Category Archives for "Internet Marketing"

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Is Internet Marketing Only For Younger People?

On average, a large percentage of people involved in Internet marketing are younger people between the ages of 18 to 35. But is Internet marketing just for younger people? Or can seasoned old style door to door salespeople and even older newbies do just as well with it?

Sure, there are new marketing techniques being taught in school that maybe an older person may not have privy to, and perhaps the technology of the web might be easier for a younger person to latch onto. But that doesn’t necessarily mean Internet marketing is solely for the young.

You see, the best way to build a brand and make a living from it is through experience. Experience is what makes experts, and older folks have plenty of it. The trick is in finding a marketing strategy that will bring that experience to light and make it stand out.

And even with that, most old marketing strategies still work when adapted to the new technology. Just look at how popular the book, “Think and Grow Rich” still is among Internet marketers. This book was written a long time ago, but the marketing theories apply just as well as when it was written.

In fact, it’s all the same thing really. You need a supplier and a market. Supply and demand.

My dad was always in sales. He sold everything from restaurant table lamps to land in Florida. Regardless of what he was selling, he needed a supplier and a market to sell it to.

Of course his was more physical a job. He had to travel a lot so he could bring the goods and services to the client. He didn’t have a web site, simply because web sites didn’t exist at that time. And phones back then weren’t very smart, so no pictures were ever sent to clients. He had to manually mail out brochures via snail mail to precede his visits.

It was a lot more work to make a sale back then, but really, with the exception of physical travel, Internet marketing is pretty much the same. You still need connections, you still need clients, and you still need the skills and rapport to deal with people.

And actually, what we’re seeing now is a return to the standard customer relationship building so vital back in my dad’s day. The hey days of full automation and high tech generic selling are fading away, leaving us with customers who want to know and trust those they buy from.

So they say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” but this isn’t entirely true, especially if the old dog is able, willing, and the tricks aren’t all that different than the ones he already knows.

Sure there’s technical stuff like site building, video, and the like that needs some consideration. But with systems like WordPress and YouTube, these can easily be conquered, so that someone with a minimum of Internet know how can get by.

No, these things are incidental to success online and can even be outsourced if need be.

What’s really needed are the same marketing skills used by the old Fuller Brush man, the Avon lady, and the encyclopaedia salesman that would come knocking on doors.

So whether you were one of these people, or you were a customer of any of these, you have the knowledge needed to make a living on the Internet.

In fact, with the abilities of the older generation sales force, it could be argued then that a “seasoned” person might have an advantage over the younger Internet marketer. Just having the experience in dealing with customers one on one, in their homes and offices, gives someone from the old days of marketing and selling a leg up.

So is Internet marketing just for younger people? Not by a long shot! By applying the experience they’ve accumulated over the years, older folks can do just as well, and even better. Because, in reality, the only difference between then and now is the vehicle used to reach the clients.

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Can You Offer Customers Too Many Options?

Decisions are tough things to make sometimes. Most people like black and white, do this, do that, and done situations. So as marketers, we’re faced with a dilemma of whether we’re making it easier or harder on customers when we give them a lot of choices. Your intention may be to make the most out of potentials, but can you offer customers too many options?

A case in point was when my partner and I decided to add a 12 month option to purchasing Article Submitter Pro. We already had a 3 month payment plan that many had taken advantage of, but there were still some people who found that to be beyond their budget.

Now you’d probably expect a lot of customers would jump on the opportunity to grab the software on a 12 month plan, but what actually happened was, sales declined over all, and very few opted to go an entire year paying for it.

When we removed the 12 month option, sales increased again and now we’re seeing far more 3 month plan opt ins. In fact, one time payers also doubled once the extra option was removed.

The conclusion was, our potential customers had too much to think about with all the options available, and so they put off their decision for later. And naturally, when customers put off making a decision on the spot, they rarely ever come back. So by giving too many options, we lost buyers.

Another case study could be formed around marketers who constantly send out email offers to their lists for many different products over short periods of time.

While the intention might be to keep their lists abreast of all the new products available, this type of marketing runs the risk of annoying potentials by pulling them in too many directions, and we all know annoyed and/or confused customers don’t buy.

On the same note, when monetizing a blog, could your visitors be getting too many banner ads, or too many different types of product ads shoved in their faces? Most visitors won’t even notice banner ads in the sidebar, but for those that do, having too many choices can cause them to mentally block them out.

When you think about it, offering customers too many options can be like sticking a small child in a candy store, giving him a penny, and telling him to decide quickly. It just ain’t gonna happen! The more choices one has to decide from, the easier it is to get overwhelmed.

Logically then, it would seem prudent to narrow down the choices you offer your customers. You may not be getting a chance to promote everything coming down the pike, but by focusing your customers’ minds on less choice with more value to them or to the purpose of their visit (i.e. the theme of a blog post), the products you do show them will have a better chance of bringing in sales.

For example, if you’re emailing your lists with offers, only promote products relevant to the reason those people opted in to the list in the first place. Most marketers who create lists through product offers or giveaways usually can easily keep them separate.

For your blog, find some promotional banner ads on Clickbank or some other affiliate product site relevant to the topic you’re presenting each day and rotate them in as you post your article. If you have the HTML code all set up and saved in Notepad, it’d just be a matter of grabbing the code and pasting it in your sidebar via the theme editor.

This way your visitors get just one or two banner ads to view, and they’ll always be relevant to the article you want them to read. Sure it’s more work, but once you get in the routine, it won’t take you much more time than posting your latest article.

And definitely, if you’re going to offer additional options for your products like we did, split testing always proves to be a good barometer. By showing only a percentage of your visitors the extra option, you’ll be able to tell if its going to be well received or not.

Unfortunately, it’s a common practice to throw everything at customers in the hopes some of it will stick. But with a little extra planning, you can avoid offering customers too many options, and instead funnel their choices to more relevant products they’ll more than likely appreciate and be ready to buy from you.

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But Can Your Comments Compete?

Yes, relevancy is the key to placing good comments that will make your back links valuable. However relevancy is scalable, so we need to take it a bit further into the realms of effectiveness. You see, relevancy may get your comments approved, but can your comments compete effectively?

OK I admit it. I’m on a bit of a “comment crusade” lately to get people to leave better remarks both here and pretty much everywhere commenting is allowed. Perhaps it’s because I’m a marketer, and as such I believe every aspect of marketing has to deal with competition.

We strive to put quality content on our sites in order to compete for top ranking and high listings on the search engines, we work diligently to create products that are better than the next guy’s to compete for customers, and we work our butts off to build massive lists to compete for affiliate commissions and other profitable offers.

But when it comes to leaving comments, how many think “cool post!” or other meaningless “this is just to get my link on your site” dribble is good marketing?

Let’s face it, in the online world we’re all competing for eyes. Site content is placed strategically where most visitors’ eyes go, we make our posts as interesting as possible to attract eyes to follow down to the end.

Sure, we talk about traffic, customers, and clients, but what we’re really talking about is eyes. Eyes that need to be attracted to whatever it is we want them to see.

So when we think about comments all lined up in a row, perhaps hundreds of them, how do we attract eyes to see our comment? How do we compete for those eyes and get them to focus on what we say over every other remark?

I don’t know about you, but when I look through comments on an interesting post, I look for anything that takes the conversation to the next level. You know, something that fills in the blanks, adds a point missed in the article, or just has an eloquent way of emphasizing what the author was expressing. Basically I look for comments showing insight and intelligence on the subject.

You see, the great part about comment-able sites is they tap into our human nature.

We read all the time, but there’s always a nagging “did I get this?” uncertainty when we’re done. Being able to see how other people reacted to what we’ve just read helps in this regard, especially when those reactions either give some assurance to our own conclusion, or clarifies the points we’re not so sure about.

By having some thought behind your comment, you can fill this uncertainty and gain the respect of those looking through the comment section.

Another way of making your comments compete is by directly addressing other comments in the thread. Obviously you wouldn’t want to flame anyone, but often comments by others completely miss the point or take it into the wrong direction.

Some times other people’s comments may spark something in your own mind that you can build on. And while you may actually be agreeing with the other commenter, adding to their point will make yours a competing comment enriching the conversation to a higher level.

The point here is to make your comments act like shiny objects in a sea of gray. People do read comment sections for a number of reasons, and so if you can make your comments compete for their attention, then you’ll have a much better chance of making yours more than just a back link. Put some real thought behind what you write and see for yourself!

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Are You Being Selective In Your Link Building?

Years ago, having thousands of inbound links, whether or not they were reciprocal or relevant was the way to go for good page ranking. And while inbound links are still a very important factor in your site’s over all value, sophistication in search algorithms suggests you be more selective in your link building activities.

If we were to sum up everything going on in search these days and put it into one word, that word would be Relevancy. Site value is all about that, regardless if its content, domain name, keywords, or inbound links. Everything centers around how relevant a site is throughout its individual parts.

In fact, if you own a blog, even the comments should be relevant to the content its posted on, which is why most blogging platforms allow you to moderate incoming comments to make it so.

Relevancy is everything!

It not only makes it easier for your site to get indexed and gives visitors an idea of what to expect, but it also gives you the opportunity to become part of a global discussion on your topic.

When they talk about “link juice” this is what they’re referring to.

You see, a link on any site is just a link. You get some weight from the back link, but nothing really significant so as to send your page rank soaring. Eventually, if you get enough of these, and we’re talking thousands, you may get a bump in your ranking if your site is well optimized and doesn’t give the index bots any grief.

However, if you can get some “juice” out of your link building efforts by joining a relevant world wide conversation, then you’ll have something!

Now this doesn’t mean you have to comment on every relevant blog in the universe, although it certainly will help a lot to contribute to some posts whether you’re pro or con on what they write. (A little disagreement never hurt any discussion.)

But when you do contribute like this, you put your site into the mix, and so their site and yours becomes a circle of life feeding each other traffic and link love from the search engines.

Everyone tries to speculate what the search engines are up to, but it’s really very simple. They want to make connections. They want to connect people who use them to what they’re searching for, and they want to connect results to other results to give people as much information as possible.

The easier you make it for them, the more they’ll love your site.

Value, for the search engines, has to do with how long a chain they can create by tying sites together. Links linking with links, and more links for good measure. Enough links, and you get a huge “punch bowl” full of relevant juice. And if your links are in that bowl, then you benefit.

On the other hand, just as with certain words like “the,” “and” and the like being considered “stops” for the index bots, which they won’t index and skip over, so too irrelevant and non-contributing comments are seen as stops, and likewise skipped over. Which is why most sites need thousands of back links to even put a dent in their page ranking.

But if you’re being selective in your link building, and only connect with relevant sites where you can contribute relevant thoughts, you won’t need hardly as many back links to make a difference. So the global social party is on, the punch bowl is filling up with juice, and just waiting for you to add yours. Just remember not to throw any pits in it.

Stay Relevant!

Which Software Products Are Actually Good For Business?

We’re all constantly bombarded with software offers of all kinds, some free, others remarkably expensive. Every one of them promises to yield amazing results by getting you to the top of search rankings, or making you unheard of profits. But which software products are actually good for business, and which are designed to simply make money off of you?

I won’t beat around the bush, because this needs to be perfectly clear . . .

A good business software is one that will help you manage the daily tasks of running and operating your business while still giving you full control over what it does.

Content Management Systems like WordPress are perfect examples. They create an attractive shell website, but everything else from which plugins to use, to the content and images posted on it, is under your command.

Another good example would be affiliate program software that gives you a system for managing affiliates and commissions, helps you keep track of everything while allowing you the leeway to decide who gets approved, what the commission rate is, and when to release payments.

Naturally, autoresponders fit into this category of good business software. They provide the means to create lists of opted in clients and schedule mailings to them. But again, you’re in control of what goes out and when.

You could probably think of other software products like this, but the point is, a good business software should never do the work of creating output for you. You should always be in control of everything with your name on it.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are good software products for “back office” type work like research. Market Samurai, for example, gives you results according to what you put into it. It’s great for researching niche keywords, discovering the amount of competition you’d have, and gives you an idea of the type of content and affiliate products already on the web about the keyword. However, what you do with that information is totally up to you.

Then there are software products that deal with the outside web world like submission software. This is where things get tricky, so you have to be carefully selective.

If you’re going to use a submission product, it should always allow you to select where your submissions are going, and what you’ll be submitting. Blind submissions are never good because, even though they may be “one click” fast, you have no control, which can mean both trouble for you and for the receiving end.

For example, article submission software that blindly submits will often put articles into the wrong categories, get the formatting wrong, or submit to junk directories that will give you no benefits. And comment submitting software that automatically posts comments on hundreds of blogs always gives you irrelevancy.

Basically, anything with the prefix “auto” attached to it should raise a red flag. While there’s nothing wrong with automation in moderation, it should never be so much automation that you are completely out of the process. If your name is going on the output, then you should make the critical decisions of where, when, and how.

So Stick with software for making shell systems that you can manipulate and manage, take advantage of applications for research and grabbing information, and only use semi-automated submission software when dealing with output like articles and comments, and you won’t go wrong.

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