According to his popular blog, PPCIan.com, Ian Lopuch is one of the most recognized search engine marketers around. He’s gone from pay per click marketing associate at a startup to director of SEM at a large public company after graduating from Stanford University only five years ago. Ian’s a true advocate of the corporate online marketing career path and created his blog to empower and educate corporate pay per click professionals. Now he’s taking what he learned from six years climbing the corporate ladder in big Internet companies working with the experts only his former employers’ big budgets could buy, along with the fruits of his stock options (from an employer that was acquired for $1.2 billion and others), and applying it all to his advantage.
Ian’s been building out quite the portfolio of niche websites. Since his recent blog post that we featured on the Frager Factor, Ian’s acquired 5 more Epik product portals at a 35 percent discount holiday special on websites listed in the Epik store, in parallel to all of this ongoing Epik development on what has grown to now 50 sites.
A Great Advocate of the Corporate Marketing Career Path
Ian couldn’t be a bigger advocate of the corporate online marketing career path. Part of Ian’s recipe for success was honed from a chance relationship with QuinStreet, one of the largest and most successful financial domain players in the business. When Ian was managing NexTag’s search engine marketing operations, QuinStreet offered him a healthy promotion to Senior Manager of search engine marketing within their finance vertical. So in addition to a career promotion, his job at QuinStreet offered the best domain education money couldn’t buy. QuinStreet acquires and locks up generically branded, high value, domains in lucrative verticals like insurance and education. If you Google “insurance” you can be sure to see a QuinStreet company organically listed on page one or at the top of the sponsored listings.
Says Ian, “I needed a place to put the proceeds of my cashed-out options while still climbing the corporate ladder. I turned to personal domain investments the same way as any investor looks to reinvest dividends from their stock holdings. In domains, I’m looking for value and the ability to generate a return until it’s time to sell. With Epik, I can develop domains faster and more efficiently and provide a better user experience that generates revenue and builds value.”
Letting Epik Watch His Back — Office, That Is
Because Ian prefers to profit from his naturally gifted skills in digital marketing, he believes that the backend is better left to someone else. His true talent is driving traffic, improving SEO, monetizing at full potential, and writing articles to make each site as uniquely his as possible.
For example, Ian appreciates that the Epik solution includes dozens of built in features such as the BizRate shopping comparison engine. “The time this saves me having to acquire and negotiate these add-ons can be redirected to marketing efforts that will in short time improve my cash flow,” he says. “Although Epik takes a revenue share, I don’t care because they have skin in the game and incentive to want to help drive the highest returns.”
And those returns have been pretty handsome on Epik. With the majority of his now 50 sites indexed, most have generated traffic, clicks and revenue — of course, some more than others.
Some of Ian’s sites were already money-makers when he acquired them.
“I bought a bunch of sites on the cheap at Swapfest at T.R.A.F.F.I.C in October,” Ian explains. “Nobody understood Swapfest so the crowd had their eyes off the ball. They didn’t know that some up for auction were already #1 on Google and had a check waiting for the new owner for October’s sales. My secret was, like buying a domain on the drop, picking ones that were established on a platform already, had been indexed and ranked well, had traffic and therefore started generating income immediately. In essence I bought a domain with a site and traffic that was already churning cash and, in one case, in the next month I got 20% of my investment back in affiliate commissions. Where else can you do this with $300?”
In it for the Long Haul
Ian sees promise and is happy with his investment in Epik. He acknowledges that he might have earned more in the short term if he had put his money in stocks. But he sees domains as a longer-term investment. “The sites making the most money went online in 2007,” he notes. “So you need to give it time. It only gets better and better.”
To make the most of Epik, Ian engages eLance where he has found a team of very good content writers. They understand his needs and objectives and can churn articles that are keyword rich yet informative, and never contain duplicate content. His goal is to add two 300- to 500-word articles per page. He also has the eLance team write custom blurbs for the top of EVERY page, including a custom header that offers a call-to-action relevant to the content on those pages.
Ian likes the set up of Epik where the homepage has product menus by generic names, then drills down to brands on the left rail. It’s autoset from an end-user point of view and very effective. There is also a 200-word intro top of site, which comes with the portal, but — as with everything he does — Ian adds value by customizing the message to pay off in terms of increased traffic and sales.
In working with Epik, says Ian, it all comes to down to a strong personal relationship with Rob Monster that was unlike the service he received in earlier attempts at mass development.
“I met Rob at Traffic and as someone with corporate experience in the consumer products industry. I was immediately impressed that he knew what he was talking about. He understood the economy and investments. And his management philosophy is right in line with my own personal beliefs. Having worked with them for a long time now, the emails fly back and forth late at night and he is always on and always responsive. I love the fact that I can give the team product input, and they really take it seriously. They’ve even invited me down to their innovation and drop ship facility in Idaho. It’s a true partnership.”
Concludes Ian: “This is a great time for those with SEO and PPC skills. With so many PPC and SEO gurus leaving the corporate world to start their own businesses, there’s an unprecedented amount of opportunity for those who continue to thrive in the corporate world. My blog exists to empower and educate those professionals like myself. But it’s also a huge advantage to bring corporate experience to the outside. I enjoy the best of both worlds. With platforms like Epik, one can have a day job and develop a nest egg outside. There’s so much hype on the Internet. People are misled. It’s more work than you can imagine and passive is much harder than earned income. But it’s also more imperative than ever to take your financial destiny into your own hands by diversifying your income streams.”
To learn more about IAN:
Read his blog HERE
Checkout his Epik Product Portfolio HERE
Checkout his FREE Epik Marketing Tips HERE