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Jesus was fond of the metaphor of wheat and chaff. When he spoke this way, he was describing the righteous and the wicked. But online, the same metaphor is easily adapted to marketing advice.
If there’s one thing you’ve already discovered, it’s that there are more opinions about how to do internet marketing than you could possibly canvass—let alone test.
Most of it is chaff. Only a small percentage is wheat.
And this creates a crippling problem—a problem that nearly every solopreneur and small business struggles with; a problem which leads to a cycle of “feast and famine,” where you can never really get your marketing working automatically and reliably to consistently turn visitors into customers.
It’s a problem that can be summed up in four words:
“What do I do?”
I know firsthand the frustration, anxiety, and sometimes even straight-up despair behind these four words.
You don’t know where to start because of massive information overload and conflicting advice. You don’t want to rely on chaff—but how can you know where the wheat is?
And the biggest kicker, at least from my perspective, is that if I give you advice on this question, I’m only adding to the problem.
So I want to take a different approach. I want to put the power of choice—of clarity—back into your own hands.
Therefore, rather than add to the cacophony of voices, I’d like to simply ask you a question. Then, based on what the answer turns out to be, in the real world, as a matter of objective fact, you can decide what to do.
First, I’d like you to think of any businesses somewhat like yours who are doing a really great job of turning visitors into customers. Businesses, in other words, that have solved the problem you face. Now, here’s the question:
If you were to gradually remove pieces from their marketing systems, which components could they absolutely not function without?
Whatever the answer is, obviously it is these elements you want to focus on in your marketing. Finding out what is actually essential to successful businesses doing online marketing right now is the only sure way of cutting through the competing opinions you’ll get from gurus and blogs, and separating the wheat from the chaff.
Now, I encourage you to do your own research—but I also recognize that doing this is actually part of the problem you’re hoping I can help you solve.
So let me tell you what I have found.
This is not just based on my own business. I am a member of a reasonably exclusive mastermind group—a group giving me access to some of the most successful online entrepreneurs and small business owners in the world. (It is not a Christian group, but its members are unusually high quality, ethically speaking as well as revenue-wise.) So what I’m about to say is largely based not on my own business, but actually on my observations of businesses that are more successful than my own:
The single component that every successful online businesses would simply stop functioning without, is what I call an
Different companies rely on different sources of traffic. (Obviously traffic is a big issue, but you can get it from lots of different places.) They rely on different offers. They rely on different audiences and different price points. They rely on different messaging, different advertising mediums, different sales methods, different mechanisms for closing, different payment gateways, different management systems and different platforms.
But every single one of them relies on the same fundamental method for taking total strangers and gradually turning them into enthusiastic buyers. That method is an email trunkline.
A trunkline is not a funnel
People love to talk about marketing funnels. And everyone has a different opinion about what they should look like. But a proper marketing system is actually the opposite of a funnel. In reality, prospects don’t fall easily down into a single “bucket”—they “climb” up toward a purchase. Every time you put yourself in front of Sam, you are fighting his natural inertia and asking him to commit anew. And as he moves further toward a purchase, he is more likely to drop off.
A proper marketing system is more like a railway trunkline—hence the name. Sam enters at one of three major hubs corresponding to his level of knowledge and commitment. There are many stops on the way to your main offer—and he can get off at any of them. But he can also transfer to an express line that will take him to your offer much quicker—and even upgrade to smaller offers along the way. This whole track is laid out in a very specific, replicable way—a way that demonstrably works in the real world for real businesses.
This trunkline is universal across all online businesses
With minor variations, and a very few exceptions, the same “map” can be used in any business to reliably and automatically take Sam and lead him to purchase. Once it is up and running, it requires virtually no maintenance. And it is a system that can be replicated for as many offers as you can come up with. Best of all, it is not especially difficult to understand, plan, or create.