Category Archives: Marketing

Not A Fan Of The Upsell

Last Monday I went online and ordered a product my wife and I saw on TV. We’d waited a couple of months to make sure we wanted it, then decided it was time to pull the trigger on the purchase.

A couple of days later, we started getting this phone call from a company we didn’t recognize. We had decided we weren’t going to pick it up, but after call number five I decided to go ahead and get it out of the way.

It was the company we’d bought the product from. We were being thanked for our purchase and were told that we were being sent some other nonsense that included $40 in gas coupons, and would be charged $1 for a month, which we could cancel if we didn’t want it. I decided to go ahead and let it go, even though I knew I’d be canceling the day it showed up.

The guy then sent me to someone else to confirm the order. The next guy gets on the phone, confirms what was said, then starts saying how they’re going to send me all this other stuff for a very low price, since I was a preferred customer. At that point I told the guy to not send me anything else, I wasn’t interested and would possibly forget to cancel all those things, and to only stick with the original offer. He said he understood, put me down as “no”, and said he hoped I would enjoy my purchase.

I’m not a big fan of the upsell. I understand it’s a nice little marketing trick that works on a lot of people, but at times I find it quite intrusive. What I described is how it works in the regular world, at least one way. After all, most of us have dealt with “would you like to super size that?”

Online, it works in the form of either visiting sites that offer one thing and having that popup or floating window come along and block whatever it is you were reading at the time and forcing you to take some kind of action before you can continue doing what you were doing. It doesn’t matter what it is; a product, a newsletter, subscribe to the feed… it’s an upsell to something you probably weren’t thinking about doing in the first place, or had no need to do.

One of the gripes I had with Clickbank is that it allows its users to promote upsells to the max. One product I was thinking about marketing early on, since the only association I have with Clickbank now is that book to the right side on $100 a day (I had said I was totally dropping it, then realized I liked that book and it’s through Clickbank), had it where a person might decide they wanted to look at one thing, were taken to a page showing something else, and even if you declined you were taken to a third page that had about 20 different items listed. That’s overwhelming for anyone, and I wondered if anyone would even bother with buying the first item at that point; I wouldn’t have.

GoDaddy, from whom I buy my domains from, is a master of this upsell thing. You purchase a domain name and it’ll ask if you want to buy all the other deviations of it that are available. You move on and it tries to sell you hosting, security packages, email packages, etc. Even when you get through all of that you’re offered the ability to hide your info from the masses (that shouldn’t be an option, it should happen automatically if you ask me) and many other things I can’t think of right now. I guess I need to be lucky it’s not like some other sites where stuff is pre-checked, which means if you’re not paying attention you’re going to have subscribed to something you really didn’t want.

What is your thought on the upsell? Does it make you more likely to buy or sign up for something, more likely to turn you away, or do you expect it and move on most of the time?

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Frank Kern’s Core Influence – The Beginning

My friend Kelvin swears by this guy named Frank Kern, who’s one of the top internet marketers in the world. I have to admit that I don’t know as much about him as I probably should. Anyway, Kelvin’s been trying to get me to look at this guy’s stuff for awhile now, and I’ve kind of poo-poo’d it off, not because I thought it was a sham or anything, but because time is not always my friend.

Anyway, I decided to finally follow him up on one of the links he provided where I could check out a short free video. It’s a link like this one, and let me get through this post before you think about clicking on it.

I clicked on the link and it took me to a 90 second video with Frank standing in front of water with waves splashing on the beach asking me to opt-in to this site so they can provide me with a link to a video. He also says I’ll have to do the double opt-in, as they’re going to send me an email so I can fully confirm.

That part is done, and now there’s a second page that comes up. Truthfully, as I write this, that’s where I am. There’s a short 2 1/2 minute video I’m supposed to watch first, then the main Core Influence video, which I guess is pretty long. Kelvin says it’s a great start and fully endorses it, so I figure I’ll go ahead and give it a shot. For full disclosure, by the time you read this I should have finished the video, as it’s the long holiday weekend here in the United States, and y’all know I write some of these ahead of time.

This means that at some future point I may have something more to say about it all. Now, about that link I gave you before. It turns out that there’s a Core Influence 2, and to get to see that you have to have at least 3 people click that link and decide they want to opt-in to see the original Core Influence video. Now, I’m not sure yet whether I’ll even want to see the second video, but you know, both videos are free, and it’s only the second video you have to do a little bit of work to see. So, if any of you are predisposed to click on that first link, all I’ll say is I’ve provided the conduit, and I’m good to go.

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Twitter Marketing; Do You Have A Plan?

I just finished reading the book below, Twitter Marketing, and found that I had some things I wanted to talk about as it concerns using Twitter as a marketing tool as opposed to just a conversation piece. This isn’t a book review as much as it is a look at the ethics and possibilities of using Twitter to market oneself and their business.

The book pointed out some very interesting things, some I knew, some I didn’t. One, it seems that the majority of people using Twitter are between 35 and 44. that’s somewhat surprising because I’d have thought more young people would be using the technology because my mindset has always been that it’s younger people who are drawn to it. What I hadn’t taken into account is that this is the age group that was really the first group that grew up with the technology as close to the technology of today. In my very early 20’s, we had Space Invaders and Asteroids, which were relatively simple (I was my college’s Asteroids champ in 1980), and only 5 years later there was this more interactive game of the guy who dressed like a knight and had his adventures (Dragon’s Lair), and my mind couldn’t deal with it, yet the younger kids took to it like walking.

The second thing I knew was that, overall, less than 10% of everyone who signs up for Twitter could be considered an active user. What I didn’t know was that around 37% of those who are considered active users are actually bot accounts, which means that no actual person is ever tweeting a single thing. I’ve always wondered about that one, and now we have a figure.

The third thing I knew, but didn’t have any figures for, was just how fast bad customer service might bring you down, and some of the lingering effects. The writer, Hollis Thomases, pointed out the big Motrin fiasco, which I’d heard about but never knew what it was, and a potential Crocs episode that was nipped in the bud, but had the CEO so rattled by this weird attempt at extortion that he went to his blog, then to Twitter, to state his case before this woman, who apparently ended up with great fear that something bad could happen to her, followed through on a threat that was unwarranted.

All that said, it brings back these interesting questions about marketing on Twitter; is it ethical, and just how does one decide to do it.

On the first one, I believe it is ethical to market on Twitter, as long as it’s done properly. I don’t know a single person who enjoys immediately receiving an automated private message about buying something or signing up for something once you’ve decided to follow someone. Even the messages offering me something for free irk me because I don’t trust them. I immediately stop following those people, figuring I haven’t invested anything in them, and they really haven’t invested anything in getting to know me first.

But what about other marketing? If I have all my blog posts immediately go to Twitter, that’s marketing, and I believe it’s ethical, but is it? I think so because I’m really advertising my opinions and rarely advertising a product. I’m looking for readers for my blog; if money ends up coming in some fashion later on, I won’t be depressed by that.

The how of this question is a different matter. The only other marketing I ever do, which is rare, is when I announce my office hours. It’s rare that I do it because I’ve only ever had one person take me up on it, which tells me it’s probably a major waste of time, but I still pop it out there from time to time.

But other marketing? Truthfully, even though I see how some people do it, I can’t figure out if it really works for them or not. Yeah, they might get clicks, but are they irritating people? For instance, if you see a headline that looks intriguing enough to click the link, and you’re taken to one of those pages where you have to put in your name and email address to get any information about it, how do you feel? Or if the topic looks like you’re going to get information, and instead it takes you to a product; how do you feel?

I guess overall I don’t have a problem with marketing if two things occur. One, I know it’s a marketing message instead of a set up. Two, if that’s not the only thing a person’s doing with Twitter. Because when all is said and done, at least in my mind, they call it “social media” for a reason. It might not be everyone’s primary motivation, but they should at least try. Am I wrong?

By the way, not a bad book; check it out.

Twitter Marketing

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Marketing Or Advertising Your Business

Yesterday I gave a presentation on the above topic to a consultant’s group I belong to, The Professional Consultant’s Association of Central New York. I’m also on the board, write the monthly newsletter, and I’m the webmaster of their website.

Anyway, it was interesting talking to these folks, most of whom are older than I am (scary since I’m 50), and though I got through it all, it seems they all got hung up initially on social media and just what its purpose was. One guy kept asking the question “did you get any business out of it”, to which I could answer to each one “yes”. He didn’t ask if I got a lot of business out of it, but he was missing the point.

The idea of doing things online isn’t always to immediately get a return on your investment (ROI). Yeah, that would be pleasurable, but the truth is that unless you’re already well known, or fill a need that the market has nowhere else to turn to, it will take some time before you really start making money. Sometimes it takes years, but I digress.

The basic thing about marketing a small business as opposed to a large business is that you probably don’t have a budget set for advertising. Oh yeah, let’s get the definitions of the two terms out of the way, just to be clear. Marketing is planning for how you want others to learn about your business and products. Advertising is money spent on producing materials to help you market your business and products.

Small businesses usually start out doing the same thing because it’s the only thing we know. We buy a lot of business cards, which isn’t so bad except often we haven’t fully defined ourselves before we buy the first batch. We either buy or make brochures, which means we spend a lot of money buying supplies or paying someone else to design and copy these suckers. We buy a lot of paper and envelopes to attack things that way. And we try to make endless calls (well, those who have the mettle to do it; I don’t) trying to talk to people who won’t return phone calls. It’s a tough life sometimes.

What we all eventually find out is that, through some kind of networking, we finally have a chance to make some money and do some business with others. It can be a long struggle for some of us, whereas others find success pretty quickly. There is no one way that it happens for everyone.

It’s the same with marketing online. We have read some of the stories of marketers who seemed to hit the ground running into success with internet marketing, and that’s good for those folks. But that’s not the norm. Even Darren Rowse didn’t make money initially, and it probably took him a couple of years to really ramp up his empire, so to speak. And here’s the next part; almost none of these guys continued making money the way they started out making money.

Don’t believe me? Joel Comm started out making money through Adsense; he’s moved on from there. So has Darren Rowse, who actually makes his money through many other services rather than just blogging. Lynn Terry and David Risley make most of their money in other ways than blogging, and John Chow has always said he makes more money from other sources than just blogging. Everyone has to be ready to diversify in some fashion to keep making money; you can only prime this particular pump so many times before the effect wears off. Think about 10 big name internet marketers from 6 years ago, then think of how many of them you still see on a regular basis, unless you’ve stayed on their mailing list forever. If you need to, check out Gurudaq, which I wrote about back in October 2008.

Enough of that. I figure that some might be interested in my outline for the presentation, and at the risk of someone stealing it, well, I really don’t care this time around, although it seems some of my content has been stolen by a site calling itself Lua Cheia (they stole an entire article from my business blog; I wrote them and they said it’s a version of Digg & Stumble Upon, only I got no attribution; here’s the link to it if you want to see it, but I’m not making it an active link: http://luacheia.soup.io/post/44468305/When-Protecting-Your-Reputation-Isn-t-Worth). Anyway, here’s the outline; enjoy, and do NOT ask me where I got the statistics from, as I just took the first stat I found on each of these from wherever I could find it.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

1. Mail
     A. Letters
     B. Flyers
     C. Postcards

2. Printed Materials
     A. Flyers
     B. Brochures
     C. Business Cards

3. Networking
     A. Join Groups
     B. Get On Committees
     C. Work on getting people to know you

4. Hire someone to market you
     A. Agency
     B. Sales people

5. Phone calls

6. Media
     A. Magazines/Newspaper
     B. Radio
     C. Television

New Ways Of Marketing

1. Email

2. Websites

3. Blogs

4. Social Networking

5. Speaking/presenting

Costs of Advertising

1. Printed materials can cost a lot of money

2. Cost of postage

3. Costs of joining groups

4. Costs of labor in hiring others

5. Websites can be expensive to create, but are easy to change

6. Blogs are inexpensive to create and maintain, but still need to “advertise” in another way

7. Social media is free, but can be time consuming

8. Email is free, but some people don’t respond well to it

Effectiveness/ROI

1. Mailings only convert at an average of around 1%, and only if you submit in high volume

2. Business cards only convert at an average of around 2%, but once again, volume drives the figures

3. Websites have a 2.5% conversion rate, based on high traffic

4. Blogs can help conversion rates go up by 3% if you have a niche market

5. Email converts at less than 1% for people you don’t know, around 25% for people you do know

6. Phone calls convert around 2 to 3% for product based companies, less for service based companies

7. Speaking engagements convert around 1% initially, but can increase to 5% over time for some

8. Networking converts at around 1% short term, but can increase to 5% over time for some

9. Advertising on media depends on product & location; products always do better than services

10.No figures on social networking yet, but people have gotten business from it

What Personally Affects How / What We Do

1. Comfort level

2. Finances
     A. What can we afford to spend on stuff
     B. How much in need are we of making money “now”

3. Control

4. Knowing our market too well / too little

5. Trying too hard / giving up

Big Question – What do you do in marketing/advertising & how does it work for you? Are you missing ways that might be beneficial to you long term?

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Pot Odds In Internet Marketing

Many of you know how much I love going to play poker. I get a lot of enjoyment out of it because I love the camaraderie that eventually is created by spending just a few hours with a bunch of people you’ve never met before, commiserating with everyone else who’s either won a big hand or gotten beaten in a big hand. We’ve all been there, and we all have stories to share.

One thing I like to believe I’m good at is figuring out what the odds are that my hand is good or not. Of course, having a good hand doesn’t always mean it’s a winning hand, but more often than not it works out just fine. What I’m not good at is figuring out the numbers, as in what the actual percentage is that favors my hand.

I was reading a blog post called Easiest Way To Understand Math In Poker, where the writer, named Mitchell Cogart (knew I liked him for some reason) was giving some formulas for how to calculate it fairly quickly. It’s still somewhat beyond me, mainly because it takes time to do those calculations, and unless I was playing in a tournament, I don’t like taking that kind of time figuring out anything.

However, it’s the other thing he was talking about that starts to get me into the point of this post. There’s something called pot odds that, to poker players, is very important and very intriguing. In essence, it’s figuring out how much the pot is worth to you in odds versus the odds of you having a winning hand. Just to throw out numbers, if you only have a 30% chance of winning a hand, but the dollars in the pot come out to you having a 55% chance of winning the pot, many poker players will take a chance on the money rather than their hand because they perceive the dollars are so high that you can’t afford NOT to play the hand.

I hear this on poker commentary sometimes on TV. The guy will say “there’s so much money in the pot that so-and-so absolutely has to call the hand, even though he’s going to lose.” On TV, you always know what the players hands are, so you know who’s going to win or lose. But the players don’t know that, so you see them taking time, running through all the calculations in their minds, and then they’ll pull the trigger on hands that most of us would say we know better than to play because we have no idea on how to calculate pot odds.

In a way, you can relate that to trying to learn more about internet marketing. There are a lot of products out there that will teach you something about it. Some are very good and some aren’t all that good. However, what most of us believe is that the more expensive something is, the more we should be getting out of it. Truthfully, that may or may not be true. The “pot odds” are in your favor; after all, why would someone put a $500 product out there that wasn’t going to deliver on what’s been promised, right?

Here’s the thing. Just like everything else in life, nothing works for everyone. It’s possible that the $500 product might tell you everything you need to know to make money, or it may not. It may tell you things to do that your morality won’t allow you to do. For instance, if it said that in order to make lots of money you have to kill a lot of puppies, would you do it? If it said that you had to do what’s known as black hat principles, would you do it?

While I was at my mother’s house on Friday, she was watching this network that was advertising a program called Kell On Earth, about this fashion designer who’s very successful. However, she’s a terror; there’s no way I’d ever want to deal with that type of person on a yearly basis, let alone a daily basis. She berates her employees and other people around her, but justifies it by saying she has to do what she has to do to stay at the top. I’m sorry, but if you have to treat people as if they’re inferior to you then I don’t want to be successful. It’s not my style, and I couldn’t live with myself. Yet there are thousands of people who subscribe to that and believe it’s the way to go. Notice how some are successful, but others aren’t? Once again, no one size fits all.

Some folks thought I was being too lenient when I reviewed Six Figure Blogger Blueprint. The thing is, the book wasn’t really for those of you who have been doing this for awhile. It was also free, not a full course on internet marketing. It got me thinking about things, and any book that does that for me works for me. We all judge things differently. We have to know ourselves, and what we might respond to. Like that book to the right side there, 20 Ways To Make $100 A Day Online. I bought that book, and I think it was perfect for me because I was able to take just one of its principles and turn it into a way to make money. It wasn’t overly expensive, but turned out to be just what I needed. I calculated my odds for finding something I thought I could use, and I turned out to be right.

How do you determine whether something might work well for you or not? Do you even try anymore? I say that at the risk of jumping into Sire’s response, because I know he’s said more than once that he won’t pay for anything anymore, after being burned many times early on. Has that happened to some of you as well? I’d really like to know.

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