Structure Your Online Business
Rule #1 – Have A Strategy
This is a big topic to try to cover but a very important one.
Making money online – online marketing – internet marketing (IM) is flexible – and that’s an understatement. You could almost say no two people do it exactly the same and barely be exaggerating.
There are many strategies, within strategies there are variations but it’s important to decide what you want your strategy to be, or at least what you want it to be right now. It doesn’t have to stay constant – it can change and adapt as you learn, as you gain experience, as you discover new programs and tools or just because you find you don’t enjoy some of the things you’re doing.
Because there are so many different possible strategies, it’s difficult in an article like this to give you definitive advice; you’re definitely going to need to develop your own strategy but this will give you some ideas.
Assuming you’re not yet creating your own product or developing your own membership site then chances are, you need to find a program or product someone else has created and promote it as an affiliate. Selling products is not something I do for a main income and so I’m going to recommend you find other resources if you want to sell products.
My view is that the best strategy for making money online is promoting programs that generate residual income rather than selling products where you only get paid once. With that ‘limitation’ accepted, here’s the strategy…
Finding A Primary Program (or two or three)
Firstly, what’s a primary program? A primary program is a program that will generate significant income for you relative to what you’re aiming for. For many people, their first goal is to replace the just-over-broke (J.O.B.) and maybe $3000 a month would allow them to do that. If a program is going to pay you $1 per month per referrals – that’s going to take a lot of referrals to meet your goals. However, if it’s multi-level it probably could generate enough income in time.
The better description for primary program is not the amount of money it’ll generate but whether it’s a program you intend to actively promote to build your income. This concept will become clearer when I explain about secondary programs later.
You need to find a program that you’re confident will make you the level of residual income you’d like. It should also be one you believe in, that you use yourself and that you would recommend to a friend if you were face to face with them (assuming they were looking to earn online too). There are various signs of programs to avoid – mostly because they have hype like
- earn $200,000 in 2 weeks
- Turn $1 into $1,000,000
- Earn without ever doing anything
- No need to recruit
- Spillover will fill your matrix
If a program is to generate residual income then it means the product or service provided by the program should be a monthly paid product or service too (of course it could be paid over other time periods but should be regular). Occasionally you may find a program where the product doesn’t inherently generate residual income but if you build a team, you get lots of small one-off payments each and every month – effectively giving you repeat income. Best bet is to find a program with genuine residual income fro the product or service.
I rarely make recommendations for the simple reason if I did so, lots of people might follow it and if something happened to the company, I’d get the blame. No thanks. For the most part I say DYOR (do your own research) and take responsibility yourself. It’s not fair to ask someone else to shoulder that responsibility.
Having said that, there are a small handful of programs that I’m happy to recommend because they’re low risk, low outlay, valuable services that everyone needs or wants.
I can’t say what those are here in fairness to people that are in my various downline builders. If you want to know, contact troywray.newsletters (@) gmail (dot) com and ask me. That way I can find out what programs you’re in already and give you the appropriate join link.
Multiple primary programs
I see nothing wrong with promoting multiple primary programs, in fact I recommend it. Online programs require so little maintenance compared to offline businesses that you can easily promote multiple programs, especially if they’re low-ticket programs (e.g. < $30 per month for membership). If they’re high-ticket you might be better devoting all your resources just to that one program with the caveat that you shouldn’t have all your eggs in one basket.
I promote multiple programs, most people I know online promote multiple programs. But there are only generally a small handful that we would describe as our primary programs.
A secondary program is one that is primarily to help you promote your chosen primary program(s).
Now here’s where it might get a little confusing: I’m going to teach you how to promote your secondary programs as well as your primary programs and why you should do that. And your secondary programs may well wind up giving you a nice chunk of residual income in their own right.
Some secondary programs may become primary programs in time, particularly if they’re multilevel. In other words there’s no hope of making a decent enough income in the first 12 months. But because multilevel programs grow exponentially in the 2nd and 3rd year onwards, the income might become very significant and your time might now be better spent promoting the program harder still.
However, a useful guideline is this: If you were offered an ad to promote one program in the half-time break of the next superbowl, which of your programs would it be? That’s your primary program. If it would be a close call with some other programs then those are probably primary too.
All the other programs which are valuable to you but mainly for promoting are secondary programs.
Why Promote Secondary Programs?
In my strategy for four very good reasons:
- To generate free traffic
- To cover the operating costs of your business
- To help generate leads for your primary business
- To passively get referrals in other secondary programs
Most of the programs you’ll be using to help promote your primary business will be free to join, cost $x per month to be upgraded and pay y% commission on upgraded referrals. Many will also give you free extra traffic if you get referrals.
Are you familiar with the accepted wisdom that you should save 10% of your income? The principle is that by sacrificing 10% of your income and putting it in a compound interest savings account or plan, when you retire that money will be worth far, far more than the amount you invested.
So it is with your secondary programs. If you always devote all of your advertising resources to promoting your primary programs, all the free traffic that comes from promoting your secondary programs won’t materialise. If you invest 20% of your advertising into promoting your secondary programs, that’s only a small drop in the amount of promotion of your primary programs but an infinite increase in the promotion of your secondary programs. And 20% is ideal so that after a year of following this strategy, you’ll have way more free traffic than the 20% you’re investing.
The 2nd reason is that commission from secondary programs may not be exciting and life changing but it’s enough to cover the costs of being upgraded. Let’s say a typical program costs $10 per month to be upgraded and pays 40% commission on upgraded referrals. Well if you upgrade right away and then promote it until you have at least 3 referrals, the cost of your upgrade is covered!
Now you could argue that you may as well just promote your primary program to cover the costs of all your secondary programs; that’s true. But rememebr you want to be promoting your secondary programs anyway for the free traffic.
The third reason is that promoting any of your secondary programs gets you referrals and those referrals can be contacted (not pitched) and relationships can be built. Once relationships are built, you start swapping your stories about what’s working for you and often they’ll become interested in your primary program – particularly if they haven’t yet found one they’re happy with.
The fourth very good reason is that many of the programs have downline builders in them. If you’re not sure what they are, follow the link. If you’re a member of other programs in the downline builder then when you get a referral, they may join other programs in the downline builder under you. You get referrals for nothing, hence the term passive referrals (not to be confused with passive referrals meaning they do nothing)
The most important part of your business strategy is your marketing funnel(s). A marketing funnel is a ‘system’ such that if you throw visitors in one end, you get income out the other. It’s also known as a marketing pipeline but there’s a subtle difference between the two terms that needn’t concern us here.
The point is that your funnel has a huge impact on the structure and operation of your business.
The most successful funnels are always based on autoresponders.
Now it may seem obvious that if you have a primary program, and you use traffic exchanges to promote that you would simply promote your primary program on the traffic exchanges.
You could. But you shouldn’t necessarily. You could start like that to test the water but you’re serious aren’t you? You want the very best results you can get.
Your funnel would be that you don’t promote your primary program directly on the traffic exchange, you promote a squeeze page instead connected to your own autoresponder. Here’s an example:
(imagine this as an email optin box) “Enter your name and email address for a free report on making money online”. That’s a squeeze page.
When they sign up, the emails that you already have prepared in your autoresponder start going out, the first one right away. That first email introduces yourself and gives them a link to get the free report you promised them.
Now that report talks about how to make money and it recommends a couple of things that just happen to be your primary program(s) along with your affiliate links. What’s more, when they get the subsequent follow-up emails you previously prepared, those will also promote your primary programs. And your secondary programs.
So a prospect fills in their details once and gets multiple emails over time to stand the best chance of getting them to join you as a referral in your primary and/or secondary programs.
Starting Without A Funnel
It’s fine to start without a funnel. Better you get started than delay while you get to grips with setting up your own funnel. Most people spend months umm’ing and ahhh’ing about how to word their follow up emails, how to do the free report, etc etc.
Once you start getting referrals in your primary program without using a funnel, then you start to think about how many less would ‘slip through the net’ if you had a proper funnel, then you’ll be motivated to put the work in to create the funnel. Besides, it’s not as difficult as it sounds and guess what – the autoresponder you’ll use becomes another secondary program, source of leads and an additional income stream – good huh?
Decide On A Monthly Budget
If you’re at all serious about getting up and running moderately quickly you need to be prepared to spend $30-$100 a month to help get things moving quickly. You can do it on less, you can certainly spend more but basically if you try to do it literally for nothing it will take a lot of time and/or hard work.
Well almost everyone that’s on a low budget uses traffic exchanges to get their traffic. You can join a traffic exchange for free and it will take you an hour to earn 150 credits.If you were upgraded, that would be 450 credits an hour. If that upgrade costs $10 and your objective is to earn 10,000 credits a month it would take you 65 hours as a free member or 22 as an upgraded member. 43 hours saved for $10 – Only someone with no money at all would take that option.
No, unless you have a very good reason why you can’t invest anything at all you need to find at least $10 a month with which to get started.
Your precise strategy depends on how much you are prepared to invest.
Most of this article refers to traffic exchanges. Refer to this article to find how to use mailers (not autoresponders, a mailer is a program where you can send to someone else’s list!)
If You’re On A Shoestring Budget $0 – $30
$30 – $50
Your Traffic Business
Whatever you’re strategy, you simply must plough advertising back into promoting your secondary programs. If you use traffic exchanges, the best way to do that is through a downline builder like VitalViralPro. Yes it’s a plug for one of my programs and you could use others; I don’t mind you using others but I’m not going to point them out to you
The reason to use VitalViralPro is that you can use it to implement the whole strategy I’ve described above, whatever your budget.
I didn’t even bother to mention the fact that you should track; that would normally be another overhead so I don’t include it as part of the strategy for people on a low budget. But if you join VitalViralPro, tracking is thrown in.
With VitalViralPro you can have just one link to promote. That same link will promote one or more primary programs, promote VitalViralPro itself, get you referrals in multiple traffic exchanges, track, implement the 20% reinvest effortlessly and automatically and cook your dinner at the end of the day.
The last bit was hype; it doesn’t do that.
As you get more referrals in VitalViralPro (or other downline builder), so you’ll also get referrals in the traffic exchanges. If you were on a low budget and could only upgrade in a couple of traffic exchanges then frustratingly many of your referrals that join and upgrade will be in exchanges you haven’t upgraded in so you’ll only get tiddly commissions. That’s why it’s good to upgrade in at least the top 5 exchanges before you start. Nevertheless, you will get referrals in the exchanges you did upgrade in, sooner or later some of those will upgrade and sooner or later you’ll find one of the exchanges has become ‘free’ (the income covers the cost of the upgrade). That’s saved some of your budget so you can now afford to upgrade in a further exchange and so on.
Give yourself some headroom. If money really is tight remember that any of these upgraded members could downgrade again leaving you paying out more than you receive.
Over time your secondary business will start to look healthier and healthier.
Aggressive Secondary Business Building
Especially if you’re on a low initial budget there’s a lot to be said for doing nothing but building your secondary business to begin with. By promoting your secondary business %100 you’ll referrals in the traffic exchanges much quicker, you’ll go ‘up the ladder’ of getting upgraded in all the exchanges much quicker, the exponential growth from traffic from your referrals combined with the 1:1 surf ratio of being upgraded will grow your traffic much, much faster.
Then after a time of doing that you’ll have a really strong foundation of traffic exchanges and free traffic to begin promoting your primary business.
Other Ways To Grow Your Business
There are a multitude of other things you can do to help grow your business. Some of them you might want to do because you get frazzled from surfing too much. So for a change you can write articles, blog posts, lurk and contribute in forums, comment on other peoples’ blogs, use social media such as twitter, facebook. The list of potential ways to promote is endless.
Many of these can be used as distractions but bear in mind that a well placed reply in a forum can be an advert that many people will see over time. More details of this kind of advertising can be found elsewhere on the blog.
However, none of them will provide the predictable growth that using traffic exchanges and the strategy I’ve described will give.
One way or another, you need to consider yourself as having two businesses – your primary business (containing your primary programs) and your secondary business. Despite being relegated to secondary, it’s vitally important that 20% of your effort goes into building your secondary programs.
If you carry this strategy out, after a year you’ll be getting a fair amount of free traffic, far more than the 20% you’re reinvesting.