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HOW TO

A very under-used method of getting website visitors:
By: Developer Shed
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    2003-08-09

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    A very under-used method of getting website visitors

    Part A:
    Example

    Yahoo! still gets the most —sometimes, second-most— hits of any site. So the thing they’re doing must work. So why did they start advertising on TV? Why did they mess with their secret formula?

    They didn’t mess with it!

    The “secret formula” is to do EVERYTHING that will bring people to your site over the long term.

    Sometimes airplanes crash. When they do, you’ll hear it on the news because the event is so rare. Sometimes people get rich from a single act. When they do, you’ll hear it on the news because the event is so rare.

    Success USUALLY comes from doing a lot of little things that work.

    Here is a not-so-little thing that works for me and others online.

    I have a point to make (actually, two points) that should MAKE YOU MONEY! But you won’t get that point unless you first read ...

    Stalking The Internet Cash Hose

    © Dale Armin Miller

    Most people using the Internet live in the United States. We have attention spans of ... Hey, you’ve stopped reading already? And we want what we want when we want it — which is always yesterday. That makes us world-renowned consumption addicts, and suckers for a great pitch. But if your pitch is a great one, you’d better have a way of getting whatever you’re selling to us yesterday. Which is one of the marketing virtues of the web: instant downloads and other kinds of immediate gratification.

    But if you’re marketing, you want money in return for that download. Up front. And your manner of collecting that money had better be as quick as the download. Or else you are losing money.

    Now, if you’re promoting someone else’s program, they have almost-certainly solved the instant-pay problem for you. But, if you really want to make a killing on the web, you have —or are at least working on— your own program. And that means *you* have to solve the instant-pay problem: How do you funnel money from other people’s bank accounts into your bank account before they forget having ever read your great pitch? How do you get your turn at the Internet cash hose?

    In other words, how do you accept check and credit-card payments over the Internet?

    I tried selling a reasonably good service on the web. I even started out with a few hundred visitors to my website the first couple weeks. But people had to mail me a check or money order. I never made one sale. (I should also mention that, at the time, despite a few decades of successful marketing experience, I had yet to realize how to adapt that to the Internet.) So I set about trying to arrange accepting credit cards over the Internet.

    With hindsight, I should have anticipated the problem. I have been online since 1984, and used the Internet from the beginning. So it seems well-established to me. But it only began to enter public awareness in late 1995, as the world-wide web aspect developed. And, to a banker, that’s yesterday. Not to mention that, since there can be no signature received nor is the a card present to be swiped, this would be lumped together with telephone sales — which bankers have learned to distrust.

    I still don’t think that gave my banker the right to laugh at me!

    Eventually, savvy marketers began to convince a couple bankers that there is an untapped, hungry market. Us! We were —and are— desparate enough that the banks could charge higher processing fees in return for what they perceive as a higher risk.

    And credit-card acceptance began infiltrating the Internet. (Strangely enough, that’s about the time advertising began to sweep the Internet. Strangely enough, that’s about the time the Internet began to be promoted in the popular media.)

    Savvy marketers —the same ones, for the most part— realized that we wanted more than just banks to accept our submissions. We also need a way to collect the card information in the first place. And a way to transmit that information to the bank. So full-service merchant-account providers were born. They arrange bank approval (for “anyone,” they claim). And they have software for collecting the credit-card charge submission, securely transmitting it to the bank, transferring the money to your bank, and keeping records of the transactions. The marketers make money by selling or leasing the software to us, usually on their server.

    I’m simplifying somewhat. This is more and more what it looks like to us clients. But usually there is a conglomeration of up to six companies needed to make this all work seemlessly. (I am mentioning this for a reason.)

    As soon as I became aware of one of these full-service merchant-account providers, I signed up. All my savings as downpayment, all my earnings each month until the year 2175, and my first-born child. (I’m exaggerating: I don’t have any children.) I was that convinced it would make a major difference in my online marketing.

    (Fortunately, I was correct. On my very next Internet venture, I made $2,000 the first eight days. Although I like to think that’s not entirely due to my ability to accept credit cards and checks.)

    Almost as soon as I was approved, however, another full-service merchant-account provider sprang up. And less-expensive! I could have kept my first-born child. Then another that paid commissions. And another cheaper still. And another with more benefits.

    At first I got depressed. But I hate being depressed. It depresses me. So I collected the URL’s (Internet addresses) of the companies and let my friends know about the various providers. At least *they* would benefit from the lower prices and variety of services.

    Lately, people have made available some free (!) Perl code that solves a piece or two of the puzzle. If you know how to knit scripts into your web pages, this can leave a whole company out of the loop ... and save you money.

    My list of online e-commerce resources grew past a dozen. Someone said, “Why are you sending that by email? This is the world-wide web. You could just set up a site with that information on it and refer people to that. Plus, everyone would have access. Don’t you wish *you* would have had access to something like that?” (Actually, I said it — but I don’t want you to know that I talk to myself.)

    So I did.

    I set up a free site. It’s called GetPaidOnline.com [tm]. Naturally, you are cordially invited to stop by and check out the resources for yourself.

    I also bought the resale rights to a software program that allows you to take checking-account information given to you by your customers, and print a check right from your printer. Your bank will actually accept it! For the moment, I am *giving* that software away. Just download it at the site. (No catch. No one else to pay. You don’t even have to sign up for the newsletter. Just free.)

    Part B:
    So What?

    At what point did you first realize that article was promoting something?

    When I was only 18, Zero Population Growth made me Director of Public Relations. They did that because I was so successful at getting TV and newspaper coverage, at —at root— writing press releases. I’m not telling you that so you’ll think I’m cool. (Well, who knows?) I’m telling you that so you know that I really do know what a proper press release is.

    And what you just read AIN’T. It breaks many of the rules for writing a press release

    In fact, it breaks many rules of just plain writing — good grammer, for example.

    Yet, it is a press release. Advertising GetPaidOnline was my whole purpose in writing. More importantly, it is a SUCCESSFUL press release; and here’s why I say that:

    Results

    I Submited it to one ezine, in which it was published. Another editor saw it and asked to put it in his ezine. A third —with 40,000 subscribers— published it without even asking. My home- page accesses went from zero per day to a hundred per day.

    And that was just the first week!

    In fact, seven months after I wrote it, it’s STILL generating hits! Other ezines published it. People put it on their sites. Just last week, a bartering system asked if they could add it to their members-only section.

    Will all that make me independently wealthy? No. Was it a productive use of those few hours? Hell, yes! (So much so that I did it some more.)

    Will doing that yourself make you wealthy? No. Can doing SEVERAL things like that make you wealthy? YES:

    If you do only 20 things —one small step at a time— that each bring you only 50 INTERESTED visitors per day, you will have 1,000 INTERESTED visitors per day!

    Even better, do 100 things that each bring you 100 interested visitors per day. Then you will have TEN THOUSAND *INTERESTED* VISITORS PER DAY.
    (If it wasn’t clear before, that should clarify why the Arsenal! is so wide-ranging.)

    This technique can not only be one of those things, it can be *most* of them:

    Part C:
    How YOU Can Get That Attention

    Step One

    Write SOMETHING. Ezine publishers are really picky about this. They will not publish something that doesn’t exist. The same with webmasters.

    “But I can’t come up with what to write.”
    YES YOU CAN.

    DO THIS: Open Notepad; stare at the white space. No music; no TV. You’ll get bored. (Ten seconds?) Just stay there. Eventually, you’ll get SO bored that even writing is better than staring at that white space. That’s why Notepad: Just white space — no cute little icons or dancing paper clips to entertain you. Your subconscious will eventually come up with something, just like it does when you’re trying to get to sleep. (You can identify with that, can’t you?)

    You may need to try this more than once, but it will work!

    That’s part of why I gave you that example. Not because I think it’s particularly good. But it came out all at once, at one sitting, pretty much the way it looks now. I sat down every day for a week TRYING to write something ... but once anything came out, it all came.

    Absolutely do not edit anything that does come up; save editing for a different day altogether.

    Be yourself: “At first I got depressed. But I hate being depressed. It depresses me.”

    “But I don’t write as well as you.”

    Oh, come on: “At first I got depressed. But I hate being depressed. It depresses me.” You can do better than that! (Your mind will say with anything to avoid writing.)


    Step Two

    Start your editing of the result of Step One so that it has something to do with your product or service. (If this turns out to be impossible, start again at Step One.) If you thought this was already implied in Step One, you’re making Step One too hard.


    Step Three

    This is the only rule for writing press releases that I care about:

    Who wants your product or service? What do they want to know about? What do they want? Start editing the result of Step Two with them in mind. (If that’s impossible, start again at Step One.) This will automatically make it of interest to editors of ezines and other publications that cater to your audience.


    Step Four

    Now —only now— start checking for things like, “Is this a sentence?” “Does it make sense?” Spell check. Have someone else read it.


    Step Five

    Submit to editors. (Look in the Arsenal! section Ezines, for example.) Submit. Submit. Submit.


    Step Six

    Whether or not that one gets published, start again at Step One.

    DO IT.

    ...or not. It’s your life. You can spend all of it looking for THE NEXT BIG THING that “works” (the killer app, the killer program), but doesn’t. Or you can start spending all of your working time doing little things that actually do work ... like the people at Yahoo! do.

    P.S. ... in case you’re thinking, “Ya, but look at all the money Yahoo! Inc. has to work with!” I don’t really know what it was, but I can’t imagine that the weekly allowances of the teenagers who started Yahoo! in their garage added up to very much.
    Dale Armin Miller is Master At Arms of The Internet Marketing Success Arsenal!:™ www.SuccessArsenal.com What works online.


    DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware.

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