Monthly Archives: November 2006

So what actually works these days?

I was chatting to a friend the other day and we got talking about Internet marketing.  During our conversation, he asked me what the latest ‘thing’ online was and what actually works these days?

When I asked him to clarify exactly what he meant by ‘works’, he said, ‘Oh you know, what’s the best way of getting traffic and making sales?’

When I took a step back and thought about it, there is no ‘latest thing’.  The things which work tend to be exactly the same things as worked a year, two years, even five years ago…..

Let’s take getting traffic as an example.  Broadly speaking you can spilt traffic into two main camps:  free traffic and paid for traffic.  Free traffic can come from a variety of different sources such as organic search results, affiliates, virally via eBook links and so on.  Paid for traffic can also come from a variety of sources including pay per click advertising and general banner advertising.

Five years ago (actually probably longer than that), a large percentage of my traffic came from organic search results from the main search engines such as Google.  Nothing has changed today – Google and the other engines still send me tens of thousands of visitors every single month.  So clearly this still works 🙂

I was a couple of years into my Internet marketing career before I really discovered the true power of affiliates but again, going back five years, my (much smaller) team of affiliates were sending me a reasonable number of paying customers each month.  These days I rely far more on affiliate traffic and I would say it is probably my favourite type of traffic.  Not only is it great when someone sends you a new customer but it also makes me genuinely happy to send my affiliates their commissions every month.  I am all for earning money with the minimum of effort and if I can help someone earn a few hundred dollars a month for doing nothing more than having a link to one of my sites on one of their sites then I am all for it!

I wrote my first eBook over five years ago and I still sell the same title today (albeit a more updated version).  In addition, countless people have purchased resale rights to this product which means I have a small army of resellers distributing the eBook on my behalf.  The eBook contains links back to some of my websites and every single day these sites receive traffic as a result of these links (as they have done for the past five years).  Of course, I haven’t written just one eBook since I have been marketing online, I have written several and each one of them is a little traffic generator. 

Another example of ‘old fashioned’ marketing is writing newsletters and articles such as this one.  Again, something I have been doing for years and something which is still very effective at driving traffic to sites today.

Email marketing is another example.  Fair enough, getting emails delivered has become far more difficult in recent years because of spam/junk mail filters etc but it is still a very effective way of reaching customers and staying in touch.

It’s the same story with paid traffic although the main downside with this is that the costs have risen sharply in the last couple of years.  However, with the right product and sales page, it can still be worth buying traffic and I know many marketers who do exactly that week in and week out. 

So once you have a visitor at your website, what’s the latest technique to persuade them to get their credit card out?  Again, in many cases, exactly the same as would things as would have persuaded them five years ago…..

An informative and well written sales page which outlines the benefits of the given product to the buyer.  A choice of payment options.  Fast shipping if it is a physical product and clear instructions if it is a download.  In short, a site which makes it quick and easy for a potential customer to make a buying decision and gain access to their purchase.

To support this view, I have sales pages which I wrote years ago and which I have only slightly tweaked since originally uploading them and they still convert at very satisfactory levels today.

The bottom line therefore is that even though things do change very quickly online, the basic rules of marketing often stay the same.  When I launch a new product or website, I tend to stick to the same procedure as I have done for years.  Why?  Because it works.  Sure there will always be little twists and new techniques which help to improve results but these are normally things to be tried AFTER you have adhered to the basics in order to squeeze a couple of extra sales out of your visitors.

Stick to the basics and you won’t go far wrong 🙂