Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Online Millions are like drilling for oil or finding gold - you have to know where to look

If you've been following my latest posts, then you'll have seen my last "Eureka!" where I bounced off that brick wall for the umpteenth time, scrapes and all. My sudden realization wasn't that the wall existed, it was that I had to start looking.

I have been pitching books for some time now, though I don't think it's actually been much over a year that I started writing them and expecting to hit the Mother Lode. My studies into this created "An Online Millionaire Plan", since I saw people making millions and they were using the same techniques.

Lately, I had moved from SEO over into social media, only to find that I still had no relevant and positive way of "generating leads" so I could get subscribers over into my mail list.

However, that phrase is in quotes, as it doesn't mean anything unless you know some background in sales.

Social Media "Marketing" is an oxymoron. People are there to socialize, not to buy things. Your marketing (means "creating a market", right?) takes place person to person outside your interactions in that social media.

What makes social media marketing fail is that people are approaching it like they have other marketing - interruptive, non-sequitur advertising (aka: spam). But social media is carrying on real conversations. So if you are going to sell anything, it is going to have to be worth the overhead you are investing - which is considerable.

Back to my collision-bruised ego. The Aha moment was that in order to sell, you actually have to GO TO WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO BUY. I should have realized this long ago. You see, I do caricatures in the summer at festivals and fairs. It's great work, and pays more than my day job if I do it right. However, I learned long ago that you had to go to events where people actually are buying things.

Some of this is location, some of this is timing, some of it is pricing and presentation. But the main thing is to find people who have money burning a hole in their pocket.

For instance. County fairs are great, but people are mostly local and get paid by the weekend. During the week, you get mostly lookie-loo's who only walk around looking at things and will suck everything free off your display.

So I found that I was extremely busy doing caricatures when people had money to pay for things - which is after they got paid, by the weekend. Means I'm better off doing venues where there is only one or two days to buy things. People are on a "better buy it now" scene - since it's not going to be there tomorrow. Literally.

Another point - people want caricatures of their grandkids or kids. So when the strollers leave, I'm out of there. Teens mostly don't want to sit still that long, and have hormones telling them to do many other things. Older folks mostly only do it when someone else wants their picture.

So a two-day festival for kids would be the ideal.

Back to our subject of Online Millionaires. It hit me when I was studying social marketing that you needed to get into communities where people expect to buy things. Like eBay.

And that is the key to affiliate sales, ala' Michael Campbell's "Nothing But Net". He was selling specific items to people who were looking for particular things. Using the Internet made selling these much easier, because of the search function.

Now, how I lead myself off the cliff with SEO and social marketing is that these two enable you to quickly take over prime search engine real estate for keywords and hold them.

That doesn't mean you are going to sell anything. Ouch.

The underlying premise to An Online Millionaire Plan is that you are going to attract business and convert every visitor (or a lot of them) into paying subscribers. Note the word paying.

This "reverse funnel" scene is funny, because all they are doing is getting people to pay for a service first, and then put them on their subscriber list - in order to sell them really high-priced items later. But they already bought once. So the pump is primed and ready for action.

Enter eBay, where you automatically get their email when they buy something from you. Here's a reverse funnel in action - and has been for some time. What people haven't been doing is to collect those email addresses and continue to sell to them.

One clue I had on this was looking up Rich Schefren. Makes money hand over fist by giving seminars. He's on Stumbleupon - but doesn't really use it. Few friends, few sites listed. Because he's busy helping people build their businesses out in the brick-and-mortar world.

Is anybody getting rich off social media? Yes, but they are the ones who put the servers and programmers together to create the social network - and then are selling advertising to pay for it all.

But I've railed and ranted about the addiction of advertising. And given you example after example of how quality service and quality product is what brings you return customers.

And so our research target narrows down to eBay.

eBay itself is profitable by raking in commission fees off every sale. They have people looking to buy things. They have a rating system to tell how good a seller is. There is a working marketplace here.

What is our approach, though? Long tail niches - yes. Online stores, yes. We are going to use eBay as our marketing frontman and then build our business from the traffic this brings to us.

For a book publisher with lots of books?
  • Deal in information products - no overhead
  • Put your most demanded products up first. Link to their Lulu site for credibility (set it up so Lulu does only the POD version, so you don't conflict with their download scene - or price it higher on eBay, but you are running a promotional special auction...)
  • Otherwise, learn everything there is to know about auctions and run a successful auction-business
  • Capture every single email and put them into your mailing list - ensure they can opt-out. But survey them and find out if they'd like to get a newsletter on the subject of your books - or what you're publishing that month...
  • When you create a new book, offer it to these earlier buyers first, before you put it up on either Lulu or eBay.
And there you go - a list of paying subscribers that you can create new product to sell to. Meanwhile, you've got more customers finding your stuff all the time. And you continue to get prime search engine real estate through all your successful approaches. Plus, you add on affiliate sales via Clickbank, so that your library of books are sold on many different venues than just through your own personal work.

Of course, this means I'm going to add some data to An Online Millionaire Plan - but then, that's what this is all about, after all...
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