The 5 Stupidest Traffic Tactics You’ll Ever See (It’s OK If You’ve Tried Them)

Stupid happens to the best of us. We all make mistakes and there isn’t anything wrong with that. The problem is when bad ideas start to sound good and we make the same mistakes repeatedly. Don’t make the same mistakes repeatedly…

Traffic exchanges are silly to begin with, but what you find there is the most unnerving part. I can totally understand having a traffic based offer in a traffic exchange, but seeing diaper websites, landscaping websites, and local plumbing websites just made me laugh. Yes, at one point I used a traffic exchange while testing every traffic strategy I could find. The results were less than positive. Unless you have a traffic offer, do not use traffic exchanges.

Safelists literally tell you to give them a junk email address. Anyone that tells you that you don’t want the emails they send is giving you a strong hint that your emails will also not get read by anyone. Seriously, I laughed when I tried my first safelist and wasn’t surprised when no sales came through from what I sent out.

Blog comment spam usually makes no sense. If it makes no sense do you really believe it’s going to get another human being to click on your name to see what your website is all about? Probably not. If you’re going to leave a comment on somoene’s blog, spend a moment to say something worth saying and make it worth reading. Then, you’ll get results from your efforts.

Forum spam is even worse than the others. Any forum you find is filled with real human beings wandering through to see what everyone is discussing. Posting some spammy comment in response to a real discussion doesn’t do anything except make you look dumb. You’re not dumb. Don’t try to get traffic via any spammy tactic.

Misleading videos are easily the worst strategy I’ve ever seen. Someone rides your product launch by ranking in Google for the name of your product with a video that recommends they never buy what you have for sale and check out some other (usually totally unrelated) product that they recommend. It’s not only spammy, it’s also incredibly rude. If you’ve ever done this, you probably noticed that it didn’t work. It doesn’t work because people will never buy based upon a negative statement. They know your “review” isn’t real and you just lost all credibility.

Don’t be stupid. None of the tactics above would qualify as a good idea. Ever. You’re better than any of them and can do better by simply being awesome and putting your content in places that want it.

(I made this with Epic Content Machine)

Pissing Yourself In Public – My 5 Happiness Secrets

I’ve never shared this before and I’m a little freaked out by the fact that I’m sharing it right now.  It’s the most personal thing I’ve ever talked about and it makes me nervous to put this out there…

8 years ago, I started my internet business and went into a coma shortly afterwards.  What I’ve never shared before is what my body was doing from the beginning.  What told me that something was wrong is that I couldn’t go to the bathroom.  I was on a lot of narcotic pain relievers, so #2 only happened a few times per week.  What freaked me out was when I couldn’t go #1.  I stood at the toilet and pushed until my face turned red, but nothing happened.

On day one, the emergency room drained my bladder and then they sent me home.  They did the same thing on day two.  On day three, I was hallucinating and talking about the world ending.  I also couldn’t move my legs.  Day three at the emergency room they forced a #2 and drained my bladder.  They also tried to send me home and my wife (at the time) asked if she was supposed to carry me out.  I still couldn’t move my legs.

I was in the coma by that afternoon, my brain and spine swelled and caused it all.  After 10 days of a coma, I opened my eyes and stared at my son.  My mother and (now ex) wife started screaming for nurses.  It lasted about 60 seconds before I fell back into the coma.  I finally woke up the next morning.

I was in a wheelchair for a bit.  I was able to walk again roughly 90 days after the coma and I spent nearly every waking second on my business.  I was consumed by it.  I was dead set on making it work.

The part that I have never talked about is the torture my bladder put me through.  While I was awake, my body would give me a 1 – 3 second notice that I was about to start going to the bathroom.  I would run to the nearest toilet and I usually got lucky and didn’t wet my pants.  Sometimes, I wasn’t very lucky and I’d start going on my way to the bathroom.  While I slept, I lost total control of my bladder.  There is nothing more sobering then having to wear Depends to sleep at 26 years old.

My ex-wife was pretty amazing about it all, but I still felt gross.  I spent the next 6 years angry at the world.  I hated what I was going through.  I was thoroughly embarrassed by what my bladder did to me.  I always worried that I smelled like piss…

Attending events were a turning point for my business, but it was also torture to attend them.  I couldn’t drink beer with my buddies, I’d end up in the bathroom every 5 minutes.  I had a bladder the size of a walnut…

It was fun speaking in front of hundreds of people and having to pause to go to the bathroom.  If you’ve ever been there while it looked like I was doing the “peepee dance”, I probably was.  More than once, I had to run to the bathroom while I was in the middle of a presentation.  I made light of it, but I was horrified.

Roughly 2 and a half  years ago, I realized that my attitude was a very big part of my on-going health problems.  I started to get over the anger and moved onto acceptance.  A month or two later, I started to be able to feel temperature from my chest down.  It had been more than 5 years since a hot shower felt hot anywhere except my head and shoulders.

I realized that getting my mind together was what was putting my body back together.  I still wallowed in slightly happier sadness for a good year before I really started to change things.  It took me months to realize that my Depends were dry almost every morning.  I switched from the mega absorbent ones to more comfortable “underwear” style diapers.

I’d have accidents every now and then.  Let me tell you, nothing is more sobering then waking up in a mess of your own urine.  I’d sadly strip the bed of the sheets and the waterproof mattress cover before starting work for the day.

It took me 6 months of wearing those “underwear” diapers before I fully regained control of my bladder.  I can now sleep the same way any other man does and no longer worry about wetting the bed.  I can now “hold it” for as much as an hour.  I can even have a few beers without becoming a permanent resident of the bathroom.

I’m going to share with you exactly what caused my body to put itself back together:  I consciously stopped my sadness.  Happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy every single day.

My divorce had a lot to do with that.  She and I were both miserable for a very long time.  When we split up, I decided to focus on myself and have lost about 25 pounds so far.  I feel good for the first time in nearly a decade.

I lied a lot.  Keeping my stories straight was tough because I have minor memory loss issues from the coma.  I made a conscious decision not to lie anymore.  I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to simply be honest and truthful.  It’s changed my life.

I stopped hurting myself.  I quit smoking just over a year ago and switched to a vapor (e-cigarette).  The health benefits of not smoking have been huge.  I eat a lot healthier and eat a lot more fruit and vegetables than I used to.  I’ve lost a lot of weight and I’m in better shape then when I was in the Army 15 years ago.

I stayed in a miserable marriage and forced my ex-wife, my kids, and my family to be miserable, too.  I’m forever grateful to my ex-wife for having the courage to finally end it.  Our relationship is better now than it was when we were married.  My fear of being alone cost us years of happiness.  You can’t make anyone else happy if you’re perpetually sad.

I own my mistakes and work to fix them.  I’ll never be perfect.  I’m a good person and I mean well, even when I make my biggest mistakes.  Be big enough to admit when you screw up and do your best to fix your mistakes.

These 5 things changed my life and have given me clarity on my life and my business.  Every day is a little better than the day before and that’s the secret to true happiness.

happy

4 WTF Traffic Strategies That Can’t Work

Bad advice is sadly far too common. Depending on who you listen to, you could spend a large amount of your time and a decent amount of your money on bad ideas. The traffic strategies you’ll find here are all bad ideas, save your time, energy, and money for other tactics.

Safelisits are a lovely idea, but terribly implemented. Any service that tells you to provide a gabage email address up front probably isn’t worth pursuing. They specifically tell new users to create a garbage email address for the safelist and tell them to provide their good email address to the owner. Seriously, you know this can’t work.

Mass comments generally don’t make sense and only make the poster look silly. There is nothing wrong with leaving a real comment on a blog, but mass commenting using bad English just makes the poster look goofy. Real people would never click on a link left by a robot and the way Google is currently giving rankings to websites, this doesn’t work at all.

Robots are nowhere near as smart as you or I. No computer program can replicate what our brains can do, at least not one that sells for $30. Language is far too complex for any robot to be able to replicate what we’re capable of. Save your money and spend some time creating something valuable.

Social spam makes less than no sense. Do you walk into a party and yell “Buy my stuff!”? Of course not, it would be silly and make you look like a fool. Don’t be a social spammer, it’s a waste of your time and you’ll get zero results from it.

You’re smarter than trying to get anything from strategies like this. Real traffic comes from real people that are looking for solutions to their problems. Be the solution and avoid the traffic strategies above.

If you enjoyed this article, you can watch me write it using the Epic Content Machine.

How My Thug Mentality Has Impacted My Business

the-thug-life-chose-usI’ve always been open about my history.  I was a thug.

I surrounded myself with other thugs and we partied, caused trouble, and got into all kinds of shenanigans.  As a teenager, I thought that it was what I wanted my life to be.  I was surrounded by other kids with the same mindset I had.  We were living a pretty awesome life.  We created fear when we walked into a room.

I say “we created fear”, but I was 5’2″ and 140 pounds.  When I was alone I couldn’t strike fear into the heart of a small dog, let alone others my age.  What I had that set me apart from others was my fearless nature.  I built a reputation by taking on the “big guys”.  The truant officer visibly had his jaw on the floor when he saw that I’d beaten the crap out of a guy a foot taller and 150 pounds heavier then me.  The guy had said something terrible about my mother, I’d had no choice but to make him eat his words…

What do you think when you see a bunch of muscle bound brutes walk into a bar or any other place?  The energy changed when we were all together.  The room would get a little more tense with us in it.  I was the exception, most of the crew was 5 years older than me and far more dangerous.  You could feel the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude we all walked around with.  

As I got older, I grew a bit.  I also changed my “crew”.  In my late teens, there were only 5 of us.  We were all scary as hell.  We walked into any place with an attitude of ownership.  We were untouchable.  Cops knew about us, but they never caught us causing any trouble.  Rumors flew, but they couldn’t do anything until we got caught doing something wrong.

Once I was old enough to hit the bars, I had 3 best friends.  Over the years we’d each earned reputations.  One of us always got challenged.  I wasn’t a big guy and had always felt that I had something to prove.  When one of us got into a fight or caused some trouble, the head detective in our city would approach me and ask “Did you guys start this one”?  My response was always “No”.  He’d tell the other cops to arrest whoever made the mistake of crossing our path (they were usually unconscious).

When my daughter was born, I stopped with the gang crap and my thug attitude.  However, it is still a part of me.  I still think like a thug and here are 4 ways it’s made my business standards unique:

Loyalty

Once you’re with me, you’re always with me.  I make friends easily and quickly.  I follow my gut and am very quick to form bonds with other marketers.

In the “internet marketing” community, you’ll see groups of marketers that stick together and support one another.  I’ve been blessed to be a part of numerous networks.

I see the groups I’m a part of as extended family.  I’d take a bullet for my friends and they know it.  It’s just how I think…

The impact this has had on my business is profound.  Most of my relationships are permanent.  No matter how much time passes between us talking, it’s like we saw each other a week ago.  Rarely do I ask for help, but if I do my friends are always there.  They know that I’d be there for them in a heartbeat.

Take No Prisoners

If you’re not with me, you’re against me.  I fear no competition and will destroy anybody that stands in my way.

When I enter a market, my research focuses on weakness.  I find every possible weakness and exploit them to improve where I stand in that market.  I enter like a freight truck and run over my enemies.

Every cent other companies make in my market is mine.  I want it.  I will do whatever it takes to get it (within the limits of the law).  I see every sale they get as taking food out of my kids’ mouths.

I have a severe perspective on competition and it drives me to be the best in business.

Protective

I’m known to be fiercely protective.  Once you’re on my good side, it takes quite a bit for me to turn my back on you.  You can ask any of my “business friends” and most of them will have stories of my scaring the hell out of someone that I perceived as a threat.

I’ll never forget my first marketer’s cruise.  Most of us were inside the dance club and we’d all had quite a few drinks.  The music was loud and as some of us danced, random outsiders would try to pick up some of the girls.  I’d instantly start shooting dirty looks around the room.  The girls had their own way of politely telling a guy to leave them alone.  One guy refused to take any hints and kept trying to rub his junk on them.  Of course, I took it upon myself to pull the guy off to the side.  As I grabbed him by his collar and told him that he needed to leave, you could visibly see the fear in his face.  He finally understood that the ladies were not available.  Needless to say, we didn’t see him again.

When I first started attending events, I had to be calmed down often.  I’d see a potential threat or outsider do something I found insulting or rude and would get up ready to start (and finish) a fight.  It was pretty funny to see Erik Stafford (roughly twice my size) trying to calm me down as I attempted to rush and tear apart some random dude.  Yet, that’s exactly what happened.  A lot.

While I felt I needed to act this way, I realized over time that I was better serving my friends by keeping my mouth shut and letting them handle these situations in the way they wanted to.  I’m always there in the background if they need me or if things get out of hand, but it’s not my place to intervene unless someone asks me to.

Never Lose

I refuse to lose.  Failure is never an option.

If one thing doesn’t work, I’ll move onto the next thing and force it to work.  I get crazy ideas.  I don’t believe in limitations and view things that get in the way of what I want to achieve as little bumps in the road.

I won’t allow things to stop me from getting what I want.  There is always another option.  I’m unstoppable.

In The End

I’ll always be a bit of a thug.  I’ve grown more refined over time through an extreme focus on becoming a better man, a better father, and a better marketer.  I’m continually refining my craft and am always working to be better at everything I do.

Such is the life of a reformed thug…

Where My Business Gets Most Of It’s Revenue

Either watch the video above or you can read my story below.  Once you’re done, you’ll want to check out Software Dominance for a free video series.

If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, you know that I started my business by making my first $1,000 profit from a coma.  I tell my story often and love how it inspires people.  If I can do this, just about anybody can…

What I don’t normally talk about is how my business has evolved over the last 8 years of being an internet marketer.

Roughly 6 years ago, I got an email for a source code offer on a directory submission software.  It immediately gave me an idea for what I thought would be a “Category Killer” software.

After reaching out publicly to friends asking for programmer referrals, one programmer fit most of what I wanted and we became partners (we still are).  He received a percentage of every sale of our software, which prevented me from having to pay him up front for development costs.

We sold over 6 figures worth of the original version of the software.  About a year later, I downloaded an Adobe Air tool called Tweetdeck.  I contacted my programmer in a frenzy.  He had to learn how to create tools in Adobe Air.  We needed to be the first to offer software (for sale) in Adobe Air.  He learned it and we were.

At the time, I’d been working very closely with the team at StomperNet.  I was so excited about this new software, and talked about it often.  Once they saw it, they asked me to create a custom version for their customers.  This was the beginning of my “Hybrid Wholesale” model of selling software.

Since then, I’ve worked with StomperNet, Anthony Morrison, Anik Singal, Ryan Deiss, and many other marketers by creating customized versions of our software for them to resell.

The software has sold well over 7 figures since it was first made between my company and the dozen marketers we’ve partnered with over the years.

Possibly the most important part is that there has never been any staff.  My programmer and I have hired out some minor pieces of things neither of us could create, but nobody has been hired full time to help this company move forward.  This has created incredibly low overhead and a very high profit margin.

Known now as Content Marketer, the software is still fully functional and I talk to new potential white label partners every few weeks.  It’s easy money, I work for maybe an hour for every partner we take on.  The profit margins are ridiculously high.

For the first time, I’m sharing what I know about running a lean, simple software company.  The video series is free and to the point.  The entire series runs under 10 minutes.  Check it out at SoftwareDominance.com

How I Transformed My Worst Year Into My Most Profitable – By Accident

Please take 90 seconds to watch the video above, otherwise what you’ll find below this won’t make as much sense.

Software saved my ass a few years ago.  If it hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have been capable of providing for my family.

I spent a majority of that year trying to figure out what I wanted my business to be.  Thankfully, I’d also been having my programmer (now my partner) create a truly awesome traffic software.

Once people saw how it functioned, my phone started ringing and people began asking to private label the tool.  The result was well over six figures in income.

I removed my ego and my brand from the tools and allowed other people to sell them.  The software was part of multiple million dollar launches.  I got paid a small percentage of each sale as a “licensing fee”.

As my software company heads in new directions, I’ve decided to offer the source code to ten of our previous tools.  This includes the tool that did so well for me – Traffic Magnet.

Here is a list of the tools in this package:

Traffic Magnet – The original semi-automated content submitter software.  Over 5 years in development created a tool that thousands of marketers use to get their content in front of their audience.  Everyone from off-liners to authors to coaches have used this software over the years.  Includes directions file.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – Nearly impossible to figure out.  The programmer made over $100,000 on a revenue sharing arrangement.

Value of source code – $10,000

Unreleased – AutoResponder Wizard – This tool provides the ability to easily create autoresponder sequences.  Fill in a simple form and it spits out a text file with “merge codes” for all major autoresponder services.  Copy and paste into your autoresponder and you’re ready to rock.  This is a PHP script.

Bonus – Also Unreleased – AutoResponder Wizard wordpress plugin – Roughly 90% finished – has the same functionality as the main software, but works inside of WordPress.  The only thing that needs to be finished is displaying the tool inside of a wordpress post or page.  Otherwise, it works.

Development cost – $3,000

Value of source code – $3,000

Micro Manager – Outsource menial link building and SEO tasks to Fiverr.com and SEOclerks.com.  Has budget tracking built in.  Includes directions file.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – $2,000

Value of source code – $2,000

Reputation Reporter – Put in any keyword term you want to track across social media and get a report moments later that a logo can be easily inserted into.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Developement cost – $2,000

Value of source code – $2,000

Lead Prospector – Put in your keyword of choice and the software searches either local or national based sources for reputation management leads.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – $2,000

Value of source code – $2,000

Unreleased – Kunaki Automation – This one was made due to my frustration with using Kunaki.  Kunaki is a site that ships DVDs and CDs directly to consumers.  It was a nightmare trying to format lists of buyers for Kunaki’s XML API, which makes ordering products for customers a breeze.  This script allows the uploading of a file from an autoresponder or an sql database and transforms it into Kunaki’s XML API friendly code.  Upload it to Kunaki, pay and they ship the product.  This is a PHP script.

Development cost $1,200

Value of source code – $1,200

Local SEO Research tool – Put in a keyword phrase and a location and get data on who ranks and why.  A little work and this will be a very easy tool to sell.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – $2,000

Value of source code – $2,000

Social Posting and Research – Post updates to social websites and research keyword phrases.  A little work and this will be a very easy tool to sell.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – $2,000

Value of source code – $2,000

Niche Analysis – Put in a keyword phrase and get an analysis of who ranks for it, their title, inbound links, and more.  A little work and this will be a very easy tool to sell.  This is an Adobe Air software.

Development cost – $1,000

Value of source code – $1,000

Review Control System wordpress plugin – This plugin creates a barrier between reviewers and review sites.  Never fully launched.

Development cost – $1,000

Value of source code – $1,000

As you can see above, there’s a huge amount of value in these products.  The software side of my company is heading into different directions and we don’t plan on fully releasing most of these products.

The newest version of Traffic Magnet is for sale as “Content Marketer” and we will be continuing to sell that product.  Micro Manager, Lead Prospector, and Reputation Reporter are available as part of the Reputation Takeover package.  The rest of the tools are currently unavailable.

The data we used in most of our tools were pulled from numerous APIs.  I’ll be happy to privately share our data sources with those that order this package.

As a bonus – I’ll provide 30 minutes of phone consultation to help figure out where to get programmers to work on the code, how to put out these products in your prospective market, and otherwise assist you in transforming the source code into something sellable.

The only requirement before selling these tools is that all names must be changed.  They cannot be sold under the current branding inside of each tool.

I’m going to limit this package to 10 5 people.  Considering I still have some of these products available for purchase, I can’t have 100 people out there selling the same products.  This is “first come, first served”.  Once this is sold out, it’s sold out.  Even if 10 packages don’t sell, I’m only going to offer this for a few days.

The total value for these 10 tools is $26,200.  Contact me to get all of the source code mentioned above at a ridiculous discount.

I don’t plan on offering this a second time, so reach out to me today or click the order link below and I’ll send you everything to your Paypal email.

Unless we had a standing arrangement, this offer is currently closed. Thanks for your interest.

Call me toll free at 1-800-274-5815 or use my support desk here and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.

 

Product Creation – The Weird Version

As online entrepreneurs, we have dozens of tasks we perform each day for our businesses.

  • Write sales copy
  • Write emails
  • Create content
  • Tweak websites
  • Customer service
  • Social networking
  • Taking and making phone calls

The list goes on and on…

Even with staff to handle some of the work, we could all use an additional 3 – 5 hours per day to get everything done.

Add in staff and they have to be managed. If you have managers, they have to be managed, too.

You and I have the same problems, but I have one BIG additional issue.

Let me explain…

8 years ago, I started my internet business and went into a coma 2 weeks later.

I awoke from the coma after 10 days. The doctors were unsure if I was ever going to walk again. I couldn’t move my legs…

After a few weeks of intense therapy, I was walking with a walker. I fought harder than I’d ever fought before to regain my ability to walk down the street.

When I came home from the hospital, I dove into my business with all of my being (you can see my story here).

Over time, I noticed that I was forgetting things. Little things, but it got worse as time went on.

It took years to realize that something was wrong with my memory.

My doctors found that my nerve damage didn’t just affect the feeling in my lower half, it impacted my brain and my ability to remember.

I’d started losing track of time.  I’d lose hours almost every day.

Project Doctor

When I was able to focus, I’d try to get things done and find myself in the exact same place at the end of the day with nothing accomplished.

I began my journey to find tools that would help.

First, I used Post-its and covered my desk with them.
Then, I got a smartphone and tested dozens of “task management” apps.
Later, I found systems I could use online to manage what I needed to get done each day.

They all sucked in at least one major way.

I reached out to my programmer and we picked our favorite pieces from the different tools we’d each used and added one major addition:

  • Task Templates - In a few clicks, any task you’d need to do can be filled into your calendar.
  • Triggers give you the ability to hide future tasks until the current one is finished.
  • The time tracker allows you to track the effectiveness of you or your staff.
  • We made the software mobile friendly, so it can be used from any phone or tablet.
  • Totally unlimited users and managers. Add 2 or 200.
  • Make additional users “staff” (who can only see what they need to do) or “project managers” (they can see everything except your tasks).
  • We built in a notification system (or reminder system for the single user edition) so you can contact other users within the system.
  • We didn’t add any of the odd features other systems may have to keep the software light and wicked fast.

The goal was not to create a “project management” system, but to create a “do it” tool.

The organizational benefits are huge, but it’s pretty awesome to be able to follow a list and get stuff done faster.

I found I was accomplishing far more and a hidden benefit emerged after using the system.

I had gathered and reviewed data for all of the tasks I’d used the system for that revealed how long it would take to do the different things I’d need to do for my business.  This gave me a measurement that I could use to analyze my staff and showed me what tasks were taking the most time.

By seeing what took longest, I was able to work out better ways to accomplish those tasks and speed them up.

I know that this tool is badass, I’ve been using it for over a year.  

The interesting part is that there are literally dozens upon dozens of project management tools out there.

I had to come up with something to differentiate ours from the others.

Then, it hit me.  Let customers install it on their own websites (and make it easy to set up).

After seeing the competitors closing down left and right, I knew that this software would make a drastic, positive impact on those that used it.

I decided to run a 3 day “launch” sale and take $100 off the price for the first weekend of release.  I also decided to run the special discount over my birthday weekend.  August 16th, will be the day Project Doctor is released.  Watch for an email or note on Facebook when it goes live.

An Influx Of Stupidity And Bad Marketing

stupidEvery 90 days or so something changes on the internet that causes all online entrepreneurs to start wetting their pants.  It happens publicly and leaves select individuals that handle it badly in a position to lose business.

This post is my honest attempt at stopping you from looking stupid.

I’ve seen some pretty incredible data lately about the power of email marketing and advertising.

1.  Email retargeting is coming via Retargeter and Adroll.

2.  Email marketing has proven to produce a higher ROI than Facebook and Twitter combined.

3.  Gmail introduces tabs where promotional emails land in a new folder.

While numbers 1 and 2 are what have me excited, it’s number 3 that has everyone losing their minds.

I’ve gotten a boatload of emails either telling me to shut off my folders altogether or to drag someone’s promotional garbage into my main inbox.

After laughing my ass off, I realized that this is the best possible thing that could happen to marketers that care about their customers and it’s also the worst possible thing to happen to spam artists that promote garbage on a daily basis.

In fact, now that I’ve turned on the tabs (they didn’t magically turn on for me, I had to go and turn them on by clicking a few buttons) – marketers that provide value to my life and business are getting their emails read by me MORE OFTEN.

I’m not moving them from the promotional folder to a different one.  I’m just reading them in that folder.

For my business, I’m excited by this new change and believe it will be very profitable for those that have created a relationship with their customers.

Emailing your customers and specifically asking them to move your email into their main inbox is foolish and looks like total and complete desperation (which will never make you money).

Instead of begging your list subscribers to move your email, send emails of a high enough quality that they will do it because they love you and want to hear what you have to say.

Be valuable enough that they want to read what you send, even if your emails stay in the promotions tab.

You don’t own Google and Google doesn’t care about your business.  Google cares about Google’s business.

This new promotions tab has allowed them to begin testing paid promotional emails that land in the promotions tab.

Would you buy a solo ad from Google?  I know I would…

Stop freaking out and come up with ideas to better serve your market.  Then, it won’t matter which tab your email falls under, your customers will find it and read it.

If this makes sense to you, feel free to share it with others that would enjoy it and I look forward to discussing this with you in the comments.

What The Hell Is Content Marketing?

Here’s what Wikipedia says it is:

contentmarketingwikipedia

The part I disagree with is the second statement:

“Content marketing is focused on not selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects.”

While it isn’t wrong, it also isn’t right.  It’s an over-generalization.

Every interaction with any prospect is a sales opportunity and your content can sell better than any direct response ad if it’s designed properly.

All you have to do is meet one simple criteria:

Be more awesome than everyone else.  Period.

If you provide more value than anyone else, you become the instant authority.  It doesn’t necessarily matter how the awesomeness is delivered.  Any format is fine.  The structure of the content is what makes the desired impact.

So, what is content marketing?

The term “content marketing” is now being thrown around to describe infographics, social media, and video marketing that is designed to inform instead of sell.  It leaves out a lot of strategies.

Real content marketing is any content in any format that is designed to lead a prospect through a process to buy your stuff.

Articles, videos, press releases, blogging, white papers, podcasts, free reports, social media posts, etc…

The flow from that content into your business is what’s important.  It’s also what 95% of businesses are doing wrong.

This is a simple content marketing strategy that’s virtually guaranteed to work in any market or niche:

Put together (or pay for) some content.  Attempt to answer the biggest questions surrounding what you sell.

If you need help putting together badass titles, check out Cracked.com

Post all of that content to one website (YouTube, EzineArticles, Articlesbase, or Sribd).

Count views against click throughs.  The one that has the most views AND the most clicks wins.  Most of the time, you’ll have an obvious winner.

Now, take that one piece of content and repurpose it into as many formats as possible. (audio, video, pdf, and text).

Post that content in as many locations as you can.

Now this is the fun part:

If you’re showing someone “3 ways to lose 3 pounds today”, the link you send them to should focus on getting an email address or low dollar sale for the same concept.  They’ve shown you they want to know about that topic, so offer them more on that exact same topic.

Don’t send them to some generic landing page with no clear call to action.  

Create a string of content that provides value to your prospects and lead them through the process of getting to know more about you and your business.  Provide real solutions.

Step 1:  “3 Ways To Lose 3 Pounds Today” infographic, article, or video.

Step 2:  Opt-In for free report on “How To Lose 10 Pounds This Week And Keep It Off”.

Step 3:  Course with Worksheets and/or Mobile App:  “How To Annihilate Your Fat This Month And Dump 20 Pounds Or More Of Excess Weight”.

Step 4:  Consulting and Coaching:  “Never Be A Fatass Again Coaching Program”

Nice and easy.

Doing all of this by hand would be tough.  For the ultimate content marketing 1-2 knockout punch grab Content Marketer and Kudani.  Kudani is drastically discounted during it’s launch and you can see my infographic bonus here.  Both tools work together to take the guesswork out of your content marketing and get brag-worthy results with far less work.

 

My Internet Business Extortion Story

extortion2

I don’t make statements like these lightly.  I feel extortion is serious and something most businesses are smart enough not to do.

I create “membership” style websites to manage my products, training programs, and software.

For many years, I used a standalone php membership script.  It was what I knew and I was comfortable with how it worked.

Eventually, I saw WordPress becoming the standard base for these types of sites.  While I knew I’d have to go that route eventually, I resisted for as long as I could.

I had partnered with 2 of my friends to create a training program and the building of the website wasn’t my responsibility.  My partner created the site in WordPress and I was in awe of how easy it was to use.

He used a combination of Optimizepress and Digital Access Pass (DAP).  I already owned Optimizepress and picked up a copy of DAP with an “unlimited” license for $300.

There was a slightly frustrating learning curve, but after building a few of the sites, I’d pretty well figured out how to use WordPress as the base for my sites.

Then, things got weird…

The owners of DAP built in a “stop” into their registration system.  If an unlimited license owner builds too many sites, they automatically stop their licensing system from recognizing their license and force them to contact support.

As the owner of a software business, I understood this part and couldn’t blame them.

What came next simply pissed me off.

During my exchange with their support team, I was informed that my “support subscription” had expired.  If I wanted support, I’d need to pay an additional $120.

If I’d broken their product or caused it to stop working, I would completely understand this request for additional funds.  Yet, the reason I needed their help to license my website was based upon their systems not authorizing my “unlimited” license, not me breaking something.

Wondering if I was being a baby, I went to Facebook and asked my friends what they thought.

dapbs

The response was 99% in agreement with how rotten this was.  Many people suggested I hit the web and flame the owners of DAP.

$300 for software is a fairly large investment.  In exchange for that I don’t think it’s unfair to expect to have a usable product a year after purchase.  I don’t feel their $120 fee is wrong, just the way they implemented it.  Don’t set your system up to break on purpose then try to force your customers to pay for support needed to get your product to do what it’s supposed to.

I have an unlimited license.  That means I could setup 100 sites using the script if I wanted to.  To set it up to automatically break and not register with your registration system is not a standard support issue.  What they did is wrong.

I’m happy that it happened though, it forced me to look at my options…

I remembered that a good friend had given me a membership plugin to play with a few weeks prior to this mess with DAP.  It’s called InstaMember.

For my new site, I installed it and had it setup in less than half the time it would have taken me to get DAP setup.

It has some features that no other script has, including a licensing system for software.

Instead of focusing on features, here’s how it directly benefits you:  InstaMember is insanely fast to setup, it works, and the creator isn’t a greedy idiot.

Whether you want to set these sites up for yourself or clients, this plugin does an incredible job.  I’ve thrown together some bonuses that will help you setup your membership sites for anyone that grabs the plugin through my link.

UPDATE – Please read the Facebook comments below from the owner of Digital Access Pass and my response(s).

While this turned out to NOT be a case of extortion, that’s exactly what it appeared to be due to the way this conversation took place.  The owner of DAP has posted screen captures of 2 support exchanges I’ve referred to above.  View them.  Read them.  Then you can decide if I was wrong to come to my initial conclusions.


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