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The No. 1 Reason Your Online Business Isn't Making Money

The No. 1 Reason Your Online Business Isn't Making Money
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We live in an interesting time. Today, 3 billion people log onto the internet each day, and that number is growing by 8 percent every year. You can learn how to do pretty much anything through blogs, websites, podcasts and videos. This has created a tremendous opportunity to get exposure for your business and the services and products you offer.

Related: 5 Online Marketing Strategies for a Tight Budget

Despite this opportunity and access, too many online businesses don’t make any money. There aren’t any hard numbers, but talk to an online entrepreneur you know and ask if he or she is making money -- the answer will probably be no.

And the reason why most online businesses don’t make any money is a simple concept that predates the Internet: What you offer has to be practical, and people have to understand how it is tangible for them.

Practical and tangible

The world of internet marketing has created a whole new language. It has mixed old-school personal development concepts with new-school marketing. It has created buzz phrases that are so common they feel like something normal.

The problem that too many entrepreneurs miss, however, is that only people in this space know those phrases and concepts. They don’t translate widely.

It is not uncommon to hear things like “Have a strong mindset,” "Discover your purpose,” “Step into your calling” or “ Live the kind of life you should be living.” While these phrases may sound clear and motivating, they’re not. If you think about it, they’re very confusing.

Related: 10 Skills Online Marketing Teams Must Have to Succeed

These terms and self-development catch phrases are too general and way too vague. There is no way you can teach anyone how to accomplish such goals because they have too many different meanings for each person that hears them.

People don’t spend money on products and services they don’t understand. When they visit your website or social media pages, if they don’t understand the practical application taught there, they will not spend money.  If they don’t understand the tangible benefit offered they will get when they buy what you’re selling, they will not spend money. 

An example

About a year ago, I started working with a coaching client who had an idea for a website and platform dedicated to helping the entrepreneur who wants to bounce back from failure. He called this venture Recycled Go-Getter. But when you first landed on the page, you wouldn't understand the vision and he would have to provide an explanation. The average person would not stick around for this explanation and definitely would not spend money on this because he or she wouldn’t get it.

I pointed this out to the client and we honed in on what he knew and love: real estate. He made a huge switch, which you can see here. He now has an online business that makes five figures a month. Why? People now land on his platform and understand the practicality. They can see what the tangible benefit would be for them if they spent money with him.

I don’t know what your online business does, but if I visit your website and can’t understand how it will be practical and tangible for me, I will not be signing up for your email list or buying what you sell. If you are not sure if what you offer is practical, test it. Have some people you know (or strangers) visit your website. Ask them if they understand the practicality of what you do. If your website is littered with personal development catchphrases, it’s time to make a change.

Who is your target audience?

If you don’t know how to make what you do practical, ask yourself whom you are trying to help and what you are trying to help them do. I’m not telling you that you need to “niche.” Niche-ing doesn’t work, until you get to practicality. What I am saying is, who are these people you want to help and what do you want to help them do -- what problem of theirs will you solve?

Once you can figure this out, you can create practicality in your online business. With practicality, you get clarity on what to offer and that leads to significant income. You can figure out how to create practical products and services that help that group of people. They will buy those products and services because they can finally see how their lives will be helped. 

Don’t get caught up in the internet marketing guru game. Don’t confuse buzz-phrases as good copy. Help people understand what you practically do and they will spend money with you. You can build an online business that makes money and grows.

Related: Defining Your Brand: The First Step In Your Marketing Strategy

So, get clarity and avoid being the next “hot-for-a-minute” internet marketing hot shot. Use-old school tried-and-tested business principles in your online business, and your chances for success will soar.