Online Business – Question & Answers

As an Internet Publicity and Publishing Consultant, I field a variety of questions each and every month. Below are just a few I’ve recently received from clients and prospective clients from around the world.

I hope you will benefit from the answers as much as the original “askers” did!

Question: Can you still make money publishing eBooks or do you think the big craze is over?

Answer: Well, I think the days of writing a “standard” ebook in crowded niche and making a lot of money are just about done for now. For instance, you can’t write a book on how to publish your own ebook and have customer’s beating a path to your door right now. If you pick a topic on which a “glut” of information already exists, you may want to consider another topic.

One possibility you may want to consider is – choosing a niche topic within the niche itself. In other words, forget generalities and go for specifics. You have to know your topic inside out in order to get the real pulse of the market and what the consumers in that market are looking for. In other words, you have to really do your homework before you get started. Preparation is imperative or else you’ll be spending your time writing about a topic people lost interest in twelve months ago.

If you have a pet subject or topic that you really want to write about, go ahead and give it a shot. Test your idea. If you have a passion for a topic, I would be the last person to try talking you out of it. That’s what I did with my publication: How to Write, Publish and Market a Self-Help Book. It was just one of those topics I had to “get off my chest.” But that’s just how I am sometimes!

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Question: Should I have a blog, a website or a combination of the two to really be successful in my niche?

Answer: First, I would tell you that success isn’t the result of having one or the other – or even a combination of the two. There are people who have every combination you just mentioned who don’t make any money at all. If you’re just starting out or are getting ready to redesign an existing site – you should consider soliciting the help of someone who knows what they’re doing. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, look into buying and formatting a template or possibly basing your design layout on one that already exists. What I’m saying is, don’t try to reinvent the wheel.

A blog is much easier to maintain than a full-blown website. If you’re going to update content regularly, you may want to seriously consider this route. You can create a sales page on your domain “outside” of your blog and then have your blog linked to the page. In other words, the blog will contain an advertisement for your product. Or, you can sell the item directly from your blog.

I personally have over 15 websites that I sell different products and services from. Half are the traditional web sites. The other half are blog-type sites built over WordPress.

Beyond the website, you have to have good sales copy. All the tools you need to do all the above is available for only $37.00 in my newly released “Guru” course (unless you’re going to go the traditional site route).

If you don’t have a product people want at the price that’s within your market’s reach – everything else will not be enough to carry your business.

You need the right product and the right offer. Then – you can build your site and/or blog around that.

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Question: When first starting out, whose “system” did you use? Also, are the changes you’ve made over time been the result of your own testing or ideas you’ve picked up from others?

Answer: I’ve never followed someone’s system – point by point. I have adopted and used principles learned from a variety of courses, however, with good success. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from following a paint by numbers system, though, if they’re just getting started. It will certainly save you time and prompt you to take action.

Another thing to consider is the fact that no two businesses are exactly alike. Each faces its own unique set of circumstances and challenges and has to react accordingly.

Over time, I’ve made changes and adjustments based upon my own testing and ideas shared with others. I’ve personally found that listening to my own instincts has worked the best in most situations. If I had to break it down by percentages, I’d say it would be about 80/20. Eighty percent of the changes I’ve made have been the result of my own testing. About twenty percent have come from the ideas I’ve implemented from others.

Remember, the Internet and the economies are always in a state of constant flux. By the time you read about Webinars being successful in your niche, they may already be “dying out.” That’s why I would recommend trying a few methods out and see what type of return they bring. Then, you can build your own system from there.

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Question: What is the cheapest and fastest way to make money online?

Answer: If I needed to make money in a hurry and I was just starting out, I’d probably join an affiliate program of some kind. To me, the Internet is about building a business – not making a fast buck. Basically, making a fast buck is a losing proposition for most people. Making “fast money” has led many a poor chump to ruin throughout history and it’s no different today.

If paying next month’s rent is the goal and you’re just starting out, you may want to consider some “offline” options, too!

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Question: How aggressive should you be when it comes to email marketing? Do you send out a lot of offers or a limited amount per month?

Answer: It all depends upon the tone of your email messages. The hard-sell turns a lot of people off these days. If people are unsubscribing from your list, you know some adjustments need to be made. All things being equal, people will always subscribe and unsubscribe from mailing lists. That’s just the nature of the beast.

In my own case, there are certain emails I look forward to reading every time they show up in my inbox. In most cases, these individuals or companies share solid to semi-solid information on a regular basis. Let’s face it, people are in business because they have families to feed and bills to pay. But like the old saying goes, you have to give in order to put yourself in a position to receive.

So make sure you follow this principle with your email marketing methods.

Minimally, you should be in contact with people at least once a month. Anything less and they’ll probably forget who you are and why they signed up for your list to begin with.

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Question: How effective is social media like Facebook and Twitter. I heard that very few people are actually converting friends and followers into paying customers. Do you have any information on the subject or test results?

Answer: Social media is has taken the world by storm. After the dust settles, some people have their fill with it and move back to traditional email and cell phone communication. I’ve talked to people who’ve deleted their Facebook accounts because it became too “time consuming.”

Others didn’t exactly relish the proposition of being in contact with people from the past on an ongoing basis. It’s funny because it reminds me of the subject of fame. Actors and Actresses strive to be noticed wherever they go. Then, once they have their fill, they to the opposite because they miss having their privacy.

Social networking can be like that and is for a growing number of people. As a business person, social networking can put you in contact with people in your hometown as well as others from around the world.

As far as putting you in contact with potential clients, I think it’s great. But realize this, converting Facebook and Twitter friends and followers into buyers isn’t any easier because you’re communicating with them on these social networks. In fact, people on these networks are inundated with advertisements all the time. It may actually be harder to convert them there!

Just like everything else, there isn’t any “magic” in the tool itself. It all depends upon how you use it.

Jim Galiano

Jim Galiano is an online consultant and author who began doing business online in 1998. His consulting, marketing and publicity services are focused in the area's of SEO and website publicity. Jim has been interviewed by variety of media sources including the Wall Street Journal and CBS News in New York.

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1 thought on “Online Business – Question & Answers

  1. Thanks for sharing, I found this article while looking for lyrics, thoughtful comments and great points made.

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