Internet Marketing with Jonathan Leger

Pinterest Case Study Update – 93,180 visitors in 3 days

Hopefully you’ve already read my Pinterest Case Study post. If not, then I suggest you go look at those numbers before you look at the ones in this post – it will give you some perspective. The short version is that in three months I was able to get more than one million visitors from Pinterest that resulted in more than $10,000 in profit.

Friday morning, however, I woke up to a very pleasant surprise. One of my Pinterest-promoted web properties had begun to go viral. The pins targeting that site were being repinned like mad. Friday was by far the single best earnings day for the site, and one of the best earnings day for my Pinterest network (about $400).

It was, at least, until Saturday. The viral storm continued to strengthen, and I ended Saturday with another $543 – the best earnings day for my Pinterest site network period.

Until (you guessed it) Sunday. The traffic and earnings exploded Sunday (which is definitely the best day for Pinterest traffic), resulting in a whopping $1,320 in net earnings for that one day.

From Friday September 30th through Sunday October 2nd the site got more than 93,000 visitors from Pinterest, my Pinterest network earned $2,259.90 and I added 1,340 email subscribers to that one site’s email list.

When was the last time Google rewarded your site with that kind of traffic, earnings and opt-ins in such a short period of time? Never? I didn’t think so.

Here are the screenshots to prove that I’m not inventing these massive numbers. I’ve blacked out parts of the screenshots that would violate my own privacy, customer privacy or the terms of service for each revenue provider. Otherwise the images have not been altered.

The Traffic

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The Earnings

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-3-31-16-am

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-3-32-26-am

The Opt-Ins

screen-shot-2016-10-03-at-3-38-47-am

 

The Viral Trend Continues

The viral traffic storm hasn’t stopped yet. It will be interesting (and lucrative) to see how long it lasts, but I wanted to update you with the figures now so you can see what’s possible with Pinterest if you do things right.

Also, keep in mind that these results didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been promoting this particular web property in Pinterest for about three months.The accounts promoting this site have been aging and growing in popularity over that time. The traffic and earnings have grown quickly but steadily until Friday when they seriously spiked.

That said, three months to achieve this kind of traffic and revenue is extremely fast in comparison to how long it normally takes to rank a site in Google for enough keywords to get even a fraction of these results. If you’re not putting your time and attention into Pinterest, you’re missing out big time.

Automation Is The Key

Like I said in my original Pinterest Case Study post, software automation is the key to the successful promotion of my web properties in Pinterest. I am hard at work at a desktop version that will perform the same kind of automation that my in-house system does. It’s coming along nicely and should be ready for public distribution by the last week of this month (October).

If you’re not already on my email list, click here to opt-in so you are notified when the software gets released.

I’m sure you have questions and opinions, so please post them in a comment below. I’ll do my best to respond.

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Penguin 4.0 – Google’s long-overdue course correction

penguinWhen Google first released their Penguin update in 2012, it was an unmitigated disaster. That update penalized all the wrong sites for all the wrong reasons. It was designed to target link spam, but it initially failed – badly.

Google quickly started making changes and corrections to try and improve the algorithm. It did improve, though webmasters the world over grumbled and griped about how many perfectly legitimate, “white hat” sites had been demolished by the update.

Some continue to argue that, years later, it still unfairly favors big name brand sites over high authority niche sites, but that’s another post for another day.

One basic principle of Penguin that Google didn’t change was the effect that spammy links had on the ranking of a site. Those low quality links from known spammy sources often got a site demoted out of the rankings. This led to the birth of what’s called “negative SEO”, where unscrupulous SEO practitioners would build garbage links to competitors’ sites and tank their rankings.

When negative SEO was first postulated I was in denial that Google could be so stupid. “No way Google, with all of its brilliant engineers and forward-thinking leadership puts the power of negative SEO into the hands of the bad guys. NO WAY!

Alas, it was true. Negative SEO was real.

Granted, it had no effect on highly authoritative sites, but for the little guy trying to build the reputation of his or her site, it worked. Though Google never directly admitted to granting the bad guys such power, they provided tacit proof of its existence by giving webmasters the ability to disavow links. Why would a site owner need to claim that they didn’t build the spammy links if spammy links had no negative effect on a site?

Now, finally, more than four years later, Google has taken the power of negative SEO away from the bad guys.

Gary Illyes from the Google Webspam Team has stated that with Penguin 4.0 (which is rolling out now) Google can finally “devalue spam instead of demoting” sites that are the target of spammy links. What that means is that Google “no longer penalizes the site or specific pages but rather ignores/devalues the spammy links and thus the rankings are adjusted” (see this SearchEngineLand.com article).

While this news should certainly make webmasters across the world happier (and sleep better at night knowing their rankings won’t be tanked by negative SEO), I have to ask the question: Why did it take one of the most technologically brilliant teams in the world four years to correct such a painfully obvious, damaging flaw in their algorithm?

Given Google’s general lack of transparency when it comes to anything related to their algorithm (which, honestly, I understand their reasoning for), we may never know.

This doesn’t mean you can run out and build spam links with impunity, however. Google is still taking manual actions against sites known to build low quality links. It’s the automated demotion that’s been removed from their algorithm. A human being has to make the decision now. So if you’ve been the target of a negative SEO attack, Google still recommends disavowing those links to recover your rankings.

As always, post your questions, thoughts and personal Penguin/Google gripes in a comment below. I’m all ears.

P.S. It’s these kind of innocent-webmaster-ignoring actions that Google has taken since going public that have led me to look more and more into alternative forms of traffic. And boy oh boy am I glad I did. CLICK HERE to see the astounding results!

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CASE-STUDY: 1 million visitors and $10,000+ from Pinterest

pinterest-logoI’m a very methodical person, always have been. It’s just in my nature to test and tweak and test until I get something just right.

Whatever I’m doing, be it improving my physical fitness, learning to build canvases for my wife to paint on or figuring out how to generate traffic and revenue for my web sites, I study and learn and test until I’m satisfied with the results.

Even when I’m happy with the outcome, I never quit trying to improve. It’s how I’ve achieved my success.

So when I started tinkering with Pinterest last year and saw it’s incredible traffic and revenue generation potential, I started testing and searching for ways to take better and better advantage of it.

I’ve learned three things through this process:

  1. Pinterest delivers traffic in a big way.
  2. Pinterest traffic is high quality.
  3. Pinterest traffic is easier to get than any other organic (unpaid) source I’ve used.

I know you’re eager to see what I’ve accomplished, and I’m going to show you. But first let me tell you a little bit about Pinterest. Afterward I’ll show you my results and outline the methods I am using to generate traffic and revenue from it.

 

How Pinterest Works

While having more than 100 million active users, Pinterest is not nearly as popular as Facebook or Twitter in terms of active user counts. A big part of that is because the great majority of Pinterest users are based in the United States. It hasn’t caught on in other countries like those other social networks have.

My traffic shows that 83% of traffic generated from Pinterest is from the USA, 4% from Canada, 2% from the United Kingdom and the final 11% is from a variety of other countries (with each additional country providing less than 1% of the total traffic).

I am optimistic that Pinterest will gain traction in other countries as well. It’s comparatively young – only about five years old. Compare that to Facebook (12 years old) and Twitter (10 years old), and it’s easy to see Pinterest becoming far more global in the next five years.

The beauty of Pinterest is its simplicity. You simply “pin” (post) images that you like, along with descriptions of the image, to “boards” (collections of typically related images). If you like what a Pinterest user is pinning, you follow either the user or just the specific board. You can also invite other users to add pins to your boards. Traffic is generated when people click-through from the pinned image to the web page (URL) attached to the image.

New users can create a Pinterest account in seconds. The interface is lovely, clean and intuitive, making it easy for users to get started creating boards, pinning images and following other users.

Ok, enough about how Pinterest works. Let’s get into what I’ve been able to achieve with it.

 

1. The Earnings

earnings
click the image to enlarge

I have used Pinterest traffic to generate $10,301.04
in earnings from July through September

 

As you can clearly see from the chart above, Pinterest traffic generates serious revenue. The reason for this is simple: Pinterest users are active buyers. In fact, a study done by Shopify shows that 87% of Pinterest users use the social media tool when making buying decisions. That’s the kind of traffic you want: people who are actively looking to buy.

Here are the month to month earnings, totaling $10,301.04:

  • July – $1,376.69
  • August – $3,991.03
  • September – $4,933.32

I included June in the chart so you can see the dramatic growth rate over the last few months (it’s not included in the total earnings number). The October value is a forecast for next month. I expect October to do far better than September based on short-term growth rates.

I am monetizing the traffic with three different sources:

  1. Google AdSense
  2. ClickBank affiliate sales
  3. Amazon affiliate sales

ClickBank and AdSense account for the lion’s share of the revenue. I’ve just started ramping up traffic to Amazon for one particular web property. The results are promising, so I expect its revenue share to grow considerably in the coming months.

earnings_projection
click the image to enlarge

The above chart is my projection of the earnings I expect from Pinterest traffic through the end of the year. It’s based on current short-term growth rates of only the current web properties I am monetizing with Pinterest.

The truth is, though, that I’ll be adding more web properties to my network before then, which means that the numbers shown in this chart are really just a conservative estimate.

 

2. The Traffic

traffic
click the image to enlarge

I have used Pinterest to generate 1,013,501
site visitors from July through September

 

Pinterest may not have as many active users as Facebook or Twitter, but my experience and testing shows that it delivers far more organic (unpaid) traffic per pin (post) than both Facebook and Twitter combined.

The reason is longevity. The images you post to your account can be “repinned” onto other user’s boards. When another user puts your pin on their board, it appears in the timeline of everyone that follows that user. The following users can also repin the image, etc., resulting in a continuous stream of viral traffic over time if the pin gets popular.

While other social media sites also notify an account holder’s friends or followers when you like or share something, because Pinterest is so visual and its users so actively engaged in shopping (which means more click-throughs to your site), the results from Pinterest are far superior in my experience.

Here are the month to month traffic numbers, totaling 1,013,501 visitors:

  • July – 184,592 visitors
  • August – 364,940 visitors
  • September – 467,589 visitors

As with the earnings, I included June in the chart for comparison purposes only – it’s not included in the 1+ million total. October is my forecast based on short-term growth rates.

 

3. The Email Subscribers

optins
click the image to enlarge

I have used Pinterest traffic to add 7,475
email subscribers from July through September

 

“The money is in the list.” Marketers say it all the time, and it’s true. It’s much easier to sell to somebody who has volunteered to receive marketing information from you than to make a sale from a first time visitor. That’s true whether you’re engaging in direct mail marketing, marketing through television, video or radio commercials or sending traffic to your website.

Once a person has volunteered to get onto your email list (opted-in), you can start to build trust with them by sending them valuable information on the subject they’re interested in. Once you have their trust they are much more likely to buy based on your recommendation.

Don’t get me wrong – I make a lot of money from direct site visitors as well, both in advertising and affiliate referrals. But I would be missing out on a big chunk of weekly income if I didn’t also email my subscribers. Even if you’re just referring your subscriber to your latest blog post, it still earns you more money when they click the ads or click-through and buy your affiliate offer.

Here are the month to month subscriber numbers, totaling 7,475 email opt-ins:

  • July – 1,380
  • August – 2,690
  • September – 3,405

As with earnings and traffic, opt-ins are growing dramatically month over month. I expect that trend to continue, which will further boost earnings as I market to the subscribers.

 

The Proof

I’ve shown you a lot of big, impressive numbers generated over a very short period of time in this case study. I know that can be hard to believe. That’s why I’m also providing you this list of screenshots that prove the numbers. The numbers may be slightly different than the totals shown here, since I didn’t take the screenshots at the same time that I added up the figures, but where they are different it’s only by very small amounts.

I’ve blacked out parts of the screenshots that would violate my own privacy, customer privacy or the terms of service for each revenue provider. Otherwise the images have not been altered.

AdSense Reports

ClickBank Reports

Amazon Reports

 

The Methods I Am Using

Like I said in the beginning, I am very methodical. I test and tweak and improve as the results come in. That means that what I am posting now might change somewhat going forward as I continue to improve the way I use Pinterest for traffic and revenue generation. However, it’s clear that what I’m doing is successful, and I suggest you use it as a starting point for your own testing.

I Use Multiple Pinterest Accounts

As you may have already guessed, I am not getting these results from just one Pinterest account. I run a number of websites, and have accounts dedicated to the promotion of each site. Pinterest lets you create Business accounts for promotional purposes. As of the time of my writing this, you are not limited to just creating one account. That only makes sense. Many people run multiple businesses, and Pinterest naturally wants them all on board (no pun intended).

I Pin A Lot

I pin to each of my accounts typically a few hundred times a day. Those pins are linked to specific pages of my websites. People click-through the pins to my sites, generating traffic and revenue. It’s really a numbers game. The more you pin and the more eye-catching the images you pin, the more traffic you’ll generate.

 I Follow Users With Clear Interest

As with all social media sites, a certain percentage of people that you follow will follow you back. I use this reciprocal following to grow the popularity of my Pinterest accounts.

In order to get followers who are clearly interested in my market, I search for boards related to my market and follow the users that are following those boards. Anywhere from 10% – 25% of those users follow me back, growing the account popularity. When I pin, the pins appear in those users’ timelines, resulting in traffic to my sites.

It’s my experience that the more followers you have that are clearly interested in your market, the more likely your pins are to show up in the Pinterest search results as well. So having a popular account generates traffic not only from your followers but also from the Pinterest search function.

I Use Software Automation

Obviously I can’t pin hundreds of times a day to multiple accounts (or follow that many people every day) without automation being involved. I’ve developed an in-house software tool that assists me in doing this, making it easy to grow popular accounts in my target markets that generate traffic to my sites and revenue from that traffic.

 

“What Software Is That?”

While I have no plans to release the in-house software tool I’m using to the public (it’s not designed for multi-user personal use), I am working on a desktop tool that duplicates the functionality that is most important to my in-house tool’s success. The new tool runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s being designed from the ground-up to use everything I’ve learned about Pinterest in the last year to help you maximize the value that Pinterest can bring to your own website(s).

As with any software automation, you will need to use this tool in a way that does not violate Pinterest’s Acceptable Use Policy. Failure to do so may result in your Pinterest account (or accounts) being suspended so that you are no longer able to use them. Get familiar with what they allow, because if you do things right the results are clearly spectacular.

I anticipate the desktop tool being available toward the end of October. If you’re on my email list I’ll notify you when it’s available. If you’re not on my email list, click here and enter your details in the opt-in box.

 

I hope this case study has gotten you as excited about Pinterest as I am. I’m sure you have questions, so feel free to post them in a comment below, along with any other thoughts you have. I’ll do my best to respond to everyone that requires a response.

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The Damage Of Distraction

distraction, 3D rendering, rough street sign collectionThis past Wednesday afternoon I made a phone call to my attorney (don’t ask, sheesh). When the call was over, I took the phone away from my ear and expected the screen to light up and the red “End Call” button to become visible.

It never happened. In fact, my phone became completely unresponsive. I forced it to reboot and it got stuck drawing the Samsung logo. Long story short, I should be getting a new phone in the mail today.

Here’s the thing about being without my phone for two days. At first I actually felt nervous and uncomfortable. “Oh my God, I’m freaking out. I can’t check my email or my texts!”

I didn’t expect this knee-jerk response at all. It made me irritated with myself. Somehow people had managed to survive without a smart phone in their pocket for thousands of years. I had managed to survive my first 30 years of life without one as well. I wasn’t lost without it.

Once I got my ridiculous initial reaction under control, I was amazed at how much easier it was to focus on the task at hand. Normally when I’m out and about, I’ll periodically check my email, texts, earnings stats, etc. to see how things are going for the day and if there’s anything that needs my attention. I think it’s just in my nature to be obsessive when it comes to my work.

Robbed of the ability to be obsessive, my brain settled in on the fact that I could give one hundred percent of my focus to whatever was in front of me at the time. When I’m writing code for a project that’s rarely an issue. I get completely absorbed in it. But with other tasks it can be harder – especially tasks that don’t require active physical participation.

That is, when I’m coding my fingers are flying across the keyboard. When I’m trying to envision how to build my next application, that’s different. I sit (or walk since I tend to think better while in motion) and contemplate the best way to tackle the project.

Not having the phone beckoning me to check it every time it made a sound, I was in a much better position to stay completely focused on the project that I am currently mapping out. It was amazing how quickly the plan came together because I had zero distraction.

The irony is that the smart phone was conceived with the idea that it would help you get things done. Being able to read and respond to emails or texts from anywhere, being able to call anyone from anywhere, would surely increase our productivity in whatever work we do, right?

Sometimes, sure, but when we’re in the middle of something that requires a lot of our focus and thought, that handy little gadget can serve as a destructive distraction, interrupting the flow of thought that is inherently required for anyone who runs a business to think through their strategy.

I’ve decided that once I get the replacement phone, it’s going to stay off a lot more than its predecessor. Not just in matters of business, either. I’m sure my wife will greatly appreciate the phone being off when we’re having dinner together. I’m pretty good about keeping it on silent and ignoring it in those moments, but sometimes the tug to check it is overwhelming. Even if I never stop to look at it, just being rid of the desire to do so will help keep my focus where it belongs: on the most important things in life.

Maybe you should consider doing the same.

As always, I invite your questions and thoughts in a comment below.

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Good Questions Versus Stupid Questions

no stupidity stop stupid behaviour no naivety brainless stupidly unprofessional foolhardy dumb mistakeLIE: “The only stupid question is the one you didn’t ask.” 

We’ve all heard that, but it’s not true at all. There are genuinely stupid questions that get asked out loud all the time. What’s the difference between a stupid question and a good question, and how can this affect your business? Let me tell you.

Ignorance Versus Stupidity

Most people think of a stupid question as a question they fear will make them sound stupid. Let’s say you’re in a room full of people who practice search engine optimization and they’re talking about “latent semantic indexing.” You don’t know what that is, and from the way everyone else is nodding it seems you’re the only one. You’re afraid to ask what it is because you fear it will make you look stupid.

But you wouldn’t look stupid — you would look ignorant, and that’s ok. If you’re ignorant you just lack information. Stupidity can be defined as willful ignorance — you don’t know and you don’t care to know. Not knowing is not a negative trait because you can learn. Refusing to learn is a very negative trait because it harms you and (quite often) the people around you.

Stupid Questions, Good Questions

That said, a question can be classified as stupid when the person asking it has no intention of finding or applying the answer to it.

For instance: “Why am I such a failure?” That question can be a good question, but it can also be stupid. If you ask that question and just go on with your life as-is, it’s stupid because it’s pointless. You had no intention of finding the answer and fixing the problem. You continue to be a failure despite having asked the question because you took no action.

If, however, you ask that question because you genuinely don’t understand what you’re doing wrong and you want to correct your mistakes, then it’s a good question. It’s a question with purpose, and finding the answer to it will help your future tremendously if you take action once you find it.

How A Good Question Becomes Stupid

car used salesperson selling old car as brand new truck salesman typical topic ok gestureThe best question can become a stupid question when asked of the wrong person. If you ask the bank clerk the best way to repair your car’s transmission, what are the chances that you’ll get a good answer? Virtually none. You should know this because they’re a bank clerk and not a car mechanic. If they really understood how to properly repair your car’s transmission what are the odds they would be working as a bank clerk?

I see this in Internet Marketing all the time. Rather than asking proven, successful individuals how to run a business online, people go to public forums full of wannabes that have absolutely no experience in running a successful business anywhere (online or off).

Any business-related question you ask of people like that is automatically stupid because it’s asked to the wrong people, and you should know they’re the wrong people because they’re wasting time on public forums — time that successful people would be using to build their business.

Asking The Wrong Person For The Wrong Reason

Why do people so often ask the obviously wrong person for answers? Because it’s “free”. If you ask a business question at a public forum, for instance, you don’t have to pay for the answer. If you ask your “computer expert” relative how to fix your laptop (even though for some reason they work at a grocery store despite being an “expert”), you probably do so because they’ll give you a “free” answer.

I keep quoting the word “free” because those answers are not free — they cost you dearly because they’re almost always the wrong answer (or at best an incomplete answer, which can be just as bad). Getting the wrong answer is often worse than getting no answer at all! In the long run it can cost you a lot more.

Why are doctors and lawyers so highly paid? Because the answers they give you are incredibly valuable. Your health, wellbeing, money or even freedom may be at stake when you go to see these professionals. Would you take advice about your health from your “expert” relative that works at the grocery store? Would ask them for legal advice? Of course not. That would be stupid.

Would it make any more sense to go to a public forum of people with no verified knowledge to ask those same questions? Again, that would be stupid.

So why would you go to a public forum full of people who have little to no experience in running a successful business when you have questions about how to run yours? Your financial welfare is at stake! It would be stupid to do so. It may appear to be “free”, but in the long term it’s anything but.

Success = Good Question + Right Person + Action 

superhero businessman looking at city skyline at sunset. the concept of success, leadership and victory in business.Success can be defined as asking a good question to the right person and then taking action to apply the answer to your problem.

If you’re trying to run a business online you don’t ask wannabes at public forums with no experience how to be successful. No, you ask an experienced businessperson with proven success, and when (s)he tells you the answer you immediately take steps to put it into practice. That’s how you become successful.

“No man is an island.”

Unlike the quote at the beginning of this post, “No man is an island” is a quote I can get behind, with a slight modification — “No person is an island.” Man or woman, nobody is successful all by themselves. We all need help to succeed. I’ve been running a successful business online for the last 12 years. I still ask questions, find the answers and apply them all the time. As long as you’re breathing you should never stop doing that.

So don’t be afraid to ask the “stupid” questions, because they’re not stupid if you’re asking the right person and intend to take action once you get an answer. In that case, ask away.

In fact, why not start right now by asking me a question in a comment below? I’ll do my best to give you a good, actionable answer.

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Price What You’re Worth (The Dangers of Underpricing)

Red wine. Glass of wine. Pouring red wine.I occasionally enjoy a glass of wine after dinner, but I know virtually nothing about what makes one wine better than another. So when I’m at the grocery store and looking at the wines, all I really have to go on is price. Like most people, I assume that the more expensive bottle must be the better bottle.

But is that true? Not necessarily. In fact, in one study a group of researchers swapped the labels of two bottles of wine, putting the expensive label on the cheap wine and the cheap label on the expensive wine. They then had two groups of people taste test the wine — one group saw the label and the price and the other group didn’t.

The group that thought the cheap wine was expensive consistently rated the “expensive” wine as being better than the “cheap” one. Not so with the group that didn’t get to see the labels or the prices.

Perception is Reality

The study makes clear what marketers have known for a very long time: perception is reality. If people think something is better they will often favor it even if the facts don’t backup the perception.

Especially when it comes to things they have little real knowledge about, people are inclined to assume that what costs more is probably better. Whether it’s a product like a bottle of wine or a professional service, the price often sets the expectation of value.

The funny thing about this is that if you asked people randomly whether or not more expensive products are always better, pretty much everybody is going to say “no”. But when it comes time to actually choose a product, people often buy the best they can afford (and sometimes more than they can afford).

Why?

The reason is simple: we know that higher price doesn’t always equate to better quality, but when shopping for products and services we have little knowledge about (like wine) we have no other way to judge quality! Especially when we’re buying products and services that are very personal and could affect our health, well-being or financial situation, people prefer not to go cheap if they don’t have to. It’s a way of limiting the risk that we’re getting an inferior product.

That’s why more people buy more expensive name brand medicine than generic, even though study after study shows that there’s no real difference between the two. Just in case the name brand is better, we tend to buy it if we can afford it because our health is at stake.

Underpricing Is Dangerous

expensive or cheap compare prices best value low cost or price for best value and top quality on a budget road sign arrow
These facts about human nature are why it can be dangerous to underprice yourself. If you’re out to sell a product or service, you want people to perceive it as being of high quality. Since people generally don’t have a lot of real world knowledge about the products and services they’re buying, price often greatly influences a person’s perception of quality.

This is especially so with professional services. People are looking to pay somebody else for the service because they don’t have the knowledge or skills to perform it themselves.

If you are selling a service and you underprice yourself, people will tend to think that the service you’re offering must not be as good as what your higher priced competition is offering. Some people are bargain shoppers and will buy from you just because you’re cheaper or because you’re all they can afford. If that’s your target market, fine, but if you don’t want to survive on thin margins you’ll have a real perception problem if you “race toward the bottom” just to be cheaper than the competition.

Crafting Perception

Judge law lawyer and Justice concept with a 3d render of a gavel on a wooden desktop with grey background.Of course, just setting a high price tag isn’t going to result in people flocking to you because they assume you must be the best. You have to backup that perception.

For example, let’s say you’re in the market for an attorney for your business. You see a great-looking professional ad for a specific attorney with lots of convincing reasons to give them a try. The hourly rate is high, but your legal issue is an important one so you make an appointment for a consultation. At this point your perceived value of this attorney is very high.

Now let’s say you go to the attorney’s office and (1) the office is a run down building and (2) there’s no secretary or legal assistant, only the attorney and (3) (s)he is driving a beat up old car and wearing raggedy clothes.

Would you still trust that this attorney is great? Probably not.

Do those 3 factors necessarily mean (s)he’s not great? No. It’s possible that (s)he is a fantastic lawyer and just prefers not to spend all of the money on an expensive office, employees, car or clothes. Certainly possible, but you don’t know that. You base your perception on what you know, and what you know is that a great attorney should be able to afford all of those things and it appears that this one can’t.

So if you’re going to set your price high, you need to be sure that you’re backing up your high price with the perception of high quality as well. This should not be a game of smoke and mirrors. The actual service or product you provide should be high quality, resulting in a satisfied customer.

Real World Example: Apple Versus Android

Melbourne, Australia - May 23, 2016: Close-up view of Google Play Store on Android smartphone and Apple's App Store on iPhoneI am an Android person myself. I own a Samsung Galaxy phone. Although I think Apple makes great products (I’m typing this on my Macbook Pro), when it comes to phones I just prefer Android. Being a tech guy, I understand that the hardware and software in an Android phone is not inferior to that in an iPhone. In fact, in many cases there’s better hardware in higher end Android devices.

So why is the iPhone so much more expensive as a rule?

Because perception is reality. Apple has done a fantastic job of crafting the perception of their product as being better than the competition. Again, this is not smoke and mirrors. The iPhone is a great product, but is it better than a high end Android phone? From a technical standpoint at least, it’s not.

But if you asked the typical person on the street which they would prefer to own if they could afford either, what answer would you get? Aside from the occasional techy like me, I bet most people would prefer an iPhone if they could afford it. Perception is reality, and in the war of perception Apple is winning at this point. In fact, sales of Samsung devices is slumping this year while the iPhone is selling like hotcakes.

The Take Away

I hope I’ve made it clear that perception is everything when it comes to marketing your products or services, and why people tend to use price as a gauge of quality — at least initially. So set your price according to the market you’re targeting. If you’re trying to be the low cost leader of your market, fine. There’s money to be made there — just ask Wal-Mart!

But if you don’t want to survive on thin profit margins like Wal-Mart does, then you need to craft your market’s perception of you carefully. Price is one great way to do that, so don’t underprice yourself and by all means back up your higher price with higher value.

Oh, and in case you think this doesn’t apply to the “little guy”, my wife is an artist. For a long time she sold her artwork for what I told her was far too little money given her talent level. Recently I finally convinced her to raise her prices, and yesterday she sold a beautiful piece of her work for many times more than her norm to a local chiropractor. Perception is reality!

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions, so feel free to post them in a comment below.

 

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The Hard Truth Internet Marketers Need to Know

I have a hard truth to tell you that most successful Internet Marketers who market to other Internet Marketers already know. But before I tell you this hard truth, let me tell you about a recent experience I had.

Several months ago I created someRoulette and piles of gambling chips on a green table in casino. Croupier collects chips using stickthing that I and several other veteran Internet Marketers believe is one of the most powerful tools I’ve ever created. I used it myself and had amazing results and it has seemingly endless possibilities to be used in ways I had not even used it yet.

After having GREAT success using it for myself, I decided to release it to my list of Internet Marketers. Guess what happened? It bombed and many of those who did buy it complained about a variety of things. To be honest with you, I thought it would bomb, but it was just TOO good not to find out for sure and I legitimately WANT to help my subscribers succeed.

So WHY did this amazing tool bomb and why did I know that it probably would before I even launched it? Before I tell you this, I want to make sure you understand this isn’t personal. I want you to also understand I’m saying this to HELP those who are guilty of it (and they are MANY).

The hard truth, and I’ll use softer words than many others might use … the reason why the product failed is that most people trying to make money online are not really trying to build a successful business, they’re trying to hit the lottery!

Well, there it is. I don’t know if you’re guilty of this or not, but that’s the sad truth for most in this industry. That’s why they spend thousands of dollars per year and never see a profit, or even a return, on most, if not all, of their investments. It’s because they aren’t investments at all. They are lottery tickets.

Shiny object #1 didn’t give them the top-secret push button formula that pumped cash into their bank account with little effort.

Shiny object #2 didn’t do it either. Keep going all the way up the last shiny object.

Until a person decides they are going to spend time learning and spend money strategically in areas that will help them accomplish their business plan (yes, a “business plan” not a golden lottery ticket, AKA shiny object), they are bound to end up like the 90%+ of Internet Marketers who are playing the lottery and blaming all of the product creators and “gurus” for their lack of success.

With that being said, there are legitimate “done for you” opportunities out there. But they aren’t cheap and they rarely provide instant riches. These opportunities are usually passed on by the IM “lottery players” and only taken up by the very few serious-minded individuals who understand they are involved in business, not a lottery.

It’s a sad fact, but the many Internet Marketing product creators who specialize in shiny objects, but not so much great results, continue to do it, lining their pockets, BECAUSE the IM “lottery players” WANT those products. The same people who complain about those product creators and “Gurus” are the ones who pass on legitimate, powerful products, while making payment after payment for shiny object after shiny object.

Well, are you guilty? I sure hope not. But this is a hard truth and a sad fact. If you are guilty, rather than making you bitter, it is my hope that it makes you better.

There is a great deal of opportunity in this growing digital age, but those who will succeed are those who realize it is a business and not a lottery.

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4 Marketing Lessons From My Underwear

What can you possibly learn about Internet Marketing from my underwear? A LOT. So stick with me until the end. I promise you’ll be enlightened.

Ok, now let me help you make sense of what may otherwise seem like an attention grabbing headline.

You see, I’m a runner. Not what you would call a professional runner, just an exercise buff. I run at least 4 days a week, at least 4 miles each day. Sometime sprints, sometimes a jog, sometimes something in between.

While running, I almost always listen to a great podcast that I love called Stuff You Should Know. It’s fantastic: educational, entertaining and covers a wide range of topics that helps expand my knowledge of the world we live in.

As you might expect, this podcast has sponsors — advertisers. One of those sponsors is MeUndies.com. Their claim to fame is that they sell ‘the most comfortable underwear in the world’.

Now, I had never given a second thought to my “common”, Target-brand underwear. I never thought it was uncomfortable or lacking in any way. I mean, it’s just underwear. Who cares, right?

But as I’m running and listening to this podcast, the guys who run the podcast (Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant) pause to talk about their underwear sponsor. One of the guys (Chuck) says that he wears MeUndies now and can attest to the fact that they’re the most comfortable he’s ever worn. That they ‘whisk away sweat’ and never chafe or sag, etc. The bottom line — he loves them.

I hear these ads again and again, as I run multiple times a week and listen to the podcast every time. The first time I hear the ad, I ignore it (as most people would). The second time I ignore it. The third, the fourth, etc. Over and over I keep hearing how great these undewear are, but I don’t need underwear so I ignore it — or so I think.

Of course, being a marketer I am well aware of the fact that either 1) MeUndies sent Chuck some free samples that he can try for himself or 2) he’s just lying to support the sponsor. I don’t believe he’s just lying because I’ve listened to Chuck for years and he really comes across as a stand-up guy. He speaks what he thinks, and that always comes through. Although I don’t know him personally, he certainly doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that would lie for a sponsor.

Finally, after hearing the ads again and again and again, I decide to give MeUndies a try. Lo and behold, they are indeed the most comfortable undewear I’ve ever worn. Now I won’t buy anything else.

So what does my underwear choice have  to do with your online business? Everything!

Take a look at the four lessons my underwear-changing experience teaches you:

#1 – Create A Need And Fill It

Did I need to change my underwear? Has it really made a huge difference in my life? Was it something that I really had a problem with that I was desperate to solve?

No, of course not. It’s underwear.

But MeUndies has a very compelling message — especially for me as an exercise buff (I won’t go into detail of why undewear matters when you excercise a lot — gross!) Because their message is compelling, it created a need in my brain that hadn’t previously existed.

Being a marketer, I’m usually pretty immune to this because I know the tricks. But I’m also a human being, so it still works sometimes.

So make sure that the message you’re crafting to sell your products and services is compelling — so compelling that it can create a need in people’s minds where one didn’t exist before.

#2 – Repeat Your Message Again And Again

I ignored the podcast ad at least the first five or six times I heard it. But the more I heard it, the more it sank into my brain, and the more compelling it became.

In time, when I finally did need new undies, what did my mind naturally think of? The product with the compelling message.

The lesson here is to repeat your message again and again to your target market. Probably the best way to do that is to get them on your email list and repeat your message to them over and over. It takes time for people to come around and decide to buy. Don’t expect them to pull out their wallets the first time.

#3 – Have Trustworthy Individuals Provide Testimonials

I’ve been marketing online long enough to know that a lot of marketers (unfortunately) either bend the truth or completely mangle it in order to make a sale. I’m also not so naive to think that people aren’t willing to lie in a “testimonial” to help a sponsor that’s putting cash in their pocket.

Because I trusted Chuck as an individual, having listened to his podcast for years and come to “know” his personality enough to feel pretty positive that he wouldn’t lie to sell a product for a sponsor, I believed him when he spoke well about the product. I was more inclined to give it a shot because he said it was great.

So whenever possible, get trustworthy people to give you testimonials about your products and services. Customers and clients are great for this, because they’re real people you’ve actually done business with in the past. Use their words and show their faces if possible. Make them real to your audience. It builds trust and helps sell your product.

#4 – Above All, Have A Great Product

This last lesson should go without saying, but it’s important. Let’s say I’d given MeUndies a try and it was not a great product — wasn’t even a good product. Would all of the other things the sponsor did right result in long-term success? No.

In fact, it would have hurt the reputation of every sponsor for the podcast. I’d be far less likely to believe Chuck the next time he talked about how great some sponsored product was. And I wouldn’t be the only one.

So no matter how good your marketing skills are, you need to apply them to a great product if you want to succeed long-term. That’s probably the most important lesson here.

 

Are you amazed at how much you can learn from my choice in underwear? Are you appalled that I would use it as a marketing lesson? Do you have any personal experiences you’d like to share?

I’d love to hear all about it in a comment. Please post it below!

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You’re ranking in Google, so what?

Millions of aspiring internet marketers have a particular problem.

forestfortreesIt’s called “not seeing the forest for the trees”.

What do I mean?

It’s very simple really. You got your sites to rank in Google, but you’re not making money, or getting subscribers. You’re not sure why.

I’ve talked a lot in the past about link building, quality content, legitimate site structure and so on.

Actually, I’ve been teaching about all those important topics on my regular webinars for many months now.

But there’s much more to online success than just ranking.

Yes, ranking is very important. But what does ranking achieve for you? Its purpose is to drive visitors to your site. When they get there you have to engage them, if you want to make any money.

Time and again I get some very basic questions from many, many people about how to do that. And it’s understandable that there would be confusion.

There’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to overlook something important.

Just like everyone else, when I build a site I’m sometimes too close to it to know whether I’ve overlooked something. Sometimes I need another pair of eyes to spot things I’ve missed.

Amin’s actually forced me to confess to some of my own site building mistakes live on webinars!  But of course I have several advantages, including these top three reasons.

  1. I have a huge amount of experience based on years of testing, testing, testing.
  2. I have trusted colleagues who are willing (very happy even!) to tell me when I’ve missed something.
  3. I can correct any mistakes pretty quickly.
So where does this fit in with your own sites?
If you’re getting visitors to your site and not making much (or any) money, most likely, you are too close to your own work to be able to observe it the way a stranger would.
What seems like a masterpiece to you might actually seem so-so to a stranger. It can even work the other way around – you might not like your site, yet other people do.

So who decides whether your site will make money? I’m going to let you into a huge secret – other people decide that, not you!

You can influence where you rank, as I’ve proved many times in the past. You can drive visitors to your site.

But ultimately beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

If your site isn’t right, you’ve thrown away all your hard work.

So how can you know whether your site actually fulfills the purpose that keeps Google happy? How can you know whether your site is truly interesting and effective for site visitors?

One of the best ways to do that in my experience is to ask other people who are not afraid to hurt your feelings.

This is not a popularity contest. It’s not about whether you’re a good person, or a hard worker.

It’s about whether your site  is effective.

familyprotectsPeople not to ask (generally) are your mom/dad/husband/wife/brother/sister etc. In most cases they’ll want to be kind to you and not hurt your feelings.

The people to ask are the people who will tell you the cold, bitter truth about your site. Even if it upsets you, it’s better to find out what doesn’t work, so you can correct it.

You need specifics, not generalizations.

I’ve had the “pleasure” of making all the mistakes it’s possible to make. I’ve learned to correct them, through trial and error and long experience. But I’ve also had the privilege of raw feedback.

Sometimes feedback is hard to hear. Sometimes it makes immediate sense. But it’s always invaluable!

So my recommendation to you is to ask other people what’s good and what’s bad about your site. Ask them what they like and what they don’t like.
perplexedbylistofchanges

Just be sure that they’re not so kind that they want to spare your feelings! Honesty really is the best policy, particularly for this!

In some cases you might only need to make a simple change to more than triple your opt-ins.

You might need to make only a small amount of effort to double your sales. And let’s be honest, the chances of any site already being perfect are pretty low! That means no matter how good your site is, an objective, independent view will give you lots of ideas for improvements.

Criticism can sting. Feedback can be hard to take.

But I promise you, earning nothing from your sites after all your hard work is even harder to take!

askvisitors

Nobody to ask?

Well, you could always put up a survey on your site asking your site visitors. Only a small percentage will ever reply, but you’d get some feedback.
You just might be surprised at how others view your site!
Questions? Comments? Feel free to put it in a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond!
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Pinterest Traffic Tips – Expert Q&A

My brother Ted manages my powerful in-house Pinterest system that has generated a million visitors so far. Ted puts in long hours testing to see what works with Pinterest and what doesn’t. Because my system is so powerful and gets such great results, Ted has insight into Pinterest data that most do not have.get traffic from Pinterest

I’ve done so well online because my tools, services and advice help my subscribers succeed! That’s why I’ve asked Ted to reveal it all … everything a person who wants to leverage Pinterest to drive traffic and build their business would need, and want, to know.

Here are his replies to my questions:

Q. Which niches do best in Pinterest? 

A. First I’ll tell you that “making money online,” type niches and blatant affiliate sites are considered to be spam filled markets in Pinterest and don’t work well.

Anything that deals with mainstream hobbies and interests have the potential to do well on Pinterest. Here are some examples of markets I mean:

crafts
sewing
food and drink
home decor
art
photography
fitness
women’s fashion
interior design
travel
weddings
furniture

Even humor and inspirational quotes do well. To reallPinterest tipsy know which markets do best – when you create an account in Pinterest, they make you follow five of the boards that show up on the page. Those boards have the most traffic on Pinterest. They have you follow those to get you off to a good start.

Categories such as beauty, etc. are popular but Pinterest seems to keep a heavier eye on these and if you have a site in this category it better be legit or they will probably find it and suspend the account.

Q. Where does the traffic come from? People clicking the images, or the description?

A. The majority click the image. So much so that I now keep the link out of the description so it will seem less likely to be considered a marketing pin in Pinterest’s eyes. We get a lot of clicks on the in-house campaigns without having a link in the description.

Q. What should you focus on in order to get more traffic?

A. Create an account with a lot of pins and regularly add new ones. There are many repinning fanatics who follow you, and once they do they will repin many of your new pins as well. I had a number of them coming back every few hours every day. So I think that’s the heart of visitors.

Q. What are the best types of images?

A. Though human faces are great for ads, that’s not the case with Pinterest. The best type of images are those without a human face. We don’t hand-pick the images with our system, it’s automated and based on keywords, but research shows that without a human face the pin is repinned more often.

It also has to have little background. There needs to be multiple dominating colors, and red is the most popular. The colors have to be in the middle range though. When they get very light or very dark, it gets pinned a lot less. The pins need to be vertical as well. If you try to put a pin in that is horizontal the pin image looks squashed.

Q. Where can you get images to post to Pinterest?

find images for PinterestA. We found the best place to get pins is in Pinterest itself. The average pin gets repinned 11 times, so why not repin what is already there. Also, if you go to Pinterest to get your pins, (unless you find them in markets that have been overrun by marketers) you will find more images in one place to add to your board that are targeted than if you went to the search engines for images. Even on Instagram you will find that a good number won’t allow you to use their images on Pinterest.

Q. What do you need to be careful about? Things that will get your account banned. Things that will get you in trouble etc. 

A. Don’t break Pinterest’s rules. If you are manually working with the account that is easy. Just pin to your boards with any pins from Pinterest and you won’t have an issue with them saying you aren’t supposed to pin that, because you can repin any pin that’s already on Pinterest.

Pinterest doesn’t want to see the same URL in every pin on your boards. If they do a manual review and see the same url in every pin description, you will get banned. However, you can sometimes get away with it and it can result in a lot of traffic. Those who get away with it seem to be in less-saturated niches and the site being linked to is typically very legitimate looking and non-spammy. So if you do it you need to know that there is a possibility that your account will get suspended if it is manually reviewed, and your site needs to be legit. Many believe it is well worth it though.

Also, they don’t like redirects in a pin. You can get away with it, but again, if the account is manually reviewed it may be suspended. We’ve used them many times, but we’ve had some accounts suspended because of it. So it’s a risk/reward thing. Each person will have to decide for themselves.

Also no stores. If they find a store such as an e-commerce store, etc. and you are not on their program of paying for that – you will be suspended.

Q. What types of sites can you promote with Pinterest? 

A. No direct affiliate links. We have been experimenting with affiliate links in the header and sidebar of legitimate sites and so far so good. But, we also have a ton of real content on the page. I want to say if you have a site with rabble on it that is of no use to anyone, and it’s obvious that the affiliate links are what you are promoting with the site, you will be banned. Or if you don’t use a direct affiliate link, but all the site has are links to affiliates and that is it, you are getting suspended.

The Take-Away

So that’s the advice from my Pinterest-marketing-expert brother Ted. He’s accomplished amazing things in the last year with Pinterest, both for our own in-house network of sites and also for our (very happy) clients.

The bottom line is: pin quality images often, make sure you’re promoting a high quality site, and stick to Pinterest’s rules unless you’re willing to take the chance that your account will be suspended (and possibly the site you’re promoting).

AND REMEMBER: You need to get a lot of followers to your Pinterest account to generate a lot of traffic from it. That means following lots of other people interested in your market (many will follow you back) and pinning often!

Questions? Comments? Have your own Pinterest experiences? Feel free to put it in a comment below and I’ll do my best to respond!

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