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SELLING IN A CROWDED MARKET
by: Cary Christian

Imagine a world where there were no trademark or patent rights. If your neighbor created a wonderful new product, you could just copy it and sell it cheaper. Coca Cola invents Coke and hundreds of other companies rush to copy it, produce it and undersell all their competition to get market share. Soon, a bottle of coke sells for $.01, less than the cost to produce the bottle it comes in.

Sounds like an absolute business nightmare, doesn't it? The markets for many affiliate programs, almost all MLMs, and certainly for ebooks are just such a market. And many of you are building your businesses in these markets. Is it any wonder it's so tough to make money?

Take any popular MLM program as an example. Most of you know that the numbers are such that only those who get in early make any money at all. You have thousands of people all promoting the exact same website. After a short while, there are no more sales to be made.

Look at what's happened to ebook sales. You can purchase packages containing hundreds of popular ebooks and your purchase even gets you the resell rights so you can sell them, too. Most of these packages started selling at around $50. Now you can get them for $5 or even free as a bonus for subscribing to a newsletter.

So who's making any money? The people who started the process, of course. The people who created the MLM program and sit on top of the matrix. The first individuals who packaged the ebooks and sold them for $50. The rest are lucky to collect nickels and dimes. Forget making a living.

So how do you deal with this type of market?

There are two basic ways:

1. Be the one on top by creating your own products, or

2. Outsmart and outsell your competition.

Let's look at each method briefly.


CREATE YOUR OWN PRODUCTS

It's not as hard as it might seem. It will, however, require either some capital to develop your idea or program or knowledge that people are willing to pay for.

The idea is to develop a product that people need, want and that not every other marketer on the planet is selling. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of products that people really want and are actively seeking that no one has bothered to even try to develop yet. Join some forums and newsgroups online and pay attention to what problems people have and the products they wish they could find. You'll discover lots of ideas for new products.

What if you have a really great idea for a new software product but you know nothing about programming? As long as you have the idea mapped out, you can find a local college student who could do the programming for you very cheaply or you could bid out the project on Elance and let qualified people fight for your business. Either way, a small outlay of cash could get you a product no one else has and that you have the sole resell rights to.

The same goes for information products. Ebooks still sell as long you're not trying to sell the same thing thousands of others are selling. If you have a unique information product that fills a need and market it well, you'll experience what it's like to be on top.

Can't write? Same story. Hire yourself an English major at the local community college.

Don't make excuses. You can get it done if you really want to.


OUTSMART AND OUTSELL YOUR COMPETITION

Okay, so you're going to pass on developing your own product for now. How are you going to beat out the competition selling the same product in an overworked territory? Find a new territory!

All these affiliates selling the same programs and products tend to advertise in all the same places. Make it your goal to find some new advertising sources that might reach an untapped market.

For example, very few affiliates are willing to spend a few bucks to bid on keywords on the pay-per-click (PPC) engines. I'm always surprised at how few listings, if any, I see for popular affiliate and MLM programs. Break the mold! Get yourself an account on a PPC engine and start pushing your programs there. The traffic is more targeted and every visitor you get will be prequalified and interested in your product or program.

Like advertising in ezines? Find them online, read their back issues and find out if the programs you represent are being advertised heavily. If not, you've found a new source that's not overworked.

Like safelists? Join a bunch and spend some time actually reading the ads you RECEIVE. Pick out some of the safelists where you're not getting any ads for the programs you represent and start marketing there.

Do something different. Package your representation of the program in some unique way. Build your own mini-site to promote the program so that you stand out in the crowd. Offer a bonus of some sort if people sign up with you rather than your competition.

You get the picture. It's not that difficult to find places to advertise that aren't saturated. Spend the time, do your research, and then hit the source hard and consistently. It's not easy to sell into a saturated market but it's also not impossible.

I have to close by telling you that eventually you MUST develop your own products. It is the only way to eventually build long-term value for yourself. Think hard about starting down this path now. If you decide to try your hand at publishing an informational product, our Guest Article this week will give you some ideas for marketing it.

Copyright (c) 2002

 


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