Growth HackerInternet marketing is my area of expertise. Past consulting clients include eBay, CafePress, DocuSign, myfab, and DeepDyve. Visit my consulting site at Market Extend.
I’m back! Almost a year off from blogging.
Here’s a gem from the video vault. Kenneth Yu discusses his “Pareto Filter” principle. The idea is to “delight” your customers into buying more. Nothing particularly earth shattering about that, but I like the way Kenneth says it!View comments →
After spending over a month in Kuala Lumpur, I feel I’ve distilled down some of the key ingredients needed to build a portfolio of profitable Internet businesses. This is essentially a blueprint of how to create a mini business incubator.
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Here’s the recipe:
1) a few really smart people (including at least one excellent programmer)
2) develop simple ideas
- product ideas are more likely to succeed than Web 2.0 social media/community
- information products and software are best
- work on a few projects
- share learning and assets across projects
3) agile software development
- build projects which can be built within one weekend to 3 months max – the planning stage might be longer, new products are always in the pipeline
4) understand the market
- find a need and fill it, rather than building a product and trying to generate a need – appeal to a specific customer avatar with each product
5) use the psychology of sales
- scarcity, social proof, commitment and consistency, etc. – all from Robert Cialdini (see attached), done properly no salesforce is needed, all sales occur through the Web
6) engineer a strong product launch
- use the techniques outline in the product launch formula 2.0 by Jeff Walker – the root of which comes from Cialdini
7) implement business automation
- automate customer service – for example see the snippets feature of fogbuz
Here are a few more tips:
- Build technologies that can be used across your businesses. For example, a custom shopping cart platform might be useful for all your businesses. Build it once and repurpose it. Often times you’ll find synergies between your existing technologies and the new products you develop.
Focus on niches
- Pick a few niches and focus on developing a basket of products for each niche, this makes it easy to upsell products to existing customers. This strategy will allow you to monetize visitors better than the competition
I spent this past weekend in Singapore. It was awesome! Many people seem to think the place is boring, but I disagree. Saturday was full of adventures. By early Sunday morning I was finally losing steam.
It must have been around 4:30am when I found a 24 hour PC gaming center. I tried some games, but I’m not a gamer, so I was just getting kicked from the games by other users. I snapped a few pics of the place before I was told by the management to stop. Notice the guys passed out in front of their machines.
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Kenneth Yu is a master copy writer. He knows a ton about the various information products offered by the Internet marketing gurus and does a great job of distilling down their pearls for the rest of us.View comments →
There’s nothing like a Sunday with Formula One and some Durian ice cream 😉
We travelled 1 1/2 hours outside of Kuala Lumpur for the 2008 F1 Petronas Malaysian Grand Prix. My Polish friends were very pleased with Robert Kubica’s 2nd place finish.
See a quick video of the race!
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So you want to understand a bit about the Internet marketing gurus? Here are a few things I recommend you read.
This is a $97 ebook from Mike Filsaime. Is it worth it? I think so. Filsaime provides some really effective techniques to monetize your website visitors. I’ve never seen better explanations of how to handle one-time-offers and downsells. Although, I wouldn’t recommend buying his software which follows the principles of the manuscript. He’s not updating the software anymore and you would be much better off custom coding some of his ideas into your own ecommerce system anyway.
This is a free ebook from Rich Schefren. As follow-ups, he’s also written the Missing Chapter and the Lost Chapter. In the manifesto, Rich discusses how most folks who attempt to be Internet entrepreneurs are little more than opportunity seekers chasing their tails. He tries to set folks straight by suggesting they think about their business strategically and provides some tools to make this possible.
Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula is now considered by many as the bible when it comes to launching new Internet businesses and reviving those that already exist. He provides step-by-step instructions to have the most profitable launch possible. Walker is just now releasing the version 2 of the Product Launch formula which provides social media techniques to amplify the effect of a product launch not present in the earlier guide. This is an expensive product, but well worth the investment.
Well, I’ve already mentioned this one from Robert Cialdini in an earlier post. However, since it’s the basis for so much of the guru material, just read it to save some time. You must get this book. A used copy is less than $10 on Amazon.
These suggestions just scratch the surface of the library of materials from the guru Internet marketers. Most of the gurus specialize in one or a few categories. For example, Yanki Silver is considered the authority on copyrighting for the Web, Perry Marshall is know as the master of Google Adwords for newbies, and our friend rich Schefren is the wizard of business growth.
Let me know what subjects are of particular interest and I can recommend the best books and videos.View comments →
Brilliant programmers are working 24/7 on the planet. If you have a real business you can pay a pittance to get yourself out of almost any technology backlog, jam-up, or snafu, without your existing tech team in the office. Of course this doesn’t work in all cases, but increasingly it’s becoming true for most programming work.
There are a few factors at play here which have lowered the bar to make it possible for you to get your project done for less money and time while still maintaining a high standard of quality.
1. Agile Software Development
This covers a bunch of practices which make software development a lot faster. Say goodbye to the 100 page product spec.
Do you realize that programmers are now able to write stories instead of actual code when programming in Ruby on Rails? If there’s a problem in the story they can change course immediately.
2. Open Source Goodness
So many applications can be installed with just a little knowledge. Take this blog for example. It runs on WordPress which requires a database. Now I’m not a programmer, but I installed WordPress, setup the database, and tweaked out the blog.
There are a lot more more open source applications which can be installed just as easily. If an open source solution exists for what you want to build, don’t reinvent the wheel and give the open source solution a shot. I’m launching a Digg style site for online marketing news which is based on an open source content management system. It will cost me $0 to see if I can gain traction.
3. Cost of Programming
A good programmer in San Francisco might make at least $10,000 a month.
A really good programmer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia makes $1,000 a month or less.
See the difference?
It’s not just India anymore. You can find good programmers in China, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.
There are no more excuses!View comments →
Many folks marketing products or services online often times get so wrapped up in technology that they forget to focus on the fundamentals of sales. If you want to boost profits it’s essential to realize that the psychology of sales works in the digital world just like it does in the old fashioned one.
There are certain psychological triggers which greatly influence your odds of closing sales. The key is to use the triggers while building a relationship with your customers through regular communication where you provide more value than they expect. This requires that you have a good product in the first place and that you communicate to the desires of your customers.
The Internet marketing gurus employ these strategies to pull-off huge product launches which generate many millions of dollars within a 24 hour period. Whether launching a new product or trying to improve sales for an existing one, understanding the psychological triggers for influence will make you money.
Here are two exercises which will help immensely:
1. Read Influence by Robert Cialdini
Ciaildini’s material is the basis for many of the sales guides produced by the Internet marketing gurus. Why not just read their source material?
Cialdini defines six â€œweapons of influenceâ€:
* Reciprocation – People tend to return a favor. Thus, the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1937.
* Commitment and Consistency – If people commit, verbally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy.
* Social Proof – People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
* Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents, such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
* Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
* Scarcity – Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.
2. Think of ways in which in which you can “delight” your customer
When people receive more value than they expect, they become fans of your product and company. As Cialdini describes, this will often make them want to return the favor. These are the folks that will tell their friends to buy your products and services. They will also buy more expensive products from you in the future. Once the customer opens their wallet once for your products, it’s easier for them to do it again. This follows Cialdini’s principle of Commitment and Consistency.
Be mindful of Cialdini’s weapons of influence as you craft your marketing messaging. Let me know your results.View comments →
So who are the Internet Marketing Gurus? These are the folks that offer to sell you programs to become rich through Internet marketing. I’ve always dismissed them as charlatans or trainers of pure newbies.
The fastest way to delve into the word of the Internet marketing gurus is with a quick visit to GuruDaq. The site shows which gurus are making the most money in the form of a stock index. The gurus listed on GuruDaq are essentially at the top of a very incestuous family tree. The family members help each other to push how-to Internet marketing guides and software to the masses.
I’ve had a revelation in the past few days. To my surprise all the gurus are not bull****. In fact, I now realize that I’ve left a ton of money on the table by not following some of the guru advice. Are they all good? Of course not. A few are truly brilliant. Is a lot of the information pure fluff? Yes that’s true too. It’s a common practice for these guys to pad their courses with what I call a lot of intro and outro. However, somewhere in the middle there could be some gold. The problem is that most of us don’t have time to sift through all the pebbles to find the gold.
What you need is a guru reading list. To be continued…View comments →