Assessing Your Online Marketing Options

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There are three basic questions you have to ask yourself and answer:

  • Are you more comfortable selling… or promoting?
  • Are you more comfortable in front of the camera… or behind the scenes?
  • Are you more comfortable leading… or following?

Your answers should pre-determine the direction you’re going to take.

For example, if you’re a born leader – the sort of person who everyone looks to in a crisis; or even just in everyday life – you are going to feel your talents are wasted if you decide to spend your life endlessly promoting other people.  You are more likely to want affiliates who will promote you, rather than being an affiliate yourself for someone else!

Your best option may be to create your own products and convince others to promote them, as well as sell yourself as an expert in your niche.

If, on the other hand, you’re a born follower and you just love hiding comfortably behind the scenes, promoting others and their products, becoming an affiliate marketer or a niche blogger may be your best method.

If on top of that, you also hate selling, however, you may find affiliate marketing a really uncomfortable method.  You’ll either need to re-examine your sales phobia or find a different method of Passive Income creation – one that works with your personality, rather than against it.

Let’s take a quick look at the five basics…

1.      Affiliate Marketing

There are three very different ways to make money with affiliate marketing.

  • Become a Super-Affiliate – That’s where you promote products and other people using multiple methods (some of them highly visible; i.e. on your blog) and some of them behind-the-scenes (running anonymous niche blogs that review and recommend products)

Examples:  Rosalind Gardner, Mark Ling, Lynn Terry

RosMarkLynn

  • Become a Niche Blogger – You create blogs; slowly, at first, then adding more and more till you have at least one hundred on the go, each earning modest monthly sums.  You never appear at all as an individual; the focus is on the topic and the products.

And here’s where the third affiliate marketing tactic crosses over into advertising-based marketing…

2.      Advertising

This model is fairly simple, but one of the hardest to reap success with – mostly because you cannot force this.  Your blog weight has to accumulate slowly.

There are two methods:

  • Build Your Blog Fame – Become a super-blogger in your own right (perfect for born leaders) – to the point where advertisers are falling all over themselves to place ads on your pages
  • Create Niche Blogs for Ad Networks – Google AdSense isn’t the only fish in the sea, when it comes to displaying ads in your blogs

Ideally, you want to end up with both of these income stream types going.  By all means create your personal blog and build up a following… but don’t even think of it as a source of income yet.  Instead, add one to six new anonymous Niche Blogs per month (depending on the speed you’re comfortable with), heavily monetizing those little puppies via:

  • Contextual text ads
  • Ad networks such as Chitika, ClickBank and Amazon

Ad networks can significantly boost your income – but the catch with some is that you need to prove you already have a website set up and that it is getting traffic.

Finally, you can fast-track your Passive Income creation by boosting it with your own paid ads (try Facebook ads as well as Google AdSense).

3.      Selling Yourself 

Again, if you were working hard to make your name as a Blogger to attract Advertisers, this would cross over into number three here, “Selling Yourself”.

You become a Personality and an Expert.  You help people.  When your tips work, they turn to you for more.  They recommend you, your blog and your products to other people.

When you create products, you are exceptionally blessed:  There’s a wide variety at your command – one to suit (a) every stage in your marketing funnel (b) your personal strengths and tastes. And – once created – your products become Passive Income.

You can choose between creating any or all of the following:

  • EBooks
  • Articles
  • Tip Sheets, Cheat Sheets and Worksheets
  • Videos
  • Courses (video, email, blog installment)
  • Audios
  • Webinars
  • Teleseminars
  • Forums
  • Membership sites
  • Coaching

That being said, let’s get one fact straight right now…

You will never make true Passive Income without diligence and hard work in the initial set up stages.  For example, a Membership site or forum can cruise along with minimal interaction from you – but that interaction will need to make up much more in the beginning as you establish your reputation and brand credibility, as well as nurturing your core of future long-time members (the ones who are going to happily and voluntarily help you run the place.)

And any membership site or forum is more like an old fashioned steam train than anything else.  You can have these huge, multi-ton passenger cars barreling down the track, up mountains and over bridges, through the densest cities and the wildest countryside.  And it’s true they’re being hauled by a well-maintained, powerful engine.  But all that comes to a complete standstill unless there’s a coal man aboard to constantly feed the comparatively tiny boiler a steady supply of coal.

7-Steam Train

That steady supply includes public appearances (online and, later, off) and a strong social media presence – and, most important, a “signature” product – be that a book like Rosalind Gardner’s “The Super Affiliate’s Handbook” or a course, or whatever – is also an essential piece of this marketing mix.

A lot of hard work – but at the end of it, ever-increasing Passive Income.

Oh.  And a host of hard-working, eager affiliates…

Create an affiliate program so that Super-Affiliates can promote you.  (And they will – newbie or not – if you do things professionally and you can show them there’s money to be made.  Face it:  One Super-Affiliate promoting your products can equal three hundred amateur affiliates on a good day.)

4. Selling Products – We’ve already touched on the types of products you can sell or promote.  And you probably already have an idea as to what type of product would be easiest for you to create.

But wait a moment… Are you sure you’ve chosen the right one?

For example, if your real skill is in sewing, don’t offer to sew one hundred aprons at $12.00 apiece.  If each apron takes you three hours of straight cutting, sewing and finishing time to produce, you’re working for $4.00 per hour.  And it’s going to take you 300 hours of work – that’s five weeks of solid, eight hour days and a bit more.

Instead, sell the pattern.  You only have to create it once, and you can resell it as many times as you like – depending on the demand, perhaps even for the same price.

Set your pattern up in your online store, spend half an hour a day promoting it (instead of eight hours sewing) – now that’s starting to sound much more like Passive Income!

The Art of Repurposing and Other Shortcuts – On top of that you get to recycle your perfect, polished pattern into something else.

Say you’ve been up and running for a year and a half now, and your online sewing store is just packed with patterns.  The market is slowing down – your fans have bought just about all the patterns they want… or have they?

Perhaps, at $12.00 per pattern, they could only afford the Frilly French Lampshade pattern – but they really would have loved the Smocked Cushion Cover pattern, as well as the Fancy French Blinds, the Bathroom Lace Towel set, and the Frou-Frou Place Mat pattern.  Here’s what happens.  When some people start adding more items, they find themselves having to decline.

So you pick out all the patterns that fit into a theme, bundle them together with an eBook cover and sell them as the “French Frou Frou Home Décor Pattern Package”.

Or you pick out all your seasonal patterns, and promote them as a special package.  (The “Christmas In The Country Craft Set”, or the “Halloween Quilted Masks and Accessories” package.)

Put it in your store and promote it at $27.00 for each twelve-pattern set.  People who balked at paying $12.00 per pattern singly now think of this as incredibly rich value – and a chance for them to finally own your deluxe patterns.

By re-purposing, you are making your one-time-only created pattern do multiple duty, bringing in a fresh  new market as well as pleasing old friends.

And you can do this with any product you create – for example, with written content.  You can do any sort of combining or segmenting, from eBooks split into a Video course, to articles put together to create an eBook.

8-Kitty Covers

There are other shortcuts beside repurposing (and you can use these along with repurposing for double the bang):  For example, outsourcing.

With outsourcing, you farm a task out to an expert in that task.  Say you really need a pile of promotional articles for your Life’s Work, “Millie’s Handy-Dandy Household Cleaning Recipes and Chemistry Set”:  You want to keep going on your signature piece – the one you make your reputation on.  The articles themselves are just for branding, getting yourself established as an expert, driving traffic to your website.

Outsource these articles to a ghostwriter or simply hire a Virtual Assistant skilled in research to dig out 101 cleaning tips for you.  Or hire one skilled in Autoresponder and Shopping Cart set up to set up these vital tools for you.

And instead of struggling to learn a complex graphics program like Adobe Illustrator (or even a free one such as Gimp), commission a graphic designer to create your eCover and web theme.

Not everyone can outsource right away – but it’s a key tool of the big boys and girls; and when you are up where you want to be in the public eye, you simply won’t have time to dot every “i” yourself.

5. Investing – This is something everyone should do.  And we’re not talking about becoming a Forex trader or haunting the floors of Wall Street.  We’re talking about getting into an investment-focused mindset.

When you “re-purpose”, you’re practicing a form of investment:  Or rather, more strictly speaking, when you create that information product the first time, if you have factored re-purposing into your sales funnel, then by creating the initial product, you are making an investment.

Investment could be as simple as seeing if there are stock options within your company, if you are still struggling along with a full or part-time day job.  (Hint:  Many large corporations that pay low wages offer all employees this type of incentive – for example, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.  You invest a portion of your wages into the stock incentive and every so often, you are allowed to cash your stocks in.)

Outsourcing also is part of the investment-oriented mindset:  You are paying more up front for expert help so you can make far more money than you would if you were still struggling to learn the outsourced part of your business for yourself.

Such platitudes as “it takes money to make money” exist because they are true.

However, you also need not spend an outrageous sum of money.  And there are always ways to tailor your budget to your circumstances – and still be able to create Passive Income.