9 Random Tips On Being A Successful Online Marketer

by Jeremy Schoemaker on February 24, 2007 · 82 comments

Some random thoughts been going through my mind lately I have been meaning to put down somewhere. Here seems like a good place. Here is some of the things I seem to be saying a lot in emails to people who are asking advice.

Surround Yourself With Other Successful Marketers – You know what they say about success breeding ? Its very true. Surrounding yourself (even if its in instant messanger) with successful people is probably the single biggest step in the right direction of achieving success with internet marketing.

Understand Branding – This is huge. Its so important to understand the value of branding. Branding should be one of your biggest concerns. There is a reason most successful online companies have very unique names digg, eBay, Google, Yahoo, etc the list goes on and on. Be original in your brand. Playing off of other peoples brands is lose/lose situation because most of the time they will try to shut you down for infringement or if they don’t and you become successful then people will always have brand confusion and you will just drive more people to there site over the long haul. Now with landing pages of course it might make sense to play off of a company name to look more legitimate/respectable. Anyway understanding branding is super important.

Holidays/Events – Wow last Valentines day was huge for us pushing e-greeting cards and other misc Valentines day driven affiliate offers. Always, always prepare for holidays and events. We are starting to see some good search volume now for Tax terms and I suspect this will be pretty big as well.

Awareness of Memes and Current Events – Depending what market you are in you will always want to keep track of what is hot in the news. For Tech niches techmeme, techcrunch, and problogger are your best bets. If celebrity gossip is your gig then I highly recommend perezhilton and thesuperficial. For general news Google and Yahoo news are teh winners.

Analytics – The key to any successful affiliate marketer is analytics. Any idiot can tell that if you spend 2$ to make 8$ that is the win. Putting the analytics in place to give you those statistics is what separates many successful and unsuccessful online marketers.

American Express Blue Card - If you do not have the amex blue card that gives 1% cash back and you are doing search engine marketing then you are paying 1% more for your keywords then the rest of us are.

Embrace Adversity and Failure – A lot of times Success can be CRIPPLING to people. You get lazy or comfortable. Many times Adversity can really be your best friend in hind site. Failure is unfortunately necessary evil on the way to success. You should expect to experience failure and while it can be frustrating as long as you learn from the experience you can usually turn it into a positive event.

Do not Fear Change – If you feel you need to mak a change then make it and watch what happens. This sounds so simple but I get emails everyday where people ask me what I think they should make a change on there site. I always ask them… why don’t you do it and see what happens. I mean seriously whats the worse that happens… you go revert back?

Pay your taxes – Don’t spend hours or days tying to save a few bucks when you could be using those resources to focus on growing your business.

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 2895 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of the ShoeMoney Blog, Elite Retreat Internet Conference, & the PAR Program. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 Amazon Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. Jeremy currently lives in Lincoln Nebraska with his wife and 2 daughters.

Jeremy recommends you check out these amazing posts:

  1. url Don’t chase the money – Chase the passion.
  2. digg My Secret To Dominating Digg.com (years ago)
  3. harrypotter What Internet Marketers Can learn From Harry Potter


1 Greg Moine

If you were using Paypal’s debit card, you’d pay 0.5% less than what you’re paying with Amex Blue ;) I’m getting 1.5% cashback on my purchases. Hmm, actually I just checked and they lowered the rate to 1.0% for new cards.

2 jesse

excellent advice my man, i think #1 is the most important, you just can’t learn everything on your own!

3 John Lampard

Just to add to the final (hehe, and least) point “pay your taxes” … make sure you have put aside some money to actually PAY said taxes. Sounds like commonsence I know, but you’d be surprised at the number of sole-operators (and there’s bound to be a few freelance online marketers here) who keep nothing “in the cupboard” for tax time!

4 pepperjam

Depending on how big your business is you may be able to take it to the next level which is the AMEX platinum, business card – from my experience, the AMEX Plat gives the best rewards in the business – based on the volume of business we run through our card, we generate the equivalent of about 20 free airline tickets or so a month. Also, instead of airline tics we could convert those “miles” into all kinds of cool things, including money, hotel rooms, gift cards, electronics, and more.

By the way, with the AMEX Plat you can actually book your tickets (airline / hotel) right through the AMEX website – I believe they have a partnership with Expedia – anyway, you earn the points, book your travel online, and it’s all free.

In short, if you are using credit cards to run your business and not using rewards cards you’re crazy. There are tons of different options to choose from.

Shoe – great recs, especially analytics, seasonality (holidays), making friends with successful people, and awareness.

5 Mark from Bloglyne

Hey there Shoe –

I have been watching your stuff for a while (a few days now) most of it is over my head, especially when you start talking about the technical details for security features you have found “holes” in.

This was a GREAT article though, and I appreciate the various levels of advice. One of my biggest challenges is getting Analytics to work on conversion rates because some of my affiliates use javascript to transfer to their site.

Any advice how to deal with this?

Take care!


Solid tips there Shoe. Let’s chat on IM ;). Ha

7 Tony Spencer

Yeah I’m a big fan of the AMEX membership rewards and agree with pepperjam that its the best use of rewards out there. I actually have that card plus a AMEX Starwood card which allows you to transfer miles to any airline and give you a 25% bonus for every 20k miles you transfer. From what I can tell, free airfare and upgrades are the best use of rewards as well. 10k miles will get you an international upgrade to first class on US Airways. If you paid cash for that upgrade it would easily be $7,000.

8 Gopi

I agree with pepperjam’s comments regarding american express platinum card, i have one and i never had problems charging hundreds of thousands a month. BTB they partner with travelocity so you can easily use your reward points to book planes/hotels.

Its difficult with other cards to get a spending limit for resonable volume and also many cards for some unknown reason dont work well with volume adword accounts (periodic payment refusal etc).

9 Steven

What are the best places to chat with other affiliate marketers besides forums? Are there IRC channels, IM channels or do you build contacts through just asking others questions?

10 Jack

Great tips for a beginner like myself!

11 Brian S. Nick

Good word. Especially on the importance of branding.

12 Ryan Kauffman

I think seasonal / event awareness is a huge ingredient to success in sem. It’s also worthwhile to spend appropriate effort attempting to identify trends before the rest of the herd.

13 Jason Pedersen

I like that last one. Of course, you need to make more than $600 for it to apply, right?

14 SonicReducer

I have this card and it’s awesome. I charge all my PPC to it.

15 Farmer

This is what I’ve found difficult…my networking skills blow online & that’s why I can’t wait to make it to a conference.

16 Steven

Are there any better way of browsing forums? Cause I feel that most forum postings are huge textual jerkoff sessions. I tryed browsing digitalpoint and it seemed like most users had been using the internet for a day at max.

17 Mark

Great post. You have me intrigued in the branding, but I’m not sure where to go to learn more. Are there any must-read books on branding?

18 Derrick Daye

Jeremy I like this post. It’s solid. I particularly like what you shared about branding. One of the keys is relevant differentiation. That is being unique from the competition in a meaningful way through marketing or innovation. Some think following the leader is the way. The leader is unique and compelling, follows no one and partners with the customer. For Mark – we love talking about this on our blog, http://www.brandingstrategyinsider.com

19 natekapi

Wow. That AMEX card does look pretty cool. Especially if you can rack up $6500 quickly and then get 5% cash back! I like the $0 annual fee too!

20 Marko

Im digging the AMEX card, looks like a great deal. Im surprised you didn’t get one of their affiliate links from CJ and drop it in here, might as well make some cash on it. :)

21 ToddW

The AMEX cards are awesome! But remember as a business you will need a Visa or MC as well. I recently purchased some items for my business and had to use my debit card *no rewards* because they didn’t accept AMEX. Needless to say I have a business VISA on the way that will earn my rewards ALMOST as good as the AMEX.

In response to pay your taxes… GREAT advice, and I’d like to add you should pay a prof. to do them for you if you are a business and get multiple 1099′s etc. They may cost $500+ but in the end they save you a LOT more than what they charge. This also takes the load off your back.

22 SonicReducer

My CPA suggests always setting aside 30% of your net income for taxes. It seems to be a good rule of thumb…

23 Ryan

PayPal’s debit card gives you 1.5% cash back? I’ve got to look into this (I’ve got one of them but don’t use it)… or is this a credit card?

24 Ryan

What sort of volume are we talking about here? That’s really cool, but I’m sure most of us don’t do that kind of volume.

25 Submit2SearchEngine

really great post…thats what i am trying to do…join that big network :)

26 Drew Nichols

You should also mention that Amex Platinum Cash gives you 1% – 5% depending on how much you spend – with an average of about 2.5%. For big spenders, it makes a big deal.

27 espresso machine diva

“If you do not have the amex blue card that gives 1% cash back and you are doing search engine marketing then you are paying 1% more for your keywords then the rest of us are.”

that’s some of the most common sense, useful info. I’ve heard in awhile, and applicable to much more than search marketing.


28 Nathan

Great tips. Glad to see this blog getting more useful content.

29 CPA Affiliates

Great thoughts. the biggest is connecting and teaming up with other people that do the same thign you do. I have found the more i discuss things the more ideas that spur on for both parties and inturn we make more money.

30 Gary

These are some great tips. Please look out for an email. I have a question to ask you regarding the blog.

31 jim

I think that these tips are good for anyone who is looking to expand their network, whether it’s online marketing or anything else really. Relationships are crucial in any business.

32 derrich

I tried to follow some of these guidelines and was somewhat successful. I pushed dating services, tax filing services, and flowers throughout the holidays and the beginning of the year. I’m trying to figure out what will work for me during the 2nd QTR.

33 Stuart

I always believed in surrounding yourself with other successful’s, I’ve been trying to work on that recently.

34 keith

Everyone seems to be commenting on the credit cards. Intersting.

Just to throw in my two cents, it is actually only like paying .7% more than you should. Businesses have to pay taxes on credit card rewards. My understanding of the law is that individuals do not have to pay taxes on credit card rewards since it is akin to using a coupon. It isn’t free money for businesses though. If it is part of your bottom line, you have to count it. What was one of the other tips? Pay your taxes?

35 Bulbboy

Analytics – The key to any successful affiliate marketer is analytics. Any idiot can tell that if you spend 2$ to make 8$ that is the win.

I am one of those idiots. Recently when changing from old to new Blogger I forgot to update the analytics code in the template and was wondering why no-one was visiting. =P

36 Ferrarislave

Good guide – I had lost a bit of motivation recently and this has boost me a bit. I copied this blog page to an offline archieve so I can view it on my laptop when I don’t have the net handy! :)

37 Gary R. Hess

Great advice again Shoe, like always.

Holidays are definitely a huge thing for me. On three different holidays I see traffic go up as much as three times as usual. And since the holidays have something to do with those pages, earnings go up along with it.

As for the Analytics, I would go a little farther than what you are saying and look to see how people are getting to your site. Are they searching for ‘pink widgets’ and reach a page about ‘red widgets’? Then create another page about ‘pink widgets’ with a link to it from ‘red widgets’. Not only will you be helping out your visitors, it will increase traffic and potentially earnings.

38 Stuart

As he said though, if you don’t have it already it’s only 1%.

39 Stuart

I really should get into holiday/event websites, especially christmas and valentines.

40 Jenny

Wise words! Amazing advice! I linked this on my blog.

41 natekapi

I just canceled my old Visa and signed up for American Express card!!! I’m siked. Thanks for the tip, Shoe!

42 Christoph C. Cemper


a great list
- and best is the Amex Blue thing… I didn’t know about that offer in the US – too bad Amex doesn’t offer that here in Europe…

see you in NYC


43 Jeremy Miller

Thanks for the tips. I put a few into action already.

44 MP3 Fan

Thanks for useful info

45 Nick Sullivan

Great tips. The branding one being very important in my mind also. Can be hard to do sometimes though.

46 Lex

Very interesting. Thanks for the article

47 Michael Woo

I guess that knowing the trend and what sells or what not is really important.. esp if you spend loads on marketing on something that doesn’t sell!

I totally agree when you say that holiday are your friends :D You get to make loads of cash…

48 Sneezy Melon

really nicely put article. I especially like the line “The key to any successful affiliate marketer is analytics.” this blog goes in my favorites…:D

49 Atlanta wedding photographer

I really liked what you said about the name of the business. Ebay.com only became so because the name that they wanted to use was taken. I have used my name for by business now I am working to get it changed.
I’ve read many books on branding and marketing and they say the samething. “what’s your message to your niche?” keep it consistent no matter what.

50 Chorus

Great article. thanks for useful info!

51 Chorus

Great article. Thanks for useful info.

52 gabel

nice tips , cheers mate

53 Mp3Jack

Helpful article. Thanks to the poster.

54 Mysoft101

Hey thanks for linking to our “9 Best Social Media Marketing Sites For Publishers” I love link round-ups, and I love them even more when we’re a part of them!

55 Jerrrick

What i learn from some marketer is

i think that marketer do need to brave to make viral marketing. That a trend which everyone hope to do it but less marketer dare to take the risk.

Do not give excuse because it only give you trouble to stop thinking.
Why not think how to solve it rather than keep figure out those problem only.

56 college guy

hie,i understand that being original with your brandname is vital,whcih gives your website a uinque identity,and i absolutely have the same mantra about success and failure.I bellve that the road to success is ridden with failure first.

57 Sahil Kotak

A very helpful article! Thanks a lot for this one.

58 Rodney

another great article.. and its true you really are who you hang around.. dont be afraid to be great!

59 protoss build order

I’ve bookmarked your weblog since I genuinely like it.

60 Mission0ps

Here here,
The top 2 points couldn’t be more potent if you dipped them in THC.
I am a relative newbie to this online venture and I have had a boat load of ideas and suggestions as well as being able to wipe the crap of the windscreen just because I am able to connect with some very successful marketers.

Branding.. NOW I am pooping my pants as that is one of the key tasks I have for the latter part of this year.. I wonder if you will know who your affiliate buddy is in 2012! ;)

61 The Lead Junkie

The secret as you referred to in your article is having multiple spokes of marketing. The first example is surround yourself with successful marketers. That’s a biggie!

I recommend you also study every top marketers websites and free reports. Another source I’ve found to be a wealth of information is WSO Forums. The warrior forums have the best products for just $7.00-$12.00.


Hey can i earn through my site http://www.soccertub.co.in … if yes then plzzz suggest me how can i earn plzzzzzzz

63 Clint Lenard

Another excellent post, Jeremy. I realize it’s very old, but still a good one.

64 Cartoon Check Guy

Your tips are “right on!” A good reminder of what we should all be doing on a consistent basis.

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