I’ll admit: I’m not a “trained” marketer. In fact, when Seth hired me, I didn’t know what a WSO was, I’d never heard of an autoresponder, and I’d never even written ”copy” before. Seth was taking a risk, but I promised him I was going to improve his bottom line, somehow. My background isn’t in software development or sales – I have an English degree that somehow landed me a job as a corporate cog in a big industry wheel. My last job was kind to me—if you ever need to order ten-thousand cardboard boxes, contact my old boss, Mark, at Rock-Tenn Company and he’ll help you out. But as a khaki-clad college graduate who knew very little about how to get ahead besides sticking with the same company for decades, I wanted to try something new, and starting out in online marketing offered a lot of exciting potential, even though leaving everything I knew was taking a daunting leap.
But thanks to a lot of reading, a fair amount of trial and error, and the gracious help of some top-notch marketers, I can honestly say that if you air-dropped me into another country tomorrow, with no friends, no job, and only twenty dollars, I’d be fine as long – as I could get on the internet.
Because once you know how to do it, online marketing is the fastest path to success for anyone who wants it.
That’s what we believe at Seth Turin Media, and that’s why we work so hard to get UBot Studio to everyone we can. There’s no software out there like ours, nothing as easy to use for beginners or as powerful for those who want to learn to do more with it. But the software alone isn’t going to get you to the next level – it’s just the foundation you’ll need to start either automating your online marketing, or building software to sell. And for those of you who plan on building software to sell, I have a little bit of advice.
I want you to imagine, like I mentioned before, that you’ve just been kicked off a bus somewhere. Let’s say a town in Costa Rica (because as I write this I’m sitting in the Sansa Regional Terminal at San Jose International Airport in Alajuela, Costa Rica – but that’s another story). And let’s say you have $20.
You take a taxi to a little hostel somewhere overlooking the Volcan Poas, a small, mildly-active volcano. (Don’t worry; the locals tell you it’s quite safe. Most of the time.) The hostel costs $6 USD a night – a good deal, although you’ll have to find your own food. Luckily in most countries for $2 USD you can buy enough cheap food to make it. Also, thankfully, that $6 comes with free wireless internet and coffee, which means you have about 3 days to start making money before you end up turning tricks or begging tourists to please throw you twenty-five colones—about a penny, USD—outside the alleyway of the Mall Internacional.
So you need the fastest path from Product Development to Sales. Luckily, just a few days before you got kidnapped and brought here to be thrown unceremoniously from the bus, you purchased a Standard copy of UBot Studio. In that time you built something small but cool—maybe it’s a little automation tool that you use to help automate a blog, maybe it’s a bigger product that someone might actually want to pay a few hundred bucks for. Either way – you’ve got something, and now, you just need to know how to sell it. You’re right where I was when I started at Seth Turin Media, Inc.
Day 1: Building Your List
This is a graph of UBot Studio sales, averaged by quarter, from the time that I started.
The biggest increase, you’ll be surprised to find out, wasn’t from finding new customers. It was from working with our current list to increase the sales of those who were interested in the software, especially those who’d already purchased or downloaded it before. (Think of it how Apple does – once someone buys an iPhone and likes it, they are far more likely to buy a Mac.) With UBot Studio, there are (at the time of this writing) three levels to purchase. Anyone who buys the first or second (Standard or Pro) probably has a good reason that they didn’t pay more for a more advanced Edition. While respecting that decision, it’s my job to convince them that they’re wrong, through targeted emails, new features, and useful reminders of what they’re missing out on, and why it matters.
There’s a lot of logic behind this. Your most likely customer is someone who trusts you – someone you’ve helped in the past. You, sitting in this little hostel, will need to find these high-potential customers, and you’ll need to find them fast. Even the greatest product in the world isn’t going to find these customers on its own. That’s up to you.
Step 1: Contact your friends
(Here’s a blooper’s reel from the TV show Friends. Why not?)
I’m going to assume that you have friends. (If you don’t, then you’re probably going to want to work on that first.) The first thing to do is to send your product to all your friends – and I mean everyone – people you’ve only spoken to in passing, your parents, that guy who emailed you once about buying his dog. The chance that someone who already knows you will want to help you out is far greater than the chance of you convincing someone who doesn’t know who the hell you are to buy your product.
Step 2: Contact your enemies
(Did you know there’s a Kris Kristofferson song called “Shake Hands With The Devil”? Now you do.)
This is a little counter-intuitive, but I promise – it’s strategically very important. Your enemies include anyone who is already selling a product like yours or offering a service like yours, whether it’s exactly the same or just similar. You want them to know that you exist, because the more people who know they have a competitor, the better. They’ll offer you all sorts of advice – they’ll tell you that your service isn’t as good as theirs. They’ll tell you that what you’re doing doesn’t make sense for various reasons. Sometimes they’ll even ask to partner with you. Get in touch with them and find out what they think of your service, and you’ll instantly know more about the market than you ever could have discovered on your own.
Step 3: Contact your potential partners
The key to this step is to determine what people might need or use directly before, or directly after, they buy your product. It’s easiest to think in food terms: If you were selling ice cream cones, you would want to partner with someone who sells ice cream. If you were selling ketchup, you would want to talk to people who were buying hot dogs and french fries. Moving onto IM examples, people who are using WordPress to build their first website often need hosting. If you build WordPress sites for a living or sell WordPress plugins, it makes sense to partner with hosting companies who host WordPress blogs – you can send them potential customers, they can send you potential customers. With UBot Studio, for example, people often use our software in conjunction with text spinning software, so it makes sense for us to reach out to every text spinning service provider and see how we can work together.
Try to jot down ten different ways people might decide they want your product or service, and then spend a few hours tracking down some of the bigger players in those markets. Give them a free copy of what you’ve got and tell them you’d like to work with them. Do the same for those who might already have purchased something that makes them need your product.
This entire process will take you about 12-14 hours, longer if you customize each email that you send (which ideally, you will). Hey, I didn’t say this process would be easy—I just said it would take three days.
PS – Another popular way to find friends/enemies/partners is within Mastermind Groups. If you can find a Mastermind Group, ideally on Skype, that’s free to join and is relevant to the market that you’re in, you’ll grab a great # of contacts and info all at once, because anyone inside of the group is a potential source of customers and knowledge. If you can find a Mastermind group that’s in your area, you can probably join them as well, but it may take some time. (Visit http://mastermind-group.meetup.com to start your search.)
Day 2: The Setup
Step 1: Sign up for affiliate sites
You should be getting some responses already, but don’t worry if you haven’t. This is the day where you sign up for all the potential affiliate networks that you can, places like JVZoo, Clickbank, etc [need larger list]. Just like waiting for responses to your emails, it’ll take a few days for some of these to be approved, so needless to say, the sooner you do it the better.
The key to signing up for these is to make your product stand out. If it doesn’t stand out, no one will see it. Frequently, the way to stand out is to have a high affiliate commission – and that’s something I’d highly recommend. I’ve spoken to dozens of affiliates who basically discount anything less than 50%, which means that you should at least start there, but probably start at an even higher rate than that—maybe even 70%.
Remember, your product is entirely reproducible at the click of a button. If someone buys it, you don’t just get the money they pay, you also get a hot lead – their email address. And you can use that almost immediately to offer something else, if you can find something else to offer. This might be another product of your own (like an add-on to your software, or a service, or an info-product), or it might be an affiliate’s product or a partner’s offer, but whatever it is, the sooner you can give it to them the better. You could even look into OTO’s – One Time Offers – that match well with your product. I don’t recommend using more than one of these at a time, because they quickly lower your customer’s goodwill. Whatever you do – try to email your customers at least two positive, useful, non-commercial emails for every offer you send them. (I’ll have another post soon about autoresponders, but for now, just try to get those emails and make the people at the other end – and they are people – happy with you.)
Step 2: Explain your offer on forums
In addition to utilizing the UBot Studio Underground (www.ubotstudio.com/forum), the most important forum for online marketing is the WarriorForum (www.warriorforum.com), and you’re probably already familiar with it. The key to the WarriorForum is to look credible and create a useful WSO (A Warrior Forum Special Offer sales thread) that’s marketed by several affiliates and that has several great testimonials. But these threads cost $40 to create. (You will undoubtedly make this money back if you do it right, but since we’re assuming you’re starting out with almost no money…)
So, in a nutshell, here’s how to use the Warrior Forum if you’re broke:
1) Find a partner to do your WSO with. If there’s someone you trust, they could put the WSO up for you and act as an affiliate – so all sales would go through them. This might be worth it if you’re starting out, especially if they have beaucoup customers that they could direct to the sale. But it probably means forfeiting their email addresses – which isn’t terrible, because the next time you do a sale, that affiliate will likely send all those previous customers your way regardless. I’d recommend you DON’T search for JV partners and message people you don’t know. Rather, be specific and either make a friend who would be a good partner (as outlined above) or don’t try this tactic at all. I’ve had bad luck contacting people who are looking to sell your product.
2) Give away your product (or a crippled version of it) for free to build testimonials. Visit http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-joint-ventures/ and post that you’re looking for affiliates and testimonials and you’d like to offer 10 people your product or service for free. Be specific about what you want out of these people. If you want someone to run your WSO, then say that (again, I don’t recommend doing this with someone you don’t know). If you want testimonials, then say that.
3) Ask for advice if you need it. Say where you are in your process and where you’d like to be. It won’t hurt, and I am confident you could get some really positive suggestions that are completely different from what I’m advising here, and more advice and opportunities is always a good thing.
Now that you understand the main internet marketing forum, you should consider the many others.
The other two major ones are Digital Point (https://forums.digitalpoint.com/) and Wickedfire (www.wickedfire.com – be aware, this one tends to be a bit more grayhat). There are dozens of forums out there with hundreds of thousands of users – honestly, you can probably find one that’s more specific to what you’re offering if you look hard enough.
Don’t give up until you’ve found at least 5 places to hawk your wares, even if it’s only for free to get testimonials and spread the word. (A tip: Video testimonials are worth more than text. Ask for them.) But while you’re looking, DON’T GET SIDETRACKED. You are at these forums for a particular reason. Don’t start reading posts and getting involved right now. You’ve got a hostel bill to pay and you’re about out of food.
(There’s a tip that Frank Kern suggests: create a few accounts on every forum months in advance, answer questions, be generally helpful, and then when you go to release your product, use these under-the-radar accounts to recommend it. I’m sure this works if you don’t get caught….)
Step 3: Own your name.
You can get a domain for a few dollars and it adds INSTANT credibility. Check slickdeals.net or a dozen other deal aggregator sites at any time to determine somewhere you can get a single domain, non-hosting, for a couple bucks, usually under $3. You’ll just want to redirect the domain to whatever blog format you feel comfortable using – a site you create at WordPress for example. That site can redirect to your processor at JVZoo, or what have you – but having that site will increase sales considerably.
Fill it with a few blog posts, testimonials, etc.
Next, you’ll need to make sure that your software is well-represented on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, and Youtube. Make a page, a twitter account, and a LinkedIn group. The simplest way to do this quickly is to take those blog posts and mention them on your twitter and Facebook every few hours. Get Jing (jing.com) and record a demo of your software, and if you have a webcam, record yourself explaining how it works. Upload about three Youtube videos and make sure you link back to those on your site and on your twitter and Facebook page.
If you’ve done all of these steps correctly, by the end of Day 3 you should look like a legitimate software enterprise.
Day 3: The Climax
This is the day you release everything. All along you’ve been planning for a big push – you’ve given away your software, you’ve reached out to dozens of potential partners, and now you contact each of them and let them know the sale is ON. Get them to email their lists if they agreed to do that, to give you the testimonials you asked for if they agreed to that, or to write a blog post about your product on their site if that’s what they said they’d do. It will often take 5-10 emails to convince someone to actually move, even after they’ve agreed to help.
Most likely, this sale will be through an affiliate site like JVzoo or Clickbank. You can send everyone to your own site as long as you can set the cookies up correctly, of course, for your affiliates. (If you created a WSO at this point, you’d send everyone there.)
Step 1: Email everyone again.
Step 2: Post in all the forums again.
Step 3: Drink some of that free hostel coffee, because you’re going to be up late.
Step 4: Email everyone again.
Step 5: Moderate your forum posts and make sure you’ve responded to everyone.
Step 6: Email your customers. I recommend Mailchimp, because it’s free for the first 2000 users. Let them know you appreciate their purchase. Check up on them. Be obsessive. These people paid you. You want them to be happy.
Day 4: Reward
Now, you’re in one of the most beautiful countries in the world and you’re rolling in dough. Enjoy it!