I know, I know… you’re all saying “I’ll take that problem”, right?
But as a site starts to grow “fat on the land”, a strange phenomenon develops I call “making money in spite of yourself”.
What does that mean and why is it a problem?
Spend some time examining the most successful sites in any market and you’ll notice something very interesting… the more successful they become, the more opportunities they ignore.
You see, when you’re just barely breaking even or losing money, you’ll fight for every improvement you can find (or you’ll just drop out of the game). Which means, until you cross into the black you’ll desperately do things like …
- Try More Granular Service (providing entire sites or at least landing pages about “COQ10 Side Effects” instead of just “COQ10”, for example)
- Follow Up More Aggressively
- Split Test Front End Ads
- Develop Back End Services
- Do Surveys
- Do Telegroups to actually TALK to prospects and customers
- Get Copywriting Critiques
- Multivariate Tests
- Segment their market
- Work their AdWords account (process the search query and content placement reports, for example)…
… and anything else you can think of to improve your system.
But once you start to reach your financial goals, you start to slack.
In fact, this is built into the entrepreneurial fantasy in and of itself, because what we all seem to want most is to get electrons flowing around the internet and into our bank account while we sit on the beach in Fiji eating ding dongs.
Unfortunately, while you’re enjoying your ding dongs, there’s a dozen other guys (or gals) sweating to make it into the black, and they’ll look for anyplace you’re vulnerable, and ruthlessly fight you for every inch of territory, until you wake up and have to start fighting again.
Unless you’re aware of the danger and you build such an overwhelmingly strong system that any marketer in their right mind would stay away… and those who don’t know any better will get crushed quickly. (Which is yet another reason why I’m always teaching people to clean up in Hoboken, Queens, and Staten Island instead of Viet Nam).
But even then, you probably can’t let your PPC system “just sit” for years without attention. (Or your SEO system, for that matter).
A search marketing site is a naturally deteriorating asset. (Kind of like your health… if you’re not actively making it better, it’s getting worse. It’s just the way life is.)
- As an example on the TINY end of the spectrum, I left my guinea pigs and rabbits sites up more or less untouched and untended for 6 years now. They’re still in the black only because I built such a ridiculously strong system to start with. (Someone would have to be crazy to build 58 follow ups complete with audios, hundreds of pictures, etc, just to sell a $9.99 ebook). But profits HAVE steadily deteriorated and are now just a few hundred dollars per niche each month.
- As an example on the GIGANTIC end of the spectrum, my partner spends as much as a quarter million dollars PER MONTH of his own money in Adwords (for another business I own no part of, unfortunately!). At a recent meeting he said “Glenn, I would NEVER just let the account sit for a month… my competitors would decimate my positions”
A search marketing site is a naturally deteriorating asset… you’re either working it to make it better or it’s gonna get worse.
What does this mean for building wealth?
It means you go into this game with the knowledge that you’re building a living, breathing entity which requires care…
It means you as soon as you get to the top or anywhere near it, you put people in place to keep you there. (Jim Rohn said “don’t rest too long or the weeds will take the garden”)…
And with a plan for taking at least some of the money your site generates OUT of your business to feed your life while the sun shines…
And an exit plan for engineering a BIG PAY DAY in the long run!
It also means you put aside any bullshit “set and forget” fantasies you’ve been fed and get down to the real work of building your business and engineering your life.
(I’m definitely up on a soap box today)
Dr. G 🙂