Online marketing in 8 words

The New York Times reports today that some laid-off employees are turning entrepreneurial, rather than spending all their time looking for another job. One ex-Yahoo marketing manager who started a web development company explained, "It’s probably easier right now to find a problem, solve it and charge people than it is to find a job."

There it is. The secret of marketing hidden in that throw-away sentiment.

Find a problem. Solve it. And charge people.

If you’re wondering why your online business isn’t doing better, put it through the 8-word marketing audit.


Have you found a problem? A problem that matters to people? To enough people?


Are you selling the solution to that problem? The best solution? A different enough solution to their other options? Can you prove it?


Are people willing to pay for it to go away? Are they able to pay for it? Does your marketing make it clear that the benefit outweighs the cost?

AdWords in the Mix

If your site passes the 8-word marketing test, then AdWords will drive qualified prospects to your Problem/Solution/Charge factory. And you’ll make money.

If you aren’t sure, then AdWords will help you find out. Quickly, efficiently, and inexpensively, you can test your value proposition with your target market. And test variations until you either hit the magic formula. Or drop it and find something else.

When people tell me, "I don’t know what to sell online," I know they’re confused. "What to sell" is all about you. "What problem to solve and charge for" is all about your customers.

Can you think of any problems in the world today?

Problems that people will pay good money to get rid of?

If so, congratulations. You have the basis of a business.

Coming soon: Traffic Surge. A live telecourse that will take you from online newbie to skillfully using AdWords to drive traffic to a website. Want to be notified when it launches? Give me your first name and email address and I’ll put you on the notification list (and not bother you about anything else):

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  1. #1 • David said on April 22 2009:

    Please let me know when the class comes up.