There has been so much talk and publicity surrounding social networking and Internet marketing that it is easy to feel “out of touch” with what’s going on out there in cyberspace. The truth is: If you know how to market using the traditional methods such as print ads and direct mail, you are most of the way toward being able to use the tools provided by technology today. The most important adage still applies: Know your target audience.
One of the greatest values presented by the growing dominance of Internet marketing is in its ability to help you to create hyper-targeted marketing campaigns. Through the use of tools such as email auto-responders and opt-ins, you can build an incredibly focused list that is yours to market to at any time. The auto-responder allows you to automate a campaign that can run for days and months. If you don’t know your target market, it won’t matter if you can’t use an auto-responder or an opt-in. They’re useless in a “spray and pray” approach to marketing. Fortunately, they aren’t as costly as a snail mail campaign gone bad.
There is no “trick” to Internet marketing. If you bombard potential leads with garbage, that’s exactly where your electronic marketing material will end up. To be successful it is absolutely vital that you lead with value. If you can provide useful information to people, they will most definitely be more receptive to what you have to offer in terms of service, or product or business opportunity. This is where the social networking component fits into the picture. It is tied to another well-known adage in business: Build relationships with your clients. The social networking sites that are hot right now include Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. These sites allow you to present an image of yourself or business to people all over the world. You do need to be aware of the tools and how they are used by others. If you’re not careful, you will quickly find your Twitter account loaded with spammer turds. Some people feel the need to cut right to the pitch, not unlike those at a live networking event that walk up to you and hand you a card before they’ve listened to whether or not you’d be a qualified lead or even asked you for your name. They’re working a “numbers game”. And that’s OK for them, but I’m personally not interested in doing business with people like that. I remember hearing that Warren Buffet has 3 questions he asks before he goes into a business deal: Do I like them? Do I respect them? Do I trust them? Seems pretty reasonable to me, and I think Warren Buffet knows something about business.
So before you start worrying about how you can use social networking and Internet marketing to drive business, start thinking about what your ideal client looks like. If you stick to some of the time-tested marketing strategies, you will have no problem learning the tactics involved with using technology to gain new leads and clients.
Do you believe we are a “blank slate” to be filled in with beliefs that are built on experience and perception as John Locke professed? Or does humanity have a predetermined course based upon genetics?
Nature versus nurture is a long-held philosophical debate and its influence can be seen clearly in those reaching out toward entrepreneurship. An entrepreneur must be able to maintain a strategic view of a business and be able to guide that vision to completion through executing a plan. The tactics used to achieve that goal are largely dependent on the entrepreneur’s leadership abilities and self-awareness. Leadership and personal development theory are premised on the belief that we are in control of our thoughts and actions and must make the conscious effort to make the changes we want in our lives. They also hold that these traits can be learned and developed. To be able to lead others, we must be able to lead ourselves. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the first step in the process of self-improvement is to figure out who you are. This internal realization will give birth to the remaining steps you must take toward using your potential.
Many philosophers and self-help experts agree that we never reach the “end” of this journey, as it is a continual process toward self-awareness and personal growth. Jean Piaget is famous for positing the theory of cognitive developmental stages in humans, and this system can account on a general scale for many of the major milestones we reach in how we think. Of course, these stages alone do not make us complete. Piaget’s stages basically stop at age 12 into adulthood, and that stage, “concrete operational”, can be developed and refined significantly as one gathers experience. In addition to experience, there are other variables such as environment, cultural biases, and emotions that influence who we are and how we think. These have been impacted greatly by some profound technological advancements.
Today our environmental and cultural influences are obviously quite different than they were even 30 years ago. As technology has developed, one of the most exciting uses of it is the Internet. And within the context of the Internet, one of the most recent development in the last several years is the proliferation of social networking sites. These sites have removed many of the physical barriers that have separated us from one another across the planet, and they allow us to connect with other like-minded people.
This ability to connect on such a massive scale is what leads me to believe strongly in the “nurture” side of the philosophical argument. I believe that the slate begins as a blank, transitions to being filled in with the conditioned behaviors we learn through childhood development, and can then be re-written where necessary in adulthood. By surrounding yourself with people that share the same values and beliefs, you can influence the change you want to see in yourself and re-write your own story.
My friend and coach, Rhonda Zwelling, gave me a great golden nugget today that I just had to share. She told me it is vital for us to clear the negative thoughts and beliefs from our lives to “create a space for positivity”. The imagery of this statement is striking to me. I have always understood the importance of positive thougt, and the detrimental effects of negativity, but I never had a reference that I could tangibly equate to changing some bad habits I have acquired through countless years of condtioning. To understand the process that we must undertake to achieve positivity, I have to go back to one of my favorite quote sources, Aristotle:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
I’ve heard this quote reworded many different ways, and another that comes to mind is from Jimmy Jacobs, who was one of the greatest handball champions of all-time, and later Mike Tyson’s co-manager in the early days of Mike’s fighting career. Jacobs was asked about whether Tyson’s fight schedule, which had him in the ring every two weeks, was prudent. I’ll paraphrase his response as best as I can here:
The more you do something, the better you get at it. Even if it’s throwing rocks at a telephone pole, the guy who does it every two weeks is going to be better at it than the guy who does it once every two months.
So, the question becomes, “What do you do repeatedly?”. You can reprogram your mind and acheive excellence in any area of your life that you choose, if you do the work. And the work does not need to be (and cannot be) completed in a day. When you are ready to take the journey, step out, find a guide or a mentor (not a guru), and start being the change you want to see in yourself.
After reading Katie Freiling’s excellent, three-part blog on the interconnectedness of being, “Down the Rabbit Hole“, I was reminded of a quote from Aristotle on the importance of nurturing the soul. The teachings of Aristotle were a major influence on my life and together with the lessons of Socrates and Plato, they formed in me a dedication and committment to education. Aristotle is known to have given lessons to 3 different future kings of Greece, so he knew a little about power, and how it should be used for the greater good of society.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from him:
I do nothing but go about persuading you all, old and young alike, not to take thought for your persons or your properties, but, and chiefly, to take care about the greatest improvement of the soul. I tell you that virtue is not given by money, but that from virtue comes money, and every other good of man, public as well as private. This is my teaching, and if this is the doctrine which corrupts the youth, I am a mischievous person.
As we continue to grow in wisdom and mastery of our skills, it is vital to our society and our culture that we “give back”. There is a mindset you must have in order to be truly successful in whatever you choose to do. That mindset is rooted in the nurturing of the soul, or the self, or whatever it is you want to call the energy in you that is your being. The universe is made up of this energy, which is interconnected throughout space and time. And without giving it back to the place from which it came, you will eventually wind up “empty”. In truth, when we give back to the universe, we are also giving back to ourselves.
To see what some great teachers are doing to give back, check out these excellent people that are helping make a difference: (Jonathan Budd, Katie Freiling, Scott Brandon Hoffman). They are examples of a society within the larger culture (a new academy promoting value and integrity through social networks).
It has always been funny to me that the verb “doing” is spelled exactly like the sound effect that is sometimes used when describing a off-key bell: “DOING!”. What I have noted in all of the personal development courses, books, videos, blogs, Vlogs, CD’s, tapes, and seminars I have seen is that you will not get where you want to go unless you are doing something about it.
The steps are generally the same:
1. Write down what you want
2. Start doing what needs to be done to get there
I do not disagree with this at all. Obviously, you cannot sit back and wait for life to happen. One person’s “Why” will be always be unique to another’s and neither will be more valuable or necessarily more important than another’s. The only real difference between people who get to where they want to go, and those that do not, is Step 2. The people that make it to where they want to be will answer the call of that off-key bell and start: DOING!
Waiting for everything to be perfect before you begin your life as an entrepreneur is procrastinating. If you truly desire success, you must be willing to take the risks associated with it. If a baby bird stays in the nest too long, the mother bird will force it out, whether it can fly or not, because it will have become too much of a burden to the mother bird, but more importantly, to itself. We are fortunate that as entrepreneurs we do not have to fear being pushed from a great height, but if we don’t push ourselves, we will not experience any successes or failures to learn from, and what’s the point of that?