There’s something nice about getting into a good routine with your online business. You know what needs to be done and how to do it. You know about what response you’ll get for the work you do. But are you still taking new risks? Are you experimenting with new ideas to bring people to your online business?
Running any business is a risk, of course. Keeping with a single routine is even a risk in business, as you don’t know if something else will do better. That’s why you should be experimenting with new ideas regularly.
I don’t mean take constant big risks, making major changes and so forth. Going too wild with how you run your online business can take you in the wrong direction with it, and it may be difficult to recover.
More appropriate experiments, on the other hand, can help you figure which directions to take your business. They’re not only appropriate – they’re necessary.
From Beginner to Pro
Experimenting is a big part of how you go from being a beginner with your business to an experienced professional. You learn what works, what doesn’t and get some idea as to why things happen they way they do for you.
Just think about it. How much would you trust the expertise of someone who has always run their business one way and only that way? Would you consider them as much of an expert as one who had tried a lot of different things?
I don’t mean that you aren’t an expert in your business if you choose one way to do everything and stick with it. You could choose to have your expertise in article marketing, for example, and only ever work with that kind of marketing for your business. But if you only choose to market by submitting your articles to the same list of directories all of the time, never trying any other article marketing tactics, are you really an expert on the subject overall? Do you even know if what you’re doing works as well as it should?
Being an expert doesn’t mean you’re safe from making mistakes with your business, of course. We all make mistakes. It does mean you can choose the things you try more carefully. It also means you probably have the things you know work running well as you experiment.
Which Experiments Should You Try?
There are plenty of ways to experiment with your online business. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Offer a new product.
Have you been offering the same products for a long time? Try something new.
Think about your niche and why people come to your site. You should have a pretty good idea of what your visitors are after. Now think about what might improve the experience they have with your business. Is there something that really goes well with what you’re offering that you aren’t recommending yet?
This doesn’t have to be a product you own, of course. That’s what affiliate programs are for. Find a related product you can offer as an affiliate, and you don’t have to create something new of your own.
2. Change how you offer products.
There are a lot of ways to offer products for sale online. You can have an online store, post product reviews, link to products within blog posts, video reviews and so on. However you make it work, it can be worth your time to try a different way, just to see what happens.
3. Try a new link building strategy.
How are you getting links to your website? Is it working for you? Are the links good only for search engine traffic or do they bring traffic to your site on their own merit?
If most of your current linking strategy is mostly search engine food, look at techniques that are more about getting traffic from higher traffic websites. Try building a reputation through YouTube videos, and put your links into the video description. Get active on a relevant forum that allows signature links.
4. Try paid traffic sources.
If you’ve been avoiding pay per click advertising, buying ads in relevant newsletters and so forth, take a look at this option. Paid methods have the advantage of giving fast results and the disadvantage of costing money, which can add up fast. When you make them work, they’re well worth the money.
5. Do more networking.
How much networking do you do, online and otherwise? Is it more than putting up a Facebook page or doing a few tweets here and there about your business? Just a touch of blog commenting once in a while? Are you a real person when you do these things, or just a business with little personality?
Networking is more than announcing what your business has to offer. That’s certainly a part of it if you’re trying to promote your online business, but it’s not all there is to it. If you want to be taken seriously and really make the most of the time you spend networking, you have to be a real person and share advice, relevant links to other sites and be a bit social.
It’s all too easy to go overboard on networking, of course. You shouldn’t be checking your Facebook page or Twitter every few minutes. Many people find it helpful to set up a schedule. This keeps things under better control, so you keep working on your business in other ways as you network.
6. Attend industry events.
Going to an industry event can be a bit pricey, but as an opportunity the right event can be priceless. It’s a chance to get some great information from some of the top people in your industry and to network with others.
You probably won’t know what to do when you first go to an event. They can be pretty overwhelming. My recommendation is to pick the parts you really want to see and don’t go overboard looking for swag. There’s neat stuff to be had at most events, but really, they shouldn’t be the focus of your day. Learning to improve your business is much more important.
What experiments have you done to improve your online business? Any you’d care to share?