Originally a YO Blog submission from Affilorama member James Pruitt, this is a must read post for all affiliate marketers!
The more time I spend around the web, the more I see people talking about their own secret to online success, and usually, what they are telling people is so full of rubbish that it makes my head spin.
You see, the reason most people fail is not because they used the wrong system, or didnt buy the right tools. That's all hype that people spew to make you feel bad and buy their latest new product. The fact is that the reason people fail is because they focus on the wrong things.
In order to understand the real secret to online success, I have to strip away the lies that people have used to deceive you. Before you can understand what is really going on, you have to STRIP AWAY all the bad information that people have told you so that you rip out your wallet and spend some cash.
The biggest secret to online success has nothing to do with how you market your site but it is about what you spend your time doing. In order to illustrate my point, I am going to break some of the biggest marketing myths online. I am going to touch a lot of nerves here, but please, keep on reading and you will see what I am talking about by the end.
The Money IS NOT in the List
Email marketing is really popular, and if you have been online for more than a day or two, you have probably heard this said before. In fact, I have said it myself.
However, the fact is, I know people with lists 100 times the size of mine that make less from that list than I do. So, obviously the money is not in the list, or else those people would never have to work again.
Highly Searched Keywords Are NOT The Secret
Keywords are important, but you need a new understanding of keywords in order to really succeed. You see, when most people look at keywords they are looking at what was popular LAST MONTH, not what will be popular in the future. Although some topics tend to be popular over time, you can actually make a lot of money by creating a keyword.
This is especially true when creating a domain.
I see people every day saying you have to buy a domain based around popular keywords. But, if you look at the most popular names online, they are NOT keyword optimized (at least they wern't until the buzz around them became so HUGE everyone was talking about them!)
Now, I have been called a liar on this count, but let's take a look at some of the most popular names online, and see how people have created keywords.
One example relates to search. 10 Years ago, if you were trying to learn about how people search online, who would think to look for a name like GOOGLE? It's not even a word, and says nothing about online search. But, today, it is synonymous with online search, and you wouldn't even think about search without the name coming up.
Two more quick examples come to mind when it comes to social networking as well. One is Facebook, which I do not believe was a highly searched term more than 5 years ago, and the other is Twitter. These two names are now big daddy's of social networking, but they were NOT highly thought out keyword domains.
The reason they are popular has nothing to do with their keywords, it was because of what they did that impacted people.
Owning Your Website is NOT a secret!
Many people will tell you (and I often agree) that for long term success online, you need your own website. But, at the same time, I personally know about a dozen people that are making a full time living online, and see no reason to go out and build their own site. Now, personally, I would rather have that asset, and I think everyone should have a site of their own, because it is really helpful in leveraging the real secret to online success. But, you can find success online without spending a dime.
Search engines are NOT the best source of free traffic!
Now this one will spark off a round of debate that will never be resolved. But, the fact is that although search engines are a great source of traffic, and you should try to get at least some of your traffic there, if you are willing to spend some time on your business, you can find a lot of traffic without relying on the search engines. In order to do that, you have to understand the real secret.
Now, What is the Real Secret to Online Success?
Now that I have everyone up in arms, I want to talk about what you really need. You see, everything that I mentioned above will HELP you to succeed, but they really are not the true secret behind online success. These are simply methods that we use to achieve success in our efforts.
The real secret to online success (or ANY business really), which all the gurus know is really simple. It is the one thing they have that you don't if you aren't making any money. This one tip is going to take a whole new way to look at your business. SO, here it is...
Did I say that loud enough?
That's all it takes to make it in this business. One reason I succeed where others fail is because I see the relationships that I am building. What I see most people doing online does more to destroy relationships than to build them.
Everything that you do should center around the relationships. I know people who own their own sites getting loads of traffic and yet not making any money. Yet I know people without a website of their own making loads of cash every month.
I know people with hundreds of thousands of people on an email list, yet they are barely able to make a few hundred dollars a month. Because they don't have a good relationship with their list. It doesn't take much to get a subscriber, but it takes a lot more to keep them and get them to trust you over time.
When it comes to search engines, you can get all the rankings you want, but if you don't build trust with people when they land on your site, you have wasted your time and theirs. Also, you can get loads of traffic without any rankings in the search engines at all (and without spending hours and hours, or thousands of dollars, spinning articles and slaving away over boring SEO tactics meant to trick the search engines into believing people like the pile of junk you call a website).
In fact, this attitude that 'it's all about the sale' and not about the relationship, is a huge factor in the HIGH failure rate. I have seen people come out and make thousands of dollars, and then disappear forever because they got caught scamming, promoting garbage, and nobody would trust them.
The money isn't in your email list, it's in the relationship you have with your email list. If you provide a lot of value and quality, you build trust. If you always make sure that you promote products that deliver what they promise, and don't over hype themselves (which is, unfortunately, getting harder and harder to find) then you build that relationship. If you promote junk just because it has a high commission, or promote something based solely on the name of the product, without knowing what is inside, you can destroy your relationships, and those people won't buy from you again.
Also, you can get all the high search engine rankings you want. I see this one all the time. I have watched people spend months to get a ranking for a really big keyword, and one HIGHLY targeted to buyers, yet fail to make a dime from all their efforts.
These are the people who you will see daily in the forums claiming that IM is all a scam, and you can't make money doing all this. The reason why is because they can't take responsibility for the fact that THEY failed to build trust and respect with people along the way.
Now, I have built sites using Mark's Affiloblueprint and Affilojetpack systems, I have made money with BlogSuccess, I have built sites with many other methods. I have used article marketing, article spinning, forum marketing, blog commenting, and many of the popular methods to get people to my sites.
I am no guru but I do consider myself to be successful - although I could be making a lot more than I do right now.
But, I think the reason I have succeeded where others fails is because my focus has always been on building the relationship wherever I go. In forums, blogs, articles I post on directories, I am always asking how this affects the relationships that I have or want to build with the people who will read it.
Because of that, I don't spin junk just for backlinks, (although I do like article spinning, and by spinning high quality articles I get a lot of leverage out of everything that I write). And, I wind up getting higher rankings faster, and usually don't even need search engines to get traffic to my sites. I actually pay attention to the sites I use for link building, and figure out how to engage those people on that site. I often don't even worry about search engines for most of my sites anymore.
I focus on building relationships, and sending people to my sites. This helped me to develop a social marketing strategy, that explodes traffic to my sites, as well as increasing my search rankings.
Now, that is not to say that you should ignore SEO, email marketing, the benefits of building your own sites, or picking the right keywords. However, you must realize that all those things are simply techniques you can use to do what is really important. For example, I know people who rely on SEO to build a list, and focus all their attention on building the relationship with that list.
These people make a lot of money doing that. But, it's not about the list, or the keywords they targeted. What made them succeed where others failed at the same thing is the relationships they built in the process.
Another important point is to remember that relationship building is not JUST with potential customers. You need to build relationships with other website owners as well, especially ones in the same or similar niches.
Most people see another website, and all they think about is competition, and someone they have to beat. This makes the industry a cutthroat world, where it is every man for themselves. If you have this attitude, you are dooming yourself. You may make millions of dollars, but you will still be a failure in my book. It's not about how much money you make, but how fulfilled your life is at the end of the day. The real secret to online success is in how you build relationships and get people going.
So, what is hampering your relationships? What are you missing that could improve the relationships that you have built online?