Wednesday, November 26, 2008

One of My Sites Went Viral

Here is a copy of an email I sent out to my customers yesterday...


I had something happen to me Sunday that had never happened to me before. A site of mine went viral. For all the internet marketing stuff I personally do, and advice I give, I’ve never had one of my own sites go viral. I’ve helped clients get their sites to go viral in big ways, and paid money via AdWords, and other advertising methods to promote something, but I’ve never had an offer that caught the attention of people and spread like wildfire before, till Sunday.

Taking a step back, anybody watching the Today Show on NBC this morning would’ve seen the shrimp that runs on a treadmill live in the studio. It’s also apparently all over YouTube, and was invited for a demonstration because it has received so much attention online. This is one recent example of going viral. In other words, going viral happens when something that people see or experience is worthy enough for them to pass on to friends, and then their friends tell their friends, and the chain begins.

Typically viral campaigns emerge from interesting, funny, or shocking type things. Think Paris Hilton’s notorious skin flick, or the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment video, those are examples of viral campaigns that people just have to see, and more importantly talk to their friends about.

Since internet marketing services aren’t as sexy as the Hilton video, or as funny as exploding bottles of Diet Coke, I never felt too upset about not having one of our company Web sites go viral. Yet, low and behold, this seemingly normal Sunday evening one of my niche Web sites did just that.

Those that know me well know that I’m a morning person, and am usually asleep before most of you night owls are logging into your Gmail accounts for the first time in the evening. So imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I open my inbox and find over 600 emails from a site that usually gets 1 or 2 email inquires a week!

I immediately started to clock the rate at which the emails would arrive in my inbox, and to my astonishment I was getting three to four emails for every minute the clock ticked off. In short, some website with a massive audience told people something that made them visit my site.

After increasing my bandwidth on the site by 10 fold, and asking a few friends at my beach house to pinch me, I went into research mode to find out how exactly this site went viral, which led me to the following conclusion, 10 SEO articles I had one of our staff writers create and submit to ezine a few weeks back had led to this viral explosion.

In fact, after coming to this conclusion I selected a random email from the bunch and replied, asking the person one simple question, where did you hear about us? Within five minutes he had responded, I saw you on that site.

Over 3,500 emails later I am still receiving a new lead at the rate of about 1 per minute. While this site probably will never reach the amount of views the video of a shrimp on a treadmill will, I’ve certainly learned that viral campaigns can be a huge traffic boost. I’ve loaded all these emails into an autoresponder, and already have them receiving emails about opportunities we have for them, in essence what would cost $5, $10, or even $50 to obtain per lead via Pay Per Click Marketing has been given to me for free, thanks to somebody that read one of those 10 articles we did a few weeks back and made a post on a forum where somebody else read it and decided others needed to know about what was going on.

So here is what this all means to you. While I believe most of our traffic did not come from ezine, but from forums and other online sites people posted to after reading the initial SEO article we wrote, I believe without the initial distribution this never would’ve happened. In essence, your dumb luck increases dramatically when you put your message on high traffic sites for others to see.
So if you haven’t done so already I highly encourage you to do the following three things.

Step 1-Think of something funny, shocking, or appealing (like a free coffee mug giveaway) that you could put into your articles.

Step 2-Order 10 articles from on the topic of this new idea explaining it, and focusing on your general keywords in the process.

Step 3-Go to and order 10 Ezine submissions, and include in the URL that you want in the resource box someplace that takes the person to the promotion / gimmick / interesting thing you had us write about, and reap the rewards.

While many people think of SEO articles as a way to rank higher in the search engines, which they are, SEO articles should also be viewed as a vehicle for promoting your site in unconventional ways that can get you major exposure for less than the cost of a single print ad, radio ad, tv ad, or any other type of major advertisement.

I hope this email gets your mind stewing a bit, I know the occurrences of the last few days has had mine going like crazy. I’ve got to get back to importing all these contacts into my autoresponder now, so think something up, sign up for some articles, sign up for submission, and watch the results pour in!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. When people ask me what I’m most thankful for, I’ll respond enthusiastically my faith, family, friends, and wonderful group of customers that allow me to live my dream. Thanks for being awesome.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vietnamese Coffee is Strong and So is My New Book

If you haven’t ever ventured to try a Vietnamese coffee I highly recommend you consider it. Made with fresh ground coffee grinds that rival espresso in boldness, and condensed sugary milk, this concoction is an eye opener for even the most seasoned of java sippers. I had one tonight after dinner and spent the next two hours sending payments to our writing staff, 28 to be exact.

My schedule is still a mess since getting back from NYC a few days ago, as I’m headed out of town again for the Holidays this weekend. So much going on, so little time, it all seems kind of strange sometimes. Working in this industry, I’ve obtained a special kind of freedom, the type of freedom where you don’t really have to answer to anyone but yourself each day. It’s as good as it sounds, take my word for it. And if you are after such a freedom, my new book might just help you get there.

The book is going to be called Strange Business, and probably won’t be released till late Feb or early March. I’m going to release it at first as a Kindle only download, just because the publisher takes so long to print the book, and I want to get it out as fast as I possibly can. Plus my other book is near the top of the charts for technical writing on Kindle, so I plan on hitting #1 for at least a few categories on Amazon with the digital release. The paperback will almost be like a compliment to the digital release.

For those wanting a sneak peek, here are just a few of the chapters from the rough outline I’ve been working off of. Note as I’ve been writing I’ve modified some of these chapters, and added a few note listed here, but this will give you an idea of just how cool this book is going to be.

The Truth About the 4 Hour Work Week
-Hard work is the key ingredient to success
-The internet never sleeps so neither should you
-It might take 50 web businesses to get that diamond in the rough going
-Internet marketing is about test, test, test
-Internet marketing rewards perseverance

Storage Unit Office
-The cheaper the better
-Why today you don't really have an excuse for a big nice office
-Store everything on the web for round the clock access
-Your money must go into marketing and marketing collateral like newsletters (icontact), sales letters, etc.

Why I spent $38,000 on AdWords Last Year
-Keep it simple
-Kill contextual ads
-Geo target if you must
-Try all hours
-If you sell business solutions pause on weekends
-Trust the phrases you think people will search (newsplex pet friendly example)

Article Marketing for Knuckleheads
-It's Ezine Stupid
-More is Merrier
-No Spin Zone (articles that read well perform well)
-Look towards your competition (top results)
-Syndication Isn't Just for Love Boat
-Leverage Team Members
-Be Consistent

Banner Ads Suck and So Does Your Facebook Page
-Social Media is a flawed marketing tool, stop wasting your time
-Image ads are useless on most sites, impressions are no good b/c they just waste your money faster
-Video ads have yet to be proven, lower your ad to the lowest possible technology for the best reach
-Flash and Java clog up your site, use them sparingly
-This isn't art class, this is make money time, so stop with the big site budget and spend your money on seo and pay per click
-Video on site, fake live chat, and other deceptive ploys are not only useless they are insulting

Bikni Babe Usability
-Make your site as noticeable as a girl in a bikini
-Keep it simple, and predictable
-Give them every reason to get in touch (phone, live chat, email, everything)
-Get Started Not Buy Now
-Smile Till it Hurts (you need to put your picture and preferably bio on there. People like buying from other people, they want to feel like they are making a difference)
-Why the Olympics Got Value Right (Bronze, Silver, Gold strategy works wonders)
-The lower the cost the higher the acquisition rate will be

Ruthless Email Marketing
-Email them once a week whether they like it or not
-Add people that email you, buy something, or even think of you to get your list built
-Create products that are low cost or free just to get interested people on your list
-Use icontact
-Write conversational emails, not boring promotions
-Dare to discount
-When in doubt, ask your list
-Become a email marketing champ with practice
-Give them plenty of chances to opt-in
-Think of What YOU want in your inbox, then put it in theirs

Why Services are Better Than Products
-Services are more in demand
-Services are easier to sell
-Services typically have a higher margin of profit
-Services are implementable even in product heavy businesses
-Services often have no or little competition (The trash guy shortage)
-Services are for those with a pension for making money often

Let Your Personality Do The Talking
-In Your Ads
-On Your Site
-In Your Emails
-At Speaking Engagements
-Around Your Employees

Internet Marketing is More Fun with Friends
-How to Recruit Affiliates (link connector example)
-How to iron out partnerships that will benefit all involved
-How to get paid to partner
-The Leverage of Cheap Allows for Unlimited Partnerships Online
-You Need Help

Why You Need a Football Team to Run Your Business
-Only do what only you can do
-Your outsource heaven: The Philippines
-Your Momtastic Solution
-Your Project Management Dream: Basecamp
-Create Your Own Systems
-Hire Locally If Possible
-Let Your Team Tell You What to Do
-Treat 'Em Well
-Your Greatest Asset

Do This Now
-Create a vision list
-Write out a list of all sites you want to build
-Sort by cost / possibility for success
-Find a cheap website guy or gal
-Sign up start AdWords the day your site goes up
-Research and Register relevant domain names (domain name bonus)
-If you plan on branding yourself get your namesake domains
-Get IN Touch with Your Higher Calling


Strange Business: The Unconventional Guide to Internet Marketing coming to a bookstore near you soon!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

3 Sentence Update

Just got back from a long weekend in NYC, it was J-U-S-T what I needed. Got 500 toys and a dozen displays in the mail while I was gone, all are piled in my living room right now. Shot the pic with my iPhone, how’s that for a clutter free home office?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Only in America

Watching the election coverage late Tuesday night I couldn’t help but be inspired by the scene of celebration going on around the world. My political views are pretty conservative, as I tend to believe those that govern God’s people should be close with God. For whatever reason, conservatives typically honor that mantra, at least in what they say. Basically I’m independent with a highly likelihood of skewing Republican in any given race, as that party typically represents my values for most issues besides gun control, and school funding. Regardless, Obama inspired a nation for change, and who am I to get in the way of that.

As I watched the sea of people at Grant Park I couldn’t help but be happy for them, happy for me, happy for the world. Listening to African American’s talk about a day they thought would never come has given me chills of excitement, and goose bumps of inspiration. A race that has been through so much for so long has a champion in the highest office at last; a day most never thought would come in their lifetimes. How could any red blooded American not be excited about that prospect, about a success story so unbelievable, it’s only possible in America. As the television coverage spilled into Wednesday I saw republican leaders tear up at the results, not in defeat, but out of respect and admiration for what one man accomplished.

While I don’t like the idea of my business getting taxed more, and I certainly don’t like the idea of leftist policies dominating the legislative dockets for the next four years, I believe hope trumps it all. Hope and optimism is exactly what this country needs, and it became glaringly evident on Tuesday evening that the masses have spoken for change.

While I still believe conservative values and policies are essential for this country’s long term success, I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know it all, and the wisdom of the people is far greater than my own. And most importantly, as a businessman I’ve learned to never underestimate the motivated. I’ve learned to never doubt those with little to lose and much to gain, to never say no to people that refuse to listen to the naysayers, these people are the air in America’s lungs, and President elect Obama is one of them, no doubt whatever that man choose to do with his life he’d be a success, and by his own example he has now shown others it is possible for them to achieve greater than thought possible results.

Here is to America taking back its place in the world in a way that we all know it can.