The Internet is a great place to do business, whether you’re a retailer selling a particular line of products or a service provider making your living on the Internet. There is, however, one age-old problem with business that never seems to go away: people won’t buy what they don’t know about.
This is where Internet marketing comes in.
Internet marketing basically involves using various tools and services to let your business reach a wider base of potential customers. Good Internet marketing will bring in a significant number of clients, keep them interested and then make more than happy to purchase more of your products.
A not-so-good Internet marketing program, however, will be a complete waste of time and money. In the worst case scenario, you could even end up doing more harm than good to your business if the marketing strategy is poorly thought out.
Strangely enough, most people actually fail in their Internet marketing strategies not because they lack the knowledge or the technical capabilities to make good use of Internet Marketing.
SEO, HTML, opt-in lists, landing pages – all of this will not matter if the would-be marketer does not know how to actually succeed with the tools at his or her disposal.
Let me be clear: this article is not a technical manual on the finer points of Internet marketing. No tutorials, no tests, no benchmarks.
This article aims to supplement your technical know-how and give you an idea of what to do with your skill and knowledge. It will allow you to channel your efforts and create far-reaching plans.
In short, this article will teach you how to be successful in your first year in Internet marketing.
The Mindset of a Successful Internet Marketer
A successful marketer needs a vision to be able to succeed.
No, I am not talking about some grand, messianic vision or something. I am talking about a vision that will define where all the Internet marketing efforts will go to.
This vision will allow you to focus your efforts into something more productive, and will allow you to truly succeed in Internet marketing. But before you can define your vision, you must first assume the mindset of a successful marketer.
This mindset is in turn composed of different frames of thought. Here are some of the more important ones:
Honest and Sincere
The very first thing I have to tell you is that no truly successful Internet marketer is a sham and a fraud. The stereotype of the Internet marketer that sidelines as a ruthless vulture and snake-oil salesman is an image that is, sadly, more commonly adopted than I would like. But let me tell you that being a successful Internet marketer means being successful for the long run – and you cannot be successful in the long run if you start your career as a fraudster. The rewards from fraudulent sales or deceptive marketing strategies are immediate and attractive, but you cannot build a marketing empire with foundations laid on lies and deceptions. An Internet marketer with a name built upon reliable business and customer satisfaction will yield more rewards in the long run than an anonymous ghost who has to change names every now and then lest he/she face criminal charges.
Willing to Experiment
One of the marks of a successful Internet marketer is the willingness to try things out. Many would-be marketers spend months (even years) studying how to be effective in Internet marketing. This is all well and good, but all this will be for nothing if you are not willing to put your skills out on the open market where it will be actually tested under pressure. The truth of the matter is that there is not absolute recipe for success as an Internet marketer. You just have to grit your teeth and dive into the whole mess. You learn faster, and you will be able to find out what works and what does not in your particular line of work. Even your mistakes cannot be considered as failures if you learn from them and use that knowledge to better yourself.
Reflects and Learn From Mistakes
Just because an experiment of yours fails does not mean you should just up and forget it. The whole point of experimenting is to find out what works and what does not. If something you just implemented does not work, like a weak landing page or faulty search engine optimization, then you have to go back and trace where the mistake stemmed from. This is why it is absolutely essential that you reflect upon any problems you encounter in your Internet marketing campaign. What went wrong, how did it go wrong, how can I fix it and how can I improve on it? These four questions are staples when it comes to reflecting on and learning from any mistakes.
Seeks Excellence in All That Needs to Be Done
Good enough is a far cry for very good, even though both are “good” in a sense. Excellence is when you give your best to everything you do. This excellence is not optional if you want to be a successful Internet marketer. You don’t cut corners, you don’t do a sloppy job and you don’t say “this is good enough.” Excellence is basically about making sure that you do as good a job as you can. This pursuit of excellence will always drive you to find better and better ways of doing things, greatly increasing productivity and efficiency. Best of all, your customers will immediately recognize your this excellence and will be more willing to at least check out what you have to offer.
Sets Competitive Standards to Meet
There is another reason you need to seek excellence – the best and most threatening of your competitors also do the same. You must always understand what your competitors are up to. You have to know what they offer, how they do things, how they market themselves and even how successful they are. If excellence will push you further up in your marketing efforts, then your competition will define the bare minimum you need to work with. This is especially useful when you are new to Internet marketing. Your competitors will most likely have been around for quite a long time already and will have spent a significant amount of time and money to get where they are now. All you need to do is analyze how they do things and you will be able to benefit the most from your competitor’s existing practices.
Understands the Needs of the Customer
This is cliché, I know, but it is something so many new Internet marketers overlook that it is worth pointing out once again. All people have needs. If somebody comes along selling something that will satisfy my needs, then I will be more than happy to part with my hard-earned money. This simple fact underscores the importance of spending time, money and effort reaching out and understanding the needs of your target customer base. Many first-time Internet marketers also have this frame of thought where they believe that exploiting their customers and wringing money from them as quickly as possible is the only way to survive. This thinking cannot be more flawed. Any kind of business, Internet marketing included, will only survive if trust is built between customer and client.
Reaches Out and ‘Touches’ Customers
This is another cliché, yes, but it is nonetheless important: your customers must feel that you actually give a hoot about their satisfaction. I have come across so many marketing tactics that look and feel stale and too focused on selling a product. The marketers here have made a fatal mistake: they got too absorbed with exploiting the needs of the customer rather than connecting to these needs. You must always show that the products and services you offer are solutions to a problem, not just tools you use to squeeze money out from customers. It is also worth note that you should not try too hard to “sell” your product to a potential client. I have come across numerous sales pages with a ton of testimonies, videos, promos, guarantees and smiling faces all promising one thing or another. The marketers behind these pages were trying so hard to convince me to buy their products that I simply got turned off and left the page before even finding out what they wanted to sell to me.
Transparent About Everything
People will be more willing to buy a product if they know exactly what they are getting. Many marketers love to use fancy prose, grand promises and technical jargon to bedazzle potential customers. This isn’t such a bad thing in most cases, but all this grandstanding will be for nothing if the potential client does not understand what the heck they are looking at. Be as transparent as you can about what you sell and you will find customers much more willing to do business with you. This is especially important for product pricing and fees. You would be surprised at how many sales pages exist on the Internet that do not list the actual costs of purchasing a product or service. Lots of promises and lots of testimonies, yes, but the lack of information on something as basic as pricing is enough to turn most people away from the site.
Builds a Network of Partners
Internet marketing is not a one-man (or one-woman) job. You will need the help of a lot of people to make yourself truly successful in this field of work. Once you get down to the more complicated aspects of Internet marketing, you will inevitably find yourself working with a whole host of people: content creators, writers, shippers, reviewers, accountants, customer care etc. Everyone you meet is a potential partner, so always take the opportunity to create and expand your network whenever you can. Even fellow Internet marketers can prove to be useful partners. You could swap customers by selling products and services that complement the business of the other market. For example, marketer A sells fiction ebooks via Amazon while marketer B sells leather covers for the Amazon Kindle. Both marketers could work together to promote each other’s products; effectively sharing their customer base with each other.
Emotionally Balanced About the Business
Nobody is a heartless machine, but breaking down into an emotional wreck all the time can’t be good for business. A successful Internet marketer needs to be completely objective when it comes to making business decisions. Your personal life must not seep into your work, especially when your marketing efforts start to get distorted in the process. Beliefs, opinions, biases and even political affiliations must be kept separate from work, otherwise they could blind you from seeing things as they really are.
This also goes for the success and failure of your Internet marketing ventures. Internet marketing is a fast-moving world, which means things die off as quickly as they are born. Look long and hard at your marketing programs and be impartial about which ones are worth spending energy on and which ones need to be dropped.
Uses Money Productively and Efficiently
One of the more common problems with Internet marketers is that they do not know how to use their money wisely. Let’s say you have earned a cool thousand dollars in sales from your most successful marketing campaign. Bills and taxes are paid, and you still have $500 left over. What will you do with this money? Will you purchase educational materials, obtain marketing tools and hire people to handle the time-consuming tasks, or will you blow it all on a fancy tablet PC? Remember that the money you earn is not something you have to spend right away. It is a resource that you can use to make your marketing campaigns even more successful in the future. You could even use that money to save up for retirement or as a mortgage down payment. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure that you always ‘invest’ your money in something that will be truly beneficial to you.
Willing to Innovate and Create
There are a lot of marketing programs out there that can introduce you to the basics, but do not ever forget to be creative. There is often no need to reinvent the wheel, and there are plenty of instances where you can learn from the experiences of the successful (and not-so-successful) marketers out there. But you do have to remember that people are constantly learning and evolving as well. What might have worked two, three years ago will be done to death by now – especially considering the breakneck pace of evolution over the Internet. It is for this reason that a successful marketer is always willing to try out new things. These new things may not always be successful or turn a profit right away, but they will always impart valuable knowledge to the marketer at the end of the day. This is especially important when you consider the next frame of thought that is present in the mindset of successful Internet marketers.
‘Hungry’ for More and More Knowledge
The last but most certainly not the least of important mindsets of a successful Internet marketer is the ever-increasing desire to learn more about his or her business. You must never, ever stop thinking that you know enough to keep you on top of your business. The world of business is ever-evolving, with new players (and competitors) coming in with their innovative and creative methods. The last thing you want to do is to fall behind the competitive curve simply because you are not on top of the latest news and information regarding your business. It is for this reason that you must always be hungry to learn whatever you can about your business.
Talk to your customers. Know what makes them happy and what frustrates them.
Find out how you can be operate more effectively on a day-to-day basis.
Learn how to make more with less.
These are but a handful of areas that you can focus on.
Be hungry for knowledge, and you will be able to stay on top of the game at all times.