As a seasoned but self-taught entrepreneur and online business person, after learning to write in school and not much else, I turned to books and mentors when I finally decided I had had enough of being poor and failing.
Having read hundreds of books and websites, and subscribing to more newsletters, there are some people who, over the last 10 to 12 years, have consistently delivered value.
Sometimes it was just a word, phrase, question or comment that made the difference, but what a difference that was. Every step forward was a true step forward, and we all know that the journey to success is a series of steps, each one building on the last.
I wanted to share with you the top 10 digital marketing “gurus” that have inspired me in my online business journey so far and have tried to tell you about them in chronological order – how I found them (or in the case of Guy Levine,! How did you find me!)
1.Robert G Allen- I realized the potential to make money online around 1998/1999, about five years after I bought my first domain name. For a long time I had been aware of the potential to market any real world business online, but I was totally ignorant about selling information products, making money through affiliate marketing, and building a mailing list to make offers. I, like many wool-dyed entrepreneurs before me, was so obsessed with building a business in the real world, that the potential was simply lost on me! Luckily I was going to meet Guy Levine and Chris Barrow pretty soon and accidentally did some things right… Meanwhile my sister’s husband got him Robert Allen’s “Multiple Streams of Internet Income” for Christmas which I stole, devoured and that led me to read other great Robert G Allen books like “No Money Down For The 90’s” now updated for the 2000’s, the brilliant and innovative “One Minute Millionaire” and also other great internet books like…
2. Joe Vitale- Perhaps best known for his excellent personal development books and for his appearance in the movie The Secret, Joe Vitale is also a very experienced internet marketer – he’s been around and making money online since the mid to late 90’s (which in the history of the Internet is very certainly experienced). Email marketing is one of the easiest ways to start making money online, and in fact, it’s still the way I make most of my money, whether it’s marketing my own products or services to my mailing list. mail, or by recommending carefully selected articles by friends and colleagues. Email marketing (simplified) involves driving traffic to a page where someone gives you their name and email in exchange for some sort of gift, thereby building your mailing list. Next, you need to keep in touch with people so they get used to hearing from you and build a good relationship with your subscribers. Joe explains how to do this very well in his book “The E-Code” in a couple of chapters and if you want to get started in an easy way I recommend you read it. Then check out Martin Avis from Kickstart Monthly as he is a master at using a simple text newsletter to make money online!
3. Jaclyn Easton- His book “Striking It Rich.com” which I read around the same time. I had been trying to get an internet business off the ground, matching unsigned artists in the music industry (where my husband and I had worked) with managers looking for artists to read. Jaclyn’s book was about 23 little-known websites that make over $1 million per year, and essentially many of the business models were membership sites. This inspired me so much that I ended up presenting my business plan at the VERY SECOND moment the dot-com bubble burst, at the posh Atlantic Bar & Grill in London, to a group of venture capitalists, during a fire alarm. What a fire alarm bell randomly started and stopped, so it was alternately screaming into space, or totally inaudible!
4.Thomas Leonard- founder of the Coaching movement and Coach U, which was my online university, and then Coachville. Thomas wrote the first coaching book “The Portable Coach” which I still highly recommend and used email, mailing lists, R&D groups, autoresponders and everything we use today. I have been using the ShoppingCart you recommended, since 1999, to host my double opt-in email list, manage my product inventory, automatically follow up with leads and customers, deliver digital information products, offer coupons for both time like with % off, split testing headlines and pricing through AdTrackers… Thomas was very inspiring and ahead of his time, however he died unexpectedly and tragically, having overcome many of his personal demons, in 2003.
5. Boy Levine – Going to my first coaching convention, in Las Vegas, to see Thomas in action live, led me to meet Chris Barrow (my new business coach) and Guy Levine, his friend and internet marketing consultant. Guy blew my mind, he was only about 19 but one of the brightest people I have ever met. He knew a lot more than I did about internet marketing and shared his ideas and techniques very generously. Guy built a successful SEO/AdWords/PR company based in Manchester, had two babies with his wife Martine, and bought two helicopters in which he himself flies to speak. He is also a great speaker! If it wasn’t so much fun, you’d HAVE to hate it!
6. Brett McFall- After meeting Guy, Steve Watson, Paul and Philly, Fuggle and I were invited to join and support him as he spoke at the first World Internet Summit in the UK at Wembley. There, the co-host was Alan Forrest Smith, who, while he’s not one of my digital marketing gurus on this list, has also been incredibly influential in my life. I decided, while standing in the audience at that first event, to speak on stage next year. And I did, thanks to Alan, I actually got to speak twice for them, the only British woman ever asked to do so. I became very close friends with Brett McFall, one of the co-founders of WIS, as it is now universally known, and he is a very inspiring person. He is a very kind and genuine man who has helped me a lot by speaking and promoting my business particularly from the stage. He came to Brighton just before one of our Money Gym events that he co-hosted and while we were shooting videos there we captured a very funny video of him in the rain and also being slightly overshadowed by a seagull which never stops making me laugh and I remember a great day.
7. Frank Kern- I was listening to one of Brett’s audio interviews around the same time and was especially intrigued by a couple of guys who had a simple but explosive system called “The UnderAchiever Method.” Those guys turned out to be Frank Kern and Ed Dale and they had come up with a little system that involved driving traffic to a page where you asked a question “What do you want to know about… X?” where X is your chosen niche. The answers were collated and compiled so you could see what most people wanted to know, and what were the most popular 1-word, 2-word, and 3-word phrases that people were using. Then you went and created the product (usually an ebook). , maybe ghostwritten, covering the most popular questions) and then you sold it to your new mailing list. Most people gave away the initial product as an incentive to answer the questions and this also brought testimonials, for which all went well. Then the new traffic sold the product along with real testimonials and using the language of the niche. Very clever stuff. I think they sold their product page editorial mini-empire of niche information to a UK publisher for a very large price. sum of money, in the end.
That was the first time I really realized the value of a dedicated, niche, responsive buyer mailing list. Both Frank and Ed have become incredibly successful in their separate businesses, in Frank’s case not without some hiccups! He is heavily involved in many major IM product launches. Frank’s online style is laconic, informal, and very, very persuasive. Now, Frank gets some punishment for maybe being too persuasive, but I love his style and watching live concert recordings of him is just fun, so rock ‘n’ roll, I really want to see him live one day. Ed Dale founded the successful “30 Day Challenge” which guides new internet marketers through a free program (Ed earns his money from the affiliate products he recommends in that free program).
8. Rich Schefren – Around 2006, a new internet marketing guru burst onto the scene, except he was a real-life business guru who was moving into the world of internet marketing, having sold his last business. Having trained many of the big names like Jim Edwards, Mike Filsaime, and many others, he then published his groundbreaking “The Internet Marketing Manifesto” report, quickly followed by the “Missing Chapter” and “Final Chapter” reports. Rich blew me away because he taught a lot of solid business techniques that I had NEVER seen before, in a way that was easy to understand and digest, capturing the attention and admiration of the ADD internet marketing community at the same time. I kept joining his “Business Growth System” and “Guided Benefits System” mentoring programs, which are fantastic by the way, and my business started to grow rapidly as a result. Do yourself a favor and download the reports, it’s not just about instant messaging, it’s also about entrepreneurship, you won’t regret it.
9. Gary Vaynerchuk- Well, what about Gary? I love him. I first heard about it in an audio interview Rich Schefren did for his student mentors and Gary was starting to rise to World Wine Domination! Hey, that’s a great catchphrase! You can find Gary at WineLibrary.tv and all over YouTube and Ustream – he is the MASTER of online video. Enthusiastic, passionate, direct, unconventional, Gary believes in HARD WORK, that you can just “Crush” it. in the title of his first book, if you care about what you do, you care about your readers, listeners, subscribers and customers and if you show that you care at all times. According to Gary, smaller companies have NEVER had a better opportunity to dominate the competition.
10. Yaro Starak- I don’t remember where I first came across Yaro and his Entrepreneurs Journey blog, but I instantly knew he was the real deal. Subsequently, I went back and read almost all of his blog posts from day one because he fascinated me how he went from being a kid selling dissertation editing services to students to becoming one of the most respected bloggers in the world. He has an interesting background and he talks very openly about that, and the various challenges he faces, both professionally and personally, and I love that about him. It’s not just about how to get traffic, but how to be a better entrepreneur. Yaro has a bunch of great free reports, one called Blog Profits Blueprint and he’s also very strong on membership sites, both reports he really should read if he wants to learn more about blogging for his business. He also recommends great people, like Gideon Shalwick, who has the most gracious and pleasant video presence I’ve met in a long time. I highly recommend both Yaro and Gideon.
There they are: the top 10 business and internet marketing gurus of the last 12 years or so. For me anyway. I hope you enjoyed the article and that you check out some of the reports and books and then PUT THEM INTO ACTION!