Why The “Internet Marketing” Niche Sucks Balls

Since I started my first online business in 2006, I have always been fanatical about list building and email marketing.

And for the main part (97%), I have been directing all my focus and energy into building my list in one niche; the “internet marketing niche” or “make money online” niche.

I was doing this fairly successfully by setting up squeeze pages, giving away free reports, selling low ticket ebooks, running free membership sites and leveraging affiliates, JV ad swaps, traffic exchanges, safelists, solo ads and giveaways to get traffic and subscribers.

The Good ‘ol Days

For a while there, I was getting sign ups and sales effortlessly. I could get 50% opt-in rates, mail out a promo and get a 10% open rate and 10% sales conversion rate.

I could get 100+ signs ups a day on auto-pilot that cost me nothing, and then make $500+ in sales from one email blast selling a $10 product. I even had a few $1000 days.

Unfortunately, those  easy “send an email and rake in the cash” days are over.

No doubt the “make money online” niche is still alive and kicking (there’s still a fortune to be made in it), but list building and email marketing in this niche is sinking quickly.

It has just about hit rock bottom.

If you’re reading this, I sincerely thank you.

It’s most likely you came here from a link in my email to you. You are one of the mere 3% of people on my lists who open and read my emails. So I thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.

If you do the math, you can work out how many subscribers of mine sent that email to the trash bin.

So why is email marketing in the IM niche on its “death bed”?

I’ll give you just a few reasons which have become clear to me as to why email marketing has died off. I’m sure there are other different factors, and if you like you can add yours or comment on these below this post.

1. List Incest

Every “MMO” marketer is ad swapping, is promoting JV giveaways, is promoting each others products, is selling products on the same forums, etc.etc.

The result is that subscribers or “prospects” that are on your list are on dozen’s of other marketers lists.. which results in the next problem.

2. Too Much Email!

Ever wake up to 144 unread emails in your inbox all from “internet marketers” trying to sell you the next best thing?

That’s what happens when you join dozens of internet marketers’ “newsletters” who are a little trigger happy on the send button.

Subscribers are sick to death of all the email.

Unless you have an EXCELLENT rapport with your subscribers and customers or you pull the world’s most miraculous, hypnotic email subject line out of your a**, your email is going straight to the trash.

And even getting your email opened these days is a feat in itself. You’d better be a John Carlton world class copywriter if you want to stand a chamce to even get your links in your email clicked on.

IM sucks

3. Too Much Pitching Of Too Much Crap

A lot of email may not be such a big problem if you’re giving away good content. But when you’re sending pitch after pitch after pitch of crappy products everyday (sometimes several times a day!) subscribers, again just get fed up with it.. especially when they buy the crap product, realize it’s crap and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth.

It’s just natural for them to begin to see any email from a “marketer” as going to be another pitch for a crap house product and boom – bin.

So my point is this.

Some marketers have ruined and continue to ruin the “mmo” market by continually committing the three things that I listed above.. and most probably they commit every abominable email marketing sin there is.

Now I hate to point the finger and call the kettle black.. I have been known to take a cheap shot sometimes. But the last thing I try to do is abuse my right to send emails to my subscribers.

And, I’m not saying everyone in this niche is ruining it. There are some marketers who I really respect and still open most of their emails.

But the sad thing is that it only takes a few rotten eggs to spoil the entire basket.

Ok, enough of the rant.

So where to from now for Stu Sensei?

As it is right now, I still make money from my subscribers and customer lists in the MMO niche even though it is considerably less than it was 12 months ago.

I could make more sales everyday if I decided to spam you and everybody on my lists with a pitch for the next best “shiny object” every day like the “gurus” do but that is the last thing I want to do.

I truly want to help people succeed online so selling you products on an entirely different topic everyday is not my bag and it doesn’t really help you either.

That only leads to confusion, information overload and an empty wallet.

It might make me a little richer for the time being, but I’d rather help you get to where you want to go and have you stick with me for the long haul.

For the past month or so, I’ve been delving into “niche marketing” and SEO. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet with my emails.

For years, I would run the other way whenever someone mentioned either one of these two terms.

I didn’t know how to do it and it seemed like too much work anyway.

But after seeing my “IM” lists’ response rate (and sales conversions) diminish before my eyes, and having started studying the workings of SEO and niche marketing, I’m seeing this route to be the future for Stu Sensei.

Why Niche SEO Marketing?

First of all, I want to steer away from the “mmo/get rich quick” niche so I want to find other niches where I can use my skills and experience to tear it up!

It was after a chat with mate and mentor James Brown in which he said “Stu, if you applied what you know about internet marketing to other niche markets, you’d totally kill it”, so that’s what I’m aiming to do.

Now that isn’t to say that I’m giving up entirely on the MMO niche.

I still want to help you succeed with internet marketing. The only major change is that what I teach you about making money online will be directly related to this new phase of “niche” marketing I’m venturing into.

And this is why I think this type of marketing style is perfect for me.. and perhaps for you too.

Search engine traffic

Is there any better quality traffic that you can target with such precision?

The whole idea of being able to target buyers with search term keywords has opened a whole new dimension to me.

I realize that if I’m targeting buyers, I don’t need to build a list. Surprise, surprise. I said it. You DON’T need to build a list.

There are some occasions where I think it would be beneficial to build a list but in most cases with this style of marketing, building a list would be a hindrance to making a sale.

Affiliate marketing

Getting paid for selling other people’s products. It’s great. I don’t need to worry about customer service, my product going stale, site maintenance… I just need to focus on driving traffic – BUYERS!

Build a niche site once, rank it and forget about it

One of the things that I’ve learned to leverage with the internet and marketing is automation.. “set and forget” types businesses. Unfortunately, the case most times in the MMO niche is that products become old extremely quickly. Another friend and great SEO marketer Dan McGonagle said to me is “it’s a flavor of the day market”.

The beauty of the niche marketing model is that once you build it, get it ranked high in Google and making sales, it will be a money maker for a considerably longer time than the next “how to make money online” ebook.

I understand about Google’s tendency to slap websites anytime they like, but there is a way to avoid them which I have studied about. That will be for another post 😉

Easy to outsource

Content, backlinks, research, site creation.. it cam all be outsourced very cheaply and easily. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough to outsource stuff for my IM biz… but I know I don’t have to look far to outsource SEO jobs. I’m hitting Fiverr up just about everyday for outsourcing small tasks.

White beach
You Can Catch Me Here In The Near Future

This is perfect because the more I can outsource, the more I can get done and the more I get done, the more coin I make.

All I can really say at this time is that I am really excited about this new phase of my internet marketing career.

I am not yet an SEO or niche marketing “expert” yet but I am learning and putting what I learn into practice.

I already have one niche blog (based on WordPress – I plan to use WP for ALL my sites I ever build again) which has already made $132.61.. and I’m competing with mostly PR3 and PR4 sites!

Nothing to write home about, but it’s enough proof for me to realize the power of this kind of marketing and to keep working with it.

Exciting days ahead, that’s for sure.

And I hope you stay on board and learn with me – and even get into it yourself if you haven’t already.

Enough of chasing dreams and selling the dream. It’s time to make our dreams come true.

Stuart StirlingTo your success,

Stu Sensei

Q&A: Earn A Steady Income, Outsourcing, Website Set Up

First off, thank you so much for all the questions you submitted this week!

Here are the top questions and my answers to them:

Q1. How do I start making steady income online?

Just like starting a brick and mortar business, an online business needs a plan, an investment and long-term commitment.

A lot of people asked me for step by step instructions on how to start making a fixed $XYZ every month.

But just like skinning a cat (sorry cat lovers!) – there are several kinds of business models to choose from, and most of them work, they just need the 3 things I mentioned above to make them work.

In other words, you can half-ass it.

You must have a clear plan of what you want to start selling, how you’re going to sell it… then you need to build your online system and keep building traffic to it.

Realize that it will take time.

Yeah, it is possible to make fast cash, but for the average Joe who is just learning and has limited time, it’s going to take months, even a year or more before you start seeing any steady and reliable income.

Sorry if I just shattered your dreams about becoming a millionaire by next week by doing nothing. There is work involved – and if you’re prepared to put in the work, you can expect results.

Like the saying goes, “you only get out of it what you put into it”.

Now, if you’re looking for a step-by-step system, here is one so simple that you can’t go wrong with it.

Step 1. Find a mass market of proven buyers (desperate buyers are the easiest to get to take action!)

Step 2. Create a simple, quick product to give away (use PLR or create an audio of yourself or interview an expert)

Step 3. Set up a basic lead capture web page with a pitch for your free product and your autoresponder list opt-in form on the front of it

Step 4. Start writing and submitting 10-15 niche related articles per DAY to a few (high traffic and “Google friendly”) ezine article sites that send people to your capture page. Do this for a month.. or pay someone to do it for you 😉

Step 5. Load up your Autoresponder with a series of 15-20 follow-up emails. Include more free info and (affiliate) links to recommended products.

For this fool-proof business, you’re total investment would be a whopping $15-$20 for the 1st 30 days ($10 for domain name registration, $5/mth for website hosting, free 30 day trial using Aweber’s autoresponder (<- aff link), $5 for an ebook cover graphic using someone on Fiverr.com).

Total time investment would be around 10 hours, not including article writing time (and that’s being very generous). I can have one of these list building machines up with email series in half that time.

The hard part I admit is writing articles. It can really take it out of you if you do it everyday for long periods.

If you’re a fast typist, you can pump an article out in 15 minutes. If you hate typing, the only other way to go is to hire a writer to write them for you.

PLR articles are ok to use as a base. They need to be re-written however. Some article writing tools help a lot, but you still wouldn’t want to do these tasks yourself, you’d want to outsource them.

Q2. How can I start outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the secret to getting more things done. We as individuals only have 2 hands so the amount of work we can do at once is limited.

And it’s very stressful trying to do it all yourself. Outsourcing takes a big weight off your shoulders and you mind.

There are a heap of places you can go to look for outsource staff. But first, you must decide what you want to outsource and have a precise set of instructions to give your outsource staff because you do have to train them.

If you haven’t hired any outsource staff before, just start out outsourcing small, one-off jobs. i.e. website graphics, articles written, keyword research, backlinks etc.

Once you get used to working with a helper, you can think about hiring a full-time VA (virtual assistant) or webmaster etc.

Hiring out of the Phillipines is where it’s at if you’re after affordable full time staff. A full-time 40hr/wk VA will cost around US$350/mth.

Check out http://www.va4u.com/registers/asia/philippines.shtml for a huge list of VAs for hire.

For smaller one-time jobs, check the Warrior Forum “Warriors for Hire” section. There’s someone for just about anything you need help with there – at very good prices.

Q3. How can I learn the ‘techy’ stuff of building a website?

This is where a lot of people get stuck. They don’t know how to get their domain on their hosting and upload (FTP) files to their website.

Then they don’t know HTML so they can’t do any edits to their web pages.

I could write a whole book about setting up a website – it’s not really complicated but it’s a pretty long one.

I’ll try my best to explain with basic steps…

Step 1. Register a domain name (e.g. godaddy.com, namecheap.com)

Step 2. Register a hosting account (Hostgator.com <- aff link)

Step 3. After registering your hosting, find your DNS urls. (i.e. ns1.coolhost.com, ns2.coolhost.com) Also known as ‘nameservers’.

Step 4. In your domain name account, change the DNS to the DNS urls you got from your hosting account and wait for them to propagate.

Step5. In your hosting account, add the domain name that you just registered. You’ll be able to choose a username and password that you can log into your cpanel (control panel) for that domain with.

Step 6. Download an FTP client software. Try http://filezilla-project.org/download.php (it’s free). This software will let you connect to your hosting server computer from your PC so you can upload your website files and product files etc. Use the same username and password for your cpanel.

From here, it’s really matter of the kind of website you want to set up. If you want a WP blog or site, you can install one with a few clicks using Fantastico in your cpanel – you don’t even need to touch your FTP software.

If you have any MRR products, they usually include a HTML resellers website.

For practice, upload some HTML files to your website (upload into the ‘public_html’ folder) and then visit the page in your browser to see it live online!

Some FTP hints: Upload your “index.html” to the root folder (‘public_html’). This is what you’ll see when you go to www.yourdomain.com . If you upload the ‘download.html’ file to the same folder, go to www.yourdomain.com/download.html to see that page.

The best way to learn is just get in there and start play around – seeing what this and that does. If you screw it up, the files can be deleted. If you really screw it up, your hosting support team will point you in the right direction.

And I almost forgot, you can check out some of the “how-to” videos I have right here on this blog for more detailed help.

——–

Ok, that’s it for this week. I hope these answers will help you move forward for better and quicker results!

Sorry if I didn’t answer your question this week. It might show up in a future post so stick around for it!

Think big, talk big, walk big!

To your success,
Stu “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. Remember, if you have any questions you want me to answer, hit the big red button and ask away!

Ask me your questions here!

It’s Amazing What 5 Bucks Can Get You

I discovered Fiverr.com a few weeks ago through an email from a fellow marketer. I thought the whole idea with Fiverr was pretty cool – you can take up people’s offers to do little things for $5 and you can offer to do things for others for $5 too – but I didn’t really see any use for it… until now!

Fiverr.com For Outsourcing

If you go to the main page you’ll see a whole lot fo random Fiver offers… for example “I will phone up anyone you want on their birthday and sing Happy Birthday to them Marilyn Monroe style for $5” which doesn’t really appeal to us marketers.

But, dig a little deeper using their search function and you can uncover a goldmine of internet marketing related services being offered. Almost anything you can think of, you can find someone who will do it for $5.

From creating sales videos, to spinning articles, to designing logos to submitting your websites to directories.. the list is endless. And you guessed it, every job will set you back just a tiny 5 bucks.

Now don’t get me wrong, you’re not going to find someone who is going to write you a full-length sales letter or 50 page ebook for $5. But for smaller, tedious jobs that you don’t have time to do or don’t want to do yourself, Fiverr is the place to go to outsource.

I found a couple of people to get backlinks and to turn an article into a video for me. There will be a couple of days turn around time – but if it wors out well I’ll definitely be using them again.

I don’t think I have to tell you the benefits of outsourcing. There is only so much you can do on your own. Outsourcing lets you borrow an extra set of hands to get more done. If you’ve never outsourced before, Fiverr is the place to go and try it.

Fiverr.com For Advertising

Fiverr is not only an awesome place to outsource tasks, it’s also an awesome place to advertise your service and or products.

Today I was looking for someone to make some stickers for a niche website I run, and found one guy offering 2 stickers for $5. When I went to see his offer, I ended up at his website (his URL was in his offer description) and am probably going to place an order for about $150! So for him to advertise a $5 deal got him a $150 order instead.

Fiverr is a great place to be creative with your offers and you need to be to stand out. Doing tasks for $5 is not going to make you rich, but the potential to get clients for bigger ticket services and prodcuts is definitely there.

There are people selling digital downloads saying “I will sell you Instant Adsense Profits video course with Master Resell Rights for $5” which could be ok to get leads, but just like everywhere you advertise, you need a unique, irresistible offer to get people jumping on it.

I can see Fiverr.com getting more and more popular in the future. Not too many people know about it now so this is a good chance to get your offer or ‘gig’ up there.

To your success,

Stu “Sensei” Stirling

p.s. Have you used Fiverr before? What was your experience? Good or bad? What did you outsource? What are you offering? Please leave a comment and share this post!

4 Internet Marketing Mistakes

Everyone makes mistakes in business, and it’s OK, because that’s how we can improve.

All you need is to realize where you’re going wrong and learn how to fix it.

This article will show you a few mistakes I made (and still make) so you can skip them and succeed faster

4 Big Mistakes You Can Learn From

1. Not having a clear goal.

You might have heard this before…

“If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know where you get there?”

Most of us have an idea of what we want to achieve but until you actually sit down and make really targeted goals, you’ll be wandering around aimlessly.

2. Being too perfect.

Perfectionism is a big hurdle that slows progress big time!

I can be a perfectionist sometimes…but I really wish I wasn’t. Sometimes I’m stuck before I start because I’m trying to make my idea perfect.

But some of my biggest successes have been when I got an idea and ran with it. It wasn’t perfect but it was good enough.

3. Tying to do it all by yourself.

Running your online business by yourself is a big job, as you might already know.

I still do most of my work myself…but I should outsource more.

When I DO outsource, it’s a massive burden off my shoulders. I really recommend it. Even if it’s just small things like getting graphics or articles written, this is where you can really get things done.

4. Not developing skills.

An online business requires you to have computer skills, marketing skills and a whole lot more.

I found that as I learned new skills, like copywriting for example, it helped me write better ads which helped my business grow.

You still might be learning how to use your PC or to type.. and if that’s the case, learn it well!

Your computer is your tool you use to run your business, and if you don’t know how to use it, you can’t run it very well.

It’s like trying to win the F1 and not even knowing how to drive a car.

The more skills you can develop, the more help and service you can provide to your customers.

Remember though, you don’t have to learn how to use every video and photo editing software..or learn php coding… because like I mentioned above, you can outsource that kind of work.

Skills like that can be “borrowed” but skills you might want to develop as an online business owner could be marketing, networking, time management and managerial skills.

———

I hope these little pointers help you avoid some mistakes that could stop you from achieving your dreams of making a living online.

Stuart Stirling