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.
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 !