So, I suppose I'll try to say something meaningful to help a community that I've learned so much from over the years. For taking the time to read this long winded thread (which should have been a WSO), I'm going to give you "7 Tips Guaranteed to Make Internet Marketing Success Easier For You" (below).
One of the problems I'm noticing in Internet Marketing is that many of the systems people are teaching require working 40-60 hours a week on your business. I'm all for working hard but most people in this market have full time jobs, families, and simply don't have the time required to succeed with what is being taught.
Trust me, I've been there. For many of my years in IM, I was working 50+ hours a week on Wall St. and then another 40+ hours on my business at night and on the weekend. Being a 'Weekend Warrior' was all too familiar.
The best part of my day was coming home and hearing those sweet words of welcome from my daughter - "Daddy is Home!" The second best part was playing with her until she went to sleep and starting my "night job" on the computer. My wife started calling the computer my "girlfriend." She would say stuff like "once you're finished with your girlfriend, come to bed." Thankfully my wife is a sweetheart and is very understanding (don't underestimate how important that is to your business).
Eventually though, I began to get burnt out and was forced to learn easier ways to reach my goals. Yes, there are easier ways to earn a living online that can make your life a lot easier.
To help some of you overworked Warriors, I plan to (eventually) do a series of inexpensive reports and products which will open your eyes to easier ways to build your business and create passive income streams even if you're only part-time.
I think I'm gonna call it the "Leverage Blueprint." If I sense some interest for it from people signing up on the pre-launch notification list, it will motivate me to get off my arse and git er done.
The first installment will be what a lot of people have been asking me for - how to leverage the media to take your business to the next level. This will be a tell-all interview and report featuring the publicist who helped an average bloke like me get millions of dollars of media coverage for free. This guy is super brilliant and outrageously successful when it comes to PR. He also works with Filsaime and other top marketers.
Many people have press worthy ideas but don't think they can get media attention - so they don't even try. It's really not as difficult as it seems as you'll see.
Out of all the years I've been online, there has never been a more amazing time for me than the past 6 months. A big part of that had to do with using the media to open new doors. I really broke through and did some pretty cool things including:
- Dozens of major TV & Media appearances
- Becoming a NY Times Best Selling Author
- Selling 463,260 books (with over 500,000 total in print)
- Signing a deal to do the Internet Marketing for a famous politician running for Congress
- Partnering with one of the most successful Offline Marketing gurus to be the SEO services provider for all his clients
- Getting a live link from MSN's homepage which resulted in 45,000+ new subscribers in just 3 days.
- Pitching a television cooking show to major networks (and even turning down a couple of offers).
- Spending more time with my kids than ever before
So that being said, here are my 7 Tips Guaranteed to Make Internet Marketing Success Easier For You (NOTE: this is all my opinion based on what has worked for me).
1) List Building / Relationship Marketing
I have three key thoughts on this. If you understand what I'm about to say, you "get it" and are on your way.
- The easiest way to build a list is to leverage the ROI of a product to get massive traffic. It can be your product or someone else's, but you want to offset the cost (or time opportunity cost) of getting traffic with revenue (or commissions). Use a squeeze page then redirect to an offer, or place the opt in right on the offer page.
- The sure way to have a responsive list is to consistently give your subscribers something they want in almost every email. This way they're looking forward to your emails and you get a good open rate. No matter how big your database is, you can't make money from a list if nobody opens the emails.
- Use an autoresponder to automate your email marketing and analyze your stats. You should know which emails are generating sales, which emails are causing the most unsubscribe request, which emails are not getting good open rates, etc. One thing I'm starting to do is use a program like Hypertracker to track the sales of each email in an autoresponder series. Most people leave money on the table because they never bother to go back and change the emails that aren't working.
2) Joint Ventures / Affiliate Marketing
The fastest way to cut to the chase and get high powered affiliate is to promote their products first. That's why it's so important to have your own list.
If you plan on launching a product, here's a foolproof method that works:
- Contact players in your niche who can help you and ask them if they have anything you can promote for them. It's best to do this in person at an industry seminar for example. Make them aware in advance that you're going to try to help them. Make sure it's a product that's worth promoting.
- Make some affiliate sales and follow up with them personally to let them know that you've made them some money.
- Casually mention that you have a product that would really help their subscriber and you'd appreciate if they will let them know about it. This works best if you have a quality product with a proven conversion rate.
3) Incentivized User Generated Content
Content is NOT king, incentivized user generated content is. Just look at this forum and sites like EzineArticles, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc. You can pay $10 to $50 per article, take the time to write them yourself, or you can give people an incentive to build your site for you.
The incentive you give can be monetary (e.g. revenue share) or it can be exposure/respect. Just look at this forum. Would people openly help each other here if there were no benefits such as exposure and building up credibility for WSOs, launches, etc? I want to believe that some still would, but I'm sure there would be a lot less posts than there are now.
What incentive can you give people to generate user generated content?
Again, if you have a list, it's so much easier to get a forum or blog off the ground. All you have to do is feature buzz worthy content on your site and promote it in your emails.
4) Continuity Income
If you're working for yourself or ever plan to, having continuity income is the closest thing to having a steady paycheck online.
Having members happily paying you every month for a service that actually helps them is the key to overcoming the stress that comes with having your own business. You won't have to worry about how you're going to pay your bills each month. Trust me - that type of stress can affect more than just your bank account - stress is the #1 cause of health problems.
The thing that most people don't consider is - you don't even have to have your own membership site idea - you can be an affiliate and get continuity income from membership sites ran by others.
Here's a post I did with some high retention continuity income ideas:
5) Outsourcing Revenue Generating Processes
Everyone should have a particular process for making money online that is documented and mapped out. If not, you either don't have a business or you're leaving a lot of money on the table.
It could be a process for link building, a process for recruiting affiliates, a process for mass distribution of content in different formats, a process for generating customer leads etc. It really depends on your business and what your goals are.
The point is, develop processes for your business and simplify them so that you can easily train an outsourced worker to do them. You can find qualified people on Odesk or other sites for like $3 to $5 an hour.
6) Publicity (Online and Offline)
I had this debate with Roger here once and I agree with him that the most effective way to get your name out there is to do things that merit other people giving you accolades. However I disagree that letting people know about your accomplishments yourself is the "least effective way." The least effective way to get your brand recognized is to say nothing, do nothing, and wait for others to sing your praises.
You can actively seek publicity both online and offline by intentionally doing things that make good stories and are buzz worthy. The easiest way is to leverage something that is already well known as the focus of your story. This is an incredibly powerful tactic (just Google "Obama Girl" or "Ron Douglas KFC Recipe"). I won't go into detail here, but will cover this in the interview I do with the publicist.
Building your brand and establishing yourself as an expert can make business success come a lot quicker. I recently shared some good tips on this in Ken's post:
7) Leveraging Key Relationships
Networking with key people can make Internet Marketing so much easier for you. Think about who has the perfect audience for your products and create win/win offers. For example, I've partnered with my publicist to bundle my TrafficOutsourcing.com SEO & Link Building services with his PR service. Now when he pitches new clients, he includes value added services that his competitors don't offer. This helps him close deals and helps me get offline clients without having to pound the pavement.
You can do the same thing with local Web Designers, Tax Accountants, etc.
So those are some things that hopefully it won't take you 10 years to learn =). It's really just the tip of the iceberg, but it points you in the right direction towards working smarter instead of harder.
Fast forward to today - Internet Marketing is relatively easy for me. I've grossed millions of dollars from my businesses and ideas. I've built a relationship with a database of over 275,000 email subscribers. I have affiliates sending me traffic every day. I have communities online where members are sharing content all the time and building my rankings in the search engines. And at age 35, my passive income from assets and investments is more than enough to support my lifestyle in a wonderful neighborhood on the North Shore of Long Island. That's the freedom I'm fortunate to enjoy and I'd like to help others do the same.
Internet Marketing has truly been a blessing for me and my family. Hopefully I gave back a little in this thread.