Online Marketing Opportunities and Opportunity Costs By Karen Cioffi The list of online marketing gurus is growing every day. Every time I turn around there is another site full of valuable marketing resources and the site owner is willing to email additional information, and I get a how-to ebook, free. How do you say no to that? The only catch is that you have to subscribe to their site. Well, okay, that’s not so horrible. The information certainly has to be worth a subscription, so you’d think. The deal with this is that each of those subscriptions (site owners), along with some useful informational emails, will offer products or services of their own and from affiliates they promote. According to each of these emails, every product or service offered will be a ‘must have’ . . . ‘real deal.’ Which do you choose, if any? In cost accounting there is a term: Opportunity Costs. What this term means is that if you choose one path or alternative, it is at the sake of other options and benefits. Another way of putting this is: You have $30 per month to spend; you can use it to: buy a book a month and teach yourself how to write, learn HTML, become a marketing guru, paint . . . you get the idea. Or, you can invest that $30 in a coaching program with an instructor who can teach you the ins and outs of the field you want to become immerged in. You can invest in your future. Which do you think has more value for the money? The option you don’t choose is an opportunity cost. So, the bottom line is to choose the option that will give you the most benefit for the money and time involved. You want your opportunity costs to be low and of little consequence. After I’ve spent a tremendous amount of time gathering information form various sites and marketing gurus, and spent a fair amount of money (fair amount for me anyway) on strategies, programs, e-books, cds, and so on, I’ve come to a couple of realizations that you should consider before you venture into this bottomless pit of opportunities. Four Tips on Choosing an Online Product or Service: 1. You need to research any strategy, program, or service you are thinking of investing in. Though, you need to be careful here because once you Google the company or site name, you will undoubtedly come upon some of their affiliates who are eager to proclaim the value of the product or service. The affiliates are partnered with the company. They get a pre-arranged percentage for every visitor they send over or visitor who makes a purchase, or some other call-to-action. 2. Ask friends, writers and marketers you know and trust about the company or entrepreneur you’re thinking of investing time or money or both in. If no one you know can provide some input, be certain to use tip number ONE. 3. Once you’ve made your decision and purchase that product or service, STOP looking for others until you’ve gotten your money’s worth out of your first investment. Or, at least stop until you’ve reviewed and worked on the first purchase. What I mean here is: Early on, I fell into the trap of buying one program and before I even looked at it, I bought another one. This is a huge mistake and waste of time and money. If I involved myself with the first project, I may have realized I didn’t need the second or third purchase. 4. Always evaluate your opportunity cost when thinking of spending time or money. Incorporating these tips into your writing and/or marketing journey should help you reap the benefits of your investments, and save you time as well as money. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Karen Cioffi is an author, ghostwriter, and freelance writer. For writing and marketing information visit http://karencioffi.com and sign up for her free newsletter: A Writer’s World. You’ll get 2 free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more free e-books just for stopping by.