If you are the proud owner of an Internet Business, and you do your own marketing and sales, then there is something absolutely vital you need to understand about your advertising efforts. Whether you are a seasoned Web Veteran, or Marketing and Sales Newbie, the Goal is always the same: to carve out your small portion of the multi-billion dollar Internet market. And every so-called expert will tell you that you only need one percent of the market to make a fortune. Even one percent of one percent will make you a wealthy individual. And they will all tell you that you only need to buy their e-book, or subscribe to their revolutionary new set of software tools (that are five to ten years behind current market trends). Don’t take this the wrong way; I am not trying to discourage you from your dream. I also have the same vision, to succeed with my online business. My hope is only thus; that you will avoid the pitfalls that I have had to endure on my quest for success on the web.
When I first began to consider a web-based business I tried to soak up as much knowledge as I could from those who called themselves experts. I attended every seminar I could attend, and read as many books, e-books, articles, etc… that I could get my hands on. It soon became my obsession to become a master of marketing, and the Holy Grail (according to those experts, was to master the mysterious art of AdWords (the elusive mastery of keyword and search engine advertising). When I look back on all the time and effort I spent trying to perfect my AdWords campaign, and how much money I wasted on material that promised to make me an AdWords guru, it makes me a little ill. I was truly possessed by an advertising medium. I am a little ashamed of that phase in my pursuit to make a living Online. (But I am a positive self-starter, willing to take the road less traveled in order to achieve maximum results).
Does that sound familiar to you?
If you have not traversed this road yet, let me shed some light upon the subject. Firstly, most seminars are merely someone else’s advertising opportunity in disguise. Especially the FREE Seminars. They are merely a mechanism to draw you to a public gathering place and pitch a product or program that is “too good to be true, and can’t possibly fail, if you are one of the fortunate few who are motivated to dream the dream”. And they hope that you will be just gullible enough to fall for the pitch. If you have a weak constitution, and often fall prey to salespeople then this is what you need to do. STAY AWAY FROM SEMINARS. These people have honed their craft and if you are weak, they Will Sell You. It’s that simple. You can come away from a seminar titled: “How to get rich on the Internet – Overnight!” and owe your soul to the devil. It can often take you years to recover financially and spiritually. I am the consummate skeptic and yet I have been often tempted to shell out money to these guys. It can be very tempting. However, if you can resist the sales pitch, you can glean a lot of information from a seminar. Make up your mind before you attend, that you will not buy anything, no matter how good it seems to be at the time.
The second thing I would like to discuss is PPC advertising (Pay per Click) or Search Engine keyword advertising. But first we need to distinguish between marketing and advertising.
Marketing is determining a need in the marketplace that you can fill. This is where you find your niche, your little chunk of the Internet. This requires some research and facts that will narrow the scope of your advertising. This will usually be in an area that you have experience in, and can be considered an expert. All businesses exist to fill a need in the market. When I consult with a client about flooring, it is to fill their need for new flooring (Area Rugs, Carpet, Tile, etc…). Market research tells me what people want to buy and how to fill that need. If you are starting a new business, you need to find what people need before you advertise to them. If my customers want ceramic flooring it would be a waste of time to advertise carpet. Armed with this knowledge I can make ceramic flooring my niche (my specialty). Once you have found your niche, you will want to advertise only to them. This narrows the scope to those who will be receptive to you. These are the elite few. That is why I say “Market to the Masses, but Advertise Only to the Elite”. That being said, we can narrow the scope even further by understanding exactly who our audience will be. Will they be Senior Citizens, Baby Boomers, Generation X or Millenials (born after 1980)? Each group will respond differently to your advertising effort and you need to understand the differences. I will go into these differences within each age group in my next article.
Before you start any Search Engine PPC (pay-per-click) campaign, you need to have done some research or you will use your PPC campaign for that research. So don’t start out spending thousands of dollars on an advertising campaign without targeting your audience. It will just be a waste of money. After you have done your market research and you really understand who your customers will be, you can effectively advertise to them on a budget. Don’t be tempted to go above your budget until you see some results. Bidding on keywords is tricky business and even the best keyword guru is often thwarted. I guess the reason could be that you start to develop keyword-mania. You get pulled into the game of finding just the perfect keyword combination that will make you rich, only to find that your competitor (that’s right, your not the only one doing this), is willing to bid more money for the keywords you want (or the minimum bid is more than you can afford). Understand this, the person with the biggest advertising budget will always seem to have the best keywords.
If you get caught up in this bidding game, you will lose your shirt before you make a profit. Some of you may ask. If keyword advertising is so hard, why even do it? Because, once you use it to define your niche, it is the best advertising medium on the Internet for the least amount of money. If you have a web site, the best way people are going to find it is on a Search Engine, and keywords are just the name of the game and PPC is the price you must pay… that is what most people will tell you. People who want to sell you their newest technique or technology to beat the search engines. “Just send me forty dollars per month for the rest of your life and I will reveal the Secrets behind Search Engine Marketing”! (Not Really) The truth is this. Nobody knows how to beat the system. There are no secrets. The only way to get past search engine advertising is to have the best and most relevant web site content on the planet so that the search engines will find your site and list it first in the search results, or pay a fortune in PPC advertising. Anyway, that’s the way things seem to be when you’re inside of the game looking out. There are other ways to bring traffic and sales to your web site while you research your keywords. We who do not have a huge advertising budget must learn to work harder and smarter, until we find the right keywords for our niche.
There are places on the Internet where you can advertise for free. There are many free classified sites that you can submit to. You can write articles for the e-zines that will give you some exposure and traffic. And there are a few other ways to advertise on a budget, just remember to advertise to your niche. There is one more option where I have been getting results. It is a Free Search Engine service that you operate yourself. It is a fairly new technique, but the training is really good and it can even be a business all by itself. You get to pick your own top keywords and if someone types in that keyword your web site will become first on the list. If this sounds like something you would like to try, you can check it out on my web site under the heading of Biz Opportunities. It will be the second offer listed and it is definitely worth checking out.
Now that you are armed with a greater understanding of niche marketing and advertising there is nothing more to say except this: May God grant you success in all your online endeavors.