My Blog
28Jun/190

Become an Internet Marketing Detective

At the risk of stating the ridiculously obvious, Internet Marketing is changing. Just because you’re making money today won’t guarantee you’ll still be making money tomorrow. There are the obvious examples: Possum, Penguin, Fred and what not. But then there’s new regulations, new technologies, changing interests and priorities of consumers, more competition (sometimes bad, sometimes good) and so forth.

Become an Internet Marketing Detective

Without a doubt, the money is still there to be made – but you might have to get creative and expand your horizons to find it. And when you do find it, don’t rest on our laurels. Don’t think you can set a funnel up and just ignore it and it will continue to deliver forever. You might wake up in a month or two and be shocked to find your account balance hovering near zero if you do.

That’s why you’ve got to always be on the lookout for great ideas, and even mediocre ideas that are profitable. Make it a daily practice to write down at least 3 or 4 new ideas for making money and growing your business.

What happens if you don’t walk for a week? Your legs atrophy. And your brain works the same way. Either work your brain relentlessly and it will get stronger, or don’t use it and it’ll harden into something useless.

The economy has been having it’s own set of challenges for years and while it’s better now for many people, there are still millions of people who are out of work or not making the money they used to make. So what are they doing? Many are turning to Internet Marketing. You might think this is bad because of increased competition, and it can be. But if you make a list of ideas on how you can capitalize on this, what will you discover?

First, these people will need training on how to do online marketing. That covers an entire realm of possibilities, including step-by-step courses and coaching.

Next, these folks will need help. They’re not going to be experts at everything from building websites to creating products to getting backlinks to designing product covers. So if you’re willing to perform services, there’s money to be made.

Remember the TV detective Columbo? He would be asking the suspect questions, always very polite, very nice, acting like he needed help in figuring out what happened. Only he was smart – he was playing the suspect right until the end. My favorite part is when he would be leaving the room, and the suspect would be breathing a sigh of relief. ‘Whew! Dodged that bullet’ the suspect is thinking. But then Columbo pauses at the door, or even walks out the door and then comes back in, and he puts his hand to his head like he just remembered something, and he says, “Oh, you know, I almost forgot, one more thing…” And then he’d nail the suspect with the real question, the one the suspect just didn’t have a good answer for.

This should be you. You’re a detective, always on the lookout for that “one more thing”that will make your campaign more profitable, that will increase your subscriber rate, that will double your conversions and so forth. Always be searching for the questions your prospects ask that lead to a breakthrough product. Always be asking, asking, asking “What do people want? What problem is keeping them up at night? What would they pay to fix, improve or eliminate?”

Get in the mindset of a detective and you’ll view the world differently. You’ll see things you missed a hundred times before. People will start to think you’re psychic or something. You’re not. You’re just asking questions and paying very close attention to the answers. And you’re using your brain – something a lot of people are too lazy to do.

Bottom line: Things are changing and they’re going to change a whole lot more. Fall asleep at the wheel and your business will crash. Rely on what worked before and you will go broke. Continue to provide the same old products and the same old solutions and you’ll find yourself standing still in the middle of a very fast race.

Be a detective like Columbo and you’ll always get your paydays.

28Jun/190

Competition can be a GREAT thing when you’re marketing online.

You’ve got a DYNAMITE idea for a new product and you can’t wait to get started on it – or maybe you already have. Then it happens: You see that someone else has beaten you to the punch and released a very similar product just last week. What should you do??

At this point, many people will simply fold. They’ll scrap their product idea and begin a search for a new idea.

Then there are the successful marketers who wouldn’t bat an eyelash just because someone else released a product like theirs. They would go ahead and finish their product and release it as soon as possible.

Do you know why? Two reasons: First, a successfully selling product on a particular topic means there’s room for another product on the same topic. And the reason there’s the room is because of reason number 2: People who are deeply interested in a topic don’t buy just one book or just one course – they buy everything they can get their hands on.

In fact, the person who released their product ahead of yours did you a favor, because you can now see how well their product is selling. You can look for the information holes they forgot to fill and you can be the one to create a better product. You can also see what their price point is and act accordingly. If they’re priced at $17, you might want to shoot for a higher price and provide a much higher value. On the other hand, if they are selling their product at several hundred dollars, you can choose to become an affordable alternative.

So the next time you’ve got a great product idea and someone else beats you to the punch, you might want to thank them, and get excited!

One more thing – don’t be afraid to approach the other product developer and suggest doing a deal together. They might also be open to becoming your affiliate and sharing your offer with their list and customers. Yesterday’s competitors can become tomorrow’s partners.

Remember – competition can be a GREAT thing when you’re marketing online.

28Jun/190

Is It Time To Ditch Your Goals?

Everybody knows you’ve got to set goals and stay acutely focused on those goals if you want to achieve anything in life. But what if “everybody” is wrong?

Let’s say you’re a coach and your goal is to win the championship. How do you do that? By focusing on all the things your team needs to do to get good enough to win. Daydreaming about winning isn’t going to be enough. You’ve got to practice, practice, practice.

Or you’re a salesperson and your goal is to earn $200,000 this year in commissions, twice what you earned last year. How do you do that? By focusing on calling a certain number of good prospects every single day without fail. Otherwise, you’ll continue to work as you have in the past, and the goal will likely be just one more thing you didn’t achieve.

Or you’re a writer and your goal is to write a 240-page book in the next 60 days. How do you do that? By sitting down and writing 4 pages per day. If you don’t focus on the process of writing those 4 pages a day, you’ll never achieve the goal.

Or maybe you’re in Internet Marketing. Wait – if you’re reading this you ARE an online marketer. So let’s say your goal is to earn $10,000 a month. How do you do that: By focusing on the goal? Or by focusing on your sales and marketing process? Of course, it’s the day to day process that will eventually get you to your goal. Otherwise, it’s all just pie in the sky and wishful thinking.

Obviously, goals and your day-to-day focus can go hand in hand. But when you focus on the goal you naturally reduce your current happiness. You’re basically deciding that when you reach your goal, then you’ll be happy and successful. But not now. Not yet.

Conversely, when you focus on the system that will get you to the goal, you’re focused on what you need to do right now. You can feel happy and successful each day that you focused on your system, whether that’s writing 4 pages for your book or contacting 15 potential affiliates.

You also have a weird thing happen if and when you achieve your goal if you’re not focused on the process – you tend to stop what you’re doing that got you there in the first place. If you focus on writing 4 pages a day, then you’ll have a new 240-page book every 2 months, or 6 per year. But if you focus only on the goal of having the book written, then once you complete it you’ll stop writing.

So how do you make the switch from goal setting to focusing on the systems that will get you the goals? Identify what needs to be done to reach your goal, and then spend your time doing those things. This way your goal will take care of itself and you’ll feel successful every day, not just the day you reach your goal.

One more thing: They say you’re supposed to make your goal specific, measurable and time-bound. But if all we’re focused on is the goal, we can end up cheating ourselves to achieve it. Consider the salesman who was so desperate to meet his sales goal, he stole a major client from a fellow salesperson at his company. Yes, he achieved his goal, but the victory was hollow and his reputation in the office was shot to pieces.

Conversely, sometimes when we simply allow ourselves to focus on the day to day process and systems that take us to our goals, we find we’ve reached an even better goal we hadn’t initially thought of. Consider another salesman who didn’t stress about the big goal, but instead he simply made sure he emailed 50 prospects a day, called 15 prospects and spoke with 10 prospects. This is what he did day in and day out. Yes, he met his goal, but in fact he exceeded it by all expectations and was hired away by another company to become their new sales manager.

Two salespeople with the same goal but two different focuses – which would you choose? Personally I find that a big goal can stress me out, sometimes to the point of almost feeling paralyzed. But knowing that I have a system to focus on that makes everything simple and completely manageable lets me relax and get busy. And I usually achieve my goals well ahead of schedule, without the stress and with a continuing sense of accomplishment and happiness.

Try it – just for one month focus on the day to day process instead of the big hairy goal and see if it doesn’t make a difference for you, too.

27Jun/190

33 Things I Would Have Paid Money to Know Before I Started in Online Marketing

If you’re just starting out in Internet Marketing, beware: There are lessons you’ll need to learn one way or the other. The easier way is to find an old marketer like me and pick my brain. The hard way is the method I’ve used many times in my years as a marketer – making the mistake and THEN learning the lesson. But it’s been worth it. Here 33 things I wish I’d known when I started in online marketing.

KNOWLEDGE

1. Your most valuable asset is your customer list. Not your prospect list, your customer list – people who have spent at least a dollar with you. Do everything you can to grow this list, because once someone trusts you enough to hand you a dollar, they’ll hand you $50. And once they hand you $50, they’ll hand you $500, but only if you treat them right.

2. Your second most valuable asset is your affiliates and JV partners. I’m talking about the affiliates who promote your products time and again, the ones that stick by you because A) They believe in you B) They believe in your products C) You treat them like the royalty they are. Your affiliates can make you more money in one day than most people earn in a year. Find them, nurture them, be amazing to them and take care of them.

3. Your third most valuable asset is really your most valuable, but until you’ve been in this business for awhile I’m afraid you won’t believe it, so I placed it here at number 3. But think about this – if you don’t treat your customers right and your affiliates right, what happens? You get a bad reputation. And once you have that, you might has well hang it up and go get a job at Walmart. Your reputation is EVERYTHING online. Protect it the way you would protect your own child, because you only get one chance to do it right. This goes for your brand as well.

4. Other valuable assets in no particular order are: Your prospect list, your outsourcers and your products. Focus on moving people off of your prospect list and onto your buyers list, even if it’s only a $1 purchase. Treat your best outsourcers well – you don’t want to have to find and train new ones every 6 weeks. And products, well…

5. Your products speak for you. Make them awesome and be sure they deliver on every promise you make. And do create products – lots of them. The more the merrier, so long as each one is filling a real customer want. It’s much easier to break into the 6 figure realm when you’re creating your own products. My most prosperous years are the ones where I’m creating the most solutions and products.

6. Keep things simple. I see aspiring marketers trying to over-complicate things all the time. Find a want, create the product, sell it to those who want it. Simple. As Steve Jobs said, “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” When you reduce the clutter and noise, you can do less and get more from it.

7. Focus. Pick a niche and focus on that niche. Let nothing distract you, including all the other niches. Make a list of things to do. Do each one. This sounds so simple, yet people try to go in several different directions at once and of course wind up going absolutely nowhere. This is one I got right from the start – I chose the IM niche and never looked back, and I’ve never regretted it.

8. Use systems. With a finely tuned system you can do anything. When they build a car, do they reinvent the engine each time? No. When you start an IM business, you don’t have to reinvent the mechanics of how to run it, either. Get a system and you’ll be free to focus on making money while the system runs your business.

9. Do 15 minutes of concentrated, positive thinking every morning. Do affirmations in the mirror, read something inspiring, look over and read aloud your goals, etc. Whatever it is that lights your fire, do it first thing in the morning and it will fuel you for the rest of the day.

10. Send out ships. Thinking positive is the first step, but it’s not enough. You’ve got to climb those stairs, not just look up at them and hope you somehow get to the top. So each day, send out ships. Make contact with someone in your niche. Build alliances. Email a dozen prospective affiliates. Skype with your best prospects. Whatever it is that brings in the business and makes you money, do it daily.

11. Use deadlines. Work inevitably expands to fill the time allowed, so only allow enough time to get it done. Then cut that time in half. You’ll be astonished at how fast you can work and what you can achieve.

12. Screw perfection. Really. You’ve got to take that attitude or you’ll be working six months on a product trying to get it perfect. When you finally do launch it, the window has passed and the desires of the community have moved on.

13. Build a real business. A blog is not a business, nor is a list. Those are components of a business. Decide what business you’re in and then treat it as seriously as any brick and mortar business.

14. You are the CEO of your business. Act like it. Outsource as much as possible so you don’t get bogged down. You can’t captain a ship while you’re swabbing decks. Focus on the big picture and outsource the details.

15. When you receive payment for a product, that’s when your work begins. Remember, it’s easier to keep a customer than to get one, but if you don’t continually take care of your customers, you’ll lose them.

16. Stand for something. No successful business has ever been all things to all people.

17. Pre-sell your products. This way you know for a fact if there’s a market for it, PLUS you have a huge incentive to get that product out the door FAST. And if there’s no interest in the product, you’ve just saved yourself the work of creating what would have been a loser anyway.

18. Make connections. Every day make one new connection and then maintain that connection forever. Yes, forever. Or until you retire. You can never have too many connections, too many friends in the business, too many customers, too many affiliates and JV partners, etc.

19. Be an idea magnet. What’s an idea? Often it’s a combination of two old things into something new. Look for ideas everywhere and write them down. WRITE THEM DOWN. Writing them ensures you don’t forget them, it frees your mind to think of more ideas, and it trains your mind to be ever watchful for the next big idea.

20. You can’t email your list too often. There’s a belief that if you send out an email everyday to your list, you’ll burn the list. And this is true if all you’re sending is ads. But if you’re also sending tidbits of good information or even just something to brighten their day, they will welcome your messages. In fact, emailing every day ensures you stay in their memory. Email once a week and they’ll forget who you are.

21. Grow your confidence. This will happen naturally as you experience success in your business, but you need to be confident from Day 1 that you can do the business in the first place.

22. Use to-do lists. Write down goals big and small. Write down what needs to be done this month, this week and today. Prioritize your list. Then do it.

23. Get an accountability partner. Tell each other or email each other each morning with your to-do list. Then tell each other in the evening what you accomplished.

24. Join a mastermind group. If you can’t find one, start one.

25. Outsource the bulk of your content and product creation. Then focus 80% or more of your time on marketing and building your business. This boils down to ‘Working ON your business rather than IN your business.’

26. Ask for the sale. That’s right, ASK for the sale. I once went to a car dealer and the guy helping me was brand new. I found the car I wanted, but he couldn’t gather up the courage to ask for the sale. Finally another salesperson came over and asked if I was ready to buy. “Yes!” I said. The young sales person looked astonished, but when he had to split his commission with the sales person who asked for the sale, I could see the new guy had learned his lesson.

27. Always have an upsell. If you’re selling a $7 product, offer a $27 on the backend. If your product is $97, offer a $997 on the backend. If you don’t, you’re robbing your customers who want more and you’re robbing yourself.

28. Continuity rules. Always look for ways to introduce continuity into your business, from the $7 a month membership to the $5,000 a month coaching program.

29. Passive income is the result of hard work, not passively sitting on your butt. How many rich couch potatoes do you know?

30. Hire a business coach. You’ll get a fresh perspective you sorely need, as well as good advice and someone to push you to new levels. For every dollar you spend on quality business coaching, you can expect to make $10 or more in just the first year, as long as you ACT on the good advice.

31. Invest your profits, don’t spend them. Buy real estate, good stocks or anything of lasting value. Don’t squander your money on ridiculous cars and nights out – there could come a day when you’ll deeply regret it.

32. Think of your mother. Would you be embarrassed to show her your marketing methods? If not, you might want to rethink your strategy. Another thing: Would she tell you that despite how busy you are, you should still eat right, exercise and take a little time off each day? Then be smart and do it. Mom does know best.

33. Have fun. If you’re miserable, you’re not doing it right. Yes there are going to be challenges, but half the fun is overcoming those challenges and persevering. If you hate what you’re doing, you’ve already failed. Do something else. I learned this in my previous profession prior to the Internet, but it holds true no matter what your business.

There you have it – 33 things I wish I’d known when I started. Some of these would have been handy five years into my IM career as well. I hope it helps.

One word of advice – when you do learn a lesson, either the hard way or the easy way – make a note of it. It’s best not to repeat the same mistakes any more than you have to.

17Jun/190

Get Smart – Train Your Brain for Success

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Popular thought says there’s something about turning 40 that makes one think, “Holy ^%!*, I could actually get old one day.” Then 50 starts approaching at warp light speed, and some start to think whole new thoughts, like, “Where did I put my keys?” And, “What did I come into this room for?” And “What was I going to write in my blog post? Wait, what’s my password? Never mind the password, what’s my domain again?”

If you can’t relate yet, good for you, and I hope you never do! In fact, this article is meant to inspire you to avoid such mental collapse.

No matter what your age, you can benefit from a better brain. And I don’t mean trading your brain in for a new one, although that could be awesome. I mean growing your own brain so that it functions better, makes new connections and thinks up creative new ideas constantly. Just like there’s weight training and cardio for the body, certainly there must be ways to improve how your brain functions so that everyday tasks like running your online business and finding new ways to make it profitable become like child’s play. At least, that’s what I was hoping to find.

So I started doing some research into the brain and how it works and what a person can do to improve it. And you know what? You about have to be a brain scientist to understand all that stuff. So I took a shortcut – I bought a book by a brain researcher with 20+ years of experience in actively building or growing his own brain. The book is called Whole Brain Power, and the exercises he recommends are not at all what I was expecting.

First discovery I made – the brain actually does grow from nurturing and training it. Second discovery – left handed people have more brain mass and a more flexible brain structure than right handed people. You might be wondering how they know that: UCLA did a study of 70 pairs of identical twins where one twin was right handed, the other left handed, with an average age of 70. The lefties almost invariably had better brains.

Put these two pieces of information together, along with a lot of scientific data I won’t get into, and you find that by using your non-dominant hand to do things like write and play sports, you are actually growing your brain. Plus memorization can work wonders, too.

Here’s a tangible example of brain growth: London’s famous black-cab cabbie drivers must store a mental map of London, including 25,000 street names and the locations of all major tourist attractions. It takes 3 years of intensive study to pass the test, and three-quarters of the applicants drop out. When they studied the brains of these cabbies, they found their hippo-campus had grown. In fact, the longer they spent on the job, the bigger their brains. This and other studies prove you can physically improve your brain if you work at it.

Doing these exercises have side benefits as well. Within 3 to 4 weeks of consistent training you’ll notice you’re more alert, you have greater focus and your attention span improves. Work will become easier, you’ll write blog posts faster, and you’ll begin seeing possibilities in your business that were all but invisible to you before. Plus your memory will get better, you’ll experience more energy, your chance of getting Alzheimer’s decreases and other benefits as well.

So what are the prescribed exercises for growing your brain? I’ll go over some of them briefly.

For purposes of explanation, I’m going to assume you’re right handed. If you’re left handed, just reverse what I say.

Anything that you normally do with your right hand like brushing your teeth, combing your hair, eating with a fork, etc., try doing with your left hand every day.

Write with your left hand. Get a notebook and write something on the right page with your right hand. Then write that same thing on the left page with your left hand. Your right hand (left brain) is actually training your left hand (right brain) using this method. If you like, use mirror writing when writing with your left hand. That is, write from right to left in such a way that the writing is legible when viewed in a mirror. Leonardo Da Vinci did this and he was no intellectual slouch.

By the way, it’s no coincidence that Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth where all ambidextrous.

Memorize and recite things forwards and backwards. For example, learn to say the alphabet as fast backwards as you do forwards. Memorize states or countries in reverse alphabetical order. Memorize long poems, speeches or soliloquies. While you’re at it, learn a new language. And memorize number sequences such as the powers of 2 all the way up to 30 or beyond (2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, 1024, 2048, 4096, 8192, 16384 etc.)

Do hammer drills. To start, get a lightweight (1 pound or so) rubber mallet and using your right hand bounce a tennis ball on it. Bounce once and catch, bounce once and catch. When you get good, bounce twice and catch, then three times, working your way to bouncing 5 times and catching the ball. Now transfer the mallet to your left hand and repeat. Be patient, your brain wants to learn this new skill. Move up to using a golf ball and increase the number of reps. When you can do 100-300 on either hand, place a mallet in both hands and bounce the ball from the right to the left and back again. Once you can do this successfully for 100 reps or more, get a heavier hammer. Sounds crazy, but the benefits – both to the brain and the body – are enormous. Here’s a helpful video on hammer drills:

Avoid passive stress from television and video games. You know how your mom said those things would rot your brain? Turns out she was right.

There’s a lot more, like games you can play and the science behind all of this. I highly recommend you get a copy of the book. It’s called Whole Brain Power: The Fountain of Youth for the Mind and Body by Michael Lavery.

If you’re wondering if all this stuff works, go to chapter 5 and look at the before and after photos of the artwork done by C. Ryan Walsh for the documentary film, Brain Dead: The Resurrection of a Video Game Junkie. In 45 days his artwork went from what I would describe as a 2nd or 3rd grade level to a 12th grade level, assuming the 12th grader had practiced art for 12 years. Absolutely mind boggling.