Three Secrets of Successful Marketing – The Fundamentals

by James Martell · 24 comments

This is a guest post by James Martell

My daughter, Victoria, is learning how to drive, which I find to be both exciting and terrifying. Perhaps other parents out there can relate.

Like most new drivers, Victoria is very focused on the road, and tends to miss important details – like speedometer readings. She also tends to be a little late in braking and sometimes fumbles around when reaching for the controls.

Several driving schools in London, UK, including BSM and AA driving schools, have determined that students typically need about 40+ hours of practical instruction before they are ready to test. I think the British are pretty optimistic, particularly considering they are driving on the wrong side of the road. (only kidding)

Okay, to be fair, after about 30 hours Victoria is beginning to relax a little, and the absolute basics are coming more naturally to her, which allows her to pay more attention to the details.  Like the speedometer.

After a recent near-religious experience with my daughter behind the wheel, I had an epiphany you’ll be interested in; learning to drive is a lot like  learning how to market online.

I mean, the similarities are uncanny. New marketers tend to make the same mistakes as new drivers; they focus on important things like the website, but forget equally important website fundamentals like site analytics. They also tend to be a bit slow in developing backlinks, and sometimes fumble around when trying to set up a page.

Like new drivers, though, new marketers just need time to concentrate on the basics until they become second nature, then it will be easier to move onto more advanced details. Like website optimizers.

Website Fundamentals for Beginning And Experienced Marketers

1. Develop Your List

We’ve all heard it before; the money’s in the list. The reason we all hear it is because it is true.  If your list hasn’t been your first priority up to this point, it should be. If you take your list building seriously and develop the right strategy, the money will follow.

If you aren’t taking your lists seriously enough, or you aren’t sure what your strategy should be, it may be time to bring in reinforcements. In other words, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, then hire a marketer to help you come up with a compelling optin offer.

If you need a little technical assistance, again hire out.

2. Craft Some Purposeful Pages

I have mentored online marketers for a decade now, and one mistake I see regularly is when folks churn out pages with no clear purpose. Each page should have an obvious purpose, and the visitor should know the purpose and – most importantly –  they should be able to fulfill that purpose.

Think about what you want your visitor to do on a certain page, then craft the page around that purpose.  Whether you want your visitors to:

  • click an affiliate,
  • make a purchase
  • listen to your podcast
  • leave a comment,
  • or subscribe to your list,

Make it easy on them! Keep the page properly focused and free of clutter.

Get their attention with a killer headline,  keep them engaged with great sales copy, and make sure that the text, box or link they need to see is easy to see and easier to use. Driving traffic to your site is much easier when you haven’t unwittingly set up roadblocks.

3. Measuring, Tracking and Testing

You’ve probably heard as much about tracking and testing as you have heard about lists, and that’s as it should be.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of polishing your web-page while ignoring your analytics.  The frustrating part of this problem is that so many free tools are available that can make the job easier. My favorite ones are Google Analytics and the Google Website Optimizer. If you don’t have something like that in place yet, today is a good day to get started.

The Basics Never Change

A fellow I know actually manages several driving schools in Manchester, in the UK, and he maintains that although there have been changes in traffic laws, signage and even cars themselves in the last twenty years, driving really hasn’t changed.

The driver just needs to know where he is going, how to get there, and how to avoid any  mishaps on the way. I suspect we can say the same thing about driving in British Columbia.

I know several hundred affiliate marketers, and they often make the same observation. Google updates happen, new software comes and goes, but website fundamentals have remained about the same; the list, the page and constant analysis. Marketers who stay with these fundamentals are bound to be successful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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About James Martell

You’ll receive money making tips and actionable tips and advice directly from James Martell when you subscribe to his weekly podcast by email, RSS feed or iTunes. You can also follow James on Twitter. Recognized as a leading expert in affiliate marketing training, James is the host of the "Affiliate Marketers SUPER BootCamp", and host of the "Affiliate Buzz", the first ever and longest running affiliate marketing podcasts in the industry. A sought-after speaker, James has presented at Commission Junction University, Affiliate Summit, The System Seminar, Digital River Lab, Pubcon, Affcon, and more.

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Charlie Page January 3, 2012 at 3:27 am

Great post! I agree completely that the basics really never change. Focus on what works and do it with all your heart and your business becomes simple, scalable and profitable.


Austin Carver July 13, 2012 at 4:39 am

I definitely agree! You can’t really find ways around certain things like that unless you can accept the fact that all humans are full of error. Oh well, just the way it goes sometimes. Thanks for sharing.

Rob Mayer October 15, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Hi James,

One word … awsome!

Many keep on saying build a list but never really tell us why, because it is the first priority and I get it now! Finally lol.

And testing is not my thing and I know I need to work hard on this as I spend a lot of money for nothing.

Thanks for those reminders

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