Internet Marketers Have A Lot to Learn

While selling subscriptions and building communities are relatively new concepts for the internet marketing world, the association industry has been doing these things well for more than 100 years.

Associations are groups of people with a similar interest. Think of the “Beef, It’s What’s For Dinner” ads you see on television. Those commercials are produced by the Cattlemen’s Beef Board, an association of cattle ranchers. There are more than a half-million associations, and they represent pool builders (American Pool and Spa Association), doctors (American Medical Association) and every industry you can think of. Associations provide education, newsletters, networking opportunities, members-only sites and in-person conventions. (Very similar to the types of products and services Internet marketers have started providing.)

Throughout my 17-year career in the association world, if ever I had had more than 15% of my members drop out within a year, I’d have been fired! Many Internet marketers and membership sites are lucky to KEEP 15% of their members a year.

So, what’s the difference? What do the people who run associations know about building and running communities that Internet marketers don’t?

The answer is a long one. In fact, Rich Schefren asked me to put it into a Founders Club Letter. Founders Club members are receiving the entire power-packed, 14-page outline of what Internet marketers must do to boost their continuity members’ renewals to 85% (or more) a year.

But I’ll let you in on the biggest secret right here: Get your readers to take action.

I see it all the time when I help my 10-year old son with his math homework. I can try to teach him the lesson all evening, but it’s not until he “takes action” by completing the sample problems that he begins to understand.

It’s the same way with your customers. You have to move them from reading into doing. Into taking action. While this will enable you to keep them as customers longer, it also benefits them. After all, getting them to take action to implement your solutions to their problems is why they became your customers. But simply giving them the solution isn’t good enough. You have to eliminate their fears and give them the motivation to implement your solutions to generate the results you promised.

I cover each of these in a lot more detail within the report, but let me highlight a few ways Rich uses these tools to get readers of his blog to take action. (Yes, I’m going to reveal some inside secrets right here.)

Provide Resources and Examples – I used to believe that I had to give buyers a lot of value by packaging every possible resource and reference into each product. I’ve learned customers get more value when you give them links to go find the information or reports to download. While it’s an easy task, you are getting them to move from being a passive reader to becoming a doer. Take a look at Rich’s blog posts. Most of them include links to check out as examples or reports to download. These are important because they take the blog reader from passively scrolling through the post to someone who is taking action, entering information, clicking and downloading. All activities that get them engaged with you and help them to take action toward their own goals.

Hold Contests – Rich generated a lot of publicity and interest with a contest giving away $100,000.00 worth of products and consulting during the Business Growth Systems (BGS) launch. To enter the contest, readers posted answers to questions such as “What is your greatest constraint?” as well as “What will life be like when you remove it?” This contest generated more than a thousand entries, with the participants describing their constraints as well as what their lives would be like after each one was removed. This strategy moves customers beyond the buying decision to imagining what life will be like after they implement the product you are selling.

Ask for Referrals – Rich and Strategic Profits were one of the first to incorporate their “Tell a Friend” program into all of their marketing strategies. Rich and his team took this idea a step further by stacking incentives for individuals who provided referrals. The stacking incentives provided customers larger incentives for referring more people. If they referred one, they’d get a certain bonus. By referring three, they’d receive that bonus plus another one. And for referring five friends, they received an entire collection of great bonuses. This has been a significant source of new opt-ins and money for Strategic Profits—just by asking.

These are just 3 of the 11 customer engagement devices I included in the Founders Club Letter. But this gives you enough information to understand that the community business is completely different from publishing.

Publishing is all about writers and editors pulling together content and pushing it out to consumers. (Internet marketers do this with monthly calls and newsletters.) However, communities are all about getting members of the community engaged in the conversation and participating by taking action, and about generating real results for your customers.

Let this be a wake-up call.

The whole point of creating membership sites, continuity programs or communities is to grow those subscriber numbers from one year to the next. To do that takes different skills than packaging information and pushing it out. The good news is this: The secrets to success are readily available in the association industry. Association professionals have been building and growing communities for more than 100 years.

And now, for Founders Club members, those secrets are outlined and illustrated with examples in this month’s Founders Club Letter. Plus, you have an advantage because you know how to use the Internet as a tool to foster even more engagement.

I’d love to hear how you apply some of these techniques within your business. Maybe you already use some of them, some may be familiar but you have forgotten to use them lately and others may be completely new to you. Whichever is true for you, let me know how you use these techniques. I’ll read your comments and reply where appropriate.

Best wishes,

Robert Skrob
Information Marketing Association

25 thoughts on “Internet Marketers Have A Lot to Learn”

  1. Thanks for sharing the info. This is great for guys who are pretty advanced with internet marketing stuff. I’ve just began and now I’m building my list (only 9k people now), and developing a simple product. What would you recomend for a person who is on my “level”?

  2. Great reminder. Whatever you call it – club, association, community, tribe: that is where the long-term happiness (for some related to long-term income) is.

    Real people, sticking together because of some real relationship and common interest and mindset.

    And if you ask me: I value a closely related tribe of a few hundred human beings MUCH higher than a list of 50,000 hype-following sheeplings who will chicken away when you stop churning out the next big WOW-thingy every couple of weeks… 😉

  3. The ways you mentioned here is also what I do to make my readers take action. And they are great and effective ways. However, with the ask for referrals thing, maybe that’s the thing I need to check on because I’ve never really done it that extensively. Thanks for the idea. More power to you!

  4. Rich, I would like to apologize in advance because this comment is not about this specific blog post but about something internet marketers have a lot to learn about too: the Core Myth.

    Pardon me for seeing this as the only quick way to reach out to you, but I just really wanted to say that I finished reading the Core Myth (double-sized) report of the Founders Club and it’s simply amazing. It’s business changing, especially in my niche.

    I’m in a niche with so much hype and so much copycats that it will make any grown man get a bad taste in his mouth. That’s how bad it is and I fight the sleaze ball gurus every single day like you do (see? the identification of your report works, lol!), but still people ask why I’m different from the others.

    My Core Myth will now show people why I’m different every single day. I’ll start writing it this weekend after I’ve finished The Story Factor. Thanks for referring the book btw. You’re awesome Rich!


    Dennis Miedema

  5. Just signed up for Rich’s ‘7 Steps to unstoppable income’ webinar. I can’t wait. I thought Mike Filsaime was the Daddy but he’s even saying Rich is the Don of Internet Marketing. I’m new to this and love the mentoring idea so am happy to hang from his coat tails. I have so much to learn as the article title says. Now the tutor shall appear!

    Thanks for a great site guys.

  6. This is so accurate I could easily change every “marketing” reference to “real estate” and just as easily explain the average career trajectory of the average newbie real estate investor. Robert knows what he’s talking about.

    If people don;t take action on what you teach them, they’re never going to duplicate your results.

    Here’s to DOING IT!

    Danny Welsh

  7. Hi Robert

    Yes this all sounds very sensible. I orginally thought that by pasting URL links was good because it was easy for me – wrong! Getting the reader to take action and actively get involved changes them from an active into a passive reader.

    Thanks for the free content as it is very useful


  8. I believe the basic reason is that so seldom do we tag the operative word “business” to “internet marketing” – such a throwaway phrase – what is marketing? Trying to promote in order to gain a sale. Let us understand the marketing concept within the wide context of business – we internet marketers are in business first and foremost. Few affiliates understand business practise, never having run their own real world business or consultancy. An internet marketer is running a small business but so many affiliates are only conscious of trying to make money working at home. Business is a wide and deep concept. You must study business management to be successful. You must evaluate what works in the businesses you admire or buy from and implement this within your own online business. Know that in order to realize a dividend you must first invest much: time, effort, research, study, evaluation and money. No business can flourish without a strong cashflow – most small businesses are under capitalized, their owners operating on a wing and a prayer! Understand successful business practise and expect success! Plough in to reap back.

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  10. @Jasleen
    internet marketing is new trends. Today, thousands of peoples are earning through internet marketing. everything related to internet, that can give us profite….comes under internet marketing. online web promotion, mailing list for sale and all other things comes under it.
    @Robert Skrob
    you have really provided informative and interested post. it will really help. as you said about to create membership based site. i think the whole point of creating membership sites, continuity programs or communities is to grow those subscriber numbers from one year to the next. To do that takes different skills than packaging information and pushing it out.

    Any ways…Thanks for sharing with us.

  11. Is it possible to have one of your emails re-sent to me again — I accidently deleted part and don’t want to miss any info! It is ‘The Story of your Business: Creating a Core Myth in 12 Simple Steps.’

  12. Wow,

    What a great piece of advice. Make your readers take action.
    Its so simple but I do get lost sometimes just reading material and not taking action. When I read something that tells me to apply a concept because it will help my business, its worth experimenting so you at least get the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. An idea is just an idea.

    The concept of applying not just top notch info but teaching the readers how to apply it effectively in their business so that they see better results while their life becomes much less stressful is indeed best way to keep your subsciption rate high.

    Great info!


  13. Robert,

    This is such valuable information. I will be using getting people involved. I think this is so important, like on a fanpage to ask questions and get people involved rather than just talking at them. Everyone likes to feel appreciated.

    Thanks for sharing the great content!


  14. There is a lot to learn about internet marketing and it never ends because internet marketing is always moving forwards. I can’t brag about being an expert but I do know how to set an internet marketing and now I am excited about my new subscription to some important network affiliates and looking forward to see the results. People like these kind of experts will dictate trends in internet marketing, we need to step close to them and keep up, that’s the way it goes and that’s the way I see it.


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