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How to Make Deals…for Fun and Profit

For anyone who works online you understand the loneliness of having friends and clients around the globe you rarely meet face to face with.

Tonight I had the great pleasure of having some drinks with someone who really knows how to make a deal. RL has run many networks over the years. Since 1995 he’s been running high traffic golf and tourism sites.

We spoke a bit about some of the deals he’s worked out and frankly, I was blown away. But…our conversation reinforced my feelings that all online efforts need supplementing with good offline strategy. You’ll always…and especially now…be more successful with your online businesses if you make an effort to contact people personally.

When RL had his golf networks he drove traffic with long tail keywords…to the tune of millions of visits per month. But he didn’t just get the traffic. He leveraged it. He got on the phone and setup golf packages. He contacted golf courses and hotels and worked out deals to send them traffic. He bought radio and television ads and drove visitors to his site in exchange for a cut of the profits from business generated by his sites.

He sold his golf network for a handsome profit. Now he has a number of tourism related sites. He spent decent money to purchase high traffic tourism related domains from people who had sites but didn’t monetize them well.

He basically bought high trafficked sights, then hired a team of top notch expat journalists to generate high quality long tail keyword traffic to the sites to the degree of several thousand pages.

He usurped news posts about the areas he covered taking ownership of the press by becoming a spokes person. Anytime news about one of the areas came out he would issue a press release saying something like “ah yes, we’re so proud to receive this award on behalf of….town x….click this link to learn more.

But he didn’t stop there. He sold loads of advertising which he essentially put up for sale to the highest bidder. Later creating private label tour companies which routed to advertisers. Once he had the top 3 or 4 search engine sites he offered to keep the best advertisers, instead switching them from a yearly model to an equity share model where he would get a certain percentage of the business.

Then he offered other advertisers free advertising on his network in exchange for a link back to the site with the revenue share model.

This is how to make deals. You have to get on the phone and present people with a value proposition they understand. For instance, why wouldn’t you trade 10K per year for zero up front money in exchange for a revenue share. That transforms the relationship. Now, my interest goes from selling you advertising to helping us both make as much as we can.

One resistance of buyers once his sites eclipsed even the board of tourism sites is that he would become a retailer. Which…in fact, is the goal; to grow the network so large that he is actually the one selling tourist packages directly from the site and routing them to individual vendors for a percentage.

I’m sure you see the logic in this strategy. There is a clearly defined plan of action. But…you have to sell. You have to get on the phone and meet people to make deals.

If you want to grow your online business beyond what most people will realize you’ve got to make deals. I hope you found this post as enlightening as my conversation tonight. Got something to add? Weigh in with your comment below.

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