Why There’s Never Been a Better Time to Start Your OWN Online Business… and the Top 5 Strategies and Cool Tools You Need to Know About

I was surprised to hear at a recent seminar how many people think that the Internet is just too saturated to start you own online business and be successful — and that if you didn’t get in on the ground floor, you’re out of luck.

Well, we did get in on the ground floor, and we’ve seen all the changes, so I can tell you this: Nothing could be further from the truth! That’s why I wanted to write this article to show you why NOW is probably the best time in Internet history to start a wildly profitable online business.

Sure, there’s more competition on the ‘Net these days. When the IMC first opened it’s doors in 1998, there were only 130 million web pages in existence… now there are well over 313 billion (eMarketer)! But there are also a LOT more potential customers online, too — 1,022,863,307 of them in fact! (Neilson/Net ratings March 2006.)

And if online sales are any indication, the number of people who are actively shopping online is also on the rise. According to Forrester Research, online sales reached a staggering $172 billion in 2005 — a number they predict will rise to $329 billion by 2010!

New technologies and crazy new tools have opened up worlds of opportunity that make it easier — and cheaper — than ever to start you own online business and immediately start profiting.

Through it all, the core principles of Internet marketing have remained essentially unchanged — but now they’ve been tested, tweaked, and honed to peak effectiveness.

Let’s start by looking at how the cornerstones of Internet marketing have evolved since we opened our doors in 1998…

#1: Depend on the tried and tested essentials of Internet marketing

These key strategies for marketing your business online have always been effective, but are now much easier to apply. Things like…

  • Designing a web site that sells: As in the early days of the ‘Net, your web site needs to have clear navigation and a good sales process to be effective; however, it’s now much more important for your site to look professional. Today’s web surfers have clear expectations of how a commercial web site should look and perform. Luckily, new tools and resources, such as the free web-building software Nvu, make it a breeze for you to create a good-looking, fully functioning business web site.
  • Discovering a profitable niche market: Providing a solution to a problem for a narrowly-defined niche market is still extremely important — maybe even more so with the increased competition. But now, advanced tools such as Yahoo! Search Marketing’s Keyword Selector Tool and Wordtracker can help you pinpoint exactly who your market is and what they’re hungry for.
  • Multiplying your profits with additional income streams: If you want to pile profit on top of profit, combine several revenue streams. The host of e-commerce opportunities that are now available mean that you have an almost limitless selection of these profit-boosters: from moving merchandise on eBay to creating free web pages with Google Sites that will be quickly indexed by the search engines, to selling on-demand merchandise on sites such as CafePress.com.
  • Expanding your reach — and profits! — with an affiliate program: An affiliate program can still ramp up your income while exposing your site to a wider audience. But instead of recruiting an “army” of affiliates, these days it’s more important to attract “super affiliates” to your program — a few affiliates who will be responsible for generating the bulk of your sales. These superstars can be attracted by a generous commission structure and payouts for sales generated long after an affiliate’s referral. And software like AssocTRAC helps you automate your program for almost hands-free affiliate management.

Of course, some areas of Internet marketing have changed more than others since our first course made its debut in 1998. Let’s take a look at some of them… and the tremendous opportunities they offer.

#2: Make sure your e-mail gets delivered… the critical changes you need to be aware of

E-mail marketing is still highly profitable. In fact, we made $2.4 million last year from e-mail marketing alone!

Not only is it a great — and inexpensive — way to establish relationships with your customers, but your promotions and follow-up offers can be completely automated.

However, while you used to be able to send e-mail to absolutely everyone, these days you have to be very careful. Spam — a growing problem on the ‘Net — cost US businesses an estimated $17 billion in 2005 (Ferris Research) and now accounts for 57% of all e-mail (Ipswitch 2006)!

The consequences of spamming have grown far beyond a slap on the wrist from your Internet Service Provider or a few nasty e-mails from angry recipients. For example…

  • Internet Service Providers now filter all incoming e-mail for spam by blocking messages that contain particular combinations of words or phrases and shutting out ALL e-mail from the domains and IP addresses of known spammers. So if you get mistakenly labeled as a spammer, as much as 50% of your e-mail may be “filtered” and never reach your subscribers. And it can take weeks or months to resolve the issue!
  • The CAN-SPAM Act (January 2004) introduced laws that allowed spammers to be prosecuted if specific guidelines aren’t being met. Under this Act you can be fined, and even jailed, if your e-mails don’t meet certain requirements, such as an “unsubscribe” link in the body of each e-mail you send out.

The bottom line is that if you want to take advantage of the profit-boosting power of e-mail marketing, you MUST make sure that your e-mails comply with the CAN-SPAM Act. You can read the full text of the CAN-SPAM regulations at www.spamlaws.com/federal/can-spam.shtml.

Once you’ve made sure your e-mails will be delivered, you need to think about their content. In the face of overflowing inboxes, your e-mails and newsletters need to be particularly appealing and valuable if you want them to be opened.

#3: Keep up with the search engines and take advantage of FREE sources of traffic

The search engine landscape has changed dramatically since we published the first edition of our course. We used to recommend getting listed on eight major search engines: Altavista, Excite, HotBot, InfoSeek, Lycos, Northern Light, WebCrawler, and Yahoo.

Today, clear leaders have emerged, narrowing our recommendations to the top three contenders:

  • Google: The most important of the three, Google has a 49% share of the search market.
  • Yahoo: A distant second, Yahoo has a 22% market share.
  • MSN: With 11% of the market, MSN is still worth focusing on.

With fewer search engines, keeping on top of their ever-shifting algorithms has become critical. If you can get a top listing on Google, for example, you can double your potential customers!

A new way to drive free traffic when you start your own online business to write short articles related to your industry and post them on e-zine article directories such as Ezinearticles.com. Include your tagline at the bottom of each article you write and watch your traffic increase exponentially — as well as your inbound links (which the search engines consider when ranking your site!).

Take advantage of as many FREE sources of traffic as you can to drive tons of targeted traffic to your site!

#4: Instantly boost your traffic with pay-per-click advertising

Paid search has exploded, becoming a widely accepted way to drive qualified traffic to your site — fast. And with each passing year, it becomes more sophisticated, allowing you to zero in on your target market with greater precision.

Today, the major players are…

  • Yahoo! Search Marketing (http://searchmarketing.yahoo.com/): Yahoo’s sponsored search lets you advertise your site in the search results of the following search engines: MSN, Yahoo, AltaVista, InfoSpace, AlltheWeb, and NetZero.
  • Google AdWords (https://adwords.google.com/): With Google AdWords, you can have your ads show up in sponsored search listings for certain keywords — and you can also advertise on other sites that match your audience.
  • Bing PPC (https://www.bing.com/): MSN is also still prevelant the arena of paid search with Bing. So far, it’s the only PPC engine to offer keyword-based demographic targeting.

Paid search is one of the fastest ways to drive qualified traffic to your site… and if done properly, won’t break the bank. To learn how to profit from pay-per-click advertising in three simple steps, check out my blog post.

#5: Promote your business with the technologies
that have changed the face of Internet marketing

Technology has been furiously advancing since the first edition of our Insider Secrets course — paving the way for new and highly effective ways to promote your Internet business. Let’s look at some that have had the biggest impact:

  • Audio and Video: The Internet has come a long way since its text-only roots! Programming languages such as JavaScript and programs like Macromedia’s Flash have allowed for web video and audio, slide presentations, and other interactive elements.Our testing has proven that using audio and video as part of your sales process can now have a dramatic impact on your bottom line — if done right. Use short audio and video clips of you and your customers to personalize your site and reassure visitors that you are a credible business.
  • Blogging: Blogs are informal web forums that invite feedback and discussion. They’re free to set up and use, and so simple that they can be created in minutes using sites such as Blogger.com. As a result blogging has exploded in popularity over the last few years.With a business blog you can reach a wider audience, generate better search engine rankings, boost your revenue, and develop a rapport with your customers — to name just a few benefits. And because blogs are updated frequently, search engines LOVE them. For an in-depth, step-by-step guide to using blogs to explode your income, check out “Blogging for Dollars” — a 125-page book plus DVD devoted to this subject.
  • Podcasting: Podcasting, the delivery of audio files — typically MP3 files — via the Internet, is one of the hottest new technologies to hit the market. It allows you to publish audio content that interested listeners can subscribe to via RSS “feeds” — so they can automatically receive your audio broadcasts without having to go to your web site.Check out my blog post to learn how you can create your own podcast in three simple steps.
  • Direct-to-desktop technology: Direct-to-desktop technology is a way to deliver information straight to your subscribers’ desktops — without having to wrestle with e-mail filters, bounce-backs, or your competition! Here’s how it works: The sender uses an application such as Desktop Marketer that formats and sends the information straight to a “reader” that’s been installed on the recipient’s desktop.Once your customers sign up, they don’t have to check their e-mail or visit your web site to get your latest news or updates. A flashing desktop icon alerts them as soon as they receive your message — and all they have to do is click to read it.

Ordinary people achieving extraordinary success…
the making of Internet millionaires

The unique benefits of starting you own online business — low overhead, inexpensive advertising, and a global reach — can produce HUGE profit margins… and for tens of thousands of Internet entrepreneurs, a level of personal and financial freedom they could only dream about before.

Since we opened our doors in 1998, we have seen a staggering number of real, everyday people earn life-changing incomes with their Internet businesses. And the numbers keep on growing… The Internet is now churning out more millionaires than ever before!

Take one of our customers, Melanie Boudar of VisitVolcano.com. At age 50, when the company she worked for was bought out, Melanie knew she had to go into business for herself. So she opened a bed-and-breakfast in Hawaii and created her web site to attract her clientele. After just six months online, Melanie was making $12,000 per month — and a hefty $8,000 of it is pure profit!

Paul Jerard, another of our customers, had limited computer and Internet knowledge when he started his first yoga web site. Still, in less than 90 days, he was already making a profit — with over $500 a month in sales! Today, it takes Paul less than four hours per day to run his business… and he made over $113,000 last year — with over $71,190 in profits! That’s a 63% profit margin!

We’ve seen success stories like these time and time again… people from all walks of life who have achieved enormous success with their online businesses! You can read their amazing stories in the 56 pages of our site that we devote to showcasing their inspirational achievements at www.marketingtips.com/testimonials

Final thoughts

Sure, there’s more competition on the ‘Net these days… but the opportunities are also growing! So if you you’ve been putting off starting your FIRST online business because you thought you missed the boat — or if you want to ramp up an existing one — there’s never been a better time to take ACTION… and start generating life-altering wealth of your own.

With the explosion of technological advances and resources, running an online business is now so accessible that literally ANYONE can get online very quickly — and immediately start profiting from their own Internet business!

And to get a proven game plan that REAL PEOPLE have repeatedly used to earn $100,000… $500,000… $1 MILLION (or more!) per year on the Internet, check out the brand-new, just released 2006 edition of our “Insider Secrets” course.

With over 1,300 pages of our hottest new test results, case studies, and resources, it’s the surest way to start and grow a successful Internet business in 2006.

It’s such an exciting time to be an Internet entrepreneur! Make sure you take advantage of the unique opportunities that have been created since the early days of the Internet. Read the stories of people just like you who started online businesses they love… and mind-boggling wealth. They are living proof that it’s possible. I hope to see your success story featured on our web site one day soon.

Best of luck with your exciting new venture!

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