Ok, there are guru (and non-guru) products launched every week teaching you different methods of marketing online.
Learn as much as you can about 1 before moving on to another. Jumping from method to method, product to product will do you no good.
Let’s take a look at some basic methods of marketing online:
Blackhat v. Whitehat: Any of the below can be done in “blackhat” or “whitehat” methods. People worry too much about “Is this blackhat…” 99% of what people talk about publicly will not get you “banned” from the search engines. I don’t believe in blackhat v. whitehat. You are up against an emotionless computerized algorithim, there is no “morals.” If Google ranks a really bad site highly, is that the webmaster’s fault or Google’s? Eh, who cares?
Leaving crappy comments on someone’s blog for the link might be “blackhat.” But leaving a good comment that you only left for the link can also be “blackhat.” It depends on the intention behind your action.
Most of what I teach can be blackhat or whitehat, depending on how it’s implemented. The techniques in the free “Social Media Daily” can be put into action with time and care for quality of content, or not. If you leave crappy content around, it’s probably blackhat (if you’re wondering).
The internet police won’t come and get your if you do leave crappy content around. So it’s a decision you have to make for yourself – do I feel good about leaving crappy content out there? If my mom landed here, would she be bummed? Do I care? I don’t make the call for you, since it’s so subjective. It’s all you.
Adsense & Other Contextual Advertising: This method is based on building websites that display ads from Google’s Adsense program or other contextual ad networks (i.e. Yahoo, Chitika, Peakclick). You need to (1) build a website and (2) put the ad code from the ad network on your site and then (3) drive traffic to your website. Each time someone lands on one of your pages, your goal is that they click on of the ads displayed. When they do, you’re paid for that click (usually cents per click, we’re not talking dollars here). So you need a massive amount of traffic to your website(s) to earn a decent income.
Many folks use automated page builders to create websites that rank highly in the search engines (so they get lots of traffic) to earn a living this way, since building sites by hand takes a ton of time. Usually, sites made with automated page building programs don’t last terribly long in the search engines, so webmasters who go this route are building all the time.
Other folks aim to create content rich, unique, legitimate sites (often based on WordPress). These sites last forever in the SE’s but don’t necessarily rank as high, as quickly, as some of the automated page building programs. With these, you are tied down to continually growing your site, writing content, etc., so in a way you’re always building too.
Either way, playing Adsense is a tough game that doesn’t allow one to rest much.
Affiliate Marketing: Pure affiliate marketers only promote other people’s products. They’re not interested in owning their own products, dealing with order fulfillment or customer service. Some argue that Adsense *is* affiliate marketing, since you’re affiliating with another company for your revenue. Regardless, I look at affiliate marketing a little different, since *good* affiliate marketers do a lot more then throw up a auto-gen site.
The affiliate marketers who make the big bucks use squeeze pages a lot, so that they can capture people’s names and email addresses and market to them at a later date. They may be promoting niche products, ringtones or other CPA offers, or internet marketing products. But an opt-in helps them make more money in the long run.
Sometimes it’s possible to hit on a offer/affiliate program that just converts like crazy – I have one in particular I hold close to my belt – that people basically buy on sight. For this, I don’t do opt-ins, since people are so buy-crazy I’d lose sales in the end by asking them to do an opt-in first. This is a product that people order and re-order though, so I send 1 customer and I make $ off them for months to come. If that weren’t the case, I’d split-test the profitability of including on opt-in before getting to the product owners home page.
Many affiliate marketers use Google Adwords (or Yahoo & MSN equivelents) to drive traffic to their offers. I’m horrible at Adwords, so I don’t play that game.
I really liked both Affiliate Project X and Day Job Killer, and you’d be better off to learn more from them then from me as I don’t focus on this as much in my own business. If you’re looking at doing affiliate marketing in the internet marketing niche, Affiliate Silver Bullet is a killer package to get you started with autoresponders, squeeze pages, etc. for top products. Combine that with the knowledge in Day Job Killer & Affiliate Project X and you’ll be a Clickbank killer.
Owning Your Own Product: I like owning my own products the best. For me, it’s always made the most money, you have more control over things, you have a customer and subscriber base to tap into at all times, and you can expand as needed. You will need a good product, a market to sell it to, and a way to get traffic (buyers) to your site (SEO, social buzz, JV’s). Then you’ll need to fulfill orders & answer customer and prospect questions (use a support desk, email deliverability is awful and then you get complaints that you didn’t respond, even when you did). At some point you may need to hire staff to handle customer service for you (I use Guru.com).
You can own multiple products in multiple niches. Once you have your product create, site set up to sell, help desk staffed, and a means of delivering traffic to your sales page, the work is done and you can move on to the next project. Rob Benwell recently release his Niche Annihilation Method which is a good primer for getting started selling your own products.
ProBlogging: Problogging is really just a combination of the three above – you’ll have to sell something on your site, be it contextual ads, affiliate offers or your own products. You provide content, people read it, people click ads or buy stuff.
JV Brokering: If you have contacts, you can make money doing this, the unfortunate thing is that often the big players always know the other big players and don’t need you to hook them up for a JV. I don’t spend any time on this. Plus, if I know two guys who would really benefit from promoting each other’s stuff, I’ll just tell them about each other and not ask for a “broker’s fee.”