You already know that getting clients online is the key to building a successful business. But if you don’t have the right foundation for a successful online business from the get-go, you are going to find getting new clients and keeping them extremely difficult.

If you have the foundation in place, you will find it easy to build those relationships and a profitable business along the way.

And you want a profitable business, right?

Let’s look at 3 fundamental reasons why you may not be getting the results you are looking for in your online business, and how to turn it around.

1) You’re not giving them enough ‘you’

Just like in the off-line world, potential customers want to know you before they buy from you. Many entrepreneurs make the mistake of just telling their audience about their Shop Oysters Online experience, education, and the associations they belong to. Their marketing materials end up reading like a dry resume, and that doesn’t help people to know, like and trust you.

What to do instead:

Make sure that in all your marketing materials you reveal something of yourself, and tie it to your business. It could be a quote you live by, your philosophy, or what you stand for. For example, I believe that you can get clients online without staying up past midnight every night, if you know how to put all the marketing pieces together. Hence my tagline, “Marketing for your business and your life.” Put something a little bit personal (but not private) in every blog post, article and email you create.

2) Fear of technology.

It’s natural to shy away from things we don’t understand. Heck, there was a time when I didn’t even know what “software” was. Now I’m a geeky web designer. But you don’t have to go from zero to sixty on the technology front like I did to be able to use online marketing tactics to your advantage.

What to do instead:

Pick one technology-driven marketing activity and learn about it. For example, if you have a WordPress website, you could easily learn how to make text changes without always relying on your webmaster. Just being able to do that on a consistent basis will give you a better understanding of how websites work. You’ll be able to implement new ideas right away, and you won’t have to keep saying, “I don’t know a thing about this stuff.”

3) No Clear Marketing Message.

If you are not confident in your marketing message and how you solve problems for clients and customers, they won’t buy from you. The way to be confident is to know who you help, how and why, and be able to communicate it succinctly. This is the foundation of all your marketing, so you need to be comfortable with it. But many entrepreneurs launch businesses and put tons of work into marketing efforts without that foundation in place.

What to do instead:

Know your niche. Here’s an exercise to help you: Think of your ideal client. Write down why he or she is your customer. What is it about you that makes him or her stick with you?

Describe that essence in one sentence. In my case, my clients know that I can help them simplify the process of creating a web presence that gets them more customers online, whether that is in the form of a new website, or a strategy for promoting their website, or both.