Truth is, I am sad about the state of small business and entrepreneur marketing. There are good, hard working people out there in the trenches just trying to figure out what the hell they should be doing online to market their business. It seems like every day a new site pops up or a new marketing “trick” being touted as the “4 Hour Workweek”, “new goldrush” or “get rich quick” scheme.
Having been on the internet for going on two decades and working in the marketing space for about 15 years, I am here to tell you there are some hard truths you need to know if you are going the “GRQ – Get Rich Quick” route.
1) You have to start early. Many of the people who are trying to sell you something got into whatever it was before now! I have great traffic on this site because it is old and I have blogged consistently for 8 years now. Our social media channels are D-List popular (we will NEVER compete with the likes of Ashton Kutcher) but robust enough to do what we want with them…again, started with them early and have worked them consistently for years. The marketers that can show amazing results probably started when no one was doing it and then rode the wave as it became popular and now are reaping more rewards by selling desperate people the “secret” of how to do the same. The problem is, the landscape you will be playing on is not the same! The goldrush days are gone and the hard work days are here.
2) Marketing geniuses are not stupid. Think about it, there are only so many best #1 podcasts on iTunes or first page listings on Google. When a technique or strategy is working well, cranking in the dough in, they are busy working it, not telling schmoes about it. It is only after the peak of the bell curve hits that they package the “fool proof” plan they used when the picking were easy and make money off of that too!
3) Some things do work, until the platform breaks it. Now, there are good people out there selling courses and classes that offer value. The problem sometimes is that the tactic works until the platform break it (I will explain!!!) One tactic on Facebook was to post words with no hyperlinks, this got you more listings in the news feed, which got you more followers which lead to more exposure. We bought a $97 course that told how to do some neat tricks, used them for one week and then Facebook changed the algorithm and BAM, those things didn’t work and we had to figure out other things that do. Sigh.
4) You are probably not cool. Malcolm Gladwell wrote about cool hunting back in 1997. Basically, there are people who inherently can look at things and tell if they are going to be cool. Gary Vaynerchuk is pretty good at spotting cool (Twitter, Medium) but has had some dorky misses (what was up with that Gowalla thing?) I have talked to thousands of small business owners and what they think is “cool” marketing wise, is generally about two years over and being sold by someone who did when it really was cool!
Platforms, Tricks and Strategies…Before we go much further let’s talk about the parts of marketing in the digital age.
Platforms are the sites and services that we use. Here are some of the most common platforms and their categories:
- Amazon – Ebooks and product sales
- iTunes – Podcasts
- Blog Talk Radio – Broadcast radio
- YouTube – Video
- Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Email marketing
- Google Hangouts, Livestream – Broadcast video (like TV)
- Wishlist – Memebership websites
- Clickbank – Affiliate sales
- Kajabi – Information product sales
- WordPress, Blogger – Blogs
- Facebook – Social Media
- Twitter – Social Media
- LinkedIn – Social Media
- Google Plus – Social Media
- Pinterest – Social Media
This list took me 5 minutes off the top of my head. I had originally intended to break each down, but we are are at 600+ words now and that would have made it a truly EPIC post! Suffice it to say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are probably at least as many more that I didn’t list but which are viable marketing channels.
Tricks are the “sneaky” tactics that internet marketers try to sell to game the system. These are the things that are probably not working right now but which did before a loophole on a platform closed. If you get an email promising this kind of thing…RUN the other way (pulled directly from my email inbox this morning)…
- Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update
- Get 2109 Done For You Proven Facebook Campaigns (Revive Fanpages FAST)
- 900 Targeted New Opt-ins EVERY Day – You Could, Too
- Sneaky bid trick pulls in a $13,073 profit + Local Market Update (you thought I messed up right? nope, it is just a campaign that ALL the internet marketers are copying and sending to their lists right now)
- Imagine over 1 million targeted views… XXX is LIVE!
- How to Create Your Video Traffic Machines [3 simple steps]
- Google’s hidden ranking formula has been uncovered…
- Make $273 A Day With This…
- Hurry, only 1 Day left to get this Google spying tool.
- Easiest Cash online… RIGHT HERE.
When these come into your inbox, it is tempting to hope that this one really will be the one that trips the switch. Just by using this one little trick you can circumvent all the hard work, building an empire and other things that you actually know work. One reason I can find so many so easily is that I have any kind of this thing to into a special folder in my email, skipping the inbox. Now, I love great marketing more than anyone, but my goal for my business does not involve getting knocked off track by a shiney new object. Which leads to…
Strategies are plans. They have been well thought out and are set in stone for a period of time. They have definitive goals and measurable results. You know why you are doing them and WILL NOT DEVIATE no matter how many flashy, GRQ emails come into your inbox! Let’s look at some of those platforms again and figure out strategies instead of tricks…
- Amazon – Strategy: Publish an ebook a week for a year. Measurable results: Ebook sales, grow email list, consulting opportunities.
- iTunes – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
- Blog Talk Radio – Strategy: Gain listeners, growing network. Show expertise in the industry, sell personal classes and course.
- YouTube – Strategy: Gain subscribers, drive to website. Show expertise in the industry, sell consulting.
- Infusionsoft, Mail Chimp – Strategy: Grow email list and community who likes to hear from you. Sell something.
- Google Hangouts, Livestream – Strategy: Gain watchers, growing network, post on recording on website and grow blog traffic. Show expertise in the industry, affiliate sales.
- Wishlist – Strategy: Grow membership, gain residual income, maybe affiliate sales.
- Clickbank – Strategy: Make money from sales (requires other channel to collect followers).
- Kajabi – Strategy: Build multiple sales funnels, grow email list and sell information products.
- WordPress – Strategy: Gain traffic with great information, sell your products or services.
- Facebook – Strategy: Drive to website or email list, grow relationships.
- Twitter – Strategy: Grow network, post amazing stuff, quick hit links to products or services.
- LinkedIn – Strategy: Grow network, connect with industry, drive to email list or website.
- Google Plus – Strategy: Grow followers, post keyword targeted information to get indexed in Google.
- Pinterest – Strategy: Grow connections, gain traffic by posting amazing photos with links to your website.
Now, I know these suck. Not one promises internet riches overnight and they all look like hard work. All of them also require patience. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, did I say patience? Yep! There is not one of these strategies that will work the first day you try them. You will not do one thing, set up one site or send one email and rake in thousands.
Leveraging What You Have
The cool thing…so there is one really cool thing. Once you have set up a strategy and implemented it, the benefits go on and on. We are writing an Ebook a week for a year (check out this week’s book, Sales and Marketing Success, Targeting Your Perfect Customer Who Will Buy and Buy).
First off, it is REALLY good. It is the 5th book we have written (just 47 more to go) and everything is easier. The cover is nicer, the content is tighter, and we are using our already built social media and website empire to market it. Because we stayed in the groove of marketing, we had a built in audience, sales channels already set up and the experience to know what our customers need. Building on long term success is actually really cool.
Just Starting Out?
That said, what if you are just starting out? We have a client who is doing his own thing with setting up a podcast (I am blown away by his bravery!). While we did make a website for him (he is smart enough to know what he is good and not good at), the rest is all him! I asked him for 5 ah-has from someone just starting out…I am pleased to present Dave Negri of the Contractor’s Secret Weapon Podcast!
- When you look at the overall picture of podcasting it can look very daunting. Lucky for me, with my personality I just take an overall look if it looks doable and I just jump in feet first and go for it. There are a lot of great podcasters that give away a lot of free information to get you up and running. Ah-ha… I can do it. Anybody can do it.
- It’s not as scary out there as one might think. You don’t have to go it alone. Like I said, there are a lot of great podcasters that will point you in the right direction. I’m going to plug Dave Jackson at School of Podcasting. He is a great resource for newbies as he has been podcasting since 2005.
- I was told first thing is to figure out what your show is going to be about. Lucky for me we knew exactly what we wanted it to be about and why. Out of the gate we had 50 weeks’ worth of topics without any guest interviews figured in (ah-ha, listen to the experts they will shorten your time to get up and running)
- It’s like any other business, if you create systems as you go it takes the uncomfortable out of the new thing and makes it comfortable. Well, maybe a little easier.
- Going into it with the proper mindset has made all the difference in the world. It’s not just another task do to for business. We had to make it as much fun as we could for everyone, ourselves and our listeners. Our goal was to help our business grow, but also add value to our listeners and help their business grow. I truly believe that podcasting is still in its infancy stage and there is no limit to the possibilities for the future podcaster.
I could not be happier for Dave. His strategy is to have a quality podcast for the next year. He has reached out to experts he knows (like me) and we are supporting him by sharing his stuff and appearing on his show. He did not think that having a podcast would be easy or successful 7 minutes after he aired the first one, but he does know that if he can get over the hump, there are great things on the other side!
Here is the podcast that he had me on!
Really? You made it down here despite all the cool distractions. Well this is the most important bit anyways so you are in luck!
The best part about the fact that this shit takes hard work is that most people will start it and never finish. If you want to start a webinar series and have a strategy and the stones to stick in there, you will succeed. If you want to be an affiliate marketer and are willing to bust your ass, you will succeed. There is nothing “secret” about any of this. Have a plan, take time to let that plan grow and hustle. That’s it!