17 Predictions About the Future of Internet Marketing

It’s common to hear entrepreneurs say “execution is all that counts”– but it’s not. The premises under which your are executing count even more. I’ve been building customer relationships in a broad range of industries for the last 5 years. The quality of my execution seems consistent, yet we are wildly successful in some niches, and barely alive in others. What’s the variable? More and more, I’m looking to the quality of my initial premises.

Winning business strategies often combine proven business models with unproven or trending customer acquisition models.  

In other words, take your membership training site, affiliate blog, or seminar coaching series, and add a twist by betting on a trend or emerging model to attract customers to your product.

To try and help with this type of brainstorming, I’ve listed 17 trends I’m seeing in the “internet marketing” world. Internet marketing (also called “make money online”) is one of the more monied niches online, and as a result it’s also one of the most innovative. Many products in niches like “productivity” or “passion” or “blogging” or “lifestyle design” and countless others are, at the core, internet marketing products as well.

  1. Your customer’s track record will become more important than yours. More than ever before, you need to have a home run answer to the question how much money do you make and what have you done? That’s just the beginning, in the coming years it’ll matter even more how your customers are fairing.
  2. Niche specific tool sets will be huge. Suites of online tools that empower entrepreneurs will no longer require massive scale to develop, so it’ll be much easier (and more profitable) to create custom or white labeled tools to fit niche communities.
  3. Expensive ebooks are dead. I’m sorry. Stop writing that $97 ebook right now. It’s not going to work out. Build a real product, then consider the ebook as a marketing tool, if necessary.
  4. Cultivated and proctored communities will start popping up everywhere. The readers of the TMBA often cite “100 True Customers” as one of our most useful articles. There you’ll find a pretty clear plan for making $40,000 a year as a content producer. I think this appraoch will get utilized a lot more in the coming years.
  5. $2,000 DVD training courses are dead. You know what I mean– they aren’t dead, they are like “Microsoft dead.” They’ll continue to work for people with deep pockets and for those who are in the game. If something like this is your idea of how you are going to get a foothold in a market, I’m on my way to bet against you.
  6. Podcasting is the new blogging. Instead of starting a blog, start a podcast. Recently, Pat Flynn reported the the number of unique visitors to his blog was surpassed by the number of podcast enclosure downloads of his podcast. (Balla Pat!) I’m not surprised…
  7. Blogs will continue to be the most powerful brand building force new online ventures have. They’ll also continue to be the most resource intensive. So it goes. It’s no wonder solopreneuers who use blog-marketing as a customer aquisition strategy end up just being full time blog-marketers.
  8. The market value of chops has never been higher. Podcasts as such powerful marketing tools because even on the 3rd episode of a new podcast, you’ll have an immediate idea of how much you trust the speaker. You’ll also have a clear idea of how knowledgeable they are. If you don’t have chops, don’t worry, you’ll just have to buckle down and do some real work.
  9. Personal freedom is slowly starting to be articulated as “personal sovereignty.” That space will explode in the next 5 years. Get in while the gettin’ is good.
  10. Your customers will need to use your product and be successful for you to have a sustainable online marketing business. I always thought it was dip-shitty when internet marketers feigned complaint that their customers never “implemented their product.” Those conversations will go the way of the dodo. If your customers “don’t implement your product” you’ll “go out of business.”
  11. In-person events and training will explode. Events provide a ton of value, it’s cheaper to move around, and your target market has a more flexible income. Easy call.
  12. The daily podcast format will become prominent. James Shremko is already testing it out (take a walk, listen to this episode, and tell me you don’t run back home looking for a notepad!). People will write me one year from now and  “hey you were right about that daily podcast thing!”
  13. More and more, content will need to be delivered with high-level consulting. No more $2,000 DVDs, instead I’ll get on the phone with you once a week and walk you through a deliverable. This is way better than some worksheet or video. Even Frank Kern is doing it.
  14. More 4th wave internet marketers will emerge. They will be selling you blog networks, software suites, audiences, ad campaigns, e-commerce sites, niche websites, blogs– you name it. 
  15. University educations will start to look more like internet marketing training, and internet marketing training will start to look more like university educations. They’ll converge and find a middle ground in the coming decade.
  16. If you want to start a blog about entrepreneurship or personal development and you don’t have an angle that gets everyone in the room FREAKING PUMPED and saying they’d buy products from such a publisher… don’t do it. It’s getting harder. The good news is that it’s easier to spend your energy on creating a great premise than it is publishing blog posts into the inter-nether world.
  17. Apprenticeship is back. We aren’t all about internships anymore, but this next decade will be.

As always, I’m curious to hear your thoughts as well.



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