Do you remember learning about the six W’s when you were in school?
These six questions – who, what, where, when, why and how – were asked in order to gather factual information that was then used to write a thorough report or news story.
You are going to ask yourself the same six questions so you can get clear about your online business. Your answers will guide everything you do. Your website, your branding, your marketing, your positioning, and your pricing.
Grab a notebook and a pencil. Now ask yourself the six questions below and answer them with specifics. No generalizations. No vague responses. No one word replies. We want facts here.
To help you get started, I provided example answers that I made up using the real online businesses of women I know. :)
The 6 W’s of Your Online Business
1. Who do you serve?
Who is your target market?
Remember that the more specific you are, the better. Include details about gender, age, income, education, race, marital status, and geographic location to narrow it down.
Example: I serve women aged 35-55 who want to start an online business but have no formal business education or experience. They are do-it-yourselfers who own a computer and have Internet access. They want to learn how to start and build a successful online business, and they will invest a modest amount in this training.
2. What is your business model?
In other words, how do you make money? You might have just one income stream or several.
Example: I generate revenue by providing graphic design services, selling a digital Photoshop training program, and promoting affiliate products and services that are design-related.
3. Where is your business?
This question seems silly, doesn’t it? Your online business is online. Obvi. ;)
But it could be in several places online – your website, your social media networks, an Etsy shop. You might even have a physical location for your online business, like a gallery or boutique.
List all of the places where your business is located.
Example: My business is located on my website and at my photography studio in Los Angeles, CA. I also have a presence on social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter) that drive traffic to my website.
4. When are you “open”?
An online business is technically always “open”.
But when are you available if people would like to purchase from you or hire you. And, if they contact you, when can they expect to hear back from you?
Example: My book is available for purchase at any time on my website or on Amazon.com. My hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, EST, and I try to respond to emails within 48 business hours.
5. Why you?
In a sea of online businesses, why yours? What makes you different?
Awhile ago, I wrote an article about “point of difference” that you might find helpful for determining your unique selling proposition. You can read the article here on the Etsy blog.
Example: We rescue sweet, loving, adoptable dogs from high kill pounds in the south, get them the veterinary care they need, transport them to NY, and make them available for adoption. We name each dog we rescue after a celebrity, which creates an instant bond between them and potential adopters. We also provide a private Facebook page for our adopters where they can find all of the doggie information and support they need.
6. How do you serve?
You know who you serve, but how exactly do you help them?
Do you provide free content like blog posts or podcasts? Do you sell products (digital or physical) and services? Do you offer coaching or consulting?
Example: I serve my target market by providing a weekly blog post and by selling online training programs that teach them how to use social media to market their business.
Now that you’ve answered these six questions, you’ll have the clarity and confidence to create an effective marketing strategy that reaches the people who need you most.
Share one of your answers with us in the comments below and include a link to your online business.