Confessions Of A Reluctant Online Business Woman: How I Hired (And Fired!) A Spa*mer !

If you want a six-figure income sitting at your computer, working the hours you choose, doing what you love, then learn to market online the smart way.

You may be like me. You've got a great service business - or a small business - and you decide you want to have "an online presence." You start with a website. Then you realize nobody is going to find you unless you do something to drive traffic.

You used to drive "in" traffic to a job, now you're "driving traffic to" your website. You are herding "unique visitors" to web pages, hoping they'll stay long enough to read what you have to say and become interested in your services.

Just about anybody who has put up a website has realized it is not enough to "build it and they will come." Many people realize this after spending big bucks on website design. One woman spent $50,000 to put up an elaborate website; it looked gorgeous, only it didn't sell anything. It didn't even capture email addresses from visitors to follow up with them.

Most independent professionals don't have a big budget to hire someone for marketing their business online. So most of us start by reading the tons of information online to learn what we need to know to make marketing online work.

Learning a New Language: Techie Talk

Here's what happened to me when I decided to go online with my business 7 years ago. I signed up for every free ezine I could from all the big names in Internet marketing. After a while, my eyes started to glaze over reading about search engine optimization, keywords, pay for click, ad tracking links, conversion rates, targeted traffic, and shopping cart strategies.

I also got tired of hearing the hype - that I was going to earn "six figures in 90 days" - if only I'd buy their $1000 program. I unsubscribed from marketing ezines. I was going to focus on my core business, and not be distracted by all this hype.

Another year would go by and I was afraid to look at my website stats. I knew it wasn't working.

True Confessions: Guilty of Spa*ming!

I'll admit it: I hired a spa*mer, although I didn't know it at the time. To me, he was just a "techie." He promised to find suitable email addresses off the web and send an invitation to them to visit my website, and use my services. Seemed like a nice idea to me!

I had no idea at the time that this was actually spamming. Not only was this frowned upon and unprofessional, it is now illegal. I only got a few complaints, but also a lot of new clients. Then I stopped doing it, as I learned that this was not the way a reputable company does business online.

I was baffled by all the good marketing I saw online and in emails, and I knew I could be doing better. So I threw some money at the problem: I hired a marketing coach.

You Can't Know Everything About Online Marketing: Hire an Expert

This turned out to be the best approach, because my marketing coach did not just hand out advice. She trained me in what I really needed to know, set up my shopping cart system for me, walked me through the steps, and showed me how to effectively market my services online.

In the last three to four years, I've learned all those electronic and marketing terms, and can dish them out as well. I can talk techie. I can nod and wink when a marketer alludes to a squeeze page. I can update my web pages, set up a new product in my shopping cart, write autoresponders, and use ad tracker links.

I offer a newsletter, three e-books, many bonus reports, teleseminars, articles, and audio podcast recordings available on my website and blogs. I write on 7 different blogs, which has tripled traffic to my website in the last year. My revenue doubled last year, and all from online services.

Biggest Lessons

My biggest lesson learned? You can't get clients without investing in marketing, and sometimes that amounts to more than 50% of our efforts and time.

Secondly, you can't be expected to know how to market online. You can learn, and to shorten the learning curve, hire someone who knows what they're doing. Best evidence is their own marketing.

It is essential to start learning marketing and tech skills so that you can do marketing tasks yourself. It is not rocket science. There are efficient systems available to make your tasks easier.

Here are two time-saving programs to help you manage your marketing presence:

1. Macromedia's Dreamweaver or Microsoft's FrontPage:

Learning basic web skills will save you time and money whenever you need to change something on your website pages. You don't have to learn how to create a whole website, but it is essential you learn how to make page changes and create one-page websites for sales letters.

2. KickStartCart.com: http://snipurl.com/KickStartCart

More than just a shopping cart for processing orders, this system captures email addresses, provides digital downloads for free reports, and to get potential clients into your system without having to do it manually.

There are learning curves on the road to success. And you can't win the lottery without buying a ticket, either. The Internet promises wealth and pleasure, but only you can carve your own path to success as you define it. It won't happen in 90 days, but it will happen if you get started and persevere.

Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. has teamed up with Marketing Coach Denise Wakeman as The Blog Squad, providing custom newsletter services, blog set up and training for professionals, consultants, authors and speakers, and small businesses, and ecommerce systems. Subscribe to Savvy eBiz Tips so you can become a savvy professional today: http://snipurl.com/Savvy_eBiz_Tips

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