footyBrace yourself – the entire nation is about to be engulfed in World Cup fever.

Flags will be wedged in car windows and on the front of houses, beer and crisp aisles in the supermarket will be bare and most of the nation instantaneously will be suffering from colds on the same day.

Most industries have some sort of seasonal increase – whether you are an ice cream man in the peak of July or the tree salesman at Christmas.

This seasonal demand can benefit all industries once every four years, it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in – most people love the World Cup.

A promotion that caught my eye was at Curry’s – where the customer chooses which promotion they can have. For every goal Brazil score the customer will receive £5 off their television they purchase – or for every goal England score they will receive £10 off.

Paddy Power unveiled their latest pundit for the World Cup yesterday – which turned out to be the unlikely choice of Stephen Hawking. They unveiled this while promoting their unrivalled offer of 100/1 for England to win the World Cup.

I accept that these companies have a lot larger marketing budget than most – however there is no budget on creativity.

Perhaps offer a discount on price if England were to progress from the group stages. Encouraging interaction between the customer, the business and the competition will make the experience a lot more exciting for everyone; especially the consumer.

Any promotions should be driven through social media and should try and attract social shares to make people more aware. A good, solid marketing campaign in the World Cup can attract masses of interest online and potentially through local press.

For the few weeks or so every four years the country becomes patriotic and beams with national pride – exploit this to your advantage and try to make it somehow relevant with your product or service.

With the World Cup just two weeks away, England may not win – but you certainly can.



Ben Lyons copy

Ben Lyons

Marketing Assistant

The Internet Marketing Academy

(Image courtesy of Sailom at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)


InboundDo you know the difference between outbound marketing and inbound marketing? Outbound marketing includes things like email blasts, outsourced telemarketing, pay-per-click advertising, trade shows, and seminar series. These are “outbound” marketing techniques because you are pushing your message out to as many prospects as you can and hoping you reach some of them. Most people are riddled with these types of advertising “interruptions” on a daily basis and are getting better and better at blocking them and tuning them out. Inbound marketing, by contrast, means that you create and distribute relevant content that your target audience will find without your direct involvement. A social media presence, your blog, YouTube videos, and white papers are examples of inbound marketing.

Starting An Inbound Marketing Campaign

Outbound marketing to a large group of people who are all trying to avoid you is a bit like beating your head against a brick wall. Instead, develop your inbound marketing so that people who are already shopping in your industry will find you naturally. These days you should be investing much more of your marketing efforts on inbound techniques. Done right, this can attract visitors organically to your website through social media and search engines.

Understand Your Targets

Your goal is to get visitors to your website, but before you can develop content that will attract them, you need to know who they are. Determine which customers you are trying to reach by analysing your past customers. What do they have in common? You can use these shared traits to target new customers. For example, if your analysis shows that a lot of your past customers come from a specific social media site and fall under a certain age group and gender, you can use this information to create content that appeals to the specific demographic.

Plan Your Actions

Now that you know who your target audience is, you can decide on the best inbound marketing approach. This could include things like what type of content to create, providing a way to subscribe to your email list, creating relevant videos, or sharing your content on social media websites.

Don’t Forget To Distribute

Once your content is complete, get it out there so people can find it. Be proactive by finding the social networks your target audience frequents the most. Become an active member of these communities. Take the time to share content other than your marketing pieces and be an involved, respected member. And ask “power users” – authorities in the industry – to share your content with their followers.

Measure Your Success

Make sure your results are measurable – for continued success, you’ll want to know which actions drew the most customers. Use the available conversion rate tracking tools to monitor your results so you’ll know whether your efforts are paying off – and which ones – so you don’t waste your time and so that you can maximise your results in the future.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Flickr)

large black video cameraThere are two types of sales videos — the lengthy video that fully demonstrates your product and gives consumers all the information they need in order to purchase it, and a short video teaser that creates interest or buzz about your product or brand. Think of them as the online versions of infomercials and commercials. These tips will help you to create captivating short sales videos or sizzle videos.

Use high quality content

Your videos do not have to be slick and polished, or look like a high priced advertisement. However, they should not have grainy video or audio that is difficult to understand. Film your video in high definition, which is available from inexpensive consumer cameras. Properly light the subject of your video, and frame the subject of your video correctly. If your product is featured, it should be clearly visible. Film your video in quiet settings so that the audio recording is clear, or use studio voiceovers. Music should be appropriate to both your audience and the message you are sending.

Target a specific audience

You should know exactly who will be watching this video, based on your targeted demographic persona. Each persona should be targeted with a separate video, so that it can be tailored specifically to the needs and desires of that persona. Determine the style of video that will be most appealing to that persona, whether it is full of infographics, slow reveals of key product features, or a rapid montage of images.

Find five features

Each video should mention the benefits of at least 3 and no more than 5 features of your product. Determine which features and benefits are the most important to your target audience, and mention only those.

Keep things moving

Ensure that any still images in your video appear to be moving by using transitions. Avoid using static images or blocks of text, although short catch phrases or important statements can be used sparingly. Titles and closing credits should have some movement to the backgrounds, even if the text is static.

Think reusability

You’ll get more use from your video if the parts that change rapidly (such as sale information) or vary between otherwise identical scripts (such as location names) are done in a voice over or using a replaceable title card. When they change, the video can be easily updated, without requiring an entirely new video production. Similarly, if you are creating a number of different videos for different personas with different collections of featured benefits, careful scripting and editing will allow you to reuse the descriptions of individual features in multiple videos, rather than needing to shoot each video in its entirety.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Morguefile)

honey potBefore you settle on the best type of Internet marketing for you, you need to know what you are marketing. Do you merely wish to raise awareness of your business or brand? Or do you wish to make online sales? If you are making online sales, is it an entirely electronic transaction, with online delivery of electronic content, or will you need to integrate with a physical sales and distribution function? All of these decisions affect how and what you will market.

Electronic products

The easiest online sales for an Internet marketer are information products. These products are e-books, videos, or web-based seminars wherein all of the content is delivered electronically, without any physical component. Such products offer certain advantages from a marketer’s standpoint: instant delivery (and gratification) to the customer, zero delivery cost, zero production cost, and infinite scalability (you can sell a million units as easily as ten).

Physical products

In this era of service- and idea-based economies, there are still plenty of physical products that are made and marketed. Arguably, these can even be some of the most exciting and valuable offerings for Internet marketing. When one is in the business of making and selling such products, selling on the Internet is an essential part of modern business strategy.

Product support

In the world of e-commerce, certain “old-fashioned” principles are becoming more important than ever. This is true whether you market information products or physical products. While it used to be possible to get away with bad or mediocre service, nowadays companies are severely punished for this. Customer complaints not only get posted in conspicuous websites but can even go viral, compounding the damage considerably. Your Internet marketing needs to be aligned with customer support, such as scanning Twitter and other social media for mentions of your product and company, to identify and address customer satisfaction issues.

Manage expectations

Purchasers of information products expect instantaneous delivery. If you require backend processing that will take some time before the product will be available, make sure that the customer is informed of this during the purchase process, before the final sale. Similarly, physical product sales should include information regarding shipping times, as well as how long your business requires for fulfilment before the purchase will be ready to ship. Additional customer contact can be made informing the customer when the product has been handed off to the shipper, as well as providing tracking information to further manage expectations of delivery.

By carefully managing expectations and customer service, Internet marketing can lead to a highly successful web-based business with either electronic or physical products, enjoying superior profit margins compared to sales from a physical store.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: MorgueFile)

I am not referring to a short list of things you can do to achieve success with Internet marketing. Rather, you can use the technique of creating a short list to ensure that you have the most successful and profitable business dealings with subcontractors and vendors. This is especially useful for Internet marketing, since you have a global pool of subcontractors and vendors.

What is a short list?

For any situation where you are accepting proposals from a wide variety of vendors or subcontractors, you want to get the best deal that you can. The best deal is not always the least expensive deal, although price is usually a component. Your short list consists of those vendors or subcontractors whom you are confident could adequately perform what you are requesting, for a price that would not give you too much heartburn. If you threw a dart at the list of names, no matter where it hit, you would be satisfied with hiring that business or person.

Get better deals with a short list

Since only the best proposals will make it onto your short list, the vendors and subcontractors are motivated to offer you the best deal they possibly can upfront, rather than holding out for concessions during negotiations. Once you know which vendors and subcontractors are on your short list, you can compare their deals, and ask them for modifications. For example, if you were asking for a graphic design to be created and only one of the businesses included a free revision of the design, you could ring up the other people on your short list and ask them if they would also offer a free revision of their design. It may be that others didn’t mention this on their bids even though it is part of their service because you hadn’t explicitly asked for it, or would consider including it in exchange for some feature they normally offer which you didn’t want.

Using a short list

In order for a short list to be effective, your vendors and subcontractors must know that you will be assembling a short list, and then coming back only to those that make the short list for a final set of negotiations. When you send out your initial request for proposals, tell everyone that you will be assembling a short list within a week of when the proposals are due – if you are getting fewer proposals, you will need fewer days to read and consider them all – and that you will contact everyone on that list before making your final decision. Also, consider their ability to follow your explicit directions regarding submitting their best proposals and awaiting your contact as a sign of how likely they are to follow your directions in completing the project you assign them.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Rawich at

FriendsMany people think that being a good salesperson requires developing relationships with lots of “rapport” and expressions of warmth. Their goal is to develop a persona like a fishing buddy or other person with whom their customer would share many good times and personal intimacy. The internet marketing side of this comes out in how you portray yourself in social media.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with developing such relationships with your customers, it’s the wrong attitude with which to start. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Your customer isn’t looking for a friend; they’re looking for an expert whom they can trust. Once they find such an expert, they expect to be told the truth, even when the truth won’t bring them closer to buying something from you. That’s what true experts do, and it’s what wins both minds and hearts.

Tell your customers the truth. Even better take the stance that you’re there to serve, not to sell. No one wants to be sold anything. People want to buy. Take the stance that you’ll find out what your customer needs, even if it isn’t something you can provide to them; even if it’s something that a competitor can provide. When you take this stance, you begin to rise above the crowd and gain a reputation for excellence and service.

If you want to really maximise the potential here, take the stance that you’ll even be willing to risk the relationship if that’s what you believe is best for the customer. This might include telling the customer that they’re about to do something that they haven’t thought through enough, or that is a mistake—and why. You can tell them this nicely, and you should always get permission first.

Those who do their level best to put the customer first, not just as a catchy slogan or catchphrase but as a way of living, will find in many cases that their customers will become enthusiastic fans who recommend them to all of their friends. They will refer business to you, and that’s always the best way to get new customers.

Once you understand that your customers need you to be the expert they can trust, you will find this leads to a variety of different behaviours. How will you dress? What will your website look like? How will you communicate with prospects? What will your stationery, business cards, and proposals look like? All of these questions can be answered by determining what will make it easiest for potential customers to view you as an expert they can trust.

Those who try to be all things to all prospects find themselves in a weak position, since it is impossible to be an expert in everything. They rarely build lasting relationships of real value.

Don’t be your customer’s friend. Be their ally and serve their true needs. See what happens. You’ll be amazed at the results.





Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy


(Image: Stock Xchng)

If you have ever visited a website and had to sit and wait for the homepage to load, you know the frustration it can cause. In fact, you may have even left the site and went elsewhere. If your site stats show you have traffic, but you are not having success with conversions, you may have a load time issue. You need to look at your site carefully and with the eyes of an outsider. If you have to sit and wait, even a mere 20 seconds, do you honestly think your visitors are going to wait?

I know that in my own experience, if I have to wait on a site to load, I am going to go somewhere else. Technology has made fast access to websites and expectation, not a luxury. We want to click our mouse and be on our way shopping or researching. If your site does not load fast, you may have statistical evidence of traffic but no conversions.

Before going into the ways you can speed up the loading process, you should know that you have to optimise your web page for loading at 56K, not just high-speed Internet connections. High speed connections are not available to everyone. You do not want to lose sales just because you ignored the sector of Internet users with a 56K connection.

It is not difficult to make your site load faster, and any webmaster can help you accomplish this quite easily. There are some factors that are going to be site specific, such as a shopping site that is mainly a database versus a photography shop where graphics are the main factor. However, you can optimise some of the common features that may be slowing your website down, regardless of the type of site.

First, graphics are necessary to attract your visitors’ attention. However, too many graphics or graphics that have not been optimised for use on the web can cause slow loading times. Take a look at your site and make sure you do not have it overloaded with images. Ask your web designer to make sure your images are properly sized for web use.

Next, if your page uses tables, make sure they are broken up into smaller tables. Large tables can be slow to download.

Finally, if you use multimedia on your homepage, is it truly worth it? Are you keeping visitors’ attention with the multimedia or do you like it and want it there? If it is not attracting and keeping the attention of visitors, you might want to consider removing it. It has been shown that almost half of all website visitors either skip multimedia or close out of the page and go to another site. Are pretty bells and whistles worth losing that much traffic?

It is not hard to maximise the traffic you your website and convert it to revenue. Your first step is keeping the visitors to your site. Analyse your website and make the necessary changes to increase your rate of retention. You will be amazed at the difference a faster loading web page makes.

If you have already dealt with slow loading web pages and made changes that worked for you, share your tips with us using the comment box.



Sean McPheat

Managing Director

The Internet Marketing Academy

(Image: Wouterhagens via Wikimedia Commons)






Every move you make in a marketing campaign should be designed to accomplish one of several goals; inform, connect, brand, serve and/or sell.  The Internet has made customer interaction more personal than ever.  Prior to the advent of instant online communication, talking with a company could take weeks as letters travelled back and forth through the mail.  Now, communication is instantaneous and if a company takes more than a couple of days to respond to a request, it loses the opportunity to respond directly to a customer.  Even if subsequent communication occurs, the immediacy is lost, and the customer will no longer feel as important.  Thankfully, the Internet provides several alternatives to the plodding envelope.


A periodic newsletter is a great way to keep customers updated on what is happening within your company.  Industry news and news specific to your business should be answered here.  It is also a great place to post customer feedback and question and answer sessions.  If you routinely answer customer questions in this section, you give customers a public place to air their concerns.  This allows them to see how important they are to your company.


Business can be very impersonal, so it is important to be more than a faceless company.  Every action you take needs to develop a connection with consumers.  By creating an e-newsletter that is rich in detail about the people that make your company great, you give customers the connection they look for and build a lasting relationship.


Branding your company is one of the best things you can do to create simple and effective advertising.  An e-newsletter is a great place to have contests regarding logo creation and ad slogans.  Provide consumers with the information about your company’s goals and achievements and invite them to participate in the process.  This connects them, while simultaneously helping to develop your company’s brand image.


No matter the industry, the first priority should be to serve your clientele.  Even if you are in a direct sale business, where you market products rather than services, there are still plenty of opportunities to serve your clientele.  Product testing and honest reviews go a lot further than many businesses realise, and an e-newsletter is the perfect place for this type of information.  Small how-to guides can also be included to better serve customers.


While all marketing is ultimately designed to sell, in an e-newsletter it should be a very soft sale.  Instead of selling directly, the entire newsletter should speak to the customer about the value of dealing with your company, by providing valuable content.  At no point should you simply inundate them with sales speeches.

An e-newsletter gives you a great forum for marketing directly to customers and soliciting responses.  The best part about them is that they are very inexpensive to produce.  No company has a marketing budget that is too strapped for an e-newsletter.  If you don’t already produce one, start today!




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Social media is now a top marketing opportunity for many growing companies.  There are almost a billion people involved in some form of social media, which makes this an ideal marketplace to offer products and services.  Don’t get caught up in only marketing on Facebook either.  Although it is the single largest opportunity, it is not the only one out there.  Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace and YouTube are just a few of the other very well-known Social Media sites.  The vast array of opportunities for a free connection with potential customers make social media web sites an ideal opportunity to incorporate them in your overall marketing strategy.

More and more companies are recognising these options, without doing the proper research to make the strategy successful.  Jumping in to sink or swim is not the best option.  It often leads to failure that is difficult to recover from.  Before choosing to enter the social media marketplace, do your research.  Figure out which social media site will best market your product or service.  Always have a plan before you jump into a marketing push.

The following are some great tips to help you get started on social media marketing:

Choose the Right Site

The first step is all about research.  Visit the sites you are considering using for marketing purposes and find out how they work, who is the predominant user and what the most effective methods of making contact with potential customers are.  Don’t simply pick the most used site either, figure out if the platform of each site will work with the strategy you are pursuing.  Will Facebook, YouTube or Twitter best represent your company?  Information is the key to avoiding a desperate sales pitch that will push customers away rather than reel them in.

Honesty is the Best Policy

After you have picked the social media site that offers the best way to connect with customers it is time to unveil your pitch.  Keep in mind that sometimes a combination of social media sites is most effective so never box yourself in to only one site.  Also, never lie to the consumer.  With the easy methods available of sharing information through social media, a lie can hit your company hard and completely close that avenue of client building. Always tell the truth to potential customers and you will have much greater success marketing online.



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1. Keep is Short and Sweet

In marketing, less usually is more.  With Twitter all messages must be short and sweet, keeping all communications on point. The concise nature of the posts on Twitter means that clients will get enough of a teaser to be interested, but not so much that they dismiss the statement. Their interest will convince them to investigate further and find out all the details.  Instead of hitting people with a text wall, tweets are more like a tasting menu that fires the client’s imagination.


2. Access

Twitter allows you instant access to hundreds or thousands of people.  Even those that don’t stay logged in all the time, often make a point of checking Twitter at least once a day. This makes Twitter a great marketing opportunity since you will always be able to reach those potential customers.  Being able to provide potential customers with instant, updated information about what your company is offering is a great way to keep customers engaged.

3. It’s Everywhere

People respond to companies that they humanise.  If a company has a face and voice, clients are more likely to respond positively.  Because Twitter is more of a social networking tool than a marketing tool, it gives potential customers a sense that they are interacting with a company on a personal level.  Anything that humanises a company encourages customer loyalty and keeps the company in the forefront of client thought.

4. Two Way Communication

Remember that selling is just as much about listening as it is about talking.  Twitter is a great way for you to keep up with what is happening in your industry.  It is a simple matter to start following some users that seem to really be involved in your industry.  It is also important to watch industry leaders, not just those that are highly marketed, but also individuals that have gained large followings often have content that is highly relevant and interesting.

5. A Little Humour Goes a Long Way

Everyone likes to get the punch line of a joke, so starting one in a tweet and finishing it on your website are great ways to engage clients.  A bit of a teaser is no bad thing.  Preserve the mystery.  The entire goal of tweets is to convince people to click through to your website.






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