10 Things I Learned from the Internet Marketing World in 2010

I had the chance this year to attend about a dozen events and buy products or packages from entrepreneurs who are following the internet marketing model. These entrepreneurs make their money through coaching programs, information products, and events, to name a few revenue streams. They’re savvy and aggressive with their marketing (at least compared to most of us). You may love them; you may hate them; some of them can be downright addictive. Here’s what I learned from them.

    1. Excellent, professional, persuasive copywriting matters more than most entrepreneurs realize. I see this every day in my web site business. The client web sites that I am able to write copy for outperform the ones where the owners do their own writing. But you can almost tell the entrepreneur’s income level by how well s/he writes copy. It’s that dramatic of a difference.


    1. Selling and marketing online in the internet marketing model is more formulaic than you would ever guess. Each Internet marketing entrepreneur is following a strict process that has worked for them over and over again. It feels casual when you interact with them, but there are solid, proven procedures and well-defined systems behind the success of these individuals.


    1. It’s tremendously personal. The internet marketers are selling themselves, and personality has a huge amount to do with it. Emotional control and maturity is required for success in this industry.


    1. The skill required to become an internet marketer is enormous. Most of the internet marketers were highly adept at speaking and teaching skills, performing under extreme pressure, organizing and delivering data, marketing and selling, writing, conducting group programs, hiring and managing staff, and juggling aggressive public relations schedules and TV appearances. The stress management and mental skills needed to become an aggressive marketer and to take criticism are challenging as well.


    1. I could still learn from them even if I disliked their advice or methods. Most of the internet marketing events were so far from what I am used to with content delivery, structure, and pricing, that it was a whole new world from the conservative corporate and continuing education world I inhabit. But that’s OK, because I can still pick up new tips. I don’t have to implement everything I learned. I can choose what works for my value system and act accordingly. My alternative was to close my mind, make a judgment call, and leave, like most people would have done. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as useful.


    1. The marketing was more important than the product or service. These truly were marketing-centric organizations. This was one of many things I disagreed with this year, but the priorities, structure, and decision-making –and resulting issues — were fascinating to watch.


    1. These multi-million dollar businesses were all bootstrapped. Most Internet marketers funded their own business and never relied on outside financing. This is an amazing feat when you think about it.


    1. The more risk, the more reward, and the more headaches. The more aggressive marketers expect some amount of buyers’ remorse, returns, and people not paying their remaining installment payments.


    1. Business can look any way you want it to. Many of these entrepreneurs are doing multi-million dollar revenue levels from their home on limited staff, many of whom are virtual. Your business can pretty much look however you want it to these days with technology, globalization, and a mobile workforce.


  1. In the “new normal” that we’re all living in, it pays to go outside your industry to learn fresh new ideas. One thing that was important to me was to learn a new idea, filter it for my values, my vision, and my way of doing business, and implement what feels right for me, my clients, and my team.

Too often, we see something radically different from what we’re doing and judge it negatively just because it’s different. When this happens, I think we shortchange the entire world. We don’t benefit from any learning the other person could offer us. But most importantly, we sell ourselves short by not trusting ourselves to be able to discern and choose what’s right for our businesses. There’s always a nugget to be gained, and in today’s new normal, it pays to look in places you might not have looked before.

I know I am smarter from this year of intense learning and will be able to serve my clients at a higher level in 2011.