What Internet Marketers can learn from George Lucas

George Lucas is a multi billion gazillionaire. He’s made more money from Star Wars than I have Star Wars figures, but then by virtue of the fact that I have a lot of Star Wars figures he’s bound to have a lot of money. That’s economics!

s George Lucas seems to be all about making money, it makes sense that Internet marketers could learn a lot from him, so without further ado…

If you find a niche market, exploit it.

It really doesn’t matter how good you are at something, if you find a niche market that no one else has discovered, exploit the living crap out of it. George Lucas isn’t the best director in the world. His script writing skills are entirely suspect or ‘shit’ as Harrison Ford once labelled them. This didn’t stop George creating one of the biggest franchises in movie history. He found that he could exploit the nerd culture for every penny of their allowance, and he gleefully took it.

This applies to Internet marketing as well. You don’t have to create the best website, or the biggest, or have the most Wookies. You just need to attack the niche with a fervent passion and saturate it. If you own the leading news site, the leading forum and the leading community site all within the same niche, you become the dominant player. As George Lucas has found, this brings very lucrative rewards.

If something works, re-skin it and use it again.

How many costume changes did Natalie Portman have in the Star Wars prequels? I’ll tell you, it was 7,963*. The reason for this was that George Lucas could then sell 7,963 different Amidala Star Wars figures. She’s the same figure, but with a different costume; and the nerds bought them. This couldn’t be truer of Internet marketing. If you create a site that works and earns you money simply copy the site, re-colour it, re-package it and use it for another site.

Repeat the process ad infinitum and then in a few years you might have as many websites earning you money as I have useless Amidala figures, all running off the same template.

Know when to delegate

Even a megalomaniac control freak like George Lucas knows he can’t do everything, so should you. If ideas are your forte and your time is best spent thinking, pondering and coming up with obnoxious CGI characters then that is how you should spend all of your time. If you need someone to write the code or design the site for you, hire a freelancer. Prices are cheap and money spent at this stage can be recouped easily on the time saved and the fact that you’ve had something done correctly by a skilled professional.

George Lucas tried to re-edit Empire Strikes Back when he thought that Irvin Kershner was ruining his film with all that ‘love’ crap between Han and Leia. Thankfully for all of us George quickly realised that Kersh was in fact correct and he let him finish the film his way.

See the bigger picture

I constantly get people wondering what it is I actually do, and how I make money. It’s not obvious to the average 9-5 guy. When George Lucas made Star Wars he waived his director’s fee in exchange for merchandising rights to the film. People at the time wondered how he was going to make any money from the project, now he has enough money to buy a small island, Australia perhaps. George had faith in his idea and knew it would work. He could see the bigger picture, something many people can’t.

To succeed in Internet marketing, particularly affiliate marketing you need to be able to look beyond the wage-slave existence that most people experience. Being paid a flat rate fee for a set amount of hours didn’t interest George, and it shouldn’t interest you.

Don’t be precious about your website

In ‘Return of the Jedi’ the battle on Endor between the Ewoks and the Storm Troopers was originally supposed to feature Wookies. I know, Wookies don’t live on Endor, but they nearly did. George changed the battle to Ewoks because he thought fluffy cuddly teddy bears would be more merchandisable. When everyone else told George that 3 foot teddy bears fighting Storm Troopers was ridiculous, he said “No… I’m going to make more money this way”. By Christ he was right.

The moral here is that you shouldn’t be afraid to make changes to your website that, although may appear to be at the detriment of the website, in fact make more money. George Lucas’ goal wasn’t to make a compelling film; it was to make a mountain of cash. He did this spectacularly well because he never lost sight of his goal. Always remember why you’re in Internet marketing.

* The figure of 7,963 was made up. I’m not certain Natalie Portman had this many costume changes during the Star Wars prequels as I fell asleep during the Phantom Menace and woke up around the time R2D2 was flying in Attack of the Clones. I presume the figure is fairly accurate however based on the crap that filled the shelves in Wal-Mart shortly after.

Darren Jamieson

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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