There are three things you need to be successful online – traffic, credibility and conversion. Anything else is a mere transitory step for one of these three primary prerequisites for monetary gain via commerce or affiliate marketing.
This is the prime ingredient to longevity and ROI. Any type of traffic generation such as
- SEO (search engine optimization)
- SEM (search engine marketing / PPC)
- Paid Advertising
- Editorial References
- Article / content syndication
- Social Media or
- Web 2.0
Are all designed to do one thing “deliver traffic”, but without the next critical node, it will not matter.
This is what separates the shameless self promoting from the real-deal authority in a space. Credibility is what you get when you constantly produce quality products, services or contribute immensely to the collective body of others individuals seeking information, validation or communication on that subject / topic.
Trying to “trick the masses” such as showing how much affiliate earning you garnered with your new loophole vs. being a “genuine” pivotal influence and sharing what works is the “BS” litmus test in this arena.
Being a social media RockStar, super affiliate, SEO expert or PPC genius is great (if you do it for the right reasons). You can strive for these external accolades from others if you need to express yourself in that fashion, however keep in mind that most of the most successful online proprietors keep to themselves or share only the tip of the iceberg with others (if they must).
Knowledge is a double edged sword and breeding your own competition seems somewhat self defeating, however, the need to share and pass along revelations, insights or conclusive data based on experimentation can often transcend the desire to keep quiet.
Peer review generally occurs as a reaction to ones contribution or acknowledgment by other active members of a community, market, network or outside /regulatory committee. Peer review similarly is also algorithmically infused into search algorithms which interpret the democratic nature of the web (links, exposure, citation) a.k.a “buzz factor” into the gravity of a news release, page or post to assess its collective value to the whole (the search engine’s index).
While it may be fascinating to know how something works, it doesn’t necessarily provide an advantage in areas outside that realm of expertise.
For example being a PPC guru doesn’t matter if your landing pages are flawed and you fail to grasp “conversion” or conversion optimization. Under the same vein, being an SEO expert won’t matter if you or your business has no credibility or success in acquiring keyword visibility based on past or present performance.
This is the holy grail of online marketing, without this vital node infused into your website or business, you can hang it up and watch your website slip into obscurity with no traffic in sight.
You need to know (a) which traffic sources are converting (b) which sources are not and (c) why they are not or why you are wasting time on those sources. The simple truth behind the statement “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it” – in a time-line or scalable fashion (which is what matters) is more than just a cliché.
Mapping conversion funnels becomes more important as you expand your focus from broad to specific product or service offerings. The last thing anyone wants is to be sold, but if you can appeal to what they were looking for to begin with “while creating value” then you won’t really have to sell them as much as present your product or services worth.
That worth is based on their need to fulfill – which can be subjective or emotionally driven (based on conditional or predictable responses).
The only thing you need to consider is (1) who is my audience? simply, who am I selling to? (2) what do they need (information, solutions, a better widget, some direction, etc.) and (3) what part do you play in the transaction?
- The reporter “Johny on the spot covering the news” angle.
- the provider (e commerce selling products) angle.
- The middleman (affiliate) who “makes the connections” angle.
- The authority ( go to source) and bone fide “Don Dada” in the space/trendsetter angle.
In closing, you need a trinity of traffic, credibility and conversion to create the a virtual cycles of (a) satisfied users who will pass the word along via word of mouth, social media and viral appeal (b) buy from your traffic source time and time again and (c) appreciate the caliber of your efforts.