Plus: Rob Cornish Interviews Himself!
Yes, you really can make silly money online…
Probably the biggest news in the world of Internet Marketing this week was that ever-growing-giant Facebook have spent an absolutely terrifyingly enormous amount of money ($19bn/£11.6bn) on acquiring the rather popular messaging service WhatsApp.
This has sparked all kinds of debate and discussion, but the part of it that interested me most was thinking about how amazingly, fabulously, RICH that acquisition has just made WhatsApp’s founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton.
They seem like two very ‘normal’ down-to-earth guys. And what I like most is that in developing WhatsApp, a service that takes the cost out of text messaging, they have really stuck to their guns and created something incredibly simple that people love to use.
Most app developers get lured in to games and ads and goodness knows what else: the fact that WhatsApp has stayed true to itself shows its value in every one of its 450 MILLION (!) users.
That’s more than twice that of Twitter.
It’s a product that solves a problem – imagine all of those broke teenagers who were previously begging parents for ‘credit’ for their phone or racking up huge bills from texting (other messaging services have been popular from desktops for years but this is different in its speed and total lack of costs) – and that does it in a simple and fuss-free way.
We can all learn something from that when thinking about products we’d like to develop to sell online.
Speaking of hot products to sell online, the latest issue of the Internet Income Detective newsletter is due to land on people’s doormats this Saturday.
Inside, we have a brand new contributor in the form of Amanda O’Brien: eBay and Amazon seller and all around expert eTailer.
Amanda’s writing about why she recommends selling unbranded products and has some amazing ideas to pass on about product sourcing and what you need to look for.
As Amanda says: ‘Unbranded’ products are generic
This is the most important part of the idea: that you should sell unbranded items on eBay. The products are generic. This means that these are items that come with no brand name or at the most just a number.
So, your ‘unbranded digital thermometer’ might include packaging that says: Therm BH2456 – this is simply a reference to what the item is and a manufacturing number. There may be no other reference whatsoever and the actual product itself will usually be clear of any markings, names or numbers.
Of course, all products start their lives like this until specific branding is added by individual companies. For example, if Mothercare source an unbranded digital thermometer they will then have their own branding added at the time of manufacture.
But here’s the thing: it is quite possible to source the very same product (or highly similar) in its unbranded state that is selling as a branded product on the High Street. It just doesn’t have the brand name on it, but it will still do the same job! The advantage is that you will pay less at wholesale for it.
Once you have an unbranded version of the product, you can resell it on eBay at a more competitive price than the branded version. The trick is to let your potential buyers know that what you are selling is the same model as the branded version, does all the things the branded version does, and the only difference is that it simply doesn’t have the brand name on it. ??You can do this by adding this important information into the main body of your listing description. It’s important you don’t use the real brand name in your keywords as this is known as ‘keyword spamming’ and you may find your listing removed by eBay.
Amanda has loads of fantastic ideas about selling unbranded products on eBay and where to get them in the latest issue of the newsletter.
If you aren’t already signed up to receive that you can do so here.
Once you have a product to sell, you need people to sell it to. And also in the next issue, we have a brilliant Q&A between Rob Cornish and, erm… actually, it’s between Rob and himself!
Rob has written an imaginary Q&A where he has put in to writing all of the common questions he is asked by attendees at seminars and workshops he creates about starting online businesses.
Rob Cornish Q&A
You keep talking about lists. I think I’d like one myself. But what’s the easiest way to build one from scratch?
RC: People really over-complicate list building but basically just remember there are only 2 ways to build your list.
RC: Number 1: give something away for free, like a PDF report, using a squeeze page which is a one-page website whose only purpose is to capture names and emails addresses. Or, number 2: sell a product on a sales page: that’s a web page whose only purpose is to sell something for money. With the sales page the customers will be added automatically to your email list.
OK, squeeze page or sales page. Got it. Which is best?
RC: I use both and recommend you have both too. You can drive traffic to your squeeze page and get people on your list that way. Also, give that same free gift away on the sidebar of your blog, which also gives visitors the chance to come onto your list. ??Creating your own product and selling it is extremely powerful though as this puts proven buyers onto your list (which are the most valuable type of subscribers you can get) and also opens up more traffic strategies.
More traffic strategies? How do you mean?
RC: Well if you have a squeeze page you must drive the traffic yourself from guest posts, PPC, solo ads, adswaps, content syndication, forum marketing etc etc. But if you have your own product then you can offer a commission on it and get other people, namely affiliates, to promote it for you. So effectively you outsource your traffic.
Outsource your traffic? I like the sound of that!
RC: Me too, which is why it’s a major strategy in my business. You focus on creating a good product and get others to worry about the traffic.
That’s just a very small sample of the tips Rob has for us. As I mentioned before, if you aren’t already signed up to get the Internet Income Detective newsletter in the post you can sign up here.
That’s about it for this week but do check out the newsletter. It is packed full of blueprints and ideas.
Have a brilliant week and get creative. Who knows: your new ideas could be Facebook’s latest acquisition target – $16 billion anyone?
Have a great week.