I don’t pretend that there is a “Big Secret” to success or a “Fast and Easy way” to make money. As a trained athlete, I live out, and therefore recommend, the principles of planning, hard work, discipline and commitment. Much of the information I pass on to my partners in business is aimed at preparing them for the hard road ahead and to help them get rolling towards success.

While I am of the mindset that there is no fixed formula to making a business successful, there are, however, a few basic guidelines that I consider as the groundwork to success–basic preparatory tasks that form the foundation of the online marketing business. These tools are fundamentally important as they will mark the starting point from which the marketing business develops, whether the road chosen to go into is affiliate marketing, network marketing or multi-marketing.

1). BUYING THE DOMAIN NAME. I always suggest buying a domain when you’ve decided on what market you’re going to promote because it will be a great branding strategy to have a domain name that’s registered as closely related to your business as possible. Free domains are not a wise long-term investment, as search engines and directories don’t include them in their listing and so your site will hardly show up in any search results. Also, it may be regarded as a “personal home page” by potential leads and business partners, rather than an active marketing site with an opportunity offer.

2). DESIGNING THE SITE STRUCTURE. Imagine losing out on a sale because a potential buyer gets frustrated with navigating through the website. Build it simple and easy, giving consideration to the likelihood that not every one of your potential leads will be adept at handling the computer. If you’re dealing with content and computer terminology that most people might not be familiar with, then you will need to consider that any information you put out is readily understood and that the site interface is easy to deal with. As much as the product line-up will greatly influence buying decisions, the sales process also has a strong effect so put some emphasis on the ease and speed of filling out an order form, and directly linking to the merchant site or to a payment processor. Also remember to put your own mark on things, especially in automated communication. A well-designed site is also a mark of professionalism and will attract potential leads to partner up with you.

3). THE CONTENT PLAN. You will need to decide at the start on what kind of site you will be promoting in order that all the content will match up to that concept:

Content sites are sites intended for teaching and training. Information that is given out here has subject matter which the target market will find instructional or gives a hint to the products being promoted. To a certain extent, details will be given out on product promotions, but only as a side feature. The objective of getting people to click through to the merchant website is covered up by the use of links that are not immediately obvious.

Product Information sites – The content here is entirely about product details: prices, descriptions and images. There is absolutely no attempt to teach or train in this type of site. Instead, all content is geared towards an up-front presentation of the products and to get site visitors to click on highly visible links to the merchant store to buy the products.

4). FORMING THE MARKETING/PROMOTIONAL STRATEGY. Though there is no fixed formula for coming up with the winning strategy, a plan of action is the very keystone to attaining it. All the supporting elements of your business are interrelated to one another. Once you’ve got them all planned out it will be easy to form a course of action and lock everything in place. This is where your creativity and motivation are really tried and tested. At the very least, you will need a plan of action for these vital elements of the business:

FOR GETTING FOUND

– You can easily get found when you increase traffic to your website. Getting traffic will be one of the most challenging strategies to put into effect. Seeing that traffic is where the bulk of people are, the strategy you implement here will greatly impact your volume of leads and sales. You can get traffic in the usual ways:

1) Pay for it through pay per click advertising

2) Get it for free from the search engines

FOR LEAD GENERATION

– Expanding your base group will get you more targeted leads: those people who are highly likely to be interested in your business. RSS feeds are a fast and simple way to build your list and because they are opt-in subscriptions you can be more direct in your marketing communications. E-mail marketing is another direct way to promote, get potential leads and do targeted follow-up if you can provide relevant material that will not be perceived as junk mail.

FOR SALES CONVERSION

– The idea of increasing sales conversions is to get site visitors to actually buy your products or to contribute to the advertising revenue of your site by clicking on the ads. Popular ways to do this is by holding a contest, giving out bonuses or you can break the mold and offer something totally new that other people will really catch on with.

5). BUILDING YOUR TEAM. The technique to making productive business partnerships is to find top-quality marketers. What you really want to get are those people who are able to produce traffic and convert them to sales. These partners may be trained to duplicate your system or they may completely think out of the box on their own, what matters is that they are effective and active and will produce real results for them personally and for you as well in partnership with them. To achieve this:

Offer more lucrative terms than the competition – this is sure bait as nothing beats the appeal of a higher profit advantage

Even something as simple as an exclusive link layout or advertising and training provisions, and especially a real, sincere offer of assistance and friendship will help mark you out considerably from the entire crowd of marketers out there and will help potential business partners decide that you are the only man (or woman) they want to do business with.