The Internet is 25 years old and is still really nothing more than a young adult. If you look at any other technology – for example, cars – you would see that it takes decades before the real innovation and opportunity starts to exist. As is the case with the Internet, we are only just getting started and there are crazy amounts of money to be made online if you have the right intentions.
Recently I heard a story of a guy who had a blog and sold his 45-page eBook for $20 each. Over the last two years he has sold 15,000 copies. That might sound like a lot but if you do the maths he has made $300,000 – the eBook took him two days to write!
If you have dreamed of owning some of the finer things in life then maybe you should jump into the online space see if you can create something that people love, by using your passion for a niche.
Let’s analyse this further below and find out the 3 reasons why most of you still don’t understand the opportunity that exists online.
1. Piracy is at an all time low
If you had told me that eBooks and audio would be profitable for any person to sell online I would have thought you were crazy. I am starting to see that this opportunity is becoming more and more real because piracy is becoming less and less. The average person wants to be seen to be doing the right thing, so they happily buy things from iTunes or a website if they feel there is value in it.
A few years back, even if there was value in a product, it was all about trying to get it for free and thanks to torrents this was very easy to achieve. More and more Google is blocking search results from torrent sites and the main torrent providers are being closed down. This means that the ultra savvy IT guys can still find the content you are after, but normal people are finding it harder and harder.
Where am I going with al of this? If you have something to educate people on then the time is now to offer that advice in a media form that works for your niche. Go out there and create a podcast, eBook, blog, piece of software, video or photo collection and don’t be afraid to charge a small fee for it.
The key to this is to be providing some sort of value for free first. Gary Vaynerchuk’s method of JAB, JAB, JAB, RIGHT HOOK is a great strategy to employ. This means in simple terms that you will provide advice 3 times for free and then on the fourth time you will ask for a small purchase. When you have provided someone with something they value they almost feel obligated to make a purchase with you at some point.
2. Scale, through social media, is beyond belief
You hear this in so many articles and you are going to keep hearing it on A2S, social media will help you scale your startup better than any other means. There are so many social platforms now and whilst you think the market might be getting crowded, it’s actually allowing you to be much more targeted and explore other avenues that are not Facebook or Twitter. Below are some examples of things that have happened to me that further prove this point.
- The other day I was searching for cool office layouts and I came across a few on Pinterest. I don’t typically use the platform at all, but I found it a great way to find lots of designs all in one place. I then found one I liked and when I click the picture it took me straight to the builder so I could get a quote. My experience started off as social, but it later turned into a sales process.
- If I look at some other things I have brought recently then the social journey seems to start without me even realising it. I started following “The Sugar Film” on Facebook because I am a bit of a health buff, and for the last 3 months I have been reading their content on how to be healthy and being consumed by their very provocative pictures. After 3 months of viewing their content, I finally went and watched their movie. My intention at the start of following them on Facebook had nothing to do with purchasing anything, yet I still ended up doing business with them.
- The same thing happened again on Instagram where one of the success sites I follow regularly posted up cool content that I really loved. Then one day, out of the blue, they said that one of their staff had written a book on success and I should check it out. I ended up buying the book because I found them relevant and trusted their opinion, so when I was looking for a book to read, their opinion was valued in my eyes.
- Then again, I had another experience a few weeks ago. One of the entrepreneurial events I have been following for the last 18 months had another free event. I went along to meet some cool people like I normally do, except this time around there were some products that they were selling. Having been to their events and liking what their whole vision was, I ended purchasing a few things and introduced a couple of my contacts to their brand, who later ended up purchasing as well.
My radar for being sucked into purchasing things online is higher than most and I generally am not a shopaholic, but when I see value in something its only human nature to want to know more. The key to these stories is that the sale happened much later than the first interaction. If you can hold people’s attention long enough then eventually they will be led to a sale if you make it easy and valuable for them. In each of these interactions, the businesses were authentic, real and had my best intentions at heart.
They also all had amazing customer support to back it up (in other words they could answer an email). It is no wonder that more and more millionaires are being born thanks to the online opportunities that now exist, which are being amplified by social.
3. Authenticity online doesn’t really exist
Back to my earlier point, a lot of online businesses are still not authentic. The moment you go to their social media or their website it is very obvious that they just want you to buy. The ones that do it well are the ones that spend their time educating you in authentic way. It’s easy as an entrepreneur to create a product or service, and then to put it out into the marketplace, and assume that everyone understands it and knows how to use it.
I have made this mistake many times before and what I now know is that you have to educate in a simple way if you want anyone to ever do business with you – your business is essentially an online education provider. Most of the online businesses I have seen don’t this or when they do, they educate you in a way that’s not authentic and makes you feel like you are going through a sales process.
The only reason you would ever not be authentic online is if you are not trying to provide value or don’t believe that what you have to say is important. Even if your business message has been said before, it may not have been said in the way that you communicate it, and therein lies the value you bring. If what your business does is important and shaking things up then you will naturally be authentic without even trying to be. Allow the mistakes of your business to shine through. Share things that went wrong with your business or product.
“Pull out your smartphone as much as possible and share videos and photos with your audience”
A recent interview I did with Grammarly really highlighted this for me. Their whole marketing revolves around making funny jokes about Grammar and sharing them with the world. Their hope is that you will read a few of their jokes and then ask yourself “who is this company Grammarly that post up all of these jokes?” When I first saw their product I didn’t believe in it and never ended up purchasing it. When I started to research some content on grammar, their brand popped up everywhere and they gradually started to build trust with me. After a while, I tried their product and it actually ended up being what I was looking for.
This is the power of being authentic online and building credibility with an audience!