Without any doubt the internet has today become the hub of our world. You can buy, sell, play and learn on the Internet. Through social networks we can now stay in touch much easily.
But most importantly the internet has become the most incredible platform for building, marketing and growing a widely successful home-based business. In fact, there’s no better time than now to learn how to use the Internet to make money.
However, if you want to leverage the power of the internet into building the business of your dreams, you’ll need to have the right tools and knowledge.
In this post I want to share with you everything you need to know about internet marketing for beginners.
Now, the term internet marketing for beginners is somewhat of an oxymoron. This is because while in theory the concepts behind Internet marketing might be quite simple, executing an effective internet marketing strategy can be extremely difficult. In fact, it’s tough for the experienced ones not to talk of the beginner.
With this in mind, this post I will attempt to explain the concept of Internet marketing for beginners in a layman’s language. I’ll also outline some basic strategies and the important aspects of internet marketing which can help you launch your own Internet marketing business to earn a living online.
Instead of confusing you with terms like HTTPs, FTPs. HTMLs, SEOs, SERPs, etc. I’ve made everything as simple as it can be.
There’s No Magic Pill
Let me quickly tell you upfront that there’s nothing like a magic pill when it comes to doing business online.
Succeeding in internet marketing is not about knowing some secret formula. Developing the skills of an Internet marketer is just like riding a bicycle – you don’t learn to ride a bike by reading the instruction manual. It is very personal and practical at the same time!
There are many Internet marketing models available. Each and every one of them can bring you lots of money; some might even make you a fortune!
This post does NOT presume to give you the secret formula for every business model because it is impossible! There are just too many ways to make money online. But what I am going to do for you is present the popular business models in a layman’s terms and lead you on a path of self-realization so that you are very clear what you want to do and how to develop your own skills online!
So, let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Internet (Online) Marketing?
If you are to ask ten different internet marketing gurus to define the term “internet marketing” you’re sure to receive ten different definitions. However, for this post I will simply restrict myself to the definition offered by Webopedia.com.
According to this online tech dictionary,
“Internet marketing, or online marketing, refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from websites or emails. Internet marketing and online advertising efforts are typically used in conjunction with traditional types of advertising such as radio, television, newspapers and magazines.”
What this means is that internet marketing is everything you do to get your business FOUND on the internet. It is what you do to promote your business, brand, products or services using tools that drive traffic, leads, and sales over the internet.
Why Is Internet Marketing So Important?
Considering the definition above, internet marketing is definitely something you should care about if you desire success as an online entrepreneur. Dave McClure, founder of 500 Startups expressed this more succinctly in an expletive-free rant about startups when he said:
“The Valley skill set that should be in highest demand and greatest scarcity is neither engineering nor design, but rather internet marketing.”
“If the Valley had more sensible and knowledgeable internet marketing education taught at business schools or by investors, we’d waste a lot less money.”
This is very true because with the competition in the market place right now simply building a website and launching your business online is not enough. You need internet marketing to make the market aware of your products and services.
Your Mindset Matters; BIG Time!
Did you know that more than 90% of people who attempt to start an Internet marketing business fail to make a stable income online much less break even?
The statistics are scary – the same way most ‘real world’ business startups fail within their first two years of operation (and those that DO survive, struggle to make a profit due to competition and rising costs!)
However, on the internet most of the failures can be traced to one problem – a wrong mindset!
Now, I know you are probably thinking, “Yeah, yeah… attitude is everything, be positive, blah blah blah… (Not one of those motivational pep talks AGAIN!)”
Well, this is not just another motivational pep talk. In fact, I’m here to tell you that having the correct mindset isn’t just about having the right attitude ALONE… you must also have the proper vehicle that will get you to where you want to go.
Allow me to give you this simple illustration.
Having the positive attitude is very important, no doubt… but without the right vehicle for success, you are no different than a person driving a car with the WRONG ROAD MAP!
>> You can be really determined… but you are just wasting gas and driving in ‘circles’!
>> You can be really positive… to the point that driving around in circles doesn’t even bother you at all! (After all, you are so positive; you probably wouldn’t even care if you are wasting gas!)
>> You can even get really fired up (like what they do to you in motivational seminars telling you to PURSUE YOUR DREAM) but it will only get you to the wrong place faster!
Make no mistake about this…
A lot of people out there are totally fired up about making money online and starting their first Internet business. But if you don’t have an understanding about how to generate traffic, build a relationship with your target audience, pitch the right offer and do things properly, it will be very hard for you to succeed with just pure determination alone.
In a short while I will go into more detail, but suffice for you to know for now, you must develop the proper mindset which is…
Good Attitude + Right Vehicle = Guaranteed Success!
How Many Hours Should I Spend Online?
People ask this question a lot. Most of them ask this out of fear because they find the idea of spending hours in front of the computer petrifying…
The question is NOT, “How many hours should I spend…?” but rather, “How should I effectively spend my time online.”
To set the record straight, the key to building a successful online business is directly related to your level of passion. A person who is truly passionate about spending his time online will no doubt achieve success much easier compared to a person who grudgingly drags himself in front of the computer and does the bare minimum.
And talking about passion, there are many business models on the Internet that you can use. You can blog about your favorite hobbies all day and people will be able to see your passion.
Well, if you really want a rough figure, it really depends on your aptitude. If you love to surf the Internet and you are fairly competent with computers, you can get by with 3-4 hours a day (assuming you use your time productively). If you are not technically savvy, you might have to work twice as hard (but with the right attitude, you can outsource most of the tasks and be the ‘brain’ rather than the ‘brawn’).
The 6 Phases of a Marketing Funnel
Building a business online is actually quite similar to building a business offline. The sales process is similar but the actual ways to do it is summarized in 6 simple steps:
- Building Traffic (Getting your customers to your website)
- Lead Capturing (Getting the casual window shopper into your customer list)
- Building A Relationship (Getting your customer’s trust)
- Selling Phase (Pitching the right ‘offer’ to your target audience when all the variables are right – doesn’t need to be a product that you can sell)
- Monetization (Making money out of the people who visit your site)
- Automation phase (Repeating the entire process over and over again having them fully automated and making money for you while you sleep!)
This is probably one of the most important aspects of the entire funnel. You can have the best looking shop, the most beautiful products, even top-notch customer support, but if you don’t have a sign that leads customers to your doorstep, you would be out of business very quickly.
However, not all traffic is created equally. There’s untargeted traffic, and targeted traffic! Just because someone offered to sell you a list of a MILLION subscribers for a thousand bucks doesn’t mean that you are going to be the next Internet marketing champion…
So how does one easily find loads of targeted traffic?
You must determine these 3 things:
- They are willing to spend money to buy stuff
- They like what you are selling
- They may or may not buy from you depending on the situation
These are very obvious truths, but before you say, “I’ve heard it all”, think again!
Freebie seekers are NOT your idea of targeted traffic, after all, we start an Internet marketing business to MAKE MONEY by selling products, otherwise we would be known as an Internet marketing giveaway store.
Secondly, when they are willing to spend money, you have to sell them stuff that they WANT to buy – don’t sell a steak to a vegetarian (it’s not about the price).
Lastly, some will, some won’t… SO WHAT?
Even when all the variables are right, some people just won’t buy from you (maybe not today)… that’s just the way people are! Some buy when the timing is right. Some prefer to buy right after they get their paycheck, but keep all these people in your pipeline. You will never know who might turn out to be a solid buyer one day.
B. Lead Capture
Lead capturing consists of setting up two very important tools:
- Your landing page/squeeze page/opt-in page
- A product to giveaway
Now, to be realistic, this is just part of the picture. Actually, writing a good squeeze page requires one to write an attention-grabbing headline, convey benefits and so on and so forth. But basically it covers the two important aspects – you are giving away a FREE report in exchange for the visitors’ name and E-mail address.
That is the purpose of a squeeze page – you direct targeted traffic to your squeeze page, and you capture their contact information.
C. Build a Relationship
You’ve got their name and E-mail – what next?
Advertising experts have claimed that a person seldom commits to a product unless they see the same product over and over again for at least SEVEN times!
Does that mean you build a relationship by telling them to buy your product seven times?
Of course NOT… but actually yes… if you do it in a subtle way.
The key to building a strong relationship with ‘cold’ prospects is to provide value to them through your autoresponder (more on this later on). Value could be small or big – even good advice will ‘warm up’ your cold prospects.
Because once you got their attention and they start listening to you, you can be sure to pitch them some of your wares and encounter less resistance.
D. The Selling Phase
It’s time to get to the bottom-line of Internet marketing. We all want to make money and the best way to do so is to sell them our stuff (or sell them other people’s stuff otherwise known as affiliate marketing).
This is when a properly crafted sales letter comes into play!
Do not worry if you are not a trained copywriter. When it comes to affiliate marketing, all the marketing materials are all done for you! All you need to do is pick a GOOD product that gives a GOOD conversion and all you need to do is dump all your targeted traffic there!
But most important of all, you have targeted traffic, you’ve built a solid relationship with them and you’ve also identified their needs – what they want to buy. Once you’ve met all those points – get ready to make some sales!
E. The Monetization Phase
Building an Online business is all about making money. After all, what’s the point of getting into a business (other than pleasure) if it is not about the profits?
There are 4 main ways you can make money online:
- Sell Your Own Product – You could charge for membership access, sell E-books, audio interviews or video tutorials.
- Promote an Affiliate Program – All of the above in the first point except that you are not the one in charge of conversion and product creation. You get paid commissions for each successful sale!
- Sell Advertising Space – Instead of selling products, you can ‘rent’ the space on your websites, blogs or membership sites and sell links, pay-per-click advertising, pay-per-impressions advertising or a ‘monthly rental’ fee
- Sell a Service – you can sell your services online as a voice-over artiste, copywriter, ghostwriter, pay-per-post blogger or even a graphics designer. You don’t even need a sales letter for selling your services. Sometimes, you don’t even NEED to be the one doing the service because you can act as a middleman!
F. The Automation Phase
I won’t go into much detail here because of the technicalities involved, but basically it makes (good business) sense to optimize and streamline all your processes so that it becomes as automated as possible. You either automate through hiring people to do the menial tasks for you or you setup enough traffic sources through your reputation or content sites to drive enough traffic while your websites do all the work.
Recommended: How NOT to Make Life Difficult For Your Customers
Understanding How Money Is Made Online
Basically, to turn your knowledge of internet marketing into making money online, there are two main paths you can choose. They are generally regarded as the two schools of internet marketing business. They are:
- Internet marketing; and
- Niche marketing
1. Making Money Online as an Internet Marketer
Internet marketing is basically targeted at those who want to focus on these industries:
- Business opportunity niches (creating businesses that is targeted towards people looking for new ways to earn extra income)
- Making money online via teaching others how to make money online (coaching or marketing to other marketers)
- Network marketing opportunities (or other opportunities involving multi-level compensation plans or recruiting other recruiters)
- Reseller niches (focusing on marketing E-products to OTHER resellers such as resell rights, private label rights, private label graphics and many others).
- Any other money making niches whose target market focuses on others who want to make more money. This industry is usually more competitive and aggressive. However, the target market is usually more willing to buy, usually have more cash flow and have a fixed running cost that they will spend on to keep their businesses going.
2. Making Money Online as a Niche Marketer
On the other side of the coin, we have niche marketing. This term is coined because the marketers who focus on this niche target end users that mostly exclude the niches mentioned in Internet marketing.
In other words, niche marketing is everything else that Internet marketing (or business opportunity niches) are NOT.
They focus more on the end user in non-Internet marketing niches.
Here are examples of niche marketing:
- How to take care of your pets
- Healthy living or weight loss
- Self-improvement and motivation (although it may intertwine with make money niches sometimes)
- How to buy cars or other entertainment
- Hair growth or beauty
- Music or movies
- Any other niches in everyone’s daily life that people are willing to search for information for.
These are just a few examples, but I think you get the idea who niche marketing targets. Basically, they focus on the end user and not opportunity seekers and resellers. These niches have a market of their own and it usually has much less competition compared to the make money online niches.
Monetization techniques for these niches usually involve Google AdSense (if you are using the publishing model) or affiliate marketing.
You can even create your very own product if you want to and if you are an expert in a niche (for example, if you are good at playing designer board games, you can design guides that teach people how to excel at board games).
Popular Internet Marketing Business Models
This is not an exhaustive list but it should give you a general idea on what are the best business models on the Internet…
1. Your Own Product
While you can start off promoting other people’s products as an affiliate, eventually when you get better with marketing you will want to have your own product.
It gives you more flexibility, control and above all higher profit margin because after transaction fees you keep the rest of the sale!
And you get to step into the shoes of a vendor recruiting affiliates to promote YOUR product – and you leverage off their efforts!
2. High Ticket Programs
Moving up the ladder, you can offer higher-end training programs such as consulting, coaching and even Done-For-You services to a select few Clients. The great thing about High Ticket is that you don’t need to sell so many in order to hit your monthly income goals. It’s easier to reach your income goals in chunks of $5,000 payments than say, $37 offers.
If you don’t like the idea of selling digital products, that’s okay – you can run your own E-Commerce store selling tangible products! While it has its drawbacks, the great thing about physical products is that they are consumables… and that means you get to earn repeat business from loyal customers over and over!
If none of the above appeals to you, you can take advantage of your traffic network and sell advertising to other product owners and mailing list owners who are looking to reach more audience who are yet to hear of them.
When you look at the likes of Google and Facebook, their main income comes from advertising… and who’s to say you can’t do this at least on a smaller, personal scale!
How to Do Online Marketing – Your Strategy Guide
With the above in mind let’s now discuss briefly what you need for an effective internet marketing strategy. These are the basic steps you need to start making money online with internet marketing.
1. Setup Your Business Website – One of the most basic steps for starting an Internet marketing business is to create a website. If you don’t have a website or have a poorly designed website you should consider creating or re-designing one to adequately market your products and or services.
If you don’t have experience in web design, there are a number of software packages which make it simple for those with no design experience to create a functional website. However, hiring a web designer is worthwhile because they can work to create a website which is attractive, functional and suitable to your products and services. They can also help you include more advanced features on your website.
To create a website you need a domain name and webhosting. Your domain name is basically your business address where potential clients/customers can found you on the internet. On the other hand a web host gives you a space to store your files and business content on the internet. Your domain name (otherwise called your website url) points to this space so that when prospects, desiring to see what you have to offer, click on your website‘s url they would be taken to your website.
To purchase your domain name I recommend that you use a high rated company like Namecheap.com. They are not only reliable when it comes to their services they also offer the lowest price in the market.
2. Optimize Your Website For Search Engines – This is a crucial step in any Internet marketing business. Search engines rank websites according to quality and relevance for particular search terms. Many Internet users appreciate the effort by search engines and use these search engines to find the best websites on a particular subject. This means the Internet users are likely to only visit websites which rank well with search engines.
What this means is that if your website isn’t high ranking, you are not likely to generate a great deal of traffic from Internet users who use search engines to find relevant websites. Top ranking websites are likely to obtain the most traffic from search engines and all websites falling on the first page of the search engine results will likely enjoy some degree of success in improving their traffic.
The subject of search engine optimization (SEO) is a wide one that we will not be able to exhaust in this post. I recommend therefore that you read some of the SEO articles on this blog.
3. Build Your Mailing List – Email marketing is another very important aspect of an Internet marketing campaign. Email marketing essentially involves sending out emails to a group of individuals who may be interested in your products and services. Care should be taken in sending out these emails to avoid sending emails which are unsolicited and will be viewed as spam.
One way to do this is to only send out the emails to users who have requested inclusion on an email mailing list. In your emails you should aim to provide value as opposed to just including advertisements. This can be done by offering relevant advice in your emails and other useful information which may be of interest to the recipients of the email.
To start building your email marketing campaign you need an email management system. While there are free and paid options out there my advice is that you go for the paid services. The reason is obvious.
While I have tried various ones I recommend Getresponse.com for I’ve been using them for the past few years and I can vouch for them.
Click here to sign up for a free 30 day account.
4. Publish An e-Newsletters – Sending out e-newsletters, often referred to as ezines, can also be a part of an effective Internet marketing strategy. These are essentially emails which may contain a variety of information including informative articles, useful quizzes, relevant advertising or any other information which is deemed worthwhile for the recipients.
The importance of these newsletters is that they can be used as marketing tools which are not viewed by the recipients as an advertisement. One way to do this is to incorporate links or other soft sale approaches into the copy of the e-newsletters. However, care should be taken to keep these references minimal so the e-newsletter isn’t viewed as spam.
With your email management system (Getresponse.com recommended) in place, you have everything you need to run your e-newsletter.
5. Drive Traffic Using Ads – While there are many forms of advertising on the internet, banner ads have over the years remained a popular option. Banner ads are advertisements which typically appear along the top of a website but it may also include smaller ads in other locations.
Banner ads typically include graphics and text which entice Internet users to click on the advertisement. Once a user clicks on the ad, they are directed to your website. This type of advertising can be very effective when care is taken to place them on high traffic websites which attract an audience who may have an interest in your products.
So there you have it, the non-tech internet marketing for beginners roadmap. The above will help you gain clarity and get going on making money online with internet marketing. This is only a crash course but like I have mentioned earlier, a complicated topic like internet marketing is really hard to simplify.
I invite you to join my newsletter for an ongoing support and insider tips on starting and building your own widely profitable online business.