The Nettle Annual 2006 by David Congreave - HTML preview

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Dylan Campbell’s WYSIWYG

Dylan Campbell

 

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Dylan Campbell has been involved in online marketing since 2001. Since his views on popular marketing techniques frequently swim against the tide, Dylan has chosen to write under a pseudonym.

The Genuine Article

Have you noticed that good marketing ideas are often ruined by the greedy?

Reciprocal linking, traffic exchanges and search engines are all great ideas that have been damaged in some way by people trying to manipulate them to get more than their fair share of traffic.

The latest example is article writing.

 

It began with the idea of writing articles within your field of expertise and inviting others to place it on their website, or in their ezine.

You get a link back because your website is the bio.
Then came the article directories.

List your article and even more people will find it, add it to their website and give you another link back to your website. Now there is software that will write articles for you. Bang in some keywords and, hey presto, another article.

And then, of course, there are the articles about how to write articles. These will lead you to believe that anyone can write hundreds of articles and get hundreds of visitors to their website in return.

Apparently, you don’t even need to know how to write good. That’s watt a spell-checker’s their fore, rite?

You see people are copying articles to their website because they believe it will get them good search engine rankings, not because they think the articles are any good.

They’re putting it in their newsletters because they don’t have the skill or the time to write their own.

 

So you finish up with lots of people, writing a lot of sub-standard articles, that no-one is reading.

A good idea wasted then.
If you want to write articles and see some benefit from them, here are some REAL suggestions.

1) Have at least an average understanding of spelling and grammar

 

Otherwise, consider taking a short college, or home-study, course.

If you don’t have time for that, just try reading more books. Fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter, just increase your word power. A badly written article will do your online reputation more harm than good.

2) Have an original voice

If you’re going to stand out from the crowd, your writing should have an individual style and should never read like something out of an encyclopaedia.

You could even write as if you are angry or opinionated. Not everyone will like it, but it will get you noticed.

 

3) Experiment with different presentations

 

Don’t be satisfied to write an article called “Six Steps to bad writing” or “10 ways to put your readers to sleep”.

 

Again, be original.

Tell a story, write in the form of a letter, write as if you are someone in the future looking back to the present. Use your imagination and you’ll grab the imagination of your reader.

4) Have a good title
Short, snappy and attention-grabbing.

One of my most popular articles is called “How to Cheat Traffic Exchanges”.

 

The article is actually explaining why you shouldn’t cheat traffic exchanges, but the title draws people in.

 

5) Short articles are better than long articles

When you’ve finished your article, proof-read it AND have someone else proof-read it, go through it again and take out every unnecessary sentence.

Writing articles for your own website or for others to use is still a good way to gain a good reputation and draw visitors to your website, but don’t think you can write dozens of quality articles a month.

Have an idea, meditate on it, develop it, write it, tweak it, edit it and maybe, just maybe you’ll finish up with the genuine article.

FREE

Everyone’s favourite price. Right? FREE! FREE! FREE!

What goes through your mind when you see these words on the internet?

 

Hype? Scam? Low quality? Useless?

It stands to reason that no-one is going to give away anything REALLY useful for free. It must be old, out of date, or, at the very least, a trap to get you to buy something else or give away your email address.

That’s the common line of thought and, for the most part, it’s true. That is the reason why people give away freebies. It’s so that you will join their mailing list or hear their sales pitch at a later time.

And it’s a technique you should be using. Offering a freebie in exchange for an email address works.

 

Just because people are becoming wise to the motives of free products, doesn’t mean they don’t take them when offered.

The difference these days is that people won’t take a freebie JUST because it’s offered. There is an endless stream of free stuff being offered and if you were to accept it all, your PC would collapse under its own weight.

You have to offer a freebie that people are genuinely interested in. One that they really believe is going to be of use to them. A million free ebooks and a bag full of free, one function, software programs just isn’t going to do it any more.

Like anything else on the internet you have to sell the freebie. You just have the added advantage of not having to ask the visitor to get out their credit card.

You also need to offer sharper, original, more interesting and more appealing freebies. Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

Be Focused People will pay for a package containing many items but, if you offer it for free, it’s perceived value dips.

 

Pick one item to give away and sell its benefits. Make it clear how useful this item is and how easy it is to get hold of it. Be Original

If the freebie you are offering is available in a few other places, it’s not a big deal. But if loads of other people are giving it away, the chances are that the visitor has either got it already, or has been offered it and turned it down.

Google the item you are giving away to get an idea of how common it is.

 

Reports

 

If a person buys an e-book they will read it to make sure they get their moneys worth.

If a person downloads an e-book for free, they will likely file it away for later and forget all about it. If the e-book is the point of your freebie (to promote affiliate links) then this will do you no good at all.

Reports, on the other hand, are a whole different story. There are immediately perceived as being shorter, less timeconsuming and more time sensitive.

This fits in well with being more focussed as you can tailor the report to address one particular point and, from the reader’s point of view, the shorter the better. Most importantly, a useful report should actually explain to the reader how to do something they didn’t know how to do before.

Think of it as an in-depth article on a current topic and, if you pitch it right, you will have your freebie-hunters attention for a full 5-15 minutes. A long time in internet terms.

You can still create this in PDF format but, because of its reduced length, you can also opt for an HTML page instead. Easy to create and easy to distribute, this is a great way to produce a freebie and all you need is a bit of knowledge that you can share with others.

If you don’t have the knowledge yet, half-a-day surfing and reading on a subject should give you enough to write something useful.

If you have an e-book that you’ve written already, try breaking the chapters up into individual reports that are each tightly focussed on one thing. A word of warning though, don’t break up an ebook that you don’t have the copyright on.

Membership Sites

 

Membership sites are growing in popularity. They are easy to set-up and there are endless themes you can base them around.

Try offering one or more free months subscription to your membership site. Not only will that boost your membership level, it will offer the chance to convert these into paying customers in the future.

Lite Products

 

If you are selling an e-book or a piece of software, offer a trial version.

 

The free software could be a full version that only allows use for a limited time.

The free e-book could be a couple of chapters to give the reader a taste of what they’re missing. Better yet, give the reader the start of the chapter and end the trial just as things are getting interesting.

Video / Audio

If you have a digital camcorder you could videotape yourself giving a short lecture on a topic of your choice. In fact, even if you only have a cheap digital camera, it likely has a video function on it that you can use.
Offer the finished product as a streaming video or a zipped Windows Media File.

You’ll need to be a pretty lively speaker to pull this off but, again, at least it’s something different from the usual range of freebies that are out there.

If you don’t like the results of your video, isolate the audio and put that up instead.

 

Screen Recording

 

This is a variation of the above whereby you can record your PC’s screen activity and a voice-over.

 

Essentially, this means that rather than just telling someone how to do something, you can show them as well.

 

There are lots of products around that can help you do this. Just Google “Screen Recording Software” to see what’s available. Got some ideas yet?

 

Hope so. Give it some thought, develop the idea, create your freebie and then get it out there.

 

You can:

 

l Put it on your website

 

l Write to newsletter editors and invite them to give it away to their readers

 

l Write to webmasters that are selling a product and invite them to add it as a free bonus

 

l Keep an eye out for promotional campaigns for large scale giveaways and upload your product.

People in the internet are becoming increasingly jaded, but FREE will always grab their attention, even if just for a minute. Make the freebie interesting, however, and you can turn that minute into several.

List Building Is For Everyone

When I first got into web marketing back in 2001, the “secret” that everyone was dying to tell me was that the “money was in the list”. In other words, if you build a list of people that don’t mind receiving emails you can advertise to them and make lots of money. our years later and, although I hear it talked about less, it still seems to be the most effective way of building on-line sales.

Many of the new websites and software programs that are released are still variations on capturing the contact details of internet users with the intent of turning them into customers at a later date.

The problem is that many people don’t want to make money on the internet in this fashion. They would rather have a product, or a website, or a program that people really enjoy, or find useful, and then build their business around that. The idea of doing nothing but building a list to which you can flog stuff is not going to appeal to everyone.

In fact, to do business on-line in this fashion takes a pretty sizeable, and responsive, list that most would struggle to build, even over several years. Not to mention that fact that you would be competing with thousands of others.

But to simply dismiss this angle of web marketing as “not for you” is limiting your business and, quite frankly, is short-sighted. There really isn’t a website in existence that couldn’t benefit from an email capture form.

 

Consider:

Sales Websites: Well this is probably obvious. If you are selling something from your website, invite your visitors to submit their email address in exchange for a discount off one of your products. Whether the visitor then decides to take advantage of the discount or not, you are building a list of people you can email about new products or new special offers.

Effectively you are turning one-time visitors into repeat visitors. Information Website: Not selling anything? Making your money through advertising and affiliate programs? No problem. Invite your visitor to submit their email address to receive a special report on a subject related to your website, or to receive occasional updates on new additions to your website.

Again, you’re building a list of people that will become repeat visitors and will be exposed to your advertising again and again.

Non-profit websites: Just because you’re not making an income doesn’t mean you don’t want visitors. Invite your visitors to submit their email address to receive occasional updates on the progress of your website. When you update your website, inform your list by sending them a link.

Altogether now… “you’re building a list of repeat visitors”. Have I missed anything out? Is there a website in existence that couldn’t benefit from capturing the email addresses of its visitors? This example may seem kind of obvious to many, but start thinking outside of list building for a moment.

There are new and effective marketing techniques appearing all the time. If you’re waiting for help to come along that fits in perfectly with your business, then you may be waiting a while. Sometimes you have to think laterally.

Don’t reject an idea, just because it wouldn’t work with your business. Instead, think of how the technique might be adapted so that it does fit in with your business. You might even come up with an idea that no-one has thought of before.

I’m a big fan of “The West Wing” television show. In one episode, Charlie, the Presidents aide, was being encouraged to share his idea on how to get more people interested in becoming teachers. He said something to the effect of:

“If it was an idea, someone would already have thought of it”. The Presidents response was,
“I find a flaw in that reasoning”.

Don’t just wait for the great ideas to arrive via email. Take existing ideas and put your own spin on them. Work out how to make it work for you and your business.

Do that, and you might just find what your website’s been missing.

Keep A Proper Perspective

In one episode of the UK sit-com, Father Ted tries to explain to Dougal the concept of perspective.

“Now, let’s try it again, Dougal: these are small (points to toy cow), but those are far away (points to real cows in the distance). Small...far away. Small...far away.”

You see, most of the time, it’s not the world that’s changing. It’s just you.

There is no spoon.
See what I’m getting at?

Have you ever visited somewhere that you’ve not been to since you were a child, only to find that everything looks so much smaller than you remembered? Don’t worry, it’s not some kind of Lewis Carrollinspired, Wonderland phenomenon. You’re just taller than you used to be.

Unless of course you started smoking before you reached puberty. Then everything would probably look the same.

 

That’s perspective.

 

As you change, the way things look, sound and feel alter. Sometimes subtly, sometimes significantly.

 

And, crucially, if you don’t change, your perspective won’t either.

The same is true of your mental perspective. The way that you view things from an intellectual point of view is shaped by your experience.

Think back to when you first started using the internet for business purposes and make a quick mental list of all the things you’ve learned since then.

Using email, registering domain names, finding a host, building a website, installing scripts, generating traffic, making profit, to begin with, all of these things seemed complicated and confusing. Now, however, you can do many of these things with ease.
Have these jobs got simpler or have you merely learned how to do them?

Once you’ve learned how to do a task and performed it a few times, what once seemed complicated or even impossible to achieve, suddenly becomes easy. You were determined to learn how to do it so you put the effort in, practiced, maybe got some help from someone else, and finally mastered the job.

My point, (and yes it may have taken me 300 words to get there, but I do have one) is that if you use your understanding of perspective and apply it to the future of your business, you can open up wider possibilities for you and your business.

How many times have you had an idea for your business, only to reject it because you don’t have the expertise to accomplish it? Perhaps you wanted to do something different with your website, learn a new programming language, or create a piece of software.

Instead of viewing the idea from your perspective now, imagine the perspective you will have after completing it.

 

It’s likely you will look back and think, “Well that was simpler than I expected it to be”. Or, “It’s easy once you know how.”

Remember, if you’ve seen someone else use the idea that you are considering, you can be sure that at some point in the past, that person didn’t know how to do it either. If they learned to do it, then why can’t you?

Do some research, ask around on forums and then consider hiring a programmer or web designer to help you develop the project.

When it comes to your online business, you don’t have to stick with what you know, or develop ideas that are restricted by your existing knowledge and experience.

That’s the beauty of the internet. If it’s possible to do, then it’s probable that you can find a way to do it.

 

It all depends on your perspective.

Wasting Time & Money

Recently I read somewhere that 95% of people that buy a web marketing info-product do not follow the advice or instruction held within. That’s not the first time that I’ve heard that statistic and dwelling on it has left me a little worse for wear.

Ninety-five percent! I’m not sure who came up with that statistic or how you could possibly measure such a claim. It’s a little bit like when the police say that X percentage of crimes go un-reported. If they’re un-reported, how do they know about them..?

But even if the claim is half-way true, this represents a colossal loss in time and money.

Take an example. Billy-Jo Bizop writes an e-book on his ten most successful marketing techniques. During the first year he sells 5000 copies at $49 per copy. The average reader takes 2 hours to read it through from cover to cover and less than 1% ask for a refund.

If 95% of those readers do not follow-up on what they’ve learnt, that represents nearly a quarter of a million wasted dollars and over a year of wasted reading time.

And that’s just one successful e-book. What about all the other ebooks, courses, seminars, conference calls, ezines, cd’s, dvd’s that people eagerly consume and then apparently regurgitate like some kind of hideous, home business bulimia.

Do all those people building or running a home business have so much time and money to burn that they can afford this kind of senseless waste?

Disturbing, isn’t it?

 

So here’s a look at some of the possible reasons for this phenomenon and what you can do to reduce its occurrence. People are too lazy to follow the instructions

This is a possibility as many lazy people are won over by the claims of instant traffic or sales, buy an e-book that they believe is going to give them a magic formula for lots of money with no work, only to discover that working to earning a living is still inevitable.

The irony being that if you are one of those people you will probably ignore this article as well.

But, on the off chance, that you do fit into this category AND you are listening to what I have to say, please change your ways and start working for a living. The chances are that this will mean giving up your home business dreams of working 30 minutes a day in your pyjamas and, instead, going back to work at McDonalds.

But hey, your income will be far greater than it has been lately. Too hard to follow

This seems less likely as most web marketing info-products I have seen go to great pains to make the information easy to follow.

However, if you have ever found yourself struggling to understand a particular lesson, write to the author and ask for clarification and assistance to understand what they have written. A reasonable marketer will be happy to help or will be able to point you in the direction of a support network.

If not, claim the promised refund. There’s no point in wasting your time AND your money so make sure you take the time to get your money back.

If no money-back guarantee is offered then don’t buy it in the first place.

 

Web marketing to web marketers

So many people running a home business have other home business owners as their target market. This results in lots of web marketers creating and selling products to help other web marketers create and sell products to other web marketers so they can create and sell products to…
If everyone in this line of work uses exactly the same methods, it reduces their effectiveness and, unless you are very good at your job, taking a slice of this market is extremely difficult.

Try targeting a niche market on something unrelated to web marketing that you have some experience or interest in. The competition will likely be easier and the marketing techniques you learn will be less familiar to consumers in this area.

Unsuitable techniques

 

What you learn may be completely unsuitable for your business type or may involve something you consider to be unethical.

If this is the case, try and work out how you can adapt what you have learnt to suit your market. If you can’t figure out a way to adapt it or make it ethical, claim your refund immediately.

Bad timing

More than ever, new products use time sensitive offers to encourage you to buy sooner rather than later. You can be lured in by promises of future price hikes or the threats of the product being withdrawn.

But you may not be in a position to use the information on offer. Maybe you are still learning the basics, or your product or website is still in development. By the time you come to actually needing those web marketing skills, you’ve forgotten what you’ve read or the techniques are now out of date.

Resist the urge to impulse buy when it comes to your business. Wait until you are actually ready to start your web marketing campaign and then carefully select the products you believe will help you on your way.

There will always be new and up to date products to buy when YOU are ready, so don’t be panicked into buying the latest and greatest.

Information overload

I would guess that is by far the most common factor that restricts the pupil’s progress. There are so many web marketing techniques out there and not enough time to try them all.

You also run the risk of spreading yourself too thin so that none of the techniques you’ve learned get fully implemented and ultimately go to waste.

Choose your battle plan carefully and select only those areas that fit in comfortably with your abilities and your budget.

 

For example, if you have a small advertising budget, learn about joint ventures, network marketing and search engine optimisation. If you have a moderate advertising budget, learn about PPC, ezine advertising and search engine optimisation.

 

If you have a large advertising budget, learn about outsourcing and branding.

 

Above all, if your purchased product does not teach you anything new or anything you can use, don’t be afraid to request a refund.

Most honest marketers would rather you did that and went away happy with the hope that you might return in the future, than to go away disappointed with a product you don’t like and can’t use.

Your time is valuable, your money more so. Do your best not to waste either of them.

Training Day

Every business does training. It’s true. Of course much of it is useless.

 

I still have very vivid nightmares of working in customer services and being sent on meaningless training courses.

A whole morning on how to write letters degenerated into a series of bizarre exercises designed to prove that what you write may be interpreted differently by the reader. And how do you fix the problem? Dunno, the course didn’t cover that part.

It covered just enough to make you doubt your abilities to communicate anything effectively to anyone, ever, and then sent you on your way.

And then there was the all-day “teamwork” course. My goodness that was fun.

Here’s an egg, a balloon, some paperclips, rulers, cardboard, sticky tape and some felt-tips. Now make an aeroplane to transport your egg and, whoever can throw their plane the furthest without the egg breaking, wins. Bonus points supplied for style, design and, er, the name given to your egg transporting machine.

Our team won of course. Just. I lobbied for extra points for being the only team not to give our machine an obscene name.

Definitely a learning experience then. I learned that my colleagues were all dirty-minded perverts with less class than a happy meal. Ah, those were the salad days.

So what training do you do?

Hey, if you’re reading this, then you do at least some training. In fact anything you do in the pursuit of knowledge that may benefit your home business is a form of training.

And the reality is that you have to undergo training constantly, or you will get left behind.
Think about this. A few years ago a lot of articles were about optimising your website so the pages loaded quickly. Today, the topic hardly gets a mention because with the rapid take-up of broadband, optimising your website is still necessary but increasingly less important.

If you haven’t moved with the times and you’re still spending hours tweaking your website to reduce the page sizes by 5%, you’re wasting your time.

The chances are, you don’t think of it as training, but every forum thread, newsletter and ezine you read, is a part of your online education. But this by itself is not enough.

Australian, Allan Wilson, kicked off recently as he tried to explain why training yourself is essential to your home business. Click the link below to check it out as it has great comedic value.

You could be cynical and say that this rant is to bully people into buying John Reese’s Traffic Secrets, but whatever your thoughts this is a very important truth.

www.reprintrightsmarketing.com/attitude.html

 

I don’t want to just plagiarise Allan Wilson though and I think there is more that needs to be understood about your training.

 

Free Training

A lot of training you obtain for free. The aforementioned ezines and forums train you in random topics and keep you abreast of the latest trends.

But these by themselves are not enough. The information is too scattered, unspecific and sometimes contradictory. These sources of training are essential, but should not be relied on for ALL of your training.

There is also the problem of information overload. Jim Edwards has a nice video clip with some suggestions on how to handle this: www.igottatellyou.com/blog/archives/2005/11/dealing_with_id.html

Try to avoid reading ezines as soon as they land in your inbox. Put them all into a reading folder and schedule an hour or two a week, specifically to go through these emails carefully. You might want to skim them first, just in case there is anything time sensitive.

E-Books

E-books are an effective way to learn, but they aren’t necessarily the cheapest with prices going as high as $97. By contrast, real, every day, printed books can be a lot cheaper.

Mark Joyner’s “The Irresistable Offer”, for example, can be obtained for less than $15, so don’t ignore the possibility of finding a printed book on your chosen topic.

Try and avoid the impulse to always purchase the latest e-book when it is released. Usually when a company runs a training course (my experiences aside), they first identify what staff need to learn and put something together that will specifically improve their work.

You must take the same approach.

Take a look at what you are working on and what you want to achieve. What gaps in your knowledge are slowing you down or preventing your progress. Make a list of specific areas and schedule time for training in these areas. Spread your training schedule out so it doesn’t slow down your income.

Look for specific e-books that will cater for your training need and invest in these. Make sure the e-books are no more than six months old or the information may be out of date, although this may not be the case in some areas.

Also try looking for reports on your area of interest. These are often cheaper and shorter making them far more effective for your training needs.

Home Study Courses

 

Usually coming in the form of audio CD’s and/or DVD’s, these courses are far more comprehensive than an e-book.

As a consequence they require a greater investment of time. If you’re looking for a greater depth of training than an e-book without the expense of attending a conference, home study courses are excellent.

Again, be sure that the subject matter is genuinely going to be use for your business and your training needs.

The home study course may take hours to complete so be sure to schedule x number of hours per week to focus on this training course until the material is completed. It is a terrible waste of time and money to purchase a home study course and not complete it because you became distracted.

Exhibitions & Conferences

 

Although this is often the most expensive form of training, it can also be the most effective.

For a start, there is little chance of getting distracted and not finishing the course. Fitting the training into a conference that lasts only a couple of days allows you to learn what you need without taking you away from your business for too long a period of time.

Focussing your training into this short time frame is also excellent for stimulating your creativity and helping you to push your business forward. You will also meet like-minded individuals that you can partner with in the future. Never underestimate the networking factor.

As useful as conferences are, the financial cost may be high so be sure that you can afford the kind of outlay involved. Don’t forget to factor in travel and accommodation costs.

Whatever training you decide to undergo, take notes as you go along. Within a couple of days of finishing your training, review your notes, decide how to implement what you’ve learned and USE it.

Wasted training is wasted time and money.

But above all, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can manage without training. Without it you will simply get left behind. Particularly on-line this will happen faster than you could possibly imagine.