Very little success with online revenue

My wife and I have been trading online for last 12 years. Built our first website in 2000, then started a few more, then another few, spent some money on ads and hosting (vps).

We have so called “distributorship” (in the agreement we are referred as partner) for one very remarkable line of products, loved by celebrities and artists, globally.

The thing is, we never really understood how to market these products. There were over a dozen web sites built for it, but very visitors came by. So we never maintained any one site for more than 2-3 years. (we relied on eBay or a few minor sites for long steady revenue, but the margin is very slim)

I once chatted via email with a (relatively famous back then) website owner, he said his secret was invested back 70% his income on ads to generate more revenue.

We never did follow his advice. Instead we save most of the income. Now we barely earn enough to cover expenses.

So to all those who witnessed or experienced the internet success, how did they/you do it? Is it true you have to invest that much to become a major success on internet?

70% is a big cut but if you’re use to taking the bulk of your profits out of the business and into your pocket, and putting nothing into marketing or development in, it shouldn’t be a big surprise that over time you’ll see your sales erode. Even on thin margins someone else will eventually come along and out sell you or simply provide a better product or price. You hear small local businesses complaining about the walmarts of the world all the time but often when you dig in, they had stopped putting anything back into their overhead or expansion so while they may have been beat on price, they long since killed their own value. “Walmart” just provided the alternative.

Thankfully you’ve got history and after 12 years hopefully know an awful lot about the market and the trends around your niche to build back up.

So yes, before your business is completely in the red you should be looking at what you can do. That may mean marketing options or a change in your product mix / relationships. Just because it was a killer product or a workable in 2000 does not mean it’s right for 2012. Don’t limit your angles and don’t be caught up in the “how do I get things back to the easy path in a few months”, sustaining sales is an ongoing process.

some said money makes money and thats true and thats what you should have done long time ago.
still you can coverup by investing in online advertising, seo.
i will say go for online advertising as they will give you instant result. but use them wisely or you can waste the money ending in nothing

The best advice I can give you is to defiantly advertise.

If I understood correctly you have good line of products that many people like. All you need to do right now is to make more people recognize that.

It’s always scarey to spend money, especially when you are not sure it can make you money. however, in order to make more money you need people that can only come for advertising.

There are ways to advertise without huge investment, like offer you products to affiliates etc. you can pay per each sell and then you’ll have to invest only on designing ads for your products.

I would focus on ONE SITE ONLY. THis should be your ‘flagship’. More sites, mean more efforts to maintain and promote. Set up that site, redirect the others, make this one look very good and professional. If you know the products and love them so much, add a blog section to the site. Write insightful articles and establish yourself as an authority. Set an advertising budget and reinvest some of the earnings back to advertising. I am currently running a very small adwords campaign for my latest site. Small meaning it’s around $30/month. I still get some visits and will increase the budget as the ad revenue starts kicking in.

Be present in forums and blogs that deal with your niche or are useful. be active there, be supportive. Put your link in the signature (as I do here for instance). This is free advertising and a pretty good one if I might add. Set time each day to post in sites, write content and manage this all.

I think advertising is good if you can afford to do it and from spending £1000 you earn £3000 that’s the way you should look at it.

They say in the 1st year of business, you should invest most if not all of the money you make back into the business.

I am at a stage, although I don’t have a so called product, where I think I need to advertise to get my name out there, people coming to the site and interacting. To charge for my service my site relies on traffic, both sites really. You have to spend money to make money, but I don’t have any money to spend right now, so a difficult situation.

All I can do is build a better site in hope one day I do have the money or people find me via the search or the name spreads natually from people finding the site. This all takes time.

I however do not want to spend money I don’t have, getting myself into a bad financial situation.

If you’ve been doing it for 12 years and it’s not going that great then you have to say to yourself ‘I am doing something wrong, so I need to change what I am doing’

It’s a kind of product that has been around for over a century and the company revenue is growing every year.
We spent an enormous amount of time and hard work to earn the distributorship…

That means, product is fantastic. If our business is in red, it’s because we applied the wrong strategy/marketing tactics.
We’ve seen some very brilliant retailers using a skyrocketed pricing strategy yet they have huge success in sales.

Your advice of marketing option is something we really need to dig deep now.

Partnering with affiliates was a nightmare to us. Been there, done that.

There were affiliates who sent a massive amount of 1-click visitors to fool our PPC campaign. Then some nasty affiliates filed chargeback when we did PPL. So my thought on affiliates is that it mostly work with informational products, where one doesn’t have to worry of the product cost.

There were a few reasons the sites were ‘forced’ to close. Besides being attacked by spammers (from affiliates) as mentioned above, mostly it has to do with wrong marketing strategy used.

To make it more targeted, say we did a site with very niche domain, e.g. lovers’ perfumes. (we’re not selling perfumes, just an illustration). Then we found out customers have wrong perception that the perfumes were not meant for singles. So we dropped the site and started another.

We wanted a site to be perfect and which is built to last forever.

Anyway, Dojo you did offer some good advice which I never practised. Or I should say, never seriously putting enough efforts in doing it. For instance, making a blog to discuss about the product.

If I were a lazy guy (in fact I am) I would find an excuse that we don’t have time for this (we have a retail shop to look after), as blogging is a very time-consuming process. But deeply I know there’s no shortcuts in everything we do. Lazy and success always in a relationship of inverse ratio.

The strategies mentioned are mostly off-site SEO.

Ted was right, the thought of “how do I get things back to the easy path in a few months” does came across my mind all the time.

Our sales boom in early 2000s when there weren’t many competitors, it was really easy back then. There’s no much need of SEO (a simple correct use of meta tags will pull your site up on 1st page especially on Yahoo or AltaVista), let alone blogging for targeted keywords, content writing or article spinning.

Back then we thought of seeing a gold mine and could retire young, happily watching the savings figure grew everyday, so we spent (or invested on the wrong items) a lot while earning it. When internet evolved (more writing needed to excel on search engine rankings), our business falls.

Perhaps Dojo’s advice of “back to the basic” is the thing we needed to do at the moment, to prevent further downfall.

If you put little bit investment you will get success. but it’s take time to get revenue. a huge investment very complicated because now every business having a heavy competition. so perfect business can do this. “how much we invested that’s not a matter.” “how we doing the business that is the matter.”