Nine Gotta Gets You Gotta Get to Get More Money Online There are countless internet marketers who want to prosper in their online businesses and they're wondering what things they really need to get right to get things going and make some money online. I was one of them who stumbled through what seemed more like art than science until I began to see themes that are repeated in every phenomenal rags-to-riches online success story. Here are my nine "Gotta Gets" if you want to cut to the chase and make your internet marketing pay serious dividends. Consider these the fundamental starting points from which you will build your online empire. The Nine Gotta Gets are focused on three areas: Tools, Traffic, and Follow-up. Let's begin with Tools--Focus on the basic instruments required for maximum internet marketing: A Domain Name, An Email Address, and A Website and/or Webhost. You Gotta Get a Domain Name. Free sites and weblogs are nice, but they scream amateur. If you want folks to take you seriously and part with their contact information or hard earned cash, they need to know that you're serious about your business. A descriptive and memorable domain name is the first impression that people have about your level of professionalism. A site listed as yoursite.com leaves a much better impression than someothername.com/yoursitename or yoursitename.someothername.com. Some free sites don't even give you the option of including your own descriptive text in the name. Others host ads on your site that you don't control and that may conflict with your products or services--some of these ads might even promote your competition. Domain names are a form of marketing. If your domain name is part of a larger site name, it takes away from your marketing impact. These kinds of compound site names are also hard to remember and if the main provider goes out of business or makes a change to their portion of the domain, you lose traffic, credibility, and ultimately money. Get your own domain name. You Gotta Get an Email Address In the same way that your domain name serves as a marketing focus in your business, your email address is just as important in your electronic correspondence with friends, visitors, and prospects. We all love Gmail, Hotmail, and many other free providers. I have a couple of free accounts but I don't use any of these accounts for business correspondence--I use them to register for free stuff or to sign up for lists where I know the account will be bombarded with stuff that I may or may not read in order to keep my main accounts free of clutter. Once you have your own domain name, the great thing is that you also get one or several email accounts along with the name that carry the same consistent branding. If your domain name is yoursitename.com then your email address can be you @ yoursitename.com or webmaster @ your sitename.com or whatever you want. The key is that anytime you send a message from your account, people will see @yoursitename.com and this is often enough to pique their curiosity and result in a site visit. Those who have already visited your site and receive messages will get affirmation that you run a top-notch business and won't be put off by a yoursitename @ gmail.com address. It's not a big deal, but again, you want to appear as professional as possible. If you don't, your competition will. Get a marketable email address. You Gotta Get a Website and/or Webhost Many internet marketers will argue that you don't need a website to run a profitable business and I've also written articles to that effect. The truth of the matter is that you can run a very successful business with nothing more than an email address and great affiliate products or using any number of pre-existing sites where you share in commissions from traffic that you direct to the site. eBay is just one example of a popular platform that some marketers are using to maintain a revenue stream by selling their own products or to sell products on behalf of others. There are other auction-style sites in addition to business opportunity MLM-style sites that provide marketers with a site and associated tools to conduct business. It's not absolutely necessary for you to have a website of your own to make money online. That is, not unless you want to take total control of your profit potential and make some serious money. Maximum marketing is being in control of both your web traffic and your products. Your website serves to market you. Not having a website and just working from a list means that your relationships are one-dimensional with no real way for your customers or prospects to contact your or to relate and connect with one another outside of one-way email messages. By using the sites provided by others as a convenience, you don't need to worry about design or content and upkeep. The downside is that you can't distinguish yourself from any of the other people who are also using these "conveniences." Having your own site allows you to customize your messages, provide your audience with an interactive way of connecting with you and maybe one another, and provides business depth that conveys authority, expertise, and social proof. Get a website and stand out from the crowd. Traffic--Give online searchers a reason to visit your site and come back for more: Use Content, Your Own Products, and Affiliate Products. You Gotta Get Content Your site does nothing for you or anybody else if you don't have stuff at your online location that gives people a compelling reason to stay and visit and then come back for more at a later time. Content is king when it comes to the viability of your website or weblog. Your content can be informational or entertaining. It can be relevant or irrelevant. It can be stylized or very plain. It can be audio or video. Whatever it is, it needs to be something that you can commit to maintaining for an audience of people who find it interesting. You can develop your own content, use the content of others with their permission, or you can have others develop your content for you based on their contributions to the site. The first two options are subjects of the next two Gotta Gets. You Gotta Get Your Own Products This is where the real money is made when it comes to profiting online. You can build up to this point by promoting other folk's stuff or by receiving commissions from sales that you make on behalf of others (affiliate products). But if you want to set your own price based on exclusive content that is only available from you or by providing a small group of people with individual access to your unique expertise, then you've gotta have your own products. The marketing funnel is based on this very principle: First, you offer a variety of free products of your own design or that you have acquired rights to distribute to whet your prospects' appetites. You then offer a smaller selection of for-free products that cater to their needs once you've established a relationship with them and they understand that you are not out to con them out of their hard earned money. These offers are followed by even better, more selectively focused products at an expense that justifies their increased value. Finally, you offer exclusive, much smaller opportunities to interface directly with you through seminars or web-based technology and/or e-courses or mastermind groups at your premium rates. The marketing funnel takes your customers through the value chain from free to higher paid products while providing you with recurring income and greater margins. Get your own products to start building your business at the front and back ends of the marketing funnel. You Gotta Get Affiliate Products As important as having our own products is, you don't need to start from that point. You can make money fast and build a following by finding good products that meet the needs of your target market letting your market know about what you've found. Affiliate product producers will often provide you with everything you need including sales pages, email message content, banners, links, and graphics or anything else that will help you to sell their product. If they can help you to make money, then they benefit from your promotional efforts (through repeat sales to customers that you find for them) and they are often willing to pay you up to 75% and in some cases 100% of the sale for your work. Clickbank is one of the leading sites for finding affiliate products or to offer your own affiliate products for sale. It's easy and free to get started. Use affiliate products to strengthen your for-free and higher prices offerings while you build your marketing funnel. Affiliate products are also great ways to offer products that compliment your own as additional revenue streams. Get some affiliate products and jump start your product portfolio. Follow-up--Once you begin to grow an interested number of repeat visitors and purchasers, you need to maintain these key relationships for future growth: Use Autoresponders, Social Tools, and Virtual Assistants. You Gotta Get an Autoresponder Autoresponders are email agents that you set up to work for you automatically and in the background. They are true timesavers that any internet marketer with a granule of common sense will tell you that you cannot live without. One of your goals as an online entrepreneur is growth. You grow your business by increasing the number of prospects who become customers who then become repeat customers who then became raving fans of your business. Autoresponders allow you to put some of this growth on autopilot. Aweber and GetResponse are two of the leading autoresponders. They are a business expense but the time that you save given the fee that you pay for these services is priceless. This is how it works: You have a website or weblog or maybe you're marketing someone else's products. You find people who are interested in what you have to offer and they visit the site. Your autoresponder provides you with a form that you design and place on your site where you collect prospects' names and email addresses in exchange for free product information or the purchase and download location to acquire a product they desire. Once you have their name and email address and have confirmed that you have permission to send them email (the autoresponder takes care of this confirmation automatically), you can send them helpful information and recommendations for additional free or for-free products. Repeat marketing to individuals who have expressed an interest in your offerings has a much higher success rate than trying to find new customers all the time. Once you set this up the first time, your autoresponder saves the sequence of emails so that when someone new joins your list via the online web form, they receive the very first message in the series with all the other messages scheduled to follow based on the frequency of delivery that you establish for each message. This process continues for every new subscriber to your list. You can have multiple lists for different markets and products and your lists can contain hundreds or thousands of subscribers. You maintain contact at different levels of your email relationship with multiple customers and prospects based upon when they became subscribers. Each message can be personalized with their name and include complementary links to your other products and services in addition to solid, helpful content that will keep your subscribers hungry for more. Some may even share the emails with their friends and prompt them to join your list! Get an autoresponder and put your email marketing on auto-pilot while you market and make money in your sleep! You Gotta Get Social Making money online is more than a numbers game. Volume helps but you need the right kind of volume--that is, visits from people who relate to what it is that you have to offer. Relationships are at the core of effective internet marketing where you take a targeted approach that leads to repeat business at increasing purchase levels. How do you find the right kind of people who will become long term customers? You spend time in forums that cater to your niche and by building an internet presence where those whom you help will visit your sites to see what you're all about and ultimately become members of your list, your community or loyal followers by whatever means they are most comfortable. You can run a very profitable business while sitting alone in a coffee shop a few afternoons a week or from the comfort of your dining room table--and yes--some have ridiculous money while sitting on the beach, but you don't do it alone in a vacuum. You've got to spend some time online connecting with people in your market. By helping people in your niche you establish your expertise, build trust, create awareness, and in many cases, a spirit of reciprocity develops over time. Because you have been so helpful to others, it's not unusual to make a suggestion about a product to your list of several hundred fans and supporters and accurately predict how many will take you up on the offer and magically send you money. The truth is, there is no magic about money and relationships. You will have established a bond with people who view you as an authority in your area and they will thank you for your assistance with proper compensation. Participate in relevant forums, make contact with bloggers in your field, join social networks that make sense for your niche and be a valued contributor, use social bookmarks to point to your best content and build a strong internet presence, and microblog about your endeavors. Relationships beget profits and profits beget more relationships. You need to beget more money. You Gotta Get Good Help Sure, you can do it all by yourself and make a mint but why would want to? I'm just as stubborn as the next guy or gal when it comes to not wanting to give up control of my business or foolishly believing that I can do a more than capable job on my own. After all, we're all talented, creative, and most of us have some technical know-how. Who better to write articles for our business or to conduct the day to day affairs than we who founded or created the enterprise? Keep thinking that way and you'll create a job for yourself that will ultimately become no better than the work you may be performing for somebody else today. What is your time worth? What could you be doing to promote or build your business if you weren't doing some of the more mundane stuff that can easily be contracted out to others? This is when having good help really pays off. If you visit sites like Elance or other online virtual assistant services, you'll be amazed at the level of professional help that is available for very little money. When you are considering a research or writing project that you need to complete to add value to your business or to further promote your efforts, you would be wise to think about outsourcing this work. By employing the services of a virtual assistant or contractor, you retain rights to the work and receive the benefit of quality workmanship that might have taken you days or weeks to complete at often unbelievable prices. Many virtual assistants work in other countries so you benefit from differences in currency while having the ability to draw from the experience and education of individuals that you could never afford otherwise. Exercise due diligence when choosing an assistant, whether domestically or internationally. Most of the popular assistant sites rightfully recommend that you be very detailed in your project expectations and goals and that you spend time reviewing the work and reputations of prospective bidders. Don't make a decision until you are comfortable that your bidder can perform the work to your specifications. Build checkpoints into the process to ensure that things are on track at every important step. Many bidders will sometimes offer to provide you a sample of your completed work at no charge in an effort to win your business. If you find a few virtual assistants whose work you really like, you may find long-term virtual partners who help to free your time to enjoy life to the fullest with confidence that you are fully in control of a business that almost runs itself. Now that you know what you Gotta Get, get going and get more money online!