Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
7 Tips to Be a Successful Online Marketer
Perhaps a quick introduction and a handy disclaimer is the best way to start this article on Internet marketing. Mainly because you should know who is talking and you should definitely know what you're getting yourself into...
I have been a full-time online marketer for over 5 years now, and I run 9 or 10 sites on the wwww - wonderful world wide web. I make a very respectable living and I enjoy every minute of it. But if you're under the impression that all you have to do is to slap some content together and place it on a web site and watch the money roll in; then you are sadly mistaken. Don't get the wrong impression, you can become a successful online marketer, but it will take a lot of time and work on your part. It just doesn't happen overnight, at least, this has been my experience and we can only write about our own experiences and views.
Over the years, I have also found it helpful to get pointers from someone who is actually doing what we want to do. So below I have put together 7 Tips for becoming a successful online marketer.
1. Knowledge Up
The whole concept of marketing online may seem quite simple, just place some content or product onto a website and you're in business. The reality is quite different. It may take you years to learn all the complex techniques and tactics to compete in the online marketplace, which is becoming more and more competitive as more companies and individuals discover its great potential. Sure we have all heard stories of people who come up with a great idea and make an online fortune very quickly. People also win the lottery... but if you want to become a successful online marketer you first have to learn your trade.
You have to acquire all the knowledge you can on Internet Marketing. Read articles and ebooks, take online e-courses, study and examine successful websites and/or marketers... there is a wealth of marketing information on the web. Just find it and use it. When I was first learning all the ropes, I made tons of mistakes but I was fortunate enough to come into contact with some successful online marketers who were actually doing what I wanted to do. People like Marlon Sanders, Ken Evoy, Corey Rudl, Neil Shearing, Brad Callens... I quickly became acquainted with these individuals and learned everything I could from them.
This was not out of the ordinary or hard to accomplish, since all these marketers have comprehensive affiliate training programs to show even the most novice webmaster or marketer the ropes. Most of these programs are free because these marketers want to teach you how to sell their products. This is a very simple way to get a quick education on how to market online. I personally liked the numerous free ebooks offered thru Ken Evoy's SiteSell program... many of these will drive you bonkers, especially if you're new at this game, but only because they are so comprehensive and thorough - all the information can be a little overwhelming to say the least. But if you can work you way through some of SiteSell's free marketing manuals and ebooks, you will get the basic knowledge to further your goal of becoming an online marketer.
2. Find Your Niche Market or Subject
Unless you already have a product or business you wish to market online, then your first task will be finding a good niche market or subject which you can explore and exploit on the web. Best advice, find something that you already have a strong interest in such as a favorite hobby or past-time, an area where you already have special training or something you always wanted to study and examine. This niche market or subject will take up countless hours of your time, so you have to really pick something you like doing. The major point here, if you're doing something you like, it won't seem like work.
No matter which subject area you choose, you must check out the commercial viability of your topic. In other words, if you want to be successful, there must be enough commercial interest in your market or subject. There must be enough people searching for your product each month so that it's viable. Use a program like WordTracker or Google Adwords Keyword Tool to find the number of searches made each month for a keyword. Keywords are words or phrases web users type into search engines to find what they're looking for on the web. You must have plenty of good searchable keywords relating to your subject in order for it to be workable.
Another Keyword tool I like using is Microsoft's Detecting Online Commercial Intention, which tells you the probability a certain keyword or site will have enough commercial potential customers who will purchase a product or service. http://adlab.msn.com/Online-Commercial-Intention/Default.aspx
3. Google Up!
Google is the most important player on the web. While you shouldn't ignore the other search engines, I would suggest you learn everything you can about how Google both indexes and ranks pages on the web. Getting a number one or even a top 5 listing for your chosen keywords in Google, can make or break your online business. Google simply sends/controls the majority of the quality search traffic on the web. Get those top rankings in Google and you will succeed.
Now Google gives webmasters many valuable webmaster tools and devotes a whole section to help webmasters with their sites. One valuable resource which is loaded with helpful information is Google Webmaster Tools. Use it! Also, if you're just starting out, another good resource is Google's "Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide", which is a handy pdf file you can download.
Always, keep in mind, Google is like any other company supplying a product and in this case the product is their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), so the higher the quality of your content and pages - the higher your rankings in Google will be. Of course, seasoned webmasters know quality one-way backlinks are one of the most important keys to getting high rankings in Google. But it all comes back to quality. If you have quality content, people will bookmark it in all the social media sites, and related webmasters will link to your quality content. This does really happen, so creating high quality content should be your first and most important SEO strategy.
4. Building Your Site
Regardless of what kind of site you're building, you must follow some very simple SEO rules. Make sure your site's structure can be easily navigated by both your visitors and the search engines. Try to keep your site's hierarchy simple, with all your pages reachable from the home page. Most webmasters just use three levels - homepage, topics and sub-topics - with all pages linking back to your homepage and no more than 3 clicks away from it. It is also a good idea to have a sitemap link on each page so that you don't leave your visitors stranded. Check with Google's Starter Guide for more information on how to create a proper lay-out.
Personally, as an online marketer I seek out the top searched for keywords in my niche, and then create pages around that keyword or keyword phrase. This ensures you’re getting targeted visitors/customers to your pages. You can have hundreds of these keyworded pages on your site and connect all these pages together in a thematic arrangement so that the search engines can easily find and rank them.
As for choosing a domain name, I also try to get my main targeted keyword in the domain. This helps tremendously with your search engine rankings because every backlink will have your main keyword in the URL. This will tell the search engines exactly what your site is about. Again, if you’re brand new at this, I would suggest you use a program like WordPress, which is free blogging software you can use to create a blog site. Another option, is to purchase or buy a SiteBuildIt hosting package from SiteSell, but this is more than just hosting, it’s a complete online marketing system you can use. It will take you step-by-step through the whole creation and marketing of your site or business on the web.
5. Promoting Your Site
This is probably the hardest part of online marketing, but it is something which is essential to its success. Too many webmasters/marketers build a fantastic site and then sit around and wait for the visitors/customers to pour in. Sad fact is, unless you actually get out there and promote your site you will get very little, if any traffic. Of course, there are exceptions, some sites instantly attract visitors and acquire countless backlinks just by word of mouth, but for the most part this simply doesn’t happen.
You have to actively promote your site and URL. One method that I use is article marketing – writing simple helpful articles and distributing them all over the web. These articles have keyworded links back to your site. Simple and effective way to get your site out there. Another free way to promote your site is to tie it in with all the social media and bookmarking sites, so use Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube… to promote your site. Videos also have become very effective recently and you should be taking advantage of their great potential. So too is using a simple social bookmark program like the Addthis Button, which lets your visitors bookmark and build your backlinks for you.
Google seems to be paying special attention to how many social bookmarks/links your site is receiving. It is a simple form of voting for the quality of your content if actual web users see it and bookmark/recommend it to their friends. The more Tweets, Diggs… your content gets, the higher it will rank in the search engines, besides all those links bring in targeted traffic, which is what you want.
6. Monetizing Your Site
There are countless way to monetize or make money from your website once you have a steady flow of traffic coming to your site. We are not talking about tons of traffic here, a site getting just 100 or 200 visitors a day can prove very profitable. Personally, I like choosing affiliate programs which give a residual or have a re-occurring element to their payments. Make one sale and get paid for years to come, I am still receiving monthly payments from sales I made 5 years ago. So if you decide to place affiliate links on your pages, try to go with a company or program which gives you residual income for the life of the referred customer.
I also like promoting high-end affiliate products simply because the commissions are obviously higher. Why sell a $20 item, when you can sell a $2000 one? Of course, there are countless strategies to marketing online, if you sell 100’s of that $20 item, you still end up in the same place. As for finding affiliate products to promote I like using the major affiliate networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, Shareasale, ClickBank, Affiliate Window… these networks are totally professional, do all your tracking and give you valuable information on how to market online.
Another very simple way to monetize your pages is to use Google Adsense, now the payments won’t be as high as with promoting affiliate products but using Adsense is a simple and quick way to monetize all your pages. I also find Adsense very consistent and totally reliable, besides getting that check from Google each month, always puts a smile on my face.
7. Track Everything That Moves
Another major key to online marketing success is having extensive tracking in place. You must track where your visitors are coming from and what keywords they’re using to find your site. And what they do once they hit your site. I like using Google Analytics for tracking all my content but I don’t just depend on Analytics, I also use all hosting stats such as Awstats, Webalizer… I also regularly check my site’s traffic logs and daily visitors.
All this tracking tells me what’s working and more importantly, what’s not working. Check your bounce rate and the amount of time people spend on your site as these are more than likely ranking factors. Also check how fast your site loads, Google is said to be making this another ranking factor which they use to rank your pages.
Carefully reading of your site’s stats and logs will show you which keywords are profitable and making you money. Then you have to simply fine-tune your marketing to target those lucrative keywords or phrases. Keep building your rankings for those keywords over a period of time and you will be successful.
Bonus Step: Persistence Brings Home The Bacon
I couldn’t finish this article without mentioning another key element to succeeding on the web – persistence. Maybe it’s just me, but it took me around three years before any of my sites became really profitable. Now most marketers and webmasters become profitable in much shorter periods, but I still believe it takes time to build a solid online business. It takes time to build up your customer base, it takes time to build up your rankings in all the search engines.
Guess, what I am saying is this: if you expect overnight success, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. But if you take a long-term strategy and build your site and marketing up over a matter of months, more likely years, then you have a much better chance of becoming successful. Mainly because, you’re not just building a site, you’re building an online business that will take some time to become established and it may even take more time to become prosperous. Be persistent and you will succeed.
About The Author: The author is a full time online affiliate marketer who operates numerous niche sites, as well as two sites on Internet Marketing, where you can get valuable marketing tips for free: www.marketingtoolguide.com or try here www.bizwaremagic.com. Copyright (c) 2010 Titus Hoskins.
Source: SiteProNews * March 26, 2010 * Issue #1365
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