The title says it all!
Today’s post will be the most important thing I’ve ever written on this blog.
So do me a favor…
…Spend five minutes to read the entire thing.
It will change the way you look at blogging and how to run an Internet business.
The people who truly *get* this will be one step closer to their dreams of online success.
To paraphrase a famous movie quote:
This blog post is kind of a big deal.
So let’s jump into it with two quick stories…
Story #1 – A Lesson from a Seven-Figure Affiliate Marketer
Back in 2006 I was struggling with my affiliate marketing. I worked hard and invested lots of money in my business. But nothing was working.
By October I was at my breaking point. I knew if I didn’t make things *work* in the next month, I had to give up and go get a ‘real job.’
During this time I met a guy on the Warrior Forum who was killing it with affiliate marketing. (I’m talking over a million dollars in yearly earnings.) After sending him a few emails, he agreed to spend a half hour on the phone to coach me.
Like any newbie, I started the call by barraging him with dozens of questions about how to be a successful affiliate marketer. Finally, he cut me off saying:
“…Stop right there Steve! Let me ask you a simple question: ‘What is your offer?’”
That one stumped me. So I said:
“…Ummm. I have lots of offers on my email list. In fact, I’m promoting three different affiliate products to subscribers.”
“Okay, you have an email list? That’s great! Then that’s the answer to my question. Your offer is your email list. It’s not the products you promote or any of that ‘personal brand’ nonsense.
What people care about is how you can help them with a particular problem. And they’ll love you if you can do it in a succinct, easy-to-find manner. Simply give them lots of value upfront in a free PDF and you’ll build a loyal group of followers who will buy anything you recommend.”
That statement literally changed my life.
I took action right after I hung up the phone. I wrote a lengthy report in my niche that solved the major problems people had and I then designed ALL of my marketing around promoting this free offer.
As they say: The rest is history. That one piece of advice led to an amazing breakthrough in my Internet business and personal life. In fact, I think it’s the single reason why I’m able to write this post today instead of sitting in a cubicle somewhere…hating life.
Okay, that’s the first story. Let’s move on to the 2nd…
Story #2 – My “Jerry McGuire” Moment
I’ll begin with a startling admission…
I don’t make that much money from this blog. While I’ve had lots of success with my other websites, I haven’t figured out the secret to making money from blogging.
This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately. We’re talking many sleepless nights; tossing and turning; worrying about a solution.
Then late on Friday night I had an epiphany similar to the Mission Statement scene from Jerry McGuire.
I realized that you can create blogging success…Even success with any Internet business…by answering…
Let me explain–>
Everything you do online should be designed around an offer. Specifically it should be a free offer that you give away in exchange for a person’s email address. You make money by giving high value content through email while subtly recommending quality premium products.
I’ve known this for five years now. Yet I forgot this important lesson as a blogger. Frankly, I’ve done a crap job with offering a free offer that people really want. And I think this has directly impacted the income I’ve generated from this particular site.
I didn’t sleep much on Friday night. Maybe an hour or so. What I did do is write down two simple diagrams that provide the basis for the “most important post” claim I made with my title.
Let me explain…
The *Problem* with Most Blogs…
Most bloggers (or Internet marketers) make a huge mistake with their content. They provide too many options with their design. The end result is readers often suffer from paralysis from analysis. Too many options means most people don’t know where to go on your site. And they usually leave because they’re not told what to do.
Case in point. Here is what my site looked like before today…
Right now, I get traffic from a variety of places:
- Social media
- Search engines
- Guest posting
- Referrals from other sites
- Repeat visitors
This is great because my traffic is pretty diversified. The problem I’m having is people are clicking all over the place because they don’t know where to go:
- Banner ads
- Affiliate promotions
- Other blog posts
- My (old) lead magnet
- ….Or they leave because they’re not interested
The point is simple. I forgot the lesson I learned five years ago. My offer isn’t any affiliate promotion…or banner ad…or even the premium course I wrote six months back. My offer should be a free report that truly helps people. And everything I do online should revolve around this offer.
The people who have real success online understand the importance of value exchange. They’re not afraid to give away the good stuff upfront because they’ll ultimately get more in return.
And another important lesson I forgot is…
…Your Blog (or Website) is ONE Content Channel
It’s fun to blog! You write whatever pops into your head. Then people tell you how much they’ve enjoyed your post. With blogging you get instant gratification whenever you want a warn & fuzzy feeling inside.
Unfortunately it’s easy to forget that blogging is a business. With any business, your goal is to get people to take one specific action. My goal is to get people to download the free report I’m about to offer (more on this later.)
To that end, I’m now in the process of designing my “Steve Scott brand” to look like the following:
Like before, I’ll get traffic to my blog. The difference is my design will push people towards grabbing a free, high-quality report. That means no banner ads or extraneous navigation. And it also means I’m going to limit the amount of affiliate links within blog content.
The important thing to note is my blog will become ONE content channel. It will join the other online presences I’m putting together – YouTube, Amazon Kindle, Viral marketing, and iBooks. All of these will push traffic towards the free offer.
What’s the lesson here?
The secret to a successful online business is to answer those three simple questions:
- What is my offer?
- How am I getting traffic?
- How do I convert traffic into income?
Without a doubt, it’s insanely important to design a free offer that wows people. From there, you should design your entire online presence around getting people to check it out.
Frankly, blogging in its traditional format does NOT convert readers into subscribers. (Trust me, I’ve tested this…a LOT.) That’s why you need multiple content channels. You should still have a blog where you provide engaging posts. But you need to supplement a blog by going after different content channels. These will be the best way to reach ALL of your target audience.
I urge you to do the following…
- Write a killer piece of free content. Read my article on creating lead magnets for more on this.
- Design around your entire online presence around promoting this free offer. In other words, be on many different content channels.
- Create a killer email sequence that blends more awesome content with recommendations of great affiliate offers or your own products
Seriously. Those three action steps will forever change your online business.
Now…Here’s what I’m going to do. Perhaps you’ll join along
#1. I’m writing a report that details 111 tips for affiliate marketing success. It’s about 20,000 words full of useful content that will make a difference in people’s lives and hopefully change the way they think about this business model. This will done by March 1st.
#2. I’m redesigning a very clean, straight-forward blog that recommends this report. That means you won’t see any other advertisements, offers, or unnecessary clutter. Till then, I’ll stick with the minimalist look you see right now.
Sidebar: By the way…a couple of people asked about CommentLuv. For some reason, it’s been crashing my comments in the last week. This will be fixed when I do the blog re-design.
#3. I’m opening up multiple content channels. I’m about one week away from releasing my first Amazon Kindle book. After that, I’ll work on YouTube, iBooks, and anywhere else I can find. All of these channels will be designed to drive traffic to my free report.
Like I said…this is what I’m doing. Maybe you’ll find it useful to do the same for your Internet business.
How Will Steve Scott Site Change?
To be honest, I spend too much time blogging and doing blog-related activities. This means I’m not out there, testing new things, and creating dynamic content that really makes a difference in people’s lives.
So something has to give…
…From now on, I’m going to only post once a week…maybe twice if I get a guest post or something quick to say.
Instead, my time will be spent testing out cutting-edge Internet business models.
I’m doing this because:
I DO NOT WANT TO TURN INTO SOMEONE WHO ONLY MAKES MONEY ONLINE BY TALKING ABOUT MAKING MONEY ONLINE!!!!
Sorry for screaming there. My point is it’s easy to fall into the trap of blogging about making money online, without trying things that work in other markets.
Yes, my posting quantity will be less. But I think the overall quality will dramatically increase. It will be my job to find out what’s working now and then report back to you with the good stuff.
I’ll admit this post might fly in the face of what you’ve been taught about ‘blogging success.’ So you might disagree with me. That’s okay. I would love to hear your thoughts about what I’ve discussed.
But before you post a comment, I want you to ask yourself a simple question:
“Am I getting the kind of results that I want from my blog or content site?”
If not, then maybe it’s time to shake things up. Maybe it’s time to change what you’re doing online. Maybe it’s time to do something a little different:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
- Albert Einstein
What are your thoughts???To Your "Internet Lifestyle",