Many of you may feel like internet marketers based on the time and effort you dedicate to personally improving your online presence and performance. We often feel the same however that’s the crux of our role. For those of you with offline products and services, online marketing strategies should not be the lions-share of your work day. The following are some very practical and targeted guidelines for improving your internet marketing and identifying where you can best allocate your own skills and time to boost business growth in 2012.
For most entrepreneurs, the start of a new year means new business goals, resolutions and achievements to look forward to in the months ahead. Over the past year I’ve been honored to have the opportunity to work with some of the best and brightest in the industry, and have boiled down what I’ve learned as a ClickBank Insider to this 7 step guide to things you can do in 2012 to help you achieve riches, rewards and world domination with your Internet marketing efforts in the new year.
1. Get Specific
Set realistic but specific goals. What do you want to achieve this year? For some it may be doubling your 2011 sales, and for others it may be breaking into a new niche. Whatever your goals are, make sure they’re specific and achievable. For example, if you’re just starting out, you may want to commit to making $200 a month as an affiliate promoting products in the Health and Fitness niche (and what better time to get started than new years resolution season?). This is a specific and achievable goal, and you’re less likely to get discouraged if you’re able to reach your goals along the way. It’s a good idea to write your ideas down and share them with others to help hold yourself accountable.
2. Be a Quitter
Unless you’re superhuman, there’s a limit to what you can do on your own. If you want to get serious about growing your business in 2012, you’ve got to identify the work you can quit doing. You might be the very best in the industry at website building, backlinking, graphic design and copywriting, but that doesn’t mean your time is best spent doing ALL of these things. What can be outsourced? Truth is, it’s probably a lot more than you think. Sometimes a good third party can get the job done, and free up your time for more important things like business strategy that will ultimately make your business more successful in the long run.
The new year is also a good time to take a long hard look at your business and identify something that isn’t working for you or producing desirable returns. Not all products are going to be super sellers and not all promotions are going to crush it. It may be helpful to use the 80/20 Rule as a guide. Chances are there’s something like 20% of your efforts that are producing 80% of your results. Take a look at that portion of your efforts that are not producing results, and vow to quit what isn’t working and refocus that energy toward something that is.
3. Make a Name for Yourself
Over the past couple of years I’ve been amazed at the number of Internet marketers content to work in the shadows making a living promoting in one trendy niche to another, without really taking the time to develop a long term lasting business. This kind of existence can be exhausting, and in a way that constant struggle defeats the purpose of what’s so attractive about Internet marketing in the first place – the lifestyle. Now I’m not saying forget the short term trendy businesses, ClickBank is in the business of long tail digital goods after all, but consider building something more sustainable. Develop your personal brand. For every person in the industry who has made a name for themselves there are thousands working in the shadows. Stand for something, become something, set yourself apart. Be the expert and the money will follow.
4. Forget Your Passion
I’ve met countless Internet marketers this year whose search for a passion to which they can dedicate their life’s work has literally paralyzed their productivity. In 2012 I say produce first, passion second. Pick something, do something, and learn from that. In this continually changing, constantly evolving industry, no one stays in the same niche forever, and it’s common for passions to evolve and businesses to evolve over time. Master something, then move on to the next thing. Just start, do, create, produce and learn. Don’t let your search for doing what you love and loving what you do result in doing nothing at all. You might just find your passion along the way.
Make a list of people you want to meet next year. Think of people you can learn from and who can directly or indirectly help your business and cultivate these relationships. Come up with a plan to connect with each and every person on your list. Industry events are a great way to meet people. Email, phone, social media, or even old fashioned letters work too. Before you ask for help, offer to help them first. Then offer again. And again. Studies of reciprocity in social psychology and human behavior tell us that people feel compelled to respond to positive action or favors, with favors in return. These days, joint venture relationships are closely correlated with the success of businesses. So do a lot of favors for a lot of people, form relationships and JVs, and know that it will come back to benefit you in the end.
6. Risk It
One of my favorite things about this industry is that the opportunities are endless. There so many different ways to promote and sell products and it seems like there are new tactics popping up every day. So next year, try something new, push your limits, don’t be afraid to fail. Even investing time in a new area of your existing business, say, split testing, can be a little scary. Because time is money, and we all want to be spending time on the things that generate the highest returns. Spending money can also be risky, but what better thing to invest in than yourself? In 2012, don’t be afraid to take more risks to reap more rewards.
7. Rekindle the Fire
Just like relationships benefit from newness and creativity to stay exciting, so can your business. You work hard all year and it’s easy to get caught in a rut, making it feel like Groundhog Day and putting you on the fast track to burn-out. Take a vacation, work from somewhere else, pick up a new hobby or read a fiction book. Do something out of the ordinary that can give you a fresh perspective on your business and on life. All of these are ways to enhance creativity and get you looking at your business in a new light. You’ll be glad you did.
Whether you aspire to world domination, niche domination, six figures a year or a hundred bucks a month, implementing just a few small changes in your business or approach to business could make make all of the difference for you next year.
What do you want to achieve in 2012?
Click here to read other articles by this author, Molly Lane – Clickbank Blog.