As of March 2007, 16.9% of the world’s 6.5 billion population was using the internet which roughly translates into 1.2 billion people! Asia boasts more than 50% of the world’s population and of that Asian populous only 10.7% is currently online as compared to almost 70% of the North American population!
1. INTERNET MARKETING: IS IT WORTH YOUR WHILE?
PROS: The internet is one vast marketing arena that grows bigger and bigger every year. Put another way, in the year of 2006, online advertising racked up revenue in excess of $ 16.7 billion dollars and is expected to reach $ 45 billion in the next five years.
CONS: That many people online means that the competition is bound to be fierce; but the opposite holds true as well. That many people online means there is more than enough market share to go around.
BOTTOM LINE: An internet business is a great way to generate a second income or a primary money generating system that once set up is completely automated. However if you are starting out now be aware that you have millions of already established internet marketing businesses to compete with.
2. DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST
Before deciding on what your internet business is going to be make sure that there is a large enough target audience to make it worth your while. There’s no point marketing something that nobody is interested in.
PROS: Countless opportunities abound online and also there’re several websites such as digitalpoint.com which offer excellent free marketing research tools.
CONS: Excellent as a lot of these free tools are, they cannot compete with some fee-based tools as far as in-depth analytics go.
BOTTOM LINE: Plenty of novice internet marketers doom themselves right from the get go because they don’t bother doing any prior research which is tantamount to firing first before readying yourself, aiming then finally firing!
3. GETTING YOUR WEB PRESENCE
The internet has come of age. A few years back getting a credible web presence usually translated into having to shell out exorbitant hosting fees. That has since changed!
These days you can get luxury-level, premium loaded web hosting for less than $ 4/month. Even better yet you can conduct an online business without ever having to pay web hosting fees. All you have to do is use a blog!
PROS: Starting an online business today need not cost you a single cent upfront!
CONS: Just starting out means that you’ve got your work cut out to distinguish your internet business from the rest of the crowd; a very big crowd!
BOTTOM LINE: You really no longer have an excuse for not getting a web presence. The old oh-I-cannot-afford-hosting-fees excuse no longer cuts it! As previously mentioned it is now possible to conduct internet marketing without putting down a single cent. And as for not knowing HTML (web coding language)! That excuse too is dead and buried.; knowing html or other web coding language is a thing of the past, these days you can make do quite nicely without.
4. WHAT IS THE FASTEST/EASIEST WAY TO MAKE MONEY ONLINE?
Hands down the cheapest, easiest and quickest way to make money online is through affiliate marketing.
And what is affiliate marketing?
Affiliate marketing is simply a partnership between an affiliate (you) and a merchant (the merchant being the owner of the product). Affiliate marketing may also be referred to as affiliate programs, referral programs and associate programs.
Here’s how affiliate marketing works–You (the affiliate) promote or advertise a product on your site that belongs to somebody else (the merchant).
Basically, the merchant supplies you with a variety of text links, banners or graphics embedded with your own affiliate code. You then strategically insert any number of those coded links or graphics onto your website (or blog) with the purpose of referring your visitors to the merchant’s site.
When one of your site’s visitors clicks on any one of those code-imbedded links they are transferred to the merchant’s site. If that visitor then purchases something from that merchant you get paid. It’s as simple as that.
PROS: You don’t have to spend a cent to be an affiliate marketer. The best affiliate programs furnish you with all the necessary tools to conduct a successful promotional campaign of their products. Best of all, there are more than enough well-established and trustworthy affiliate program directories from which you can choose almost any product to promote!
CONS: You need to make sure that the products that you promote actually achieve what the claim to do (which in some cases entails trying them out beforehand). Also you are going to be faced with the issue of being just another affiliate marketer promoting the same products as thousands of other internet marketers.
BOTTOM LINE: Affiliate marketing is the cheapest way to start out. However bear in mind that the internet marketers who make the big bucks do so through selling their own products. So in essence you should promote other people’s stuff up until you’ve become internet marketing savvy enough to sell your own product, be it digital goods (downloadable stuff) or whatever.
5. INTERNET TRAFFIC: THE POT OF GOLD AT THE END OF EVERY INTERNET MARKETING RAINBOW
In the online world once you’ve got lots of internet traffic you’re made, without it, you’re dead! Internet traffic is the true engine that drives any successful internet business. Those websites or blogs that are raking it in do so for one reason and one reason alone; they get tons of online traffic!
So how do you get traffic? There’re a variety of ways to get traffic, some of them free and others not so.
A. USE WEB 2.0 TECHNIQUES: Web 2.0 is the newest phase or 2nd generation of web based services which include social networking sites such as myspace.com and youtube.com to name but a few. A well organized and interesting blog is a good platform with which to gain web 2.0 based internet traffic.
B. WRITE ARTICLES: Cheap and highly effective method to attract quick relevant traffic to your website or blog. It does require a certain amount of effort on your part (in other words conveying useful information) to make sure that your article attracts a ton of visitors to your site. The best bit about article writing is that you have literally thousands of article directories where you can submit your articles to.
C. POSTING IN FORUMS: Most people trawl forums to find answers that resolve their problems. You can capitalize on this by checking out forums relevant to your market and posting replies to current or recent questions to which you know the answers. If you post a genuinely useful and helpful reply you could end up with several grateful customers.
Well, it’s very probable those people whose problem you just solved will click on your signature link to see what further useful information they can get from your site. Most forums enable you to promote your site by allowing you to paste a link pointing to your site at the end of your posting (different forums have different guidelines so it’s good to read them up).
D. PAY-PER-CLICK ADVERTISING of which perhaps the most famous (or infamous depending on your perspective) is Google Adwords. Paying to get internet traffic through advertising is what is commonly known as PPC or pay-per-click. At its most basic, pay per-click marketing involves you composing an ad and bidding for a relevant searched-for keyword. Your ad will then be listed on the relevant search engine index pages for that same keyword you bid.
E. INTERNET TRAFFIC FROM THE SEARCH ENGINES: This is the best traffic to draw to your website because it is the most qualified and targeted type of online traffic. What do I mean when I say the most qualified type of internet traffic?
I am talking about people who actively typed in a search term/phrase (keyword) into any search engine online. Such a person is more likely to purchase, subscribe or do whatever you most desire your visitors to do when they get to your site.
Getting this kind of traffic requires search engine optimization (seo) of your website or blog.
PROS: There’re multiple avenues to draw internet traffic to your website/blog these days, all of which involve a certain amount of effort, some more so than others. A well written article costs you no more than the whirring of your brain and the tip tap of your fingers on the keyboard, yet the traffic generated from that one article could quite easily translate into big sales.
CONS: Online traffic is what everybody with a web presence desires, only problem is that it happens to be rather challenging to get a significant amount of it unless your website has been around for quite a while.
BOTTOM LINE: Internet traffic is the lifeblood of any online business and if you intend to be an internet marketer then you cannot do without it.
6. PLAY NOT FOLLOW THE LEADER!
Masura Ibuka, a co-founder of Sony once said “You never succeed in technology, business or anything else by following others!” That quote is equally applicable today in the internet marketing arena as it was when he said it. If you insist on playing follow-the-leader, then by proxy you’ll always be playing catch-up which is not the best marketing strategy.
PROS: Being the leader in whatever marketing endeavor you pursue automatically makes your brand instantly recognizable to the public which translates into more profit because people will always think of you first for that particular niche market. After all don’t forget your ultimate internet marketing goal should be selling your own products eventually.
CONS: Being in the forefront by its very nature means that you’re going to have to put in a little more time and effort at the beginning to attain that lead than if you were just joining the ranks of followers.
7. AVOID THE MINEFIELD OF ONLINE SCAMS.
I’m sure you don’t need to be told that the internet is awash with scams. A good rule of thumb to abide by is: If it seems too good to be true then it is precisely that! Most people get scammed because they are looking for the easiest path to riches and hence ignore that little squeaky voice in their head that is telling them “there’s no such thing as an overnight success!”
PROS: A lot of internet marketers who had been operating smoothly behind a facade of respectability have since been exposed together with their scams. Still the onus is on you to keep your wits and common sense and not get duped!
CONS: It is easy to be swept off your senses by good copywriting and visions of all that money you’re apparently going to make overnight doing practically nothing!
If you ever do start getting that giddy feeling ascribed to gonna-be-rich-overnight syndrome, remember what world-famous hairstylist Vidal Sassoon had to say about success: “The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary!”