Part 1: Learn From My Mistakes
You are doing e-Commerce wrong.
Not a shocking or even bold statement considering the number of people entering the digital marketing industry right now. Frankly, I’ve done e-commerce so wrong, so many times, that it seems like I figured it out through sheer will power. Let’s see if my mistakes sound like yours.
• Countless hours spent searching Affiliate Marketing network sites
• Jumping from idea to idea, fishing for success
• Paid search ad dollars gone faster than a bad tupee.
Look. The “Pros” and “Millionaires” are going to tell you that they have a system that you can use to get rich, simply give them your email and start a free trial, then buy into their program and learn from them.
That may work for you. And if it does/did, great. You can stop reading now.
However, if you are looking to do it the old-fashioned and less expensive way then settle in for some real information about what works and what doesn’t work. This is information that you can implement TODAY.
FYI, this will be a multi-part series on the mistakes I’ve made, how I corrected them, the products I’ve found that work, and the lessons I learned. (Paid for by the blood, sweat, tears, and capital of my own trials, hard work, failures, and skimpy marketing budget.)
Without further ado, let's get started.
Part 1. How to Provide VALUE
You are not going to make any money by offering people something that has no value. Today’s internet audience is savvy, they have the all powerful ‘Google search’ at their disposal.
All it takes is a simple search engine query to decide whether what you are pitching is a scam, over priced, or simply not worth the time. In short, you must be able to offer your potential audience value which makes or saves them money
Ok, duh. This is common sense, right? Wrong. If this was so simple, I wouldn't have messed it all up and millions of other people wouldn't be messing it up right now. You cannot short cut your way to success, I don't care how many marketing dollars you have.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon
Listen to what Jeff Bezos is saying here, he's had a decent amount of success. If you are not offering value, you are merely building a house of cards. A house of cards is not an entertaining or informative experience to visit. You have to give your guests an experience that will compel them to take action. What action they take will be a direct result of the experience you give them.
Top 3 Things to Do:
1. If you are offering a product or service, make sure it is one that you can stand behind. If you wouldn’t use it, neither will your audience. There is simply too much competition, too many alternatives for internet customers for you to be offering a sub-par product or service.
Offering free information is all the rage these days, as it should be. We are entering a wonderful Age where businesses must offer customers MORE value than they expect to get in return.
2. If you are using a marketing strategy that involves free information (eBook, video course, etc.) then it needs to be information people cannot learn from a simple key word search.
3. If you are re-offering information, it must be packaged in a more valuable format. You can provide format value through entertainment, ease of use, quality of website, there a bunch of different ways to offer more value in your information platform than your competitors. We will dive into format and platform value later on in the series.
In a nutshell…
You need to be able to answer this question: If a potential reader, listener, or watcher can learn or view the information you are offering from another source, why should they choose your delivery method over your competitors?
Case Study: What NOT to Do
Here’s what happens when you don't bring the juice when it comes to value. I offer you a Case Study of my first internet marketing campaign. My goal was to build an email list, which I would then use to market products and services. In exchange for a potential customer’s email, I offered a FREE eBook, SEO BASICS: Tips for Small Business Owners. I planned to exchange this book for email addresses, then follow up with an up-sell to a more advanced book, ADVANCED SEO TECHNIQUES: Turbo Charge Your Traffic and Profits on AutoPilot. This strategy can be effective, if done correctly.
Here’s what I did wrong:
1. I committed a fatal error in e-Commerce.
“You should learn from your competitor, but never copy. Copy and you die.”- Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group
I was copying someone else’s strategy. And I died. You know, in the figurative sense. I poured more marketing dollars than I care to admit into this campaign, and had a big 0 on the sales counter at the end of it.
2. I did not offer more value than I expected to get in return.
I offered information that was not packaged better than my competitors. Furthermore, I offered information that was readily available, for free, on the internet without any pesky sales pitches or email subscriptions. It is a big deal to get someone’s email these days. Act accordingly.
3. I did not use key word searches to research the effectiveness of my strategy.
A simple search in a Keyword Research Tool would have shown me that the targeting in my Facebook and Google Ads was all off. I was blindly picking words that I thought would work, instead of relying on software designed by people wayyyyyy smarter than me.
I Was Not Prepared.
I needed tools (software) and a basic understanding of how to use them. Trying to do e-Commerce, SEO, or digital marketing without any software is a recipe for disaster. If you cannot afford some tools, get out until you can. Otherwise, you will just be throwing your money into the wind.
SEO software is vital to the success of any Digital Marketing or e-Commerce strategy because they can provide you with actionable information.
You simply cannot do the job without them. It doesn't matter how great your house (website) looks, no one will come to your party if they don't know about it. How are they going to know about it? Most likely through Google or Social Media. I had no clue about SEO tools when I first started and it cost me.
(Whats even more embarrassing is that I was running WordPress sites. A simple, low cost SEO Plug-in would have saved me even more money)
Ok. Enough about tools, we’ll get into more depth about them later. Reviews, which ones to use and when, etc. If you’re dying to know RIGHT DANG NOW… just email me. If you are still just learning, then know that you need them to be successful. I didn't know when I first got started and I paid the price.
Conclusion: Offer more value than you expect to get in return. If its a product or service, it better be one that is solves a problem. If its information, it better be packaged better than the ugabagillion other people spitting out the same info.
In the next part of the e-Commerce series, we’ll take a look at a Case Study where things go right, why they went right, and highlight the key strategies, tools, and tactics that made the difference between success and failure.
So stick around.
Let us know what you think! Any questions or comments? You can also find me on Facebook @tc.jennings and on Instagram @teechjenkins
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