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Its Not That Hard: Expert Shares Practical Tips For Internet Marketing Novices
Try to run a search for the name Edward Gilbert. You'll garner about 2,700,000 hits, and the most prominent of them would refer to Edward Gilbert the doctor, Edward Gilbert the lawyer, and Edward Gilbert the deceased professional wrestler. None of them though, would point to Edward Gilbert, the internet marketing millionaire.
"I'm not comfortable with self-promotion," said Edward, or Eddie to his friends and clients. He used to be one of the top "dropshippers," or wholesale distributors in cyberspace, having supplied various products like vintage shoes, hip hop accessories and charms to many people worldwide. Currently, he considers himself as a retired internet marketer and has invested his online earnings in the real estate game. The real world real estate, that is.
Eddie's a relative latecomer in the online business, as he had his first brushes with the internet only in 2001. Back then, he was an assistant to the postmaster's office of his state and was being groomed for eventual succession.
So what brought about Eddie's shift from slow mail to e-mail?
"I always thought that the internet was only good for porn," he answered, sharing a sentiment we all felt at one point. "It was the new millennium and I was running a 586 at home," he continued, "I never felt the need to have a new setup that would just perform the same tasks."
But one day that fateful year, his daughter won a new computer from the local YFC. "She's the real entrepreneur in the family," Eddie proudly proclaimed of her daughter Joy Marie, "she won a small scale business plan competition at the age of 15." The new computer allowed them to use the AOL CDs that have piled up in their home, and this opened a new world of digital possibilities for the Gilbert family. Eddie would often call in sick for work just to discover the then uncharted reaches of cyberspace.
One thing led to another. Eddie soon discovered E-bay where he started selling small woodwork tokens that were carved by his brother.
"I wasn't able to sell anything, which didn't do much to Brian's (his brother) ego," he said. "I'd go home from work every day and excitedly log on, only to find out that no orders were placed."
But this initial frustration did not discourage him. After a couple of months, Eddie decided to dabble on public domain information (PDI).
"I got the idea from David Vallieres," he narrated, referring to the E-bay power seller who is hailed in the internet marketing community as one of the more prominent masters of the trade. "He mentioned how Walt Disney made an empire out of PDI." Armed with renewed vigor, Eddie made his research and discovered the demand for some books belonging to the public domain.
"That caused me to visit the local library," he continued, "I borrowed some books, scanned them, arranged them really nice, packaged them as e-books, and within two days, I earned close to $2,000. All net." Despite his careful planning, the result still came as a surprise for him. "I never thought that I could actually earn money from the internet until I made my first sale," he shared.
"Selling PDI is very cost-efficient," Eddie confided, "you don't have to pay anyone any royalties. Minimal capital is needed, and all the profit is yours to keep." Eddie realized that as big as E-bay was, it was not his entire market. He developed a site wherein he could advertise his book and offer it for sale outside of the said auction community. At first, traffic was slow, which forced him to remove the guest counter in the main page so that his few visitors won't get the wrong impression.
"Then I discovered about link exchanges and attaching your site to your online persona," Eddie continued. "I tried to make friends with fellow webmasters and they included my site as one of their links for free. I also tried to advertise my site as much as I could. I included its address in my profile's signature in all the discussion forums I joined and e-mail responses I wrote."
The visitor count gradually increased and he was starting to make sales from his website. It was at this point when Eddie learned about search engine positioning, which, back in 2002, was more of a myth than a fact.
"I invested some of my earnings on a traffic expert," he said, referring to what Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts were called three years ago. "I have no regrets as traffic did increase and so did sales, so I got back what I spent in a week or so."
After a few months, Eddie gave up his day job as his online income was providing him some substantial earnings. And since his site has been generating most of the profit for his PDI products, he was able to shift his attention back to E-bay where he started offering goods he bought in bulk from contacts he was introduced to, both online and offline.
"It's the basic system of a profitable barter," he explained, "buy and sell, man! Buy and sell! You buy goods at a lower price, and you sell them for a little higher amount."
Earlier this year, Eddie's total online earnings have reached close to two million dollars. "I never had to employ anyone, except for those who had to carry my wholesale orders from another state to my place," he added. With the income he has gained, Eddie has decided to take a temporary hiatus from his online adventures to weave his magic in the real world.
When asked what advice he could give for beginners, Eddie was quick to reply. "Don't give up on it," he said, "just remember that Rome wasn't built in a day."
"It's not that hard," Eddie continued, "just don't forget to have fun."
© 2005 Gunnar Berglund
Gunnar Berglund has been a "internet- hardworker" for the last five years He publishes the Meonit Gazette http://gazette.meonit.com and runs http://www.meonit.com and http://www.grabinternetprofits.com
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