Internet Marketing Masters And Their Finances - Part 1

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The other night I was listening to a tele-seminar with Internet Marketing Master (I avoid the term guru) Ross Goldberg, and one of the darndest things happened. You see, Ross is unique as a successful online marketer in that he has weekly open-line teleseminar calls where his subscribers and customers can call and talk to him in person. Only last night was different, because one of his so-called subscribers got on the line and started asking rather challenging questions of Ross. Calling him out, as it were.

The caller wanted to know Ross’ exact earnings based on the claims he had made in various teleconferences or seminars or on his website sales letters. And not just that, he was challenging him on the fact that he had made differing claims from one source of media to another. Fortunately, Ross kept a pretty cool head during this interrogation, and told the caller to basically look at his sales letters and then he can see his proof of earnings there.

He also said that if the guy was a coaching client he may be more inclined to disclose his full earnings, due to the large cost of one-on-one coaching. But for a free teleconference, neither Ross nor many of his loyal supporters on the line saw any reason for him to go into any great detail about his penny by penny earnings. I have to say, it was a most uncomfortable call for most of us in attendance. Especially Ross, I’m sure. And after the 10 minutes or so that the caller and Ross debated, the discussion continued along those same lines - even after the caller hung up - for about another 30 minutes.

In fact, after the guy hung up, Ross then proceeded to reveal to the rest of us some of the details of his long haul in internet marketing from day one to the present. He also disclosed some of his trials and Chaturbate rooms tribulations - and that his income had not always been steady and predictable. So, if the caller’s intention was to disrupt the call (as many of us thought it was), he succeeded big time. But he also got Ross to open up in a way he might not have otherwise. Really, pretty enlightening. While it wasn’t the most educational or teaching-oriented call that I’ve ever listened to, I have to say that there were a couple of distinct lessons that I learned from it.

Lesson One

Anyone who dares to stick their head up above the crowd is bound to catch a tomato or two once in a while.

In this case we’re talking about someone who has had a good deal of success on the internet being challenged to prove the earnings he has claimed through various means in the past. Several of the attendees thought that the caller was very hateful and was trying to exact some sort of revenge on Ross. And that may be so, but his questions were also quite valid… Which brings me to…

Lesson Two

Whenever you use financial social proof in ANY format, be it live at a seminar, on a tele-seminar or in print somewhere like on a webpage, make sure you’re consistent with the numbers you use.

And don’t you dare exaggerate! It’s better to understate and then overdeliver, than vice versa, you know? Personally, I’m NOT a big fan of how some of the master marketers use their financial statements to prove that their product can earn you money. Because quite frankly, their earnings have no bearing whatsoever on what I might earn. The appeal is to the reader’s greed gland and not a more realistic view of what a novice might expect to earn with the product.

So, while it was the most bizarre internet marketing call I’ve ever listened in on (and participated in), I still managed to extract a couple of valuable lessons from it. In Part 2 of this article I expound a bit on the topic of Internet Marketing Masters And Their Finances.

Internet Marketing Masters And Their Finances - Part 2

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In Part One of this article, I talked about a recent call I attended with Ross Goldberg. During that call, Ross was put on the firing line about his financial statements by one of the attendees. Well, the very next day I received an e-mail from the partner of another very successful marketer - Mike Filsaime - stating that Mike’s finances were not always as good as they are today. The message went on to say that Mike had filed for bankruptcy only five short years ago. I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by that information.

You see, I’ve been a customer and follower of Mike Filsaime for several years now. In fact, he was the first master marketer that I chose to use as my example. But to think that just five years ago he was bankrupt and now he makes probably mid-six figures per month is a bit mind-boggling. Now, this disclosure was part of a marketing campaign to sell access to his new teaching course on internet marketing. But it got me to thinking about just how many other very successful people I’ve been exposed to over the years, who had been bankrupt themselves not too many years prior.

Was it that they were just bad financial managers? Or maybe they just had made some bad decisions or took some risky gambles? Whatever it was that took them down to the depths of their financial woes, something else was to be attributed to their current millionaire status. So what are the characteristics or traits that allowed these super successful individuals to be financially bankrupt at one point in time, and multimillionaires not too long after? There are probably several, but two jump out at me.

The first is simply learning from your mistakes. If we don’t learn from our mistakes, we fall into one of the definitions of insanity: "Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different Jasmin liveresults". The second characteristic is valuable beyond price. What is it? Persistence!

The one characteristic that all these super successful individuals who were once dirt poor have in common is persistence. Once again I am compelled to call on a quote from the past that sums up persistence better than any other I’ve seen.

And so, with statistics of 95% or more of new businesses failing within the first five years, it’s easy to see that persistence is the one characteristic of infinite value for all entrepreneurs. Most people love an underdog. We seem to really enjoy seeing the struggles and eventual successes of other people. It makes us feel like we can do it too. It makes us feel better about our mistakes, as well. And as far as choosing an example goes, I think we all would prefer to choose someone who has struggled to the top of the mountain, rather than someone who was dropped there by helicopter.

I think it’s unfortunate that the majority of "make money on the internet" types of products show the massive earnings of the marketer selling the product, but don’t show the years of struggles that they had to go through before they got to those levels of earnings. That’s why I appreciate the successful marketers who share their past struggles with me. It makes them more genuine and human to me and enables me to make certain allowances for their shortcomings. It also gives me hope that if I persist, I too will succeed to the level of effort and persistence that I apply to my business. How about you?

Two Simple, No-Cost Ways To Serve Your Customers Better - Part One

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Let’s face it, these days the so-called attention age deficit is in full swing. In fact, with each passing day, I’m presented with more and more - not to mention longer - videos to watch (and to distract me). I’m sure you are too. And that’s not a bad thing, necessarily. Problem is, the more time we spend watching, the less time we spend doing, right? The old saying "Knowledge is power" is flat-out wrong! The correct statement is: "Applied knowledge is power." With the obvious emphasis on "applied". But there’s a Catch 22 to the process of acquiring and then applying such knowledge - TIME. Watching multiple, increasingly longer videos every day, even on super-important, business-building topics, is a major time-sucker.

And often, after watching one or more of such videos, we find ourselves NOTgoing out of "passive mode" and into "active mode". Clearly, that’s counterproductive to our growth. But there is a way that we, as marketers and product creators, can mitigate that effect - at least the time-sucking aspect - for our customers. It’s actually quite simple. When we create videos, create them in a format (or formats) that allow the viewer to adjust the speed of playback. Kind of a no-brainer, isn’t it?

Most of us know from previous instruction we’ve received or even from personal experience and observation, that we as humans are able to "process" verbal information at a rate two to three times as fast as the average speaker can deliver it. In other words, our uptake is far greater than the average speaker’s output. I have little doubt that if you’re reading this, you’ve been subjected to viewing a video that just seemed to drag on and on. If you’re like me, it actually demotivated and de-energized you, so that by the end, you were considering taking a nap!

So why not allow our customers and viewers the option of mentally uploading the information at their own pace? I mean, heck, they can always rewind or replay it if they missed or want to review anything. My preferred player for viewing online videos is the native Windows Media Player, that plays videos in the WMV format. As you can see in the lower left (sort of), it has some handy playback speed adjustment controls.

So, when I play back a video, especially a long one, I increase the speed to between 1.4 and 2.0 of normal playback. I’m sure the time savings to me adds up to several hours each month. Hours that I can spend doing, rather than viewing… Yes, it’s true that some videos sound a bit "chipmunky" when they are played faster than normal. But most are still quite discernible and it’s easy to get accustomed to the faster pace.

So, aside from telling you to limit the length of your videos by editing unscrupulously, I also recommend you produce your videos in a format (there are others besides WMV) that gives your customers the option of faster playback. And when you produce a video product (even free stuff) with such a built-in option, tell your potential customers about it in your salesletter! You may be quite surprised about the reaction you receive…and quite likely the increase in conversions you experience. In part two of this short series, I’ll cover another simple adjustment to "business as usual" that I’ve only seen two people do. Will you join them to serve your customers better?…

Two Simple, No-Cost Ways To Serve Your Customers Better - Part Two

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In part one of this series I talked about how to serve your customers better through the proper use of the web’s fastest-growing medium - video. In this final part, I want to talk about the most prevalent form of downloadable media online - PDFs. At the end of part one, I mentioned I had only seen two marketers do what I’m about to tell you. And frankly, I’m amazed that more haven’t taken their lead on what is undoubtedly a great benefit to all who read ebooks, reports, whitepapers or whatever else in PDF format on their computer screens. Ok, I’ll cut to the chase…

I’m talking about publishing your PDFs in two formats - one for the web and one for being printed out in "hard copy". In other words, one in "portrait" layout and one in "landscape" layout. If you’re like me, you have downloaded hundreds, if not thousands of PDFs during your time online. Some you read on-screen. And others you prefer to print out and read offline. There’s just something about being able to hold it in your hands and flip through it (or punch holes in it and put it in a binder) while lazing on the couch (or wherever) that seems so right.

Not to mention that too much computer reading can lead to screen blindness (sort of (<;). Maybe it’s pixilated eyeballs? At any rate, it’s impossible to take notes and highlight stuff onscreen… The first marketer I saw do this was Armand Morin. He did it with his "An Obvious Truth" report, released last year. There’s a screenshot of it below that is linked to the site where the report is still available (and relevant).

Now, Armand is no slouch in IM circles. The man is a class act, in my opinion. And when I got this report, the first thing I thought was "Wow, this is the way ALL marketers should offer their PDFs", or something like that. My estimation of Armand was immediately increased - not only because of the beauty (nice graphics template) and functionality (fully linked throughout) of the report, but even more so because of the easy-to-read layout. Who wants to scroll down each time they want to read the rest of a page? Not me! Why not make the entire page visible with each mouse scroll or page-down button pushed? It’s drop-dead simple to do.The next and only other guy I’ve seen do this is Leo Babauta, author of the short ebook "Zen To Done".

It’s a refined take on the famous book "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, but with a Zen touch to it. I enjoyed it a lot, even though I hadn’t read Getting Things Done. Or, if you prefer, you can read it in its entirety without downloading it, on Leo’s blog. The point of all this is: You can make things easier for your readers (or viewers - see part 1) with a minimum of effort on your part. But the improved experience that results for the consumers of your material will be a very nice feather in your marketing cap for future sales to those satisfied folks. While I’m on the subject, let me tell you about columns. As far as I’m concerned, columns only belong in dictionaries, encyclopedias and maybe the occasional newsletter.

Again, the goal should be to allow your reader to smoothly proceed through the material - from left to right - just as we learned how to read. If you make them read one column and then have to look up, or worse yet, scroll up to read the rest of the page, you’ve done them a disservice. So, write your stuff in standard book layout and leave the columns to reference manuals. Finally, avoid Serif type fonts. Serif fonts tend to cause eye strain because of all the extra ornamental stuff our minds have to process when reading - whether we know/realize it or not (now you do). The easiest types of font to read are Sans Serif. I’m talking about Helvetica, Arial, Tahoma, Verdana, etc.

So there you have it. To summarize:

1. Publish your PDFs in both layouts for maximum readability. Use Landscape layout for on-screen reading and Portrait layout for off-screen reading.

2. Avoid using columns in your writing.

3. Use only Serif fonts to help avoid eyestrain for your readers.

If you do these simple things, I believe they will create increased and measurable appreciation on the part of your readers and pay major dividends to you in your marketing. Oh yeah, one more thing. Like I said in part one - tell your potential leads, subscribers and customers about what you’ve done to make their lives easier - i.e. benefits to them. Since so few are doing this, it’s an easy way to not only separate yourself from the masses of other marketers, but to gain the followership of greater numbers of people who appreciate you really thinking about how to better serve them. Now go forth and prosper!

The One Tool Every Internet Marketer Needs

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I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but along with all the standard internet marketing products - courses, ebooks and softwares - there is a subset of all these how-to, informational offerings. This subset of products revolves around the "mindset" and "productivity" genre. If you’ve bought any comprehensive course, whether a high-ticket, full-on multimedia extravaganza or merely a single $47 dollar ebook about how to make a living online, you would have certainly noticed a chapter or two about the entrepreneurial mindset as well as instruction on various productivity habits.

Maybe you’re even tired of all that stuff by now, since you’ve been subjected to it in the first chapter or two of virtually every "make money online" product you’ve bought. But you probably also realize why that material is present in almost every product, though the tilt on it is somewhat different with each author. The reason is simple - unless you develop both the mindset of a business person AND develop solid productivity habits, chances are very good you will fail in your efforts. Perhaps this is why the statistics consistently say that 95% of all new businesses fail within the first two years?…

Hundreds of successful marketers have surveyed hundreds of thousands of not-yet-successful marketers and there is always one recurring theme: Lack of focus, lack of a strategy, lack of discipline. Thus, lack of success, profits, and all the other fruits of their "labor". The average "newbie" marketer takes from 3 to 5 years to finally settle down and focus on one thing at a time and dedicate themselves to just that. At that point, they finally start to see things begin to happen for them. Before that, they were blown this direction and that, by every new product offering and every shiny new tool that would make them rich with a single click. In other words, they finally wake up and face the reality that there is NO Easy Button, Magic Pill or other panacea that will change their lives overnight. Ok, so now there are several productivity courses on the market, designed by internet marketers for internet marketers.

Mark Joyner has had Simpleology, Profit Praxes, Desktop Cockpit and other productivity tools online for several years now. Eben Pagan has his 12-week, $297 "Wake Up Productive" course. And recently an unknown guy (at least to me) named Jeff Vacek came out with his "Go Be Productive" course (also pretty pricey). Then Joe Vitale released an audio course on his secret to his prolific writing and productivity. And there are many more, from a $17 e-report to a full tilt Nightingale Conant physical product.

So, clearly there’s a need to offset all the noise that the average sole proprietor, work-at-home type is bombarded with on a daily basis. But maybe the average guy or gal doesn’t need a full course on productivity. Maybe they already understand the whole mindset thing after reading about it in 50 different ebooks and courses. So finally, someone builds a TOOL to help make all that "book learning" a reality.

Here’s a light-weight, configurable tool that allows the work-at-home folks - or really anyone who spends most of their productive time on a computer - to get the maximum bang for their buck. In short, it’s a superb piece of software that acts as your daily accountability partner. You input tasks, times for completion and other details and then run the timer for that action. It helps to keep you focused on what you should be doing and alerts you when the time for that action has elapsed. It allows you to track your productivity and print out reports, so you can track your progress. In short, it’s The One Tool Every Internet Marketer Needs!

I grabbed it when it first came out and was quite pleased with it. But there were some features it didn’t have, so I (and a bunch of other folks) wrote to the author and asked for some additional features to be added. Within two weeks he had released Version 2 - with all the additional features I had asked for!I now use it every day and have definitely noticed how I focus on ONE THING AT A TIME now, instead of being constantly distracted.

One example is how I’ve trimmed 15 minutes per day off of my email time. That’s almost 2 hours per week saved on just one recurring task. I could go on and on, but this post is too long already. But Derek, the product creator, has a very nice video on his site showing how The Action Machine works. I suggest you check it out.That is, unless you already get everything done you want to get done on a daily basis…To better productivity and higher profits!

There’s No Such Thing As A Virtual Assistant

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OK, enough is enough! For several years now I’ve seen and heard hundreds of marketers refer to their outsourced staff as "virtual assistants" or "VA’s". But in reality, that term is completely incorrect! Think about it, what does the term "virtual" mean? So, do all these marketers have "not real" or "conceptual" assistants? No, I don’t think that’s it.

How can any of us employ an imaginary assistant? We can’t (at least for now), plain and simple. But what we CAN do is employ a REMOTE ASSISTANT, or RA, can’t we? Yes, that’s right, a genuine flesh and blood human being. Not some imaginary construct of a non-physical "person" who does our menial work for us. So, why not start today using accurate terms and accurate thinking? From now on, how about using the term Remote Assistant to replace the ridiculously incorrect Virtual Assistant? And while I’m on the subject, I’m reminded of a term that Mark Joyner termed to describe the viral growth rate of marketing campaigns - COPULATION rate.

Guess what Mark, that’s a really bad (and incorrect) use of the English language. In his defense, Mark did admit that he would have preferred a better word, but that’s what he came up with. The definition of copulation is: Sexual intercourse. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you well know that sexual intercourse doesn’t necessarily produce offspring. And that’s what Mark was shooting for with the term copulation - the production of offspring. In this case, an exponential (or viral) explosion of growth in an email list or other marketing campaign.

In other words, the term he chose doesn’t center-in on the key principle he was trying to identify and define - exponential growth. Some better word choices would have been: propagation, proliferation, replication, duplication, X-factor, etc., etc. The only reason I can think of that a guy as smart as Mark would purposely choose an incorrect term like copulation is…SEX SELLS!Yep, even sexual terms like copulation. And since Mark is a master marketer, I’d prefer to think it was a deliberate decision, rather than him simply being lazy.

Either way, I’m a very strong advocate of moving the human race forward, not backward. And one of the ways I believe we can do that is by using our incredible English language to accurately communicate our thoughts. In short, I refuse to participate in any form of "The Dumbing Down of America" or any other country, for that matter. Hopefully you’ll join me and educate the folks you have in your sphere of influence to take the "high road" in their communications.