Building An eCommerce Business From A Book’s Advice

Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I got a call earlier this week from a nice guy who wanted me to give him our price on customising his 3D Cart Store. Well, we are 3D Cart Platinum Partners, so sure, we can do that. But I wanted to know more about what he was selling, what was his plan to market the site, etc… I know that most online sellers have never really thought of these things, and don’t really have a plan. You need a plan!

On the surface, he thought he had a plan. He was going to sell men’s fragrances from his own website. He found a supplier (the online site most of you are probably buying yours from… evidently they also wholesale), and they were going to drop ship, so he didn’t have to buy or store anything. He started a website and bought a premium template. OK, how will you market it? He told me, “Affiliate marketing, SEO, and marketing consultants.” Well, you know me, so I asked him if he knew what affiliate marketing meant. He didn’t.

I said let’s take a good look at SEO possibilities. We went to Google and searched a popular men’s cologne. The top results were some of the biggest names in online and brick-and-mortar retail on the planet. You’d click on any one of them since they’re names you know and trust. The paid ads were also from these same big players except that Google showed a customer ranking for them. So even if the nice guy on the call with me paid for top Google placement, he’d be next to a company that Google shows as having over 3,000 positive comments. Who would you pick?

I felt like this was a serious uphill battle for him. His problem wasn’t his website design. I was concerned nobody was ever going to see it. The problem is how are people going to find his website, and why should they choose to shop there? When you can buy fragrances at many local stores… or online from Walmart, Sams Club, Fragrancenet (we did their eBay stuff :) ), Perfumania, and others… would you choose this guy’s site, especially if his prices are the same and not lower? How much time and money would he burn on SEO and marketing consultants as they tried to get him Google placement alongside Walmart and Fragrancenet!!!

I had to tell him that I thought his biz idea wasn’t very strong. It didn’t seem like it would be likely to succeed. And for the money he’d burn in getting it going… in this economy, does he have that money to lose? You can’t just assume this is going to work and make money. What if it doesn’t? And then he asked me an interesting question.

Can’t this just work a little? Can’t this work enough to bring me $1000 or $2000 per month? I just didn’t see that happening when he was up against such giants. He assumed that he would have SOME success, even just a little. I asked how much he will have to work and how much money he’d have to spend to HAVE that thousand or so per month? Will he feel like he’s working for 86 cents an hour?

It’s best to plan, do lots of math, look at competitors, and be honest about where you’re likely to end up in Google. Or how you will get the word out for people to shop with you. Can you make your time, effort, and investment worth it?

We stayed on the phone nearly an hour. He thought this was amazing. I do this all the time. :) Many people who call will never hire us… or sometimes shouldn’t hire us. I wanted to see him keep his money in his pocket until he had done lots of planning and math, and KNEW his idea was truly going to fly.

Tomorrow’s blog post is the email he sent me the day after we talked. He gave me permission to publish it. :)

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Categories: eCommerce, That's Good Marketing

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