Internet Marketing: Introduction
The subject of Internet marketing is almost as vast as cyberspace. One could devote a lifetime studying all of its aspects and ramifications. Then, just as you feel as if you are getting a handle on it, it can change like sand blowing in the desert.
Perhaps the best we can accomplish in this brief discussion is to bring up some of the major methods used to promote products and services online. This introductory article will serve as an orientation overview. I will add more depth dealing with many of the aspects as time goes on with articles, reviews, interviews, recommendations, how to videos. Consider this section a work in progress. You are invited to return to check out what's new. Better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed and newsletter so you can be apprised of all the latest additions.
Some promoters claim you do not need a Website or a blog to promote products on the Internet. While it is true that you can create traffic that will go to an affiliate site, this is a mistake because you are losing the opportunity to build your own list. Remember that your real goal should be list building, for you can market to your list of trusted followers over and over again. Accordingly, it is always advisable to have your own Website and blog where you can install a squeeze page and capture that traffic to sign up for your newsletter or other offer.
What’s the difference between a Website and a blog? While similar, a blog is more current and newsy and easier to publish your updates and keeps a running index of all your posts. A Website tends to be more static and structured. Both have their purposes, and you can certainly link one to the other, which is probably the best of both worlds.
Building a blog or a Website from scratch may seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before. Blogs are so simple to create that anyone can do it. Blogger is probably the easiest to use and to monetize. Get started by visiting www.blogger.com and set up your first free blog. You can attach it to your own domain if you wish.
Also a free solution for blog building is WordPress available at www.wordpress.com. While you can get a free blog hosted by Wordpress and Blogger, it looks much more professional to host your own blog with your own domain name.
If you want to build your own Website, there is no better solution that xSitePro. It is easy to use, and has all the possible bells and whistles you could ever want. In fact, it gives you two sites for the price of one. I have mentioned mobile marketing yet, but you need to pay attention to constructing sites for people who browse the Internet using a mobile phone. XsitePro creates a site optimized for small screen automatically. It does all the right stuff for search engine placement and even automates relevant updates for you. It grows your site while you sleep and even helps you build your email list on autopilot. Remember our goal is to automate our business. Well, xSitePro will do that for you. Watch an informative video that will demonstrate the power of this incredible Web building tool. I’m sorry, this amazing software is not free. But I have arranged for a $100 discount if you take advantage of it as a limited offer now.
Another excellent Web building solution that is more hands on if you need some coaching through the whole process is called Solo Build It!. It will take you through the entire process of finding a niche and making sure it is profitable and not too competitive to adding content and finally to the all important final step of monetization. It pays special attention to SEO principles and analyzes and coaches you on every step throughout the whole process. I highly recommend this program if you are a first time Website builder. You will learn all of the necessary principles and receive guidance on every step along the path. Even old-timers would benefit, for it keeps you on track and allows no slack. To learn more, check out SiteBuiltIt!
Domains and Hosting
To register your own domain name, I recommend GoDaddy at www.godaddy.com. Here you can purchase a domain for as little as $1.99. For hosting, I use www.hostgator.com. Unbelievably, you can host unlimited sites here for about $9 a month. You can install a Wordpress site from within Hostgator in seconds.
The whole trick to Internet marketing is to drive traffic to your Website, blog, or squeeze page. However, it’s not enough simply to drive traffic; that’s only half of the equation to online income. You have to create sales if you expect to make any money. A million visitors a day doesn’t mean much if they are not buying anything.
Let’s review some of the techniques people use to attract or drive traffic to a sales point.
Pay Per Click
PPC or Pay-Per-Click is perhaps the best known method of advertising on the Internet. However, this is a highly competitive arena; it can cost a fortune, and you can quickly go broke if you don’t know what you’re doing. It’s a field best left alone by beginners. Besides, there are plenty of ways to attract traffic without having to pay a fortune for it.
Social bookmarking is a relatively new technique that can be effective if done properly, and it’s free. There are applications that will accomplish the task of broadcasting your new posts automatically. I recommend www.socialmarker.com, and it’s free.
Traffic exchanges traditionally involved agreements between Website owners to drive traffic between sites, but can be tedious and not all that productive. However, nowadays the whole process has been automated to drive targeted traffic and can be highly effective. The service I recommend is http://www.webtrafficgenie.com/go.html?998877. And the good news is that it’s free.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO or search engine optimization is kind of an art/kind of a science that involves trying keep up with what the search engines are looking for and attempting to give it to them. The truth is no one really knows because it changes all the time. Basically, what the search engines want more than anything is fresh and meaningful content, not stagnant superficial sites. You should also know how to use keywords effectively. Use Google’s free keyword search tool at http://adwords.google.com/select/keywordtoolexternal. Do a Google search for an abundance of articles on how to use keywords properly and sprinkle them liberally throughout your Websites and blogs.
Forget about submitter software that is supposed to help you rank your Website. Search engines hate these things and usually find ways to foil them rendering them useless.
eMail marketing can be highly effective, especially if you have a sizeable list of your own. Avoid renting generic lists for you could get tagged as a spammer, lose your account, and even go to prison.
There is a plethora of free eBooks available full of advice on how to go about marketing on the Internet. However, they are usually out of date and can be of limited value.
Ebooks, on the other hand, can be excellent products for you to create and to sell. Online information sales are a great business because eBooks don’t cost anything to reproduce, and the don’t cost anything to package or ship. It’s the best of all worlds.
You can also bet rebranding rights to eBooks that you can use as incentives for people to sign up for your list or newsletter.
Beware of Gurus bearing faulty road maps. There is a lot of Guru doodoo out there being promoted by self-proclaimed experts who are only too willing to take your money. I had a guy call me the other day wanting $30,000 to coach me on how to market on the Internet. No thanks.
Banner exchanges represent another way to attract traffic to your site. You can buy banner placement too. While exchanges can be free, it can be time-consuming finding other Website owners will to trade banners with you.
Article marketing is perhaps one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site. The theory is that Websites and bloggers are hungry for fresh content and eagerly embrace free articles posted in article directories. As the author of posted articles in the directories (and there are hundreds of them) you can place your personal information in a resource box at the end of the article, which serves to drive traffic to your site or blog. If you plan to use this method, you should consider an article submitter service that will submit your articles to hundreds of directories saving you untold time. In fact, it would probably take a fulltime staff to do the work of an automated article submitter. One I highly recommend is Unique Article Wizard. Click on the ad below to find out more.
Actually, you too should be concerned about fresh content for your site to keep visitors’ interest and giving them a reason to return. There are ways to create RSS feeds to update your site automatically, which I will discuss under the section on automation.
When all the gurus tell you that the real money is in the list, it almost makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and quite, for it can take years to build a significant list. However, what they don’t tell you is that you don’t even need a list. They just want to sell you some list building eBook. If you have your own product, do a joint venture and use the list owner’s list to marketing your product. Another way is to do Ezine marketing by taking out an inexpensive ad in an eZine and let the eZine owner send it out to his/her list.
To learn more about eZine marketing, go to the Directory of eZines for an informative video and overview.
One of the hottest ways to attract traffic is by creating videos and posting them on hosting services such as YouTube. Here again, a knowledge of keywords comes into play because people use the same keywords to search for videos as they do in search engines. I will have some worthwhile tips for you on video marketing in the section as it builds.
Perhaps the most effective way to drive traffic to your site is through joint ventures in which you approach someone who already has a large list and convince him/her to broadcast your offer to the list. In this way, you reach a highly targeted audience who already has confidence in the moderator, and you bypass the long and arduous process of building your own list. If you have a suitable joint venture proposal, please send me a proposal. I may be interested in working with you under the right conditions.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Advertising your business, product, or service on Craig’s list is another way to go. But to be effective, you need to run lots of ads. Unfortunately, you are limited in the number of ads you can run attached to a single phone number. To use this approach effectively, you will need to have lots of phone numbers. Here’s a way to get a pile of phone numbers inexpensively. Go to Yahoo.com. Sign up for Yahoo Messenger and install it. Invoke the program and click on Yahoo! Voice. From the ensuing menu, select “Get a Phone Number for my PC”. Then merely select your country and purchase as many phone numbers as you like at $2.99 a month. Spread the numbers around; don’t have them all in the same zip code.
eBay and Amazon.com
Everyone knows about eBay and Amazon.com these days. Personally, I avoid eBay like a plague. I grow impatient with waiting for the auctions to close and selling things for less than they are worth. Often, only eBay makes money on sales with all the fees they charge. Nevertheless, it is a good place to check out niches and to see what hot and what’s not. Amazon.com is another good place to check out niche markets.
Go ahead and open your own stores on these services if you wish. But, it’s far better to have your own Website and keep all the profit instead of sharing with these services. If you cannot resist selling on eBay or Amazon, fine, but make every effort to capture the customer’s information. They are your customer after all. Slip in a flyer with your Website on it when you ship and offer them an incentive to visit your site. Grab their information on your squeeze page.
The whole concept of social networking pretty much started out as an environment inhabited by teens and the occasional wannabe rockstar as a place to meet, make new friends, rediscover old one, and share stuff. Almost everyone has heard of the more popular ones such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter. There are more professionally oriented ones such as Squidoo and LinkedIn. But there are hundreds of them out there and more appearing on the horizon everyday.
The reason I mention social networking sites here is that they are becoming a powerful marketing tool by allow you to join interest groups, form your own, and establish a community. You can market your good and services by inviting people to your Website, to an event, or offering something of value.
You must be very careful not to SPAM your followers or you will shunned and possibly banned. There are subtle ways of marketing that we’ll discuss in more detail under that subject. There are great ways to automate the whole following process to give you thousands of followers. But you do want to be careful to select targeted followers with common interests for marketing purposes. You can create different groups with different interests, and you can create different accounts for different purposes.
If you consider that selling is all about people buying from people they know and like, then social networking offers an unmatchable opportunity for people to get to know you.
It’s certainly worth your time to join some of these sites and to put some effort into building a list of friends and followers. We’ll discuss that in more detail too under the Social Networking. For now, I just want you to be aware that it can be a powerful tool for Internet marketing for your business.
There are forums on almost every conceivable subject imaginable. Select a few that relate to your chosen niche. Visit them often and become an active participant. Try to ask questions and to offer valuable information to the community. Never, ever try to sell anything, or you will be ostracized big time. It is acceptable though to have a signature with your blog or Website address on it so that people can visit if they wish. This approach to Internet marketing can be time-consuming, but it does pay off eventually.
When you start a new Website, Blog, or launch a new program or product, be sure to prepare a news release and distribute it online and off. There are a number of free news release submission sites and some paid services. Spend a little time Googling them and compile a list of your favorites for future reference.
Mobile marketing is basically the use of text messaging or SMS for commercial purposes. It is, without doubt, the most powerful, directed, immediate form of advertising ever conceived. To do it properly, you need to sign up for an account with keywords, a short code, and a special server.
Most of the advertising methods for driving traffic to your sales point mentioned above can be expensive and time consuming. Remember that our goal is ultimately to automate our home business(es) as much as possible so that we can run them remotely with very little effort from anywhere in the world as we pursue other interests. Accordingly, I would like to introduce you to an incredible tool that puts the whole marketing process on autopilot, and it’s free. To enroll in the Traffic Python program, go here.
To use the Traffic Python program effectively, indeed to do any marketing effectively, I urge you to subscribe to aWeber, which is without doubt the best autoresponder application available. It will cost you $20 a month, but it is worth every penny. This is truly a worthwhile investment for your new business—for any business interested in making online income. To sign up for a free trial account, go here.
In this admittedly cursory overview of a vast and complicated subject, I hope I have given you an appreciation for what is involved in effective Internet marketing. Let me leave you with some key thoughts. Try to enlist the free marketing tools I have recommended instead of jumping in and spending a fortune for paid advertising. You can do that later when you are making money and can afford it. Beware of all the guru offers to guide you. You will end up spending a fortune and have lots of conflicting information and not know what step to take next.
Here are the steps I suggest for getting started:
1. Find a niche that suits you, excites you, and has market potential. 2. You should do some keyword research to determine if the niche is viable or too competitive.3. You can create your own product or just sell affiliate products to get started. 4. Go to clickbank.com to find products and get an account for selling affiliate products.5. Build a Website using XsitePro.6. Alternatively, for first timers, build a Website using SiteBuiltIt!7. Build a blog using blogger or WordPress.8. Subscribe to aWeber and learn how to use this amazing autoresponder software.9. Subscribe to Traffic Python to promote your program.10. Consider sending me a joint venture proposal (email@example.com) 11. Don’t get bogged down with one after another how to programs. Stick to this outline, and you will be fine.
Remember that this site is an evolving, organic undertaking that will grow and to which you should return often for new and important information that will help you market and automate your online business. Subscribe to the RSS feeds and subscribe to my newsletter for updates and important announcements that will save you money and bring you business. Check out the sub menu items under each major tab for more in-depth information on the elements mentioned in the introduction of each heading.
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