A lot of internet marketers never achieve success. Some have a great idea but fail to see it through, some don’t have the required dedication, and some fail because they are looking for a quick buck. But these top internet marketers are definitely not the case.
Today we’re going to show you how 10 of the top internet marketers achieved quick and huge success with their projects. Seeing their secret sauce, you too will be inspired to act accordingly.
Here you will find insights from the best internet marketers out there:
- Harsh Aggarwal, Shoutmeloud
- Matthew Woodward, MatthewWoodward.co.uk
- Brian Dean, Backlinko
- Jessica and Cliff Larrew, making money with Amazon FBA
- Clay Collins, Lead pages
- Noah Kagan, AppSumo
- Peep Laja, ConversionXL
- Steve Brodsky, List Builder’s Academy
- Lisa and Jason, 100 days of real food
- Ryan Lee, Ryan Lee dotcom, The Millionaire Workout
Harsh Aggarwal, Shoutmeloud
Harsh blogs at Shoutmeloud.com. He is one of the most well-known bloggers and top internet marketers in India. He has been interviewed multiple times, both by magazines and by other bloggers around the world.
The Shoutmeloud Facebook fan page has over 60k likes and the blog has over 95,000 newsletter subscribers.
Shoutmeloud first went live in December 2008 and now it has been nearly a decade of blogging.
Suffice to say that Harsh is the poster boy of the Indian blogosphere.
He mostly shares what he learns about WordPress, hosting, plugins, blogging etc. It’s intensely personal and that’s what makes him so inspiring.
How this internet marketer got started
Harsh started blogging as a hobby but it soon turned out to be his profession. He launched his first blog on the Blogpost platform and within three months of doing so, he began getting a warm response from the community.
Bolstered by his success he moved to WordPress and bought a premium domain name. At that time he didn’t even have a credit card to buy the hosting package and used that of his friend’s father’s.
His blog began as a means to kill his boredom. After failing in four campus selection interviews he was finally accepted into Accenture. He was placed but then he could join only a year later.
Within a few months of blogging, he began to earn $700 per month with his blog. The year passed quickly and it was now time for him to decide whether to continue blogging or join the job at Accenture. He went for the job but quit after 6 months.
Dare to be the dreamer
In India, it’s a lot more difficult to pursue a career in blogging. Most people don’t understand what blogging is. It’s even harder for them to understand if making money with a blog is possible.
If you’re a blogger most people would assume that you waste your time the entire day in front of the computer.
And that was 2008. A person in India going the non-traditional route would face stiff opposition from relatives, family, and friends as we have a more closely knit family structure here.
Paulo Coehlo’s book “ The Alchemist” describes it well. When somebody starts pursuing his/her dream then loved ones try stopping him. This is because our loved ones don’t want to see us fail.
But when we finally realize that love is not an inhibitory force, we can make it an impetus to move forward.
It took him some time to convince his parents but he finally made it and there has been no looking back ever since.
If he had been an engineer, he’d been making 5k per year, but as a blogger, he makes more than 50k and lives the life of his choice.
But not everything has been smooth
I also read his personal blog Denharsh( See Problems with Working From Home Full time) where he describes the challenges of being a full-time blogger. The greatest problem is the loneliness that you face. Bloggers exchange hundreds of emails. But when it comes to meeting people, they hardly meet anyone new.
Other than that, there is the constant pressure of performance and staying updated. Bloggers don’t have weekends and you work every day.
I do agree with the post but I feel that a lot of these problems can be solved easily. Getting a team or staying as a paying guest can introduce some company in the life of the lonely blogger.
It’s not necessary to make everyone understand everything. For the most inquisitive relatives, my answer has always been that I make more working from home than at an office.
Matthew Woodward, MatthewWoodward.co.uk
Matthew Woodward is one of the top internet marketers in the UK. His blog is listed amongst the best 100 blogs in Technorati, has won numerous awards like being listed on Problogger as a top blog, and has also been featured on Unbounce’s list of top 75 blogs.
It was launched on 5.02.2012 and currently boasts of a Global Alexa rank of 5800.
Let’s see how he went about it and achieved all this in less than a year.
Recognizing the opportunity
I had also felt the same things that spurred Matthew to create a blog that contained actionable material. At that time, guest blogging was in much vogue with established sites like Problogger, Copyblogger, Johnchow accepting filler content in the name of guest posts. If 6 posts went live each week, 5 of them would be guest posts with rehashed content.
There was even a term for that kind of content — epic shit.
There was a need for content that was new and refreshing. Matthew came up with SEO video tutorials that showed for the first time what it took to rank a site on Google.
Well, in other words, the videos were about tiered link building, article spinning, hacking guest blogging etc.
Finally, Matthew decided that the purpose of the blog was to help people. He wanted to achieve that whenever someone asked for SEO help, say in forums, his tutorials would be the ones shared.
Matt Cutts always said that great content is something that is useful to the community, something unique and something that has original research.
Building an external link is against Google’s guidelines. The funny thing is that even though Matthew is an expert on link building, he did not build links to his blog.
I find that the least shared tutorial on his blog, on finding your target audience is one of the most useful ones. (See How to find and engage your target audience online for profit?)
In Matthew’s case, he went about listing the topmost internet marketing forums and set up Google alerts to find people who needed help with or were talking about SEO.
Creating a story
People love stories and can relate to them. A blog is a more serious business, but I have often felt that Matthew used the power of storytelling amply on his blog. By creating a video series of Tiered Link building tutorials, he made people come back for more. For more months than I can count these tutorials were the most shared and visited items on his blog.
Introducing a forum that further fueled the concept of helping people and at the same time basked in the benefit of user-generated content was another masterstroke.
Matthew is now a part of the top internet marketers and makes most of his income via affiliate sales. He does consultations too, but most of the time he’s busy traveling and has little time to devote to the numerous people who want to throw cash at him.
His achievements for the past year:
- 632,452 page views
- 31,715 hours/3.6 years spent reading my posts
- Won 5 major awards
- $73,334.09 profit
There are a few things that I learned from following him around since the day he began MatthewWoodward.co.uk
1. Plan, yes plan
I have seen many of us who would start an online business or blog without any thinking. They would waste six to seven months on it and would then abandon it with a bitter heart. The primary complaints would be that there is no traffic, no money etc.
Before starting his blog, Matthew spent months thinking about what the content strategy would be. He planned on how to get traffic. He also realized where his target audience lived online and executed his steps on reaching out to them.
One of his readers in Costa Rica Yeison began a blog mytanfeet.com which is entirely about Costa Rica. In less than 6 weeks this guy who could not write English properly had his blog featured in two newspapers and earned $350. Over 90% of bloggers don’t make a cent. Currently, it does over $1000 every month.
2. Don’t fret about the money
Don’t start a business or blog in which you don’t have your heart. Passion rules everything. These days one can make money from anything. I heard that some guy sold a fish for $10,000. The money will come if you build something that people like and want to associate with.
3. Play by your key strengths
According to Noah Kagan (later in this post), each person on the planet is superhuman. Everyone has superhuman strength in some field. Some excel at marketing, some at writing, still others in Excel. At the age of 13, Matthew built his first site on video games. He made these cool videos that showed people how to play the game properly.
Fast forward a few years later he makes these uber cool tutorials with fancy graphics and CTAs rolling in and I am like, “Wow, how does he do that?” Not many people put in that much effort into what they are doing. But with his experience In making videos it’s a key strength that Matthew has.
Think about what you can do better than others and you will find your key strength.
Brian Dean, Backlinko
Brian started his blog in January 2013. The most popular advice he heard was to blog daily or regularly. In short the more content your churn out the better.
However, it was not to be so.
He failed miserably in his attempt to gain traction with that angle.
So Brian changed the focus a little.
Great content where are thou?
Great blogs publish great content. Where else would you find great ideas than by going for the big fish?
One of the coolest examples he lists out is using sites where no internet marketer goes for content ideas.
Have you heard of Flippa?
We can use Flippa for content ideas and not just for buying and selling sites.
Use the advanced search option to list out sites that have over 1000 monthly unique visitors. The beauty with Flippa is that when a person lists a site for sale he spills all his beans out.
Going through the sales page you will see gems that you’ve previously never heard of.
One more way to drill down is to go to SEMRush and see what that site ranks for and you will get ideas for content.
Go to open site Explorer and find the top linked pages.
You can get lots of ideas from visiting those pages and seeing where the links come from.
Brian gives a shout-out for making the best content. He calls it the skyscraper technique.
Let’s see just one specific example. It’s common knowledge that Google uses 200 ranking factors when it comes to deciding a spot for your site.
There were mentions of some of the factors here and there but the most comprehensive list until then was that by Vaughn which listed 118 ranking factors.
Brian phoned, emailed, went knee-deep into research, and finally came up with a post that listed all the 200 ranking factors.
To date, that post has brought in over 58,000 visitors and been linked over 900 times.
If you’d like to make something awesome, here is Brian’s four-point list:
Make the content:
- More updated
- More thorough
- Better designed
- Better written
You’ll create something cool that people talk about and who knows, even be featured on our next top internet marketers list.
Jessica and Cliff Larrew, making money with Amazon FBA
This couple became one of the top internet marketers by buying and selling on Amazon for a six-figure income.
It all started when Jessica was kicked out of her day job with the collapse of the housing boom.
She started small, visiting stores and clearance sales, buying all the items that she could stack away in the trunk of her car.
But eventually, the whole thing grew so big that they grossed $100,000 in profit last year.
Let’s see how they did it.
They use a system called Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA. When you sell an item through FBA, Amazon takes care of the shipping, handling, and even customer care. All you need to do is ship the item to Amazon warehouses and rake in the profits.
To make the idea even more simple what Jessica and Cliff do is they:
- Visit a store;
- Buy items cheaply;
- Ship them to Amazon;
- Sell it on Amazon for 5x the price;
- Receive profit.
The first thing Jessica advises a beginner is to install an app called “Profit Bandit”. This app scans the barcode on any item to see if it’s recognized by Amazon. If it is, the app tells you the current selling price of the product and thereby you can gauge the profit that you’ll get by selling the item. The app also shows a rating of the best-selling items which can help you buy things that are in demand.
You may think that if people can get stuff in stores why would they buy it from Amazon.
There are two reasons for this:
- Something that is locally available to you may not be available to the other person.
- Amazon takes the time factor out of shopping, which is what most people don’t have these days.
They mostly find items on Clearance sales and Discount shops like Big Lots etc. Sometimes, an afternoon spending of $2,500 resulted in a profit of over $8,000 for the two.
It’s a business model that most people have never heard of but gives these guys financial freedom and the freedom to spend their time as they will. They don’t have to wake up to a job call or miss their son’s precious laughter.
That’s what the dot com lifestyle is about.
Visit their site at jessicalarrew.com.
Clay Collins, Lead pages
Leadpages makes it easy for you to collect leads online. Established in January 2013, the company has quickly grown to over 15,000 customers.
As a blogger or business owner you may feel the need of outsourcing the design aspects of your site like opt-in pages, landing pages, thank you, and sales pages, but Leadpages was created with the goal of making all of this easy.
Way back, Clay used to provide free landing pages on his blog.
What happened was that every day he started getting lots of questions on how to integrate those pages with Aweber, Constant Contact, or MailChimp.
Though initially, these questions made him angry, later on, these very questions gave him the idea to start Leadpages.
Leadpages raised $5mn in funding recently.
One of the biggest takeaways from their success story is how they used the Grocery store formula to the hilt.
Earlier grocery stores used to have sample ladies whose only duty was to hand out samples to the customers. Customers who liked the free product came back to buy more.
They created posts and then gave away something for free in exchange for the email of the visitor. If earlier they generated 5 email opt-ins per 100 visitors, now they had 20 per 100 visitors.
Setting up a freebie doesn’t take a lot of time and you can always benefit from more opt-ins.
Noah Kagan, AppSumo
Noah Kagan founded AppSumo and today it’s a company generating millions in revenue with 700,000+ subscribers.
The fascinating thing is that AppSumo was developed in one day for $60 by an outsourcing team in Pakistan.
Here’s something interesting about Noah. He was one of the first hires on Facebook and got fired at a time when Facebook was the top priority in his life.
While at first, it may seem that the lives of successful people are all sunshine and roses, it’s far from the truth. Most have failed multiple times before succeeding in a big way. So if you fail to embrace it, and move on.
Let’s see how Noah did it
After getting fired from Facebook, Noah started organizing events where top social media experts would come and speak. Doing that made him well known for social media, even though others were doing all the talking.
Noah built a lot of really cool connections and made himself a brand that way.
He then had an idea for a Groupon sort of thing for digital marketers with daily deals. They provided packages and bundle deals and in the span of a year realized that small business owners and marketers were looking for stuff that really taught them how to market well.
They wanted to learn and the only solution was effective courses.
Now, it can seem that there are a lot of courses out there, but to tell you the truth, quality courses are few and far between.
You can find five to six new WSOs on the warrior forum every day, claiming to make you 6 figures a month. Most people buying those courses never make a dime.
Unlike other marketers who would sell a course of any sort, they used the platform to bring only quality courses.
If a product is on AppSumo then their entire team backs it.
And it worked! In their first year alone they did $1 million in revenue.
In terms of conversions, Noah realized that offering a freebie often raised email opt-ins by 20%.
They spend $5,000 to $6,000 on traffic daily and spend it with a mindset to lose the money.
The one thing that I learned from them is to take risks in your business and build a product that people like.
Peep Laja, ConversionXL
Peep is one of the top internet marketers working in this field for more than 10 years in Europe, Middle East, Central America, and the US.
He’s best known for ConversionXL, the conversion rate optimization blog that he built from scratch. ConversionXL gets more than 100,000 visits every month.
He has built multiple businesses over the years many of which were hugely successful. Let’s find out the story of the man who made his way from a job he didn’t like at all to becoming an entrepreneur.
It began with a strong need of finding financial freedom and the freedom to move around the world whenever he wanted to.
The defining moment for him happened while he was working in real estate in Dubai. His boss came in and asked if they had sold anything. He wanted to go on a cruise.
Peep decided then and there that he wouldn’t slave away trying to make someone else rich.
The first step towards a life that makes you happy is in asking yourself what you really want from life. Peep suggests writing it down as well. Writing down the goals makes it easier for you to achieve them. Something that was abstract suddenly becomes a reality when on paper.
Let’s see how Peep did it with ConversionXL
Peep wanted to start a marketing blog, but there were tons of marketing blogs online. Peep then listed out the top blogs and started studying them— how did they write posts, the length of the posts, the social shares, etc.
He found that longer posts – those between 1800 and 3000 words got more social shares. Posts with images or videos attracted 6 times as many links as plain text ones.
He noticed that most people were lazy and never wrote meaty articles.
While top internet marketers like Seth Godin can get away writing a 200-word post and still garner 2000 tweets, the same is not true for other blogs. Not everyone is Seth.
But people were taking shortcuts and publishing fluff and filler content. Peep, on the other hand, wrote heavy resource articles with in-depth research and lots of images.
He has an editorial policy that every claim has to be backed up by relevant research. Having written an article for them, I know what it truly means and the level of research that goes into every post.
Marketing is where it all begins
Writing great content is just one step of the whole process. The next step is promoting it. Peep emailed everyone whom he had linked in the post after the post went live. His emails would be short, merely announcing that the blogger’s post has been mentioned.
He never begged for social shares and that’s his advice to everyone on the same path as his. In the first month, the blog received 15k visits, six months later 22k, and more than 90k visits only 10 months later.
The posts frequently hit the top spots on Hacker News and drove him tons of referral traffic.
ConversionXL generates enough leads to paying the salaries of a staff of 10. Plus, Peep enjoys financial freedom doing only what he loves doing.
(See How can you start and grow a blog to 100k?)
Steve Brodsky, List Builder’s Academy
I came to know about Steve Brodsky and his product – the List Building Revolution through Matthew Woodward’s blog.
Steve launched List Building revolution as a WSO almost 6 months ago and since then his membership site, centered around the product generates $100,000 in revenue per year.
He’d never imagined that his WSO would be so successful.
There are a few things that scripted his success story and let’s have a look at those.
How it all started
The first piece of advice that comes from Steve is to choose something in IM and stick to it.
A lot of online marketers don’t make any money because they go chasing the next biggest thing and never stick with something to make it a success.
So Steve chose solo ads and stuck with it.
That was his first step in building authority. He read about everything on solo ads — techniques, traffic methods, bought courses, attended webinars and in three months’ time he was doing $100 per day.
That’s the biggest lesson in IM — persistence.
Once he started getting some success, he posted about this on Facebook groups where sellers met. For those who don’t know, Facebook and Skype groups are the places where solo ad selling is done.
Pretty soon his success stories started getting traction and the community started seeing him as an authority figure. It was time to move on to coaching.
To test the waters he launched a free WSO talking about his success and the methods he used to get to the $100/day mark selling solos.
It gave him a list of people who were interested in selling Solo ads.
He launched a coaching program priced at $99. It was a successful launch and testimonials began pouring in.
With all those positive reviews he was finally ready to launch something big.
But he wanted to identify what the market was lacking. He saw that all the courses on Solo ads that truly worked had one thing in common. They all had steep prices. The reason was that the coach had to train the student himself. This considerable investment of the coach’s time made the course prices steep.
He decided to go for a self-learning course and priced it at $27 per month with a low trial entry of $1.
With the low entry barrier the course really picked up and now it brings him $300 to $500 every day. All of that is recurring income.
Lisa and Jason, 100 days of real food
Lisa and John run a Food blog (started in 2010) 100 days of Real Food after watching an episode on Oprah showing the degree to which foods were processed in the US. A lot of so-called healthy choices were just over-processed foods. Lisa and Jason Leake took a pledge of surviving 100 days on organic food and they wrote about it on their blog.
Though initially, the traffic was low, in January of the next year they got featured in a local magazine and the blog garnered over a million page views.
That was the tipping point when they decided to monetize the blog.
Since then they have appeared on tv shows like Dr. Oz, Good Morning America, CNN, and The Doctors TV Show where they share their experience and journey of these top internet marketers.
Today the blog has millions of readers who strive for healthy living.
Ryan Lee, Ryan Lee dotcom, The Millionaire Workout
People describe Ryan Lee as someone who has been doing internet marketing even before the internet was born.
Ryan is a millionaire, a success coach, the top of the top internet marketers, and a best-selling author.
At the age of 12, he set up his business of selling business cards. He posted an ad in a magazine in 1985 for selling baseball cards and people would mail him asking cards and send him money.
That was his first business. Ryan then worked at a child rehab center and was a fitness trainer. He invested in himself and did several programs to become an expert on fitness.
He wanted to build a site. But it was in 1998 and there were no tools available that could make it easy, no membership software. So he hired a college student and let him make a website with FrontPage where he could write articles on fitness.
Later on, he was hired by an internet marketing company and went on to make $60,000 a year. Just after that the big dot-com bubble burst and the company went broke.
Ryan later started membership sites and sold fitness training products worth $5k to $10k. He had now broken the $100,000 barrier.
The 6 figure advice
His advice to budding entrepreneurs and others who wish to become top internet marketers is not to go looking for what was hot but to go for something in which you have a true passion.
In the IM world, he is known for products like 1k per day, The Millionaire Workout(a product that teaches people how to do internet marketing also take care of their health and Rise to the top).
1k per day shows how to set up a web show and turn that into an income-generating business that makes 1k per day.
People love Ryan because he does his business with honesty and legitimacy.
Did these top internet marketers inspire you?
With these ten inspiring stories, we wanted to show you that some of the best products come from the everyday problems we face. It is up to you, how you decide to cope with it, but chances are you are not alone. If you were to create the solution and share it, your dedication and hard work would be definitely be rewarded by like-minded people.
Who are the top internet marketers that have inspired you?
Share in the comments below.
If you loved this post, you might like to read how these 11 marketers got started.