A Technologist Tackles Digital Marketing

I want to describe my experience trying to learn Digital Marketing, also known as Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, Email Marketing.  These terms are not 100% interchangeable. But I hope by listing them all it puts us, you and me, on the same page for this article.  Fundamentally, it’s about finding an audience and offering them things of value.

monthly_traffic_reportAs a Technologist, I’ve always thought I ought to be able to make money on the Internet.  After all, I understand and actually use many of the technologies underpinning the Internet and World Wide Web.  So making money should be a breeze, right?  But I was wrong!

I first tried making Internet millions when I set up a blog in 2007.  I’ve maintained that blog off and on over the years, and this, Bangkok Beach Telecom, is the latest incarnation.  On several occasions over the years, I actively tried to monetize the blog with ads.  But I never made more than a few dollars in a month.  Mostly, that was because I never achieved any significant volume of traffic.  Not many people visited my blog.

So a couple years ago I left my previous job to spend more time with my wife here in Thailand.  Mostly I help out with her Thai business.  But she also travels quite a bit, which leaves me time to do my own thing.  So in March, I began focusing on this website and trying to learn how to turn it into a proper business.  I actively tried to build up an audience by writing about technology and helping technologists improve their careers.

Before I tell you how that’s working out I want to share with you some of the people I’ve been following to increase my own understanding of content marketing.  First and foremost, Pat Flynn.  Pat Flynn blogs at Smart Passive Income, and he has a very popular podcast.  He is widely respected in the business for his transparency and high-level of ethics.  He gives away lots of really great content, which he uses to build up trust and confidence in his followers, who are then much more willing to purchase his products.  He sells a variety of e-books and courses, mostly intended to help people build their own online businesses.

Amy Porterfield is another, famous for giving away lots of really good content and for her podcast.  Mostly her giveaways are targeted at people trying to follow in her footsteps.  Her podcast is a fantastic resource for understanding about these technologies and how to build your own online business with social media techniques.

Nathan Barry is the CEO of an email service provider called ConvertKit.   Nathan first gained fame as the author of a couple software development books and another book titled “Authority”.  I found Authority to be a real eye-opener and incredibly common-sensical.  For the last couple of years, he has become somewhat famous as that “thousand words a day” guy, because he made the commitment several years ago to write 1,000 words every day.  I strongly encourage you to pick up his book Authority to understand why he made that commitment.

Michael Stelzer is CEO of the company called Social Media Examiner, famous for hosting an annual conference, Social Media Marketing World.  Michael hosts a podcast for Social Media Examiner and is a rather good interviewer.  He seems to have a good sense of how well the interviewee is doing and helps with good questions and leading answers when interviewing the is not doing so well.

Darren Rowse runs the blog Pro Blogger.  He also hosts a podcast which helps people become better bloggers.  Highly recommended listening.  I know I’m leaving out a so many really great people.  I’ll close with just a couple more authors.  You can Google them.  Robert Kiyosaki for the “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” series, MJ DeMarco for “Millionaire Fast Lane”, Russell Brunson, Tim Ferris, Yaro Starak, David Siteman-Garland.

I wrote before that I would tell you how my efforts are working.  So far, well, it’s slow.  In fairness, it seems that to really get a business going takes a couple years. I can understand why.  There are so many new things, new for me, to learn and understand.  Maybe details of all those new things can be the subject of another blog post.  And of course, everyone says there is no such thing as an overnight success. No one gets rich quick.

201707 - Web TrafficHere is a chart of traffic since February.  Not very impressive.  The trend is good if it will continue.  This chart shows a 3-month moving average.   The rolling average levels out some of the variability.  In July I had roughly 10 visitors/day.  May was my best ever month with 600 absolute page views.

In July I had roughly 10 visitors/day.  May was my best ever month with 600 absolute page views.

I’ve never heard of a hard and fast rule for the amount of traffic required to monetize a blog.  My own sense is that I need to grow my traffic by a big margin to generate any meaningful revenue.  Most importantly, I have to have something to actually sell!  When I finish my book, Create an Awesome LinkedIn Profile, these traffic numbers will become more important.

You can follow these numbers for yourself over at Similar Web.  Presently the traffic is so low that Similar Web isn’t able to report very well.

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