Imagine getting lost in a forest of tall trees on an overcast day. You can’t see the sun to get your bearings, and all of the trees look alike. For some reason, you don’t have a compass, GPS or cellphone. If you just take off walking, it is very easy to walk in a large circle until you starve.
This is a bit like the feeling most folks get when just starting out in Internet marketing.
Back when I was a Boy Scout (a *long* time ago), I learned a trick for walking a straight line in such a situation. This is from long before cell phones or GPS, but the analogy I’m trying to make is still useful.
Here’s the method:
- Locate some distinctive marker near you and stand next to it.
- Pick a direction that looks promising. If all directions look the same, pick one at random.
- In your chosen direction, find two more markers in a line. The markers can be trees, large rocks, or any other objects that you can keep in sight. The farthest should be about 100 or 150 yards away, if possible, and the nearest should be about half the distance to the farthest.
- Walk to the marker between your current position and the farthest marker, and use that and the next marker to choose another one farther out in the same line.
- Repeat until you come an impassible obstacle, a road or beaten path, a stream, a town, or other people. If you find other people, you have probably succeeded — unless they are lost, too(!). If they are lost, teach them the trick you are using, and continue on. If you find a town, that is a definite win.
- In the case of an obstacle, road/path, or stream, choose your new direction to be downhill, if possible. Worst case, you may have to backtrack using the same method.
In most parts of the world, that process will lead to a more useful place within a few hours.
Most people need a similar guide to navigating the forest of Internet Marketing (IM). It’s easy to get sucked up by the Shiny Object Syndrome (the forest), which results in buying a bunch of different products which don’t seem to get you where you want to go (i.e., going in a circle).
The best way I have found to deal with that is follow only one guru or teacher.
Here’s how to pick one: Study a half-dozen or so “gurus” (easy to find with a web search on almost anything related to Internet Marketing) without actually buying anything, and pick one who seems to be in tune with your goals. Ignore the sales and special time-limited offers at this stage. Believe me, there will always be sales and rumors of sales.
Then get whatever he or she has for an introductory product. A freebie if one is offered. Skip the inevitable One Time Offer (OTO) and any upsells or downsells (BTW, those are techniques you will want to learn to use yourself!), but do sign up for the mailing list. For the mailing list, I recommend supplying a different email address from your personal one. Get one from one of the freebie providers such as gmail or yahoo. That will keep those mails separate from your personal email, and save you some time sorting through information.
That mailing list is important! You will want to read all of the emails sent to that address, for a couple of reasons. One is to see if the “guru” you have selected has just sold your email to a spam list, in which case, pick another guru and use yet another freebie email address.
A more important reason to read the email is to observe the “guru’s” own sales techniques, to see how closely they match what is being taught. If the guru is teaching a technique that he is not actually using, that’s a clue you need to follow somebody else.
Yet another reason is that the mailing list is quite likely to contain the marketer’s best selling items. You want to examine those offers to see how they are being sold.
This process may take a couple of weeks. If you should decide you don’t much care for your choice, choose another.
Once you have found a teacher you like and trust, follow that teacher.
Finish working through and implementing the lessons of the first product, then decide whether that product provided enough value to justify buying another from the same teacher. Until you have finished that step, however, don’t buy any other IM-related product from anyone, including your current choice of guru. You are basically following a “stream” or “road” at that point, until you get to a place where you can get your bearings.
In most cases, once you have eliminated the scammers (using the simple rules I already provided), it doesn’t matter a lot which of the gurus you follow; what matters is that you don’t wander around in circles. Work the plan until you either reach your goal or have good reason to believe that the guru’s approach doesn’t fit your needs.
Once you have achieved some success with your first teacher, you might decide to find another. That’s what I did.
The first IM teacher I decided to follow was Martin Avis, who publishes an excellent free newsletter called Kickstart, with which he makes a very good living recommending (mostly) affiliate products. He will be happy to show you exactly how to run a newsletter yourself. Meanwhile, click on the photo to the right to sign up for his newsletter.
I followed Martin for over a year before I bought any of his products. (Incidentally, we have become “Internet Friends”) Then I purchased his Ezine Academy course, and I produced a newsletter in one of my favorite niches(*). It wasn’t as successful as I had hoped, but I learned a lot of other things in the process, which I hope will make my next newsletter much more profitable.
My next teacher was a recommendation from Martin. I’ll be writing a lot more about that new teacher later.
(*) For reasons that will eventually become obvious if they aren’t already, I will not be linking from this site to any of my sites in other niches. You can probably find some of them if you are good at doing web searches, but most of my niche sites have nothing to do with IM.