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Old September 11, 2003, 09:03 PM
Dien Rice
 
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Default Online versus offline

Gary Halbert writes what he knows about. He could be right that you could get more orders. A lot of people are still a bit uncomfortable about ordering things online.

There's this idea that your credit card is safer if you order by phone. I don't know if it's true. I think your credit card can just as easily - if not more easily - be stolen if you order by phone as over the web.

Of course, when ordering products, simply be cautious - either over the web or by phone. Check out how trustworthy is this person or web site. In some cases, you can get an idea. (For example, Sowpub.com has been running for over 3 years now - so you know that this is a trustworthy operation.)

While what Gary Halbert said may be true, there are advantages to an all-web-based business. One big advantage is that everything can be automated.

Create or obtain the rights to a downloadable product (such as software or an ebook). Create a web site that will sell it. Then generate traffic - such as through search engine positioning or pay-per-clicks or through affiliates. And voila! You have a fully automated money-making machine.

Of course, some of these money-making machines will only generate a few dollars every month, while others will generate thousands every month. It depends on a whole lot of factors - the size and passion of your market, the strength of your whole sales message, the appeal of your product, how much competition you have, and the amount of qualified traffic you can direct to your web site.

Offline you can have a fully automated business too - but you still have to employ others to help you do it. In my mind, that makes it a little more complicated to do things in a fully automated way, but it's still doable.

I think which is better depends on who you want to reach. Some markets are easier to sell to online than others!

For example, if you want to sell cars - cars sell better offline than online. You can test drive a car offline, that's pretty hard to do online!

On the other hand, software targeted at niche markets is probably much easier to sell online. People can try out a trial version, something which they can't usually do if it's sold offline (due to the higher costs).

So which is better depends on the product you are selling and your target market.

- Dien Rice
 


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