I’m 35 years of age and I’ve notice a clear (and slightly worrying trend) over the past decade or so which is that time seems to speed up!
2011 has been the first full year in running my internet business and I’ve been super busy, learning new things, creating products and experimenting with marketing and traffic strategies.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes and continue to do so but that’s the way to learn, “fail forward”.
As 2012 beckons this is a great time of year to sit back and reflect on the year gone so let’s take a look at some of the trends in internet marketing that we can learn from…
Clickbank Junk And Well Done Clickbank!
Earlier in the year it was clear that Clickbank (a payment processer, affiliate network and the largest online marketplace for digital products rolled into one) had got itself a pretty bad reputation for a purveyor of junk products and services.
The hype in internet marketing products is always something that I’ve hated but some of the products that were sold through Clickbank were simply utter trash.
I purchased a few just to see what they were like and it was absolutely clear to me that these gutter marketers spend 90% of their effort on promotion, recruiting affiliates to promote for them, creating Hollywood style videos with luxury penthouses, fast cars and exotic locations and 10% on the product itself!
These products have seen refund rates of up to 50% which is truly shocking.
The Clean Up
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) tightened its rules on online promotions in a number of ways a while back (especially regarding the use of results based testimonials) but I think 2011 has been the year when this pressure has started to really have a positive effect on the marketplace.
As of August 1st, Clickbank issued new guidelines as to what it expects of its vendors and affiliates.
One of these changes is, and I quote:
“Vendor accounts with a refund rate of 15% or above, or a chargeback rate of 1% or above, are subject to review and may be subject to corrective action in accordance with the Client Contract, including additional fees, penalties and/or account termination.”
Whilst this has caused some product creators to leave (or get banned?) from Clickbank, overall I think this sends a positive message that change is happening and very real.
15% refunds may still seem high, it is a step in the right direction and remember these are digital products which tend to have a lot of tyre-kickers that buy specifically with the direct intention of refunding anyway.
So well done Clickbank for making these changes and I should be clear that by no means are ALL Clickbank products bad ones – basically this problem has been mainly in the bottom end of the internet marketing niche. There are lots of Clickbank products in different niches which are quality and aren’t overhyped.
Also, Clickbank is a great platform for taking the hassle out of your marketing…
You can acquire affiliates (automatically in some cases!), pay them on autopilot and process payments without any trouble. That’s why I chose to use it for my membership site which launched back in October.
A great rule of thumb which I learnt from Ryan Lee is to use the “10x rule”. Any product you sell should be worth at least 10 times what you charge for it.
That’s what I have tried to do with my membership site. Although it’s early days (2 months since launch) we have lots of members in our community already and the feedback and statistics are looking very promising. Here’s the latest Gain higher Ground Membership refund rate for example:
Keeping It Real
The truth is that if you want to make “big money” on the internet by this time next week, it’s not going to happen.
This year I’ve spoken to countless marketers in all sorts of niches around the World. Some make a few hundred dollars per month part time and some have 7 figure businesses. I even spoke to one who generates 7-figures per month.
But they all have the same thing in common. They all put in work and treat what they are doing like a real business.
None of them have been able to get rich quick from push button software, traffic loopholes or the like. If that stuff really worked then I’d definitely be doing it and I’m sure they would too!
However, the “work” is like nothing I’ve done before. It’s very enjoyable and fun. But you still need to apply yourself and take steps out of your comfort zone. Of course you do.
From the subscriber feedback I’ve received in 2011, I think more and more people are sick of the hype and over-promise, under-deliver approach. We’ve all been burnt in the past and I think the market is really starting to change for the better.
This trend, I think, is set to continue in 2012 🙂
I wrote about my dislike of automated webinars a while back and to be honest I’m still on the fence here.
But webinars in general are a great way of:
- Creating content quickly
- Interacting with your audience
- Providing free content and training for your subscribers
- Building your list (especially when you get other marketers promote your webinars)
- Achieving higher conversion rates than video or traditional text sales copy
I’m relatively new to webinars but I’ll definitely be doing more in 2012 because of these reasons and also, if I’m honest, they’re just great fun for everyone involved!
Trust & Relationships
This previous discuss brings us to possibly the most important shift in online business which is that building trust and relationships with your subscribers and customers is becoming the name of the game.
We have seen big corporates stop advertising their www websites and instead directing people to their Facebook pages where they employ teams of people whose job it is to interact with their customers and prospects.
This is one aspect of how business in general offline and online is getting more personable and interactive.
So get out there, engage and be real.
I recently invested in a course by self improvement expert Brian Tracy (cost me $500 but worth it) in which he pointed out that even if your product is exactly the same as everyone else’s you can gain a huge competitive advantage by introducing your personality into your business.
Nobody can be you.
Everyone has something to offer and you’re wrong if you think you haven’t. Also, confidence comes with time (trust me I know personally!). You don’t have to inject your own personality to make money online as we talked about recently. But it is something worth bearing in mind as it is definitely to be a growing trend.
So… What do you think of 2011? What are your highlights and experiences (good or bad)? Drop a comment or question below and we’ll kick-start the discussion….