Interview with Corey Rudl: The Secrets of an Internet Millionaire (Final Part-Two)
If you could tell someone just one thing about how to be a success in marketing on the Web, what would it be?
That's easy! Learn how to drive targeted traffic to your site inexpensively and the rest will all come. Once you've got the traffic, you can change the design of your site, you can test different prices, and you can even change products if your product isn't selling well. Without traffic, nothing you do will make your online business a success.
Now, don't get me wrong! You still have to sell a real product to real people for real money. You can't just build a site, promote it, and try to think of a way to make money after the traffic comes. That was what killed all of the so-called "dot-bombs" a couple of years ago.
So simply attracting lots of general traffic isn't necessarily a good thing?
General traffic is fine, but traffic targeted to your specific niche market is much, MUCH better. In my experience, finding a niche and selling to it is the single easiest route to profitability online. If you are trying to sell books or CDs online, forget it -- Amazon.com will crush you. Those markets are gone.
However, if you target your market to a specific interest -- say gardening, hunting, cars, or whatever -- it's easy to find people online with an interest in those things. All you have to do is find what that market wants and give it to them. I have a lot of clients that make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year who just started their businesses a short time ago and almost all of them make their money by having specific products that go over well in a very targeted niche market.
Check out a newsletter I have called www.SecretsToTheirSuccess.com - your readers have got to check this site out. It is cool because it shows how people that were in low-paying or dead-end jobs are now making it huge online now, working their own hours and making profits they couldn't even dream of before. We interview two new people every month that are making between $30,000 and $2 million in profit online each year.
Check out the site and you'll see what I mean. You can learn so much by reading about how they started their businesses from scratch not too long ago and made them successful by targeting a specific niche market. For example, one interviewee makes over $1,500 a day selling a plan to bald guys on how to regrow their hair. And another guy sells tools to make wire jewelry and makes $40,000 a month!
These products would be a flop if you sold them at a local storefront because the market in a local area is way too small to support them. But on the Internet, you have access to a global market that can support extremely obscure products and ideas… and be very profitable!
Corey, I wanted to ask you about search engines. How important are they to the marketing beginner?
When you are starting out on the Internet, search engines are a very cost-effective way to drive traffic to your site. But as your business grows, a good advertising campaign, joint venture, or affiliate program will outperform your search engine rankings every time -- guaranteed.
To start with, you have to make sure that people are actually looking for your product or service online. I hate to see people starting out on the Web who automatically put all of their time and resources into search engine submission when, in reality, their target market isn't even looking for what they have to offer in the search engines.
If you want to find out if the search engines will be worth the effort, there are a few great services online that I show you in my course that will actually tell you approximately how many visitors you will get if you have a top ranking under your keywords in the major search engines.
I tell people to type five of their top keywords into one of these keyword popularity services, and if your keywords are not getting more than at least 1,000 searches every single month, it is probably not worth your time.
Also, you should never make the mistake of relying on just the search engines to drive traffic to your site. Although they can be an extremely valuable source of traffic, they are constantly changing their rules. If you get into a situation where you rely solely on a couple of good rankings in the search engines for all of your traffic, and then one day the search engines drop your ranking, you could be out of business literally overnight. Believe me, I've seen it happen more than a few times.
Make sure you have multiple sources of traffic to your web site so that if you lose one, you are not out of business!
Pay-per-click search engines seem to be a great place to test market products on the 'Net. What should people know about using a pay-per-click strategy for their site or product?
Pay-per-click search engines can be a great way to get traffic to your web site but, once again, only if your target market is actually looking for you in the search engines. They're great for testing your offer, testing your site, testing your price, even testing your product to see if it will work.
Success through the pay-per-click search engines is all about basic math. If the traffic they drive to your web site makes you more money than it costs to buy those clicks, then they are a great investment. Unfortunately, many beginners pay way too much for keywords, never actually calculate how much they can afford to spend, and end up losing lots of money.
I should also mention that you can't expect to enter a couple of your top keywords into the pay-per-click search engines and start making money -- that is very rare. To be successful, you need a list of at least 100 to 500 keywords and phrases. You can really make pay-per-click search engines pay off by bidding on lots of less popular keywords that are actually more targeted than general search terms.
For example, do a search for "gift basket" on the most popular pay-per-click search engine and you'll see that to get that top listing, you'd need to pay $2.76 per click. That's just too much. Instead, bid on lots of less popular terms like "discount gift basket" at $0.36 per click or "Valentine gift basket" at $0.61 per click.
What is the most important thing someone needs to do when starting out with a marketing project?
Test, test, and then test again. Never stop testing everything. You want to test your advertising, styles, colors, etc. Test your offer, test your price, test different types of advertising. The key is to test small. If it works, apply it to everything you know.
Start small and test. It is pointless to spend all your cash on a huge ad campaign when you have not proven that your web site can sell a product. And you must be able to track what is going on with your web site. I'm shocked by how many people don't know their "visitors-to-sales ratio" -- how many visitors you get daily compared to how many sales. If you don't know this, how can you try different things to see what improves your sales?
Can you give an example of this?
Sure. Let's say that your site gets an average of 500 visitors a day and you sell an average of five products a day. Your "visitors-to-sales ratio" would be 100 to 1. (In other words, for every 100 visitors, you can expect to make one sale.)
Now that you know this, you can start testing different things. Let's say that you decide to test a new headline and find that you now sell one product for every 50 visitors to your site. You've just doubled the profit potential for your site! And you never would have known unless you had taken the time to track the activity at your site. I teach this in much more depth in my "Insider Secrets" course.
Listen to this: Back in the early days of marketing my "Car Secrets Revealed" book online, I decided to try out a couple of new slogans. I had a hunch that the one we had been using wasn't targeting the right people. Anyway, after a couple of days of testing, I discovered something that literally changed my life.
I had been marketing the book to car owners, assuming that most people who owned a car would be interested in the book. Well, one of the slogans was targeted towards people who were thinking of purchasing a new car, not to people who already owned one. I just about hit the floor when I saw the results from the test on that slogan! Our sales had literally increased 400% overnight!
If I hadn't always been testing things, even back in the early days, I would never have realized this. That's the power of testing. It has allowed me to build an incredibly successful business.
Based on your experience, testing probably thousands of different strategies, what are the two most powerful ways to market your business on the Internet?
The answer is very simple... affiliate programs and opt-in e-mail marketing.
First off, affiliate programs are the single most cost-effective, least risky way to do business on the 'Net. Affiliate programs are like having an army of joint venture partners out there working for you twenty-four hours a day.
With an affiliate program, it's easy to recruit hundreds, thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of people to promote your product, and you do not pay them a penny unless they make you money! I started one of the very first affiliate programs on the Internet, even before Amazon.com, and I currently have over 70,000 affiliates, so I'm speaking from experience here.
For those who don't know what an affiliate program is, this is how it works: Basically, you get other sites that share your target audience to link to you. Those links are tracked by special software so that if anyone clicks through the link and buys your product, you give a commission to the referring site.
The great thing about affiliate programs is that they are pure profit machines. Because you only pay your affiliates when they send you a visitor who actually buys something, it's literally impossible to lose money! Even if they drive 10,000 visitors to your site, you don't pay them a dime unless someone buys.
That sounds great. But managing a large affiliate program is a huge job, isn't it?
The best part is that if you are using the right tools you can completely automate the entire process. You can be running a multi-million dollar company with only a few staff in the office. We have over 70,000 affiliates promoting our products on the Internet and it literally only takes us a couple of hours every month to manage our program using our AssocTRAC software. At the end of the month we hit a couple of keys, it prints out the commission checks, and we mail them to the affiliates.
There are no overhead costs, no employees, and no hassles. You only pay your affiliates when they bring you business, and the software does all the work for you. And the whole thing only costs about $45 a month to run! This would be absolutely impossible offline, but the speed and scope of the Internet allows us to do it at almost no cost.
When we built the second generation of AssocTRAC software, we compiled over five years of first-hand experience so that our customers could apply this powerful strategy to their business without having to spend the hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of time it took us to develop it.
I could talk about affiliate programs all day, as it is a huge topic, but since we only have a limited amount of time, I'm going to recommend that if you are interested in learning more about how affiliate programs work and how you can start one of your own, visit our AssocTRAC web site.
Could you tell us a little about the second strategy you mentioned: opt-in e-mail marketing?
The second marketing strategy that every e-business definitely needs to employ if they want to be successful is opt-in e-mail marketing. And to get started building an opt-in e-mail list you NEED to be collecting e-mail addresses at your site. I can't stress this one enough. If you aren't doing this, you need to start right now!
Here's how it works: You need to offer every single visitor to your site a reason to leave you their e-mail address. It can be for a free newsletter, a free report, a demo version of your software, a contest... Any reason you can think of to get people to leave you their e-mail address.
If someone visits your web site and actually takes the time to subscribe to your newsletter by giving you their name and e-mail address, this obviously means that they are interested in what you have to offer. Congratulations! You have just captured an incredibly hot sales lead!
By simply following up with these people and e-mailing them quality information and facts, you will instantly build your credibility by developing the rapport that is needed to close sales.
The bottom line is this: Most people are simply not comfortable shelling out money the first time they visit your web site. Unfortunately, the Internet is a big place, so the chances of them finding you again once they leave your site are pretty slim. By capturing their name and e-mail address, you can guarantee that they will not forget about you.
What are some things that people should keep in mind when sending e-mail promotions?
First and foremost: The names and e-mail addresses you collect on your web site should be treated like gold and never abused. If you constantly e-mail these people with blatant advertisements and plugs for your products and never actually send them any valuable information, you will ruin any chance you have to sell to them in the future.
Also, opt-in e-mail is impossible to manage unless you have the right tools and information. In my "Insider Secrets" course I have almost 200 pages of cutting-edge information on this topic alone that will show you how to build an extremely responsive opt-in list very quickly and then show you how to follow up and sell to these targeted customers again and again and again.
We use a powerful e-mail automation tool called Mailloopthat automates all of our e-mail promotions. I personally started using this software over 6 years ago and it quickly became such an indispensable part of my business that I actually bought the rights to it from the developer so that my customers could benefit from all of its powerful features.
This software is so cool… It is like having your own personal e-mail secretary -- but it does not take any breaks, does not talk back, does not ask for vacation, and did I mention that it works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?
It handles almost all of your e-mail: It subscribes and unsubscribes people automatically from your opt-in lists, it merges your orders into your customer database, it automatically sends out your promotions, it automatically responds to your customers' commonly asked questions, and much more.
It just leaves you with the e-mail that you need to handle personally -- it takes care of the rest. We use it every day to automate our business and stay in contact with our clients; it is solely responsible for generating over $100,000 a month in new business for us. You can check it out at www.marketingtips.com/mailloop.
Rapid growth and expansion can be a "good" problem for businesses. How can you handle your company's growth?
You automate. That is the beauty of the Internet. It is the first environment where you can truly automate your entire business. You can even run it from anywhere in the world -- as long as you have a laptop and a phone line, you are in business.
I'll never forget the day I was on a beach in Hawaii, drinking a Corona, when I decided to log on to the 'Net for a few minutes and check my sales. I discovered that I had made over $37,000 that day! This could only happen in today's online age!
When you are first starting out, keep it simple so that you can get up and running fast, but also realize that you'll need to automate soon after you start. We use software to automate most of the daily tasks like processing orders, managing e-mail, and such. Not only are the cost savings huge (one piece of software can literally replace at least one or two employees!), but the real benefit is that you don't get caught up working IN your business instead of ON your business.
If you don't automate soon, you will find that the mundane work will become overwhelming and you will be filling orders and reading e-mail all day long instead of growing your business. Be careful, because this is a real trap for so many people.
We teach a ton of ways to easily automate your business without a lot of work. We've tried a lot of things, and we show you what works and what doesn't -- and where to spend your time and money for the biggest growth and the biggest profits.
Unfortunately, we don't really have time to go into this today during this short interview. But remember that you need to automate so that your business can run automatically whether you are there or not. It sounds complicated -- and it was 3 years ago -- but now there are inexpensive software programs and simple techniques that allow anyone to do it easily. I go through a lot of this in the course as it is a fundamental key to success. You need to automate before you can really grow.
Just as an example, my CarSecrets.com site practically runs itself. It automatically takes and fulfils orders, deposits the money in my bank account, takes care of most of the e-mail by autoresponding to customers, automatically promotes its affiliate program, and so on.
It generates hundreds of thousands of dollars in yearly revenue, yet I have an employee who spends less than 10 minutes a day running it. I have not looked at the site myself in over two years and it still generates a ton of money. That is the kind of business you want.
How do you stay up-to-date on an industry that is constantly changing?
We have a team of people who are cranked up on coffee at their desks, testing new ideas every day; we have to be ahead of the curve. We have to update our information and products constantly because the Internet changes so quickly.
The key to really exploiting marketing techniques is that you have to be using them before they become popular, because once people know about them, your audience becomes saturated, and they are not as effective anymore.
Pop-ups are a perfect example. We were using pop-ups way back before anyone else -- they were EXTREMELY profitable back then. As soon as people found out how great they worked, everyone started using them. Of course, as soon as every site had them, their effectiveness fell off quickly. I should say that pop-ups are still a great tool, but they are 50% less effective than they used to be.
Our job is to find the hot marketing techniques before everyone else picks up on them -- and let our customers know so they can use them and profit.
So, where do you see the Internet taking us in the future? How much additional business will be conducted on the 'Net and how important will the Internet be to the business ventures that our kids will be involved with?
Here's a fact: The Internet is becoming part of our lives more and more each day. Just about everyone uses e-mail now. If you want to know the weather, you check the 'Net. You check the 'Net for movie listings in your city, you use it to pay bills, you can use it to educate yourself on just about any subject.
Today there are university classes being held online for people around the world who cannot get to a classroom. There are pay-per-view movies that can be delivered to your computer in DVD quality anytime you want through a broadband connection. I mean, it might not be too long before we all say goodbye to the video store!
Nowadays, your sales force can access order and inventory data from their wireless handheld computers while at a customer's location. Your fridge can automatically order your milk from the local grocery store for delivery when you are low. (I've actually seen this -- it weighs the area where the milk goes in your fridge and determines when to order more.)
The dot-com days are over, but the Internet has just begun! It will become more powerful and more useful as time goes on. It offers an entirely new level of communication and convenience, which gives home businesses the ability to compete with large corporations, not to mention the ability to run a business from anywhere in the world with next to no overhead or risk.
I personally know janitors and waiters who are making $100,000 a year now with their Internet businesses, working only a few hours a day! If they can do it, you can too -- no excuses!
Any last words?
The only thing stopping you from making more money is YOU! You may read this interview and say, "Wow, that sounds great!" But unless you actually do something and take action -- at least get your feet wet -- you will stay at the income level you are at today. Do you think my first site looked great and worked perfectly? Of course not!
If you're thinking about starting a small business, just do it! Get your feet wet, make some mistakes -- once you've started, you'll never look back! And you don't have to be a computer geek to figure it all out, you just need common sense and the determination to get it done.
And take the time to educate yourself. Heck, if nothing else, sign up for a copy of our free newsletter at our site. Of course we save the best stuff for our course, but we still reveal tons of killer tips in the free newsletter. We distribute it every two weeks or so. Just go to www.marketingtips.com and enter your first name and e-mail address to receive it.
About The Author:
Corey Rudl gets over 1.8 million visitors to his web sites monthly, did more than 7.6 million dollars in online sales last year (yes, that is $7,600,000), and personally makes hundreds of thousands of dollars from his online businesses... all from his one small office.
So listen to what he has to say, as he knows what he is talking about when it comes to starting and promoting a business on the Internet. Visit his site at The Internet Marketing Center®, where he reveals all his unconventional tips, tricks and techniques with examples so you can learn the fastest and most efficient ways to make money on the Internet.
End of Part 2.
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