By Willie Crawford
A recent discussion on an on-line discussion forum reminded me of when I was involved in mail-order in the early 1970s. My introduction to "income opportunities" was when I answered an ad offering a plan for making $100 a day stuffing envelopes. The ad offered a plan for $1 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. In exchange for my dollar and envelope, I received an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet telling me to run the same ad and when I got responses, send them the same sheet. I kept searching for something better :-)
I soon got involved in mailing out circulars offering various products and services. I charged others to mail their circulars using my bulk mailing permit. I also charged them for running their ads in my ad-sheet. It was a world where we paid to run our ads in each others newsletter. There seemed to be a lot of people selling the same opportunities to each other.
Fast forward 30 years, and I see many similarities in some on-line businesses. That discussion on the forum caused me to step back and ask a few questions. The most important question was, "What's the difference between selling a dream and helping someone to really build an on-line business." I see hundreds of plans/schemes that I'm convinced are not plausible ways to earn a decent income on-line. These are the biz-ops where people are just selling each other the latest insider information and plans that promise to make them big successes.
I know that most of these plans aren't doing the trick because I talk to numerous people about what really works every week. I'm involved in several mastermind groups and also participate in brainstorming calls. We discuss what techniques are really growing each others' businesses. I also get emails from 20 - 30 people a week who aren't achieving the level of success they desire, and they often ask me for solutions.
I have to first of all admit that I may not have a ready solution for them. What's working for me make not work for them because of differences in my target audience, difference in my relationship with my audience, and even timing. So I spend a lot of time brainstorming with them... usually for a fee :-)
One of the first realities we must face is that selecting the right product or service to promote is perhaps the most important decision they have to make. Choose the wrong service.... one no-one wants, and you're dead in the water before you start. Yes, you'll get a few people purchasing your product but not in the volume you desire.
The second reality that we must face is that you need a really solid marketing plan. Promoting your products or services in an unorganized, scatter-gun fashion will produce lesser results. You need to flow out what activities you are going to use in promoting your business. Everything needs to be planned out. Then you need to stick with your plan long enough to see the results. Plan, implement, measure results, make adjustments - that's the formula.
The third reality that we must face is that building a thriving on-line business can be hard work. I've put in many 18-hour days and fell asleep at my keyboard many times. It takes time to build a list and to build credibility. I haven't discovered any foolproof shortcut to this reality.
Having faced the above realities, I go on with my clients to look at what they are doing to build their businesses and how they can improve them. On the internet it all boils down to traffic... to reaching an audience and convincing them that your product offers the solution to their wants or needs. That means using the search engines and email to attract traffic. It also means learning to write good copy or getting someone else to do it for you. I don't see any shortcuts there. Words sell, and putting the right words in the right order is a science. It's something anyone can learn. Poor webcopy is the biggest problem on most of the websites I visit that aren't making any money.
There are literally hundreds of ways to reach your target audience and attract them to your website. The first step is properly identifying who you should be targeting. That one step allows you to spend your promotional dollars in the right place... the place where you will get the greatest return. For some products, and some businesses, paid-for search engine listings are a great option. For others buying banners on other websites (exit popups, etc.) are a great idea. I gain great exposure by having my articles appear in others' ezines and on others' websites. This takes time to build up momentum though. I also have an army of affiliates driving traffic to my sites. This also takes time.
When I look at my secrets to success, building relationships with a lot of prospects over the past seven years has played a big part. That's just the path that I took. I've seen people achieve incredible success in a matter of month, but I have seen many more fail. The one thing that I want all of my clients to ask themselves is, "If it was so easy to come on-line and make your fortune, why aren't many more quitting their off-line jobs and doing it." That's a very important question to at-least contemplate.
Hopefully, this article wasn't too negative. I just see a lot of similarities between the envelope stuffing schemes I fell victim to in the early 1970s and the on-line world today. Fortunes are being made on-line. It takes a product or service that people need and want, and then you have to make them aware of it. That often takes a lot of hard work. However, when you finally make your breakthrough, it will be worth every ounce of effort. Make absolutely certain that you start out with the right products though.
To your success.
Willie Crawford has been teaching others how to build an on-line business since late 1996. Frequently featured in radio, magazine and newspaper articles and interviews, Willie teaches the average guy what the top marketers are doing but seldom talking about. For example, Willie demonstrates the power of automated residual income through his system at: http://ProfitAutomation.Com Test drive this system now.