The Internet Is Just A Distraction

I’ve been doing some deep thinking about business again…and I’ve come to a rather interesting conclusion this time…

The Internet is a distraction to actually doing business.

But not in the sense you might be thinking…I just think that we place too much importance on the Internet for business.  Way too much importance in fact.

Here’s part of the reason why I think this (otherwise this post will get WAY too long, so I might have to break it up)…

Before the Internet became popular, we had the conversation between two people.  Then, we had radio, which allowed us to broadcast that conversation one way to a person or family.  Then, we had TV which allowed us to broadcast IMAGES along with that same one-way conversation.

So radio and TV started the distraction, then the Internet came along and at first accelerated the one-way conversation to an uncontrollable level as banner ads, direct mail letters converted to websites, brochure style websites, etc… evolved (this is before blogs).

But then, something very important happened, the social networks and bookmarking devices came along.  This allowed the two-way conversation between people to return, but with an unfortunate consequence…

There is too much conversation for the individual human being (that means all of us) to digest and take part in. And, the funny thing is, that’s exactly what we as human beings really wanted all along with technology like this…is to be able to carry a two-way conversation across boundaries.

Think about this for a second, in a normal day…

  • There are Twitter conversations.
  • There are Facebook conversations.
  • There are Email conversations.
  • There are cell phone conversations (and over the Internet).
  • And on, and on, and on…including texting.

So, we are seeking simple conversations…but because of the Internet distraction there are way too many ways to carry that conversation (ever had someone stop a face to face conversation with you to get a text?  Unreal.).

So how does all of this apply to business?

We used to do business face to face, with two-way conversation between people.  Then, when we liked a particular business enough to do business with it continuously, we referred it to others asking about the same type of business.

Then it seems we got away from that, and the Internet accelerated that process…but then also provided the means for two-way conversation between people to return to business.

Business is, and always will be about people…period. That will never change no matter what medium we use to communicate.

The Internet provides so many ways to communicate…it has become a distraction, because it allows business people to cheat…reaching more people faster, cheaper, and more frequently.

But when The Great Filtering happens…when people get sick of being interrupted and seek to return to more “normal” and digestible conversation between two people (which WILL happen at some point by the way)…they will find ways to do that, and the Internet provides those means.

So…if you’re using the Internet to market a business without being social…you’ll miss the opportunity because you’re distracted by the illusion that is “regular marketing on the Internet”…and you’ll be out of business.  You’ll have been distracted by the Internet.

Don’t let this happen to you.

I’m Skeptical, Is This A Scam?

Most people buy a course, invest in a book, watch an infomercial and buy the course it offers…get it home…and ask a question:

“Is this going to work for me?”

Or…

“Is this thing a scam?”

Even worse, they will investigate something (way too much), and ask one of the questions above BEFORE investing in it.

Let’s have an honest heart to heart here folks…

You’re asking the wrong question.

The correct question to ask yourself is…

How can I make this work, no matter what?

And if you can’t answer that question, don’t buy the course, book, whatever in the first place. You’ll just end up being disappointed.

I can feel the energy now… “But Joe, what about scams?”

What about them?

Sure, they’re out there…but most opportunities, courses, books, training materials etc… are NOT scams at all. The reason you feel they “lack information”, or “are too basic”, or “won’t work for me” etc… is actually because of you.

Usually, when most people buy (insert course title, book title, whatever, here)…a typical series of events unfolds:

— You get excited about course.

— You buy course.

— Course arrives at your house (on your computer, whatever).

— You start to read course, maybe even taking notes.

— When the actual “work” starts being described, you start to question, “how is this course going to work for me” or “is this really right for me” etc…

— You stick the course up on a shelf (let it sit on a hard drive), and you’ll “get back to it”, but you never do because you let life get in the way.

But what really happened here?

Come on, let’s be honest with ourselves here, you hoped you found that magic bullet didn’t you? You bought that course, so that for whatever length of time, you could feel like that “guru”, or that motivator for just a certain length of time…right?

Plus, when you review feedback on some of these “infomercial courses”…you see comments like…

“This course lacked information, it was only designed to sell this expensive coaching program…etc…”

“I also bought the coaching program…and IT wasn’t enough…these guys just want to take your money…”

“This course was too basic, it didn’t cover enough detail to _______”

Most of this type of feedback is bull.

What did these people need? For someone to hold their hand, and walk them step by step to the promised land that successful people have spent years developing, and busted their own hump to get to?

How are you going to take even the most basic of information and develop it into the success you want?

Look around any discussion forum or on blogs, and you’ll see all sorts of “How did this program/course/book work for you guys?” types of questions.

Wrong question to ask folks…the right one is how are you going to make the information in this program/course/book work for you no matter what?

Even when the advertisement over-sold the information delivered…even when the information was “too basic”…even when you realize this $500 product sold for $39.95 on late night TV was used to market a coaching program…I would dare to say, even when the vendor didn’t fulfill all the promises made…

What are you going to do to make it all work?

I’m tired of seeing all the complaints…feedback…etc… on forums where people are whining about “how this didn’t work for them” or “how this didn’t deliver as promised”…

I have a solution specifically for the whiners, moaners, groaners, and complainers…

Imagine EVERY course was a scam, every book didn’t have enough information (or was too basic), every download didn’t work, and every vendor didn’t deliver as promised…then what would you do?

Then, if you were one of these people, you couldn’t whine on some forum about it anymore…you couldn’t complain on a blog about the product, offering an “honest” review…if you truly wanted to do something to better your life, you would actually have to use the resources you could get or acquire yourself, and make success happen, wouldn’t you?

(Notice the common theme here, you)

Sure, we all have been “scammed”…vendors haven’t delivered as promised…and sure…some of the programs we may have participated in at some point or another have been a little questionable (MLM anyone?)…

But the faster you can move on with your ideas, the faster you can get back to what’s really important…how to make your life better by making other people’s lives better.

“How can I make this work, no matter what?”

and…

“How can I make my life better by making other people’s lives better first?”

Those are the questions you really meant to ask, right?

And furthermore, you’re not going to let some stupid lack of information, failed promise, or a course designed to market a coaching program get in the way of that, are you?

Or were you just willing to “settle” to begin with?

Think about this today.

It Isn’t About…

Folks, it isn’t about Twitter…

It isn’t about Facebook, or Foursquare, or Digg.  It’s not about any one of those tools (which is all they are by the way).

It’s about the entire Internet. Quit getting wrapped up in a single tool to build a presence or business online…which is like trying to use a wrench to build a whole house.  It can’t be done…because you need a screwdriver, hammer, and a whole host of other tools.

(a really big secret is you have to know how to build a house too…but I don’t want to open that Pandora’s Box)

So, the point of today’s lesson is simple…if you’re trying to figure out how to “make money using Twitter”, or make money with Facebook advertising by themselves…open your eyes.

It’s much bigger than that.

See the whole picture, you’re using tools (Twitter, Facebook, Digg, etc…) within a bigger “toolbox” (the Internet) which is part of an industry (Marketing), which is building your house (your business).

Don’t limit yourself people.

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

–Joseph Ratliff

Another Thing I Wish Email Marketers Wouldn’t Do…

I just checked out the email account I use to get autoresponder account messages from other marketers.  I use this to “spy” on how people are using email to market their promotions.

NOTE:  At least 50% of what I see these days is absolute garbage, but that’s for another series of posts.

One email in particular inspired this post.

I read the email, clicked over to to the offer, and wasn’t interested.  So I went back to the email to read it, and it was actually really poorly written.

So I went to unsubscribe, and that’s where I noticed something that once I thought about it, I see a number of “marketers” doing…

They put the unsubscribe link…

Way down here in the email.

I can guess why they are doing it (out of site, out of mind to try and keep unsubscribes down)…but why do it at all?

Are you really that self-conscious about your content that you need to try and hide (read: deceive) the link from your reader, so they can keep getting crap emails from you?

Really?  Do you need to do that?

Wow.

Instead, learn how to write effective promo emails (or even better, content emails or “friend-style” emails a la Frank Kern)…then you won’t have to resort to deceit and trickery to keep your unsubscribes down.

Also, here’s another thought…do you actually think people are stupid enough to continue paying attention to your emails (for the most part) when you do stuff like this?  To me, that would create a pretty useless email list…reducing the chances of landing any lucrative JV deals or other opportunities.

So, if you do this in your email marketing, don’t get me wrong, correct the behavior ok?  Or don’t…and eventually you’ll join the giant filter coming.

The choice is yours, but I know what I would do.

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

–Joseph Ratliff

The Great Filtering Of Online Marketing…

It has begun…

…and if any of the things I mention in this post apply to you, take heed of the warning, or be prepared to close the doors.

This is probably going to rank in the most important posts I write all year…

Let’s get started, shall we?

Over the next decade, we are going to witness a “great filtering” of sorts in the online marketing arena (and business in general for that matter).

What do I mean?

The shady business people, the snake oil salespeople, the ones that just don’t care about their customers (or even worse, ignore them completely)…and any so-called business person that can be lumped into these categories…will start to suffer a slow and painful business death.

And I mean, all of them…not a percentage…not some, all of them (finally).

How can I make such a widespread claim?

One word…access.

The Internet has changed the game (not will change, has changed).  It has allowed a level of access on many different platforms…that businesses can’t “hide” any more…

  • They can’t scam their customers and get away with it…
  • They can’t hide behind a monitor and be “anonymous” anymore…
  • They can’t make bold-faced lies to the people that do business with them (or are thinking of doing business with them) anymore…

Because it can all be revealed by using the Internet.

Yeah, there will still be scams, unscrupulous business people, and such…but when they set up shop…their lifetime is extremely limited, and will be even more so as the “great filtering” takes place over the next 10 years or so.

So what exactly is the great filtering?

It’s the process where those businesses that fall in the above-mentioned categories will begin to be “filtered out” by the public.

It’s already begun to happen, for example…

What happens to a book on Amazon when a bunch of people leave negative feedback (legitimate negative feedback)? It gets filtered out…falling off the charts.  Those that leave negative feedback that is just not legitimate get filtered out as well.

Spammers aren’t even being paid attention to anymore (other than the customary “how do we get rid of them?” feedback.

If someone uses an anonymous “user name” on a forum, blog, or other social communication media, they usually get “filtered out”.  In the rare case where they are listened to…they always have that barrier they must overcome before what they say matters (eventually, they won’t be listened to at all).

People want to interact with real people, not those who hide behind anonymous or “hidden” information etc…  While it’s certainly possible (for now) to continue to do this… eventually you’ll automatically become “noise” if you’re currently doing this.

There are a TON of other examples I can point to, and I will do so over the course of the next two years or so…(perhaps pointing out some specific examples as they appear to me).   For now, just think of ways for you to avoid “The Great Filtering Of Online Marketing.

If you already are, congratulations, it will get easier to do business as time goes on from this standpoint.