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Topic: Internet Marketing

Realtime Web

Just read this news article about Google and how their new algorithm is doing more with fresh content.

Our primary product, the lead generation website system depends on fresh content regularly.  It is tough because business owners understand how critical it is but they do not keep doing the thing long term.  I consider it the biggest challenge when it comes to helping people build successful lead generation websites.

Now with the new Google update, it is more critical than ever.  Most likely, even if you do not have top ten ranking, new posts will bounce up temporarily.  That is really great but makes competition for this permanent even more difficult.

I guess the good news for companies that help people with Internet marketing and Lead Generation Online is that we will never be out of a job because the game is always changing.

Internet Passive Income Opportunities

Yaro Starak has a very detailed post about internet passive income opportunities. Go check it out if you have time and you are interested in the topic.

One of the interesting conclusions he draws is that, once you filter out the scams, there are a lot of internet passive income opportunities that work, but the people that are working them usually fail. He goes into some detail here – and it is worth reading. It is not only true for individuals, but also for businesses that want to generate leads online. It is about consistently building on what you have, and most people set up a site and then do not touch it for 6 months.

While I avoid MLM’s like the plague, I did join one this year and was successful in building a downline. Yet I quit selling it after 6 months – and the reason was because the people below me were failing and leaving the program. I tried to do some training, but getting those people to take action and stick to it long enough to be successful simply took too much of my time for too little return. Which, coincidentally, is exactly why I avoid MLM’s.

But what makes internet passive income opportunities more attractive is that the start up cost can truly be $Zero. Sure, you are going to do better, faster if you can spend some money. But you can trade time and effort for money and just keep learning by trial and error and build a serious business that has a great passive revenue for you.

Basic Internet Marketing Tools

I am putting together a list of links of basic internet marketing tools for a presentation and I thought I would share them here.

Two Things You Must Have

Most things are free – these are not but they are necessary:

>>> BlueHost – Set up 50 blogs in a few clicks for less than $9 per month.

>>> aWeber – Every business needs to be building their list every day. I wish I would have started a list sooner.

Blogging Solutions

Lead Generation Engine

Social Networks

Social Bookmarks

Reporting and Research

Publishing

I know there is a lot more that is not on this list, but I am trying to think of what somone new to Internet marketing may need to promote their business. Feel free to add your own additions in the comments.

Marketing Blog – 7 Reasons not to start one

If you enjoy marketing on the web, you might be tempted to start a blog about marketing, social media, twitter or some other passion you have. Don’t!

Here are seven reasons you should not start a marketing blog.

  1. A broad marketing blog has no appeal except to other marketers (and probably not even them) – it is not specific enough.
  2. Too much competition for general marketing blogs
  3. Does not address people’s specific marketing needs.
  4. marketing as a topic is constantly changing, to stay relevant is a full time job.
  5. Very difficult to not be a ME TOO marketing blog.
  6. Clients do not care about marketing – they are looking for people to solve their marketing issues, not wax poetically about them.
  7. Niche topics get great traffic – broad topics like marketing just do not perform well.

Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule. Chris Brogan does a great job. But most people that I know that write about marketing find it a good exercise but do not get big benefits. Worth doing, yes. But don’t get your hopes up.

Recently I set up a very specific niche blog for a client that targeted a good set of keywords. It seemed very narrow to me, but he was not in a hurry to have readers. Two weeks later and a brand new domain with 3 articles on it, he got 2,500 unique visitors. The lesson of this story is that you should not write about what everyone needs and can already find, you should write about what a small group needs but cannot find.

Old School Marketing

It is popular to talk about social media, influentials and Web 2.0. But does that mean the old school marketing has stopped working?

No, it means that there are more ways to reach people and depending on your target market, you have more options that all may be less effective than in the past when there were fewer options (and more people condensed into fewer communication channels.)

Here are some old school marketing techniques that still work.

  1. Press Releases – When it used to be really read by the press, it was appropriate to call it a press release. Now I would call it a news broadcast. I do not believe a press release will usually find any major writers but I do think that you are going to get some good exposure and good back links to your website. Also, if you focus on a niche or use the more expensive services you may still hit some great media outlets.
  2. Email – Way more attention seems to be given to social media than email marketing. However, email marketing will still generate a lot more money for you. It is an essential part of your marketing and if you bought the whole Email is Dead crap, you jumped on the wrong bandwagon. I make most of my money from email and SEO.
  3. SEO – Search Engine Optimization is not the new hot thing, but if there is one area that is actually using social media well, it is the people that get how SEO and Social Media tie in together. The key with SEO is that if you are in a tight target niche with little competition, you can probably pay for a one time project and reap the rewards for a long time. If you are in an even slightly competitive market, you need someone that goes to war on your behalf every month to increase ranking and get more pages indexed.
  4. Old Websites – Do you have one of those old websites sitting around that looks like late 90′s and does date back to then? Don’t touch it without talking to a professional! The age of your website is very valuable and the pages should not be changed unless you have someone that can look at your ranking first. I updated one of these old sites after some research and got fantastic results within 3 days – I am talking #1 rankings where a lot of other people were fighting for it. These old sites have great credibility in the eyes of search engines and can be ignited by a good search engine specialist.
  5. Directories – Things like directories seem out of date, but getting listed in a good directory still gives you a valuable back-link and can generate a steady (if not huge) stream of traffic. Some of my favorite are technorati and blogcatalog – but the older (less shiny) ones are still effective if you get into them too.
  6. Link Exchanges – These things have a bad name, and anything that automates the process I would stay away from. However, doing an occasional link exchange with someone else in your industry will help – not hurt – your website. If link exchanges actually hurt websites, most blogs with blog rolls would be thrown out of Google long ago since they often link to each other. This is one of those things that still works, you just have to be smart about it.
  7. Word of Mouth – The oldest of the old school marketing is the new cool. Finding ways to get people to talk about you are the holy grail of cutting through the clutter. But it may just not work for you – you really have to be differentiated.

Dead marketing – Some things are really gone

Yes, there are some marketing techniques that are really gone. Do not do the following -

  • Pass out your audio book on 8 track tape.
  • SPAM – Does anyone fall for that now?
  • Dressing up as a gorilla and selling encyclopedias door to door – OK, this still works but don’t do it.

Most things will still work with good execution and message. Just be realistic about how people’s attention has scattered. You need to scatter your message where your niche market is to make sure they can find you. But that does not mean you throw the old school marketing in the garbage.

Traffic is not a Business System

I want you to be more successful with your business via the web. For that reason, lets forget about traffic for a little while.

WHAT!?! Website Traffic is EVERYTHING

Website Traffic is everything after you create a solid business system. Do not mistake a website for a business system.

While many of you may think of me as an Internet Guru, the truth is that for 10 years I have been learning things the hard way, trial and error. One thing that I have found is that myself, and many people I know, have focused on entirely the wrong things for too long.

(This is assuming you are not just trying to build advertising revenue, where traffic would be your main focus.)

The fact is, you need a system that catches leads and automates the system for your business outcome. I spent years going through the various stages of investing in the web.

  1. Build a nice website and hope people find it.
  2. Realize people do not just find it, you have to promote it.
  3. Start doing search engine optimization
  4. Realize you need to build an email list
  5. Become a publisher and start writing regularly
  6. Start doing audio and video
  7. Start selling things people want to by instead of things I want to sell
  8. Automate the system to get results.

I am sure I have a ways to go. While I have never invested in those guru packages, it probably would have been a good idea, considering how long it took me to learn the importance of building business systems, not traffic of fancy designs. Many years ago we were correct about building expert sites with lots of content, but the monitization thing (kind of critical) took a long time to figure out.

So here is a suggestion. If you have a great site that is not really producing sales, find something else that you can sell from the web. It could be an affiliate product from clickbank or a mlm product, like iLearningGlobal. Make sure it is not something that you need to actually do much to deliver. Then start learning how to sell it profitably online.

When you start from scratch, it is much easier to focus on the outcome you want and not get lost in all the fluff of your existing business. This is a great way to learn about Internet marketing.

Does your website say you care?

I have been giving a lot of thought to traditional websites, social media, blogs and all those other things that make up someone’s online entity. There is a huge disconnect between people that get social media and people that say that their business has a website.

If you boil down why someone should do more than a business website, it comes down to one simple thing. By participating in the social web you show you care.

  • A blog demonstrates your commitment to educate your audience.
  • Twitter shows you are interested in other people.
  • Video helps people get to know you.
  • Podcast shows show you want to have a conversation.
  • Social Bookmarking shows you want to share resources with others.

These are just some examples. It is not the individual pieces that you chose, so much as it is the commitment to care about what is going on online, care about what people are saying and thinking and showing you care enough to participate as best you can. I cannot remember the last time I visited a static (old style) website. I don’t care about them, just like they do not care about me.

Amazon S3 Embed Video

Official FLV icon from Adobe Systems

Sometimes I like to write a quick post on how to do something technical that I found hard to solve.

How to embed video hosted on the Amazon S3 Web Service.

First, why Amazon S3?

Amazon basically offers storage of files at a very low cost and provides very scalable and reliable storage and backup at unbeatable prices.

How to Embed a Video stored on Amazon S3

Many sites are offering courses and membership areas to help you embed video into your blog or website that is stored on Amazon S3. I did not feel like paying for the information because I knew I could figure it out. I am a technical guy. But I was pulling my hair out because I kept almost getting it to work, but not quit.

Eventually I downloaded JW FLV Media Player, posted the files in the root directory of my website and used the site setup wizard to get the code just right.

Finally, I found that this works with FLV files but not the other file types I was using, so I need to make all FLV from now on.

The good news is that with this code and wizard I can now embed video into my private membership sites that are hosted on Amazon S3.

If you are looking for the best video hosting solution that will allow you to embed video into your blogs and websites, I assure you the above solution using Amazon S3 and the Free Video Player are great options.

[UPDATE Nov. 22, 2008]

When I sent to embed the code into WordPress, I found that WordPress has disabled the embed tag because of security issues. Luckily, I found the Wordoress Plugin pb-embedFlash – The documentation was not great because it lacked the basic examples in a clear way. However, I experimented with it a bit and found I could simply type [flash url] and it would replace the tag with the flash player and play the FLV file.

Once you figure it out, it is even easier than downloading the player yourself and setting things up.

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Internet Marketing Assistant

I just wrote a post over on the Virtual Buzz Assistant blog called Internet Marketing Assistant.

It is very relevant to this group as well and includes a link to John Cow, where they are discussing the virtues of using oDesk to hire virtual assistants – and the challenges that it poses.

Go take a look

How to hire a blog writer

A Blog Writer is one of the best things your business can do with a virtual assistant.

However, blog writing skills are as diverse as hiring someone that is in construction.

Do you need a handy man to repair your shed? Or do you need a construction crew to build your garage?

Blog writing is just as diverse. Before you start shopping for a Virtual Assistant Blog Writer, begin by understanding what your goals are. Here are some possible goals for a business blog.

  1. Provide news and industry information – people come back frequently to the blog.
  2. Get great search engine traffic for your keywords and generate leads.
  3. Lock down additional slots in search engines to control your brand identity better.
  4. Create buzz and linking to the blog with great link bait articles.

All four of these are good goals, and they can all happen to some extent, but it is a lot of work to do these things well. For example, if you want good keyword written blog posts, you need to do research, measure the results you get and maybe do minor rewrites over time to improve performance.

Writing good link bait articles could take days of research and writing. You would not expect a cheap blog writer to be able to produce that kind of article.

What are your Blog Writing Goals?

To get the most out of hiring a virtual assistant that is a blog copywriter, you need to understand what the goals are and craft your interview questions accordingly. Here are some sample questions.

  1. What tools have you use to do keyword research before writing a blog post?
  2. What is your strategy for writing headlines and explain why?
  3. Show some examples of link bait articles you have written. (You can then measure the number of links to that page to see how successful it is)
  4. Send me a link to a post you wrote that had target keywords and tell me what those keywords are.
  5. How do you handle writers block?
  6. How do you work? If I want 10 blog posts per month, how would you produce them?

These blog writer interview questions are going to eliminate 90% or more of the potential writer (unless they are trying to BS you) because most blog writers are not writing with a clear strategy and do not know how to do many of these things effectively. They see blog writing as just writing a few paragraphs to keep the blog current. That is fine if you are not expecting much out of the blog, but you can get better results with a blog writing strategy and serious writing with a trained professional.

Once you hire a good virtual assistant blog writer, be sure to pay them well and treat them very well. While there are lots of virtual assistants available, getting one that is a good blog copywriter that can produce great results is very special.

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