Internet Marketing is not rocket science, you’d be amazed how easy it is to make money on the internet. But, you have to know what you’re doing because there is a lot of BS and misinformation out there. If you do the wrong things, you could lose your shirt just as easily.
Really it consists of 3 basic fundamentals, like dribbling, passing and shooting in basketball. In literally every successful internet marketing campaign or thing I’ve done to make money on the internet, it has always come down to these three factors:
- Product (or service) – finding the right thing to sell
- Traffic – getting a stream of consistent customers or leads from the right places
- Testing – finding out what works
This lesson will break down each of the three components in detail to show you how to properly setup any successful internet marketing campaign.
Part 1: Product
The first thing to do, and probably the most important, is find (or maybe create) a viable product or service. This generally means you’ll need a domain and a website, the more control you have over the product the better. There are several options you can take with this:
- Affiliate programs – selling other peoples stuff
- Indirect selling – selling advertising on your website
- Direct selling – creating your own product or service to sell
Typically the advice on the internet will tell you to do the market research, i.e. look up terms on google trends, gauge demand on Amazon/Ebay, find whats currently popular and so on. My approach is a little bit different. I will take the proven methods/products that have worked for me in the past, and give them a new twist.
For example, using what is called the “news poll” method (a method I will show in another experiment) typically gets good results. This is where you find a currently popular topic piggyback off of (usually a celebrity, movie or political issue), find what’s called a “zip or email submit” affiliate program to attach to a “yes or no” poll on the front page, then either buy traffic using Facebook/Google ads or create a one page site and SEO it to the top of the rankings.
If I know this process usually works, I can easily justify creating a slightly different variation of it. I could, for example, instead of creating a one-page poll site, create a one-page t-shirt site that displays a currently popular celebrity slogan, lyric, or quote and sell that t-shirt at $20-30 a pop. A slightly different variation on the same concept, but it all goes back to the fundamentals. There are only three types of products to sell: Affiliate, Indirect and Direct.
So in short, finding a working product is fairly straightforward. Find what already works either from personal experience or what you’ve seen on the internet and give it a twist, then run traffic and test it.
Part 2: Traffic
Traffic or finding customers is a bit less straightforward than product, only because there are currently so many ways to get traffic. Really there are only 4 decent, consistent, sources of traffic. There is one decent but inconsistent source that is free I will detail below, but just 4 main sources that I use reliably, in order of importance.
- Facebook ads
- Google Adwords
- Free Search Engine Traffic (SEO)
- Marketplace Sites (Craigslist, Ebay etc)
These three methods are your bread and butter online and will do the most for you. Option #3 is free, the first 2 are paid. I usually start with one of the first 2 (or sometimes both), then use the last one passively as it takes longer for SEO to work usually. I will show you tricks for SEO in another lesson.
The first, easiest (and cheaper) option is Facebook ads. This is the first place you should start with regard to getting paid traffic online because it’s simple enough and will teach you how to run a campaign and what goes into it.
Starting a Facebook ad campaign is straightforward. Log-in to your Facebook account and click on the top right arrow.
Go to “Create Ads” on the drop-down list and then follow the guide. From there you’ll be setting up your split-test which I will get into below in part 3.
Second is Google Adwords. I wouldn’t recommend this for beginners as it’s a completely different beast than Facebook and quite a bit harder to figure out and optimize. The traffic is hit or miss and Google has alot of standards and procedures before your site is approved. After you’ve got some good experience on Facebook, you could test this as a traffic source but use caution and keep your budget low.
Third is free search engine traffic. This is the most profitable method, but takes the longest and requires some upfront investment in building links. You don’t want to use the wrong or a cheap link building service or even do this yourself as it’s too time consuming. For this to work long term, be prepared to spend a certain amount monthly, at least in the beginning until your site starts getting links without your input.
Fourth, lastly there’s what I would call marketplace traffic such as Craigslist or Ebay. This is an interesting approach as it is also mostly free or you pay after the fact of selling something. This can be crazy effective useful only for certain types of products or services. Craigslist is great for selling computer services or electronics, terrible for selling products/services that are outside of the categories it has listed. You would have to figure out an angle.
Ebay is great for mostly dropshipping physical products, and you will reliably get traffic, but not good for selling much else. The way to work this is to find out whats already selling in these marketplaces and figure out a way that gets more attention than everybody else. While this is a limited method, it can work for someone who is creative and good at getting attention (also cheap).
An ‘honorable mention’ traffic source is unlikely: forums. I would also include any online community (Reddit, Google groups etc) into this definition. Really anywhere where you can discuss things and post links. You can get quite a bit of traffic with this method, once you figure out the ins and outs of each community. However, it comes with hazards and that makes it an inconsistent traffic source.
The problem with forums is that you have no real control over the medium (others can ban you, flag you, down vote etc) unlike a paid ad where you “pay to stay” and get a certain guaranteed amount of viewers. On a forum, you can be getting traffic, but unless you observe their rules, you can be banned for any reason.
For this reason I would use forums only as a secondary traffic source to paid sources or SEO. Every forum is different and they all have their own rules and social norms. One forum where you can get substantial traffic if you know what you’re doing is Reddit, which I detail how in another post.
Part 3: Testing
The last component of a successful campaign is testing it. Testing is not just a one-time thing to find out if something works, but an ongoing process. Once you’ve found something works, you test and re-test it using different variables to optimize it. Things can sometimes change in the marketing environment and testing allows you to be prepared by switching variables and tactics as they come. Get used to testing, and testing everything that affects your business.
Before you do anything, the absolute first thing you should do is sign up for Google Analytics. You don’t need to know the intricacies of it just yet, just how much traffic is coming to your site.
The two basic factors you need to look at on every test is:
- Traffic – how many people saw your offer
- Conversion rate – The percentage of how many people did what you wanted them to do
How a split-test works:
The basic form of testing you will use is a split test. A basic split test is set up always with at least two factors, we’ll call them Test A and Test B. You can test more than two eventually, but start with two.
The goal of every split-test is to get a better result, however you define it.
That’s basically a rundown of how internet marketing works and how to make it work for your particular product or service. Lot’s of people make it more difficult than it needs to actually be but it’s really simple and straightforward.
Internet marketing is not the same as starting a start-up or creating an app where the immediate goal is growth rather than profits. Internet marketing is also not really innovative, often using the same style, page design and business models as others is what works. The goal of an internet marketing campaign is to make money, if that is not being accomplished within a reasonable time frame it’s time to re-evaluate.