Internet Marketing for Smart People

image of Albert Einstein

There’s no delicate way to put this. If you’re a regular Copyblogger reader, you’re just . . . well . . . smarter than most people looking to market online.

You’re not interested in lame “get rich quick” schemes. You’re not trying to build a business with no work, no time, and no sense. You’re not chasing after that magical silver bullet that will solve all your problems.

Mainly, you’d just like some solid, smart advice on online business that actually works.

In other words, you don’t have to be an Einstein to “get” this stuff. But you’d have to be an idiot to believe some of the stuff peddled by traditional Internet marketing “gurus” (many of whom have never done what they’re “teaching” before).

Copyblogger has been delivering solid, smart advice for nearly four years now, and starting this week, we’d like to take it up a notch.

Oh, and one more thing: we’ll be doing that for free.

Introducing Internet Marketing for Smart People

Brian and I have been kicking around the idea of a focused email newsletter for months, but we wanted to make sure we put something together that reflected the high standards we always try to set for the site.

We wanted to create a systematic, simple way that you could get a good grasp of the power of effective online marketing.

We wanted you to have an easy-to-navigate tutorial on the “Copyblogger method” of creating and marketing a profitable online business.

And we wanted a way to make sure that you got a chance to see all of the “best of the best” that’s appeared on Copyblogger over the years.

The four pillars of online marketing success

Thinking through what this would look like, we found four themes that kept coming up.

So we created an introduction to the newsletter that works through these four themes, systematically introducing you to the most important concepts we think every online marketer must know about. It’s like a course in Internet marketing that prepares you for the more in-depth newsletter content that follows (still all free).

These are the cornerstones of how to build a business with the Copyblogger model, using everything we’ve learned over the years.


Pillar 1: Relationships

Creating strong relationships with an audience is critical to everything we do here. Rather than constantly hunting down new customers, we’d much rather create a valued environment that benefits our existing readers and customers and keeps pulling them back. We don’t advertise in the traditional sense; instead, our readers do a great job of “spreading the word” for us.

It’s about having consummate respect, always, for your audience and your market.

It’s about focusing almost obsessively on their needs, over and above your own (and getting what you want, almost magically, in the process).

It’s about making a commitment to creating a quality experience for your readers and subscribers.

Pillar 2: Direct response copywriting

We certainly stay abreast of the latest social media trends (and sometimes create them), but underlying everything we do here is solid copywriting techniques.

Starting with a killer headline and moving strategically through the copy to a stirring call to action, traditional copywriting technique works amazingly well in social media.

“Old-fashioned” copywriting advice can make all the difference between a business or blog that limps along and one that truly thrives.

We’ll show you precisely what we mean in the initial issues of the newsletter.

Pillar 3: Content marketing

What’s the backbone of the Copyblogger formula?

Deliver great content. Deliver more great content. Deliver still more great content.

Keep doing that in a strategic and focused way.

Every once in awhile, make a great offer that benefits the reader and involves the exchange of cash money.

Of course, we’ll give you some more specifics on how to do that once you’re on board. :)

Pillar 4: Have something worth selling

Everyone is selling something. It might be a service, a product, a download, or simply an idea.

Whatever you’re selling, it’s got to be worth the price. (And never forget that reader attention is a valuable commodity that’s in strictly limited supply.)

Whether you’re asking for dollars, euros, yen, or valuable time and attention, you’ve got to deliver something that towers above your asking price.

Bringing it all together

Each of these four pillars enhances the others. Together, they’re much stronger than they would be if any of the pillars were missing.

Internet Marketing for Smart People is a free course and continual newsletter that’s delivered via email. Each week you’ll get a new lesson on one of the four pillars.

You’ll get lots of pointers to archived Copyblogger content, but with a new frame that will help you “connect the dots” and start putting this advice to work in your own business, web site, or blog. It’s much like the approach Brian took with Authority Rules, but ongoing and ever-evolving as the Internet marketing space does (which is fast).

To make it work even better, we’ll also be including “behind the scenes” lessons that show you how we put our own marketing systems and launches together, and the role each piece plays.

What you need to do next

Enter your email address here to sign up for the Internet Marketing for Smart People newsletter: 


It’s very important to us that everyone receiving Internet Marketing for Smart People truly wants the course, so we’ll need you to confirm that you want to receive it by clicking a confirmation link.

So check your inbox after you sign up (and put us on your white list… we’re not spammy at all, but thanks to some less-than-ethical internet marketers, our topic is often viewed that way by the major email services).

And of course we’re never going to rent, sell, or otherwise share the information we collect. That would pretty much be a violation of everything we stand for.

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  1. I signed up but I have to say you totally read me wrong – I am all for learning an easy, sleazy way to make money.

  2. Laughing. Maybe we should start a second list.

  3. Tracy, if there was such a thing, we’d be doing it instead of all this damn work. 😉

  4. Oh my, I signed up IMMEDIATELY. Killer headline –> valuable content –> call to action. It’s deterministic. :)

    Great job, guys, can’t wait to receive your e-mails!

  5. I think maybe I’d like to be on both of those lists. LOL

  6. If you guys are not careful, someone might approach you about turning the 4 pillars newletter stuff into a book. 😉

    Tracy: Made me laugh out loud!

  7. Thanks Sonia and Brian! This is much appreciated.

  8. I’m risking Total Information Overload, but I’m signed up!

  9. I love being patronized. Of course we are the most smartest most bestest readers around! 😉

    I’m really excited about this newsletter. You all always give us readers a great value for our time!

  10. Hey.

    The first three comments here were an entertaining start.

    I like this idea, as I tend to like most pro-active items with value behind them, and will be listening in through the newsletter. I like how point #1 is relationships, which seems like the right pillar to be at pillar #1.

  11. @Blake, the best part is, you get a shiny gold star every time you read a message.

    (OK, that’s not true.)

  12. Ok, I’m going to sign up. I’m out of cash though. Can’t get blood from a turnip. So give it your best shot.

    I love being told how smart I am. I’d like it a little better if large checks were enclosed with such announcements. Just sayin. 😉

  13. Okay I am on board. Brian don’t you love “all this damn work” that you do?

  14. The posts here are always informative and well written. I’ve learned a lot about my writing style and how to give readers what they’re looking for. The newsletter is a must have. I’m in!!

  15. Koren, I do indeed. That was just a little joke. 😉

  16. I’m relatively new to the site (I guess, I was somehow living under a rock!) and have learned a lot already! Looking forward to even more learning with the newsletter!

  17. Brian – I know. I detest marketing, but love your and Sonia’s work. I now realize that marketing and sleazy don’t have to go together. When I see “damn work” I go wait a second, Brian seems to love what he does and is an inspiration (whether you like it or not). Okay I am off to go clean off my nose from so much brown nosing.

  18. I really love your stuff. I’m signing up – especially since you called me smart. But I don’t want a sleazy way to make money. I’m just looking for 400 new Twitter followers a day.

  19. @ Brian – Have you not read T4HWW? It’s easy according to TF 😉

  20. Sonia – Just read the first installment. Great stuff and can’t wait for the next edition. Once again you and Brian have hit a home run on this one.

  21. ha, i am all the way in.
    Been doing so much to build a great relationship with my target group and have now the largest official tattoo fan page on facebook.
    Too bad i am not too good in providing awesome content, but i fight my way thru. I already have a plan on how to monetize it, but it is so hard to find a good team. Oh well, we will see.

    Good job guys.


  22. (Smiling here.) Go Sonia! Solid. And strangely enough I just thanked Brian this morning for being so very very smart and steering me right. You will rock it off the charts in Vegas this week.
    Smart people, can we get Randy Newman to do a theme song?

  23. @Janice, you coming by Vegas, by chance? I’d love to meet you in the real world some time.

    I am very much enjoying the idea of a Randy Newman theme song.

  24. Tracy – you are awesome for so many reasons.

    Koren – the brown nosing is all too easy to do around these parts. I’ve never been steered wrong by Sonia or Brian and their products always deliver. They make it easy to want to work as hard as they do.

    Sonia and Janice – I’ll start working on the lyrics if you can get someone to nail the chords.

    P.S. I am going to Vegas and am right now trying to decide whether I am more nervous or excited.

  25. Sonia,
    I am not in Vegas this week, but same goes. :)
    Especially if there’s a beverage or chocolate involved.
    Cause I am easy that way.

  26. Most definitely, great info. Thanks so much! I find something very usual everyday that are definitely helping my partner and I to succeed. Thanks Again! :-)

  27. @WriterDad Don’t be scared of Vegas. It’s a fun place. Put on your Elvis and shake it like a hound dog. Cause no one will say a word…course they might podcast that…:)

  28. Janice: I’m not scared of Vegas. I love Vegas. It’s just that the butterflies are letting me know exactly how they feel about meeting lots of new people, many of whom I’ve already exchanged thousands of words but could barely pick out of a lineup. I’m a social creature and love people, but the first few awkward minutes are always murder!

    I will definitely be bringing my Elvis though, podcasts be damned. : > )

  29. It can’t hurt, it’s gotta help. All we’ve gotta do is read your stuff and put it into action, right, Bryan?

    I like, Dave, also like being told how smart I am. :-)

  30. I can’t wait to learn more!! I just started my blog and IM business and would like to learn much much more.

  31. Looking forward to this guys, just signed up. Damn relationships are never easy, but its basically what everything else is built upon, including success in business. Can’t wait to see the first letter!

  32. Now that I’ve read the most amusing string of comments ever, I’m off to read Pillar 1…

    Sonia, I can’t wait for my shiny gold star HURRAH!!

    Wait, what?! No gold star?!?

  33. Writer Dad,
    Can’t wait to hear all about it. :)

  34. I want to be on both lists too. Seriously, I once used my spam folder as inspiration for a post.

    Like Dave and Larry, I also enjoy being told how smart I am.

  35. new to the site/blog look forward to hearing/reading what you have to say.

  36. People always overlook relationships in the internet world of marketing. If you have a good mentor and have a few loyal relationships built up with readers and customers it will go a long way. Also nice use of the title tags and url, should be a nice ranking for all of the people that will link to this!

  37. Hi, Sonia!!

    I’m already in.
    I really like the idea off the course specially about the four pillar. It’s going to be really interesting to receive the newsletter.

  38. I wondered when you were ever going to start building a list. Looks like it’s off to a great start. Of course I’ll join. :)

    See you guys in Vegas!

  39. @Michael, looking forward to seeing you! Been awhile.

    @Chloe, ok, ok, I’ll try to work in a shiny gold star in an upcoming message. :)

  40. I was always a silent reader of so many blogs about blogging, internet marketing and so on, but finally made it to beat the procrastinator in me and started my own blog.
    I only wanted to say thanks for all this great you’ve been delivering over the years and for the future with this course.

    Especially the relationships part will be interresting for me, because of the unknownness and freshness of my blog.
    Keep the great work up! :)

  41. Hey Sonia,

    Quality over quantity yields less initial eyeballs but higher quality readers and customers over time. Those that return again and again to get what you have.

    This translates to not only better stuff made and smarter people consuming, but a sustainable career in the long run.

    Thanks for offering this. Signed up,

  42. You had me sold with the intro. That says enough to me about your content.

  43. can’t wait to learn more!! I just started my blog and I would like to learn much much more.

  44. I just signed up.. I cant wait to learn more.. thanks for bringing this up… more power to you guys..

  45. Writer Dad – could not agree with you more about the work of Sonia and Brian. They are authentic and helpful!

  46. I’m in for this! thanks for the amusing, yet great post. =)

  47. Even though I totally felt offended by the first paragraph, because I fell a couple of times for the get rich quick schemes out there. That was partially on purpose though, because My Blog – – is all about the mistakes I made while trying to become a successful online blogger.

    Anyway, I immediately signed up! Great idea good people of CopyBlogger!

  48. i must be lucky,i just started reading this wonderful blog…and now am signing up for something superb for free..great job guys ..will recommend this to all my friends

  49. Sonia,

    This post must be a great example of direct response copywriting because I am signing up.



  50. @Daan, I think that’s cool, creating a project where the expectation is that you’ll fail and learn from it. Very smart. Glad to have you with us.

    @Brad, I cheat shamelessly in my direct response copy, in that I deliver a lot of value first and create the strongest relationship I possibly can, which makes getting the response a lot easier. I really respect the direct response masters like Gary Bencivenga and Gene Schwartz. My way is easier, even though on the surface it looks like more work. :)

  51. I rarely respond to offers like this (crotchety old man that I am), but I look forward to receiving your information

  52. You say content marketing – but how do you do it? That’s simply content production. Anyone can write quality material and optimize it. Getting it read though – how?

  53. @Ed, we write a lot about exactly that here at Copyblogger, and we’ll also talk lots about it in the newsletter. You’re right–content production is one thing, but creating content with strategic value is a different critter. If you’d like to get a running start, check out the link to the left for “Content Marketing 101.” That’s a five-part sequence that has some good nuts & bolts.

    @Hamilton, nice to have your crotchety self with us.

  54. I have finally found the brains for blogging. I am so tired of the mindless useless chatter out in the internet marketing arena. I was almost giving up. Thanks for how ever I found you guys!

  55. Great list here on internet marketing. It’s a juggling act but I think you hit the four pillars spot on.

    What about the dumb people though?

  56. You’re right. Do you have any advice on getting feedback from your readers?

  57. Looking forward to the newsletter!

  58. Okay, I’ll sign up. But I’m not sure I can afford such a high price for this course. 😉

    @Gabe: speaking on behalf of all us dumb people. We have no idea what is going on. We just play follow the leader. :)

  59. @Gabe, very good question, but discretion forbids me giving suggestions on products that seem to be designed for that market. :)

  60. The first few comments are hilarious 😀

  61. Sounds excellent. I’ve signed up and am eagerly awaiting my confirmation email :-)

  62. Every prudent businessman thinks in that way and every day he would love to build his/her business empire on these factors.

    Its a simple strategy if you see it in a simple way … be honest, be informed and be active.

  63. Signed up and looking forward to it. You guys always deliver!

  64. Wow. Giving me great value and telling me I am smart?

    Just signed up! :-)

    Looking forward to the newsletter. You guys always deliver!

  65. This article just made me laughed!
    … My god… this makes my website like a total NOOB!

  66. If you guys aren’t careful, someone might approach you with an offer to JV with you about creatively repackaging this newsletter into a profitable ILE :)

  67. Well, I have just signed up for the newsletter. As a brand new Blogger and equally brand new Internet Marketer, I look forward to all the tips I can get to ‘do it right’.

    I have been reading the posts here for a couple weeks now and must say that I am glad to have found Copyblogger.

  68. Great post…I’m subscribing to see whats next!

  69. I’m usually weary of throwing my email on lists, haha. You guys better make it worth it

  70. I’m up for it. When I’m famous for posting about snow skiing in bikinis with toddlers, can I be interviewed in your ‘old fashioned’ copywriting newsletter?

    I like you guys, looking forward to reading more.

  71. …for me to learn the techie stuff so I can just write! lol

  72. should outsource the site (not even my niche)…but looking to write…and this is my test site…don’t be shy…please critique and point me in the right direction…I know,,,it needs more content and a site map. thanks HawaiianBrian

  73. thinking of putting a static front page…would appreciate any feed back! Thanks, Brian and Sonia (hope I spelled your name correctly) not you Brian…got that one down! Dallas Attorneys is my target market…just my test blog to make sure I can serve up what I’m selling! Thanks again! Bri

  74. ha ha…just put a “no follow” link and use my sucky site as an example! LOL

  75. Really…need some guidance…and I trust you guys…and gals.

  76. Wow! Sonia, I´m a fan. You´re a very talented writer and thinker. In a very short time I´ve learned a lot from you. (like in this sentence, I put initially “a lot of things”, damn!) RoC, Monterrey, Mexico.

  77. It is not really easy to start a business most especially if they will not be able to understand the four pillars. This is actually a reliable source of information to those people who are planning to start a business.

  78. For me, the internet marketing for people who are just starting to build their company will only be able to benefit from this if they will be using appropriate strategies. though, that is not an easy task to do,

  79. I m looking forward to this course!

  80. Sonia, hi. I was reviewing the Smart Marketing emails, and realized, I’m missing an odd number of lessons.

    Is there a central download place to get the “missing” ones?