What Precisely Is Internet Marketing?

This article is aimed primarily at anyone thinking of starting a business in internet marketing. Any new venture in any aspect of human life will have its excitements and its challenges. Internet Marketing is no different It is very important to know the key principles before becoming involved or your internet marketing business could be shot down in flames before you even begin.

Many people new to internet marketing waste a great deal of time and effort because they simply have not taken the time to research exactly what is involved. Doing business on the internet has a well-rehearsed and well-documented process. This process needs to be fully understood before launching into the unknown. You must look before you leap and really study how to start an online marketing business before you make a commitment of either time or money.

The fairly obvious and literal response to that headline question is that it is marketing products or services using the internet rather than traditional business methods. Like any other marketing, selling online involves advertising, promotion and sales. The nature of the business will mean that most newcomers will need to learn new techniques. These techniques may be simply the basics of marketing or they may be more specifically related to the use of the internet. Both the words of the title, internet marketing, have to be understood and applied correctly to achieve success. It is probably true to say that the ‘marketing’ part is the more important as this is what actually generates the income.

Internet marketing will involve the marketer in doing lots of research in a way that traditional marketing doesn’t. We must know our marketplace; know our consumers and know how to communicate with them. Because we rarely meet our customers face to face we need to market in a slightly different way. Words are a vital part of our approach. The writing of excellent sales letters and other promotional copy is at the heart of what marketers do because it is through words that we communicate with our potential customers.

Internet marketing is primarily based on the sale of information products. These can be DVDs, CDs, printed reports or digital products which can be downloaded directly from a website. (This form of business is sometimes referred to as ‘digital marketing’) So, to answer that opening question, “what precisely is internet marketing”, it is the process of finding a market, sourcing a product and promoting that product to your chosen market online.

One other facet of the business which attracts many people is that it is a very low-cost business with enormous profit margins. It will cost £1 – £2 to produce a single DVD which can be sold for $67, $167 even $967, because what the customer is buying is the information on that disk and not the disk itself. The start-up costs of the business are a fraction of traditional marketing start-up costs. Products can be sourced for a few pounds, creating and hosting a website will cost peanuts.

The one item where some financial investment is required is in promoting your product. Even that can be done using free techniques if you choose to go down that particular route. This is especially helpful for those starting a business with very little disposable income. It is easy to work within your means. If you have little to invest but time you can begin slowly and build up as the income starts to increase.

So, to summarise, – “What Precisely is Internet Marketing?” – it is a bringing together of both marketing techniques and internet technology. The skills required to achieve this are:

1. An understanding of how the internet works and how to use it

2. The ability to write sales material, etc.

3. The patience and perseverance to do the necessary research

I hope this short internet marketing guide has been of help. If you are thinking of setting up your own home business, then I wish you all the luck in the world.

Hiring an Internet Marketing Service – Plan Before You Leap!

A frequent mistake that businesses make is hiring an internet marketing company too quickly — primarily based on price. Your website is a visual representation of your business and a poorly designed site can frustrate visitors, misrepresent your products and even lose sales. Before you hire a internet marketing firm, research the answers to these questions:

1. How Much Experience Does The Internet Marketing Company Have? Do They Have Any Special Qualifications Or Designations?

Longevity in the industry is a good indicator of stability and skill. Online marketing firms that have been in the business for a while and built admirable reputations are usually known for sound design work and customer service. Choosing an internet marketing company that has been around longer means they will be more likely to be around in the future for ongoing maintenance and updates to your website.

The answer to this question will give you a general idea about the skill set at the web company. Having a tertiary qualification is good. Having a lot of experience is better, and combining experience with a tertiary education is best.

2. How Many Staff Members Do They Have And What Are Their Roles?

Bigger is not necessarily better when it comes to effective web emarketing companies. Companies on average have one designer, a couple of web developers, analysts, and a few sales and support people. Some companies use Just-in-Time staffing, adding or removing staff as needed. This helps keep overhead low.

3. In Addition To Internet Marketing, What Other Services Does The Agency Offer?

Many prominent internet marketing firms are branching out and offering other services, including web development and design. SEO, Search Engine Marketing, Web Content Writing, Social Media Marketing, Blog promotion, and Google AdWords Management are services offered by many experienced online marketing companies. The key is finding a company that offers the services that you are looking for.

4. Does The Internet Marketing Firm Spend Time With You To Gather Business Knowledge And Give You A Formal Proposal?

It is good to select an web marketing company that will take the time to offer a custom solution for your website. Oftentimes, the online marketing firm will provide you with a questionnaire to fill out so that they can get a better feel for your goals, competition and overall website needs. Your website will play a large part in your overall brand marketing. Therefore, it is important that your internet marketing firm have a clear picture of your overall internet marketing goals.

5. What Are the Internet Marketing Company’s Payment Terms?

For anything from a small non-profit site to full corporate branding, most internet marketing companies will charge an upfront deposit and stage payments based on agreed milestones and deliverables. Be wary of any internet marketing firm that asks for payment in full before starting the project.

6. What Is The Internet Marketing Company’s Policy On Non-Disclosure And Privacy Of Information?

In order to create the perfect marketing plan for you, your internet marketing firm needs access to important information about your company — information you wouldn’t want your competition, or anyone else, to know.

This is particularly true if you are starting a new company. You don’t want others to steal your concept before you’ve had a chance to monetize it. Therefore, a solid non-disclosure and privacy policy will protect your information.

7. What Are The Average Timelines For Completing Your Web Design Project Including Ecommerce, Logo Design, And Corporate Branding?

If the company does both web development and internet marketing, ask what the firm considers a typical turn-around time for projects similar in size to your own. This should give you a fairly clear idea if the website designer/developer has time tracking and project management systems in place. If you have a hard deadline that you need to meet, be sure you tell the design company up front so that they can plan accordingly.

8. Who Will Be Your Central Point Of Contact For Your Internet Marketing Project?

It is important to have a single point of contact for your project to ensure nothing gets lost in translation. A Project Manager should be assigned to all web projects. If you are working with a small web company, however, the Project Manager may also be the web designer and/or web developer himself.

9. Does The Company Outsource Any Project Components To Third Parties Or To Countries Like India? If So, Which Components?

While outsourcing may be a valid business decision to save costs and keep overheads lower, you’ll want to be cautious with any internet marketing company who takes your project and out-sources large components to another country. If you have concerns about low quality, cheap labour, and remote project management issues when jobs are outsourced to India, be sure to bring them up before your project begins.

10. Can The Internet Marketing Company Help With Website Content Copy Writing?

SEO copywriting can make or break your website. Your website design may draw the reader in and focus their attention where it needs to be – but the words themselves do the selling. And if the content is optimized correctly, your website can be showing up on the front pages of the search engines for your chosen search terms.

Be sure the internet marketing firm you choose offers copywriting and ask to see samples — particularly samples of sites within your same industry. This will give you a good foundation on which to base your decision.

11. What Programming Languages And Operating Systems Does The Internet Marketing and/or Web Development Company Work With?

Ideally, your web development company should offer both the open source PHP/MySQL and ASP.NET programming languages. They should make a technical recommendation on which

Platform would best meet your needs and budget.

12. Do The Internet Marketing And Web Development Experts Build Websites To Web Standards?

Standards compliance, such as W3C and Web Standards Group are highly recommended industry practices. The main reason is consistency in how your visitors view your website on different platforms and future proofing.

13. What Is Covered In The Firm’s Website Testing/Quality Checking Phase? Are You Able To See The Website While It Is Still In Development?

Basic testing requirements should be browser testing, checking for broken links and general usability tests to ensure the website is easy for website visitors to use and interact with.

By seeing a development staging version, you will be able to check the website before the launch date and make any necessary adjustments.

14. Does The Internet Marketing Firm Allow Clients To Host Their Websites With Any Host?

Sometimes, for the sake of functionality or other good reasons, a web company may ask that you host your website with them, but this is not always the case. You may have existing commercial relationships with an ISP or web hosting company that you would prefer to use. It is important to know before hiring a internet marketing firm if they will require you to move hosting to them.

15. Do They Provide Any Training Once The Website Is Launched?

If your website project includes customized systems or software, it can be extremely helpful if your internet marketing company provides you with training documents for future reference. If your system is very detailed, it might even be optimal to arrange for a training program or ongoing customer support.

16. Is The Internet Marketing Firm Knowledgeable in Web 2.0? Is This Included In Your Quote, Or Are There Extra Charges?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a science in itself; an experienced Internet marketing company should be able to offer you a variety of options including organic, PPC and social media marketing including Facebook advertising. Depending on your business requirements, you should consider hiring an internet marketing company that can create a custom online campaign to help you achieve maximum results.

Usually there is an extra charge for single items like developing videos, commercials and ads, photo shoots, copywriting and so on. Ask about these if they are part of your marketing plan.

17. What Is The Charge For Website Updates After The Initial Website Is Completed?

While marketing is an ongoing process, the website is often considered a one-time effort. But there is always extra work to be done: changes and updates, new content and so on.

Be aware of the charging structure for updates to your website. Consider how often you will require updates and ask the internet marketing firm how they handle future updates and maintenance.

If you have frequent or large updates to your website, you could consider a Content Management System. A CMS is only really useful in the event of regular changes and if a staff member has good training in it. If neither are the case, it may just be cheaper to have the supplier to manage small updates.

18. What If You Find A Problem Or Code Bug After The Site Is Finished? Does The Graphic Design Company Have Any Kind Of Code Warranty Or Guarantee?

Often web companies will make the change if it is small for no additional costs. However, be aware that if it is a change and not a bug fix, you may be required to pay extra. Typically, internet marketing companies will give you several designs to approve initially and then involve you every step of the way. Each approved section of the project is considered finished. Going back and making changes — even if they seem simple — can be costly.

19. Is The Copyright For The Website Transferred To You When The Project Is Complete? What About Images in The Website? Logo Design?

Copyright law is a specialized legal field. You should ask to own the copyright on all of the work designed and developed after you have paid in full for the project.

20. Will The Website Development Company Comment Your Source Code?

Commenting code is part of good website development. If code is commented well, you won’t spend a lot of time if the unthinkable happens and you’re forced to find another website supplier either part way through the project or its maintenance.

Finding the answers to these questions may seem time consuming and quite involved, but it is an important part of the interview process. After you have interviewed several companies and had your questions and concerns addressed, you should be able to select a talented internet marketing and web development company that is knowledgeable and easy to work with. The firm you choose also needs to have the ability to produce a web design and website that represents and enhances your overall corporate branding.

Of course, you could choose to not follow our suggestions and just hire the least expensive firm available — or a friend of a friend who does graphic design and internet marketing. But then you could end up with a real mess. Your internet business depends on how good you look. You wouldn’t ask a friend to install a new set of teeth for you, would you?

The Internet Marketing Autopsy

Introduction

The “Death Of Internet Marketing” report was created and distributed by Mike Filsaime a couple of years back. This article was actually written a couple of days after it was released, but has been residing on my site until I pulled it off. Anyway, DOIM was one of those reports that actually got many people talking. Yet, because of the way it was marketed, I think it got a few people thinking about it, but probably not enough. Even this year, people aren’t doing what they need for their business, and I honestly don’t care if it is online or offline.

Well, Mike says “Internet Marketing Died”. So here’s Stuart Tan’s autopsy:

So… let’s just say that I’m going to do a post-mortem after this report is out into the market. Yep – we’re all into forensics now, with so many interesting metaphors such as the “death of internet marketing”.

Most people would have by now read Mike Filsaime’s “Death of Internet Marketing”, Rich Schefren’s “Internet Business Manifesto” etc, etc. In my opinion, the biggest issues have not been dealt with. Mike undoubtedly gives a fantastic exposition of what was and what is to be.

Why am I writing this? Because after looking at all the emails coming in about Mike’s report, I came to the conclusion that:

  • most internet marketers didn’t ‘get’ it. They said “it’s a good report”. That’s not what it’s about.
  • The reviews about Mike’s report were far too simplistic about implications about what he really had to say

Firstly, these reports really weren’t for the newbie in internet marketing. They are for experienced marketers who know what is happening in the industry. Second, it’s a foregone conclusion that you need to be more of an entrepreneur… not just a marketer.
For those of you who are unable to keep up with Mike’s brilliance, or think that this is the be-all and end-all of marketing strategy, most people have missed the basis of Mike’s report.

Component #1 – Don’t be lazy!

If you want to be lazy, you’ll go to the sharks. Most of the hardest working internet marketers are also the wealthiest. Again, I’m not suggesting that you are going to become wealthy by only working really hard. The truth of the matter is that working hard to achieve auto-pilot in your business does require a bit more strategizing and action.

Component #2 – Assess trends!

Staying outside of the box? Then you’ll definitely be very lost when it comes to assessing whether or not you should take on a business model like affiliate marketing, or ecommerce… because you have insufficient information to be able to decide. Assess trends. Watch the web. Look at all the stuff that is progressing right before your very eyes. Get on technology forums and learn, learn, learn.

Component #3 – Credibility As Weaponry!

Through all this hype and a very severe lack of information, it’s difficult to decide whether or not to buy one product or the other. The main deciding factor will come from someone whom you trust completely and will be willing to buy simply because you deem this person to be credible. So, build your credibility! It will take more than just one report to do this! Build your credibility! Set yourself up with the right people, credentials, etc. Or better still, get on one of my teleseminars.

Component #4 – Forward Strategy!

It’s not easy to move forward in internet marketing, but that’s often because one doesn’t have a clear direction in the first place. Vision, as Mike says, is important. I believe it’s more than just ‘vision’. It’s more like the ability to focus on what needs to be done, and just taking action and doing it, having already decided that it is something you will accomplish at all cost.

Too many people balk at doing the things that matter. They end up procrastinating! Okay, I’m not an angel myself 100% of the time. But think of where you are. For instance, you know for a fact that you need to create content for your site. Say you’re not a really good content creator. What next? Wait and hope that money will fall from the sky? I don’t think so! You still need to find a way to get it done. Or, make a way! You may have to think of ways to get your way even though you can’t do it yourself.

Component #5 – Polarity thinking… and the Stuart Slap!

When everyone is doing something, you have to do the complete opposite.

Look at the infamous Google Slap. If you’re not familiar, Google “slapped” people a number of times already. When people don’t provide good value, they get slapped. This is to force people to avoid their own impending doom. It’s like a parent slapping their children to not touch the burning flame. Still, people go ahead, get burnt, them blame the person they last encountered. Tsk. Tsk.

The internet marketing world is filled with sheep. One person goes there and everyone follows. This is good news for the person who knows how to exploit this situation. When everyone moves in one direction, they miss out opportunities that already exist.

One example is this – now everyone in Asia is heading and attacking the internet marketing niche. I know it’s not the right thing to do to monetize, and there are many other monetization sources out there. So what do I do? I spoil the market so that people will not be hoodwinked into buying non-value-for-money items. Is it a good strategy? Some people will hate me for it. But it will force the survivors up the chain, the credible ones will quadruple their income, and those who can’t handle the heat either give up or find another niche.

What next?

It’s not hard to understand. But the fact is, newcomers to the internet marketing world will look at these reports and say ‘what the heck do they mean’? Such things will garner a lot of value for the average internet marketer, but will hardly make sufficient sense to the average newbie in internet marketing. To them, it’s like “oh yeah – I’ll focus on my business strategy” or “sure, I’ll use a one-time-offer”. It seems like a ‘no-big-deal’ thing.

Well, of course. That’s because there IS no big deal. We’ve come full circle. If you don’t do it right the first time, conventional wisdom like “failing to plan is planning to fail” will suddenly make lots of sense. Are you willing to wait until that happens??

The Evolution Of Marketing Strategies

The truth is this – marketing strategies have been evolving. Every day, there is a new strategy or tactic pulled by someone to create the next wave in internet marketing. But the truth is that most of them start with a concept from thinkers everywhere.

“This Article Is Not Meant To Overwhelm You!”

Yes, be overwhelmed, if you choose. I am still stumped by the fact that beginners are still lagging so far behind. I can’t blame them, but I can blame internet marketers for not helping to chip in to clear this.

Excuse #1 – They are lazy

Interpretation – I’m lazy.

If you as an internet marketer are reading this and not going all out there to clear the air and help out building the market, the industry will become stagnant and there will be very little left that can be done in the industry. Mike’s prediction will then come true. We probably wouldn’t be able to sell anything because subscribers are going to be lambasted with emails over and over without the right ability to decide what to choose and why.

Most internet marketers are themselves lazy. That’s the plain truth, and many admit to that. But they are propagating the problem, not solving it. Instead, they will need to cultivate a voracious appetite for information in people who are completely new. Disagree with me all you want. You’re the one reading this article.

Excuse #2 – They are not technical

Interpretation – I can’t be bothered to look at ways in which newbies can learn easily.

As a trainer, my angle as always been to simplify, simplify, simplify. If I can make a complex process simple enough to follow, there will be understanding and comprehension. This is good enough to start. When someone says that there is a complete lack of understanding, then that same person is going to be the reason why I start to alter my instructions or the way I teach.

Excuse #3 – I don’t have enough resources

Interpretation – I’m not creative enough to find a better way.

All the experts out there had better find a way to utilize resources to make beginners learn in a more efficient way. Admittedly, I want to do this myself, but have failed in attracting the right learners much of the time, as well as to attract the right coaches. Too many times, people are in it just for the money. Selfish, selfish, selfish. It’s not wrong, it’s just selfish. Can you find better ways to do it? Challenge yourself!

The Newbie Phenomenon

For every one or two internet marketing gurus, there are several hundred newbies who develop. At the rate of growth of internet marketing, there will be far more newbies than there are experts. The lop-sidedness of this is true – only 5% of the population will earn a decent income from internet marketing related products. The next 10% will probably be working very hard and earning decent 6-figure incomes. The next 25% are probably working hard and earning a high 5-figure income, but the mean range of the next 35-40% of internet marketers are struggling with 4-figure incomes. What this also means is that 25-30% of every internet marketer’s list has a bunch of newbies who are afraid to start internet marketing and don’t have a clue what to do.

Here are typical mistakes newbies make:

1. Diving into the “internet marketing” niche.

I see so many newbies with ‘cut-and-paste’ approaches, attempting to encroach on the very large and highly profitable internet pie. I apologize in advance if you are one of these people. You will earn some income, but you won’t really make much. A couple of hundreds, maybe?

If you are one of these, you are the kind of people being described in Mike’s report. Students of the gurus and guru wannabes. In my opinion, the biggest issue alluded by Mike’s report goes FAR BEYOND what he actually mentions. It’s a common thing, but missing. It’s called research.

It’s so plain and simple, and all the information is literally right in front of your eyes. But you’ve been given so many opportunities that you don’t know which one to sell or to understand which niche to penetrate.

Key lesson: to be an excellent internet marketer and entrepreneur, you MUST know how to assess the market. You MUST know what weapons are at your disposal, and you MUST know how to make a decision about what to sell, who to sell it to, and how to go about doing it.

2. Affiliate marketing without ‘affiliating’

Don’t you think that the issue in people selling other people’s products is clear? People want anonymity. They want to sell something without having to put their picture on the web. This is silly. If you want to be an affiliate marketer, you have to learn how to do it without fear of being revealed. Unless, of course, you are an employee who doesn’t want to be caught.

Wait a minute – if you simply reversed the role, would YOU buy from someone who had something to hide? The whole idea about affiliate marketing is that people have forgotten that they need to be doing more “affiliating” than they do “marketing”.

Key lesson: Loyalty will be the determining factor in your business strategy.

3. UnCreativity – The Same-ol’ same-‘ol

Someone says “do a report” and you do it. Someone else says “use a drop cap” and you use it. I don’t mean to put down such information. I do believe that it has been useful to some extent. But my question is… how do YOU know?

The big irony is that the report entitled “The Death Of Internet Marketing” was being spread using the exact same mistakes that it talks about in the report itself! You see, the truth is you might be able to pull off the same stunt a couple of times, but on the third attempt… nah.

You cannot (and should not) re-use methods developed by other people. The ideas are already passé the moment they go out on the net – after people use it over and over, it’s like a degrading gene pool. If you want to do something outstanding, then innovate a little. It’s the small innovative tweak that gets people to smirk, nod their heads and say ‘wow, that was brilliant’.

If you don’t know, then you won’t know the foundational principles of how people react to your writings, reports, etc. It’s essential for you to be able assess their reactions and how they take action based on what you say, and to be able to do this well.

If you are just doing cut and paste strategies, sure you can work with your list for a while, but you are still not cultivating a relationship with them. You are merely overloading them with information.

Key lesson: If you are attempting to breach the internet marketing stronghold, you need to have far more than just used tactics and strategies. You have to think. You have to innovate. More on this later.

Other issues In Internet Marketing

1. Quality of products: no standards of assessment

What else did Mike say? He mentioned that many people are buying and buying into opportunities then heading off in all different directions. I see this happening right in front of my very own eyes. At the same time, he mentioned the concept of Web 2.0 and user generated content and the ability for users to rate and comment on a site. I’ve mentioned this several times in my internet marketing seminars. But the issue is, so what?

You need to be able to assess the quality of something. How well you can assess the quality depends on the level of the user. I mean a complete newbie will hardly be able to provide an effective evaluation from an internet marketing perspective. In addition, there is also a growing trend for internet marketers to provide rewards for testimonials. This is hardly a fair judge of a product.

As a trainer, I often request for feedback with a standard evaluation form at the end of my trainings. This form is created in order to assess specific elements in the training. The concept of training evaluation itself is a broad area, and if you’d like to receive my insights into this, you may do so at my Business Strategy section on my blog.

2. Marketer recognition

As you know, marketer recognition is an issue. Most people do not have the means to be able to establish a high enough level of credibility until they align with other top marketers. However, there is another way.

Be aligned with happy and satisfied customers!

Some of you might think that this is about building a really large testimonial list. Well, this testimonial list leverages on the psychology of social proof. However, if you are not schooled in logical analysis, you will not be able to pick out flaws in arguments. One such typical flaw is called the ‘slippery slope’ technique. “He was really good. He gave me a good product. Yeah.” What in the world kind of testimonial is that? How about this instead:

“Stuart, wow, you’ve made this a fascinating 2 hours for me. The chemistry is very good between us I love the things you’ve said and the questions you’ve asked. I’m deeply grateful to you for being so insightful as to the things that are important to [guerrilla marketers] everywhere.” ~ Jay Conrad Levinson

Satisfied? Happy? Well… you have to build this as part of your neurological hardwiring if you want to survive online. If you want to get more stuff out from where you are right now, join me to build a credibility plan.

3. Entrepreneurial effectiveness

I’m guilty of one thing – complaining that there isn’t enough effective business training for new internet marketers. And as a result of that, I got my just desserts – people asking me to be their business mentor and strategist.

In my opinion, business training is not just about taking a degree in business management and graduating top of the class. It’s about making a business come to fruition. These skills include a whole bunch of stuff such as knowing how to conceive a business idea and put it into a plan in the first place. Another is to know what your strengths are and put them to use, while knowing how to delegate to people who can use their strengths together with yours. This basically implies the need for leadership.

Most newbies are attracted to the opportunity, but not willing to make the time or effort. However, those who are leaders already take the next step and make this happen. Leadership in an organization is important – tons of authors have already made this clear, especially one John C. Maxwell, a very highly respected leadership thought leader. On the other hand, it may be that some people think of leadership as something so ‘normal’ they forget to revere the importance of its value in running a business.

The biggest mistake one will make is to say that it takes hard work. No it doesn’t. It simply requires an effective and systematic mobilization of resources to get your system to work.

4. Process thinking

Being able to create a system presumes you need to know systems thinking as well as process thinking. Both are part of the same thing, and one needs to recognize this. If you are unaware of the power of systems thinking and process thinking, it means you have not been honing your thinking capabilities.

One too many internet marketer has mentioned the need to learn to be physically ‘lazy’, but never mentally. I totally agree with this statement, but there needs to be more education to help you develop this competence of learning about process thinking. If, as an entrepreneur, you do not develop this capability, you will be incapacitated, unable to see the interrelations of a large variety of different things in the complex world of business. You will be unable to craft your own strategies. Jeff Walker is a clear example of how knowledge and clear thinking leads to powerful, powerful product launches.

Marketing Style And Competence

So, what does this mean to the average person?

I’d like to summarize and highlight a few competencies that you must know.

  1. Systems Thinking. Creativity and innovation.
  2. Rapid Learning Skills. NLP and Modeling.
  3. Writing and content building skills
  4. Online Leadership skills
  5. Personal Mastery
  6. Credibility Building Skills.
  • a. Rapport building
  • b. Selling and marketing
  • c. Managing your outsourced talent
  • d. Partnering and loyalty building skills

To gain access to knowledge, just join me on my site and there will be regular business tips and strategies that I’ll cover in upcoming trainings, teleseminars and online reports.