I almost wish I could say the clichéd line, "I don't know where this industry is headed..." But the fact is, we always have been, and probably always will be, distracted by at least 1000 new ideas and concepts every day when we're trying to build an income and a lifestyle online.
The biggest trap to avoid is the "herd mentality." If you've visited message boards in your niche you know what I'm talking about. Someone asks a question like, "What's the best membership software?" Gets a couple answers, doesn't get the exact answer they were looking for, waits until there are at least 20 different answers. You probably had one good answer in that heap somewhere but it was out-voted by the 20 other answers of the mob mentality.
You can't always tell who's telling the truth and who's making it all up. Who's actually teaching you what works or talking about something just because it's "hot right now" (like Google Hangouts).
I saw someone post on a forum the other day that just ran their very first webinar. I was about to post a congratulatory message... until I read further. The first webinar this person had ever run, was about how to run webinars! (Wait, what???)
Another very high profile marketer has taught, for a long time, to locate 20 competitors in your niche, buy all their products, then release your OWN products basically combining all their ideas together. Then this person bought one of my high ticket products... I quickly, quietly, and politely refunded the person.
For some reason,
many people label "untested" as "new"
and "proven" as "old."
"Creating an optin page, selling a product online, getting affiliates on my affiliate program, that's old stuff... I want something new and exciting." There's nothing wrong with new and exciting, as long as you have the BASE SYSTEM IN PLACE! (Lance and I call this the "Income Machine.")
Here are the biggest "strategy" problems or mindset problems I'm seeing today's marketers make...
- Mistake #1: Can't Separate the Forest From the Trees
- Mistake #2: Going Down the Rabbit Hole
- Mistake #3: Risky Marketing
- Mistake #4: Ignoring the 80/20 Rule
- Mistake #5: Not Understanding Why People Really Buy
Here's what I mean...
Mistake #1: Can't Separate the Forest From the Trees
The next time I hear someone teaching that everyone needs to sell at exactly $97, and have a $37 upsell with another $27 upsell and a $17 downsell, or use a big orange button on their sales letter with the text "Add to Cart" ... I just might throw my computer out the window.
Using your own success as a case study template for others to follow is just great. But did you make 1,000 sales at $97 just because the product was at $97 and that reason alone, or was it because...
- You had a clear compelling offer that people really needed that was the right thing at the right time
- You had a list of subscribers that trusted you
- You followed up with them multiple times
For me, it comes down to "must-haves" versus "nice-to-haves." Sure, maybe you said 1000 copies available, 34 copies remaining (and you were telling the truth) and that gave you a BOOST. Or you said offer closes Friday (and you were telling the truth) which gave you a BOOST. But it improved something that was already selling.
Mistake #2: Going Down the Rabbit Hole
The next logical thing that happens when people try to teach how they made money online... a new twist on an idea, which leads to a spinoff of one hair-brained idea after another.
Someone thinks, how can I improve the conversion rate on my sales letter? I know... charge people a few dollars to read the sales letter... then they end up with a page with almost NOTHING on it, asking people to pay money, when people have no idea what they're getting...
The modern day version of this is a thing people have tried called a "paid webinar." I've seen a few people do it every few years. They say, I'm doing a webinar, it'll cost you 50 bucks to attend, I won't tell you what you're buying exactly, just trust me.
It might work ONCE. But it sells based on the novelty and curiosity, and maybe a little bit on the trust you've built up with your subscribers... so it won't work with new traffic.
The solution? Add more detail to that sales letter explaining what they're getting for their $50, so now you need a free webinar to explain the details on that sales letter... you're back to selling a regular $50 product.
(It reminds me when "non fast-forward" videos were popular. Remember those? I ran a few, and tracked about a 2% conversion rate across the board with webinar replays with videos where you could fast-forward to the end, and 3% for non fast-forward videos. Meaning... that boost in conversion from 2% to 3% made it an OPTION for me, but not always an option I choose to take.)
Mistake #3: Risky Marketing
But it gets even worse. About three years ago I saw a marketer run a "trial" webinar. Basically, get people to sign up for a $0 3-day free trial (which gets them access to the webinar). The idea is they get your free training, they get access to a product at the end (so there's no pitch), if they don't want it they can cancel the "trial" before it rebills, if they do like it, they do nothing.
It's almost as if everyone forgot how scary things were a few years ago when there were new FTC rules, Visa/MasterCard rules, PowerPay rules.
For example, people seem to have forgotten that most popular payment processors FORBID a countdown timer on a sales page! Or that using the term "cure" anywhere in your marketing puts you in Kevin Trudeau land.
If you have any kind of rebilling, to clearly state the price and frequency on your sales page itself -- don't just rely on the terms spelled out on the order page.
And one-click upsells... the customer must confirm that extra charge TWICE, meaning no 1-click upsells.
For some reason, people either forgot, weren't around back then, or think "the coast is clear" and are falling back into the trap of having multiple upsells and downsells...
Mistake #4: Ignoring the 80/20 Rule
The good news about this thing called the 80/20 rule is that if you have just 20% of the skill you can get 80% of the results. When I started I was a terrible copywriter.
You know what else... I don't always choose the "best" headlines. I forget many times to speak with "bucket brigades" (starting sentences and paragraphs with words like "Because..." or "And then..."). I don't know anything about rhythmic hypnotic language or appealing to different senses (do you see what I'm saying, hear me out, this is what it feels like).
Put together an offer that solves a real problem that real people are having right now, make a convincing argument to why you're the best and they need you right now... get it out there... you can always tweak "clever wordage" later (but the dumber, simpler sales letters always convert better for me).
Mistake #5: Not Understanding Why People Really Buy
This leads me to the real triggers that get people to buy. Many people wrongly think that limiting the number of copies available, increasing the price, dropping the price, adding a deadline on it... is what gets them extra sales. All it's doing is WINNING OVER those people who already know they should buy, but are on the fence and need one more reason TO buy...
Off the top of my head, here is a quick list of the reasons people buy from you...
- It solves their problem right now (value)
- They're ready to solve their problem (timing)
- They know they need it now (urgency)
- Bad things will happen if they wait or if they go to your competitor (scarcity)
Basically, if you know what brought people to your website, you know the state of mind they're in, the problems they've had leading up to discovering you and what they've tried in the past... plus knowing what they know and don't know... is a GREAT starting point for your sales letter... which leads me to what I think is the first rule of internet marketing...
Rule #1: You're Not Your Market
Remember earlier how I said someone ran their first webinar ever, and it was all about how to run a webinar?
Here's the problem: if you create a business around teaching weight loss, or webinars, or WordPress site building, you yourself don't stay "intermediate" for long. Either you're brand new to it and know nothing about it (so you shouldn't be teaching it) or you know it so well that you're an expert (and then you can't relate).
This is the big reason why I see these guys teach "advanced" internet marketing topics like automated webinars, 1-clicks upsells, funnels, traffic arbitrage. They're bored with the simple stuff. Not realizing that the majority of their market is not advanced. They're newbies, they just don't want to admit it!
Right off the bat, if you talk about running weekly webinars where it filled up all 1,000 seats every time... you make $100,000 every time you run an event... you're in the top 1 percent... you don't know where to stash all this extra money... and don't even bother asking "dumb questions"... you're not relatable!
On the other hand, if you dumb it down and talk about running webinars with 10 people where you make $100 or $1,000... that's not exciting enough.
The solution? Before and after... empathizing and connecting by saying, "I was just like you."
"I was just like you. I ran webinars and no one showed up, I was nervous and scared, I did everything wrong, until I developed a system for doing it the right way and here it is."
Rule #2: People Are Easily Distracted
Speaking of your pitch and your story... you SHOULD run these things called 1-hour no-cost pitch webinars where you demonstrate value, share some knowledge, introduce your offer and ask for the money and close it down.
The easiest way to simplify it so that you'll actually do it, have fun doing it, and continue doing it? Or the easiest way to make them more effective if you're already doing them?
Compress it all down to 1 hour. People don't need to know your life story, you don't need to start the webinar late ("to make sure everyone shows up" -- I guess???) You also don't need to unmute anyone else during the call, not even a business partner. This is a big one.
And if you're going to "launch" a product of yours (I've been doing them since 2001) limit it to 1 week, 2 weeks at the most. Meaning... you don't need 4 videos dripped out and a blog post with 2,000 comments and a PDF report or a mindmap.
Mail every day for several days leading up to a free webinar you're running. Run the webinar pitching your product where they can buy that night. Mail for several more days to the replay where there's a link to buy from the replay. Mail for a few more days directly to the offer. Done and done.
The reason for all this is because people are easily distracted. This is the same reason why, on a webinar, we mention the URL we're promoting multiple times... ideally, 10 different times, because most people are only half paying attention.
When it's a product with a payment plan, I list the exact dates they'll be rebilled when they join today, because most people aren't looking that closely.
If there are two payment options (like pay full price vs. a payment plan) I'm sure to list them side by side (NOT one on top of the other) and list out identical bullet points so it's 100% CLEAR that whether someone pays full price or a payment plan, they're buying the same thing.
We put the contents of our entire offer compressed into one single table, an offer stack, because people aren't going to scroll around or skip through the video to find out what module 3, 4, or 5 are.
Rule #3: Build the Damn List
Remember when Senator John McCain had the campaign slogan, "Build the damn fence?" Kind of an angry, almost immature thing to say but my attitude is the same with list building. Build the damn list!
Lance and I have private discussions over and over again about this marketer, or that marketer, who made it big in 1999 or 2004 or 2006 or 2008 or back in 2010 and are hurting big time, but don't want to admit their income has dropped drastically... and they have no idea how to get back to where they were...
I know the answer. Build the damn list! What happened back then was, everyone had "launch calendars" and when it was your turn, all these affiliates of yours would send massive traffic, massive sales, enough money to live off for a couple of years.
What happens when the money runs out? Most of these guys didn't email their list after their big launch, not really. Maybe once a month or once a year. The list ran out and the cashflow stopped.
You need to keep your list alive. If you treat your list well it'll decay at 1% daily and if you ignore it, or email too much, that will drop off even faster. But best case scenario, if you build your list up to 10,000 subscribers and aren't adding 100 leads a day, your business is slowly shrinking and dying. 50,000 subscribers and less than 500 leads a day, shrinking and dying. 100k subscribers and less than 1,000 new leads, dying.
Most people don't have the urgency that I think they should for building their list bigger, for some reason they think a small "tribe" of 1000 or even 100 or 10 people is going to support them. Not long-term it won't.
Rule #4: It's All About the Joint Venture
You need those little things like forum posts, articles with your name on them, blog posts, podcast episodes, paid ads but those are all just tiny trickles of traffic.
To get real traffic you need to tap into other peoples' lists.
The only realistic way to make that happen is with an affiliate program.
Setup an affiliate system with tools they can use to promote, actively get people to join and then regularly contact those affiliates to promote -- another big step people miss.
Once you have that affiliate program setup, you're going to want to do a bunch of things to get your name out there. This includes doing things that the majority won't do (but are easy) like attending offline events. Connecting with people on Facebook groups and legitimately helping them without asking for anything in return.
Contact people one on one (make a schedule for X number of people you want to contact per day) with a PERSONAL message. See if you can get THEIR affiliate link for YOUR product on THEIR download page or membership site. Schedule a 20-minute interview with them if they have a blog or a podcast.
Get your affiliates on a mailing list so you can broadcast to them and remind/encourage them to promote. Give them lots of tools like pre-written emails and banner ads. When new affiliates join, they get on a timed follow-up sequence so they've given instructions on what to promote for those first 30 days. We run specials like prizes or increased commissions for short periods of time.
Anything to break even on our sales or even take a slight loss, because every one of those affiliate sales builds our list for us.
Speaking of joint ventures... the ULTIMATE joint venture that many people seem to miss is..
Rule #5: Get a Mentor
I'm not talking about JUST becoming a busybody on a forum or Facebook group. Or even attending offline events (which is good but not enough). Or even joining a mastermind where everyone is an equal. I'm talking about paying for a COACH who will tell you what to do to get you where you need to go. And to SOLVE all the problems that creep up on you!
Look, I've seen far too many people fall into the traps we've talked about today such as... giving away their best ideas before they've taken action on them. Next thing you know, you aren't as motivated to take action (because you talked about them so much), or someone copies you before you had a chance to implement. Or the strength in numbers from the inexperience mob drowns out the real answer you should have listened to. Or just maybe... you have actually been asking the same question over and over until you get the answer you were looking for. Don't do it!
Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes a coach will tell you, you're doing too much of this and not enough of that... or... throw this part of your business out because it's not working. It all comes down to this: do you want to be "comfortable" (and continue getting the same results you've always been getting), or do you want to be "temporary uncomfortable now and comfortable later" (get new and different results) with someone who's helping you?
I know what I want.
I think these five tools combined will really help you with your internet business:
- Rule #1: Understand you're not your market and sell to the mass newbies in your niche
- Rule #2: Make your marketing and offer as clear as possible because people get distracted
- Rule #3: Build the list so that your business is growing and not dying (maintenance is a myth)
- Rule #4: Recruit people into your product's affiliate program to take advantage of the "real" internet traffic
- Rule #5: Get a mentor who's already achieved what you want so you can follow their path
Now it's your turn. If you had to add just one extra "rule" to your personal internet business, what would it be? Comment below with your one-sentence "rule of internet marketing" right now.