Don’t Write an e-Book

No matter what I told you, or you heard from John Saddington at Savvy, or you read online somewhere. . . take “write an e-book” for your email optin off your list of things to do.

The truth is no one has e-book on their Christmas List. No one.

Are you sure?

But don’t think that means you shouldn’t be list building. Driving traffic to a list you own is very important. Imagine the few months before Facebook became big. . . there were people who had amassed quite a following on MySpace. Thousands of friends who commented on their posts and followed their advice. And then –poof– they were all gone.

When MySpace effectively died, a lot of people learned a lesson. If you don’t move your fans to your list, they’ll one day disappear.

Now Facebook’s value is starting to falter and fewer are using Twitter as a resource. With the advent of and CraftGawker, even Pinterest is facing competition. Don’t get me wrong, all of these places are great except they’re not yours. That community belongs to someone else.

So you need to move them to a property you own, and the most effective way yet it so move them to an email list.

Then how do you get them on your email list?

That was your next question I bet. People don’t just randomly sign up for an email lists They need a reason and it’s not a reason to just get on the list. No one has “email subscription” on their Christmas Wishlist either.

People like getting something of value. They’re willing to opt-in to an email list if it has value to them. And most of the time people want immediate value. That’s why people say “write an e-book”. But that’s just wrong.

The e-book is not the answer

If you march into this task trying to write an e-book, you start with “you” in mind and not your customer. And that’s just bass ackwards.

Instead, think through what your audience wants and needs. If they want and need a coupon calculator, have them opt-in to get that. Don’t try to turn a coupon calculator into an e-book. If you think your audience would love some inspirational quotes to hang on their wall, make a printable .pdf poster and have them opt-in to get that. Don’t force them to read the quotes in an e-book.

If your audience wants a saving money checklist, have them opt-in to get that. Don’t make it a 13 chapter read if they just want the checklist.

BUT if you think they could use 7 concrete reasons why they shouldn’t do x, y or z . . . then by all means create an e-book. But don’t make the e-book the goal, just be happy if that’s the solution.

Just to get you thinking, here’s a bunch of things you could create for your customers (other than an e-book):

  • create an ecourse. . .
  • use Kunaki to send an audio cd. . .
  • host a teleseminar. . .
  • write a manual. . .
  • offer a downloadable mp3. . .
  • design a nice pdf. . .
  • create a printable. . .
  • do a giveaway. . .
  • jot down some eNotes. . .
  • offer 1 on 1 consulting. . .
  • provide a homestudy course. . .
  • proctor a membership site. . .
  • invite personal mentoring. . .
  • pack and send a thumbdrive. . .
  • design a poster . . .
  • mail them a dvd. . .
  • show them it’s easy with a mini guide. . .
  • compile technical information in a special report . . .
  • update them with a bulletin. . .
  • tease with an informational pamphlet . . .
  • help them organize with a checklist or comparison chart. . .
  • wow them with a handy excel calculator. . . .

That’s not your job

It’s not your job to cram a square peg into a round hole. It’s your job to find the shape of your customers’ void and fill that with the perfect solution.

Dan R Morris is the founder of, a website dedicated to improving your revenue stream from online efforts. Dan is an infomercial producer, niche website owner, product developer, author and Mastermind leader. Dan actively encourages marketers to take that extra step so that “Hope” doesn’t become the marketing plan.

Analyzing your bounce rate? Mistakes are common

What do I mean by bounce rate mistakes? The bounce rate is typically what analysts note as the percent of people that come to your website and then almost immediately hit the back button.  When they “bounce” off they’re considered part of the bounce rate.

But most people look at the term incorrectly and start talking about bounce rate mistakes if your bounce rate is too high. Some even think Google cares about the bounce rate. 

Common Marketing Mistake: Leveraging Assets

One common marketing mistake small businesses seem to make is not leveraging operations activities for marketing purposes. As I highlighted in my “Dog the Bounty Hunter” story, the average, ordinary things that you do can be used as marketing.

I recently took a trip to Costa Rica, a fabulous country, and had opportunity to zipline with the Titi Canopy Tour group in La Foresta (outside of Manual Antonio National Park). The ziplining was fantastic. It wasn’t the scenery as much as the ride that really makes ziplining cool. And the crew at Titi Canopy Tours make everyone comfortable and safe each and every time. They are a class act.

But, they’re not making as much money as they could be. . .

Ruby Tuesday Marketing Mistake: Birthday Program

Today I experienced a Ruby Tuesday Marketing mistake. You might consider it an operations mistake or just a miscommunication, but you’d be wrong. While birthday promotions involve the restaurant staff and the operations department, they are a type of “rewards program” designed by the marketing folks.

Today’s my birthday so I took a couple of my friends to Ruby Tuesday so I could get one of those fabulous handcrafted burgers. (You get a handcrafted burger on your birthday for free!) I checked my e-mail for a coupon from their SoConnected email club, but didn’t get anything. So I took my driver’s license that showed my birth date.

Common Affiliate Marketing Mistakes

I’m not sure what the most common affiliate marketing mistakes are, but I saw an article by Jeff Herring today that clearly illuminated a big one. Jeff Herring (as he explains in this blog post) had the unfortunate experience of having YouTube disable his videos. Jeff wasn’t at fault and is contesting the shut down, but it clearly illustrates a common mistake affiliate marketers make.

YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr and all things Google are not owned by you.  You may have an account,  and like Jeff Herring, you may be doing exactly what they want you to be doing. But the reality is you’re renting space.

Failing to understand that is the common mistake affiliate marketers make. They spend time hocking their products through these mediums WITHOUT capturing the contact information of those who are interested in what you’re talking about. Failing to use YouTube, Facebook and Twitter as traffic drivers to your website and opt-in form will trip up your long term plan.

Imagine if Jeff had spent his time telling you about great products he endorses and then sent you through his affiliate links directly to those products?  You would never be able to reach these people again. There would have been no information capture.

You may be saying “adding a step between the video and the sale will reduce the number of sales”, am I right? Because that wouldn’t be right at all.

Teasing a product in a video and then sending them to your website where they can get more information about the product and be further sold shouldn’t decrease the number of sales whatsoever. But more importantly, that extra step of information capture allows you to follow-up on your original information, provide more details, social proof and benefits.

Not only that, information capture gives you the opportunity to give your audience more useful information – when you want to provide it.

Jeff is a master at information capture, thus I was able to hear about his unfortunate circumstance through an e-mail he sent out. (That’s great transparency, community building and relationship making as well)

When you’re building your affiliate marketing strategy, don’t forget that you don’t own much of what you do on the internet. There was a day when MySpace and AOL were king – but how much are 5,000 friends on MySpace and your AOL Keyword worth today? YouTube videos can create a great constant flow of income – until people start using a new site or YouTube randomly shuts down your account.

And think of all the time you spend on these sites? Without driving your friends, fans and leads to some sort of lead capture funnel – all those hours of hardwork will someday be worth nothing. (In fact, I wrote a book called TwittrGlitch to help you secure your Twitter account from hackers, shut downs and other problems to avoid this exact situation).

One of the most common affiliate marketing mistakes that you can make is assuming that your web properties are your own. Don’t make that mistake and always be planning for the next Facebook Killer to come along and destroy what you’ve built.

Classic Marketing Mistakes

One of the classic marketing mistakes you’ll see over and over is the inability of marketers to see the world from their customers’ point of view.

I was driving home from Myrtle Beach today when I noticed a few dozen telephone poles were adorned with the same sign. One after another the poles had the same sign stapled to them. The sign was yellow, had big black letters and was posted about 6 feet off the ground. It was the perfect color to see during the day, the perfect size letters and on the major thoroughfare of the town.

The problem was they couldn’t be seen. The advertiser got just about everything right EXCEPT. . .

They failed to understand anything more about their target market other than where would be the best place in town to find them. .

BUT. . .

. . . what they ignored was the best way to interact with their audience. Other than knowing who the audience is, it’s best to take the time to see how they think. For instance, would it make sense to set-up an interactive elliptical machine demonstration in the drive-through lane at the bank? No, it wouldn’t.

The norm and expected behaviour at a drive-through is that you pull up, stay in line, stay in your car, do your business and leave. How effective would an advertiser be if he found that 98% of his target market used a bank drive-through.  Despite his target market being there, how successful would he be in trying to get drive-through customers to get out of their cars and onto an elliptical machine?

Well, that’s precisely what the telephone pole advertiser did.  The mistake they made was facing their signs directly at the street and not toward the oncoming drivers. By facing them directly at the street, I had to slow down to 5 mph and look through the passenger side window in order to read them.  Slowing down in traffic to read a telephone  pole sign?

That’s just not what people do. And that kind of thinking is what makes this one of many classic marketing mistakes.

So don’t stop at knowing your market is females, 45 and older, making $119,000 per year, with 2 kids and a Master’s Degree. . .  That just tells you who you have to study. In fact target market demographics is the starting point. . . figuring out how to market to that group will determine your success.

Ever run across an ad that was well done except for one glaring mistake? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment and share!

Mistakes in internet marketing: conversion rate

One of the biggest mistakes in internet marketing is failing to understand the true nature of your conversion rate.

Conversion rate is such a lousy term, but for many business owners it has come to mean profit.

Unfortunately, businesses that want to provide you with internet marketing services will use the term conversion rate to get your attention and sell you services. But that’s precisely what you don’t want to hear.


obamaI was told this week that “Hey” was the most successful subject line used in the Obama campaign.

The one that always gets me to open is “Got time for dinner this week?” As long as the guy is seriously saying let’s go to dinner, I’m totally fine opening those. I’d be upset if a marketer used that to get me to open an email about autoresponders.

Are you testing your subject lines? Did you know that in most email clients you can send a second email to the people who didn’t open the first? That means you could test your subject line.

I know in MyEmma (an email service like Constant Contact), they rolled our subject line testing this week. I love that!

Surveying Your Customers

544853_question_markHow many of you have thought about surveying your audience? I’m betting all of you have thought about it, but do you know how? Asking questions is great, but do you really know what you need to know?

Here are the top survey marketing mistakes people make when putting one together:

Have you asked?

surveyIs this you?

You know what I’ve found to be common among my clients? They all want people to attend, watch or participate in the things they do.

Sounds normal, doesn’t it?

Well, it occurred to me while working with the local Chamber of Commerce that having that goal is not right. There’s something wrong with it and it took me a while to figure it out. You see, the Chamber is doing seminars and picnics and golf outings . . . . and they can’t figure out why the only people who come are the same core group.

And so they try better newsletters and e-mail marketing and “bring a buddy” campaigns. All to no avail.

But the one thing none of them do is surveys. In person, on the phone, at registration time, by e-mail, on the website, in the newsletter – it doesn’t matter.

Bad Behavior has blocked 3332 access attempts in the last 7 days.