My man David Risley just linked up a great video from Tony Robbins’ blog. It’s an interview about how to truly take your business the direction you want it to go. Recession be damned. There is more opportunity out there than you realize! I encourage you to check out this video on either David‘s site or Tony‘s original post on his blog. It’s about 40 minutes long, so block off the time and watch it. You’ll be glad you did 🙂
Internet Marketing Strategy
I’m a big fan of leverage, and in the internet age, it’s mandatory that we employ as much of it as possible. You need to be able to get things going quickly! You need to be able to launch an idea without delay and build it competently and efficiently, because FAST is the name of the game.
So how to you build a rocking blog with only 10 subscribers? The answer is this: make sure they’re 10 really great subscribers! Make sure they are advocates.
No matter how far you go in your business, you will always have a core business that deserves more of your focus than anything else. This will be your advocates. Even if you have 100,000 subscribers, I guarantee you that only a handful of them are the reason for the majority of your success. It’s the old 80/20 rule. Find your advocates, my friends! That is the key to success; it’s not about huge subscriber lists (although they are fun and profitable of course); it’s about quality, and my point in this post is simple…you do not need a huge amount of subscribers in order to do a huge amount of damage!
Your power is not in your numbers…it’s in your advocates!
Traffic is Not the Answer! Advocates are the Answer
My point is simple. So many of us want to focus on getting more and more traffic to our sites, and that is understandable. But a big part of me believes it’s kind of an industrial age idea being injected into a new business model. It’s natural and human for us all to want a lot of attention, tons of comments, etc. But I contend it’s just not necessary. Fun, yes. Cool, yes. Necessary to run a profitable business? No.
If I had to choose between 10 people who truly love what I do and are willing to do whatever they can to help me out or 10,000 luke warm, half-assed followers, which do you think I’m going to choose? High traffic may be fun, but it’s rarely efficient. It’s also rarely necessary.
You just don’t have to have millions of fans in order to have millions of dollars. It may be your goal for whatever reason, and if so I’m certainly not criticizing. Go as large as you want. With a blog you can take over the world. We see it happening more and more every day.
The Fame Façade
But it’s also true…and has always been true, that a lot of very successful business people are out there operating behind the scenes. Sorry to ruin the façade for everyone (I don’t really think I’m telling you anything you don’t already know), but the very well-known internet success stories we’ve all heard of are only a small sample of what’s actually going on out there. There are also a lot of famous people who are FAR from reaching their personal goals.
I’d encourage you to not look at the famous “success” stories we all hear about to be necessarily indicative of the direction we should all be going, because it may or may not be true. Fame is not a factor. It’s only an interesting an fun phenomenon that happens to some of us occasionally. Fame certainly does not require significant personal achievement, and likewise, significant personal achievement only rarely produces fame.
If it is fame that interests you, fine, but don’t equate it to success.
Blogging to the Power of 10
All I’m saying is that you likely don’t need to start the next Facebook or Twitter or Tech Crunch or whatever to reach all your financial goals with blogging and internet marketing, so don’t assume it to be so. Look at your alternatives, and one alternative is to learn to operate a very powerful operation with only 10 fans!
Of course I use “10 fans” as only an example. The point is to illustrate that many of us assume we need many thousands of people on board before we’re going to be able to do any real damage, and I’m sorry but it’s just not true.
Each Individual Subscriber Really Does Matter
What if one of your subscribers is David Letterman? Impossible you say? I’m sorry, but do you know what David Letterman’s RSS subscription looks like as compared to anyone else’s? I have no doubt that David Letterman gets online from time to time, don’t you think? And if he’s reading your blog, and you’ve written something particularly compelling to him, don’t you see how that could lead to something significant? Absolutely it could.
As of course, here is the magic: While David Letterman (I don’t know why I specifically picked David Letterman, so don’t ask!) knows a lot of people…last time I checked, a LOT of people know a lot of people. It doesn’t take having a celebrity on board in order to make your blog hugely successful and profitable. Here’s what it takes: it takes an advocate.
What is an advocate? An advocate is someone who truly loves what you do, believes in you and actively takes pleasure in helping you spread the word. A few advocates is all it takes. And an advocate can be anyone…as long as they are truly engaged by what you do.
It really does only take 10 advocates to make your blog massively successful. In fact, in many cases it only takes ONE advocate to make a big difference. I had one post recently connect with some people in my network. Several of them tweeted it out and it them got picked up by Perry Belcher, who in turn tweeted it out, and all of a sudden my traffic went up about 800% for a few days. I’ll take it! I got a lot of cool comments and about 50 email subscribers from that one flurry of activity. If I did not have advocates, it would not have happened.
How to Get Advocates
Advocates, like anything of value, must be earned. Sorry, there’s really no short cuts here, and I cannot offer you a link to a website that offers a free tool called “how to get 10 advocates for FAST and for FREE”. This human engagement, and it can only be accomplished through real personal interaction over time.
Think of it this way, which is quicker?
- Build 10 significant relationships with people over time, or-
- Follow thousands of people on Twitter and hope that half of them follow you back?
Of course it’s quicker and easier to build a crappy list, but the result is a crappy list, so why bother?
How many subscribers do you have now? If you have 100 subscribers, and those 100 subscribers were procured the right way, I bet you that your 10 advocates are already there. Now it’s just a matter of identifying them and cultivating a relationship with them over time. Don’t let them slip away; you’re staring at a literal gold mine!
If you’ve just started this whole blogging thing, and you only have a few subscribers…don’t look at that as a bad thing. You’re not deficient. You’re sitting on a gold mine…I promise you! It only takes a few advocates.
If you rock, they will come.
Have you ever heard of the “Google dance“? When it comes to business, I don’t dance. Google is a beautiful thing, and it sends me good quality traffic. I’ll take it. I’ll even take reasonable measures to make sure I get plenty of traffic from Google and other search engines. The principles of SEO are fairly simple to learn, and you don’t need to get overly complicated with it. But I refuse to base my business around Google.
I Don’t Control Google. Neither Do You!
Why? I don’t own Google. I don’t control Google. Neither do you. And if we have no control over something, why would we base the success of our businesses on it? I encourage Next Level bloggers everywhere to take this stance. Blogging is essential for every business owner, and that is why I’m writing this blog. Let SEO be what it is…gravy. Traffic is a cool thing. It greases the wheels. But don’t build a business that is dependent upon something you cannot truly control.
Don’t get me wrong, you CAN build a powerful blog that gets tons of traffic from search. There is nothing wrong with that. Go ahead and get tons of traffic, make money from advertising. It’s a good thing! But let me ask you a question…what happens when Google drops you from their index…for whatever reason?
Do you think it won’t happen to you? It happens to the best of us. And when it happens, what is your back up plan? If your business is dependent on search traffic…you have no recourse but to sit and wait. Like I said, when it comes to business, I don’t dance!
Business the Traffic are Two Separate Things
All I’m saying is that my BUSINESS and my TRAFFIC are two separate things. I encourage you to think of them as separate as well. Your traffic is something that comes in on a daily basis from a number of different sources; I hope eanestly that you do the work to establish traffic streams from many sources, not just search.
Additionally, your BUSINESS is something else entirely. Your business is:
- Your database of leads and past customers
- Email subscribers
If all my traffic from Google went away, I would still have a business. A considerable one. I appreciate the traffic Google sends me, and I’m going to continue working to get traffic from Google, but I refuse to have my business depend on it.
What if Google disappeared tomorrow? What would you do? Would you still have a business?
In my years in business so far, I’ve learned something simple that I have yet not been able to disprove. I have had the pleasure of meeting and staying in touch with some of the world’s most successful salespeople and small business owners. I’ve had dinner with them, hung out with them on boats, gone out drinking with them…to me this is the ultimate learning environment.
This is what I’ve learned:
Not One Single Thing You Do Will Make You Successful!
This is what I mean: big success is made up of thousands of tiny, almost imperceptible successes. Many new business owners and bloggers are looking for a quick way to get their blog to the top of Google. They want to find the “trick” to getting a lot of email subscribers. They want to learn the correct method of generating a lot of traffic quickly.
The Trick to Blogging Success!
The trick is that there is no trick. The cream rises to the top, period. And it takes a little time in most instances, period. I’m not saying it’s going to take years to reach your blogging goals. I’m saying there is no ONE thing that’s going to make any difference. Everything matters!
- Creating valuable content on a consistent basis matters.
- Moderating and responding to comments and interacting in a genuine way with your readers matters.
- Maintaining clean SEO practices matters.
- Commenting on other blogs matters.
- Being active in forums matters.
- Maintaining a clean and up to date email list matters.
- Keeping your blog software up to date matters.
You see where I’m going…it all matters! I don’t mean this post to be discouraging. I mean it to be motivational…I’m trying to save you the heartache and lost productivity that comes from seeking a short cut. Just get to work! Hit it every single day! Hustle! Work hard! Isn’t this how successful businesses are built? Blogging is no different. The benefits are real. The benefits are substantial. But the benefits are mostly reserved for bloggers that build very valuable blogs. And value takes time.
There is no one single thing that will make your blog rock. It’s like getting your body in shape. There’s not really a diet program our supplement out there that will REALLY create magical results for you in no time. But if you eat clean and exercise, you WILL get great results, and it won’t really take very long. It is hard work, yes. But it works. In fact it’s a LOT quicker to simply buckle down, clean up your diet, and work hard in the gym than it is to search for some kind of magical diet plan that will get you results quickly. It’s actually QUICKER and takes LESS EFFORT to just do the work!
Most of us work for money, right? I’ve said it myself when asked…I don’t make it any secret that I expect to be paid for what I do professionally. So how could it possibly be a bad idea to work for money? Isn’t money absolutely necessary after all?
The Problem of Working for Money
Yes, money is indeed a necessity. We all have bills to pay. What I’m referring to here is your focus. If your focus is on the almighty dollar, you have your head in the wrong place. Contrary to popular belief, we are not multitaskers. We are capable possibly of juggling, but we can only truly focus on one thing at a time. What I’m getting at is this: since our focus can only be on one thing at a time, if we’re focusing on the close…on making a sale…on how we’re going to make money on our site…on how we’re going to get more traffic so we can make more money, etc…then our focus CANNOT be on our readers and customers.
Don’t let your focus be on “targeting your niche” or “making more money”. Focus on creating value for and interacting with your readers.
Blogging is a powerful promotional tool for your business. But the points of the game are interaction, engagement and value. Do these things, and money will come. Have faith 🙂
Have Faith. Have Focus.
It’s necessary to have faith that the money will come if you create value, because that is the only way to focus on value. If you focus on making money, you’re not using your blog in the optimum way, and you’re not creating a property that is truly valuable to others. It’s self-serving. And I’m not saying you can’t get anywhere by being self-serving, but in this completely connected market space…it’s not up to you whether you’re valuable or not…it’s up to your readers. And if you efforts are self-serving, how do you think your readers are ultimately going to vote?
Do you really think you can game this system? Maybe for a minute, but not forever, so why even try to play it that way? You’re just creating something that may or may not make you money in the short term. If that is your focus, you’re not creating anything of lasting value.
Create something of lasting value…THAT is how you make money online…long term. That is how you build wealth.
Here is another Fantastically Simple set of rules for all of us bloggers and internet marketers to follow. It’s one thing to build a powerful and targeted email list. It’s essential if you want to make money online, and if you’re going to go through the trouble of building a list, you might as well make sure you’re your subscribers actually RECEIVE your email, wouldn’t you agree?
There is something to know here: nothing you do can guarantee 100% deliverability. Some of your email is going to get blocked, but what’s odd to me is that most business owners don’t even bother to address this directly. As it turns out, most of us assume that all of our email is getting through. Well here’s a hard fact of life: IT’S NOT! Some of your email is getting blocked by spam filters…yes that’s right, YOU are getting blocked as a spammer, even if what you’re sending is not spam! Even if you’re only sending to legitimate subscribers, some of your messages are not getting through. And here is why: technology is not perfect. Plus, not everyone knows how to use their machines very well. They may have their spam filter set too high and not even know it.
Regardless, there are steps you can take to make sure as much of your email is received as possible. This is simple stuff. Some of it you will have heard before, but I guarantee most of you will learn at least one thing from this list that you’re not doing. I will admit that I even have not yet implemented 100% of this, but soon will be.
As I said, most of us do not address these things at all and just assume our messages are being delivered. Even though nothing GUARANTEE your email is delivered to every single recipient, taking these steps will take you almost no time at all, and they will improve your results.
Don’t be surprised if your response rate goes up after implementing all of these steps! It really does help your business when your customers actually receive what you’re sending them!
Ways to Make Sure Your Email Gets Delivered
- Don’t spam. I hate to start off with such an obvious one, but the fact is that many of you still think that renting opt-in email lists is not spamming. It is. Sorry, but the only way to email legitimately is to build your own list from scratch. Yes, it’s slower, but it’s also the only way to do it. The list of 100,000 “opt-in” email subscribers you rented may have opted in for something, but they didn’t opt in for YOUR email list…how could they have? Rented lists are spam lists. Of course the brokers don’t call them as such, but that’s what it is. Build a legit list of your own, and you’ll have taken the biggest and most important step toward getting huge results from your email campaign.
- Get whitelisted. When someone subscribes, ask them point blank…”please add this domain to your safelist”. Even go so far as to provide simple instructions on how to do this. This will ensure (for those that follow through on it) that email from you will be given free passage into their inbox. Getting whitelisted (or safelisted, whatever you want to call it) is the only way to fly 🙂
- Don’t use ALL CAPS IN YOUR SUBJECT LINE. This makes spam filters happy. They get excited and eat your message up, so your recipient never receives it.
- Don’t use massive amounts of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It attracts attention, just as you wish it will…it attracts attention from spam filters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Don’t talk about sex! Use of certain words sets of most spam filters. Words like “sex”, “viagra”, you get the idea. This is an example of spam filters not being so smart, of course there are many completely legitimate uses for these words, but the fact is that tons of spam contains certain words, and spam filters are updated to catch as much of it as possible. Also avoid the words “free”, “make money” or any other overtly sales-oriented language. It’s not fair, I know, but it’s a fact. Using the word “free”, for example, will not necessarily get your message blocked, but it will be noticed, and if you have a number of things like this, your message scores higher on the spam rating, and if you get enough of these points, out the window it goes.
- Label your message appropriately. Is your outgoing email a newsletter? Use the word “newsletter” or “weekly news” in your subject line. Other options: “monthly newsletter”, “News from …name of your site…”
- Use Aweber. I have to be honest, I’m in the process of setting up with Aweber but have not made the switch yet. I have just started this blog, and I don’t want to wait until I have thousands of subscribers before I switch over. Aweber is certainly not the only autoresponder out there, but they are pretty much the king of autoresponders. Can using Aweber really improve your delivery? Yes, it can. Do you have whitelist agreements with internet service providers? Aweber does. They maintain your lists for you and make sure everything is done by the book. This means playing by their rules. I’m not one for jumping through hoops, but I’m also committed to getting the best results. That’s why I’m moving my email delivery to Aweber. I highly recommend them. They also offer a ton of other features to make your email marketing more effective, but as far as ensuring deliverability, Aweber is really a great asset to have on board.
- Bottom line: if you want to be treated as legit, separate yourself from spammers as much as possible. We’ve all seen our share of spam. We know what it looks like it. Take steps to avoid looking like it. For example, don’t use a subject line like ://///FREE Viaaagrrrraaaaaaa****. Seriously, do you think that’s gonna get through, you sly dog you?
Once again, the rules of success in blogging and internet marketing are Fantastically Simple. A few extra steps here and there make all the difference!