Thursday, December 30, 2010

Clearly Defining Your Internet Marketing Plan For 2011

With the New Year approaching, millions of resolutions will be made and ultimately broken over the next few weeks or months.  I have never been a fan of resolutions per se, but I do believe the New Year is the perfect time for goal-setting, in particular, definable goals with suitable timetables.

It is especially important in internet marketing to have definable goals.  By definable, I mean goals with predetermined numbers or objectives.  Simply saying, “I want to write more articles in 2011” is not a definable goal.  A definable goal in this case would be, “I want to write 5 articles a week in 2011.”  There is now a definitive number of articles to write in a given time period.

Another example of an undefined goal is, “I want to make money online in 2011.”   Well, of course as an internet marketer, you want to make money online, but how much?  A more definable goal for making money online in 2011 would be:  “I want to make $1000 a month online within the next 12 months.”

There are three primary reasons for making your internet marketing goals definable:

1) Planning

When it comes to making money online, there must be an internet marketing plan in place to succeed.  Planning provides the blueprint for reaching your goals.  Short-term goals can actually be the plan for reaching your long-term goals.  In the example a provided above, writing 5 articles a week could be part of the plan to make $1000 a month online.  In essence, your short-term goals are the plan for reaching your long-term or most ambitious goals.

2) Motivation

If someone approached you and offered to pay you to carry a 50 pound rock up a steep hill, your first question would naturally be “how much?”  If the individual never disclosed an amount, you would probably never be compelled to carry the rock up the hill.  Now if that same individual offered you $100.00 to carry that same 50 pound rock, it would likely change your attitude.

The example here is a bit goofy, I know, but you get the picture.  An undefined payment for carrying the rock probably wouldn’t motivate most people, but $100.00 might certainly do the trick.  This same logic can be applied to internet marketing as well.  Coming up with a monthly income figure that would impact your life in a meaningful way would likely be much more motivating than simply aspiring “to make money online.”

3) Evaluation

At the end of the day, there must be some way to evaluate performance and measure progress.  In the 5 articles a week example, it is easy to evaluate performance and measure progress – anything less than 5 articles written per week is not meeting the defined goal.  With a clear understanding of how you are performing and progressing in your goals, it is easier to identify problems, find solutions and make the appropriate adjustments.

It’s okay to have New Year’s resolutions, but as an internet marketer it is more useful to set new goals for the upcoming year.  Sit down, come up with some realistic and attainable goals and then define those goals with concrete figures and objectives for 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Minimize Internet Marketing Discouragement

About the only thing that is guaranteed when marketing online is discouragement.  Many new internet marketers come into it bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to have reality hit them in those bright eyes and then kick them in that bushy tail.  Anyone who expects success in internet marketing must be able to cope with the ups and downs of it all.
I blame a lot of the disillusionment on unscrupulous internet marketing programs that promise instant online riches.  With slick websites and even slicker recruiters, they lure desperate prospects into their online business with the promise of making thousands in just a few days.  When the immediate success doesn’t materialize, “newbies” often quit out of frustration - thinking making money online is not possible for them.
I sincerely believe anyone can make money online, but it takes time, patience, and perseverance in addition to sound internet marketing training and strategies.  Anything worth having rarely comes easy including creating wealth online.
Approaching online marketing with the proper mindset can make all the difference during the inevitable challenges and struggles. 
Here are a few tips to help minimize internet marketing discouragement:
1) Have a long-term online wealth creation mindset.  Rome was not created in a day and neither will your internet marketing empire.  When setting internet marketing goals and objectives, a minimum of six months should be given to accomplish them. 
Too often internet marketers have the “30 day mindset”, meaning if they aren’t making a certain amount of money in 30 days they will move on to the next thing or give up altogether.  While generating an online income in 30 days is possible, it shouldn’t be the standard by which ultimate success is measured. 
Many very successful internet marketers took months or even years before they found success.  Creating wealth online should be thought of as a marathon not a sprint, and survival is determined by the strength of one’s resolve.
2) Don’t buy into the hype.  Internet marketing programs are a lot like politicians, they often “overpromise and under deliver. “   Some opportunities can be quite convincing with stirring testimonials, videos and screenshots of PayPal or ClickBank earnings, or even money-back guarantees.
These types of marketing tactics may not be complete lies, but most are highly deceptive.  Out of 100 people recruited into a program, only 2 may actually achieve the rapid success often depicted in catchy splash pages.  So, while such incredible claims may have an inkling of truth, for the 98% who fail to make thousands right away, these ads are terribly misleading.
When choosing an internet marketing opportunity, it is best to leave the emotion out of it.  Any decision regarding an internet marketing opportunity should be based on sound evaluation of the business itself and not the promises of those making money to promote it.
3) Focus on free internet marketing strategies.  Nothing breaks the will of an internet marketer faster than spending money on ineffective advertising.  With all of the free methods for generating website traffic, there is no reason a marketing budget should put an internet marketer out of business.
Most Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO) tactics can be learned and implemented at little or no cost.  SEO marketing can be a bit tedious and time consuming, but remember internet marketing success is a marathon not a sprint.  Taking the time to effectively use SEO is the cheapest and most effective way to promote an internet marketing business in the long run.
It is probably impossible to market online and not get discouraged at least some of the time (especially in the beginning), but it doesn’t have to wear you down and ultimately defeat your efforts to create wealth online. 

Monday, December 6, 2010

Anyone Can Master The Art Of Effective Article Writing

One of the biggest myths surrounding article marketing is that to be good at it one must be born with creativity and a gift for writing.  While these attributes would certainly be useful, nothing could be further from the truth.  Like great leaders, great writers aren’t necessarily born, instead they nurture and hone their skills over time.

All of us of have thoughts and ideas that can be shared with the world.  Expressing these thoughts and ideas comes naturally to some, but we all can learn to express these hidden talents with commitment to learning how. 

Putting thoughts and ideas into words is actually pretty easy.  It’s putting them into words that keep a reader’s attention that’s the trick.  This can be an especially challenging accomplishment in the ultra-competitive world of internet marketing.    

Any internet marketer who wants to use article marketing effectively must develop a strategy for turning their own unique thoughts and ideas into interesting reading material.  Here are a few article writing tips for internet marketers:

  1. Keep a notebook or journal at all times. Thoughts or ideas for an article might be triggered at anytime or any place, so it is incumbent to have a way of capturing those thoughts or ideas for future reference.  When on the Internet, a pen and pad should certainly be handy to write down anything you see or hear that could be the building block for a future article.

  1. Peruse article directories, forums and other blogs for ideas.  I would especially recommend this when the creative well has run a little dry.  At some point, every writer struggles with the creation of new ideas.  It’s okay to take a look at what other writers are writing about in a given online niche.  You never want to steal someone’s work, but providing a new perspective or point of view from your own unique thoughts is the very essence of creativity.

  1. Find your inspiration and/or passion.  If you’re writing about something that doesn’t move you, then you’re probably never going to find success writing about it.  Finding a niche market that piques your interest is critical here.  Sure, all internet marketers want to earn online income, but we all don’t have to take the exact same route to get there.  Think of all the things you are good at, enjoy doing, or have a passion for and start from there.  You will find your article writing and other internet marketing strategies come a lot easier if you are inspired or passionate about what it is you’re doing. 

  1. Limit distractions when writing.  Turn off the TV, complete all your errands and tasks, put the kids to bed, and try to isolate yourself if possible.  Of all the internet marketing strategies, article writing requires the most time, focus and energy.  Since most internet marketers have full-time jobs, families and other responsibilities, finding uninterrupted time for writing articles can be a daunting challenge.  Even if it means staying up a hour later or waking up a hour earlier, finding an uninterrupted time to formulate your thoughts and ideas into words will make a tremendous difference in the quality of your writing.

Don’t allow the thought of creating ideas and then translating those ideas into words intimidate you.  It may be a process, but anyone can learn the craft of effective article writing.  Use the 4 tips in this article and watch as your writing talents and online income flourish.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Keyword Research Tips For Affiliate Marketing

Keyword research is the first and most vital step in Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO), but many internet marketers have no idea how to effectively research keywords.  Keyword targeting is highly competitive and the research that goes into it must be thorough.

So many internet marketers are not done in by bad affiliate programs or poor products, but instead by poor keyword targeting.  Choosing the wrong keywords will all but doom any website hoping to generate organic traffic.

There are numerous keyword research tools available online to assist with selecting quality keywords.  Here are a few useful keyword research tips that will help in the selection and targeting of keywords for affiliate marketers:

  1. Spend time on keyword research before selecting an affiliate opportunity.  Most affiliates, of course, choose an affiliate program and then begin the keyword research process.  Researching keywords prior to choosing an affiliate opportunity, however, gives affiliates an idea of the competition, popularity and demand for a particular online niche before committing to marketing it.  Finding an affiliate program to fit a selection of targeted keywords that meet the competition, popularity and demand criteria is much easier than doing it in reverse order.

  1. Avoid keywords that are too broad.  This is probably where most people get it wrong when targeting keywords.  Sure, it would be ideal to rank at the top of Google and other search engines for broad keyword terms.  Unfortunately, unless you have an authority site or have cracked the SEO code, you will likely find yourself buried in the search engine abyss – never to be seen on page one.  And while broad keyword terms have ideal popularity, the traffic is not targeted and often useless when it comes to affiliate sales.  The key to getting conversions from search engine marketing is targeted traffic.

  1. Avoid keywords with low monthly searches.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, some websites are doomed by low search volume for their targeted keywords.  You can think of this as “having the keys to Ferrari, but no gas.”  Ranking at the top for every keyword you target is great, but if those keywords generate no traffic, what good is it?  It can be fairly easy to rank for keywords no one uses for searching, but the ultimate goal is to generate traffic to earn income online – not rankings.

  1. Use long-tailed keywords for better targeting and less competition.  A useful strategy for generating more targeted traffic and less competition is to use long-tailed keywordsLong-tailed keywords are multi-phrased terms (usually three words or more) used to search online.  An example of a long-tailed keyword is credit repair for families (credit repair would be the general or broad keyword term).  Benefits of long-tailed keywords include: higher conversions on website traffic, less competition for ranking, and more targeted visitors.  If doing Pay-Per-Click advertising, long-tailed keywords are also cheaper.

Keyword research can be a tedious and time consuming process, but the rewards are well worth the effort.  Targeting the proper keywords is often the difference between an affiliate website flourishing or dying on the vine.  Make use of the free keyword research tools available online and use the tips mentioned earlier in this article for guidance.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creating A Passive, Residual Income Stream Is A Must For Building Affiliate Wealth Online

The goal of any affiliate marketer should be to build a passive, residual income.  Passive income and residual income are often considered one and the same, but there is an ever so slight difference between the two.
Passive income is considered income that is earned after an initial investment (time or money) has been made and active participation in the business or organization is no longer required.  Residual income, on the other hand, are continuous payments made to an individual on a specific timetable after an initial sale.
Residual income can be considered passive, but the opposite is never the case.  Passive income requires no continued effort or participation, while residual income usually requires some type of continued activity or effort.
As an affiliate marketer, building residual income into an ongoing passive income is the ideal scenario.  Unfortunately, not all affiliate programs pay a residual income.  The only compensation offered may be an initial commission paid at the time an affiliate makes a sale on behalf of the merchant.  This type of compensation can be quite lucrative in its own right, but in my opinion it is a narrow approach to earning income online. 
Building wealth (not income) should be the long-term goal, and a passive income stream must be created to do this.
The two things an affiliate should look at when evaluating a program for passive, residual income are:
1) Is there is tiered affiliate structure? 
A tiered affiliate program is one in which an affiliate is able to recruit “sub-affiliates” beneath him and receive additional compensation based on the activity of his sub-affiliates.  Tiers typically range from 2-5 levels (Example: if a program is a four-tier program that means the affiliate gets paid on 4-levels - the person he directly recruits (his 2nd level), the person his 2nd level sub recruits (his 3rd level), and the person his 3rd level sub recruits (his 4th level).
Tiered affiliate programs offer a powerful potential source of passive income for the affiliate.  Affiliates who do a good enough job of recruiting and then trains his sub-affiliates to do the same could have hundreds or even thousands of subs in his downline, earning him money without ever having to sale a thing. 
Not all affiliate opportunities are tiered, but affiliates who want to build a passive income understand this is a critical component in meeting that end.
2) Is there a recurring payment from product or service being marketed? 
Recurring payments are typically made monthly from one sale.  So, if an affiliate markets a product or service in which the purchaser pays each month for that product or service, the affiliate may receive an ongoing percentage of the monthly price.  For instance, if an affiliate markets for a merchant that offers SEO services at $50 per month and the affiliate commission is 50%, the affiliate gets $25 a month in recurring monthly payments (for as long as the purchaser is subscribed to the service).
Affiliate programs with recurring payments provide a residual income stream that could potentially keep paying its affiliates well after the initial sale.  Not all merchants who sale a product with a monthly fee offer its affiliates recurring residual commissions, so careful examination of the affiliate payment agreement must be done.
The benefits of building a passive, residual income online are clear.  Any affiliate marketer who is serious about not just earning income online, but who wants to build wealth from home must create a passive, residual income stream.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

5 Social Networking Tips For The Internet Marketer

Social networking has become a vital internet marketing resource.  With the number of social networking sites continuing to grow, it will continue to be a critical factor in marketing online. 

Some of the largest corporations in the world are now devoting a large portion of their advertising budgets to social networking.  You’d be hard pressed to find a corporation that takes its marketing serious not on Facebook or Twitter.  With competition so stiff, it is critical that internet marketers have a sound social networking strategy.

Although no social networking strategy can be considered full-proof, there are some very basic tips that can be used to maximize results:

  1. Create a profile complete with picture and bio.  Like the old saying goes, “you never get a 2nd chance to make a 1st impression.”  Fair or unfair, people form an immediate opinion of you or your business as a result of your profile.  Incomplete profiles without pictures don’t get nearly the response of those with a picture and bio.  Remember you’re on a social networking site, so people want to see who you are and what you’re about.  With that in mind, avoid using logos or celebrity pictures on your profile.  Use a real picture of yourself (preferably smiling or doing something you love).  Letting people see the real you projects trust and genuineness.

  1. Join groups that pertain to your online niche or business.  This is an area a lot of internet marketers neglect when joining social networking sites.  Social networking sites often have very large communities of people who share common interests.  Joining a group of like-minded people who share your passions is a great way to network and get noticed. 

  1. Don’t spam friends and/or groups.  This is easily the biggest mistake internet marketers make when joining a social network.  Some online marketers have barely been a member a few minutes before they are sending mass messages to all who have accepted their friend requests.  Nothing turns off a fellow social networker more than getting spam from an overzealous internet marketer every few hours.  Taking the time to build a relationship with friends on a social network is much more affective than immediately going at them with a sales pitch. 

  1. Avoid commentary on social issues.  When you’re active on a social network, it may be hard to avoid joining in on discussions about politics, race, religion, sex, etc., but it should be avoided at all costs.  As an internet marketer your goal is growing your online business and building online wealth, not expressing your opinion on hot-button topics.  Check out any large company’s social network profile on Facebook or Twitter and you won’t find any commentary on politics, religion or other highly charged subjects.  They don’t want to offend any group and they want everyone to feel as if they are welcome, and so should you. 

  1. Be sincere.  Social networking for business purposes is all about building and gaining trust.  Being dishonest or misleading people can have dire consequences.  The last thing an online marketer needs is an unfavorable reputation amongst a large community of internet savvy people.  The Internet is a powerful vehicle and can be used to not only build credibility, but also to destroy it.  

Social networking is an outstanding source of free web traffic, but it must be used responsibly by internet marketers.  It can be a tricky form of online promotion, but keeping the above tips in mind should help avoid some of the major pitfalls of social network marketing.

For free training on social networking strategy and other internet marketing resources click hyperlinks.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Simple Guide For Deciding On An Online Niche

Niche marketing has become a very popular buzz phrase in the world of internet marketing.  Deciding on an online niche may sound simple enough, but many people struggle when it comes to choosing an online niche.

However, there are a few simple guidelines that will make deciding on a niche a little easier.

Make sure your niche has adequate demand.  When deciding on a niche, choosing a product or service that people want or need is critical.  Products or services that solve a problem, educate or inform, make people look and/or feel better, and that make people's lives easier are ideal.  You don’t want a niche that is saturated, but at the same time, there must be enough demand for your product or service to be profitable.

Make sure your niche is not too broad.  At the very heart of niche marketing is breaking down larger more popular niches into smaller less competitive niches.  Finding smaller niches not only reduces competition, it decreases advertising costs and provides internet marketers with more targeted traffic.  For example, you might be interested in building a sports website (either selling products or providing information).  Obviously, sports is a hugely popular niche, but if you take sports and drill it down to fantasy sports or get even more specific with say a head-to-head fantasy sports niche, you will find a lot less competition in search engines and more targeted traffic to your website.

Thoroughly research keywords.  This is often the area where most people get it wrong in niche marketing.  Before deciding on a niche, a thorough examination of the associated keywords should be done.  Targeting keywords is a delicate process that often makes or breaks a website.  Ideally, less competitive keywords that still generate a steady amount of searches should be targeted.  Google Adwords Keyword Tool is a very useful tool in researching keywords. 

When done right, niche marketing can be a highly successful online business.  It reduces competition, lowers marketing costs and more effectively targets a desired customer base. 

As you can see, the formula is fairly simple, but careful consideration of the 3 previously covered steps will save aspiring niche marketers a lot of heartache and pain.

To receive a free niche marketing video course click here.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3 Simple Online Business Tips For Maintaining Your Daily Internet Marketing Routine

It is not enough to simply start a business online.  Like anything you want to grow, an online business must be cultivated and nurtured.  Without the proper time and attention, your business will never go anywhere.

The typical Internet marketer struggles mightily with time management when it comes to marketing their business.  Unless you are a student, work at home mom, retired or between jobs, chances are you will struggle to find a balance between working your online business and the responsibilities of your daily life.

With that in mind, I have a few online business tips that should help keep you on track with respect to your daily internet marketing routine.

  1. Setup a schedule.  To assure that you are actively promoting your online business, you must schedule time to do so each and every day.  Whether you’re devoting 30 minutes or 3 hours a day to your business, find a specific time during each day to commit to it.  If you work a full-time job and have kids like me, you will likely have to find a time late in the evening to schedule your daily internet marketing tasks.  Yes, it will require sacrifice (TV, time at the gym, socializing, etc), but if you’re serious about building a successful online business and building wealth at home, these are all small sacrifices. Of course, just having a schedule won’t do a bit of good if it isn’t strictly adhered to.  So once you come up with a schedule that works best, all effort must be made to stick to it.  Think of it as a part-time job that you must be just as accountable to as your 9 to 5. 

  1. Get organized.  Because of space or other limitations, not everyone has the luxury of setting up a dedicated home office.  But every effort should be made to organize your online business in such a way that you’re able to move from task-to-task efficiently.  This will ensure that you’re making the most of your scheduled time.  You’ll be amazed at how much time can be wasted searching for things like passwords and affiliate links.  Things you know you will need while marketing your business like passwords or affiliate links can be made more accessible by creating a Word or Excel file for each.  This way they will be readily available when needed. A lot of online marketers suffer from information overload, but properly organizing the information you need will greatly increase production and eliminate that feeling of being overwhelmed.    

  1. Establish short-term goals.  While long-term financial freedom online is the focus, having realistic short-term goals can be critical in keeping up moral and motivation on a daily basis.  As I said, the goals need to be realistic - joining an affiliate business or online opportunity and expecting to make $10,000 in the first month is not realistic (regardless of what some programs might claim).  If recruiting affiliates or associates under you is part of your business, then recruiting 5-10 people in 30 days might be a reasonable short-term goal.  You can have even shorter goals like: writing 3 articles a week to promote your business.  The key is to have a clearly defined objective each time you sit in front of your computer to work your business.

Doing something each and every day to grow your online business and create a passive income can be a challenge for those of us with busy schedules and active lives, but it can be done.  Follow the three steps mentioned earlier and you will greatly increase your daily online marketing productivity and eventually establish a routine that will keep you on the road to online success.