Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Gift to Share with You This Season - Your Own Prosperity

(photo credit: brungrrl)

Here's my gift to you this season -
Don't underestimate your own prosperity; share it.

There's a lot I could say here about how the current economic scene might be affecting us. In any season of the year, there are those who have no job, whose future doesn't seem very bright. And around those people you may find others who are spreading gloom and disaster instead of cheerful optimism.

Why would someone be optimistic when they have no job, bills are coming due, their responsibilities are mounting up?

Here's a surprising answer - at least to some:

You are more prosperous than you give yourself credit.

Earl Nightingale used to say often that the most expensive items you own are those which were given to you for free. Expensive, because no amount of money could replace them:
  • Your health,
  • Your intelligence,
  • Your attitudes and abilities.
And that's just a partial list.

Sure, we could all want to improve these - if you are completely healthy, then are you as physically fit as you could be? Everyone is smart - but do we have all the answers we need to life's many problems we encounter?

Then there are native abilities - some of us are genuinely talented in certain areas. And others seem lacking in the above, but they might have other attitudes which make them rich in comparison:
  • Love
  • Charity
  • Tolerance
  • Understanding
In this season, this is what I would give to you - your own ability to share. Possibly the most important asset you have - and one which will bring you anything you could possibly want.


The way this works is simple: In every religion and philosophy, there is some version or recognition of the phrase which means "As you give, you will receive."

This is such a powerful statement that it has been recognized globally as vital to daily living. You probably have heard modern variations of it, such as "What goes around, comes around," among others...

But the most interesting application of it is how this phrase got it's name "The Golden Rule". And simply, it goes like this:

When you share the prosperity you have, you become more prosperous.

Some of you might be worried about your bills and the money you don't have right now. But let's start over - you are rich in things right now which you could never hope to afford. Your life, your ability to enjoy things around you, your own ability to think.

So you are in fact very, very rich. And those around us who are constantly negative don't appreciate that fact.

While being "broke" is a temporary affair, and being "poor" is only a state of mind, in order to change either of these situations, a person is going to have to take some action in their lives - to change some attitudes and habitual ways of thinking.

Right now, no matter how much you feel you need, or how much feel you don't have - let's do this:

Share what you do have.

For some of us, it might only be a smile. For others, we can invite people over or go to their house and visit with them (if they can't get out.) There is nothing like cheerful companionship that takes the chill off and brightens the day.

That gift - a cheering up - is priceless beyond measure. And, like a smile, it's contagious. But as I said above, you will get something just as valuable - if not more - so in return.

If you are yourself housebound, and can't get out to visit someone else - then sit quietly and think about the people you know and love and appreciate. Recall the nice times you had and send these thoughts out any way you can. Maybe a phone call, maybe just write a letter to the last address you had for them. Or send out cheery emails to everyone you care about.

Because all this wealth and prosperity you are sending out will come back to you - priceless gifts being shared all around.

And while I can't be with you today, or though this season - and we more than likely have never even met - I wanted to give this priceless gift to you and ask only one favor in return:

Pass it on. Share it with as many people as you can.

- - - -

And many blessings to you, and all you care about, and everyone you know.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Selling ideas to someone who will buy them.

(photo credit: Thirteenstrings)
How ideas can be sold - wait-a-minute, aren't these free to begin with?

Yes, but not everyone gets them. And your ideas are peculiarly yours - unless you are like Edison, who invented the light bulb at the exact same time as some Russian (almost to the day).
Seth's Blog: Selling ideas to a big company: "So... if you want to be in the business of selling ideas to industry (as opposed to getting that once-in-a-lifetime idea off your chest and cashing out), the thing to do is find an industry, one where you are likely to be trusted, one where you have a sense that they understand how to buy ideas. Invest in that industry, spend time, speak at trade shows, earn your right to credibility. Then, over time, day by day, you'll have the ability to bring them profitable ideas.

Side note: the more complicated your idea is, the better off you are patenting it. Dean Kamen made his fortune patenting wheelchairs and other devices that you and I could never hope to build. On the other hand, if your idea is simple enough to dream up in a week, the only way you're going to protect it is to build it, fast and well"

The other approach is to retrain your mind so that you can get so many ideas you can give away most of them and still make a profit.

Auto-blogging - care of wordpress

How to get other people to write your post pages - without server strain.

After being shut out of my hosting for a domain (because cheap hosting is cheap hosting) when my WordPress installation twice bogged their server, I've become more careful.

The idea hit me (and their are several good plugins for this) is to use this blog as an aggregator, so that it goes:
  1. RSS feed is collected,
  2. Is brought to blog
  3. converted to posts
  4. new RSS feed created

And then I thought - no, that would make this server have to work, with cron jobs and whatnot - the database work on top of that might be too much and I'd be off my new server (same cheap webhost) for good.

But, as the mind churns, I then thought that I could get Google to do my work for me. Google Alerts sends you email and WordPress allows you to post by email (as does Blogger), so:

  1. Google Alert scours and finds data from various posts.
  2. Sends email to blog
  3. Blog converts these to posts.
  4. New RSS feed created from the aggregate.

Of course this needs testing.

But think of the applications. Create a free blogger host and then have Google Alerts populate it with posts. You can then collect these posts' RSS feed and funnel this to Friendfeed or Google Reader as an aggregator, by type, author, subject - whatever you feel you need to organize the data.

Needs a test. But should be doable.

Sub text of this is that for a regular blog, you will build up posts and so content. If these then post directly to categories and not your front page, and if you also have Google sitemaps installed, it becomes an auto-content generator. Probably won't ever rank high on SEO, but on the other hand, it might at least send your links some link love.

Best reason is to have computers do your aggregating and digesting for you. Especially if you can get free blog platforms to do this. Have to try this out with some older blogs... nice way to revive them.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Online Profits: Make money the short, simple way...

(photo credit: Sense Toys)

The short, simple way to making money online - but don't say it was easy finding it...

Bear with me here, because this will probably be refined on the fly.

Right now, this is the probable sequence to getting started in making money online:
  1. This assumes you have an Internet connection you can use.
  2. Get a PayPal account and link it to your bank account.
  3. Find or make something that you know helps people improve their lives.
  4. Get a domain name - something you think people can remember easily, preferably a ".com" ending.
  5. Get some web hosting with cPanel.
  6. Transfer your domain name to that webhost.
  7. Set up a WordPress blog at root (/public_html). Install the minimal plug-ins to keep it safe. (You'll be tweeking it later, right now, let's just get it running.)
  8. Set up OSCommerce in a subdirectory to that blog.
  9. Get these linked with Google Analytics, and
  10. Get your product listed that ecommerce engine. (Yeah, I know out of the box OSC's not something to rave about, but again - you'll be tweaking it later.)
  11. Start blogging useful stuff about your product. Like a review, or a guide, or "10 things you didn't know about..."
  12. Get out into the social media world and find out what people are saying about the problem you have that solution for. Help them out without mentioning (except subtly) that you have the solution. Just open-handed help. Leave your easy-to-remember domain name everywhere you comment (as part of the sign-up, not ever "Visit my site: ______" which never works.)
  13. Make sure that all your social profiles are listed at your domain name, so everyone can find everywhere else you visit.
  14. Keep blogging, keep helping people out - get yourself known for being a trusted authority for that particular solution.
  15. Check your Analytics to see who is coming where and how. Check to find out everything about them.
  16. Now tweak your site to make it easier for people to find your solution. Make it look nicer while you're at it.
  17. Go back to blogging and helping people with your comments.
  18. Check your analytics once a week, tweak, rinse, repeat. (Your mileage may vary.)
There's the simplicity of making money online through social marketing. Oh, there's a lot of great alternative approaches to this. But this is the simplest I've been able to boil it down to so far.

And, yes, you could do this with free sites - host your products on Lulu or CafePress - or just sell affiliate products through ClickBank or Commission Junction. In that case, you could use a free blog (like Blogger) and a computer at the local library. (This has been named "Bum Marketing" - as even a homeless person could do it. --Just have the commission checks sent to the library while you're at it...)

But the analytics for that are trickier, and people respect a real domain name - plus you'll be able to expand it.

- - - -

Anyone have a simpler way than the two above?

Friday, December 12, 2008

How telemarketer scams get traction - ripoff report - preying on the naive...

(photo credit:
Who Internet Scams Prey on and how... Ripoff Report

I was looking up a triage of messy telemarketer scammers I had run into:,, and

Looking these up on various SEO tools gave an interesting result. The first two weren't optimized even slightly for any niche and didn't even utilize basic SEO tactics. Yet they sold "Internet training" - specifically, "Ebay business starter" (which according to WordTracker, no one searches for).

BrightBuilders was the best of the lot in this regard.

However, when I looked for incoming links, they had between 0 and 4. I've got a single page with nothing on it, but it's linked over 768 times within a couple of months of getting the domain!

Now - it gets thicker. Looking these up on, the other shoe drops.

The people who go to there site are 1) Decent income, no education. 2) Are continually returning visitors - meaning they were sold a subscription.

So despite how bad they are in terms of reputation (there are ripoff reports and scam alerts in the top five for all three) - the people who buy their stuff don't know enough to look them up first. (Or, in my case, fell for the sales pitch and didn't bother to google them.)

And there you have it. Not everyone who is on the Internet even cares if someone does more than look over their site casually. That site isn't designed to sell anyone anything They aren't there to get visitors. In two of the three examples, they are simply there as a login site for other traffic.

If you do research these guys, you'll find that they are really some extremely bad-intentioned telemarketers who prey on the naive - and cover their tracks pretty well. But if they were really in business for real, they'd "eat their own dog food", meaning apply what they teach.

Caveat Emptor.

PS. Why do I link to them with these keywords? Because maybe if we all link to them with terms like "Internet Scam" and "Ripoff Report", they'll start getting that link reputation. Certainly they have no defense against it. At least its something.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winning Elections, Social Media Style

How Obama Won - A lesson in personal branding

Obama sold trust. Where McCain got any inroads during the campaign, it was in sowing doubt about Obama. And where Obama jumped ahead, it was when people got scary economic news and needed to trust someone - and they couldn't trust the sitting president.

Could Hillary be trusted? Well, not as much as Obama. Could McCain be trusted? Not as much.

Obama used social media to get his brand out. And it worked.

Will it ever work like this again? Probably not. He had too many factors going in his favor:
  • Relatively unknown - no real political baggage
  • Young, dark, handsome
  • First Person of Color
  • Perfect Storm of economic meltdown
When he wants to run again, he'll have had four years of scrutiny - also called baggage. That economic meltdown will either still be there, or we'll simply be recovering from it. Those other two points won't change much.

Was it a landslide due to social media effect? No - wasn't a landslide. Only in the Electoral College. Popular vote still close (53/47%) - and mostly heavy population areas. Analysts mostly talk about that independent center which moved left, as the politicians moved center. The country is still evenly divided between left, right, and center. Just the way we like it.

But how we campaign now is changed forever. Just like marketing is. If you can't be trusted (like that Chicago governor) you can't get elected.

People still vote the way they always have - someone most representing their values. And now we can share our values many new ways.

While this may be flying a kite in a lightning storm, there's my two bits.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How to Create a Micromovement - Seth Godin

(photo credit: Dallas Dance Music)
Creating a MicroMovement in several easy steps.

From Seth Godin's "Tribes":

1. Publish a manifesto.
Give it away and makeit easy for the manifesto to spread far and wide. It doesn't have to be printed or even written. But it's a mantra and a morto and a way of looking at the world. It unites your tribe members and give them a structure.

2. Make it easy for your followers to connect with with you.
It could be as simple as visiting you or e-mailing you or watching you on television. Or it could be as rich and complex as interacting with you on Facebook or joining your social network on Ning.

3. Make it easy for your followers to connect with one another.
There's that little nod that one restaurant regular gives to another recognized regular. Or the shared drink in an airport lounge. Even better is the camaraderie developed by volunteers on a political campaign or insiders involved in a new product launch. Great leaders figure out how to make these interactions happen.

4. Realize that money is not the point of a movement.
Money exists merely to enable it. The moment you try to cash out is the moment you stunt the growth of your movement.

5. Track your progress.
Do it publicly and create pathways for your followers to contribute to that progress.


1. Transparency really is your only option.
Every failed televangelist has learned this the hard way. The people who follow you aren't stupid. You might go down in scandal or, more likely, from ennui. People can smell subterfuge from a mile away.

2. Your movement needs to be bigger than you.
An author and his book, for example, don't constitute a movement. Changing the way people apply to college does.

3. Movements that grow, thrive.
Every day they get better and more powerful. You'll get there soon enough. Don't mortgage today just because you're in a hurry.

4. Movements are made most clear when compared to the status quo or to movements that work to push the other direction.
Movements do less well when compared to other movements with similar goals. Instead of beating them, join them.

5. Exclude members.
Exclusion is an extremely powerful force for loyalty and attention. Who isn't part of your movement matters almost as much as who is.

6. Tearing others down is never so helpful to a movement as building your followers up.


"Tribes" from Amazon

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Strategies and Clunky Metaphors for Social Media Success

(photo credit: CubeKing)

Strategies and Clunky Metaphors for Social Media Success

Why does strategy always have a military bent? (Sigh)

OK, here's the whole approach to making yourself a success - at least the theory of what you need to start with:

  1. The whole name of the game is getting and keeping subscribers. (Means delivering high-quality, consistently wanted content.)
  2. Beyond that, it's making them in to consistently paying clients (if you want to make a living at this).
  • Social Media Marketing is different from regular marketing, as it's based on trust - not bullhorn broadcasting in great locations (classic Madison Avenue).
  • You have to give in order to get. The better quality, more valuable stuff you give away will get you better clients and they reward you for your efforts.
What you need (minimally):
  1. Blog/CMS to consistently add fresh, high-quality content
  2. ecommerce site to allow people to pay you for your efforts
  3. autoresponder so you can send emails to people who want them
  4. solutions to offer, which people will donate to your cause/pay you for.
  5. Everything above plugged into Google Analytics so you can tune what you do.

- - - -

Later, I'll flesh these out with more details, but this is the core of it. Study some other bloggers and see if you don't agree...

How to pull yourself out of a social black hole

(photo credit: Julie Luongo)

Climbing out of the social black hole isn't so hard...

But it has to be done.

Because your survival depends on it. Doesn't mean anyone is forcing you to survive well, or poorly. That's up entirely to you...

OK, all this mini-rant is because I've been "dark" on the social lines for awhile, getting some other work done. And meanwhile, people have continued to subscribe to my Twitter feed. So I figure I owe at least them - to give them some new content.

But I've been "dark" also because I've been doing some research and some thinking. They'll be another couple books out of this, not so heavy - but I've been doing some of that "philosophical" thinking again, so there's no guarantee.

Now, you climb out of a black hole by doing Archimedes one better and creating a place to stand where you can move the world:
  1. Get a blog or a Content Management System. Best recommended for both - WordPress.
  2. Find or create some stuff to give away or sell. Best is the solutions you've found to the problems you've had to face and solve.
  3. Set up an ecommerce site. OSCommerce is recommended. (Because money is a necessary evil for paying your Internet access, among other things.)
  4. Get everything above and from here on out onto Google Analytics - you're going to need it.
  5. Connect up and study the social networks, social media, and their aggregators. Minimal recommended: Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook. (Everyone has their own favorites, but these three are leaders or will be. Google Connect would be the fourth.)
  6. Make sure your blog/CMS has an RSS feed.
  7. Set up an autoresponder (get a service, don't roll your own) as some people like to keep up to date by email.
  8. Schedule posting everything which interests you several times per week. Don't worry, you'll get better at this.
  9. Pour your heart into it.
  10. Listen for the feedback - better yet, use Google Alerts to bring you everything you're interested in. If someone else is blogging about it, comment (helpfully) on their posts. And link everything of interest to Friendfeed, etc.
  11. Go live your life - but this time, share it with everyone you can.
There's the simplicity of it.

Needs a book to explain all the steps. But for now, just follow Chris Brogan - he'll get you up to speed shortly.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Secret News Keyword Strategy I probably shouldn't tell...

(photo credit: Bullish Bankers)

Secret News Keyword Strategy I probably shouldn't tell...

Here's a dirt-simple method I just twigged on - and I'm telling this, first because you should know a fast way to get on top of breaking trends before they become too saturated for marketing, and second - because it's probably not now a secret. And besides that, anyone whose been following this blog faithfully deserves whatever I can give them. Finally, I'm not going to be using it - because my type of content takes too long to come up with to do this daily, unless research shows this to be wildly profitable...

This keyword strategy is designed to put you at the front of every rising trend with the exact profitable keyword phrases, based on what mainstream news media is shouting from the roof tops (whether it's true, makes sense, or not)

The secret keyword strategy sequence:
  1. You know Google Trends, right? News is down there on the bottom graph. Take the top news sites (I suppose you could do this with top blogs, as long as they change daily) and use a keyword tool to scrape what Search Engines will say their keywords are.
  2. Now, take that keyword list and run it through a KEI generator, like Rank-Tracker (no, I'm not an affiliate, I just like the tool) - and find out what people are actually looking for which is related to what is in the news. KEI of 3 or above, at least 20 or above on daily searches.
  3. Work out your R/S quotient and line these up that way - which will give you profitable keyword phrases with the lowest competition for the demand. Work on these first.
  4. Then you simply write good link-bait copy and link to products.

And repeat this as much as you can that day - hell, if it works out like it looks, you could afford to hire people to write copy for you. Reason being is that you can use this method to get on the rising side of trends and establish your market base before that market becomes saturated. The next day, you start over. The trick is to get in, find the exact keyword, pop up some short posts with a link to a product that assists/solves that problem - and is available for immediate download. Call it "the secret of news niche marketing".

Obviously, a saturated market has low KEI and high R/S ratio, even when the traffic dies off (the other profitable side of the market curve). And the only one's making income in that scene are big box stores with tons of very cheap inventory - and can compete on price.

But doing the above gets you out ahead of the field, ahead of that curve.

The downside of this is that its entirely possible - since people don't trust the news - that they are barking up the wrong tree and are way behind the curve. They do tend to run in herds - and occasionally off cliffs all together.

(And if I were a journalist or had one as a buddy, I'd key them in on this strategy. This is the way they could find and get ahead of rising trends by finding which subjects are actively being looked up - and have peoples' interest - and which are already saturated with tons of competing pages/stories already. And guess what - your scoop won't be what you think it is... But your readership will climb as you always are writing ahead of the curve and can - mostly - start spotting a nascent trend. Tip: take your keyword and put it back into Google Trends to see what it's doing - write on all the uptrending ones.)

Don't understand some of these terms? OK, then either skip this post, or look them up. Hate to do this to you, but this post is for SEO-savvy people - and only those who are smart enough to find this blog. If you are natively that smart and want to understand what I just said, you can search this blog, as I've gone over this material before. The answers are all there.

Good Hunting!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Looking over your own shoulder at yourself - modern social marketing

(photo credit:

Sometimes, you have to look over your own shoulder at yourself - to see whether your coming or going.

And that's social marketing in an elevator pitch.

I often find myself digesting some new piece of data for days. I'm an editor and graphic designer, so I usually extract it from the format it came in - right down to straight text. Then I reformat it so it's readable and edit it as I go. Then I'll format it into a really readable version.

In doing this, I study the material at least three times. If it's in rough shape, I'll rearrange it to make better sense - or just extract the valuable stuff and use it.

That's one method of learning.

Often, since this takes away from the promotion or editing or other work I should be doing, I tend to question whether it's worth it.

But in social media, we are always questioning ourselves to make sure that what we are doing is valuable and not just following some huckster's pitch into that dark alley where his partners wait...

Because we care about the conversations we are part of and the people we associate with.

If you do this outline above, it's a bunch of hard work - niggling stuff. But you get to know what that author is talking about on a personal level. You make it your own. And then you go out to apply it and improve what you're doing before.

But if you never question yourself -- that's a pure, golden road to arrogance.

And so, it's better to take three steps forward and two back, but still make progress.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Getting started in Online Marketing - the easy way

(photo credit:

How to get started in Online eCommerce - the easy way.

It's taken me some time to get my tail to follow my lead. I have been so extensively researching how things work, that I haven't taken the time to make them work for me. Essentially, I never set up my own backend to work.

Let me tell you the basics of how to get started (and let you get on with it).
  1. Get some good hosting with cPanel. This is the control panel for your site. Don't accept any hosting that doesn't have it.
  2. Buy a domain name cheaply from a domain-name provider. Don't buy this through your webhost, as it may not belong to you if you decide to move. Transfer this domain name over to your webhost.
  3. Log into your webhost and open up cPanel (usually
  4. Go down into Fantastico.
  5. Install a WordPress blog.
  6. Download and install wp-e-commerce plug-in for WordPress.
  7. Configure this and populate it with salable products - either digital downloads or drop-shipped items.

At that point, you're set to go. Really. That simple.

Sure, there's tons of stuff to apply to your new site about promotion and marketing and all that sort of stuff. You will be doing this from here on out.

But first, you get some valuable products for sale and set these up so you can sell them. Then you promote.

Too simple.

Life is actually that way, you know...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Pithy video please - how to lose subscribers by being over-verbose

(photo credit:

Keep It Pithy Video Please - how to lose subscribers by being over-verbose

Another example hit my email today - just where I don't want it. Someone decided that the way to add value was to create a 1 hour and 12 minute instructional video.

I suppose they never thought how much bandwidth and computer resources that would take to download. Yet this is targeted for "newbies". I'm not going to download it, and I don't have time to "start watching it and then come back to it." Essentially, this violates the basic principle of the Internet: "Valuable Content Fast".

I like my bandwidth, but it's throttled at various times due to too much too fast. Excessive videos tend to take it over the top. And I've mentioned before that if you really want acceptance, you'll create alternative versions of the same data. PDF's, small MP3's, text files, RSS feeds from blogs, images posted to image sharing sites like Flickr, PowerPoints to, etc.

In this case, they should have broken it up into smaller chunks and then created a mini-course around it. You then have interaction, especially if you set it up for people to leave comments. Make each video clip about 3-5 minutes, and provide a PDF workbook as a download for every single section. This would give you 22 sections for that overlong video to have that much data in it. (But more than likely, a lot of that edited hour would wind up on the cutting room floor...)

And every section allows you to get more exposure to your PPC ads, affiliate links, and own products.

You have to always keep the "win-win" proposition in mind. Make your product and information easily accessible and easily sharable.

Keep it pithy, please - replaces/augments "Keep it stupidly simple."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Telemarketing Scam: Money Back - How to get it..

(photo credit:

How to get your money back from a telemarketing scam.

If you've been the victim of high-pressure, smooth-talking telemarketers - but aren't getting your full money refunded - here's a simple way to get all your money back - complain to every government agency you can find. That might include elected officials in your state and the state that company is physically located in. That's the secret - they are physically located somewhere. And their owners exist and have physical addresses. Those addresses have government agencies who monitor deceptive practices. So: complain like hell to every agency you can find, not just the BBB. : "I came upon this website and read what Debbie wrote. It works it really works. Complain to EVERY agency out there. I was in complete shock. I received all my money back in FULL. I was about to give up. My bank did not want to help me. They said since I paid with my debit card that they could not do anything. (Chase) When I read Debbie's complaint about the company I decided to use her information and run with it. I wrote to the FCC, all the local and state agencies. I filed 3 complaints in the state where the company is from too (Utah). The BBB was absolutely NO HELP!!! It's going to be a lot of faxing, calling and writing but ALL well worth it. I got a letter in the mail from PCS apologizing for the misunderstanding 2 weeks from the start of my complaint frenzy. They have FULLY refunded my money. The letter I received had one catch. I would have to stop filing complaints about them to state agencies."
This just goes to show you that the "squeaky wheel" does indeed get the grease.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Direct Marketing over to Social Media Marketing - a strategy

(photo credit: Wolf Tracking)

Moving from Direct Marketing over to Social Media Marketing - a strategy (that might just work...)

Anyone covering this blog for the last year will see that I went into a "quietus" as I researched eBay (expensively and at length). And then find me rolling along into Jack Humphreys' rather involved methods of training people to become "Authorities" in their chosen niche. As well, I checked out a very user-friendly "30-Day" program (link eludes me at this point).

Today, while riding on my tractor picking corn (does wonders for intensive thought to be away from computers) - anyway, I found that I had completed all the training I needed to do. I now feel I know how to move from conventional marketing over to social modes.

A Summation

Basic facts:
  1. Social media is social, not broadcast. They reject broadcast announcements here and embrace personalities who interact, not just pontificate.
  2. The basics of marketing work - if you throw out the methodologies of the 50's-80's and start embracing the core principles from history - the local community marketplace/bazaar/farmers' market. (Visit one of these festivals with small booths selling a handful of items and you'll see what I mean.)
  3. Problem is that marketers are trained (even today) to do broadcast methodology, not socially interact. And the largest corporations are having the hardest time with this. Smaller start-ups almost intuitively embrace these features, since they personally only deal with a handful of staff and can talk with their handful of customers on a one-to-one basis as well.
  4. There are actually broadcast technologies within social media. These are the bookmarking sites. You are supposed to put your bookmarks up there. And the most popular bookmarks win.
  5. However, self-promotion is frowned upon. Posting your own stuff up on the "news" sites will get you banned sooner or later.
  6. Basic principle: develop word of mouth.
  7. Basic technique: craft clever link-bait that people will talk about and make this easily sharable.
  8. That's pretty simple for corporate trained marketers, since this is their stock in trade. However, properly done - the ROI or conversion rate is much, much higher with social media, since you can get free evangelists to do your marketing for you. (See "Tipping Point" by Malcolm Gladwell as an introduction to this concept.)
The trick to social marketing and word of mouth

Trick is to get the ball rolling, since if you are an individual - they don't know you. If you are a corporation, you are in the hole - since they don't trust you.

Jack Humphrey pointed out one hole in this, along with his own technique of making yourself an "authority". Essentially you craft your link-bait and then "buzz" it yourself by using free blogs that you control and post links back to your link-bait on your main blog. He also says to contribute back to these communities by posting links though those free blogs to other areas, in ways that each free-blog community would embrace and appreciate. The more you contribute useful posts and comments in your niche, the more people trust you and look to you as as an authority in that niche. Your traffic goes up and then you can convert this to sales.

Why use a blog? Because it is an easy way to add content and update it. Plus it has built-in community support through comments. Google loves blogs more than corporate sites - because they are more popular, and popular content drives blog use (and advertising).

Here's the interesting part. Through various programs like the Blog-Rovr plug-in for Firefox, and also using Google Alert (now with RSS feeds), you can keep track of influencer's and evangelists in your niche and comment on their blog posts. That piques their interest eventually, and they start visiting and linking to your blog. Meanwhile, you post from your main-blog with links to these - which then then give you a trackback for, which increases your link-love.

You also apply these same tools to see who is linking to your main blog. Track them, comment on their blogs. Also do this for appropriate forums and groups.

You also need to do articles, podcasts, and videos, but your main approach above is to:
  1. Create Linkbait Weekly.
  2. Bookmark (OnlyWire) each one to as many as possible.
  3. Buzz your linkbait - using varied text and graphics - from as many free blogs as possible (preferably several overseas as well).
  4. Track posts about your blog and return the favor - both blogging about their site and also commenting on their blog posts.
  5. Also track anyone who posts anything about you, post and comment as above.
  6. Similarly, track forums and groups - both post and comment.
  7. In your spare time, put up viral media - such as articles, podcasts, videos, and anything else that comes along. All prominently feature your main blog - and link back to these as simply as possible. (You'll need to overlay your blog address on the video, for instance, as well as getting a live link in the comments.)

It almost goes without saying that you are answering questions and interacting realistically/honestly with everyone who posts and comments.

Means a lot of work on your part. Welcome to the geek club.

Where's sales and monetization in all this?

You also still have have some part of your week devoted to creating more products to offer and getting them sold - your backend.

What you want is followers and subscribers. Preferably paid subscribers. Possibly eBay's one contribution to this is that you can get a "reverse funnel" (they buy first and then subscribe) from selling on eBay and getting them to your site. You really want them to opt-in to your mail list and then use the various write-ups on sales pages, repetitive contact, a "sales funnel" of increasingly higher valued/priced items - and ultimately turning them into affiliates and evangelists for your site (as well as starting them over from the beginning of your funnel with the new products you are creating all the time).

And this last paragraph above is the subject of several posts and ebooks. Too much to go into here.

- - - -

And now you see how to move from gratuitous broadcast marketer to a social marketing genius, in just a few steps outlined above.

I'll tell you that it isn't easy; it's a lot of work. But then, so is marketing as you may have understood it up to this point...

Waste Affiliate MoJo on Not-Your-Niche Products.

How to Waste Your Affiliate Mojo on Not-Your-Niche Products.

Just saw a post from Jeremy Vaught about sticking to your niche - and only niches. And this brings up how you can simply waste all your time trying to promote affiliate products you know nothing about and could care less - just the money, honey.

There is no - "just the money, honey" - in life. Check out Earl Nightingale's "Strangest Secret" or his "Lead the Field Series". You only get money after you've contributed something of value to someone else.

That's what I found on eBay - if your aim in life is to become a Big Box retailer, sure you can "make money" on eBay. You are retailing things/stuff/schlock for just above your cost to people who believe they are getting a real bargain. However, not all of us want or are interested in being the next Sam Walton.

Find your niche and market from there (niche-market). Sure, you can expand to related niches, but that's the point - you have an option. If you like retailing and selling - great, be that. But retailers and salesmen have their own niches they operate in. Wal-Mart doesn't try to cover everything possible - they have key items from most the key categories people want. The products are fair-enough quality, but are cheap enough so they can make a profit and still undersell just about everyone.

The story I tell, though, is about the Wal-Mart bicycle repairman. There isn't one, of course. This town was all up in arms because a Wal-Mart was coming in, just outside of town. Doom and gloom was settling in. This bicycle shop owner went in when they opened up, looked around, and came back to put a sign in his store. It read, "Can you tell me the name of the Wal-Mart bicycle repairman." And his business boomed. Sure, they might by a cheap bike at Wal-Mart - but they'd bring it to him to get assembled, and adjusted, and repaired. His traffic and income increased because he was able to amplify the demand in his own niche.

It's not like your mojo got up and went because you have some "new competition". The best way to deal with "competition" is to out-create them in your niche. Don't try to compete with them on their terms. Raising prices because you have much better-quality items and give real personal service and all sorts of qualified technical advice from your niche - that will bring tons of new and repeat traffic into your shop. As long as you mean it. But cutting prices when you can't possibly compete with a mega-store - where your product is just one of several thousand they stock... sure suicide.

Look Jack Humphrey is still pretty much unknown, although he cuts a wide swath in his particular niche. And pulls down 10's of thousands every month - because he is very good at his particular staked out territory in Internet Marketing. But you hardly hear a mention of him in social media circles - unless they are also into Internet Marketing. But Jack thrives on social media... that's what he's selling to people: how to market their stuff via social media.

Social Media, however, doesn't even see him. Because it is so vast it covers the entire realm of the Internet. And all the social media gurus have their own interests. Sure, they market, but few are devotedly into that niche - they are into their own niche.

And that's the point. Look, become an expert in one little thing and then find affiliate or your own product which solves that one little thing. And if you promote it right and get yourself known - everyone looking for that one little thing will come to you for your solution.

The guy who invented the better mousetrap and got the world stomping a new path to his door - he didn't also work on rat-traps, beaver-traps, bear-traps, politician-traps. He perfected his one little mousetrap. Now, once this is successfully bringing in income, he is able to perfect other models, and perhaps take on other denizens of the house - yes, rats, but probably cockroaches, flies, moths, wasps, spiders - and all sorts of things that people who want mice out of their house would also like help with.

So - invest you mojo in your one niche. And keep it there. Wild oats goes only so far when spread to the winds. Keep it in your own field and expect a grand and bountiful harvest.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Where is social media going?

Where is social media going?

Looked up predictions on this and found a few. Some make sense, some don't.

Innovation will continue to take risks and find new solutions to recurring problems.

Here's a comment I just left on another Chris Brogan channel:
All this makes sense. Especially in this worrisome economic climate we've inherited.

Figure the online activities that can't monetize themselves will fold, but those which have greater communities will become "sponsored" by various entities.

There will be no "one" universal media, but rather - as Brogan points out - there will be one (or a few) accumulators for all these feeds. Right now, Friendfeed has the top spot in this, particularly as they just came out with an auto-updating live feed.

And so MSM has been given notice. Steve Rubel pointed this out recently. Newspapers either have to embrace social media or drop out entirely.

I want RSS feeds for papers so I don't have to wade through emails. RSS I can scan, emails have to be opened one by one (although there are some gmail features...) I want media archives to be open and able to be searched for earlier articles. I don't care if there are a lot of ads on those pages, as long as they are relevant products to what is being discussed. (Note, with templated ads, you can serve up current ads for old stories...)

There is no problem "making money" with any sort of content. The problem is carrying on the conversations that are already existing.

Conversations like, "How do I solve this?" "How to I keep my family fed and food on the table, a roof over their head, and clothes on our backs?" "How's my favorite sports team doing and why?" "How can I get some cheap distraction from all this bad news?" "How can I increase my disposable income - or have any at all?"

That's what marketing has to address - real concerns. It has to revisit their reasons for flashy cars and beautiful clothes and what Hollywood celebrities think (or if they do).

For the individual entrepreneur, this is the way to go. Find what solutions you are using and get them out in front of people who might care. Contribute to solving the world's problems. And have fun at it.
What's your take on this? Make sense? No? Tell me.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

3 classes of social media marketing

(image link: Fine Art America)

There are 3 apparent classes of Social Media Marketing

More of a note for future research, it still needs publishing. These are the ones which seem socially acceptable - not the obnoxious ones:
  1. Direct marketing - bookmark tagging (OnlyWire, etc.)
  2. Proxy blogging - mini blogs on free hosts which point back to your linkbait. (Gray Hat)
  3. Comment posting on other's blogs and forums with a link back to your a) website, b) about me page, c) specific permalink that's appropriate.
This is following the traditional marketing rules, more or less - but within social media guidelines.

Outside of those guidelines (and obnoxious):
  • only posting your own blog posts to twitter, friendfeed, facebook, et al.
  • only linking to JV partners or commenting exclusively on their sites
  • only commenting about what you just did recently
  • friending everyone you can and then only posting your own stuff like above - so all your "friends" get from you is how great YOU are.
  • stupidly obvious spammy "SEO" tricks like asking for people to link to you or digg your stuff.
What seems to work best is what used to be called "Good Manners":
  • Helping others first - as Chris Brogan puts it: 12-to-1 ratio of theirs to yours.
  • Really being interested in other people and how they are getting along.
  • Proposing your product as a solution to their problem only in an offhand way, not assertive.
  • Or, better yet, never bringing up what you do at all - but only providing excellent content and great comments on others' sites which forwards the conversation in a sequitur manner and contributes valuable service to that niche community.
- - - -

But I imagine you have a better look at this than I do -- what's your take on this?

Monday, October 20, 2008

3 ways to not turn your viewers away - give options and get conversions

3 ways to not turn your viewers away - give options and get conversions

There are three ways to turn viewers away:
  1. Poor quality content.
  2. Unusable content.
  3. Unaccessible content.
Let's say that you have the first well in hand. You routinely turn out great stuff.

How do you make sure that your content is usable and accessible?

The chief culprit is bandwidth. While this has been improving, it's still possible for people to have glitches and slows which make your content unaccessible and so - unusable. No matter how great your content is, if people can't view it - you might as well have an oil painting hung in the Metropolitan Museum - only a few people can ever see it at a time. Not useful for Internet Marketing.

Same thing if you only give out a video. Just ran into this for the umpteenth time. No other options to get the data - other than put it into a download queue where is can chew away and not block all my bandwidth. Otherwise, the video is chopped up as it starts and pauses. This degrades an otherwise fine presentation.

The other fault that video shares with podcasts is that it's linear. You have to follow it from beginning to end. A choppy video or podcast interrupts the flow of ideas - and so they can't/don't get your pitch. And won't convert.

Always, always give options. offers a nice service for hosting your powerpoint presentation. It's flash based, but is able to be controlled by the viewer, so they forward one slide at a time. Interestingly, you can add notes to each slide as a comment - and so give the audio portion of the presentation as text. You can also marry up the podcast with the slideshow and create a slidecast - higher-quality images without the bandwidth problems of a video.

As well, powerpoints can be converted to PDF, so the same data is available.

That's the point - give high- and low-bandwidth solutions. Offer a free whitepaper which contains the text of your presentation (just format the graphics into the document and output as PDF). Or a PDF of the powerpoint, as above.

My scene today was this: I went to a site to check out their training and found that I could only study them as video's. And their video's took forever to load (remember that 10-second rule when visitors leave???)

Rule is: always give options to make sure your excellent content actually comes across.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How to lose money on eBay - shopping has evolved to warfare...

How to lose money on eBay - shoppers have evolved, and sellers beware!

This data isn't for Power Sellers on eBay, who have already established themselves years ago. This is a simple 2-step guide about how to get started on eBay and use the current scene (until Xmas this year) to get some real returns.

The days of being able to make a killing on eBay are just about over. It's incredibly hard to get started at making a viable living on this platform, particularly when they killed all the digital downloads.

Here's some simple data, based on my last few months of hands-on research:

eBay has been oversaturated with sellers for years. The more recent (last couple years') advice for buyers has been to wait until the last day. So sniping was created.

Shopping tools have evolved to perfect the concept of sniping. Not only do they limit what a buyer wants to spend on any particular item, but they can search out items which no one is watching - no competition=better deals.

With eBay's recent move to protect buyers from being rated by sellers, buyers have been moved to a "protected species" category and so have considerable leverage over sellers. Sellers almost can't keep buyers away from their sales by rating and have to result to blocking them based on a shared list of problem buyers.

Used to be a nice community where you could move second-hand stuff. Now it's got a considerable amount of corporate interests like who can take nearly unlimited amounts of auctions out on a nearly unlimited amount of goods.

So the bottom has fallen out of several areas such as books, DVDs, CD's. Which is why eBay is running a special on these right now, such that you can list them for 5 cents each - for 30 days at a fixed price.

The result: buyers and sellers are at war. Sellers have to fend off big-box stores and greedy buyers. It's no longer offering an heirloom and being able to find buyers who will pay anything to get it.

2 simple strategies for getting leads from eBay and making money

Overall, realize that you don't make the real money on eBay, you make the real money by getting customers from eBay and onto your own site. So whatever you do on eBay, you need to get their email address and get them to opt-in to your mailing list, plus becoming regular customers at your own online store. (And it's far cheaper to host your own online store and maintain it than it is to host it at eBay. Period. Same goes for Amazon.)

1. Realize that you can't directly compete on price for bulk goods against the big-box stores. Use eBay as a lead generator. Find an object that you can create (like ebooks on CD), and under-price everyone else out there - .99 list and enough shipping to cover your actual expenses. Then send them a CD with an autorun HTML sales page that includes a free offer if they join your newsletter mailing list. Do this for your fixed-price 30-day listings.

2. Run only one-day regular auctions on the stuff you have that runs routinely well. Use (free or low-priced) analysis software to find the best days and times - not the most popular, but seek out the less-traveled path. You'll still expect to be only 40-50% successful, but figure this into your S/H costs to cover your expenses. Set your starting prices up at what the market will bear - because shoppers generally won't pay more than they have to - eBay is supposed to be a bargain. This strategy is supposed to make you money and get you leads.

This is all limited data. eBay has tried to perfect its silo for years so that people can't move to other platforms. Factually, this has screwed over the community and driven people away - both buyers and sellers. So they are trying to limit your access to the buyer's email address - both for their stated "security" reasons and also to limit anyone's ability to move buyers to other platforms.

A point above is to keep your fees low. This is the hole in eBay's system. They charge low fees on anything below a buck (mostly). This is supposed to encourage bidding. But since the buyers watch and snipe, a lot of sales go cheap - and the seller loses. Another way of avoiding high fees is at the end. eBay takes out a final-value fee based on your final auction price. I've said to keep your S/H enough to cover your costs. Practically, you want to stay under $4 to keep off eBay's radar, as well as be reasonable to your buyers. Don't fall for the "free shipping" ploy eBay's currently offering. They've increased their final value fees to make up for the special low listing fees.

This is why the simple list-generation ebook item is the winner. You're looking for savvy buyers who can scope out the real great deals. Those are your smart buyers who you can turn into paying leads. Set out one-day .97 auctions with $.3.95 S/H. They buy, they opt-in, you both win. Give them great service and they'll stay.

Now, these defenses are against the random, average buyer who is using advanced sniper (and other software) tools to keep your prices low. Once you have that buyer, she's gold to you. So treat her as such. If they won't opt-in, or quickly opt-out - figure you at least made your costs on getting them as a lead. No loss. The one's that stay are your real platinum ones. So treat them like the regal royalty they are - and they'll keep buying from you nearly forever.

This is all limited-time data. eBay is changing constantly as they see their profits drop and Amazon's continue to rise. Until they figure out how to re-build their community (trust), they'll continue to sink. So this strategy above will change in a few months. I predict it will become more cut-throat as they continue to pit buyers against each other and all sellers against the buyers. Essentially - eBay is heading to being only big-box stores and established Power Sellers (who are essentially big-box stores for their niche). It will take you years to establish yourself and make a regular living off eBay under the current scene.

So go the easy route and snipe back - pull out leads and keep them happy at your own ecommerce store.

- - - -

Subscribe to this feed to stay updated as eBay changes and the warfare continues.

Your views on this? Am I full of it or do I speak sooth?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Buyers, Marketing, Social Media - and the Real World

There's buyers, marketing, social media - and then there's the real world...

If you've been following my learning curve over the past months/years, you'd have seen a constant attempt to narrow down to successful promotion/sales/marketing actions. This lead me to find out about buyers - through eBay, arguably still the biggest marketplace online.

eBay works if you are a discount retailer or a collectible sales outlet. I got in just as they lowered the boom on digital delivery and so for better or worse, dropped into a low-end scene for ebook profits. I've made some sales - and that's kept me going. But not enough to date to make a living at it, which was my goal.

The training I paid for was pretty sad - even though it was a four-digit sum. (Before the decimal point.) And now, my credit cards are licking their lips as they know they have me... they think.

I've since gone through three or four more trainings - and am working on a fifth (actually an earlier version of two of these). What I've found confirms what I started out with.

You want to attract buyers and keep them happy.

(Traditional) marketing to social media sucks.

And studying Charles Heflin, among others, confirms this. Pitifully poor ROI.

But realistically, marketing is still marketing. You have to promote like a banshee mountain wind in winter to get people to know you exist. At least that's what they tell us. Because this is based on the broadcast version, with only 2-3% of viewers taking the bait after 5-7 repetitions.

Because it's "broadcast" based and not a personal conversation.

Bloggers who really connect with their clientele will have as much as 17-25% conversion on any offer. I just listened tonight to a blogger podcast, who is now making $4500 a month from her ebook and affiliate sales through her blog. Cute.

What did she do? Got into real conversations with her readers and asked their opinions - and then commented back on their comments - a real discussion.

That's what Madison Avenue and the "great Jack Humphrey" are missing overall. It isn't getting a lot of traffic to your site - but having real and consistent live conversations with your visitors (at least, until the traffic gets so bad you can't keep up with individuals - other than the truly outstanding ones that even make you pause...)

And that's the route to take.

Sure, I'll keep selling on eBay, but this isn't really good for ebooks, since the demand is not there, and eBay itself is based on cut-rate prices - so hardback books don't sell for as much as it takes to print them on demand. To make a living, you'd have to sell some 200 CD's a week at about $5 profit. You have to sell big retail items on a weekly basis to get that real sweet spot of large profits.

The new target is now back to ecommerce and online sales.

I'll ramp up eBay with what I can scrounge up of suppliers and their drop-ship products.

And that will probably start paying its way pretty well. It's not where my heart is at, though.

The keystrategic and tactical point is to build up some following on my blog - which will be monetized with links that pay - ebooks and affiliate sales, like the girl above. Simple.

And, yes, to begin with, I'll be using Jack Humphrey's (and Howie Schwartz') methods to get some name recognition. But I'm not doing it to become "an authority" - but to really find out what people are trying to solve in their lives and help them with that.

All that work I did years ago with "Go Thunk Yourself" really points to a universal solvent which can sort out and resolve any human problem. Any human problem.

The trick is to "go Archimedes" and find a place to stand, then get a long enough lever - and move the world.

Feel that? It just shifted slightly.

Think it's possible?

Let me know...

Friday, October 10, 2008

10 Fascinating Twitter How-To's

10 Fascinating Twitter How-To's - as delivered by the head Tweets themselves

Here's a short list of interesting how-to's I've had delivered to my RSS reader care of Twitter:

1. You know it's getting bad when Forbes (Forbes!) starts running stories on how to live well in leans times -

2. - CNN Commentator David Smick: "Why there's a crisis -- and how to stop it:

3. - How to Create Your Own Wine Bottle Label: I hope this guide clarifies the basic steps to creating per..

4. - Reading Technology, How to Host a Successful Webinar

5. - New Products, The Complete Guide To Genius: How To Increase Yo..

6. - sharing this with everyone! ask me how to go raw deliciously for natural beauty inside-out.

7. - 8 Strategies For Successful Relations With Clients | How-To | Smashing Magazine

8. - How to disable spell check in Google chrome browser: How to disable spell check in Google chrome br..

9. - - How To Make A Lot Of Money – Surprising Upshot In No Time

10. - Music, How To Be A Ticket Broker, Resell Concert, Sports, ..

Did you learn something? I know I did...

Your ideas?

Buzz your own site - with Cutts' blessing

"Buzz" your own site - with Matt Cutt's blessing...

One thing I learned from Jack Humphrey is to get a lot of microblogs pointing to your site. He calls this "buzzing". I thought this was a bit objectionable until I read the below. In short, it's fine with Matt.
Google's Cutts: Good directions drive traffic to your website -
"4. Create a blog and post often.

Cutts says blogging is a great way to add links and start a conversation with customers and friends. It will cost you only time: Google's Blogger, WordPress and others offer free blogging tools. With a blog, you can link back to your site and offer links to others. It's also a great way to start building content, Cutts says."

Linkbait scraping shows new revelations

I've learned to love linkbait scraping - which shows new revelations of hows and whys:

My studies have recently turned to linkbait - as a subject, not as a method.

I've learned to use a sequence of Adobe Acrobat Pro, NoteTab, and OpenOffice as my training regimen.

Adobe's Pro version allows you to scrape a page (or several, with their links) and then save to HTML.

NoteTab then will take that file and strip off all the HTML and save the URL's.

Open Office then allows you to format that page back into usable format, with headers and bullets and so on - making it easy to find stuff as a reference.

What this sequence does is to give you the URL in plain text - so you can see what people are actually linking to. And all the affiliate links show up.

What I learned from Jack Humphrey

Essentially, you can take Jack at his word. He applies what he says.

However, this is both good and bad.

True, high-quality linkbait is almost accidental. Low-quality linkbait is a short piece which is just a set of links to other pieces.

This I learned from Jack.

If you take apart his Blackbook using the method above, you'll find that nearly all (I haven't digested his entire magnum opus yet) the links which were a paid service were affliate links. Jack gets paid if you click there. And 3/4's of his links to linkbait were just linkbait themselves - and led right to Jack's blog. But all you got were other links to linkbait articles. Low quality.

But that's how Jack says to do it in his Blackbook.

So I went back to Google to find real articles on linkbait.

If you take Matt Cutt's explanation of quality linkbait:
So, what are the links that will stand the test of time? Those links are typically given voluntarily. It is an editorial link by someone, and it’s someone that’s informed. They are not misinformed, they are not tricked; there is no bait and switch involved. It’s because somebody thinks that something is so cool, so useful, or so helpful that they want to make little sign posts so that other people on the web can find that out.

Now, there is also the notion of link bait or things that are just cool; maybe not helpful, but really interesting. And those can stand the test of time as well. Those links are links generated because of the sheer quality of your business or the value add proposition that you have that’s unique about your business. Those are the things that no one else can get, because no one else has them or offers the exact same thing that your business offers. (Stone Temple Consulting)

That is why Matt Cutt's own article (which has been taken down, for some reason) on Linkbait has been referred to by Jack and so many other people. True linkbait (and so I suppose I have to go to Wayback to find it...)

And what I object to Jack's methods overall. They are simply self-serving marketing.

Jack does a lot of good work. And giving away the Blackbook is quite something. However, when you analyze Jack by Jack's own work - you see exactly what he's doing. Bringing the most possible traffic to his own site - so it can be converted into cash flow. Pure capitalism.

Effectiveness is the measure of Truth.

So say the ancient Polynesians.

Is Jack right to do what he does? He certainly is effective in what he does - he gets a lot of traffic to his subscription site. Is it of real value? If you follow what Jack says, you will get a lot of traffic to your site.

Is traffic the end product of SEO? According to some.

What is marketing?
  • Marketing is the action of creating an area where you can offer your product for exchange.

  • The highest value product commands the greatest exchange.

  • Value is determined by how it improves the life of the people who use it.

  • Great value creates word of mouth and evangelism.

Jack has his evangelists. For me the jury is still out. (And you can see why I haven't linked to Jack or his Blackbook here...)

Summary: His blackbook is linkbait.

(photo credit -

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stratgic Internet Marketing Scheduling - Key to Sanity and Profits?

Setting your strategic Internet marketing scheduling may be the key to your sanity and profits...

Now I've recently completed a third course this summer in marketing and web building. To say the least, my head was full to bursting - until I sat down and scratched it all out on a yellow pad.

The simple priorities are these:
  1. You have to make profitable sales to stay in business.
  2. You have to market to get leads and convert these to buyers.
  3. You have to research and review your progress against plans you made.
Now, these three programs agreed on these three, but differed in how to get them done - and in the sequence you should work on them.

There were simply a few points they also agreed on as to how to do this - but they didn't agree on an order:
  • Build your web presence with a web host and a domain name.
  • Use a WordPress blog to add content.
  • Add monetized links that are relevant and contribute to the content.
  • Promote actively - often three times more than you would spend on anything else.
Since these courses were all built on search engine discovery, they all had basic SEO tactics in that training. Two of the three were hinged on social media marketing (which is a bit of an oxymoron, since social media shun marketers...)

But our point is how to organize this. I've read the stories where a person spent months on building up an ecommerce site only to make nothing on it (and thank Gawd for his day job...) My first training was devoted utterly to learning how to use their proprietary web-building software.

And the other extreme was a course where they spend hours telling you how to do social marketing - 15/16's of the course, in fact - and then gave the final hour was on how to monetize. Meaning that the bulk of their students would simply opt for more training - since what they taught in that sequence would keep the person broke.

However, the breakthrough was in the third one. Here, they said to do your research and find your market first - but that you were also finding how to monetize it as part of that research. Then you built your blog and started promoting.

Let me break with all three - they are all right and also wrong.
  • You don't build anything overnight.
  • You do continuously build and refine what you already had going.
  • Promotion is a big part of marketing, but you also have to monetize constantly to convert viewers to buyers.
  • And you have to have a plan, plus review the metrics of that plan to make any success.
Part of this was learning and breaking down a 60-day plan. Which was great - but it really was a finite recipe and couldn't be used without a great deal of other data. (Which is why they only gave it to you behind a hefty paid subscription.)

When gridded out, that plan really boiled down to a repeating set of actions, plus adding one or two new promotional outlets each week. 8 weeks of basic content addition, plus tons of promotion.

But it was even simpler than that.

Weekly schedule:
  1. Research and Review:
    Review your previous week, all metrics, and create your to-do list.
  2. Monetize:
    Find new income sources (affiliates or new products) that you can add - and sign up for them or create them for your sales funnel.
  3. Promote:
    Content - add more linkbait (truly memorable blog posts) to your site.
  4. Promote:
    Comment - find where people are linking to your site and comment on theirs. Or Stumbleupon, Digg, or Twitter about them, if no direct comment possible.
  5. Promote:
    Converse - join in the conversation on various forums which have to do with your niche.
So: Research/Review - Monetize - Promote - Promote - Promote.

This also follows a longer cycle of what you are going to be doing. In the beginning, you need to spend a sizable amount of time defining your niche and the long-tail keywords you want to optimize for (and write content about). Part of this will be finding if that niche is actually one where people spend money - and you'll be finding affiliates or products that can be sold within that niche. Once you have these two established, you can spend the rest of the time promoting and getting yourself - and your products - known.

Those are the bare bones - and you can see that this has lots more below it to make it work.

But I hope you can use this to streamline what you're doing and so become more profitable...

Your views?

PS. Note that this is only five days worth of work. Take the weekend off with your family - or go read a book - or go hiking -- or do some more of whatever you still need to get done withyour jobs.. Your choice.

(photo credit: )

Monday, October 6, 2008

"Conversation Domination" and SEO - Flaws and Failures

Why would you ever want to use "Conversation Domination" for SEO if you knew its flaws and failures?

Here's the first one:

1. Marketing is based on conversation. Conversation is - by definition - a turn-about process. "Dominating" a conversation means you control it completely.

Now - what does a person do with a conversation that is completely controlled by one person?

Leave - find somewhere else to converse.


2. Search engines evolve according to human needs and wants. Spammers find themselves isolated eventually, kicked off all search engines. Why? Spam is unwanted communication. A one-way flow. Old-style marketing tactics.


3. When someone "dominates" search engines by taking several or all of the top spots for a given keyword, it means no one else can participate in that conversation. So, ultimately, this means that such techniques will eventually be labeled spam and search engines will move elsewhere.


4. Original, great content is king - always has been. That's what the Internet was created for. So people could find information (content) they were looking for. Spamming your way to the consistent top of the search engines doesn't mean you have the best content - you've just figured out how to make the search engines think you do. And search engines ultimately penalize all spammers - drastically.


5. Marketing (ClueTrain Manifesto) means conversations - real conversations. I give, you take. You give, I take. No shortcuts. No "Igiveyoutake. Igiveyoutake. Igiveyoutake..." Doesn't work - except in extraordinary circumstances (jails, prisons, visiting in-laws). Usually temporary until situations are resolved.


6. "Conversation Domination" (or anything touted as "domination") is a dead-end street - and it has "SPAM" graffitied on that back wall when you reach it.

7. But setting up a bunch of remote blogs under aliases to comment on your own stuff in order to raise its search engine ranking - just more spam. You've already got tons of backlinks coming in from all these tools above. Squidoo pages are fine - but if they are only about you, then they are just more old-style marketing, aren't they? Converse, don't pontificate or posture.

Why is OnlyWire fallen by the wayside, less important than it was originally - because people were spamming with it. Simple. Spamming isn't a conversation - it's old-style marketing. Social Media handles it by shunning and voting you off the island.

8. The real purpose of Marketing and Commerce is to provide something of value so people can improve their lives with it. That's how you earn word of mouth and client loyalty. No other way.

When you block other people's content by artificially and constantly grabbing the spotlight... Those actions just can't last.

- - - -
Real, timeless, practical approaches:

A. This doesn't mean you don't optimize your pages so search engines can read them easily. Doesn't mean you don't theme your pages so they make sense to the readers and the search engines at the same time. (Most people still don't do this - and there is no way to educate them to do this, so this is a completely valid solution.)

B. This doesn't mean you don't tell directories about your site. Still works.

C. Doesn't mean you don't submit (or auto-submit) your content changes to RSS directories.

D. It does mean you interact with people leaving comments on your site. It does mean that you track people commenting on your content and leave comments on their site - as well as linking to them.

E. It does mean to re-purpose your content in many ways, so lots of people can find it in a format they like. Articles, press releases, podcasts, slideshares, videos - and whatever else comes down this pike.

- - - -

If you do the first 1-7 above - I hope you sleep really well at night for all the "long-tail niche keywords" you've just "dominated". And while you're at it, don't forget to tape up that corner of the bigger-than-life poster of you on your bedroom door. And don't forget - you're sleeping alone most nights...

If you do A-E, welcome to the real world.

Keep your search engine optimization work honest and always a real contribution - and then you'll succeed way beyond your wildest hopes.

Because you are helping everyone win, helping them find the content they need to improve their lives.

Your views?