By Craig Lock
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him to use
the Internet, and he won't bother you for weeks." - anon
I hope that the following article based on our experiences may be
informative and/or helpful in your online marketing.
A successful online business isn't built overnight; but is the
result of many late nights. If anyone says that they can teach
you to make a substantial amount of money without hard work,
realize they are talking through "a hole in the head and are out
of their trees".
After five years doing it, here are my TEN COMMANDMENTS setting
out how to conduct business online (in spite of the recent demise
of so many "high-profile dot-bombs"- ready availability to large
amounts of capital, I believe, can be a big disadvantage to the
small/home business cyber entrepreneur):
Now time to "get straight into it"...
1. Understand that technology should help you achieve your
business and personal goals. It is merely a tool to move you
forward with your vision: a "means to an end" to HELP and enable
you, rather than being an end in itself, (or perhaps even be a
disabler to "untechnos" like me). So make modern technology work
to it's highest potential for you and your business. Spend time
learning about various computer programmes and applications (hard
though it may be for the 'technically challenged'). Then "use it
repeatedly , so you don't lose it!" Accept that the vast majority
of www. users are not "technofreaks" (like my "geek associate",
Bill) and have great difficulty learning new computer procedures.
Well, I certainly do (just ask Bill)!. However, by making a
conscious effort and with discipline and effort the habit
ingrained makes it easier and easier, as your confidence grows in
leaps and bounds.
2. Don't take the competition for granted...and don't "knock"
them. Never ever! Accept that no business can be the best in
every facet. The convergence of computer, media, entertainment
and communications means the underlying structures of the
computer world will change rapidly and soon... or so my
"technogeek" associate, Bill (not Gates) says. The
TV/computer/music center is not far away, I hear.
The net is a world wide market-place, so don't be too zenophobic
(now that's a really big word, that I tried very hard to bring
in). I think many Americans (and New Zealanders too) think that
theirs is the only country on earth in which to trade and is the
centre of the world... and we're nearly falling off the bottom
However, we can all compete fairly ("fairly") against the
competition by transcending international boundaries on a "global
level playing field" - whereby even the "little guys" can take on
the big corporations around the world (except for their massive
marketing budgets, of course!) . It may mean adjusting your
marketing efforts to take into account some cultural differences
(like my rather 'weird' sense of humor, or different spelling -
although it's the same English language). However, I believe
people around the world have more in common than their
differences. Common aspirations, eg. security, to do their best
for their children, etc. Enough philosophical digression,
Craig... and back to your point...
Here in "Sleepy Hollow" (with one of the highest unemployment
rates in the country) in little provincial New Zealand near the
bottom of the world, we sell our various products around the
globe in response to customer needs.
3. Consolidate your business by focusing on what you do best.
Don't try to be "all things" to your customer, nor try to offer
too many products. Concentrate on perfecting and marketing your
"best sellers" in your CORE business activities. That is the area
which produces the most profitable results for your organization.
(remember the "80-20 rule" - 20% of your activities produces 80%
of your results/profit and vice versa!). For us it's creative
Define your "USP" (or "unique selling proposition") - a "fancy"
term loved by "those marketing types". What is the key, that
makes your product or service really special?
Now for one rather more philosophical...
4. Honor your parents, your teachers and your communities and
especially your family. Family is most precious of all and strong
and stable family units make for a strong and stable country.
Parenting, I believe is the most noble occupation of all - and
parents want their children to be safe on line, so supervise them
closely. Teach them responsibility in internet usage... so they
don't push your telephone bill sky high (as my dear boys do - but
then that's the price of having and educating children - a tax on
sex!). Teach your children well (as Crosby, Stills, Nash ... and
Young used to sing so melodiously) and wisely. Let them learn
that the net is a great EDUCATION tool for the present and the
future and they could be learning "practical skills on the job"
and preparing for a future technological career.
5. Do not send spam (sending masses of unsolicited e-mail) -
under any circumstances. You are likely to be cut off by your
server. I find it rather irritating receiving "mountains" of spam
and simply delete all unsolicited e-mail selling products and
services... and wouldn't you do likewise; because it just
clutters up your mailbox?
6. Do not launch your product before the market is ready for
it. Test the market first by doing a survey. Ask yourself: Is
there a NEED for your particular product? In what way is it
distinctive (and superior) to the competition (world-wide,
remember!)? Have all your systems in place to market it... then
always remember, all products have a definite life cycle...and
some are relatively short.
7. Take the business of internet marketing seriously. The world
online population is exploding daily and exponentially (big
word, eh...but what does it mean?). I'm not sure how many people
are online world-wide, but think it may be in the order of
150-200 million at present and increasing daily. In addition, I
"guess" there are a similar number of web sites (and many more
pages) "up there in cyberspace". So the competition is "pretty
stiff"! As the "cyber-revolution" gathers momentum, imagine if
everyone is online one day? Impossible perhaps, but who knows!
What will that do for your business and you? An unlimited target
market for your PRODUCTS - if you are still going strong by
then. VERY EXCITING!
8. Have an effective web presence. Your site should explain
immediately what the visitor will get for their time online. If
it is not clear WHY they should stay, they'll leave before they
try to find out. Therefore make your site as interesting and
informative as you can. I've seen many sites, where I don't know
the webmaster's objective, their purpose. Are they purely for
information, or trying to sell something? Make sure your site
loads quickly, because people soon get tired of waiting in
today's fast /instant (coffee) world.
9. Always remember MARKETING YOUR PRODUCT EFFECTIVELY is the
key to the success of your business. If you don't get adequate
results, you'll soon be out of business... as recurring bills in
the post-box without income to pay them soon take all the fun
out of your venture into "cyber" self-employment.
I spend at least two hours a day purely on internet marketing:
mainly through my various article submissions to various lists.
Don't forget to use traditional methods of marketing to promote
your business, as in advertising (radio, news- papers,
brochures, and the most effective of all, word of mouth in your
local community). The two strategies (both on-line and
off-line), I believe, work best together in your marketing plan.
I plan to do more off-line advertising, by allocating a
portion of revenue to marketing, as it comes in.
Even if you have the greatest product in the world, you will
never sell anything if you don't tell people about it. It's like
having a billboard in the middle of a forest or a desert. An
example: Just because you have a phone number in the phone book,
doesn't mean that a stranger will call you. So it is absolutely
vital that you advertise effectively to bring people to your
site; because without advertising, there will be no TRAFFIC...
and without prospects there will be NO SALES. And without sales
there will soon be no business!
...and finally and most importantly,.
* 10. We are at the forefront of one of the most innovative and far-reaching inventions in human history.
The net is the most
cost- efficient, INSTANTANEOUS, EXCITING and effective way of
marketing products and services around the globe through modern
telecommunications. We live in one of the most exciting times in
human history; so exploit the AMAZING POWER of the internet to
reach hundreds of thousands of people and perhaps even millions
around the world. Use your creative energies and imagination
to the fullest, by thinking of new ideas of how to market your
particular products. I keep a notebook by my bedside and leave
to my creative subconscious mind just before I go to sleep. And
we all have great powers of imagination as the source for
creative ideas, through the amazing power of the human mind.
Share them to make the lives of other people around the globe
easier in some way.
I believe INTERNET MARKETING is the KEY to internet success,
especially if you have a limited marketing budget, like us. As
mentioned, I allocate at least two hours a day purely to
internet marketing, through submitting my articles on numerous
subjects to various ezines and publishing resources. I find it
by far the most effective way of free advertising to get traffic
(= SALES) . Always remember to have a resource box at the end of
each article, together with your web site address.
Carefully monitor what's working for you and what's not on a
REVIEW YOUR STRATEGIES REGULARLY.
FOCUS ON WHAT ACTIONS GET THE BEST RESULTS.
Remember Bill Gates' wise words: "There'll be two types of
business in the year 2000 : those online... and those out of
A few final words to summarize...
There are no 'magic secrets', and there is nothing mystical
about making money online. Other than the advertising budget,
it's a level playing field around the world and anyone, like the
self-employed entrepreneur working from home, like you and I,
can compete with the "big guys". And we have ONE BIG ADVANTAGE:
These corporations are too unwieldy to react swiftly to changing
circumstances and markets. So we "one and two man bands running
our technology through number eight fence wire have got the
jump on them".
With heaps of hard work, dedication, discipline and a little
perseverance, I believe absolutely anyone can achieve online
success, even taking on the big corporations. At Eagle
Productions, working in association with Bill Rosoman of the New
Zealand Enterprise Centre and Nugrow Technologies, we've done it
all on an absolutely "shoestring" budget (no-one could believe
the story!), lots of hard graft and heaps of pure faith. We have
been reasonably successful to date (the past six years), but
have hopes of far greater success in the future. No matter, we
are enjoying the journey in a totally new field and are having
great fun learning and extending ourselves each day. I hope you
too take pleasure and have great success as you travel along
your very individual journey in "cyberspace".
No matter where you may live on this planet, cyberspace can
produce income to so many "budding netrepreneurs" . The www
gives 'ordinary people' without much capital, like you and I, a
great BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY: the opportunity of self employment (and of a life-time) by reaching out to a GLOBAL
market-place. Each one of us has a responsibility to ourselves
and our families. It is up to each one of us to reach out and
help many people around the world through being innovative and
original in our ideas... and the money we earn from selling our
array of unique products can be used for many good purposes,
like perhaps even helping others achieve their dreams. In doing
that, WE WILL BE MAKING THE MOST USE OF OUR UNIQUE (God-given)
The successful cyber entrepreneur of today could well be the
equivalent of the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts, Kennedy's, Paul
Getty's and Henry Ford's of yesteryear, especially in the new
ENTREPRENEURIAL (nice big word) AGE, which I believe, is even
more important (and a more appropriate term) than the
N. B: Use the Internet to build a better world - to make a
difference, your life to count in some way to help others. Your
efforts, what you do TODAY could repay you (as well as others) a
hundred-fold tomorrow...and there is just one rule:
If you really BELIEVE in your product (as well as yourself, of
course), then get onto the playing field (or perhaps you
Americans call it "the ball-park") of cyberspace. Then as the
famous shoe ad says,
JUST DO IT WITH EVERYTHING YOU'VE GOT AND BE HAPPY!
P. S: "We can all use the internet to reach out to the
"global community" and build a better world in this new
"Information Revolution" that is upon us. Let's use it wisely,
respect our diversity and unique cultures; but celebrate a new
world in union. One where, like your founding forefathers in
America, you can first celebrate the Independence Day of the
strong burning creative spirit that lies deep within every one
of us. If this spark is set alight, it is a flame that will burn
long and brightly for future generations and make your personal
VISION of the future a REALITY... and perhaps even fulfill YOUR
UNIQUE DESTINY on this planet."
"You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm."
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is
no path and leave a trail."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
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