There are people who have come to the internet with a solid business plan, a large amount of investment capital, and a precise strategy for how they are going to leverage the internet.
Then there are the rest of us.
Millions of people have arrived on the world wide web. With the notion of making their fortunes, and millions more will arrive in the coming years.
These people hail from all areas of the financial spectrum, from six figure earners to minimum wage employees.
The Digital marketer can be an individual with an extensive background in traditional business, or a high school graduate with no clue about the dynamics of commerce and marketing.
I’ve observed an interesting progression among those marketers who came onto the scene without a road map, and with little idea of how the internet marketing world worked.
Maybe I’ve just watched my own journey, and it makes me feel better to assume others have shared my experience with the different stages of internet marketing. Indulge me a few more paragraphs, if you will, as I lay out what I like to think of as the evolution of the digital marketer.
Stage One: Easy Money… Not!
Right out of the gate, most people seem to think the internet “levels the playing field”, or allows anyone with fingers and a keyboard to generate staggering riches with just a few hours of work each week.
It usually takes a couple of months for this bubble to pop, but when it finally does, the majority of newbies don’t survive the event.
However, when that day of realization comes, and it looms evident that one must actually work this business if they want to see any results.
Confident in the knowledge they have passed those that have given up and fled at the suggestion of putting some hard work in.
Survivors of Stage One move onward and upwards, where surely they will be rewarded for their tenacity.
Stage Two: Hard Work Doesn’t Pay the Server Fees:
In Stage Two, our post primordial net-workers are laboring tirelessly through the deep thickets of website-construction, traffic-generation, email-list-building, and all manner of grueling and structured tedium.
Their behinds sore from being glued to a worn out office chair, and their eyes bloodshot and bleary from the all night clicking sessions, they push on day after day, certain of their forthcoming vindication.
But they still aren’t making any freaking’ money.
And what’s more, they are starting to see past the free web hosts, free classified ads, and free trial memberships.
All the good stuff seems to cost money, but our Stage two had hoped to put off any kind of monetary investment until they could create at least some kind of income to offset such expenditures.
And so another enormous batch of inferior net-workers dies out.
The thought of putting some cash into their web-business was more than their fragile little hearts could bear.
But, as always, those more suited to the challenge live on.
With a deep breath, and a good look at their monthly budgets, the survivors of Stage Two determine they will invest as much money as needed to keep their operations afloat until they are able to become self-funding marketers.
Stage Three: Throwing Money at it Doesn’t Work Either:
Enter the golden age of upgrades and paid memberships.
Five bucks a month for this.
Ten bucks a month for that.
Anything with a PayPal button is fair game.
No longer clueless newbies who think this can be done for free, our marketers are in full stride.
Buying every eBook that comes down the pipeline, upgrading in programs they login to once a month.
Hitting every buy now button they can find, they cruise through cyberspace on a mission to buy their way right to the top.
“I’m not afraid to spend money on *my* business.” they tout.
Lots and lots of money goes out.
Considerably less revenue comes back in.
Inevitably, the moment arrives when those who have made it to Stage Three sees the folly of their current direction.
Maybe it’s when the credit card bill comes, or perhaps it happens when they are balancing the cheque book.
Once again, the brutal process of selection strikes down those without the heart for further trials.
Uncountable numbers of washed-up, would-be internet marketers sink beneath the sludge of this stage.
And once again, that fraction of the whole with the guts and gumption to keep going grow stronger than ever before.
More than a regimen of hard work and the willingness to invest money is needed here, they resolve.
On the verge of a real breakthrough (they can feel it in their bones now), those who have thus far refused to fall decide a well devised plan for all future endeavors is in order.
Stage Four: Plan to Fail, Fail to Plan, and All that Other Crap:
Plans are drawn up to cover every possible aspect of the game from here on out.
A strict but healthy budget is imposed.
Daily tasking is fine-tuned for maximum effectiveness.
Projections are made prior to each ad campaign, and results are measured afterwards.
Tracking, testing, brain-storming, and constant attention to the how’s and what-ifs become paramount.
This carries on for some time.
Until another moment of clarity is reached.
A question is posed…
“Is all of this work really worth the small amount of money I am generating?”
Or, more often…
“How is it that I’m still not making any money?”
This stage progresses rapidly into the next.
Many marketers are lost in the transition, but due to the great speed with which Stage Four becomes Stage Five, a surprising number of marketers actually make the jump.
Stage Five: “What the Hell am I Doing Here?”
Here’s where it gets ugly.
Stage Five is more of a bitter quagmire than part of the evolutionary journey.
Typical phenomenon exhibited by people at this stage include verbal outbursts like:
“Lousy bunch of @#$%! stinkin’ #$@%!!! I can’t believe I’ve wasted three @#$#*& years of my @#$%$# life with this bunch of @!!#$% silly @#$%#@!!!, and still don’t have @#$%## to show for it!”
As you might readily imagine, droves and droves of net-workers die out over the course of this stage.
But those who are able to survive this particularly crucial stretch of development will find the arduous journey has paid off.
For in the breathless, weary aftermath of their well-earned tantrums, an epiphany is born.
Stage Six: The Cold Hard Facts:
This is a business like any other. Hard work, monetary investment, and sound planning are required. All of these combined are not enough to put you into profit.
You have to know what works, and you have to understand to some extent why it works.
Real Knowledge of the market, the methods, and the meaning behind the apparent madness is what makes the difference between a person who works their butt off for nothing, and a person who makes a big, fortune with the same or less effort.
Nobody cares how much money we invest, or how many hours we spend each day in front of our computer.
Competition is fierce, expectations are high, and the only thing that matters is whether we can penetrate, deliver, and get the sale.
This is a pretty far cry from what most of us want to hear. But lessons that are worth learning usually have a bitter taste.
Seek out people who are successful in this field, and find out what they are doing. Watch them.
Ask them questions.
Take notes. Absorb as much knowledge as you can, then put that knowledge into practice.
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Kind Regards Shane.
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