The 7 Principles of Online Business Success

At first, I thought this would be a very “dry” sort of posting, but as I was putting my notes together, I got carried away by the most fascinating applications of the principles about to follow.

    This actually stands for thinking ahead of the Competition and getting into your target-group’s mind. But I’d like to use simpler words to describe the process.   Knowing what your Market WANTS today and having a plan about offering it is only the first step. Think at least THREE STEPS ahead and figure out what your NEXT OFFER is going to look  like.   Craft it with your Clients in mind.  Maybe complimentary to the first one, or an expansion of it, on a parallel basis or even outbranching .  Maybe they want potatoes with their Mac, or an organic salad with a great taste, or maybe  they want a super fast and affordable traditional dish, or you should catch your Competition in their sleep and offer a Gourmet Mac when others offer just another Mac’s version…. And in case there is a U-Turn in your Market, what’s your safety-net senario?
  2. Start having the END in your mind. You can’t get anywhere unless you KNOW where you’re going. How many times have you focused on the journey’s intermediate places while driving from one city to another?  I doubt you ever did.  When you want to actually GET somewhere, focusing on the destination is the ONLY option of completing the journey. I recall my 13 hours flight from  Amsterdam to Seattle while even Amsterdam was a Transition Station for my Athens/Greece Flight.  Through those long hours of flying, I remember watching the mountains, the lakes, the ocean, the landscapes, and also the other passengers or the attendants serving us.  But all these were only minor insignificant occurences on my way to the DESTINATION which was Seattle.  When I decided to fly to Seattle, I didn’t spend a fraction of a second thinking about Amsterdam or the Atlantic Ocean, or USA rivers and lakes and landscapes.  The same way you should be thinking about your ULTIMATE Business Goal.  Is it  More CLIENTS? More SALES?  More ESTABLISHMENTS at a shorter time-period?  More PROGRESS ? Keep that DESTINATION POINT always on your mind, especially when you Start.
  3. First Things First. This principle is mainly about beating the monsters called “PROCRASTINATION” and “ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER”. It sounds unbelievable but the majority of people live their whole lives in an ocean of minutiae.  I call it the “ocean of noise-dust”.  If friction and degradation could take the form of a “tangible” property it would ne NOISE.  Everything that doesn’t allow you to FOCUS and keep yourself on your productive track, is NOISE.  The phone that rings, the email notification, the TV playing next to your desk, the people stepping in your room, the sounds coming from the street, a new SMS on your mobile, your dog asking for attention, your stomach asking for food.  NOISE can take endless forms and saturate your life completely.  You know how great it would be to have THIS TASK FINISHED but….you’re not in the mood.  Besides, you can do it tomorrow.  Well, kill this monster, by making your TO-DO LIST of the DAY, putting ONLY 5 THINGS at a time, with an importance sequence and placing the MOST IMPORTANT at the top.  Nail yourself down, and don’t move UNLESS you have  completed your 5 TASKS for the day.  Then, you’re free to do whatever else you want.
  4. Always think WIN-WIN. A big trait of extremely successful Business People is their unSelfish attitude.  Paul Getty had said “I’d rather have 1% of 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.”  I believe this quote sums up the concept of this principle.  Always think about HOW you can give VALUE to other people : Clients, Associates, Colleagues, Partners…  Once you work on the mechanics of making ALL PARTIES WIN, your WIN is guaranteed.
  5. First UNDERSTAND then ask to be UNDERSTOOD. Another major element of  unSelfishness that needs to be stressed A LOT is UNDERSTANDING. All Human Beings crave for one thing since the moment they’re born and throughout their whole life:  ATTENTION.  By Giving your ATTENTION to people, you earn a place in their heart because they cherish your ATTENTION as a precious gift. But what makes ATTENTION precious is its nature.  PASSIVE ATTENTION has no value at all.  You’re actually pretending you pay attention, but you’re NOT .  ACTIVE ATTENTION is made from pure and genuine UNDERSTANDING, an igredient that presupposes you “dive” into other’s person’s heart and mind and share their feelings concerns or worries.  Once you UNDERSTAND, then by default people want to reciprocate and in return you get THEIR ATTENTION and UNDERSTANDING. Simple as that.  If you manage to UNDERSTAND your Market and your Clients, you’ll establish yourself as your Market’s indisputable Authority and that will lead to building a List of Loyal Friends, Fans, Buyers…
  6. Go for Synergies. In Business Alliances  1+1 ALWAYS equals MORE than 2. That’s the power of Synergies, because when Business Partners join forces, the result is LEVERAGE.  Each one’s strengths are multiplied.  They agree to use common Resources and they tap on the potential of Combined Dynamics.  In every new Business Venture, seek for Synergies. There certainly are other Businesses who target the same Clients as you but from a different perspective.  You are  NOT Market Competitors, you are TRAFFIC Competitors.  Which is great, because you can become JV Partners and multiply your results.
  7. Sharpen your SAW. Nobody can be perfect on everything, and being perfect in Business, is not as Golden as it sounds.  In fact, TOP Businesses on every Market have mastered PERFECTION in BEING MEDIOCRE.  I mean, not every business can excell on everything.  It’s essential though to know your Strengths and Weaknesses and keep your main HUBS above AVERAGE. But you must go for your STRENGTHS if you care for Success, not waste resources on improving your weaknesses. Spot your SAW and keep sharpening it WITHOUT END.
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Making Visitors Happy?

Search Engine Optimization sounds so  Super-Wow-Out-Of-This-Planet-Science I couldn’t resist the temptation of demystifying it a bit here, for the sake of my close friends and clients  -yes, I’m talking about YOU Michael-  who have the guts to test the waters of Internet Marketing  being over the age of 18 ….how dare you?  You’re already ancient history…Hahahahahaha…. Anyway…

Most essential truths are excruciatingly simple but  we think simple is not “sexy” so we keep chasing complexity making our lives difficult.  This whole introduction was necessary for me to stress the fact that what you’ll find extremely easy to understand after you watch the VIDEO and read this post, will place you in a tiny minority of  Internet Marketing Enthusiasts who really know what SEO is trully about.

So here we go.  There are TWO types of Visitors you really care about attracting to your Website,  making them happy, and keeping them coming again and again in the future:  Search Engine Crawlers – also known as robots, spiders or just bots-  and real humans.  There is a whole logical pattern behind the actions you have to take in order to attract , make happy and have each one of these “visitors” keep coming back.

Practically Search Engine Crawlers, are the tireless workers that “crawl” the web and collect the info that gets listed – indexed- to the Search Engines’ Huge Databases.  Although the popular term used to describe these “crawlers” is SPIDER, I think “busy-bees” would be more suitable.  Because just as bees don’t get much distracted from a flower’s beauty and remain focused on collecting the pollen, Search Engine Crawlers, only read the source-code of a Website paying Absolutely no attention to the design.

To keep them happy, we must include the basic info about our Site’s content on the Title, the Meta-Tags the Header Tags, the images’ Alt Tags and the way we have structured our Site’s Pages, Posts Categories etc,  in terms of ON-PAGE SEO, and our Linking Strategy must aim at building Backlinks from high Authority Status Sites, Related to our Site’s Topic, with our main keywords on the anchor-text.  Needless to say that a link from a Dating Site to a FOREX Site with an anchor text reading “click here” is MORE than useless…it’s Dangerous and might get your site banned forever from the Search Engines.

The more relevance crawlers find out between your content, your basic info about your site, and the type of backlinks you’re getting, the higher your Search Engine Rankings are going to be.  To keep the Crawlers coming back to your site, you must feed them with their favorite food: content.   Frequency of posting, or fresh content is highly appreciated by the crawlers and that triggers a more frequent visit to your site.

Human Visitors, should be considered an “Army in Pajamas” like you and me,  interested in finding what they’re looking for right here, right now.  They don’t care about you, your image, your lifestyle, your knowledge or your witty personality. They only care about THEIR priorities and burning desires, right here, right now. If they don’t find what they’re looking for, they’ll click away in milliseconds without a second thought or a blink of their eye.

I believe that the most difficult “science” of all related to INTERNET MARKETING, is the Landing Page Optimization, Sales Process fine tunning, and Conversion Rate increase.  These are all parts of the core-Marketing that runs through the framework of our Online Business Setup, and it takes a lot of mechanisms to monitor, split test, evaluate, optimize and scale up our results with Data-Driven choices.

I hope you found this info helpful. Please show me you’re ALIVE AND KICKING by leaving your comment below 🙂

Feed The Traffic Crowd

I have to agree that the most OBVIOUS things are right under our nose…that’s why we don’t see them.

And the biggest truths of all, are outrageously simple.  Why am I in a philosophical mood?  Well I’ve got to share with you my most recent personal “apocalypse” in Internet Marketing.  Keep reading.

Through the long years of my quest in the Internet Marketing World, studying techniques of setting up Websites,  crafting sales messages,  experimenting on new traffic generation methods and link building strategies,  CONTENT has always been mentioned as the KING or the “holy grail” of a solid Online Presence foundation.

Without Content, there is NO Site, and NO Marketing Material which will be reformatted into pieces of Articles, Blog Comments, VIDEOS, Reports, Postings, Ads, Audios and anything else you can imagine.  And of course, we have to ALWAYS keep in mind how important using our main keywords and sprinkling them around is.  And yes, we can trick the system here and there automating our Content’s Production or multiplying its volume ….yes that’s right.  After all, we’re living in the era of automation.  Nothing wrong with that.  Right? WRONG!

Reading the report of one of world’s most successful Bloggers, and combining his information with the teachings of a Great Affiliate Marketer, I suddenly had one of those rare moments of  absolute clarity…should I call it an “wow” moment?

Among the blind monetization models which I was researching trying to include all on a Site I had solely built for flipping,  it suddenly occured to me that my Visitors are a hungry crowd looking for their favorite food -just like I do when surfing or searching the web- and they’re very selective even to the canned web-food they’re being offered.  Why should I treat them as idiots?

OF COURSE ! How couldn’t I realize it for so long?  My most successful Blogs have always been those I poured my soul in.  While all those I built for solely commercial purposes, had not reached as fast and as easy the levels of quality traffic I was looking for.  On my orchestrated efforts to setup an Affiliate Site dedicated to selling Expensive Oriental Carpets, I instinctively noticed that I should create tons of content around the carpets’ origin, and history, and craftsmanship, weaved with local tales and myths, or traditions, not only to justify their “crazy” prices to the visitors, but to bring them “in the mood” of appreciating a really timeless  handmade piece of art.

My mind flew to the sales-tactics of Mrs Moiraraki, a famous TV-Marketing Carpet Seller in Greece,  likeable to many people, not very likeable to others, but known to EVERYONE thanks to the info she managed to dress up her sales messages with, for each and every piece of carpet she was presenting.

She has a way to introduce a piece of rug as a unique artcraft -which it really is in terms of creation- reflecting its uniqueness in a subtle manner to its future owner, who will not only enjoy an excellent piece of home decor but will also be perceived as a person of exquisite taste and feel for the arts.

Because of the way Mrs Moiraraki, uses “CONTENT” to tell a story, to describe something new to her audience, and to add value to the lifeless piece of rug she demonstrates, her carpets magically become the alive but silent witnesses of exotic cultures, mysterious tribes of the orient and that fact gives them the invisible power of positive energy and status in addition to their beautiful designs.

If you got my message, the very exact analogue on the WEB should be used to sell ANYTHING.

It makes no difference if we’re selling Info-Products, or Physical Products, Services or Advertising Space.  Our CONTENT should feed the hungry crowd that comes to our site, and keep them happy.  The first thing I should advise a Client of mine, who is into RETAILING, is to combine E-Commerce with Blogging.

I had been approached recently by a friend, who had his E-Store setup and Search Engine Optimized, looking for ways to attract online sales and beat recession.  He’s into home-stores with top Brands for sheets and towels and anything you can imagine that dresses a bedroom, a kitchen or a bathroom.  I had some difficulty explaining to him how important it would be to build a blog on his Site, offering a wealth of info regarding choices, combinations, home interior ideas and tips, making nice suggestions to “brides to be” which are a big part of his “target group” etc, getting engaged in a live dialogue with his visitors and answering their questions.  It’s not just being informative telling the difference between cotton or silk sheets and which set of towels comes handy for kids’ bathroom.  It’s about building trust with your visitors.  They’ll realize you KNOW your stuff, you’re an expert, you are the one they can turn to when it comes to home interiors.  And guess which is going to be their first thought when they’ll need a tablecloth?  Your E-Store.

For another Client of mine, into Catering Business, my setup strategy prioritizes the creation of a blogs-cluster, offering a ton of ideas and practical tips to all categories of his target groups.  When a mother finds a ton of VIDEOS about setting up a successful kids’ party, or  a galore of recipes for gourmet dinners to friends, guess what she’ll think about when the next family gathering or celebration comes up?  Calling the Catering Company and asking for their Services.  Besides, they know their stuff better, she trusts them.

Examples could be countless.  I won’t even touch the Info-Industry on this article, but you can quite follow my example regarding Services.  I offer High Level Internet Marketing Education for FREE to my Site’s visitors.  Apart from being a good girl, there also is an additional reason to that….or maybe a “hidden” motive.  Building trust, and proving my authority in the field, you know who to trust with your Online Presence when time comes to build your Site, or Remodel your Web-Strategy.

Or maybe you’re still hungry for more Web-Food …so subscribe to our RSS FEED and I promise you’ll never be left unfed 🙂

The 5 Deadly Mistakes That Keep You From Making Money Online Today.

Since the day I realized the tremendous opportunities Internet represents to the world, I strongly believe that making money online today should be a universal and indisputable norm. Nobody should be poor or broke in the era of World Wide Web, but this dream seems too good to be true and certainly the lack of common sense has contributed tremendously to this direction.

I’m a big fan of the saying “the more personal, the more universal”, so I’ll try to reflect my opinions -which are backed up by hard data- based on my own first hand experience.

And here I am, almost twelve years after my first reluctant experimentations, countless e-books, reports, webinars, teleseminars, courses and workshops, with a solid conclusion in my mind. There is a huge misconception about making money online. Maybe the experts deliberately teach you about the “shell” of Internet Marketing leaving the “core” dark and unknown to you. Maybe they don’t do it on purpose. Still the fact remains that if you don’t understand the importance of these five mistakes, you’ll never make it to the “holy grail” of online success.

Mistake #1: Market, keywords and competition research alone, will not be enough for you to find the “sweet spot” and see bankable results.  You have to check the trends and you certainly have to delve into the  deeper layers of the particular “industry”.  Having a direct knowledge or affinity to this Market, or hiring an expert to write a report – or help you with a Video presented interview on the topic- sometimes is not enough.  It is a jungle out there, and this jungle keeps getting bigger and wilder everyday.  You’ve got to study your market from many angles, and this is something you can’t outsource 100% most of the times.

Mistake #2: There are two processes you’ll have to consider carefully while planning your actions and setting up your strategy. Knowing only the one of the two, will not be enough. You will be left exhausted, ripped off and frustrated wondering why all the thousands of visitors that hit your website, clicked away without giving you a single dollar.  Most Web-Internet Marketers and Gurus focus on the OUTER Process directly related to the sequence of tasks you have to execute in order to bring your OFFER in front of your target audience.  Many others talk about Conversions and the magic tricks associated with inflated numbers, but very few  talk about the essence of Client’s Experience and how you set the perfect scenery towards capturing your potential Client’s attention, focus and preference.

Mistake #3: You shouldn’t pick your “niche” and your marketing style according to facts and data collected for you by certain tools alone. Tools are great but there is a missing element which will break you or make you, and you can’t afford ignoring it.  Not all Online Business Models fit all personalities.  OK, maybe in time you’ll get to develop all main Online Business Models, but when starting you should pick the one that fits you better and feels more natural to you.  This way your productivity and enthusiasm, will speed up your effectiveness and the rest will be a matter of time.

Mistake #4: Once you get things going, automated procedures and systems are not enough to give you the results you’re after, at least not in this wildly competitive environment which is called Web. The missing element is what keeps silently eating up like a slowly expanding cancer, the “soft tissues” of the giant called GOOGLE, while strengthens enormously its big opponent: FACEBOOK.  The more personal you are, the better and more durable results you’ll get.  GOOGLE brings to mind robots and spiders and algorithms.   FACEBOOK brings to mind friends, and groups and communities.  Talking about light-years of distance in terms of conceptual positioning to the Internet User’s mind.  Which one do you prefer?  Being as important to your clients or members, as your auto-responder’s series, or being a trustworthy and valuable friend they feel connected with?  No matter if your main asset is a list or a blog or a static website, rapport with people is KEY.

Mistake #5: Collecting and analyzing data, split-testing and optimizing, loses a big part of its effectiveness unless you are aware of the factor which focuses on your strengths and puts your weaknesses aside.  It is true that you can’t improve what you can’t measure.  But it’s also true that you should choose WHAT you measure carefully so it is associated with your strengths, you should choose HOW you measure your strengths and be very savvy with your EVALUATION system.  You can’t filter flour with a filter made for beans and vice versa.

To me, these five mistakes are the only big monsters I consider disastrous for my efforts to make money online through any of my activities ranging from affiliate marketing to info marketing and business consulting. Of course these monsters may take various names and definitions, but learning to identify them and cope with their parameters effectively is what will make the big difference in your online business. A difference measurable with hard cash.