We end the decade today.
If you’re wondering what the next decade is going to bring for Internet marketing, consider this:
At the end of the last decade…
* Dotcom stocks were heading straight up in one of the biggest orgies of manic stock buying the world has ever seen
* Banner ads were selling at massive (and irrational) premiums
* Pay-per-click advertising (then offered by just one company, GoTo.com) was considered an oddity
* Yahoo was the 800 pound gorilla in Internet media
What a difference ten years can make
* The NASDAQ still hasn’t come even close to recovering its Year 2000 heights
* Banner ads are sanely priced
* Yahoo appears totally hopeless
* Pay-per-click advertising (mainly in the form of Google AdWords) has taken over the world
I was there ten years ago.
Actually, I was there seventeen years ago (1993) when I started making my first tentative experiments online. I had the once-in-a-lifetime thrill of witnessing and participating in the birth of a new medium.
But all was not sunny in Internet Land.
By 1998, I reached a point of total bafflement at what was going on in San Francisco and Silicon Valley in the Internet industry I helped pioneer.
People I knew to be hopeless idiots and in some cases outright scammers were being helped by New York investment banks like Goldman Sachs to loot billions of dollars from the stock market by selling shares in companies so loony that they defied belief.
That year, the fall of 1998, I voted with my feet, said “bye” to the Bay Area digerati crowd (who thought I was nuts) and moved back east to the sleepy, beautiful and then low-priced Hudson Valley to wait for the inevitable.
A year and a few months later, New Year’s Eve 1999, I watched in amazement as Internet shares that were already insanely priced went straight up.
Then it all fell apart
By the end of 2000, Internet companies were vanishing in droves.
Companies valued at hundreds of dollars per share were selling for pennies…if they were still in business at all. And as the months progressed, the implosion became more and more severe.
When I went back to San Francisco in 2003 after having been away for nearly five years, it was like a neutron bomb had hit the place. The buildings were still standing, but the people – and the companies – were gone.
In the middle of the wreckage, I did something that a lot of people thought was crazy. In 2001, I started working on a new Internet marketing training. In 2002, I launched it.
It was called the System Seminar.
The turn around
I created the System Seminar with a simple premise…
In spite of the crash of bogus Internet companies, the Internet itself was as solid as a rock – and it was going to grow, this time for real.
How could I be so sure?
For the same reason, I was willing to risk substantial time, money, energy and my reputation for sanity by putting on the first web marketing conference ever (November 1994, San Francisco.)
This time around though, things were going to be different.
The big change
The big change – and we built it right into the very first System Seminar – was that Internet advertising was going to be based on careful calculations of ROI (return on investment.)
In a way, this was nothing new. Old school direct marketers have been tracking the profitability of their ad buys for decades.
But this was a brand new concept to many on the Internet.
It’s hard to believe now, ten years after the fact, but it’s true. Before the System Seminar, only a handful of scrappy Internet entrepreneurs were tracking anything besides “hits” and the cost of banner ads.
I’m not going to take credit for the massive sea change that’s taken place in the last ten years
But I will take credit for being the first to put it on the line to teach this approach as the only one that makes sense for Internet marketers when nearly everyone else was still talking about “branding” and “mindshare.”
The big change – Part Two
In 2002 (2001 actually if you count our early beta trainings), the System Seminar was the only place on earth where you could learn an integrated approach to Internet marketing…
…One that combined smart online media buying and careful results tracking with “old school” smarts like direct response copywriting and list management.
From the very beginning, our focus was on pay-per-click. We even mentioned Google AdWords at our first seminar, even though it had only just launched and no one really understood how it worked yet.
Fast forward a few years and two of the attendees at that first System seminar (both then total PPC “newbies”) wrote what have become the two definitive books on the subject (See Perry Marshall’s “Ultimate Guide to Google AdWords” and Howie Jacobson’s “Google AdWords for Dummies.”)
Thanks to its PPC revenues, some say that Google is poised to take over the earth.
Not so fast Google
Here’s what absolutely won’t change in the coming decade:
* The Internet will continue to be a central part of hundreds of millions of people’s lives. If anything, it will become even more central as the Internet solidifies its position as the “central switching station” for all media: text, audio, video, buying, selling, communicating, chatting, gossiping etc.)
* Consumers will continue to seek VALUE in their purchases and if my crystal ball is working, they will be even more militant about getting value for their money in the years to come.
* Advertisers – the ones who are going to survive that is – are going to become even more sophisticated about tracking their results and making sure they get the best possible value for their money.
What this is going to look like is smart Internet marketers diversifying away from Google AdWords.
AdWords will continue to be an important part of the mix, but anyone who is not taking energetic, aggressive steps to free themselves from dependence on Google for their traffic is going to have cause for regret.
Strategy for System 2010
I’ve been writing ad copy since I was in high school and started paying the rent with my efforts back in the mid 1980s.
I am a serious student of the game.
Copywriting is the switch that turns raw traffic into money.
I don’t know how to state it forcefully enough but here goes: Traffic is worthless without masterful conversion and conversion is just a fancy word for ad copy, so in a very real way the whole game of Internet marketing boils down to copywriting.
In all the noise about Twitter, Facebook and other “mindshare building tools” a lot of internet marketers have lost sight of what matters in Internet marketing.
To bring us all back to reality in 2010, I’m bringing in two Big Guns of the copywriting world to System 2010 – both multi-decade veterans who write real ad copy for real companies selling real products to real people. Both master teachers…
But don’t take my word for it. They’re both published authors with their books continuously in print: Bob Bly from the US and Drayton Bird from the UK. Google them.
The other piece of the puzzle: traffic
Great copywriting, as important as it is, is not enough.
You need the second part of the equation: traffic.
I’m a big fan of SEO, article marketing, JVs, viral marketing and all the other “free” ways you can drive traffic on the Internet. Over the years, we’ve offered scores of trainings and master classes on these subjects.
But none of these methods can hold a candle to the simple, reliable method of simply buying the traffic you need.
If you want to maximize your potential on the Internet, buying traffic is where it’s at.
Buying traffic lets you turn on the traffic you need right now, not weeks and month from now.
If you’re already a traffic buyer you already know that Internet traffic is the Eighth Wonder of the world.
You can buy a little, test it, amplify what works and turn off what doesn’t.
It takes skill, know-how and paying attention, but knowing how to buy Internet traffic comes as close to money-on-demand as anything on earth.
Why it’s so hard to get good information about traffic buying
1. There are no “old” traffic buyers. Not yet, anyway.
Most of the traffic sources that matter today (like pay-per-click) weren’t even around ten years ago.
2. People who are good at traffic buying generally don’t teach.
Traffic buying is a demanding and lucrative specialty. Taking time away from the main event to teach it to others is not something most traffic buyers ever think of doing, let alone are willing to make the serious effort to do.
That’s where the System Seminar has a major leg up over every other Internet marketing training.
Just as people like Perry Marshall and Howie Jacobson were motivated by their experience as System Seminar students to document and share what they learned about AdWords, the new generation of System-inspired Internet marketers is ready and willing to do the same with what they’ve learned about the nut and bolts of buying traffic today…in 2009, soon to be 2010.
Our System 2010 traffic faculty
For the first time ever, we’ll have traffic buyers on this year’s System faculty who have spent (and continue to spend) and track millions of dollars of their own money on Internet ad buys: Greg Davis, who specializes in high volume mass appeal consumer offers and Ben Moskel who specializes in a highly competitive niche where traffic costs are at a premium.
Both are real-world experts in uncovering new traffic sources, testing them, and figuring out how to make them pay. Their knowledge is not theoretical – and you won’t find it in any book or course. It’s based on the market as it is right now.
To round out our faculty, Google-certified Timothy Seward of ROI Revolution who guides the purchase of tens of millions of dollars a year in traffic for over seventy companies, will share his perspective on what’s working today, where things are headed, and what it takes to maximize the profits of an Internet business.
Steal this seminar
If you’re reading this before January 1, 2010, you have the chance to get all this cutting-edge knowledge at a bargain basement price.
Every year, we make the System Seminar available to people who can make an early decision to get a bargain price.
If you’re an Internet marketer and you’re already buying traffic for your business, System 2010 will be some of the best time and money you’ve ever spent.
If you’re looking to make the leap into Internet traffic buying, System 2010 will:
a) show you what’s really involved (no sugar coating),
b) cut months if not years off your learning curve, and
c) help you get where you want to go faster without making expensive mistakes.
The fact is one wrong move in traffic buying can easily cost you several multiples of the price of System Seminar 2010. (You may even be making an expensive traffic buying mistake right now and not even realize it.)
Our traffic buying faculty has already made most of the big, dumb, expensive mistakes so you don’t have to.
Even more important, they’ve dug up traffic sources and refined tracking methods that are practically guaranteed to improve your bottom line.
Early Bird Registration Deadline: December 31, 2009
How much for this hard won, can’t-be-found-anywhere-else knowledge?
For the multi-decade experience of two master direct response copywriters with hundreds of campaigns each under their belts…
For the rough and tumble know-how of two master multi-million dollar traffic buyers…
For the insights of one of the sharpest Internet campaign advisors in the business, certified by Google…
And for the insight of yours truly, the guy who’s been at this now for seventeen years, consistently finding you the right people at the right time for your next right move?
Check it out.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how affordable all this is when you’re an early bird.
But do it by midnight December 31, 2009.
P.S. Happy New Year!