It’s hardly surprising that the popularity of internet marketing has exploded in recent years. With it’s promises of riches with the push of automated cash generation software, intenet marketing has attracted a high percentage of opportunity seekers…. those that are unwilling to put the effort in to become a strategic online business person.
Creating a successful, profitable and sustainable online business ISN’T AS EASY as what people may promise you. But then again, if you get it right and are willing to be strategic, re-educate and persevere, internet marketing has opened up new possibilities for alternative income streams that may one day surpass your 9 – 5 income.
…. and that’s an interesting thought!
So Why Do Most People Fail Online?
Gone are the halcion days when you go put any old garbage online and expect instant sales. Unfortunately it’s not quite as simple as that any more. It requires a whole lot more. Similar to any brick-and-mortar business, you need to differentiate you and your business.
Most importantly for any online strategy to be successful, you need to treat it like a REALbusiness. This is where most people fail. They have been sold the story of instant internet riches and are repelled by the thought of having to apply sound businsess principles to their new online hobby.
Listen, internet wealth does not happen over night. Yes, I am sure you’ve read the overnight online success stories, but these are by far the exception rather than the norm.
Instead, you need to apply uncommon sense principles to your online business;‘uncommon’ because very few people actually follow them. As a result, they simple fail, get frustrated, and say the whole ‘GURU’ thing is just a scam.
…. so instead of giving up before you go any further, I’ve got some online business fundamental principles for you that I hope you take away and start to apply.
Fundamental Internet Marketing Strategies
- Understand what you want with your online business.
Is it just a hobby, or is it your goal to quit your job and become the next online entrepreneur. If so, set the right expectations. Develop a vision for what you want your business to become. Will you have employees or do you plan to do everything yourself (big mistake). If you are currently a full-time employee, when and how will you find the quality time to develop the skills and create the content required to market your business online. These are just a few of the questions that you need to face up toBEFORE you make the decision that this is right for you AND your family.
- Select a profitable niche based on your strengths and passion.
There are three elements to this. Let’s start with your strengths. Irrespective of what business you are in, you need to clearly understand what your strengths are, further develop them AND then exploit them in everything you do. Your strengths are what you do better than anyone else. Everything else should be done by someone else in your team. Next let’s turn to passion. This is something I feel quite strongly about. There is no dress rehearsal in life, so you’d better spend it doing something you are passionate about. A topic you love doing ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Because you are passionate about it, you will do it better. The customer will see this in the end products you sell. Finally, let me focus on profitable niche. Your business must sell products that are profitable. Online, it’s well known which market places are profitable, e.g. internet marketing, weight loss, etc. So it’s important to not only determine and nurture your strengths and pursue your passion, but it also has to be in a market that is profitable.
- Create a product on your selected niche.
Some people outsource the whole product creation process. Whilst it’s necessary to leverage outsourcing talent to create certain elements of the product creation process, I believe in product authoring my own material – 100%. That to me is what creates the value in the product. That’s what the customers want. Not some garbage e-book report that’s been outsourced and that I don’t really care about. I am passionate about the niches that I write and speak about. I want that passion to come across in my products.
- Develop a simple website, including a landing page, sales page and some real content.
This is the techie stuff. Some people enjoy it, some people hate it. If you’re in the latter camp, don’t worry. Your website is only a vehicle or medium for you to market your business. There are simple tools available such as WordPress and Optimize Press that make the whole damn process a whole lot easier. And if you’re really struggling, just outsource the whole process. It’s easy and your lack of technical skills should NEVER EVER be used as an excuse for not making it!
- Write a FREE report of incredible value.
Your potential leads and customers need a bloody good reason to come to your site and become part of your list (but more on that later). There’s plenty of ways to create a ‘money magnet’; one of my favourites is to create a cool report that you give away on your site in exchange for their email address. Now for them to provide their email address, your freebie needs to be….. simply remarkable. There’s no point in giving out crap. If you do, these leads won’t stay leads for very long. They will be looking elsewhere to find the solution to their problem. There’s no short cuts here – provide something of incredible value.
- Use great marketing to generate traffic to your new site and create a list.
Rich Schefren says this repeatedly, I believe the original quote was from Peter Drucker. Here’s what he says about marketing…. “marketing makes selling superfluous”. That’s very powerful. What it is basically saying is that if you nail your marketing, the whole sales process takes care of itself. So great marketing is about optimising every single aspect of the way you interact with your leads including, your personal brand (are you a respected authority) pay per click ads, your blog posts, your videos, your emails and newsletters, your reports. Getting your marketing right takes time, education and experience. This is something you won’t get right overnight, but when you do, you’ll have potential customers banging your door down.
- Create a responsive list.
You’ve probably heard this one many times already, but in internet circles, there’s a common phrase repeated time and time again…. “the money is in the list”. It literally is and this business model has been proven time and time again. Your list is your email list – those people that have come to your site and provided their email address in return for something you give them of great value for free (report, video, etc.). Once you have their email address, it’s time to develop a relationship with them using an automated email sequence (commonly known as an autotresponder, e.g.AWeber). You need to provide them with high quality emails that provide even more value than the original report that drives clicks back to your website. The ultimate purpose is to generate that elusive sail. It takes on average about 7 online interactions between a lead and the seller before the lead bites the bullet and purchases – can you see the power of the autoresponder now?
- Create back end products to increase average $ per customer.
Once a lead has bought one product from you, they are a paying customer. As long as your product is a great one, then they are likely to buy from you again. Most of the great online and offline business models have what’s called ‘back-end products’ that enable incremental sales over and above the initial purchase. Think Amazon and you’ll get what I mean immediately. It’s the best way to increase the average customer value (i.e. how much on average any one of your customer spends).
The whole ‘online thing’ can appear very daunting at first glance. And let me be clear, to be an online marketing success is far from easy. But the beauty of creating an online business model is that it requrires minimal investment. It has created a level playing field. You can get a website created to your requirements for less than $100!
I am going to leave you with one final piece of advice. It’s the one thing that really got me thinking correctly about what I was trying to achieve online. It’s from Rich Schefren from Strategic Profits and is taken from his Internet Business Manifesto report.
If you are an opportunity seeker, you are sure to fail in the online world. Forget the bright shiny buttons and moving onto the next great piece of automated cash generating piece of software.
Instead, you need to develop your strategic entrepreneurial skills. It’s a business. YOU MUST treat it like one!