10 Steps to Online Marketing Success

As an AWAI member, you know how important the Internet is for building your business – whether it's copywriting, design, information publishing, or some other entrepreneurial venture.

But, for everyone starting out, the major questions are "What do I put on my website," "How do I get traffic to it?" and "Who can I send emails to so I can market my products and services?"

I struggled with these same issues when I first went "online," but now I think I have it pretty well figured out. My e-list is 41,000 strong and my site (bly.com) does everything I need it to do. It gets me clients, gives me credibility, and … something that's come as a very pleasant surprise … has started earning me an average of $4,000 a week. (This is NOT revenue from copywriting. It's from my "second career" as an online marketer.)

In a recent conversation with Katie, she asked if I would share my experience with you – both how I've been using my site to generate copywriting business … and how I'm now using it to generate passive income.

I'm happy to do it … but I have to be honest. I can't cover it all in just this one article. What I can do though is give you the big-picture steps you'll need to get started.

The core secret to successful online marketing is to build an email list of people who know you. I don't mean your kids, friends, or Aunt Tilly. I mean people you've built a professionally based email relationship with. Building this "house file" or "e-list" (a list of prospects and their email addresses) is easy using the 10-step process I've outlined below.

  1. Build a website – the "base of operations" for your online marketing campaign. This website should position you as an expert in your field. You say you're not an expert in anything? YES YOU ARE! For example, with the knowledge you've gotten from your AWAI programs, you're already an expert on direct-marketing principles. What other areas of expertise do you have? What are your interests? Hobbies? These are all opportunities for you to distinguish yourself.
  2. Your website should include a homepage, an "About Us (your business)" page, your bio, and a page with brief descriptions of your products and services. Each product or service description can link to a longer description of the individual item.
  3. Include an "Articles Page," where you post articles you've written on your specialty. Your visitors can read and download these articles for free from here.
  4. Write a short special report or white paper on your area of expertise and make it available to your site visitors. They can download it for free as a PDF – but, in exchange, they register and give you their email addresses (and other information you want to capture).
  5. Consider also offering a monthly online newsletter (an "e-zine"). Your visitors can subscribe for free by providing you with their email addresses. You may want to give them the option of checking a box that reads: "I give you permission to send me emails about products, services, news, and offers that may be of interest to me."
  6. The more useful information there is on your site, the better. More people will be attracted to your site, and they'll spend more time there. They'll also tell others about your site.

    You can add a feature allowing visitors to automatically email articles on your site to their friends – a good idea, since it's another way to spread the word about you and your site.

  7. The purpose of all this is to drive traffic to your site and get them to sign up for either your free report or free e-zine. Once they register, you have their email addresses and can market to them via email at no extra cost.
  8. The bulk of your online leads, sales, and profits comes from repeat email marketing to this "house" e-list. So your goal is to build a large e-list of qualified prospects as quickly and inexpensively as you can.
  9. There are a number of online marketing options that can drive traffic to your site. These include: free publicity, email marketing, banner advertising, co-registrations, affiliate marketing, search engine optimization, direct mail, and e-zine advertising. (We'll cover these topics in future issues of The Golden Thread and in other AWAI resources.)
  10. The key to success is to try a lot of different tactics by running small and inexpensive tests. Throw out the ones that don't work … and do more of the ones that are effective.

How do I know this strategy works? Because I've used it successfully. So successfully, in fact, that marketing information online has become the basis of my "Internet Marketing Retirement Plan."

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The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: February 19, 2007

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