everyone wants to be noticed
A great example of how online marketing has now become a part of our daily online existence is Instagram.
So many young people, in particular, go to great lengths to gain followers on their Instagram accounts by using social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Tumblr merely as staging points.
Each one of these accounts usually contains clear links directly back to their Instagram page.
Recognition is almost as powerful as money as a motivator.
On Instagram, recognition, and being noticed is a huge factor for some users to publicize themselves. And by doing so, unwittingly also help boost Instagram, which is a win-win, of sorts.
If you have a Facebook page, you will know very well that Facebook peppers you with ‘Pay To Promote This Post’ pop-ups.
This is playing on your perceived need for recognition and gaining Likes, and not at all about for making money for you.
When you do a simple Google search, you know, but are probably blind to the first few entries that are paid advertisements.
You are reading this article for free. But this blog makes money from advertising and affiliate marketing.
Marketing and advertising are everywhere.
What do you need to sell?
I noted earlier about the author who sold no books. What’s wrong with the world?
There’s nothing wrong with the world, but the world is not psychic. You have to tell the world clearly what you do, what you have to offer, what you want to sell, why your product or service is the best and what you would like them to do.
If you have an advertising-supported blog, you need lots of site visitors to make money.
So, the best promotion tools you have are to blog like crazy and promote your business with SEO and leverage social media, which is the new equivalent of word of mouth advertising, to the maximum.
If you are an author and have books to sell, you will only do so by getting the word out as far and as wide as possible.
If your social media accounts have only a few hundred followers or friends, you need to go much, much wider.
Use a reliable book promotion service, write guest posts on top ranking book blogs and comment on high traffic blogs and newspapers.
You should use Amazon’s marketing tools to your best advantage, and especially your Amazon Author page.
Let a lot of people know about your free ebook days and do not just hope that it will all work by itself.
Remember that people still talk to each other, albeit by messaging, posts and shares on social media.
But this is how the modern-day equivalent of person to person validation works. Give them something to share and let them talk about it.
If no one knows, no one buys
You always have to advertise and get your business out in front of the buyer’s eyes.
There are three butcher shops on the high street in my town. Yes, all have a selection of cuts in the window, but you only notice if you happen to walk by and bother to look in the window.
But one butcher’s shop is now getting a lot more business and is by far the most popular. Why?
Because there is a big, and I mean a huge cow outside his shop that you can see from all the way down the high street.
That really is what promoting your business is all about. Get noticed.