2. INTERNET BUSINESS IDEAS



This section of Stone Evan’s “Dotcomology – The Science of Making Money Online” gives you some of the more popular and successful Internet business ideas.


2.1 Leverage the Advantages of the Net
One major reason to laud the invention of the Internet is that it has made communication between individuals, businesses and nations all over the planet faster, cheaper and more engaging. For that reason you can not only have your business online but also stretch its reach far beyond your local market to the whole world. Not even outer space is out of its reach! All you ought to have for your business to be on the global market is a website. Would not embracing the Internet then not be as ridiculous as when candle makers refused electricity when it was invented?           

Another reason not to neglect the internet for your business is that Internet selling keeps on increasing. The proof is that the Ipsos Reid market research firm found the following in a February 2003 study:

-          only 28% of worldwide Internet users purchased a product or service online in 1999
-          62% did so in 2002, and
-          about 70% in 2005.

The fact that the Internet has become a huge global marketplace where businesses can make a killing was also confirmed by findings from another research made by Nielsen/NetRatings. You no doubt know of big corporations which started very small not long ago in a basement or a garage and grew to giant entities today, thanks to the Internet.

What is more interesting is that the Internet enables you to sell anything from Aaron’s rods to zwiebacks, as long there is a market for it.

2.2 What Businesses Are Succeeding On The Net?
Sometime ago the dot-com bubble nearly killed Internet business. Thankfully e-commerce bounced back and its golden products such as eBay Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Yahoo! Inc., Expedia Inc., FindWhat.com Inc., E-Trade Group Inc., Google Inc. are even shaping the landscape of Wall Street!

More and more, Internet users are hungry for valuable content and quality products and services online. And they are not only willing to pay for access to such products but also value the convenience of purchasing products and services online.

Convenience, the main reason consumers love the Internet. Online, they can shop when they want. They don’t have to commute, to fume at the traffic. They don’t have to endure crowded stores, put up with irritating sales clerks. They can even avoid pickpockets and steamy armpits!

However, not all services can be offered entirely on the web. You can use the internet to offer a buyer preliminary information about a product and when you have to set up an appointment for example to meet face-to-face, of course that meeting necessary to close the deal must be done offline.

Some products that take advantage of the convenience of the Net can also be marketed and sold successfully on the Internet. 
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While not all products can be sold on the Internet, among those convenient for selling online some are better suited than others. Here is the order of suitability an Ernst and Young study found for some products:

-          computer related products (40%),
-          books (20%),
-          travel (16%),
-          clothing (10%),
-          recorded music (6%),
-          subscriptions (6%),
-          gifts (5%) and
-          investments (4%).

Businesses in the paid services sector have also made much headway. Of all paid content revenue, systematically 62% came from the top three categories of Business Content/Investment, Entertainment/Lifestyles and Personals/Dating. Even the top 50 sites in most categories got 85% of all spending made by U.S. Consumers for online content. However if we consider the “stickiness” of different categories, nothing beats Business sites, especially those in finance and investment. What this means is that many people spend much more time on a business website than on sites devoted to the other categories, as illustrated by the table below:

Category                                         
Time per person
Audience
Hour
Minute
Second

Business – Finance and Investment
0
21
33
51,586
General News
0
15
47
64,822
Entertainment
0
14
32
45,922
         Source: Nielsen/NetRatings
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The time per person above shows that while a person spends about an average of 22 minutes on a finance website, for general news they spend about 6 minutes less and about 7 less for entertainment sites.

What does this tell you about the potential of the internet for business? A lot more people will be viewing your offers than they would general news and entertainment. 

So Click here to start using a proven Internet money making system that will help you tap into that figure.

No thinking… Just follow the 3 steps and launch your e-business today.

2.3 What Should You Be Selling? A Product or a Service?
People primarily use the Internet to communicate, for entertainment and education and to do research. That is why non-perishable, information-based products (such as computers and software, books, travel, consumer electronics, magazine subscriptions) are presently the most popular products online. Worth mentioning are also content-rich and subscription-based sites up to advertiser-supported ones on a wide range of topics. Others are hotel reservation, air travel and investments services. Driving schools have also gone successfully online. Even many states have already set up online payment sites for US Government services, enabling residents to pay most of their bills and other expenses including parking tickets to local courts online.
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Other products and services which often attract online attention and sell strongly are offbeat or unusual ones. Special cheeses, rare cigars, Turkish plates, long-aged wines, even diamonds also sell well on the Internet. What would not generally work on the internet are items such as toothbrushes, daily food and beverages one can get at the shop around the corner. No doubt, it is called a convenience store!

While most products sold by catalogue and mail order also do well on the Net, buyers prefer those that attract reasonable shipping costs. Higher shipping costs, which make products too costly, are cited as the primary factor for not purchasing some products online. An Ernst and Young report found that while only 19 percent of online shoppers are concerned with credit card information being stolen as high as 53 percent of them abhor high shipping costs.

So if you want to succeed as an online merchant, ensure that the final cost of the product or service to your customer does not largely exceed that offered offline.

2.4 Importance of Back-End Selling
Although you might put in lots of efforts to attract customers to your offers: design irresistible web pages, struggle hard to get free high search engine rankings or pay for them, do classified ads, etc. you still might not sell enough to make decent profits. This is where back-end selling comes in.

Back-end selling is when you sell other products or services to your existing customers after they have purchased an initial product. This is the marketing strategy which makes most marketers successful. While it is more expensive and more difficult to sell to potential customers, you would find back-selling much easier to your existing customers. This is because you have already developed a relationship with them with your first sale and as the saying goes old fires are easy to ignite.

For this reason your conversion ratio will be far higher with existing customers. So, to really increase your online profits always find new back-end products and services and recommend them to your existing customers.

To appreciate the importance of back-end selling, know that many businesses sell their initial products (front-end products) at a loss, at no profit or with very little profit in order to generate back-end sales which then bring them handsome profits. 

Companies have been subjecting you to back-end selling maybe without your really knowing. Do you remember when you ordered a product from a mail-order company? They sent you a catalogue together with your order, didn’t they? Or maybe they put you on a mailing list and regularly sent you new catalogues. They likely also sent you a sales letter for another product related to the first in some way.
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How can you implement back-end selling online?

-          While confirming your customers’ orders, put the sales pitch for your backend item in the email
-          Should you have an online catalogue, include a link to it, or even include a coupon or special offer “for all valued customers”.
-          For faster results, put the backend offer on the “Thank You” page generated by a credit-card sale. This often succeeds because the customer has just made a purchase with their credit card and might not balk at using it again.
-          If selling more than one product or service fails, offer affiliate programs.

Up-selling
“Up-Selling” is introducing more expensive products or services to your existing customers.  Back-end selling can be integrated with up-selling in ways similar to those mentioned above.

These two ways will almost instantly raise your sales and profits.

With the Plug-In Profit Site service offered by Stone, you get an automated back-end sales campaign built directly into the website built for you.

Click here to learn all about it and start earning back-end sales today.

2.5 Cross-Selling
Cross-selling is when a customer searches for a product and a message appears on the same page, saying “Customers who bought this product also bought…” and then list other similar products for the customers’ consideration.

If you have sought to buy or bought a book on Amazon.com, you have certainly come across cross-selling. As you searched for the book on the Amazon site, a message appeared on the same page, saying “Customers who bought this book also bought…” and then listed half-dozen other books for your consideration.

This is an excellent way to cross-sell additional services or content to your members.

In cross-selling, you can also direct visitors to other parts of your site for products and services that they hadn’t considered yet.

Successful cross-selling uses the marketing concept whereby you recognize a customer need and try to meet it with the indicated product or service. Needs-based cross-selling efforts are usually beneficial to customers because they enable them to receive the services they need and want.

Cross-selling also enables your business to provide useful services, retaining customers, attracting new customers, and staying competitive with other websites.

As you see, you can offer a range of products and services on the Internet. You can also make money with them. The key is proper research and a great marketing plan. Marketing strategies for your product or service is what we will be considering in the upcoming chapters. In fact, in the next chapter, we will discuss search engine optimization, one of the most important Internet marketing strategies.
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