Archive for October, 2006

What is in a Niche?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

What is it about the word Niche that has everyone wearing out their keyword tools? Find the right niche, and you just might uncover an untapped goldmine. There is a fallacy in the Internet marketing community that all Internet marketers use Internet marketing as their niche. Not true.

While some do generate profits from information products, membership sites, and AdSense revenue, most successful marketers find niches outside of Internet marketing. A niche is simply a targeted audience within a broader community.

For instance, parents are a broad niche. But parents of multiples are a more targeted niche. You might create an online empire that caters to both sectors of the online community.

Your product line could include items directed at issues affecting all moms and dads and such as cutting costs in the household, or you could narrow down your niche to target single mothers of autistic children. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the broader your niche, the more profitable it will be.

That, too, is a false belief plaguing so many newcomers to net marketing (and even a few seasoned veterans). A focused niche can sometimes generate a higher rate of conversion because the competition is decreased and the consumer can not find products suited just to their needs.

Take the example above single mothers of autistic children. You could probably find dozens of products on autism, but how many meet the unique needs that a single parent would face in this situation?

Finding your niche is heavily dependent on how the market will react to online marketing. This is where keyword tools come in so handy they can tell you how many searches where conducted over a period of time.

You have to temper your glee in finding out that your keyword has a lot of searches with the fact that other marketers might have discovered this fact, too. That’s when it’s necessary to drill down your niche. This simply means you magnify your niche until you’re able to see the finer details that could set you apart from the sea of competitors.

When you set out to discover your niche, try to find one that will allow you to build a library of products around it. Brainstorm what other needs a single parent of an autistic child might have and then keep adding to your list until it’s exhausted and time to move forward and find a new target audience.

What You Need to Know About Google PageRank

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Google is the mainstay of search engine use among online consumers. So it pays to understand how their algorithm works to either put your site at the top of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) or bury it at the bottom.

Google PageRank goes from zero to ten – and there are very few sites with a perfect score among the billions of web pages on the ‘net. When you first submit your site, it will start off with a zero PageRank, and hopefully grow as you optimize the site for Google and other search engines.

PageRank is a secrets formula Google uses to rank your site for its users. The best sites, in Google’s eyes, will have a top 10 position on page one of the SERPs. Other sites will fall in line by order of importance based on what Google deems relevant.

There are a few things we do know about Google’s algorithm. First, it includes incoming links to your site. But not just any links. When you can get other high-ranking domains that are within your industry (according to similar keywords) to point to your domain, it tells Google that the other site is giving you a nod of acceptance.

We also know that Google does some obscure things with its algorithm. For instance, when you registered your domain, did you do it for more than a year? You should have, because Google gives better rankings to sites who register for three or more years, showing they’re serious about creating a home on the ‘net of value to others.

Other factors also affect your PageRank. If Googlebots stop by for a visit and your host’s server went down, then it’s factored into the equation until the next crawl. They also look to see if your links work properly, if navigation is easy, and if the site is designed properly for function, not aesthetics.

Don’t make the common mistake of launching hundreds of sites just for the sake of pointing at one other domain, either. Google prefers organic link building to massive incoming links recognized all at once. They’re on the hunt to sniff out falsities like this, so be careful or you’ll inadvertently get your site send to the Google Sandbox.

If you aren’t sure what your domain’s PageRank is right now, download the Google toolbar at http://toolbar.google.com and when your site loads, you should see the PageRank button with a bar that tells you how high your site has risen. If you’re under a six, then it’s time to get to work implementing strategies Google finds appealing and watch your ranking catapult to the top.

What Options Do I Have for Viral Marketing?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Viral marketing is an integral part of any Internet marketer’s online strategy. If you aren’t giving away something for free, then you aren’t leveraging the power of the people the way you should be.

Remember the days when people gasped if something was duplicated on the ‘net? It was stolen – and obviously an unfortunate situation. Well today people aren’t just creating free content – they’re begging people to give it away to others.

Why? Viral marketing helps marketers brand their name on the ‘net. Inside each piece is the opportunity to have hyperlinks driving people back to your own domain or that of your affiliate products.

But it’s more than that. Creating viral freebies for the sake of branding means you have to produce superior works of writing that make the reader stop and think, “I can’t believe he just gave that away for free!”

Viral marketing is usually conducted to increase the number of leads, or opt-ins, you get on your site. So you want to have a system in place where, once the visitor signs up to your list and opts in, they’re redirected to a download page where they can instantly get their hands on the free report.

Viral freebies don’t have to be extensive, 100-page products, either. You can write a well-thought-out, insightful report at five pages and see great results. Likewise, if you put out 100 pages of fluff and filler, don’t expect people to stay on your list because they’ll view your products as worthless.

When you create a viral product, make sure you take time to secure the item. if it’s in PDF format, you don’t mind if people pass it along – in fact you want to encourage them to – but you don’t want anyone to be able to go in and change your hyperlinks to theirs.

The goal is to spread the freebie to as many people as possible, so at the end of your item, make sure you state it clearly that the product can be given away to others as long as it remains unchanged. Even if they’re using it to capture names for their list, the reader will ultimately see your hyperlinks within the document.

Aside from viral product creation for opt ins, you can also use viral articles to drive traffic to your domain. Submit your content to article directories such as EzineArticles.com or GoArticles.com and allow publishers to use it as their content for free – in exchange for them keeping the bio box or hyperlinks intact.

What MySpace Has to Offer Internet Marketers

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

While many people have some complaints about the MySpace community, there’s no denying it’s a powerful force in the world of Internet marketing. Regardless of which niche you’re targeting, there are bound to be people on MySpace who want to blog about it and interact with like-minded individuals.

On MySpace, you have to watch your boundaries on who you’re contacting and for what purpose. Tom, the all-around admin guy who is everyone’s first “friend” on the site, can ban your space in an instant if you start spamming the site and its members.

Aside from your individual MySpace pages, which are limited in number, you have the opportunity to join groups and post classified ads on the site. Like many other social networking sites, the key to success on MySpace is to be personable and real.

Some marketers make the mistake of creating dozens of MySpace pages under different email addresses, and then never participate in the socialization of it all. On MySpace, they want to get to know who you are, what you have to say, and then interact with you through comments posted on your page.

MySpace is part of the giant blogosphere, and many of your fellow bloggers take their pages very serious. That means you have to be careful not to blatantly promote your product or domain – do it under the guise of being friendly and helpful and always give something valuable, even if it’s just information, back to the community of bloggers on MySpace.

Aside from the social aspect, MySpace has a Google PageRank of eight, which is pretty high compared to many other sites. So when you create a space within that site, and point to your own domain, you’re helping your site out whenever Googlebots crawl your URL and use their algorithm (including incoming links) to figure out how high your site should rank.

MySpace, like other social networking sites, is part of the web 2.0 evolution of Internet marketing, when you need to reach out to your customers and find them rather than create a static site and hope they find you. Whether or not you buy into web 2.0 ideology, there’s no denying the fact that MySpace gives you access to a huge database of prospective customers.

When you do it properly, a MySpace marketing strategy can generate thousands of hits to your domain, results in just as many opt-ins to your list, and ultimately provide you with the profits you need to comfortably work on developing more streams of passive income.

The Fastest Route to a Joint Venture Opportunity

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

As an Internet marketer, it doesn’t matter if you’re brand new to the scheme of things or a seasoned veteran labeled as a guru in IM circles. One thing remains the same – you need to understand the power of Joint Venture partnerships and work on positioning yourself with the best people dabbling in your niche.

A Joint Venture opportunity can be done in a number of ways. Sometimes one person brings talent while the other brings the technical know-how – such as a ghostwriter and web designer partnering up for a product launch.

Other times, you may find a Joint Venture based on one person offering a special deal to another person’s opt-in list. There’s a great deal of flexibility in JVs, and both parties stand to reap huge financial rewards when the right people join forces.

To get a Joint Venture partner quickly, you need something valuable to offer the other party. Not all JVs are split equally in profits. Sometimes, you have to start your Joint Venture partnerships with a deal where you get a smaller percentage of the profits but you also prove yourself for a better cut of the pie next time.

You never want a potential Joint Venture partner to have any chance (or reason) to turn down your offer. Your approach to the other person should be as compelling as the sales copy on your domain.

Don’t just tell the other person what percentage they’ll get of the sales. Go deeper and appeal to their appetite for success. Tell them what they’ll miss out on if you take this offer to someone else. It might be in the form of profits, but if they know you’re going to be a power player in their niche, it might benefit them to link up with you early on in your success.

If the other person is reluctant to partner with you, then you might try changing your offer to see if it makes a difference. Maybe a larger percentage of the profits or a shorter term on the agreement would entice them to say, “Yes: to your deal.

You always want to try to partner with someone who has something better than you do. Your offer must sill be valuable and worthy to them, but your success builds each time you partner with someone who has had greater success than your own.

Be creative, but not cocky, when approaching a Joint Venture partner with an opportunity. And if they turn you down, don’t be afraid to knock on another door until one opens for you. Once your own success becomes well-known, you’ll have newcomers approaching you for a Joint Venture partnership. Just remember that these people may one day be the formidable teammates who could help you bring in a big payday!

Socialization Strategies on Squidoo

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Have you heard of Squidoo? Like Google, it’s a funny moniker, but one that has potential to be a powerful player in the realm of social networking. Social networking is a crucial part of web 2.0 and how marketers now need to rely on consumer-driven commentary to steer their business efforts.

Squidoo has been branded as a sort of MySpace for grown-ups. That’s because you’re not forced to ensure glittery flashing banner ads, endless friends requests, or blasts of bulletins you know and care nothing about.

On Squidoo, it’s more of an “if you build it, they will come” network. You don’t have to go out and solicit friends, or invest in robot tools that do the job for you. You simply build your space on the site and casually stroll the virtual boardwalk to say hi in a few guestbooks to introduce yourself.

Setting up on Squidoo is an easy process, and it’s free. Seth Godin, founder of Squidoo, encourages users to build as many lenses as they want to. A lens is simply a page within the site that you claim and populate with various modules. Modules are features you can choose for your lens, such as a content (Write) module, an RSS feed module, a module for eBay or Amazon, a Quick Poll module, and so on.

Once you become a lensmaster at Squidoo and set up your first lens, you want to start socializing on the site to increase traffic to your lenses and ultimately – your own domain.

You do this by visiting other people’s lenses within the same niche and signing their guestbook. Each signature you leave is hyperlinked back to your own lens, so the traffic can just follow the trail.

A newer strategy to allow you to socialize on Squidoo is to join or start your own group on the site. In the groups, you have the chance to interact with others who share your interests. Some groups hold contests to see who can get the most traffic in a month, whose lens ranks highest, and more.

This kind of exposure helps you brand your name within the social network and if you interact on a regular basis, you’ll start to see other people linking to your lens, funneling traffic directly to your other domains.

Squidoo is still in its infancy, so there’s a lot of opportunity to log on and stake claim to the best lenses that have keywords for your niche within the title and name of the URL. Visit Squidoo today and get started as a lensmaster.

Visit this Squidoo lense

Is Internet Marketing Too Cutthroat for Newbies?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Every time another Internet marketing newbie comes into the arena, they have a 50/50 chance of survival – sometimes the odds are even stacked against them. If you’re an Internet marketing newbie yourself, then you need to learn the difference between you and what constitutes those “gurus” you’ve been hearing about.

All Internet marketing newbies encounter a learning curve that tries to sweep them in mass numbers to the sea of failures like a rip tide that just won’t let go. But it’s the strong swimmers who survive – the ones who don’t try to butt heads with their competition, but instead swim parallel to other people’s success until they can position themselves for a ripe Joint Venture opportunity.

The first thing Internet marketing newbies need to learn is how to build their online empire from a foundation of knowledge. All too often, they’re confronted with a product claiming to be the absolute single guide to their financial security, when in fact all ‘net marketers need a vast amount of insight before they ever spend a dime.

You have to understand that no guru made it to the top without some semblance of education. A lot of debate has been going on in Internet newbie circles about which site or product will best educate someone on how to get started (and succeed) with an online business.

While there are many products aimed at newbies, you have to be careful not to get sucked into every single offer and compelling sales letter that you read. Be selective when you invest in your Internet marketing education. There are many informative items you can choose, but a lot of knock-off products that fall short of what the owner is selling.

Think of it just as you would any business endeavor. Would you hand over thousands of dollars for a franchise opportunity without first doing some research? As a newcomer to the Internet marketing arena, you have a responsibility to protect your investments – and your time.

Is the industry too cutthroat for Internet marketing newbies? Not at all. In fact, you’ll find men and women in this niche more willing to help you out than the competitors you’ll find elsewhere.

Just remember that when you’re no longer new, you need to give back to the very community that helped build your success. Take another Internet marketing newbie under your wing and help them realize their dreams of financial independence.

How Does Blogging Help Brand My Business?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

A blog, or web log, is an online diary that people use for all kinds of reasons. Some people use them for hobby purposes – to espouse their opinions about important world events. But as a marketer, you can use a free, simple blog to help brand your business and drives targeted traffic to your product or membership domains.

Blogging is easy to do and addictive once you get started. First, go to a site like www.Blogger.com and register for a free account. Then you’ll name your blog – and while it’s best to use relevant keywords for your niche inside the title, make sure it evokes a sense of curiosity among web surfers who stumble upon your blog.

Then you choose a template and you can start branding your business at your blog spot. To do this, you have to create daily or weekly posts to your blog that discusses your industry with you as an authority figure.

You want to allow comments from your readers because that feedback can help drive your business to a higher level. You’ll know what the customer wants, so you can provide it to them.

Blogs are supposed to have personality. That doesn’t mean you have to post lewd pictures of yourself or write your deepest, darkest thoughts. But it does mean reaching out to the online community and letting others get to know you on a personal level – as more than just a business name.

You want to be sure you ping your blog to the many ping sites, such as www.pingomatic.com because then other sites are notified each and every time you update your blog and provide fresh content.

You can create multiple blogs all over the Internet, each time directing traffic to your other sites and creating a buzz about your product line, your services, or your site. As a blogger, you instantly command a certain amount of respect from fellow bloggers who have a penchant for seeing what others are doing on the ‘net.

Before you start filling your blog with nothing but blatant advertising, make sure you understand the purpose of a blog. As an integral part of web 2.0 marketing, it’s all about the socialization that takes place in blogging communities.

Soon, you’ll be embarking on your own path to become a part of the blogosphere – the world of blogs as a whole. Now, you can even host your blog on your own domain so that you don’t have to keep logging into the blogging site – you simply update your posts and ping directly from your website.

How Do I Make Money Online?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

When someone first hears about Internet marketing, the first question is invariably, “But how do I make money online?” It’s a concept that is hard to grasp for many people – not just the process of how money is made in Internet marketing – but the amount of money to be made with the right niche.

First, it’s important that there are no guaranteed paychecks in Internet marketing, but there’s also no glass ceiling, either. Your profit potential is only limited to the amount of effort you put in.

So how do you create multiple streams of income? There are many ways, but let’s talk about the most prevalent methods. Some forms you can use to generate passive profits without a huge budget required for start-up.

For instance, you might set up a content site that doesn’t cost anything but the domain registration and hosting. Once you create your own keyword-filled content and get indexed by the search engines, you can capitalize on the traffic you receive by getting them to click on AdSense ads, where you get paid for each click.

Another cost-effective way to make money on the ‘net is to become an affiliate where you promote other people’s products. Your job isn’t to sell, but to simply drive targeted traffic to the product owner’s site using your unique affiliate ID. For that process, you get a hefty commission – usually 50-75% of the sale.

If you have a way with words, then you might consider launching your own information product in the form of an eBook. It’s not expensive to launch a minisite, and you can set it up through ClickBank for under $50 and start marketing to the public and allowing affiliates to promote it for you as well.

There is also the option of creating a membership site where people pay you for access to your member’s only domain. To do this, you must be providing something of value. The worth of your information will determine how much you charge.

There are membership sites that are under $5.00 a month, and those up to $1,500 in niches that help people develop massive amounts of revenue – like the stock market, for instance.

The most important thing to remember when considering how to make money on the Internet is to follow through with whatever option you choose. Before moving on to set up a second, or third stream of profits, make sure your original endeavor is fully functional and profitable so your efforts won’t have been wasted.

How Do I Build a List?

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

A list is known in Internet marketing circles as a treasure trove. Have you ever heard the phrase, “The gold is in the list?” That catch-phrase came about when marketers realized the power of backend profits and catering to a customer for life, rather than a single sale.

If you ran a brick and mortar store, you’d have many of the same people passing by on their typical route every day – giving you multiple chances to market to them. But on the Internet, unless they find your link or type in your URL, you’ll remain lost in a sea of sites unseen to the average consumer.

A list allows you to capture the contact information of your traffic – whether they purchased from you or not – and market to them until they decide you’re no longer meeting their needs and they make the decision to unsubscribe.

When a customer makes a purchase from you, he or she is automatically in your list of contacts. Whether you’re using ClickBank or another payment processor, you’ll get the details of the sale, allowing you to send messages out to them.

But what about the thousands of visitors you get to your site each month who haven’t made a purchase? They’re not dead leads. They got there once, so you know they were interested in the product. Unfortunately, you don’t have a living salesperson on hand to greet them and convince them to stick around and buy.

What you need to do is prove your worth to non-paying traffic. Set up a landing page with an opt-in box and direct all of your traffic through that page. Whenever the user gets to the screen, they should see an irresistible offer – something of value – for FREE!

There aren’t many people who turn down freebies, and when they enter their name and email address, you’ve just added them to your marketing arsenal. With your list, you can broadcast messages to them in the form of autoresponders and promote products or affiliate items directly within the email.

Sometimes it takes a series of emails to convince a list member to buy. Try offering viral eBooks, online or email courses, or other perks like a free membership to your traffic. Hopefully your offer will be seen as something so mouth-watering, they can’t click out without opting in first! To get started building your list, try a tool like www.aweber.com and don’t let another day go by where you miss out on your list-building abilities.