Listener Feedback – Getting Started Online
I got this email on Facebook. This always confusing me, I get these messages on Facebook. For those of you that have tried to reach out to me on Facebook in one way or another by writing on my wall or sending a message or posting on the fan page, sometimes it takes me awhile to get back. I don’t have a really good method for staying on top of that like I do with email. My virtual assistant and I are working on that a little bit, but the truth of the matter is I’m terrible at it. Sorry about that.
I noticed I had missed a message from a guy, we’re going to call him Bob because I have not talked to Bob about this. He’ll know who he is, he’s from a town in California and he reached out to me about a year ago.
He said, “Thanks for what you do. Looking forward to learning more. I feel so lost in the world of online marketing, I wish there was more of a step by step tutorial out there. I’m a follower of Pat Flynn, Seth Godin, Gary Vaynerchuck, Tim Ferriss, and now your blog. I’ve been a photographer for 25 years, but it seems I’m way behind on marketing something unique in this niche. I hope to find a nugget to roll with.”
I missed that, the original message came to me in October of 2014. I was going back and sifting through some Facebook messages and I realized I missed this. So I reached out to this guy we’re calling Bob – not his real name – and I said, “It’s a year later, I’m checking in, sorry I missed your message. How are things going?” And I got this one line response back, “They’re still the same.”
This sounds very familiar to me. I want to tell Bob, and I’ll tell you if what Bob is talking about resonates with you a little bit, I have been in this situation where I started to do something or I was thinking about doing something and failed to start. Then a year goes by and I’m still stuck in the exact same place and I absolutely failed to do anything that really moved the needle forward.
This is not something to hide your head in shame about. This happens to people. It happens to successful people. It happens to my friends in the mastermind that I’m in. It happens to people that I know in my day job. You get these ideas and you fail to act on them. And a year goes by and absolutely nothing happens.
What I wanted to do for a bit here since it’s the end of the year is talk to Bob about this, but really I’m talking to all of you because this has happened to so many of us. I think it’s a really relevant discussion.
If you break this message down the first thing Bob has to say is thanks for what I do. Bob, I really appreciate that. Thank you for thanking me. The thanks and the feedback that I get from people, like the iTunes reviews and the emails and the messages on Facebook and the tweets, all of that stuff means a lot to me, that adds fuel to the fire. Thank you very much, I love those.
He talks about the fact that he has been a photographer for 25 years and is wanting to do something in the photography niche. Let me tell you a couple of things here that just jump out at me. I did a little bit of background research on Bob and it looks to me from what I can find online that Bob has done some photography for hire in the past. It looks like from what I can tell that he even had a domain name up and running for a little while, based on the photography stuff that he was going to try and do online. In addition to that he has a day job. That makes Bob a lot like me, he’s doing this day job out in California and even though I haven’t talked to him it looks to me that he is interested in doing something online and he has this photography thing that he has been doing for 25 years.
I’m going to go out on a limb and I’m going to say two things about that. One is if you’ve been doing something for 25 years, you know a lot more about it than the average bear out there. Photography is something that I know a lot about, I have a wife who is what I call a professional amateur photographer.
She shoots Canon 5D Mark III, for those of you that are interested in photography, so she’s pretty serious about it. She’s mostly interested in taking amazing pictures of our children. Sometimes she takes people’s portraits and stuff like that, almost never for money. She and I have learned a lot of photography together. In addition to that, I have an electrical engineering background with a focus on optics, so I know a lot about how cameras actually work and I work for a company that made one of the more important semiconductor parts for Canon cameras for years and years.
So I’ve been around photography. It’s super complicated, it’s super hard to learn, almost completely unapproachable for a new person, so it is an outstanding niche for any kind of online endeavor that you can possibly imagine. There are all kinds of great things that can come from efforts in the photography niche.
Of course, you can talk to very specific groups about photography. You can talk to moms, you can talk to soccer moms, you can talk to people who are trying to take pictures of their kids in basketball gymnasiums, you can talk about equipment, you can talk about different lighting effects and how to take pictures in an auditorium, you can talk to people who want to start a photography business – there’s just an endless array of things that you can talk about from the equipment side to the people side to the art side to the technology side, and so on. There is no shortage of stuff to talk about in this niche, it’s amazing.
Photography is incredibly popular and it’s evergreen, there are always new photographers coming online that are starting off by buying a Nikon or Canon one step cameras and buying their first DSLR and moving up, or maybe they’re buying a Micro Four Thirds Mirrorless camera or something, and they’re really getting started on serious digital photography. There is an endless array of people that are out there that are thirsty for photography.
I’ll tell you something else about photography. A lot of photography people are kind of photography elitist, they’re not interested in talking to somebody with a $250 DLSR camera and helping them take better pictures and get off of automatic mode and learn how to set the aperture. They don’t want to talk to them about that. So there is lots of opportunity.
From a monetary standpoint, there’s enormous opportunity because everything in photography is incredibly expensive and all of it is for sale online. B&H Photo has a fantastic affiliate program, Amazon affiliate stuff is great for photography, there are plenty of affiliate opportunities for photography.
So the first thing I’ll say about this message from Bob is that the thing he’s interested in (photography) and the thing that he has all his experience in and can deliver all of his value in is absolutely great for online.
Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “But Mark, there are so many people out there that already have photography blogs, they already have information out there about photography. How in the world am I going to compete?” I’ll tell you the way you compete is you are the only you out there. Bob is the only Bob.
Whatever Bob’s message is, whatever Bob wants to talk about – I think Bob has done some wedding photography work, maybe Bob wants to teach people how to take better wedding photographs, or maybe Bob wants to talk to starting photographers – whatever it is that Bob wants to talk about Bob is going to explain those things and teach those people and help those people in a way that only Bob can. That’s going to mean that maybe at first 10 or 20 or 100 or 200 or 300 or 400 people out of all the hundreds of millions of photographers in the world are going to eventually find Bob, because the way Bob explained things uniquely reaches those people. Bob has a unique voice, there’s nobody else out there like him.
Yes, it’s crowded, but Bob is the only Bob. He’s uniquely able to provide message to people online.
I don’t buy this crowded niche. If I did, I would never have gotten into internet marketing because what niche is more crowded online than internet marketing. And you’re listening to me right now. So if you’re listening to me right now, Bob can find people to hear his message and benefit from whatever content it is that he decides to create out there on the internet.
I think we have Bob here with expertise in a valid niche that is commercially viable. What’s the thing? The thing is to start. To come up with a plan and start. That’s what I want to challenge all of the Bobs out there. Not just Bob who sent me this message whose name isn’t even really Bob, but all of you out there that have an idea that maybe don’t even know exactly what it is that you want to do but you have a direction, just go out there and get started.
The best way for you to get started is to get out there, go register a domain, crank up Bluehost and get WordPress up and running, and put a couple of blog posts out there on the internet and start mapping your journey. Yes, I understand that it’s hard to imagine what this thing is going to look like in five years and how you’re going to take over the internet with your new photography blog, but I’m telling you if you don’t start you’re not going to be able to ever do anything. You have to start.
If this is you and you’re just not quite sure what you want to do, you don’t know if you want a product, you don’t know if you want to be a blogger, you don’t know if you want to focus on affiliate marketing, maybe you want to do consulting, the one thing that I’m sure of is you’re going to need a presence on the internet and that presence is going to need to be a website, and that website is going to need to have excellent helpful content on it that you can start creating tonight. You can go to Bluehost right now and you can register to get a free domain name, get a WordPress hosting package, and have that thing up and running by tomorrow and create that first piece of content.
Maybe the first piece of content is just a “hello world” piece that says who you are and what you’re thinking you might do over the next few months and saying, “Here’s a tip that I learned when I was starting out in photography,” or whatever it is. You have to get started.
Then after you get started, on day two, you have to take some action on day two and every day after that. As I’ve said so many times, if you’ll just take a little action every day, by the time you get to the end of next year, instead of writing to me and saying, “I didn’t do anything over the last year,” you’ll be writing me and you’ll be saying, “You are not going to believe how much I accomplished over the last year by just doing a little bit every day. There are seven amazing things that happened that I didn’t even know to imagine about at the beginning because I just had never started that discovery process of actually having this adventure top of mind and working on it every day.”
That’s how you get started. You just start. All those dumb clichés about eating an elephant one bite at a time, and the longest journey of a million miles starts with a single step, and all of those dumb things, those things are clichés because they’re true. Clichés are dumb, but it turns out you don’t get to be a cliché if you’re not true to begin with.
Bob, thanks for the message. If there is some way that I can help you, I hope you’ll reach out to me. I hope things are great out in California and I hope to talk to you soon.
For the rest of you Bob’s out there, learn from Bob’s example and go get something done in 2016, it’s almost here.
Goal Setting for 2016
Speaking of 2016, I’ve been spending a considerable amount of time over the last two weeks working in the new Best Year Ever course from Michael Hyatt. Even if you have no intention of buying Michael’s course, that’s totally cool, I definitely think you should go to that link, opt-in, and watch the free content there. There’s quite a bit of free content that’s going to be valuable for you in your planning 2016 goals. Check that out at LateNightIM.com/bye.
I’m going to tell you probably the most powerful part of Michael’s course, I think this is something that you can use. Even if you don’t go to the link, here’s something that you can take away right now.
A lot of us will dare to dream and even write down some sort of amazing things for 2016. One of my goals for 2016, which is something that I’ve never been able to do before, is to create 250 unique pieces of content for Late Night Internet Marketing. That’s 50 or more of these podcasts, that’s 100 episodes of the Internet Marketing Minute, that’s 50 blog posts, including some product reviews and other stuff, and it’s 50 videos – all of that adding up to 250 pieces of content in 2016. That’s darn near 10 times more than my average, at least that’s what it feels like, over the last couple of years. This is a huge commitment that I’m making, it’s an outrageous goal for me but it’s one that I’ll definitely achieve.
One of the things that I’ve learned from Michael Hyatt time and time again – I learned this last year in the course and I’m learning it again this year – is the key thing to making those goals actually come true is understanding why those goals are important to you. What is your why?
Getting back to Bob and people like Bob – Bob, if you really want to do this online thing, I think one of the things that you can really spend some time paying attention is why do you want to do that. You write me and say, “I want to do this online thing,” Why? What is it? Are you imaging getting out of your day job so you can spend more time with your family? Do you need the money? Are you trying to take care of your parents who might be in a financial situation where you want to help them? Are you trying to put your kids through college? Are you trying to buy your first home or pay off your house, or buy a lake home, or take that trip to Italy?
What is it exactly, what is the why? Is it that you want to help people? That’s a big why for me. I can’t help people if I don’t create content. I love doing that. I love those emails I get that we talked about earlier where they say, “Hey, you really helped me.” The only way that I can do that is if I create content, so that’s a big why for me.
You need to know your why for your 2016 goals. One of the cool things about this course that Michael does is he has techniques for helping you discover your why. I think that’s probably the most powerful part of the course. For you just listening to this podcast, you can take that away for free here and just spend some time as you write down those 10 things that you’re going to do next year and understand why it is that you’re going to do it.
You’re going to lose 30 pounds why? Why do you want to do that? Is it because somebody else wants you to? That’s not a really good reason. It better be because you have this deep motivating thing that’s going to make you want to do it that you really care about. That’s the difference between success and failure on these kinds of goals.
Tech Tip: Using Buffer and Automation Tools
Periodically I like to do these tech tips. I wanted to talk a little bit about Buffer App. For those of you that have done social media for any amount of time, you’re familiar with Buffer. It’s a great app. It competes with Hootsuite and now this other thing called Meet Edgar that has been talked about a lot as an online tool for scheduling your social media posts. This is useful because social media is one of those things that’s instantaneous, you tweet and the tweet goes out right now.
Tweeting and posting on Facebook are essentially immediate. Buffer, on the other hand, steps in and says we recognize that that’s not practical for most of you, we’d like to give you the opportunity to schedule a tweet or a Facebook post. Let’s say that you’re reading something on the internet and you think, “My followers would really like to see this content. This is great stuff, I’m going to post it,” but it’s 3:00 in the morning and you know your followers aren’t online at 3:00 in the morning. You can Buffer it and say “I want this to go out at Noon tomorrow,” or Noon on Tuesday when most of your followers are online. Or you can do things like say here are 10 carefully constructed tweets, I’m going to schedule these to go out through the rest of the week.
That’s a really good app. One of the challenges for me with that app is it’s still pretty manual. I mean it does the batching and time, so you can do everything at once, but it doesn’t have this database capability that I’m looking for.
Let’s say that I have a few central messages that I want to talk about on Twitter on and off again over the whole year. For example, I want to remind people that they need to work on their business every day at least a little bit so that they can add up all of that success over the entire year. Maybe I have a series of 10 or 15 tweets that I want to send out five, 10, or even 20 times over the stretch of a whole year. It’s hard to do that.
So this week I want to tell you about some automation tools that at least start to help with that that interface with Buffer App and allow you to upload a bunch of tweets into Buffer.
Now, a word of caution. I am not talking about spamming Twitter with 40,000 tweets. I’ve seen this done, even with people that are really well intentioned, where they decide, “I’m going to take every old blog post that I have and I’m going to tweet out a link to that blog post 17 times a day.” You’ll drive your Twitter followers crazy. That is not what I’m talking about here. I’m not talking about increasing your Twitter frequency to 100 or 200 or 500 tweets a day. You can certainly do that with this kind of technology, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
What I am talking about it making sure that you have a queue of five or 10 tweets per day so that you can tweet once every hour or so, which is kind of helpful. Tweet great content to people so that they can see it, maybe even tweet the same two or three times at very different times of day so that one time when you tweet it your U.S. Twitter followers see it and another time you’re hitting the Australia crowd, those kinds of things are right to solve with automation. Be careful about not flooding your Twitter followers with this technology.
The first tool like this that I want to call to your attention is a tool called Bulk Buffer. This is a tool that basically takes a simple flat list of tweets, you can create these in Excel or your text editor of choice, and upload those tweets into Buffer and it will jam them into your Buffer queue by the publish times that you have set up and just send them out one after the other as queued. That’s great, it works really well and it’s very simple, it doesn’t have a lot of features. It’s free to use and they accept Paypal donations. That’s over at BulkBuffer.com.
That’s a pretty good tool and that one has been around for awhile, at least I’ve known about it for awhile. A second tool that has just recently come to my attention is this tool called Bulk Publish. Bulk Publish looks a little more of a polished tool, at least that’s the direction they’re headed. They have a fancy splash page on the front and it looks like they’re headed to be a pro series tool, not a donation based thing but more of a subscription based higher end tool.
The thing that is interesting about the Bulk Publish tool is it does the same thing as the first tool, but it also supports in-line images and that’s really important in Twitter. You could spend some time composing a database of 500 tweets that were really useful evergreen content for your audience and make tweeting those out periodically on some schedule part of your Twitter strategy. That’s exactly what I intend to do with Bulk Publish.
I’ll be increasing the amount that I’m tweeting, which is something that I’ve needed to do for a very long time. I’ll be sending people to absolutely fantastic content on my blog and other authority blogs in my niche that they need to see that have very important evergreen content with nice images that will draw their attention and get them to click, and drive engagement. Then when they reply to those tweets and retweet and so forth I’ll be engaging with them personally, but we’ll start the conversation in some cases with that.
That won’t be my entire Twitter strategy, and it shouldn’t be your entire Twitter strategy, but there is great content out there that people legitimately need to be reminded of and that’s what I intend to use this for on a limited basis.
I really like this tool at Bulk Publish. A disclaimer, I’m not affiliated with them in any way. I will tell you that they’re just getting started, I’ve been talking to them on Twitter a little bit and they’re really just cranking this up, so your mileage may vary. The good news is this isn’t in the critical path, it’s not like this thing is actually sending tweets, it’s only uploading content to Buffer and it’s Buffer, the established tool, that is actually controlling your tweets. That makes me feel good, too, because sort of anything that one of these bulk upload tools messes up you could undo over in Buffer before it got to your audience. So it’s pretty safe to experiment with this and I recommend you try it over at BulkPublish.com.
Again, very important that you tread lightly with these tools, because if you really hammer your audience with a bunch of repetitive tweets that aren’t relevant and aren’t helping your audience, they’re going to unfollow you right away.
Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie
The last thing I want to do today is the latest Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie. It’s my claim that everything you need to know about internet marketing and how to be successful in internet marketing can be learned from fortune cookies.
Today’s fortune cookie says:
“The limit to your abilities is where you place it.”
I told my 8 year old son about the Internet Marketing Fortune Cookie, he liked the idea, but he was upset that I wasn’t including the lucky numbers, which this week are 5 – 9 – 45 – 13 – 12 – 2. So if you’re looking for lucky numbers, there they are.
I think the fortune is very telling, “The limit to your abilities is where you place it.” This goes hand-in-hand with what we were talking about with Bob. If you decide that you can have a successful online presence in the photography niche, you can. And if you decide you can’t, you’re also right. Whether you decide you can or you can’t, you’re right.
The limit of what you can do in internet marketing is really dependent on what you set your mind to. I really do believe that. I know many times the only thing that is stopping people from getting started is deciding in their own mind that they can really be successful – being able to imagine what that success looks like, being able to picture the future where that internet marketing project is successful and has reached some level that they maybe couldn’t even really imagine was possible. That’s the kind of dreaming you need to do. If you can place the limit there, you’ll be successful.
Wrapping Things Up…. Happy Holidays!
I hope you guys have an absolutely fantastic holiday season, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or Diwali or whatever. Wherever you are in the world this is a season and a time to be thankful and reflecting all of the great things that have happened to us in the year and to unleash all of the possibilities for next year. I hope you take the time to do that and recharge your batteries.
Until next time, I hope you have an absolutely mind-blowingly fantastic off-the-hook Christmas season. Peace to you and your family. Talk to you soon.