Conversation With A Newbie

By: Stuart Reid

I've been inspired to write this short piece to answer THE most common questions I hear. It takes the form of a fictional discussion.

NEWBIE: 'How do I make money on the Internet?'

ME: 'You need to sell `something` to `somebody` - and of course make a profit.'

NEWBIE: 'What??'

ME: 'You need to persuade people to exchange their cash for your goods.'

NEWBIE: 'That's another way of saying the same thing. Don't you have any practical advice?'

ME: 'First, you need to know what people are willing to spend their money on. Discover what they want to buy, or would like to buy.

Second, you need to reach these people. You need to be where they are, to go where they go.

Third, you need to present what they want in the way they expect it.'

NEWBIE: 'Sure, that sounds like common sense to me. But if it was that easy we'd all be doing it!'

ME: 'It IS that easy! There is NOTHING else. There's a lot of tactics you can use to make the process more likely to succeed, sure, but at the end of the day your job is to give people what they want.

You could specialise in one market. You could target any market that is likely to give good results. You could - if you were that kind of guy - blatantly scam everyone for a quick buck, but you'd quickly crash and burn that way.

You need to build a reputation. That involves trust. It takes more than just throwing offers at people - make friends with them first.'

NEWBIE: 'Now we're getting somewhere! I know what you mean - I'm getting sick of the same offers clogging up my mailbox each day, and if I am surely everyone else is?'

ME: 'To some extent, yes, that's why you need to develop your own style and personality. The market is very busy, so you need to distinguish yourself. For example, it doesn't mean you shouldn't jump on the bandwagon *if* the current in vogue product is worth it - but you should try to make your offer differ from everyone elses!'

NEWBIE: 'Right. Ditch those carbon-copy promotions, then!'

ME: 'You've got it! Write your own ads, include your own bonuses, that kind of thing.'

NEWBIE: 'So, what can I do to reach these people and find out what they want? Is it just a matter of reading the messageboards, and when someone needs help send them to a good offer, with my affiliate link?'

ME: 'There's so much you can do here. Personally, I think that way is pretty unlikely to succeed.

Remember you need integrity - a good reputation. You need to distinguish yourself in whatever market you choose (even if you are active in all markets). Your own web site and mailing list are a good start, and are almost essential.

That way you can develop a following.

Then you need to build a basic strategy that encompasses ALL your marketing activities. A good starting point is to drive visitors to your website, and capture their e-mail address. Then provide them with good information and carefuly chosen offers where appropriate. With an autoresponder this can be automated.

Make your site a useful resource for them to return to with perhaps some changing content to encourage repeat visitors, such as a Blog, or a online newsletter, or a 'xxx of the Day' type feature.

Once this is in place you have a good platform to work from, and then you can answer that board members question. If it sounds like hard work, I apologise, but you don't need to do it all at once. In fact I'd encourage you to start as soon as you can. You'll never come to anything if you constantly try to perfect everything. Build something first, and improve as you go along.'

NEWBIE: (thinks for a moment) 'Hmmm... I kind of know that already. But this isn't what I read at other peoples sites. They say I can make a couple of thousand bucks in a few months. After all, they did!'

ME: 'Don't fall for the greed-merchants. Sure, they may have made that much and have the proof - but they didn't start from the same position you are! Let's get back on track here:

Now you have a site and a list (or at least something that will start building your list) it's time to do some research. There's plenty of messageboards you can hang out at for a start. They are one of the most useful resources I know of.

Then there's the e-zines. Sign up for a bunch (use a spare e-mail address!). Any that you like, stick with. Any that are just endless ads or don't provide the information you need, unsubscribe.

You can also use the Search Engines to see what comes up. Just enter interesting terms into Google (like 'Internet Marketing') and view the sites you are offered. Don't pay for anything - at least until you've done a little research to see if the product on offer is worth it. A question in a forum would get you good opinions. And don't forget the ad-words boxes on Google pages. The people who place these have enough faith in their product to pay for visitors, so they are surely worth a look.'

NEWBIE: (excitedly) 'This sounds cool, but I need a little more practical advice. Like - How do I get money from all this?'

ME: 'You're still missing the point. Money *will* come, but make friends first. Profits are made with affiliate programs, products you have created or have resell-rights to, and possibly services you provide. They are all potentially lucrative.

People will be wary of buying from you until they know you. And with the market as it is TRUST is essential. I'm sorry to labour this point but it is very important.

Place your offers strategically at your website, and in your e-mails, but always second to the help, advice and friendship you offer. Give things away - software, ebooks, articles etc. Things like this do wonders for your image. And when you do 'sell' it is more about persuasion than blatant in-your-face `Buy This!` advertising.

Copywriting is the way you persuade your `friends` to buy. This is maybe the most important skill you can learn and it comes with practice. Appeal to their *wants* (not their needs) and give plenty of reasons why your product will improve their life. As a famous copywriter said - sell the Sizzle and not the Steak!'

NEWBIE: 'I think I get the point now,' (laughs). 'But can you tell me straight, with no bull, is this just a paper exercise or does it really work? Do YOU actually make money on the Internet, or do you profit from others dreams?'

ME: 'Hey! I object to that!' (also laughs). 'No, seriously - I do make money. I don't make hundreds of thousands, I don't make enough to retire to some carribean island (yet!), but it is a nice second income. It most certainly is NOT a dream. It's a reality.

You have to go with the flow sometimes, and you have to chalk up bad results to experience. Some things that work well for you may suddenly collapse and you need to start again, but it's all a learning experience. You are always learning. Always!

Spend carefuly. Don't jump into the latest so-called money-spinner, unless you're 100% sure, and make friends before you sell. Or rather, `persuade to buy`.

Find the path you like. Invest the profits, or at least some of them (I know it's hard, but resist the temptation to spend). Running your own business is something many people aspire to, and with the advent of the Internet it's NEVER been easier.'

NEWBIE: 'Hey, thanks! I don't know it all yet but I'm raring to go. I sure appreciate all your help.'

ME: 'No problem. Just remember, when you are on a roll be sure to help others yourself. See the business as a long term venture that includes short term rewards, if you know what I mean. I hope I'll be hearing from you in the future. Be seeing ya!'

You are free to use this article wherever and whenever, in whatever format you choose - as long as the authors by-line is included at the end. If you publish on-line a live link would be appreciated!

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