Gas, Air, and Spark - How Internet Marketing is Like a Car Engine

I've never been much of an automobile mechanic, but about 25 years ago an old friend instructed me in the mysteries of how to find out why my old car wouldn't run.

"You see," he said, "when an engine won't run, it's got to be one of three things. It's not getting enough gas, air, or spark, because that's all an engine really needs."

He taught me to check simple things, like pull a spark plug and see if it sparks when the starter turns over. Or pull off the air filter and see if I could smell gas in the carburetor. (That was before most cars were fuel injected!)

I can't count the number of times over the last 25 years that those simple words helped me during times of car trouble, especially in younger days with cars that were old "beaters."

If you think about it, Internet marketing is just as simple. All you really need is gas, air, and spark:

1. Targeted traffic - the fuel that powers an Internet business.

2. A product that people really need or want - something you can present as being as necessary as the air they breathe.

3. Sales copy that will sell - the spark that makes the targeted traffic want that product as badly as the air they breathe.

Okay, so maybe that still sounds a little tough, but hey - it's only three things! Even though I'll probably never be a skilled auto mechanic, I can comprehend and check three things. And you can catch on to just three things too.

Number 2 and 3 are probably the easiest to master.

There's no shortage of great products and great ideas for things that people really want. It's easy to find out what people really want with tools like:

Once you decide what keywords to focus on, you can check out what other people are selling successfully for those terms, and look at what affiliate programs pop up when you search for those terms. If you want to focus on affiliate sales, chances are there's some great sales copy already written or that you can modify to fit it to you more individually.

Overture's Maximum Bid tool will give you an idea what's working successfully for other people, or Adword Analyzer can really speed that up by showing how many Overture and Google AdWords campaigns there are for various keywords.

Now you just need targeted traffic to send to read that awesome sales copy. If you don't mind paying today's gasoline prices for some high-octane gas, and you used Overture's Keyword Suggestion Tool or Adword Analyzer, you already have a good idea what keywords would be good to bid on at Overture or Google AdWords. That will get you out of the driveway initially, then you can start building keyword-rich pages around the theme of your website and getting links from web sites that fit your theme.

Now you know the secret of how Internet marketing is like a car engine. So when that Internet marketing campaign won't run, you know you only need to find out what it isn't getting enough of:

  • Not enough targeted traffic
  • Not enough of a market that really needs what you're trying to sell
  • No spark to ignite the traffic and demand into a sale

Because just like a car, that's all an Internet marketing campaign really needs to run.