Online Marketing, Blogging, Social Media… It’s All About Traffic

Let’s get the promotional stuff out of the way. In 2013, I was part of a group of 33 bloggers who was asked a question about how to increase blogger engagement. A few months ago I was part of another group of people that includes some fairly big names on a website called First Site Guide. We were all asked to give our 3 best blog monetization tips. I’m included with some fairly well known bloggers, few of whom know me; that’ll change one of these days (gotta have hope). Then about a month and a half ago I wrote in this space about trying to market my latest book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Freeways and Purple Buildings
Rick Hobson via Compfight

With all of that, you’d think I would know what I was doing. In a way I do, but in a way I don’t. Let me clarify that one. I know what I need to do to make more sales. I actually know what it takes to drive more traffic to my blog and my websites. After all these years, there’s lots of that kind of stuff I know.

However, what I wasn’t sure of was just how much more traffic I might need to make a dent in selling things online. You know, marketing online isn’t all that much different than real marketing, or offline marketing if you will. In both, it’s all about one or two things.

One, who you know that might be able to help you with things you’re not good at for the mutual benefit of both.

Two, the numbers, as in the more people you can reach, the more traffic you can drive, the better the opportunity you have to be somewhat successful.

The one thing I’ve never really known is just how many numbers you need online to make real sales. I have made a few sales over the years but, being more of a consultant offline than online, I’d never put together any numbers on my own.

Who did I get some numbers from? None other than my old buddy Lynn Terry of Click Newz. I asked her to take a look at the sales page for my book in her private Facebook group to see what I might be missing. She gave me some tips, then asked me how much traffic I’d had. I gave her the numbers and she said “That’s not nearly enough. You can’t make any real sales until you can get at least 3,000 to 10,000 people to your site.

In other words, it takes a lot of traffic, targeted or not, to make any real money online. And those numbers are pretty high.

Truth be told, the only numbers I can get are from Google Analytics, which are slightly suspect. My host, 1&1, doesn’t have Cpanel, which means I can’t look at any traffic figures from them unless I pay an extra fee; sigh. I don’t have a compelling reason to move to anyone else (so don’t even mention whose hosting your site because I’m not switching) because, no matter what people say, they’re as good as any other shared hosting company these days. For anyone who doesn’t believe me, just ask someone how many times Hostgator has gone down in the last couple of years and then ask me how many times 1&1 has gone down in the same period… to which I’d answer “none”.

Rushing to get home on Interstate 405
Creative Commons License Matthew Rutledge via Compfight

I know an argument someone will make is “what about niche marketing and niched blogs. Whereas you have a better chance of attracting the people you’re trying to reach, it’s still about the numbers, about the traffic. My book was on leadership, so I reached out to people interested in leadership through my business blog, a couple of groups on LinkedIn concerning leadership, and my articles there on leadership. For me, the traffic wasn’t bad; for making sales, there just wasn’t close to being enough traffic.

Now, that doesn’t mean if you hit upon something that no one else is doing that you won’t make any money at all. What it means is if you’re hoping to make enough money to sustain yourself by selling things online, you need thousands of people stopping by who are interested in what you have to say, then in what you have to sell. Even if you know how to monetize your site, as my buddy Peter wrote in his post called The Truth About Blogging For Money, it’s about getting the right traffic, marketing the right thing, and touching the right nerves.

That’s mainly why I wrote 3 years ago that if you’re going to make any real money blogging you probably need to change your focus to “service” as opposed to product, even if you’re creating the product. Maybe if your product is teaching other people how to make money you’ll get some sales, or teaching almost anything with the right market. Otherwise, you need to decide whether you want to offer writing services, consulting services, training services, etc. That’s really what it’s all about.

Even Ryan Biddulph, who wrote the book and has the website about Blogging From Paradise, admits in the book (yes, I bought & read the book) that most of the money he makes is from freelance writing, although he’s starting to do well selling his books these days. Another famous guy, Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, became the first millionaire blogger by setting up forums and other sites with other marketers and becoming more of a comglomerate instead of purely blogging (selling photography equipment he wrote about didn’t hurt, as he made a lot of money that way, but it was the other stuff that took him over the top).

Let me be clear on this; all of that still takes a lot of traffic, but maybe not as much traffic to make enough money to live off if you pick the right thing you want to do that people will pay for. It’s something to be considered in any case. Give it some thought, and if you agree or disagree, let me know.
 

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When “Scam” Is A Scam Of Sorts

Last weekend I finished reading a book by a guy named Brendon Burchard called the Millionaire Messenger, which was recommended by Mitchell Allen of Morpho Designs. It’s a wonderful book with great ideas on how to earn money by promoting yourself as an expert.

I was curious as to what Brendon looked like because he’s a fairly young guy; actually it turns out he’s around 38, but I had the feeling he was much younger. I go to Google and start typing in his name, and you know how it starts listing topics. The second thing that pops up with his name is followed by the word “scam“. I was curious so I decided to click on that link to see what I got.

There were a lot of links under that topic, more than 60,000 to be precise. A lot of the links had his name and “scam” in the topic line. A few asked if it was a scam, and a few mentioned it in the description of what we might see.

Y’all know me; it was time for some research. I clicked on about 10 of these things. I discovered that none of these people actually believed he or his books or ideas were a scam. Indeed, all of them praised the book and the man, even though some didn’t believe it was the type of thing for everyone.

Suddenly I felt scammed by all these people and all the other people that had the word “scam” and “Brendon Burchard” associated with each other. And yet, I know this type of thing isn’t the first time I’ve seen it.

Tell the truth; doesn’t it bother you when a headline totally misleads you? I see this type of marketing all the time; as a matter of fact, many of the so-called online marketing gurus tell you this is a great tactic to increase sales, whether you believe a product is a scam or not. I’ll admit that sometimes I’ll check out these types of sites, but I think it’s disingenuous to us, the readers. Hence my calling it a scam in and of itself.

For the record, this guy’s very legitimate, and he’s got a lot of energy. He’s written some other books as well. He talks about how he’s made millions and talks about pricing and marketing and getting the money you deserve to get. He also talks about everyone being an expert in something (with his definition of an expert being to know something others don’t know, even if you don’t know it all). He gives you both pointers and motivation. True, it’s really not for everyone, but what book or program is?

This had to follow up my post about not falling for scams, didn’t it? I dislike people who report something as a scam only to find out it’s not a scam; that’s the real scam. I wouldn’t buy anything from these people; I’d find someone else who was talking about that product legitimately and buy from them instead. I can’t imagine supporting anyone that tricked me like that; would you?

Or am I being too sensitive about this type of thing because I wouldn’t do it? What do you think?
 

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Is This Scraping?

Something new has been added to people borrowing one’s content for other purposes. I’m not quite sure how I feel about it, and thus I thought I’d put it out here for y’all and ask what you think about it.


Scraping Snow
by Erica Blasdel

On my business blog, where I talk about all topics associated with the different things I do in consulting except technology, I wrote a post titled The Quick Way To Organize? Get A Box! It was a recommendation for a way to clean up your space and then decide what you want to do with everything that was in that space, one piece at a time.

Hours later I noticed a trackback in my spam filter and decided to check it out. I always do that because if it’s a legitimate trackback I’ll let it sit as a comment on my post. What I found was that it linked to a blog that had the first paragraph of my post, most of it anyway, then had a product listed that the site is trying to push. Here’s that link. “nofollowed” of course. If you check it out, the product is on topic with what I wrote. And there’s a little line underneath saying “Full reference (Copyright acknowledge)”, linking back to my original post.

I’m not quite sure how I feel about this. I mean, I can’t fully say my content was stolen since the site didn’t even use all of my post. It does give my kind of an attribution in linking back to my original post. Yet it’s using me indirectly to market a product, although the product, in some fashion, is about what my post was about, kind of like “borrowed” content.

So, do I view it as a free backlink, or as a piggyback onto my content to push it’s own product, like scraping? I really don’t know. I will say this, however. Because it’s different I’m not going to file a DMCA notice, and I’m not going to contact the person and ask them to remove it. This isn’t an endorsement; obviously I don’t know anything about the book, and it could be a good book. This is one of those slippery slope questions that might be personal choice, or there might only be one correct answer; I’m just not sure.

The questions goes to you; is this scraping, is it legit, how would you feel if it were you and would you do it?

America The Beautiful Pictorial Afghan Throw 50

America The Beautiful Pictorial Afghan Throw 50″ x 60″


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Why Businesses Should Be On Twitter

In deference to my online buddy Mike CJ, he wrote a post earlier in the week which he titled Why Businesses Shouldn’t Be On Twitter. His main point was that instead of businesses being on Twitter, they should have individuals representing the business on Twitter so that they can show some personality and communicate directly with people.

Whereas I agree with the last point, I disagree with the initial statement. In my opinion, businesses definitely need to be on Twitter, and for multiple reasons. Let’s take a look at some of these.

1. Branding. Businesses having a Twitter account get to make sure their logo is out there front and center whenever something is being written for the company. One should never overlook the importance of branding.

2. Customer Service. Last week I had an issue with one of my affiliates not paying me so I kind of called that company out by name on Twitter. Within 5 minutes I was being contacted by the company, or whomever was representing the company account on that day, and we got my issue resolved. I’ve talked in the past about other companies responding to the same type of thing, and last week my friend Josh Shear brought it home again.

3. Protection of name. If a company doesn’t sign up for their name, you can bet that at some point someone else will sign up and start using it, and unless they abuse it there will be nothing the company can do about it.

4. Marketing. Yeah, we all say we hate seeing marketing on Twitter, but what we really mean is we hate seeing someone pounding marketing message after message. If Sony had a Twitter account and suddenly announced that they were having a special one day sale where their 50″ HD TV’s were going on sale for $200, who wouldn’t want to know about that? Okay, I’ll admit that’s one of my special pipe dreams. 🙂

I agree with Mike that Twitter users should have personality. I’ve written about that often enough as well, how I’m looking for more “social” than “selling”. But I think any major business that doesn’t have a Twitter account is allowing their competition to get the leg up on them, and allowing those few people who might complain about them to get the message out without having the chance to offer any assistance and hopefully stem a bad situation.

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