START YOUR INTERNET BUSINESS
|Believe It Or Not, This Is A Great Time To Start Your Internet Business!
By Derek Gehl
In the last issue of The IMC Insider, I gave you a surefire strategy for improving customer loyalty -- and keeping your profits STRONG -- during the current economic chaos.
If you didn't get a chance to read it, you can review it here.
Since I published that issue, I've been getting LOTS of emails and calls from subscribers who don't actually have sites up and running yet, all asking the same thing:
"Sure, your strategy is good for people who are ALREADY making money online...
Believe me, I understand your fears...
... but what about those of us who are still THINKING about starting an Internet business? Isn't this the WORST time to launch a new website?!"
With all the current talk of failing banks, collapsing real estate markets, and imploding stocks, I wouldn't blame you if, right about now, you feel like taking every spare penny you have, stuffing it in your mattress, and waiting for this entire mess to blow over!
But the truth is, starting an Internet business is something you should consider, no matter WHAT the economy looks like.
First, online sales have never been STRONGER!
In fact, a recent report published by Forrester Research indicates that, despite the ailing economy, online retail sales are expected to INCREASE by 17% in 2008, bringing the annual amount spent online to $204 BILLION (click here to read the report).
Second, remember that, unlike local brick-and-mortar businesses, which are typically at the mercy of the local economy, you have access to an entire GLOBAL market. So even if U.S. shoppers are feeling pinched, you'll still have plenty of other customers to turn to.
Next, consider the start-up costs of an Internet business. Unlike traditional businesses, you can get your website running for less than the cost of a couple of nights out on the town, so you don't need to tie up your "emergency" cash -- or go into debt -- to get started.
And speaking of debt, with such low initial cost, you'll have no concerns about trying to qualify for a start-up loan, something that's likely going to get much tougher during the current credit crunch.
And finally, remember that you can start your business even while you're working your "day" job, so you can continue to enjoy a regular source of income while you work to make your site successful. Try that with a regular brick-and-mortar business.
At the end of the day, starting your own Internet business during a recession -- or whatever they're calling the current economic situation -- is an excellent form of job security!
BUT before you jump in and start your website...
... remember that there's one big (and I do mean BIG) newbie mistake you MUST avoid if you hope to build a successful online business during this turbulent economy -- and in fact, lots of established site owners are getting this wrong, too.
To start a TRULY successful online business right now, you must FIRST identify a "niche market."
And yes, I know I sound like a broken record! You've likely heard me preaching and ranting about niche markets at least a dozen times already, but the truth is, no matter HOW often I talk about it, I still see so many well-intentioned people getting this WRONG.
When I chat with people at industry events, when I read the questions from members of my "Internet Entrepreneur Club," when I look at comments on my blog, I hear and see the same things all the time:
"My niche market is young business professionals."
These are NOT niche markets!!
"My niche market is women over 40 who are interested in their health."
"My niche market is people who like to garden."
These are HUGE and UNDEFINED groups of people who all have different goals, interests, and experiences, and trying to sell effectively to a big, diverse group like this is going to be an exercise in failure!
In fact, you'll likely find yourself competing directly with the likes of WalMart, eBay, or Amazon (or all three)...
... and something tells me their marketing budgets are a just tiny bit bigger than yours, right?
But that's the beauty of marketing to a true niche. It's a MUCH smaller, more defined target, so you can figure out exactly what everyone who visits your site wants... know where they hang out online... understand PRECISELY how to speak to them... and offer the specific products that will make a difference in their lives.
At the same time, you can really concentrate on becoming a recognized expert in your chosen market, so you'll be able to build really strong relationships of trust with your visitors, which is the key to success.
And best of all, these smaller markets can often be virtually ignored by the big guys, so you'll end up with MUCH less competition! So even though you're selling to far fewer people, you'll actually end up making MORE sales.
Make sense so far?
So, if groups like "parents over 35" or "balding men" aren't niche markets, what is? Well, let's look at some examples. These are actual niches that real people are getting wealthy in right now:
See the difference?
- Spanish-speaking architects looking for software, training, and resources
- People who want to make crafts with dried poppies
- Heavy metal bands looking for sponsorship and branded clothing and accessories
A niche market is super specific, and caters to a group of people who are all looking for the solution to a common problem.
And if you're worried that narrowing your market like this will limit your sales, consider this:
In a typical town, a business selling nothing but organic parrot food would likely struggle. There's probably not enough demand, and even the local pet store couldn't sell enough of it to make it worthwhile.
But online, with over 1.3 billion people worldwide on the Internet, even if only one or two people in every town want that specific, hard-to-find product, that'smore than enough to make up a market for a profitable business!
So by all means, start that website now, even though it may seem like the timing is bad... but make sure you do your homework FIRST.
By identifying a solid, tightly-defined niche market, and then building your site and products around the problem that your market is trying to solve, you'll be taking the first GIANT step toward profits...
... and AVOIDING the kinds of disasters that typical small business startups can experience during uncertain economic times.
And that's what I call job security!
To your success,
|5 Ways to "Infect" the 'Net with Viral Marketing
By Kate Morrison
When we say "viral marketing," don't worry -- it's not a reason for you to grab your cold medication and dive under the covers!
All we're really talking about are marketing strategies that increase awareness of your company by persuading people to pass your material on to friends and family.
Why is viral marketing such a hot topic?
... Because it allows you to exponentially increase your visibility online by turning your existing network of clients and subscribers into a giant word-of-mouth referral machine!
Here are 5 proven strategies you can use to quickly and easily add viral aspects to your marketing campaign, so you can dramatically increase your web exposure -- AND your sales!
Viral Tip #1: Give away free articles with valuable information
This one's a winner on so many levels... it's so easy to do, and yet few people actually use it.
All you have to do is write a special, information-packed article that your customers would love to read, and include a "pass-it-on" link at the bottom that says something like this:
"Do you know someone who would be interested in reading this article? Click hereto email it to them!"
When people click on that link, an email automatically opens up with a pre-written message and the article included as an attachment.
All the reader has to do is put in the email address of the person they want to send it to, along with their own name in the body of the message, and presto! More people are reading your articles than ever before.
... This strategy works particularly well if you have your own e-zine or newsletter. It's a great way to encourage more people to subscribe to your mailing list!
Viral Tip #2: Write a viral eBook
This one's another big winner... giving away viral eBooks is a terrific way to drive targeted traffic to your website.
Just create a short 10-30 page report that solves a problem or shares valuable information about a topic that's hot with your customers. Then add a "viral button" that allows readers to easily share your eBook with your friends.
And of course, include links to your site in the body of the book.
... And in no time at all you will have 1,000s of people opening and reading your valuable information -- and being redirected back to your site!
Viral Tip #3: Give away free demo versions of your product
Is there any way you could offer a free trial version of your product -- such as a software demo or a sample chapter of your information product?
If so, do it! By giving away free "samples" and again including a "pass-it-on" link, you can spread the word about your product very quickly!
... Just be sure to include a link that says something like, "Click here now to get the full version of this product" within the software demo or sample chapter.
After all, once people have tried your product, you want to make it super easy for them to BUY it!
Viral Tip #4: Hold a contest
Everybody loves the chance to win something -- which is why contests are so popular, and such a great way to capture people's contact information.
When people enter your contest, make it easy for them to recommend the contest to their friends, as well.
The more people they persuade to enter your contest, the more chances THEY will have to win! This is a real motivator for people... Even if each entrant recommends your contest to only two other people, it won't take long for your list to grow exponentially!
Viral Tip #5: Create a viral video
Another way to get the word out about your product is to create a video and post it on a social media site like YouTube. YouTube is a video-sharing site that allows you to watch and post videos for free.
... It's also one of the most popular social networking sites on the Web!
To get your product in front of millions of potential customers, make a short, informative video (up to five minutes long max) that solves a problem your customers have, or offers a quick demo of how your product works, or even features testimonials from happy customers.
Then make SURE you place a link back to your website, either on the same page as the video OR within the video itself. That'll encourage YouTube users to recommend your video to other members within the YouTube community -- which means MORE traffic to your site!
So there they are -- five easy ways to create "viral messages" that will spread the word about your business to the far corners of the 'Net.
These are incredibly effective traffic generation strategies -- and if you start using at least one or two of them, I guarantee you will see a surge of qualified visitors coming to your site!
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:
Back To Articles