Business Strategy

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Hey guys,

I'm currently working a full time job that I loathe and am looking to escape. I recently stumbled upon the digital strategy crash course and have thought of a vertical to target. But, I'm unsure as to what the best monetization strategy would be. I'm currently considering the following:

- create site, heavily focused on information related to the vertical. Site will appear to be MFA
- After I've produced enough content, begin on-site affiliate marketing products related to my site, continue to produce articles.
- providing everything is going well financially, start to think of my own products
- start a transition whereby I begin to remove ads and other people's products, and replace with my own. Continue with articles but I imagine would be outsourced at this stage.

It's my understanding that, from the above, the sight will start out as an info based mfa, before leading to ecommerce (affiliate stage) whilst still producing info content, and eventually become a "brand".

First, what are people's thoughts on this?

If you guys think it's a good strategy, how will I know when to start the transition from removing ads and affiliate products and replacing with my own? Is this more of a trial and error process? Or would it be best to keep the affiliate products that provide a decent commission, remove the ads and add my own products?

Would appreciate your thoughts on the above.

Regards,

Redkurrant.
 
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You should build your brand first (more info in Day 16) because your brand is your foundation. If you are changing your monetization strategy (covered in Day 9) then you don't have a business model planned. That's bad. Your monetization strategy will dictate the types of content you create, the part of the sales funnel you target (more info in Day 6), and the design/function of your website (Day 4 and Day 5).

Here's some unsolicted advice from some asshole on the internet: Finish reading through all of the crash course. Take notes as you read: facts, ideas, to-dos, and questions. Once you've read through the course you'll have a lot of ideas (probably). This is the time to go back to Day 1 and start taking action as you go through the course. Any questions that you had while reading that weren't answered in the later parts of the course, bring 'em back here and we'll answer them. You seem really excited and eager to start which is great but my worry is that you'll start too soon without a plan or an understanding of the basics.
 
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Thanks for this man. However, I've read the vast majority of the course.
I just don't understand how I can effectively monetize the site. Ideally, I would like to sell my own products, but feel like it would be best to sell others first, so I can learn to sell online effectively and not potentially waste a load of cash. Maybe it would be best to build an affiliate site as practice, in order to raise some capital for a separate product based ecommerce store?


Another thing I don't understand is how does a good ecommerce store gain traffic? Is it essentially down to keyword research/SEO? Or should you include content as well, such as articles?

Feel like a complete amateur asking these questions but I can't get my head around it!
 
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I've read the vast majority of the course.
The "vast majority" isn't going to cut it if you want to succeed. If you're looking to cut corners and to take short cuts then you're probably going to be disappointed here. That's the bitter truth.


I'll continue on though, just this one last time. The first half of your question is addressed in Day 2 and here's a relevant quote from that post...

Let's peek into the mind of our pretend entrepreneur again:

"My short term goal is to generate as much money as I can as fast as I can using any means necessary on my website. I'll write and buy a ton of content, I'll spam that content, and I'll get tons of visitors clicking on my ads! Then after I'm earning money like that, I'll introduce the eCommerce side where I sell my own white-labeled products and I'll have a huge bonafide business."
Revisit that post again if you're still having trouble finding your direction. If you have specific questions I'm happy to address them. These general questions are all addressed in the crash course.

As for how to get traffic to your site, there are a ton of options that will depend on your vertical, your goals, and what resources you have. Day 8 (on-page SEO), Day 11 (off-page SEO), and Day 12 (traffic leaks) are great starting points for traffic.

Before you start worrying about getting traffic, you need these four things first (in this order):
  1. S.M.A.R.T. GOALS: SMART = Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. How much money do you want to make? How much time/money can you dedicate to learning and working on your business?
  2. VERTICAL: Your choice of vertical is important because if you need to find out if it is the right fit for achieving your goals. For instance, a blog about party supplies probably isn't the best choice if you're trying to quit your full time job to live off of ad revenue.
  3. BUSINESS MODEL: You have your goals, you've chosen a vertical, now it's time to figure out how you're going to make money and who is going to be giving you that money (read the replies too).
  4. BRAND: Your brand is the foundation of your business. You are armed with your goals, you know your vertical inside out, you know how you're going to make money, and you know who is going to be the source of that money. Now brand your empire accordingly.
Once you have those four things you can start worrying about your site then your content/SEO/SMM/PPC/etc.
 
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Another thing I don't understand is how does a good ecommerce store gain traffic? Is it essentially down to keyword research/SEO? Or should you include content as well, such as articles?
Good marketing.

My company sells a product category with a monthly search volume of less than 100 yet we sell over £10,000 of them each month online - we do it through outreach, lead nurturing and re-marketing.

No SEO involved.

I've seen it said around here already but SEO is only one path to the top of the mountain.

Let's look at SERPwoo - if you research 'rank tracking software' (I know, the tool is so much more than that), it only gets 200 searches a month.

Realistically that's gonna be 80 visits for ranking #1 and even at 10% conversion rate that's only 8 new customers each month. I don't know the numbers but I'm guessing they're getting a few more customers than that each month - certainly enough customers to keep the lights on.

So there's gotta be more than SEO.

The secret is to test everything.

We've been testing a new traffic source this month - Quora.

It's looking like it's gonna be a top 5 traffic source already for March and I've seen in analytics that it's even driven sales which is more than can be said for some channels (looking at you Twitter (which my boss obsesses over and insists we should push)).

All we've been doing is answering 10 questions a day and dropping our link where it makes sense to help the person asking the question.

If you're like me an feel that your time nestled in the warm bosom of the corporate world is soon to come to an end then ask yourself this - how are you gonna put food on the table while waiting for your SEO efforts to kick-in?
  • An MFA site could take years to get up and running
  • An affiliate or ecommerce maybe 6 months (with pre-existing skills)
Read everything that @paulcarl has posted above because he's on the money.

SEO isn't a business plan it's just a tactic.

It sounds like your heart is set on ecommerce in which case you can build a dropshipping business without any real up-front costs.

Start small, run paid ads, take part in forums and answer questions on Quora drive traffic to the mothership.

If you're still looking to go MFA - affiliate - make sure you don't look at it as a 1-2-3 step process.

Launch with a blend of MFA and affiliate while your trying to figure out what to sell. Once you figure that out, do as @darkzerothree said - get people on that list.

Offer them an early bird discount - a free chapter or whatever.

Now you're marketing brother.

Get that business plan sorted so you know when and where the money is gonna come from and how much yo

I know that for me to leave my job I'll need £1,500 a month (gonna be some lean times ahead) so now I can start thinking about all those options to make money.

If I got fired tomorrow how would I make that £1,500 - I'd probably consult.

Would I wait to rank for 'worlds best digital marketing consultant'?

Nope, I'd pick up the phone and hustle - 100, 200 even 300 freezing cold calls - I'd get a client eventually to cover my bills.

I know this is a wall of text and I've been drinkin' (finally got that Friday feelin') but I'm right where you are, trying to work out my exit plan.

Let me know if you've got any questions as my brain is in the same place as yours right now so hopefully I'll be able to help.
 
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Paulcarl & Dariush, many thanks for your advice.

I'm completely new to all this, so think it's best to go through the course again but not rush it this time.

Spent a lot of time trying to come up with a fresh plan in my free time. Now think it's best to start producing a content based site on the side whilst working full time. Produce 100< posts before I start to approach other companies to sell their products on my site. Aim for an agreed commission of 25%<. When I'm making more £ via the site, will quit the job. Will then stop trying to gain new affiliate jobs, and begin to add my own products to the site. After that, just continue to add more of my own products. Will continue to do this until I've hit my goal of owning enough real estate to provide a sustainable passive income (~£149,000 - dont want to hit the higher tax bracket of £150k!) May sell the site at some point after this, who knows.

Obviously the above is bound to change as I go through the course again, but for now, does this seem more sustainable than my previous plan?

Also, complete newb question here, how do I like the posts people have put here? Want to show my appreciation but can't see where to click
648 x 513
 
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@RedKurrant - left field idea but why not aim to write 50 posts for yourself and 50 for others on something like peopleperhour.com - that way you'll be building up your bankroll, practicing your craft and see how the game works.

There's no tricks in this game (despite what your favourite guru would have you believe) there's just hard work, patients and a little luck.
 

Ryuzaki

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@RedKurrant You will be able to find the "like" button on the bottom right of every post once you yourself have received 3 likes.

I think that you're looking at a Thousand Steps and condensing them into about Three. You're talking about going from having a day job to a content site to adding ecommerce to white labeling products to real estate ventures and hitting tax brackets... and you're saying it like it's nothing. It's not nothing. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do. It's the reason the 1% are the 1%.

The first thing I'd say is that you need to decide... are you a content site or an ecommerce site? Being both isn't going to work well. You need focus, not just for you but for your visitors. You don't need both of those and your own products to get so rich you never work again. You just need ONE model and you need to destroy it with the best marketing and content possible.

If you're new, the best thing you can probably do is to start a content site, get about 30-50 posts on it, apply for Adsense and integrate it, and apply for Amazon and link to them where you can (without over-doing it).

Because right now you're talking about ruling the world, but I can tell you that if you dive right into what I listed above, you're going to realize that getting traffic isn't what you thought it was... ranking in Google isn't what you thought it was... trying to find out why Google penalized you and Amazon banned you from their program won't be what you thought it was... Designing a site... on and on.

You need to forget about trying to design your entire empire when you haven't even started clearing land so you can lay a foundation. Because you're still in the weeds and don't even realize it. And by the time your castle is taking shape, it won't look like anything you imagined, because your imagination isn't in alignment with reality. But that doesn't mean you won't have your castle. It just mean that you need to take step one first and stop fantasizing about the final destination. You'll pivot and change a million times and your destination won't be the one you think it will be.

Baby steps! You need to start and fail a few times. Then you'll have a better idea of how to think about these things.
 
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Thanks for the above guys, really appreciate it.

Regarding @Ryuzaki, I definitely agree with you, thanks for the honesty. I've always had a problem of trying to plan everything out despite not laying down any foundations. Will take small steps as you suggested and try not to look too far forward into the future.