When you look back at how things have changed in the internet marketing world over the past 10 years, it’s pretty incredible.
I wasn’t making a living online in 2005, but I have spoken with many marketers who have made it clear that the game was entirely different back then. The internet was still relatively new, it was easier to reach people, and those who started content-rich websites could do well much easier.
Today, it’s completely different. On one hand, people are spending more time and money online than ever before. On the other, everyone and their dog is starting up a website and trying to earn a living from it.
This trend is set to continue, and as technology continues to advance, it’s interesting to see where we’ll be at in 10, or even just 5 years from now. Let’s take a look at what the future of internet marketing has in store for us, and how we can prepare for it now.
1. The Rich Will Get Richer, But Newbies Can Still Succeed
Those who already have established, authority blogs will continue to do extremely well and will actually continue growing as more and more people gain access to the internet.
After all, it makes sense. Today’s big players already have tons of inbound links, high rankings on search engines, and tons of people advertising their site for free through social media and word-of-mouth. These big players do not always have the greatest content, but it doesn’t matter because they have a great system in place that allows them to reach and retain more and more visitors.
This is already true today, but as more and more competition arises, we will all have to spend more and more time marketing. The truth is, content is worthless unless it’s seen. You could have the world’s best article on a given topic, but if nobody is reading that article, than it will never make you any money.
Big players may dominate the search engines, but there will always be more people to market to and there will always be platforms that you can reach them on. If you can get your work in front of people, you still have a shot at succeeding – regardless of how many competitors are out there.
2. Your Primary Goal With Your Site Is To Retain Your Visitors
The next site is always just a click away, so you’ve got to do whatever you can to keep people on your website once you’ve got them there. Most people will bounce, and that’s fine. Your job is to keep that percentage as low as possible.
It doesn’t matter how great your content is, how great your story is, or how credible you are. To a visitor who is landing on your site for the first time, you and your site are not unique. You are just another website. You have an extremely limited amount of time to convince people to engage with you further. Because there will be so many more competitors, you’ll want to connect with your visitor on the most personal level possible.
This means collecting their email addresses.
Instead of pushing people to follow you on Twitter or like your page on Facebook, convince them to opt-in to your email newsletter. Not only are people far more likely to see and read your message from an email, but email makes it feel like you are speaking one-on-one where social media makes it feel like you’re shouting to a group of people across a room. Not to mention, you can automate a lot of your email marketing, building relationships on autopilot.
See: 25 Guaranteed Ways To Increase Your Email Opt-ins
3. You Must Become More Involved With The Life Of Your Subscriber
If your subscriber is getting emails from 30 other marketers, chances are yours probably isn’t that special. You’ll be forgotten easily, which makes it a lot harder to keep your subscriber engaged with you, returning to your website or buying your products.
To combat this, you need to become more involved with the life of your subscribers. Do not let your subscribers forget who you are by only emailing them once a week.
I personally email my subscribers every 2 days and even more frequently if I’m running a promotion, which is far more often than a lot of marketers. I manage to get away with this and keep my open rates high because I constantly provide a ton of value in every email I send, and my subscribers love it.
This is extremely important, because frequent emailing makes it impossible for your subscribers to forget who you are. Not to mention, it builds the relationship between you two faster, allowing you to engage further and make more sales.
It’s a win-win for both of you.
However, perhaps even this won’t be enough 5 or 10 years into the future.
I think it’s a good idea to be active on additional platforms other than just your own. It’s important to be where your visitors tend to visit when they’re not on your site. Be active on social media. Be active on other blogs in your niche. Be active in relevant forums.
Or expand your business onto another platform entirely.
Becoming more involved with the life of my visitors was one of the primary reasons I started the Help Start My Site podcast. I am no longer just on the computers of my visitors… I am also on their phone, at their office, and in their car.
I would not take the time to work on such a huge project if I did not know with absolute certainty it would be worth the time spent. Expanding onto other platforms and becoming more involved with your visitors lives has huge benefits, and this will only become more true in the future.
4. Free Will Have A Negative Value
Sorry to say it, but your ‘free’ lead magnet doesn’t have any value. In fact, it actually has a negative value, and it will only become less valuable in the future.
The free content you offer in exchange for your visitors email is worthless. It’s not that your content isn’t great or useful, but there is so much free content available that whatever you have to offer probably isn’t really all that special. Even if it is, your visitor probably won’t ever find out. That’s because free lead magnets are being shoved down the throats of your visitors on every website they visit.
Your free report may not cost your visitor any money, but it will cost them their time, which is the one resource they will never be able to get back.
The best way to convince your readers that your lead magnet is actually worth their time is to over-deliver with your content. You may only have one chance to leave a good impression with a visitor, so you’ve got to do your best to make sure every article you publish is top-notch. Your content should be so good, your readers can’t help but want more.
5. Your Marketing Will Need To Be Personalized
In the past, marketers have taken a mass-marketing approach, where they try to get their message in front of as many people as possible and hope the right people come to them.
Think newspapers ads, commercials, billboards, etc.
To find success with internet marketing, you’ve got to find a way to connect with the individual on your site, or they will find someone else who will, and they will get that person’s money. Not you.
I think working in smaller niche markets will yield more return on time heading into the future because people can only remember so many experts on any given subject. You’ll make a lot more money being known as the #1 person for golf putting than the #50 person for the entire golfing market, for example.
If you’re perceived as the most knowledgable on a niche subject, you and your website will be remembered and recommended by far more people than if you were just average with some larger niche.
6. Communication Skills Will Always Matter
Regardless of what changes happen within the next 10 years, one thing that’s bound to say relevant is your ability to communicate.
I’m talking about your ability to create compelling content, convince people to do what you want, and to sell. Honestly, if you have these skills, you can succeed on whatever platform we’re using 10 years from now – whether that be a blog, a podcast, a YouTube video, or something entirely unheard of yet.
This has always been the case, and will continue as long as people are still spending money. From the days of door-to-door selling, to telemarketing, to internet marketing and whatever else the future has in store for us, those who are able to clearly and effectively communicate ideas to another person are the ones who will succeed at achieving their goals.
This is great news for you, because most people ignore these skills. Many people think great blog content will magically result in money in their bank account. The truth is, those who have a great business and a great ability to communicate are the ones who make money. Great blog content is only a piece of it.
These are all skills you can learn today, so I highly recommend reading every marketing and sales psychology book you can find. I promise that it will be a good use of your time.
7. You’ll Have To Adapt Or Die
Technology and the internet are constantly changing, and if you aren’t willing to keep up with it, than you’ll be left behind.
The truth is, blogging and internet marketing are far from passive, and you have to be willing to work hard to stay ahead of your competitors. You can not slack. Somebody, somewhere, will be working hard while you’re slacking off and they will overtake you. They will steal your visitors and they will make the money.
You should never jump into internet marketing to seek passive income. That is setting you up for a lazy mindset. You should seek to make the most amount of total money from the opportunities given to you, and then seek new opportunities. If you want passive income, invest the money you make into income-generating assets.
If you think you can throw up a blog and earn money from it forever, then you’re in for a real surprise. When you stop working, somebody will do exactly the same thing you did, except they will do it better. They will steal your visitors, and your income stream will dry up. I’ve experienced this first-hand and believe me, it’s not fun.
It hurts, but those who consistently provide the most amount of value to the most amount of people are the ones who will succeed. That is the way it is, and the way it should be.
While many of these are already true today, they will only become more true in the future when competition increases and expectations change.
It’s extremely important to be on top of things if you want to take advantages of the changes in our industry, because if you don’t, somebody else will. Whatever space you’re working in is only going to become more and more competitive as time goes on, so do what you can to establish yourself as an authority now. You’ll be glad you did.
What else do you think is in store for us, and how can we prepare for it? I’d love to hear your thoughts !
Your 7 points are good, i am very sure many internet marketing success will emerge in the nearest future, the future is bright for everyone of us and with the help of social media, we are fast becoming one family.
Yep, great times are ahead if we can remain on top of things. Got to keep up to date with the changes in the industry or we risk getting left behind as things evolve.
We are all helping each other out in some way or another which is a great thing to see, I know the community we have here will benefit greatly from that.
Thanks for stopping by Emebu!
James McAllister recently posted…HSMS 03: Why Most Blogs Don’t Make Money + Keeping Control Of Your Business
Were you in our living room today having coffee with us while David and I were brain storming? I say this because we brain storm every morning and today we were discussing lead magnets Free or Paid?
When we offer something free, we pull in people that want just about everything free. So how would we expect them to ever purchase anything? Instead, a low price or dime sale lead magnet will attract those who are ready to open their purses. It doesn’t matter how low the price is, it is the psychology behind it that gives it value.
It comes down to list building and being active with those on your list. That’s where most engagement occurs. Some think that putting up a blog and having tons of comments will make them money. Although our blogs are important because that’s where we really are giving away free information, and our followers deserve our attention, more of our efforts need to be engaging with our list.
No matter what the size, we need to keep on engaging. And that’s where we make the sales! We sure can build the KLT factor there. When we find something that works for us, we can share it with the people on our lists. We have to be memorable. “That’s the guy who gives me great ideas and teaches me stuff in my email list. When he recommends something, I usually buy it” This is what we need to accomplish.
We also need to keep up with the latest tech trends because we have to make everything easy for our customers.
As for the future Hmmm one never knows but by capturing emails and phone numbers, if the internet suddenly disappeared overnight, we can always give them a call or a text.
Great stuff once again!
Donna Merrill recently posted…9 Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers
Haha why not both right? I have a separate list for buyers than I do my ‘normal list’ with my free e-Course. Very important to know who’s sending you money and who isn’t.
I do see your point though in attracting freebie seekers when you offer a free lead magnet, and it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about recently. The email in my autoresponder with my highest number of unsubscribes was my first promo email. Good riddance to those people but it just goes to show that if you give away too much for free people will come to expect it from you.
I make it pretty clear up-front now that I do promote products from time to time and quite frankly if people have a problem with that, I want them off my list because I don’t want to pay for those sorts of people.
I do think there is an art to converting freebie-seekers into buyers that’s unique to each audience. Other than the relationship/trust factor in my experience the problem itself and the emotions behind the problem really factor into conversions.
For example I sent out an email blast today (which I don’t do very often) on a promo for Genesis, to test which email I should put into my autoresponder. I split tested it with one email focusing on the benefits of the theme, and another on the problems with NOT having the theme (mainly focusing on Google’s new mobile-responsiveness ranking factor.) The email that focused on the problem beat the other one in terms of click-throughs 3 to 1. Just goes to prove again that people are more willing to move away from pain than towards pleasure.
I’ve talked a bit about problem solving vs hobby niches in the past but when it comes to making quick sales and/or turning freebie seekers into buyers, problem solving niches definitely have a huge advantage because people sure do not want any pain or negativity in their lives.
As far as engagement goes, absolutely. It doesn’t matter what you’re promoting, if your subscriber doesn’t know you, then good luck selling. Would you buy some product from some random guy off the street? I wouldn’t.
My open rates are quite high and I do get a lot of emails from my list, and it’s funny because people tend to say things like ‘sorry if I’m bothering you’ or, ‘hope I’m not bugging you’ but really, I love getting emails from my subscribers and I openly state that in the first email I send out. Not only do I get to know them better as a person, but I also get to find out what their primary problems are and recommend products to them personally if they could benefit from one. I don’t think email lists should be a one way conversation, and responding to emails from my subscribers is one of my favorite tasks.
Anyway this is something I could talk about for hours, especially since I’m still sorting things out in my head about it. Our focus is in the right place though and we’ll continue to improve and figure out what works best for our visitors + subscribers.
Always appreciate your comments here Donna!
James McAllister recently posted…How To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas – The Ultimate Guide
Love it James. I can pretty much agree with those things.
A lot of new things will pop up in the next few years and a lot of them will die. The things you mentioned though are timeless. So it’s a must for everyone to know and take action now.
Ps. I finally found a local podcast hardware supplier. Ill have to plan this thing out soon lol
Dennis Seymour recently posted…My Go-to Link Building Strategy That Skyrockets Websites to the Moon
Funny you’re here again just as I was replying to your other comment. Thought I got around to it earlier but occasionally I get sidetracked and forget to come back to it.
Anyway, you’re right. We can’t be sure exactly what will pop up and what will go, but whatever happens it’s important that we stay on top of things and not idle around. There will always be someone out there willing to work harder, and you’ve got to watch out for that. Hopefully it’s me hahaha.
Great to hear that things are coming together. Let me know when it’s live, as I said I’d love to subscribe. I’ve really been getting into podcasts lately and I’m always looking for more to listen to, especially from people I know.
I’m looking forward to it!
James McAllister recently posted…How To Come Up With Blog Post Ideas – The Ultimate Guide
I completely agree with the points you make. I saw some of the trends you mentioned just a few years ago – but wasn’t quick enough to capitalise on them myself.
I’ve been rather frustrated by my email marketing – but making some changes as a result of the coaching I’ve been doing, so I’m working on improving that.
As for working in small niche markets, I’ve actively been spending more time in VERY small offline business groups dropping pearls of wisdom among the many newbies who still think they can just fling up a website and money will roll in. On my blog I know I’m preaching to the converted, but by spreading the word locally I’m hoping to see some changes.
Watch this space 🙂 Have a good Easter. Joy
Joy Healey recently posted…Thanks To My Comment Authors in March 2015
I’ve been in the same position. A lot easier to connect the dots looking backwards than it is forward, sometimes you can never tell if the things you dedicate time to will be worth it until after you’ve done it.
On email marketing, it can be pretty difficult but it’s definitely an important area to work on. Without my email list, I have no business. I love my blog but my priority has got to be my list because that’s where my engaged following is at, and my engaged following are the people that are most likely to take my advice and purchase products I recommend.
On niche markets, sounds like a good plan. I’ve been trying to promote more to the beginner as well. Most of them won’t stick through it but if you manage to help someone who is serious about it, they will be worth their weight in gold because there is so much you can do for them, and so much money they can send you in return.
You have a great Easter too Joy, talk soon!
James McAllister recently posted…HSMS 04: Can Blogging Bring Financial Freedom?
Excellent post James!
And you’ve made and shared some really sound advice in all seven, very carefully
thought out points!
For ex: in point # 4, I really like your take on the future negative value of our free lead generating
And how the sheer saturation of so much readily free information of all kinds, directly or indirectly erodes the value of our stuff! That is an excellent point!
And I also loved what you shared in point # 6, about how clear and effective communication skills are simply evergreen!
No matter what type of future technology is involved! That is a really excellent and spot on point! Thanks for sharing another great read!
Mark recently posted…So What Can Savvy Marketers Learn From One Of The NFL’s Oldest Plays?PartFour
Hey Mark, glad you agree!
We’ve got to take notice of these trends and changes now so we can better prepare for it in the future. The same thing will happened to lead magnets that happened to art and music. You could offer a great lead magnet, but you’ll have a hard time getting people to read it, in the same way that so many musicians are having a hard time getting their music heard. There is just so much available for free that it’s not worth people’s time to check it all out.
On communication, absolutely. The platforms will continue to change, but there will always need to be a good person behind it all to run it and make it work. Doesn’t matter when, where, or how you’re selling – communication is what does the job right?
Always great to see you Mark!
James McAllister recently posted…How To Turn Your Blog Posts Into A Kindle eBook