I’m a big advocate of sticking to the basics. These 5 things are what I focus on in my business. Keep in mind that I come from a direct sales background. I believe personal interaction and real relationships are the key to success long term.
This paradigm leads me to look at blogging and internet marketing a little differently than a lot of my peers. I do not focus on traffic, at all. I do keep my site fairly well search optimized, because I’m hardly one to say “no” to free traffic, but I refuse to depend on Google for a variety of reasons.
I would be the last to argue that my way is the only way, but this is the game as I play it. As with all things on Next Level Blogger, this list is focused on what it takes to build a highly profitable niche business online. Stick to these business basics, and you will be on track to achieving your goals…
- Build a list: This is the foundation of your business. If you’re not building a list, you’re not building a business. For the foreseeable future, email marketing is still king, and if you want to make money online…learning the art of list building and selling through email is mandatory.
- Ask for the order: This is a key sales principle. This often comes off as a “duh” kind of statement. If you want someone to buy from you, you should probably ASK them to buy from you, right? But year after year, study after study shows that salespeople will often perform an entire sales presentation and fail to ask for the order at the end. Internet marketers and bloggers are big culprits of this as well. Most often, as much as I hate to say it, bloggers. So many bloggers want to make money yet fail to ever ask for it. Asking for the order goes for making sales but also for other things. Do you want your readers to comment your posts? Do you want people to tweet out your articles…link to your site…download your free ebook? Tell them what you want. Ask for the order.
- Ask for referrals: This is something I see applied only rarely online. The masters do it, but few others even think about it. It’s one thing to make a sale. It’s a whole next level thing to tap into that customer’s entire base of friends as well. Your paying customers should not be on the same list as your prospects (the people who have yet to buy from you). If someone has purchased from you, they have entered the fold. They are on a new level with you and your business, and they should be treated as such. They are easier to sell to in the future, and it is reasonable for you to ask them to refer you to their friends and coworkers. Deliberately seeking referrals is one of the most cost effective ways of significantly building your business online, and few people even try to do it. If you have a customer list of even just a few hundred people, you REALLY have a customer list of many thousands…if you know how to work referrals.
- Identify your advocates. Use them, and treat them like gold: Of course, not everyone will refer you to their friends. Not everyone is going to connect with you enough to become an advocate of yours. But when you have an advocate, even if you just have one advocate at the beginning, you better treat them like a king or queen, because an advocate is something rare and powerful. I’ve seen powerful real estate brokers sell several hundred houses a year with a list of only a few hundred people. This type of efficiency is not possible if you don’t know who your advocates are. Can you build a very profitable blog with only 10 subscribers? Yes! If those 10 subscribers are advocates.
- Multi-tier product and service development: There really isn’t such a thing as one size fits all. In this day and age we need to connect with your readers in as personal a way as possible. Many internet marketers will come out with a single product and then simply proceed to drive as much traffic as possible to that offering, and rack up whatever sales they can. I can’t argue that it’s a way to make money online; I just don’t think it’s nearly as personal, efficient or profitable as it could be. The beauty of blogging is that you have an awesome opportunity to interact with a large number of people in a personal way. Ask them what they want. Believe me, your readers will tell you what they want if you just ask! Build your audience and your list, and then proceed to interact with them often. Have them tell you what products and features they’re looking for. Use their feedback and come up with products and services based specifically on that feedback. By “multi-tier” I mean specifically that you should have options for people. One Blogger that does this very well is Michael Martine at Remarkablogger. He offers one-on-one blog consultation for an hourly rate, and you can also get group consultation at a much lower rate. You can also invest in one of his very reasonably priced products like WordPress SEO Secrets to get specific solutions at a great price. He doesn’t just do one thing. He offers multiple solutions, so that he can connect with his readers in any number of different ways. That’s smart.
Each of these 5 steps deserves a post of it’s own. And they will get one. They are already in the works! I encourage you to bookmark and/or save this page and visit back, because I will link them up as I publish them. Or, subscribe to Dangerous Tactics, and I’ll make sure you get an email with the new articles as they come out!