I first ran into direct marketing on the Internet at a seminar produced by Ken McCarthy in 2002. I attended because I had just started my own business and wanted a website. The $2k tuition was a lot less than the quotes I was getting from local web designers.
I thought I was going to learn how to code in HTML, how to upload files to a server, and how to design pretty pages.
Luckily, the speakers at that event knocked sense into me. They helped me see that the real money in Internet marketing was marketing skill, not technical skill.
A successful writer does not need to know how to manufacture a pencil.
A winning race car driver doesn’t need to know how to build an engine.
A good parent doesn’t have to know how to make a baby.
Maybe scratch that last one…
Yet for some reason, lots of folks who want to grow their business online feel compelled to learn how to program in HTML, how to design in photoshop, and how to debug their apache PHP perl C++ ruby on goats nano-gazoygle.
You wouldn’t take a Photocopier maintenance course at the local community college just so you could fix your office Xerox, would you?
There are plenty of people out there who already know how to do all the technical tasks related to online marketing, and you don’t need to waste your time trying to do all those tasks badly. You can outsource, insource, or soysource every technical aspect of your business, so you can focus on what’s truly important.
What’s truly important?
The Online Marketing Success Formula
The formula for success on the internet that I learned from Ken at that first System Seminar is simple, yet profound:
1. Get the right people to visit your web site
2. Get those people to buy from you, repeatedly
That’s it. The alpha and omega of online success.
Traffic and conversion. That’s all there is. That’s where you, as an entrepreneur, or a marketing professional in your organization, need to be applying your brainpower and time.
AdWords For Dummies provides, I hope, a comprehensive treatment of AdWords and a good overview of the fundamental conversion techniques. But as you probably know, AdWords isn’t the only traffic game in town.
There’s SEO, social media, online video, other PPC search engines, coregistration lists, joint ventures, banner ads, ezine ads, web PR, becoming governer and sleeping with call girls; the list of ways to get people to visit your web site is long, and constantly changing.
And conversion strategies change also, as technology advances and markets mature.
The problem is choosing wisely and prioritizing intelligently from the smorgasbord of options. AdWords is almost always the best place to start, since it’s controllable, measurable, and extremely forgiving. But after AdWords – where to go next?
How to Stay Up to Date on the Interet
For my money, Ken McCarthy is the top internet "talent scout." He can spot hot trends before they materialize (he was writing "The Internet Video Report" before anyone had heard of youtube), and he has a good sense for who’s the real deal – folks who both do and teach competently and ethically.
Every Spring, he brings together the best of the best to serve on the faculty for his legendary System Seminar. Last year, I went as an attendee. In addition to the potent networking opportunities, I learned:
– How to get paid while generating leads on Ebay (a brilliant technique: selling a $0.99 Ebook to build a list of interested and proven buyers. Imagine getting paid by Google for your AdWords leads)
– Several blogging techniques for generating traffic and creating engagement among readers
– A method for getting lots of direct and search engine traffic using syndicated articles
– An advanced testing and improvement methodology (Taguchi testing) made simple
This year, I’m pleased to be on the faculty, sharing my AdWords discoveries of the past few months.
Every year, Ken promotes the System Seminar by giving away a lot of it for free. He discovered that by interviewing faculty members, and sharing the mp3s of these no-fluff, content-rich conversations, he was actually proving the value of the paid seminar and increasing enrollment.
This year, there are already 23 interviews from top experts ready for your consumption. From SEO for online store, to how to sell coaching and consulting online, to developing your online "elevator speech" (crucial to writing a good Google ad), to marketing using cell phones and other mobile devices, to new methods in affiliate marketing, to online lead generation on the PPA networks, to upselling tactics, to strategic use of online video…
There’s enough valuable content here, for free, to power your online business for the next several years.
You can sign up for the 23 interviews (more added all the time), as well as articles and other resources, here:
Just make sure to do it before Ken takes them down and focuses all his effort on the live Seminar.
And if you decide to come to Chicago for the live System Seminar, give me a shout and we’ll do lunch.