This interview is with Michael Murray, the author of a top selling ebook titled “Autoresponder Basics.” Michael is also involved with many excellent affiliate programs.
Terry: Michael, this is a real pleasure to talk about your experience and business on the Internet. To start off, how did you get involved with the Internet?
Michael: I’m disabled and I always figured I’d get a job with computers. In 1996, my dad got the Internet hooked up and I loved it. At the time, I was 13 and a big fan of Goosebumps (the popular book series back then). I would search for information on it. When I was 16, I started seeing lots of “Get Rich Quick” schemes and fell into it and wasted a lot of money. Fortunately, I learned through trial and error the right way to make money online.
Terry: That is an interesting beginning. What led you to develop your top selling ebook “Autoresponder Basics”?
Michael: For a couple of years, I only promoted affiliate programs. I didn’t have my own product. I was in the very competitive Internet marketing niche and there was already an overload of information. People were writing “How to Make Money Online” ebooks who weren’t even making a dime themselves! I didn’t have anything new to say about the subject. I became a critic of other people’s work and wrote honest reviews about it to my email list. They would save money by buying only quality products. My reviews led people to ask me how to use autoresponders. They realized the need to “build a mailing list” but had no idea how to technically do it. I did some research and discovered that a lot of good guides existed about email marketing techniques and list building strategies. However, the guides all assumed you knew how to use autoresponders. That was a bold assumption. After some encouragement from a fellow marketer, I researched and wrote “Autoresponder Basics.”
Terry: Great! You benefited on an opportunity to develop a product that people wanted. What types of products/services do you believe sell well on the Internet?
Michael: First, information products (i.e., ebooks, tapes, videos, coaching, seminars, etc.) are the #1 item to sell online. Information products have low overhead and high markups. To sell information products successfully, you need a tightly targeted niche market to sell to. You need not only a niche but also a sub-niche. My ebook is the perfect example. I chose a specific subject in a niche that very few other people were marketing.
Terry: Sounds straightforward. Find a market niche and pursue it. In your pursuit, what well-known Internet marketers helped you the most with your business?
Michael: Terry Dean was the biggest help. I have almost all his products. He taught me the importance of email follow-up. Yanik Silver, Jim Edwards and Stephen Pierce have great products that have educated me.
Terry: It is very important to have guidance from a qualified coach. What is your opinion on the best way to market products/services?
Michael: The best way to market your own products is through joint ventures. The JV is a partnership formed to share risks and rewards. For example, one person develops a product and another sells it for a percentage of the profits. This is usually 50% or higher. If I have an ebook on car repair, I’d go to other car websites and ask them to put a link to my website on their website.
Terry: The implied message is to use JVs to your advantage. Do you advertise in an ezine?
Michael: Yes! Paid ezine advertising is a great way to make money quickly. However, I would not sell a product in the ad. Instead, I would give away a free report in the ad and get prospects onto an email list. Sell to the list.
Terry: That makes sense. Build your list! Is it important to have a lot of money to spend when starting a marketing business?
Michael: No! The only thing you’ll need is a good autoresponder. A website is a good resource but not mandatory if you have a good autoresponder.
Terry: OK! With regard to follow-up sales, how important is it to sell a back-end product/service?
Michael: Very. Why should you continually find only new customers and not profit from old ones? Also, back-end doesn’t necessarily mean high-end. A very good back-end product would be a recurring billing program. One of the back-end products for my autoresponder ebook is the promotion of an autoresponder service. It pays $5 a month per member signup through me. This is monthly residual income.
Terry: Back-end sales are very nice. With that in mind, how often do you contact the individuals on your opt-in prospect list and customer list?
Michael: I publish a weekly newsletter to my newsletter list to keep me on their mind. Whenever I have a good offer, I contact my customer list. I don’t want to keep bothering them unless I have an important announcement.
Terry: Quality versus quantity! How important is the promotion and sale of affiliate programs?
Michael: It’s very important! The majority of my income comes from affiliate programs. Even if you have your own products, affiliate programs are a great way to earn extra profits.
Terry: The returns from promoting affiliate programs are worth the effort. What strategy do you employ with the affiliate programs you promote?
Michael: I promote programs at different price levels but not to just make money. The program has to be a good, something I can talk about and of interest to my list. If affiliate programs are going to be your main business, develop a free report to get prospects on your email list. Next, promote the affiliate programs in your newsletter.
Terry: Sounds simple enough! Do you recruit affiliates to sell your products/services?
Michael: Most of my product sales come from affiliates. However, you can’t sit around and wait for affiliates to come to you. You must go out and actively recruit them. You want affiliates to have large email lists and credibility in your niche. Give these affiliates a free copy of your product and a large commission for each sale.
Terry: Results depend on successful recruiting. What do most Internet marketers do wrong in trying to build a successful business?
Michael: They forget the main purpose of Internet marketing! Find a hungry niche market and provide customers with good products. Some marketers get lost in the “hype” of the Internet and forget basic economic principles.
Terry: You have very thoughtful insight. Moving along. How can you tell if an affiliate program is legitimate?
Michael: I always buy the product before joining the affiliate program. If it’s a good product it’ll generally be a good affiliate program. Be cautious of any programs that focus more on selling than on the product itself. Troubles lie ahead if you have to pay to be in a program but have no clue about the product!
Terry: Know the product before committing to a program. How should a newcomer determine what field to pursue in Internet marketing?
Michael: Research a potential niche market carefully. Go to the website GoodKeywords.com and see how many people search your topic area. Select a niche area with high traffic.
Terry: Excellent recommendation! In your judgment, what are the most effective things a newcomer should do to develop an affiliate strategy?
Michael: Pick a strong niche market and 3 good affiliate programs to promote. The individual affiliate needs to brand themselves (i.e., take on a unique identity) and not the affiliate program.
Terry: Therefore, branding is critical! What key things would you recommend to a new Internet marketer to achieve financial success?
Michael: Concentrate on building a list! Learn from the people who have already succeeded. There’s no shame in asking for help. Keep a cool head and have patience. Success won’t come overnight but it will happen. Don’t give up! You may be one failure away from success.
Terry: That is good positive encouragement for all marketers. Do you have any other comments you would like to add?
Michael: If you are a newbie, you have a long road ahead of you. However, the destination is worth the wait. Everything is a learning process. Remember the main objective is to solve someone’s frustration. There was a person out there banging his keyboard in anger and trying to figure out autoresponders. My ebook solved his problem. Find a frustration and solve it! You’ll be on your way to riches!
Terry: Michael, thank you very much for your valued inputs.
Copyright © 2003 F. Terrence Markle – All Rights Reserved
FREE 7-Day Ultimate Affiliate Marketing eCourse at http://www.QuikSystems.com/uam/FreeCourse.htm
About the author
F. Terrence Markle has worked for over 20 years with public and private companies. He has an MBA in finance and marketing. He has been involved with internet-related businesses for over 3 years. His primary focus today is marketing of affiliate programs.