Marketing Myths and Misconceptions: The REAL Truth to Building an Online Community
I've being leading marketing efforts for top publishers such as Agora, Weiss, Newsmax as well as and Fortune 500 companies such as GE, ADP, Chase, Salmon Smith Barney/CitiGroup for nearly 20 years now.
And over the last decade or so I've seen and heard a lot of, quite frankly, baloney about how easy and quick it is to build an online business and it's community (aka followers, list or ezine subscribers).
First, let me say, that anyone that tells you that you can build (not launch, but build) an online infopublishing business fast and furious is flat out crazy.
When building an online infopublishing business and related subscriber base there are a few core drivers for success:
Increased website visibility
Increased website traffic
Increased market exposure
Increased community (list size and followers)
Typically, there are two things that help you achieve those goals: time and/or resources. And one directly affects the other.
For example, if you have no resources (money) then your online marketing strategies to build your website and related newsletter will tend to focus around free marketing strategies such as social media marketing, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, link-building, guerrilla marketing, and more. In this scenario, you are sacrificing expediency for cost (which in this case is none). You see, most free strategies can take anywhere from 3-12 months to gain momentum and gain a foothold. In this scenario, you are sacrificing the time.
If you have resources, then you have more options at your disposal to grow your list such as online media buying, list rentals, and co-registration that would likely produce results quicker, but in this case you are sacrificing the money. And even then, there are many variables that will affect performance such as list or website selection, creative development, copywriting strength, and persuasive landing page creation.
Having launched and built many online business and websites over the last 10+ years, I not only know, but have mastered the formula for success and trained several CEOs, entrepreneurs, business owners, marketers, and publishers.
For instance, when I led the marketing efforts at popular online publisher, Early to Rise as (2007-2009) one of my primary tasks was to launch a health website for the business as well as a health ezine. I championed this from concept to execution involving:
Name and mission of website and ezine
Look/theme/layout of site and ezine template
Researching the contributing panel of experts and gurus
List building efforts
Product development efforts
That site is the popular alternative health source, TotalHealthBreakthroughs.com.
My tactics for building the business and the list, for the most part, comprised of a mix of free online strategies: search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), social media marketing (SMM), online press releases, guerrilla marketing, and most importantly, leveraging either guest editorials, dedicated emails or newsletter ads in sister publications as well as industry colleagues' publications.
But not everyone has leverage like that or has access to an editorial network of contacts. Most folks have to go it alone and have no idea where to start first. For the average Joe, building a community (list) and online business takes patience and being strategically creative.
I don't want to rain on anyone's parade, but that is the real deal. Nothing bothers me more than so called 'Internet gurus' that sell bogus products for a fortune or spew nonsense with greatly exaggerated claims or promises, only for the average Joe to find out it doesn't work for him.
You've seen those emails that promise an obscene amount of money in rapid time. The ones that tell you how you can make a gazillion dollars in 24 hours. These are promotional ploys that rely on smoke and mirrors: fancy digital tactics, outlandish persuasive copy, and twisted claims. In all honesty, these promotions are preying on the average consumers' greed for sales. But in reality, the only person that typically makes the money is the product's creator. And sadly enough, many small business owners, entrepreneurs, and home-based businesses fall victim to these scams.
Many companies I work with have actually been burned by these scams and are in the hole for thousands of dollars. Some are also start-up companies with little budget or resources, but are looking for solid results.
That's why when you don't really have the time or money to grow your business it's critical to market smarter, not harder. You need to use proven strategies that perform time and time again. That means employing tactics that are effective, cost virtually nothing, and are easy-to-learn and implement.
That is the core of my SONAR Content Distribution Model TM and the principal of my upcoming book, Content Is Cash: Leveraging Great Content and the Web for Increased Traffic, Sales, Leads and Buzz [Que Publishing, Aug. 2011].
SONAR Marketing is not a theory, but a real Internet strategy that works. It can be applied to virtually any size company[md]large, small, entrepreneur, at home business. SONAR works in any niche, with any budget, and at any stage in a company's business cycle (start-up, maintenance, or growth).
Simply stated, SONAR is a cost effective, yet powerful, method of repurposing and synchronizing content (text, audio, video) distribution into various, targeted channels. SONAR allows companies, publishers and entrepreneurs[md]basically anyone with content on their website[md]to monetize it by turning traffic into sales.
SONAR represents five free online distribution channels:
S Syndicate partners, content syndication networks, and user generate content sites
O Online press releases
N Network (social) communities, social bookmarking sites
A Article directories
R Relevant posts to blogs, forums, and message boards
Learning SONAR and incorporating it into your online marketing plan will help you build your business and community through increased traffic generation, bonding, awareness, email collection, and revenues.
Even better, SOANR results are all measurable. You can use simple direct response marketing and PR metrics to track your campaigns for a quantifiable return on investment (ROI).
In a nutshell, SONAR helps you turn content into cash. So if you want to REALLY find out how to monetize your content and propel your business, you've got to check it out!