Another one of those books with a title that sounds like a scam, but I heard Marc Ostrofsy on Mixergy, and he was sharp, and he had me thinking by the end of the interview. It is a good book, that basically gives an overview of the different ways to make money online. Interesting.
For the first time in history, a single businessperson can compete on equal footing with large, multinational firms. Anyone can sell something, collect the money for the item, then go purchase it and send it to the buyer.
Making money is exactly like war. It is a very competitive environment. The winner of a war is the side with the best information, knowledge and understanding of the terrain they’re on and the opposition they’re facing.
Just as in a war, your business needs “intel” in order to succeed and make money. You need to know everything you can about: everything about business.
We will all have failures along the way. It’s failing fast, learning from that failure, and getting back in the game that makes the difference between winners and losers.
Ideas are good until proven otherwise! Ideas are fragile and need to be handled accordingly. A nurturing approach to ideas is essential for any Internet-based business or any business that uses the Internet even in a supporting role. With that in mind, here are some points that will help: Be an original thinker. If “it’s never been done that way before,” you might actually have a winning idea. There’s more than one kind of originality. Can you come up with creative twists on already existing ideas? Think about selling as you go. Successful online entrepreneurs plan, set goals, measure and sell. Be a good doer, not just a good planner. Convert prospects to paying customers. Having followers or even fans is great, but you need to enable them to exchange their cash for your product or service. You should also empower them to inform others who need your product or service. Once you have a paying customer, learn how to serve that customer on an ongoing basis. Shoot for an ongoing relationship. Be sure to thank your customers for their business. Then turn thank-you opportunities into cash-generating sales. Are you testing new ways of putting your ideas into action? If something works, tweak it to see if you can get even better results. Can you replicate your success? Is your idea “scalable”? Are you relentless in your pursuit of profits? The top line is important but the bottom line is what you put in your pocket.
Certain industries take to it naturally, like computer supplies, travel agencies, bookstores, brokerage services and jewelry sales. But industries such as food and beverage, real estate and automobile are still learning. Meanwhile, furniture sales, pet supplies and home food delivery have so far been unsuccessful with Internet disintermediation. When online jewelers sell diamonds from a website, it is only AFTER they make the sale and collect the money that they buy the diamonds from a wholesaler and have them drop shipped directly to the retail customers.
You must have an income other than “ad sales” unless you have an immense volume of traffic coming to your site. If ad sales are your only income stream, don’t bother to solicit the “smart money.”
The Internet produces new business models and also reinvents traditional business models.
Online business models are still evolving. New and different products and services pop up every day. This gives rise to supporting products and services. A business can make substantial profit by helping others execute their plans for making money.
LaundryView.com is an Internet application that allows you to monitor the status of washers and dryers in connected laundry rooms through a web browser. LaundryView.com was developed in response to requests for greater control over laundry activities. Since many people tend to do their laundry during similar time periods, it results in busy laundry rooms. LaundryView’s mission is to help you save time by providing information about the current state of laundry room equipment wherever you have access to a browser or e-mail messages.
Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on the Internet
Zappos’ Ten Lessons in building a successful business on the Internet:
The e-commerce business is built on repeat customers. Word of mouth really works online.
Don’t compete on price.
Make sure your website inventory is 100% accurate.
Centrally locate your distribution.
Customer service is an investment and not an expense.
Don’t be secretive.
Don’t worry about your competitors.
You need to actively manage your company culture.
Be wary of so-called experts.
CHANGE = OPPORTUNITY for someone in the game. True Internet entrepreneurs look way beyond their last online transaction or the most recent commission check. Their websites become part of their lifestyles. They live and breathe everything Internet: their clients, their affiliates, their products and services.
The Internet is a communication medium. Consider it a supplement and extension of non-Internet marketing. It’s not a replacement. If you use a website to make money on the Internet, your website should have a specific purpose. Having a website just because “everyone else does” is not a good reason. Goals for your website must be part of your overall business model. Make your website as interactive as possible. That means both initiating communication with your clients and responding to their initiatives. Define the target audience you want to reach and address those people in a way that will make them want to respond. “Meet them where they are.” Learn as much as you can about your prospect and target market: What do they want? What do they need? What do they read? Where do they go? With whom do they interact? What are they paying others for their products and services? Set specific and measurable goals for every aspect of your business activity. Make it easy to do business with you, easy to buy from you, easy to respond to you and even easy to complain to you. Watch what other successful businesses and entrepreneurs do. If it works for them it may work for you. If it doesn’t work for them, understand why and see if the same conditions apply to you and your business. Pay attention, understand, analyze. Implement or don’t implement accordingly. Effectiveness on the Internet is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Every business is different. Learn your craft and learn it well. For our purposes, this applies to making money on the Internet. Reading this book is a valuable step toward achieving that goal, but the undertaking requires time, energy and concentration.
Here are seven different ways to buy and sell products and services on the Internet and profit through e-commerce:
Make your own product and sell it yourself. Make your own product, and find a third party to sell it and fulfill the orders.
Make your own product, find a third party to sell it, and you fulfill the orders.
Buy someone else’s product, then sell it to the end consumer.
Buy someone else’s product, then sell it to a reseller (third party) with a lower profit margin per product, so they can resell it for a profit.
Sell someone else’s product without buying it, collect the money, then have the product manufacturer manage the fulfillment. Sell someone else’s product without buying it, then let the manufacturer handle collection and fulfillment. In this model, you typically collect a commission for the sale that is less than you would make with the other six options above. However, you benefit by not having to purchase or store inventory, or maintain staff to manage fulfillment. (See Chapter 6 for more on this concept.) For any product, there are four areas that require effort: making the product, selling it, collecting the money and fulfilling the orders. You can handle any or all of these activities yourself, or you can outsource them (I like to make certain my firms oversee the money portion in any option we choose).
Here’s the underlying strategy that makes this basic business model so incredibly successful. Blinds.com has no physical inventory and no product on hand. Nothing is purchased before it is sold. There is no guesswork about what we need to maintain in stock, and money isn’t spent to purchase the product until after the sale is made. The Blinds.com website is very user friendly. Customers purchase the products, the business places the order with one of many preferred suppliers, and then each supplier drop ships the item to the customer. We’ll have more to say about Blinds.com later in this chapter.
“Sell It Before You Buy It”: How to Do It Step by Step You can “sell before you buy” with virtually no limits! Do you need products to sell or ideas to get you started? Here are some suggestions: 10 Steps to a Successful “Reverse E-commerce” Business Go down to your own version of “Harwin Street.” That’s a location in Houston, Texas, where importers sell large and small quantities of products at wholesale prices. Most cities have a Harwin Street. New York has Canal Street; Los Angeles has a few streets downtown; San Francisco has a handful of them in or around Chinatown. If your city doesn’t have a concentrated location for importers, check out your local flea market or a major city that has a shipping port where items flow into the United States. Take some digital photos of 20, 30 or 50 products you think might sell well online. These could be watches, statues, automotive products or articles of clothing. This is a test to see what will sell. Make sure to note the costs and how much inventory the importer or wholesaler has available. Write advertising copy to accompany your photos to try and sell your newly found “virtual inventory.” Post them on eBay or any other online sales outlet (Craigslist, online classifieds, USAds). See which products sell and which don’t. Collect the money. Fulfill the sale. Repeat steps 4-7 for the products that sell. Go back out and find more products to test for sale.
Remember, the most successful sellers sell and resell and resell again – often from the very same photo.
Using this business model isn’t just about making money—you are also being paid to learn. You learn what sells, what doesn’t and how much profit you can get from each product. You find out which items are popular, how many people are bidding on your products and much more.
Vertical search – searching a market by a specific business category – is ripe for growth. This includes the computer category, software, video games, baby products and toys. Growth rates for pet supply, cosmetics and fragrance categories are expected to exceed 30 percent, surpassing all other growth rates.
Putting Your Ideas into Action Get the best domain name(s) you can that define your products or services. Get good, high-quality links pointing to your site. Understand how to increase Internet traffic – both free traffic, (known as organic traffic) and paid traffic. Master “niche marketing.” Don’t try to sell everything. Be the best with your own product or category. Make it easy for customers to do business with your site. Sell before you buy. You don’t need inventory. Customers pay for all sales up front and in full. All orders are drop shipped by the manufacturer after the custom blinds are made at any one of their suppliers around the U.S.
Search Engines: Understanding Them Is the Real Key to Success
Search engines will “blacklist” sites that violate their rules. The most common violation is Keyword spamming – adding Keywords to your titles and tags that have nothing to do with your site’s content (and yes, search engines can tell). Other offenses can include Keyword crowding, Keyword repetition and Keyword drowning. Learn what these terms and concepts mean, and don’t do them! Blacklisting can seriously reduce your traffic, which affects your income, which affects the value of your assets.
Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on the Internet
Most Internet users are not inclined to wade through pages and pages of search results. So the goal for businesses is not merely to be listed, but to place in the first few pages of results – ideally, on the first page.
Basic optimization strategies include cultivating incoming links and presenting quality content (especially text) that incorporates important Keywords.
Ranking Many factors contribute to getting higher search-engine rankings. “On-page” factors are those associated with your site’s web pages. “Off-page” factors are ways to affect your ranking that don’t appear on an actual web page. On-page factors include: Strong Keywords. Determine the best Keywords and Keyword phrases for your market, products and the people searching for your products and services. Design. Know how to design a page that is search-engine friendly. This is part art, part science and extremely important. I recall an entire website that was designed in a type of software that makes website design easy. The site looked great, but the search engines couldn’t “read” any words on the page. The result: the beautiful site was invisible to the search engines. Create words. Put words on your page that are the exact same as the top search engine queries people type into the search engines when they are looking for what you provide. It’s also a good idea to use synonyms for these words. Each page on the site must be original content. Don’t copy text from a supplier. If you take the product description directly from a supplier, your page will be the same as every other firm that uses the same text. You won’t place any higher in the rankings, and the duplication may work against you. Freshness of the content. Keep your content up-to-date. Be on top of your market so you can continually revise Keywords and copy. Usability. Make certain your site is user-friendly. Categorization schemes based on hyperlinked text are excellent ways to improve rankings and help your visitors quickly find what they are looking for. Direct navigation. How much direct navigation traffic does the site get? A domain name built on one of your primary Keywords is like gold. Metatags. Each page of your site needs a unique “metatag” to tell the search engines about that page. Make sure you understand how to use metatags properly. Stickiness. Look at website metrics that let you know how long a visitor stays on a page and on your site overall. Do people stay on your site for 8 seconds or 15 minutes? If users stay on a site longer, the site is generally doing a better job meeting their needs. Sites that aren’t sticky generally fail to present targeted, persuasive copy (and copy does affect your ranking). When visitors stay on a page longer, search engines give the page a higher importance rating. Site submissions. In general, you are better off waiting until the spiders naturally crawl your site. There are techniques to speed up the process (see Chapter 5). When search engines do allow you to submit your site, the process can take time. Submitting your site may make sense if you have made major changes to your site, but be very careful not to submit frequently. Understand the specific requirements of each search engine and submit your web address accordingly. Off-page factors include: Links. Frequently reevaluate the inbound and outbound links to your site and answer these questions: How many links point to your site? Are they quality links? How old are the links? What is the content at the other end of those links? Were they “free” links or did you pay for them? Do you “reciprocate” these links? Do the links take the prospect directly to the page they want or to the homepage? Directory listings. Services such as Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and Yahoo! are respected directory listings. When these directories include a link to your site, it has a bearing on how the search engines rank your site. Submitting each page on your site separately (each with its own set of Keywords) to a directory can also help raise your rankings.
Local search allows users to designate a geographical locality when they search for Keywords and phrases. The local-search search engine then restricts results to the location the user specified. Some of the larger local search sites are: Yahoo! Local (local.yahoo.com) Windows Live Local (maps.live.com) Google Maps (formerly Google Local) (maps.google.com) Superpages (superpages.com)
If you want to increase your visibility in these search engines, make sure you embed location information in your website. If you don’t, local search will not locate you.
Learn as much as you can about local advertising and marketing via the Internet.
“Geo-targeted” domain names are gaining a huge following. Names like NewYork.com, Dallas.com or Bahamas.com have become instant profit centers. For that reason, these domain names have become the ultimate Internet real estate investment.
If you want to truly understand the good, the bad and the ugly of search engines, I strongly recommend you read this. Keywords for a website need to be specific to the site or page on the site, relevant, applicable and clearly associated with the content on your page. Understand how search engines allow you to use Keywords (i.e., placement, color). Understand how many times you can use a Keyword on a page (frequency, density, distribution, etc.). If you use redirection technology, it should facilitate and improve the user experience. Know this is almost always considered a trick and can lead to a search engine blacklisting your site. If you use redirection technology, it should always display a page where the body content contains the appropriate Keywords (no bait and switch). If you use redirection technology, you may not alter the web address (redirect), affect the browser back button (cause a loop) or display page information that is not the property of the site owner (or is not allowed by agreement) without sound technical justification (i.e., language redirects). Do not submit pages to the search engines too frequently.
Direct Navigation Traffic There are ONLY three ways to reach a website: Click on a link from another website. Click on a link in search engine results. Enter the specific domain name or URL into the browser address bar . . . known as direct navigation.
Direct navigation traffic is by far the most highly targeted form of web traffic available. If your firm is lucky enough to own the proper domain name for its industry, not only will you get this highly targeted “type-in” traffic, but you will keep you competitors from obtaining those leads as well.
When you choose your domain name, remember this quote from the former CEO of McDonald’s: “We are in the real estate business. The only reason we sell hamburgers is because they are the greatest producer of revenue from which our tenants can pay us rent.”
Real estate is a great road to wealth. “Domain names and Websites are Internet Real Estate.™” – Marc Ostrofsky
Several organizations have estimated that traffic to unused, generic domain name sites, also known as “parked domains,” drives 10 percent of the Pay-Per-Click market. Conversion rates from click to purchase for direct navigation are almost double those for search engines.
Making Money with Direct Navigation The best thing you can do to bring traffic to your website is to control as many natural, direct-navigation, typed-in domain names as possible, provided they are related to your niche market or industry. Traffic generated in this way comes directly to you and will never be dependent on the ever-changing search engines. Here are three ideas that’ll help you quickly generate dollars using direct navigation: Redirect ALL of your generic domain names to your primary domain name website. Barnes and Noble does this with books.com. Use a generic domain name site as a vertical portal that redirects to your company’s products or to your main site. Johnson and Johnson does this with Baby.com. Create a new “brand” with a generic domain name. Beer.com has done this on their site with the tag line “the official beer of the Internet.” Other owners of generic names are following suit and should do well (until corporate America figures out the value of these assets and starts to buy them up).
Investing in a direct navigation generic domain name can yield a good if not great return on your investment. It will depend on the quality of the domain name, how you market and promote it, how you attract traffic and how you convert the traffic into actual clicks and sales. Generate enough traffic and sales, and you build equity.
10 Great Reasons to Own a Generic Domain Name You get the best targeted traffic possible, better than Pay-Per-Click or link traffic. If a person is typing in the very word your firm represents, they are more likely to be a buyer. You keep your competitors from getting this targeted traffic. You can get traffic you never expected. The domain is considered “Internet real estate.” You can “write off’ the cost of this business asset (but ask your CPA or lawyer for advice first). You can increase your search engine ranking with a great domain name. You can get “accidental” traffic that might otherwise have gone to your competitors. You own “mindshare.” That, too, will bring traffic to your business. There is great public relations value in owning a one- or two-word generic domain name that is the name of your industry or business. When stories are written about an industry, topic, product or service, the media often look up these firms by the generic word or web address. Your firm saves money on not having to buy as much Pay-Per-Click advertising. No one else can ever own it – as long as you pay your annual fee!
That may include investing in domain names with new suffixes. Dot-com names are still the most popular and are expected to remain “the gold standard” for domains. But new suffixes like .biz, .info and others called “cc.TLDs” offered by specific countries like .eu (European Union), .cn (China) and .es (Spain) may also provide opportunities to make money from direct navigation traffic.
Vertical search is search narrowly defined around a central topic, industry, niche, format, genre or location. Vertical search engines or websites that offer vertical search for a given topic can focus on travel, health and medicine, shopping, law, government, blogs or even geographical areas and municipalities.
Eighty percent of vertical search engines fall into the four primary categories of retail, travel, financial services and media/entertainment.
Sites by compiling information, products or services and make that data easier to read, easier to navigate, more presentable, more efficient or better organized for the particular target market. [Note: If you want to play with this business model, please be sure to ask your copyright attorney about the legal ramifications before proceeding.]
Comparison sites save people’s time. They offer many types of products from many providers.
A comparison site owner earns commissions on the sale of products or services from the comparison site.
Merchants sign up with a comparison site and make their product inventory available for the comparison site’s search engine by Keyword.
Every online entrepreneur and business should consider paid search advertising as a strategy for making significant income.
7 Steps to Start Making Money with Google AdSense Sign up for a Google AdSense Account at GetRichClick.com/adsense. Place the html code that Google supplies into the coding for your website. This allows AdSense to feed relevant ads to your site. Monitor clicks with the software Google supplies. Tweak and refine content and Keywords to get ads that are as targeted and relevant as possible. This increases the likelihood visitors to your site will click on the ads. Drive targeted traffic to your site. Review your content and Keywords periodically to improve the quality of your traffic so that you make more money. Receive commission checks from Google. How to Refine Your Site’s Use of Google AdSense Keep your content to one main topic per web page. Help the ads stand out with colors, positioning, borders, bold type and white space. Continually test ad placement and appearance (you can use Google website Optimizer to test these factors – it’s free). Add more content related to the primary Keyword phrase. Create more Keyword-focused pages. Increase click-through rate. Use a simple design for your site with lots of white space. Don’t make the appearance cluttered. Display the AdSense ads prominently. According to Google, ads in the skyscraper format on the right side of the page work best. Focus on one topic per web page. This allows Google to place the most relevant ads, which will increase your click-through rate. Increase the value of clicks. Create pages and topics to encourage AdSense to feed ads with more expensive Keywords or use Keywords that pay you $.75 per click vs., say, $.50 a click.
Usually an ad is composed of three lines of text. The first line of text is your ad title; it’s the dominant element in your ad and contains the link users click on. You get 25 characters (including spaces) to capture the attention of your audience. The next two lines are for descriptive copy; each line contains a maximum of 35 characters. The last line of the ad is the web address to which the ad links, so users know where the click will take them (this line is not linked).
Constructing Keyword lists is an “ongoing and never-ending” brainstorming exercise. New products, services, trends and concepts — any and every Keyword or set of Keywords that you can think of to bring prospective clients to your site should be written down and used on the site to attract more eyeballs to your site.
Remember, there are only three ways to get to a website: Using a search engine Via a “link” from another site or domain By direct navigation (typing the domain name directly into the toolbar)
Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money on the Internet