How To Be A Total Newbie To Online Marketing And Not Screw It Up [CASE STUDY]
Being a complete newbie to the world of blogging and online marketing is typically pretty freakin’ confusing. Am I right? There’s the technical confusions, the LOADS of conflicting advice, the tons of tool recommendations which often seem like they do the same thing… and the gurus all pulling you in different directions. Meet “Frank”,…
Being a complete newbie to the world of blogging and online marketing is typically pretty freakin’ confusing. Am I right?
There’s the technical confusions, the LOADS of conflicting advice, the tons of tool recommendations which often seem like they do the same thing… and the gurus all pulling you in different directions.
Meet “Frank”, The Newbie
I want you to meet Frank. Now, admittedly, I’m making up his name to “protect the innocent”, so to speak. 🙂 However, this email from him is real. See, this email was one of the many responses I get every day from my 7-word question that I ask of all new subscribers to the Blog Marketing Academy.
Hi there. First of all let me say that I love the blog. I’m already learning a lot of new things and I really appreciate it David.
I name is [name redacted] and I am a newbie to Internet marketing. I know nothing. Zilch.
First of all, thanks for the kudos. And, we ALL start out as a newbie, so that’s awesome. 🙂
He goes on…
I’ve bought a lot of the tools in preparation for getting my ideas and content out there but I’ve not put them together yet because I lack a cohesive plan for putting it altogether. But I’m working on that by reading blogs such as yours in absorbing as much information as I can on the subject.
Okie dokie. I’ll be honest…. when I read this paragraph, I could already tell that Frank was on the exactly WRONG path to success in online marketing.
- He bought a lot of tools in preparation. NOOOO!! Don’t do that. This is proof positive that Frank got caught up in the shiny object syndrome. He is making the classic mistake of confusing buying a tool which promises a shortcut with the actual act of taking action. But, buying a tool is NOT taking action… it is just spending money.
- He’s in “preparation” to get his ideas and content out there. Why all the “prep”? The only thing you need to get your content out there is a web host and a Wordpress blog. That’s it! From there, all you need to do is open up the post editor and WRITE.
- He’s trying to solve his lack of a plan by reading blogs and absorbing as much info as he can. NOOOO! You will never solve a confusion by introducing MORE information. You can only do it by REMOVING information. More on that below.
The email continues…
The other thing that I am suffering with is with regards to a launch cycle or sequence. I have questions such as, do I need a squeeze page and a sales page? What is the difference between the two if any? And then how do I leave that all into the cycle of auto responders, etc.? Then things like okay so I have optimize press to how do I make that work with my email system provider? Is it on my suppress that handles the auto responders or is it AWeber and the like that are actually the mechanism to make that happen? In other words, do I even need optimize press to utilize a service like AWeber, etc ?
All valid technical questions that newbies often ask. But, here’s what struck me about it…
He shouldn’t be asking questions like this if he doesn’t even have a plan yet, much less gotten any content out there (which he said because he’s still busy preparing).
You don’t have to (nor should you even try) figure out the entire field of online marketing before you even get started. I’ve seen this SO many times over my last 6 years of working with bloggers. I see people allowing themselves to get so inundated with tools and mechanics when they’re not yet ready for it.
Again, I am absorbing as much material as I can from various sources including yours which I really appreciate. Sometimes there’s a little bit too much information out there which is the other trap.
Abso-FREAKIN-lutely. Information overload is one of the largest problems facing newbies to online marketing. Truth it, however, that they completely bring it on themselves.
Nobody is forcing your eyeballs to stare at their website. Only YOU can bring the control and discipline to the table to know when you should be consuming new information… and when instead you should put the breaks on it and just get productive.
Still, in the end I do believe I know more then when I started out and that is a good thing. I’m getting closer to figuring it out but not quite there yet. If I could have these questions answered here then I would be golden.
No, Frank. No you wouldn’t be “golden”. Because the path you’re on will always lead to a sense that you don’t know enough. There will always be that one little tactic that you think will make all the difference. The pot at the end of the rainbow, if you will. And those who look outward for that are the guys who end up in the Warrior Forum buying a bunch of useless bullshit.
I’ll also call Frank’s bluff on this, because if all it takes to make him “golden” here is knowing the mechanics of how Optimizepress works with Aweber and how to make a squeeze page, that info is out there in DROVES! Youtube videos, blog posts, you name it. Why, in all this searching and reading, did Frank not find answers to those questions?
Because he has himself firmly planted in a confusion of his own making, and the path he’s on to try to remedy it is simply making it worse. He’s too overwhelmed to even see whether the info right in front of him is what he needs or not.
Here’s What Frank, The Newbie, Needs To Do Instead…
I’m using Frank’s email to highlight what is all too common, and unfortunately so. While I came down pretty hard on Frank above, the truth is that he is doing what he thinks he should be doing. And he is doing what SO many other newbies to online marketing do as well.
Now, I’ve been blogging for 16 years now. I’ve been generating a six-figure income online as a blogger for over a decade. And, I’ve been specifically working with other bloggers as a mentor and instructor for 6 of those years. So, it is from this vantage point that I give the following advice.
#1 – Realize That YOU Are In The Driver Seat When It Comes To Overwhelm and Info Overload
As I said above, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and confused with all the information and ideas floating around, the absolute worse thing you can do is look for the solution in MORE information. What you need is LESS information.
A confusion is only held in place as long as all things are in motion. Once you start making things still, one at a time, the confusion starts to go away.
When one is just beginning, they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. So, it is easy to see everything as equally important, as quickly changing, and in other words…. moving. What you need to do is TAKE CONTROL.
The first step is to realize that nobody is FORCING you to read all those sites. So, one way to begin making things still is to stop consuming so much information. It is a just a choice you have to make.
#2 – Adopt a “just in time learning” method.
All this means is that your consumption of information should be mostly limited to the exact next thing that you need to do – and nothing more.
As an example, if you haven’t even set up your blog yet or created pillar posts, you have no business trying to figure out the mechanics of webinars, or video marketing, or any of the number of things you could learn out there.
As another example (and I see this one all the time), you shouldn’t be trying to come up with your membership site components and coaching program structure before you’ve even taken in your first email subscriber.
This is just a case of “first things first”.
Now, I fully realize that for this to work, you have to have some kind of global plan of action. Otherwise it can be difficult to know what steps should go first. More on that one soon. 🙂
#3 – Don’t Collect Tools
Collecting plug-ins and tools isn’t going to get you any closer to your goal. You wanna know why? Because you don’t even know what your goal is yet!
The ONLY time you should buy a tool is when you already are crystal clear on the exact outcome you need to get, and you know that THAT tool will speed it up. If you’re not clear on that exact outcome, then you’re left judging that tool by its sales page. But, EVERY sales page is designed to make that tool seem like the coolest thing since the invention of the Internet. 🙂 It is designed to SELL.
That also lends itself to the problem of feature overlap, where we see all these cool tools doing much the same thing. For instance, we have LeadPages, OptimizePress, Ten Minute Pages, Hybrid Connect, OptinMonster (and a TON of others) that all will help you build your email list. There are a bunch of landing page creators out there. There are a ton of opt-in form plug-ins for Wordpress. And every one of their sales pages will tell you that their plug-in is the most awesome thing ever.
If YOU don’t have your desired outcome crystal clear, you can end up collecting tools which do much the same thing. You’ll end up owning multiple tools which you don’t even know how to use yet, nor would you know in which instances to implement them.
So, in addition to a “just in time learning” method for information, you should adopt a “just in time buying” method as well. Only buy what you need to get your next step done.
Look, I could buy every carpenter’s tool out there and it doesn’t mean I’d be any closer to building a house. M’kay? It just means I’d be broke as a joke.
#4 – You can’t inflow and outflow at the same time.
Our minds are like one-way check valves. We can either be producing…. or consuming. We can’t do both simultaneously.
If you want to make headway on any goal, there is only one thing which will produce it: work. Real, honest production.
That means you having a plan, outlining the actions you will take to get it, and then buckling down and executing that plan of action.
That flow of effort on your part… that’s OUTFLOW. It is an outflow of energy from you to the world to produce an outcome you want.
Now, we know that needs to happen. Which means you have to turn off the inflow while you do it. No reading blogs. No reading promo emails. No watching videos. That’s all inflow… where you’re allowing the outside world to pump pixels into your eye sockets.
The ONLY time you should allow that during production time is when you are holding true to the “just in time learning”. In other words, if the exact thing you’re working on is being furthered by learning something specific in some video on Youtube, then by all means… watch it. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
To Be Continued…
Probably the largest problem for Frank, and any newbie coming into this very big world of online business, is the lack of a clear plan of action.
So, I created something. And I’ll share it with you on my next post.
For now, if you’re not already on my Academy email list, please be sure to take care of that right now so I can be sure to notify you when the next post goes live…
I’m almost tempted to pull the sheet over my face because, shoot me, most of my mistakes as a newbie are recorded here. All well, I guess I still score better points than Frank, in that I launched a self-hosted blog before going a-fishing for all whatnots. Having a definite goal and plan of action resonate with me. Thanks for this, David.
I like that you focus on “overload”. I think it’s an issue for most not just newbies. There are just too many options we have. It is actually hurting people. If you only gave yourself one of two options, it would be easier to stay focused.
Definitely some truth to that. BTW, I just replied to your email about the interview. 🙂