Last Updated on May 21, 2023 by candidcashflow
Can you guess?
The cheapest, easiest, and most important asset you can build for your business at any stage, but especially at the beginning is…
An email list.
Are you black and blue from getting beat up with that one?
One of the first things you learn when you begin to study Internet Marketing is about email marketing…building your list.
If you hear it once, you will hear it a million times.
It becomes commonplace, but do NOT become complacent to this concept.
This is the FIRST thing you should be doing for your online business.
If you wait, you will kick yourself later.
Mine happens to be Mailchimp.
Any of them will work, and most of them are decent.
The top tier I would say are Aweber, Get Response, Mailchimp, Constant Contact.
If you want to invest a lot right off the bat, you might look into something like ConvertKit or InfusionSoft, but know you’re complicating things for yourself.
I hear InfusionSoft has quite the learning curve. Start simple. You can always upgrade later. The key is to START.
I always recommend beginning with Mailchimp for these reasons:
- It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers
- I was able to build a list with Mailchimp when I had trouble with Aweber and Get Response
- You can always export your list to a service with more features if/when you need to
- It is popular enough that it has integrations with most everything like WordPress, IFTTT, etc.
- It’s fairly simple to use once you know where to find everything
I have a YouTube video that shows you how with Mailchimp – https://youtu.be/FNzb5nvI1I4
If you’re an author, you can put a link to your landing page in your books too.
What Can You Do with Your List?
You can write to them every day! haha
Here’s the deal…
No one can tell you what to do with your email list.
They can’t ban you from emailing your list.
They can’t censor what you write to your list.
They can’t delete your list. (Well, your email marketing service can delete your list, so you should keep a backup, but your list is YOUR list. As long as you have those email addresses saved, you can email them.)
If you have an email list, you cannot be deplatformed.
I watched last year as many of my favorite YouTubers had their businesses destroyed because YouTube suddenly decided that they didn’t belong on their platform.
I’m not just talking about conspiracy theorists. I’m talking about channels for kids like Special Books By Special Kids. Chris has an amazing channel where he interviews kids and people with disabilities of all different sorts.
He was spreading awareness of rare conditions and things we otherwise might never experience and he was empowering people through the community in his YouTube comments section. Then YouTube disabled his comments.
The conversation was silenced.
To this day, there are still no comments on any of his videos.
Ensure that your conversations can continue. Make your email list your first priority.
You can get data from your list and you can sell to them. Your list is your tribe.
These are people who opted in to receive your emails. If you play your cards right, they will grow to like, know, and trust you enough to buy your products and services.
I hope I don’t sound like your run-of-the-mill guru.
I reject that! I am the UNGURU!
So, this is the first installment of my series on the basics of Internet Marketing.
Are you building your list? How’s it going? Need help? Let me know!
Bowing to the Google gods.
It gets tiring, doesn’t it?
If you’re doing stuff online, Google is a necessary evil. If it’s not them, it will be someone else.
Something crazy happened in 2014.
Mobile Internet traffic surpassed desktop Internet traffic in search.
More and more people were and are surfing the web on their mobile devices.
Google responded in kind.
If your website isn’t optimized for mobile visitors, you will rank lower in search.
More recently, SSL certificates became the latest must-have. This used to only be a thing if you had financial transactions taking place on your site.
Now it’s a requirement pretty much across the board unless you want all of your traffic to see a security warning where they can opt out before visiting your website.
It sounds like a bunch of gobbledy-gook and a huge headache, right?
This is why I like WordPress.
They are always among the first to come out with simple solutions to stuff like this.
All of the themes available in the WordPress repository are responsive…meaning they are optimized for mobile.
You can build your site with confidence and even see what it will look like on mobile devices before you hit publish in the Customizer.
I took care of this second problem with a two-fold solution.
HostGator (https://candidcashflow.com/hostgator) offers a basic free SSL Certificate as a part of their hosting service.
This is something that used to cost upwards of $100 or so a year to have.
You can install a free plugin called Really Simply SSL (https://wordpress.org/plugins/really-simple-ssl/) (you can search this right from Plugins in your WP Dashboard) on your WordPress website and boom, problem solved.
You’ll notice all of my sites are secure sites with the https protocol.
Again, I don’t fully understand it either, but I’ve got what I need.
The point is these are a couple of SEO pains with simple solutions.
Just to quickly recap…
This is the third email in my series on basic Internet Marketing, you know, so you don’t have to pay some guru for rehashed trash.
Instead, find it free at my website, RehashedTrash.com. No, no, I’m kidding!
So, first, we discussed building your email list. That email went out January 16, 2020.
Then we talked about making sure your website is optimized for mobile devices on January 18, 2020.
If you missed those, don’t worry. When I get done with this series, I’m going to package it up nice and neat in a PDF, and you’ll be able to grab that free.
Which brings us to today…
No matter what kind of business you are building on or offline, we all have one thing in common:
We all have a target audience.
Defining who those people are and where you can find them is something that you want to conquer very early on.
Look at me being all quotable. haha
I ALWAYS recommend that you choose a niche based on something that you’re truly interested in and passionate about because you are going to married to it for an indiscriminate amount of time. (Not to mention, people can tell when you’re not passionate.)
This also has the added benefit in this: as a member of your own target audience, you have some insider knowledge. You’re already plugged in.
I have helped many clients self-publish their books on Amazon.
I had one client who hit #1 Amazon Best Seller inside of 2 weeks with his first book.
That is pretty much unheard of.
That guy was plugged into his niche. He had been talking about his book all over Facebook and in-person to friends for weeks.
So, when his book hit Amazon and went live, the buyers arrived shortly thereafter.
There’s a lot of information online about identifying your target audience, but here we are. We should already know who those people are, right?
I didn’t jump into trying to help people make money online without knowing that I wanted those people to be people who hate their job and want to quit it for a better opportunity.
I’m a VA for self-publishers because I am a self-publisher and I have the skill set to help others.
I’m a VA for podcasters because I am a podcaster, and……………..I have that skill set.
I’m not VA for doctors, lawyers, or Indian Chiefs. (Y’all remember that childhood rhyme? I think it was a jump rope thing about who you would marry, “Rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief. Doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief!”)
You get the gist!
Knowing your target audience isn’t a process. It’s not hard. You don’t need to answer 32 questions to find out who they are.
You already know who they are because you are one of them and/or you had them in your mind when you were thinking about starting your business.
Target audience, simplified.
You can be done stressing about that.
Now it’s time for a brainstorm session on ways you can reach them. This part is easy. What catches your eye? There you have it.
I get easily overwhelmed.
This is my kryptonite. (Does that imply that I think of myself as a superhero? I do not.)
I’m a relatively calm person. When bad things happen, I don’t panic.
Well, at least not at first.
Are you overwhelmed by social media?
This is not one of my rants although I could get ranty about social media and my love/HATE relationship with it.
I guess I’m sort of an early adopter.
I jumped on EVERY social media bandwagon up until Snapchat. (And I eventually jumped on that one and jumped right back off.)
I’m not a fan of exploding content. (Snapchat posts disappear after like 24 hours or something.)
This ain’t Mission Impossible!
I don’t create content so it can disappear.
- Facebook – 3rd largest audience online after Google and YouTube
- Twitter – microblogging; 240 characters or less!
- Instagram – Highly visual, pictures + text, no links except one in bio
- LinkedIn – B2B (business to business)
- Pinterest – Visual search engine
- Snapchat – ??? Millennials
- Tik Tok – ??? Millennials
Needless to say, those last two are not my cup of tea.
Let’s clear this up real quick so you can move on with your day.
Not too long ago, I sent you an email about the “be everywhere” mentality. Don’t get sucked into that.
You need ONE engagement channel.
I chose Facebook personally.
Why? 3rd largest audience. Most of my people are already there.
Automate the rest.
Am I on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest? You betcha!
Do I spend a lot of time on any of those? Almost none.
I have 2.1 MILLION monthly views on Pinterest…automated.
Check this out. It shows you how to use IFTTT to automate your social posting to Facebook and Twitter.
If you’re savvy…
You can build on that and find other ways to use IFTTT in your business.
Don’t let the social media overwhelm monster get you. Make it work for you instead of the other way around!
I forgot to mention the podcast yesterday as I was happily tirading. I release a new episode each Wednesday – https://candidcashflow.com/the-benefits-of-emailing-your-list-every-day/
Search Engine Optimization
What is it? What do you need to know about it? How do you do it?
I’ve got your answers.
First, let me say this, SEO is NOT complicated.
Most of it is common sense.
But hey, since it’s the search engines that serve it up to the people, having a few tips on hand is helpful.
It also helps to understand where SEO has been, where it is, and where it’s going:
- Back in the day, SEO consisted of putting up mediocre (at best) content with keywords stuffed here and there. It was easy to rank and easy to make boatloads of money with ads.
- These days, all of that is ancient history. It’s common knowledge that Google will penalize you for using spammy tactics to try and rank your site among other things.
- As time goes on, SEO moves toward an emphasis on user experience and intent.
- On-page – SEO best practices that you implement on your website
- Off-page – SEO ranking factors that take place off your website – mainly link-building
I have a few pages on my business website that I’ve created with the sole purpose of bringing in leads for my Virtual Assistant thing I do, and they work fairly well.
I have on that ranks in the first position for a couple of keywords and one that I published in August that has moved from Page 3 to the bottom of Page 1.
One thing to remember is to give the search engines 2 to 3 months to update before you tweak your content. SEO is not instant, far from it.
Here’s what I did to rank my pages:
- I chose a keyword and checked for search volume using Keywords Everywhere…this is no longer a free service, so you can use this – https://searchvolume.io/ – I don’t have a set # for you. I’ve seen keywords with 0 search volume bring in traffic, so…
- I used my keyword in my title, URL, H2 subheading, and throughout my content naturally.
- Each page has 800 words minimum, preferably more.
- I periodically update the pages as I think of new things to add.
- The pages inform rather than just hawk my services.
- I build on WordPress. It’s the only way to go if you’re serious about SEO.
- I use the Rank Math SEO plugin. Yoast is a close second.
That’s it. Once you have created a piece of content, then you can begin building links to it. If your content is good, people will link to it naturally. You can also seek out links. If you mention other content creators, always reach out to them and let them know. I use IFTTT to build links. Shocking, huh? haha
Yeah, so that’s really it. Don’t overcomplicate SEO. I know it sounds intimidating, but it’s really not.
The best money you will make in your life is what you’re able to make with organic traffic because it’s free!
You know I’m here if you have questions, right?
I get a decent amount of replies to my emails, but I don’t get a lot of questions.
Am I’m writing over your head? Under it? Who’s looking for deeper topics? Once this basics series is done (I have 2-ish topics left), then we’ll move on to bigger and better things.
I’m going to keep this as simple as possible.
This is for you if:
- You’re completely new to affiliate marketing
- You’ve done some affiliate marketing, but you’re open to ideas and tips you may not have tried yet
Not you? Have a great day. See ya tomorrow. haha
Just in case you don’t know, affiliate marketing is shilling for products. haha You like something, you promote it, and receive a commission when someone buys through your link.
I highly recommend that you start with products and services you actually use.
For example, I use Namecheap to buy domains. I have always used them and highly recommend then, so I joined their affiliate program. You’ve seen me use my links for them in my emails before.
Just run a search for the product or service followed by “affiliate program”. If they have one, it will be there. There’s no limit on how many you can join or promote.
If you’re unsure where to start, Amazon has an affiliate program that is fairly easy to get accepted into (yeah, you usually have to apply for affiliate programs). You can promote almost anything that’s sold on Amazon. The caveat is that their commissions are super low.
People who are looking for big success with the Amazon Associates program usually aim for promoting high-ticket items.
However, small amounts do add up. There are A LOT of bloggers who use this program to link products they talk about in their posts.
eBay also has an affiliate program and there’s not a lot of buzz about it. I make an average of $100 per month with this program. It was also easy to get into.
http://shareasale.com/ is also a good place to join up and find things to promote.
This should more than get you started.
Promoting Your Links
You can do this in all kinds of different ways. Be sure you know the terms and conditions of the programs you choose to promote. Some of them have restrictions as to where you are allowed to promote them.
If you promote them in the wrong place, they won’t pay your commission and you could be removed from that program.
Here are some other ideas for you:
- Blog posts
- Social media
- Forums (especially your signature)
- Comments on different platforms (be careful here)
- Descriptions for postings on YouTube, podcasts, etc.
- Your books (use Pretty Links to link through your website rather than direct links)
Be creative, but be careful too! Once you start making some decent money with a method and a program, you don’t want to have it shut down because you went against the rules.
Don’t disregard referral programs. Some products and services may not have an affiliate program per se. They have a referral program instead.
This can be just as good in some cases. For example, if you use a service, and they give you free product for referrals, then it’s a win-win.
Sometimes, it works out where you can get a service for free just based on the amount of referrals you send. Who doesn’t like free?
Go promote those links!
If nothing else, affiliate marketing can be a means to kind of cancel out the cost of something else.
For example, I have a photographer friend who uses it to upgrade his camera equipment.
I know YouTubers who reinvest their earnings into making better videos.
That’s one of the cool things about affiliate marketing. It’s a flexible way to make money. Make it work for YOU!