As an online entrepreneur it is obvious that success is not easy, and the harsh reality is that a lot of the people that get started will make no money (or very little).
The fact is that there are an abundance of people looking to make a dollar on the internet.
The primary reason for this is that the barriers to entry are almost non existent, and the basic running costs of an average website are close to nothing (at least for the moment, but don’t be surprised if that changes in the not too distant future).
You have probably heard this before but if you are doing what everyone else is doing, then you will most probably get the same results they are getting. That applies to anything in life, but particularly for online business.
There are so many sites online that are me too blogs it is not funny. By this I mean that too many bloggers just copy exactly what other people are doing, and the result of this is that there are thousands of blogs that look and feel just like each other.
To make an impact online and build an audience you have to be doing something that is both different and really, really good.
For this article I am going to use the old rock band KISS as an analogy of standing out from the competition. For those that are too young to remember KISS, or if you have been living under a rock and have not heard of them, then I suggest you watch the short videos below to get an understanding of what I am talking about.
KISS achieved super stardom and became without doubt one of the biggest rock band acts of all time. Interestingly out of all of the rock bands who achieved similar status it would be fair to say KISS were the most unique and different out of all of them. And on top of that they were damn good at what they did as well.
At one point in the late seventies and early eighties KISS were most probably the most popular rock act on the planet. They created something that had never been seen before and will forever be remembered in musical history.
Despite online marketing being completely different to playing in a rock band, lets have a look at the seven principles that ensured the success of KISS – and will also ensure the success of your online business if you apply them.
1. Focus on one thing, and be 100% committed to it
I have put this one first for a good reason, because if you don’t get this part right you need not bother with the rest of the principles.
KISS realised that they were passionate about music and there was no doubt that they all wanted to be successful musicians. The success that they got didn’t just fall on their lap and happen over night. They worked their butts off and were committed to making it happen.
One trap that I personally fell into previously, was trying to concentrate on multiple things at the same time. Who ever said that multi tasking was a good approach was completely wrong. The problem with multi tasking is that usually you end up with average results for everything, simply because you are not focussed on any of them.
At one stage I was trying to get three blogs up and running, but in reality none of them were going anywhere. It was only when I decided to put 100% focus and commitment into this blog that things started to happen. Don’t underestimate the power of focus, as you will almost certainly underachieve.
Work out exactly what it is that you want to do and smash all the obstacles in your way. Instead of thinking that it can’t be done and give up, start thinking how it can be done. Don’t take NO for an answer and go for it. This is exactly what KISS decided way back in the early seventies.
The point is that most people are not fully committed to what they are doing online, and the readers can usually tell when this is the case. If the readers pick up that you don’t really care or are not serious about your website then they are not going to stick around.
2. Refine your target audience to a specific group and be unique
When KISS started playing music they already had a clear picture of who their future fans were and what they would want from them. The vision was crystal clear, it was just a matter of making it all come to life.
The music that KISS was creating back in those early days could be described as heavy rock and roll which included lyrics that were full of partying, sex, and rock ‘n roll. And of course on top of the music was the idea of putting on make up and dressing up in costumes.
The make up and bizarre costumes was without doubt the bands USP and made them truly unique. Back in the early seventies it was definitely a big deal to come on stage looking like that and playing music like that – it was incredible for it’s day and KISS knew that.
The idea was to make it as controversial as possible, and to create a rock ‘n roll show like no other. Their target audience was kids and young adults that loved partying and electrifyingly loud rock ‘n roll music. Elton John or ABBA fans were not into KISS, and vice versa.
So getting back to online business don’t try to please both the ABBA fans and the KISS fans, just pick one specific group of people and produce content for these people. Far too many blogs these days are on very broad topics and are trying to cater for everybody.
It is important to ask yourself some questions about exactly who is your ideal customer. Some people call this choosing their avatar, where you end up picking the exact person that you are marketing to and define their habits, likes. dislikes, etc.
3. Find out the strategies of the market leaders and model them
KISS have been quoted as saying that The Beatles were probably their biggest influence, and it is not hard to understand why. At the time that KISS were just getting started, The Beatles were the number one band in the world – by a long shot.
Just look at the similarities between the two bands.
a) they both created a first class professional rock ‘n roll band and were really good at what they did
b) they both had four members, a lead guitarist, a rhythm guitarist, a bassist and a drummer
c) all four members sang various different songs whilst also playing their instrument
d) they both had the majority of their songs written about girls/women/sex etc. (like it or not – sex sells)
But while the basic model was the same, KISS were far louder and much more controversial than The Beatles. In other words they put their own spin on what the Beatles had done and modeled the general idea. They didn’t copy them and become a band just like The Beatles, they created their own unique version- and it worked.
So, in online business you want to be looking for leaders in your niche and learn from them. See what is working for them, and what they are up to. The point is to find the secret formula, and to then put that in effect with what you are doing.
Find out who is ranked at number one for your primary keyword and use a service like Alexa to discover which sites are linking to them. Make a list of the sites and then work out how you can also get links coming in from these websites.
Study the experts, the ones that are at the top of the mountain and making it happen. This is the fastest path to success.
4. Clearly define why you are doing what you are doing
Back when KISS were getting ready to release their first album (around the same time the video above was made) they had a dream of creating the greatest rock n’ roll show that the world had ever seen and to also become the number one band on the planet.
They were on a mission and nothing was going to stand in their way. They made it happen in a big way- but the biggest reason for this was that they were crystal clear on the reason why they were doing what they were doing.
Things such as money and groupies were just a by product of their success, and were not the chief reason reason why they were building a rock band. The four all them all had a common purpose and were hungry for success.
Without this purpose they could have easily ended up spending their days in the pub instead of practising their music. The group were united in what they were trying to achieve and there was no confusion what so ever as to what they wanted.
In an online business it is very common for the entrepreneur to say that he or she has an online business, but not many of them can clearly articulate why they are doing what they are doing. Most people will say that they are doing it to make money, but again that is a just by product of success and is not a true WHY.
To find out more about discovering your WHY and the importance of it, I suggest you check out Simon Sinek and learn how to “Start With Why”.
5. Find out what makes your target audience tick
KISS had the uncanny knack of knowing exactly how most of their fans felt and what they wanted.
The average KISS fan (back in the seventies) was aged between about 12 and 35, and was tired of their boring routine of going to school or work five days a week. They wanted some excitement in their lives, and music was one of their favourite ways to relieve the stress and tension of everyday life.
In short most of the KISS fans wanted to party and enjoy themselves. KISS gave them exactly what they wanted, and were worshipped for it in return. The really keen KISS fans thought of the band as gods. The point is that the band listened to what their fans wanted – and delivered the goods in style.
In online marketing the principles are the same. You have to forget about yourself and start asking and listening to what your readers or audience want. One way to do this is to create a survey and ask people what they are struggling with, and what they would like help with.
After getting some feedback on what your audience is looking for you can then start to create content, tutorials and products to solve these problems. You know that there is a demand for these things, so start benefitting from this demand by serving your community.
6. Break the rules, be different, be controversial
One thing that holds a lot of people back is that they are bland, boring and ordinary – quite often without even realising it.
Well this doesn’t apply to KISS as they were arguably the the most controversial and bizarre rock band in history. No other rock band had ever thought about putting on scary makeup, let alone have the courage to actually go out and do it.
KISS were a parent’s worse nightmare and they were proud of it as well. The kids related to what they were doing and absolutely loved them. KISS were thought of as being rebellious to authority and were not interested in what was known as normal and decent.
It was this outrageous attitude towards traditional values that connected them to people all over the world. And on top of that they were actually pretty good at what they did as well – to say the least.
As an online entrepreneur you need to look for angles that are going to get you publicity and help you get noticed. What can you use to your advantage? How can you get people to remember you and come back for more? What is the ace up your sleeve that will give you a break?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that you should be rude, arrogant or disgusting to attract attention. That is only going to give you negative publicity and ruin your image.
The point is that you need to push the boundaries to get what you want in life, otherwise you just miss out. Don’t be scared to do something a bit different, providing it is going to result in a positive effect, and not end up being something that you regret.
7. Eliminate the competition
OK KISS didn’t actually eliminate the competition, but they didn’t need to because they got to number one fairly easily. The music industry is a bit different to online business, as the only way to eliminate the competition when you are a rock band is to simply blow them out of the water with your music.
In their day KISS was untouchable and it lasted for about 10 years. They were the hottest ticket in the music industry for about a decade – which is an amazing achievement. They actually made more money from licensing their merchandise than they did from their actual music. The guys in the band all made more money than what they knew what to do with.
But in online business, you can actually eliminate the competition if you really want to. Just like the big banks buy out the little banks to create a monopoly, you can buy your competitors website and business if you have enough cash to satisfy their asking price.
Obviously, this is only worth doing if you are buying out the market leader, otherwise you are just buying another second rate business. A good example is finding out who ranks at number one for a particular keyword, and then visiting the site to contact the owner.
You would want to ask them what the average monthly income is (and also ask for proof of this) and how much they believe their site is worth. Divide the total price by the average monthly income to gauge how long it will take for the site to pay for itself. I would not consider any website that costs more than 24 times average monthly income.
The advantage of buying out your competition is that you now own their business as well as your own and are making profits from both, and you can also see what the competitor was doing to become the market leader in the first place.
This is not as far fetched as it sounds, and there are many websites for sale on sites like Flippa. Just make sure you do your research carefully and don’t rush into anything.
So, in conclusion you need to start thinking along the lines that KISS were thinking back when they first got started because their complete strategy was flawless and it doesn’t matter what type of business you have we can all learn from what they achieved and more importantly how they were able to achieve it.