Any fool can tell you that the internet has changed everything. From how we shop, communicate, and do business to how we find a spouse, a new job or a used car.

For many of us, the internet has impacted very aspect of our life. It is pervading and consuming. And while the internet in all it’s capabilities and facets makes life easier, it can also make our lives more demanding and scatter our attention in many directions at once.

What can an internet marketer do to stand out, to be noticed and to be seen and heard above the flood? First let’s start with the fact that the internet is a tool for communication. Like a wrench or pair of pliers, the internet is no more than a mechanism you apply to get the result you want.

My background is in traditional marketing. I have worked in creative development, media planning, sales and marketing in television, print and outdoor advertising. And I have found that there are universal principles of marketing which are common to all endeavors.. no matter what tool you use to convey your message.

Here is a brief overview of marketing principles that should be applied to your message, websites, sales page, brand and identity to separate you from the flotsam and jetsam that sweeps through your prospect’s life. It only takes being ABOVE AVERAGE to be above the noise. With these few pointers, you will be on your way to being a more successful marketer.

A Marketing Plan

Make a plan, work the plan. If you want to write up a detailed Marketing Plan, I think it’s a great idea. This list will hit on some concepts of a Marketing Plan, however my advice is to search for a marketing plan template that works for you.

What’s the purpose?

So you have a product or service to market online. Great! Why? Why this product? This service? What is it about this project or idea that will get you up early in the morning and keep you working late at night? Get philosophical and get to the deeper meaning of why you are pursuing this project at this time.

Most plans don’t work because the PURPOSE is not clearly defined. Without purpose, your message is likely to be off target, lack passion and easily be dismissed. Purpose is also important to keep you on task when things get tough. You have to have emotional involvement in the outcome of your project or business idea. Without emotion, there is no passion. Without passion, there is no commitment. Define your purpose, get excited and stay committed.

Who is your market?

What is the DEMOGRAPHIC profile of your ideal market? Are they 18 or 80? Men, woman, children? What interests do they share? What are their likely professions? Income levels? Another important method for profiling your target market is to look at their PSYCHOGRAPHIC characteristics. This gets into a deeper level of understanding of who they are, what they do and why they do it.

One way to understand what I am talking about is to learn more about Personality Profiles and determine the personality TYPE that is right for your product or service. For example, is your product or service positioned for an outgoing and adventurous person with lots of friends? Or an introspective and thoughtful person who isn’t very social? Those are different people, with different likes and dislikes who will respond to very different messages.

When identifying your target market it is critical to define the demographics (characteristics) and psychographics (behavior) of the people who are likely to purchase your product. Also, every market has one (or one hundred) mavens or influencers who give advice on everything from plumbers to law firms, electronics to fashion. Find this subset within your target market and reach out to them. The right message at the right time to this valuable influencer will put you on Easy Street.

What result are you expecting?

You have a Plan, a Purpose and a Market, what now? You need a spreadsheet! It is critical to make projections and schedule deadlines RIGHT NOW. Not only will it help you measure progress on a regular basis, it will also help you adjust your course as needed.

Ask yourself some critical questions regarding all measurable and quantifiable aspects of your business. How many items do you have to sell to turn a profit? How many leads? Conversions? Clicks? For example, if you spend $500 on PPC marketing, how many leads, conversions and SALES would you need to generate to make that worth repeating? If you put in 6 hours a week on your blog, how many new contacts or opt-ins would you expect to generate in the next 30 days… 60 days… 90 days?

What’s so great about this principle is that you can be creative with numbers! This is not the accounting department. You are creating a quantifiable VISION of how your efforts will play out. Try numbers every which way to determine all of the facets and angles of your new marketing plan that is crystallizing before you. Give yourself projections and put in deadlines, track your results and don’t forget to reward yourself when you reach a goal or milestone!

What’s in a message?

Just how important is your message and what should it contain? For the moment I am going to speak only of internet marketing. While celebrities and multi-million dollar budgets are identified with traditional marketing, in the online world it’s typically the exact opposite.

When it comes to internet marketing, you don’t need celebrities, big budgets and an over paid advertising agency to create intriguing ad copy, define your brand and generate customers. You now have the ability to create, test, track and modify any message in your marketing plan. At any time! The catch is, just like in traditional marketing, you only have a second or two to capture someone’s attention. Be brief. Be creative.

The magic of internet marketing is the ability test and track multiple messages. Try different headlines, word combinations and more. Track the results and stick with what is working. As a reminder, every marketing message should have these three elements: 1) Headline, 2) Feature/Benefit and 3) Call to Action. With most internet advertising limited to 160 letters or less, you want to provoke thought… and action. Once your prospect opts in, then you can tell them the rest of the story.

Here’s an example; “Couch surfing slacker becomes internet millionaire by using this one overlooked technique. Click here to learn his secret.” Do you think a prospect looking for internet marketing information would respond to this? Absolutely. So… what’s the best message for your prospect? The one that works!