Thursday, June 30, 2011

Branding Is The Key To Your Success Online!

I'm sharing this from an email I received today. It's truly too good not to share...

If you're a member of the traffic exchange featured below, then no doubt you would have received it too. I just hope that you stopped long enough to read it... LOL :p So thank you to Matthew Graves for this...

The question is a common one.

"What is the most important thing I should do first to achieve success online?"

Well, after more than a decade working in the Internet Marketing business, and more than 3 decades is business overall, my experience has taught me that building a recognizable name in your niche is a key to lasting success. Many people and businesses come and go, especially in the traffic exchange and Internet Marketing world. However, there are a group of names that everyone in the industry recognizes. Right off the top of my head, here are a few that come to mind: Jon Olsen, Paul Kinder, Tony Tezak, Darren Olander, Sean Supplee, Tim Rash, Tim Linden, John Guanzon, Steve Ayling ... and the list goes on. I can think of a whole group of others, who I hope will forgive me for not including them here.

The important point is that you want your name on that list of names which immediately come to mind when someone thinks about your niche.

The key to your long-lasting Internet success is not getting a sale or signup this week. When you are first starting out in this business, your focus needs to be on building your brand. Building your brand is just as important to you as building the Coke brand is to Coca-Cola. You want to become a recognized authority in your field. With that authority comes influence and with influence comes income.

So, you ask, how do you build your brand? Well, the scope of that question is beyond a single email, but here is a good first start.

1. Focus On Your Brand First - What you focus on is what will get done. Keep your focus on building your brand at this point, not on making a sale. You want long-term success, not short-term, fleeting signups. Make sure your efforts are focused on the long-term effects.

2. Become an Expert - You cannot learn too much about your niche. In order to build the respect and influence of others, you have to know what you are talking about. Simple as that. Learn all that you can, and only communicate what you know. Don't damage your brand with what you say.

3. Personalize Your Promos - You don't want to be promoting generic affiliate signup pages, banners, or text ads. You want your name, or even better, your name and picture out there. Just make sure the picture is a good representation of yourself. It shouldn't look like a jail mugshot. The tools that are available to create your own splash pages and banners, like AdKreator or InstantSplash, make doing this so easy.

4. Prepare Your Tools - The best core tool to building your brand is a blog. It is the heart of any branding campaign. You want people to subscribe to your blog and you want to distribute interesting and valuable information in your blog posts. Wordpress has a great free blog service, as do other sites like BlogSpot. To drive members to your blog, use the social media tools, like Facebook and Twitter. Of course, use the traffic exchanges and list builders to drive traffic to your blog as well.

5. Build Relationships - The best way to get people to remember you is for them to really get to know you. Be yourself online. Build your online relationships just like the offline ones. Treat people with respect and focus on how you can help them. The more help you give away, the more you will receive in return. Use Facebook - how many friends do you have? Join groups within your niche. Participate in webinars, like those by TE Live and Affiliate Funnel. Get your name and personality out there.

So there you have it! For all the newbies out there, this is a concise format of what you need to work on as you're starting on your journey to success. I've started on my path, I hope it won't take long before you do so as well.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Selling On E-Bay

Glitter Words

This is another popular business that a lot of people start out with. I must admit initially planning on launching my own selling site at E-Bay Philippines. In fact, I do have an account there. The idea is put on the backburner at the moment as I work on organizing my affiliate programs. 

As you probably know, E-bay is a popular online auction website that millions of people around the world use daily to find good deals on items they're looking for. You can sell anything you have at home. You can sell used or brand new products. A good strategy would be to buy wholesale items and sell them for a profit.

What skills are helpful?

You don't need a lot of skills to sell items on e-bay. An important skill would be your ability to market your items. It also helps if you can take photos of the items you're selling so potential buyers can see what condition the item is in. 

What tools are needed?

Well, you will need to register for an account with e-bay if you wish to sell items there. Also, plan on how you will be sending your item/s to the buyer. A registered courier would be a good idea. You will definitely need a computer with reliable Internet access to keep track of your sales. Plus, an online payment processor like PayPal is handy and convenient to receive payment. 

How do you get started?

Sign-up for a seller account with E-Bay. Plan to purchase items as well to build your user ratings. This is important to build confidence so potential buyers won't hesitate to buy from you. 

Include photos for items you're selling. This helps sell the items faster. 

Review all informational materials as well as the rules for buying and selling on E-Bay. Get tips on how the sales process works and how to make more sales.

Selling on E-Bay is an excellent way to start your own online business. I've come across some really successful sellers that have made this their full-time work. You'll get a first-hand experience of having your own business without the need for a lot of equipment. And if you're selling used items, it helps get rid of items that are cluttering your home plus you make a little money on the side.

Hmm, it reminds me now to check back on E-Bay policies to see if I could advertise my $5 Business Franchise on E-bay. If you want to take a look, click on the banner below for more information...

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Affiliate Marketing

Glitter Words

Affiliate marketing is a marketing practice in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought about by the affiliate's own marketing efforts. Examples include rewards sites, where users are rewarded with cash or gifts, for the completion of an offer, and the referral of others to the site. (source: Wikipedia)

This is an online business where you use your selling and marketing expertise to get consumers to buy other people's products and earn income from the sale you made. Typically, you would earn a predetermined amount of money or percentage based on your sales. In some cases, you could make money from the clicks from your site that take the consumers to the affiliate websites. 

When you sign up for a program, you are usually given an affiliate link that you use to promote said product, service, or site. Make sure you check on the process of how you can earn from your marketing efforts. 

There are a good number of affiliate programs available around the Internet. I must say I'm involved in a few of them. Some sites are free to join but would earn you more -- like rebrand the free e-book -- if you upgrade your membership. 

What skills are helpful?

You don't have to be a salesman or a marketer to be an affiliate marketer. You can learn this by learning how online business is conducted. You can also learn from how to be a successful affiliate marketer from other top marketers. 

It will take hard work and much dedication to get your affiliate marketing business to be a successful one. Don't consider this to be your online business if you don't have the patience and time.

What tools are needed?

The tools needed will be minimal; i.e. a computer with reliable Internet access, a website to sell the affiliate products from. You won't need to stock up on the products. 

If you have your own site, it will need fresh content on a regular basis. Prepare to write some articles yourself or hire someone to do them for you. A blog to link to your site will be helpful as well to make the search engines happy with you.

How do you get started?

You will need to determine what niche you have for your affiliate marketing website. This helps you to stand out from your competitors. For example, if you chose nutrition as your niche, then create a website based on the niche you chose. 

Find affiliate products to sell from your site. Make sure that the products you choose to sell are related to the niche you chose for your affiliate marketing business. 

There are many people who make quite a bit of money running this type of business. It's important to remember that the most work you will have will be marketing your website to get consumers to find you. Once there, you would want to get them interested in your products and purchase them using your links.

Now that sounds quite simple, right? Here are some tool and resources that I use that also have good affiliate marketing programs:

AdKreator   - DIY Splash Page Banner Design and Creation

TE Toolbox  - Website & Banner Rotators, Splash Pages, Trackers

TrafficWave - AutoResponder, Email Marketing, Contact Management

Buildabizonline - Splash Builder, Banner Builder, Link Cloaking, Personalized Programs Page

TE CommandPost - Manage All Your Traffic Exchange Advertising From One Place

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Service Based Businesses

A service based business is one where you offer some type of service to potential clients. Some of these include:
  • Writing
  • Web design
  • Accounting / Bookkeeping
  • Virtual Assistant
Some small business owners have a tough time getting all of their business tasks done by themselves, so they outsource those projects to someone else. 

If you have experience in some of these areas, you could offer it as a service by starting your own business selling your skills. For example, if you have some writing experience and can write well, you can offer writing about a product, program, or service for a fee. 

What skills are needed?

Depending on the type of service you choose to provide to your potential clients, you should have some amount of skill under your belt. It's not necessary to have the educational degrees to perform these services, but clients would like to see that you have the experience to complete the tasks needed to be done. 

Working online doesn't provide the face to face contact that offline companies have when they hire an employee, so trust comes a little harder online. People do want to know that the person they're hiring has the skills and knowledge in a particular field. 

While it is not necessary to have 10+ years of experience performing a service, having done the job before and the testimonials to prove it would help tremendously. 

What tools are needed?

The tools you need will depend on the type of services you plan to provide. The more common ones that most service based businesses should have are:
  • Computer
  • Reliable Internet access
  • Phone
  • Email program
  • Website
You will probably also need some software programs like word processing program, excel program, and some may need a web designing program. Consider having an instant messaging program (Skype, Yahoo! Messenger, etc.) for those clients who want to reach you ASAP without waiting for a phone call or an email response.

How do you get started?

First thing you want to do is decide on the type of service you plan to offer to clients. Come up with a list or a portfolio to show that you have the experience and skills needed in that particular field.

Next, get your website created. Showcase your skills and experience on your site and provide clients with testimonials from other people who have used your services and were pleased with the results. Provide information on your rate/s and how you run your business. 

Market your sites on the various places on the Internet to get your online business out there for potential clients to find and check out. When clients contact you, be clear on how you will be conducting the business, i.e. task procedure or process, billing, cost involved, etc.

It will take awhile to build a list of regular clients, so don't expect to be making tons of money right away. Give it time and keep marketing your service based business till you get too busy to sign up more clients. 

Running a service based business is a perfect option for those who already are performing that service at another job. In most cases, you could make more money offering those services online than by working an offline post.

I hope you liked today's feature. Next topic would be on Affiliate Marketing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Q & A On Getting Started Online

A number of times we fail to get started on any plans or projects because we don't know exactly how or where to start. Hopefully, sharing these questions and answers will remove all fears or doubts and move you towards the getting started phase. Personally, I like to take baby steps towards any new venture/s that involves online or offline investing.

"Do I have to have any special skills or degrees to start my own business?"

Knowing what you're getting into is naturally important. However, I believe that time and again it has been proven that you don't necessarily have to have a business degree to succeed in business.

Knowledge about your potential business is a must. Be prepared to do a lot of research and read about the field that you want to get into. College degrees and experience are helpful, but not necessarily a prerequisite to setting up a business online.

You do need technical skills if you're planning to offer web designing services and the like. Most other skills you can learn as you go along. You just need to be determined and willing to learn.

"Will it cost a lot of money?"

Generally, it doesn't cost much money to start your own online business. Your major costs would be for a computer, Internet access, and a website. In my case, I'm working towards the last item. Any other cost would depend on the type of business you want to get into.

Of course, if you're planning to sell items that you've created, you'll need to stock the inventory. If you intend to offer services like web designing, you'll need some tools like software programs. 

"Will I still be able to start my own business online, even if I've never run my own business before?"

Most definitely. If you've been doing research on this, you would have read a number of success stories wherein the Internet marketer started from scratch and learned the business while doing it. This is what I eventually hope to achieve. It's been my long-time dream to work for myself. 

The Internet holds a lot of information. You have the world at the tip of your fingers so to speak. All you need would be the resourcefulness and determination to learn what you want and need. 

"How much money can I make from an online business?"

Good question! This is something I want to know for sure too. I believe it will vary on a lot of factors; i.e. what business you start, how much time and effort you put in, the return on investment of what you're offering, etc. 

I've read that some Internet marketers make a six-figure income. I have yet to personally know someone who does. LOL! But no matter how much your business brings in, you're still ahead of those who have to commute on their way to work, spend on gas, meals, etc.

"Do I really need a website?"

A website is needed to conduct your business from. If you're going to sell a product or provide a service, it will serve as your "office" or "store, " minus the physical space of renting a unit in a building.

You can use website design software programs (if you're a bit "techy") or hire a web designer to create a killer website for your business.

"Do I need special business licenses to run an online business?"

Check with your local government agencies to determine what you will need in your area. Each area is different, so it's best to check and see what you'll need before starting your business.
"I'm nervous about taking money from customers. What if I mess up the payment processing system?"

If you're selling items, you will want to use an online payment system like PayPal or Clickbank. These programs will take care of the whole payment process for you including refunds. Again, you can search for a suitable payment system online. Most programs I've encountered also have AlertPay in addition to PayPal. 

Read an article here about "responding to claims" via PayPal.. Tim Linden's Blog

I hope that some of your concerns have been answered here and that you'll soon be on the path to get started. I will start sharing details on the different types of legitimate businesses in the weeks to come.