How To Quickly Become an Online Internet Marketing Expert

28 03 2008
I bought e-books, I joined programs, I bought leads, I did what 99% of people before and after me have done,

Unfortunately will continue to do, and which for the most part will be totally in vane. You know I keep hearing that up to 98% of what is offered as online income opportunities are scams, schemes and ripoffs and I must say, after almost 8 years at this I must agree.

So how does the average person find a legitimate online business and discover how to become an Online Marketing expert?

A few years back I was fortunate enough to meet a group of Online marketing experts that were willing to share their knowledge and expertise with me. I started to realize you don’t need to spend money on programs that require a monthly autoship to succeed online.

Online marketing classes that I attended taught me that most of the tools that are needed to learn how to become an Internet Marketing expert are free, you just have to know where to look for them.

Fortunately to have this knowledge because it started to open many doors of opportunity for me that I never thought I would have. Online Marketing is actually begin.

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Marketing & Home Business Secrets

28 03 2008

by Eugenijus Sakalauskas

PlugInNet Proefit.com NewsLetter Marketing & Home Business Secrets gives you powerfull concepts for maximizing cashflow throughout the complete step -by-step process of internet marketing

Here is you’ll discover internet marketing concepts , free tools, and business-build recourse to help you profit online and off!

How To Eliminate Your Competition Without Bloodshed
10 High Powered Ways To Increase Your Traffic
10 Reasons Why People Don’t Visit Your Web Site
10 Ways To Get New Product Ideas
12 Ways To Create An Order-Pulling Niche
8 Benefits Of Helping An Online Business Newbie
How To Turn Freebies Into Sales
How To Increase Your Online Sales Anytime
8 Ways To Get People To Visit Your Web Site Again And Again
10 Online Joint Venture Ideas
How To Increase Traffic By Offering A Free Course
How To Get Valuable Feedback From Your Customers
How To Turn Any Product You Sell Into Residual Income
How To Get The Most From Your Free eBook Marketing Campaign
How To Create Urgency So People Buy Now
Ten Breakthrough Marketing Ideas…

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About the author: Eugenijus Sakalauskas is an established ezine publisher and direct marketer who specializes in developing new ideas and methods on Website Marketing & Home Business Secrets





How To Get The Most From Your Free eBook: Marketing Campaign

28 03 2008

First, your ebook needs to have an attractive title. The title should grab the attention of your intended target audience. The more appealing the title, the more your ebook will be downloaded.

Your ebook needs to have quality content. You can write your own content or ask permission to use another author’s content. Your ebook will be read more if the content is original.

You will want to put your ad on the title page or on the table of contents. This will give the most exposure for your web site or the products you’re selling.

It’s important to put your ebook in as many formats as possible. Most ebook software only allows the ebook to be read by certain browers and software. People may not take the time to download a new software program in order to read your ebook. Other versions of your ebook could be in HTML, auto responder and downloadable text format.

You can contact other business owners and ask them if they would like to include their ad in your ebook. Just ask them in return to advertise your free ebook on their web site or in their e-zine for a set period of time. This method will get your free ebook marketing campaign off to a fast start.

Allow the people who download your ebook to give it away to their visitors. This will multiply your free ebook’s exposure. Submit your ebook to the growing number of free ebook directories on the internet.

These web sites also offer more information about ebook marketing. Some of them also have ebook discussion forums where you can ask questions and learn more about ebook marketing.
Visit DirectoryGold – Web Directory, featuring free email, article directory, and shopping and info links.





Top 5 trend watching tips: Part 1 Know why you are tracking trends

22 03 2008

Top 5 trend watching tips

Even though we’re happy to provide you with more trends than you can swing a stick at, it’s equally important to hone your own trend watching skills. So let us share some tips and tricks with you; find out about the ‘why’ of trend spotting, the mindset required, the resources you need, the process of embedding them into your organization, and how to actually apply these trends. Good luck!

Know why you're tracking trends

Trend spotting can be fun. Makes you feel in the now and in the know. But that alone is not necessarily going to make you or your company more money. The way we see it, in a nutshell, is that tracking consumer trends is one way (and there are many ways!) to gain inspiration, helping you dream up profitable new goods, services and experiences for (and with) your customers. So trend watching should ultimately lead to profitable innovation.

Trend spotting as a profession has radically changed over the last five years or so. In a world that’s now fully connected, where thousands of smart professionals and amateurs are not only spotting, observing, thinking and innovating, but also putting their findings online for all to see, deliciously valuable resources are up for grabs.

Sure, this avalanche of trends, insights and new business ideas may cause information overload, but there is definitely an exciting innovation overload, too. The only thing that separates YOU— passionate CEO, marketer, entrepreneur—from being in the know is the time devoted to absorbing these sources, if not adding to them yourself. The world truly is your oyster. And yet, when we ask professionals if and how they spot trends and, more importantly, how they apply those trends to their own brands, we’re told they’re still having a hard time getting a handle on the basics.

So let’s quickly look at some definitions, misconceptions and practicalities before moving on to other tips:

What is a trend?

How about: “A statistically significant change in performance of measured data which is unlikely to be due to a random variation in the process.” That won’t get the creative juices going. So consider the following definition, which we came up with years ago and which still holds pretty well:

A manifestation of something that has unlocked or newly serviced an existing (and hardly ever changing) consumer need,* desire, want, or value.

At the core of this statement is the assumption that human beings, and thus consumers, don’t change that much. Their deep needs remain the same, yet can be unlocked or newly serviced. The ‘unlockers’ can be anything from changes in societal norms and values, to a breakthrough in technology, to a rise in prosperity.

Example? One of the core human needs is to be in control, or at least to have the illusion of being in control. No wonder then, that the online world is so addictive. After all, it firmly puts the individual in the driver’s seat.

Just give it a try: apply the above definition to your daily spottings and observations of how consumers behave, and how that behaviour is forever changing, and you will find that many seemingly unconnected business success stories will start to make sense. Successful innovations often satisfy existing, dormant needs in new and attractive ways.

* P.S. Need to brush up on your knowledge of human needs? Re-reading Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs never hurts.

Common misperceptions

It’s hard to find two people who share the same language when it comes to trend watching. Here are a few common misperceptions. Not complete by far, so add your own:

Karl Lagerfeldt

Predicting next year’s colours. Trend watching is about more than spotting the next colour, fabric or hot designer. Sure, black may be back, and miniskirts may re-conquer the catwalks in 2009, but the consumer arena is infinitely more complicated than that. In other words, fashion in all its variety, excitement, and pioneering business models is just another part of the world of consumer trends. In no way does it define consumer trends.

Crystal ball

Gazing into a crystal ball. Trend watching isn’t about ‘hard-core’ futurism, either. Better leave gazing into a crystal ball, predicting what’s going to happen 15 to 20 years from now, to futurists and scenario planning departments. Trend watching is about observing and understanding what’s already happening, the major and the minor, the mainstream and the fringe. In our case in the consumer and business arena.

Pizza cone

Declaring the pizza cone an emerging consumer trend. We still get asked a million times about how to distinguish between trends and fads. A pizza cone is a fun product, but it won’t dramatically change the consumer arena. At most, it’s yet another manifestation that consumers want convenience no matter what. The latter is the trend. The product isn’t.

Applying all trends to all people. Don’t fall for this one. One massive mistake both trend spotters and brands make all the time, is to assume or pretend that a certain consumer trend will affect or be embraced by ALL consumers. No. Remember, in life and in trends: beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The above HSBC ad illustrates it well. Whatever catches your fancy while spotting and tracking trends, please remember that not everything applies to everyone, and that virtually every trend has its anti-trend.

Furthermore, the new doesn’t always kill the old. E-commerce may be booming, but real world retail is far from dead. Has the latter changed? Sure. But take one look at excited shoppers and TRYSUMERS spending hours in Apple’s flagship store in New York and it becomes clear that both online and offline retail have many years of innovation and opportunity ahead of them. In trends, always try to figure out what the ‘AND’ is, not just the ‘OR’, and your trend (and opportunity) spotting skills will improve immensely.

Those who watch trends have to possess some rare kind of intuition. Not true. This isn’t brain surgery, nor is it rocket science. Observing the world around you, with an open mind, is something many professionals have unlearned, but not something they aren’t born with. If you want to spot trends, you can.





Top 5 trend watching tips: Part 2 Have a point of view

22 03 2008

Have a point of view Pulpit

Now that we’ve covered the why of spotting trends, it’s time for Tip 2: Make sure you acquire a point of view about the world around you. The more trends you spot and track, and the more skilled you are at putting these trends into context, the more guidance you’ll have. When you have a broad point of view, even tiny observations start to make sense.

Example? How many marketers do you know who could give you an articulate answer if asked about, let’s say, the Future of Marketing? How many business execs do you know who are capable of explaining the main ten, or five, or even three consumer trends shaping not only their own industry but the entire business arena? And how many CEOs can comfortably lay out a kick-ass plan of attack based on their understanding of the New Consumer? (No, Steve Jobs doesn’t count! 😉

To stick with consumer trends: the point of view you want to develop could be summed up by a succinct answer to the question: “What is the short-term future of consumerism?”Now, where to begin so that in a few weeks time, your answer will blow away your colleagues?

Don’t hide: an open mind is a joy forever

Crucial to broadening your point of view: be curious and be open minded. Not an easy thing to do. We’re all set in our own ways, we all have our strict beliefs about what is right and what is wrong. However, closely observing instead of judging the world around you is tantamount to success. Ask yourself ‘why’ whenever you notice something new, instead of immediately looking for shortcomings.

Also realize that you are not necessarily your customer: your professional interests should be broader than your personal interests. You may not be excited by something new, but others are. Ask yourself why they are excited and which existing need has apparently been unlocked.

In other words, think and act like an entrepreneurial journalist. How?

Look cross-industry. Sticking with your own industry will not only severely limit your sources of inspiration, but will also make you miss important changes in consumer expectations. Every industry has its own ‘innovation competence’, whether it’s fashion leading the NO-FRILLS CHIC trend, the food and beverage sector leading the SNACK CULTURE trend, or hotels and restaurants dictating the ACCE$$ IS THE NEW LUXURY trend. The innovations they’re bringing to market not only excite consumers, they also shape their expectations. In other words, consumers will come to expect other industries to also start offering them the benefits of NO-FRILLS CHIC, of more choice in smaller doses, of luxury as a transforming experience. And they don’t care if you’re in real estate, financial services or telecom. Last but not least, if you’re obsessed with what your competition is doing, you will always end up copying them. To become a trend setter, you need to look where your competition isn’t.

Think like a (paranoid) CEO, even if you don’t get paid like one. Stop being ‘just’ a specialist and aim to become a generalist. Yes, we all need to be a specialist in something. However, we also need to be generalists, to understand the big picture and how we and our companies and products fit in.

You don’t have to like every trend. You are in this for your customers. Who may have different needs and desires than you do. Never dismiss anything too quickly. Just because YOU would never use a certain innovation, doesn’t mean others (your customers included) won’t buy it either. Many of today’s success stories, from the camera phone to the Airbus 380, were dismissed and ridiculed from the day they were imagined, announced or conceived.

So instead of dismissing, ask questions. Non stop. Why is something happening? Why was it introduced? Why do consumers like it? Or why do they hate it? Look beyond the sources that appeal to your personal tastes. Read a random magazine every week (buy one you would normally never read), or visit a random blog, written for and by people whose passions don’t match your own.

Try stuff out. The proof of the pudding is always in the eating.

Get rid of taboos, prejudices, dogmatism, negativity. All of this will block your ability to pick up new ideas, to understand your customers, and will thus cost you money. (And it make you a less pleasant person, too.)





Top 5 trend watching tips: Part 3 Weave your web of resources

22 03 2008

Weave your web of resources

Command center
Establish your ‘virtual research command center’

Stop bitching about information overload and instead celebrate the incredible wealth of trend resources at your fingertips, many of them free or dirt cheap! Surely there’s never been a more exciting time for eager trend watchers to be in business, soaking up the insights, the spottings, the reports, the live dispatches from the global consumer arena 😉

Google alertsWe love our Google Alerts!

Here’s our checklist of where to spot changes in consumer behaviour, new trendsetting products or just super-smart thinking on where our societies are headed at large.

Papers, websites, mags, blogs, books, news, newsletters1
Alerts2
TV, movies, radio
Seminars, fairs, trade shows
Customers, clients, colleagues, friends, family
Eavesdropping, chat rooms, conversations
In-house Trend Group
Dedicated spotters network
Other trend firms, thinkers (philosophers, architects, sociologists, management gurus)
Advertising at large
Competitors
Street life, travel3
Friends, colleagues, family
Ready made trend reports
Consultants, researchers, experts
Universities
Shops, museums, hotels, airports
Catalogues
Trade shows
Start ups
Customized trend tours4

1. In the near future, probably Q2 of 2008, we’ll add a full blown ‘resource center’ to these pages, with titles and links to every magazine and blog we regularly track. For now, some quick thoughts on blogs (which we are most often asked about): to find blogs on any topic, industry or trend, just use blog search engines like Technorati and Google Blog Search. To really start weaving, get Google Reader, Bloglines or any other RSS aggregator and amass feeds from every source you want to track.

2. Other ways to let information come to you are Google Alerts and Technorati Mini. Enter search phrases like ‘consumer trends’ or ‘world’s first’ or a specific trend name. A ready-to-use flow of trend goodness will come your way.

3. As consumers around the world pro-actively post, stream if not lead parts of their lives online, you (and your trend team) can now vicariously live amongst them, at home, at work, out on the streets. From reading minute-by-minute online diaries or watching live webcam feeds, to diving into tens of millions of tagged pictures uploaded by Flickr-fueled members of GENERATION C in Sweden, Singapore, Sri Lanka and dozens of other countries. More on that in our Virtual Anthropology briefing.

4. Here are some facilitators of trend tours: Bespoke Tokyo (Tokyo), Jean Snow (Tokyo), Mirror Mirror (NYC, London, Paris), Cscout (NYC, London, Tokyo, Beijing; video report by CNN on Cscout Tokyo trend tour), Cscout NYC Executive Trend Tour, W.ingResearch (Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong).

One more recommendation: not only will you find dozens of trends in our database, we have also collected more than 200 articles about our trends, as featured in publications like the Guardian and Time Magazine. The articles are a great source for gleaning additional insights and examples found by trend-savvy journalists.





Top 5 trend watching tips: Part 4 Fine-tune your trend framework

22 03 2008

Fine-tune your trend framework

trendwatching.com's trends

Understanding trends

So you have opened your mind, you have woven your web of resources, and you’re jotting down as many trends and trend manifestations as you can. Now what? How to make sense of all of this material, and especially the impact and context of various trends? What works for us is to have a Trend Framework: basically a long list of all the trends we’ve spotted over the years.

There’s a bit more to it, of course. trendwatching.com may be all about consumer trends, but that leaves two other main trend categories unaddressed. In general, switched-on companies and individuals track at least three trend levels:

Macro, consumer and industry trends
1 Macro trends — the STEEP approach below is a good start if you want to categorize macro trends:

  • Social
  • Technological
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Political
2 Consumer trends
3 Industry trends
 
 

Most management consulting firms will be able to help you with macro trends. For a DIY approach, check out the STEEP section on MindTools. And as far as industry trends are concerned, you no doubt already have someone tracking those within your organization (you?), whether it’s in the form of competitive analysis, clippings from trade magazines or industry reports from market research firms.

Needless to say, all three levels of trends constantly converge, impacting each other, if not overlapping. Just remember that industry trends, which firms are so keen on understanding, are at the mercy of macro and consumer trends, not the other way round. We could go on about this for another 300 pages but we won’t. There’s enough material to be found online for those of you who want to become macro-trend watchers. Meanwhile, let’s return to building your CONSUMER Trend Framework.

The easiest way to start building your own Trend Framework is to copy consumer trends from existing trend curators. You can find our free trends at www.trendwatching.com/trends, and our not-free but not-breaking-the-bank-either 2008 Trend Report at www.trendwatching.com/trendreport. Then add your own findings. Your framework will expand quickly, meaning fewer surprises every time you spot something of interest: the bigger the framework, the easier it is to categorize your findings.

Context

Recurring question: how do all of the trends in your Trend Framework relate to one another? What’s the context? We normally find that consumer trends can be grouped by the core need they newly address or unlock (see our definition at the beginning of this document), but that won’t show you how certain individual trends are connected. A hands-on, if time consuming, approach to finding the connections: construct a matrix featuring all the trends you track, both vertically and horizontally, and do a trend-by-trend ‘relationship check’.

You will be able to see and figure out how our CUSTOMER MADE trend links to GENERATION CASH (if you want to co-create with clever consumers, you will have to pay up), or how TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY links to HYGIENIA (no, we’re not going to explain every single trend-match ;-).

Looking for connections also emphasizes that this is trend tracking as much as it is trend spotting. Trends evolve, new insights and examples will emerge… Only by tending to your framework, keeping it fresh and up to date, will you be able to maintain an overview.

Last but not least, by keeping a complete-as-humanly-doable Trend Framework, the majority of your observations will easily fit with one of the existing trends. Which means that if a handful of them don’t, you may be onto something genuinely new.So the more trends you track, the easier it will be to spot a truly new trend.

Naming

It's a stupid name, but a pointed observation...

A quick thought on naming trends: we feel it’s crucial to describe trends as imaginatively as possible. Sure, we regularly take flak about our names (TRYVERTISING anyone?), but here’s why we do it:

Arouse curiosity. Strange names invoke interest, make people sit up and listen, make them want to know more. A well-chosen name radiates the promise of a story, of something important. And if that name is unlike anything else (even if it’s stupid unlike anything else), who can resist the desire to find out and not miss out?

Create a common language. You will find that groups and teams will rally behind a named concept more easily than behind something generic. Trend names often tell a story. Speaking a common language saves team members heaps of time—they’re able to refer to a project or trend name and instantly be on the same page.

Coin, own and track. Coming up with an as yet unknown name means it’s easier to coin something. Now coining isn’t about ownership, or claiming you’re the first one to come up with an idea: everything is already out there anyway. But it’s convenient to coin a new name, because you get to (temporarily) lead the discussion. It also facilitates tracking: googling your unique trend name will instantly lead you to other experts’ take on ‘your’ trend. Which often means more insights, more examples. Tracking TRYSUMERS for example is a breeze; tracking a statement like ‘consumers are more interested in trying out new goods before they buy, due to 13 socio-economic factors,’ isn’t.

Oh, and just how do we come up with our names? Early on, we were inspired by Faith Popcorn’s approach: mix and match two or three words that define the trend, creating a new word that preferably hasn’t been used by anyone else (a quick Google search will usually reveal just how unique a made-up word is). When studying the trend of affordable luxury, key words that jumped out at us were ‘masses’ and ‘exclusivity’, which then led to MASSCLUSIVITY. And when looking at the trend of consumers making the most of price comparison and other consumers’ product recommendations, we worked with keywords (and synonyms!) like transparency, power, nakedness, and tyranny (for merchants), which resulted in TRANSPARENCY TYRANNY. So don’t be shy, and go all out when naming your own trends.