The Internet has helped hundreds and thousands of business owners start their businesses without having a strategy at all. The mindset “I want to make money online” is NOT a solid business strategy if you are looking for longevity.

I will be the first to tell you that it is not always easy to decide on a specific strategy, especially because an online business can be extremely dynamic in terms of what you do to make your money. It will be hard to have any long term success until you develop (and maintain) a solid business strategy.

Determine Your Business Strategy

I just got done reading a post about this concept at FinchSells.com and wanted to explain it in a little more depth and provide a few options of what I think you could do to build a solid online business.

Although I have only been building a business online for 3 years, I have surely experienced ups-and-downs with traffic sources, networks, advertisers, and campaigns.

Anyways, here is my breakdown of potential business strategies based solely around Internet marketing.

1. Niche Domination

With the ‘niche domination’ strategy, you pick a niche and dominate it. You would build massive money sites (or just one), mini-sites, and possibly smaller ‘feeder’ sites. Check out a GREAT write-up/diagram about this method. On top of that, you would build paid marketing campaigns around your niche as well (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YSM, Bing). Having this ‘network’ of assets around a single niche gives you A LOT of leverage in terms of driving traffic to specific offers, and also sets yourself up to start launching products.

Here’s my list of pros and cons using this strategy:

PROS

  • Set yourself up for ‘guru’ status
  • Use your status to increase payouts, request offers, or create offers
  • Longevity if you have your assets spread out within your niche, given you chose a LONG term niche (debt, weight loss, mortgage)

CONS

  • May get boring working on the same network of sites, unless you are very passionate
  • Takes time to build a solid network of sites
  • Takes even more time to start making money in competitive niches (organically)
  • Takes a lot of work to maintain your status as a big player

If that sounds like a strategy for you, go for it. There are PLENTY of businesses that use this strategy and it can work very well.

2. Diversified Domination

Two major changes separate this strategy from ‘niche domination’:

  1. Smaller ‘networks’ of sites within each niche
  2. Tackle additional niches (probably 2-3 total would be all you could hit using this strategy)

Other than that, you would continue building out these 2-3 niches very similarly, but you would not try to position yourself as the top dog in each respective niche.

PROS

  • More diversification
  • Still have leverage and could use it across your different niches (debt and mortgage can fuel each other)
  • More variety if you are performing much of the work

CONS

  • More difficult to be #1 in each (any) niche
  • May take even more time than working on one niche, depending on the competition
  • Takes a lot of time to truly learn your niches and the audience(s)

The other way to tackle this strategy, would be to work as a team. If you have people with different interests and talents, this can be a very successful strategy.

3. Complete Diversification

With this strategy, you take yet another step back and work very broad.

The most significant differences here are:

  1. May have just one site per niche (if you are working on MINI sites)
  2. Work on 10+ niches (depending how you define ‘niche’)

Some people would classify ‘credit card debt’ and ‘student loan debt’ as different niches, which you could technically build different sites for.

PROS

  • Lots of diversification
  • Could be working on something new every single day (in terms of content)

CONS

  • Never become an authority figure
  • Very little leverage
  • May waste time with insignificant niches
  • Sites may die due to consumer trends or personal lack of interest

Keep in mind, with all three strategies, you could build these ‘campaigns’ for organic traffic, paid traffic, or anywhere in-between.

Further Analysis

You could also analyze this a step further and use the same three classifications for paid traffic sources. For instance, you could work to absolutely dominate Facebook advertising and become one of the top advertisers there. On the contrary, you could split your time between Facebook, MySpace, PPV, PPC, etc.

The point I’m trying to make here is this:

Unless you have a strategy, you aren’t really building a business.

Without a business strategy, you are simply building short-term revenue streams, especially if you are only using paid traffic.

This can be one of the most difficult aspects to understand as a pure affiliate. Your business is extremely dynamic and you can essentially change your entire business model in a matter of minutes. Diet campaigns failed? Switch to biz ops, bam! That would be like Wal-Mart becoming a high-end grocery store overnight – it just doesn’t happen with any other business but this one.

What sets you apart from every other affiliate marketer?

Don’t get me wrong, you could be very successful using any of the strategies I listed, but without SOME idea of where you want to take your business, you are 100% BOUND TO FAIL. Being a jack of all trades is nice, and it’s definitely fun having the ability to do something new every single day, but is that really how you want to build your business? That, my friends, is a decision you get to make.

“A strategy delineates a territory in which a company seeks to be unique.”
– Michael Porter