The word of the year for 2009 for Internet marketers was: FOCUS.
That’s the one word that came up over and over again in the largest, open-ended survey of Internet marketers we’ve ever conducted.
We didn’t expect it.
Heck, we weren’t even looking for a “Word of the Year”, but it came up so often – in nearly one out of every five responses! – that we had to pay attention.
Unexpected, but maybe not so surprising
2009 was the year that every Internet marketer had to start “Tweeting” and “Facebooking” and learning 99 different Twitter and Facebook management tools.
I’m exaggerating, but only just barely. I read a blog post recently by an otherwise intelligent person who revealed her fifteen favorite Twitter management tools.
And she uses all of them.
This may be a good thing if you’re a professional Twitter consultant (yes, there are such things), but what about the rest of us?
For many years, I only needed two tools to make money on the Internet: FTP and an auto-responder.
Now, supposedly, it takes fifteen tools just to properly manage a Twitter account.
This can’t be good for focus – or for making money.
“Is social media dangerous to your wealth?”
I almost wrote an article with this title (still might) because social media has clearly become a problem for a lot of marketers.
So many folks have become so busy “building their brand” and “generating a buzz”, they’ve lost track that we’re in the business of selling.
That ugly four letter word: S-E-L-L.
Marketers don’t seem to want to use it any more.
It seems so crass, so…twentieth century.
Well, if selling is old fashioned, then call me a relic because the last time I checked, I can’t deposit brand or buzz in my bank account. I can only deposit dollars and dollars are generated by sales.
What to focus on
If you want to make money, here is my #1 piece of advice.
It hasn’t changed in twenty years.
I doubt it will change in the next twenty.
Focus on markets
For my purposes – and please read this definition closely because a lot of people screw it up:
A market is: “A collection of people who are already buying something, like what you plan to sell, who you can reach economically and with existing media.”
Every word in that definition matters and I hope you read it again s-l-o-w-l-y and give weight to every word.
There’s a fortune to be had it getting it right…and a fortune to lose in getting it wrong.
Learning a million and one groovy marketing techniques without having a market to sell into is like collecting and studying sex manuals without having a partner. Interesting, but not likely to produce much meaningful action.
So, if you don’t have a market, get one now and start doing something with it.
What to do with a market
Post relevant comments to forums and blogs…talk to people in the market…write articles that solve problems…create relevant reports…give your best material away in exchange for e-mail addresses…recommend good affiliate offers to your subscribers…source and/or develop your own products and offer them…track your results…get rid of stuff that doesn’t work and repeat things that do.
In other words, get cracking.
Less study and more action.
How do you build a list of prospects?
One bloody name at a time and the sooner you get started the better. Whining about how hard it is not going to make it happen any faster.
My mind boggles at the number of new “Internet marketers” I’ve met in recent months who twitter like rock stars – but have not collected a single e-mail address.
Focus on “traffic + conversion”
Eight years ago, when I came out of retirement to start teaching Internet marketing again, I was frustrated by all the looney marketing advice being dispensed back then that had seemingly fatally scrambled the brains of many of my students.
In exasperation, I blurted out:
“Forget all that garbage. There are only two things you should be focusing on: traffic and conversion. If you’re doing anything else, you are wasting your time. Traffic plus conversion equals profits!”
It seems so obvious now, but if you Google all the Internet marketing “how to” advice from back in 2002, you won’t find this anywhere. Heck, you’ll barely find it now – unless you’re at a System Seminar.
Some things never change
Here’s the weird thing: most Internet marketers still don’t focus on traffic + conversion.
But we do – every year – year in and year out. Relentlessly.
And that simple fact may be the reason we have more successful students than any twenty “gurus” combined.
It’s also why so many people who start with us as raw beginners – Perry Marshall, Lloyd Irvin, Howie Jacobson, Kim Dushinski, Ben Moskel, and many others – not only end up teaching on our faculty, but on the faculties of marketing seminars and conferences around the country (and world.)
Everything that’s taught at the System Seminar has to pass through the “traffic + conversion” BS detector.
If it doesn’t help you to get more traffic or help you convert your traffic better, we don’t waste your time or ours with it.
A special message for beginners
I consider a “beginner” anyone who isn’t making his full time living from Internet marketing, hasn’t cracked $100,000 a year in online sales, and/or can’t see the path to $1,000,000 a year in sales.
I know a lot of people don’t like to consider themselves “beginners”, but Internet marketing, the way we teach it at the System, is a reality-based business.
Know-how has zero value unless it’s being employed.
Yes, we’d love to see you at System 2010, but I’m even more interested in seeing you have a complete grasp of the foundation of our business.
The reality of Internet marketing
Internet marketing is a lot like plumbing. It’s 95% grit and 5% glamour. (The glamour is the part where you go to the bank.)
Too many beginners have been sold the idea that there is some special “magic” in Internet marketing that lets Internet marketers defy the laws of economic reality.
Sorry. It doesn’t work this way.
Internet marketing is a profession. It requires comprehensive knowledge as a foundation and then relentless action.
In my experience 99.9% of the people who think they “know” Internet marketing have holes in their basic knowledge big enough to drive several trucks through.
The proof of this is their incomes – or the lack thereof.
Hang in there
I’m not saying this as a put down. I’m saying it because it’s the reality I see.
Keep in mind I’ve been marketing online since 1993 – and before that I’ve been using direct marketing to make my living since 1984.
I have no way to prove this, but I think I’ve trained more successful Internet marketers than any living person.
I didn’t accomplish this by chasing fads or selling smoke. My “secret” has been that I insist on drilling the fundamentals.
The good news is this is a learnable business.
Further good news is the fact that the vast majority of people marketing on the Internet refuse to treat the business as a business.
That’s why every year we have new success stories to report.
Because most market places, crowded as they are, are full of dilettantes, which is a fancy word for “wannabes” – folks who like to play at it, but fade when serious people like System grads show up.
If Internet marketing has been a “dream” for you, here’s what I recommend for you in 2010…
If you’re a beginner…
Focus on firming up your fundamentals.
Make 2010 the year you’re going to treat Internet marketing like a business (95% grit and 5% glory.)
We’ve got a course to help. It’s both comprehensive and cost effective – and you can apply 100% of the cost to a System Seminar tuition.
It’s called System Smart Beginners. Click here for more information about it
If you’re a pro…
There’s only one Internet marketing training I know that focuses on traffic + conversion.
There’s a reason pros like Perry Marshall and Lloyd Irvin never miss a System whether they happen to be on the faculty of not in a given year.
This year, because of the extreme business challenges so many are facing these days, we’re drilling down even deeper than normal.
On the conversion side, we’re bringing in the truly big guns: Bob Bly and Drayton Bird. (If you don’t recognize the names, Google them.)
On the traffic side, we’ve got Timothy Seward (Google certified and advisor to numerous multi-million dollar a year online businesses); Ben Moskel, a seven figure a year affiliate marketer, and Greg Davis, a seven figure a year, CPA marketer.
All three have bought (or advised on the buying of) millions of dollars worth of Internet traffic – and tracked the results…selling real products to real people in real markets.
If you’re a pro, you should seriously consider joining us in Chicago this April 9 through 11, 2010 in Chicago.
If you already know you’re going to join us, registering before the end of this year will save you considerable money on your tuition. ‘
(Super “early bird” tuition discount deadline: December 31, 2009)
Click on this link for more information about: The System Seminar
Best wishes for the coming new year,
What are you going to focus on in 2010.
If you’re an Internet marketer, I hope it’s traffic + conversion.
That’s what we focus on every year, this year more than ever at System 2010.
Click on this link for more information about: The System Seminar
– Ken McCarthy
P.S. For over 25 years I’ve been sharing the simple but powerful things that matter in business with my clients.
If you’d like direction for your business that will work today, tomorrow and twenty years from now, visit us at the System Club.