15 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started as an Internet Marketer
By Chris Tynski
For anyone who’s joined and had success in the Internet Marketing world, there are likely a great number of things you have learned over the years that allow you to be successful today.
This list is compiled from my own experience with Internet marketing, it consists of the top 5 lessons I’ve learned in 3 areas of Internet Marketing that I believe are essential to success.
These areas include:
Mentality/Frame of Mind
and Marketing Technique.
1. Fake it till you make it.
When you start out with Internet Marketing, you WILL be overwhelmed. The breadth and depth of this field is staggering, and it’s changing every day. Don’t let this deter you. Trust that you will eventually “get it” , it will come together, and you will begin to see the big picture soon enough.
2. Focus and persistence on one thing leads to success, even if that one thing isn’t the best thing you could be doing.
One of the most common causes of failure in any particular Internet marketing venture is simply giving up too soon. Pick an idea and stick with it. Put your heart and soul into it, until you succeed, or are 100% sure it is no longer viable. Failure to follow through and/or constantly jumping from “brilliant” new idea to “brilliant” new idea is one of the biggest reasons people fail in Internet Marketing.
3. Let the hype get you excited, but realize that people lie, A LOT!
Perhaps a success story got you into this business. Images of huge checks from Google, people sitting on their computers on the beach, or images of people watching their bank accounts fill up. There are a great number of successful Internet marketers out there that are real, but 99% aren’t bragging about it. Let the hype get you excited, but don’t buy into anyone or anything that promises to make you rich without a considerable amount of time and effort.
4. If you’re not learning, you’re falling behind.
Massive success happens when you can identify an unexploited opportunity, and exploit it. The only way you will ever be able to identify real opportunity online is to have a broad scope of Internet Marketing, and to understand the working of the Internet as a whole. Get yourself involved in several forums, top notch blogs like Seomoz.org and MarketingPilgrim.com , stay abreast on as many aspects of Internet Marketing as you can, including black hat methods.
5. Building your business/brand is your goal, not hits, diggs, rss subscribers, or accolades.
It can be easy to pat yourself on the back when you see quantifiable goals reached. Getting visitors, diggs, rss subscribers, or accolades from your peers might feel great, but it’s really only of value to you if it helps to make you money or to build your business. Visitors do not always equal sales, Diggs do not always guarantee links, RSS subscriptions do not always equal an engaged community; Make sure you are thinking about your true goal.
6. Ecommerce over affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing can be a great way to start when you first begin with Internet Marketing, but don’t be afraid to move beyond it. E-commerce can provide massively better ROI, if you put in the time to develop your business. Affiliate Marketing is the renting of the online world, where as E-commerce is purchasing a house. If you find a great niche, start your own e-commerce store instead of looking for an affiliate program, you’re profit margins will be 30-70% better, no joke. The reason most don’t do E-commerce, is because they think it is prohibitively difficult to set up. In reality, it is quite easy. There are many open source E-commerce platforms you can use for free, and you can hire a programmer to build you a custom site for a very reasonable price. Once you’ve built a site, find a dropshipper within your niche and start marketing. Not only will you make more money, but every ounce of work you put into your site will be adding value that can be sold later on.
7. Find and exploit niches yourself.
If people are talking about a niche being really great, chances are, its already too saturated. Do your own research and find your own niche. Take cues from the real world. Find things that sell well offline, and see if you can help bring them online.
8. Learn all the basics.
Before you attempt anything in Internet Marketing, learn all the basics. Until you have a firm grasp on the basics from each of the following, do not move forward:
- How search engines work
- Ranking Factors
- Basic HTML/CSS
- Basic Site-Side SEO
- Basic Link-Building Strategy
- Basic PPC understanding
- Confidence in your ability to pick out scams, and identify real opportunity/legit knowledge
9. Crowdsource and outsource everything you can.
Many of your competitors will not be outsourcing or crowdsourcing their work properly. Spend time learning this skill and it will reward you ten times over. Develop processes for every aspect of your business, and figure out ways you can hire people overseas to do them for you. You can find competent full time employees for 2$ an hour. I’m not joking.
10. Learn to program, or find someone who can, that you are willing to pay.
You will soon realize that without the ability to program, or without someone you can pay to program, you won’t be able to accomplish very many of your goals online. If this is not your forte, or if you have no desire to learn programming, get to work finding someone trustworthy and reliable.
11. Brainstorming before almost anything else
Without a good idea, all the marketing dollars, social media connections, and mounds of traffic will be close to worthless for you. Spend the required time brainstorming ideas before implementing them. Linkbait and viral marketing will never succeed if the idea is not a good one, so focus your energy there first, then worry about promoting it.
12. Utilize all channels that make sense, but avoid meatball sundaes.
Twitter, facebook, myspace, youtube, digg, reddit, and every other possible marketing channel has value, but doesn’t necessarily have value to every marketer, or every marketing situation. Don’t try to force your business or project to utilize all of these technologies if they don’t seem to fit, it’s a waste of time.
13. Repurposing already successful content, unique ideas are not always necessary.
The Internet is huge, and there are thousands of great ideas out there that could be modified slightly, or simply done better. Find these ideas and make them your own.
14. Understand and try to build true virility when link building.
True virility comes when you create something that is shared faster than it is abandoned. Your goal should be to engage users in a way that encourages or even incentivizes sharing. When you reach that magical point where more people are sharing your idea than abandoning it, you will see the true power of the Internet.
15. Get a few Aces in your marketing pocket.
The best marketers online don’t do it alone, they have a few Aces in their back pockets. Sometimes these are tools or programs, sometimes they are people. Visit black hat forums often, see what the buzz is about. There is an underground most people don’t know about, try to infiltrate it.
This is an entry to Marketing Pilgrim’s 4th Annual SEM Scholarship contest.