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…
From Their Mistakes And Build Lasting, Profitable Success
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…
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.
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.