Guaranteed Ways to Fail When Creating an Online Business

  1. Tell your story, loud and proud. It’s all about you. Make sure the first thing a customer reads is why you’re so great.
  1. Spend money on paid ads immediately. Don’t worry about using your available network or free advertising routes first. Your friends are too busy to care and free routes don’t scale well.
  1. Target the largest amount of people possible. Why fish in a pond when you can try the ocean? Your product is amazing. Go big. Narrowing your audience will only narrow your opportunities.
  1. Focus on branding. Branding won’t come as a side effect of everything else that you do. Focus on it constantly.
  1. Spend money on fancy packaging. Customers care greatly about this. The unboxing experience should be a pivotal feature of your business.
  1. A/B test button colours.  An incorrect shade on your Buy Now button could be costing you thousands. Don’t make this mistake.
  1. Use paid shipping. Free shipping eats into your margins. There’s no other way around this.
  1. Forget about return policies. Advise customers they must be careful when choosing. If they select the wrong item, it’s not your fault.
  2. Create lots of rules. Rules protect you from being cheated. For example, an incorrect shipping address must be charged a $15 correction fee. No exceptions.

Humanise Your Brand

Why does receiving a “humanised” email from a brand feel so refreshing?

It’s probably because: 

  1. Most brands don’t do it.
  2. We’re not evolved to receive messages from a company.

Before sending out an email or social media post, look for opportunities to humanise it.

I recently emailed a bunch of customers who were waiting on their pre ordered products to ship.

The email started out as standard:

Subject: Order update

Preview text: (none)

“Hey there,

A quick update to let you know your order will be on its way within the next 5 days.

If there are any delays, we’ll let you know.

Thanks again for your patience and support.”

Safe and boring. 

Here’s the humanised version.

Subject: Order update 

Preview text: We promise we didn’t run away with your money

“Hey there,

A quick update to let you know your order will be on its way within the next 5 days.

If there are any delays, you’ll be the first to know.

Thanks again for your patience and support.”

The preview text addresses the elephant in the room, in a humorous way. (After two weeks of not hearing back about my pre-order, I’d start to question things, too.)

The line “you’ll be the first to know” adds empathy and care into the email, reminding the customer of their importance.

Each interaction with a customer is an opportunity to increase how much they like you.

Don’t waste it.