Internet ... Avoid "Blind Sheep" ... you want your online business to succeed, you have to give ityour own twist, not follow someone else like a blind ... what the Internet ma
Internet Marketing: Avoid "Blind Sheep" Mentality
If you want your online business to succeed, you have to give it your own twist, not follow someone else like a blind sheep. Despite what the Internet marketing gurus tell you, you will not likely be lying on the beach any time soon just by following their methods.
As with anything, there are those few (very few) who will leap into the forefront with a new idea or a new angle on an old idea. Then along come the rest of us, and like blind sheep, we follow these gurus, expecting to reap exactly the same rewards. It doesn't work that way.
First, we are no longer unique in the marketplace. The particular guru we're following got there first.
Second, we aren't selling the same product or service as our guru. Even if we're selling Internet marketing ideas, and so is our guru, we still have our own unique perspective on it. I hope we do, anyway. Otherwise, we're not going to have anything worthwhile to offer. If we're just carbon copies, people might just as well buy from our guru.
Third, we are never going to follow our guru's advice word-for- word or step-by-step. You and I will do it differently even if we've bought the same "Business in a Box." If you apply yourself more than I do, you'll do better. If you buy advertising all over the 'Net and I try to get along on a shoestring, you'll do better. You'll claim the method works; I'll say it's bunk.
Or maybe I put my own twist on our "Business in a Box" and I make a killing while you're left with modest results. Now I claim it works, but you claim it's over-rated.
Are you getting the picture?
Making money on the Internet is not an exact science. It's more of an art. There are some basic principles that you must apply, but following every Internet guru around like a blind sheep will likely bankrupt you before you figure out your own secrets to Internet marketing. (Then you'll be the next guru!)
Here are seven basic principles to follow. If you accomplish these, your success is guaranteed.
1. Find your niche market. We have lots of resources for finding your niche market on our web site: http://www.ablewebs.com/internet_marketing.htm#niche.
2. Make sure your niche market spends money on products or services like yours. This is a very important piece of research. If your target market doesn't have money to spend or doesn't spend money on that kind of product, pick a different product to market!
3. Build a mailing list. How? Capture email addresses on your web site, write an ezine, purchase opt-in subscribers.
4. Advertise. Where? Online classifieds, ezines, list services, print media. Put your URL on everything you send out whether it's in paper or digital format. Here are some ideas: http://www.ablewebs.com/newsletter1.htm#tips
5. Track ad results carefully so you know what's working. Use a spreadsheet, or purchase software designed for this purpose.
6. Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. There are many theories around as to how many contacts it takes before someone will buy from you, but I've heard it's between five and nine.
Here's a true story to help you understand what I mean. Several months ago I downloaded a trial copy of a software package called "Postmaster Express" by Online Automation. Online Automation started emailing me to see how I liked it. After the trial was over, they kept emailing me...and emailing me. When I was finally in the market to make a buying decision on an auto responder solution for my business and guess who came to mind? Did I buy from them? Yes. They had been in my face for months. They didn't give up...and they got the sale. This is an important lesson.
7. Have more than one product or service to offer so if one dries up, you don't starve.
If you have only one product or service, think of other ways to attract new customers: re-write stale sales copy, revamp your web site, get creative with your advertising.
For instance, if you're a chiropractor, be creative in your advertising. Target different segments of your market: today baby- boomers, tomorrow seniors. Or start a new fashion: "New Moms: How to Stay on Your Feet Longer and Enjoy it More."
How you accomplish each of these seven principles depends on who you are, what you already know, what information you read, what you have time and money to invest in, what appeals to you, and what your skills are.
I'm a writer. I write a newsletter, Press Releases, articles, etc., but I'm not an expert at writing sales letters. That's a different skill. While I'm learning, I can use the skills I already have to market my services. Maybe it'll turn out that my particular services sell better using my methods in the end and I never have to worry about sales letters.
Besides, if every web site is turned into a one-page sales letter because "that's what works," pretty soon everyone will be jaded and stop reading them. If you do something different with your web site, maybe you'll get the traffic. People come to the Internet to find information. That's the reason sales letters on web sites are often cleverly disguised as information. The price -- even if it's free -- has to be buried way at the bottom so the benefits of the product or service have really hooked the visitor before they realize they're being sold. (There's a little sales letter advice for you.)
Don't forget to look at your own interests and skills. Maybe you love participating in forums frequented by people who'd benefit from your product. It's easy for you to chat with them and they grow to trust you. The next thing you know, they're buying from you. Do you have to learn to write Press Releases? I don't think so.
If you or I do exactly what everyone else is doing, we'll be blind sheep, using stale methods to sell stale ideas. Follow the basic principles, get advice on ways to accomplish each one. Then put your own twist on them and stand out from the flock.
Andrea Wilson is a writer, web designer and author of the email newsletter "From Niche to Rich!" You can email Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to her newsletter at http://www.ablewebs.com/newsletter.htm. Visit Andrea’s web site at http://www.ablewebs.com.