For some of you, I will be shattering your beliefs about a "magic button" that pumps millions of dollars into your bank account on autopilot. For others, you might already be familiar with these truths, but have not accepted them for what they are. Read this post, bookmark it, and commit it to memory. Now then, let's continue on.
You Need Technical Skills
Despite what you might think, you NEED technical skills in this game. There is really no way around it unless you have a significant amount of start up capital. Even then, it would behoove you to know what you're doing both strategically, and technically.
Technical skills will involve relatively simple coding using PHP, HTML, and CSS. Other skills involve managing a Content Management System like WordPress, Graphic Design, Writing, and possibly Advanced Programming. You can outsource these tasks if you have disposable income, but even then, it is necessary to understand these technical disciplines.
Most of us were clueless when we first started, but we didn't let that stop us. The best way to learn something is to actually do it, so get out there, fail fast, and get the hang of your technical skills. There are also many resources out there for your disposal, both free, and paid. There are no excuses.
You Must Produce Content
You see, this whole game is about producing and distributing content, using the internet as your medium. Deejays use the radio as the medium for their content, talk show hosts use the television, and we use the internet. You know what I’m saying?
Every single person that makes any amount of money online, does it because they produce content. There is no way around this fundamental concept and you need to accept it if you plan to do anything with this internet game. I call it a game too because it is just that, a game. Or at least it helps me to think about it as a game. Anyway, let’s move on.
There Are No Overnight Successes
Another fundamental truth that you need to accept is that there are no overnight success stories in this game. Whether you’re a rapper trying to become the next best thing, or a college dropout who wants to make some serious money online, there are no shortcuts, and any examples of "overnight” success that you might think of, are actually the product of many long years working hard for it. My case in point: Eminem went serious with his rap career when he was 22 years old, but he didn’t break out and “blow up” until he was 27.
Discipline & Strength
There was a movie I saw when I was very young about a woman that went to war in her father’s place. It’s a really cool story and I’m sure you’re familiar with it. In one of the scenes, the military commander orders one of the trainees to climb a pole to fetch an arrow.
The catch was that the trainee had to carry two weights with them as they scaled up the pole. As the commander told them, one of the weights represented strength while the other one represented discipline. The trainees were also told that they needed both to reach the arrow.
Think of digital marketing as the pole in that story, and think of the arrow as reaching full time income, however you define it. You need to be both strong and disciplined in order to reach that arrow, and you need to muster these two forces together in unison.
Detailed Research and Analysis
You have to be ready and willing to read, and read a lot. You’re already showing promise here by reading through this thread, but there’s more to it than just reading. You need to be able to synthesize relatively large amounts of data and make sound judgements based on the data you see. You need to find products that fit into your market, find content that you’re audience wants to consume, network with other people, and cultivate strong business relationships.
Besides that, you need to be able to find low competition keywords, spot trends in the market, and adapt to an ever changing environment within cyberspace. All of these things will require detailed research and analysis, and often times, you’ll be the only one who can do that.
You Must Produce Compelling Content
I’m serious when I say that you need to produce content to make the dollars. Moreover, you need to produce compelling content that lots of people want to consume. People consume what they want to consume, not what they “need” to consume. This is why the most popular YouTube channels are in the entertainment category and not in the education category.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make your content really informative, far from it. But, I am saying that you’d have more success in selling a product about creating cool science fair projects, rather than a program that teaches people about the wonders of physical science. You know what I’m saying?
Anyway, this content can be in the form of Advertisements, Videos, Ebooks, Podcasts, Newsletters, and the like. You also need to remember that your content should cater to a specific population with a specific interest or issue that needs remedy.
This is commonly called a “niche” or “mini-niche”. The content can be sold at a premium or given away as a “freemium”, but the bottom line is that you have to produce content and it has to be what the people in your market want to consume.
We all love strong brands and strong characters...we also remember them too. I’m Devon Dudeman and people remember that name. I don’t have to be the brand but it’s a choice that I’ve made after a lot of thought. As for you, the good news is that you are not required to turn yourself into a brand, but you are required to create a brand with personality.
See, a lot of people think that they need to become the next Frank Kern or Leo Babauta to make millions. You don’t. There are many people who are quietly making their fortunes online by operating under pen names and pseudonyms.
I’ll give you an example: let’s say that this woman Janie Doe, is getting started online. Let’s say that she lost a lot of weight and she got real interested in fitness. Because of this experience, she’s going to sell treadmills, supplements, and digital products in the fitness market. She doesn’t have to be “Janie Doe”, who runs a fitness blog and newsletter.
She can create a pseudonym and brand persona named “Tara Lace”, a super hot fitness expert that creates amazing content for other women and builds a brand that way. You know what I’m saying? Janie doesn’t have to be the brand character herself. I used to think this tactic was devious, but it really isn’t. Do you know who Samuel L. Clemens was? Probably not, but you know who Mark Twain was, right?
This game, like all business, is really about building solid relationships with your audience, customers, allies, and competition. Your content, brand, and marketing mix will be built around setting expectations and fulfilling them on a constant basis. When you meet someone new, be clear about what you can do for them and don’t bullshit them.
When you send someone to your opt-in page, be clear about what you will give them if they buy your product or download your “freemium”. You want to set clear expectations and deliver on your promises. Doing so will win you more friends, have more people opening and reading your emails, and you’ll be more likely to have fewer people clicking that “unsubscribe” button.
On that note, you need to be careful about what you sell to your audience. You can’t just promote anything, and doing so is a dumb thing to do. You want to do your due diligence on behalf of your customers and select products that represent your brand well. If you’re creating your own products, don’t create and sell anything that you would be ashamed to show your closest friends and confidants. You know what I’m saying?
Network, Network, Network
You’ve probably been told that it isn’t what you know that’s important, it’s who you know. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s just the way it is. In business, who you know is more important that what you know, and knowing the right people can be the difference between 1 million dollars and 10 million dollars.
In real estate there’s a saying that there are three things that make a great investment property, “Location, Location, Location”. Well, in business, the three things that make a business successful could be called, “Network, Network, and Network”.
The richest and most powerful people in the world have extremely large networks. The rich spend their time building their networks while everyone else just works for them. On that note, you need lots of traffic to your websites, and having an extended network of people at your disposal will result in having more and more traffic coming to your websites.
No One Is Above The Law
The final thing we have to talk about as far as the fundamentals are concerned, is that of compliance with FTC regulations and the law. This is a business, and so there are laws involved, even in the digital world. The Federal Trade Commission, also known as the FTC, has taken a big interest in digital marketing in the most recent years. Digital fraud and pirating is still an epidemic that needs remedy, and so many legal entities are trying to do something about it.
I won’t go into political quibbling, but I have to make sure that you understand and abide by the rules. The FTC requires affiliate marketers to disclose the fact that they are an affiliate, and that they are paid by promoting products through the internet. Affiliates are also responsible for being transparent about details within a product, which means no scamming people.
Here are a few blurbs about what the law entails for you as an internet marketer:
- Unless otherwise protected by suspect trade laws, if you do business in the United States, you are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Trade Commission.
- You need to disclose the fact that you are a paid affiliate, and that you will be compensated for your work if your visitors buy anything from your web links. This disclosure needs to be present on every page or email where there is an affiliate link present.
- You are required to have tried a product before you can publish a review for it. Any claims made in your publications need to be provided with proof. So you can’t make anything up.
Furthermore, you are required to abide by Copyright and Trademark laws at all times. That means that you cannot copy and paste someone else’s article or video to your own site and play it off as your own work.
By letter of the law, you cannot even use images that you find on Google Images. Nor can you even put someone’s face or name on your site without their permission. If you want to quote someone from somewhere else, you need to cite it. It’s quite reminiscent of your days in school.
Don’t let these laws get you down, because they shouldn’t. All of these laws exist to protect you and your fellow marketers from being taken advantage of. I advise you to be as transparent as possible.
Also, since conscious Capitalism is starting to trend, you might as well take advantage of being good. Finally, if you are ever unclear about anything in terms of the law...consult a lawyer!
There you have it. 10 Fundamental truths about internet marketing. There is no way around them, so you must accept them. Reading time is over, time to get to work.