This is an updated post from many years ago. It’s still a legitimate topic and I’ve updated it a bit. So yes, there are some old comments on it, but the updates I’ve made have freshened it up a bit; at least that’s my story. 🙂
Not a guru… but know some things…
In the years that I’ve been on Twitter I’ve had the opportunity to talk to a few of the top internet marketers in the world. I’ve read their blog posts, seen some of their videos, and even caught an occasional podcast or two. I think it’s a good thing to have the opportunity to cull from a vast amount of sources who’ve found a way to make a great living via their online presence. I’ve learned a few things from some of them, and I hope that some of those lessons I’ve learned will work very well later on… because they haven’t yet.
Why not? What I’ve found over the years is that not even a guru has all the answers. Years ago I got lucky to have a conversation with one of the gurus, whose name I’m not going to mention here. It started on Twitter, then moved to email.
I began by saying that there’s a lot of information on the internet and a lot of programs that talk about this and that as it relates to internet marketing, but that I had yet to find one that could answer specific questions I had. He asked me what I meant, so I laid out a few things.
At one point he said he’d have to see the types of things I’d tried, and I shared a few things with him. I doubt he ever followed through on it, but I don’t have a problem with that because people get busy. You wouldn’t believe how many people told me they were going to read my latest book if I sent them a free copy… I think the number, not counting me, was 3 (one of those people actually bought the book; yay!)
That wasn’t really what I was looking for, and I told him so. I then said that there was one big question that no one has ever answered, and he asked what that was. I told him this; “the big question was what’s the very first thing that someone should do to build a list.”
he thought he was a guru
For instance, everyone says to build a website or a blog, put something on there for people to subscribe to you so you can build up your email subscription list, and you’re good to go. Well, no you’re not; if you build it, they WON’T necessarily come. This isn’t Field Of Dreams after all. If you’re not already well known, you’ll have to figure out how to drive traffic to your site.
At the start, most of us don’t have a reputation, so people don’t know if they can trust us to buy from us. Sometimes even after a few years, if you haven’t found a way to break through and learned how to drive a lot of traffic to your site (and the search engines aren’t holding you back) you might still be struggling.
You can visit a lot of blogs, leave good comments and get traffic that way, but that takes time. You can write on forums and maybe some of those people will follow you, but that takes time. Not that taking time is such a bad thing, but when you read all this stuff or listen to audio or watch the videos, almost all of them seem to promise more immediacy than that.
I specifically wrote this:
“My point is that there’s probably a lot of good advice, but it doesn’t start low enough for beginners. It’s easy to say ‘build a list’; it’s much harder for someone to give point by point, realistic advice on how to do it. “Build it and it will come” doesn’t equate well in the marketplace, even if you can get to number one on Google for your specific search terms.
In the words of Ramon from Happy Feet, I’ve done everything ‘penguinely possible’ (if you know the movie, this line makes sense) to generate online sales, as far as I know, and haven’t broken even (well, I had a moment when I did, but it was fleeting). It’s a good thing I’m a pretty good consultant in my field otherwise.”
His response: “I’ll have to think about it.
Mom’s an ice cream guru
That’s not a condemnation by the way, just a reality. Even some of the gurus don’t remember how they started. Or maybe they do; maybe they were in on that early wave of spammers, who weren’t known as spammers at the time because that’s just how everyone else sold their products (my friend Mitchell Allen sometimes names names lol). I remember in the early 2000’s reading about buying mailing lists, which was a much bigger business than it is today, and I wouldn’t doubt that many folks bought these lists and just started pounding the emails without any remorse.
That doesn’t work for me, and I doubt it works for most of the rest of you. All of us get pounded by a ton of emails, mainly from people we don’t know, almost never with our name being a part of it. How many of you actually check out those sites, let alone buy from them?
Have you ever signed up for a free report? If you gave your email address, it’s given to everyone in that person’s realm, sometimes sold, and you’re a mark because you’ve shown that you’re open to being pitched to. It’s one reason I’ve created multiple email addresses, so that all those things I sign up for go to other places, unless I know who I’m dealing with. That’s a good tip to use because it helps you to segregate what you’re getting.
The overall point is that sometimes you just have to take your shot at doing what you think may be the right way to go, and not expect someone to be able to tell you point by point how to get there. The best information doesn’t work for everyone, but that doesn’t invalidate what you do learn.
By the way, this isn’t only about internet marketing; it’s pretty much for everything across the board. I could tell you step by step how to write a good blog post, but if you don’t have a good grasp of language or you hate writing in general it’ll never work that well for you.
Starting is half the battle; learning is half the fun. The traffic and sales… well, hopefully that’ll come with whatever passion you’re able to show on your website or via your blog.
We earn what the market will bear; we just have to be willing to take some chances and try a few things, as long as we don’t hurt our comfort zone. Regardless, keep trying to learn how to be better; just don’t expect the same results someone else got. Aim for better; that’s my motto (actually it’s not, but I think I’m going to make it mine lol).