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The Internet Marketer's Mini-Checklist
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 one.

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 crucial.

My colleague Jim Daniels of 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 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 Which ones? Did you try other pay-per-rank engines? Did you use their keyword suggestion tools and looked at different variations?

* 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 informative content?

* 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, lifestyle, etc)?

* 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 ( 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 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, 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, 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


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