Before I start, I’d like to send out a HUGE “thank you” to everyone that completed my short survey (btw, if you haven’t taken the survey yet, please do. You can find it here). I’ve had a ton of responses so far and it’s all been quite enlightening for me. What I want to talk about today is based off one question I asked of you and what I feel is the best way to take your online earnings to the next level.
When I set up that survey here on my blog, I had a lot of preconceived ideas of what the majority of answers would be. Well, I was wrong about a few of them (hey, I can be wrong now and then, can’t I? lol!)
One question in particular gave me good insight into the WHO I am talking to on this blog. I’ll admit that at times I blog about things I am interested in and just might miss the mark of talking about things that YOU want to know.
The question I am referring to is the very first question of the survey:
What is the MAIN reason why you want to make money online?
Here’s what I thought the majority answer would be – “To bring extra income in“. I really, really, thought my readers were folks looking for additional income.
I actually took that survey myself, but tried to answer from my perspective back when I was a year or so into all this internet marketing stuff.
“To bring extra income in” was my answer. That is what I primarily wanted back then.
The concept – heck, the possibility of this being more than “extra income” had not even entered my mind. Yes, I thought it was totally possible that I could make enough money online to help our household as an additional income stream so I wouldn’t have to work outside the home – but the thought that my earnings from internet marketing could become the primary household income and totally change our financial life and life style…. yeah, well that wasn’t even imaginable at that point. Not by a long shot.
In the survey, “my” answer was actually the 2nd most popular answer. The most popular answer was – “To hopefully replace current income/work for myself some day“.
Ladies and gentlemen, that makes my heart sing!
Yep, I know, that sounds corny, but it’s true. It makes me SO excited to know that I am talking to a lot of people who really want to DO this…and take it all the way.
Why This Matters To Me
Please keep in mind that there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to any of the questions on the survey, ok? What I wanted was to know more about YOU. I can help more if I know what your goals are and what your hold-backs are.
The only way to know is to ask – and then listen.
So that’s what I decided to do and now I know that I have a large amount of folks that really want to take all this to the next level. That’s fun and exciting for me =)
Here is a chart that shows how all the answers to that question broke down in case you’re interested in how your answer fit in with the other answers.
See that aqua-blue area? That’s those that answered “to hopefully replace current income/work for myself someday“. Interesting to note, the red area represents those that wrote in their own “other” answer to this question. As I read through the “others” I see that many had the same concept of replace income/work for myself – just worded differently.
So, based on that, I’d like to talk about taking it all to the next level.
What is that something that helps you take earning some money online to the next level of really doing it in a big way?
Taking It To The Next Level
There’s a term out in the corporate world called “T-Shaped”. Companies are looking to hire ‘T-Shaped’ employees.
Here is a really good definition of “T-Shaped” as it applies in the corporate world.
What’s a T-shaped person?
T-shaped people have two kinds of characteristics, hence the use of the letter “T” to describe them. The vertical stroke of the “T” is a depth of skill that allows them to contribute to the creative process. That can be from any number of different fields: an industrial designer, an architect, a social scientist, a business specialist or a mechanical engineer. The horizontal stroke of the “T” is the disposition for collaboration across disciplines. It is composed of two things. First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes. Second, they tend to get very enthusiastic about other people’s disciplines, to the point that they may actually start to practice them. Tshaped people have both depth and breadth in their skills.
This concept of being “T-Shaped” is a really big something when it comes to taking your online earnings to the next level.
I am guilty of spending too much time on expanding the vertical part of your “T” – and not nearly enough time of enhancing the horizontal line that makes you a “T”. I’d like to help make YOU T-Shaped =)
That vertical “I” line is your skills. The things you need to learn how to DO in order to make money online. The reality is, it’s takes us all a good bit of time to hone our skills – or to even get them to “good enough” – but that top “T” line is what it’s all about when you want to amp things up.
What’s difficult is convincing people to stop spinning their wheels on the vertical “I” stuff. I’d bet the majority reading this have enough skills right now to get to working on their horizontal line. Hey, you can outsource skills…but you can’t outsource the horizontal stuff.
The horizontal “T” area is most important, and that’s where I spend the majority of my time. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m always learning and working on my skills… I love to learn and improve.
Anyway, let me see if I can give you a visual of what I’m talking about.
Here is my version of the T-Shaped concept, but for those of us trying to make money online –
We talk about keyword research, article marketing, WordPress stuff, different tools and tactics and strategy – but all those things can a) lead us to being “Stuck” in learning mode looking for the one magical thing we can do – and b) make us an I-Shaped marketer.
To take it to the next level you not only have to learn certain skills and learn how to get your message findable – but you need to work on your message.
Not just the “what” of your message, but the how it is presented.
Your ‘message’ can be anything from an affiliate review site to your own product or service – that part doesn’t matter.
What DOES matter is something I’m sure you’ve heard before:
“Find what people want and give it to them”
When we first read a statement like that, it feels as if it’s all so simply easy – but when you try to apply it, things get hairy.
Here’s an example:
Ok, I see from my keyword research (a skill) that people want a new vacuum cleaner. Easy enough! I’ll just go make a little WordPress affiliate site (a skill) and put some content on it (a skill), build some links to it (a skill) – maybe do some social bookmarking (a skill) and some article marketing (yet another skill). Then, traffic will come in and I’ll magically make sales.
Then it happens – you do all that. You put all those skills in action and you actually DO get ranked and DO get traffic…but ya ain’t getting the sales you thought you would.
What the h-e-double-hockey-sticks happened?
Here’s what happened… you were an I-Shaped Marketer.
Your forgot about the most important thing – your message.
Just slapping some content on a site and doing things to get found in hopes that people will trip by and click your affiliate link is not enough. It sounds good in theory, but it doesn’t cut it.
What about your message?
What do people find when they actually DO come to your site?
You decided to go ahead and give people what they want – your affiliate link to the product, right?
They (ie, people) are looking for something…and it’s not an affiliate link.
This is where something really important about the definition of a T-Shaped person comes into play…
…First, empathy. It’s important because it allows people to imagine the problem from another perspective- to stand in somebody else’s shoes.
When people come to your site or your review page…are they finding content that speaks to them? Are you really taking the time to figure out WHAT people want and want to know?
This is why the reviews on Amazon.com are so doggone profitable and popular. It’s real people talking about that product. They give real life answers to real life questions regarding that product.
Many consumers love those reviews because that content is continuing a conversation that is already going on in the consumers head. Odds are good that someone in those reviews is going to answer questions I have…and probably tell me things I hadn’t thought about.
I know that happens for me.
Not too long ago, I wanted a steam mop. I thought I knew what I wanted – that is, until I started reading the reviews on Amazon. Turns out that the mop I thought I wanted is not actually what I needed – it wasn’t right for me so I ended up getting a different steam mop and I’m quite happy with it.
Those reviews helped me. They got into my head and shared things that I wanted to know, and NEEDED to know, in order to make a good, informed purchase that I felt good about.
Does your affiliate site do that?
Please, PLEASE don’t say, “But I have unique content on my site!”
That is NOT what I’m talking about.
Let’s face it, what is “unique” to a computer algorithm is NOT what is considered unique or helpful to PEOPLE.
Many people take the “easy way” out of writing truly unique content for their site. They spin, they rewrite, they copy/paste info and reviews from Amazon or whatever the merchant site is – or they just start writing hoping to get their keywords in there somewhere.
And it’s so backwards. The MESSAGE on your site should be the MOST important piece of the process. When your message is good and helpful and unique, then you’ll find you don’t have to work your skills so hard – real live OTHER people will do it for you.
They will love sharing your site on FaceBook or Twitter…linking to it from their site or via an email to a friend. You use enough of your skills to get your message found, and then things start happening without any effort on your part.
Unique Content is NOT Enough
Just because your site content is unique enough so that Google deems it “different” from other pages in their index doesn’t really mean much at all.
And I think that we all know that. We fight it though…we want the easy way to get ranked, get traffic, and make sales.
We fuss and moan that Google “hates affiliate sites” – when we do understand that they don’t hate ALL affiliate sites…and we do know how to be the sites Google does like.
Google likes what PEOPLE like.
By being helpful… by giving people what they want. People don’t want a 500-word article on why they need a vacuum that we cranked out in 5 minutes or less – and neither does Google.
Both Google AND people want your VOICE…and they want to come across a message that actually tells them things they want and need to know.
If you’re going to take it to the next level, you’ll need to let go of the “unique to Google” concept and start really writing with people in mind.
Bottom line – if you’re wanting people to take an action on your web page (ie, click something, opt in, buy something, Tweet or Like you, etc), then please PLEASE…. WRITE FOR PEOPLE.
You can use all the “I” marketing skill things to write stuff to get found…but the page you’re ultimately trying to get found needs to have PEOPLE as the main focus.
How Do I KNOW What People Want?
One really good way to KNOW what people want is to simply ASK and then listen. However, with a new site with no traffic, who ya gonna ask, right?
Instead, go to Google and listen. Get in there and find conversations real people are having about your type of product or service. You can spend 30 minutes doing what I outline in The Mind Eraser Method (free when you get my on email list here at PotPieGirl.com – see the top of the page) – and in those 30 minutes you could know a boatload of what PEOPLE want and need from your message.
Above all, stop selling – and start putting yourself in the consumers shoes and start helping them. Be creative with it and offer something that they’re NOT seeing on every other affiliate site in your query space.
Is it “easy”? Well, yes in a way it is…but many will read this and think, “Man, that is too much WORK!” and off they’ll go looking (again) for the magic “easy button”.
But for those that DO decide to put a little bit of extra effort in, well, they’ll have the upper hand and a faster route to the “next level” because they are willing to do what others WON’T do.
Start with your message – THEN use your skills.
Don’t get hung up trying to perfect your skills… work on perfecting your message.
Thanks again to all who took the survey! If you haven’t taken it yet, please complete my survey here.
You can get a free copy of The Mind Eraser Method via the email signup box at the top of each page here at PotPieGirl.com
Questions? Comments? Fire away in the comments area.