How To "Socialize" Your Way To Online Success 
By Derek Gehl

And they're off!

DerekThe Republican and Democratic national conventions have just wrapped up, both parties have selected their candidates, and this week, the 2008 U.S. election campaign switched into high gear.

Wait... don't leave! I promise I'm NOT going to talk politics! ;-)

Well, not directly, anyway...

See, as an Internet marketer, what REALLY interests me about this year's election is the role the Internet is playing in helping to shape its outcome. 

Well, not the Internet, exactly. That's been changing elections for a few years now, as dramatically as the introduction of television did back in the early 60s. 

No, what I'm really talking about is how much social networking on the Internet is changing politics. 

Seems that social networking websites like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and Flickr -- which were started as ways for people to keep in touch with their friends and family, share their latest holiday photos, and post their favorite cute animal videos -- have become pretty powerful tools for candidates.

Leaders of all political stripes have started using them aggressively to get their ideas across, unite their supporters, and create communities of like-minded individuals who effectively campaign for them.

And then there's the whole fundraising thing...

Thanks to social networking sites, the candidates have been raising RECORD amounts of money for their campaigns!

I'd say there's a lesson to be learned here for all of us online marketers, wouldn't you?

I mean, on Facebook alone, Barack Obama and John McCain have a combined 2 MILLION supporters (or "friends," in Facebook-speak) and growing DAILY!

Sheesh! Imagine the amount of traffic you'd get to your website if YOU had even a tiny fraction of this number of people talking about YOU and YOUR business... every DAY!

And that should be your real goal as an Internet marketer: to get people talking. 

Despite what many would have you believe, the value of using Facebook and MySpace is NOT so you can make tons of money in sales directly off of these sites. 

Instead, it's about developing a presence online, raising awareness of your product, and building a community of people whose interests reflect your business.

That can translate to a LOT of excitement, more visitors to your site, and increased sales. 

And the great thing about social networking is that it's really easy to get started, and usually FREE! You can have an account and profile for your first site set up in the next few minutes! 

So if you haven't jumped on the social networking bandwagon yet, here are the FIVE simple steps you need to follow to get started:

Step #1: Create a user profile for your business

The first step in getting started with social networking is to create user profiles for your business on the major networking sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Flickr.

The most important thing to remember? Do NOT fill your business profile with all kinds of salescopy and other "hype." That's the FASTEST way to turn people OFF on social networking sites.

Your profile should strictly be an introduction to your business, and a BRIEF overview of what it does, and who it's for.

And make sure your profile is detailed and descriptive, and has a lot of your keywords and phrases in the title and descriptions, so that when people search on those terms, your profile is sure to come up.

Step #2: Research groups related to your industry

Once your profile is set up, it's time to start looking for people to connect with, so you can begin to build a broad network of online supporters. 

Your goal is to locate other individuals and businesses who have interests related to your business. The best way to do this is to simply start typing keywords related to your business into the site's search box, and see who turns up. 

Step #3: Start "mingling," and getting to know people

Once you've identified individuals and businesses you'd like to start building relationships with, it's time to get involved. 

First, start requesting that people add you as their contacts or "friends" (or whatever the particular site calls these relationships), and then check out the conversations and discussions your new friends are having.

Get to know their likes and dislikes, and the kinds of issues that concern them, so you'll be ready to add value to the conversation.

One word of warning when you're adding contacts: It pays to be a bit choosy about who you invite to be your friends. Your list of friends reflects your interests, and sometimes even your character, so restrict your invites to those who really do have something in common with you. 

Step #4: Join in!

When you're ready to join the conversation, make sure you focus on providing USEFUL information, and contributing your expertise to further the discussion. 

Remember, your goal with social networking isn't to make a ton of sales directly from these sites, but to get your name on to the Web, and build relationships with your potential market (and other business owners).

So keep the sales pitch to a minimum!

And finally, be sure to keep it professional. You don't want to start buying virtual drinks for your new friends, or "poking" them on Facebook! 

Step #5: Is it worth it? Here's how to find out... 

It's easy to get swept up in the fun and excitement of social networking, and find yourself spending HOURS communicating with your new friends (and barely doing any other work)!

So be sure to ask yourself this: Do the number of hours I spend on social networking sites yield enough results to make sense financially? 

That may sound like a tough one to figure out, but fortunately, you can do it automatically with this free calculator. 

You just put in a few simple figures (like the number of hours you or your staff spend on social networking sites, the number of friends you have, etc.,) and it will tell you if you'll potentially earn more through your social networking strategy than you'll spend on it. 

Social networking is definitely a hot Internet marketing strategy, and NOT just for presidential candidates...

As long as you respect the rules of the social networking sites, and avoid blatant self-promotion and sales pitches, you should easily start making new customers left, right, and center!

To your success,

Derek Gehl
How You'll Know When You've Hit Market Gold 
By Kate Morrison 

Wondering how to make money online? 

If you're scouring the Internet looking for a product to sell to do just that... 

... STOP right now! 

This is a huge, fatal mistake that can kill your business before you even get it off the ground. 

The key to making money on the Internet -- and guaranteeing your success -- is to reverse-engineer your business... 

... Look for a MARKET that's easy to reach first. 

But what makes an ideal market? 

Successful markets are based on these three points:
  1. Interests

    In the broad sense of "interests," this category also includes experience, credibility, passion, and a willingness to explore.

    Start out by exploring YOUR interests. Because when you start with something you're interested in, you're less likely to consider it a chore and more likely to see it through.

    To be clear about this, we're not saying that you absolutely have tochoose a market based on your favorite pursuit or skill -- it's just a great starting point that's been proven to work again and again. 

  2. Demand

    If there's demand for information in your interest area, then you may have found a potentially profitable market. Keyword research will tell you if there are enough people searching for information in an area to make it viable. 

  3. Supply

    What is already out there that satisfies your market's demand? By critically analyzing possible competitors, you can find out if there's enough room to establish yourself as the key provider of information or products within that area.
Keep your eyes open and your mind sharp, and you'll be surprised at how many ideas for making money online come to you. 

Best of all, by paying attention to this simple rule, you'll know that you have a winner before you spend time and money building a business that has NO chance of making money on the Internet.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Internet marketing expert Derek Gehl specializes in teaching real people how to successfully start, build, and grow their own profitable online businesses on small budgets. To get instant access to the step-by-step strategies, tools, and resources he's used to grow just $25 into over $60 Million in online sales, visit: