Article by Issia Jordan
Last month two gurus of Internet marketing, John Thurnhill and Omar Martin, highlighted key evolutions in Internet Marketing during a webinar talk called IM Evolution.
Assembly line worker John Thurnhill of Planetsms fame started dabbling on the Internet in 1999 and developed a nose – and a system – for digital information marketing, becoming a top titanium reseller on ebay and a full time Internet marketer by 2006. Today he focusses on mentoring and coaching.
John has a growing list of 133 572 subscribers and has generated over 5 Mio USD of sales in IM, both from products he has created and from affiliate products. Entering one of his fast track 12 month one-on-one coaching or mentoring programmes delivers great results, and Omar Martin is living proof that.
Omar Martin was a Fire Department paramedic until September 11 killed his partner and his illusions. He went to live in Florida and took part in John Thornhill’s first IM coaching program. Within 18 months he was earning 360 000 USD a year; today he has over 38 000 subscribers. Omar runs My Unfair Internet Marketing Advantage, a membership site for internet marketers of all levels.
John and Omar have a very clear message for Internet marketers: ADAPT or DIE. The technologies driving the IM world are changing at such a fast pace that the IM world of today just isn’t the same as the IM world of 2 years ago – nor will it be the same 2 years from now. Just one example out of the many Omar gave us: in 2008, the number of ‘things’ connected to the Internet outnumbered the number of people on planet Earth.
But there’s a downside to this: every man and his dog are climbing aboard the Internet mall, and the digital market is flooded with old products and frankly crappy products hiding behind great hype. So if you’re a newbie to IM, you run a real risk of stocking up on courses, books and blueprints that just aren’t going to deliver what they promise.
Today it’s a lot harder to hook a customer than it was 2 years ago. Even top marketers like John and Omar are finding that a campaign now yields maybe 1 000 subscribers, where before it would yield three times that… and novice marketeers paying the price.
The market is tired of being oversold to, lied to, primed and let down… plus money is tight. Prospects know all the sales tactics by heart – they know the low-end sale will be followed by an upsell to a higher priced product or by an OTO (a One Time Offer), so they go straight to the bottom of the sales page to click on ‘Thanks, but I just want to download my purchase’. They will also be more cautious if they’ve been sold a digital product, only to be told they need to purchase another (probably more expensive one) to get the full benefit from the first.
Videos are now so easy to make and to upload that long sales letters are turning into lame ducks – why read pages and pages of a sales pitch when a short video is selling you a competitor’s product in much less time?
The social media have caused a paradigm shift that’s here to stay. Today you’re judged by the number of Facebook likes you have, not by the size of your list. The one is out there for all to see, the other can be fudged. Facebook has captured over 700 million customers, half of which log in at least once a day – add to that Twitter, Linked In and Google Plus and your fishing prospects in the social media ocean are just too good to be ignored. Not riding the social media wave would be akin to refusing to believe in the future of mass merchandising when it first appeared.
But the rules of engagement on the social media planet are different. People go on Facebook to have fun and to pursue their personal interests – get in their face promoting your services or products and you’ll find you’ve committed social hara-kiri. Many of them check in to Facebook before they’ve even had breakfast. You need to earn their trust and their respect by answering their questions and by entertaining them so that curiosity then brings them to investigate your website and your products or services. By then they’re primed to buy, ready to go.
Other trends to watch out for:- Internet marketers will soon no longer need to learn the basics of html- Webinars are hot and more effective than static web pages- Google adwords are being displaced by Facebook advertising – Email advertising is being turbo boosted by Google’s filter bubble technology which allows it to recognize the content of an email before you even get to open it and to place relevant ads on the same page- Affiliate marketing is losing momentum. Too many affiliates are pumping out exactly the same, often low quality, products; many have lost their shirt or their confidence in expensive Pay Per Click campaigns; many are caught out by refund rates that are hitting the roof because of the low quality being churned out.
So forget the hype. If you’re just starting out, the dice are loaded against you making LOTS of money FAST. IM is a business, and like any business, you have to work hard at it, have a coherent Business Plan, know how to differentiate yourself and have the right resources, structure and knowledge.
The key thoughts I took away are these:- Always deliver more than you promise- Develop your own products and put a lot of effort into branding yourself- Never sell a product you haven’t personally checked out- Be very selective whom you buy from or who you joint venture with – Get training, insights, products, support and role modelling from Internet marketers that have established their credentials (i.e. who are successful and ethical)- Use the social media to segment (easy to do by tracking the right blogs and forums), to build credibility (answering questions and providing value), to advertise yourself (on fanbook pages and linked in) and to build your list – Get personal, people buy more easily from you- Make good use of all the media (videos, audios, webinars, ebooks, etc.)- Create your own quality bonuses to give away with your sale, it’s a great way to differentiate yourself and to attract JV partners and make a successful product launch
The bottom line? Always provide great value and be ethical. Merchant credibility is of paramount importance in the IM world, today more than ever before.
Issia Jordan is a qualified Life and Success Coach with an Honours degree in Social Psychology and an MBA. After a successful international portfolio career, today she focusses on coaching women in business and on helping newbies to Internet Marketing.