Making Money Online – Online Stores


 

So far, in this series, we’ve talked about advertisement and MLM. The first article sets the stage for the whole discussion. Please read it before reading any other article in the series.

3-Online Stores

Have you ever dreamed about opening your own store? Selling something you’re interested in? I guess most entrepreneurs have.

Creating an off-line store involves licensing, real estate, decoration, shipping, etc..

On the other hand, an online store could be as simple as one page, where you display some digital products. You could even delegate the back-office details to the vendors of the products you display on your e-store.

A very common example is Amazon’s (TM) a-store. First, you need to sign-up as an Amazon affiliate, for free. Then, you design your online store using Amazon’s templates and menus. It’s a fairly simple process. You finally end up with a website that shows Amazon’s digital, or physical, products.

Your next step is to promote your a-store’s URL, following the methods we’ve covered so far. If you managed to drive enough traffic to your store, and hence sales, you would receive commissions from Amazon right into your affiliate account. They would take care of accounting, shipping, handling, and so on. Your job is: First to design the site, using Amazon’s help, then promote it, so it makes sales.

Amazon is not the only online provider of e-stores. If you liked the idea, you could search for other companies that offer products or services you are interested in. Become an affiliate, then create an e-store using their ready-made templates and tools.

Some people prefer to have their own thing, completely independent of any existing business. In that case, the first part of the process becomes harder. You would need to have your own domain name, hosting, and web design (if you lack that skill, or don’t have the time for it). Each one of those costs you money, and time. But the end result would be a custom-made e-store, where you would sell products, services, memberships, programs, whatever, of your own choice. You could even list your own products, things that you’ve created yourself. A common example is an e-book, or a traditional book. Another example would be a service you intend to offer, like training or coaching.

If you went that path, you would be responsible for all the details. Your site should be equipped with online payment forms and buttons. It has to be able to process payments by credit cards or e-currencies, such as PayPal or Alertpay. You would need to take care of your own inventory management, website back-office maintenance and update, etc.

The second step of the process is the same. You still have to promote you custom-made e-store, drive traffic, and make sales. But while an affiliate e-store owner is not responsible for anything once the customer decides to buy, the owner of a custom-made e-store must follow-up the steps of completing the sale, till the money actually lands in his/her account of choice. Not only that. He or she has to perform all after-sales activities. Things like returns, refunds, complains, maintenance, and so on.

Please spend enough time researching both options. There is enough information online. But you may also consider talking to someone who has already started an e-store, of either type. Pick their minds, ask them questions, do your own online research, then prepare your strategies and plans.

All the Best…

The Wealth Maker

Making Money Online – MLM


 

This is the third article in our discussion of the different approaches to making online money. Please read the first article before reading any other article in the series. It sets the right stage for what comes next.

  • 2. MLM

Multilevel Marketing (MLM) is based on an existing business model, which has been around for quite some time, even before the proliferation of the web and e-commerce. The basic idea is to build a matrix. There are different types of matrices, but they all share a common concept: When you refer a new member to an online program (business), that new member is placed “under” you (not physically, of course :-). When that member refers another member, that second member is placed under the first member, which you had hired.

Since you’re on top of the matrix, you receive a percentage of any commission earned by either one of the two members. That is the simplest matrix. It’s called a linear matrix. It could grow whenever new members join, to a certain number of layers. For example, if it was a 10-layer deep matrix, you would share the commissions of nine people under yourself, in addition to your  own commissions.

Another type is called the binary matrix. As the name implies, this matrix has two branches: Right and left. The first member you sponsor (or bring in to the business as an affiliate), sits on the right of left branch. The second sits on the other branch. Each one of the two would have his/her own two branches under him/her, and so on. This MLM tree type resembles binary trees data structures, used by several programming languages. Again, there has to be a limit to the number of branches, or the depth of the matrix.

MLM requires marketing/sales skills. No matter how much the sales pages tell you that everything would be “done for you”, when the rubber hits the road, you’ve got to promote or sell something, in order to build your own matrix, your own commission structure.

For people who don’t like marketing, or lack the necessary skills, this money-making approach is not exactly for them.

I’ve mentioned this in the first article, and I’m going to repeat it again here: Making money online is not much different from making money off-line. The reach could be farther, the information could be easier to gather, but the basic skills are the same. If you’re a good marketer off-line, once you learn how to find your way around the web, you would be a good online marketer. As simple as that.

Before delving into any MLM scheme, any type of matrix, ask yourself: Is MLM for me? If the answer was yes, then you would ask: Do I know how to market and sell products, services, memberships, fish in the ocean, etc… Based on your answer, you may decide what your next step would be.

So how does it work? The first step is to join an online “program”. Depending on the age of the program, you would be put in the next empty spot on the matrix, or a matrix. Your first task is to build your own matrix, regardless of where you had started. You need to bring people in, and place them under you, so that you maximize your income, by having those people work partially for you. But you still need to market and sell the products and/or services of the program. Your marketing skills, your negotiation and convincing skills, are called for to sell the  program to new members, as well as selling the products and services of that program (in order to gain your own commissions).

How would you market/sell? That’s what we covered in the second article on “online advertisement”. It takes using banners, referral links, email campaigns, etc. The banners have to be placed strategically, so they would attract online traffic, and hence visitors. Once the visitors convert, you’ve got yourself a sale (or a new member, if you were still hunting for new affiliates to fill up your matrix). Please refer to that article for full details.

The main advantage here is the potential of recruiting an army of sellers, who share with you the fruits of their own sweat, just because you’d brought them into the program (not very fair, in my opinion).

The downside is the complexity of the model: The matrix, the pay structure, the selling of ideas and products, the management and motivation of remote team members, and the necessity to do all of that online, and sometimes, via conference calls.

The above covers key concepts of this huge subject. To get the full scoop, you  must research. And please, don’t  join “any” MLM program. Find something that can show and prove a track record of stability, fairness and success. Another key aspect you need to make sure of is whether the program pays its members on time or not. Or whether it pays at all!

Any comment, addition, or question are very welcome. You may use the form below. Your information, as always, is kept strictly confidential.

Till the next post, stay safe, do your homework, and only join the best programs (if you’re convinced that MLM is for you).

The field is full of programs. You have the chance to shop for the right program for you. Take your time. Email or call the program’s administrator. Ask questions. Use search engines to find as much information as possible about the program you intend to join. If you sent an email, and no one replied within 48 hours, move to the next program on your list. Responsiveness is the first indicator of a good or bad program.

All the Best!

The Wealth Maker

Making Money Online – part 2


 

In this post, I’ll start presenting few online, money-making methods, focusing on how they work, how they would generate money (or became monetized), and some of their pros and cons.

  1. Advertisement

Every year, businesses spend billions of dollars on advertisement. The online portion of that expenditure is getting larger and larger. The most common online advertisement instrument is the banner. A banner gives a flashy, brief sales message, that highlights the two or three biggest and most attractive attributes of the business.

Technically, the banner is but the nice face of few lines of HTML code. If you have an idea about programming, the banner is the execution of the HTML code behind it.

Once the banner is created and tested, it has to be promoted. Online promotion boils down to a single word: Traffic. For  the banner to reach as many potential buyers or subscribers as possible, it has to attract online traffic. So what does that mean? It means that the banner needs to be spread around, so that online surfers would see it, and be interested enough to click on it. Every click is called a visit, a hit, or a view. The more the hits, the better.

Since the banner  is “click-able”, once clicked, a webpage gets launched, and the surfer who has clicked the banner, would be shown a whole lot more details about the business. The hope is that the surfer would get more interested and “convert”. Conversion takes place when a surfer, who has initiated the “hit”, becomes a buyer of the business’s products or services. If the business needs subscribers only, conversion takes place when that surfer signs up, providing enough details, especially name and email address. That allows marketing/sales people to follow-up, in order to offer that subscriber a service, a product, or more information, for the time being. Another term that describes this process is “opt-in”. The surfer is said to be “opted in”, when he or she provides his/her name, email address, and sometimes, phone number, by filling out a special form on the sales webpage.

How would you make money out of all of that? The easiest way would be to sign up as an affiliate of an online business of your choice, and promote that business banner(s). The banners you promote, have in their HTML code your unique ID. So if they got clicked, the business (usually the admin) would know that it was you who had made that hit possible. The majority of businesses won’t pay you anything for hits only. But they do pay once the person who has clicked, converts. In other words, generates money for the business now, or in  the near future. As an affiliate, you would receive a percentage of that money, or an “Affiliate Commission”

To summarize: First you need to find a business you’re interested in promoting. Then you sign up as an affiliate. You get your special banner code and promote it, aiming at driving as much traffic as possible to that banner. The higher the traffic, the greater the probability that someone would click on your banner. The more the “clickers”, or the hits, the higher the probability of conversion, i.e. commissions.

Now you may ask: How would I promote that banner? The ideal approach would be to have your own website, where you paste the HTML code, so that the banner appears on your website, preferably the front page. But that’s not enough. You still need to make your site visible. You ought to drive traffic to that site. One way to do that is to list your site’s URL on as many traffic exchanges as  possible.

What is a traffic exchange (TE)? It’s a website that offers a service. When you sign up for that service, the site allows you to post a certain number of URL’s. Once you finish entering the URL’s (one of them is of the site, which contains the banner you wanted to promote), you can start “surfing”. This is a rather boring activity. You have to watch other people’s webpages, who are trying to promote, exactly as you are. Each “view” takes a number of seconds. Usually  between 10 and 30. For every site you watch, or view, you earn one credit. That credit serves as the cost of one view of your own site (sometimes the ratio is not exactly 1:1). You view other people’s sites so they view yours.

You could escape the boring part, to some extent, by joining an auto TE. The upside of that is you don’t have to click every 30 seconds or so to view the next page (and earn another credit). The TE does that for you automatically. The downside, however, is that other promoters would do the same. Which means they won’t actually see your site. Because while the auto TE is cranking, viewing one site after the other, people would minimize it, sending it to the background, and go off doing something else.

One way to know how your site is doing in terms of visibility and popularity would be to perform a Google search on it. The best result you should aim for is to see your site on the first page of the search results. Another technique would be to go to http://www.alexa.com. This free service tells you the rank of your site, globally, and locally, where the site was registered.

As you can see, the process is somewhat complex, and the reward is not that much, unless you became really good at it; something that takes a high overhead of time and energy.

This should be enough about advertisement as a source of online income. Please let me know if you have anything to add to the above, if you’d like to comment, or ask a question. All you have to do is use the form below. And don’t worry, you’re not “opting in” for anything 🙂

Till the next post: Read, think, consult your heart, decide and act…

The Wealth Maker