Great Content From Terry Dean | 5 Predictions for 2010

Terry Dean is one of the very few real Gurus I listen to and have any respect for. In case you don’t know, Terry is one of THE founding entrepreneurs of the Internet marketing model for people who wanted to quit their day job and I believe he was the first to come up with the, now much copied, idea of giving great content away for free. Very innovative in it’s day.

I thought this insightful article was worth a mention and the original can be found at http://www.terrydean.org/5-predictions-for-2010/

Enjoy the post.

5 Predictions for 2010

As we come to the end of 2009 you’ll likely see multiple prediction posts coming up. Below are some of the trends I’ve been seeing which we can expect to continue and improve on in 2010. Please don’t change your business based simply off these predictions. They are simply my opinion, and I will be moving along these lines in the new year.

1. More Focus on Real Useful Content

Right now seo is pretty much a popularity contest. Whoever has the most links with the right anchor text wins. That’s it. If you want to rank well, get more “content” (whether good or bad) and get a ton of incoming links to that content that uses the keyword phrase you want.

I don’t know if it will happen next year, but I predict there is coming a time that the big search engines figure this out and institute a way to “judge” how useful this content is to their visitors.

Already Google appears to keep track of how long their visitors stay at ads they click through in the Adwords program. If a large number of visitors click on your ad and immediately click back to Google in a competitive market, you’ll see your quality scores start dropping. That technology could also be used in the free results to start categorizing the sites people are visiting.

Whether they’ll use that, a voting system, or some other method I don’t know, but we can expect they will eventually find a way to provide better results to those who are giving visitors what they’re looking for. Any business built off of tricking the search engines is eventually doomed to failure (because if you’re tricking search engines you’ll also likely tricking your visitors).

Build an authority site with quality content on your subject. Connect with others in your market to build real links. Deliver what your visitors and customers are looking for.

2. Improved Sales Videos

Video will continue to grow. Right now in tests it is running a pretty close contest between “long copy” and sales videos to make the sale. Tests seem to lean toward whatever is your strongest skill set (meaning those who are great writers do better with written sales pieces while those more comfortable on video do better with sales videos and webinars).

Over the next year we will see an improvement in the quality of these sales videos. Right now the majority are simply a talking head or a Powerpoint presentation. We can expect to see more demonstrations of products on sales pages, plus better use and editing for video.

Right now online sales videos lag way behind TV commercials in quality. We will see a little closing of this difference with more stories told through videos in the coming year. You can expect the best selling videos will also have TV commercial quality titles and transitions in them.

If you’re not already developing your video skills, 2010 is definitely the year to get started.

3. More Focus on Site Design & Functionality

The old one page long sales letter model is not working as effectively for new visitors (it still seems to win when delivering to previous customers and list subscribers). In some recent tests, videos have been winning (as mentioned above). In others, splitting the page into multi-step pages is working (one page that lists the primary benefits and starts the story with the rest on future pages).

In other tests I’ve been doing the design itself has proven very important. People look at your site to see how professional it looks. They check the photos to see if they integrate into the sales message. Where we could ignore design a couple of years ago, that is changing.

You can even shorten copy by making part of it interactive where it only opens up for those who are interested in hearing more. Michel Fortin provides the javascript you need to do this in his post “How to Make Salesletters Interactive.” Bookmark that post to use the code he provides.

The Internet is NOT just a direct marketing sales medium, like we have treated it for years. It is also a communication tool to have a conversation with your customers and prospects. It’s a dialogue instead of a monologue. We’ll probably see smaller businesses like us institute some type of real feedback mechanism into our sales copy instead of simply listing all the testimonials.

I’ve noticed an online purchasing habit of my own lately. I see someone advertising a product. Almost without fail I open up Amazon.com and search for the product there. Because I want to see REAL reviews of the product since Amazon allows both good and bad feedback. I may go back to the site to purchase, but I wanted to see those reviews before buying first.

How exactly we’ll integrate this (and keep competitors from taking advantage of it and posting bad reviews) is yet to be seen, but you can expect it’s coming. Use the dialogue nature of the Internet to expand on your credibility.

4. Longer Sales Funnels

If you made no changes to your site, you will notice that conversions are down over the past year. They vary by market but a 20% to 30% drop is common for those who haven’t been testing and improving their sales copy. Of course with the right testing and improvements, your conversion should be up…not down!

This connects in with the other issues above…and people are not as likely to making instantaneous purchases online. The clients I have who have the best conversion look at it as a funnel and a process…not a one shot sale.

This means you get them on a list. No surprise there. And you follow-up by email, teleconferences, webinars, and offline mailings. That first 30 day period after someone joins your list is the big sales period (when a majority of sales are made), but we’re finding sales coming further out this year also.

You’ll also find that the majority of sites doing extremely well are running multiple upsells after the first purchase. You purchase A…and then are offered B…and then C…and so on. This is where the real profits come in a competitive marketplace. This means you have multiple products for sale (or affiliate products you can recommend in the series).

These follow-up upsells aren’t always “required,” but you’ll find them vital in competitive markets. And once you put them in place you’ll see how a good portion of the net profits are coming from them…not from the first low cost product sold.

5. Deeper Businesses

Google hates affiliates. Ok, they probably don’t hate them, but their actions make it seem like it at times. This past week was another cleaning out of affiliates from Adwords. Many affiliates who promote directly or who promote a landing page that takes you over to an affiliate link had their accounts canceled again.

Google is only one source of advertising, but affiliates sure have been put into pain over this multiple times during the past few months.

Google’s logic appears to be they’re only interested in affiliates who build up their own substantial site and content. Those who have been focusing on an authority site and getting people on their own personal list have mostly survived through these purges.

You can get mad about it. You can use other sources of traffic (and you should). But in the end it is part of a longer trend. You need to find a way to build a deeper, more substantial business.

This means that while you promote affiliate programs, you’re not relying on a specific one in your market. Instead you’re finding multiple products and services which are related. You’re building up your heavy content rich site. You’re building a list. You’re promoting the core programs plus other related items. In addition you may run ads for sell on your site.

You’re building your business and your authority. If an affiliate program screws you over, you switch and promote a different one. You’re the one in control. It’s your list and your audience.

For product based businesses, you need to find multiple items you can sell. Some are yours. Some can be from others. But you still have to build the deeper business model.

What Does It All Mean?

All this simply means the Internet is growing up. The Wild West attitude is thankfully disappearing. This is also why you see me constantly talking about how this is a REAL business. I believe it’s the best business in the world because you can follow your passion, have a load of fun, and make your own schedule. But it is not simply a “business opportunity” where you push a few buttons and money comes out.

Here’s looking forward to 2010…and the growth of your business!

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