“The question last Christmas was, if you put up a website will people come? And sure enough they came…. Now we’re in a post-revolutionary environment. Retailers in cyberspace are going to work very hard to differentiate themselves.” – Geoffrey Bock

Nearly everyone I talk to wants to know the big “secret” to success online. They want the next Internet marketing tactic, strategy, or quick fix. But that’s usually not the critical factor.

I’ve found tremendous success by putting a “spin” on successful models. In fact, I find it better to work with two or three successful models and pull them together. If your product/service is simply a “me-too,” there is no point in being in the marketplace. You have to bring some point of differentiation to the table. (And it definitely cannot be just price.)

When I created Instant Sales Letters in 2000, there were all kinds of other sales letter templates out there. But there was nothing that really let you “cut and paste” to create a sales letter easily. People would rather be handed the fish than taught how to fish – which is why I’m a firm believer in giving them the “fish” anytime I can. That’s what I did with this product to differentiate it from similar products already available.

Another example is my Apprentice Program. (Yes, well before Trump’s!) There were a whole lot of mentor/protege programs floating around – but, once again, I decided if I was going to do one, I’d do it in a way that differentiated it from all the others. I wanted to keep the numbers small and personal. I wanted to have a big impact on the apprentices I accepted, and get people to take action or rise to new levels if they were already successful.

The big twist was that I’d give my apprentices one of my ideas out of my idea journal, and they’d be allowed to promote (if appropriate) to my list and my affiliate list. We’d jointly share in the profits, with them keeping 78 percent and me getting 12 percent of the gross sales. This program was so good it was overbooked almost immediately.

One more example is my “Underground Online Seminars.” (UndergroundOnlineSeminar.com)

There are more than enough Internet seminars going on all over the place. Some good. Some not so good. It’s tough to create a stir – which is why I didn’t want to do another “same-old” Internet seminar.

My hook was to bring in “underground” and unknown speakers who were really making it online. I took that “underground” unique selling proposition (USP) all the way, even making my promotions “spy” themed to stand out. Sure, some people e-mailed us and said it was silly. But a lot more people got into it because it was so different. And it worked! The first two Underground Online Seminars were completely sold out weeks before the events took place.

So your job is to make your product/service stand out and give people a reason (hopefully a big one) to buy from you. One logical way of doing this is to make a spreadsheet of what every competitor is offering and how they are positioned in the marketplace. Look for their offers, their headlines, their pricing, their guarantees, their USPs, etc. Then decide where you can leverage a point of differentiation.

This gives you a precise way to find “gaps” in your competitors’ marketing efforts. And the bigger the gap or the more you can show people how your offer is different, the better you’ll do.

It’s easy to be another “me-too.” But why would a customer buy from you if there are multiple companies offering the same benefits?

Frankly, there aren’t many niches where nobody is selling anything. And if you do find such a niche, that’s probably an indication there’s not much of a market there. In most cases, you’re going to find competitors – and that’s a good thing. It means there’s money to be made by selling something similar.

The challenge is to make your product or service different and unique. Here’s a quick summary of how to do that:

  1. Become first at something in a proven market. This is easier said than done, but still possible. Obviously, you couldn’t be the first site to sell flowers online – but as BestTropicals.com, you could be the first to sell Hawaiian flowers exclusively.
  2. Take several successful business models and products/services, and combine them. This is one of my favorite methods.
  3. Take an existing successful product/service and add a twist to it. My Apprentice Program is a good example of that.
  4. Give it a new name. I’ve done this many times with products I’ve licensed that have seen better days.
  5. Change the location. If you see a successful business model, it can typically be transferred to another location, format, etc. A good example of this is the way Steve Pankhurst developed friendsreunited.co.uk. He saw a site in the U.S. that was doing very well by making it possible for people to track down friends, etc. (probably Classmates.com) – and he couldn’t believe they hadn’t expanded the service to the UK or beyond. So that’s what he did. Since its launch in 1999, Friends Reunited has become one of the most popular websites on the Internet, attracting over 19 million members.

Don’t think every great idea or website has already been created or done. That’s the attitude of losers! Today, you’ve got even more opportunities, because the Internet has become an established commerce model and more and more people are comfortable making purchases online. This truly is the best time in the world to start or grow your online business.

[Ed. Note: Yanik Silver, an expert on creating money-making websites, reveals one of the most profitable “hidden” Internet income opportunities around in the Secrets of Easy Internet Money teleconference series. Check out his simple, fill-in-the-blanks sales letter designed to sell any product or service here.]

Yanik Silver

Yanik Silver is an established internet marketing expert, having been in business online since 1998. He has numerous internet products to his name, including Instant Internet Profits, Internet Marketing Lab, 21 Mind Motivators, Instant Sales Letters, Million Dollar Emails, Autoresponder Magic, and Instant Marketing Toolbox. Yanik has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from the University of Maryland. He is also a frequent guest speaker at internet marketing seminars.