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Make Sure That Your Dot-Com Doesnt Become The Next Dot-Bomb!
Late last night I turned on my television and discovered a used car salesman trying to sell this cheap clunker of a car to recently pink-slipped and bankrupt dot-com unfortunates. Apparently if you want to trade in your luxury sports car, these guys would be "happy" to give you a great deal on something more "economical."
I saw this and I started to laugh. I mean, you have to give these guys credit. They're pursuing a niche. But it also convinced me that it's time to publicly address some of the rumors that have been flying around. With media doomsayers spouting predictions of dot-com fallout, both investors and e-business owners are understandably nervous.
Everyone wants to know, "What separates the dot-coms from the dot-bombs?"
It's a good question, but before I answer, I want you to think about something for a moment. Did you know that between 2003 and 2004, online shopping grew a staggering 580%?
Now think about this. Online consumers couldn't care less about the dot-coms dropping off the Web. More and more people are coming online to shop, and the number of purchases that they're making each year are continuing to increase. Those new to e-shopping are making 9 purchases a year and those with more Web experience (5+ years online) are making 20 purchases a year (Forrester Research).
So what's going on? Online spending is growing at fantastic speeds? e-Shopping is becoming a routine part of consumer life? yet all we're hearing about right now is failed dot-coms.
One by one, companies like Furniture.com, Pets.com, MotherNature.com, Toysmart.com, Living.com, Mortgage.com, Garden.com, etc? have closed their doors, and each time the pink slips are handed out, the media has a feeding frenzy. Feature stories promising easy wealth and overnight success have now turned into the dot-com obituaries. It's enough to make your head spin.
And that's why these statistics I've just shown you are important. Obviously the whole story is not being told. If online shopping has increased by a whopping 580% in the past 2 years? and if shopping online is becoming a regular part of consumer life? all of this money must be lining someone's pockets. But whose?
That's not as hard to figure out as you might think. First, let's take a critical look at the dot-com failures -- the "dot-bombs." You can learn a LOT by analyzing the common mistakes that were made?
Top Three Mistakes Made By Dot-Coms Gone Dot-Bomb
Mistake #1: Tried to be everything to everyone.
Consider Pets.com for a moment. Their target market of Pet owners was HUGE! But so were the obstacles they needed to overcome to turn a profit -- "Pets" is a very general market. There are dog owners, cat owners, hamster owners, bird owners, fish owners? I could go on! And each of these groups has different needs when it comes to pet food, pet supplies, pet toys, etc?
Marketing to and meeting the needs of all these different groups of people, with all these different products and services, is no small undertaking. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just pointing out that it costs money? A lot of money.
And this leads us to the next mistake?
Mistake #2: Threw millions of dollars of venture capital at an unproven business plan that required years of blood, sweat, and tears to reach profitability.
Creating a nationally recognized brand requires deep pockets and a whole lot of patience? and that means you need investors with really strong stomachs.
When the market softened up this past year, many investors became frustrated -- and even panicked -- as the dot-coms continued to vacuum up millions of dollars of investment capital without any sign of turning profitable.
Could these companies have succeeded with continued investment? For many, definitely. But when investors withdrew their support, they never got their chance.
So finally, we arrive at?
Mistake #3: Invested buckets of cash in unprofitable advertising.
The simple truth is, banner advertising just isn't as profitable as it once was. Ads that once pulled 5 to 10 percent click-throughs are now lucky to pull 0.6 to 0.8%. Unfortunately, while this shift was happening, many dot-coms just continued to blindly throw millions of dollars at unproven, often untargeted, advertising that pulled extremely low returns.
Sadly, they might as well have been lighting piles of cash on fire -- at least they would have saved a few pennies heating their office space. But then, hindsight is always 20/20?
Learn From Their Mistakes And Build Lasting, Profitable Success With The Following Rules:
Rule #1: Focus on a well-defined niche market.
Rather than trying to dominate a huge, general market like pet owners or car owners, narrow your focus to a targeted "niche" like parrot owners or women interested in learning about automotive maintenance and repair.
The truth is, running two or three web sites that each target a specific niche market is the easiest way to make money on the Internet. Everyone is looking for the "big money" makers so, all too often, niche markets are ignored. Yet this is how I have made most of my money online!
I find a targeted niche market, figure out what they want, develop the product, and then offer it to them. Easy, right? Well, it gets even better because I then automate the entire business from beginning to end, thereby freeing myself to start this process all over again. Find a niche market. Figure out what they want. Develop the product. Offer it to them.
Automate the business. Start another and diversify. That's it. Sounds too easy to be worth millions, right? Wrong! There is a LOT of money to be made this way.
Rule #2: Develop a strong Unique Selling Proposition (USP).
If you have a lot of competitors in your specific industry, then you need to develop your own unique selling proposition. You need to emphasize what makes you better than your competition.
Explain to your customers exactly how and why they'll benefit from doing business with you as opposed to someone else. For example?
Your product/service might cost less than others. You may have a higher quality product or service and can charge more accordingly. You offer a better guarantee than anyone else.
You might target a specific age group, industry, or type of person. You provide special knowledge or advice that is not available anywhere else! You offer special incentives that no one else does. Your customer service is better than your competition's. Whatever your angle, the bottom line when promoting your product or service is to emphasize what makes you special or unique. Find an obvious void in the marketplace and fill it! Adjust your company or product to meet a specific need and then specialize, specialize, specialize!
Rule #3: Spend your advertising dollars wisely.
Once you have defined your market and developed your unique selling proposition, figuring out who you're advertising to and where they hang out online suddenly becomes way easier. And this means that you can strategically place your ads where they'll pull the most targeted potential customers.
As e-business owners get tired of spending their limited advertising dollars on high priced CPM (cost per thousand ad impressions) that pull pitiful results, the demand for more performance-based advertising continues to increase. Pay for customers? not overpriced, unproven advertising.
Rule #4: Model success
Obviously there are a lot of steps involved in building a profitable e-business. You need a strategically designed web site, you need a quality product or service, you need killer sales copy, you need a flawless sales process? you need a cutting-edge marketing campaign designed to blow your competitors right out of the water!
That's why you'll be far better off ? and way ahead of your competition ? if you take the time to educate yourself. Why reinvent the wheel when you can learn from someone who has been there, spent the cash, researched the techniques, and made the mistakes for you?
Rule #5: Have a well-developed business plan that includes a clear definition of how you plan to profit.
Plan to profit. That probably seems obvious. Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in some plan or scheme and don't take the time to research, test, and plan exactly how they're going to make their money.
An *idea* is NOT a business plan. It's just that? an idea. It becomes a plan when you've researched it, defined your market, figured out exactly how you're going to market yourself, and planned to profit within a set period of time.
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So What's The Bottom Line?
Is there still money to be made on the Internet? Definitely! With online shopping having increased by an incredible 580% over the past two years and the Internet becoming an everyday part of the consumer lifestyle, now is an excellent time to be starting or promoting your e-business.
Think about it? The economy is correcting itself after a huge spurt of uncontrolled growth, giving you the perfect opportunity to learn from other's mistakes and strengthen your own business plan.
Take advantage of your competitor's hesitation at this dramatic turning point and scoop up your share of the market by going after a well-defined niche market with a strong unique selling proposition. Be smart with your advertising dollars, educate yourself, model success, and plan to profit.
Once you've dominated one niche market with this strategy, you can start to expand your focus? or go after a completely different niche. Whatever you decide, as long as you follow a well-researched plan and test everything along the way, this is a fantastic opportunity to profit from consumers' increased acceptance of e-commerce.
Ash Kawa has written hundreds of articles specializing in helping people succeed when the competition is tough. President of a successful Website Hosting Company http://www.hostforwebsite.com [$0.75/month & FREE Download of 8 Billion MP3 songs!]
Enough With the Upsells Already!
It happened twice during the same week. All I wanted to do was make a purchase, and they were making every effort to keep me from it (or so it seemed). Why would a business who wanted me to buy from them so badly put enough roadblocks in my path to make me want to click off the site and go someplace else?
10 Viral Internet Marketing Strategies That Produce A Massive Surge of Web Site Traffic and Sales
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FSBO Upscale Manhattan Co-op -- Only Strongest Offers Entertained
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Getting A Solid Internet Marketing Foundation
As we look at building our online businesses, many of us acknowledge, early-on, that we don't know it all. Those who don't, are almost certain to fail because they often attempt to apply techniques that simply don't work online - to their online businesses. The quickest way to online success is to model those who are already successful at what you want to do. It' s that simple.
Get Permission to Earn Income Online for Life
Today, the internet is an excellent media to reach out to the masses. You should really get to know your market niches. Focusing your marketing efforts to reach that specific audience and the ability to communicate with large numbers of people in a very personalized manner.
6 Steps to Establish Your Expertise
Like the Internet itself, online marketing resources such as blogs, chat rooms, and user groups are vast and puzzling. On one hand they offer that elusive "promise land" of free and effective marketing. On the other, they embody a "time sink" of astronomical proportions. They have addictive qualities and their effectiveness is measured only by your own self-control.
Niche Marketing, Niching Niches for the Ultimate Payoff
Niche Marketing, in simple terms is all about targeting hot topics, providing the answers, and making them available to search engines and you.
Creating Your Internet Marketing Plan
For large corporations, a marketing plan is a huge document detailing strategies for the fiscal year. It may include competitor analysis or a sales forecast. While these elements are important to a large business, do you as a small business owner (without a well paid marketing staff) have the time or energy to devote to putting together a huge document? Unless you are trying to get a financial loan, probably not...
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When the economy is booming, you may do well in your internet business.
Simple Steps to a Great Banner Ad
Everyone is using them now and if you're planning on creating your own banner ad then there are some things that you should know.
Beyond Viral Marketings Its Exponential Multiplication
Exponential Multiplication a Real Life Example:
Internet Marketing Solution - Content, Content, Content
If you're looking for the number one, hot Internet marketing solution that will propel your website to the number one spot on the most popular search engines you have a long search ahead of you. The truth is that there really isn't one technique that will accomplish such a major feat for you. The most successful and popular websites employ a number of techniques to garner that longed for spot. That being said, however; you should know that not all techniques are equal. Some techniques will definitely get you more results than others and the granddaddy of them all is content.
What is Internet Marketing?
Since I sold my last business in 2004 I have been trying hard to make a living online. Most of my neighbors knew what my last business was as it was very obvious from the garage full of soda, water, snacks and vending machines. When I say garage full I am talking about maybe 1000 to 1500 cases at least. Yes, I was a vendor and I did this for about 8 years. 8 years of people complaining about out of date soda, warm candy bars and dimes stuck in the machines. 8 years of 40 foot Pepsi and Coke trucks coming up to my driveway and unloading materials. 8 years of counting coins and dollar bills every day. Had it not been for the recession, 9-11 and the dotcom bust I would probably have grown to where I hired a few workers and I would still be doing it.
The Fun and Ease of Online Shopping vs. The Brick and Mortar Option
When my sister and discussed our shopping plans this year we found to our surprise that our attitudes were much different. She was the hip New Yorker, living in a trendy section of Brooklyn and commuting in to her publishing job in Manhattan. I'm a down home Midwestern type of girl who prefers to drive everywhere and I love my suburb. We were chatting together on my mother's couch after we had stuffed ourselves with cake from our parent's anniversary party, and when we got onto the topic of shopping (my favorite pastime), my sister gave me quite a shock. While I was dreading the upcoming birthdays and Christmas, but my sister had a very positive outlook. She was looking forward to the experience, and I was flabbergasted.As it turned out, she was a devote of shopping online, and so she was looking forward to surfing around, researching options and deals, and getting all her shopping done early. I argued with her, saying that the personalization of actually finding a gift by oneself in person was something that couldn't be duplicated by a machine. Also, many of the really great items I would like to get were not the kind of items that were technologically oriented, and what little vendors would have their stores online?The debate got pretty heated, and soon we decided to bet on it. We bet each other a new iPod player (pretty technologically oriented there, but I figured that I could sort it out once I won) that the other person would have much better shopping runs if each of us used the other's techniques. I was positive that if she could discover how nice it was to go into the brick and mortar shops, she'd forget all about online shopping ? and I definitely knew that I would like shopping online. Since we were basically buying gifts for the same people, we'd have a fair contest. We'd be fair in our evaluations, as well, and insist on telling each other how we'd done. Each of us would rate the shopping system on ease, quality, price, and getting gifts that was appropriate and appreciated by the recipients. Here's our results:For our brother's present, I hopped onto the internet and typed in bird watching into the search engine. After searching through a couple options, to my surprise I quickly found a birding book that was specific to our state, plus a CD of bird calls. The site not only offered free shipping, but would wrap the package and mail it to the my brother. "Well", I thought. "That was easy ? but I knew books and CDs were easy to get via the internet. How about something tough?"I thought I'd cheat a little bit by trying to find something that could only be bought locally. That failure would take my sister's idea out the utility of online shopping and blow it completely out of the water. For this specialized task I picked one of my favorite foods ? the organic, wild blueberry pancake syrup sold in our local farmer's market. While it's always a pain to wake up early on Saturday mornings to drive all the way down to the market, it's worth it to get this locally-made, yet exotic product. Unfortunately for me, it was easy to find. I entered the phrase Blueberry Syrup into Froogle and it was the first product sold there. I had no idea they sold this stuff on the internet! The new franchising and marketing opportunities have enabled the local growers to market and ship their product all over the states.One last shot ? I'd look for something for my sister, to get something so personal and unique that you'd definitely have to go there to get it. It was an item that we had seen on a friend's wall, and for years now my sister had wanted one of her own. As it turns out, Thai elephant painting (the elephants grab paintbrushes with their trunks and then paint a canvas) is now online, and yes, they will take custom orders. I hadn't really been willing to fly to Thailand to get a painting, anyway, but I certainly hadn't thought that would have been online.I called up my sister in defeat. After two hours online, I had bought all my major presents. Sis answered her cell phone and said that she was still stuck in rush-hour traffic on the way to the store.
Future for Internet Marketers
Have you ever attended a class where the instructor followed the Socratic method of teaching? You remember, only questions, no direct answers. Some discussions lend themselves best to that format, and this look at some possible future trends in Internet marketing is one of them. Mainly because there are no answers at this point, only the questions we pose!
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Internet Marketing On A Budget
Establishing a web presence on the internet is based on two factors when you are on a budget, your willingness to devote time to your marketing efforts, and knowing the true facts of what really works in the world of internet marketing. There are many site promotion companies that promise to generate traffic for your site, but if you are a business on the Internet, you want more than just hits; you want potential customers to visit your site. The techniques discussed below will give you an understanding of what is working on the Internet, and bring those customers to you if properly applied.
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