I often meet new Internet marketers on various forums and they aspire to earn the big bucks like some of the well-known personas out there, such as Yanik Silver and Bryan Kumar. However, most of these new marketers have only the slightest ideas on where to start, and a lot of them are not willing or able to invest a startup capital in their online business. However, it is almost impossible to start an Internet business without spending some money on basic infrastructure such as web hosting, domain names and so on. Hence, here is a rough guide on how to build an Internet business starting with $0.

The first and most important thing to do is to list out all your skills. What skills do you have? You may have picked up these skills through daily life (for example languages), through your job (hands-on knowledge on a specific niche) or from your hobbies (for example fishing). It is most vital to list down skills or knowledge that you have and might be in demand elsewhere. For example, you love fly-fishing and you do it every day after work. You may build your Internet business upon this: writing an instructional guide on fly-fishing, teaching people how to do it, etc. Best of all, you do not need to spend money to acquire this knowledge: you already have it.

So, the very first option, if you have no money to start off your online business, is to earn some capital using your already existing skills or knowledge. You can give tuition to students on your dominant subject in college, you can teach stuff about your hobby to people who are interested, you can write guides on knowledge or skills you picked up through experience and cannot be found in theoretical books.

Okay, let’s say if you just can’t think of any skills or knowledge that people might be interested in. Then, it’s most important that you locate a workable business model and focus on that alone. You can obtain almost everything you need through bartering, web hosting, domain name or credit card processing, to name a few in exchange for your product (if you own one) or services like copywriting, ghostwriting and website designs. There is always some mundane job that people don’t want to do, and you can do that for those people in exchange for things you need. You just need to ask for it!

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Being one of the many successful article marketers is something that can come easily. There are, however, things that you need to avoid that will keep you from being among the many more who used to be article marketers and are now struggling to make money. Done correctly, article marketing can see huge positive results in a very cost effective way. Article marketing done poorly can be a huge waste of time, energy, and even money.

First mistake…making a boring title. Realize that the title of the article is going to be mixed in with quite a few others that your potential reader has to choose from. There are many of you competing for the same set of eyes. Don’t let your title be something that will blend in with all the rest. Make is something that will stand out and get noticed. Make sure that you don’t get too crazy and make sure that it is relevant to the topic you want to address, but, still be creative and you will stay competitive with other article marketers.

Second mistake…not having a clear purpose. What is the main reason you want the reader to read your article? Is there a goal that you have in mind? Be clear as to what you want them to do and give them plenty of reason to want to take the action you want them to take. Have a starting point and and ending point in planning your article and use everything in between to help them get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. This is something that article marketers fail to do all too often.

Third mistake…Not knowing your target audience. Article marketers need to keep in mind who your target audience is write to their level. If you are writing to a group of people who are typically very knowledgeable about the subject matter, then you better make sure that you are as well. Find out what they ask when they go online to search for this information and find how to relate to them. Study your target market and write to them.

Fourth mistake…writing articles that won’t get published. Look at the standards that article directories have and write your articles to fit the most strict of standards. Make sure that you have the minimum number of preferred words. Make sure that it is well written. Make sure that it doesn’t have any problems with links within your article and that you link to appropriate places. Article marketers will often forget to check the article they are trying to submit and see if it is in compliance only to have it rejected.

Fifth mistake…no call to action. As article marketers you have to remember that your goal is not just to inform, but to invite the reader to go to your website or to take what ever action you want them to take. Just as it is incredibly important to ask for the sale, it is important to ask them to click on the link that you provide.

If you, as article marketers, can avoid these simple mistakes you will find yourself on the fast track to success.

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A blog is a site that a person can use as a live journal or to promote a business. When you are promoting a business however, you will need to do a lot of research on the topic before beginning. If you are new to blogging, as a business or just want to get the word out on a certain business, you need to know the more common business topics. This can provide you with a starting point. There are five most common businesses that use blogs to promote their business.

1. Specialty Blogs

This type of business blog is usually written by two more contributes with a common interest. It is a great way for you to build an online community with people that share your interests and ideas. This type of blog can include such things like weight loss, how to stay healthy, or even golf topics among others. The possibilities are endless.

2. Feature Blogs

In this type of blog you will be advertising creative types of businesses. These creative topics can include, but are not limited to, topics on sewing, crafting, computer programming and digital photography as well as many others. The possibilities for this type of business blog are endless. In this type of business blog you have the opportunity to show various pictures, video clips, and even sewing projects that you have been working on among others. This is one type of business blog that you will need to be creative one. The more creative you are the more visitors you will get.

3. Industry Blogs

This blog focuses on a more narrow type of industry and usually is made by industries that sell their products to other businesses. It usually consists of a variety of different topics including trade shows, new lines of product, and materials among others. This is a little more difficult of a blog to create. It will take a lot of careful research and you will need to know a lot of information on the industry you are creating your blog on.

4. Tourist Blogs

Of all the business blogs so far this is about the easiest and the most fun to create. You can write on certain tourist areas of interest and include pictures of the area. You can add tourist attractions famous to the area along with the climate and travel information just to name a few.

5. Consulting blogs

Usually consulting blogs are run by one person offering their opinion, and advice on a certain topic. This is a great way to develop an online community in a topic that interests you.

No matter what business you wish to create or may already belong to, blogging is a great way to advertise.

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Sep
23

Getting the Word Out

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You have created your own product that has been proven to have great demand, you have a salesletter that has a sky-high conversion rate, but all that would be futile and you will earn nothing if you don’t have a single soul passing by your website since you will have no one to sell to! You might be a total beginner and therefore do not have a massive mailing list to sell to, and your website is on the 103th page of search engine results pages. We can change all that with a few tried-and-tested traffic generation techniques.

First and foremost, let me make it clear to you that search engine optimization is not the only way to gain massive amounts of traffic! You see, search engine result pages are in a sense just web pages – similar to regular websites around the web. It is only so lucrative to have your website listed on the top of search engine results because many people use the search engine to search for information and arrive on the search engine results page. Hence, loads of people see your site’s link and you attract loads of traffic.

The effect would have been exactly the same if your website is mentioned in a website with very high traffic. For example, imagine what would happen if your website was mentioned on the front page of Yahoo’s website! Your website will receive so much visitors your bandwidth might go over the limit. So, the trick is to get other high-traffic websites in your niche to link to your website. To do this, you must give them very strong reasons to link to you – maybe it’s this very thought-provoking article you’ve posted on your site, maybe it’s the ingenious solution to this lifelong problem everyone has had for all their lives. In short, give people amazing reasons or value to earn a link from them.

Alternatively, you may link to a certain high-traffic website that’s related to yours and ask for a link back. This technique is called reciprocal linking and is a very common technique for gaining links. However, before you even ask for the link, check your own website and ask yourself if you would be proud to recommend such a site to your readers, and whether it will provide useful information to your readers. In short, make sure your website has its own value and not just an empty shell devised to attract traffic!

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Sep
21

Ethical Marketing

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To sell a product well, it is very important to use powerful selling words to really convey each and every little benefit that your product has to convince the customer. It is not uncommon to see words like “unbelievable” and “phenomenal” and something along those lines in really great salesletters.

However, there are some marketers who intentionally use hyped-up descriptions to sell off their products. These marketers mislead customers into thinking that their products offer benefits that do not really exist in reality. At this point, it would be appropriate to quote a story that really happened:

One evening, a fellow marketer in my MSN Messenger list messaged me to check out his newest salesletter for his product, an ebook on earning revenue with contextual advertisement. I logged on to his website and was drawn right into his sales copy! The reason was the salesletter dived right into my desires and promised that “everything I have ever wanted” can be obtained just by purchasing the said ebook and executing whatever is inside. The salesletter also made it seem that the author owns fleets of Mercedez Benz cars, luxurious mansions and private yachts.

The problem was I know this particular marketer personally. He is actually a 17 year old high school graduate looking for a few quick bucks by selling a little ebook he compiled with information collected from various sources from the Internet. My emergency alarm immediately kicked in and I can just imagine how many nave newbies can be fooled with the deceptive sales copy.

The sad but very real fact is that there are many scam artists online, waiting to rip you off your hard-earned money. Hence, remember that the usual advice for consumers still apply online: use your common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.

Remember, when you intend to purchase something from the Internet, do a basic check-up on the merchant website. First and foremost, if you have even the slightest question on any of the features of the product mentioned, email the merchant regarding it and observe the attitude with which he/she replies. Customer support reveals a lot about the integrity of a business.

Finally, if you can’t even find support email on their website, click the “Back” button and run away from the site at once!

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There are literally hundreds of ways that you can generate website traffic. They all work, but what you need to keep in mind is that they may not work immediately, so start with one, master it, and then move on to the next. As you do this, you will find the ones that you like better, or the ones that work better for your business and website, or both.

Here are just three popular ways to generate website traffic.

1. YouTube. YouTube.com is one of the most visited sites in the world (with over 73 million visits per day) and its visitor numbers continue to climb. If you want to be where the people, and your potential leads or customers, are, sign up for an account on YouTube, post a video, and put your link in the description of the video. YouTube also allows you to put your website on the video itself, but it is not a do-follow link so it is just there for visual purposes. As with all of your marketing efforts, you need to do some keyword research before preparing your video. Pick a keyword that you want to use, use it in the title of your video, in the tags of your video, and in the description of your video. The video must be under ten minutes long but you can do a very effective video for under a minute, which is another great advantage to using YouTube to generate traffic to your site. It doesn’t take much time, and it’s absolutely free. If you further want to leverage your video, you can submit it to one of the video submission sites which then sends it out to other popular video sites.

2. PPC. Most people think of Google Adwords when they hear the term pay-per-click advertising. Google is the best place to start because it is inexpensive to register (only $5.00) and it currently gets the most traffic. Again, you need to pick your keywords carefully. If you have a low budget, start out with the most uncompetitive keywords, use them in the first lines of your ads and even choose for your ad to show only when someone searches exactly that keyword. This will get you fewer clicks, but they will be more targeted. Once you start gaining ground, you can start to target more competitive keywords as well. You can also try the other PPC platforms like Yahoo and Bing. They have less visitors but the bids are also less expensive.

3. WordPress. You can really use any blogging platform to get traffic to your website but WordPress is very good from an SEO point of view, meaning you can get some incredibly effective, and free, plug-ins that will help you raise the ranking of your website. Include the link to your website in your posts and when you comment on other blogs to generate website traffic.

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Many marketers have created or acquired products that they thought would sell well and, in their enthusiasm, set up everything from sales letters to websites to getting traffic. However, a lot of these marketers have forgotten the single most important factor that will affect their product sales – the “sellability” of the product.

When you begin creating products or buying rights to a certain product to sell, the most important factor you must take into account is the demand of the product. Do people want your product? It is simply stupid to waste a month’s time preparing a product, setting up the website and required sales techniques only to find that people do not even flick an eyebrow at your product!

Your final goal is to deliver the product to your customer and collect his or her money. In order to do this, you must make sure your customer wants to buy your product in the first place. How do you find out if they want your product? Simple. Just ask! Ask in forums related to your niche. Hold a survey or public poll. The Internet is a flat playing field, and you have the power to reach just about anyone in the world who has an Internet connection.

Let’s say you have this brilliant idea on creating a step-by-step instruction on how to cook Malaysian food. First, you must find out if anyone is interested (or even heard of) Malaysian food. To do this, go to a food-related forum and ask tactfully if anyone would be interested in learning Malaysian cuisine. Do not ask blatantly whether anyone would like to buy an ebook with instructions on how to cook Malaysian food, or you might be in danger of being accused of spamming.

On the other hand, you can give out a few samples of your Malaysian recipes to test the waters – see how the forum members react to them. If they show enthusiasm for learning more, then you definitely have a market in this. If they show no interest, then it is time to look for a new idea to market. You save time in the long run because you don’t have to find out the low demand for your product the hard way.

If your idea is welcomed by the forum members you surveyed, you can go ahead and compile your extensive ebook on cooking Malaysian food because there is interest in the information you possess. Where there is interest, you can easily build up desire for your product, and with desire (plus good marketing), your purchases will arrive naturally!

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Sep
15

Building a Customer Base

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Let me ask you a question: do you think it is easier to sell your product or services to a complete stranger or to a person you have had contact before; whether it’s an email conversation, forum participation or even an existing customer relationship (i.e. He has bought something from you). Without doubt, it would be harder to sell to a total stranger who does not know whether or not you are an honest seller, and whether or not they should trust your words and believe that your product or services will truly benefit them.

This is precisely why you should build up a customer base — a group of people who trust you and will most likely buy a product that you offer to them. This will ensure that you have a recurring and consistent source of income. When you release a product or make an endorsement, you have a group of people always ready to hear what you have to say.

There are several sources that you can tap into to start building a customer base. For example, you can participate in an online discussion forum and give advice and help for free. It won’t be long before people start to recognise your name and stop and listen everytime you have something to say. You will become a valuable friend and teacher, and gain the trust of these people. Would you buy something your close friend recommends?

Another way to build a customer base is to build a mailing list. There are a gazillion methods to collect subscribers, but when it’s boiled down to the very essence, it’s all about proving your value to the crowd and offering an incentive to make people become part of your mailing list. A typical example would be a website choke-full of freely available, helpful and quality articles on a certain subject plus a “special report” that can be downloaded for free provided you give your email address. The rich content provides value, and the “special report” is the extra incentive.

Yet another source for your customer base, which is often forgotten, is your existing customers. If you bought this product from this particular person and he answered patiently to your every question, would you buy from him again in the future? Definitely. When a customer has given you his money, that’s not the end of the affair because by keeping in touch with him and developing a flourishing relationship with him, you will have a lifetime source of income.

Imagine if 100, 1000 or even 10000 customers are waiting to grab your newest products even before they are released! Hence, it’s vital to build a customer base because it simply saves a lot of time and effort.

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Let’s imagine a situation where we have two Internet marketers who know each other. One has a great product that will sell very well but he has no mailing list, no affiliates, nothing. The other is a great marketer with tens of thousands of subscribers in his mailing list, but the problem is he has nothing to sell to them. The very obvious solution here is to give the product to the great marketer with lots of contacts, and split the profits between them. This, my friend, is the very essence of Joint Ventures.

As more and more people start their own home based businesses online, the market is going to get more and more saturated and the competition will grow fiercer by the minute. The fastest, most effective and easiest way to build your own online business empire is through joint ventures. That is, join forces with other marketers to sell your product.

When you joint venture with another marketer, you can ask him (or her) to send an endorsement of your product to his existing mailing list, so you do not need to worry about collecting subscribers from scratch. You already have an easily accessible target market. The trick is to find the right marketer whose subscribers will be interested in your product. Once you achieve that, you won’t even have to worry about generating traffic to your salesletter or finding affiliates to promote your product. All of that is already done for you.

When you joint venture with a solid player in the field, your perceived value and reputation will instantly increase because if this well-known person in the field is willing to work with you as a team, you must have some substance! Hence, when you manage to hook up a joint venture with someone who’s a “regular player” in your niche market, your status will instantly change from “total newbie” to “guru status” overnight!

Last but definitely not least, you will get a chance to build a lasting relationship with a big figure in your niche market, and that alone will worth more than the profits you pull in over that single Joint Venture. When you have a dominant figure in the market as your friend, you will gain a lot of privileges and perks that no newbie like you could ever get their hands on – for example new insights into interesting product ideas and marketing strategies. You can’t even buy that for hard cash!

So, start looking up a potential Joint Venture partner and try your best to convince him or her to strike up a deal with you!

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If you think you want to get involved with MLM, do your research first. The challenge with MLM businesses is that people at the top are most often the winners. The biggest majority of people at the bottom end up spending money and time to get involved and end up losing whatever they put in. Multi-level marketing (MLM) is a marketing and distribution structure. People at the top sell to those below them, who in turn sell to those below them. The higher up you are in this structure, the more money you can make. Be sure to check with at least a few other people who’ve entered at your level (who you identify on your own, separate from people the MLM promoter refers you to), and see what they have to say. Find out what they have to say on how – and if it’s possible – to be successful.

There are advantages to Multi-level marketing. First, the start up cost is usually very low and that is a big plus to the work-at-home mom (for example) who has limited funds to launch an online business. It is a way to get started in an online business with a very small personal investment and that is a very appealing thing for many people. Pre-packaged tools and products are provided and that saves a lot of money and relieves the need for warehousing.

Also, sales techniques are given and for the newbie to Internet marketing this is a very attractive advantage.

There are also disadvantages to Multi-level marketing. Many (if not most) people lose money in MLM activities, because they can’t sell the product as effectively as they thought they could. And then there is the problem of credibility. It can become an issue, especially if you start treating friends like they’re customers.

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