In the Kiddie Pool

235_wpm_lowresEstimated reading time: 04 minutes

Everyone knows that before you jump in deep water, you better know how to swim.

But that does not keep people from getting in over their head.

Not knowing how to swim (or at least tread water) usually isn’t a good enough reason not to dive in.

Until you dive in and your lack of skill becomes painfully evident, you simply don’t know what you don’t know.

In marketing, as in life, the deep water isn’t always clearly marked.

You jump in and think all of those marketing activities (aka moving parts) will take care of themselves.

How hard could the activities really be anyway?

After all, thousands of businesses all over the web do the marketing thing and those businesses look like they’re working.

Your solution then is to model exactly what it looks like other online marketers are doing.

Then success will almost certainly flow your way. Right?

But soon you realize that the big marketing pool you jumped in is much deeper than you thought.

The good news is that you won’t likely drown. The bad news is you won’t make sales either.

Recently I received a question from a social network connection about affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing was one model I used years ago to successfully do business online so I was pretty sure I could offer some relevant input.

John’s (not his real name) question was; What is the best way to get online traffic to my affiliate link for an information product I want to promote?

Okay John. Fair question. Not a great question, but a fair one none the less.

My answer is simple.

Through my own experience the best way to get traffic to an affiliate offer is to build your own dedicated subscriber list first.

Ideally you want to own a list of people interested in more information around the topic for the type of affiliate products you want to offer.

Then you can send offers to your subscribers after you have built up a relationship with them and they trust you because of the relationship you have built.

Now that is a simple answer for a big question. It is an answer from the shallow end of the marketing pool and not the deep end.

John is just getting started so he needs to invest some time in the shallow end of the pool (his less than great question almost instantly reveals the level of his online marketing experience).

Or perhaps John should first get comfortable in the kiddie pool before he even dips a toe in the shallow end of a big marketing pool.

Observing how others build a subscriber list is what you do from the kiddie pool.

When you look at the owners who own the digital products you want to offer, notice what they’re doing to sell their own products.

Those owners are building dedicated subscriber lists first.

They are owners who offer something of high value (for free) to the visitor willing to exchange an eMail address for the freebie offered.

Learning how to build a subscriber list by doing the work it takes to build a subscriber list is where you start.

Now it is time to go ahead and move to the shallow end of the big marketing pool and do the activities (aka work) to build a dedicated subscriber list.

John’s question can also make sense to ask now because it is tied to what actually goes on in the real world of what an affiliate marketer does.

His question rephrased in context might look like this; What are some of the best ways to drive traffic to my eMail opt-in offer so I can grow my personal subscriber list?

The answer John seeks is now one that’s time tested and will speak directly to what John wants to accomplish.

Some of the best ways John might use to drive traffic to his eMail opt-in page on his own website are:

Build traffic organically by building a great site that’s full of great content so you can be found by those searching for the topic online you’re publishing content about.

Buy traffic by investing in pay per click advertising so people who have an interest in your topic will click the advertisement that takes them to your website.

Borrow traffic from another owner who already has traffic for their website(s) and feels that what you offer as content or as a freebie could be of value for their audience.

Those are three tested and true methods for getting visitor traffic to your website.

Once visitors arrive, you then have an opportunity to capture an eMail address and add a new subscriber to your list.

Yes there are pros and cons to each of the three ways.

Plus there are variations with each method that can be more effective depending on your business model.

First and foremost is building your own subscriber list as a core part of building your online empire.

Oh and one more thing. People who are friends, followers, connections or in your circles on a social network are NOT dedicated subscribers.

Social media connections may end up on your list as a result of your relationship, but that is another conversation.