This is Noel here and I just wanted to post this thread to give an update on how I've started to turn the corner and can really see an huge amount of opportunities online in 2012. I hope it can give some struggling newbies out there an extra boost and hopefully encourage them to keep driving forward.
Like many of you reading this I struggled for many, many months when I first ventured online. As a naive Newbie I thought I was going to instantly hit the jackpot and work for a few hours per day and make millions!
It didn’t take me long to figure out that this was only a pipe dream and wasn’t possible in the real world. After some reflection I decided I needed to reassess what I was doing with my business and where I was going. Where was I headed if I continued on the path that I was following and what chance did I have to make a success of myself and be able to break free from my dreaded day job.
At the time I was heavily involved in affiliate marketing, and had invested an awful lot of money in PPC ads and on all the newest and shiniest traffic generation software. Needless to say I was not seeing a return on my investment and instead was losing more and more money.
It seemed the harder I tried and the longer I worked, the more money I lost. This didn’t sit well with me and I put my affiliate marketing business (if you could call it a business) on ice and critically assessed everything I was doing to see was there a viable and profitable way forward.
From where I was standing I had 2 choices:
a) to get this online business off the ground and turning a profit
b) or pack it all in and dedicate myself to the 40+ years of meandering nothingness of the 9-5 rat race that awaited me
After devouring Tim Ferriss’s 4 Hour Workweek one weekend I was full of idea’s and vigor on how I could finally break free from the shackles of working for the man and run my own business that would allow me the freedom to live life on my terms.
It was during this critical assessment of my “business” that I stumbled across the answer. This was the fatal mistake that I as a Newbie was making and until I addressed it I would never really be able to make a sustainable, consistent income online.
I was focusing on SELLING to people instead of MARKETING to them.
It was a lightbulb moment for me for sure. I was simply putting a product in-front of them and asking them to exchange their hard earned cash for this product.
Hell, I wasn’t even building a list from this method as all the prospects joined the list of whatever affiliate offer I was promoting. Essentially, I was doing all the work but besides the initial benefit of the affiliate commission I was getting very little out of this sales transaction.
I wasn’t building a relationship with any of the prospects and would never be able to sell to them again in the future. It was a one-time profit with no further benefits to me down the line.
As you may know, the 1st time customer is the most expensive to acquire. This customer doesn’t know you, may not be familiar with your offer and would be naturally untrusting and skeptical of what you are saying to them in your sales copy.
You see the internet, like everywhere else in life, is full of sharks. The customer may have been stung before and you know what they say “once bitten - twice shy.”
So once you have made that first sale to that customer, and provided you have supplied them with a good quality product, you will find it a lot easier to sell to them in the future. Over time you will build a strong relationship with these customers and as they become repeat customers they will naturally evolve into fans of your work and will be only too happy to buy your products or affiliate offers that you promote.
So this lead to me asking myself how can I begin to build this relationship with these prospects that will eventually see them evolve into repeat buyers who are fans of my work and look forward to my emails. The answer was simple and was right in front of my face.
Build a Strong Relationship
This may seem obvious to more experienced Warriors reading this but like I mentioned before, this is how I stumbled along with this internet marketing game before I was able to see the bigger picture.
I needed to switch my focus from selling these prospects whatever product I was promoting at the time to providing them with upfront, valuable content that would help me to win their trust and build a good relationship with.
My aim now was to provide as much high quality content to them free of charge, but to leave them hanging a little - and to leave them wanting more. An example of this would be to create a short and clear ebook about “what to do......” on whatever niche market you were targeting but to later sell the prospect “how to do it....”
This little change has made all the difference to my business - focus on giving first and you will no longer have to chase the money!
The simple psychology of the situation will have your prospects appreciate the value that you have given to them for free. This will naturally lead to them trusting you more and seeing you as an authority figure in your field. Then when they receive a message from you they are much more likely to open it and click through to whatever offer you have inside.
I didn’t completely abandon affiliate sales I just reworked my business model so that I was the one building the list first and foremost. I could always promote an affiliate offer that I judged to add value to my subscribers but only after they had become comfortable to receiving emails from me and buying my own products.
This simple shift in mind set has allowed me to finally start making good money online. Now, don't get me wrong I'm no millionaire (yet ) but I've grown a strong list which is growing all the time and the best thing is - it's Responsive and and my open rates are as high as 27%!!
I'm giving away content for free to begin with but I'm more than making up for it down the line as the subscribers begin to view me as an Authority figure who gives them great content.
It took me a while to get used to that mindset but once I focused on Marketing and providing Value first everything else falls into place after that!!
Ok - I'm tired from typing so I'll stop now. But I hope that helps some of your or inspires some newbie to persevere because the reward are so worth it at the end of the day!
All the best - Noel