We’ve been talking about how to make this year your best year ever. Now it’s time to look at a very important piece of that puzzle – building on a solid foundation.
In part 1 we discussed mindset. Incredibly important that. It seems you agree from the kind comments we received.
In part 2 we discussed having a commitment to excellence. Promoting excellent products. Using excellent methods. Providing excellent value.
The commitment to excellence is the surest path to building a long-term business and loyal customers.
And this is exactly the goal we are going for … to build a durable business, a long term business. A business that succeeds now AND succeeds in years to come. A real business you can sell or pass on to your heirs.
Not a flash in the pan but rather a business that becomes a real asset for you. If that is what you want, read on.
Today we look at the four foundations for building a business that stands the test of time.
I have been self-employed for about 30 years now. I’ve made my full time living online for about 12 of those years.
In all that time perhaps the greatest truth I have learned is this …
To achieve success online it is vital to build on a solid foundation
This is an important, if not popular, message.
Important because it’s true. Always has been. I believe it always will be.
No matter how much the “4 minute workweek” or “1 click riches” folks tickle our ears, the fact remains that success takes work. It takes time. And it takes endurance.
Old fashioned attributes like learning and hard work and sacrifice are not popular today. But they are what great business are made of, online and offline too.
“Every year we see this, every year the same thing—no matter how avant garde, no matter how trend-setting these haute couture collections are, they never forget to include the pearls…”
Since the European courtiers of the Renaissance sported them in their elaborate costumes and wigs, pearls have had a dazzling role to play in high fashion. Classic movie actresses like Audrey Hepburn and TV moms like June Cleaver immortalized the classic Tahitian Necklace fashion and beauty of the pearl necklaces they were never without, and set their place in our popular culture as simple, elegant style. Today their popularity continues unabated, and pearls are owned by women of all ages, and all walks of life.
Of all the people I know who have succeeded in business 100% failed on some level before they became successful. And the successful ones I know work very hard. It’s just how life works.
So if you have failed at making money online so far, take heart.
Your failures to date are a blessing in disguise. They are an education.
Although sometimes painful, the losses you have suffered in your online business can only make you stronger and wiser if you don’t lose heart.
Success really does require the right foundation. A strong foundation made up of the things that work in the real world.
The idea of building on a solid foundation is as old as time itself. Even the Bible speaks to this in Matthew 7:24
The greatest teacher of all time contrasted the wise man as one who build on the rock while the foolish man built his house on a foundation of sand.
The same is true in business – the stronger the foundation the bigger, and better, the house can be built.
So what are the keys to building your business on a solid foundation?
I believe there are four…
- Content marketing
- List building
- Email marketing
- Social media
Today I will share an overview of each.
Foundation 1 – Content marketing
When people hear the term “content marketing” they usually have two reactions.
- What is content marketing?
- I’m not a writer and don’t want to become one!
These are natural responses. But not to worry, content marketing is actually simple.
So what is content marketing?
Content marketing is the process of making high-quality helpful content available to to public free.
Here are a few examples.
- If you have a blog about baking cookies you are doing content marketing.
- If you have a site that helps people connect with others you are doing content marketing.
- If you write articles that inform and inspire you are doing content marketing.
- If you publish a book about organic gardening, or lowering blood pressure, you are doing content marketing.
You see, content marketing takes many shapes.
There are really only two key factors when it comes to content marketing.
- The content must be helpful.
- The content must be easily accessible.
Let me stress again, this is a simple business model. That’s what makes it fun! And so profitable.
But what about question 2 – the one about not liking, or wanting, to write?
Here’s the beauty part. You don’t have to write at all!
For this situation there are two solutions.
- Become a content clearing house
- Curate content on a specific topic
We’ve spoken a bit about curation so let me direct you here for more.
As to becoming a clearinghouse let me direct you to the best examples I know.
Let me encourage you to look closely, because these sites are hugely profitable.
I saw the owner of Instapundit interviewed recently. Interesting guy. Works alone. Loves his site. Gets 6 million new visitors a month.
Think you could make money with 6 million new visitors a month?
Content marketing works. It is, in my view, the best choice for almost everyone wanting to make money online. The lifeblood of the Internet is information. People don’t care where they get it, they care THAT they get it and it’s helpful.
You can do that!
Foundation 2 – List building
So why would you want to build a list? Simple – to reach more people and make more money! Both good outcomes.
The goal with content marketing combined with list building is simple – to find your audience and let them get to know you.
This is why the combination of content marketing and list building works so well.
- High quality content will bring people to you without you having to go out and “drive traffic” to your site.
- Building a list and following up with them will bring them back to consume more of your content.
As they get to know you, like you and trust you they will buy from you. Everyone wins!
Foundation 3 – Email marketing
In my years online perhaps the #1 “dream” that people have shared with me is this.
To own an automated business that earns money every day without their involvement and one that sets them free financially.
Welcome to the world of email marketing!
When you combine email marketing with content marketing and list building you create the “perfect storm” of an online business.
Your content feeds the reader with what they need – clear concise content that makes their life better.
If they like your content they join your list without being “forced” and look forward to your updates.
NOTE: Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with using a “forced” opt in when selling things. But we’re talking about content marketing now and for that offering an opt in without forcing it works best.
Because they now know you and like you (from your content and updates) they will trust you and buy from you.
While it’s impossible to cover email marketing here (I do that at Follow Up Selling Systems) let me share some keys for success with email marketing.
- Steady, consistent contact that includes helpful information beats “blasting” offers every day
- Respect the reader and the reader will reward you
- Use alternate methods of contact – Don’t just send plain text or HTML email. Send video, audio, surveys, gifts and more.
Much more can be found at Follow Up Selling Systems
Foundation 4 – Social media
I have a confession to make – I don’t like social media very much. I think that many of the social media companies are arbitrary in their rules and don’t protect the consumer very well. And I find social media very time consuming if one is to do it well.
But that does not mean I can’t use social media to help even more people than my sites or newsletters can reach. So I do.
My personal experience with social indicates there are two ways for most people to use social to their advantage.
1 – Make it your main marketing method
.. OR ..
2 – Use it to broadcast what you are doing in your business.
Seth Godin uses the second method, as do I. Rather than sharing what I’m having for lunch, or making offers that are exclusive to Facebook (nothing wrong with either) I choose to notify those who prefer to follow me on social instead of email.
Again, not judging – just saying these are viable alternatives.
All that said, I do believe that a person who focuses on social media and works the system can and will succeed with this method.
Here are a few tips to help you succeed with social IF you use the method I use, to broadcast.
1 – Share nuggets from your content marketing efforts.
Rather than just broadcast “there is new content” take some of that content and make tweets or posts from it.
2 – Be transparent about not responding to people via social.
Gary Vaynerchuk is good about this. You can see his Twitter feed here. He has over 1 million followers and is very open about not replying to them via Twitter. But he does offer a way to contact him, and that matters a lot.
3 – Hook your social accounts together with your email autoresponder, like Aweber, and blog so you can publish once and have everyone notified.
This turns out to be super easy to do. I teach this inside Follow Up Selling Systems and it’s a huge time saver.
So there you have the four foundations for lasting success online.
I want to be clear that these are not the only important things one can do online.
Nor are all four of them necessary. You can succeed using one if you do it very well.
It’s clear that people are succeeding by using only on of these four foundations while others do equally well using some combination of the four.
Here is the most important point of this article
But the key point, the thing I hope you take away is this.
Mastering these basic marketing methods is essential before you move on to techniques that are less proven, less powerful and create shorter term results.
I’ve spoken with hundreds of people who have said they spent $5000, $10,000 and even $50,000 on information products and “one click wonders” and never made a dime.
But they also admit they never wrote an article (or outsourced one written) or run a solo ad, built a list or done the other things that really work.
Ironically, chasing getting rich quick ended up getting them broke.
If we were meeting in person and there was one thing I could leave you with it would be this – choose one foundational method and really commit to it.
Do it with all your heart and never stop.
Don’t get distracted by “shiny objects” and fake screenshots and claims of quick riches.
Be the tortoise, not the hare. Run your own race but don’t be a pioneer.
Let those who have money to lose risk their money on new and sexy marketing methods while you quietly rake in all the cash you want using methods that are proven, reliable and scalable.
If you do that I believe that THIS year will be your best year ever.