The question of where to start with your internet marketing usually applies to beginners but can also affect seasoned internet marketers when they want to branch out into a new area. Markets change over time and if you’ve been away from a market you used to make money from for even just a year or two it can seem as though the whole world has changed.
Do a litmus test
This concept is based on chemistry – you might remember it from school – where you dip a coated piece of paper into a liquid to find out whether it’s acidic or not.
The results are quick and simple.
And the same applies on your online marketing.
Set a timer and do a quick search for your potential market. Go into a handful of different sites and decide whether or not it’s a market you want to go into.
Your first reaction is far and away the best – if you want to click “back” almost as soon as you arrive at a site and that happens for several of the top results, it’s not a good match.
If you get so far involved with the sites that the next thing you know is your timer bleeping, that’s a good sign.
Can you create content for it?
Internet marketing allows a lot of choice.
There’s no point in creating content for a market that is profitable but that you don’t care for or know next to nothing about.
Over the years, I’ve met people who’ve followed the money, even though they had no real enthusiasm for the topic: people old enough to be a grand parent tackling the acne market, men (who, as far as I know, weren’t cross dressers) selling women’s shoes. All sorts of mis-matches that were obvious to everyone except the would-be marketer that they wouldn’t work out.
Again, set a timer and off the top of your head start writing potential topics. If you stall at a handful of topics, that’s probably not a market you’re going to be able to create content for in the long term.
Is there just one big player?
This is a warning sign.
Sure, you could be the David who beats Goliath but the odds are against you.
Especially on the web where it takes the search engines forever and a day to recognise that new sites exist and trust them enough to show them in the search results.
On the other hand, if there are lots of small players in the market then it could be a sign that it’s ripe for consolidation.
Outside the internet you can see this happening all the time. Just walk down the high street and notice how few independent shops are still there. Pay attention to a sector that still has independents and run through a few scenarios in your mind as to whether it could easily be consolidated (coffee shops spring to mind here).
Then apply that same logic to the web.
Lots of small – almost hobbyist – sites or sites that haven’t been updated for longer than is good for them are both good signs so long as the market has potential buyers.
Are there buyers out there?
I’ve left this option until last because the answer is almost certainly “yes”.
Even markets that initially seem to be spending no money at all can probably be monetised, although that may take more thought. File sharing sites have popups galore and adverts everywhere and premium options so that you can get your (probably illegal) download faster.
Near enough every regular market spends money and you can monetise it with programs such as Amazon or even by attracting enough views on YouTube that you get offered advertising by them.
In fact, selling advertising is getting more sophisticated and if you can attract enough visitors to your sites then it doesn’t actually matter whether or not your site is on the same topic as their interests.
Retargeting (those creepy ads that know what you’ve been shopping for recently) has made that possible.
Which means you could almost certainly follow your dream in internet marketing and so long as enough other people have the same dream you could earn money from it.
Which takes us back full circle to how markets change.
A decade ago, something like a jokes site would have had next to no chance of making money. Now, with the right following, it can sell ads targeted to each individual visitor and, since these are often sold on a “per impression” basis, make decent money.
But whatever site you create needs to be one that you’ll stick with. Otherwise it will almost certainly drop in traffic and earnings as you gradually neglect it.
If you’d like to know more about how to start internet marketing, take a look at this article about internet marketing in an hour a day.
And if video marketing appeals (it’s one of the quicker ways to get results) then take a look at this YouTube video recipe.