The one question I always get asked by my coaching clients is what I would tell the younger me when I started out online. In other words what would have made me a better and wiser internet marketer. Or what advice I would give to someone starting out online.
Well the truth is I could write an essay about it and it made me realise that it was well overdue. Though as I consider what I have learned it has turned into more of a confession of an internet marketer style. So I hope you enjoy read this as much as I have enjoyed writing it! In my eight years plus I have coached over a thousand internet marketing hopefuls in that time and it has often shocked me on how they have done business when they have come to me. And it will certainly give you food for thought.
Internet Marketing Lesson #1 – We all start out with the same tools
It amazes me how many people forget that we have the exact same information available to us when we start our online businesses. We all have access to outsourcers if we want them, the same support forums, the same hosting, the same domain registrars.
The only difference is what the person that has this information in front of them does with it that counts.
Will you act on it or will you have all this information available to you but you will not actually implement it.
Internet Marketing Lesson #2 – The 95% Rule
Now this brings me onto lesson 2 and implementing information that you have available to you.
On average you will find that for every 100 people that will buy a how to ebook only 5 will use the information they have in front of them. Many marketers say they cant follow what is in an ebook because everyone else is already following it. But are they really? Just think about it for a minute before you buy yet another ebook that you are not going to do anything with!
Internet Marketing Lesson #3 – The Lazy Marketer!
At what point was it decided that we should all be lazy marketers? You just have to search lazy ebooks on the Kindle and there is a huge range just dedicated to lazy marketers.
I am not against passive income as I have many passive income streams myself and I love the idea of earning money while I sleep.
However I work very hard on my business, but also enjoy myself too. I know that if I put in the work my business will get stronger and stronger and I can then treat myself to days out and nice holidays and clothes.
Then I will get a coaching client that will put 10% into their business and complain to me that it is not earning any money. I just can’t believe they want me to tell them the hidden secret to their failures without laughing!
Internet Marketing Lesson #4 – The Completely Outsourced Business
This brings me to another point in the lazy marketer stakes. I am all for outsourcing my business and I do this a lot myself but what happens if you part company with your management?
I manage several websites for different clients from all over the world. And I seem to be getting more and more clients were they leave everything to me. They pay my invoices when I send them and I get a quite note when they have received my emails and that will be it.
I parted company with a client from Australia not so long ago and he had me managing his portfolio of sites from when they were created for 18 months. He then said he wanted to do it alone and took over management. He managed to wipe out one of his sites by hitting the wrong button in Dreamweaver and has not updated any of his sites since.
But what would have freaked me out was that in 18 months he had not learnt anything about internet marketing and didn’t have a clue about his business because he had completely outsourced his business.
Internet Marketing Lesson #5 – Learn As You Earn
Following on from point four, I love to outsource but every single thing that I have outsourced I taught myself to do it first. Then if something goes wrong I can take over or most importantly train someone else to do it.
Some of these jobs are annoying when you are stuck doing data entry to learn something new but its all about knowing your business from the ground up.
Internet Marketing Lesson #6 – Your Business Is Real
Crazy as this may sound your business is as real as they get. Many clients I have come across don’t take their business seriously because it is an online business and not an offline one. Plus with an online business the initial investment isn’t always as big so they can walk away much easier.
This then results in you not putting the effort into a site and treating it like it is a hobby. Remember it is a business and if you want it to give you better security than an offline one you need to look after it.
Internet Marketing Lesson #7 – Domain Ideas
Now this is something I see constantly. You would be amazed by the amount of clients I have worked with that have owned more than 100 domains and simply bought one whenever they had a good business idea.
Then of course they got distracted and the business never got past ideas in the head stage and as a result they have bought that many they no longer know what to do with them.
They are then sat their collecting dust on their domain registrar and will eventually expire.
I am sure it will surprise you to know that I own less than 10 domains in total and I went through a domain addiction myself which I have now thoroughly grown out of!
It was a fashion a few years ago that whenever you launched a product you did so on a new domain and then after a year it would be getting hardly any traffic so I moved them all onto the one site and it has also really helped my SEO in doing so.
Just remember now Google prefers big authority sites so if this is you sell some old ones on Flippa.
Internet Marketing Lesson #8 – Adwords Experience
Like many people when I started I signed up for Adwords and started my campaign. And like many of you it converted terribly and cost me a small fortune in advertising bills.
After that experience it wasn’t until last year (7 years on) that I actually went down the route of Pay Per Click (PPC) again and I am so glad I did. Things have moved on a lot since then and there are some really good advertising available if you are willing to put the time into making sure they convert and that you get the traffic you need.
It’s all about jumping back on the horse and if a type of internet marketing has involved you getting your fingers burnt then its time to get on with it and finding things that work and sticking to them.
Internet Marketing Lesson #9 – Clickbank Approval Doesn’t Mean Millionaire Status
Now this is the most amusing part that I have ever witnessed as an internet marketer. Why is it that when people put a product on Clickbank that they feel like they will get instant riches from it without any marketing?
That some super affiliate will snap your hand of and then promote it to his list with 1 million subscribers. As my son would say “not a chance”!
As soon as you have Clickbank approval you need to be promoting it otherwise it will be a complete waste for all the hard work you have put in to creating the product.
Internet Marketing Lesson #10 – There Is No Push Button System
In all these years I have never seen a push button system that works. Internet marketing involves working hard no matter which area of it you work in.
And there are no overnight riches involved. However if you do work hard at it you will make money. You just have to decide if you are going to carry on chasing “get rich quick schemes” or you are going to work on your business.
Internet Marketing Lesson #11 – The Over Editing Syndrome
Now this can be as much of a problem as bringing out products half done. I have come across way too many product owners that will edit and edit their product and have wasted six months of their time.
I have come across other internet marketing webmasters that have run out of money because they have spent so long perfecting their website that their bank balance has been totally hammered. Where they should have started with one product instead of 100. Then build up the other products while earning money from the ones they have launched.
Internet Marketing Lesson #12 – Actions Come First
This is often forgotten about in the haze of blogging, traffic building, researching and so on. But how many things do you do per day that actually put money in your bank account? Do you send out an offer to your mailing list? Do you get first page Google positions for an affiliate review?
These are the questions that you need to be asking yourself and doing in order to improve your income streams.
Internet Marketing Lesson #13 – Distracting Habits
It’s amazing how many internet marketers get distracted and forget that they are running a business and will spend the day on forums and social media channels. Yes of course you have to keep all your networking updated but when it is eating into more than 30 minutes of your day then you have a serious problem.
Internet Marketing Lesson #14 – The Focus
Now back with the 100 domains scenario that I mentioned in lesson #7 you need to have a focus and stick with it. You can’t get bored half way through your website and then get side tracked with something else. You need to keep your focus and stay focused on the work that you need to get done.
Internet Marketing Lesson #15 – The Hobby
This is the biggest mistake I ever made with my internet marketing businesses. And I believe the forums that I used to be on regularly are partly to blame. Because they feed you all this information about what niches you should be involved in and you end up being a sheep following the leader.
Instead what I have learned over the years is to find niches that you love working in and that you can put 110% into then you won’t get bored and you will look forward to working each day.
After all isn’t this why we all became internet marketers?
Internet Marketing Lesson #16 – Avoid The Hype
In eight years in internet marketing I have never found one hyped product to ever be any good so if I was you I would avoid them like the plague.
Plus it amazes me how many people see a picture of a Ferrari on a sales page and expect to own one within a month!
I could probably count all the decent ebooks I have read in eight years on one hand – which is very sad for this internet marketing world we have available to us.
Internet Marketing Lesson #17 – Never Stop Learning
Even though you may have been in internet marketing for a few years and feel like you know everything – the simple truth is you don’t!
So keep on reading whenever you can so that you are constantly learning new things and learning new methods for improving your income streams and improving your traffic.
Even now I still read about five ebooks a week.
The thing is we all know a lot (myself included) but what about that single nugget of information that you learn from a 50 page ebook?
Is it is still worth it and helps me along with my new ideas of what I have planned for my websites.
Internet Marketing Lesson #18 – Not everything can be automated
Many of us assume that everything can be automated but unfortunately it cant! There are some great resources you can use for your business in the style of software and tools that make our life easier but they are not everything.
You still have to do the lions share of it yourself!
Internet Marketing Lesson #19 – You can’t please everyone
This has to be the best bit of advice I could ever give you and as you grow your business you will discover this yourself.
You’ll build an email list and send out messages and one will say they are too long, someone else will say they are too short or too frequent or not frequent enough!
It just makes me smile and the best way around it is to try to please the majority and that is all you can really do.
Internet Marketing Lesson #20 – Never take income screenshots seriously!
I was shocked two years ago when it showed me on a forum how to create a fake Clickbank screenshot. Maybe I have been in my own little world for too long as I never knew before that you could do that!
Well anyway you can and I would suggest that whenever you see payment screenshots on a sales letter to take them with a grain of salt!
Internet Marketing Lesson #21 – Don’t Be Scared
It is important that you are not scared of the business that you are in and you don’t give out the newbie image as it wont do you any favours.
You want to come across as confident and someone to look up to and turn to on advice and to get to the point.
Internet Marketing Lesson #22 – Making Money Online Is Simple
The real truth is that internet marketing is actually rather simple and its other internet marketers that are selling their “push button” product that make it complicated so that they can get the sale out of you.
To make money you have a simple formula to follow:
- Choose a niche
- Build a site
- Bring traffic to your site
- Making money from your sites traffic
Internet Marketing Lesson #23 – You Must have a notepad
This probably sounds like a crazy internet marketing lesson but you must have a plan of action for the day so that you know what you need to achieve and what deadlines you need to make.
It could be a scruffy piece of paper or the notepad feature on an Ipad either way you need it.
I have a notepad on my tablet, an A4 notepad and a diary to run my businesses and I would be lost if I didn’t have them!
Internet Marketing Lesson #24 – Kiss Goodbye To Traffic Exchanges
Why is it that people think traffic exchange websites will bring them amazing traffic that will convert?
I remember a client telling me that he was getting 10,000 visitors a day to his site and he couldn’t work out why his traffic wasn’t converting. After looking at his statcounter.com account I could see that all of his traffic was from exchange sites.
He soon had a traffic plan in practice that didn’t involve these sites and was converting from 1% of his previous traffic.
Internet Marketing Lesson #25 – Positive Thinking Wont Make You Successful
I have seen more clients vanish from internet marketing when they have followed positive thinking than anything else.
I don’t know whether it is about being brain washed or whether its just laziness but it has definitely caused internet marketers to fall at the first hurdle.
If you get taught that if you have a Ferrari on your desktop it doesn’t mean you will have one. You have to take action and work on your business through hard work to actually get one.
Just think about that next time you read a positive thinking ebook.
Internet Marketing Lesson #26 – Internet marketing is always changing
Another reason why you should read ebooks on a regular basis is that things are always changing and new methods are always coming out. When I started out online there was no Twitter and yet we couldn’t imagine internet marketing without now could we?
Internet Marketing Lesson #27 – Silly Mistakes
I find it really funny the silly mistakes that internet marketers make especially those that do the cold calling emails.
I had an email last week offering me editing services and how they would improve my website. Yet in the first like of the email there were three typos including spelling my name and the company name wrong!!!!
I even saw something recently about cold calling messages Google have had offering to get their websites into Google.
Internet Marketing Lesson #28 – Following Results
Who cares what your sales copy looks like as selling is what counts. Getting results is what a good sales letter is about not how many bullet points it has or how many headline graphics you have.
Your product should appeal to your average seller not how you wish it to look.
Internet Marketing Lesson #29 – What Your Customer Wants
The one way when I find most internet marketers go wrong is with the fact that they are not thinking about their customer or their target audience.
I had one client that designed his site for how he wanted it to look and appealing it to his local friends so that when he was having a beer in the sunshine his fellow Spanish friends could congratulate him about his great site.
He had also turned his Facebook page into a page of him and not his business.
Thirdly his target market was the United States and he was plugging local Spanish products and as a result his product bombed.
Its an interesting lesson learned about sticking to your target market and not treating your business as a hobby.
Internet Marketing Lesson #30 Product Creation
Don’t be afraid to create your own products and to get them out there. I can put a good product out there in a weekend. Literally that quick and I have created them at that speed since I started out online marketing.
So don’t spend six months writing an internet marketing ebook as its bad business sense.
Internet Marketing Lesson #31 Information Overload
Information overload has been a problem for internet marketers for many years and I can see why it happens.
There is so many different products available to us that it is hard to know where to start and what to get involved with.
The way I see it is that you should have a 5 piece plan and anything else you read ignore it. Have five traffic methods and try them out right now and ditch and replace if they don’t work out.
Then follow the same system for multiple income streams and that way you wont get overloaded. Then keep a list of other methods in your notes file to refer back to at a later date.
Internet Marketing Lesson #32 Content Is King
Content really is King and with all of Google’s changes they have knocked off all sites that have not put unique regular content on their website.
So if you want to have natural traffic coming through to your website the best and quickest way to achieve that is with fabulous content.
Internet Marketing Lesson #33 If you build it they will not come
We have all seen the film “field of dreams” but in reality it is not like this. Yes you are making an effort with fantastic unique content but what are you actually doing to bring traffic to your site and getting people to visit your website.
That is something you need to ask yourself when you are wondering why your website is not making money.
Internet Marketing Lesson #34 I hate joint ventures
Now I absolutely hate joint ventures and it took me about the first three years of my internet marketing career before I worked that one out!
I now work on my own and when people ask me about joint ventures with me I run in the opposite direction. Just think of how much time they take to put together and to communicate with the other person and in that time you could have bought a solo advert anyway.
So think about it next time you are emailing everyone asking for a joint venture to sell their amazing product that you know is not that amazing anyway.
Plus why share the profits when there is so much good quality PLR out there that you simply don’t need JV’s.
Internet Marketing Lesson #35 Are you selling something?
It amazes me how many people don’t actually realise that to make money online they have to actually sell something!
You may laugh but it is very true and just think about it when you are offering another freebie with no affiliate links and no sales pitch. You are not here just to offer a lifetime of freebies you are here to make money.
The other thing you have to learn is that when people join your list – sell them something otherwise they may well turn into a freebie seeker.
Internet Marketing Lesson #36 Outsourcing Is Key
The year that I had the biggest increase in income was the year I first outsourced. What was happening is that I was losing half my day just on doing basic data entry that I could pay someone a dollar an hour to do. It meant that I had an extra half a day to actually work on improving my income and my traffic.
Just think about it next time you decide to do something that can be outsourced so cheaply.
Internet Marketing Lesson #37 Choosing What To Outsource
I always think that you should never outsource what you could not replace yourself from doing that makes up part of your business.
For example what I am writing to you now is not outsourced it is me and part of my personality and brand. However the uploading of it onto WordPress, the social bookmarking of the post and adding it to social media channels is.
And in the same idea I answer my own emails and it’s the behind the scenes work that gets outsourced and that’s what you should think about when you are outsourcing your business.
Internet Marketing Lesson #38 Multiple Products Are Key
So what do you do once you have a product launched and it is earning you money?
Its simple really. You do another and another and another so that you are constantly working on your portfolio. Just like a singer would do to get lots of songs out there.
Internet Marketing Lesson #39 Recurring Income
Now this is the best kind of income stream you can get and it’s the best place to start. So someone buys one of your ebooks and than that is it! It is over and then you trying hard again to get the next sale and the next sale.
But there is another way and that is by having a recurring product that can be earning money for you month in and month out. Of course you will get a few unsubscribers but on the whole if you promote it each day you will have a growing number of members.
Just think if you could put a course together in your niche and have 100 subscribers each month putting money in your bank account.
Internet Marketing Lesson #40 Avoiding the big outgoings
Now I see this all the time. You see a new software or something that you believe will make your life easier and then never actually you it.
I suppose it is like the offline world and having the gym membership that you have just not cancelled.
In reality I have less than 10 business related outgoings all of which are less than $250 a month and this is including my Hostgator VPS service.
If you don’t really need it then ditch it otherwise you are just throwing money down the drain.
Internet Marketing Lesson #41 You Wont Have A Successful Business In A Month
It is amazing how many people believe that they will have a successful business within a month. Reality is not like this and it took me 2 years to build up a successful business that gave me financially security and a mailing list that not only had lots of subscribers but also ones that trusted me.
And it was after three years of working on my business that it was our sole income so think about that and have a two year plan.
Just think realistically a business takes 2-5 years to be successful.
Internet Marketing Lesson #42 Spending The Profits
The main reason for point #41 is that once you are earning you are wanting to be putting this money back into your business rather than living off this money. So think about that.
If you have built a small mailing list and you are earning money look at putting this money back into the business via solo advertising so your small list can become a medium one. Then once it is a medium one it can be a big one!
Internet Marketing Lesson #43 Get A Real Job
This I am sure you will hear a lot and I am glad that this phrase is no longer part of my families conversations with me.
It was like that for the first two years because family didn’t understand what I was doing and blogging and social media wasn’t as popular back then. However when I funded moving abroad and holidays they all shut up.
So like me when family do say it to you just use this to make you more determined to be successful.
Internet Marketing Lesson #44 Small Parts Add Up
You may think that a bit of social media and a bit of forum marketing is pointless but it all adds up. A bit here and a bit there and you would be amazed by how much traffic you can get from viral social media posts and old forum posts. So just think about it!
Internet Marketing Lesson #45 Find a good mentor or coach
Now this can really help with your business plan whether you have found your own direction or not. Even if it is a blog that you follow for advice and for ideas you need that direction to help your business grow and to give you lots of new ideas and focus.
Internet Marketing Lesson #46 Look after your customers
Now this should come as second nature to you but many people forget about them when they have everything else to deal with.
Your customers are the ones paying your wages and its important to treat them like you have found some gold and this is the main reason why I have never outsourced my email marketing as this is my front of house and what people see.
Internet Marketing Lesson #47 Lots of eggs
Its important to have lots of eggs in your basket so that you are not relying on one income stream. After all what would you do if your income stream was cut? Just like that you wake up one morning and your one freelancing client has quit or you have been Google sandboxed and your reviews no longer appear on the front page of Google.
Internet Marketing Lesson #48 Bread & Butter Money
Think about when you start your online business what will be your bread and butter money so that you are earning straight away so that you can quit your job and work from home.
And how many hours a week will you spend on this to make it happen?
You also need to look at when you will work and how you will spend your working hours. Currently we work a 4 day week in the school holidays and 6 days a week in term time and that works perfectly for us.
Internet Marketing Lesson #49 SEO Should Be Difficult
Instead of doing all your search engine optimisation through mass link suppliers on Fiverr just step back and think for a moment.
With everyone else doing this why are your links going to count?
Well the obvious truth is they are not. If you are getting links on sites that everyone else is getting they are not of the best of quality. So spend time on the quality links rather than quantity and see how much better your SEO positions come along.
Internet Marketing Lesson #50 Enjoy yourself
Every day I have been working online I have looked forward to the day and what it will bring. I just love work and that’s what we are all looking for isn’t it? I get to work side by side with my husband and as long as I can get the work done that I want to get done on any particular week then I can have a day off when I please. Yesterday I was at the beach and on Tuesday at the water park. Or some days I may have got loads done so I will finish early and watch a DVD.
The point I making to you is that internet marketing opens a lot of choices for you.
So think about your own business model and see how many of these mistakes that I have noticed will prick your attention and have you improving your businesses.