What you’re about to read is important. If you want to have a successful business – online or offline – then do not simply scan this article and move on in a fit of ADD. Understand it fully and apply it.
I don’t say this to float my own boat. Not at all. I say it because… it needs to be said. We need to come back to business basics. And most people in the online business world gloss over the importance of it. Here we go…
I want to start off this post with something that I bet a lot of you feel…
Internet marketing is a scam. It over-promises and under-delivers. And they’re just trying to extract as much money from your wallet as they possibly can.
Now… do you agree with that statement?
If you do, then you’re not alone.
The reason why is simple. People feel screwed over. They paid good money for a product and then, for one reason or the other, they didn’t experience the goal that the product was promised to deliver.
So, what we have is a situation where the equation of exchange was violated. See, people expect that when they pay out money for something, they’re going to receive something of similar or higher value back. When that condition is violated, it is only a matter of time before a revolt happens.
When you look at the internet marketing space, you see an industry rife with violated exchange conditions. People paid money and they didn’t receive similar or more value back. In many cases, they received LESS value back. And, in a world where information overload is the diet du jour, merely piling on a bunch of information doesn’t necessarily satisfy the exchange condition. The perceived value of information has dropped.
This is simple math. A very simple equation.
And when the equation of exchange doesn’t balance in the customer’s favor, they will not be happy.
Too many internet marketers operate on the idea that information alone is the value exchange. And, it used to be that way. However, in economics, there is a thing called inflation. In an inflation situation, the currency becomes less valuable. It can buy less stuff.
What we’ve experienced is inflation in the economy of information marketing. There is a gluttony of information (much like the federal gov’t keeps printing money). And it creates inflation. The result is that information isn’t as valuable as it used to be. People don’t perceive it as being as valuable.
And, because of that, it serves to offset the balance of exchange yet further. And the entire “industry” gets a bad reputation because of it.
What is Your REAL Product?
This is the question that people need to ask.
In this business, when you hear the word “product”, you think of the form of the thing you’re supposedly selling.
And, most IMers or bloggers, when they hear “you need to have a product to sell”, they immediately start thinking about ebooks, membership sites, blah blah blah.
In other words, they think in terms of the FORM of the product. And, in this business, it is usually some packaging of information.
But, is a big bunch of information REALLY your product?
Does anybody wake up in the morning and think, “You know, I really want some more INFORMATION today!”. Of course not.
So, it is time to completely re-think what it means to have a PRODUCT.
For it to be a real product, it needs to be understood to be valuable – by both you and your customer. It needs to be something which you can exchange out into the world for a return of energy – usually in the form of money or goodwill.
The Danger Of Getting It Wrong
Not identifying your actual product can lead you completely astray and on a path to nowhere.
In the internet marketing world, they operated as if information was their product. But, it wasn’t. Today, their information is a commodity. Their REAL product was people who are successfully making money on the Internet. That was the REAL outcome they were promising to create. In most cases, they didn’t create it and now they’re suffering because of it. If they clearly identified their true product, they’d have run things completely differently.
But, bloggers get this wrong ALL THE TIME.
Bloggers just start writing. They focus so much on growth of readership – usually with ZERO thought about their final product. They haven’t put the slightest bit of thought into the outcome they’re trying to produce for people, and whether that is valuable and exchangeable.
Blog posts aren’t really exchangeable. There’s no way that a blog post will ever suffice an exchange equation that involves money. The only real exchange for a blog post is goodwill (in the form of comments and shares).
Bloggers who try to make money with ads have a difficult time (in most cases) because of the misalignment of what they are DOING to what they are SELLING. See, the only way you make money with ads is when people click and LEAVE YOUR WEBSITE. All your advertisers care about is their OWN sales. If your site isn’t generating them sales, they won’t pay you money because the exchange equation has been violated yet again. The valuable product of advertising is eyeballs on an advertiser’s website, whereas the blogger is operating as if eyeballs on THEIR OWN website is the most important thing. Inherent mismatch.
This is why the mainstream media is so distrusted, BTW. They say their product is to uncover the truth, but their REAL product is to create happy advertisers. Inherent mismatch.
An auto mechanic’s final product is a car which works. They know it and they operate with that understanding (in most cases). If what they were actually doing didn’t actually create that end product, the business would fail. It doesn’t matter how snazzy the shop is, if they don’t produce a functioning car, nobody will care.
Setting Your Compass In The Right Direction
If you want a business built on a solid foundation – online or offline – then what you actually DO needs to be in alignment with the real product – the real outcome – that you’re creating in the lives of others. That product needs to be of value to them – and exchangeable for money.
And then your goal should be the best delivery of that outcome that you can possibly muster.
For Blog Marketing Academy, I, of course, am a happy guy when somebody buys something from my business. Just like any business owner would be. However, my valuable product is a blogger or business owner who is experiencing higher statistics through application of blog-based marketing. Those higher statistics for THEM is my product.
And, if you look up at the logo of this site, you’ll see that signified.
And, if you’re a member of the Academy, you will see that I’m designing things such that the information is only a means to an end. And, I’m busy setting up systems so that we provide real service, real followup… because our job is to produce an outcome for you (or, more properly, help you do it). I’m making a point NOT to be one of those businesses who stop giving a crap after the money is collected.
If I stopped at the sale and operated as if collection of money was my end product, then I would fail. And people will doubt what I say and be very skeptical. And understandably so.
This is how the internet marketing world got a bad name. They mis-labeled their product, and they didn’t work to achieve it.
So, in YOUR case, sit down and create a short and pithy statement of your valuable product. What outcome are you working to create in the lives of others that is exchangeable?
If you have none at all, then you’ve got some work to do. You won’t have a business until you identify it and orient around it.
If you do have one, then a very useful exercise would be to state it in as clear a fashion as you can. It shouldn’t take a paragraph or more. Short and sweet. After all, if your product isn’t understandable by others, it won’t be valuable, either.
And lastly, if you care to share your valuable product, post it in the comments below for feedback.
If you clearly understand what I just wrote in this post, you will be lightyears ahead of the majority of people who claim to study internet marketing courses or “make money blogging” courses.
Clearly understanding your valuable real product will serve to bring clarity and orientation to much of your activity. If something you’re doing isn’t helping you achieve your product, then it is a waste of your time. If it IS making you more able to deliver your product, then pursue it with everything you’ve got.
Information overwhelm will only exist for you if you lack a compass. Online business will only seem confusing and overwhelming if you lose sight of the valuable product you’re creating for others – and is exchangeable.
One never begins a successful online business by asking, “How do I make money online?”. Instead, you should be asking, “What can I produce of value that others need or want, and how can I deliver that to them so that they will pay for it?”
There’s the real truth. And shame on those who make this seem more complicated, or don’t even guide bloggers through this. No wonder so many bloggers are broke!