Jun 21, 2009

Money Always Flows to the Solution

What problem does your website solve for its users?

Does the answer to that question fly off your lips? Did you have to think about it? Can you answer it even after thinking about it?

How about this - fill in the blanks in the following statement:

“I give my users _________ and I get ________ in return.”

Am I overstating things if I say the key to success with any website is found in those two blanks?
A couple of examples…

On my ecommerce site: “I give my users a variety of trailer hitch accessories and I get money in return.”

On my wife’s personal blog, she would say: “I give my friends and family updates on my life (and about eight million pictures of our 11 month old son) and I get a feeling of connection and happiness in return.

On CourtneyTuttle.com: “We give people simple insights into how they can get traffic from the search engines and we get coaching clients, membership website subscribers (until recently ;) ) and joint venture offers from other businesses in return.

If you don’t have a written plan for your site, you should at the very least be able to make a clear “I give this and I get that in return.” statement. If you don’t have that mantra in your head every day, how can you expect your business to progress?

I don’t do a lot of blog reading, but often I’ll click through to sites I find in comments here on the site. I’ll read a post or two, and all too often I find myself saying “What’s your point?” On most of the sites I visit I don’t see any clear message of “The author is giving me this, and hoping to get that in exchange.”

Now you might not care if your users/readers see an obvious “give and receive” message on your blog, but think about this: In the last 30 days, I have spent over $5,000 just on information. The crazy thing is I’m GLAD I’ve just shelled out five grand for knowledge, because I know I’ve purchased some really high ROI solutions to a few of the problems we face in our business.
If you want to make money, you have to be the provider of a solution for which a large enough group of people is willing to pay.

I don’t think that sentence reads very smoothly, but I’m leaving it alone. Go back over it a couple times and let it sink in.

What problem (faced by a large enough group of people) does your presence on the web solve?

Your primary goal, maybe even your obsession, should be to answer that question.

If you can’t fire off the answer, stop whatever else you’re doing and start figuring it out. Our experience at Court’s Internet Marketing School is the earning power of a site really takes off after a) the author discovers what problem he/she can solve for the audience, and b) the audience agrees.
Let’s Brainstorm Together

Maybe we can help you get started today by going through a little exercise in the comments section. Here’s how it will work: anyone who feels like they have a clearly defined “I give this and receive that in exchange” statement, please leave it in the comments. It’s some free advertising and a branding opportunity for your site. :) For those of you who aren’t quite sure yet, make your best attempt.

Everybody else, click through to the sites behind a few of the comments, then come back and reply to the site owner’s statement. Did the site match the give/receive statement? Leave some POSITIVE feedback. I’m putting everyone on notice now that any sarcastic and/or critical comments will be immediately deleted. Court and I have very thick skins; you can feel free to call us morons all day long. We’re not in the business of setting other people up for that same treatment though, so if you can’t say something nice…


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