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A LITTLE STRAIGHT TALK ABOUT INTERNET BUSINESS

by: Cary Christian

Rather than write a piece this week on one topic, I found myself in the mood to publish a more broad smattering of my thoughts on various subjects related to doing business on the Internet. The mini-topics covered here were inspired by questions from you, our subscribers, and visitors to our website. We'll cover some of these topics in much more detail in future issues, but for tonight we'll keep it high level and, hopefully, inspire some give and take between you and us. So without further ado, I'll get right down to it!

INTERNET GURUS

A lot of people ask us what we think about the sometimes "self-styled" gurus of Internet marketing. We also get a lot of traffic from the search engines where people are looking for dirt on one guru or another. It seems that people have a natural dislike and mistrust of the word "guru." I have to admit that the term has some negative connotations to me also.

But the fact remains that there are a number of individuals who have built tremendously successful businesses on the Internet and have gained enough knowledge over the years to legitimately qualify as "gurus." These are people you can learn from and there is nothing wrong with listening to what they have to say.

On the other side of the coin, you should avoid listening to just one of these guys. No single individual has a monopoly on knowledge of what works and what doesn't. If you read enough of their writing, you'll get to know their various approaches and can use your own knowledge to decide how to pick and choose between the advice and techniques of one versus another. This will enhance the creativity of your campaigns and prevent you from becoming a clone that cannot stand out from the pack.

SO WHICH GURUS DO WE LIKE?

Terry Dean ( http://www.peakconsultinginc.com/nbt.htm ) and Dr. Ken Evoy (http://www.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html ) because we believe they offer very practical and no-nonsense advice for the markets they service. They do not resort to gimmicks and they do not rely on hype to sell.

(Don't forget to download your free Affiliate Masters Course written by Dr. Evoy. When you read it, we think you'll see why we like him. Download it here:
http://www.peakconsultinginc.com/Aff_Masters_Course.htm )

But we also like others that are not considered "gurus" yet, like Anthony Stillwell ( http://www.getfreeadvertising.com ) and Joe and Maria Gracia ( http://www.givetogetmarketing.com ). Anthony Stillwell is only in his early- to mid-twenties but has an incredible grasp of Internet marketing! Joe and Maria offer extremely practical advice and do so in a way that is so easy to understand.

You will find a couple of legitimate "gurus" that you will want to follow very closely, but there are many others who can teach you a lot if you're willing to listen. We all have something we can teach. And that includes YOU!

PET PEEVES

It will be difficult, but I'll try to keep this list short!

o Guaranteed hits programs - most of these sound wonderful but are absolutely worthless.

o Word lists that give you words and phrases that are "guaranteed" to produce results in email marketing campaigns.  Everybody has read these lists. Everybody is using the words and phrases. Therefore, nobody using these lists stands out from the crowd. The use of these lists has become a way to get your email messages ignored rather than noticed. There is no substitute for your own creativity.

o Affiliate programs that tell you they cannot become saturated. In fact, most of them WILL become saturated. If you're interested in affiliate programs, find those that have subject matter that will be useful for many years to come or are able to adapt and change as the Internet environment changes.  In other words, find an affiliate program that is a legitimate long-term business.

o Affiliate programs that advertise based on one of their members "already earning $10,000 per month from the program."  There are a few heavy hitters out there who take the equivalent of ready-made downlines with them into any program they enter.  They make a lot of money. Most people do not and will not ever be able to duplicate this accomplishment. It is worthwhile to note that these "heavy hitters" built their following by using very practical, tried and true, no-nonsense methods to build their personal lists. They did not just join an affiliate
program and start sending out hundreds of thousands of emails per month.

o Companies who lead others to believe they can build a solid business using a free web site, free hosting, free advertising, free everything! It's not going to happen. Every business or individual who really wants to succeed online needs to have a real budget for marketing, their own domain name and their own website. I'm not saying free advertising should not be used.  It should! But use it as a complement to your paid efforts.

o Programs that tell you no experience or work is required to make large sums of money on the Internet. Internet business, like any business, is hard work. You'll have to gain experience, or hire it, and put lots of hard work into your business if you want to succeed.

o Over-emphasis on search engine optimization (SEO). If you have hundreds, or even thousands, of competitors in your business, search engine optimization is going to be a full time job for you. You will either have to devote a tremendous amount of time to it personally or pay large fees to have a professional do it for you. Most people simply can't run their business and keep up with SEO at the same time unless they are an expert at SEO already.

For most small businesses, the effort will be better spent bidding on the pay-per-click engines and increasing your links from complementary sites. There are exceptions, however. If you have a business that targets a niche market (and therefore has few competitors), SEO could be very important to you and could make your business a goldmine in a short period of time.  Also, if you use a product like Site Build It!
( http://buildit.sitesell.com/peaksbc.html ), the work is done for you for a very minimal annual fee.

(If you have decided that SEO is important to your business, be sure to read the Guest Article in this issue)!

o Spam blocking software that is so poorly written it blocks legitimate business communications between willing business partners. (See last week's editorial for more info).

o I'll close this list for now with what is probably high on everybody's list of pet peeves: those MLM programs that offer grossly overvalued and useless products and promise to make you six figure incomes in a short period of time. Enough said.

WHAT ARE THE THREE TOP MARKETING METHODS AVAILABLE TO ANYONE?

This is only our opinion, but it is an opinion based on a lot of testing! For most small businesses and home businesses, the pay-per-click engines, ezine advertising and building your own targeted list are by far the most important marketing efforts you can undertake.

We have found pay-per-click and ezine advertising less expensive than hosting FFA pages, guaranteed hits programs, and any other type of low cost advertising when you compare costs on a cost-per-sale basis. Building your own list can be done for free but can also be done more rapidly at fairly low cost.  (Note: we plan to explore building your own list in more detail in a future issue).

(As a side note, if you're interested in ezine advertising at no cost, don't forget to send us the information on your business for inclusion in future issues of this newsletter.  Putting your business in the spotlight is the equivalent of a sponsor ad for free)!

That's all the space we have for this week. I may continue this in the near future. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your comments on what I've said, particularly if you disagree. I enjoy hearing from you very much. Let's talk!


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