Let’s spend a few minutes focusing on perhaps the most important principle in creating a successful online business- your strategic marketing plan. A lot of people are intimidated by internet marketing because there is so much competition in many large niches such as network marketing, coaching, consulting, and information marketing. As an online marketing coach, I can’t tell you how many times I have heard statements like:
- I just don’t feel like there’s any room for me.
- Who would want to hear what I have to say?
- I can think big, but I have no idea how to take appropriate action
- I have a website, but only have 20 people on my list
- I have a website; isn’t that enough?
What I am about to share with you will give you an incredible competitive advantage and will serve as the ultimate answer to every single one of these statements, so that you never feel lost in the online world again.
Yes, the internet is absolutely packed with business owners competing for valuable online real estate. Many industries are indeed saturated with websites and blogs trying to compete for their fair share of traffic, leads, and customers.
But here is the thing you really need to understand: Less than 5% of the entrepreneurs marketing online have a strategic marketing plan that they consistently take action on.
As internet and network marketing guru David Wood says, ‘The internet is full of people with huge dreams and little work ethic.’
Because this is true, you really have very little competition, besides the one taking place within yourself. Your only true competition is the excuse you may be making to yourself as to why you can’t/won’t consistently take action to generate massive online exposure. That, my friend, is what you want to expose first. Don’t worry about your external competition in the online marketplace. The only real issue is how willing you truly are to keep taking action until you get the results you desire.
This is why your mindset is such a critical factor that underlies your marketing plan. Sure, you can map out a marketing strategy that looks good in theory. But the flat out truth is very few entrepreneurs stick with their action plan. Why is this so, especially when marketing is by far the #1 activity that leads to more money in their pockets? Here are the big 3 that I have seen:
- lack of immediate results– I can relate to this one, as many online marketers can. We all want to see immediate payoff for our efforts. In my experience, one of the highest virtues of successful entrepreneurship is the ability to keep putting in the effort without seeing the immediate return on our time and energy investment. Call this faith, emotional maturity, or discipline-the point is that many of us weren’t taught this virtue and instead, we seek immediate gratification. This is a killer when it comes to online marketing, as it typically does take time to see tangible results.
- impulsive and reactive tendencies– This is often a result of not seeing immediate results. One of the hardest things in internet marketing is that you have a lot of incredibly savvy marketers out there basically preying on your hunger for results. They lure you to their offers and solutions, which keeps you constantly grasping for the latest and greatest product or program that will quell your frustration and feed your hope. What ultimately results is a lack of any real consistency or rhythm, making it impossible to build any momentum in your marketing efforts. You keep jumping from marketing strategy to new program to new idea to new guru. This becomes a sort of addiction for many people trying to make money online-and there are many smart marketers absolutely capitalizing on this weakness.
- lack of inspiration/laziness/disconnection from real purpose in life-– This one can take a lot of different forms, but the essence is that you lack the real drive and desire to take effective action because you aren’t clear on what you really want out of your marketing, your business, and often your life in general. Many people turn to the internet because (I hate to say it) they have no idea what else to do with their lives.
Before you create a strategic marketing plan, you want to honestly assess if you have a tendency to be vulnerable to any of these 3 obstacles (99% of us do). Seeing your obstacles clearly is always the first step to becoming an empowered and successful entrepreneur. When you see your blocks as they are without judging them, a door is opened where you see that you have a choice to change anything that is holding you back.
Once you have done some of this inner work, then you will likely be able to create an external action plan that is accessible, effective, and even fun to implement.
When it comes to online marketing, what you want to do is create a marketing process that you can literally commit to just about every single day, especially in the initial phases (the first few months) of launching your product, service, or company.
Your marketing plan is determined by 3 factors:
- Your budget
- Your knowledge and skill set
- Your motivation
If you have a good marketing budget, then you’ll want to spend some money on online advertising, as this is the fastest way to start generating leads for your business. Google AdWords is really the best way to start. Depending on your business, you can also invest in classified and ezine ads, or in banner ads on other websites. Google AdWords is a big learning process, so be sure to get the right training before you go and spend thousands of dollars (this will often turn out to be a generous donation to Google). I recommend getting Perry Marshall’s Definitive Guide to Google AdWords as a starting point.
If you’re on a tight budget or you don’t want to learn AdWords, you’ll want to do some free marketing strategies. Let me share with you my daily marketing process. This should really help you see how this is done. Keep in mind that I am very strong in factors 2 and 3 above-I have a lot of knowledge in online marketing because I have been doing it for a few years and I have a high level of motivation. If your knowledge and/or motivation isn’t quite that high, you’ll want to just take a fraction of what my process and implement it consistently. Bite off only as much as you can chew and be honest with yourself.
Here is my daily marketing strategy:
1. Write a blog post (you’re reading today’s efforts)
2. Make a video of that blog post and distribute it through a video distribution software that sends it to all of the video sharing and podcasting sites – this is an incredible online marketing tool that any serious online marketers should be using.
3. Distribute the post to 27 social bookmarking sites.
4. Distribute the post to 250 article directories using an article submission software.
5. Post my blog content on ping.fm so it goes to Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, etc.
6. If I’m really wanting to compete for a specific keyword (like for instance if I really want to get ranked for the keyword I am targeting in this post, strategic marketing plan), I will create a squidoo lens and/or a hub page.
7. If I am so inclined, I will send an email blast to my list to let them know about the post.
I do this as often as possible because it is seriously an incredibly effective FREE way to get my content all over the internet. Of course, this strategy is premised upon offering real value to the online community, not crap or spam. I only send out content like I’m sharing with you here. You only want to distribute your best stuff; don’t be like so many lame marketers and just promote your business and spam people. Give people stuff that really makes an impact and you’ll see a big difference in your online marketing results.
The essence of a strategic marketing plan is that it is implemented consistently over the long-term. Your goal should be to be just as methodical, inspired, passionate, and consistent about your marketing one year from now as you are in the start-up phase where it’s easy to get fired up. It’s just like trying to lose weight and get in shape. The first week you’re hitting the gym every day and you’re totally on fire about your commitment. Then, for whatever reason, your enthusiasm starts to wane and other priorities take over. Eventually, you forget all about that commitment and your mind has taken you to a new focus entirely.
In order to succeed in online marketing, you have to have that vision for what you want firmly in mind all the time and never let go. Do you really want freedom, passive income, a huge downline, or thousands of people on your list? Then you need to tap into the virtue of entrepreneurial tenacity. You keep your eyes on that prize and you let nothing distract you, especially your own mind (this is the biggest danger-that you’ll convince yourself that it’s not possible or that you value something else even more).
When you implement your marketing plan consistently over the long-term, there is no competition because very few business owners actually do this. I know it doesn’t sound all romantic and hype-based like so many of the promises you hear online, but I will tell you this: If you just stay consistent… if you remain tenacious… if you keep a clear focus on what you really want… and you take action on that every day at least a little bit… you can have it.
Online marketing can take you to that place of incredible freedom and success. Just be willing to do what so few others are: Let go of the hype, let go of the need for immediate gratification, and treat this as if it’s your child- daily nourishment and care. Keep feeding your business through strategic marketing and you will-sooner or later-realize your financial goals and have a lifestyle that most can only dream of.