I have started my spring cleaning. I don't have a lot of time for it, but a half hour here and there mounts up and I hope that the house will be pristine by the time spring arrives. At the moment, I'm working on my study. I've turned out the cupboards and the filing cabinets, and sorted through everything, and several large sacks full of paper have been sent off for recycling. I've discovered three sets of headphones that I didn't know I had and more ball point pens and blocks of post-it notes than you can shake a stick at.
In amongst all the stuff on my desk were several spiral bound notebooks containing notes that I've taken at various conferences, workshops and online tutorials, and that I'd never got round to typing up. So I spent a couple of afternoons doing that. Most of the sets of notes said where they'd come from but there was one with no attribution. However, it contained some very good advice and so I'm going to share it here and ask the person who originally came up with this list to forgive me for not acknowledging my source.
The list is of seven deadly internet marketing mistakes, and I offer them here with my thoughts on each:
1. Thinking you’re not good enough.
It's easy to do. We come into internet marketing feeling very confident, looking at all the people who have been successful, thinking we know just how to do it and how to make money. And then we hit obstacles that throw us off course or we just fail to make money. And we lose confidence. This is the point at which many people will give up. But, in the time I've been in internet marketing, I've come to realise that the trick is to keep going. Very few people make money overnight. With some it can take two or three years before they have a decent income. The important thing is not to lose faith in yourself. Learn from your mistakes and you'll only get better.
2. Forgetting what marketing is.
The person from whom this list originally came - let's call him X - says it’s not about creating products but, rather, about finding a group of people with a problem and giving them a solution. It's the old saying about 'build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door". Concentrating on producing something that interests you but that no one else wants is a sure way to fail.
3. Being a magpie.
You don’t need to know everything or do everything says X. But it's a temptation and it's easy to get distracted. We need to look at what we're doing and ask is it relevant? If it isn't, stop doing it! This isn't to say that we shouldn't try doing new things - because how else would we find out what we're good at - but it's a mistake to try them all out at once.
4. Listening to people who know less than you do
A lot of people who go into internet marketing find that their friends and family, not quite understanding what it is that they are doing, can be rather disparaging. I remember Yanik Silver telling a story about when he was first getting started, selling information products. His father looked at some of these and asked "And people actually pay you for this bullshit?" Fortunately, Yanik was confident enough not to be undermined. But comments such as "Why are you wasting your time on that?" can be very discouraging, especially when you're first starting. A conscious decision has to be made not to listen to such criticism.
5. Carving your own path rather than learning from the experts.
I remember Andrew Reynolds saying that, when he decided to become an entrepreneur, he went to a course and then he did exactly what the man at the front of the room had told him to do. Mostly, this is sound advice. But I have been to a few seminars where it wasn't the case because the information offered was out of date or was presented in a confused or confusing way. Online or downloadable courses that offer you lifetime access to updates will get over the first problem. (I have at various times bought courses from Armand Morin and Ryan Deiss in the knowledge that I'll will be informed of any changes in the system made necessary by the ever-changing nature of the internet.) It's also important to ensure that the person who is teaching you really is an expert and that the system he is expounding has not only made him money but other people as well.
That said, I believe that there's always room for improvement. Once you've copied somebody's system and it's worked for you, then you can start experimenting. You may find that a few minor changes make it work better . . . or you may, indeed, find that the original was best.
6. Living in a cave.
Internet marketing is about interaction with other people. 'X' stressed the importance of going to events and courses and discussing what works (and what doesn't) with other people. One of the Ryan Deiss courses that I invested in fairly recently (and which I shall write about in due course) has the advantage of an online forum where people who have done the training can discuss how it's going for them and learn from each other. If you're looking for somewhere to discuss your own marketing strategies and to ask questions, try Warrior Forum.
7. Chasing the money.
This clouds your vision, says X, and should not be your primary focus. Sometimes you need to make less money to help people solve problems. Admittedly, a lot of people have been successful in internet marketing simply because - thanks to redundancy or other problems - they have know that they had to. But a lot of internet marketing is about service - offering products that people need and, as Armand Morin always stresses, over-delivering, giving them more value for money than they expected. In this way, you will build a faithful following who will buy from you over and over again. But if you concentrate on the money, you may tend to overprice your products which, in the long run, will result in you making less money, not more.