One of the keys to being a successful Internet Entrepreneur is choosing a niche. One of the challenges of the World Wide Web is its expansive reach and versatile nature. As the old joke goes, the best thing about the Web is that you can do virtually anything, the worst thing about the Web is that you can do virtually anything.Pick a starting point that you're interested in and stick with it until you are successful or you have established that you idea is not as profitable as you originally thought.Okay, when you begin to market, where do you start? You know you don't want to compete with some of the large companies on the Net. However there are great opportunities for small and nimble operators.Analyze what you are selling or what you want to sell. It should be in an area that you know a lot about or want of learn about. It may have wide appeal, but think of those it appeals to most. For example, does your product appeal to musicians? That's a pretty wide market. Narrow it down. Who is most likely to be interested, singers or instrumentalists? From there you might want or need to narrow it even further. For example, your product might appeal to musicians of a certain age, or musicians who favor a certain kind of music or even a particular singer.After narrowing it down as far as you can, think of appropriate keywords. Check with Google to see how many sites come up using these keywords. Next use a site that tracks keyword usage (such as Word Tracker or Overture) to see if there are plenty of users looking for that information. If there are enough potential customers and the competition is low, you may have found your niche.After you have chosen your niche, try to use it in your Website title. This can help your Website ranking. Another tool for choosing a niche is to study the competition and find out how to make your site unique. Choosing a niche will help your Website stand out. Find one with plenty of potential customers and little competition and you have a very good chance of watching your business grow.
Since childhood I've had an interest in unusual businesses. I grew up with four brothers, and when it was time to vote for which television show we would watch, I sold my vote to the highest bidder. You could call that the business of politics. I collected the paper-wads that fell all over when my brothers had their wars, and then sold them back to them for a couple cents each. I was a war profiteer in the paper-wad wars. I also sold candy out of a hollow book in school.My business activities were more conventional as an adult, but I still loved to hear about and read about the more "unusual businesses" . Sitting around a fire in an Arizona desert, I once talked to a man who sold used stuffed animals on the side of the highway. He claimed he sold $3000 worth his first month.The Most Unusual BusinessesThen there was the guy I talked to in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who collected the bodies of dead deer. The county needed the deer carcasses off the roadsides for health reasons. They contracted with this guy for $25 per body. I'm not sure how he disposed of them, but maybe his other business was providing meat to dog food companies.When I was living in Traverse City, Michigan, someone started a dog poop cleaning business. Want the dog without the responsibility of cleaning the yard? Call A-1 Pooper Scooper. I'm not sure if this would be better or worse than the dead deer collecting business.Right here in Tucson, Arizona, there is a man who takes leaves from palm trees and twists and turns them into amazing animal sculptures. He sells these for anywhere from $2 to $12 in the street. The palm-leaf scorpions are the best. He just grabs leaves from the nearest palm tree and he can sell dozens of these in a day.Unusual Online BusinessesMaybe you remember a few weird businesses from back before Ebay got all their rules. One woman made thousands per month selling used panties to fetishists. She bought new panties for her friends, who got them for free as long as they returned them to her unwashed, trading them in for the next new pair. The used and unwashed panties sold for $10 or more on Ebay auctions and they sold fast.Perhaps you have heard about the online fantasy role-playing game called "Runescape." It has four million players now. What you might not know is that in addition to buying "virtual real estate" in the game, and earning online gold pieces, you can buy these game things for real cash. There are Runescape entrepreneurs who sell their online houses in the game for hundreds of real U.S. dollars. I think it would start to get confusing - what is real here and what isn't?Then there was the guy in who decided last year to finance college by selling one million pixels of advertising space on his web page for a dollar per pixel. You had to buy a minimum of 100 pixels and you could have any image you wanted linking to anywhere you wanted. He succeeded in selling all one million within a few months. Maybe it's time for me to get back into unusual businesses.
If you own your own business, you're probably innundated with advertising and marketing opportunities and salespeople. You probably get asked to sponsor events and donate to organizations. Maybe you've even been hit up by the premium company trying to get you to buy pens with your company name on them.So how do you know what to spend your marketing dollars on, and what to pass on?How do you avoid wasting your money on marketing that isn't going to result in more clients and more sales? How can you ensure you'll get the "biggest bang for the buck?"The answer is to go back to your marketing plan and look at your goals and objectives. You'll also want to look at who you identified as your ideal prospects or target clients.Then you simply evaluate these potential marketing activities based on their ability to help you achieve your objectives, and their ability to put you or your company in front of your ideal prospects.While sponsorships and donations are in part a goodwill activity and can be very worthwhile for that reason alone, if you are evaluating them from a marketing perspective (and I recommend you do, especially if you get asked to sponsor or donate frequently) you need to make sure they will give you exposure to your ideal prospects and contribute toward reaching your objectives.The value of the exposure you receive should be worth the investment you are making. Consider what it would cost to reach those prospects in another manner to help determine the value of the exposure.As far as purchasing pens with your company name, the same tests apply. Ask yourself how you will use the pens. Will they provide exposure to your ideal prospects or clients?Will they reach your prospects in a manner no other marketing activity can? For example, if you are looking for repeat business from your clients, if they have a pen with your name on it that they see and use everyday perhaps they will be reminded to frequent your business.If you are planning to do a direct mail follow up to clients who haven't done business with you in awhile, a pen might be a nice premium to include in the mailing, and it will continue to serve as a reminder long after the direct mail piece is read and thrown away.But do NOT order the pens if you don't have a plan for using them and an objective for what you hope to achieve. Just having pens with your company name without these two items defined is definitely a waste of your money.Whenever you are questioning whether you should take advantage of a particular marketing opportunity, ask yourself these three questions:1) Will it provide exposure to my ideal prospects or target clients?2) Will it help me achieve my marketing objectives?3) Is this exposure worth the dollars I am investing?If you can answer "YES" to all three questions, and you have marketing budget available, then you'll want to seriously consider the opportunity.If your answer is "no" to the first two questions, and the opportunity doesn't put you in front of your ideal prospects or help reach your objectives, you'll want to "just say NO!" to that particular marketing opportunity.If the answer is "yes" to the first two questions, but "no" to question number three and the opportunity is well-suited to your "marketing plan" but the value just isn't there, you may want to go back and negotiate more exposure or a lower price.And, last but certainly not least, if you don't have a marketing plan to help you evaluate these kinds of opportunities when they come your way, my advice is simple: You NEED to get one.If you haven't identified who your ideal prospects are and what you want to achieve with your business you will most certainly waste valuable time and money on marketing opportunities that are not a good fit for your business. In fact you'll be in danger of doing this everyday.If you need help creating a marketing plan, The 10stepmarketing System is a great way to do it. When you create your own marketing plan using the simple, step-by-step 10stepmarketing System you are setting your business up for success and you can be sure you are not wasting valuable dollars on marketing that won't deliver you the results you deserve.(C) 2005 Debbie LaChusa
Lessons LearnedI wanted to discuss some hard lessons I learned this week in hopes of helping others not make the same mistakes. It was not a real bad week but it did pose some challenges that needed to be met!The week started out with an add campaign. Good way to start of. One should really have an understanding of how an auto responder works or it is pointless to use one. About 5 days into my campaign I realize I am directing my prospects to the wrong email address!! You guessed it, no leads, no follow ups, waste of $300 +. Lesson learned: Learn your auto responder, set it up, test your system and then send your adds.My second project was creating an article and distributing the article. This went ok until I realized I was only submitting 2/3s of the article. When I reviewed it I neglected to ensure it was all there. I would have had to scroll down to see the end. I got in a hurry and or became complacent!! My mistake and a lot of time and effort down the tubes. I must apologize to all the editors who reviewed the article and to any readers that got started and could not finish it. My sincere apologizes. I had some other directories reject the article due to spacing requirements of paragraphs.Lesson learned: Pay attention to what you are doing and take the time to do some QA (quality assurance). Understand the terms and conditions for article submission!Exchanging links with other sites is a sound business proposition that should be done at least each week if not everyday. My link software went nuts for some reason and was unusable. I reviewed the manual and after careful study of my web panel I decided to get a free ftp download and attempt to fix it. By the way whats write permission and what do they mean by true? Only kidding, I know a little about them now! I followed the book and wouldnt you know, it did not fix the problem? What to do now? I sent an email to support, got impatient and re did the fix. I got to see my soft ware but could not use it. O.K. making progress! Oh, what is download file, fix and upload mean? It was the answer to my problem!Lesson learned: Trial and error. I got lucky and fixed the problem. Stick with it and be patient. At least I know what to ask support for now.Well thats all for the Hard Knocks Knuckle Head this week. Stay tuned for more humor.
From my personal experience and from speaking with many other publishers, it seems that many of them cannot even garner enough earnings to trigger off a payment from Google (USD $100). This is really sad because many give up before even reaching the halfway mark. Imagine adding up all the quitters, the amount of advertising money Google would have pocketed without paying a cent!Point #1 Find Your Niche.You need to know about your topic or subject fully and be an at least knowledgeable on it. You write quality content, you get quality ads shown. It is as simple as that. If you really found profitable niche on but know nuts about it, you can always use free articles (like this one) and post them on your site with their links on them of course. It is a easy and quick way to get quality content to your site.Point #2 Laser Focused Theme.You need to fully concentrate on your topic and area of interest. Do not deviate from it even a single bit! The reason behind this is to get the MOST relevant ads to your content which in turn will be the most likely to interest the visitor and get clicked on.Point #3 Website Navigation.Do not trick the visitor, do not confuse the visitor, do not attempt to hide the ad but do not blast the ad at the same time. Create your navigation in such a way that your ads appear unobtrusive and yet viewable. It is advisable to put more then one ad but do not cramp your page with ads, it turns the visitor off.Point #4 Key Word DensityAlthough Google doesn't release exact details as to how they determine the ads to serve on a given page. We do know that content (and words) of the page that matters. Before serving ads on a page, then, you might want to check its keyword density to see what words pops up most frequently.Point #5 Maintain Content ReadabilityAdvertisements should not distract from your content, or else your visitors will be driven away. Make Adsense a cohesive part of your site design, not something slapped in at the last minute or some hastily put up page.Point #6 Ask Them!Google knows best about their own programs. If you have any doubt or any question at all, feel free to mail them. Please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional technical questions or concerns. For general program or account questions, please email email@example.com.Point #7 Do Nots.Do no click on your own ads neither should you ask others to click on your Google ads. Do not manually change or modify you ad code. Do not place Google ads on sites that include prohibited/questionable content (e.g.: adult sites, hate sites) Do not employ cloaking, hidden text or farm links. Do not create a site just because you think you found high paying keywords and throw content in just based on them just for the purpose of profiting from them.