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Online Marketing, Blogging, Social Media… It’s All About Traffic

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jul 6, 2015
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Let’s get the promotional stuff out of the way. In 2013, I was part of a group of 33 bloggers who was asked a question about how to increase blogger engagement. A few months ago I was part of another group of people that includes some fairly big names on a website called First Site Guide. We were all asked to give our 3 best blog monetization tips. I’m included with some fairly well known bloggers, few of whom know me; that’ll change one of these days (gotta have hope). Then about a month and a half ago I wrote in this space about trying to market my latest book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy.

Freeways and Purple Buildings
Rick Hobson via Compfight

With all of that, you’d think I would know what I was doing. In a way I do, but in a way I don’t. Let me clarify that one. I know what I need to do to make more sales. I actually know what it takes to drive more traffic to my blog and my websites. After all these years, there’s lots of that kind of stuff I know.

However, what I wasn’t sure of was just how much more traffic I might need to make a dent in selling things online. You know, marketing online isn’t all that much different than real marketing, or offline marketing if you will. In both, it’s all about one or two things.

One, who you know that might be able to help you with things you’re not good at for the mutual benefit of both.

Two, the numbers, as in the more people you can reach, the more traffic you can drive, the better the opportunity you have to be somewhat successful.

The one thing I’ve never really known is just how many numbers you need online to make real sales. I have made a few sales over the years but, being more of a consultant offline than online, I’d never put together any numbers on my own.

Who did I get some numbers from? None other than my old buddy Lynn Terry of Click Newz. I asked her to take a look at the sales page for my book in her private Facebook group to see what I might be missing. She gave me some tips, then asked me how much traffic I’d had. I gave her the numbers and she said “That’s not nearly enough. You can’t make any real sales until you can get at least 3,000 to 10,000 people to your site.

In other words, it takes a lot of traffic, targeted or not, to make any real money online. And those numbers are pretty high.

Truth be told, the only numbers I can get are from Google Analytics, which are slightly suspect. My host, 1&1, doesn’t have Cpanel, which means I can’t look at any traffic figures from them unless I pay an extra fee; sigh. I don’t have a compelling reason to move to anyone else (so don’t even mention whose hosting your site because I’m not switching) because, no matter what people say, they’re as good as any other shared hosting company these days. For anyone who doesn’t believe me, just ask someone how many times Hostgator has gone down in the last couple of years and then ask me how many times 1&1 has gone down in the same period… to which I’d answer “none”.

Rushing to get home on Interstate 405
Creative Commons License Matthew Rutledge via Compfight

I know an argument someone will make is “what about niche marketing and niched blogs. Whereas you have a better chance of attracting the people you’re trying to reach, it’s still about the numbers, about the traffic. My book was on leadership, so I reached out to people interested in leadership through my business blog, a couple of groups on LinkedIn concerning leadership, and my articles there on leadership. For me, the traffic wasn’t bad; for making sales, there just wasn’t close to being enough traffic.

Now, that doesn’t mean if you hit upon something that no one else is doing that you won’t make any money at all. What it means is if you’re hoping to make enough money to sustain yourself by selling things online, you need thousands of people stopping by who are interested in what you have to say, then in what you have to sell. Even if you know how to monetize your site, as my buddy Peter wrote in his post called The Truth About Blogging For Money, it’s about getting the right traffic, marketing the right thing, and touching the right nerves.

That’s mainly why I wrote 3 years ago that if you’re going to make any real money blogging you probably need to change your focus to “service” as opposed to product, even if you’re creating the product. Maybe if your product is teaching other people how to make money you’ll get some sales, or teaching almost anything with the right market. Otherwise, you need to decide whether you want to offer writing services, consulting services, training services, etc. That’s really what it’s all about.

Even Ryan Biddulph, who wrote the book and has the website about Blogging From Paradise, admits in the book (yes, I bought & read the book) that most of the money he makes is from freelance writing, although he’s starting to do well selling his books these days. Another famous guy, Darren Rowse, aka Problogger, became the first millionaire blogger by setting up forums and other sites with other marketers and becoming more of a comglomerate instead of purely blogging (selling photography equipment he wrote about didn’t hurt, as he made a lot of money that way, but it was the other stuff that took him over the top).

Let me be clear on this; all of that still takes a lot of traffic, but maybe not as much traffic to make enough money to live off if you pick the right thing you want to do that people will pay for. It’s something to be considered in any case. Give it some thought, and if you agree or disagree, let me know.
 

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Scheduling Posts On Twitter Via Tweetdeck; My Process

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 29, 2015
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In the beginning of March I wrote a post titled Promoting Yourself In Social Media; My Personal Study. In that post I talked about how I was doing a lot of things to try to get myself noticed more. That’s because I knew I needed more traffic, and I wanted more people to recognize me as someone who might know something about blogging, social media, etc.

Follow us on Twitter - Open Atrium
Creative Commons License Todd Barnard via Compfight

In that post I mentioned how things had been progressing for me, and a lot of it had to do with Twitter. At that time I mentioned that my traffic had gone up 15%. Right now I can tell you that, in a comparison of the period I compared to after my initial test that my traffic has gone up 100%; that means it’s doubled. Twitter is now my 4th largest referrer overall but my #1 referrer from social media; that’s pretty cool right?

Now, to be fair, that same progress hasn’t happened with my business blog, where traffic has actually come down, even though I’ve had lots of people adding me to lists on Twitter. However, for my business website, traffic had gone up 200%, or 3 times the level it had been before. A lot of that might have been due to the marketing I’ve been doing for my latest book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, which has the package available only 2 more days; after that I’m only selling the book on its own (gotta get that last plug in lol). Twitter is my #2 referrer; there you go!

Anyway, in that previous post I talked about scheduling posts but didn’t say how I was doing it or where I was getting my stuff from. I decided to talk about the process I go through and why I do it this way.

Obviously, I’ve already mentioned Tweetdeck in the title. There are lots of clients out there that people use to connect with Twitter. I was originally using Tweetdeck before Twitter bought it & changed it up. I fought using it for a while but realized that, overall, it still fit my needs best. More about that later.

The next thing I did for both this blog and my business blog was start with 15 to 20 posts that I thought highlighted myself best on the topics I initially wanted to be known for. For this blog it was blogging and social media; for my business blog it was leadership. I went through all of 2014 for these posts, but for my business blog I had to dip back into 2013 to find enough posts to get started, since, while I was on the road, sometimes I only wrote one post every couple of weeks on there.

The easiest way to capture the information you need after you select your articles to share is to use the social share buttons on your post (you’re using them right?) for Twitter and copy it into something like Notepad.

You’re doing this for two reasons. The first is that it’ll give you the title and the link, though you might have to remove your “via ‘yourname'” if you have it on there so you’re not tweeting yourself. The second is because you’re going to want to add hashtags to it. Add the hashtags before you move to the next step; a hint is to add the tag, and then add a space after it. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

Hashtags are a big deal when you’re trying to show yourself as an authority on a certain thing. It seems that not only do a lot of people specifically look for certain hashtags, but many of them have lists they’ve created so they can follow their favorite people on those topics. For this blog, most of the hashtags are either #blogging or #socialmedia (remember, never add spaces on a hashtag). For my business blog most of the hashtags are #leadership or #motivation.

You’re doing all of this up front so you don’t have to type it all out again, and it’ll be the beginning of your database. Yes, I said the beginning, as you’re just starting.

Bird 2
Eva the Weaver via Compfight

Next, I go into Tweetdeck. Before I go that far I want to mention that I notice a lot of people using a plugin called Tweet Old Post. In my opinion, either people are using it wrong or they don’t have the ability to set up the posts they want the way they want. Using my way, you have a lot more control over everything. Also, it’s possible you can do what I’m doing on other platforms; this is just the one I use.

What you do is go into Tweetdeck and act like I’m about to write an original tweet. Then I go to my file, highlight one post, copy it and paste it into the message window. The reason I put a space after the hashtag is because if it’s a common hashtag it’ll come up as being highlighted in the message window and you’ll have to go the extra step of having to push the spacebar. It might not seem like much but if you’re going to be doing it often, like me, eliminating a keystroke makes sense.

After pasting that in there you’ll want to go to “Schedule Tweet”. The reason we’re doing it this way is because you’re going to postdate all your sweets; in essence, you’re creating a schedule so that posts are going out all day, or multiple days, when you may or may not be around. You get to pick the date and the time, and it must be in the future. Once you’ve picked the date, if you’re going to do multiple posts for that date you don’t have to select it again until you’re going into a new day.

Here’s something I don’t do all that often with the posts but you can do it if you prefer. As long as what you put into the message window leaves you at least 22 characters, you can add an image, which is just above the Schedule Tweet bar. The reason I don’t do it with most posts is because the first image I’m using in the post is a Flickr Creative Commons image, and I don’t feel comfortable using someone else’s image. If the first image is something I own, then I may use it.

I space my articles out over a hour, and I base it on Eastern time. Every day I start at a slightly different time, anywhere between 9:30 and 9:55, in 5-minute increments. I usually go until between 11 PM and 11:25 at night. Every once in a while I’ll post something later in the evening/early morning, since I tend to stay up late.

My purpose for doing it this way is twofold. One, I get to select what I consider is the best of my articles. Two, Twitter is one of those places where you need to promote yourself more than once and often enough without being too much. It’s estimated that for the majority of people who are actually using Twitter a lot, a tweet might have impact for maybe 20 minutes… after that, it’s like it never existed with your audience.

This is how I started, but I haven’t stopped there. At this juncture my blog posts file is 15 pages, and I’ve moved it to Word. I’ve done that because I can highlight what post I want to start with the next day, or whenever I start the process again. You can’t do that in Notepad. Also, I can segregate the post between blogs easier in Word. I started with only the two blogs but I’ve added posts from some of my other blogs.

I also go back at least 4 years, but not further. Once again, I’ve done this for two reasons. The first is that some people don’t like reading old posts, even if the content is evergreen, so going back only 4 years pushes the boundary without overdoing it. The second is that I shut off comments at 4 years to help protect against spam, since a lot of it goes after older posts.

mytwit

One final thing with the blog posts. You’ll want to mix your latest posts in with the marketing of all your other posts. The reason I start between 9:30 and 9:55 is that I set up my newest posts to go out between that time. I usually have new posts on Mondays and Thursdays for this blog and Tuesdays and Fridays for my business blog.

I want those to be my first posts of the day from my blogs. I will also schedule those posts again later in the day but with a hashtag, since Twitter won’t allow you to post the same exact thing in the same exact way more than once every 24 hours.

What this does for me is make it seem like I’m always around, which in a weird way I am. If I get comments on the links or someone retweets it, I get alerts on my smartphone and can check in if need be. I think that’s a big part of what’s helping, acknowledging people who share.

Earlier, I mentioned advertising my new book. What I did with that was create multiple marketing messages to share in a file, along with the link. I have 11 links, although they will be changing on Wednesday once I’ve finished marketing the package deal and it’s only the book. What I did initially was pop a link in every 2 hours in the half hour between the blog posts. In the other half hour I post motivational messages that I obtained from my business blog. Now I post the links in 4 hour increments, although for Tuesday I’ll probably post the links hourly since it’ll be the last time I use them in the format they’re in now. Those posts have been shared a lot, and since it’s always the same link I’m sure that’s helped my site gain a bit more traction.

There you go; that’s my process. Like I said, I’m not sure why Twitter isn’t driving as much traffic to my business blog as it is to my website, but I’ll figure it out one of these days. If you have any questions on all of this, or just want to share your opinion, go ahead and leave a comment. And above all, share! :-)
 

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6 Answers To Questions From New Bloggers

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 25, 2015
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Strangely enough, for all the years I’ve been writing about blogging and for all the articles on this blog that are about blogging (more than 25%, 443, are specifically about blogging), I almost never get any email from anyone asking questions that I’ve either covered or not covered. I figure that means everyone who’s online must already know these things… right?

Chris Pirillo
Phillip Jeffrey via Compfight

Maybe not. This past week I got an email from someone who’s just started blogging and, at an event the other night, someone who’s thinking about blogging, and they asked some general questions that inspired some answers from me.

I decided to not only write about it, but not necessarily include the questions. Therefore, I’m only posting answers, 6 in fact, that I gave to these folks, in the order I gave the answers. See, this is called being creative because I’m sure I’ve written some of these things before in a different way. It never hurts to reinforce stuff as long as you can find a way to change it up I say.

So, let’s get on with it.

First, the best way to grow a blog is to promote it in a few different ways. The fastest is blog commenting, though that one can be a bit more time consuming. If people love your comments they’ll often follow you back to your space. This is my favorite way of getting the job done, but not the only way.

Many people who suggest blog commenting say it’s best to try to find blogs that are in your niche to do it. That’s not a bad idea but don’t be so finite that it’s hard to find blogs that fit.

For instance, if you’re writing material that might apply mainly to younger people it wouldn’t hurt you to find some sites geared towards younger people, or young people making it good. Someone whose radar wouldn’t hurt to get on is Chelsea Krost, a millennial who’s got a TV show and is an up and comer.

Another place is on Twitter, as there are lots of clients that allow you to schedule posts to show there when they go live, and then you can schedule previous posts also, as well as add hashtags. That strategy works great.

The Dave Olson Show on Podcasting
Megan Cole via Compfight

LinkedIn is one last place to advertise yourself. You can write articles specifically for LinkedIn in your niche and put your links in the content that match up with what you’re talking about. They also give you the opportunity to add tags at the end of each post; the problem with that is they define the tags, so you either have to try to fit into one of their options or take a chance and don’t use one at all; let the people find you. lol

Second, guest posting is a way to help get noticed… kind of. I have to admit I’m not all that big on guest posting as a strategy, though it’s touted often enough. The problems with guest posting are:

* the audience might not follow you back
* The owner of the blog might not like your style
* you could end up being one of those people who Google contacts and says your link strategy is dodgy and then you’ll have to contact people to remove your links and get some of them (like me) to be irked with you. lol

Having said that, if you want to pursue a guest posting strategy find either high ranking blogs or try to get onto something like Huffington Post. Those are considered authority sites and there’s no way you can get in trouble there… unless what you say isn’t true. lol Anyway, if you know how to write but might not be ready for HuffPo, there are sites like my buddy Ileane’s Basic Blog Tips, who likes helping new bloggers get noticed… as long as you’re writing about topics she talks about on her blog. You can always use search engines to find blogs that accept guest posts on your topic (if you see any sites recommending Top Finance Blog as one of those sites and you write on finance, it’s incorrect; trust me on this one).

Third, think about hosting your own site instead of using WordPress.com, Blogger, etc. The reason is that free blog sites are somewhat restrictive if you have bigger plans for your blog. It’s hard to market products through them, as well as setting up PPC (pay per click)campaigns. If you’re either hoping to get consulting gigs and clients or entice advertisers you definitely need to be self hosted. Owning a blog that you’re paying for eliminates any potential hassles and totally protects your content.

BlogFest 2012
Gianluca Neri via Compfight

You do need to know that it’s not always easy to do things on your own initially. There are lots of things to learn, whether you use WordPress software (like I do), Drupal, Joomla or any other types of things. Once you figure the basics out you’ll be fine. If you want to learn more you can always go to the search engines for more help; if you need WordPress help, you can find a lot of stuff on this blog.

Fourth… and I hesitate to bring this one up since I stopped on one of my blogs, but you could allow guest posting. I used to allow it on my finance blog and truthfully, at one point my blog was ranked really high because of guest posts.

However, I’m an independent consultant, and once I started traveling more I found that the time to correct so many horribly written posts didn’t feel like a great use of my time. I might have been making around $500 a month via advertising but that wasn’t enough to get the bills paid. And when those letters started arriving asking me to remove links… oy!

If that doesn’t bother you then go for it. A better strategy is to every once in a while ask someone you trust to write a guest post for you if you’re comfortable with it. That way they look like more of an authority and your readers will like that. I’ve done that for many people, written something for them based on a request, but only people whom I’ve talked to at least a year online, or when someone’s in trouble.

Fifth, let’s talk about quality vs quantity. It’s not too early to talk about this, even if you might not have much quantity early on.

The question some ask often is which is better. The truth is… it depends.

There’s this discussion lately about whether it’s better to write 3 or 4 posts a week with length between 400 and 500 words or one really long post a week that’s between 3,000 and 10,000 words (yeah, scary isn’t it?). It’s not a simple thing to answer.

For each of these, one has to determine whether the content is high quality content or not. This is something you’ll see many people mention as the basis for all blogs but not define; at the link I shared I tell you what it is.

Northern Voice tiki dinner 2008
Derek K. Miller
via Compfight

So, say you’re writing a blog that’s like a tutorial, and you cover only one aspect of what you’re teaching per post. Probably each post will be relatively short, but it’s probably high quality because you’re teaching something, and writing 3 or 4 articles a week like that would be great.

As long as you’re not leaving stuff out that makes your advice worthless, that’s good content. However, if you’re writing something and you say “write good content” and that’s it, that’s bad content because not only didn’t explain what it is, but you said the same thing thousands of people before you said.

One more thing before I go to long posts. A reality is the more you write, the higher your blog will rank. The problem is that high rankings don’t always equate to lots of traffic nor targeted traffic, which you care about if you’re hoping to do any type of business with others. Thus, you need to keep an eye on your visits and other things that involve traffic; I’ll come back to that.

Long posts… let’s begin here. I used to be considered as someone who writes lots of long posts. Yesterday, on my business blog, I wrote a post that came to 1,994 words because I celebrated my 14th year as an independent consultant and wrote some thoughts about it all. I didn’t start out planning on it being that long (pretty much like this post); it just turned out that way.

These days, people are advocating really long posts; I already gave numbers above. I’ve seen some brilliant long posts… just not all that many. What’s the problem?

The problems are twofold.

One, many of the long posts will repeat things over and over. They don’t seem to be all that focused. I made a comparison in a video talking about blog post length (and Kool Aid; check it out lol) with kids who used to have to write 10 page papers in school and how they’d write 4 pages and, because they didn’t know what to do next, would start repeating things they’d already said to stretch papers out. No one wants to read that.

Two, they put so many things into a single post that it might as well be a booklet that someone can print. It started out well, then got so deep that it starts to confuse the reader. Tutorials in this fashion work great; not many other types of posts do.

So, before you go that route, think seriously about it. The people who write one really long post a week (sometimes one every 2 weeks) put a lot of time and research into it. Some folks burn out having to write what’s essentially a term paper every 2 weeks. If I had to do that I probably wouldn’t still be blogging after 10 years, which I’m up to right now.

Before I go to #6, let me say that I started out with the intention of writing 10 answers. However, I noticed how long this post is so I’m shortening it and getting to one last really good question to answer. Thank me later. lol

blogging

Sixth, if you have a business it’s not imperative that you have a blog, but it can certainly help. I actually wrote about businesses and blogging last year. If you check out that post you’ll see links to tons of other blogging tips that will be helpful; I promise.

In that post I talked about having a better presence on search engines than your competitors if you have a blog, but didn’t say why. The reason is that most businesses set up a blog, hopefully have someone who optimized it well enough so that search engines know what they do, and never touch it again until they want to update the site later on.

Search engines love new content. They send out what’s called spiders or bots (depends on who you’re talking to) throughout the internet looking to see what’s old and new. Sites with new content get visited more regularly, which is good if you’re adding great content (refer to link above) that keeps highlighting what you talk about or what your business does. Sites that don’t do anything will fall, and unless it’s a niche with very few people in it, they’ll get no search engine benefit from being online.

As a for instance, I write the blog for my accountant’s firm (we trade my articles for free accounting; yeah!). Out of all the accountants in town, per Alexa, her site is the highest ranked in the area for accounting services. There are better known companies because she’s been in business for herself about 3 years now, but she really only has one true competitor when it comes to online rankings (they’re close, but my client’s site is doing better; I’ll take a moment for myself…). And that’s with only 2 new articles a month; if I was writing once a week it wouldn’t be a contest. :-)

I think that’s enough for a Thursday morning. I actually said a lot more to the other guys but this post is already over 2,000 words. What do you think of my advice? Anything you want to add? Anything you want to ask about?

I have a contact page over there to the left where my email address is if you wish to have me write about something you’d like to know more about. Enjoy!
 

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Why I Hate Auto DM’s And First Contact DM’s

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 22, 2015
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This wasn’t going to be the post I had for today. I decided to push the one I was going to write back to Thursday and put this one out because, frankly, I’m irked and it’s about time I wrote about this topic, which of course is about DM’s, or direct messages, on Twitter.

Air Drop of Humanitarian Aid Delivery to Port au Prince, Haiti
Creative Commons License Beverly & Pack
via Compfight

Not that I expect anyone to listen to what I have to say on this subject. After all, no one’s listening to a true expert in social media, Marji J. Sherman, who actually wrote a full post titled Kill the Auto-DM. Please, and thank you. She said nothing but great stuff in that post. This is my take on it, and I hope not to intentionally steal anything she said, though we agree on a lot of it.

Here’s the dope. I was gone for an overnight trip to my mother’s this weekend. I didn’t take my laptop with me, so all I had access to on my phone and Nook were actual messages and nothing else. I don’t know why Tweetcaster, which I use, doesn’t tell me when I have new followers, but it doesn’t.

So, when I got home and got on my computer, I had around 12 or 13 people who had decided to follow me while I was gone. I have to admit that’s a high number of folks connecting with me in such a short period of time, but 3 of them were… well, a big dodgy for one reason or another. Two others were basically only retweeting other people; nothing new, and not talking to anyone. You know I don’t like that.

Thus, I connected with 8 of them. Out of those 8, 2 sent me Auto DM’s and one person sent me a DM after maybe half an hour. That irked me to no end. Why?

First, because on my Twitter profile, I specifically ask people not to Auto DM me, and I say I’ll unfollow; I did. To me, if you’re not checking people’s profiles and then seeing what type of thing they’re posting then you don’t really care about them, only your own numbers. I don’t have time for that.

Second, overwhelmingly most people connect with me first on Twitter, which makes me think that possibly they’re interested in what I’m sharing and might want to talk to me. Yet, when those folks send me DM’s, almost all of them are sending me links to their blog, their product, or some other such nonsense.

Sorry, but where did I indicate that I wanted my Twitter account to be like I opted into your product or newsletter? Why didn’t you ask me in the open if I might want that information? Actually, I know that one; because you didn’t want to be embarrassed by anyone who might be looking at our communication watching me probably turning down your offer.

Let’s face it; you’ve never tried just talking to me and you’re already marketing to me? Either way, I’m turning you down, but in the open I’m probably not unfollowing you immediately like I am with the DM; I’m nice like that.

Portrait
Faisal Photography via Compfight

You know, I’m pretty nice on social media. If I visit a blog that one of my online friends recommended and I liked what I read, whether or not I comment I’m probably going to share it on Twitter. After that, if you want to connect with me I’ll possibly be pleased… unless you DM me. Once again, that shows you didn’t care enough about me to look at my profile or what I might share with others; I’m dropping you and probably never sharing your stuff again.

Why does this bother me so much? Because overall Twitter is my favorite social media platform. I actually have periods where I’m talking to someone live, whether it’s local or somewhere across the world, and that’s pretty neat. The initial idea behind social media is to be social… what a concept!

You can’t do that with Facebook, Google Plus or LinkedIn. Maybe there’s some chatting app where you can do something similar but it’s not going to be me using it. Twitter’s my dog; that’s where I’m heading.

The Auto DM’s and first contact DM’s… impersonal to a fault. I get it though, because there are so many articles written telling people that we love receiving free stuff and that marketing should be a 24/7 thing. Maybe… but give me the opportunity to seek you out first okay?

This isn’t a B2B (business to business) thing; this is a B2C (business to consumer) thing, only it’s not because you haven’t vetted me, you haven’t tried to learn anything about me, and even if I respond to your DM immediately we both know you’re not there and I’m not going to hear from you for hours. Thus, you’ve just wasted my time.

A few days ago I contacted someone I’ve been connected to on Twitter for a couple of years now. We haven’t talked often, probably not at all in over a year. But I wrote something and thought it might be something her particular audience might like.

I sent her the message in the open, not in a DM, and I asked if I could send her the article link either in the open or via a DM. No, I didn’t hear from her, but in my mind that’s how that type of conversation should go since I don’t know her well, especially in this day where Twitter now allows people to send DM’s to folks they don’t know (ugh!). If she never responds, I haven’t lost anything.

That’s my Monday rant; stop the DM’s like that folks. Course, you’re not going to listen to me, but obviously it’s not stopping me from asking you to… just like Marji.
 

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Ask By Ryan Levesque – Marketing & Selling – A Book Review

Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Jun 18, 2015
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At the risk of making Holly mad by violating her rules of disclosure, I still indeed plan on doing a book review today. The disclosure part is that I got the book for free in the mail last week. There were no conditions on my writing the review, so the opinion is my own; y’all know how I roll.

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icon

The book is obviously called Askicon by Ryan Levesque, and basically it’s both the story of a guy who developed a marketing and sales process based on surveys that help you drill down to what your audience might want to see and buy from you, and the full process itself. When I was explaining part of it to my wife she got me to buy the Nook version of the thing and lend it to her so she could read the case studies, and she’s in love with what she’s read so far. There, I’m done. Nah, I guess I should say more.

Ryan is a guy with a lot of intelligence. He got a degree in neuroscience while learning Chinese, decided to go into finance so he could work in China, and was doing really well. Then he realized it wasn’t what he wanted to do anymore and decided he wanted to see what he could do for himself. Thus, he decided to get into online marketing; how many of us have thought this?

This is a guy with a thirst for learning, so he read a lot of books on sales and started out with a product that did okay… until it wasn’t doing okay anymore. By doing more reading and meeting a guy named Glenn Livingston Ph. D., who’s also known as a sales guru, he eventually came up with a way for businesses to figure out what their clients want, and then works with businesses to help them figure out how to deliver it. He decided, after a medical crisis where he almost lost his life, that he wanted to share what he’d learned with others; thus this book.

The book is in two parts. The first part is more about his background, what drives him, and all his adventures. Frankly, I loved reading it because I like knowing more about the people I’m reading about, and on Amazon, the only two 1-star reviews were from people who didn’t like this part. To me, if that’s the only gripe you have with a book you’re not worth worrying about.

The second part is where the meat is, and truthfully, you’re going to have to read it more than once to understand it all. Levesque even admits that you might not need all the steps he points out in the book, but believes if you follow them that you’ll be more successful in the long run. He also suggests you initially skim the entire process, then go back and start taking notes. That’s the part I have to go back and do next.

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Ryan Levesque

Basically, he’s created what he calls the Survey Funnel Strategy. The basics of the strategy come in 4 parts:

1. The Deep Dive Survey

This is the first step, and it’s very basic. You send out a survey that’s fairly open ended. Your questions are designed to illicit general responses, which you want because without these answers, you’re not really sure where you want to go.

2. The Micro-Commitment Bucket Survey

With this survey, you’re hoping to get more information from your audience, which includes tightening up and getting the permission to send them whatever you’re trying to market. His suggestion for how to do it is pretty brilliant, but I’m not giving it away now. :-)

3. The Do You Hate Me Survey

This is the point where you’ve sent your sales letter out, hopefully you’ve made some sales, but there’s a group of people who either visited and didn’t buy or didn’t visit; they might not have even opened the letter. Thus, you’re now sending something out to find out why they didn’t take the action you were hoping for. The way he suggests you do it is clever; I like it.

4. The Pivot Survey

The final email (by the way, this is all via email) you send is for those people who didn’t take any action after you did the first 3 letters. This not only gives you another chance to market and to gain information you might not have received earlier on, but at this point you might determine that this person might not really want what you have to market and you can remove them if that’s your preference.

Obviously I’ve just sketched things out here to give you a taste of it all. After the first two parts he shares a couple of case studies and, if what he shares is accurate, you’re going to think “WOW!” That’s what drew my wife in.

I’d recommend Askicon, and obviously I’d love you to buy it via my link above (you can also click on the book), which is via Barnes & Noble. At that link you can get either the regular book or the Nook version. However, if you wish you can buy it from Amazon; I couldn’t find it on his business page. He was giving away free copies back in April, but I didn’t know about that otherwise I’d have certainly shared this information way before now.

My overall take is that it’s a great system for long term success, especially if you know how to create products and informational packages. Some of the ideas can be done by everyone, especially the first one, if you have a responsive audience. Go ahead, take a chance and have a good read!
 

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