Writing this is a bit odd. I have spent the majority of my adult life extolling and practicing the virtues of target marketing. The Internet is a medium that allows for unprecedented targeting yet it is important to ask whether the now common buzzword is overrated.

The problem really isn't the concept of targeting--this is a marketing tool. But the people wielding the tool are too often clueless. They wield a scalpel as if it were a meat cleaver. Targeting has become an end in itself for many. But the Internet, which offers the best targeting opportunities ever conceived, also offers the most inexpensive delivery system a direct marketer has ever encountered.

In a sense, all marketers have been turned into direct marketers and while they might like the sound of the music, they haven't quite got the knack of playing the instrument. Noise is often the result. First, everyone seems to be asking, "what are the targeting capabilities media has for demographics?" The question is asked for e-mail newsletters, banner networks, or e-mail list rentals. There is nothing wrong with the question, but if it is anything more than a theoretical construction, then there must be another question coupled with it: "What is the incremental costs of targeting?"

To illustrate the ineptitude of a target-think mind set, a real life example should serve to clarify. We have an e-mail newsletter network with 7.5 million opt in subscribers. X company (the name undisclosed to protect the inept) approached us with a technology that could identify which 50% of the list could be mailed an offer. For this bit of target-think, they promised that they could get us 10 times our rate card. They already were selling a client this targeting approach elsewhere.


For the mathematically challenged, let's put some numbers to this farce. To reach 7.2 million opt in subscribers at $18/M would cost a total of $129,800. Now with his "targeting approach," 50% would have been weeded out, resulting in only 3.6 million people receiving the marketing message. The total cost? Well at $180/M, the cost comes to be $648,000. To hit half the list, the client would pay more than 5 times the total amount.

Now if you were mailing catalogs and you could cut down waste by 50%, you would save a lot of money. But because the delivery of Internet ad messages has so little comparative cost, the above example seems like something out of a Monty Python skit.

Believe me, I am not clever enough to make this up. After suggesting that this made no sense and that the client would be MUCH better off mailing the entire list at 20% the total cost and just accept the "waste," the rep from X told me, "Look, we have a technology that works for us and the client. Our business model depends on targeting and this is the only way we can stay in business."

Eureka! Can this be an answer? You know many people believe the atom bomb was dropped because there was a technological imperative to use it. While this issue is beyond the scope of this article, we may be seeing something similar to this proposition in marketing on the Internet. Are we seeing a technological imperative to target when it doesn't even make economic sense? The real life example above would suggests so. While the story is anecdotal, it is up to each marketer to examine the motives of whomever is trying to sell advertising.

I think we are coming close to some answers in this industry we call the Net. First, ad networks are by and large run by engineers. We all look at life through the lens of our own experiences and engineers first look for technological solutions to problems.

Just because we have the ability to target does not mean that we SHOULD target. Before you marketers get talked into "drilling down" to more and more minute sets, examine the costs associated versus the anticipated benefits. Now that I have sounded the trumpet of alarm, let me say one last time that targeting can be effective. What degree to pursue and the cost of doing it needs to be judged on a case by case basis.


A Hidden Secret to Internet Marketing....A true story !


by Phil Clelland

With millions of web sites on the internet (and every one

of them competing for the almighty visitor), we are

literally being pulled in 50 thousand different directions

by web masters all wanting us to visit their web site with

hopes that once there, we'll buy what ever it is they're


However, what does one do when you receive all this traffic

and no one buys? If only we knew what all those visitors

really wanted. It seems to me that many of us webmasters

and web business owners are at a loss as to understanding

some of the finer details when it comes to marketing online.

Before I go on, let me say this. We who do business on

the internet are, in some ways, at a real advantage to

those who are only focusing on the brick and mortar model.



What Do Your Visitors Want.


You see, when someone leaves a retail outlet there's really

no way of knowing what that potential customer really

wanted, unless you ask them of course, but for us web

business owners we can know. How? you ask. Well, there's

hidden secrets right under our noses and many of us don't

even know it. I want to share a true story with you about

a successful web site owner who knew enough where to find

these hidden secrets and turned his business into one of

the most popular sites on the web.






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Marc's First Clue.


About four years ago, Marc McDonald had a hobby where he

ran an awards site. After a while he started listing

everything by category. Shortly after that, he

discovered that his freebie page was receiving more

traffic than all his other pages put together. Now, what

happened next was a crucial point in Marc's progress and

literally changed his life.



One Change Resulted in 1.5 Million Visitors.


Realizing that his freebies page was the most popular to

those visiting his site, he wisely changed his focus from

an awards site to a freebie site. The results were

astounding. Today Marc's web site, TheFreeSite.com, receives

over 1.5 million visitors a month and has a subscriber base

of over 132,000 for his freebie newsletter. How many of us

would like these kind of statistics to brag about. Marc has

now quit his job and works full time on the web doing what

he loves.



Marc's Discovery.


Did Marc just luck out ? NO, he discovered hidden secrets

that are available to all of us. What were these secrets

and where did he find them?, in his log files. That's

right, hidden away in his log files were secrets that told

him exactly what his visitors wanted. Sure they were

interested in sites that were worthy of an award, but they

were more interested in all the freebies that the web




Give Your Visitors What They Want.


Now this is just one example of how to use little known

secrets to expand or perhaps even, change your focus to

your online business. If you discover that you have pages

on your site that get more traffic than others, why not

give your visitors more of what they want. Expand on

those pages, maybe even let people opt-in to your list so

they can be kept up to date with the most current changes

or offerings. What pages on your site are the most

popular ?, hey, your visitors might be trying to tell you




As a business person on the web, a great deal of your time is spent sending e-notes to potential customers. This is the preferred method of communication these days, because it's fast, efficient and inexpensive.

However, it's precisely these factors that often make e-mail the poor relation in terms of presentation and content. Just because it's cheap to send doesn't mean it should be cheap in quality.

Time is money--as time shrinks relative to the number of tasks we have to complete in any given day, it becomes more and more precious. So you owe it to yourself and your customers to try to save time wherever possible.

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What's 'in'

An e-note should get to the point immediately--the way to do this is to plan what you intend to write. Here is a formula for writing an effective e-note or letter to a potential customer or client.


You should limit yourself to four (count 'em - 1, 2, 3, 4) paragraphs:


1. Get straight to the point of your e-note. Introduce the 'pain' that your customers are feeling. Paint a picture of how they're feeling so they can visualise themselves in a particular situation. Use vivid, active words.

2. Show exactly how you can ease their pain. Again, use vivid, active words.

3. Provide more details about how you can solve their problems--perhaps explain how others have benefited from using your product or service or what is special and different about your product.

4. Tell your customers exactly what you want them to do--it might be to order, to send for a free sample, to download a trial program, to subscribe to an ezine or to fill out a survey.



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What's 'out'


There are a number of things you should avoid putting in your e-notes-- if only because they've become cliches and have lost their meaning:



Put these simple steps into practice and write e-notes that are easy and fast to read.


Small businesses starting on the Internet are faced with both technical and marketing challenges. Often, these issues meld to be simply "Internet business issues." Most small businesses have little or no cash for buying help to get their product or services on the Internet. What can they do to overcome these apparent handicaps? The answer is to do it yourself.

Although this approach could be said to sub-optimize income, it is only true if you can get a quick return on your investment. Many small enterprises are in the stage of learning and discovery. Nobody wants their product yet and the "experts" want nothing to do with them. Perhaps your idea, service or product is in this stage.

An example of an idea which got no support in the early stages is the personal computer developed by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The "big guys" dismissed them as kids not even out of college. So they built the first Apple computer in their garage. The rest is history. What better way to learn and discover, than to roll up your sleeves and get going?

If you do it yourself, the advantages are:

Since starting my Internet business, I have found ideas from many sources. Remember, if you steal ideas from one source, it's plagiarism. If you steal from many sources, it's research. Actually, all the sources I have used willingly gave information. That's one of the great strengths of the Internet.

In keeping with my business theme of "Problem Solving Wizards," I've put together a variety of issues for which businesses need help, with corresponding sites offering solutions. Each issue is followed by the benefits that might be gained and hyperlinks to sites which have been helpful.


Here are some of the Internet business issues to be dealt with:

HTML/Page layout software
You can do most of the work in a page layout program and do the fine tuning in HTML. Plenty of free stuff on the net. <

HTML Tutorials
You only need enough to fine tune the output from page layout software. Adding Java code to do extra tricks enhances your site. The first site is an index to hosts of other sites.
The second link is to a beginner's guide to HTML.
The third is a source for various tricks with HTML.

Free graphics
If these graphics already meet your needs, save time and use them instead of making your own.
Graphics optimising/Speed of loading
Faster loading keeps people at your site.

Make your own Animated gif files
Used in moderation, these draw the visitors' eyes to what you want them to see. Heaps of programs to choose from at this site.

Search engine submission/keywords
Here's a list of many search engines, so you can choose which ones suit your product or service. The list includes specialised search engines.
The following link takes you to a site with lots of good advice on search engine submissions.
This site has interesting statistics on search engines and plenty of advice on keywords


Joining e-mail discussion groups is one way to get yourself noticed and to build knowledge of what the world needs.

Site analysis
Get your site tested--free. All users will be able to access your site easily if you meet the criteria. You can download the software from the first site to use on your own computer.
The next link will give you a comprehensive breakdown of where your site needs improvement.

Have fun learning!



Lost In CyberSPACE


by Johannes Garrido

It's 2am and once again I find myself gazing hypnotically

at my computer screen. "I'll be in bed in a few minutes

Honey, I just have to check on a few things on the Net !,"

I yell to my wife upstairs... but that was over two hours

ago. I glance at the clock, now 2:01 am, and continue my

fixation on the pixels of information that flow continuously

across my computer screen. " What the HELL am I doing?," I

silently implore. I'm not sure... I am lost in the world of



And it is not like I'm new to the internet. I have a

few websites out. I subscribe to numerous mailing lists

on internet marketing. I advertise daily. I have been

involved or am currently involved in a number of internet

income opportunities. I earn a solid income on the net.


Yet, just when I think I have finally found the Holy Grail

of an opportunity and marketing approach, I quickly discover

I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Whatever I thought I knew doesn't

matter NOW. Whatever worked for me in the past may or may

not work for me NOW. And RIGHT "NOW" is what counts most on

the NET!


I find myself floating in cyberspace... being pulled by

this fresh new idea and that hot new concept. I am lost,

and quite frankly, "I Hate it.... and I L O V E I T ! "


I am mixed in a feeling of duality. For on the one hand,

I want control and crave stability. But at the same time,

the endless possibilities on the net EXCITE me like few ever

have. It is enough to drive a person insane!




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Thus, in an attempt to establish a sense of control and

order in my life, and plant a solid foundation in the

eternally expanding universe of cyber information, I've

created a set of what I'd like to call my CARDINAL RULES

of Internet Marketing and Internet Life:


1. Advertise daily - If not, your career on the internet

will come to a sudden halt.


2. Take some time away from your computer to nurture

yourself and your loved ones - Although it may seem

like a life, your Cyber World is not REAL LIFE. And

if you don't pay attention to the things in life that

really matter, you awake one day to find that they have

withered and gone.


3. Align yourself with those whom are already doing well -

They are the ones whom have come before you to blaze a

trail. They know what works and what doesn't. Why try

to reinvent the wheel?


4. Get the latest information - subscribe to the best

marketing ezines to stay on top of the current trends.


And the most important rule of ALL :


5. AFTER TODAY, discard ALL the rules and create some new ones.


The NET is always in a constant state of flux. Our

Cyber World is dynamic and ever changing. If you adhere

to the rules too strictly you will die an early marketer's


We're in the wild, wild west of cyber information. So in

your marketing expeditions, be creative and original. Explore

for yourself what works and what doesn't. But don't affix to

strongly on your successes. Because at this point, lost in

cyberspace is probably the safest place you can be.



For the entrepreneur, many advertising strategies are available. When working in concert, these strategies can form a powerful marketing plan. In this article, I'll review one of the more overlooked forms--and incidentally one that fits easily into the budgets of start-ups and established businesses--that of "Recruiting and Retention." Very briefly, this works off the word-of-mouth premise: If you can retain your existing clientele and satisfy them to the degree that they recommend you to friends and family, you've just given yourself a huge advantage.


The first step is to establish a relationship with your clients. This isn't to say you have to become best friends with them, but do establish a relationship and build client/customer loyalty. Now, this is naturally easier to do if you offer a service, but Amazon.com, CDNow.com and MotherNature.com are some select retailers who have put this into practice. How? Through offering a comprehensive store complete with customer feedback on products, reasonable prices, timely deliveries, and complimentary gifts with purchases.


Working your Links


by Steve White

How important are links? It depends on your business but

generally for most web sites, links are more important

than search engine ranking. For one thing, some search

engines use links as a criteria in determining your

ranking. More importantly however, appropriate links are

the best way to generate high quality pre-qualified visitors.


For example, if someone is looking for an antique vase

and does not find it on an antiques page, they are more

likely to try a link that says: "Looking for an Antiques

Vase? Try these quality sites." than they are to retry a

search engine. In fact, most users will follow links from

site to site based on a recommendation in order to find

what they are looking for. They will revisit the search

engines only after their leads dry up.


Getting people to link to your site is consequently a high

priority requirement for anyone that is seriously interested

in promoting their business.


Who should you try to get to link to you? In simple terms,

anyone and everyone. In more practical terms however, it

depends on the effort and what you have to give up in return.

Exchanging a banner ad on your site for a link from a high

quality busy site may be extremely valuable for attracting

new visitors. The banner may however, redirect your hard

sought visitor to the banner site and away from yours.

Banners also tend to clutter a web page, increase the load

time and distract your visitors. You can only put up a

limited number and then what do you exchange?




Web site operators:


We can GUARANTEE you'll make a MINIMUM of 25 cents per click,

along with high page-view minimums! Plus, you get guaranteed

pay increases as we get higher ad rates! No other banner ad

company does that! Sign up today; we've got ADVERTISERS and

we need your space NOW!





One of the first things people discover when they start

looking for ways to promote their site are link exchange

sites. Simply submit your URL and put their banner on your

site and they will start sending you thousands of visitors.

By making just a few exchanges it should not take long

before your site becomes inundated with visitors.


When was the last time you cruised a link exchange site

looking for somewhere interesting to go? The fact is people

look for sites with search engines or by search lists and

recommendations at related sites. Link exchanges will

produce few if any visitors and if they do they will

probably not be prime candidates for your product or

service. That is not unless you have a link exchange

site yourself.


So link exchanges are a non-starter!


Not necessarily. There is actually a growing value to

having these links to your site. As previously mentioned,

many search engines, especially second generation engines,

are starting to use site popularity as a way to rank your

site. In other words, a site with 100 links to it will

rank higher in the search results than a site with only

5 or six. It is consequently important to establish links

to your site both for the traffic they can generate

directly and for the indirect value of improving your

search engine ranking.


Although Link Exchanges may be of value, it is better

to put your initial efforts into exchanging links with

related sites. Not only will they generate more visitors,

the visitors they do generate will be better qualified.

If you sell camping gear why not exchange links with

campgrounds. What about competitors? Sometimes competing

stores attract more combined customer when located near

each other than when they are not. This is a judgment

call on your part.


Join a Web Ring related to your topic if one is available

or create one if not. Avoid putting too many links on

your home page. Create a link page if you have a lot of

links and put any Link Exchange banners at the bottom if

you do decide to use them.


You can determine your site popularity on many search

engines by entering a special code. Try these searches

replacing "yoururl.com" with the URL of your site.


An important concept is emerging out of the interactive arena that I would like to call "enhancing the user experience." This concept is redefining the rules of traditional advertising on the Internet and opening a whole new realm of interacting with your web site visitors. Branding, in its traditional sense, is being redefined by this concept and has taken on a new role within the interactive world. According to Forrester Research, "As users interact with Web sites in real time, these experiences--not advertising-induced perceptions--will drive brand attitudes. As a result, marketers will shift their focus to crafting user experiences."

Enhancing the user experience on the Internet can be done in a number of ways depending on your line of business. When I say "enhance," I mean make the user's experience as productive or enjoyable as possible, while eliminating potential frustration factors. We all have gone to web sites and left with a frustrated feeling. Long download times, poor content, lack of identification and poor functionality are just a few examples of how web sites can be counter-productive. The core of the enhancement must be specific to your line of business and what your target audience is seeking.

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Know Your Audience!

Each web site is different and the enhancements needed will vary according to your visitor base. The web is a very unique tool in that it allows you to understand what your customers like and dislike. It allows you to monitor the interactivity and see where a communication breakdown may be. This marketing information is extremely valuable in developing the experience you would like your site visitors to have. Furthermore, this information can be valuable in developing customized experiences for return visitors.

Know Your Business!

If you are selling books on-line, then you may want your site visitors to have the ability to locate the books of their choice or books relating to their interests in a timely fashion and for their purchases to be made in a secure environment. If you are a community of interest, you may want your visitors to have relevant, up-to-date information and the ability to be active in the community through open channels of communication. Being a partner in Cyber-NY <http://www.cyber-ny.com>, a full service interactive agency, we want our visitors to understand our creative insight and business services in an enjoyable atmosphere. We do this by utilizing high-end flash animation to create a fun, friendly environment with our "corporate mascot"--a N.Y.C. subway rat. To add substance we incorporate "the Rat Report," an extensive guide to internet trends and statistics.

Exceeding Expectations

With the holiday season in full steam, businesses involved in selling their products over the Internet have a golden opportunity to gain valuable market share in this young e-commerce market. While you must satisfy the essentials of delivering the goods you are selling in the promised time frame, many e-commerce companies have sought to exceed expectations and attempt to further "enhance the user experience." For example, during the holiday season a company may charge a fee for wrapping the products a customer is purchasing and then waive the fee when the customer receives the invoice. Another example would be to promise delivery in five business days and then ship next day or two-day air at no additional charge. These gestures not only enhance the user experience, but may make the difference between a one-time purchase and a repeat customer.


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Enhancing Your Enhancements

Simple navigation, a clear layout, relevant content and feedback mechanisms will certainly enhance a user's experience. While these pieces may be in place, there are additional enhancement tools that can instantly make your web visitors experience both more productive and enjoyable. For example, Artificial-life <http://www.artificial-life.com> has recently developed a virtual sales representative that can answer questions from web site visitors. With this tool, a visitor seeking to purchase a product can ask the virtual sales representative a question and receive an answer immediately. This tool enhances the user the experience by allowing users to get the answers they want and at the time they need it.


There are many creative tools that will boost your web site's effectiveness including personalized entry pages, audio/video enhancements, interactive tools (e.g., calculators, chat rooms), etc. Which tool is right for your web site depends on your target audience and line of business. I encourage you to push new technologies since there are numerous ways to cater to those with older technology (e.g., browsers) through the use of detection scripts and mirror sites.

The Importance

The continual growth of the Internet and the nature of the medium will only raise the importance of enhancing the user experience. The Internet has put the power back in the hands of the consumer and if you can't deliver what your site visitors are asking for, chances are your competitors will enjoy your misfortune.


There is no real secret to making money on the Internet. There are well-known key factors that must be met in order for you to achieve online success. If your business doesn't meet these key factors then it is bound to fail. Here are the Top Ten Keys to Online Success.


Let's look at two of the most successful online ventures: Yahoo! and Amazon.com. Why are they so successful? They provide tremendous value to the Web. That's what they've been doing all along. Your website must provide free resources, foster a sense of community and show real value to your visitors. Without useful information and real content, your website will just be background noise. Provide real value and the revenues will follow.


Providing content, community, and utility is not enough. It must be presented well. Quality means fast, clear web design that looks good and is easy to understand. It should be easy on the eyes, as well as the brain. Your users will make quick determinations about the quality of your site. High quality will result in repeat visitors and more traffic. The word about your awesome site will spread!

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Your site must be unique. You should own something no one else has. In most Internet business opportunities you're nothing but a lemming pitching something you don't even know anything about with a web site that looks exactly like thousands of others. It's depressing to see people waste their money promoting some "get rich quick scheme" or advertising the same programs as everyone else, not to mention those ripoff cybermalls. So, if you don't have your own unique website then you're nothing but cyber-static pitching someone else's business opportunity.


Why is Yahoo! valued at 10 times more than Infoseek? It's their brand name. Yahoo! is now virtually synonymous with the Internet. Amazon.com has also attained great name recognition. Both companies have formed a name that people can easily remember and with a comfortable ring to it. Today the key success factor is not to gain market share, but rather to gain "mind share." This means brand recognition. Your name needs to be catchy and meaningful. Your name needs to express a feeling or image in the mind of the consumer. For example, the name Yahoo! is exciting and makes me feel like I've struck gold. The name Amazon.com paints a picture in my head of a vast and great jungle where anything is possible.


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Let's face it: E-commerce is here to stay. According to Forrester Research, online retail sales will hit $108 billion by 2003. Your site must have a fully-functional E-commerce system built into it. It's expected if you want to actually make sales through the web.

Visitors need to be able to purchase your product or service at any time with just a click of a button. Your site needs to make shopping a fast, fun and easy experience. Cater to the impulse buyer and provide a simple yet effective shopping cart system. How else do you expect to make any money on the Net?


One of Amazon's biggest success factors is their affiliate program. Wherever I go there's an Amazon book being sold on a website. It is so important to form solid partnerships and affiliations. Set up your own affiliate program and you might just see your profits soar. Develop joint venture partnerships with those web sites that fit with the theme of your business. Remember, you won't survive very long if you're trying to do it all by yourself.


No one accomplishes all of the above key factors without substantial technical know how--or at least ready access to it. It goes without saying Yahoo! and Amazon.com have many technically savvy people on staff. Surely you wouldn't expect to build a substantial online business without doing the same. Of course, you don't have to be a programmer, but you must have access to those people who can support you technically.


Advertise! Promote! Tell the world about your site! And I'm not talking about placing classified ads all over the Net. I'm talking about a constant, strategic and aggressive promotion. Use targeted advertising, search engines, ezines, email marketing and other online promotional tools. Advertise on the radio, newspapers, and television. You have to let everyone know that you exist and that you mean business. A web site is, in reality, infinitesimal bits of data buried in a computer. It only means something if people come see your site.


You have to be patient and think long-term. It takes a lot of hard work to be successful and it won't happen overnight. Plan ahead. Focus on your strategy and develop the right moves for the right time. Take your business step by step and you'll be greatly rewarded. I see too many people trying to make that fast, quick buck without putting much work into it. It's just not going to happen that way.



In order to reach your goals and dreams, you have to invest time and money. If you're short on finances, then try to gather friends, family or investors to fund your project. If you think you have a really great idea then you should approach angel investors and venture capital firms. According to the Small Business Administration, angel investors pour as much as $20 billion a year into some 30,000 small companies.


Want to know the fastest way to get your email message deleted?

Start out by saying something like, "This message is not spam!"

Many emailers still don't get it. Here is the exact rationale used by one clueless person to justify his sending me a message:

This is NOT SPAM - It is the third (3rd) email that you have received from me and is going out to every e-mail address that I have personally collected over the past several years! Since I have never purchased, been given or used anyone's list! The only way you could be on my list, is one of the following must have occurred!

1. We know each other! You're my Relative! A Friend!

2. You subscribed to my newsletter through email/or one of my websites!


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4. Emailed me before with your offer/s.

5. Referred to me by one of my subscribers, members, downline.

6. I subscribed and inquired about and/or placed ads to your ezine.

7. You requested one of my FREE articles on Internet Tools.

8. We were in a MLM or Networking Organization together in the same downline.

9. I requested information from your website, and you responded!

10. We know the same person but don't know each other!

11. Answered one of my classified ads for products or services.

12. Accidentally saved your address by replying to All from another e-mail or I messed up and got the address wrong!

Can you believe it? Does this guy really think that *any* of these reasons make it okay to send me email?

The *only* valid reason to send anyone email is if he *asked* for it. And then if you want to continue sending email, you better have his permission to do that, too! And you better offer a legitimate way to get *off* your list.

Sound harsh? You bet it is! Because it's people like this guy who are making it more and more difficult for legitimate emailers to get their messages read.


We are re-designing InternetDay and would like your feedback.
Please email your suggestions to:
jabauer@newslinx.com <mailto:jabauer@newslinx.com?Subject=InternetDay redesign!>


And speaking of permission . . .

Just because someone signed up to get a one-time offer--like a free report via autoresponder--doesn't necessarily mean you can keep sending her stuff indefinitely. You *must* get her consent to send more.

And just because he signed up for your e-zine doesn't necessarily mean he will *remember* that he signed up! It's amazing how people's memories seem to be getting shorter and shorter! Often, people don't remember requesting something if it comes more than a few days after they signed up.

This is understandable. If you are an active surfer like me who wants all the free info you can get, you probably get a lot of legitimate email. Often, it is difficult to recognize the wanted mail versus the unwanted mail by the "from" and "subject" fields.

Here are five things you can do to get your messages read and avoid getting into trouble for sending unwanted email:

1. Spell out exactly what people are signing up for. If it's just an autoresponder message, don't assume they want to get anything more from you. In your autoresponse, you can and should give them the option of signing up for your e-zine or other offer.

2. Your e-zine sign-up process should tell people the frequency of your publication, and when they should expect their first issue. If possible, you should send a confirmation message to all people who sign up that gives them a way to opt out. This will filter out people who really aren't interested and more important, it will stop any bogus sign-ups.

3. If possible, you should get at least the first name and IP address of all sign-ups. This will allow you to personalize your messages, making them much more inviting. This personalization will differentiate you from 99% of all emailers. Getting a record of IP addresses will give you evidence of where a sign-up came from, should you ever have to prove it to your ISP.

4. Make sure the subject of your message clearly identifies what the message is. For example, the subject of a simple autoresponse could be, "The Special Report You Just Requested." You might want to make the autoresponse "from" address something like . This will help to refresh the memory of the recipient.

5. *Always* provide easy-to-understand remove instructions, and honor all remove requests promptly. Some people put their remove instructions at the top, or put something like "See remove instructions below" at the top. If you put remove instructions at the bottom, people will have the chance to scroll through your message. They may see something of value and decide to stay with you.

Bottom line: Do not send email without explicit and advance permission.


Is Your Online Business A Hobby Or A Real Business?


By Kevin Sinclair

A common question today is: "Why am I not making any money

from my web site?" The main reason for this lack of success

is that there are too many hobby sites rather than real

business sites on the internet.


Your web site is a hobby business when:


- Your web page is full of sophisticated animation and

graphics taking forever to load;

- You do not have your own product - instead you have links

to many affiliate or network marketing programs, you have

never bought the products or services and have no knowledge

of their quality or suitability;

- You respond to email enquiries as and when you feel like

it rather than promptly;

- You don't provide sufficient contact details on your page

so that people can contact you easily;

- You have a hit counter that keeps on being inflated by you

visiting your own site to see how many hits you have


- Your advertising and promotion is non-existent or is

inconsistent and poorly focused;

- Your web site does not lead your customer through a sales

process; and,

- You expect that having a web site is all you need to do to

make money on the net.

Business success on the internet demands a "real business"

approach that is professional and focused on the customer or

client. To have a real business requires that you have your

own "sales funnel" that will usually involve having your own

product or service.


In simple terms, a sales funnel is an approach to the sales

process that works very successful for those who implement

it properly. At the top of the funnel are your prospects.

You qualify your prospects through offering something for

free that is directly related to your product or service.

In many cases this is a free newsletter or ezine that will

allow you to demonstrate your expertise and stay in front of

your prospects so that you can eventually convert them into




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As prospects move through the funnel, they are offered a

product or service at a low price point. For example, an

electronic book for $30 could be sold to your prospects.

Once they buy this product they have become one of your

customers. You have qualified their interest in or need

for the products and services that you offer.


Moving into the lower part of the funnel, you offer your

customers your higher priced products or services. As these

people have already bought from you, trust and credibility

have been established and they will buy the higher priced

items more readily than if you offered them to your

prospects directly. This is usually the area where you

will make most of your profits.


While the above is a rough example of the sales funnel

concept, I think it illustrates a sales approach that is

characteristic of a real business. Additional products and

services, including affiliate programs that you recommend,

can be offered to your customers with greater potential for



Real businesses know the profile of their likely customers

and have a marketing plan for how to reach them in the most

cost-effective manner. They are consistent in their

advertising and promotion activities. They track the results

of all activities so that they know what is working and what

isn't. Decisions can be made on facts rather than guesses.


Full contact details are provided on a real businesses web

site so that customers and potential customers can easily

contact them. They are customer service oriented and answer

e-mails promptly. They also provide a full guarantee that

they honour without question.


As they know their potential customers, they ensure their

web site is easy to navigate, quick loading, and provides

the information their potential customer needs to decide to

make the purchase.


A real business is conducted in a professional manner. If

you want more information on business professionalism, I

recommend you visit the International Association for

Professionalism Online at: http://IAPonline.org .


Real businesses will make real money on the internet today!

Don't operate your web site with a hobby mentality - be

professional and follow business success principles and you

will be able to build the business of your dreams.


As most online marketers know, time is the most precious commodity in the world, and you just can't buy more of it. But you can "steal" a few hours each week!

Here are eight super-cool tools you can get on the web for free. With these tools streamlining your time-consuming tasks you'll literally steal a few hours every single week.

Copernic <http://www.copernic.com>

Spending too much time searching the Web? Copernic can do the job for you by utilizing the best search engines simultaneously. It brings up great results ranked by relevance, with summaries. (Lots of folks have told me they found my site via Copernic, so it must be a great search tool!) I'm downloading it myself today! Available for Windows or Mac. And the best part is that it's free with no expiration.

Happy site visitors keep coming back. It's that simple. cPulse - The (free!) Internet Satisfaction Monitor.


Interested in placing your text ad in this spot? Click Here <mailto:internetday@internet.com?Subject=Text_Ad_on_the_internetday_html Newsletter>

Download Wonder <http://www.forty.com/>

Take it from someone who offers downloads at his site -- lots of folks could use this program! If you've ever had any trouble downloading software, or getting it to run after download, get this free utility. Download Wonder runs in the system tray and comes alive when you start a download in your browser. It tracks the entire download process including hard drive location and any notes you wish to add. It allows you to open ZIP files and even scans downloads for viruses! The latest version includes a Keep Alive utility that prevents your ISP from disconnecting you. The free version of Download Wonder displays advertisements above the toolbar.

FormPal <http://www.munica.com/>

FormPal assists you with creating scripts that can send email, manage cookies, and generate dynamic Web pages. FormPal's built-in graphical form editor also includes field validation methods that can validate credit card numbers, email addresses and more. A built-in script installer transfers forms and scripts to your server automatically and sets the correct file permission for each file. Free 30-day trial at the site. FormPal runs on Windows and creates CGI scripts in Perl for Unix and Windows based Web servers.

Here's a must for all busy cyberpreneurs. Keyboard Express allows you to record, key in, and play back any set of keystrokes and associate it with one of more than 450 different hot keys. Eliminate the repetition of the same sets of keystrokes in word processors, email, and more. The program can create hot keys for standard email replies, URL's and forms. Keyboard Express can even be scheduled to check for email messages. This program is such a powerful tool, I don't know how I got by without it! (Sorry, Mac users, this is for Windows only.)


SearchSpy <http://www.searchspy.com/>


Ever wonder what web surfers are searching for? Try Search Spy. It offers a continually updated database of words and phrases captured directly from the Web's leading search engines. The latest version allows you to browse and compare search results by popularity. The demo version is limited to a 50,000-record database, and is save-disabled.


UltraEdit32 <http://www.idmcomp.com/products/index.html>


A great ASCII based word processing program is a must for anyone running an email list. This program offers great features for email newsletter publishers, including a spell-checker and the ability to set line width for easy message reading in all email programs. This software is available as a free download and 30 day evaluation.


WebFormFill <http://www.maxlock.com/>


Do you fill out lots of forms online? Whether they are registration forms or order forms, WebFormFill can automatically fill them out for you. WebFormFill resides in your system tray and activates with a single click. The latest version supports multiple credit card entries and password protection. Free 30-day trial.

ZyWeb <http://www.zy.com>

At this site you can create you own personalized graphics for your web site - for free. Their unique system requires no graphic or artistic design expertise, and yet allows a near infinite range of high quality text and 3D graphic headings to be produced in seconds. Truly a notch above the rest of the "free graphics" sites on the web. This is an interactive web-based resource and there is no download necessary.


20 Ways To Increase Your Traffic And Sales With eBooks!


by Larry Dotson

1. People love to get free stuff. A free eBook is

perfect. They will visit your web site to get the

free valuable information.


2. Give away the full version of your eBook in

exchange for testimonials. You can use these

customer statements to improve your ads'



3. When you write and give away a free eBook

you will become known as an expert. This will

gain people's trust and they will buy your main

product or service quicker.


4. Publish your web site in eBook format. Put the

eBook on a disk or CD-ROM then include it

with your direct mail packages. This can increase

the number of people that buy your product or



5. Offer your eBook as a free bonus for buying

one of your main products or services. People

will buy the product or service more often when

you offer a free bonus.


6. Allow people to download your eBook for

free, if they give the e-mail addresses of 3 to 5

friends or associates that would be interested in

your eBook. This will quickly build your e-mail



7. Create a directory of web sites in eBook form.

List peoples web sites in the directory that will

agree to advertise the eBook on their web site or

e-zine. This will give them an incentive to give

away or advertise your eBook.


8. Allow other people to give away your free

eBook. This will increase the number of people

that will see your ad in the eBook. You could

also include a mini catalog of all your product or

services that you offer in the eBook.


9. Gain new leads by having people sign up and

give you their contact information before they can

download your eBook. This is a very effective

way to conduct market research.


10. Make money selling advertising space in your

eBook. You could charge for full page color ads,

classified ads or banners ads. You could also

trade advertising space in your eBook for other

forms of advertising.


11. Give away the eBook as a gift to your current

customers as a way of letting them know you

appreciate their business. Place an ad in the eBook

for a new back end product you're offering


12. Get free advertising by submitting your eBook

to freebie and freeware/shareware web sites. This

will increase the number of people that will down-

load your eBook and see your ad.

13. Make money by selling the reprint rights to

those that would like to sell the eBook. You could

also make even more money by selling the master

rights. This would allow other people to sell the

reprint rights.


14. Hold a contest on your web site so people

can win your eBook. You'll get free advertising

by submitting your contest ad to free contest or

sweepstakes directories.


15. You will gain valuable referrals from people

telling others about your eBook. Word of mouth

advertising can be very effective.


16. Make money cross promoting your eBook

with other people's products or services. This

technique will double your marketing effort with-

out spending more time and money on your part.


17. Increase your e-zine subscribers by giving

away your eBook to people that subscribe to

your e-zine. This will give people an incentive to

subscribe. Allow your e-zine subscribers to also

give it away to multiply your subscribers.


18. Give away the eBook to people that join your

affiliate program. This will increase the number of

people that sign-up. You could also create an

eBook for them to use that will help them promote

your product or service.


19. Give away the eBook in exchange for people

leaving their contact information. This will help you

follow-up with the prospects who buy your main

product or service.


20. Offer a free eBook that contains a couple

of sample chapters. If they like it, give them the

option of ordering the full version. It would work

just like a software demo or shareware.


Everyone is familiar with the terms bulk email, spam and unsolicited email. But you may not be as familiar with an extremely powerful marketing tool: opt-in email. Opt-in email is email that the recipient has signed up for, or agreed to receive. Opt-in email can be beneficial to the web site or small business owner in two distinct ways:

1. Collecting email addresses on your site and renting your lists to others.
2. Renting highly targeted lists from others to market your product or site.

Collecting email addresses on your own web site and renting them to others can be extremely profitable. The addresses MUST be opt-in though. This simply means that the people signing up to be on your list have physically chosen to be on the list. They make this choice by either filling in their email address or checking on a box. Another very important factor is to make it absolutely clear to the signee what types of information he will be receiving by signing up for your lists. If he will be receiving special offers, coupons, or product information from advertisers, let him know this! You can quickly offend your audience by delivering something that they did not sign up for. Most people do not mind receiving an occasional advertisement or special offer if they know it may be coming.

You can manage and market the addresses you collect yourself, but I wouldn't recommend that for most people. A good list broker is an excellent way for you to get the benefits of your own lists, without all of the hassles. Normally a list broker will get a percentage of the profits from every list that is rented. Once you have signed up with the broker she will handle collecting, sorting, adding and removing addresses as needed. A good list broker will have excellent online statistics where you can see how many sign-ups you are getting, keep track of rentals and how much money your lists are making at any given time. Most will mail a check to you monthly for the rentals. The broker's commission can be as high as 50%, but well worth it.

Our web site, BizOffice.com, uses and highly recommends PostMasterDirect.com <http://www.postmasterdirect.com> as our list broker. They are one of the biggest and best in the industry. We've generated excellent revenue working with them on our lists. You can view an example of an email collection form we use to collect our addresses at the bottom of our index page <http://www.bizoffice.com>.

On the other side of the coin is the renting of highly targeted opt-in lists from others to market or promote your product or site. Opt-in mailings targeted to your specific market receive returns as high as 15% and cost around 20 cents per name. From our experience they are much more cost effective than banner ads, direct mail, and other more traditional forms of advertising. Once again, make absolutely sure that the list you are buying is 100% opt-in. PostMasterDirect.com is also a good source for purchasing such lists.


For those who do not know, a marketing website is one geared toward getting your website promoted and visited by thousands of people. Its goal is to help the average web marketer succeed. There are many of these types of websites on the Internet, but few that I would recommend.

For a marketing website to succeed, it needs a few crucial elements:

Give your visitor a complete marketing system. At the minimum, give access to the following:

1. An autoresponder. This is a crucial marketing tool and any site that does not have, or offer access to one is losing money and clients right now.

2. Search Engine Submission. This is another key element to a siteís success. It should be noted however, that submitting your site to search engines every week is a waste of your time and hurts you in the end. Once a search engine knows about you, telling it again every week will get you banned.

3. Press Release Service. A well-crafted press release will boost your business more than any other type of free advertising. A good Internet marketing site will either offer links to press release services or offer the services on the site.

4. Other tools for promotion. Be creative on this one. Offer real tools to your visitors that will actually help them. There are so many tools out there, I wonít even attempt to list them all, but access to traffic building tools is key to your success.

These are the minimum you need. While you are constructing your site, be sure to include articles, tips, etc. on how to promote a website. Make sure that these tips really work. Your site should be updated at least weekly. I have constructed scripts that will allow you to do this without any hassle.

Remember, the average web marketer (by average, I am referring to those without multi-million dollar advertising budgets) is looking for an all in one solution. By giving him the tools that he needs to succeed, you will be giving him a reason to come back to your site for next weekís tips and articles. You may end up building your traffic slowly, but eventually you will succeed.

What I have found with all of my sites is that the visitors that I do receive come back again and again, because I offer them access to all of the tools that they will need. My site is updated every single day, so if they donít come back, they miss out on a tip or resource that will help them. I also try to concentrate on what works. I could recommend many services that would make me a lot of money (I can think of one right now that I make $20 per sale on, but it is a useless product. I donít use it myself, so why would I recommend it to others?)

The key to building a marketing website is service. Offer your visitors tips and tools that will really help them. Donít concentrate on selling any one product and you will succeed.


Are your internet marketing efforts focused solely on the United States? If so, you may be passing up on one of the best opportunities ever to reach a global audience.

The entire world has the opportunity to access the internet and many people are purely interested in the commercial aspects of the web. This global audience has both the ability and the desire to purchase goods and services and to conduct commerce online. They are often more serious minded than the sometimes jaded American internet surfer. In other words, they make buying decisions quickly, often return for repeat purchases and are less likely to frivolously return products.

This is not to say that Americans are not serious about E-Commerce, on the contrary, many are very serious and organized business people. However, in many parts of the world, internet access is a privelege and those who have it do not take it for granted. Instead, they use their privelege wisely, oftentimes to grow a business online.

Anybody selling products and services online can utilize the net to reach this new global marketplace and immediately increase their prospect (and customer) base by the hundreds of thousands.

Here are four ways that you could begin reaching this vast audience today:

1. Send out press releases to the international media. This website <http://www.esperanto.se/kiosk/engindex.html> contains over 14,000 links to papers from all over the world.

2. Make sure your site is listed in search engines and directories that target a global audience. This software, global promobot, can automate the process of submitting to these global search engines. Click here <http://foreverweb.com/cgi-foreverweb/hosting_click.cgi?IM6715> for more information:

3. Discover websites from other countries and try to work out a co-branding and joint venture relationship. Make sure the sites you partner with reach the same audience you are targeting.

4. Purchase advertising space on targeted websites from other countries. These media buys are often quite inexpensive and can sometimes yield better results than the over crowded and under responsive U.S. websites.

When you begin focusing your efforts globally instead of nationally, the potential reach of your website will increase dramatically.


Right now, you can download Firetalk software absolutely free at


Firetalk is the best online communication software available today and it's

revolutionizing the Internet. Firetalk combines all of your voice and text

communication needs into one smart application.

* Free worldwide calls. Call any other Firetalk user, anywhere, anytime -

domestic or international.

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* Free voice mail and instant messaging. Leave a private voice or text

message for other Firetalk users.

* Free group web tours. Link browsers with your buddies and surf the web

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* Free online Customer Support to get you started and answer all of your

Firetalk questions.

Get Firetalk now at http://destinationsite.com/c?c=57632.33816.0.19604.1 and start


All you need to use Firetalk is a multimedia PC (soundboard, speakers and

microphone) and a 28k modem connection to the Internet.


In our hectic, word-based society, it's good to know how to use words good. For instance, as a marketer on the internet, it might be good if you could use words good.

Because you might want to write an article with words, so here are some rules about it:

1. Parts of Speech Add Zest!

Parts of speech include things like nouns, pronouns, verbs, and proverbs. They can really spice up your articles, so sprinkle them throughout your articles.

2. Don't Forget the Headline!

Without the headline, your article will just look like a big lump of words. Or like a bunch of smaller lumps if you use paragraphs. Try to choose a headline that tells the reader something about the article, like what it's about.

3. Know Something About Your Subject!

If you are not very smart about the subject of your article, ask someone to read it who is or else it could be really bad.

4. Sentence Length!

Readers get distracted by different sentence lengths. It's not important how long your sentences are as long as they are all the same. When you are done writing an article, go back and take some words out of the long sentences and put them in the short ones. This will make your readers more absorptive.

5. Include Some Knowledge!

For instance, if your subject is How To Make More Sales, you should actually include some information about that subject so your readers will benefit and buy something from you, hopefully something that doesn't suck.

6. Don't Use Words You Don't Know!

One of the most horipulating things you can do to a reader is use words semaphorically. If you're not sure what a word means, just ejaculate it for another one.

7. Use Action!

Don't write limply. Let your reader feel the wind in their hair with explosive, action-packed verbs, of which I can't think of any right now.

8. Exclamations Get Attention!



9. Involve the Reader!

Don't just talk AT your reader, try to get them involved in a dialog even though you can't. Still, it's a really good thing to do. One way to achieve this is by asking questions.

Wouldn't you agree?

10. End On A High Note!

Try to say something really good right at the end so readers are left with a good feeling about you and want to buy something from you, hopefully something that doesn't suck.

And don't forget to wrap up by reminding the reader what everything you just said was, like that it's good to write good because it can benefit you!


Affiliate marketing is revolutionizing the way online retailers advertise and consumers shop online. It allows retailers to place advertising links and even individual products on affiliated web sites across the Web, greatly expanding their "shelf space" and their online presence. While affiliate marketing has proven to be effective, it's not a get-rich-quick scheme, and retailers must manage their programs and develop strong affiliate relationships to make their programs successful.

Affiliates act as a powerful online sales force for retailers and can quickly and cost-effectively grow their online business, but retailers cannot start a program and then leave it to run itself, expecting profits to roll in.

In order to recruit the high-quality affiliates necessary for an effective sales force, retailers must maintain a competitive program and open communication with their affiliates. With these ideals in mind, retailers can gain the attention, trust and profitability of quality affiliates.

Become an Affiliate

Understanding affiliates and their mindset is crucial. For instance, if affiliates are involved in several programs, they may log into several different interfaces for reporting, work with dozens of retailers and receive paychecks on different payout schedules. It can be difficult to manage a business on these terms.

Retailers should join other merchant programs to better understand what affiliates experience when getting links, earning commissions and tracking results through an affiliate marketing program. This will help determine what techniques are more effective and user-friendly. Also, retailers should join competitors' programs to stay on top of what they offer affiliates.

Learning about the affiliate's problems and needs will assist in developing a mutually beneficial program.

Develop the Relationships

Regularly communicate with affiliates to learn what successful affiliates do, and use tools such as newsletters and short periodic emails to share their techniques with other affiliates in the network. If certain links are not working, inform affiliates about products or services that are selling well, and offer tips to help them drive more sales. Sharing successes with affiliates can boost a program's performance and enhance relationships.

Also, retailers should visit affiliate sites before responding to their inquiries. This puts the retailer in a position to make informed suggestions about link enhancements and how affiliates can match links to site content, which has proven to be very effective. That kind of personalized attention will establish trust.

Evaluate Affiliates

In addition to tracking the number of sales and leads, there are many variables retailers can evaluate to determine an affiliate's progress and potential success including click-through rates and conversion ratios.

Affiliates not driving a large percentage of sales, but generating a large number of click-throughs have potential. They may simply be using links that are less effective and, with a small change, could drive more sales. By not catching and addressing this type of problem quickly, retailers can lose potentially successful affiliates.

Observe Customer Acquisition Costs

Affiliate programs are cost-effective marketing. Observe the financial advantages of acquiring customers through affiliate marketing versus traditional online channels and reward affiliates accordingly.

For example, with CPM banner buys, Company A pays approximately $20 to acquire one customer. However, Company B pays affiliates a 10 percent commission for each $100 sale. The customer acquisition cost through its affiliate channel is a fixed $10. Company A assumes a larger risk with the CPM buys, because it costs twice as much and there is no guaranteed return on investment. Company B only pays when an actual customer is acquired.

This acquisition information empowers retailers to reward superior affiliates with a percentage of the money saved through affiliate marketing. If every affiliate receives a 10 percent commission, and a retailer raises the most profitable affiliates to a 20 percent commission, they develop a strong relationship with them. Affiliates will not want to remove those links from their sites.

Motivate Affiliates

It is best to begin with a conservative commission. Observe the results and raise payouts as necessary. Beginning with unrealistic payouts and lowering them later is unwise. Affiliates view this as dishonest.

A pay-per-click payout is an effective motivational tool for rewarding affiliates with unusually high traffic. Combining payout types is a hybrid program that is more successful than single pay structures.

Another payment option is tiering, which adjusts the commission rate based on an affiliates sales volume for the month. The more sales they generate, the higher their payout.

Two-tier commission structures, which reward affiliates for new recruits, are also effective motivators. Through this system, affiliates receive small percentages of a new recruit's commission, thereby encouraging them to promote your program. To make recruiting easy for affiliates, create links advertising your program that they can simply place on their sites.

Custom payouts also keep affiliates motivated. Create special payouts for seasons or quarters or special deals for high-selling affiliates. These short-term programs allow retailers to return to their standard payout if these promotions don't work. Take risks to give affiliates new incentives to earn more revenue.

Affiliates Are in Control

Affiliates join retailer programs, promote the products, and can stop working with a retailer at any time. They want programs that work for them, not vice versa.

The quality of a retailer's site, products, and customer service, as well as its conversion ratio all impact the quantity and quality of affiliates. When affiliates work with multiple programs, they can easily see which programs are successful and drop the programs that are not.

Selecting a Network

Affiliate programs can be managed internally or through a third-party network. Networks provide access to a large base of affiliates and program management, freeing retailers to focus on other business aspects.

Many affiliates prefer working with networks that offer a wide variety of retailers, as well as tracking systems and management tools to help monitor their programs. When choosing a third-party network, select one that offers programs and tools that maximize affiliate effectiveness and provides ongoing support. Also, retailers should share any industry knowledge with affiliates and third-party networks to increase a program's success.

Developing a successful affiliate marketing program is crucial to a retailer's business. Retailers can easily transform affiliates into an effective online sales force through proper management and strong affiliate relationships. Simply placing a banner that says "Affiliate Program Here" won't create results - the relationship makes it happen.


In some ways, big brick and mortar chain stores have it all over mom and pops'. They often have better selection. They usually have better prices. And proliferation means they're conveniently located on every corner.

But smaller, more intimate establishments do have one major trump card.

They can provide personalized service. They can get to know their customers and their needs. They can then respond to those needs on a customized, personalized basis.

The same type of paradigm holds true on the web. Businesses both large and small have a lot of reach, but often can't respond to customers in the same intimate way. That is, unless they use available tools to find out about their customers' needs and respond to them. Any business can personalize its products or services to the customer. It's just a matter of using what you know and what you can find out.

Learn About True Personalization

There are many sites - My Yahoo! and My Excite among them - that allow a user to come in and design their own personalized site. But that's not true personalization. The site should do the work for the user instead of forcing him or her to come back over and over to update.

A site can gather information on a user and use it to customize to the user's needs. Did they click on a story about cars last time they were on the site? Did they buy food for their kitten? Combine that information with the facts the customer provides during registration and you can reach out to the customer.

Don't intrude on a customer's privacy. Take advantage of what they're willing to tell you as well as what your site tools tell you. Then use that information to create a personalized experience for customers who come to your online store. Be clear on what you're collecting and let customers know how it will be used.

Use the Tools of Personalization

The "new" marketing looks an awful lot like the "old" marketing. It's just that businesses today have a way to get a lot more information on their customers. You can look at a group of customers and tailor messages uniquely to them. In the past, a brick and mortar salesperson would have done this job face to face. You can do it now using electronic tools to collect an unprecedented amount of information on customers.

For instance, automation software can remember the personal data users have previously entered and re-use it. Customers don't like filling out the same forms over and over again and why should they? With automation software there's no reason for customers to repeat elementary steps. Once they've entered their information, they need never do it again. Your site will recognize the user each time he or she visits and have information at the ready.

But elementary automation software is just a first step. Savvy businesspeople will want to extend the power of the information they've collected. Automation saves your customers' time. More sophisticated analysis and tracking software can give your business an understanding of who is coming to your site and what they're doing there.

If a certain user has previously bought airline tickets to Florida on your site, for instance, wouldn't you want to show them current specials on Florida travel? If your software has noted that a customer travels on school holidays, you'd want to show them family-oriented packages or travel packages for upcoming school holidays.

You'll find that your bottom line increases by using personally tailored messages. After all, you wouldn't want to sell an air conditioner to an Eskimo. By using today's advanced software your site could automatically offer that Eskimo a heater instead.

Used to be that customizing for your customers was a laborious and entirely face to face process. Now tools exist that can do that work for you. Once you find those tools and make them work for you, you'll find your business has a better foothold on the ladder of success.


Everyone is looking for that magic formula that will propel his or her web site to phenomenal success. Sooner or later, most people give up their search for this mythical online marketing secret and accept a mediocre level of online business performance that they know deep in their hearts is not what it should be. But a few people discover the secret. As you now will.

The secret is that there is no super-duper secret method of marketing that will get you all the success you dreamt of. But there is a formula which when done in totality, without taking any shortcuts, will multiply your online business success many times over whatever it is now. The ingredients of that formula consist of very basic and low-cost tasks that I am sure you have heard of before but ignored or applied partially, as most people do. The 'secret' is that you have to apply all the methods correctly and in totality. You should spend 80% of your daily work time doing this (or get someone to spend 80% of their time doing this for you). This article might disappoint you initially because it pretty much talks about what you have heard before, but please read through it and you will be glad you did. It shows you the right way to use that 'old' knowledge for great results. These results may not immediately come crashing through in a few short days, but they will solidly build over a few weeks and months to create a large stable and permanent success base.

Before we look at the methods, let us briefly take a look at some items or tools you need to gather for use. You need a collection of:

1. Signature files - these are simple text files, the electronic equivalent of your business card and should be no longer than 8 lines long. They carry your contact details and a quick intro to your business. Make a few different ones and append one at the end of your outgoing emails and postings. You can also use them to track the source of inquiries resulting from your postings and emails.


2. Blurbs - short one-paragraph text pieces about your business or related topic that you can post or paste to emails when required.


3. Reports - these are the longer version of blurbs, detailing your business or any other related topic. Post these to selected places on the Internet and provide them whenever required.


4. Newsletters - for a wide variety of reasons, it is very important that you start your own newsletter and work at getting subscriptions. There is a lot of information on the internet about how you can start, grow and manage a newsletter, so I won't get into it. The only idea I would like to give you is this: actively ask your current subscribers to forward your newsletter to their friends. Offer a free gift that has true value to those who forward the newsletter to 20 friends. Doing this will get you amazing growth in newsletter subscriptions and sales! You can start one free at www.listbot.com <http://www.listbot.com>.


5. Banners - make sure you have professional quality banners of different sizes. My favorite place to get custom professional banners at an affordable price is www.buyabanner.com <http://www.buyabanner.com>.


6. Press Releases - create professional press releases for everything about your web site, from new product announcements to site changes. Post them in appropriate places on the Internet and to press release services.


7. FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions files. Create a few of these about your industry or any other related topic. Make them in a question-and-answer format and post them in appropriate newsgroups and email them when necessary. They should not be blatant advertising of your products but they should have your signature file at the bottom and maybe a 'Created By...' line at the top to get you the recognition. A well done FAQ can find itself copied all over the web and referred to by thousands!


8. Autoresponders - if appropriate for your business, it can be a great idea to get a powerful autoresponder that will be able to read incoming email and automatically and instantly send out information files and answers that are appropriate to the query. That way you can manage thousands of email inquiries on time without any effort. Find one at www.web-source.net/links/ <http://www.web-source.net/links/>.


9. Articles - write a few good articles every so often that are related to your industry. Contribute these for free publication in various ezines and web sites (make a list of a few hundred sites and newsletters that can take your article). This is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal as it reaches thousands at one go, grabbing their attention for extended periods of time. The article should not be blatantly marketing your business, but at the end of it you should have your signature.


Now let us look at the methods that build success. Basically it works this way: apply the above tools to each of these methods frequently, daily where possible. It's that simple, but remember the key point here - frequently, all the methods, daily where possible.


Incoming links


88.3% of people find new sites through links on other sites. The smart way to approach this is to start a good affiliate program that pays a commission to people linking to your site for sales, leads or clicks. I highly recommend that you get any of these three affiliate program management companies to run yours: LinkShare.com <http://www.LinkShare.com>, BeFree.com <http://www.BeFree.com> or CommissionJunction.com <http://www.CommissionJunction.com>. These are the leading ones, with Link Share being the biggest and most well known and CJ being the most affordable but significantly smaller. The advantage of going with Link Share, for example, is that your total affiliate program will be run by them including check writing and reporting. You will get immediate exposure to over 1 million affiliates who use them, many of them immediately starting to promote you, and people will believe in your affiliate program because of the reputation Link Share carries.


So with your affiliate program in place you can now contact the webmasters and site owners of heavily trafficked sites in your industry - resource sites, sites selling complimentary products, directories, newsletters, clients, even competitors - you will be surprised at what you can get! Offer them a special affiliate commission package (with Link Share you can customize your commission rates). Give them banners and promotional text. Maybe even offer a small discount to their clients - that will help them promote your products. Make a contact list of as many sites as you can daily and contact them and follow them up until you get the deal done. Start with a few hundred. All they would have to do is recommend your products or site to their customer base by placing your links, banners and reviews on their site and newsletter or mailing list. It is a very easy job for them, but one that will earn them a guaranteed commission of 10 - 20% through an affiliate program that they can trust. Considering that some sites have mailing or customer lists in the tens or hundreds of thousands, plus online visitors, this will work very well. Again, use your tools here to the maximum effect.


Search engine and directory positions


84.8% of people find new sites through links on other sites, but in terms of sheer numbers, this is the leading provider of traffic to most sites. Note that it says 'position'. A listing on a search engine or directory doesn't count for much, unless it is positioned well in the eyes of search engine users. Otherwise a search engine listing just gets lost among the millions of other pages on the engines. Only the top 10 to 30 links returned for any given search count - the rest is almost always ignored. Positioning is the easiest and most affordable yet most evasive and misunderstood method you can use. There is a lot to learn about this, especially if you want to do it manually. For most sites, the search engine traffic makes or breaks their success and it is very important to know how to work well with them. Using software tools, you should be spending some time every day tracking, improving and managing your positions.




64.7% of people find new web sites through friends. On your site, make it easy for people to recommend your site, product, page, special offer, or article to their friends. Add some scripts that make it a one-step process at any page for the visitor to enter their friends' email addresses and send a quick but effective recommendation. Make a nice letter that will go out with the recommendation. If you want advanced features in your recommendation feature, use a customized CGI script. To get many more recommendations, offer the person making the recommendation a chance to win something for his or her effort. You can use www.recommend-it.com or find a script at www.cgi-resources.com. This is probably the only method that doesn't require your daily or frequent review and attention.


Printed Media


62.6% of people find new sites commonly through the print media - advertising, press clips, articles, whatever. Identify magazines, newsletters and journals around the world that could have an appropriate audience. Then give them your articles, reports, blurbs, etc. build a database of journalists that you contribute these items to. Send out press releases to publications and writers. Use a press release firm for best effect. Again, this is a method you should be using frequently. If you have the budget, you can also do display and classified ads where appropriate.


Newsletters and Mailing Lists


These are really underrated, yet so effective. What you need to do is find as many lists and newsletters as possible that are related to your business. Yes, that will get you a lot of email every day but it is worth it. Read the postings and respond to them when you can, preferably daily, using your blurbs, signatures, FAQs and articles. Many lists have thousands of subscribers and by becoming an active contributor to a number of them you will be getting exposure to thousands of focused prospects for free - very powerful yet underrated. Make sure you do not become overtly commercial in your postings - just let your signature do the work of directing the reader to you for business. Your actual posting should be a helpful bit of information, not advertising. You can find lists at www.listz.com and Yahoo.com's categories.


Newsgroups and Forums


Newsgroups are under-estimated by most. Yet over 20% of Internet users use them at least once a week. Forums are like newsgroups, the most popular being the forums on AOL and CompuServe. Subscribe to all the newsgroups and forums that are related to your industry. You can find them at www.deja.com, www.listz.com/news, and by joining AOL and CompuServe. Read new messages regularly, daily when possible, and reply to them using your arsenal of signatures, blurbs, reports and FAQs. Just don't be overtly commercial in your postings.


Other Things You Can Do


There are obviously many other ways you can promote your online business. You can learn a lot of tricks by visiting successful sites and seeing what little gimmicks and techniques they are using and copying them. Depending on your budget, industry and audience, you can get into banner advertising, offline advertising, promotions and contests, coupons, selling through auction sites like eBay, classified ads on AOL and CompuServe, sponsorships, and much more. You might want to buy some good books at Amazon.com on online marketing for a thorough look at many of these techniques.

The Bottom Line

The Internet is a complex place and concentrating on just one marketing idea will not get you any long term, huge gains. Your best bet is to follow the time-proven strategies we have talked about in their totality, daily. And this marketing should consume 80% of your daily work time (or get someone to spend 80% of their time marketing for you). I guarantee you that if you spend this time daily enjoying yourself as you get into the things we have talked about, your traffic and online success will grow to amazing proportions! It is a time-proven 'secret' success formula.



Simply said testimonials SELL! In fact, testimonials have been known to increase sales by 250% or more! The Internet is a very impersonal medium. People trust people! The more you can do to "humanize" your web site the more likely potential customers will want to do business with you. Testimonials "speak" to potential customers in a honest, believable way.

Buying products on the web can be scary. Customers want to know :

- Is a web site secure?
- Is this a reputable business?
- Does this product actually do what they promise it does?

Customer testimonials can PROVIDE the answers to such questions, BUILD trust and CLOSE sales!




Want a sure-fire way to get customer testimonials? Ask for them! Most customers would be happy to assist you. And you'll feel GREAT when you hear all the positive feedback! Here's a sample letter to use. http://www.kristiescustomdesign.com/samplerequest.htm




When job is finished ask your customers what they liked best about your product or service. There are many ways to ask including:
- Pone Call
- Email
- Postcard
- Letter
(If asking for mail feedback always use a self addressed stamped envelope)




Give a free trial to a group of users in your target market.


Ask them:


- if they found it useful
- what they would pay for a product like that
- how they would improve the product.




Someone with a complete knowledge of your field is well suited to judge how your product works. Remember how powerful " 9 out of 10 dentists" recommending Brand X toothpaste was?


NOTE: ALWAYS get permission to use the testimonial. Have them sign a release form granting their permission. Here is a sample one you can try at http://www.kristiescustomdesign.com/samplerelease.htm






Use full name, company name, maybe even city, state, or age!


Ex. of SIGNED Testimony (Jim Erickson from Whizbang International)


(from J.E. from a Leading Manufacturing Firm) 2. USE BENEFIT ORIENTED TESTIMONIALS -
Specific testimonials can reinforce key benefits of your product or service.


See examples below:


Benefit Based Testimonial: "Grandma Madison's pies taste so fresh compared to other store bought pies!" (Freshness is key benefit)


General Testimonial: "Grandma Madison's pies are fantastic." (nice, but too general)




Using numbers help people "measure" the benefit in their minds.


Example of measurable benefit "The Whizbang system has helped us increase our profits by 30 percent in the first 6 months!


Or "Using Whizbang has helped us realize a 42 percent savings in labor and consulting fees!"


Use them everywhere you possibly can. Word of mouth can be powerfully persuasive. Here's a few ideas for you.

- Grouped on a testimonials page of your web site
- Scattered throughout your web site in 1or 2 line snippets
- Email marketing letters
- Newsletters
- Direct Mail
- Brochures