As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, there is a difference between a marketing strategy and marketing tactics. A strategy is a goal. It’s what you want to be. Tactics are the methods used to achieve your strategy. In my opinion, the ultimate strategy is to build an online machine. Better yet, to build multiple online machines.
So what is an online machine? An online machine is a business that runs itself without your daily intervention or continual management. An online machine does require time to initially set it up, as well as some of your time for promotion or occasional maintenance and updates, but it does not require daily or even weekly attention. It continues to generate business and revenues on its own. Over and over and over.
The benefits of successfully developing an online machine business model are many. First, almost all of the work put into building an online machine is invested up front. Second, revenues are achieved over and over with few or no incremental costs. Third, you are not tied to a business every day, which frees up your time to pursue other interests. This also gives you more time to dream up new online machine business models and expand the number of online ventures.
Most people who build a successful business wish for the day when they don’t have to spend all of their time running the business. With most business models, that means reaching the point where others run the business and you just make the strategic and major business decisions.
Some successful marketing strategies for building an online machine include the following:
- Become an e-book author. Yeah, the market is saturated with e-books. The secret to making this work is to find a niche where there is a demand for information that is not being fulfilled. Niches are still out there; you just need to find them. Some of the most successful e-book authors today focus on topics such as How to Teach Your Dog New Tricks or How to Convert Your Car to Run on Biofuels. Find a topic that you know something about or research a topic where you find a demand. E-books can be sold through either a site that you build or through popular affiliate networks such as Click bank. Click Bank uses a network of thousands of members who sell your downloadable product for a commission. Click bank manages almost everything for you, including the payments and downloads.
- Sell other downloadable products, such as software. If you have programming skills, develop some type of useful tool. This can be an online tool or something that runs on a user’s local PC. There are literally thousands of programs available that can be purchased with reseller rights, which mean that you can sell the product to others. It is very easy to automate the sales process for almost any downloadable product.
- Affiliate marketing is a very popular area for building an online machine. With affiliate marketing, you sign up with an affiliate network that allows you to represent an online merchant’s products. Whenever someone clicks on a product link, the user is sent to the merchant’s site. If they buy something, the affiliate gets a commission. Commissions are generally in the 5% to 20% range. Amazon.com has one of the largest affiliate programs. If you have technical skills, it is pretty easy to build a no-maintenance storefront that uses live data supplied by Amazon. The store can focus on any of Amazon’s product groups, such as power tools. Most merchants who participate in affiliate marketing programs provide a range of banners, product ads and other tools to help make it easy for you to sell their products. If you want to learn more about affiliate marketing networks, check out Commission Junction.
The real trick to discovering a successful online machine business model is to look for niches or areas that are not already saturated. It doesn’t make much sense to do exactly what thousands of others are already doing. Focus on building something unique and interesting and you will increase your chances for developing the ultimate online machine.