Friday, September 5, 2008

Getting paid to tell secrets - which aren't really secrets

If I had a dollar for all the people who wanted to "tell me secrets" - which weren't really secrets at all...

Just opted out of yet another autoresponder mailing list where the guy was simply trying to sell me more junk which I'd already heard about. He was trying to pass it off as a "secret", when anyone could work it out - what he was selling was simply more techniques based on common-sense data.

Look, there are only a few simple, common-sense facts which generate all the income you could want through online or offline marketing. And these have been around since the dawn of time, and have been written up over and over - even before pre-colonial Adam Smith or our modern gurus like Jay Abraham.

Let's lay out everything there is to know about online marketing, or marketing in general:

  1. You have to have a product which is valuable - provides an actual service.
  2. You have to be able to produce this product routinely and inexpensively.
  3. You have to be tell people you have this product - and that it's worth something to them.
  4. You have to be able to deliver this product (service) quickly and easily.
  5. You have to make sure your client is happy with his service (product) and got more than he thought it was worth.
That's it. Really.

#1 is the failure of most online marketing, because what they are selling is just trivial data. And that is why people opt-out of your mailing list (like I did above). I don't need to be pitched - because I don't waste my disposable income on just anything that comes around.) This is also the failure of cheap markets, like auctions - but also the clue to their success. People want to get high-quality items for cheaper than their perceived value. Perceived is the keyword there.

#2 is the downfall of eBay PowerSeller wannabes and the headache of most start-ups. How to set up manufacturing and how to generate these products routinely, for as low an overhead as possible. Information products are the cheapest down this line. But their downfall is that once they are released to the Internet, they are simple to copy and reproduce. As well, people can pass your static download address to anyone - sucking down all your bandwidth and giving away the shop. So this takes some figuring out, even with "virtual" products.

#3 is all promotion. Promotion isn't marketing, just a small part of it. Marketing is building/creating a market. Marketing means you get conversions and sales. But if you don't promote, you can't get leads, can't get conversions, can't get sales. So you have to tell people effectively how you have this product and how they can get their own copy/version of it. This is where your sales page has to be top notch - and why social media loves informational content.

#4 is the next hitch. Rising fuel costs has made some of this prohibitive. Just more overhead and money is just another commodity, so it floats upward = inflation. Digital delivery might be one solution, but again - you have to have your backend in place to ensure the paying customer gets his product and the others don't.

#5 concerns follow-up. Happy customers tell 4 other people, unhappy ones tell 10. This means having an excellent product and contacting buyers to see what they have to say about it. You can then use these testimonials in your next promotion - and as well, cross-sell that customer other products. Here's your backend and your sales funnel.

Now to be fair, things change constantly. New techniques are worked out all the time. Social media didn't exist a couple of years ago, and the Internet is hardly a decade old. Yet nearly a quarter of our commerce is now Internet-based. So you have to keep on top of things.

But the basics are these:
  • Good products - great value.
  • Good promotion - includes how to write copy.
  • Great delivery and follow-up.
As you keep these simple few points in, all else falls in line.

If you hear about people trying to sell you secrets based on how much you can make from their product - figure they are just trying to make money out of thin air and have no real value to exchange with you for your hard-earned money.

And like me, you'll probably want to unsubscribe from that mailing list...
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