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By Mitch Meyerson

A few years ago, I started an online business by putting put up my first website.

Like many of you I was looking to tap into the business potential of the Internet: customers around the world, low or no cost marketing opportunities as well as economic security and freedom.

At the time the information available made it sound easy. However,
over time I discovered a different reality: Most online entrepreneurs--myself included--were making little or no money on the web.

Understanding that knowledge is power, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I wrote my own book based on the words and strategies of the most successful online marketers in the world. I spoke with experts ranging from Mark Victor Hansen and Robert Allen to Jay Conrad Levinson and Marlon Sanders. I was most interested in topics that led to traffic generation and creating websites and email campaigns that actually yielded sales.

Today, in the first of a series, I will discuss seven keys to creating a successful online business. Here they are:

Every Contact Is a Marketing Opportunity. Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing and I teach this timeless principle in our Guerrilla Marketing Coaching Program. They are words to live by.

The idea is that small details that really make a big difference. It is the tone of your voice as you pick up the phone, the first impression made with the look of your web site, the care you put into your emails and remembering personal details about your clients.

On the web a first impression is everything. In fact most surfers are likely to leave your site in under ten seconds. Here are some questions you will want to consider:

Does your first impression of your website draw your visitors in? Is your copy strong and emotionally engaging? Do you have a compelling headline? Do your graphics and layout convey professionalism? Is your navigation easy to understand? Do you have any typos?

These mistakes can be very costly. The good news is that they are easy to fix.

Write Copy That Gets Visitors to Take Action. Copy is King on the web. The internet is a direct response medium which means you want to get your visitors "to do something." A sale of your product or service would be ideal, but it is not always realistic. You must build trust and instill confidence before someone purchases from you. That may take repeat contacts. So as we will discuss shortly, getting them to opt-in to your mailing list is a vital step.

You can improve your copywriting skills by modeling the best websites on the net. Spend an hour or so making notes on which sites in your target market are best and why. We also have a 12 point copywriting check list you can view at Online Marketing Superstars that will ensure you don't miss important elements in your web copy.

Ask yourself these questions: Do I have a clear call to action? What exactly do I want my visitors to do? Do I have a strong headline? Do I solve a problem with clear and compelling benefits?

Build Your Online Mailing List. Your list is your goldmine. If you capture a name and email you can send that prospect more valuable content and offers. Give visitors excellent content in return for their name and email. Remember that it is easy to deliver audio on the web as a signup bonus.

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Mitch Meyerson is the principal of Mitch Meyerson Companies.
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