The Important Skills For Making Money Online
(But I got carried away writing this… so it’s also -)
Internet Business vs Real-World Business
While the rather broad definition of “Making Money Online” means a 101 different things, there are a few core skills you’d need to succeed.
Don’t worry – you can learn as you go. In fact, that is probably advised. And you don’t need a three-year business studies degree under your belt. In fact, making money has never been easier – and while I don’t want to sound like a hyped up infomercial this is easily possible for most people… as long as you apply yourself to the task.
At it’s simplest making money involves getting someone else to give it to you, usually in exchange for something you have to offer. That means selling. But unlike traditional `sales` techniques you don’t have to go knocking on doors, setting up a store, or telephoning prospects.
The Internet has been around for over twenty odd years now. And the web – that user friendly part of the ‘net that has become part of the global consiousness – for at least ten. And people are now comfortable with purchasing online. And it’s only getting better.
No one knows what the web will be like in the future. In this business you can’t really make a lifetime plan, let alone a ten year one. If you want to make money (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) you’ll soon find yourself embroiled in the network marketing industries and internet marketing community after a few tentative steps. Maybe that’s a bad move, because these groups tend to make money by helping you do the same…. a somewhat vicious circle.
You can think of the money as moving in a number of circles. The aforementioned internet marketing groups are one, and big business such as Amazon, Ebay and Google are another.
Google makes money from it’s advertisers. Amazon makes money from books, dvds and other popular entertainment products. Ebay makes money from a global form of the `car boot sale`. These companies are worth billions and you’d probably be wise to avoid taking them on. They don’t offer anything `unique` per se, but they’ve perfected their systems, taking hold of their respective niche, and are here to stay.
So we’re left with the smaller, but still highly lucrative, marketing areas. These tend to specialised niche markets, with “making money” itself being one of the largest.
Any desire, need or want is a potential market. The desire to be richer is strong, as is the desire to be healthier, or more loved. And all are themselves million or billion dollar markets.
In it’s present form internet marketing is an extension of older direct-marketing techniques. The kind you receive in your junk mail, or see as full page spreads in magazines. The first skill we’ll talk about, therefore, is…
This is the skill, or maybe the art, of writing advertisements. A well written sales letter can encourage someone who is reading it in the right frame of mind to part with their cash.
It’s not as simple as just saying how great your product is. It involves knowing a little of the human mind. It’s about why your product is better than the competition, and why it will help you fulfill your need or desire. It’s about persuasion. After all it’s never as clear-cut as the “best product wins”.
The human brain is a wonderful and complex thing. We tend to buy items that either address a need and solve a problem – or simply make us feel good. And it’s not always the `best` product that does that, it’s the one that’s presented better. History is littered with examples where the less-advanced product wins out due to a better advertising campaign.
The best advice for writing a salesletter is to NOT to bombard the reader with facts and figures, but to take an exciting, vibrant, friendly and encouraging approach. If, for example, you were selling Vitamins you would endorse the virtues of a healthy lifestyle, the perils of a lack of nutrition, and the other benefits a good diet would result in. You wouldn’t simply list ingredients and let the reader make their own mind up.
For a marketing example, let’s consider an ebook about List Building. You’d spend time discussing the merits of a quality email list, the methods of building one, the profit potential, and how a good mailing list would help the subscriber make money and therefore live a more comfortable life. NOT simply list the contents of your book and dry information about the technical side.
Good sales letters are measured from their conversion rates. It’s a simple way to measure success. If 10,000 visitors results in 100 sales you have a 1% conversion rate. Small changes to the salesletter can make big changes to the rate. Experiment, but roll back any changes that make things worse!
Summary: A great sales letter can be the difference between success and failure. Write for your market, emphasise with your prospect, and repeatedly state how your product will benefit them.
Of course, even the greatest salesletter ever written is no good without a product to sell.
Products don’t have to be a book or a computer game you can hold in your hand. It can be information in itself, or even a service such as personal training or tutoring.
And you don’t have to create the products yourself. You can sell someone elses products and earn a commission – “affiliate programs” – or you can purchase a product that has full duplication and distribution rights – “resale rights”. In the `real` business world this is analogous to say, a publisher who purchases rights to a book, or a salesman who works on commission. The only problem with those two methods is that you lose out on exclusivity, but currently the market is big enough to support multiple sellers. These sellers are growing in number, and you can already see prices falling, but for now they do work.
If you do create products yourself, do it the right away around. Find out what people need or desire, then fill that gap. If you create a product first then find out there’s no market for it you’ve wasted your valuable time and money. With your own product you above all have CONTROL. You can have your own affiliates, promote your own extra curricular services within the book, and allow (or not allow) resell rights.
In internet marketing circles, information products rule. Books, Videos, Recordings and Courses are all massive sellers. But in other markets this approach won’t neccessarily work. For example, the humble eBook may confuse people looking to get a book on identifying birds. There are always solutions – e.g. print on demand services are available and could be used to help sales.
Summary: Create what people want, and provide it in a way they are comfortable with.
Eventually, you’ll find you need partners. These don’t have to be people you lunch with or toady up to – as in the white-collar real-world big-business industries such as finance and advertising. These can be simply people who have qualities, abilities and/or a service you need. The partnerships formed can last a long time, or be simply a quick one-off. It goes without saying that partners should compliment one another and any deals struck will benefit both. Not always equally, but never one sided.
If you have a product, and you find someone with a email list who will promote it, you have a partnership. If you have the list, and know someone with a quality product – you have another potential partnership. If you can program, and know someone who can market… you get the idea!
Marketers tend to hang out in forums, and many great partnerships are formed at local meetings or national seminars. You don’t need face to face contact for a partnership to work. Even a `faceless` affiliate of yours is a partner in some sense – just be sure to be there if they need help.
Summary: Make all proposals appealing to your potential partners but make sure you don’t give everything away.
In direct-marketing, the customer list is the companies most important asset. In internet marketing, the e-mail list is similar. All business, in whatever shape of form, should keep track of customers and prospects, since someone who has already purchased from you is more likely to do so again than someone who hasn’t.
But you also have potential customers on your list. You have a mixture of people who have purchased, and people who have signed up with you for information, or for some other reason. You shouldn’t have anyone on your list who hasn’t specifically asked to be there.
With an e-mail list you literally have an asset that can make money on demand. But you should nurture and foster them. You should provide something of value, usually information, as well as products they can purchase that will help them. The mixture is sometimes difficult to balance – but it should always be a mixture. You don’t for example want to endlessly give away your best products (you’d be popular, but not make money. Conversely, you wouldn’t want to endlessly promote – since you’d quickly lose everyone on your list.
List size isn’t so important. Any marketer will tell you they’d prefer a list of 1000 targeted subscribers – people who want what you have to offer – over 100,000 people who don’t want anything you have.
Summary: Grow and foster your list. Take care of your customers.
Even though anything involving computers and the internet is a technical area I’ve listed the skill last, because you can always get someone else to do it for you.
The fact you’re reading this means you’re computer literate to some degree, and therefore are on at least an equal footing with your potential customers. More and more of the population are comfortable with the humble mouse, keyboard and monitor. And that’s all you really need.
Some skills that will be useful nearly all involve website design, such as creating them and uploading them to your host. Or using certain services, such as autoresponders. But these can be learned – or as stated, someone can do it for you. All you really need to get started is the ability to type!
Type out a report or ebook. Convert it to PDF (Word or Open Office can save PDF Files). Create a website (which you can do with a visual designer, there are many free) which is mainly a sales-letter. Join an autoresponder service, and put the signup box it creates into your website. Write some follow up emails for the autoresponder. If you’re giving away your report (perhaps it promotes an affiliate program) upload it with the site and provide a link in the autoresponder message, or create a second page that allows the download. If you’re selling the report signup for a order-taking service (such as paypal) and put the order button at your site.
There you have it. An automated list building and sales machine. Perhaps that proceeding paragraph is all gobbledgook to you. Perhaps not. But it’s all you need to do to get started. Simple one or two page sites with good design and copy and an in demand product WILL work. The only other skill after that is in the next section…
Summary: Be aware of how your business works or at least be able to contact someone for quick results if anything goes wrong.
Promotion is really advertising. You need to make the people who are likely to join your list and/or purchase your product find your site.
In real-world business advertising involves creating ads and getting them into newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards or any one of a number of places. It is hugely expensive. Another method is advertise via the mail – which, if you’re starting out, invovles purchasing or renting a mailing list and sending out letters. Later on you’d grow your own mailing list.
In an online business it is much, much cheaper. The first stop is always the search engines, because people will look there first for anything they want to find. In an ideal world Google or other search engines would find your lovely new site, and people looking for just the kind of information you have to offer would come across you. Alas, it is not that simple – because of competition.
Search Engine Optimisation is a big industry in it’s own right. Finding keywords, optimising webpages, finding reciprocal links and other tasks can take up a huge amount of your time. Above all search engines want relevant content and relevant results, so if you provide that you’ll be OK. Shortcuts may work in the short term, but be careful.
Another way to get on the search engines is to pay for the priviledge. Google lets you buy sponsored links – as do other search engines – which can be expensive. The advertising route os often cheaper where you only pay for each click , yep – we’re talking AdWords.
The search engines are not the be all and end all of advertising. It’s only a way to place your site in the path of an interested potential customer. Other techniques can go direct to that customer. You can get your affiliates to do the work for you in exchange for a cut of the profit. Or you can hang out in forums where those customers congregate. You can have a link from an existing site or blog servicing the same market, or even have your offer sent to the inboxes of people who are likely to have an interest.
Promotion is the ongoing task of marketing. Getting your product and website is ready is a one-off endeavour, apart from updates and tweaking. Driving traffic there is your day job!