The allure of so-called internet riches is nothing new. At every bend and turn in a gauntlet of online gurus, you’ll find internet marketers looking to hype up this supposed dream of making money online or earning passive income while kicking up your feet and letting the cash roll in. While internet marketing doesn’t quite work that way, in that you actually do have to put in the work, it isn’t too difficult to separate the proverbial men from the boys when it comes to the real online earners.
The Truth? You don’t often come across genuine individuals in this space. I could likely count on one hand who those genuine-minded marketers might be. Someone like Russel Brunson who’s developed a career out of providing true value in the field and helping to educate the uneducated is one such name. However, while Brunson has built a colossal business, the story of David Sharpe and his journey to becoming an 8-figure earner really hits home for most people.
I first discovered Sharpe years ago online. His story was one of the most sincere and intriguing tales that any one individual could convey. It was real. It was heartfelt. It was passionate. And it was a story of rockbottom failure. It encompassed a journey that mentally, emotionally and spiritually crippled him in the early years of his life. As someone who left home at the age of 14, had a child at 16, became addicted to heroin at 20 and clean four long years later, the cards were definitely stacked up against him.
That type of earth-shattering failure and pain really does a number on a person. Getting clean and overcoming those demons isn’t as simple as people make it out to be. You need to have some serious deep-down reasons on why you must succeed at all costs. You have to be able to extricate yourself from the shackles of bad habits that have consumed you during your entire life. And that’s precisely what Sharpe did.
Before Sharpe ever came into close proximity with the internet marketing field, he was a construction worker. Needing a way to make ends meet, like millions of other people around the world, he turned to a field that could hopefully pay the bills. But try as he might, he was never able to actually get ahead. Until one day, when Sharpe discovered the amount of money being made online by internet marketers, his entire mindset changed.
In the beginning, it was rough for Sharpe. No one out there should think that it’s going to be easy whatsoever. His journey took years and years to go from an absolute beginner, to a fluid and seasoned professional, able to clearly visualize and achieve his dreams, conveying his vast knowledge expertly to those hungry-minded individuals out there looking to learn how to generate a respectable income online.
What Is Internet Marketing?
While many people attempt to understand and wrap their minds around the internet marketing industry as a whole, there are others out there that have truly mastered the field. Now, if you’re asking yourself what the term internet marketing actually means, it simply boils down to a number of marketing activities that can be done online. This includes things like affiliate marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, blogging, paid marketing, search engine optimization and so on.
There’s a lot to learn when it comes to the internet marketing field in general, and the digital ether of the web is a crowded space filled with one know-it-all after another that wants to sell you the dream. However, what many people fail to do at the start, and something that Sharpe learned along the way, is to actually understand what’s going on out there in the digital world and how businesses and e-commerce works in general, before diving in headfirst.
Internet marketing is a number of things. And true success in the field involves an immersion into several skill sets that are required if you really want to succeed at the highest level. That’s why I knew I needed to go the top of the food chain of online marketers to get an understanding of what this actually takes. And it’s important to note that while there are many hyped-up gurus out there, there are also genuine individuals that aren’t just looking to extract money from you.
That’s what kept bringing me back to Sharpe. When it comes to internet marketing, this is one of the masterminds in the industry, a high-8-figure earner who recently generated over $1 million dollars within a 60-day period with a brand new system. I knew that if I was going to help educate people about internet marketing, I had to go straight to the top. Sharpe is also one of the most relatable characters in the industry, who speaks eloquently and fluidly, able to inspire millions of people with ease.
The combination of charisma, charm and intellect has helped catapult Sharpe to the top of the heap. In a recent conversation with him, I wanted to learn what it truly took to become an expert digital marketer. And one of the most important takeaways from that phone call was that if he could do it, anyone could do it. For someone who failed so devastatingly very early on in life, to rise from the ashes like a phoenix was no easy feat.
However, if you’re like the hundreds of millions of other individuals that are looking to become the next David Sharpe, there are some steps that you need to take. In my call with this renowned online marketer, I dove deep the a conversation that was submerged in the field of internet marketing, and worked to really understand what it takes to be top earner. We’re not just talking about making a few hundred or thousand dollars to squeak by here; we’re talking about building an automated cash machine. It’s not easy by any means.
Still, before we get there, there’s a whole lot of information to grasp. As an online marketer myself, it’s important that I convey the truth about the industry to you so that you don’t get sucked up into the dream. While there are legitimate marketers like Sharpe out there ready and willing to help, there are loads of others that are simply looking to help part you from your hard-earned cash. Before you do anything, gather all of the information you can.
Understanding The Internet Marketing Field
Okay. Okay. There is a lot to learn. However, everyone has to start somewhere. If you’re just being introduced to internet marketing, and you’ve become bedazzled by the glitz and the glamor of the top online income earners, know that it’s not going to be easy to replicate their success. Be sure that you set your expectations the proper way. As long as you stay persistent, you can achieve your goals of generating healthy amounts of money online without becoming the victim of a scam.
First and foremost, when it comes to marketing anything online, it’s important to understand how money is made and earned. In my phone call with Sharpe, he identified several items that were well worth mentioning. Once you understand where the money comes from and how the industry works, you can then better understand how best to position yourself and your offer so that you can reap the benefits of the making-money-while-you-sleep industry.
The field is replete with terms that might confuse and perplex the average individual. What is a squeeze page? What’s a sales funnel? What’s a CPA? What’s SEO? How do you setup a good blog to filter the right type of relevant traffic and get your offer in front of eligible users? What’s a massive value post (MVP) really mean? Clearly, there are an endless array of terms, some of which you might already know or might not depending on how much you presently know about the field.
However, before learning any of that, it’s important that you get a lay of the land, so to speak. If you truly want to understand the field of internet marketing, Sharpe has some very good points. In essence there are four overall steps to really understanding internet marketing and leveraging the industry to make money online. Depending on where you are with your education, you’ll be somewhere along the lines of these four steps.
#1 — What’s actually going on online and how is money being made?
Most people need to take a step back and understand where money is even coming from on the web. Sharpe says that, when asked, most individuals don’t actually even know how money is being made on a high level. How does Facebook generate its revenues? How about Google? How do high-trafficked blogs become so popular and how do they generate money from all of that traffic? Is there one way or many?
The answer, at its basis, is largely what I convey in a great majority of my books about search engine optimization and online marketing. It all boils down to one simple concept: add tremendous amounts of value to the world. The more value you add, the more successful you become. Essentially, you have to do the most amount of work (initially at least) for the least return. Not the other way around.
By building enormous amounts of value, Facebook and Google both became tremendously successful. They didn’t focus on revenues at the outset. They focused on value. And every single blog and business must do the same. While this might run contrary to someone who’s short on cash and hoping that internet marketing is going to bring them a windfall overnight, it doesn’t quite work that way.
This is also about expectations. Anyone that tries to sell you a get-rich-quick scheme is selling you short. There is no such thing. You have to put in the time and do the work, adding enormous amounts of value along the way. That’s the truth of the matter and that’s precisely what it takes. Once you understand that it’s all about delivering sincere value, you need to understand where the money comes from.
Any definition of internet marketing needs to come along with a definition of things associated with it such as affiliate marketing, network marketing, multi-level marketing and so on and so forth. Some of these are less legitimate than others. For example, affiliate marketing is a tough nut to crack unless you have a massive following or you understand how to build excellent squeeze pages and effective sales funnels.
For the most part, the 6-figure, 7-figure, and 8-figure-earners and up are making a large majority of their income by scaling out offers that they control. If you’re just starting out, that avenue isn’t for you. It only comes over time as you come to understand the field. As Sharpe says, most people first need to get a lay of the land and cruise through the virtual sales landscape before they dive into a massive undertaking like creating their own digital products and sales funnels.
#2 — Pick what you want to do
Once you understand how everything works, and your expectations are set the right way, decide what you want to do. Do you want to become an affiliate marketer? Do you want to be a network marketer? Do you want to become a blogger and sell your own products? Squeeze pages, which are glorified sales pages that attract people and direct their attention towards a single action of providing their email address, are created in a variety of methods. The better they are, the more likely they’ll convert.
Understand that whatever you’re going to do, you’ll need traffic. If you don’t have any money at the outset, your hands will be tied no matter what anyone tells you. The truth is that you need to drive traffic to your offers if you want them to convert. These are what we call landing pages or squeeze pages. This is where you’re coming into contact with the customers, either for the first time or after they get to know you a little bit better.
If you decide to go into affiliate marketing, understand that you will need a lot of very targeted traffic if you want to make any real money. Those affiliate offers also need to provide a high commission amount to you on each sale. You also need to ensure that the returns or chargebacks for those products or services are low. The last thing you want to do is to sell a product or service that provides very little value and gets returned often.
Going into network marketing? Understand that if you’re not close to the top of the food chain there, your ability to generate any serious amount of income will be limited. Be wary of the hype and the sales pitches that get you thinking that it’s going to work the other way. Simply understand that you’re going to have to work hard no matter what you pick to do. Email marketing? Sure. You can do that. But you’ll need a massive and very targeted list to make any dent.
There are things like solo ads that you can buy or join up with JV partners to help sell whatever it is that you’re peddling. But at the outset, you’re going to find it difficult to succeed in the internet marketing field. Ensure that you learn the right skills along the way so that you can become an effective online marketer. It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you don’t stop, you’ll reach your goals.
#3 — Decide how you’ll communicate with people
The next step? How will you communicate with people. Sharpe says that you need to decide on this early on. Will you blog? Will you use social media? Will you build a list by working with solo ad providers? Will you place paid advertisements? What will you do and how will you do it? What you must realize here is that you have to get really good at copy writing. The better you get at copy writing, the more success you’ll find as an internet marketer.
By now, you’ve likely seen all the “gurus” in your Facebook feed. Some of them are more popular than others. What you’ll notice is that the ads you see that have the highest views and engagement are normally the most successful. Use a site like Similar Web to study those ads and see what they’re doing. Join their lists and embed yourself in their funnels. That’s an important part of the process so that you can replicate and reverse engineer what the most successful marketers are doing.
Sharpe, who’s presently running a company called Legendary Marketer, teaching you how to duplicate his results, is a prime example. By understanding how Sharpe has constructed his value chain, positioned his offerings and built out his multi-modality sales funnels, you’ll better get a larger grasp on things. As confusing as it sounds at the outset, all you need to do is start buying up products in your niche so that you can replicate their success.
Brunson talks about this reverse engineering in his book called, Dot Com Secrets, a homage to the internet marketing industry, and quite possibly one of the best and most transparent books around in the field. Communication is what will bridge the divide between making no money and becoming a massive six or seven-figure earner. Be straight with people and learn to communicate effectively and understand every stage of the process and you’ll prosper as an internet marketer.
#4 — Pick a niche and decide what you’re passionate about
Sharpe says that you shouldn’t dive into internet marketing until you decide on a niche and figure out what you’re passionate about. Do you want to join the make-money-online (MMO) niche? Or do you want to engage in another niche? For example, you could sell products or online courses about blogging or search engine optimization or anything else for that matter. Keep in mind that whatever you’re selling, whatever niche you’re in, that you need to embed yourself there deeply.
When deciding on your niche, you have to actually start a blog or a website that’s going to be your online hub. This is where your anchor content is going to live. Everything else will link to here. All the ads you run and traffic you drive through social media or SEO or anything else will all come here. You need a custom domain and a professional looking site if you want anyone to take you seriously.
This isn’t about off-the-shelf solutions. You need to really convey something illustrious and beautiful, then fill it with incredible MVP content. Over time, this will become a thriving hotbed of activity for you, where people will come by and check-in repeatedly to see what you’re talking about and what value you’re delivering. Keep in mind that this won’t happen quickly. It will take years. Yes, I said years.
That doesn’t mean you won’t make any money at the outset. No, as long as you configure the right free offer to capture those all-important email addresses on your squeeze pages, and you build a great value chain with excellent sales funnels, you’ll succeed. If all that sounds confusing to you, don’t worry, you’ll learn over time. That’s what internet marketing is all about. It’s a constant and never-ending education into an oftentimes-convoluted field filled with less-than-scrupulous individuals.
So be wary. Ensure that you learn from the pros and don’t get sucked into every offer that you see. Follow the reputable people online. It’s easy to distinguish those that fill you with hype and those that are actually out there for your benefit. Look to add value along the way and you’ll succeed. You might find it frustrating at the outset. Everyone does. But massive amounts of income await those that stick it out and see things through.
R.L. Adams is a software engineer, serial entrepreneur, and author. He runs a wildly-popular blog called Wanderlust Worker and contributes to Entrepreneur, Engadget and the Huffington Post.