When someone gets on the internet for the very first time, and they want to earn money in their spare time, they have a lot of questions they will want to ask.

I will seek to answer those questions here, as well as to provide a Day Planner to enable the new online entrepreneur to navigate the maze of building a successful online business.

When I find great advice by other writers, I will include that information as well. --- Clinton Douglas IV, Founder of Vasrue.com

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

10,000 Reasons Why You Should Do Your Homework Before Investing In An Online Business Opportunity

Article Presented by:
Copyright © 2009 Bill Platt

I have been providing advertising services to online businesses since 2000. I have helped many people become successful online through the use of my services.

Too often, I only hear from people on the phone after they have lost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to launch their new online business ventures. They call me when they have just a few dollars left. I sometimes wish people would have found me first, so that I could have helped them find real success, instead of heartache.

Beware Of The Charlatans

Before you consider spending any large chunk of cash, please be aware of those who are preying upon the Internet newcomers.

I know companies selling cookie-cutter websites for tens of thousands of dollars, and those cookie-cutter websites have never helped anyone achieve any kind of success online.

If you are buying a website that is selling products available on thousands of websites, it will be extremely difficult for you to stand out among the crowd.

I know that these cookie-cutter sites are attractive, because they have the products, the shopping cart, and the fulfillment systems built in, but you are still one of thousands of sites displaying the exact same kind of products for the exact same prices. You are only one in a huge wilderness of sites that might look different, but are exactly the same under the hood.

In these cases, the only website owner who profits is the guy who is selling the cookie-cutter website and handling the product fulfillment for the customers.

The guy selling the site wins in three ways: 1. Selling the cookie-cutter website for 10 grand; 2. Filling the product orders and collecting his wholesale fees; and 3. He gets to capture the email and mailing addresses of people who buy products from the cookie-cutter sites.

Beware Of The Cost Cutters

If you are selling any kind of hard-product (a product that must be shipped to the customer), be aware of the price comparison websites, such as http://Nextag.com/ where consumers can find the product they want to buy, then compare prices on that particular product across hundreds of websites.

You might be the one providing the best information about the product, only to ensure that your lowest price competitor gets the sale.

It is tough selling hard products online for this very reason, unless you are an exclusive distributor of such a product or no other companies have shown an interest in selling that kind of product.

Beware Of Import/Export

Before diving off into buying products from China to resell in the United States, you need to be aware of the laws governing the importation of certain product types.

There are certain products that the Chinese Wholesale sites would be happy to sell to you. And at the same time, the U.S. Customs Office would be happy to seize those products at the border, due to import restrictions.

If the U.S. Customs seizes your shipment, your investment may be lost forever.

You should know what you can import and what you can export. Know the facts, before spending your money arranging large product shipments into the United States. http://Customs.gov/ is a good place to start to learn about importing products into the U.S.

Beware Of Bad Business Advice

If you have ever heard that online business is different than offline business, please take some time to understand what that actually means.

Primarily, it means that I do not have to have an office on Main Street USA in order to do business online. I can run my business out of my house, if I so desire.

Beyond that difference, both methods of doing business are exactly the same.

The rules that govern the profitability of a business are exactly the same.

You must earn more than you spend to make a profit, and what you pay yourself is an expense.

Beware of Those Who Are In The Business Of Selling Lies

There are tons of people online who prey on people like you.

The one that immediately comes to mind is the Internet Marketing guru who says that you can hire ghost writers for $5 an article, and that is all you should need to spend.

I provide ghost writing services, and I cannot get good content for anywhere near $5 per article.

What you usually get for $5 is stolen from someone else, or it looks like it was written by a second grader.

The thing that is so ironic about that claim is that the gurus saying that you should only pay $5 for an article are usually paying $250 to $500 to have their articles written. And they would never tell you WHO writes their articles, because finding and keeping good help is tough, even online.

I can get decent articles written for you, for well under $250, in fact, for under $100 and sometimes for under $50, depending on if I am doing the writing or my writers are doing the writing.

It is important for you to understand that awesome writers can typically earn you an awesome Return On Investment (ROI).

When you find those awesome writers, you need to pay them what they require to keep them on your payroll, and you certainly do not want to share their name with another, in the off-chance that they decide that they would prefer to work for the other guy instead of you.

It is just bizarre to me that the big Internet Marketing gurus are telling you that you should never pay more than $5 an article, when I know for a fact that many of them are paying $250 to $500 an article to have their own stuff written.

You know what this actually boils down to?

Those gurus are not telling you what you need to know. They are telling you what you want to know.

Shame on them.

Just Be Careful Out There

The Internet is full of fraudsters looking to get your money and steal your your dreams.

So be careful not to become a victim of the Internet Marketing dream.

Many of my customers have taken the time to learn how to be successful, and they are. I have several clients who earn 7-figures a year from their online marketing endeavors.

If you learn the necessary work processes that you will need to do, offer a product or service people actually want or need, and you follow through with good advertising and customer service, you can be successful too.

Unfortunately, most people will blow their bankroll, before they figure out what it was that they were doing wrong. And then it is too late, because they no longer have the resources to make anything happen.

About the Author:
Bill Platt has been providing article marketing services since 2001, including article ghost writing and article distribution services, through his website at: http://thePhantomWriters.com/ You can download Bill's free ebook titled, "Article Marketing: Beyond the Basics" on his blog. You can also listen to Article Marketing Tips and Tutorials at: http://ArticleMarketingConceptsRadio.com/

Follow Bill Platt on Twitter.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sincerity: the 'Secret Sauce' for Effective Marketing

Article Presented by:
Copyright © 2009 Judy Murdoch

A couple years ago, I was talking with someone who was, for me, a very challenging client. I'm all about cultivating relationships that result in opportunities to sell.

This particular client seemed allergic to cultivating relationships for reasons I never really understood.

I remember one such meeting, I was trying to explain to my client the wisdom of first creating trust and credibility before trying to get a sale. And my client was blocking me at every turn with reasons why relationship development would not work for their business.

It was maddening.

Finally, I cried with exasperation, "Well, why the heck do you want to keep working with me since my approach doesn't work for you?"

"Because you're sincere," the client replied.

"Who cares" I thought to myself since it didn't seem to be to helping my client grow their business.

Since that time I've changed me mind about the quality of sincerity. I think it's impossible to have sustainably effective marketing without sincerity.

The Importance of Being Sincere

The word, "sincere" is derived from the Latin word, "sincerus," meaning whole, pure, genuine.

When you think about today's business climate, sincerity isn't a quality that comes to mind. But it's a quality human beings need to perceive to be willing and able to buy.

The Place of Sincerity in Your Marketing

First, it's important to remember the real role of marketing in your business.

Marketing is NOT about making a sale. Marketing is about creating a relationship based in trust and safety so that a sale can occur.

Regardless of public sentiment towards business, people and companies still have problems that need to be solved and stuff that has to get done. Your prospective customers still need to buy stuff.

They want to be able to trust you because they need to buy what you sell.

The marketing you do is all about establishing visibility and credibility so that there's enough trust for the purchase to happen.

For example, if you regularly keep in touch with prospects via an ezine, you're not doing it to "bug" your customers. You're sending out that ezine because:

  • You can remind them that "Hey, I help people just like you solve these kinds of problems."

  • You can offer examples and helpful information about the kind of problems you solve ("Here's an example of how I helped a customer")

  • Or you provide helpful information for your prospects to better understand what they need to do to improve their situation.

  • Once prospective customers feel accepted for where they're at and trust you can actually help, they can then take the next step.

    It's About Sustainable, Effective Marketing

    Now there are also some relatively good-hearted entrepreneurs out there who use hard-sell tactics in their marketing. You subscribe to their ezine and get barraged with multiple emails every day telling you about some amazing program you "just gotta check out."

    Here's what's important: there is no rest with this kind of marketing. You must work very, very hard to generate this level of noise.

    And if you're spending so much time and energy with your own marketing, it's tough to put much time or effort into where--in my opinion--we should be making the difference: helping clients and customers get results.

    That, to me, is why hype-centered marketing with or without a good heart fails. If you want to market your business in a way that brings in a steady stream of ideal customers without burning yourself into a crispy critter, sincere, heart-centered marketing is the way to go.

    Keys to Developing Sincere, Effective, Sustainable Marketing

    #1. Ask yourself, "what's my highest intention for my business?"

    What's the best possible outcome for you, for your business, and for your customer?

    Example: the highest intention for Highly Contagious Marketing is when we help clients create marketing that grows their client base and their bottom line.

    When that happens, satisfied clients send us referrals which helps Highly Contagious Marketing succeed financially and there are more successful businesses in the world making a positive difference.

    #2. Look at how your intention is reflected in your marketing?

    Thinking of the many different ways you market your business, how is your intention showing up?

    Example: In all the activities to promote Highly Contagious Marketing, I want to:

    (1.) Provide information, a how-to, or a resource that gives the person who gets the marketing a little added value

    (2.) Provide an offer and a clear call to action for anyone wanting to take the next step and get more help from us.

    #3. Ask what one change can you make to your marketing to express your sincere desire to serve customers and make a difference?

    Some specific actions you can take to show more sincerity in your marketing include:

    (1.) Make your marketing message truly focused on your customer and their current problem. The first half of your message should be about your customer and their situation. If you're talking about yourself--your solutions and qualifications, your marketing is not focused on the customer.

    (2.) Look for ways to leave anyone who encounters your marketing a little better off than they were before the encounter. Marketing that informs, coaches, inspires, even entertains all leave recipients a little better off.

    (3.) Make sure your marketing reflects your values and if not, make changes. If you loathe hype in other marketing but use hype because "that's what everyone says I have to do," stop using hype. Create marketing that gets results without making you feel like you sold your soul.

    Bottom Line

    Remember, marketing is all about cultivating trust-based relationships so prospects can buy. And sincerity is a critical factor which enables trust to grow.

    Can you market your products and services without sincerity? Sure. But you will have to work a lot harder to sustain sales because you won't be creating the quality relationships that give your marketing real momentum.

    To create marketing in which sincerity shines through, take some time to remember what your business is in service for and take action so that your marketing better reflects what matters to you.

    About the Author:
    Judy Murdoch helps small business owners create low-cost, effective marketing campaigns using word-of-mouth referrals, guerrilla marketing activities, and selected strategic alliances. To download a free copy of the workbook, "Where Does it Hurt? Marketing Solutions to the problems that Drive Your Customers Crazy!" go to http://www.judymurdoch.com/workbook.htm
    You can contact Judy at 303-475-2015 or judy@judymurdoch.com

    Follow Judy Murdoch on Twitter.