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.

Why You’re Going To Have To “Let Go” Of Your Online Business To Grow It Going Forward…

I review a LOT of websites, offers, ezines, products, businesses and on and on when it comes to Internet Marketing (most NOT in the Make Money Online niche).

I haven’t seen enough marketers start to “let go” of their businesses yet.  And this mindset will slowly begin to erode the “shell” you’ve hidden behind in your business…then kill that business in the next 3 to 10 years, guaranteed.

What do I mean?

Well, it’s a deep concept usually reserved for my coaching clients…but I will attempt to give the “bird’s eye view” here in this post.  And before you dismiss this as simple, or not applicable to you, you need to think of 2 questions first:

1)  Am I really conducting business this way?

2)  Am I sure this doesn’t apply to me?

Onward.

“Letting go” of your online business means, in simple terms, that you don’t have anything involved in your business processes or marketing that give the impression you want to take control away from the visitors, prospects, or customers/clients that help you grow that business (notice I didn’t say “your customers” because they aren’t yours or mine…they’re people).

And that means you have nothing that gives that impression.

Here’s a list of concepts that help you “let go”:

  • Transparency.

This means your business and your activities aren’t hidden behind your monitor.  That’s right, people are going to eventually quit doing business with people they can’t see everything about.  For those of you who think hiding behind an anonymous name on chat boards and forums is “cool” and thinking that you can do business that way, well, you’re done.

  • Risk Reversal (real risk reversal, not the wimpy kind).

True risk reversal involves a “more than solid” guarantee of your product or service.  Instead of wimpy “30-day” guarantees…try a 12 month double your money back if this doesn’t work guarantee. Your sales will go up, your refund rates might too, but not as much as your sales.  In some cases, your refund rate doesn’t go up, it goes down. 🙂  Let that sink into your head for a minute.

  • Putting yourself out there (in promotions, not related to transparency).

Are you afraid of putting yourself out there?  Afraid of adding some controversy to this mix?  So long as your doing things legally, ethically, and morally…you should be fine.  So get your promos where people will see them!

  • Policies and service that are totally in favor of the people who give you money. (who gives a &*&*& if they buy a digital product from you, get a refund, then keep the product.  Products and ideas are a dime a friggin’ dozen…so make a new one).

If people work up the trust to buy from you, or become a lifelong customer, what are you going to do to keep earning that trust?  Yeah, yeah, there are some crappy customers out there who might scam you…but it’s the smaller percentage (less than 2%)…so really, what are you going to focus on?  The 2% who aren’t honest and won’t make you money?  Or the 98% who are honest and will make you a TON of moolah (if you work hard to keep that trust)?

  • Delivering on your promises when people give you their hard-earned money.

There are a few “big” “goo-roo” companies in the “make money online” niche that have made hefty promises with newsletter offers and such, then failed to deliver (I’ve tested them all, and only ONE actually met all of the promises they made).

If you have a product to deliver, deliver it BEFORE you bill the next month’s payment (and yes, you can…there’s NO excuses here).  If you make a promise to a customer, honor it…period.

And…

If a client/customer wants a refund or needs something to take care of them, do it…without question.  If you feel you’re being taken advantage of, refund their money and move on to people who will do business fairly with you.  Just remember that’s a 2-way street…not just a one-way street.

Your refund policies mean nothing to the customer, and while that may sound like a BIG, fat wrong thing to you…you’d better get used to it and just take care of them, even when it seems like they’re being idiots.

  • Participating in Social Media.

This is a big one, letting go of your business also means participating in it…as social media will take a larger and larger role in the growth of businesses both online and offline in the near future.

Quit hiding behind your monitor, and talk to people.  This is an interactive medium, not a one-way communication tool.

There’s obviously way more I could add to this DEEP subject, but this should give you a start towards thinking about “letting go” of your online business.

And obviously, I’m not perfect in a couple of these areas myself, but I have plans to improve my shortcomings NOW…because I realize the survival of my businesses will depend on it.

The survival of your online business will depend on it as well…so get to it!  Start to “let go” right now. And don’t give me some “wimpy-wad” excuse why you can’t…you can.

Until the next time we look in the mirror together,

Joseph Ratliff

P.S. I’m at work on the first of my “manifestos”, titled “Rules, What Rules?”…which is a guide to empowering you to live life and build your business the way you want to, because there aren’t “rules” that govern how you should do that.

It should be completed within the next 60 days or sooner.

Have You Ever Had That “Pulling” Feeling?

You know…

That feeling you get when you get ready to take on something big, try something new and exciting, start another business etc…

You get this tight feeling in your arms and chest, your breathing seems to be more rapid, and various thoughts of “Can I really do this?” start swimming in your mind.

This feeling seems to be pulling you back. Back to where everything is comfortable.

Is this a bad feeling to have?

Nope.

This feeling comes from the fear of the “unknown.” And it is actually a good feeling to have.

Here is personal example from my own “pulling feelings”:

Back in my last days of working in the retail field (a long time ago now)…I was thinking to myself…

“Self, can I really start educating business owners on how to market their businesses?

I mean, I am nobody when it comes to being recognized as an authority in marketing, my credibility is close to zero with few clients yet, and what happens if the money runs out?

How do I support my family?”

Man…I am thankful for that “pulling” feeling. I am thankful because that feeling made me sit down and create what I had created for a couple of business owners already…

A Strategic Marketing Plan. I figured out that day what I would do for the next 6 months to generate a steady stream of clients. Then, I mapped out a three year and five year plan to expand the business I started in my mind already.

Boy did that feel good. And you know what happened to that “pulling” feeling?

It went away. It has yet to come back.

I am a little past the other end of that five year marketing plan now (I started marketing consulting locally in 2001). My business and family life is so fulfilling…I cannot even explain it to you.

And it all came from that one moment. Can you create your own?

So what is the lesson here?

Well, this lesson is in two parts:

1) Get out of your comfort zone, often, repeatedly, and stay out of it. This is huge. If things are going as planned in your business…get out of your comfort zone and try new things. Otherwise, your business will get stale…and your results will start to match.

2) Set aside time to work on your business, instead of in your business. Until you master this…all you have is a self-employed job. And you do know what “JOB” stands for, don’t you… Just Over Broke.

The more you get that “pulling” feeling…the more success you can have…but you have to reach out and take it without fear.