I have often been asked the following question. “Charlie, what is the minimum I must do to make money online?” In other words, what is the minimum viable marketing system that actually works?
The question behind the question is this. “Do I really need a full-blown, complicated sales funnel to succeed online?
Is there not an easier way?”
It’s an important question. One the deserves a better answer than “buy my product” or “join my coaching club”.
So today I’d like to reveal what I consider a minimum viable marketing system.
It is incredibly simple, easy to do for beginners, and what I actually do in my online business.
First, a very brief bit of history.
Rewinding back to 2006, the minimum viable marketing system WAS running some pay per click and sending the traffic to a highly converting Clickbank sales letter.
Those days are long over.
We all need to acknowledge that driving cold traffic directly to a sales letter is a failed strategy.
One that will never come back.
So what is the minimum viable marketing system that actually works today?
The minimum viable marketing system of today has five parts.
I will explain each, how they work together, and what you need to get the job done.
Step 1 – A Highly Converting Product
This is the first step. Without something that will make sales the greatest marketing system in the world simply will not work.
You need to find a product that meets these criteria.
Choose a product that …
- Converts visitors to sales.
- Pays you well enough to support your marketing efforts.
- Does not have a high refund rate.
- Creates happy customers.
Choosing products is easy when you know how.
I can honestly say that I have not failed to make a profit when promoting other people’s products in over 10 years.
I use a “matrix” I developed for choosing products.
If you would like a copy of my Product Matrix for $7, click here.
Step 2 – The Right Traffic Source
What is the “right” traffic source? I define it this way.
A traffic source that is proven to convert for the type of product you are promoting OR one that reaches the audience you want to reach.
Let me explain both.
If you were selling golf clubs, would you run your ad in a magazine read by golfers or people who go camping?
But wait … people who go camping often play golf too. So aren’t you missing an opportunity to sell to them?
Yes … and no.
While there ARE campers who also play golf, people who read camping magazines, or visit camping websites, or buy camping equipment are primarily interested in camping.
It’s only logical.
This is part of the “scientific marketing” so many people talk about.
Simply matching the product you are promoting with the right source of prospective buyers.
What about situations where you want to reach a certain demographic, but there are not clear and obvious product-specific resources?
In this case, you go where the people go.
If you want to reach 30 something-year-old women who are moms of toddlers and attend church, where do you go?
You start with Facebook.
The reach of Facebook is more powerful than most people realize. And learning their system is actually quite easy.
You start with setting up an ad account and then defining a custom audience.
This is simply a group of people that meet the criteria you want – like 30 something-year-old moms.
Once you do that, you look to see if the audience is large enough to suit you and begin advertising to them.
I personally use Promoted Posts more than I do Facebook ads. But both can work.
Since this article is not a course on Facebook I will need to stop there.
But before I do, let me share a short list of great resources for reaching the right audience either by product preference or demographic.
By product preference.
- Private mailing lists
- Pay Per Click
- Private mailing lists
- Blogs and websites
Now let’s look at step 3, the lead capture page.
Step 3 – A Squeeze Page
One of the top questions I receive every year is “Do I really need a list of my own to succeed online?”
The answer is yes.
There is no longer a debate about this.
Everyone you admire, who is successful online, has a list of their own.
And each of these successful men and women would quickly tell you that their list is their #1 business asset.
Building your list is essential, easy to do, and begins with what is called a “squeeze page”.
My good friend Jonathan Mizel coined the term “squeeze page” over a decade ago.
His original thought was that we were going to “squeeze” the email address of the visitor by offering something so great they could not say no.
Today Jonathan has a list of over 800,000 real people.
Imagine what you could do with a list that size!
Now think about this … and I know this is going to be hard to believe, but it is true.
If he can do it, you can do it too!
It’s true. What Jonathan did was to consistently drive ALL the traffic he could to the best squeeze page he could create and then sell to his list with email.
Simple. Effective. Made him rich and in high demand by Fortune 500 companies.
But, like you, he started somewhere. And that place was with no list.
So be encouraged because you can put time on your side starting today!
You know what a squeeze page is, but the question sometimes remains, “how do I create a squeeze page?”
While this article is not about building squeeze pages (I have written about that before) let me share these ideas.
You need the right tool.
For me, that tool is my blog and Thrive Content Builder.
If that is not your cup of tea, here are a few other options.
- Optimize Press
- Your autoresponder company
- Some business opportunities provide page builders
Making a squeeze page is easier than ever. Just choose the technology that appeals to you and then practice a little.
NOTE: I practiced a lot before I developed the five templates I always use in my marketing now.
HINT: Look for a solution that provides great templates and then use the templates they provide as a starting point.
So what do you say ON your squeeze page?
Here is my simple formula.
- Headline – make it strong but not hyped up.
- Sub Headline – Reinforce the promise of the headline.
- Five bullet points – What’s it in for them?
- A clear call to action – Don’t make them wonder what to do.
- An image of the lead magnet – Optional, but images help.
Okay – you have chosen your product, your traffic source and know what to say on your squeeze page.
Only two steps left!
Step 4 – A Great Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a small piece of value you give away that accomplishes three things.
A great lead magnet …
- Helps the reader take ONE step.
- Demonstrates that you provide quality information.
- Sets up the need to buy your product.
There is much more that can be said about creating lead magnets. I have written about this before, and teach it in my courses.
But, for now, the three keys above will get you going.
Next question – what format should your lead magnet take?
The answer is this – the format you are most comfortable with.
You see, the best lead magnet is the one you will create today. Not the best one mankind has ever seen.
As with most things in life, taking action is the key.
That said, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Great lead magnet formats include …
- Webinar replays
- Live webinars
- Special Reports
- Short, actionable videos
Pick the one you like best, make a short outline of what you will say, and get your lead magnet started today.
Remember, you can always make it better later if you start it today.
Step 5 – Email Follow Up
Email marketing is the most powerful form of marketing online. If you doubt it, look at your inbox.
While there are technologies on the horizon that might someday rival email, that day is a very long way off.
For now, email is king, and you need to be using it to sell every single day of the year.
When done right, you should be able to make at least $1 per month from every person on your mailing list.
When you get really good at it, that figure can go up dramatically.
So how do you use email marketing with a minimum viable marketing system?
You use what I call the “breathing method?™”.
I coined that term in 2006, and have used this method every day since I discovered how powerful and automated it can be.
While I teach an entire course on this, here are the basics.
- You send content that helps the reader understand what to do and how to do it.
- You follow that up with a solo ad, for your own product or one you recommend, that promotes a tool to help them get the job done.
- Repeat the process, sending emails between 3 and 6 times per week.
Simple, right? And it works like wings!
Of course, there is more to HOW to do that than I can put in this article. (YIKES, I just noticed I’m at 1500 words!)
But let me say this about the breathing method …
- It works in any niche.
- You do not need to write the messages yourself.
- There is a formula for HOW to write them that is critical.
- This method can be fully automated.
I encourage you to learn much more about how to use email marketing. If you are using it now, learn to use it better.
If you are just starting, make it your obsession.
Of all the marketing methods you can use, email is the easiest, most durable, and brings the highest returns.
So there you have it – five simple steps to an actual marketing system.
Let me recap the five steps.
- Choose a profitable product. If you need help, get my report.
- Choose a targeted traffic source.
- Create a great squeeze page.
- Offer a compelling lead magnet.
- Let follow up email make the sales for you.
If you concentrate on building this system you will dramatically increase your odds of success.
You will be marketing like the pros do – using a logical, automated, profitable, repeatable system that works.
And that IS a beautiful thing indeed!