Chapter 20

Ten Ways to Develop a Platform

Not so long ago, starting an online business primarily meant creating a website or selling on a marketplace such as eBay. The landscape has shifted as I write the seventh edition of this book. Yes, websites are still important. But the notion of what constitutes a “website” has expanded to include a blog, a storefront on eBay, or a site hosted by any of a number of intriguing niche marketplaces.

The ultimate result of this combination of online sales and marketing efforts is a platform. The term should be familiar to anyone involved in publishing. In the world of book writing and marketing, an author platform is all-important. This is a base of readers who are already familiar with and like your work or your services and to whom you can market future books. An author who gives seminars and who has thousands of followers on Facebook and Twitter has a platform of devoted fans eager to hear about new books or seminars.

The same principle can apply to e-commerce. Your ultimate goal is to develop a seller platform. You want to have repeat customers, subscribers to your newsletter, readers of your blog, and followers on social media. You become the “go-to” person when it comes to widgets, or what’s-its, or whatever you sell or create. It’s a matter of branding yourself, and it’s something that’s easier than ever to do online. You find ten options for developing a brand and a platform in this chapter.

Following Wilco’s Example

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