My wife Arlene and I are blessed with four children. One of these blessings, sixteen-year-old Victoria, is now learning to drive.
While it is slightly terrifying to teach your own child to drive, I have found that the experience is a good perspective check. For instance, I’ve been watching Victoria watch the road at the expense of watching the speedometer. This is a good illustration of how one important task can often get in the way of doing another, equally important task.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that the longer she spends behind the wheel, the more relaxed Victoria becomes, and the absolute basics of driving start to become second nature. Of course, now she has to learn about changing lanes and parallel parking while still keeping “the basics” in mind.
As another example of a perspective check, I was surprised to learn that London, UK driving schools, such as the AA Driving School and BSI consider an average of 30 hours of instruction to be sufficient before a student takes a driving test. I wasn’t aware that the British were such unbridled optimists.
After 30 hours of instruction, Victoria has become better at watching her speed and attending to the brakes properly, but she really isn’t ready for the “real” road test yet. And keep in mind, she’s learning to drive on the correct side of the road!
I’m sure you’re waiting to hear what this has to do with online marketing, and I won’t disappoint you.
It has occurred to me (and to many of you, I expect) that marketing on the internet has a lot in common with driving a car. You need to learn the basics and take your road test, but even then you’re still a beginner.
However, if at any time you decide that “the basics”, or in our case, website fundamentals, no longer apply, you’re just as likely as the 16-year old driver to end up in a ditch.
Below are the three basic things that new online marketers need to know and veteran marketers need to be reminded of;
1. It’s All About the List
How many people have subscribed to your list in the last week? If you don’t know the number, you should, and if you’re happy with that number, you shouldn’t be.
You’ve heard it a hundred times; the money’s in the list. This means that if you intend to make any real money through online marketing you should not just stay focused on list development, but you should also remain constructively dissatisfied with your numbers.
For the habitual procrastinators among us, like me, there are lots of optional reinforcements. For instance, if you aren’t specifically a marketer, hiring one to help you develop an inviting optin offer would be a good idea. Additionally, aWeber has some very useful marketing software to help you manage your email traffic.
2. It’s Also About the Page
After several years spent as an affiliate marketer and a marketing teacher, I have noticed some very common mistakes made by novices and veterans alike. One very popular mistake is producing scores of informative, entertaining pages with no apparent purpose.
Before crafting a page, you should first decide what you want your website visitors to do when they view that page. Do you want them to;
- click on a Google AdSense ad?
- listen to a podcast?
- click a link and make a purchase?
Once the purpose of the page has been decided on, you will then be able to decide what the page should look like.
Of course, you’ll fill the page with great ad copy, throw in some sub-headlines to keep your readers engaged and add some bullet lists to make the important bits stand out. Then you’ll finish the page with a persuasive call to action and ensure that the button, box or link in question is prominently displayed.
The important thing to remember, though, is to keep the page free of unnecessary clutter. It’s difficult driving traffic to your site when you are simultaneously throwing up roadblocks!
3. It’s Even About the Testing
If you’ve heard about the money being in the list, then you’ve also heard about the need to measure, track and test your website.
It’s much more fun, of course, to build your site and polish your pages than it is to analyze it and figure out if it needs fixing, or worse, disassembling. This is why analytics is possibly the most neglected part of website fundamentals.
While proper analysis is both time consuming and rather boring, it is possible to speed things up with a few tools. Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer are my favorites, and they also happen to be free. Think about it.
It’s Really About Website Fundamentals
If you were to visit the websites of any London or Manchester UK driving schools, you may notice another trend, besides wildly optimistic training schedules. Many schools in the UK and on the European Continent now offer “refresher” courses for experienced drivers who want to “revisit” the basic rules of driving.
That seems rather sensible.
As a matter of fact, this concept could apply to internet marketing as well. If your sales have slumped and your lists are just limping along, it might be time to seriously consider going back to the basics.
If you just take a day or two days and concentrate on list building, purposeful page production and some ruthless measuring, tracking and testing, you might find all of your numbers suddenly rising.
In any event, it should at least keep you from running into a virtual ditch.
I can’t wait to read your feedback.
About the Author
James Martell is well known as an affiliate marketing specialist in outsourcing and SEO. He is a sought after speaker, affiliate marketing trainer and podcaster. James is host of the “Affiliate Buzz”, the first and longest running affiliate marketing podcast in the industry. James is also the host of the Affiliate Marketers “SUPER BootCamp”, where he instructs others on how to earn extra income with affiliate programs. James lives in White Rock BC, a seaside suburb of Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast along with his wife, Arlene and their 4 kids.