|The Small Business Library|
February 1, 2001
Your Roadmap to Internet Profits
It is hard enough to find your way in some places with a map. How hard would it be if you tried this adventure without one?
Yet, this is exactly what people do every single day in the online world. They tried to build their own businesses online without having a roadmap to success.
Then, after months or years of just wandering around online, they give up in frustration and quit. They walk away saying that the Internet doesn't work for them. The reason it didn't work is that they didn't pick up a map and follow it!
You don't have to end up lost in the online shuffle. Below I will give you ten steps to help you map out your course and get you started in the right direction. It isn't everything that you need to know by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give you a basic foundation to build upon.
Consider it your beginner's map to Internet marketing profits.
The biggest mistake most people make when starting a business is that they choose a product and then try to find people who want to buy it. If that is the direction you are starting from on your journey, then you are going the opposite direction from your destination.
Wise businesses operate from a different concept. They pick a market first, and then they pick a product those people are searching for. In other words, instead of trying to find leads to sell their product to, they find targeted leads and then ask them what they are wanting to buy.
Don't even consider starting a business until you know exactly where you are going to get your leads from. Think targeted customers first. Then, you can come up with a product for those individuals. Would you rather have 1,000 hits a day at your site of a general audience OR 10 hits a day of people who are desperate and willing to pay any price to buy your products? If you are smart, you will choose the people who are ready to buy!
Next, you need to develop a product or service for this market. Don't just jump on the bandwagon of affiliate programs when you come to this step. There are three major ways to selling a product online:
Create a Unique Selling Position for your product or service. Too many companies are just trying to be me-too companies online. You cannot be just like the next guy and expect to make a profit in a global economy. Just going to the next guy's web site to order is too easy for your customers.
You have to create a Uniqueness to your product or offer. What can you offer that no one else can? Can you offer better guarantees, better customer service, more technical support, faster shipping, or lower prices. Think of something that will set you apart from all of your online competitors and tell in complete detail what it is.
The next step is to pick a domain name that describes your company, USP, and offer. Try to keep them as short and descriptive about your business as possible. Avoid using dashes or misspellings of your product. Both of these things will cause people to leave out part of your domain if they type it in. Someone else will be getting free traffic that you worked hard to obtain.
For hosting test them out. They will respond to you within the hour... anytime 24 hours a day, and read about all of the options they offer your Internet business.
The next step in the process is to develop your web site and put it up for the world to see. If you are planning to own a full-time Internet business, I recommend that you learn how to design the site yourself using one of dozens of programs which are readily available at any software store. You will save some money if you can do the work yourself on just the editing alone as your site grows.
If your main business is offline and you are just adding a secondary income, then you may want to consider having a professional do your site for you.
When designing your site, keep the customer in mind always. Provide order forms for online credit card orders. Make all of the links easy to understand. Try to keep your site simple. Think like a customer, not the business owner. Your customers are not nearly as interested in your business as you are. Make sure to put the benefits of your site and your USP right on top of the site. More than half of the web surfers never drop down past the first screen full of information. So, you have to give them the information they need as quickly as possible. The rules for any type of business are Benefits, Benefits, and more Benefits.
One of the major keys to developing traffic and sales at your site is to always offer some type of freebie as a drawing factor. For example, I offer dozens of free reports, weather reports, news, and more. My greatest drawing factor throughout the past 8 months though has been the two free e-books which we offer on our site to people who subscribe to this newsletter.
You need to come up with a freebie no matter what type of business you are in. Create a free report and give it away. Add in a message board or some other type of CGI program on your site. Give a free demo of your software. Create something that you can give away for free on your site to draw in the visitors.
Almost every full-time Internet marketer I know has developed their own Opt-in email list of some type. For most of them, it is a weekly newsletter they send out by email. For others, it may be a Tip of the Day. Other people might just have a list that they send out important updates to.
No matter what you choose to do, odds will be on your side if you concentrate on building a list of loyal email subscribers. Very rarely do customers purchase from you the first time they visit your site. Most of them will get on your list, hang out for a few weeks or months, and then they buy from you. They have to get to know you before they are willing to spend their money with you.
Although search engines are not the advertising avenue they once were, they are still important to any overall Internet marketing plan. You can submit and earn top positions on the search engine using the secrets that are revealed to throughout the online world. The biggest key to high placement is the easiest one to understand. Having important and valuable content on your site can be the major factor to your top position.
For more search engine secrets, keep an eye on our Search Engine Optimization section. We have received dozens of testimonials of how our readers have been applying what they have learned every week and achieved top positions on the various search engines.
Use press releases to offline publications. Write informative articles and send them to online newsletters. Participate in forums, mailing lists, and newsgroups. Place ads on free classified sites. Trade links with other sites. Set up CGI programs such as Search Engines, Free-For-All Links sites, and more.
Do everything that you can do to start producing a consistent level of traffic using the Free Internet marketing methods first. By going this direction first, you can use the profits as investment capital to expand your marketing to paid advertising sources.
Most Internet businesses rely more on paid advertising than on the free sources of traffic... although I have found both methods extremely important in my business. Ezine advertising can be the most effective money you ever spend online. Add to that banner ads and links on high traffic sites and you have several methods of buying hits on your site.
I have found that the most effective leads come from offline advertising. For example, you could purchase ads in a popular targeted magazine for your business. You could also purchase a postcard in one of the card decks. Start up a co-op and get 10 other people to advertise with you and run your own ads for free. Offline leads which come to your site often turn out to contain a much higher percentage of buyers than any of the online advertising methods.
Once you put our short 10 step outline together you have a basic map to creating your own Internet success story. You wouldn't consider going on a trip without a map. So don't try to go it alone online without a map.
The Author, Terry Dean, is the creator of the "Instant Internet CashFlow System" which will teach you how to develop a $100,000 yearly internet strategy, achieve top 20 rankings on search engines, develop your own hot internet products in 4 hours or less, and create an almost unlimited income through banner advertising...: Click Here Now.