The whole premise of me running this blog is to help YOU, my readers, be more successful in your online interactions. Unless you’re expanding your social presence just for fun or in anticipation of something you plan on doing in the future, part of that interaction is going to be what web developers call “The Money Site”. Your money site is where all your interaction should lead back to. It’s the place where you convert your followers into leads, and converts your leads into sales.
Landing Pages and Middle School Marketing
I know that some online personalities will tell you to link back to social media profiles, but that is a self-destructive practice. You don’t control what happens on your social network profiles, but if you are smart about your design and strategy, you can exert quite a bit of control with a design of your own creation. I’ve also heard others suggest linking to a site like Xeeme instead of your own blog. The thinking behind this is that instead of doing one action on your blog, they will add two of your social media profiles.
If you have a mild understanding of the different social media sites that are popular right now, you’ll know that they aren’t very effective for communication with strangers, and even if you send an update your followers are far more likely to miss it than to get it. Are you trying to inflate the numbers on your social media account, or create directed leads? I’m not saying you can’t turn someone into a lead through social media, you definitely can, but even the best online networker will not be able to maintain a relationship of any real value with more than 200 contacts at any one time. The science behind a landing page isn’t anything new, but it still works in a highly technical online setting. Limit their choices, grab their attention, drive the conversion.
What Trees do Profits grow on?
Online business has become increasingly popular since the economy fell this last time. The tech bubble in 2001 drove entrepreneurs from of the Internet, and the real estate bubble later in decade has brought them back. A lot of online businesses run their course the same way an offline business does; they fail after the profits and success doesn’t come to fruition.
If it was really easy, everyone would be making money online. In reality you’ll need to have a plan, and your plan needs to first of all be possible. A common formula for website profit generation looks like: Website + ????? = Profit!!! Now how stupid is that? Your plan needs to be more detailed than that. You need to know how you plan on deriving profit from your traffic, how you plan on generating traffic, what kind of numbers you need to make it all work, and a timeline for when your plan should be a reality. It isn’t going to happen overnight, online business is the tortise’s race. Your websites won’t even register on Google properly for at least 9 months, and sometimes longer. I have heard bloggers brag about getting a dramatic increase in traffic during this period and attributing it to their popularity. Once your articles start registering in SERPs, you’re just beginning.
Take Lessons from Real Business in the Real World
I learned all I needed to know about connecting the dots of a business plan from my region’s most important industry, coal mining. When you get into the coal mining business, you make profit by selling coal that is generated at the face of the mine to a buyer who buys the coal if it’s sitting in their parking lot. If you start at the face with your planning, you will go bankrupt before you get halfway to the buyer. The correct order of planning is from your buyer to the coal itself. First you examine your product (core holes, exploration, projections and mine planning). After you know what you have, it is time to plan from the outside in.
- Find a buyer who is looking for your specific product. Agree on a price and contract.
- Hire a firm to truck the coal from your wash plant to the buyer.
- Contract a preparation plant to wash and sort your product to make it suitable for market.
- Put in an order for the appropriate amount of train cars to ship the coal from the mine to the wash plant.
- Construct a belt from the train-car loading hopper to the stockpile
- Build or repair the roads used for workers and equipment to access the mine
- Plan in full detail the method you will use to transport coal from the face to the stockpile
- Now you are ready to cut the coal
If you started mining coal before putting all of the links in this chain, your whole operation will fail. The railway from your mine to the wash plant may not support the weight of modern cars. What do you do then? You can always hire a trucking company to do the job of the train, but they will cost more, and it’s possible that the added cost will render your mine unprofitable. It is important to understand that product cycle can be broken by one weak link, and you should start your planning from the outside in. Your idea could be sparked by any step along the way (the core drilling and reserve study is the spark in mining), but once you realize you know what yu’re going to be mining, it is important to make sure that there is an adequate market, and that you’re using the right sales, marketing and conduit to service that market.
Most entrepreneurs leave out links of the chain when it comes to online business, and they never complete the product cycle. They may produce content and have a buyer for their traffic (ad sense), but they never figure out how to get the traffic to their blog, or create click throughs. Others have lots of traffic being generated, but don’t know how to retain users or how to drive them to conversion. Most how-to blogging articles try and teach you how to implement or improve a link in your chain, but it has sometimes has the negative effect of making people who are trying to develop a blog lose sight of the big picture.
Do you have a comprehensive plan for how your online property will pay off in the end? Is profit or value important to you? Or is the driving force behind your networking vanity? I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing (it may be a waste of time from a business point of view), but if you know that you don’t have any plans to monetize your online presence, there are ways to optimize your other goals that may not mesh with someone who is trying to maximize profits. Filter the sources you use to educate yourself so you spend your research time wisely, and you don’t pick up habits that aren’t right for your goals. If your plans are working marvelously, let us know in the comments. If you thought planning was something you did in a garden, put your plea for assistance in the ccomments!