Since I started my first online business in 2006, I have always been fanatical about list building and email marketing.
And for the main part (97%), I have been directing all my focus and energy into building my list in one niche; the “internet marketing niche” or “make money online” niche.
I was doing this fairly successfully by setting up squeeze pages, giving away free reports, selling low ticket ebooks, running free membership sites and leveraging affiliates, JV ad swaps, traffic exchanges, safelists, solo ads and giveaways to get traffic and subscribers.
The Good ‘ol Days
For a while there, I was getting sign ups and sales effortlessly. I could get 50% opt-in rates, mail out a promo and get a 10% open rate and 10% sales conversion rate.
I could get 100+ signs ups a day on auto-pilot that cost me nothing, and then make $500+ in sales from one email blast selling a $10 product. I even had a few $1000 days.
Unfortunately, those easy “send an email and rake in the cash” days are over.
No doubt the “make money online” niche is still alive and kicking (there’s still a fortune to be made in it), but list building and email marketing in this niche is sinking quickly.
It has just about hit rock bottom.
If you’re reading this, I sincerely thank you.
It’s most likely you came here from a link in my email to you. You are one of the mere 3% of people on my lists who open and read my emails. So I thank you for taking the time to read this blog post.
If you do the math, you can work out how many subscribers of mine sent that email to the trash bin.
So why is email marketing in the IM niche on its “death bed”?
I’ll give you just a few reasons which have become clear to me as to why email marketing has died off. I’m sure there are other different factors, and if you like you can add yours or comment on these below this post.
1. List Incest
Every “MMO” marketer is ad swapping, is promoting JV giveaways, is promoting each others products, is selling products on the same forums, etc.etc.
The result is that subscribers or “prospects” that are on your list are on dozen’s of other marketers lists.. which results in the next problem.
2. Too Much Email!
Ever wake up to 144 unread emails in your inbox all from “internet marketers” trying to sell you the next best thing?
That’s what happens when you join dozens of internet marketers’ “newsletters” who are a little trigger happy on the send button.
Subscribers are sick to death of all the email.
Unless you have an EXCELLENT rapport with your subscribers and customers or you pull the world’s most miraculous, hypnotic email subject line out of your a**, your email is going straight to the trash.
And even getting your email opened these days is a feat in itself. You’d better be a John Carlton world class copywriter if you want to stand a chamce to even get your links in your email clicked on.
3. Too Much Pitching Of Too Much Crap
A lot of email may not be such a big problem if you’re giving away good content. But when you’re sending pitch after pitch after pitch of crappy products everyday (sometimes several times a day!) subscribers, again just get fed up with it.. especially when they buy the crap product, realize it’s crap and it leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
It’s just natural for them to begin to see any email from a “marketer” as going to be another pitch for a crap house product and boom – bin.
So my point is this.
Some marketers have ruined and continue to ruin the “mmo” market by continually committing the three things that I listed above.. and most probably they commit every abominable email marketing sin there is.
Now I hate to point the finger and call the kettle black.. I have been known to take a cheap shot sometimes. But the last thing I try to do is abuse my right to send emails to my subscribers.
And, I’m not saying everyone in this niche is ruining it. There are some marketers who I really respect and still open most of their emails.
But the sad thing is that it only takes a few rotten eggs to spoil the entire basket.
Ok, enough of the rant.
So where to from now for Stu Sensei?
As it is right now, I still make money from my subscribers and customer lists in the MMO niche even though it is considerably less than it was 12 months ago.
I could make more sales everyday if I decided to spam you and everybody on my lists with a pitch for the next best “shiny object” every day like the “gurus” do but that is the last thing I want to do.
I truly want to help people succeed online so selling you products on an entirely different topic everyday is not my bag and it doesn’t really help you either.
That only leads to confusion, information overload and an empty wallet.
It might make me a little richer for the time being, but I’d rather help you get to where you want to go and have you stick with me for the long haul.
For the past month or so, I’ve been delving into “niche marketing” and SEO. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet with my emails.
For years, I would run the other way whenever someone mentioned either one of these two terms.
I didn’t know how to do it and it seemed like too much work anyway.
But after seeing my “IM” lists’ response rate (and sales conversions) diminish before my eyes, and having started studying the workings of SEO and niche marketing, I’m seeing this route to be the future for Stu Sensei.
Why Niche SEO Marketing?
First of all, I want to steer away from the “mmo/get rich quick” niche so I want to find other niches where I can use my skills and experience to tear it up!
It was after a chat with mate and mentor James Brown in which he said “Stu, if you applied what you know about internet marketing to other niche markets, you’d totally kill it”, so that’s what I’m aiming to do.
Now that isn’t to say that I’m giving up entirely on the MMO niche.
I still want to help you succeed with internet marketing. The only major change is that what I teach you about making money online will be directly related to this new phase of “niche” marketing I’m venturing into.
And this is why I think this type of marketing style is perfect for me.. and perhaps for you too.
Search engine traffic
Is there any better quality traffic that you can target with such precision?
The whole idea of being able to target buyers with search term keywords has opened a whole new dimension to me.
I realize that if I’m targeting buyers, I don’t need to build a list. Surprise, surprise. I said it. You DON’T need to build a list.
There are some occasions where I think it would be beneficial to build a list but in most cases with this style of marketing, building a list would be a hindrance to making a sale.
Getting paid for selling other people’s products. It’s great. I don’t need to worry about customer service, my product going stale, site maintenance… I just need to focus on driving traffic – BUYERS!
Build a niche site once, rank it and forget about it
One of the things that I’ve learned to leverage with the internet and marketing is automation.. “set and forget” types businesses. Unfortunately, the case most times in the MMO niche is that products become old extremely quickly. Another friend and great SEO marketer Dan McGonagle said to me is “it’s a flavor of the day market”.
The beauty of the niche marketing model is that once you build it, get it ranked high in Google and making sales, it will be a money maker for a considerably longer time than the next “how to make money online” ebook.
I understand about Google’s tendency to slap websites anytime they like, but there is a way to avoid them which I have studied about. That will be for another post 😉
Easy to outsource
Content, backlinks, research, site creation.. it cam all be outsourced very cheaply and easily. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough to outsource stuff for my IM biz… but I know I don’t have to look far to outsource SEO jobs. I’m hitting Fiverr up just about everyday for outsourcing small tasks.
This is perfect because the more I can outsource, the more I can get done and the more I get done, the more coin I make.
All I can really say at this time is that I am really excited about this new phase of my internet marketing career.
I am not yet an SEO or niche marketing “expert” yet but I am learning and putting what I learn into practice.
I already have one niche blog (based on WordPress – I plan to use WP for ALL my sites I ever build again) which has already made $132.61.. and I’m competing with mostly PR3 and PR4 sites!
Nothing to write home about, but it’s enough proof for me to realize the power of this kind of marketing and to keep working with it.
Exciting days ahead, that’s for sure.
And I hope you stay on board and learn with me – and even get into it yourself if you haven’t already.
Enough of chasing dreams and selling the dream. It’s time to make our dreams come true.
To your success,