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Cort: I know that you are one of the new ďhotshotsĒ in Internet Marketing; however I would like to know what you did before your Net involvement. When was this? What got you interested in the Net?
Steve: Thank you for the kind introduction. Before I was involved in Internet Marketing, I was a college student getting into my earlier years of college. At that time, I held my first job working as a Courtesy Clerk or Ďakaí Bagger and a Stocker for a grocery store. As you know, baggers do most of the physical labor, most of the dirty work, and get paid the lowest.
I enjoyed working at the grocery store and learning how to take care of the customers. But one summer day, I had a work injury. The store had just one bagger and seven cashiers during a high peek hour and I over did it. I tore the major cartilage in my primary right hand, so I could no longer do work that required physical labor.
No work meant no pay, and no pay meant barely getting by. I knew I had to find another way to make money to pay for college since I was not going to allow this injury to stop me.
So, I turned to the Internet...
Just as most people starting on the Net, I had no business experience, no marketing experience, and no connections to the Net whatsoever. I was just a college student trying to make my way through college and get my computer programming degree.
After running into a lot of get rich scams and losing money from it during my first few months, I knew something better was out there, so I continued looking.
I had heard of Ebay, but I barely knew anything about it. I began to investigate. For several weeks, I watched how other people sold items on Ebay and I learned what items sold well. I started selling on Ebay as well. I sold everything from Ebooks, web hosting, Website businesses, to turning another manís trash into profit. Through this process, I gained valuable customer, Internet Marketing, and business experience.
I became interested in Affiliate Marketing because I had experience on reselling products. What's more being an affiliate appealed to me because I did not have my own products at that time.
After some time of being an affiliate, I began developing my own product. Several months ago, I released my first most successful software project, CB Niche Builder.
This tool allows a Clickbank affiliate marketer to monetize their Websites or create affiliate Websites. Users can easily find high paying Clickbank products in similar niches to be promoted on their Websites.
I really enjoy creating and developing software. As a result, I plan to continue to come out with software that helps Internet Marketers and Internet business owners. I want to make the lives of affiliate marketers and Internet marketers easier.
I believe that in life there is a reason for everything that happens in my life. If it had not been for the work injury, I doubt that I would even be in the Internet Marketing and Internet Business fields seeing that I had no prior experience in it.
Cort: Did you see the value of Email Marketing when you learned of it? What made you start using Email Marketing?
Steve: No, not initially. That was a mistake and I'll tell you why. When I first started Internet Marketing, most of my focus went to driving free quality search engine traffic to my Websites. Most of my studies and testing went into SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Take into consideration that I did not have a mentor or someone to tell me the best Internet Marketing strategies such as Email Marketing.
It was only years later I started using email, after I heard from other Internet Marketers how effective Email Marketing was and how the money was in the list. I believe if I had my own list earlier and had done Email Marketing, I would have achieved success sooner.
My mistake was that I did not grab the visitorís email to get in contact with them.
Email Marketing is extremely important because by building a strong relationship with your reader, you create a backend income. In fact, your backend income becomes much greater and is more important than your front-end sales.
I write to my customer lists on a weekly basis to give them good informational content so that they can boost their own business growth.
Cort: What are you doing to avoid the ever present spam filters from putting your email in spam folders? Are you considering using PDF files to send your ezine like I have started to do?
Steve: Spam filters are always a tricky thing to look at. I use plain text marketing because it tends to bypass spam filters and there are certain keywords that spam filters will generally catch. There are several free sites out there that allow you to format your newsletter before you send it out and add dots or symbols in between the keywords that are caught by spam.
For example, SPAM filters can block the word free, so replacing it by fr.ee can help. Of course SPAM filters are getting trickier as the days pass on. If your subscribers want to hear what you are writing about, normally they will white-list your email address or mark it as not being spam.
So you should tell people who signup for your list to white-list your email address.
I have not thought about sending PDF files. I can see that it would be good technique to use; especially for those who want to print your newsletters out.
Cort: What are your feelings about Plain vs. HTML Email Marketing? What about the Audio and Visual Email?
Steve: I use plain text emails only because different people have different viewing settings. If someone can only view text and you send them an HTML email, it is very likely that they will only see HTML coding that is not understandable and frustrating to the reader.
Now there are newsletter autoresponders that have some feature that allows your user to choose between an HTML vs. a plain text newsletter, so that could possibly allow the user to customize what they receive from you in their own tastes. And, I have to admit HTML Email marketing looks eye catching.
I've noticed, however, that Gmail and Yahoo will actually block out images that come in your email box by default. Thus an HTML email may appear distorted to some readers. Unless a person knows how to turn the image block off, they would not be able to read the email. I try to stick with a format that can be compatible with many different computers just to cover as many readers as possible.
I have not used visual emails, but I have often provided audio recordings of my newsletters for the blind and for those that donít feel like reading.
Cort: What have been your biggest successes in your business and why? Failures? What would you do differently if you could do things over?
Steve: My biggest successes would be
* Networking with other Internet Marketers
* Getting help from mentors
* Mentoring others
* Teaching myself a broad range of skills from computer programming to Internet business
* Learning to take my failure as a closer step to success by not giving up
I have also successfully launched several software sites that have produced good income for customers.
My biggest failures would be not looking for opportunities to make friends with people in my industry until a few years ago. I did not surround myself with fellow Internet Marketers, therefore I did not succeed as quickly, and I had to learn from failures on my own, and I did not start Email Marketing until recently.
I found out that I could succeed by doing things on my own, however, my success came at a slower rate and I was losing potential profits. I should have focused on Joint Ventures since they were also the key to success. Currently, most of what I do are Joint Ventures and I recommend others should do so to increase the potential.
If I could do things over, I would have networked with people in my industry immediately. I would have asked for advice, and created a specific plan to put into action. By taking planned action, I would have not ended up buying all the ebooks that looked good to me in the past and would have saved money. I would have also started building my Email list and building relationships with my readers to focus on the backend income.
I would also have provided an affiliate program for services that I came out with. I learned that by not doing Joint Ventures, you lose out on potential profits. Now I am on a constant lookout to create relationships and Joint Ventures with fellow Internet Marketers. In the end, relationships are what count in any business.
Cort: What would be your advice to Internet newbies concerning Email Marketing?
Steve: If you aren't doing Email Marketing, take the first step to put it on your to do list. Create a plan on what the purpose of your list will be, who is your audience, how you will get people to signup for your list, what software tools you will use, and more.
Give your readers a reason to read your newsletter by giving them valuable content, exclusive offers, and more. It is important to have a good understanding of what you will write about it. Keep in mind the only reason your readers want to read your newsletters is because you are an expert in a certain field.
It doesnít matter if you are a newbie in Email Marketing. You are an expert in some sort of field and thatís what you want to focus on. Write about something you know, can relate to, and like, because your visitors can see if it is genuine or not.
Also, remember to build that personal relationship with your list. Write because you care, not because you want to fill your wallets. You can focus on gaining commissions secondly. In the end, your driving motivation should be your care for your list. If you keep this in mind, your list will respond to you because they know your true intentions.
To show that anyone of you can do it; here's my story.
It took me three months to go from newbie email marketer to having a small list that was converting at an average of 15-20%. Bottom line is once you have your plan, take action, keep testing, and keep going.
Cort: What advice would you give to a newbie regarding Internet marketing/business in general?
Steve: As I mentioned earlier, you donít have to be some expert to do well in Internet Marketing. Everyone starts out as a newbie just as I did. Remember that I had no business or marketing experience in this whatsoever, but I knew I could succeed if I had action and persistence.
If you run into roadblocks along the way, donít let them stop you. Get over them! Learn how to get over those roadblocks and those failures because if you consistently work to succeed you will achieve it.
Many who have succeeded greatly are the ones that take failure as just another learning experience or their step closer to success. Those who don't do too well tend to give up within a few months after running into one or two roadblocks or they simply don't take the necessary action.
Get help and focus on networking with those in your industry. Donít be afraid to ask an expert in your field because many of them are willing to take some time just to answer your questions. By doing this, you will be able to learn quicker by learning from mistakes that you can avoid. Do Joint Ventures as they will boost your profits greatly and find a step by step plan to help you succeed.
Take correct action and don't overwhelm yourself with too much information. One of the major problems those I mentor have is being overwhelmed. Don't go out and buy an ebook, read half way through it and buy another ebook that looks interesting. Focus on one plan, do the steps provided, and keep kicking those roadblocks aside.
You can do it!
Cort: Thanks, Steve for your motivational words! Now I know you have something for our readers.
Steve: I would like to give DEMC subscribers a special discount to my CBNicheBuilder for $67:
Cort McCadden also known by his real name Hugh Simpson is a former consumer investigative reporter for Post Newsweek TV and the co-founder of the website http://www.moneywiselife.com and the new blog http://moneywiselife.blogspot.com where he shares up to date consumer awareness tips for especially seniors since he has reached 60 this year. He is also an emergency preparedness consultant and he encourages you to download the FR** Emergency Preparedness Guide at http://www.usprepared.com offering tips for preparedness on both man made and natural disasters.
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