5 Ways to Sell to Internet Businesses and Webmasters

February 15th, 2015

I deal with hoards of vendors every week selling various products/services to webmasters and other internet professionals. 95% of these calls end without me reciting my email address or requesting more information. The trend I notice is companies hiring minimally internet-savvy telephone sales people to close leads with educated and informed webmasters. Blanket-pitching, darts in the dark.

Want to sell me?

Know the difference between unique visitors, views and hits. Assume that I also know the difference.

An industry-specific business directory contacted an online marketing company (www.onlinemarketinggurus.com.au) I work with some time ago to secure their business in the form of a multi-tiered paid listing. When the call was passed to me, I asked traffic questions that any website selling ad space should be able to answer without missing a beat. The response I got was an over aggressive pitch about the millions of hits they get, reminiscent of a burly man in a tropical shirt and slacks who tried to sell me a Nissan Altima several months ago. This individual became increasingly agitated when I explained why I didn’t care about their hits and actually hung up on me.

My advice was not followed, and the VERY expensive paid listings were purchased. 5 months, 3 visits, less than 5 seconds on-site from those visits and zero calls later, the company that sold them this prime piece of web real estate no longer returns their calls.

Speak in dollars

Your website gets 30,000 uniques per month to the page where my ad/link will appear. Based on placement and past performance, I can expect to get a 3% clickthrough rate. You are charging me $300/month for this spot on your site.

3% of 30,000 uniques = 900 unique clicks

900 clicks for $300 is $0.33/click

What do keywords in my industry cost on the big 3 search engines? Better yet, what do some of the keywords that I’m specifically bidding on cost? $0.50/click on average? Couple that with the peripheral branding and ad views that I’ll receive just from being on your site and you’ve just sold me.

Know the sales/buying/conversion process

I’m bidding on the keyword “Roller Disco”. My roller disco is in Colorado Springs. People in Newark, NJ are clicking my ad and not lacing up their skates. When they don’t boogie, I don’t recoup my PPC ad costs.

Obviously “Colorado Springs Roller Disco” is worth more to me since I stand a much better chance of “closing” those “leads”. What’s that you say? Your site attracts skaters who are looking specifically in my area and are therefore less likely to shop around? Why didn’t you say so?

What are you doing for lunch?

WORKING! That’s always the answer. Here we are on what could be day 1 of me buying space on your site. Once you’ve got my cash, what are you doing with days 2 thru 31? WORKING! Every minute spent not selling me is spent improving your site and the amount/quality of traffic it receives — at no cost to me! If I’m worried this means you’ll raise your rates, sell me a few months in advance. Do NOT sell me on your intention to improve the site until we’re nearing the end of our conversation. If you tell me right off the bat that you’re improving the site, then you’ve just told me your site needs improvement.

Be a person

When you smile, I can hear it in your voice. I find that engaging. Know what else I find engaging? ME.

I don’t care how you sell this ad space to the Internet Marketing Manager at Saatchi&Saatchi. I own a roller disco! My afro has a satellite orbiting it and my bell bottoms actually create wake turbulence. Tell me what a groovy idea you’ve got and how you’re not out to jive me, ya dig? Sell your product/service to me.

Opportunity Cost Part 1

February 12th, 2015

There was a time, after reading too many Rich Dad books, when I was considering investing in real estate. My property analysis spreadsheet was set up to take into account things such as the down payment, mortgage, property taxes, etc. No matter what 2-3 family house I plugged into the sheet, the best case scenarios were always disappointing.

One of the most important columns that should have been (but was not) in my spreadsheet was “Opportunity Cost“. I first had the principle of opportunity cost explained to me in college as the price of doing one thing with your resources (time/money/etc) instead of doing something else. Adding this column to my spreadsheet made all the difference in the world.

What was it worth to me to not have to drive 45 minutes after a 10-hour work day to fix an overflowing toilet? What was it worth to me to spend time with the people I care about at night instead of fretting about my property? Lastly, given the amount of hours each day/week/month it would take to make this a successful venture, would I be earning more per hour than I could make working the drive thru at Popeye’s?

I don’t want to have the argument of how the time spent would have been more valueable because I would have been paying into a long-term income-generating asset. The entire point is the spreadsheet.

Because the internet has increased the amount of business ventures being embarked upon by people who do not have any business training, the principle of opportunity cost often times gets lost. When starting a diet, many people are asked to take inventory of everything they eat over the course of a day, which is then equated to a total caloric intake (usually resulting in SHOCK). Have you taken such inventory for your ventures?

A story circulated the internet a year ago about the dating site PlentyOfFish.com. Much of the discussion was about how this under-designed website pulls in something like $10,000/day from AdSense ads. The Slashdot headline was The Surprising Truth About Ugly Websites.

If you are billing me $100/hr to graphically revamp a marketing piece, what are you charging yourself to do the same? Are you spending $100/hr of your time on something that will make you $101 instead? Is that $1 profit worth more to you than all the things you could have done with that hour instead?

Often times the forumla is more complicated because we deal with tasks that are “a means to an end”. I may not make anything for reading a book for 2 hours, and I may have been able to do some great things with those 120 minutes had I not been turning pages. However, maybe what I learn in those two hours expands my understanding of something that others don’t understand. Maybe I am now worth more to them as a professional because I have this knowlege. This is good… if being worth more to others as a professional is my goal.

The moral?

Give as much attention to your time as you do everyone elses’. Analyze the hours of your day from both an immediate and longer-term perspective. Analyze it with the same attention you give to the hours you spend submitting your site to free directories and tweaking your forum avatars, because it’s time better spent. Work smarter, not harder (nod to RK). And damn it, buy your wife/girlfriend/mother (or male counterpart) flowers already!

Part 2: “I know a guy who knows a guy who will ruin your business” — coming soon!

Anna Nicole Smith Death Domains

February 9th, 2015

A rather morbid way to start the morning…

A few weeks ago, I was being interviewed by phone for a book on domain speculation and investing. During the interview, I made the point that domains were much like stocks in that the best time to buy is before the news. When any news story breaks, all related domains are usually snapped up before you can even log in to your registrar.

I personally jumped on a few domains for the Nintendo Wii and Wibree before they made headlines.

I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the unfortunate and untimely death of Anna Nicole Smith. Sadly proving the point made in my interview, here is a sample of the domains that have been registered in the last 24 hours:


And of course, the more speculative/conspiracy theory types:


Some of these are parked, and others have their DNS pointing to existing sites like AdvertiseLongIsland.com… Maybe with the intention of a memorial site?

Advertising Wisdom from GapingVoid.com

February 8th, 2015

Borrowed from GapingVoid.com


Rank1.info Spams the Forum Community

February 8th, 2015

Sarah_w needed help. In fact, she needed “an advice”.

Over at EarnersForum, I stumbled across a damsel in distress over the ever-present backlink conundrum.

Also i wanted to ask about a tip i received yesterday from another webmaster. He mentioned something about a new type of link building software called rank1.info. He claims it will bring me hundreds of quality backlinks to any page I pominate.

Presumably, Sarah_w was looking to drive traffic to the site in her signature, which catered to the male enhancement and heart attack markets. Lovely combo.

Having never heard of rank1.info, I punched their domain into Google. While Sarah_w’s post didn’t come back in the results, several other forums did seem to be discussing rank1.info. Oddly enough, the bolded text in the SERP’s seemed to be padded by the same words on each side in many cases.

A quick Google search for “He mentioned something about a new type of link building software called rank1.info” brought back 29 results, most from SEO-related forums. All made by members with low post counts. All using the exact same post. Most from members with different names. Yahoo sends back 35 pages.

SnoopDoggy was the most common, but we also saw Lil_Scrappy, wayne_static and others.

Most of these posts were met with very lukewarm responses.

In some circles, Sarah_w is also known as “justin” or “Ivan”. On EarnersForum, Sarah_w is from Denmark, though the two sites in her signature are registered in other countries.

Wonder where all that forum chatter about rank1.info is coming from? I heart propaganda almost as much as I heart auto-submit traffic exchanges.

Inaugural Post

February 8th, 2015

After spending many moons feeling like the only guy on the web up to his ears in internet marketing without a blog, I have decided to start MarketingDrome.com. Before registering the domain, I threw “drome” into the dictionary to see just what I was getting myself into.

–noun a department in SE France. 361,847; 2533 sq. mi. (6560 sq. km). Capital: Valence.

\Drome\ (dr[=o]m), n. [F., fr. Gr. droma`s running. See Dromedary.] (Zo[”o]l.) The crab plover (Dromas ardeola), a peculiar North African bird, allied to the oyster catcher.

Neither of the above, sorry. The name is actually a spinoff on my favorite movie, David Cronenberg’s Videodrome.

Back on track now. Here I will be posting my own observations, musings and advice on marketing, including internet marking (seo, sem, design, etc.), email marketing, and more traditional vehicles such as print and television.

Enjoy the show!