It seems that everyone wants to make money online.
And why not – working online can be one of the most rewarding things a person can do, filled with lots of time off, good income and the satisfaction of a job well done.
OR … it can be a nightmare. Filled with information overload, confusion, spending too much on products that deliver too little and more. Getting started online for most people is tough to say the least.
So, how you can you from hype to hope? How you can go from where you are now (no matter how good or bad that is) to the place you want to be?
You get S.M.A.R.T.
If you have spent much time in self-help literature or sales training, you’ve probably heard of setting SMART goals.
Here’s the way I learned it.
To be effective, a goal must be …
And SMART goals really do work best.
So… how can we apply this to online marketing? Let’s take a look together.
NOTE: This is not only for full-time marketers. If you want to sell things online, either your own product, an opportunity, or earn as an affiliate, you ARE an online marketer, and this does apply to you.
Is your marketing specific? By specific I mean this — does the thing you are promoting solve a specific problem. And secondly, are you targeting a specific audience?
In today’s competitive Internet climate, selling general benefits won’t make the grade. To get people to take action today you’ve got to be specific. The more specific the better.
You need to speak to the person, not to a group, and let them know you know how to help them. This can be done as easily by affiliate marketers as it can by “gurus”.
It just calls for a shift in thinking from “here is why my product is great” to “here is how I can help you”. And that is a huge shift.
For example, if your product helps people save time, tell them how it will do that. But don’t stop there.
Remind them of what they can do with that free time. More time with family. More vacations. More freedom. That is what they are buying, not the product itself.
Remember this – people buy what a product does for them, not how a product works.
If it helps them make money, tell them how. And then let them know how that will help them live a better life.
The more specific, the better.
After all, the job of your website is to convert already interested people into customers, and not to take people who are wholly uninterested and get them to buy.
Ah, testing and tracking. It’s been the mantra of top marketers for a long time. Ever wonder why?
Because without measuring the results of what you do you simply can not KNOW what works and what doesn’t.
If you are not tracking you are guessing. And guessing is not good enough when it’s YOUR money on the line.
Some people harbor a fantasy that everything top marketers do works every time. Nothing could be further from the truth.
But effective marketers can quickly shut down a failing promotion, and quickly ramp up a successful one, because they are measuring results along the way.
Want to begin making real use of tracking tools without becoming a ‘tracking nut’?
Start by using a real ad tracker instead of a free link cloaker. You can read more about why at this article.
Whether you use a service (like Ad Minder or Hypertracker or Linktrackr) or a script running on your web server start using tracking links to measure response.
For an excellent overview of ad tracking see Harvey Segal’s site by clicking here.
Oh, and they’re not just for ads. You can measure which “buy” links get more sales on your sales page. You can measure which email message in your follow up series sells the most.
The possibilities are almost endless.
Forgive the rant, but this is my pet peeve. If you find a site that says you are going to get rich overnight or that they are going to do all the work for you or that people routinely go from rags to riches with their system please listen carefully.
THEY ARE TELLING YOU A LIE!
Just ask the thousands of people who bought into the latest get rich quick schemes only to see their ‘investment’ disappear before their eyes.
The fact is, the Internet is the best place to have a business. No offline business can offer the level of income combined with time freedom (and no employees!) that the Internet offers.
But success online takes time. It takes understanding the process. It takes learning the language. It takes trial and (sorry to say it) error.
Are there ways to shorten the learning curve and get successful faster? You bet.
Is there a way (and I know you’ve heard this one before) to SKIP the learning curve, just copy a series of steps, and make all the money you want.
Is your marketing attainable? By that I mean, are your marketing goals attainable?
Almost any level of income you can imagine can happen online IF you take the time and effort to master an area and let that area of expertise carry you to heights you only previously imagined.
Focus is the key. Choose your areas of focus, become the best YOU can be and let life reward your hard work.
This sounds similar to the “attainable” point above but it’s different. By ‘realistic’ I mean this – are you expecting too much or too little from your marketing?
Is your marketing mindset realistic?
Here is one example from my own experience.
Recently a DOE member wrote to say that he ran an ad (cost him $40) and he got 400 visitors and was disappointed.
Is his marketing mindset realistic?
Heck no. I could retire with that kind of return on investment.
At 400 visitors he should have made three sales or more. Unless he’s selling products that pay him pennies he should have been wildly profitable. Even at $20 per sale he would have made a modest profit.
It is only when you break down the numbers that you can know if marketing succeeded or failed.
So let’s look a little deeper than money spent and visitors received.
At 400 visitors, if the site he was promoting converted at an average rate, and his advertising was targeted, he should have had at least three sales and had about 100 people join his mailing list as well.
I know it is impossible to predict what any ad or website will do but these are pretty conservative numbers when you look at the totality of Internet marketing done well. A warm list combined with good targeting and a well-converting site will produce these results in most cases.
If the product he was promoting paid him only $50, that’s a $150 return on $40 PLUS 100 opt-in prospects, many of whom would eventually buy.
But he thought he should have made $1000 on the $40 and was upset.
Not realistic. Not very realistic at all. But someone some where told him he could run a low-cost solo ad and make $1000 almost immediately so that false expectation led to disappointment.
Do $40 ads sometimes create $1000 in commissions? Sometimes. But no one can say that will happen every time. No one.
The key to having a realistic marketing mind set is to know the numbers. How well should a website convert? Start with 1% and build from there.
How many people should join your mailing list? Start with 25% and work on making it higher.
It’s all a matter of testing and tracking. Only then can your mind set be truly realistic.
They say timing is everything, and so it is with marketing online.
Now timing can mean many things, so let me focus here on two areas.
1. How Often You Communicate With Your Mailing List.
If you have a mailing list (and you really must) you should let them hear from you no less than twice a week. I know that some people say that’s too much, and some say it’s too little, but I think it’s just right.
Anything less and they forget you. Anything more and you risk running them off.
Now, if you have told your list up front that they will get emails every day or five times a week, then do that.
Remember, this is just my opinion folks. But it’s based on many years of testing and tracking.
Bottom line? Find what works for you. Better to do too much and back off than become the forgotten man or woman.
2. The Time Of The Month That Your Marketing Happens.
Ah, one of my favorite ‘tricks of the trade’.
I like to plan my major marketing to hit between the 14th and 20th of the month.
Because that’s when people have the most disposable income. And everything we sell online – whether we think so or not – is bought with disposable income.
Here is why this is true. People who receive a paycheck still get paid on the 1st and 15th for the most part. And big companies like mortgage companies, banks and insurance companies want to be paid as near the first of the month as possible.
In fact, many of them insist on it.
So that means the first check of the month usually goes to obligations such as the mortgage or a car payment.
But the second check, the one received on the 15th, is usually not gobbled up by expenses quite so quickly.
Which means people are more free to spend between the 15th and end of the month.
No one in their right mind is not paying the mortgage in order to buy your product.
They are skipping dinner out (a discretionary purchase) in order to buy from you.
So there you have it – the formula you can use to become a S.M.A.R.T. marketer.
Is your marketing S.M.A.R.T? It can be, and getting there is much easier than people think.
You will make a thousand choices about your marketing this week or month. If you use the S.M.A.R.T. formula to evaluate those choices and make your plan you will find that time becomes your ally and sales become easier too.
Best of all, you will be working with real numbers and will be able to grow and improve.
And that is a beautiful thing indeed!