Online Marketing – the Risks and Rewards


There’s a time for playing it safe. Now is probably not that time. I say this because over 47 million new websites appear online every year (as of 2009 statistics). Do the math. Over 128,000 new websites pop up EVERY DAY. The odds are pretty strong that some of them will pop up in your niche and become your competition.

If there was ever a time to make plans to move forward – we’re in it right now.

In the offline world, the biggest rewards often follow the biggest risks. Understand we’re not talking about foolhardy risks (like someone betting the bank on a single race or one throw of the dice). I’m talking about calculated risks where your own actions, knowledge or input increases the chances of a favorable outcome.

In the online world, those who take risks by not doing “exactly” what everyone else is doing stand the most to gain. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg blew past the MySpace by taking a chance.

Granted, that’s an extreme example, but it illustrates the point clearly.

When it comes to the online world, without “risk,” you’ll very seldom see anything in the way of a satisfying reward.

Over time, I’ve seen a pattern develop with website businesses.

  1. The site is developed.
  2. Traffic is generated.
  3. A specific number of sales are made
  4. Sales peak and subside

Since the Great Recession hit, I’ve seen quite a few sites stall between 2 and 3. If you’re not generating any traffic at all, you’re probably new to the game and still need to grasp the basics of online marketing. The other articles on this site will help understand the basics if you’re totally lost in the woods.

If you have a decent website, a monthly flow of traffic… but seem to have reached a plateau of some kind, it may be time to take your plan to the next level.

What’s the next level? Taking the offensive.

What’s the risk?

It depends upon your personality type. If you’re the type of person who plans every aspect of their life as carefully as possible, you may find certain methods more suited for your taste than others.



Organic SEO strategies work wonders for some people. I’m a good example. I’ve never paid a dime for a “click through” to any of the two dozen sites I’ve run in the past 13-years. The fact that most online business are “stick-in-the-fork-DONE” within three years is a testament to the fact that it CAN BE DONE. That being said, I had no choice when I started and I watch the search engines like a fight trainer scouting an opponent for my fighter(s).  Not only did my sites “get there,” they stayed there once they arrived. Even so, let me be honest – this method is a nightmare for many (if not most) people to accomplish.

They say you get what you pay for, right?

On the other hand, I’ve watch people burn up a grand a month getting little results from their Pay-Per-Click Campaigns.

What’s going to happen in your case? If I could tell you with 100% certainty, you wouldn’t be reading an article about risk and rewards!

IDEA 2 – Add Better Sales Copy – Work on “Closing the Deal”

What could be worse than having the fish on the hook, only to lose it about eight feet from the dock? Everyone has their own methods of closing the deal. Is your closing methods working today? Let’s be blunt. Who cares what worked yesterday? This is today. Things that worked three years ago aren’t working today for more people than you’d imagine.

If I used the same process in 2011 that I used in 2007, I’d be writing this article on used envelopes instead of a new laptop.

The less disposable income people have, the harder it is to get them to part with it. Even the cheap stuff moves slower. If you can’t close as well or better than “the other guy,” you’re going to lose sales, customers and clients to guess who? The other guy! When times are good, a decent effort can close the deal. When times aren’t, you may have to step it up!

  • You have to make a better argument about why they should buy.
  • You have to make a more convincing case.
  • Realize your standard “argument” can be perceived as stale in the customer’s eyes.

IDEA 3 – Time Sensitive Offers:

Time-sensitive offers can make or break the bank. Giving someone the option to order at a special price by midnight on Friday can result in a quick influx of cash. Or, it can backfire and caused your offer to appear gimmicky. I’ve seen both happen. I’ve had both happen!

If the jump to the higher price-point is steep, the outcome can be the equivalent of swinging for fences. Home runs and strikeouts are the two most common outcomes.


IDEA 4 – Change Your Product Line or Eliminating the Choices

There are times when – the more choices you offer, the less people are apt to choose ANY particular one.  A customer walks into the store and sees the latest line of “widgets.” They’re available in ten different colors, ten different textures. The customer takes a pamphlet home with them so they can review the options and think about which widget will work best for them.

Three days later they see a sale on widgets in another store. Three color options, 10% cheaper than the widgets in the pamphlet. They go to Store #2 and make the purchase.

This sort of thing happens all the time. The truth is, sometimes fewer options makes the decision-making process infinitely easier. Have you ever purchased a house before? After a while, everything in your price range starts looking the same. Making a decision can be tough because you don’t want to make the wrong one.

You only need one lead product or service to bring people to the table. Restaurants have become renowned for a single product. When I was a kid, I didn’t like Chinese food. So, when my parents took me with them to a Chinese restaurant, I always ordered from the “American Food” mini-menu in the back.

American food in a Chinese Restaurant? Sure. It’s more common than you think. Do you think a Chinese restaurant builds their business by advertising Burgers and Fries? Of course not.

Take a closer look at what you’re doing. First, you have to bring people “to the table.” All you need market one or two products or services to do this.

“Coming to the table” is Jersey-speak for getting their attention.

If you want someone to take action faster – you may want to consider limiting the upfront options.


IDEA 5 – Change Your Lead Product.

If your lead product is starting to bomb, it may be time to change it.

This is a big risk strategy. In recent times, Dominos Pizza did is successfully with their totally “reformulated” pizza recipe. The old sauce, cheese and dough recipes were completely tossed and replaced with new ones. If you think about it, their mission was a pretty straightforward one. Change or die. For Domino’s, it worked.

In other cases, it’s failed.

Your product may inferior relative to what the market needs or wants at this point it time. If need be – change it! This could mean added, subtracting or reformulating what already exists.


Starting a business is a risk in and of itself. Sometimes you have to take additional risks to STAY in business and continue moving forward. That’s what calculated risks are all about. There’s a chance things won’t go exactly according to plan. But when you get right down to it, how many times in life do things go “exactly according to plan” anyway? That’s right. Not too many. The nice thing about the online world is – you can make adjustments as you go without having to “go for broke” the majority of the time.

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Picture of Jim Galiano

Jim Galiano

Jim Galiano is an Internet consultant, web developer, author and podcaster who started doing business online in 1998. His consulting, marketing and publicity services have been used worldwide since 2002. Jim has been interviewed by a variety of media sources including the Wall Street Journal and CBS News in New York.

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About Jim

Jim Galiano is an Internet consultant, web developer, author and podcaster who started doing business online in 1998. His consulting, marketing and publicity services have been used worldwide since 2002.

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