Archive for September, 2008

What You Need to Know about Internet Marketing (in 500 words)

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Internet marketing is often overwhelming and confusing. As if designing your website to rank well and getting other websites to link to it weren’t hard enough, now you have to factor Web 2.0 and all that entails into your internet marketing mix.

I’ll be honest with you, it even drives me nuts. And I do this stuff for a living! But, I wrote a proposal for a new client today and found myself creating a brief summary of what’s involved with internet marketing.

The goal of internet marketing is to sell stuff. Whether that’s a physical product, an information product or a service, it doesn’t matter. The ultimate goal is to sell something.

There are two main components to internet sales; drive more traffic to your website and convert that traffic by giving the visitor what they want.

This sounds pretty basic but it’s easy to lose sight of the primary goal. We tend to focus on statistics like: how high my website ranks for certain key words, or how many unique visitors were there last month, or how many people signed up for my newsletter or blog feed. But you know what? Ultimately, none of that matters! What matters is how much money you made!

Selling stuff comes down to two things: driving traffic to your website and converting traffic into customers.

Driving traffic to the website can be done in two ways.
1. Your customer is looking for you. They have a problem and they are actively looking for a solution. They go to a search engine like Google or Yahoo, type in a key phrase and find your website in the search results.
2. Your customer may be aware that they have a problem but aren’t necessarily looking for a solution. They hear about your company in an article, blog, forum, podcast, video, social media or social networking website and because they like what they hear, they visit your website.

When people land on your website, it’s time to give them what they want. It’s a lot of work to get customers to your website and once they’re there, if you don’t give them what they want you’ve wasted your time and money. That’s why a customer centric website is crucial to converting visitors to customers. It’s also the most commonly overlooked piece of the sales process.

I’m not going to tell you what your website should say because I could write the most brilliant description and the vast majority of you are going to tell yourself, “My website says that.”

You know what? It doesn’t! I will straight up bet you $100 (donated to your favorite charity) that I can find 10 things on your website that are not turning visitors into customers.

Want to know why visitors are not customers? Have a friend (who doesn’t owe you anything and will tell you the truth) look over your website. Then shut your mouth, stop defending it and listen. Your bank account will thank you for it.

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How Internet Marketing Works

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

I recently signed up for Ed Dale’s Thirty Day Challenge. I highly recommend it. It’s no BS, straight ahead, good info about how to make money online. Oh yeah, and it’s free.

As part of signing up for the Thirty Day Challenge, I get a few promotional emails. Nothing outrageous just emails about their other products. One of those emails was about their membership site called Immediate Edge. The sales page has a great 30 minute video where Ed essentially explains how internet marketing (aka making money online) works. Yeah, he promotes his product a bit but it’s just to demonstrate how it can help.

If you’ve ever wondered, “How the heck do you make money from the internet!” you need to watch this video.

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Maybe There Is a Use for Twitter After All…

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

The media has a steady stream of stories about how the younger generation seems to be obsessed with staying in touch via cell phone and computer these days. You hear stories about kids sending 10,000 text messages a month, checking their MySpace or Facebook page several times and day and using micro-blogging services like Twitter to inform all their friends about what they’ve had for lunch. Virtually anyone over the age of 30 is left thinking “These kids need to get a job!”

But the September 7th New York Times Sunday Magazine had an interesting article by Clive Davis titled “I’m So Totally, Digitally Close to You: How News Feed, Twitter and Other Forms of Incessant Online Contact Have Created a Brave New World of Intimacy” that helped me understand that maybe there are benefits to this level of contact. While any individual communication via Facebook, Twitter or news feed appears to be insignificant, in aggregate they create an “ambient awareness” which is similar to being in physical proximity to someone and picking up on what’s going on with them by their physical cues. This awareness makes us feel like we are close to people with out actually communicating with them one on one. The common reaction to this faux-connection is one of horror and lament about the decline of western civilization but it’s not all bad.

The author describes a phenomenon called the “Dunbar number” in which research has confirmed that human groupings tend to tail off at about 150 people. These social websites and apps don’t necessarily help increase our number of close connections but they do help expand and stay connected to our larger informal network. This has real benefits for anyone trying to network professionally.

If you’re going to use these social tools for professional networking, I wouldn’t recommend you update people on what you had for lunch. But I would recommend that you use them to share information and resources you think might help your network in their business. When done properly, it’s a fairly easy way to stay in front of people and build the perception of expertise. For example, I follow Robin Good on Twitter and he “tweets” several times a day with links to interesting web applications. Sometimes I feel like he tweets too much but unlike email they’re pretty easy to ignore so I’m less likely to unsubscribe from his feed.

If you’ve wondered what the appeal of these social technologies is, I suggest you read this article. It does a good job of describing how they work and why anyone would spend their precious time using them.

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Hi Folks. I’m back. Did you miss me?

Monday, September 8th, 2008

I took the summer off from my blog. It wasn’t planned. And for the first month I felt terribly guilty. What a bad business owner! Then I remembered that everyone is as overwhelmed with information as I am and wasn’t hurting anyone’s feelings by not posting every week. Despiste what the blogger advocates tell you.)

So why the silence? Stompernet. It’s all their fault. Stompernet is an advanced internet training program started and run by people who have made gobs of money on the internet. And when I say gobs I mean many, many millions of dollars.

You can throw a proverbial rock on the internet and hit a marketing guru who will sell you their million dollar internet marketing program. The only problem is that they’re the only one making a million dollars. Stompernet is different. The price of poker ain’t cheap at $800 a month. But it’s worth it. Each month when I ask myself if I can afford it, the answer is “yes.” There have been office hours when the resources I’ve learned about or the “This is how I do it” from internet millionaires have been worth the $800 alone.

So what did I do with my summer? I worked my butt off! There was no vacation. There wasn’t even a stay-cation! And I couldn’t be more excited! I am ready to kick butt and make some serious money. My goal for this blog in the next months is to share with you what I’m learning about. I hope you find it helpful. Let me know what you think, what you’d like to see more of and any questions you have.

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