And as I post this, it's post number 15,000.
As it's traditional to mark milestones by creating a post like this one, here are 15 things I've learned, in no particular order.
If you're in a rush, you can skim the bold parts, but to get the most out of this, read the whole thing.
1. You don't get if you don't ask.
A lot of people make posts wondering why they can't seem to make sales, and when you look at what they're doing, it's because they never ask for a sale.
People are busy and distracted. If you want them to do something, ask them to do it.
2. There's a real person on the other side of the screen.
If you look back, you'll find a lot of posts from Warriors complaining about how someone (or group of someones) pisses them off. Yet they are amazed when someone reacts the same way to something they do.
The Golden Rule is golden because it works.
3. Content is king, but a king in exile is powerless.
Kevin Costner may have been able to lure a bunch of ghosts to Iowa by building a baseball field, but you aren't Kevin Costner and this isn't a movie.
Even if you can produce remarkable content, people have to know about it for it to be effective. Plan on spending more time promoting your best content than creating more.
4. Familiarity does not breed contempt, it breeds confidence - if you do it right.
Even if you go to the "churn and burn" school of marketing, you'll be much more effective if you take the time to match your messages to your list.
I get daily (or more) emails from some businesses, and I don't mind. Why? Because that's what I signed up for, and because they honor their end of the deal by only sending me what I signed up to get.
They don't hammer me with badly written pitches for everything under the sun. The people that do quickly get unsubscribed from, and if that doesn't work, filtered into oblivion.
(Here's a hint..."unsubscribe" does not mean move my email to a new list under a different email address.)
5. One message, one idea.
Don't try to make one message do too many jobs. One web page, one message. One email, one message. One video, one message.
There's power in focus.
Shine a light through a crystal, and you get a spray of pretty colors.
Focus the same light through a magnifying glass and you get fire.
6. There is no such thing as "driving traffic."
Unless you're using some kind of black hat gimmick to hijack someone's web browser, you can't make anyone do anything. Don't try.
You can, however, lure them to where you want them to go by promising something they want - information, entertainment, a chance to blow off steam, a chance to buy the solution to something they've wanted.
When we lived in the country, the landowner across the road rented out his field in the winter to cattle growers to clean up the waste grain from the combine. Sometimes those cattle would get out of the fence and end up in our yard.
We tried yelling at them and trying to drive them back inside the field, but all we got were sore throats and exercise.
But shake a little corn in a bucket, and those cattle eagerly came back. In fact, we had to be careful not to get trampled.
7. Keep things in their proper order - Prospect, Lead, Opportunity, Customer.
You've heard expressions like "don't put the cart before the horse" before, right?
Well, unless you're dealing with the most trivial of impulse purchases, you're buyers will go through a sequence.
Prospect - Someone who may be interested in what you sell. If you run targeted Facebook ads, the people viewing your ad are prospects. Same thing if you send cold outreach emails to influencers in your niche or companies you've identified fit some list of criteria.
Lead - Someone who has indicated that they may be interested in what you offer. Maybe they subscribe to your newsletter or video channel, maybe they request your lead magnet. Whatever it is, they've raised their hand and said they might be interested.
Opportunity - These are leads that move on to an actual sales opportunity - they click to your sales page, sign up for your webinar, or follow your affiliate link. They are open to the idea of buying right now if you do a good job of making your case, and give you the opportunity to make it.
Customer - The people who actually buy what you are selling. Not only are these the people who pay the bills, they can also be your best source of repeat buyers, testimonials and referrals.
You should structure your process to follow this sequence, but you should also allow the prospect or lead to jump ahead if they are ready to do so.
8. Concentrate on selling to people who already want what you are selling.
There's a story about a seminar leader who asked "If you're selling hamburgers, what's the most important thing to have?"
Answers from the crowd included things like great hamburgers, a great location, low prices, etc.
The leader's answer was "a starving crowd."
That's why niche marketing works so well. You get to hand pick a starving crowd and offer them what they want to eat.
Too many would-be marketers get things backwards. They pick a product, often based on how much it pays, and then try to figure out how and where to sell it.
9. No matter how many people are on your list, email is still a 1:1 medium.
Even if your subscriber is sitting on a commuter train surrounded by fifty other people when they read your email, they're in the privacy and intimacy of their inbox.
Talk to them like you're on stage and they're part of a crowd in the audience, and you'll lose them.
10. If you play "monkey see, monkey do" without understanding why, you're still a monkey.
How many people have you seen post things like "I send emails like this because [Guru of Choice] does it, so it must work." Yet they have no clue why it works for GoC, or even if it does.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for modeling success. What I see as ineffective and wasteful is simply aping what you see.
Another factor is successful marketers are habitual testers. Without understanding the why behind what you copy, you may end up aping a losing test.
11. Don't base your marketing on what Google, Facebook, Apple or Amazon do - you ain't Google, Facebook, Apple or Amazon.
I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut that 99%+ of Warrior Forum members are either solo acts or work with smallish teams. If you choose to take that bet, make it a chocolate frosted...
Trying to market the same way mega corporations do is a fool's errand. For starters, you have different agendas.
Mega corporations need to:
> Keep shareholders happy.Solo entrepreneurs, freelancers and small businesses need to:
> Keep the board of directors happy.
> Avoid being sacked.
> Win advertising awards that look good in the annual report.
> Make a profit.
> Show a profit.12. Out of sight, out of mind. Or, "where were you when I needed you?"
A common question from beginners is "how many people should be on my list before I start emailing them?"
The correct answer is 1.
If you wait until you have 100 people, 500 people or 1,000 people on your list to start mailing, the early subscribers are going to forget who you are.
They're going to unsubscribe. Or cry spam. or, worst of all, simply delete your email unread.
Another question that comes up a lot is "how often should I email?"
Often enough so that when a need or want arises, they think of you first. But not so often that you turn into an annoying pest.
The exact frequency is different for different markets and different objectives.
If your target is a busy executive at a small or medium size company, a monthly newsletter along with occasional quickies (like a link to a great article accompinied by a note that says 'thought you might like this') is enough.
If your target is a wannabe entrepreneur with a bad case of Shiny Object Syndrome, you might need to email multiple times a day.
13. What do Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, and Easy Button Success have in common? A lot of people believe in them , but there's never been a verified sighting.
Ask yourself, if you can pay someone to set up a site, lure traffic, makes sales, and all you have to do is take the money, what the heck do they need you for?
Now that's not the same thing as using tools and technology to make some of your tasks easier. I remember when sequential autoresponders first came out and revolutionized email marketing. Or when the one-click Wordpress install changed blogging forever.
But push-button, totally passive income with no up front effort? If you believe in that, I have some land to sell you. But we'll have to wait for low tide to see it...
14. Recognize the difference between vanity metrics and Key Performance Indicators.
Back in the day, people used to put hit counters on the home pages. It showed how many people had visited the web page.
Nowadays, people like to brag about how many subscribers, followers, 'friends' or whatever they have.
Both of those are, with rare exceptions, vanity metrics. They make you feel good, but they don't contribute to the bottom line.
On the other hand, if you're an affiliate, the KPI you want to watch is Earnings Per Click (EPC). For every click you send to the vendor's page, how much do you make?
If you have a YouTube channel, how many viewers turn into subscribers? Or, more generally, how many take the action you want them to take?
What's your Return On Investment? For evey dollar or hour that you spend on your business, how much do you get back?
15. The road to success starts with a single step in the right direction. But you gotta take that step...
Now, in the true spirit of over-delivering, here are the bonuses...
Bonus 1. "Just take massive action" is a dangerous myth.
Part of the course when I taught hunter safety classes was what to do if you got lost. We used to rhyme "when in panic or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout." The gist was, don't make things harder for the people trying to rescue you.
"Massive action" can be a marvelous thing when properly applied. But it can ruin you if it makes things worse instead of better.
Bonus 2. No search spider or algorithm has ever bought anything from anybody, ever.
If you have to choose between spiders and people, choose people.
Bonus 3. There are only three ways to make money online:
> Sell products (physical or digital)
> Sell services (actual or something like SaaS)
> Sell attention (Adsense, banners, affiliate clicks, etc.)
All involve the word "sell."
That's it. If you think this post is long, consider it took me a decade to write it.
So tell me, did you have a favorite? Which one, and why, please?