Avoid my mistakes! Don't buy anything you don't need or doesn't work!
Here's what I would buy. I've tried most software out there, and these are the ones I would vouch for so far:
1) Article Marketing Robot (AMR) - $97/lifetime license
2) $100 in captchas from decaptcher
3) Scrapebox: $57 (discount through BHW)
4) TheBestSpinner: $84/year
5) Xrumer: $590
6) SEnuke: $129/mo (and soon LinkWheelBandit, which I believe could be much more powerful)
7) Backlink Energizer: $47
8) Tube Toolbox: $10/month
9) TweetAdder.com: $55
For a total price of $1169 startup, with the only recurring monthly fee being SEnuke (and hopefully soon LWB will replace that...)
I think the easiest way to get started in IM is providing SEO services for local customers. How do you find them? The best way is to set up a nice-looking domain targeting a local geographic niche, like "MinnesotaSEOservices.com" or "ScottsdaleSEOservices.com," something like that.
Start by using the tools I listed above (I will follow up with my method in future posts on this thread) and get your site to #1 for your geographic area + SEO and geographic area + SEO services. Even if you don't get a ton of traffic this way, you can at least point out to your customers that you got #1 for your local SEO phrase as proof you know what you're doing.
Create a set of simple videos about SEO either filming yourself or doing a Camtasia screen capture with your voice. Set up an autoresponder at Email Marketing Software, Autoresponder - GetResponse that sends this video series, 1 a day, to people who opt in ("Learn how I got to #1 on Google in 30 days for free!") at your website, Twitter account, or Youtube channel.
Now comes the awesome part. Set up tweetadder to start following people who are following your competitors on Twitter, or have SEO in their profile, or internet marketing, or are in your geographic region. Tweetadder will automatically unfollow anyone who doesn't follow you within 24, 48, or 72 hours. This will get your Twitter followers to a minimum of 100 in your first month.
Even more awesomeness: Use Tube Toolbox to send automated friend requests to people who are subscribed to your competitors, people in IM, people in your geographic region, or whatever your niche happens to be. In the friend request, tell them about your video series and urge them to subscribe to your channel because you will be releasing a ton of free exciting stuff about SEO and traffic generation. This should get you 50 subscribers minimum a month if your videos are good.
Start with a few rock solid clients who will pay you $250 to $1000/mo for SEO services. Tell them you will guarantee they'll get onto the first page Google within 90 days (believe me, you will have plenty of time to figure out how to get there.) Put in the contract that you will give them a refund after 90 days for any keywords they aren't on Page 1 for. If you are going for geographic keywords and use the SEO tools I listed above the right way, you WILL get to first page for all of them.
Don't sign too many customers at once or you will get overwhelmed. If you think people are into your SEO services when you're offering them, just wait and see how into them they get when you tell them you don't have any openings for new clients due to overwhelming customer response. Make sure you follow up with them regularly though and if you're feeling gutsy, go ahead and sign them anyway.
The key is to get your IM income to at least $1000 to $2000/mo so you have money to invest in new software. SEnuke alone is going to be a painful monthly expense at $129/mo, plus you will soon have to invest in proxies, have a budget to buy expiring high PR domains, VPS/dedicated servers, and a million other things.
I'll keep posting on here with my comments on how I use the above tools. Note there are no affiliate links here, I'm new on this forum and appreciate the high level of content so I want to contribute some.
p.s. If you can't wait to hear more, send me a PM and I can give you some more tips.
p.p.s. If you found this thread helped you in some way, I appreciate your Thanks!