Entrepreneurship University
College of Internet Marketing (CIM)

Can’t Sell from an Empty Wagon

Make your own products or outsource?

Depends. How do you add more value?

We have been very productive up to this point. Now let’s consider an example.

We have decided on our niche, providing information to assist people with their personal financial planning. We can further tailor our appeal to the 40 to 55 age demographic. If they don’t get their planning started now, they could fall short at retirement age.

Besides providing information we would like to sell some products, to "monetize" the site.

We decided that we would sell only online, and also selected and registered a "brand name," that is, pfplanning.com. This might not be the term that our target market thinks to search the Internet under, so our challenge is to build that association.

One approach is to evaluate products already on the market, with the idea of representing them on your own web site. You deliver the customer (online, that is) to the vendor of those products, using a link that identifies you as the referrer, and you receive a commission on any purchases the customer makes.

Vendors offer this relationship as an "affiliate program," or occasionally an "associate program" (see next lesson for more on affiliate programs). There are a lot of vendors offering such programs, a lot of "how-to" books for sale, and more than a few web sites offering directories of available programs, advice and recommendations.

A slight variation on the affiliate model is to represent a wide range of goods that we select ourselves from online or offline wholesalers. Wholesale pricing is necessary so that there is room for markup between the price you pay and the customer’s retail price expectations.

We will assume that you do not care to run a warehouse and delivery operation, meaning that you want suppliers who take your orders and then ship the goods directly to your customer. This is called "drop shipping."

To have some variety in our offerings, we may want to work with online wholesalers, such as Veriuni Products. A more frequent approach now is to set up your own store. See, for example, Yahoo! Small Business.

Let’s take stock of where we are now. We now have a domain name registered and a web hosting service set up. We have a clear, crisp, and promising niche, and we are ready to pick some products to sell from the many affiliate programs that are available.

Wishing you success,

John B. Vinturella, Ph.D.

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