WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
In this lesson, we will enumerate the 10 most common Internet marketing methods used by successful SFI Affiliates. While space prohibits us from giving you more than a brief introduction to the first five of these methods in this lesson, we will give a brief introduction to the last five in our next lesson and future lessons will address each of these methods in more detail.
The most common Internet marketing methods, particularly useful in promoting the SFI affiliate program are these:
1) Doorway Pages and Search Engine Registration
2) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Exchange Programs)
3) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Online Classifieds)
4) Banner or Textual Ad Placement (Affiliate and Paid Placement)
5) Building Your Own Content-Rich Website
6) Utilizing an Opt-In Program
7) Hosting FFA Pages
8) Using Safelists, Announcement Lists, and Viral marketing
9) Press Releases, Relationship Building, and Offline Promotion
10) The Latest New Technique
Many of these methods overlap or have much in common. Depending on what you read, there are various ways to describe each of these methods and various names with which to identify them. There is no particular importance to the order in which we have listed them here. The only reason to enumerate them into the list above is for ease of learning. We will take the first five in turn and give you a brief introduction in this lesson. The next lesson will give you a brief introduction to the last five. Subsequent lessons will cover each of these methods in great detail (although not necessarily in order). Let’s get right to it.
DOORWAY PAGES AND SEARCH ENGINE REGISTRATION
A “doorway page” is a Web page that is used to lead people to the target interactive site. The doorway page contains a link to your target page. The target page is where you hope the user will take some action, such as purchasing an affiliate product or opting in to your program. The target page sells. The doorway page gets their attention and leads them to the target page. Doorway pages serve two main purposes: they are used to optimize search engine placement and they allow you to target your initial approach to different demographics.
When you join SFI, you are given links to different target pages that you can use to sell SFI products or recruit affiliates. Because these pages contain what is called a “CGI variable” to identify you as the seller or recruiter, they can not be individually registered in the Search Engines. That is, because there is a “?” in the URL (Website address), search engines will not accept them or will truncate off the most important part—your ID number.
To work around this problem with the search engines, affiliates use doorway pages. Savvy SFI affiliates design and host a Web page on another server with a different name so that the URL does not contain a question mark. This doorway page then links to one of the SFI target pages, and the link, of course, contains the CGI variable identifying the affiliates ID number to ensure proper credit. Really enterprising affiliates create several different doorway pages, each appealing to different types of people.
Even when there is no need to work around a cgi variable in the URL, Internet marketers use doorway pages to target different demographics. Different things get different people’s attention. Many of the affiliates that come into SFI do so because they are very serious about creating a successful home-based business. They find SFI while searching for information pertaining to home-based businesses or network marketing. They understand network marketing terminology and are seeking a comparison of this program with the ones already familiar to them.
Other affiliates come to SFI because they want an Internet business. They may have had little experience with home-based businesses or network marketing. These people understand Internet terminology and are looking for a great affiliate program. Obviously, you have to approach these different types of people differently to attract them to the SFI program.
Thus, it is best to have one doorway page for those seeking a home-based, multi-level business and another doorway page for those seeking a lucrative affiliate program. SFI well serves the needs of both, but they need to be drawn to that realization in different ways. You may also want to have different doorway pages for younger prospects and older prospects; one for the highly educated and one for those with little formal education; one for those who are already financially successful but want an Internet income and one for those who are still struggling daily with bills and creditors. There are many different demographic groups that you can target with different doorway pages.
The best doorway pages are pages that attract the targeted demographic by providing useful information or entertainment, while remaining easy to navigate. Stay tuned to future lessons to learn how even the technically challenged can easily create useful content for their Websites.
(Note: In SFI, doorway pages that you design yourself must be approved by the SFI administration if they do more than just contain an approved link or textual ad. That is, if you provide information or opinions about SFI above and beyond insertion of an approved ad, you must seek prior approval.)
When you have your doorway pages in place, you need to register them with the search engines. There are many factors involved in doing this properly. You need to prepare your pages properly with metatags, keywords, descriptions, keyword balancing, content indications, as well as incoming and outgoing link considerations. You then need to know the right submission procedure and schedule your submissions properly for each major search engine or directory. There is much to say on these subjects and each will be the topic of a future lesson in this course.
BANNER OR TEXTUAL AD PLACEMENT (EXCHANGE PROGRAMS)
To gain traffic for your Website, you need to prepare effective banners and textual ads. In SFI, this is already done for you. Having banners and textual ads prepared, you need to find places on the Internet to place these banners and textual ads. One of the earliest methods devised on the Internet was banner exchanges. You agree with other Website owners to place their ad on your page in exchange for placing your ad on their page. This process has been facilitated by the emergence of several banner exchange programs. You register with the exchange program, upload your banner, and your banner will automatically appear on other registered Web pages throughout the world. In exchange, they provide code for you to put on your Web page, which hosts rotating banners from other sites. These are not particularly effective, mainly because placement in context on a page is rarely achieved. Context placement is crucial to an ad or banner being effective in drawing traffic.
Banner exchanges are very useful for one purpose, however. Most of the exchange programs allow you to target the types of pages on which your banners will be placed. If you happen to have a high-traffic Website which appeals to one demographic, but your target in a particular affiliate program is another demographic, you can “exchange” your traffic through use of an exchange program. Say your site draws high traffic from retired people who love to garden and travel. With a banner exchange, you can have your banner targeted to sites which appeal to home-based entrepreneurs. In return, you host banners on your site which target the group which frequents your site (advertising, for example, gardening tools or motor homes). Since effective context placement is much more likely to be achieved in this situation, it usually works fairly well for all parties involved.
BANNER OR TEXTUAL AD PLACEMENT (ONLINE CLASSIFIEDS)
One of the easiest ways to get your banners and ads on a high-traffic Website is to place them on some online classified ad pages. Several major sites allow you to place classified ads for free. There are others, such as Yahoo!, that charge fees for placement of classifieds. These can be effective depending upon the volume of ads being submitted at any given time. If it is a high traffic site, your ad will only appear for a matter of hours before it is pushed too far down by new submissions to be useful. Daily attention and resubmission is crucial to an effective classified ad campaign on the free sites.
There are links to the many online classified sites that have been effective for SFI affiliates on the SFI Team Resource Center (http://www.sfiteam.com/). Starting with classified ads is a good way to get your feet wet in Internet marketing.
BANNER OR TEXTUAL AD PLACEMENT (AFFILIATE AND PAID PLACEMENT)
You can also pay to have your banner or ad placed on other Websites. This is a broad category that covers many different possible arrangements. You can pay for placement for a period of time. You can pay only for clicks actually received through your ad on a site. You can pay only for sales or sign-ups that come through a particular site. Affiliate programs encompass the latter of these options. There are services where you can register an affiliate program and people who go to these services can sign up to host your ads. When they sign up, they download your banner or ad to their site. The service independently tracks and verifies the clicks, sales, or sign-ups, that originate from particular affiliate sites and facilitates the payments that are due.
Also included in this category are ezine ads. Ezines are e-mail newsletters that people have opted-in to receive. They are full of interesting content so that people actually read them when they show up in their inboxes. You can pay the ezine publisher to include your ad and a link to your site in an ezine edition. Ideally, your ad will fit into the context of the information in that particular ezine edition.
“Pay-pers”—services which pay people to receive and read e-mail or host software which displays ads on their screen—also fall under this category. You can pay to have your e-mail ad sent to people who have agreed to receive the e-mail for a small fee per e-mail. This is not spam because the people who receive the e-mail have opted to receive it in exchange for a small payment per e-mail received and read. These programs are very effective because the e-mails are actually read and the links clicked.
BUILDING YOUR OWN CONTENT RICH WEBSITE
As explained in our first lesson on Spam, except for safelists and paid ads purchased from opt-in programs, you cannot rely on e-mail for Internet marketing. You must use Websites and opt-in programs instead. We discussed the doorway site concept at the beginning of this lesson. Whether a doorway page or an independent target site, the most effective Internet marketing method available is to have a site with rich substantive content and entertaining attention grabbers. There are hundreds of thousands of Websites on the Internet now that consist of nothing more than banner ads thrown on a page. They are all worthless! There is no point in creating a Website if it does not have content. Your Website must have both value and ease of use to be effective in drawing and keeping traffic. (As stated above, do not be dismayed if you feel incapable at this time of creating such a site. Just relax and keep reading your SFI materials.)
Remember that this lesson is just a brief introduction to many different concepts. Do not be concerned if you are still a little confused. Things will become clearer as we address each method in more detail. If you are itching to get started with your Internet marketing campaign, you can start with posting classified ads. You can move onto the other methods as we discuss them in more detail in future lessons.
WHAT’S COMING NEXT
In our next lesson, we will give you a brief introduction to the last five of the Internet marketing methods enumerated at the top of this lesson. Subsequent lessons will discuss all of these methods and more in great detail.