Internet Marketing has been a necessary, but interesting, diversion for me. As a writer, I wanted to sell my books online, but at first it just wasn’t happening. So I had to put writing to one side, for a time, in order to learn how to properly market my stuff via the web. In this post, I am going to give you the benefit of that experience.
I am going to share some, as I like to say … blisteringly good tips on Internet Marketing. So, I hope you won’t just read this article, but implement these tips so you can watch your sales increase too.
Tip #1 – Build a Site You Can be Really Proud Of
After several years of fannying around trying all sorts of ways to improve my traffic using the usual sort of tactics frequently spoken about, I have come to the conclusion that my original plan remains the best one. So here is my number #1 tip for success: build a site that people will want to link to!
If you do this one thing, you will attract natural linking, which is exactly what Google wants, your site will steadily rise in the SERPS and you can focus your effort on the task that will deliver the most benefit i.e. creating fresh, original, quality content.
There are many people who make a good deal of money by doing what is effectively the reverse, building sites that do not enhance the web overall. And I am not intending to knock anyone’s business model. What people choose to do is entirely their own affair. What I am saying is that such sites do not generally attract natural linking.
On the other hand, if you build a site that serves a community, you may well find people linking to you and thanking you for making good quality information available – all without promotional effort on your part. And if you can also add an affiliate program into the mix, others who want to link to your site primarily because of the quality will be even more likely to do so.
There will be people who will want to tell you that it will take you a long time to see the fruit of such effort, but that need not be the case. Sure, you should do some initial promotion of your site using traditional methods like article marketing, social bookmarking etc, but for the longer term, think: quality first!
When you are tempted to start a new project, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the web need this new site?
- Can I serve a community with this project?
- How can I truly add value?
If you follow this little plan and create a site that really serves a community well, I promise that at some stage, natural linking will overtake your own promotional efforts and thereafter you will reap amazing rewards.
So why not buck the trend? Chuck away those auto-blogging ideas, fire those $3 article writers and start building a site you can be really proud of.
Tip #2 – If You Use Aweber, Tell People on Your Sign-up Page
One reason that people fail to sign-up for your newsletter, free book, course or whatever else it is that you are giving away is that they feel they may not be able to trust you. They are not just worried that you will spam the hell out of their inbox. They are worried that your unsubscribe link will not work or that, worse still, you won’t even have one.
So, if you are marketing to the IM (Internet Marketing) niche/crowd and you are using Aweber as your autoresponder, make sure that on all of your squeeze pages, you let people know that you will be delivering your content via Aweber.
This should increase your sign-ups. Why? Because people know that with Aweber there is a proper double opt-in process available that most people choose to use and also that Aweber will always include a genuine unsubscribe link in every mail.
Tip #3 – If You are a ClickBank Vendor, Spell Out the Refund Policy
Similar to the above tip, but this time for sales pages directed at people OUTSIDE the IM niche. One reason people fail to buy is that they suspect that you may not honour your refund guarantee. If your prospects belong to the IM market, they will probably know that ClickBank itself will underwrite your guarantee.
Regardless of what the vendor says and does, ClickBank will always issue a refund if the customer asks for one, but people OUTSIDE the IM niche will NOT know this simple fact.
So, especially if you are marketing OUTSIDE the IM niche, make sure you tell people that this is the case (spell out the ClickBank Refund Policy) because people outside the IM niche have no idea how well their interests are being protected by Clickbank and what their policy is on the issue of refunds.
This tactic will increase your sales conversions when your prospects properly understand that your refund guarantee is fully underwritten by a trusted third party.
Tip #4 – Tell People You Accept Their Local Currency
Having analysed where my sales are coming from, it turns out that most are from the USA. That’s a good thing in my case because I actually target the US audience since I run a Personal Development site and I believe US citizens are more switched-on to the genre that most other countries.
That said, I also get sales from all over the world. It is increasing sales from this latter group that this tip concerns.
The thing is, quite a lot of people, I believe, do not understand when they see a ClickBank sales page with the product priced in USD, that the ClickBank payment gateway converts the transaction to their local currency. So by making this plain with a carefully worded line of text placed near the ‘Buy Now’ button, you will increase your sales.
Here is the text I use myself …
“Payment Securely Processed in Your Local Currency”
This does two things:
1) Reassures the visitor that the payment is safe ‘Securely Processed’
2) Announces that your site handles multiple currencies
Just one more thing. I have absolutely no affiliation with this site, but you can get a really cool currency converter (free) and put it right there on your sales page by pasting a snippet of code. It automatically translates your prices into other currencies.
There you go. Implement this little tip and watch your conversions rise!
Tip #5 – Observe the Masses, Then Do the Opposite
It has often been said that 95% of internet marketers fail to make any money, at all, online. Well, I don’t know how accurate that figure is, but it certainly makes you think doesn’t it? If only 5% are actually making money, then the number making a decent living will be very small; and the people who consistently reach and exceed 6 figures (let alone 7) annually are rare animals indeed.
So, as I would like to help and encourage people who are still in the 95%, here is something you should think about very carefully. Let this sink in: if 95% of internet marketers fail to make ANY money online, then 95% are clearly going about the whole business in the wrong way.
What do 95% of internet marketers actually do?
- Follow the Herd (to use a term much favoured by Allen Says)
- Bombard their lists with low-value emails
- Promote all the latest fads
- Continually search for the Golden Key
There are causes and there are effects. Not making money is an effect, some of the causes of which are in that list. If you want to make money, it’s the causes you need to address in order to reap the effects you desire.
Remember that the results of 95% of internet marketers can’t be wrong. The figures speak for themselves. Watch the herd and remember that, all the time, you are constantly being given an object lesson in how NOT to do it!
Tip #6 – Get Serious with Twitter
You know, for a long time, I had not really thought too much about Twitter. At present I have about 300 followers and I am on 5 separate lists i.e. 5 lists are following me.
Sure I have it as a part of my marketing mix. My blog posts get automatically tweeted and I have a ‘follow me’ link on my blog. But that’s it. I had not really given it much extra thought until recently. I read one or two Twitter reports, just to see if someone else has got the thing cracked and could help me see where it would best fit into what I am doing and, perhaps more to the point, why I should be concerned about it.
None of the information I gathered from the web and the reports I purchased really explained the power of the platform. Many of the so-called ‘systems’ consisted of following as many people as you could in order to get a reciprocal following. Apparently there are tools that do this kind of thing and you can ditch people after they follow you – none of that appeals to me.
But, as sometimes happens to me, one particular incident caused me to finally understand exactly why I needed to take Twitter a lot more seriously.
I was doing a bit of keyword research and I realised that my site has a number #2 position on page #1 for a ‘time management’ related term. So I decided to actually type ‘time management’ into Ms G. As it turned out, I wasn’t on page #1 for that term, but scanning the page I noticed something very interesting. The company I used to work for were on page #1 of Google!
Now, I genuinely was just about to draft a congratulatory email to my old colleague, the marketing manager, because that company, as good as it was (and still is) at what it does, actually normally has very poor rankings in Google. I initially thought what a great job he must have done.
But then … it hit me!
The reason that the company was on page #1 was nothing to do with how well their SEO was getting at all. It was for the following two reasons:
1. I was logged into my Google account
2. I follow that company on Twitter
Stay with me here, because this may not have struck you before either.
Sure you need pages that are optimised for the relevant terms, but you can get Twitter traffic without backlinks because you can clearly get page #1 listings in the SERPS for those people who follow you.
There will be people who might want to chip in and say stuff like: yeah, well that’s only if they are logged into Google – and that’s true. But do you know something, with Google+ and the +1 button plus gMail, Adsense and a whole host of other reasons, my view is that more and more people ARE going to be logged into Google when they use the search engine in the future.
So, let it sink in if it hasn’t already, and until quite recently it simply hadn’t for me, you need to work on getting a huge Twitter following because, in the future, the SERPS results for YOUR Twitter followers will be heavily influenced in YOUR favour.
Tip #7 – Reverse Engineer Profitable Sites
This tip concerns establishing a business model that is almost guaranteed to deliver results. Of course, there really are no guarantees in this business, as I am sure many will agree, but this I think, is as close as it gets.
OK, so we are going to use the site flippa.com to do the research. Flippa, as I am sure most people will know, is a site that is intended to be about buying and selling websites. Well, I have been thinking about reinvesting some of my income into other sites, so recently I have been paying a bit of attention to their site. What I have discovered is that this site is a mine of useful information for internet marketers.
I am going to give you an example so you can see how you can use this resource to your advantage. But this is an example only. It is important that you understand the underlying principle we are talking about and that’s what I am suggesting that you use.
So, first off, get yourself over there and click on the ‘Buy Websites’ button. Down the left hand column, you will see various criteria you can enter to find websites. Here’s some criteria I like to use, but with a bit of practice, you will come up with your own:
Auction Status: Still Open
Property Type: Established websites
Net Profit: 1 – 1000
Gross Revenue: 1-1000
Monetisation Methods: Advertising
Now, I don’t need to bother with traffic stats, PR or any of that stuff. I am just interested in established sites that are making a profit and I like to see that profit being made via Adsense. There are other things to take into account, but this search is a good start.
When I just popped over and did that search, I got 129 results – great, that’s weeded out a lot of rubbish. Personally, I don’t mind looking through those 129 results manually. Some of them will be rubbish still. But, we will have some gems in there and we can get full access to their business models.
For example, for one of those sites, the guy selling it had posted Adsense stats, SEO stats, keyword stats, analytics and backlink stats – wow!
His site apparently makes around $7 per month via Adsense from only 100 visitors. It is a new site and there is no guarantee that this info is 100% accurate, but he had a page #1 listing in big G for his main keyword – which was, very easily, verifiable. So I have no reason to doubt his figures – i.e. they seemed reasonable for a site with that ranking. By the way, I did consider buying it.
Anyway, you could see the ClickBank product he was promoting and the Adsense placement he was using – he said he was using a premium theme for varied placement – all interesting stuff. I have used this site only as an example simply because I was seriously looking at it, actually considering buying it. But when you find sites that are genuinely profitable (and, yes you do need to do your due diligence) it is fairly easy to work out where their traffic is coming from, what their monetisation methods are and how many links you need to out-compete them.
There will be people who will want to tell you that you cannot trust the stats on Flippa and of course, you do need to be careful. As I said, do your due diligence, but with a little discernment, this site is indeed a mine of useful information. So I hope you can see the benefit of doing a bit of research on Flippa – that site is a goldmine right under your nose!
Tip #8 – How to Get Prompt Testimonials/Product Reviews
This is a tip I have used to great effect in the Warrior WSO forum, but you can use it anywhere provided you are selling your own product. Simply add a short paragraph at the end of the sales page saying that ‘six lucky people’ will get your product completely free. All they have to do is provide you with a review (stay with me here).
In order to qualify, they must purchase your product and then send you a review. You state that, if you decide to use their review on your sales page, then you will refund them the full purchase amount. Do you see how powerful this is? Those people who want your product for free will get the review back to you quickly or they will potentially miss out on the six places.
There’s more to it because what I also say to them is that to qualify, I want a digital photo plus their full name and their website address. All of that gets printed on my website if I decide to use the review because such detail increases the credibility of the testimonial. If you just give away review copies upfront, many people will be interested in getting your product for free, but comparatively few of them will follow through by providing the review. However, this approach works – dare I say it – like gang-busters.
Tip #9 – How to Get a Quick Spike in Sales Every Time
When I first started, I did a lot of playing about with product prices. I always wanted to offer great value, and still do, but I wanted to find out how price affected desirability. It is an interesting thing to do. I found products that didn’t sell at $19 might sell at $9 for example. I also discovered that increasing your prices sometimes leads to less sales but more profit.
On one occasion, I was about to increase the price of one of my products, only by a few dollars, but before I did, I sent out a quick mail to tell people that it was their final opportunity to get my book at the low price I had been offering it; and, what do you know, I got a nice spike in sales. So, as I said, I am always testing price points and every time I increase a price, I send out a mail like that.
If you ever decide to change the price of your product or the bonus you offer, you should email your list and tell them it’s their final opportunity to get your product at the current price; or their final opportunity to get your bonus with your product. Provided you have done a good job in building trust, you will also see a spike in your sales, even for products that don’t normally sell very well.
Tip #10 – How to Win Every Paypal Dispute
I have never lost a Paypal dispute either as a buyer or a seller. As a seller, I always deliver what I have promised and I am always prepared to work with any difficulty to ensure the buyer gets what they paid for. I have found that Paypal are more than prepared to find in your favour if you do everything you possibly can to help the purchaser.
Of course, you should always honour your own guarantees. If you promised an unconditional refund, then you would refund, of course. I am not suggesting you do anything different. But sometimes (for example with PLR materials where the source code is provided) I do not offer an unconditional guarantee. In those cases, I make it plain on the sales page and tell people if they are not happy about it, not to order.
As a buyer, sometimes I have been taken for a ride. Occasionally, people don’t deliver at all. It amazes me that there are such people trying to take advantage of others when they could easily be selling something genuine. But nevertheless, they do exist, so here’s what I do. Firstly, I email the seller continually at about 2 day intervals asking them for their help, asking them what they are going to do and very gently and politely, increase the level of dissatisfaction expressed in each email.
On about the 5th or 6th mail, I will ask them if they would prefer me to open a Paypal dispute. If this mail does not produce immediate results I open a dispute and then – here’s the clever bit – immediately escalate it to a claim before they have a chance to respond. I copy and paste all the emails into Paypal and I usually get the refund by the following day.
Works like a charm every time.
Tip #11 – Oranges are Not the Only Fruit!
There was a book by Jeanette Winterson with the title Oranges are Not the Only Fruit. It was her first novel for which she won an award. The title has always stuck in my mind and I use it here as a metaphor. You see, internet marketing is marketing on the internet; not, as so many people seem to think, selling ‘make money online’ products and services. To say this slightly differently, ‘making money online’ is a niche, but it is not the only niche!
I remember seeing a post, at a popular forum, in which someone complained about the refund rate being excessively high on ClickBank. As I said in my reply at the time, it is not the payment processor that is the problem; it is the niche! I sell many digital products through ClickBank because I like the way they operate. Most of my products are in other niches, for example, Life Coaching, and my refund rate is very low indeed.
So remember what you are fundamentally doing when marketing on the internet: you are helping people to overcome their problems by providing goods and services that genuinely help. If you are really doing that, your refund rate will be very low too.
Tip #12 – Finding High Quality JV Partners
A while back, I was invited to take part in one of those new product launches as an affiliate. You have probably seen them yourself. They generally offer a variety of prizes for affiliates that sell the most. It is a good idea to keep your eyes open for any that are running in your niche, and join.
About halfway through the promotion, the vendor sent me an email with details of how things were going. I was flattered to see I was actually in the Top 10 affiliates promoting the offer. But then, I realised what great quality information I was reading.
During their product launches, many vendors periodically email participating affiliates with the ‘Leaderboard’ – and right there you have a list of potential JV partners within your niche and they are not ordinary run-of-the-mill affiliates either; they are top performers in your field.
In addition (a little bonus tip) always be on the lookout to analyse and utilise any data you come across in unconventional ways – as I did in the above example.
Tip #13 – The Genuine Shortcut to Success
The genuine shortcut to success is to find someone who has already accomplished what you are trying to achieve and learn from them.
Don’t waste your time with people who are offering recycled third-hand information that is out of date and will not help you at all. Instead, find a quality mentor. That way, you get the opportunity to benefit from all of their hard-won, firsthand experience without having to repeat any of their mistakes.
At present, I have a number of places still left on my Personal Mentoring course. The places are strictly limited because I am providing personal attention and can therefore only work with a limited number of people. If you would like to find out more about how I can help you, please click here.