Mike Hill – Your Internet Marketing Start-Up Kit.
Mike Hill has been earning a full-time, online income since 2006, but not because someone handed it to him on a silver platter. A four-year internet marketing veteran, Hill previously pursued offline direct mail opportunities and "studied" late night infomercials. This is where he cut his marketing teeth, but making good money proved elusive. The former Canadian Armed Forces soldier kept learning from countless mistakes while inching his business forward until things finally clicked.
Do as I Say, Not as I Did...
Mike created his own product right off the bat, but recommends affiliate marketing for beginners. Why? Learning affiliate marketing is a quick way for pure newbies to gain business experience. In addition, he urges folks to immediately incorporate list-building into their efforts. Hill regrets ignoring list-building until later, because it was only after capturing its (and e-mail marketing's) essence that he achieved meaningful success.
To help generate recurring revenue streams, Mike recommends promoting products that can offer regular monthly income (e.g. autoresponder services, web hosting, personal development systems etc.). Differentiate yourself from other affiliate marketers by offering supplemental reports with existing products. They will add to your credibility, especially product reviews and specific information that go "outside the box". Your transition from affiliate marketing to unique product creation - which is eventually where you want to be - will be easier.
Mike Hill reminds us to buy and test affiliate products before promoting them. Sales success is all about trust and credibility, so be fair about your evaluations even if you end up giving some products a "thumbs down".
Blogging for the Long-Term.
To support your affiliate marketing campaigns, Hill recommends that you start a hosted blog. Apart from learning valuable skills like set-up mechanics and content generation, you can master online research tactics that lead to great search engine rankings.
Potential sources of blog material can be as diverse as public domain directories and your local coffee shop. Mike suggests that newbies avoid the BizOpp and 'Make Money Online' niches, and instead opt for profitable market segments where your expertise can make an immediate impression and dominate.
While blogs are a risk-free way of gaining confidence and establishing your online presence, don't think for a moment that riches will follow immediately. Their main function is to act as a long-term branding tool, so put your personality into it! They will help you connect with like-minded people and make friends.
List-Building: Don't Forget About Your Opt-in!
Experts often talk about the "Opt-in Bribe", where you offer something of value like a report or e-book in exchange for a prospect's name and valid e-mail address. However, Mike Hill wants you to take things a step further by split testing both voluntary and non-voluntary opt-ins.
Also, consider offering "dollar sales" on your Thank You page. For example, you could offer 12 expert interviews for $1. This tests the sincerity of your prospects and screens out cyber "dead weight". You need action takers to thrive, so take note of what promotions attract them.
Contrary to many marketing heavy-hitters today, Mike questions the use of one-time offers (OTOs) on opt-ins. You have not built up the "know, like, and trust" factor yet, argues Hill, so why risk alienating new recruits at this crucial junction? Instead, put up a survey that can help mold future offers, products etc. Of course, OTOs are great with existing list subscribers, because they know you already and are familiar with your marketing style.
Using Keyword Research to Establish Presence.
Hill offers simple advice for people struggling with keyword use and niche selection: Choose a keyword or keyphrase in your niche (e.g. weight loss) and perform a search based on websites where relevant information is likely to be found. Consider the following example:
- "weight loss" FAQ
- "weight loss" Forum
- "weight loss" blog
Take a look at the most popular websites and key in on how experts market their products and services in this category. Then, craft a winning plan that takes the best of what's already out there and combine it your outstanding ideas.
Give Writing an Honest Effort!
Article marketing is far from a free ride, but there are possibilities that go way beyond its stale, plodding image. Consider the following:
1. PowerPoint-based videos (with or without voice-overs) and uploading them to YouTube and other repositories.
2. Audio podcasts based on articles to iTunes.
3. Text submissions to article directories, ezines, etc.
Mike Hill suggests that 75% of all organic traffic generated from keywords comes from the top two positions on the first page. Achieving such a high ranking is a daunting task for seasoned professionals let alone newbies. However, are Google Adwords campaigns and other paid advertising options worth the trouble and expense?
Before spending any money, Hill suggests taking the following steps:
- Check out the direct competition to your offers/website, so that it's easier for your ads to get onto their pages (e.g Google Adsense).
- Do keyword research using words with quotes, without quotes, and hard brackets.
- Negate "free" on your filters to eliminate casual browsers and "tire clickers"
When you are ready, Mike recommends using one keyword with two separate ads to get higher click-through rates (CTR). Tie your advertising and list-building together, since subscribers can give you feedback on things you missed or should have left out from your campaigns.
Final Buzz Thoughts...
Mike Hill opined on some online buzz phrases and topics of interest to serious and casual marketers alike:
- Domain names: Mike suggests that virtual real estate (VRE) is a growing wealth generator, with domain names moving beyond its basic website branding function. Believe it or not, some marketers pay companies to inform them about domain name availability. Keep your .com names because they are still the most credible business extensions today.
- Giveaways: Increasingly popular, yet Hill gives the concept mixed reviews. To fully participate and benefit, donate and/or take original products that offer great value and enhance credibility and knowledge. It must be targeted; creating giveaway-specific products is not only acceptable - it's encouraged.
- Overdelivery: Everyone talks about "overdelivering" for their customers and subscribers, but what does that really mean? The best way to make people stay with you is to demonstrate that you care about them, love helping them succeed, and are humble about your own success.
Mike Hill says that people who believe entrepreneurship is the path to financial independence must embrace "business" thinking. There is no substitute for planning ahead, because money follows and rewards speed. Mike's own breakthrough was in large part due to two years of diligent testing and performance tracking.
Unfortunately, few beginners view success as a scalable concept. As a result, most internet marketers end up with nothing to show for their efforts, or at best become one-hit wonders. Without a system to follow, activity is focused solely on the "last" best idea - not structures, plans, goals, nor strategies.
What's the solution? Concentrate on what you are doing now...and always keep the big picture in mind. Hill recommends that we focus on communicating with others and thinking about the best way to help people. Only then will the money follow.
Rahul Majumdar is co-author of The Best of List Profit Academy with Brian Edmondson. To claim privileged insider information, click here.