Planning and preparation are the keys to a successful online business. Too many companies and businesspeople lose thousands or even millions of dollars each year, simply because they fail to understand the real value of proper planning and implementation.

You have to be ready for any possible outcome and budget your time and resources appropriately.

Step 1: Get The Necessary Information

Do your research and studies first before everything else. When you do transactions online, you have to be ready for possible questions and concerns by your clients and fellow marketers.

You cannot waste time researching just when the issue arises. In some cases, it may already be too late to find a solution; or you will have to waste more time repairing damages since you skipped getting vital information.

Allocate around 30 minutes or more at least per day to study your product or services. Spend time in forums talking to other experts and ask the same possible questions that your customers may have.

Know the competition. You will save more time managing the business if you know what your competition is up to. Talk to owners of related businesses, as well as clients, to find out if they’re cooking some new marketing strategies. Always stay updated with recent technologies and approaches so you can stay ahead of your competitors.

When getting information, you should always look out for new opportunities to improve your business. Make the necessary updates and upgrades to keep everything innovative. You should ask for client feedback all the time too, so that you can provide them with exactly what they need.

There are plenty of ways to stay ahead when it comes to fresh news. Reviews will help boost your reputation, as well as give you an insight on what clients truly need.

Step 2: Set Up Your Website

Allocate time to come up with the best possible presentation for your products and services. Get some attention-grabbing graphics and indicate all the necessary details that will draw people toward your products.

Put a list of the frequently asked questions and answers on your site, so that you no longer have to spend time replying to emails or calls for the same questions being asked over and over again. Customers will most likely only contact you for individual concerns not included in the FAQs.

When setting up your web site, make sure that it is very easy to navigate. Most customers do not have the patience to figure out any complicated structure on a web page.

You only have a few seconds to grab your prospects’ attention, so make sure that all the necessary elements are in place, you communicate exactly what you want the visitors to do, and you deliver information in a precise manner.

Step 3: Advertise To Your Target Market

You will save more time by talking to people who are actually interested to buy your particular products and services. There are plenty of ways to gather the right clients. You may join specific forums and online boards, or exchange links with other web site owners having related content.

There are many other ways to market your products online. Some of the most effective include:

– Social bookmarking your sites and non-self-serving sites at Digg, Stumbleupon, Propeller, etc. Most of them frown upon marketing activities, so it’s best to stay under the radar by posting at least 3 times more non-self-serving sites than your own.

– Creating simple videos and posting them at high-traffic video-sharing sites like Youtube, Metacafe, Yahoo videos, AOL videos, Revver, etc.

– Writing articles and posting them at high-page rank article directories like Ezinearticles, Buzzle, Goarticles, Searchwarp, Articledashboard, Amazines, Articlealley, etc. You may also post your content at content-sharing sites like Squidoo, Hubpages, Wetpaint, Google Knol, and Qassia.   

Step 4: Finish the Sale

Aim to have every transaction lead to successful sales. Answer the questions and concerns of your clients. Make things easy and convenient for everyone involved, and you can boost the number of sales transactions you get per day.

Volume sales are very useful if you are trying to reach quotas or want to boost income quickly. In other occasions, you may want to profit from low quantity high-yield investments.

Once you get a client, make sure you do all means to satisfy them and re-assure them they have made the right decision. You should always provide optimal customer service, and follow up after they order.

The relationship between seller and buyer does not end with the payment and delivery of the product. You should continue the business relationship by asking the client about their concerns and suggestions. Find out how they find your product or service. Adjust your system to better cater to their future needs.

You may also give a second call or email message asking how the product is, and if they would like to claim a “customer only” discount on another product. You need to have effective customer service to be readily available to clients.

The internet is a great source of information, where you can implement the right strategies to keep your business fresh and new. Your staff should be very capable of handling a variety of clients, in order to keep up with their changing demands. Know how the market responds to your approaches. Create a plan for how you intend to deal with competitors in the long run. Your marketing and management approaches should always have a goal and specific time frame for accomplishment. Test and track different methods of doing business, select the winners, and continue to improve upon them.