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Match Internet Marketing Opportunities to Your Life Choices

by Steve A Jackson


There are almost unlimited opportunities in Internet Marketing, in terms of the different paths people can choose to take in search of the mighty dollar. But what many newcomers fail to consider up-front is that the different opportunities place very different demands on your time – in ways that can have a significant impact on your lifestyle.

Some Internet Marketing opportunities are very close to being “set and forget.” The Underachiever strategy for marketing information products, promoted by Frank Kern and Ed Dale, is a case in point. Once an information product is written, the selling web site is up with all payment issues handled by a 3rd party, and pay-per-click ads are bringing traffic, there is relatively little to do. Similarly, anyone building quick-and-dirty web sites for Adsense income has a similar opportunity. In contrast to content-rich theme sites that may be lovingly nurtured and grown over weeks, months or even years, these sites can be created in hours (sometimes minutes!), “activated” as far as the search engines go within a few days after very little work, then effectively abandoned ... to gain traffic momentum over the months with the free search engines.

But many other opportunities demand a serious commitment of time – at least, unless you are prepared to outsource much of the work.

For example, while eBay does not have to be this way, many people selling on eBay end up in a situation where all the tasks involved in operating the business represent a commitment equivalent to a full-time job. What sounds easy on first glance can involve researching opportunities or products, finding sources or products,  even making your own products (information products sold on CD’s, for example), taking or finding photographs, finding or writing product descriptions, putting the final ad together, placing the ads, answering bidders’ questions, packing, shipping, dealing with returns, dealing with payment problems, and so on. It’s still Internet Marketing, of course, and potentially very lucrative, but this can become hard work.

Other types of Internet Marketing opportunities demand you go back regularly to update websites to reflect changes in product or technology so that your sites are always current. This is a common problem with some affiliate marketing sites where there are many links to individual pages on merchants’ sites; while these might offer better conversion rates than links to the merchant’s home pages, these links need to be constantly checked and updated because merchants have a habit of changing products (or even just the specific web pages on which a product is offered).

Some opportunities call on you to respond quickly and consistently to questions from prospects and customers. These might be questions asked by people considering buying your product – in which case you certainly don't want to make them wait; or, questions by frustrated people having problems downloading a product they just bought from you. The longer the wait, the higher the frustration. Then there are issues of refunds, questions about billing, and many more situations (sometimes just plain dumb questions) that demand the personal touch - at least, until you are large enough or confident enough to hire others to handle the administrative side of the business. 

One of the most effective Internet Marketing strategies is of course to maintain a list of people interested in your product or the topic in which you are a specialist. For many marketers, this list IS the holy grail; everything else is just a means to build it. That’s because a good list can be like gold; a captive audience of people who already know and trust you. But there’s no question, it can take a serious commitment of time and effort to maintain and service such a list effectively. Now, if all you do is e-mail to them occasionally with a half-dozen lines and an offer to buy some affiliate product from you, that's one thing; sure, the commitment is minimal but in return you can expect a high drop-out rate and poor conversions. But if you put together a valuable and interesting newsletter with good formatting, grammar, spelling and content, one designed to develop a solid and lasting relationship with the people on your list, you’re not talking about just a few minutes a week. If you want the most effective use of a list, this demands consistency of timing, too. So you not only have to commit time and brainpower, you have deadlines to meet, too.

One of the issues that had me kicking myself initially was my shotgun approach to building Adsense sites – I built sites that had very little to do with each other. All the Internet marketing experts agreed that if all I was doing was slapping Adsense on those sites, and not collecting Opt-in e-mail addresses, then I was throwing away an income far larger than the one I was making. But there was simply no way I could afford to maintain and effectively service a list for every site if I was to do it justice in terms of establishing a value-based relationship with the people on the lists. Sure, I could have thrown something together, and I know some marketers do exactly that, but that’s not really my style. An anonymous site is one thing, but an e-mail from me, with my name on it, has to represent something of value.

Still on a personal level, I suppose I should also be happy that for once, my daughter is actually listening to me! Now she’s into Internet Marketing and building her own sites she is sticking to a common theme for a whole group of different sites. This means that a carefully written single newsletter can be applied to everybody on the List developed from ALL the sites in a group, because it's relevant and valuable content to every site in the group. There are also valuable SEO advantages from having a group of sites ( a mini-net) on a common theme, of course; the extra traffic means more visitors, which means a bigger List, ... without requiring any increase in time committed to the newsletter. When the Affiliate-based income from the List dwarfs the Adsense income, this Internet marketing strategy is the key to some serious coin.

Steve Jackson is a full-time consultant (in a field largely unrelated to Internet Marketing) who decided to explore Online opportunities as a way to help friends and family develop the increased freedom of choice that can emerge from a serious side-stream income. His website at www.adummygetsitright.com is a massive source of free information on Internet Marketing opportunities.

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