Be careful calling your business an “internet” business. I mean, the phrase “internet business” is by it’s very nature misleading. No business is actually done online. Think about it. You can easily argue that money changes hands. Products are obviously sold online, etc…so what the heck am I talking about? My point is simple: PEOPLE buy stuff, and people are in the real world. Your business is either a real world business, or it’s not a business at all. Most small online businesses concentrate primarily on nebulous concepts like “traffic”, “SEO”, “clickthroughs”, etc. This is a mistake.
Your blog, sales page…your social networking profiles, all the contacts you make…it all has a real world context. These are real people you’re interacting with, not avatars, not screen names. I honestly think we forget this. Look, you’re either in business, or you’re not. There is no “internet” business without real world business!
More than just Semantics
Of course, this could very easily get blown off as some type of semantics rant. But it’s an important point for one reason. It’s essential to think about the real people you’re doing business with. I see so much content out there about how to “convert traffic”, how to “increase CTR” and all this other BS. Yes, clicks make money. Ads generate revenue. But this blog is about one thing: running a real, substantive business from your blog, internet marketing and social networking. If you want to do this, you need to take it to the next level.
Yes, SEO is very important. Writing a good headline is important. The placement of your opt-in box is important. But the reason I’m writing Next Level Blogger is that I don’t see nearly enough attention given to the human element of this business. And this also is one of the huge reasons I feel competent and authoritative enough to be able to provide you with real value in this area…I come from direct sales. I understand that when you make a sale, it’s not just a “conversion”. It’s not just a stat. It’s a real person that you’ve affected.
Your Internet Business Deserves the Extra Attention
I understand many people in internet business may not want to bother themselves with this distinction. It’s cool. If you’re in that camp, I’m not writing for you. I named this blog “Next Level Blogger” for a very specific reason…this site is about taking things to the next level. If you’re cool pursuing the revenue you can generate from running a regular blog, scraping a few cents together here and there, you have every right to, and I make no qualms about it. We’re all in this business for our own reasons. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. I also understand that mentality. I mean, one of the immediate appeals of internet business is that you can interact with people without having to *actually* interact with them. It’s very convenient. The only downside is that it’s a very limiting way of doing business, and if you want to truly maximize your blogging, you need to maximize your interaction with the real people who read it.
This is what I mean when I say your business is as much offline as it is online. We can learn so much from offline business, yet we usually skip over all the lessons we could learn, because we think everything works differently online.
It’s true, there are things to learn, but at the end of the day you need to know how to sell things if you want to make real money online. And if you’re selling things, you’re selling them to real people…offline business has HUGE lessons to teach us.
Rookie Mistakes from Offline Business Owners
So many business owners in my network are in home based business. Many are Realtors. Many are consultants of various kinds. All of you guys are shrewd and talented. You can all, also, benefit massively from blogging and social networking. You all operate great businesses, but when you guys go online, you get uber-distracted by all the jargon and all of a sudden abandon everything you know about how to do good business. All of a sudden I’m talking with you about link building, image alt tags and all this kind of thing.
Don’t get me wrong, learning basic SEO stuff is a great idea. Crucial even. But don’t let it over run your business. There is a difference between running a successful blogging or social networking plan and being an SEO expert. If you want to get into the SEO business, do it. But if you want to run a successful business using blogging or social networking, you just need to learn enough to make things run smoothly. The rest of your focus needs to be on the human element. Don’t get distracted!
This is the Key to Lasting Success Online
If you want to take your efforts and really drive a home run, you’re going to have to get smart about what you do. If you want a real business, you’re going to have to run a real business, not just an “internet” business.
The point of this post is to make a simple point: your customers are real people, and thinking of them as such causes two things to happen.
- It causes you to think about your business completely differently.
- It enables you to truly unlock many of the profit centers that are not open to you when you only think of your business as an “internet” business.
In future posts, I’m going to outline ways you can use your “real world business” mentality to generate new systems of revenue that most small internet businesses completely ignore 🙂
For now, the simple point I want to get across is that while SEO, traffic, impressions, etc…all the ethereal concepts we tend to concentrate on DO have value, it is up to us to look past it all and focus on what really matters…the real world customers we’re interacting with and how we can best help them.