Internet Marketing: The Basics – Where to Start

I am preparing a new email sequence for a list that will include many new aspirants to internet marketing. In doing so, I am thinking about the essential truths I can share with them, as an older brother or uncle might.

Many who are exploring internet marketing are doing so from a position of need, meaning that they have little in excess resources to apply to the game. The good news is that it is possible to learn virtually all you need for free if you set your mind to it. There are some inescapable expenses which include computer/internet access, web hosting and an auto-responder.

The critical first step, the crossing of the Rubicon for many emerging marketers – passing from thinking about it to doing it – is the acquisition of an auto-responder service. This monthly cost represents a financial commitment that is purely business oriented. It is potentially a very powerful and lucrative tool, if you put it to good use. As you will never stop hearing, the money is in the list. And the list is on the auto-responder or it’s not worth having.

The hardest part of any list is the first several hundred list members. It’s often slow going at first, which is all the more reason why you want to start building your list as soon as possible.

As your list grows, your ability to grow your list does as well. Joint venture opportunities begin to present themselves. One big break through for me occurred when I learned about Ad Swapping. I was able to multiply my list from 1500 to nearly 7500 in less than a year.

Even now I participate in a swap group at Ultra Swaps. Once you have a list of 500 or so, you should focus on doing swaps.  But I digress.

The real message I want to share is, you are probably not in business until you get that autoresponder set up.  Once you do, you will need to learn how to maintain it and make it work for you.  You could wait till you got that all figured out, or you can take a plunge get the service and learn as you go.

I am a strong believer in taking the plunge. You ain’t never gunna know it all.

Get your auto responder, start paying a monthly bill and make it justify its cost.  Yes you will need to learn and do a lot of other things to make it work.  But you need to do that anyway, if you are going to be in business online. This just gets you off the dime and on your way.

Now I actually have two different auto-responders, which isn’t necessary.  Of the two, I would recommend you go with Aweber. If you are already with one of the other big names, don’t worry, most of them do a great job as well.

Once you start with an auto-responder company you are pretty much signing on for life, so it’s good to go with a quality service.  It can be hard to migrate lists at a later date.

[tags]UltraSwaps, aweber, autoresponder, internet marketing, adswaps, business online,auto respond email, autoresponder emails, autoresponder services[/tags]

Are you in Business without an Auto Responder?

If you are in business and online you need to have an auto-responder. If you are in business and don’t have a web page or any web presence at all, you likely still need to have an auto-responder.

If you had to choose between having a web site and and auto-responder but not both, I think you would be wiser to choose the auto-responder over the web presence.


Because an auto-responder allows you to develop a relationship with your customers and prospects.

This is especially important in long term sales processes that take weeks or months to complete. It is also important in retail transactions where the customer is in and out. Particularly if you want to develop repeat business.

A restaurant, grocery store, dentist, nail technician or any other business that wants to keep in touch with their customers should be investing in an auto responder. The goal is to follow up with prospects who happen across your web site and are not yet ready to buy, or to keep in touch with existing customers to encourage them to return more often and to increase their purchases when they visit.

For retail businesses, who do not rely on a web site to communicate with their customers, the secret is to put an offer on the sales slip or cash register receipt.

Offer a coupon, or other freebie for people signing up for your message service. Then stock your auto-responder with a series of evergreen messages to drip on them at a proper interval to keep in touch.

Many businesses plan on doing some sort of customer follow-up on a routine basis, but this good intention plan often gets sacrificed to more urgent endeavors. That’s where the preprogramed value of a series of auto-responder messages shines. The messages will go out as scheduled and you don’t need to do anything special once it’s set up.

You can though periodically send a broadcast message to announce special sales, send holiday greetings and similar messages as well.

The combination helps to make the routine messages appear more personal and timely.

In my opinion the premier auto-responder company has been Aweber for many years, however as they have grown I fear they have also raised their rates and shown some growing pains. They are however easy to use, have great staff support (most of the time) and a lot of neat features. While I’ve become less ardent in my support, they are still a top flight company and worthy of consideration if you are looking for an Auto-Responder company.

There are two other choices I could and do recommend however. If you do not already have a hosting company I would suggest you check out UMC the Ultimate Marketing Center. For a low monthly fee you get not only an auto-responder company but also web hosting and many other services such as an affiliate management service. This would be my top recommendation for people in the internet marketing arena. Your get unlimited web hosting on their c-panel run system plus the auto-responder. It’s not as fully featured as the Aweber platform, but darn close.

It took me a bit of time to figure out their system and I would rate the Aweber system a tiche more user friendly, but with a little bit of effort you can master their system in no time, and save a bundle over having both a hosting account and an autoresponder fee to pay every month.

If you have web hosting already, and just want an auto-responder and want to beat aweber’s higher prices I recommend Traffic Wave. They have a $17.95 price point that stays at $17.95 no matter how large your list grows. That may not seem important when you are starting out, but it will in time as our list grows. What’s also worth checking out is that they appear willing to allow you to import names from other lists. I haven’t actually done this myself, so I haven’t checked out all the details, but this would be a huge relief if you were to decide to move from one auto-responder to another.

I actually use all three of the above services. Which is good and bad. Good in that I am diversified against the occasional glitches that affect everyone. And good in that I use them for different purposes and it helps me keep some things separate. Bad in that I sometimes have to loads the same message in multiple places when I am doing a broadcast I would like to go to everyone.

[tags]autoresponder,autoresponders, auto-responder, aweber, ultimate marketing center, trafficwave, traffic wave[/tags]

Your Auto Repsonder: The Heart of your Business.

Do you have an auto responder yet?

If not, why not?

The most basic requirement for success online beyond the prerequisite decision to start an online business, is to acquire a professional auto responder service.  This is the second of my series of break through posts. Getting an auto responder set up is a critical break through step in building a successful internet marketing campaign.

You can’t spend much time online without coming across one of the basic mantras of online success, the “money is in the list.”  While there can be exceptions, it is for all practical purposes a truism.

The surest prescription for long term success online is to build a list of customers and prospective customers. This is true whether you are marketing from a brick and mortar setting or exclusively online.

I farted around for some time before I finally caved in and agreed to spend $20 a month with my auto responder company . While I learned stuff during that interim period, I squandered a lot of opportunity.

If you are just starting out, and are serious about building business online but have not yet acquired an auto responder service let me advise you to do it today.

There are hundreds of things you need to learn before you will be truly successful online. You can’t afford to wait until you know everything to take the preliminary steps essential for success.

There is nothing as fundamental to your success as having a tool to house and manage your business list. You can get by without a web site or blog better than you can get by without an auto responder.  It won’t be the only thing you need but it is so basic, you cannot afford to let time slip by.

Once you have signed up you will need to learn how it works. That will take some time. I taught myself with the tutorials on the site. And that was fine for then. However, I discovered a lot more about the advanced features of my particular service when I took a formal course offered by Bob the Teacher  some time later.

While everything I learned in the course I could have learned in the tutorials on the site, the discipline of taking the course forced me to actually do so step by step. And so I do recommend it, although it’s not necessary if you do your homework on the site.  I used to recommend Bob’s individual courses. The autoresponder course for example was $67  but it’s now cheaper to join Bob’s Internet Marketing Success Library even if just for a few months to take advantage of the auto responder course and the many others he teaches.

Now understand that having an auto responder doesn’t get you to your destination. It’s just one of the essentials.  You will still need to learn how to drive people to your auto responder, entice them to sign up and then learn how to effectively communicate with your list members.

Anyone who told you internet marketing would be easy lied to you.  But it is possible, and it is worth it, but you must make the decision that you are going to go for it, and then prove that step to yourself and the world by seting up your autoresponder and putting it to work.

We will discuss additional steps in future posts.

It’s Alive! Putting Life Into a Dead Web Site

The “It’s Aliiive!” line from the scene in which Dr Frankenstein’s monster comes alive has been parodied thousands of times. I am borrowing it for an upcoming speech to my Toastmaster’s Group.

In my speech I will be discussing the alchemy necessary to turn a dead web site into a living marketing machine capable of generating tens of thousands of dollars worth of effective advertising at a fraction of the normal expense.

Unfortunately most business web pages are deadly dull one way communications. Many are little more than an electronic brochures. Retailers will maybe have their hours posted, and maybe a help wanted form to recruit entry level clerks. Professional sites tend to read like resumes. And neither offers much of a chance for interaction with the person browsing. Oh, they may offer an email address or even an email form to ask questions, but surprisingly often these email go to an email account that only gets checked intermittently since so few people use it.

If your web page is to be more than a stale brochure taking up cyberspace you need to add a little chemistry to the equation. You need to add something. In this case it will take more than adding vinegar to baking soda to get your web site to fizz. You need three ingredients, added in combination to bring your web site to life, to turn it from a dead brochure into a powerful living marketing machine.

And those three things are an ethical bribe to capture your viewers interest and email address. A double opt-in autoresponder system that can build a data base of your opt-ins respond to them. And a series of follow-up messages that can drip on your visitors over time.

These three elements when properly combined make up the magical molecule that is the sorcerer’s stone that can transform a dead web page into a marketing marvel.

The ethical bribe must be relevant to your business and appeal to your browser, its content will vary depending on your business type. A retailer may offer coupons, a business with a longer sales funnel will want to offer information the buyer needs to understand the issues surrounding their buying decision.

The auto-responder itself is the heartbeat of the system. I recommend

The follow-up is then critical. The purpose of bringing your web site to life is to be better able to converse with your prospect. They came to your web site originally for some purpose. They were intrigued by your ethical bribe. This suggests that they are at least potentially customers. Now you need to followup with them. Tell them what they need to know and/or make them an offer they can’t refuse.

But don’t do it once. Instead think about the life time value of this person who like your web site has been transformed. Before they were a browser, now they are a prospect. Treat them to relevant information and treat them well.

Any web site can be set up to take simple orders or list the hours you are open. It takes an auto-responder system to convert a dull lifeless internet brochure into a living and breathing marketing machine. Do you want your web site to be dead and dull, or do you want it to be alive?

Listen to the Podcast of “It’s Alive.”
It\'s Alive!