2017 is now well under way...
I don’t think a lot of us ever thought 2016 would ever end, for better or worse.
But the seconds did tick on by, and it did pass.
And now we’re quite far into a new year.
And I don’t know about you...
But I’m totally the type of person that geeks out with reviewing my previous year.
I feel so proud of myself for everything I accomplished, and look with bright eyes to the year ahead.
I do goal setting. I make new years resolutions.
Heck, I was even that girl that joined the gym with a fitness and health resolution.
(But the difference between me and the other “January Joiners” is I’m damn determined to keep at it.)
And whether or not you’re as starry-eyed as I am when the calendar turns over from December to January, I don’t think any of you who aren't hoping for better results in 2017.
In fact, when Stuart asked what one thing you wanted to accomplish in 2017 on Facebook, these were your responses:
And you know what I see here?
I see some great goals.
But I also see a lot of people who didn’t achieve their dreams in 2016 of becoming a financially stable niche marketer.
I also don’t see anyone who’s hoping for wild success.
$50K per year is only a slightly-higher-than-average salary by US standards.
And $3,000 per month is decent money, but it’s nowhere close to being upper class… or even upper middle class.
I’m thrilled you guys have these goals though, and I hope you’ve got some solid plans in place to make them happen.
But if you don’t mind, I’m going to dish out some tough love.
I want to look at some harsh realities you’ve got to own up to if you don’t want to find yourself in the exact same place by the time 2018 rolls around.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
What We’ll Go Over
- Why generating profit shouldn't be the first thing you focus on
- Why SEO will not be your saving grace
- Why you must spend time sharing the content you write online
- Investments you've got to make... even if you're bootstrapping
- See also: Jawad’s post on advice for 2016 (It might be a year later, but it's still SUPER relevant—read it!)
#1 - You Can’t ‘Hack’ SEO for an Easy Way Out
A lot of discussions in niche marketing revolve around SEO.
And it’s easy to understand why…
Traffic = income potential.
(And no traffic = no income potential.)
But while SEO is a tool that can help you, it’s not something to build your business on.
Instead, you’ve got to build your business on helpfulness and relationships
And only use SEO “hacks” as a way to potentially boost traffic.
Because you can never rely on SEO to just “give” traffic to you, no matter how hard you work at it.
In the past, you could build sites based on SEO, and a lot of people did.
They wrote shitty content that wasn’t that helpful, and thrived off the pennies they earned from ad clicks.
But search engine executives wised up, and realized that people didn’t like using their search engines that much because the information yielded wasn’t helpful.
So now things like time on page and bounce rate matter much more than how many times you’ve stuffed a particular keyword in your content…
...which means you’ve GOT to write something helpful.
Which brings me to the next harsh truth…
#2 - You MUST Focus on Relationships Before Profit
No, the people of the internet do not “owe you” just because you’ve put in a lot of work creating a website.
In fact, because of the nature of the internet, if you want them to ever buy from you, you’re indebted to them first.
Because the reality is, until you prove yourself otherwise, people are going to assume you’re a fake or scam.
Case in point:
So even if you’re not a fake, this is just how the internet works.
And it's an obstacle you've got to plan for.
Add to this the fact that most people don’t use the internet as a shopping tool first and foremost
And you've got another reason to focus on relationships first over profits.
Yes, a lot of people use the internet to shop. But most of the time, we use it to take information that’s available for free.
So if you want people to buy from you, you have to give them something for free first.
And beyond that, you’ve got to develop a relationship with them to show them that you’re not only helpful.
But that you genuinely care about them.
(And that you aren’t just on the internet for the purpose of taking their money, but care about what you’re selling.)
For example, let’s say you’re in the dating niche and sell a product to help women aged 30-35 find the love of their life.
If your website does nothing but talk about how miserable the single life is and offer your paid product as a remedy for it, no one is going to buy from you.
But if instead you publish regular content on tips to meet quality men and how to have successful first, second, and third dates.
Then the women in your target audience will feel like you’re actually helping them.
They’ll trust what you say, will see that you’re not a fraud, and will be much more likely to buy your product.
It takes more work to set up and maintain, yes.
But if you don’t do it, you’ve got no chance of turning any kind of worthwhile long-term profits.
#3 - A Content Distribution Plan is a MUST
If you take the advice from harsh truth #2 to heart and do start publishing helpful content regularly, you’re already waaaay ahead of the game of most wanna-be niche marketers.
But if you don’t take the initiative to make sure you put that content in front of other people—people not already reading your blog—your business will fizzle out and fail.
Sure, you can get a decent spike in traffic if you publish a really great piece of content.
But a spike—no matter how high it is or how long it lasts—will eventually die off.
So having a content distribution plan to make sure you're actively putting your content in front of the eyes of your target market helps make sure your traffic doesn't die off, but stays consistent.
To be totally honest with you, this is the hardest one for me to implement, even though I know how important it is.
To solve it though, one of my goals for 2017 is to get a Meet Edgar account and load all of my published blog posts into it.
Once you do that, it saves your posts and republishes on a schedule that you set… so you can literally upload them all once, set it, and forget it.
This will work for me because I’ve already got “good enough” numbers on my social accounts combined.
It’s not the perfect content distribution plan, but it’s way better than nothing.
Other methods of content marketing include doing guest posts to link back to your content, or talking about it as a podcast guest.
They’re more work, but if you’re building an audience from scratch, they do work…
...especially if you can talk about compelling things you know the audience is desperate to hear about.
(AND offer them a lead magnet to sign up for.)
#4 - You Can't Ignore the Potential of Paying for Business Education
In short, you’re not willing to spend money on your business.
When you’re bootstrapping, finding money to spend on growing your business can be tough… I get it.
I bootstrapped my own business from $0.00, and didn't even have a website until I could afford the hosting fees with money from my full-time job.
But the beauty of the internet is that for whatever level you’re at, you can find something to invest in that will help you take your business to the next level.
Heck, if you’re just starting out and want to get your niche site to the first stages of profitability, you don’t have to look any farther than this website.
Stuart’s got some awesome products that will help you, and they’re crazy affordable for the profit they can help you turn if you apply all of his advice.
I know the “trial and error” strategy seems noble and works in theory, but can I be blunt and say that it never works out in practice?
In fact the stories you hear of trial and error miraculously working out are just that… miracles.
And I don’t know who controls miracles, but it sure as hell ain’t humans.
The better approach, then, is to have someone tell you how they’ve been successful in niche marketing and just follow their patterns so you can replicate their success.
If you want to get to a profitable niche site faster, if at all, you’ll need to invest… trust me on this one.
#5 - You Won’t Make Money From Google AdSense (Or Similar Platforms)
Okay, you might make a few pennies… but it won’t be anything to reach your goals of earning a full-time living from your site.
I know a lot of niche marketing advice that’s been around for a long time says ...
Just put up a site with an SEO-friendly url, hire content writers to write cheap content for you, and place ads all over the place and make butt loads of money from those ad clicks.
And that advice did work for a time, but Google’s algorithm changes make that impossible for you to achieve today.
In fact, I’ve seen it happen in my own work life.
I used to write for a company that paid me and a handful of other writers to put out 8-10 articles per day on “how to” topics to feed search engine terms and get rankings.
For a while, the site was thriving and had a ton of traffic.
There were also lots of ads all over the site, which was how that company made their money.
Slowly but surely, after Google made algorithm changes, their writing assignments dried up.
Myself and the other writers had to look elsewhere for work
And big news stories within the freelance writing industry came out about how the company was bankrupting itself because of its business model of relying on ad clicks for revenue.
So for the love of money and your sanity, do not rely on ads as a revenue stream.
Put up a few as an experiment if you must
But make plans to make money in other ways: by selling affiliate products, creating and selling your own product, or by selling your knowledge as a consultant.
(P.S. If you'd like to download a free list of 1,781 profitable niches click here or the image below)
In The End...
Being a successful niche marketer is work.
There are no two ways about it.
I know the niche marketer lifestyle is often marketed as this dream job of high profits and little action
But when you’re getting your site off the ground and are ramping up your first regular profits, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
And though we've talked about five specific items today, success as a niche marketer boils down to this:
Are you willing to put in the work and the hours required to get your site off the ground?
And once it's got traffic, will you work to maintain it?
Son in the spirit of success in 2017, let me know, in the comments below, one thing you're doing different this year to make sure your niche site is finally successful.
Or, if already successful, to make it more profitable than before.