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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Why List Building May Be Hurting Your Business!

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Warning: If you are an online marketer with a thin skin and a keen evangelical sense that there's only one sensible way to market online - then be warned - you won't like this post!!
Has there ever been an industry since time immemorial that has evolved and changed so rapidly as e-commerce? Back in the dark ages of the early 90’s it was actually frowned upon – the idea of using this educational resource for commercial gain!
No sooner have you got a handle on Hotmail than it’s usurped by Gmail. Yahoo defers to Google, E-bay is struggling to build brand loyalty and paid for content is drowned by open source.
 Early adopters risk getting it wrong or occasionally hitting oil. Late adopters find themselves alone in the playground with redundant Beta toys. Cool Nokia cell/mobile phones are now a little yesterday, laptops are quivering in the face of ipads for a share of relevancy and those tiny camcorders you bought awhile back suddenly seem grotesquely enormous.
Online marketing is evolving at warp speed. It’s no coincidence that the big players from a few years back are offering the source codes to their lucrative programs for peanuts as they ‘exit’ that particular marketing domain.
I’ve recently blogged about the potential merits of differentiating yourself from the herd.  Copy and paste has merit, if you are franchising a patented business, but blindly copying the exact techniques by your industry leader may not be entirely fruitful.
Industry superstars that emerged 3 or 4 years ago succeeded by using marketing strategies that were new and creative back then but those same ideas may well be seen as bland and less successful today.
Re inventing the wheel is not the message. That said a little redesigning and engineering can work wonders. Facebook is really only a variation of Myspace, yet different enough to have become the social networking giant it is today. 
Yahoo, Google, Hotmail, Gmail, Myspace, Facebook, Tinyurl, Twitter they evolve or they die (get superseded)
I recently decided to opt out of about 50 or so lists. I felt a bit guilty as I couldn’t help feeling disloyal to these email buddies who were kind enough to send me link after link after link to the latest cutting edge traffic generation techniques and business opportunities over the last two years!
It seems like EVERYONE has an auto responder nowadays. Free Report – pop your name in the box below (and I’ll send you not only a free report but a couple of emails a week forever on any number of unrelated matters-until you opt out)
Free Bootcamp – a million variations of Mike Dillard’s excellent magnetic marketing program.  The problem is of course, when so many people duplicate the same system it starts to really lose credence.
 Don’t get me wrong –and truth be told I’m playing the devils advocate here for a moment – just in case you’re getting bent out of shape!! 

Like the wheel I’m not saying we should all run around trying different shaped attachments to our vehicles just to be different, but there’d be no Maserati if no one aspired to creating something a little more adventurous than the penny-farthing (bike!)

Here’s a thought.  Instead of offering the magic 7 tips for success – try 11! Instead of offering a Free Bootcamp try a series of lectures. Instead of offering a gift for a name try offering content without an optin required. Yes I’m being crazy….well not really.
Social networking is changing the game plan. It was seen as unwise a mere few moments back to declare what business you actually participate in. Like Amway distributors back in the 80’s when there was a real backlash and stigma to what was referred to as pyramid selling it became almost an art form to prospect using coded language.
Today a similar mindset seems to have engulfed most online marketers. Never divulge the business opportunity …without getting an email address first.
Yes – I do get it. Once you have an email address you can send your message 100 times and consequently have 100 x more chance of earning a business partner. There is a counter argument though. If everyone is playing this black hat guerrilla game, then who’s targeting the niche prospect pool of those who just don’t opt in?
If I have developed a trusting relationship via Facebook, Twitter (unlikely!) a Blog, a Syndicate etc and they offer a link to their business opportunity-without it feeling spammy – then I might just click the link and check it out.
I probably don’t want to be followed up and interrogated as to when I want to get started etc maybe I’m happy to navigate the company website find out a little about the program and then at my own leisure hook up with my Facebook/Twitter contact.
This is NOT a Bootcamp or even a serious strategy to build an online empire, but the point I’m making perhaps a little too convoluted, is that sometimes there’s a merit to just  being a little out there. You don’t need to be a weirdo but its ok to be authentic and genuinely share what you’re about.

If you spend the weekends painting garden gnomes for a hobby and now you’ve decided to set up your own MLM company to sell them – well I might find that a little funny but equally I may pop onto your site and buy a bunch to give to my friends at Christmas – for a joke!
Look if you’ve got a system that’s absolutely producing the goods that’s awesome but if you’re new online or a bit adventurous take the plunge be a bit ridiculous, different, interesting- and I guarantee there’s a bigger pool of equally off center folks in Cyberworld ready to follow you!
 Hoping life's treating you well and you're appreciating the humor of life


  1. Hey Kiaran... I love it! I always say "Why re-invent the wheel - when you can put mags on it instead" The system works - you just have to make it your own and add some character to it!

  2. Hey Kiaran,

    Well said and put! By being different it will attract people. Now, if you look and smell like everyone else...Good Luck!

    Chat with you later...

    BTW...Do you sell gnomes?

  3. @josh -ha ha -i'm sure there's a niche there but i'll leave it to the gnome enthusiasts....

  4. Great and wonderful post!

    It is all about the person.
    The more you care about people and what they need the better person you will become!

  5. Hi Kiaran,

    I think there is a happy medium here. I totally agree that I'm burned out by 7 day boot-camps and such, and they all sound alike but I believe that's because I've fully engrossed in my niche.

    Think about how many hundreds of posts have been written teaching people how top put a photo on their comments...but still, I frequently see someone asking how to do it on someone's post.

    I think as long as there are home business beginners, just like there are always first time homebuyers, those starter homes and bootcamps will be attractive to some.

    I've experimented with giving away awesome content for free with a recent copywriting post I did and I have to say it was a HOME RUN! People gobbled it up, they loved it and I ended up getting 40+ email opt-ins that day, even though they could download my cheat sheet for what you're saying has absolute validity.

    I think in the end, if you're giving people value that is unique to you (i.e. 11 vs 7 secrets), and you are connecting with them to build a relationship it doesn't matter if your list building is on facebook, twitter, or's still a list and it's still a relevant way to market.

  6. Hey Kiaran! I love your outspoken passion behind this belief! Kudos for having the brass to stand up and say what a lot of people are thinking!


    PS: The gnome looks bored with it all!

  7. I agree that Social Media is changing the game, or at least the playing field. The internet culture is moving away from one-directional push marketing and toward two-way conversations and relationship marketing. The overwhelming amount of information that is pushed at us makes more and more of it seem like spam.

  8. It's all about identifying your niche and offering exactly what can help your prospects to get what they want.

    You're right, being different doesn't hurt.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    All the best,
    Mavis Nong

  9. Hi Kiaran,

    a great take. I am definitely a fan of your "wicked" writing style. I like the old soccer rule:"Never change a winning team." Never change a winning system but then, be ready to change it without being attached to it emotionally. What ever system we use, there needs to be enough space for individual flavour.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Take care


  10. Hi Kiaran,

    I liked your post and agree that you have to stand out and the when you make the same noise as everyone else, no one hears you.

    I am one that is noticing the same thing, everyone is offering a "free" boot camp or "free" report.

    The technology that is available today is sometimes overwhelming and everyone is trying to stand out and share.

  11. Hi Kiaran,

    Great entertainment value and a poignant post. I've been thinking about this myself recently and my current conclusion is this:

    Either you have to 'Carbon Copy' (no, not CCPro) the successful system being used by the millionaire marketers... Or you have to come up with something which actually has a spark of originality to really break away from the herd.

    There's probably money to be made even limbo-ing around in between the two, but success... I doubt it.

    Thanks mate, love this one


  12. Hi Kiaran,

    A great argument here. People will do almost anything to get a name and email these days - pop ups, pop overs, pop unders, screaming headlines...

    A key part is relationship. From what I've seen, if you write good free content, people will be more inclined to opt into whatever you're "bribing" them with.


  13. Hi Kiaran,

    This is really good information and I have been playing with my boot camp, making it more likely for someone to opt-in.

    I still feel if the content is good and you have something to catch a person's attention, we are still in good shape.

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tommy D.

  14. "I guarantee there’s a bigger pool of equally off center folks in Cyberworld ready to follow you!"'re spot on here Kiaran...I don't think I've met any completely "on center" people online yet! Vive la diffĂ©rence!

  15. Hi Kiaran! What a great post. I love your perspective. I think the reason why we see so many me too marketers is that most people have no clue how to market and find it much easier and perhaps less frustrating to do what everyone else is doing.

    Golda Smith