Norman MorrisonToday we welcome Norman Morrison. You could say that Norm is an digital marketing veteran, having been around for a long time and trying lots of ideas. Today he’s getting ready to launch his new venture – training aspiring entrepreneurs to make money on the internet.

Norm can spin a yarn, so lets say hello…

Hello there,

This is Norman Morrison. I live in Alabama. I’m 55 years old, and I didn’t get off the last bus when it comes to computers. My first computer was a Commodore 128 that I purchased in 1985. I was online, sort of, with computer bulletin boards by 1986.

I wrote my first web pages in 1996, having just purchased my first PC in 1995 and hooking up to the Internet, whatever that was. I developed my first for real website in 1998 using a great new 56k dial up modem to upload it to the server. That site is still around today. It is BrazilAmerica.com. I used it to sell travel globally to Brazil.

The reason that BrazilAmerica.com came along was that the first thing I did when I hooked into the Internet was to seek out some pen pals. I located one in Brazil, and one thing led to another and we eventually went on to do the travel thing. I sent people from here to there mostly, and they took care of them.

In 2002, they went on to sell strictly to Brazil, so that cut me out of the deal. Today they are very rich. Lesson learned…Choose your partners very carefully.

When I began, the travel industry was in upheaval with the coming of the net. Thousands of small local travel agencies were closing their doors when people began servicing themselves on the Internet. Also, there was great interest in the net with the coming of the “net bubble.” I knew it was bogus and would explode, but the great interest at that time was a boon to my business aspirations. In the meantime, as a web developer, I was learning my trade craft of making web pages from the ground up.

Without the Internet I would not have had all the fun, as long as it lasted, of flying back and forth from Brazil, making new friends, and learning how to make pages. Those are great memories.

When the Brazil thing went belly up for me I moped around awhile, and finally decided that if I could successfully sell globally on the Internet, then selling locally should be a snap.

In 2002, the net was very young. The net bubble leached out quick buck artists who actually did make a lot of money selling shoddy products and processors full of dreams. You will have to search long and hard to find local business websites from those days. They were made to sell, not to work. Internet “malls” were all the rage. They are long long gone now. I tasked myself with making something better.

So, I started my local business website model, quite unlike anything that had been seen then, and rarely since. I built a community site of quality and offered to make business pages on there. It is still the backbone of my work, though starting in 2008, using what I already knew, I began a crash course in the finer points of Internet marketing, affiliate style.

Until 2008 I had always worked two jobs, with my Internet work taking third place. In time, that went to one job, and now, I work strictly for myself, strictly on Internet projects of local, national, and global scope.

From 2002 to 2008 I made most of my profits from offline sales with my local flagship website. However, until fairly recently, I didn’t know I was doing “offline” business, because I had never heard of the term. In retrospect, I was one of the pioneers of “offline.” It’s a shame I didn’t have a word for it. I wish I had invented that word. Chances are that I would be rich now. Probably not.

It is a fact that offline Internet marketing will make the average person who does what we do more money than online stuff, if it is gone about the right way. Having said that, the question is… What is the right way? Therein lies problem and the promise. Working offline means that you have to lift up your nose from the keyboard and go make sales. If you are a good salesman and a good page maker, then you have the correct base from which to work. But, there are those pesky details, like putting these two dissimilar things together to create a luscious package.

I have always heard that the list was the thing. In my Brazil days we had a list of 5000. However, we didn’t have a good way to deliver that list. I insisted that my partner in Brazil deliver the newsletters that I wrote because I feared getting our domain banned for spam. That’s one reason our partnership poofed! Using their personal email, they blasted out newsletters at the rate of 50 at a time, using a dial up modem until all the monthly email was all delivered. It drove them nuts. Today, this seems like a very quaint way indeed to manage a mailing list, but that’s what we had to work with then.

I suppose the list works, but frankly, my experience back in the stone ages burned me out on lists, so I didn’t do much in that area. My specialty has always been making good pages that get indexed in search engines naturally to be found by hungry viewers. I was doing SEO a long time before I knew what SEO meant. I suppose that you may be getting a clue that for a long time I was acronym challenged, and you would be correct. I didn’t worry about that stuff. I just went and did it.

What I find, quite often, in my perusings of this and that forum is that there are a lot of folks who know all the neat initials, and can talk the talk, but in practice rarely walk the walk. It’s more important to know how to do Internet marketing correctly than to know all the buzz words…unless you plan on teaching it to someone, anyway.

Far from stopping with organic search listings, I have made quite a business in the last couple of years of trying just about every form of Internet paid advertising there is. My first paid leap, actually, before the turn of the century, was with a company called Overture, which turned the Internet upside down around 1999. I did that for awhile until I noticed that my natural listings were rising to page one anyway, so I quit Overture. What was the point?

Lately, I have done all the pay per click and pay per impression things with Google, Yahoo, and Bing. I have put text and graphic ads on all the services in all manner that they could be done. I have done banner advertising. I have done all sorts of forum and article marketing. Facebook marketing, both free and paid.

I know there are lots of gee whiz kids out there who make a ton of money right out of the box, or so they say. I never did. At best, I have managed to break even. At least I didn’t lose my shirt. It has always boggled me that there are folks out there who know absolutely nothing whatsoever about their craft, that will go dump a ton of money into a paid advertising campaign and lose every penny of it within days or even hours.

My philosophy has always been to do everything possible for FREE. And if I can’t do it for free, I know when to quit. For example, when I do paid Adwords or banner campaign, I always start with pay per click and only move to pay per impression if it makes sense. For me this has rarely been the case.

I don’t mind spending money on a campaigns that are actually working, but I watch them like a hawk. If I budget a hundred bucks and I hit $40 without being ahead, I kill the campaign. What you will find after you have done this a few times is that the affiliate you are selling figures their percentages much more closely than you calculate yours, and you really have to go above and beyond to make a profit. They know how much you have to spend…to make, and their commissions reflect that.

In the land of the Internet there is absolutely NO reason to spend a bunch of money up front if you are proficient at your task. Aside from your hosting and domain charges, that blank screen everyone begins with is FREE. I never complicate things unless I feel that it will end up in some kind of profit. And what is profit you ask? It’s one old dollar more than I spent. That’s profit. (I don’t count my time investment like I should. I have so much fun getting there that it seems a shame to worry about that. Of course, my wife does not agree with this assessment.)

When I began with BrazilAmerica.com in 1998, there was precious little information out there about how to SEO a website. The term didn’t exist, or if it did, was not in common usage. I had never heard of it. The SEO methods we take for granted now did not exist. Of course, if you had half a brain, it was much easier to rank back then.

What I did, and what I still do to some extent, when I start a new project is to go look at the top websites that are already doing what I want to do. Then, I deconstruct the tasty bits of code that I know the search engines like. Why reinvent the wheel?

Let me make clear that I have never stolen a design. That would be naughty. I have had it done to me. You have to look no further than the some of the most high ranking sites in the Brazil travel biz. Some of those were designed, SEO wise, nearly verbatim to my original design. Now, those guys didn’t steal…they emulated. It worked GREAT for them. Even better, since I had stopped my around the clock work on my original site, and they hadn’t, they surpassed me in the listings.

So, I sort of fell into SEO by seeing how other successful sites managed to get top rankings on the search engines. That was pretty much a no-brainer. But, not until much later did I really put my nose to the grindstone to sharpen my skills and really attempt to see how things worked…not just why. And, by this time, there was a plethora of tutorials and such that taught me a lot. Also, for awhile, I paid for learning too. I didn’t really get my money’s worth, because my knowledge came only in bits and drips. However, having to pay really lit my boiler. When the time came, I flew away to continue my adventure of learning in all the free ways available. That is until…Backlink Battleplan.

I believe I bought Shane Melaugh’s Backlink Battleplan course on the recommendation of another Internet guru, Dr. Andy Williams. He and Shane are a lot alike, so if Dr. Andy says it is good, I most definitely will go have a look.

Having said that, I have gone to see the elephant many times. So it is with a critical eye that I judge Internet products, especially these days. I was wowed from the get-go with Shane’s product.

Shane produces this weekly video presentation for his website where he tells about what he’s been doing for the past week, and where he offers a bit or two of advice. It’s a pleasant break on Sunday that a great many people look forward to, me included.

Now, the disgusting part is that Shane is probably half my age and making about 16 times the money. I sort of resent that, but he makes up for it with me by being nice…and real. He’s also my ideal of the kind of guy that gives back to the industry rather than just taking. A lot of people feel that way. Also, he’s smart as a whip.

As I mentioned earlier, I had been studying SEO very aggressively for the last couple of years. By the time I got my hands on Shane’s course, I already knew a lot of what he was teaching. But, I was a mess of bits and pieces scattered out all over the Internet landscape. Shane not only brought all of my self-training into sharp focus, but also managed to introduce a great many new ideas into my tired brain.

Shane laid out all the SEO stuff you will ever need in a very manageable fashion. Frankly, I was ready for it.

By contrast, if you are a person totally new to the SEO scene, I don’t know for sure if you would know the absolute worth of Shane’s Backlink Battleplan. Everything you need is there, but I think it works the very best for a person already trained up in the art. That way you know the value of what you are getting. While the methods he demonstrates are usable by all, they make a lot more sense to someone already familiar with the territory.

By nature I am a writer and a professor in the strictest sense of the word. Often in college, a professor teaches from a book. I think a real professor teaches (or professes) what he knows from real life.

When you take a writer and a professor and shake all of that together, you come up with a mixture that must profess what they know in writing. I’m handicapped somewhat, in that I often quite naturally write in Southern English, but I usually manage to get my point across, even to yankees.

I have considered teaching the things I have learned, basically, since I gained expertise and experience with Internet Marketing, but I realized that I would need to wait until the time was right, and that time is now.

My last day job behind me, I spend my time these days with my online and offline marketing. And since I’m fairly bursting to show and tell what I have learned, for that is what I like to do, I decided to see if I could teach and make a little money at the same time.

My reasoning is that over the last two or three years, I have spent a lot of money, as we all have, on this sure fire gimmick and that get rich quick thing. Often, it’s like paying someone to show you a bar trick. What we get is mostly fluff with a good idea at the center. Lately, not even that much.

Graphing out what I have gained in knowledge against the money I have spent in the learning, I’d say it’s about 80/20 to the bad. 80% of what I have paid for is so much crap.

What I propose to do with any students I might be fortunate enough to procure is to cut out the 80% and give them the solid 20% right out of the gate. It’s not “smart” marketing, really. The only technique I use when I try to help people is flat out, wide open, all the way training. No tricks. Just good pure education. Let my methods stand or fall. I don’t know how to cheat.

At my level, I expect that I’m a solid bet for intermediate Internet Marketers who need to learn a skill that I know, or who are stuck on something that I have mastered. Even better, who was it that said that all beginning marketers had to take our paths and learn everything from scratch? I know for a fact that I can help a beginner to get started off the right way from the start and teach him or her the foundation of what they need to know to progress to an intermediate much more quickly.

From a monetary standpoint, it’s much cheaper for a beginner to use my experience than to have to go through the 80/20 route that the old timers had to endure. I can give them the tools they need and none that they don’t.

The final straw was…Backlink Battleplan. For students that are ready for it, I plan to use that as the basis for my more advanced teachings. Shane has boiled down that little matter of SEO better than anyone else ever has. My job, again, for those who are ready for it, is using Shane’s course, is to show them what they need to know to at least have a chance for success. But first, you have to explain what Shane means when he says to go get a website. Folks are not born knowing this stuff. If I have a student who has the capability to assimilate what I can show them, they will probably be doing better than me in this thing we call Internet marketing much more quickly than they could imagine.

You might ask the question of why come to me when they can get it all for free with research? Well, that is true. I did it. You did it. But you know the one thing I craved when I started? I wanted a mentor. And there was none. I wasn’t that lucky.

When it comes to mentors, there are mentors and mentors. One mentor might know all about email marketing, but not so much about SEO. Another might know a really dandy marketing trick, but not so much about organic listings. A professor who knows a good deal about all of these things and that has a knack for simplifying and presenting it in a manner that is conducive to learning…well, that’s kind of rare. Enter…me.

The first thing that I will teach a student is that he is not to expect a lot of attaboys from the family. In many respects Internet marketing is a lonely business. Friends and family will neither understand or appreciate your love of Internet marketing. The typical Internet marketer must be able to do what they do without a support net. Sometimes they will have to just bull it on through.

There will be much trial and error and learning along the way. There will be precious few cheers unless they are big and consistent producers. Most won’t be. So, if it’s accolades you’re wanting, then learn a trade other than Internet marketing. Make bird houses, or apply yourself to fixing the neighbor’s broken appliances. Then you can be the hero. Your fans, if any, may well likely be on another continent…not in your own home.

Motivation as it applies to Internet marketing is a very personal thing. The successful, or at least sane Internet marketer must be a self starter, and must be self motivated. It’s just that simple. If you put everything you need to know to make it in this business down on paper, it’s hard to see how anyone can do it. Really. Yet we do. We manage. But it does take that certain spirit.

However, you can’t underestimate how much a little success can motivate. The first sale. The first profit. Things like that.

I liken Internet marketing to panning for gold. For many of us, it’s that occasional nugget that keeps us going. We’re always looking for that better stream to dip our pan into. If we’re very lucky, we hit the big shiny vein and become a millionaire. For most of us though, it’s always that next stream over yonder hill. That get rich quick stuff is for the movies and top tier Internet sellers of semi-useless schemes. For the rest, it’s the hard muddy slog to the next creek, or bend of the stream. Personally, I LOVE it!

I have been doing this Internet stuff since 1995. I play one game, and rarely, and that is Flight Simulator. I don’t spend much time idling on the Internet. I’m always studying and learning when I’m not applying. For me, the Internet is a tool as surely as the screwdriver was to me when I was an electrician. Long gone are the days when I named my computers. While non-marketers look at the pretty colors on an advertising road sign, I’m deconstructing it to see how I can apply those methods to my next banner. I’m alive and alert to all the things around me. Even the lowly moss on the rock at my favorite picnic place may make an appearance as a background on a web page sometime.

To tell you the truth, I’m having ALL the fun living and learning and teaching this Internet marketing life. I’m just looking for some folks to share it with.

Get more information about Norm’s Internet Marketing Training course here.

Norm refers to Shane Melaugh’s Backlink Battleplan course. You can read more about it in my interview with Shane.

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