Will This Be My Next Venture? Rambling About Internet Marketing
I had an idea not too long ago that I shared with a few people. But before I get into that, let me go on a diatribe about the state of Internet marketing these days.
Most Internet marketing efforts are placed in email, advertising, SEO, and social media marketing. (Believe it or not, that’s NOT the whole scope of IM.)
Email marketing is still the easiest way to connect with people who already know and trust you. People had said that social media would overtake email, but that’s not the case because of the algorithms social networks use to disseminate content. They said that messaging apps would overtake email, but that’s not the case because of how people treat instant messaging as ‘private’ to themselves. They don’t want businesses hitting them up on Facebook Messenger.
However, a combination of strong anti-spam legislation, improved spam filters, and a growing skepticism among Internet users has made email almost like crossing a tightrope. There’s a delicate balance between providing regular updates and spamming your audience.
Advertising has gotten more expensive on every single platform out there. This is because growth in demand has vastly outpaced growth in supply. In some places, supply is actually shrinking.
The barrier to entry for success in online advertising has grown, especially on the big platforms. It’s getting harder for new businesses to compete. However, algorithms that assist in targeting have gotten extraordinarily robust. Google and Facebook have some of the best AI-powered algorithms that can very quickly figure out who is most likely to purchase your product.
SEO has gotten much harder to cheat and continues to get more difficult every day now that Google makes algorithm updates through machine learning. This isn’t new, but it has put a lot of SEO professionals out of business. Today’s SEO professionals know the value of good content and seek to have content appear on trusted websites with large audiences. SEO is being seen less as ‘free traffic’ and more as an integral part of building your online brand and reach.
Social media marketing has largely become demystified and is more focused on understanding the algorithms that disseminate content on those networks. Companies are realizing that social media marketing is more than just posting to your accounts on a consistent schedule. Consultants are largely becoming more competent in growing audiences of engaged followers. It’s become an important way of building a brand, and some might say it’s the most important part of Internet brand building today.
Google and Facebook now have by far the largest share of ad inventory and social media reach on the Internet. If you’re an advertiser, you’re almost forced to compete on those platforms otherwise your reach is threatened.
This outlook is, on the whole, a positive one. Why? Because it’s harder than ever.
Internet marketing requires an understanding of how people actually use services on the Internet. For a long time, people were able to get away with only a cursory knowledge of how people operate online. Now, you really need to get into your market’s head to understand why they’re doing what they do. Otherwise, you won’t have any success.
The rest of us are killing you guys, and the most exceptional ad buyers are killing us.
I often use the example of Facebook vs. Google. Facebook users are bored and waiting to be informed or entertained. Google users are searching specifically for a problem to be solved, and your ad better solve that problem. These platforms require two very different methods of advertising. They require different copy, different landing pages, different funnels, and sometimes different offers.
However, people try to cheat this understanding by looking to tips, strategies, and methods to ‘making it work’. Because of this, Internet marketing education is rife with fake experts. These people are looking to make a quick buck off of other peoples’ inexperience and desire to make something happen for themselves or their business.
I see it all the time.
Because I still have an Upwork profile, I get messages from people wanting to promote their various businesses. Most of the time, they ask me if I’ve heard of some guru. They learned what they know from that guru and want to work with someone who can do exactly what that guru says to do.
These days, I reject their request and ignore them outright.
These gurus take advantage of people’s desire to just get something to work. Most of these gurus (the successful ones, not the idiots from Upwork who contact me about some opportunity) got a single successful campaign and want to sell copies of it. If it’s so successful, why would you sell it for $997? Why wouldn’t you scale it to $10,000/day and reap untold profit?
The answer is obvious: it’s because they can’t.
I like to think that people are becoming more awake to this guru scam. But the people who fall for this stuff don’t have the same opportunities that I have (or even you all have) to talk and argue candidly about Internet marketing minutia. They don’t have the opportunity to actually run campaigns that spend $10,000 a day (or $40,000/day).
If they understood the principles behind why people buy the way they do rather than looking for a quick buck, they’d be far more successful!
What I’ve come to learn over my years is that those people, the people who fall for the guru gunk, are not my market. Those people would find my services too expensive and too demanding.
Instead, there are two kinds of people who are most likely to want to work with me.
1. They want results so they can just continue doing what they do.
2. They want someone who really understands ad buying in a way that will help them grow their business from a successful one to a massively successful one.
Both of those kinds of people already have businesses. They don’t WANT to build one, they’ve already done it.
Both of those kinds of people want more sales. But they want those sales for different reasons. The first type of person just wants to make a little more money for their families and lifestyles. They’re carpenters, contractors, lawyers, dentists, accountants, plumbers, that kind of thing.
The second type of person wants to grow their business’s asset value. They own businesses that sell product or productized services. They make sales already and people love what they sell.
I currently work for person #2 on a full time basis. I’m not a consultant, though, I’m a member of the team.
Person #2 wants a team member, a partner, a person they can trust and work with. Someone that they like at least some of the time. Someone that not only can get results, but understands how to look at a business to get greater results doing different things.
I find working with Person #2 intellectually satisfying. Working with these types of people allows me to grow as a media buyer, as an entrepreneur, and as a person.
They also pay the most.
However, I can’t work with too many Person #2’s. I might be able to work with two at most.
Person #1 requires results and doesn’t care too much about how they get them: only that they’re getting more results than before.
I think I can satisfy Person #1’s needs with a low touch solution. If I sell them access to an asset that already generates the results that they want, they will benefit and so will I.
Some people are doing local lead gen rental services, with varying degrees of success. The model is basically to create a landing page and ad campaign and allow them to rent them.
This landing page and campaign will be constantly optimized to convert, so the client doesn’t actually have to do anything to optimize it themselves.
This isn’t a bad model. However, I came up with the idea of paying for the ad spend on the campaign as well. Then, I sell the leads.
This is a model that reduces risk, however it institutes a variable cost that might end up being prohibitive for the client. If you generate too many leads and they can’t pay for them due to their cash flow cycle (even if they’re profitable!) then you can’t carry on.
I haven’t gotten to talk to too many people about this model yet, and I haven’t gotten anyone saying they’d like to use it. Maybe it’s only a good idea in my head. Other companies have done it successfully, but their client is not quite the same.
The problem is that I don’t talk to too many people who are likely to fit the Person #1 bill. I mainly talk to entrepreneurs, that is Person #2. I haven’t talked to too many ‘entrepreneurs next door’ since I was a member of the Board of Trade (I left that organization because I couldn’t make it to the meetings anymore!)
I might be barking up the wrong trees, so to speak.
I have no idea what my next venture is going to be. All I know is that this idea isn’t a bad one, but I’m not quite sure how (or where I’ll find the time) to get in front of the people who would want it.
They’re not searching for a service like that. They don’t speak my ‘language’, either. I talk about CPMs, leads, conversion rates, and effective CPAs. I’d have to translate for them, because ‘lead generation’ really isn’t in their vocabulary.
There are other issues too but that’s really my main one: I’m not having conversations with anyone who fits that market, nor do I know how to. I can’t make most of the Board of Trade meetings (although I might be able to attend a few per year)
As I’ve come to find out, the audience I have is a bunch of entrepreneurs and Internet marketers. I have some goodies for you guys (mainly updates on my life and I might share some tools with you). Maybe I gotta serve you guys better, rather than dip my toes into a market that I don’t know much about.
What would you all like from me?
(By the way, I’m posting a little bit more frequently now; however you don’t get all of my high value updates if you don’t subscribe.)