get started We all know by now that social media and online marketing are crucial to taking an online business idea from mess to success. But how do you know what audience to cater to, or even how to find them? There is a very simple solution to this age-old problem that many business owners do not even know about.

Contrary to popular belief, selling right away does not lead to a thriving business. Most business owners think that once they have a product to sell, they should start selling it in order to make a profit. However, it is crucial to build a list of potential clients and customers before this happens. But how does someone with no prior connections build this list? The answer is to offer something for free on your website.

The power of giving something away for free is infinite. Not only does it create hype around your business, it also allows you to collect names and e-mail addresses for your list of potential clients. The best thing to give away for free is an eBook. Go to your website, create an eBook, and give it away for free to people who provide their names and E-mails. Once you have a list of names and E-mails, you are ready to start catering to these people who are clearly interested in what you will be selling.

Remember to keep in mind that the eBook must be informative. But more importantly, it must not actively sell your product. If you try to sell your product or service in your eBook, your readers and potential customers will pick up on this right away and feel that they are being coaxed into a sale. This eBook exists to provide valuable knowledge to readers so that they become dedicated followers of your website. Once value is provided, readers will want to keep coming back to your website in order to learn more. Building a business or brand means first building trust.

For this reason, it is important to carve out a niche in the marketplace. What value is your service or product providing to people? For example, if you are selling protein bars, then you are catering to a market of people concerned with health, women and men who are interested in fitness, and people who are conscious about what food they put into their bodies. This is a large market filled with people who are looking for advice on how to be healthier. A free eBook is the perfect way to provide value to these people without pushing a sale onto anyone. The same applies to most markets.

In next week’s blog post, I will outline how to put together your own eBook in a day’s time.  There are very simple ways to gather content and images from online sources that will help you get started. Check back next week to find out how you can be the author of your own eBook to evaluate your business.