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February 4, 2005
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" This is a perfect vehicle for branding and upsells "

Sometimes you need to step back away from your website to take a look at the big picture. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don't, and sometimes a light bulb goes off in your head and you think to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that before?" Such is the case with my newest project, which I'd like to share with you today:

I know that I'm probably a couple of years too late on this particular project, but I'm going to give it a try, and use it as a learning experience. But before I tell you about it, I'm going to give you a little background information.

You see, I want to do more with my site than just have the usual photo sets and video feeds. I want to offer downloads and merchandise too. Downloads in the sense of desktop and mobile wallpaper for which I'll build a library of say, a dozen images. These same images can be made into screen savers and e-cards as well. These would most likely be free to members as just one more benefit of joining, or used as incentives for retaining their membership.

Beyond the use of these graphics for online products, however, I'd like to use them for offline offerings for profit, such as custom mouse pads, calendars, and whatever else is appropriate and marketable. Having a fan-based site, I have the advantage of loyal members that want as much of me as they can get, and so have a ready market for these items. Other amateur and single-model sites could do the same, but sites that feature purchased or leased content may not have the usage rights to use those images for such purposes.

I've been thinking about this for some time now, but it was an incident a couple of days ago that forced me to take action. I was driving down the road when I noticed a truck in front of me that had a small window sticker on it. The sticker read "got milf?" and was done in the oh so familiar "got milk?" style. I could have kicked myself for not thinking of this before, and as soon as I got home, I hit the Network Solutions website to see if gotmilf.com was available. It wasn't. Their list of "similar" domain names that were available, however, listed gotmilfwear.com as being up for grabs. Perfect. $35 later – my total investment in this project – and I had a new website.

Now I wasn't interested in manufacturing, purchasing, stocking, or shipping items; I wanted a full-service merchandise fulfillment company that would be able to accommodate my needs. Fortunately, I already knew of one: CafePress. I had discovered CafePress a few years ago, but had never used their services or setup a storefront with them, but now that I have, I am amazed at how quickly and easily I was able to get up and running with my new website. I have literally spent only a few hours on this project so far – but I'm by no means through yet...

I'm currently running what is known as a 'basic' storefront. The price is right (it's free!) and the setup easy. There is a 'premium' storefront option that is much more flexible and customizable, however, that costs around $6 a month. Once I'm totally familiar with what I've got, I'll likely upgrade to the premium version.

That isn't all, though. There is an extensive support forum where I scanned the topics and messages and found that there are several 3d party script solutions that allow you to extend the shop's functionality, and incorporate elements of it into my existing website. For example, I could pull a random (or specified) product for display on my main site's homepage, or build a totally customized storefront that matched the look and feel of my site while eliminating many of the basic storefront's traffic leaks. The best part? These scripts cost less than $20.

This is a perfect vehicle for branding and upsells. I'll also market some of my products on eBay, and am looking at ways that I might feed traffic to my site this way as well. This is a win-win situation all the way around!

My store has only been up for a day or two, and at this point features my "got milf?" products, but I'll add new designs once I become totally familiar with everything. In the meantime, take a look at gotmilfwear.com – it could help you come up with some good ideas, and maybe you'll buy one of my "got milf?" goodies, too!


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