This Is How You Do It

I was searching for blog information on a particular book. One such blog had some advertising links. I followed one link. It brought me to a page with more advertising links. I clicked through and landed on the Unreal Stocks landing page. That is where I saw some great advertising.

This page had a lot of features in common with other sales lead generation pages. They promise some type of big money. Then they ask for your e-mail address. Normally I pass on these offers. I don't want any spam. And I don't want anybody trying to sell me stuff.

However the Unreal Stock page had a great set of closing arguments. They said their stuff was not free. In fact, they stated that their services cost a lot of money. However they were willing to let me try them for free without any credit cards or any other such nonsense. That was a good start. Then their sign up area had the killer picture. Here was a young hot girl, wearing a tight t-shirt, holding up a lot of cash. That's a winner. For that picture alone I am giving them my e-mail address. They have reached me. Now they just need to have a good product and they have won over a new customer.

Advertising Failure

I saw the image to the left in an advertisement for Burger King. The sandwich is a seven-incher that will BLOW me away? Yeah. I get it. You are trying to make references to a blow job. I have a message for you. That is totally weak.

Burger King has some good food. But their advertising makes me gag. I will give them this. The blow job ad beats the guy with the weird kind plastic face. But not by much. No wonder I usually go to McDonald's for lunch.

Listen up Burger King. I know sex sells. But don't try to be coy. If you want to employ sex to sell your new sandwich, then show me show blond bimbos with huge jugs. Just come right out there and admit what you are doing. Then I will buy your stuff. Otherwise you should quit while you are ahead. I am trying to help you out here.

Startup Success

I read the overview for an interview with Roy Robin. He is founder of Varien, which has the successful product Magento. He stated that the company was founded while he was still in school. There initially was not much of a plan.

The company took off when they started using AdWords. They also delved into consulting work. That gave them deep insight into the needs of customers. Developers in the company started getting bored. They got a side project to work on. This resulted in the Magento product.

Company employees blogged to establish their reputation. They blogged daily. It was rare for them to pitch their company. They were just sharing very good information. One thing was a bit disappointing. Roy confessed that the hours worked were and continue to be crazy. I guess that is the life of a successful startup.

Great Guerrilla Marketing

I read this huge post on techniques for guerrilla marketing. There were so many ideas. Many of them seemed liked things I could do myself. I think I will give it a try and see where it takes me. I am always willing to do things outside the box to make some money. Here goes.

One whole set of ideas revolves around business cards. I am not talking about handing out your business cards. Instead put them in books at the library that relate to your business. Or you could slip them in magazines at the bookstore or the dentist. Nice touch huh? Finally you can enter contests where you drop your business card in a big bowl. Do it to win and to do some marketing.

Doing some guest blogging is a no brainer. Author an e-book whose only purpose is to market your business. You can also write editorials for newspapers. Make sure to include a byline which references your web site URL.

I will try some or all of these great ideas. When I do and analyze the results, I will let you know how I fare. Good luck to me.

Media Coverage

I just read an interview with one of the founders of HotOrNot. They had some great insights on running a startup business. These guys did most of the work for the site with the two founders out of one of their living rooms. As such they knew it would be easy to code a clone of the system. In fact, they said there were hundreds of clones. How then did they get to the point where the company was making millions?

Here was one key factor. They worked hard to get as many reporters to write about their service. The goal was not just to get exposure. It was to ensure that reporters would only write about their implementation of the service. By the time the copycats came around, they hoped that reporters would have already covered their own site and ignore the others. Brilliant.

These founders worked hard initially. After a few years they got tired and hired on some employees. They started out making money as a paid model. Then they went free to get more users. However that allowed spammers to clog their networks. In the end they reverted to a paid model. They found their profits did not suffer from that move. Eventually they sold the business.

I used HotOrNot for some enjoyment when it first came out. The idea was great. Many people submitted their pictures so it was constantly fresh. Sure there were some clones that added some value. But I found the original brand stuck with me. Congrats to the original founders. I wonder what other businesses they will get into next.

Customer Non Service

I had a need to buy some camping equipment quickly. So I headed over to this store REI. I think they specialize in camping equipment. When I saw an employee, I gave him my list and asked for help in locating the items. He took the list and walked me over to a section for camping. He then handed the list to another employee in camping and said the other employee would help me.

The other employee took the list, handed it to another guy, and told me he would go look for the first item on the list. The other guy started talking to me about my list. He was very talkative. Since I was in a hurry, I took the list back from him and started collecting some goods. When I asked him where one of the other items was, he confessed that he did not even work for the store. He was just hanging out there.

I tried unsuccessfully to get all the items on my list. They only had about half the items I wanted. I needed to get out of there so I got in line to pay for the items. Finally I saw the second employee who was supposed to locate my first item. I told him that he abandoned me. He said that the store did not carry the first item. Then he said he got busy with six other customers.

This was some pretty weak customer service indeed. I can appreciate when you are busy. But if you are too busy to help me, don’t take my list, give it to another customer, and promise you will help me. I understand it is hard to get good help these days. But I shop where I can get decent help from the staff. I am not returning to REI. The final insult was when the cashier tried to sell me some type of membership to the store. They had to be kidding me.

Anti MLM

A few months back, I clicked on a web advertisement link. That brought me to a web site by a guy who supposedly retired very young. There was an annoying speech in the background. Some parts of the site were comical. Others seemed insightful. I thought I would describe some of the things I saw on the site.

Let’s start with some of the cheesy stuff I saw. There were a lot of pictures of happy people vacationing. I guess they were trying to say that if I followed the advice, or bought something from them, I could vacation as well. Umm yeah. There was a picture of the guy running the sight with Donald Trump. Yes I do know who Donald Trump is. No I am not impressed that you got your picture taken with him.

Now let’s talk about the angle this guy is pitching. He said you need a mentor that shares tools with you. I bet you this guy wants to be my mentor … at a price. He also says that products should sell themselves. I like the sound of that. Selling should not require high fees to do the business. You should have a marketing plan that is simple.

The guy continues in saying that direct sales are best. You should not need to get involved with any multilevel marketing. That is music to my ears. A lot of business opportunities on the web are just tried old MLM schemes in disguise. He also goes on to say that you need a team to support your sales. I just hope he is not in the business of supplying teams to people like me at a cost. Finally he recommends that you trust your instinct in business. I am not sure how to feel about that. I guess it hinges on your instincts.

I do not plan on doing business with this guy. He is obviously paying money to get people to his web site. Often times I wonder about people who are trying to teach me how to success at business. If you know the secret to becoming rich in business, why don’t you use those secrets to get rich yourself. You would think that knowledge of true successful techniques would be kept secret. And at the very least, you would not want to hawk those secrets for only $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

Chain Mail Redux

Today I received a chain mail via e-mail. It claimed that I would receive "a Ericsson T18 Laptop" if I forwarded the e-mail to 8 other people. Furthermore it stated that I would receive "an Ericsson R320 Laptop" if I forwarded the e-mail to 20 other people. All I had to do is ensure the e-mails carbon copied Anna Swelung at Ericsson dot com.

Ha ha. What a joke. Some people actually fell for this. That's how I ended up receiving the e-mail. Come on people. How dense can you be. There is not even any T18 or R320 laptop that is produced by Ericsson. Those are model numbers for old Ericsson cell phone. Ericsson has stated that there is no employee named Anna Swelung working for their firm.

Watch out for other variations of this prank. Some versions promise you a free cell phone from Nokia. It is not like big cell phone companies do not give anything away. But when they do, you don't get entered by forwarding chain mails. You fill out an official entry form and mail it in, or at least go to their web site where they host the context. Why are people propagating these chain mails online? I guess somebody is getting a good laugh out of this.

Good Karma Through Freebie

I was clicking around the web because I was bored one night. That's when I came upon a special offer from MOO. They provided me with 10 business cards free of charge. Even the shipping was free.

Usually there is no free lunch. I have bought some "free" business cards before where I had to pay postage. Let's just say that company did not get a referral from me. Sure the business cards were fine. But I felt tricked when I had to pay around 10 bucks for postage. It felt like a double cross.

Not so with MOO. I just got my 10 pack with absolutely no costs to me. The cards ain't bad either. So now I am thinking that I may want to order some of these bad boys. And I know I want to give MOO the link love they deserve. Thank you MOO!