So now that I’ve written my online business roadmap, where I detail types/models of online businesses you can start and how to choose which one…. (see here)
And my Example Service Businesses post…
I thought it might be good to start sharing the actual ideas I have in (somewhat) real time, to hopefully inspire you and give you some insight into my idea framework and how the post-idea logistics work.
The thing is – there are new systems, new social media platforms and features, new software and data capabilities being created every day. The people who become successful online service business owners are the ones who are able to spot an opportunity and become a known expert in the opportunity – which is much faster to do when the opportunity is brand new, like when a new feature comes out.
If you can be the first to master something in your network and offer it as a service (or, better yet, the first to find someone who has mastered something and offer their skills as a service, hiring them for fulfillment), you can have an independent location business pretty quickly. A lot faster than getting a college degree, at least.
So I want to talk about an idea I ran across and how I would start this company today if it were a focus of mine. Today’s idea….
SMS MARKETING. FOR RESTAURANTS.
Step 1. Market research
First off, when you come up with a service + industry type of business idea (which they all should be), it’s important to check whether there’s actually demand for this in the market, if possible. If it’s too new it won’t be very easy, but if it’s been around for a bit you can check search volumes. You can do this via Google’s KW tool or KWFinder.
Wouldya look at that – there are people searching for this. Not a lot, but there are. If you could rank in the first position for all of these keywords, and were getting those 80 visitors a month, and could convert 10% after remarketing (not on the first touch) – that’s 8 new clients per month! Not bad for a brand new business with likely low search competition due to relatively low search volume.
Let me give a quick lesson on search volume, by the way. These are estimates from Google, and even if a keyword only has 10 avg. monthly searches, there are likely dozens or potentially hundreds of variations of that phrase also bringing in 10. So yes, it can be valuable to go after a dinky 10 search volume keyword if the search intent is for the exact friggin’ thing you offer and dominate the industry for.
STEP 2. START A WEBSITE, AND LEARN IT OR SOURCE SOMONE WHO CAN IMPLEMENT IT.
Why are there 2 parts to step 2? Because you need to start doing both of these things immediately. In SEO, site age has an important factor in your ranking capabilities, so even if you can only slap up a one-pager in a day, DO IT.
Next up is to either begin learning every fricking thing you can about this marketing avenue or use your money and your interwebz/brains to source someone who has already done this.
Step 3. Define your services/offerings, START DOING THE THING, get proof
Once you know how you’re going to fulfill your service, you need to define your offerings and plans, if you have different pricing points, etc. Make sure you have a solid idea of exactly what will be done after a customer checks out.
An easy way to do this is to find a business who would allow you to perform the service for free temporarily, so that you can learn and document all of the processes, and start getting “proof” of your services.
STEP 4. BUILD OUT YOUR WEBSITE MORE
Now that you have all of the above, you should build out your site to look complete and professional, detailing the services that you offer, and making sure it is at least up to par with (if not better than) your competitors.
Pages & features your website should have:
-Some sort of branding – keep it simple to start. Pick some colors and stick with them. DON’T FRET ABOUT THIS EVEN THOUGH THAT WOULD BE FUN.
-Hotjar if needed
-Live chat – I like Drift
-An email marketing feature such as Drip already installed and tracking
STEP 5. it’s time to rock – Start marketing your service!!
You now know that you’re offering SMS marketing to restaurants. You can fulfill the service until you find someone to do so, or you have already sourced someone who can fulfill the service. You have already worked with a client to refine your process and get some results or testimonials. YOU NOW HAVE A BUSINESS YOU CAN START MARKETING.
- Announce it to your network – Start telling everyone you know and their mothers what you have begun doing and to please share your services with anyone who it might benefit.
- Cold email – Scrape your ideal leads to death and email them regularly. Because you’re going for restaurants, this should be very easy. This is probably something I should write about separately. 😛
- Content marketing – think of and research search volumes on topics that restaurant owners might be searching, and topics that restaurant owners interested in marketing might be searching. I should probably write an article about this later too, but if you’re driven you can Google how to do this kind of thing. This skill will benefit every single business you are involved in. Once you have topics, create excellent articles from them, publish them and optimize them to death on your website. This should begin immediately after you begin scraping and cold emailing because it’s gonna take you a little while to rank, and you want to have that platform already built and ready to rock.
- PPC (Adwords through Google) – begin bidding, or hire someone to begin bidding, on PPC keywords for your services. Make sure your website has end to end tracking installed so you can know what works and what doesn’t.
- Social media – Start your profiles, obviously – and begin running social media ads as well, especially for retargeting existing visitors and lookalike audiences.
TAKE IT OFFLINE
For such a clear industry target such as restaurants, you can also easily take your marketing offline with direct mail, especially in bulk. Do a Google search – or just go use InfoUSA.
I know this is a really messy and incomplete rundown/shakedown of how to start and market an online business. I’d be surprised if you could take this and run with it yourself, unless you were able to hire someone to coach you through many of the moving tech pieces. But I want to inspire you to start thinking of things this way because this is how setting up an online service business works. You come up with an idea and a target market, validate it, figure out how to fulfill the service, and get to work getting in front of every friggan person you can who might want it.
What are your thoughts? Is this a business you think you could run? I dare you to take it and do it! 🙂 Let me know in the comments.