Internet Marketing Essentials
In essence, online marketing can be described with this formula…
Traffic + Content + Conversion = Leads + Buyers + Fans
As internet marketer it’s your goal to get visitors to your “web properties”, stimulate them to “consume” your content, and either to “move people through your own sales funnel” and convert them into leads, buyers and fans, or to send traffic to others – who will reward you for the traffic you’ll send.
This brings us to…
Online Marketing Income Models
In short, you either make money by selling your own product(s) or by sending traffic to other people’s content.
These are the most common online marketing income models:
- Income by selling your own product or services.
- Affiliate Commissions. Promote products from others and get paid a commission if a sale is made.
- CPL/CPA Commissions (Cost Per Lead/Acquisition). Get paid for each lead you’ll bring or action your referred person performs.
- Income from ads. Get paid per click, per view or per time period for having ads/banners on your web pages, or inside your emails (solo ads).
- Combinations of above methods.
So let’s start with the main income model of selling your own products or services and doing all the online marketing and traffic generation yourself.
Selling your own products or services
Your task as online marketer is to setup a strategy and plans to …
convert people through the different stages – from strangers into visitors, into leads, into buyers, and eventually into promoters.
The first step is to attract new Visitors to your web properties (f.e. web page, blog post, Social Media Profile/Fan page, YouTube Channel).
From there, your content should be focused on engagement with your visitors and convert them into Leads (by getting some personal information, as an email address, so that you can reach out to them later).
Once you can reach out to your Leads, your goal is to convert Leads into Buyers.
Followed by a Back-end and Sales Funnel to sell more to your Leads and Buyers.
Finally, to stay in business, you want satisfied and loyal buyers who will become true Promoters/Fans who share or promote your products to others.
So, ideally for every phase you’ll have to create a different strategy/plan:
- for a specific audience (strangers, visitors, leads, buyers)…
- by using a proper traffic source… and
- publishing dedicated content… on
- the proper web property (blog post, landing page, social media post)
- with a unique conversion goal and call to action.
Let’s discuss these components in more detail…
Traffic and Targeting
Traffic consists of all visitors who came from a Traffic source (a hyperlink anywhere on the internet), and land on one of your web properties.
Ideally, your traffic is targeted. You want the right people to see specific content that you created for them.
Some marketers think they need to generate traffic. However, there is no such thing as traffic generation. Why?
Because the traffic is already there… People are on-line all the time…
As online marketer, you want to redirect people from web pages you don’t control to web properties that you do control.
Of course, it must be the right kind of traffic.
A way to distinct traffic is by the relation you have with your visitors:
- Cold traffic. Consisting of people who will see your web presence for the first time.
- Warm traffic. Consisting of people who have seen (some of) your content before and showed some interest.
- Hot traffic. Leads (or former buyers) who show strong interest in your offer and are ready to buy.
The warmer your traffic the more chance you’ll have to sell your products.
Another way to distinct traffic sources is in free traffic and paid traffic.
Examples of “Free” Traffic Sources are:
- Organic Traffic from Search engines (as Google, Yahoo/Bing, and 7Search).
- Traffic from Social Media Platforms (posts, shares, links in groups and comments)
- Social Bookmarking and Directories.
- Other Backlinks (Guest Posts, Comments, Bio Links, and hyperlinks on other people’s web pages).
- Article Directories (f.e. eZine articles, Medium, Blogger).
- Video Platforms (YouTube, Vimeo, MetaCafe). Think about links in video description or clickable annotations.
Examples of Paid Traffic Sources are:
- Advertising (PPC) via Search Engines (or related networks).
- Advertising on Social Media Networks (f.e. Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn).
- Media Buying (Banner ads) and Native Advertising.
- Paid links (f.e. Email Ads, Solo Ads, Instagram Shout Outs, or paid Link placements in YouTube video descriptions).
So there are many ways to get traffic.
The trouble is, what kind of traffic source to master?
Should you go for paid traffic or invest your time and energy in free traffic?
Usually, free traffic is the result of your content marketing. The higher the quality of your content, the sooner people will share your content and the sooner Search Engines will rank your content.
So, it isn’t really free content. You’ll have to create valuable content that people want to “consume” and/or share.
Also, most of the times, you can’t really control or scale free traffic. You have to rely on others who may or may not share or rank (Search Engines) your content.
With paid traffic, you have more control and more flexible.
Often you can control the copy (headline, image, description, CTA of your ad), can target your audience, select your ad placements, can set the time, and can set your budget.
Furthermore, most of the times, you can scale your best performing campaigns and can stop your ad campaign at any moment you want.
Also, paid traffic is perfect to quickly test any part of your marketing funnel (f.e. new campaigns, squeeze pages, sales pages, headlines, images, new products).
The downside… you’ll have to pay for your placement (duh)… and you are often restricted to certain formats.
Often starters are afraid to spend money on ads.
This can be penny wise pound foolish.
By only focusing on free traffic, you have to spend lots of your energy and time in content creation and “free” promotion with no guarantee for success.
To setup an ad campaign is so much easier and faster…
Most of the times, your ad (or banner) will be placed as small separate part on a third party web page and consists out of one or more of these elements:
- Description, or sub-headline (and sometimes bullet points).
- Image or Video (aka Hero Shot).
- Call To Action (CTA) Button or hyperlink.
So, in essence creating your ad is the easiest part of all your online marketing activities. The “space” of your ad is often limited. Hence, you have to grab attention with a few words. Therefore, emphasize on a strong benefit that your viewers will get if they’ll click on your CTA.
But don’t make this mistake…
Don’t focus your efforts to find the cheapest paid traffic sources because…
It’s not about how little you pay to get a visitor (to your lead capture page). It’s about how much that visitor pays you!
So, you have to find a traffic source with people that eventually will buy from you.
Hence, focus on the proper targeting of your audience and look for the best places for your ads where your ideal leads are hanging out.
The better you can convert those leads into paying customers, the more you can spend on ads (pay per visitor).
And it all starts with the way you’ll setup your landing page and (from there) how you’ll start and build a relation with your visitors.
This brings us to…
With content, I mean everything you can think about and can publish online. Think about text, images, videos, audio, animations etc.
The main purpose of your content is to convert people from one stage to the other (from visitor to leads…to buyers… to fans).
But often, your conversation process includes several steps that your audience has to perform before they enter the next stage.
For example, if you want to transfer Leads into Buyers by using email, you probably have to set up a sequence of emails with different angles/hooks. And people first have to open your email, then have to click on your link inside your email, on the landing page (f.e. a blog post) they have to click through to a sales page, before they’ll buy and become a Buyer.
For every step, you’ll need to create content where you’ll ask your viewers to take the next step (your CTA)…
For new visitors, your goals are to start a conversation, to segment (and qualify) your audience, build your Tribe, and to give people information about what they are looking for.
Don’t start with selling your stuff right away. Before people will buy, they have to Know, Like and Trust you (and/or your brand/company).
(And if you are selling an info product, people have to see you as an Authority)
So, you have to create content in line with the phase your visitors are in…
(Source: Ad Astra UK)
Usually, people first have to know you before they will like you and to really trust you takes more time.
Think about it…
When do you know someone?
At least, you have seen him before, know how he looks, speaks and presents himself, what he stands for, what his backgrounds are, what you have in common or where you distinct from each other…
When do you like someone?
At least, the other person is known, is friendly, respectful and helpful…
When do you trust someone?
If you like someone (at least no reason to not like him) and you can rely upon him…
This is the main reason why the majority of people won’t buy the first time when you offer them your product or service.
So, you’ll need returning visitors.
The most common way to do this by list building and email marketing.
But there are more ways to get traffic back to your site…
Hence, I won’t speak just about building your email list but about… Building your Tribe.
A Tribe consists of all your leads, buyers and fans with whom you can communicate with via one or more media. You can communicate with your Tribe via:
- Email Marketing.
- Chat Applications (as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Snapchat).
- Browser, App or Facebook Push Notifications.
- SMS messages.
- Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest).
- YouTube (Channel Subscribers).
- Groups & Communities (Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Skype, Slack).
- Fora, Membership Sites.
- RSS (people who subscribed to your RSS).
- Retargeting/Remarketing with ads targeting people who have visited your web page(s) before or are your email subscribers.
I wrote a separate article How to build your Tribe besides via email marketing? to discuss most of these media above.
Ideally, your content should be focused on your specific targeted audience and specifically created for the medium you use to communicate.
Also, try to create content in accordance with the phase your visitors are in (the know, like or trust phase) and in accordance to the temperature of your traffic.
This is especially important if you use paid traffic. Let your ad copy be congruent with your landing page. And use a separate landing page for each specific targeted audience.
Ideally, you’ll show different and tailor-made content for each targeted audience.
Below a table with examples of all kinds of “content types” that you can use for either cold, warm, or hot traffic. (Notice that your marketing goal should determine the content type)
Source: DigitalMarketing – Traffic Temperature: How To Build Real Relationships With Automated Campaigns
But what’s content without…
As a general rule, you should always include at least one Call to Action inside your Content.
A Call to Action is one main task you want your visitor to do. It’s the most logical step you want them to take and brings them one step further in your marketing/sales funnel.
There are 3 major “conversion” goals…
- To build your Tribe by getting (some) personal information about your visitor. Hence, you can reach out to them later via your preferred medium. Usually, you can obtain that goal by giving away some extra free information (free product or content extension) in exchange for one or more personal details.
- To make money. You can get income from your own sales, but you can also send traffic to other businesses who will pay you for the views, leads, or buyer traffic you’ll send to them.
- To let your visitor perform any other Call to Action you want them to do (other than buying or giving personal information). Think about sharing your content, comment on your posts, answering a quiz, read your next post or related post, etc.
So, a conversation can be anything, but it’s the end result you want to achieve with your content. Creating content without a conversion goal in mind, is as bringing water to the sea. All your efforts will be for nothing because your visitors will leaving your page without action. And it can be (very) difficult to get them back again.
Back-end and Sales Funnel
The process doesn’t stop after your first sale. Usually, your first sale should be a tripwire product (an impulsive buy with low risks and low price point).
Because, in general, the lower the price, the easier it is to convince people to buy your product right away. Hence, your sales copy can be shorter (and people don’t have to trust or like you yet).
The more advanced and higher-priced a product is, the more time it will take to convince your prospect and the longer the sales copy should be. And probably you’ll have to use webinars or other more personal sales methods to close the deal.
So it’s more difficult to convert first-time visitors directly into buyers of higher priced items. This is where your back-end and sales funnel come in…
A Sales Funnel consists at least out of the main front-end sale page together with one or more up- or optional down-sell product sales pages. Your goal is to make extra sales when your new client is in the “buying process and having his credit card on hand”.
Often marketers also consider these elements as part of the sales funnel: the corresponding ad(s), the squeeze page(s), the thank you page/email, and all related emails that are sent later if someone doesn’t buy the front-end or upsell immediately.
Back-end Sales are sales as the result of all your activities and communications with your Tribe (and that are no part of your Sales Funnel).
Usually, the most money is made in your back-end and sales funnel. Both are very important for your overall success and income.
But on the long term, you can only stay successful if your clients are happy and eventually become your…
You probably have heard the sentences:
“A buyers list has 10 times more value than a freebie seekers list”. Or…
“A Buyer is a Buyer is a Buyer is a Buyer…”
And yes I agree, it’s so much easier to sell to a buyer than to someone who has never bought from you before.
Hence, you should treat your buyers as “gold”. Give them special attention, ask for feedback, give them special bonuses or discounts, and do everything to keep them happy.
As a result, buyers can become real Fans/Promoters. Not only can you ask for testimonials but they will also refer your products or services to their friends (i.e. free publicity and traffic!).
So far the process for online marketers who sell their own product or services and do all the online marketing and lead generation themselves.
Other income models besides your own product(s) or services
Is there a difference if you don’t sell your own products or services?
In this case, you either get paid for referring people to other peoples content as an Affiliate/CPA marketer, or you’ll earn money from ads on your web pages.
Hence, you’ll focus on convincing your visitors to click on your ads or on your promo links directing to your Affiliate or CPA/CPL offers.
So, you won’t have to create your own products, doing customer services, and setting up your sales funnel and back-end system.
However, the main principle stays the same. You have to attract traffic, stimulate your visitors to consume your content and perform your Call to Action.
And as Affiliate you still can (and should!) build your list/tribe. Because it’s so much easier (and cheaper) to “sell to” warm and hot traffic than to cold prospects.
Tip: Read my article Top 10 JVZoo Affiliates and what you can learn from them to get a better understanding how top affiliates setup their businesses.
It’s your goal as an online marketer to choose your business income model, setup strategies and plans to build your tribe, and convert people through the different stages (from strangers into visitors, into leads, into buyers, and eventually into fans) where you also have to keep attention to the Know, Like and Trust phase your visitors are in.
In each stage, you have to find the most effective traffic source, find the best media to communicate, and create the proper content for your target audience.
Think in campaigns and sequential steps your prospect has to go through.
In every step, you need to:
- Grabs your viewers Attention or Awareness,
- Keeps them Interested,
- Creates a Desire (Want/Need) to…
- Perform your Call-to-action that brings them one step further in your marketing/sales funnel.
(aka, the AIDA-formula)
Most often newbies don’t understand the full model yet…
Common mistakes are:
- Targeting the wrong audience (in the wrong phase). Strangers -> Visitors -> Leads -> Buyers/Promoters.
- Selling/promoting too fast. Not building a relation first. Know -> Like -> Trust phase.
- Not building your tribe (f.e. email list).
- Spamming or destroying your email list with irrelevant and too sales oriented content.
- Only focusing on Free Traffic (SEO, Social Media) instead of trying paid Traffic as well.
- Going from traffic source to traffic source. Start and stick with one of the main sources: Google, Facebook, and YouTube (more than enough paid and free traffic possibilities).
- Not testing, tracking and tweaking. It’s almost impossible to write quality content (either for ad copy or as blog post) that’s perfect from the start. You can’t be a good copywriter without practice. And remember it’s all about content and conversations.
So far this short description of Internet marketing essentials.
It’s not complete, it’s rather theoretically, and just coverts the basics.
And it’s about the What and Why and less on the How.
(The How comes in all different blog posts)
But I think it’s important to start with a reference guide.
And this article forms the basis from where I can reference to in all my posts and pages.
Food for thought
In theory, these models and processes look easy and sound logically…
But in reality, you are dealing with real people…
People who are in a different stage, have different interests, have different experiences with you or your brand (know, like, trust phase), and often want to communicate with you through different media channels in a more or less personal way.
And the worst…
You won’t know upfront how people will respond to your content. It often takes a lot of (split) testing, tweaking, and changing your content over and over again to get the best results.
And don’t forget, as online marketer there are many subjects to master such as:
- Content Marketing (Blogging, SEO)
- Social Media Marketing (Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn etc.)
- Podcasting, Video Marketing, Live Streaming (YouTube, Facebook Live etc.)
- Affiliate Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Advertising (Media Buying, Search Engines, Social Media, Native Ads etc.)
among many others…
Of course, you can’t master all these subjects yourself.
So, work together with others who have the necessary experience in their field and focus on the fields that have your interests and you want to master.
Hence, I’m not an expert in all these fields. So, I can’t call myself an online marketing guru.
However, as NLP Master Practitioner, I have learned to model successful people.
So this is what I advise you to do…
Learn from experts by copying only their strategies that work (or read my post about the Top JVZoo Top Affiliates or How to spy on your competitors), avoid time-consuming tasks that won’t work, focus on your own passions/interests and strengths, outsource as much as possible (hire a VA), and invest in your own development (courses and mentors) and build relations with your prospects, clients, and authorities/influencers in your market/niche.
It’s my goal to give you great resources, case studies, tips, tricks, shortcuts and more… to succeed as internet marketer.
I wish you all the best and I’m sure you’ll find great content on this blog.