Here’s how a typical Internet business works – you pick a niche, create a product and then find the audience to sell that product to. If it doesn’t sell, you do it all over again. If it does sell, you make more products to sell to those same people. Sounds logical, right?…
Maybe not. Suppose – just suppose – you decide to sell NOTHING for the first two to three months of your business. Not a gosh darn thing.
Instead, what you do is focus on building and nurturing your audience. Once they know you and are confident you know what you’re talking about, then and only then do you sell them something.
“But I need to make money NOW!”
Okay, what if you had started the entire process 3 months ago? They say the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, and the second best time is today. So bear with me for a moment while we plant a tree in your mind right now…
Let’s say you’ve taken up a new hobby. Maybe it’s golf. You’re cruising the Internet when you find this offer for a free golf book for newbies, “10 Ways to Take 10 Points Off Your Game Today.” You enter your email address and get the book.
And next thing you know, this author is sending you golfing offers on a daily basis. “BUY THIS!” “BUY THAT!” And on and on. What do you do? Maybe you buy something, maybe you don’t. But do you lose faith and trust in the person? Yes. This is just some guy who used a bait and switch on you. “Get my free book!” turns out to really mean “Let me sell you a whole lot of stuff so I can make money!”
This is how Internet marketing typically works, and the days of it being a magic bullet are long gone. Sure, the money is in the list, but if you are continually going for the sales before you even establish the relationship, you’re doing it backwards.
I say it’s time to adjust.
Second scenario: You sign up to get the free ebook, and here’s an email introducing the author. The next day, s/he sends you a great golfing tip. And the next day, and the next. Maybe the author throws in some personal golfing stories, a few golfing jokes, some golf news, etc.
Now this author feels more like your email golfing buddy and golf expert than a sales person. In fact, in 2 whole months s/he hasn’t tried to sell you a single thing. But maybe they have sent you a few videos with cool tips, so you can get to ‘know’ and like them even better. In fact, you trust this person and feel they have your best interests at heart.
They’ve built a REAL relationship with you.
Now then, what do you think is going to happen when this author starts sending you the occasional offer? Odds are you’re going to take a very serious look at buying it, because your new golfing friend/expert is recommending it. And if they’re recommending it, you know it must be really GOOD!
And as long as this author continues to send you only the best advice and best offers, you’re likely to continue buying, too.
So is it worth it to invest 2-3 months to build relationships that create super high conversions and subscribers that are loyal to you for a long, long time? Is it worth it to build such a tight bond, they never unsubscribe? Do you want to be their go-to person, the one they know and trust for advice, tips and recommendations? Or do you want to be just another sales person pitching the latest product until your subscribers flee your list?
“But 2-3 months before I make a sale??!”
Yes. I know. It takes a real commitment and investment of your time.
But let’s try putting it into perspective: Let’s say you want to open a business in your town. You scout a location, make the deal to rent the building, get your business licenses, get the equipment you need, order the inventory, hire staff, get insurance, etc. How long would it take? And how much would it cost? And how much would you clear after all of your expenses?
What I’m talking about here is a viable way to build a six figure business in less than 12 months, with almost no out of pocket expense. To begin with, all you need is a good autoresponder. You don’t even have to put up your blog right away, because in the beginning you can do everything via email.
This is a business model you can start today. It helps if you have expertise in your subject – if not, you’ll want to start reading and learning immediately. Your topic should be one you’ve got a measure of passion for, because you’ll be writing and talking about it a great deal. You’ll need 10 or more hours a week to devote to this.
And you’ve got to be ready to sacrifice a small amount of short term income for an abundance of long term income. Long term beginning in about 2-3 months, and the potential to grow fairly large around the 6-8 month mark.
This is all about your audience. It’s all about what they want. And here’s the kicker – you know how experts tell you to research what people want before you create a product? In this case, you’re going to be so in touch with your audience, you will know exactly what they want before you ever offer it.
You’ll have people standing in line to buy your products before you even produce them. Think about that – you’ll know IN ADVANCE that your products will sell and sell well, because your audience trusts you enough to tell you what they want. Maybe it’s not in so many words, like, “Could you sell me a product about this or that,” but rather, “How do I _____?” When you keep getting the same questions, you know there is a market for a product that solves that need.
To sum up – old school method: Spend weeks creating a product nobody buys. Then do it again. Or build a list and then fry it to death.
New school method: Spend 2-3 months building an audience that LOVES you and trusts you, then create products and make recommendations based upon what they want.
Times have changed. If we, as marketers, don’t change with the times, our customers are going to leave us behind.