The face of the web is changing as it moves to a more commercial model. The big corporate giants are awake and it won’t be long before the internet is a commercial medium just like television, radio, print and everything that came before. It will go – for the most part – commercial, it has to!
Sure we’ll still have some free search engine listings, our home pages, our little corners of the net, but expect the big money to continue rolling in and control the advertising you will see, and believe me you will see a lot more advertising. As bandwidth increases we will continue to see a growth in audio commercials over the web, more full page ads, more pop up browser windows, more email in our inboxes every day.
The difference now, is companies that own big chunks of the telecommunication networks and bandwidth, will get together with the companies that have the lists. What lists? The lists are the email addresses and demographic profiles that everyone has been collecting since the moment you went online.
Ever shopped online? They’ve got your name and address. They can tell by your zip code how much money you make because of the neighborhood you live in. They can tell by the books or CDs that you’ve purchased what your tastes are. List owners can build highly targeted email campaigns and deliver their seductive sales message right into your email box where you’re most likely to see it. And because they know what your interests are, you’ll probably buy the product if they say the right things in their advertising.
The search engines will continue their evolution into paid directories and portals. There will be a continuing trend of less free advertising and more human interaction for reviewing sites. Each search engine company has an editorial team to review web sites and add them their directory (similar to your phone company’s yellow pages).
The directory sits “on top” of the underlying search engine. The directory is all those clickable links you see on the home page of every search engine. They’ve tried to “sort out” the internet, providing people with what they consider to be “the best” web sites. The paid directory listings are often the search results that are displayed first, ahead of the “organic” search engine results. It’s time to write the editor of the search engine and ask them to add your site to their directory. I’ll show you some successful examples of letters I’ve written to editors later on.
The search engines will get “smarter”. They will attempt to “assist you” in what you are looking for. For example if you search on the word “fruit”, the search engine of the future will not search, it will ask, by “fruit”, do you mean; apple, banana, orange, fruit growing, importing, stores, transportation? Click all that apply and click the search button again.
There will also be growth in “trigger” words. Trigger words are words like city names, the engine will return results for your geographical area only. Slowly over time, more and more common words will become trigger words, and the more control the search engine will have over the results you will see.
The concept of purchasing or bidding on keywords, key word phrases and common names will continue to grow in favor. There are some search engines where you pay for or bid on the top listings. Debates will rage as search engines slowly start charging money to get listed at the top. Why shouldn’t they? It’s not like they need “content” or anything. They already have millions of pages in their indexes.
A word of advice, don’t expect paid advertising in search engines to be any “smarter” or “better” than what you are constantly getting bombarded with from radio, print and TV.
Affiliate or associate programs are turning up everywhere and are proving to be an extremely effective sales tool. Simply put, you give your associate a tracking code and pay commission on all sales they bring in.
Associates drive the traffic to your site, usually with banners, ads, endorsements and sales letters. The visitors become paying customers, and you pay your affiliate a sales commission. Affiliate networks are quickly replacing classifieds, banners, and many other forms of traditional advertising, as the second most popular way for people to find you, and get new customers (search engines – whether paid or free – are still the first).
Increased direct email marketing to opt in lists and customer databases. Mailing to an opt in list (people that have requested to receive email from you) provides one of the greatest returns for your advertising dollar. Here you have a list saying “Yes, I want to receive email from you. I’m interested in your news, your product, your service, please keep me posted.”
The most important thing you can do in business today is, get your customer’s and prospect’s email addresses. Once you have their email address, send them a piece of personalized email immediately. Let them know they will be receiving email from you in the future.
Use one web site, to sell one product, or one product category. The only logical choice is to buy that one product or move on to the next web site. All product sites link to each other. This effectively splits one large web site into smaller sales sites that cross link to each other.
Creating smaller sites boosts positioning in many search engines because of link popularity. Findability is also increased, as more sites give more keyword rich pages working for you in the search engines.
So there you have my version of the internet marketing future. By now you might be asking, “Is there still plenty of opportunity to make money?” YES! Read the rest of this book, buy the tools and apply the tricks and techniques. Your web site will get noticed and you will make money.
You can use this information to become a consultant or work for someone else. It can change your life! Just don’t be afraid to team up with another person or several people. Assemble your “brain trust” of specialized experts, people you can work with and trust. And speaking of work, sure there’s plenty of reading to do and work to be done, but I know you can do it. So now that we’ve seen internet past, present and future, let’s get started on the actual work.