Thursday, October 25, 2007

An Online Millionaire Plan: Running Your Online Business

Running Your Online Business

The trick to running your business is to run it as a business. The following pages have a great deal to say about various topics and really don’t cover every single basic of business there is. What is covered here are some details which are key to Internet Marketing, most of which don’t occur in the common ebooks, special reports and websites you find, either paid or free.

But this book is just one step in your education as a marketer. And it will always be a work in progress, as the Internet is constantly changing and evolving faster than books can be written – but I’ll never expand this book to become an encyclopedia of hints and tips on Internet Marketing. It will always be just a stepping stone.

Let’s get right into running your new business...


Every product has a Marketing Checklist

Each product you create on-line should have a marketing checklist - which can start even before you finish the product (which isn't advised). This checklist covers all the points we will be discussing in the sections of this book. This checklist is based on the steps I’ve outlined for myself as I use Lulu.com to publish my books. I give you this now so that you can have basic organizational steps laid out for you in order to schedule your days and weeks – so you can get everything done:

____ Blog entries (even as the book is being written) with appropriate links to publisher.

____ Squidoo “lenses” created from the blog entries – with many links and interactive modules included.

____ “Social Bookmark” each key blog entry and Squidoo lens as you go.

____ Press release when book is completed, when book is sent to publisher, when book is converted for Amazon, any milestone (like starting the book at all)...

____ Autoresponder series (ecourse, not just a single special report - although the book might have several of these). Includes squeeze page and ThankYou page.

____ Articles written and posted/accepted. This is a continuing work - but 50 on each product posted to at least 50 article directories each would be a minimum to start with.

____ Release special reports derived from these articles to build a viral marketing line. Blog and Squidoo these, with link for download after opt-in to your mail list.

____ Sales Page (needed for affiliates, but also for a "more data"

____ Download site (again for affiliates)

____ Ads for other products included in last pages of product (your book)

____ Radio Interviews: Media release packages devoted to your product.

____ Attend Book Fairs, local festivals and give out your web address via brochure. Make sure you get email addresses so you can send them their bonus for signing up. Sell books directly (discount on bulk purchase from Lulu.com) or sell only the download. You could even burn these to CD and sell for a special festival price (today only)...

Now, all of these can be spread out over the course of writing your book - as long as you keep your reading public in mind. You can do a PR release when you have the bulk of the research done along with your USP (which can change) - saying "a new book is being written and author is seeking assistance from (niche public)..." or similar. You can have a newsletter which is written weekly about the book's progress, along with a special report (only available for a limited time) from the book's research.

Your articles can be written as you get through the book, pointing to special reports available only through subscription to your newsletter...

Your Affiliate program probably has to wait until the book is done, but you can post and sent out media kits regardless, even if this isn't your first book - getting radio interviews and giving a website page so people can get the special reports and preliminary chapters.

Now you also then have pre-release versions (particularly if you are asking your readers to help with proofing - with a reward of the final PDF). And those who sign up for the special reports get a pre-release special price for advance copies of your printed book (for a limited time period before you finalize it). That's a great way to get reviews, as well.

Then you repeat this sequence when you make another version of the book - like the Amazon version.

So you could write a series of books and then come back and revise each book to include additional data. Brick-and-Mortar publishers often do this with the hardback and then paperback editions. The latter often has updates not found in the hardback. Their marketing plan is to make all possible money from the hardback and then continue with the paperback, milking each version for all they're worth. (Publishing with a Print-On-Demand publisher like Lulu.com enables you to update and republish within minutes.)

The Internet allows us to include the readers in your research and writing phase - particularly if you blog and article-market the book as you go along. This means you are going to have to actively write it - but you might get blog-comments as you go along to help you. On following books, you can then email subscribers about the event (giving them a nice bonus in the process) so they will visit your blog and help with the research and writing (at least cheering you on...) You are making the writing process an event in itself. And of course, the radio personalities would love that angle...


Sources to drive traffic to your lists - and what not to use

1. Articles

These are always short, to the point, and have a link to your squeeze or landing page. These are the most effective if they are really written by you.

2. Viral ebooks

Your giveaways also have your link(s) in them. Based on your articles, these are special reports which can be given away to others - and you can also include resale rights in them, just as added incentives.

3. Affiliate programs

These are people who do your advertising for you. They link directly to your sales page and so create sales directly. Means you also need an opt-in on your sales page so you capture their email after they buy – as well as when they don't.

4. Radio interviews

These will get spikes in interest, as people go to your landing page to buy your product. Of course, your landing page also has to have an opt-in, so you can get these people also for later sales.

5. Joint ventures

Only if you have tried the product for yourself and truly like it and use it. Otherwise, it's not true that you "highly recommend" it. And your readers will find out that this stuff is a bunch of garbage and opt-out.

6. PPC or ezine or any type of ads

Generally - don't. Advertisements are impersonal and don't build relationships. They work only if you have a loaded shotgun and a barrel full of fish. And those barrels are the most expensive to pay for. Since you don't build relationships, they don't know you and won't buy anything from you unless they really, really like your product. Advertising can work, but it's an expensive addiction.

7. SEO Gimmicks

Nope. Your best SEO is article marketing and effective landing/squeeze pages – and knowing what keywords you naturally use. Forget about various keyword stuffing, link farms, and other fads. Goes for link exchange as well. Write great articles and people will put them on their sites, which improves your rankings on various search engines.

8. Blog

You keep telling your story as it happens. Regardless of whether anyone comments on your posts, the search engines hold blogs highly as they have fresh content. Also, this is a great source for articles. In blogs, you link to everything you talk about - so when you speak in generic terms about how to do something, you link to a product you sell (landing/sales page).

9. Your email signature

Always include your landing page as part of your signature in every email you send to people.

10. Using other people's lists to start out

Nope. Keep your day job and build your quality list from day one. The reasons are above - people know you and trust you. Mailing to someone else's list won't get the results from getting people to find you. It takes some time, but spend it writing articles and blog entries every day, as well as pitching radio stations to have you as a guest. And meanwhile, work on your next product to sell - have it ready for the upcoming flood of traffic.

11. Squidoo

These lenses (as they are called) are a great source for links and are fairly highly regarded by Google. Some have built their list entirely through Squidoo lenses.

12. Offline marketing

Some can be a plus for lead generation and direct sales. Radio interviews fall under this, but you can also do conventional mailings and also attend tradeshows or local festivals. Mail out your web page and collect email addresses. Good for lead generation.

13. Social Bookmarking

Social bookmark everything you post on the web – at least the major stuff like key blog posts and Squidoo lenses, your Lulu storefront, etc. Bookmark on as many networks as you can.

14. Forums and discussion groups

Takes some time to do well. Build your credibility by giving good advice and open-handed help. Ensure you leave your link to your opt-in page as part of your signature.

15. Tell a friend.

Make sure a “tell a friend” script is on your blog and every page you have an opt-in form. You want to help people refer others to your product.

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