But after testing it for a while, I've concluded that it's not a viable marketing tool. At least, not for me. There are two reasons why using Web 2.0 social-driven sites to make money (or to drive targeted traffic) is not viable.
First, and more importantly, it's labor-intensive. It's a full-time affair.
I don't pretend to be a social marketing expert by any stretch. And I'm sure that, if you are a social site junkie, you can find some pretty creative ways for using them to generate massive amounts of traffic. Some already have.
But for me, my business, and my specific target market, and like many social networking sites out there, it's a waste of time. So if you're not prepared on working it extensively and religiously, then I discommend it.
However, nothing stops you from outsourcing the legwork, if you're so inclined. But there's another good reason why I don't recommend it…
It's highly untargeted.
People who frequent them are usually tire-kickers looking for entertainment, for free information, or to socialize. (And spamming on social sites is becoming just as prevalent as its email cousin, unfortunately.)
Personally, there are ample traffic sources and marketing strategies out there that are far more productive, like article marketing for instance. And even some in the Web 2.0 sphere. (Blogging is one of them.)
But I like Facebook purely because it's… fun!
I use it to post pictures, ideas, personal tidbits, comments, activities, etc. And it's a great way to meet new people and reconnect with some old friends. I have, for example, got in contact with two of my cousins on Facebook.
That's the main drive behind social networking sites, anyway. It's a social thing!
(That said, however, what makes Facebook different is its groups, which allow you to create centralized networking hubs based on common themes or interests. Much like targeted blogs, forums, and communities.)
Needless to say, the point is, I wanted to test it.
For example, last week I quietly launched a new coaching program.
I posted a brief announcement on Facebook. And for a while, Facebook was a great source of traffic. But the traffic didn't convert well.
In my estimation (and research shows this to be true), people on Facebook were either interested in me personally and looking to connect with me, or simply looking for free content or advice without paying for it.
(Everyday, I get at least 2-3 questions and “pokes” from Facebookers asking me for help or feedback. I don't mind, because I love to help. But I reserve my best and more detailed answers for my paying students.)
The best source of qualified traffic to the coaching program actually came from Internet marketing forums, including my own. Besides, how good will an offer of paid coaching be to a group of people who are looking for free coaching, anyway?
The bottom line, however, is that I wouldn't have known that if I didn't test it.
That's the power of viability research.
Speaking of viability, my wife and I are going to Las Vegas this weekend to speak at Jack Humphrey's Authority Summit on this very subject. We are pre-launching a brand-new system called Success Chef.
What is it?
Success Chef is an in-depth multimedia-based training system that teaches marketers, both new and experienced, how to build a business online — any business — following four critical yet simple steps.
Simple? Yes. But not necessarily easy. Because each step branches out into a diverse range of activities, results, and situations that, depending on what you choose, will guide you along the way to making money online.
Much like following a recipe, you must follow these four steps, in order, to achieve and maximize your success on the Internet.
It doesn't matter what kind of business you want to run or how you wish to monetize your online efforts. Whether you sell a product, build a list, create content sites, promote affiliate products, dropship, sell on eBay or whatever, you need to follow these four important steps.
In fact, we're officially launching it while speaking at the Big Seminar this October in Atlanta, where we're sharing the stage with my friend Jay Abraham.
By the way, Big Seminar is celebrating it's 10th edition, “Big Seminar X“. (Ahem, I wonder who wrote the copy, hmm? Admittedly, the bulk of the first draft was co-written by one of my coaching students, John Ritskowitz, who's an exceptional copywriter in his own right.)
Big Seminar is the mother of all Internet marketing seminars. It's seminar season right now, so there are many. But if you had to pick and choose, this would be the one not to miss.
Anyway, coming back to Success Chef, the first and most important part of the system is the first step. Miss this step, and your online business will fail — or at most give you mere table scraps. That first step is…
And that's what I was referring to earlier regarding Facebook.
Viability is not just market research.
Whether you have a product already, a product idea, or a market that wants a solution to a specific problem, you need to analyze and acid-test both the market and the product to see if both will fly.
What's product and market viability research? Essentially, it answers some critical questions based on one of four key assets:
- You have a market but no product,
- You have a product but no market,
- You have both,
- Or you have neither.
Some of these questions are (and keep in mind, this is just a partial list):
- Is there a market for your product?
- If there is one, who is that market?
- Are they passionate or desperate?
- Are they targeted and qualified?
- Are they identifiable and accessible?
- Is there a demand for your product?
- What exactly does that market want?
- How do they want the product delivered?
- Are they willing to pay for the product?
- How much are they willing to pay?
- How do they consume the product?
And so on.
Without this first step (whether it's ignored, skipped over, or done poorly), it can spell failure of your online venture.
Look at it this way: if you don't follow this initial process, then just like missing out on a key ingredient in your recipe, you will end up with inedible food no one wants to eat, or leftovers no one wants to take home.
Not only that, but also if you don't follow these four steps in order, you will, like some of our clients who end up coming to us, become frustrated, lose a lot of money, waste a lot of time, or downright fail.
For example, you wouldn't put icing on a cake before it's baked, right? Well, just like following a recipe, you need to follow these steps in order or else your business will fall flat and end up as compost material.
Nevertheless, this is just an iceberg's tip of this first, crucial step — and it's only the first of four in the upcoming Success Chef series, which we will delve into at both the Authority Summit and Big Seminar.
I hope to see you there! And if you're joining us, you'll likely find us in the hotel's watering hole or, of course, the restaurant. That's where you'll find most of the other speakers and marketers, too.
(Er, what gave you the impression we like food?) 😉
Joking aside, seminars (and especially the bars and restaurants at such events) are the “water coolers” for us Internet marketers who mostly don't work from some corporate, soul-sucking cubicle.
In fact, that's where some of the most profitable business ideas and joint ventures are created! (Plus, you never know… some of our best-kept secrets can sometimes spill out. Especially after a drink or two.)
In the meantime, if you happen to find me on the Internet's “water cooler,” then drop me a note on my “wall” and say “Hi!”