10 Surefire Ways To Burn Money

Ian Lurie
  1. Hire one contractor to design your site, then send the development work to an offshore company. Guaranteed to produce a Frankenstein monster every time.
  2. Make your IT/development team build the entire site, with little or no input from the sales, marketing or fulfillment teams. You’ll spend at least twice the initial development cost on post-launch changes, I promise.
  3. Run your own pay per click campaign after reading one e-book by someone who says they Beat Google. The money won’t burn, in this case, so much as it will vanish with a ‘pop’.
  4. Tolerate mediocrity because it’s cheap. If you pay one person $50/hour, and it takes them 10 hours to do something, when someone else was going to charge you $250 to do it in one hour, did you really save any money? That should be a rhetorical question.
  5. Host your company website internally. Wow, nice job – you’re saving $30/month! Now go hire someone for $40,000 a year to keep the server running. Yeah! You showed them!
  6. Build it from scratch. Build your whole web site and online store from scratch, custom. It’ll cost 10x what it would have had you used one of a dozen great systems out there that will all do the same thing.
  7. Put all your eggs in one basket. If SEO is working, why spend any money on social media, or PR, or paid search? You can just wait until your rankings collapse, then start from zero in Google Adwords. This will devour your profits AND, as a bonus, Google will charge you inflated bid amounts because you have no account history. Neat!
  8. Ignore the analytics. See my previous post on the subject. All analytics do is let you review what’s earning money and what’s not. If you’re looking to shred as many dollars as possible, don’t bother looking at that pesky ROI report.
  9. Embrace (stupid) change. Sure, you’re getting a nice 3:1 return on your campaign. That’s no reason to stick with it. Trash that sucker! Start a whole new campaign. Don’t test anything – just start over. Weeeeeeeeee….
  10. Do it yourself. You’re the CEO of a company that designs windshield wipers. That’s OK – you can still learn WordPress and build your site. Those are 120 hours well spent, I’m sure. Cough

Burning American money with Benjamin Franklins face appearing on fire on a one hundred dollar bill.

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Ian Lurie

Ian Lurie is founder of Portent. He's been a digital marketer since the days of AOL and Compuserve (25 years, if you're counting). Ian's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Smashing Magazine, and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, Seattle Interactive Conference and ad:Tech. He has published several books about business and marketing: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle, The Web Marketing All-In-One Desk Reference for Dummies, and Conversation Marketing. Ian is now an independent consultant and continues to work with the Portent team- training the agency group on all things digital. You can find him at www.ianlurie.com

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  1. Experiencing #1 right now. Touchy situation since the client was a referral (and a much-appreciated one at that). However, the original designer outsourced the development – and what a cesspool of code they got back. Updates that should take ten minutes are taking two hours. This mess is costing the client 10x more than it would’ve cost to do it right the first time – and the site has only been through 3-4 rounds of small edits / content additions.
    All the other points are spot-on as well.

  2. I agree with Christine, It’s like you visited my old company and made a checklist.
    The CEO also liked the idea of advertising on billboards, mailing catalogs, and using banner ads, which could be added to the list.

  3. Other ways to burn money.
    Buying search terms with little or no relevance to the product or service you’re selling.
    Buying ad space on sites with little or no relevance to the product or service you’re selling.
    Spending more money to advertise a product your customers complain about instead of fixing or improving the product.

  4. Mmm yup. The last company I worked at did almost every single of those.
    Note the reference to the fact I no longer work there. 🙂

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