Internet Marketing. The first part of your career will probably focus on the “Internet part.” That includes all the tools, configurations and so forth. You build a website and then… wait for it… wait for it…
Ahh… it can be really disappointing sometimes, can’t it? What you’ve built kind of, sort of, catches on a bit.
A little bit.
So, you do some reading, maybe take a course, join a few Facebook groups and then start implementing some new strategies.
From there, things kind of, sort of, improve a little bit.
Rinse, wash and repeat.
The next time, things are different.
Now, you’re all in. This time, you’re taking a high-priced course that gives you a step-by-step blueprint and leaves no stone unturned. Ninety-percent of the course participants are making up to 10k per month in as little as 30-days. It says so right on the sales page.
You’re excited! You should have gone this route from the start (visualize a palm to the forehead here). That’s okay. Now your understanding and insights rise to a new level. Like the starting gun of a race – you’re out of the gates fast. Every day seems to bring a new “Ah-Ha” moment to you. You’re ready to weep with joy…
Then you have a gut-check moment. What you’re creating doesn’t quite seem to fit your existing business. It looks okay on the surface, but something is missing? The pieces don’t seem to really fit snuggly together. A little time goes by. The people who visit your site – they just don’t seem to get it. They’re not responding like you hoped they would.
Your mind starts working overtime.
Maybe the copy is weak? Maybe there’s just too much competition out there? Maybe you need to pick another market? Maybe that asteroid you heard about on the YouTube video really is going to hit the earth within the next twelve months so it’s not going to matter anyway?
Does all this sound familiar?
I’m sure it does.
Most people follow a well-worn path that takes them right back to where they started when they tackle this problem.
It’s like that old saying, “Same crap, different pile.”
Is there a solution. Let me share it with you.
If you’re not opened to what I’m about to say, or you have too many pre-conceived notions that you’re not willing to let go of or at least suspend for the duration of this article… I can’t help you.
I say this because I know exactly where you’re at. I was there myself.
If you have a struggling business you’re like the kid on a playground (marketplace) that no one wants to play with or hang out with.
You can buy new clothes, get a new haircut… but it just doesn’t seem to work.
Here’s the TRUTH BOMB; the business isn’t about you. You know this like the overweight person knows they need to change their eating habits. It’s about others, making them happy and taking them from where they are now to where they want to be next. As long as you focus on YOU and all the changes you need to make, all the things that you still need to learn and get better at, you’re creating a never-ending merry-go-round scenario for yourself. The key here is FOCUS. In theory, it’s easy. In practice, not so much. Just look at your daily routine.
It’s easy to focus more on yourself than your audience. It’s not really your fault, either. We’ve been taught to focus on –
- Our Brand
- Our “Voice”
- Our Skill-Set
- Our Design
- Our Tools
- Our Tech
- Our, Our…
You get the point. You tell yourself you’re focusing on your customers or clients, but oftentimes you’re not. That’s why you really don’t understand their problems or frustrations on a deeper level. Frustrated people are buyers. For example, people buy newer, faster computers when they’re no longer willing to deal with the frustrations caused by their older, slower ones.
Again, people buy when they’re frustrated. They don’t care about your frustrations, they care about theirs. It’s that simple. We could use a few synonyms that say the same basic thing (unfulfilled, irritated, unsatisfied, etc.).
You need to listen to the people in your market. Right now, it may appear the problem is no one is listening to you. They’re not responding to your posts. They’re not buying your products. What if the truth of the matter is – you’re really not listening to them?
The last time I sent out a survey asking people what they could use help with, it was a multiple-choice type of survey. As it turned out, they needed help with everything. This made me think, “With all the content already in the market covering these topics, why are people still frustrated?”
Because many people aren’t happy with the existing solutions. Let me give you a personal example. I’ve purchased at least a half-dozen membership plugins over the last three or four years. Why? I’ve yet to find one that I truly love. That makes me frustrated. It makes me wonder whether or not WordPress is the best solution for a Membership site for me personally? Maybe some of the time, but not all of the time.
As a developer, you already understand the logic of how things fit together. You understand functionality. If something doesn’t work, you can revert to a Plan B or even a Plan C if need be until you can do it the way you want to do it. Tell me I’m incorrect?
You don’t bury your head in your hands and weep in the corner when you hit a roadblock. As frustrating as it can be at times, complete failure is never an option is it?
YOU CAN TAKE THE SAME APPROACH TO MARKETING.
Start with three or four headline templates and three or four sales page templates. For example, you can have a short-form sales page template and a few long-form templates. Three or four headline templates is all you really need. You can combine a different element from different templates to create a whole bunch of variations. Create a folder just for your marketing templates and treat them like the go-to plugins you use with every site build.
That’s basically it. If you buy a whole suite of templates, you’ll probably just get overwhelmed with too many choices, become concerned you’ll make the wrong one and that will be that. Just another thing sitting on the “shelf” that never gets used.
You learn by doing. You learn by keeping things simple. Once you understand people’s frustration points, you’re already 75% of the way home. Let that sink in for a minute.
The templates also act as a security blanket of sorts. You never have to wonder, “What do I say and then what comes after that?” It’s a lifejacket that keeps you from drowning in the sea of marketing advice that’s out there.
Pick a template, massage the words a bit so they fit your existing vocabulary and you have a new tool (possibly you’re first really effective one) in your arsenal.
By now I’m sure you realize it’s the marketing part that makes the internet part work. The money is made with marketing.
AN EASY RESEARCH METHOD
I’m going to share a simple research method with you. This will be easy for you. As a developer, you’re already used to doing research. You research different tools, configurations and plugins all the time. Maybe too much of the time? You can use the same, basic approach to uncover what your clients and prospective clients are frustrated or unhappy about.
Don’t make it difficult. For example, you can go to a site like Udemy. Find the bestselling courses in the different categories.
Look at the titles.
Look at the module names.
Read the testimonials. Especially the ones that are 3-stars. Find out what’s missing. Find out where the focus is (or isn’t). Now compare that to what you’re offering.
You’ll never reach the north pole driving south, right? If you’re on the wrong road, persistence is only going to take you further from where you really want to be.
You can also do simple research on Amazon to see what people are buying. You don’t have to guess what people want. It’s all there and it’s all free. When people give a product one, two or three stars, there’s something missing. Can you create a similar product and add the missing elements others have complained about?
Don’t undervalue a method or tool – just because it’s free.
Don’t step over “simple” because your mind is telling you complex is better. Try it first. Sample this method for yourself instead of just thinking about it.
I’m sure you have templates for many of the web development tasks you do? You save layouts, page elements, and other things so you can use them over and over again. Maybe you have three different layouts for your contact pages that you use 90% of the time, for example? I mean, how many do you really need? The colors may change and certain elements may be changed a bit, but it’s still the same, basic template or information.
Am I right?
What about the contracts you use? You don’t say, “I can’t use this contract because it really doesn’t sound like me… like my authentic voice.”
No, you don’t do that. You use a proven “template” out of necessity because you need an effective contract.
The same approach goes for marketing. You use “code” written by an expert or several experts. Over time, you’ll understand why it was written the way it was. Sure, you can change remove words that sound overly “hypish” and replace them with your own – but the template remains the same.
That’s the extent to which you need to copy, emulate or follow in the footsteps of someone else.
We’re taught that following leads to success.
I think it’s time to rethink that.
I went through the “follower mentality” myself. More often than not, I always felt one step behind. It was as though I was always “catching up.” When you think like that, I believe you’re hoping something good rubs off on you? And it’s good, sometimes really good, if you’re just starting out. But you can’t keep on that path if you want to get to the next level or the ones after that.
I’ve tried the follower approach and in my own experience, it’s only effective for learning the basics or solving a small problem here and there. Ultimately, you need to discover your own unique value and gifts and focus on bringing those things into the world. That’s when you’ll truly prosper in every imaginable way.
So, what do you think web developers?
With a simple, problem-solving mentality and approach to marketing, is it totally outrageous to think you’d be able to double your income within the next year?