With the rapid rise of photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest, and people's penchant for small bits of information, you could get the impression that people have become more stupid. [Read more…]
We've all had a bad sales experience.
I hear stories all the time from people where, after they purchased a product or service, wonder why the hell they bought the thing. Another common story, especially in the world of online sales, is being battered over the head again and again with upsell after upsell. Think GoDaddy – you can't go there and simply buy a domain name. That's why I use DNSimple.
We bring these experiences with us to our businesses, which is both good and bad. It's good because we know how we don't want to be, but on the other side it can prevent us from actually selling. It held me back for years until I finally understood that selling isn't a bad thing. [Read more…]
I left public school after the 8th grade because I was tired of being picked on. At the time I was still pretty short and the combination of being quiet and not being the “sporty type” made me an easy target. Why I thought going to private school would help with this problem, I have no idea. But I though it would…
For 9th grade I went to an all guys Jesuit private school. And the taunting got worse. Far be it from me to try and explain why anyone would pick on the kid that knew karate, but they did. Two people found out why you don't, but that's another post.
After enduring two years of heckling and jeers my parents allowed me to go back to public school. And when I did, I decided that no one was going to pick on me ever again. To ensure that, I joined in with a group of kids that accepted me.
That group was not conducive to my education, to say the least.
The Most Powerful Tool In A Marketer's Belt
Empathy. When employed in marketing, it's one of the most powerful things on earth.
It can be subtle in the case of many advertisements on television. Or it can be blatant as a gang member telling a kid how fantastic they are and how wrong their parents are to be telling them what to do.
Do you like being treated as a number, or do you prefer being treated like what you are – a person? Why then would you treat anyone else differently?
The goal of marketing is to make the connection with the right people so that you can then solve their problems with your products and services. To do that, you need empathy.
Without empathy in marketing, you will never make the connection or the sale.
It's a funny thing, people always wanting the opposite of what they have.
In the U.S. people go to the beach or to a tanning salon to get a nice tan. When I was in my early 20's I would go to the tanning salon so I wouldn't appear like a geek that never got outside, which I was. Women in magazines weren't as pale as they are today, and in Hollywood you had to have a continuous tan – it was attractive.
So we had white people trying to have darker skin.
And then I came to Thailand and saw a funny thing.
Thai television, like that in the U.S., has a lot of ads. There are these soap opera-style shows that all the young girls around here watch. And in between the jealousy, intrigue, and completely unbelievable plot twists are ads, mostly for beauty products.
Most of these beauty products have skin whitening, and it's in everything – face and hand creams, lotions and more. And the advertising is all over.
Most Thai people I have encountered aren't like me – pretty darn white. But here we have all these products made to lighten the skin, because lighter skin is seen as beautiful.
So here we have Asian people trying to have lighter skin.
It's interesting that on each side of the earth the one is trying to be more like the other and less like how they are. It's seen as beautiful.
So What Does This Have To Do With Business?
How easy is it to slip into a line of thinking like this:
Man, that company is doing awesome and is exactly where I want to be. Perhaps if I do what they do I can get to where they are.
Ever had a thought like that pop into your head? I have, many times. And I've gotten messed up, burned out and in debt trying to replicate what others do.
But you don't have to.
So what do you do when you want what's on the other side of the fence?
Be strategic. Look for partners you can team up with so you can move faster. Get your hustle on, hit up social media, use services like Commun.it that help to use Twitter for business, make a lot of connections, comment on blogs, develop relationships, and keep moving forward.
Toss out that crap thinking that's your ego trying to keep you nice and comfortable. Stomp it into the ground with so much action that you don't have time to even breathe.
Be agile. Be powerful. Be connected. Be smart.
Besides, that grass over there that seems so green could be so full of chemicals that it turns to dust the next time it rains.
We're building empires here my friend. Let's act and think like it.
Since humans began roaming the earth we've formed groups. Call them tribes, cliques, clubs, teams, civilizations – we band together for one reason or another, typically for the benefit of all. Remember that not all benefits are tangible – many are internal.
By nature, humans are social creatures – we are not meant to be alone.
Within these groups we have leaders, influencers, and followers. Who is in which position can change depending on necessity.
There is movement within the group and between groups.
As an individual moves between groups their level of influence shifts – it can remain high with their previous group while starting low with the new. The more interactions we have and the more connections we make the higher our level goes. If we have not cut ties with the first group, our overall level of influence is greatly increased.
Add in the amplification effect of our influencing influencers in the new group, and the numbers get large.
Now I'm sure you're asking…
What Does Any Of This Have To Do With A Digital Stone Age?
I was talking with my friend Dino about Triberr and how I feel it makes “social scores” like Klout and such irrelevant. Here's why.
Let's be honest – nothing is beyond being gamed. Much like SEO results can, to an extent, be manufactured, so can some of these social scores. And yes, social is a factor in SEO.
My Klout score, currently 61 as I write this, is explained as:
You create content that is spread throughout your network and drives discussions.
Klout labels me a pundit – I create the news, my opinions are wide-spread and highly trusted, and I'm recognized as a leader in my industry. Is this true? What is it based on? Let's look at the other scores and their meanings to see if they help:
- Network Influence: 70 – You generate a high level of engagement from other influencers
- Amplification Probability: 40 – You generate a steady flow of actions and discussions
- True Reach: 2000 – You have worked very hard to successfully build a large, highly engaged network
These scores are all true, and I've gained more Klout since being a member of the mighty Jaffa tribe in Triberr – there are many awesome people there that I'm happy to now know.
But The Game Is Afoot
“Its one of those things social media geeks use to evaluate each other – no one outside of SM gives a flying monkey ass about Klout.” – Dino Dogan
What are the rules of social media? The same as they are in people space:
- Don't be an asshole – promote others along with yourself
- Provide continuous value as determined by your ideal customer
- Create win/win relationships
You can grow your influence organically – connect with one person at a time, form the relationship, get exposure to their audience, comment on their blog, sharing their content before asking them to share yours.
Or, you can take a different approach.
You can use tools to automatically find more followers, connect with people of greater influence, become a part of their Triberr tribes, study what gets the most traction and give them more.
It's like genetically enhanced food – somewhat natural, but not entirely. Today we can speed things up.
Whatever strategy you use to gain influence, it still comes back to the fact that…
We Are Living In A Digital Stone Age
“That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.” – Wooderson, Dazed And Confused (1993)
As it was thousands of years ago people form groups, and gain influence within those groups. The differences today are that those groups can be formed of members thousands of miles apart, and a single individual can move between groups increasing their total influence as they go.
Can this influence be summed up in a single score based on factors that can be “genetically” enhanced? No.
Should we rely on these scores, be it Klout or anything else, to determine who we should form relationships with? No.
But I've said enough, and now I'm wondering…
What Do You Think?
Do you pay attention to “social influence” scores? What “tribes” are you in, and which are you still loosely connected with? How do you determine who to connect with?
Let's talk about it in the comments below!
I'll see you there…
Justification is as strong in a business as it is in an alcoholic, and it can be just as deadly.
There are many reasons why we justify our actions, but two really stand out – ego and fear.
For an alcoholic this can mean continued drinking, sometimes leading to death. For a business, it can mean losing competitive advantage, and ultimately lead to death as well.
Check out this video where I draw the parallel and then let me know what you think in the comments.
Last week when I made the infographic with the real make money online system, I poked fun at a number of current practices in the Internet Marketing world. One of them is to show exact earnings numbers on sales pages.
These numbers are meaningless to me, and they are meaningless to you.
I'm working on a niche site strategy course that will be going live pretty soon. Before actually deciding to do this course – which will be directed coaching rather than a traditional information product – I asked a few of my peeps a question – did I need to state exactly how much I'm making from my niche sites.
I got a few interesting answers that boil down to a few key points.
Your Niche Is Not My Niche
How many factors go into having a successful niche site? 10, 100, 1000? A ton. Success also heavily depends on the person behind it, even moreso than anything else. And here's the thing – what happens if I pick a really awesome niche – one with desperate buyers looking for the cure to what ails them – and you pick a dud, one where people won't buy anything? Does that make my system a failure? I got awesome results.
I won't use psychology on you in order to sell you on my stuff. The real deal is that some niches turn out better than others, despite the keyword research. That's why I recommend using paid strategies to quickly validate the niche. Some money spent now can save you months of time and money later.
I consider myself very lucky – I'm a geek. And being a geek I quickly figure out how a technology works and use it to my advantage. But not everyone is a geek.
If you aren't a geek you have two options:
- Take the time to learn and implement the technologies that can help you move faster; or
- Outsource it to someone else
Depends on how much time and money you have on your hands.
So let's say you consider yourself a technology dunce, and need everything explained to you in detail. That's isn't good or bad, it's just the way some people are.
My Dad is a fantastic attorney (now retired) and can recite historical facts all day; but, he can barely use a computer and just started sending email. If my Dad, for some reason, were to get into online marketing, he would need some serious hand-holding. So unless he had the time to wait for the money to come in, he would have to pay to outsource the work, if he wanted to quickly.
The Ultimate Test: Are You Afraid To Fail?
Some people run into setbacks and it paralyzes them. Others take the lessons as they come, and apply it to their next endeavor.
Which are you?
The answer to that is the biggest determinant of your success in building niche sites. I mean, what happens if a niche turns out to be total garbage?
Will you consider the system and failure and never try again, or will you apply what you know and have learned with another niche?
Will you crawl into the corner and give up, or will you talk with some folks, alter your strategy, and get back at it?
Do you have a positive mindset, or a negative one?
It makes all the difference.
Things don't always work out. But the great news is that there are ways to find out sooner rather than later, and you can hedge your bets. If you have more than one site, if one turns out to be a dud, you have the others.
Regardless, mindset counts for much more than most of us are willing to admit to.
So Will I Show You The Money?
One person put it best when he said, “I don't need an exact figure, but I need to know it made someone money.” A very valid point in the world of business.
How many products have you seen where they make up some numbers that look really great, something like this scenario:
- Your product sells for $9.95
- 1 per day = $9.95
- 5 per day = $49.75
- 10 per day = $99.50
- If you sell 10 per day at $9.95 each then you'll be making $2,985 per month!
OMGWTFBBQ! I want to make $3k a month – I'm going to buy this like right now right now!
Yeah not so much. How many factors contribute to the success of something? Right. Oh, and you want traffic with that? Oh sorry, that's extra, quite a bit extra.
But Rob, Aren't You Going To Be Selling Me A Product?
As I type this post it makes me reconsider whether or not I should sell a product, or if I should continue building out my network of sites, helping clients make money with these strategies, and talking with my circle of cohorts. I mean, do I really have to use all these techniques to make a sale? Do I have to promise some exact dollar figure to sell you on a strategy that I know works on many levels?
Currently in Internet Marketing land it seems so. But is it as effective for me to tell you plainly that I can help you determine if a niche will be profitable, and it will cost you a little to do so? Or, is it more effective for me to just sell you on the results I've gotten under my very specific set of circumstances, a set of circumstances that you won't apply to your situation?
What Do You Think?
I've gone on for long enough – I'm looking to know what you think of all this?
Are you fed up with the current state of things out there? Are you ready for a dose of reality? Do you think others are? Or do you think the selling of false promises will continue to be standard issue?
Let's discuss it below in the comments.
I'll see you there.
There's a lot of advice out there, and yes here too. It's hard to know which to take and which to leave alone. But just because other people take that advice doesn't mean you should too, especially when it means going contrary to who you are.
Watch this video about a conversation I had with one of my friends where he told me he discovered who he really was, and how that has helped him to become extremely productive and open.
After you watch the video let's talk about it in the comments below.
Let's talk! What do you think about this?
Awesome pic from TheGiantVermin
There has never been a better time than now to be an entrepreneur. Let's look at why.
Work from anywhere
If you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can easily talk with clients and business partners from anywhere in the world. And most of the tools you need are free or close to free.
With all of the applications you need to run your business being online, even with a larger team, there is really no need for the overhead of a physical location.
Coordination across timezones isn't difficult either. Zach Inglis of London Made, a web design and web development firm, recently turned me on to Every Time Zone, a site that shows your timezone along with all others. It's got a slick interface and is much easier to use than other time zone sites.
Test ideas on the cheap
Before investing the time and money to create an application (“website”) you can do some fast and cheap market research.
For less than $200 you can set up a WordPress site, install a premium theme (or a free one if you want to save $79), put up some nice imagery or perhaps a video about your product, add an email opt-in form, and then go onto social media and spread the good word. If anyone is willing to pay for your product, you can find out really quickly. If not, you'll know that too.
Build a global network of connections
If you're an international traveler, you can and should make connections everywhere you go. Before you get there, hit up your social networks, tell them where you're going, and see if anyone can connect you with someone there. 9 times out of 10, one of your direct connections will either know someone, or they can introduce you to someone that does.
Just the beginning
As technology improves, the cost of travel comes down, the connections between us all become shorter, our ability to work from anywhere, to have a business in one part of the world and run it from the other, will become much easier.
I look forward to the future, and the opportunities it brings. I hope you do too. It's going to be freaking awesome.