The most important thing to appreciate with “the Internet” is that – in the end – it’s people who are looking at things.
These people are not cattle, sheep or lemmings. They have aspirations, ideas and experiences of their own. They’re using the Internet to connect with people of exceptional quality or experience. This is the true value of “online”.
The problem that people have is when it comes to trying to consider how to “make money” from this, you will end up falling into the trap of hyperbole and hearsay; using any sort of “trick” to milk as much money from people as possible.
Whilst there’s nothing wrong with hyping things up, the truth is that people buy quality.
The higher quality your products, services or ideas, the more people want to engage with them. This means that if you’re looking at trying to become an online vendor, you have to consider *what* you’re actually offering – and how it will work.
The way this works is very simple. There are TWO things that people buy through the “Internet” – products and services…
Products are obviously “physical” widgets which are typically delivered through the local distribution service within a country (courier, state-operated mail, or local deliveries).
Services are typically provided for various “expert” level practices, such as “copy-writing”, “digital marketing”. “software development” etc. Whilst services are highly profitable, they are entirely dependent on the type of service provided, and the underlying “value” it provides to the buyer.
All of this means that the first step to becoming an online “vendor” is to initially look at whether you’re inclined to offer a “product” or “service”.
The secret here is that in BOTH cases, people are *really* buying a “secret sauce” that you have either created or found. For example, with products – it could be that they form part of a wider appeal (“natural acne cure”) – in the case of services, it could mean that you have some sort of hidden knowledge that not many people are partial to.
To add to this, the “real” trick with selling online is to SELL THE SECRET (not the product). Most people make the mistake of selling “copy-writing services”, which almost nobody actually wants. Instead, the best people “frame” this service as something the end user can use in their day-to-day business… “Amazon Listing Copy-Writing – Get Your Products Listed & SELLING On Amazon Today… “
It’s also important to understand that “online” success – where competition is fierce – is basically determined by how well you’re able to present an offer to your audience. In other words… sell YOURSELF. Rather than offering a particular product, explain your service and how you’ve been in business for X years etc…
“Buy New Vango Tent – £39.99”
“Buy New Vango Tent – £39.99 (Next Day Delivery, 20+ Years Business, IMMEDIATE Dispatch, 24/7 Customer Service)”
Irrespective of this, without understanding how to offer products/services that people will actually buy, it’s somewhat futile.
There are 3 products which *always* do well online…
Creative Services (Design, Marketing, Copy-Writing)
Places such as Fiverr and UpWork are FULL of people with cash-in-hand, waiting to give you money in exchange for LUCID creative work.
If you have experience with Photoshop, 3D modelling, digital marketing or copywriting, you’ll typically find a large audience waiting to trial your services.
However, just because there is a large amount of demand, doesn’t make it easy. These people want RESULTS and they expect you to be able to deliver them.
If you’re going to offer creative services, the absolute best thing you can do is do “free” work to build up your portfolio. After you’ve done a little bit for free, start listing your “naked” services on the likes of Fiverr and see if anyone bites. Don’t be afraid to offer a SUPER LOW price ($5 or something – just to get some traction).
Once you have a little bit of momentum from this, you’ll then need to start looking for a “killer angle” which you can leverage. One example of this is the SPXMAC copywriting agency on Fiverr; they started writing articles and swiftly moved into “Amazon Listing” writing – which now receives upwards of 30 orders per day.
Technical Support / Innovation Services + Products
Whilst you could frame this as “software”, it’s more than that.
If you have ANY sort of technical skill – be it with programming, systems administration, etc – you will find a HUGE number of people who want their websites / web applications / servers / e-commerce stores sorting out.
Now, there are typically TWO types of way this works…
Firstly, you have a group of people who just need the technical expertise (“fix my WordPress site” or some other thing). These will pay market rate to get their websites working properly. They will generally respond best to “HIGH CONVERSION” designs (this increases sales).
If you work with a lot of people like this, the ONE thing they actually need is traffic. If you’re able to offer “traffic building” services to them, you’ll typically do quite well.
Secondly, you’ll have people who just want to grow their online presence. They may have latched onto some tool such as WordPress, ClickFunnels or something – the point is they will typically be highly interested in getting the most out of their system.
If you are interested in getting more out of these purchases, create the opportunity for them to extend their sales funnel with MARKETING AUTOMATION and other product-centric services.
Popular Products (Offered At Discount)
Lastly – although offering “discounts” is NEVER something you really want to do – dealing with popular products is.
Especially with the proliforation of e-commerce outlets (Amazon etc) that are now offering HUGE opportunities to smaller companies, there are *so many* opportunities to earn money by offering products which people are already looking for.
Now, remember this does not mean you can just hide behind the products – the SAME “golden rule” applies here as it does with the other stuff… people are buying you (not your products etc).
To this end, there are TWO ways you can offer “popular” products and make substantive profits… either by offering the products themselves (e-commerce) or by offering REVIEWS of the products.
From the e-commerce perspective, the big mistake people make here is they simply list products and prices. They have NO differentiation, and thus end up competing with Amazon (NEVER a battle you’re going to win). The best “e-commerce” sites are influencer driven (which means you actually *do* something with the products you’re offering).
For example, say you’re offering custom suits – and are selling various fabrics and the tailoring services to accompany them. There’s very little in terms of differentiation you can make on the products themselves… but with the way they’re used (EXCLUSIVE events / networking), things start to get interesting.
By focusing your energies into creating the most lucid, exclusive and PROFITABLE events possible – you automatically create demand for your custom suits / shirts etc. By virtue of being an “influencer”, you’re able to cultivate an e-commerce business off the back of it all.
On top of this, you *may* wish to also look at “REVIEWS” experiences.
These are websites/applications which cover – in depth – all the “best” products in a marketplace. Now, it used to be the case that you’d be able to throw up a faceless review site and have it churning out commissions from Google rankings. Not anymore – social has become a massive element of the reviews marketing mix.
If you’re prepared to invest yourself into becoming an “influencer” in a particular field, you’re able to effectively review products and receive commission on their sale through the larger stores. This provides you with the ability to make the most out of the demand without the need to actively compete with the likes of Amazon etc.
Whilst these typically do well, it’s so important to understand that in the end, buyers want to connect with exceptional people. Offering “mundane” services isn’t going to cut it – and is why the majority of people start “online” businesses (typically the likes of e-commerce etc) fail – literally no-one cares about the boring offer they’re making.
In the modern world, where 12 year old kids have access to the same tools, audience and resources as you, it’s so important to differentiate yourself.
*HOW* you do this determines exactly the type of buyer who’ll show up with their credit cards. The mindset you really have to take is one of humble service; treat every purchase/project as a chance to make further gains & progress – always look for new services / products to offer, and NEVER “sell” the product itself. If anything, sell yourself…