The Internet Marketer's
by: Michael Fortin
Throughout my online travels and
particularly in my marketing consulting practice, I encounter many a
netpreneur who wonder about the reasons why they are not yet successful.
"Mike, why am I not getting as many hits" or "as many sales," they ask. It's
a question of which I am asked all too often, it seems.
I can appreciate their frustration since I've been there. It took me years
to achieve what I'm experiencing today and a lot of it is the result of pure
trial and error. But a lot of it is also based on simple, common sense. The
reality, however, is that so many people, enticed by the overblown hype and
promises of the web, expect some "get rick quick" solution. I wish there was
So I often reply with a checklist, which I will reprint in this week's
editorial. It is far from being a comprehensive list -there are many more
tactics, techniques and strategies one can implement beyond what the list
suggests. Additionally, for many it might appear as an appropriate roadmap
for the newbie webmarketer; some tend to even scoff at its simplicity.
But surprisingly, its simplicity is the reason why it is also so easily
ignored by the more experienced. I ask that you take a good, hard look at
it. Answer it truthfully and completely. How many of the tactics suggested
did you really implement? How many have you abandoned after only a few
attempts? And how many tactics do you put into action on a regular basis?
Think about your answers.
Granted, some of these may not apply to all situations. But generally, I
have found that those who complain the most have not implemented a fraction
of these or lack a clear plan of action through which some of the most
profitable among these should be repeated on a periodic basis. The latter is
My colleague Jim Daniels of
http://www.bizweb2000.com/ is the master when it comes to developing and
maintaining a rigorous marketing plan. (Jim printed his own in a recent
issue of his very informative BizWeb Gazette as a template that's worth its
weight in gold.) So let me ask you at this point, isn't it time you too have
one ... And stick to it, consistently?
So here is the checklist:
* Are you subscribed to ezines and websites (like IMC's own at
http://www.successdoctor.com/IMC/) on Internet marketing, and do you
read/visit them on a daily basis?
* Have you implemented most if not some of the ideas you've learned in them?
What were your results? Good? Bad? Why?
What ideas worked best for you? What ideas worked least? Do you or did you
track your results? How? Do you review and analyze them on a daily basis?
What are they telling you?
* Do you constantly educate yourself on your industry and your specific area
of expertise? In fact, do people look upon you as an expert in what you do?
Do you *love* what you do?
* Do you follow a daily marketing regimen? Consistently? If so, what did you
do this week? And the week before that?
* Did you bid on keywords on
http://www.Goto.com/? Which ones? Did you try other pay-per-rank
engines? Did you use their keyword suggestion tools and looked at different
* Do you have an affiliate program for your products? If not, have you
implemented another form of "viral" marketing?
* Does your website have tools to help make it "sticky"? For example, do you
maintain a discussion forum? A site-specific search tool? An archive of
* Does your business model strive for quantity or quality? In other words,
do you seek bigger profits or market share? Are you achieving it or do you
seem to be achieving the other?
* What areas of your business need improvement? An even more important
question to ask is what do YOUR customers think?
* Do you tweak and test your website copy on a constant basis?
* Do you maintain an opt-in list or regularly publish an ezine? Do you
remain in constant contact with subscribers? Does your marketing include
increasing your subscriber base?
* Do you continually research your customers, your product category, your
industry and especially your competition?
* What makes you unique? What's your USP (i.e., your unique selling
proposition)? In other words (and think about this), what's your single,
most marketable, competitive edge?
Do you communicate that edge in all that you do?
* Did you submit your site to the major search engines and niche-specific
engines? Do you monitor your rankings?
* Have you written articles and submitted them to newsletters read
specifically by your target market? Do you periodically write and distribute
press releases? How many? To whom?
* Do you market and advertise offline? If so, where?
* Do you have good, compelling email signature file? And do you use it with
every piece of correspondence you make?
* Do you participate in newsgroups? Message boards? Forums? And especially
those frequented by your target market?
* Do you offer one, two or three products? In other words, how focused are
you on your niche or on your perfect customer?
In fact, who is your perfect customer? Do you know your product's
demographics (e.g., age, gender, employment, etc), geographics (e.g.,
location, country, city, etc) and psychographics (e.g., interests, culture,
* And do you have any backend products or services with which you can upsell
your customer base? If not, do you (or could you) offer products from
non-competing strategic alliances?
* Is your ecommerce system a well-oiled machine? Do you accept credit cards
on your site? What other payment options do you provide? Do you have a
customer support number or email?
* Do you package or bundle your products in order to increase their
perceived value? Do you offer alternative packages (maybe with different
price points or additional services)?
* Do you have a top level domain name (yourname.com)? Does it invoke the
core benefit if not at least the nature of your site? Is it easy to
pronounce? Spell? Remember?
* Do you have any strategic marketing alliances in place? In fact, how many
alliances do you have in place? Do you keep in constant contact with them?
What about joint ventures? Cross promotions? Referrals networks?
* Is your site easy to navigate? Read? Download? Do you provide your
visitors with good, fresh, updated content? Most of all, do you give
visitors a reason to come back?
* Have you implemented an automated referral system on your site (like IMC's
http://www.letemknow.com/) that visitors can use to easily refer your
site to others?
* Do you have testimonials on your site? A strong guarantee? A bonus offer?
A privacy and security policy? An FAQ page?
* Do you sell advertising on your site? In your ezine? If so, did you
develop a media kit for potential advertisers?
* Have you advertised online? In which ezines? On which sites? Do you
constantly tweak your ad copy and track your results?
* Have you participated on online talk shows? Chat specials?
Have you expanded your mind in terms of looking at different places, as many
places as possible, in which you can market your site and where your target
market likely congregates?
* In fact, do you try to keep your site, its address or its offers in front
of your target market's eyeballs? How often?
* Does your site copy invite people to surf deeper into it? Or is it laced
with external links that drive people out?
* Do you conduct contests? Draws? Surveys? Does your site capture, with
permission, the email addresses of your visitors, especially on the first
page, "above the fold"?
* Do you swap ezine ads with other publishers? Or in the very least, do you
have a reciprocal linking strategy in place?
As you can see, this list can go on. But in my experience, just the above
could open some eyes. For example, with my own copywriting service (see
http://SuccessDoctor.com/writing.htm), my clients must fill out a
similar (but more extensive) list of questions before any work commences. As
I found, simply answering it has been quite insightful for many.
Ultimately, you would be surprised to find out how much it pays to go back
to the basics. Regularly. Consistently.
About the Author
Michel Fortin, of
http://SuccessDoctor.com/, is a marketing professor and a highly
sought-after consultant whose advice has helped countless clients earn
millions in record time. His latest book, "Power Positioning Dot Com,"
reveals how to keep your business or product indelibly carved into your
prospects' uppermost consciousness at all times -see