“To follow without halt, one aim; there is the secret of success.” – Anna Pavlova

 If you aren’t yet making money online, one of your goals for 2008 should be to stop talking about starting an Internet marketing business – and start actually doing it.

If you already have an Internet marketing business, your goal should be to double your online revenues within the next 12 months.

Where to start? Here are five suggestions:

1. Try the “e-list swap.”

Your online sales are roughly proportional to the size of your opt-in e-list – readers who have given you their e-mail address and permission to use it. There are more ways to build a large e-list of quality subscribers than I have fingers on my hands… though not many more.

My favorite method is what I call the “e-list swap.” Go to an online marketer who reaches the same market niches you sell to. Offer to promote his free e-zine (or another free offer) to your subscribers. In exchange, he promotes your e-zine to his list. You both get new names and build your lists, with no out-of-pocket costs.

2. Ask your subscribers what they need and want.

The most important part of your Internet marketing business isn’t your product, your prices, your offers, your websites, or your software. It’s having an intimate relationship with your online subscribers.

By “intimate,” I mean really knowing them – and caring about them.

What do they want or need in their lives… or their businesses… that you might be able to supply?

Figure it out. Easiest way is to ask them. (I sent a solo e-mail to my list saying, “What do you guys need and want from me?” Within days, I knew the answer.) Then create great products that fill those needs and satisfy your subscribers’ desires.

Yes, it’s almost that simple.

3. Convert site visitors into prospects with a “floater.”

If Internet users come to any of your websites and pages and leave without buying anything – and you do not capture their e-mail addresses -you have lost a big opportunity. Specifically, you have lost the opportunity to capture leads from prospects who were interested enough to click onto your site, add them to your online subscriber list, and convert them into customers.

One way to capture more e-mail addresses from your visitors: Use a “floater.” A floater is a window that slides or “floats” from the sides of the monitor to the center. Because it’s the same HTML code as the site, a pop-up blocker can’t stop it.

The floater copy typically says something like, “Hey, don’t leave without claiming your free gift!” You offer a valuable free report or other free content. All the visitor must do to claim his prize is submit his e-mail address, adding himself to your opt-in list.

4. Develop affiliate relationships.

You can build your online business on your own, but affiliates can help you build it faster.

Find Internet marketers serving your market. Become their affiliate and sell their products to your list for an affiliate commission. At the same time, see if they like any of your products enough to offer them to their list as your affiliate.

5. Stop dreaming and start taking action. Do something!

I’ve lost count of how many people I’ve spoken with who tell me they dream of starting an Internet marketing business… and then never do. The main reason, they tell me, is usually that they do not know enough about the Internet – yet – and are not quite done with their research and “studies.” They always have to meet one more guru… attend one more bootcamp… attend one more seminar… study one more course… master one more technology. And then they’ll be ready to go.

If you fall into this category, my advice to you is: Stop studying. You already know enough to start – more than enough, in fact. The rest you will learn better by DOING it than by reading about it.

It won’t even cost you a lot, since the Internet is very forgiving of mistakes: You can test-market any new information product for a few hundred dollars or less.

Ready to take action? Good. Now here’s your challenge: Create your first product… and put up a site or landing page to market it… by February 19, 2008. (That’s exactly a month from today.)

Not a day later.

Because if you don’t take action now, I fear you never will. And I don’t want you to miss out on all the fun – and money – that can be yours when you start or jumpstart your Internet marketing business this year.

[Ed. Note: Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter, the author of more than 70 books, and co-creator of ETR’s Direct Marketing Masters Edition program.]

Bob Bly

Bob Bly is an independent copywriter and consultant specializing in business-to-business and direct marketing. He has been hired as a consultant by such companies as Sony, Chemical Bank, J. Walter Thompson, Westinghouse, and Prentice-Hall. Bob is also the author of more than 50 books including The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Direct Marketing (Alpha Books), Targeted Public Relations, Selling Your Services, How to Promote Your Own Business, and Keeping Clients Satisfied. A phenomenal public speaker, Bob will share with you how easy it is to start your own business. Whether you’re ready to quit your job or are just looking to make a little money on the side, you’ll want to hear Bob’s advice.