Clarity is a HUGE part of IM success. I hope this post brings some clarity. It's so simple when you know it -- and darn difficult when you don't! I owe my mentors a world of thanks for bringing this clarity.
IM is actually pretty simple: you can sell only one of two things:
And selling products or services online happens in the same basic way for everyone, no matter what they're selling:
Traffic > Opt-in page > Autoresponder series (or e-zine) > Sales page
That's it! It's just that simple. (We IMers tend to overcomplicate things.)
But no matter what your niche is, or whether you're selling a product or a service, do you know what your business model is?
A business model is the framework or skeleton of your business. Essentially there are three types of online business models:
- Membership-based model
A membership-based business model allows you to build a community of people (your members) who are as passionate about your subject as you are. Your membership fees can be monthly or annual, but either way, you're building recurring, passive income.
There are a lot of resources and information out there to help you build a membership-based business if you're interested in doing this.
- Product-based model
Selling products allows you to maximize your time and effort by selling items over and over again. This can be hard goods or it can be information products. Information marketing is it's own business model under the product-based model. Information marketing allows you to take your brain to the bank by creating a product ONCE based on what you know and selling it over and over again.
Affiliate marketing falls under both models. You can choose to market either products or services as an affiliate.
- Service-based model
Selling services can be great for 1) generating quick cash (as in the case of article writing or video producing) and 2) establishing your expertise and getting testimonials.
However, in the long run, your goal should be to offer services at a PREMIUM. The biggest advantage of IM is LEVERAGE. You're able to leverage your time, money and expertise exponentially online. We all have just 24 hours each day. Time to get ruthless about what you expect for those hours you spend in IM each day. Expect more of yourself and more from your business friends, clients, partners, etc.
What results are you getting for those hours you spend online each day? Ultimately, your services should be at the bottom of your funnel and cost the most since they involve your time and personal attention. (We all have a limited amount of time each day.)
The fun (and confusion) comes in with all of the endless mix-and-match possibilities of the above models. If you're just starting or still struggling to make money, keep it simple:
Pick just ONE!
Pick ONE niche. (Something you're interested in and know something about.)
Pick ONE target market for your product or service. (Who will buy what you're offering? The more specific you are, the more you narrow it down, the more successful you'll be.)
Pick ONE business model.
Now that you're clear about what business you're in, FOCUS! (And stop buying any info not related to your niche and target market, period!)
F -- Follow
O -- One
C -- Course
U -- Until
S -- Successful
And remember: build a list, Build a List, BUILD A LIST!
In IM, it's easy to put the cart before the horse. Take a deep breath, step back and consider what type of business you REALLY want. Don't worry about getting traffic or buying that expensive traffic product until you know 1) what your business model is, 2) what niche you're in and 3) WHO your target market is!
Successful business people will tell you that MARKETING is more than half the effort that's needed for success anyway. So pick a niche, target market and business model. Then spend most of your time and effort marketing it.
If you DON'T have a solid plan or system, THAT'S when it's hard. A good system will shave YEARS (and save you big $$$) off of your learning curve
That's why I recommend investing in at least one good, comprehensive IM course (or mentor who will give you such a system) instead of jumping from one $37 e-book to the next. A lot of people here complain about not being able to make any money. But neither are they willing to invest in their business. (Buying a random bunch of $37 e-books doesn't count.)
The best thing I ever did was invest in a comprehensive IM course aimed at REAL business owners, not just other IM wannabes. Yes it was $1500. (It's no longer available.) But it was truly some of the best A-Z IM info I ever bought. Everything else I've learned (from the $37 e-books) since has simply been plugged into this system.
My two best recommendations for phenomenal IM training programs are Ali Brown's Elevate program (ElevateBizTraining.com) and Jeff Walker's Product Launch Formula (ProductLaunchFormula.com)
Get a solid plan or system and then work the plan!
Hope this helps!