Can You Stomach Sales?
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Oct 26, 2008
And now, controversial post number two; let’s see if this one gets to at least 1,800 words as the last one did.
from Business Pundit
Something’s been on my mind for about a month now. I’m on Twitter, and by now I have a good number of followers, and people I follow. Nothing like the thousands some people have, and I don’t go around pimping for more, so I’m content with the number I have. Anyway, one of the people I follow wrote an open message to another person I follow, and her comment was something like this: “Is the only thing you do on here is sell, sell, sell?” It was easy to tell that she wasn’t pleased one bit.
I’ve wondered why that phrase has stuck with me for so long. I’ve probably thought about it at least once a day since I read it, which is why I’m finally writing about it. Psychologists believe that if you write about something that’s been on your mind that you’ll be able to move on; or maybe it’s just Zen thoughts.
I’ve come to a realization that all of us have a level of tolerance against sales, or being sold to, at some point. Whereas those of us who are trying to make money on our blogs or websites understand that the way to make money is to find ways to drive people to our sites and blogs, most of us aren’t willing to do some of the things that others are willing to do to get those visitors.
For instance, I’m reluctant to add popups or popunders on my blog because they irritate me. I’m reluctant to send a bunch of email out to people, or capture email addresses, because I don’t like how everyone asks me for my name and email address when they’re offering something for free, or even when I actually pay for something, and suddenly Im being inundated by all sorts of email, sometimes multiple times a day, until I eventually unsubscribe. It’s the same syndrome that makes most of us cringe whenever we’re at a party or event and the person we’re talking to tells you that they sell insurance. Isn’t that a shame?
Now, the person who the initial post was directed at is one of the big time internet marketers. I’ve mentioned his name previously on my blog, but I’m not going to call him out in this post. But I will say that I’ve noticed his sales habits on Twitter, and at times they do seem obsessive. There isn’t really a balance of personal posts compared to sales posts, and yet he does have some personal posts.
But here’s the thing. He’s not on Twitter to just have fun, or tell people he’s eating PB&J sandwiches. He’s there to talk about his products, and some of the people he meets in the course of his business. Personally, I find him interesting, and when it seems like he’s hammering one product way too many times, I just ignore it because if I’ve checked once, I don’t need to check it again.
However, I also understand why he’s doing it. One, because throughout a 16 hour day, there are people who don’t go backwards who may have missed previous listings of the post, so he’s trying to make sure he’s covering as many people as possible. Two, he’s trying to make money; this is his life, after all, and Twitter is just another tool, another ends to his means. I don’t have a problem with that.
So, what does that say about the rest of us? My friends, let’s talk about this a little bit. Over the past couple of months, I’ve visited a lot of blogs, and seen a lot of ways we all advertise our stuff. We put up banner ads, paid ads, link ads, widgets, Adsense, etc. We request people to subscribe to our RSS feed, which is a different way of getting people on a mailing list of sorts, in that they’re notified whenever we make a new post, and every new post that someone reads means there’s another chance we’ll get one of those people to look at what we’re marketing, and we hope that one day someone will buy something from us; that’s fair. We see that as unobtrusive because those people have requested to be a part of our community; it makes us feel as though we’re less salesmen than providers of information; that’s slightly true, but not fully true. In essence, it means we’re not good salesmen and saleswomen. We’re non-threatening, we’re comfortable, and most of us aren’t making much at all. How’s that working for you?
Of course, some of us are kidding ourselves. I’ve read some of the comments and posts on this blog and the blogs of others, where the writer says they really don’t care whether their ads and products make much money or not, but if it does it would be nice. I’m like that to a degree, so count me in with those folks. I have a short term goal of $100 a month; I have a long term goal of at least $3,000 a month. It would make the life of being an independent consultant a lot easier. I doubt there’s anyone who says they’re not overly concerned about making money online, that’s running any kind of ads, that would say they wouldn’t be happy making at least that much money online (anyone that’s not already making it, that is).
Being an independent consultant isn’t easy; no career where you’re working for yourself is easy. You have to learn how to sell yourself, which is always harder to do than selling products. You have to go to networking events you might not want to do. You have to join organizations you might not care to join. You actually end up putting more time into your business than you did working a regular job. Sure, the rewards can be outstanding, but there’s a lot of pressure.
You have to do the sales things, as I mentioned. You have to send regular letters, mailers, post cards, or flyers. You have to send email, many times unannounced, and risk someone calling you a spammer. And, from time to time, you have to pick up the phone and make cold calls; ugh. Still, if you want to make a life of it, you have to be willing to do some of these things. Why wouldn’t I want to have that extra bit of online cash coming in on a regular basis? Then I’d get to spend more time writing these missives that hit my mind from time to time that I hope enthrall the masses?
When it comes to internet marketing, there’s tons of information for us to pick from. I mean, internet marketing is big:
So, if you’re actually serious about trying to make money online, what are you willing to do for it? Are you willing to write about yourself all the time, and post it everywhere and anywhere, at all times? Are you willing to lie about products you’ve never tried just to try to sell them? Are you willing to take chances and do things that aren’t ethical? Are you willing to buck the trends that everyone else seems to follow and look for something that sets you apart from the field? Are you willing to spend money from time to time to learn more, or to attain things you don’t presently have, but things that could possibly help you make money in the future? Are you willing to pay for traffic, or purchase Adwords? Are you willing to take a stand or position on dofollow or page rank issues that others may tell you they disagree with?
By the way, just to share this, as it pertains to this article and my last post, doing good SEO tactics on your website or within your blog may help, but it’s not always end be all/end all. For instance, do you know what the top search terms are for finding my blog? Credit cards and conference calls. Has anyone ever seen me writing about either of those things? Nope, but they’re embedded into my footer, which is encrypted so I can’t remove it. One of my Twitter friends did recommend removing the footer, which worked great on the main page, but not for all the individual pages. So, sometimes, even your best SEO activities are not good enough. However, just to put it out there, if anyone has any ideas how I can overcome my footer, I’m willing to entertain suggestions.
Just for clarification, I’m not advocating anything, just discussing the issue. Everyone has their comfort level, as I said before, but when it comes down to it, just because there’s things we don’t like doesn’t mean that we should necessarily condemn people who do it, although I’m as guilty of some of it as other people are. In the end, though, I recognize that I don’t have the right, in the long run, to complain about how anyone decides to make a living. I can do what I’ve always recommended people do who don’t like a TV program; turn the channel, or, in this case, ignore, unsubscribe, and de-list anyone who’s irritating me too much.
At the same time, I still remain open to learning more and more things. I hope you are also. I didn’t quite hit that 1,800 words; I’m betting you’re happy about that. Oh yeah; I also hope you’re ready to buy something from me from time to time also. 😀