Digital Marketing Strategy: How a Brand New Blogger Got 50,000 Visitors in His First 30 Days – Without a List or Affiliate Promotion

Peep is the face of ConversionXL. His unusual name (to most people) is actually pronounced ‘Pep Laya’. He’s from Estonia, but lives mainly in the US these days.

Peep is an entrepreneur and a conversion optimization junkie. He runs a unique conversion optimization marketing agency called Markitekt (they make existing sites better and build new conversion optimized websites) + several niche internet businesses such as T1Q.

Peep delivers trainings and workshops on conversion optimization and internet marketing, consults businesses in need and plans the architecture of websites that sell.

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Digital Marketing Strategy: How One Entrepreneur Used Media Coverage to Go from Zero to $20 Million: An Interview with Jeremy Shepherd

Would you like to learn successful PR strategies that will reliably generate more media coverage?

How valuable would it be for you to learn actionable take-aways from someone generating millions in online revenue?

(over 20 million, to be exact)

In this episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast, Jeremy Shepherd reveals one golden nugget after another.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Jeremy Shepherd, founder of Pearl Paradise.

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An Interview with Jeremy Shepherd

Trent Dyrsmid: Hi there! Thank you so much for joining me for the Bright Ideas podcast. I’m your host Trent Dyrsmid. And this is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively boost their business.On this episode I am joined by the founder and CEO of a company called His name is Jeremy Shepherd and this is an amazing story of entrepreneurial success.Way back in 1996 Jeremy started this company. He was working as a flight attendant and had gone over, bought some pearls for his girlfriend, turns out they were got appraised for home issurance reasons they were worth far more than what he paid. And he started this business by financing it with his mastercard and he’s now doing $20 million a year at And in this interview you’re gonna learn about a social media strategy that is unlike what I’ve heard of from any other guest that accounts for 30% of his sales and it takes him an hour a day to do this social media strategy.Then he’s also gonna explain his particular PR strategy that he’s used to get on TV, to get on major newspapers and one of those pieces of coverage in the newspaper accounted for millions of dollars in revenue. It actually tripled the revenue of his company. And then we’re also gonna talk about his very specific search marketing and search engine optimization strategy that he uses to drive traffic to his website.So I gotta tell you I get to do a lot of these interviews and this one I had a blast. You’re gonna love it. I have these things called golden nuggets, actionable take aways and I told Jeremy I said “Jeremy, I think you broke the record for golden nuggets in a single interview.” So please join me in welcoming Jeremy to the show.Alright Jeremy, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for making the time to do this interview with me. Yours is a very interesting story that started all off with the trip overseas and a mastercard. So we’ll get to that in a second but welcome aboard.Jeremy Shepherd: Thank you. Nice to be here.T: So as I just mentioned before we started recording, I always like to right away give my listeners kind of the reason why they wanna keep listening to this interview and yours is a phenomenal success story to say the least. So why don’t you first of all tell us a little bit, tell us what your company does, how you make money and then kind of how much revenue you’re doing today and then we’ll go back and talk a bit about how you got started.J: Well my company is Incorporated. We’re doing about $20 million a year revenue and we sell pearls, nothing but pearls.T: Pretty simple business model.J: Pretty simple.T: In a cocktail party what do you do? I sell pearls, a lot of pearls. So this started back in 1996, is that right?J: Right.T: So at the time you were a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. You were overseas in Asia somewhere and you bought a string of pearls for your girlfriend and then suddenly they were worth a whole lot more than… do you wanna talk about that story?J: Yeah I was a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines. I grew up as an army breadth and I was speaking multiple languages so it’s easy for me to get a job at the airlines. They’re always looking for foreign language speakers. And it was all the way over at Beijing actually. One of the popular things for flight attendants to do was either go to the pearl market, the hometown of *inaudible. And everyday flight attendants go there they buy bags, whatever, you name it. But there was a section there actually 2 floors of the market they were dedicated to nothing but pearls. I’m not much of a shopper myself and I certainly wasn’t much of a jewelry shopper but one day I did decide to go there to get a string of pearls for my girlfriend. And I paid around $20 for the string of pearls and brought them back to the States, gave them to her and she had them appraised for her home owner’s issurance. And the appraisal came back at $600 and that was sort of an aha moment for me where I thought wow, maybe there’s some sort of business opportunity that I can make out of this. And that’s basically where the seeds are sown and where I started the business.T: Okay and then you didn’t get online for quite a while and I know that from now I think it’s fortunately all of your sales come from your website, is that correct?J: Yes. Now actually I did get online right away but I didn’t start with a website right away.T: Oh that’s right.J: Well I started out, well when I first brought the pearl, I started bringing pearls in and just keeps growing over the time. I started visiting stores, a couple of jewelry stores, and I couldn’t really find a way to market that because jewelry stores for the most part they buy on consignment, on memo, they buy from the big pearl houses in New York where they’ve been purchasing for the last 100+ years and so it was difficult to break into that market. And a friend of mine called me one day and he said “hey Jeremy, I’ve got great idea where we can sell your pearls.” He’s been selling items on the internet on this new website called ebay and said “hey maybe you can sell pearls there too.” So pearls I sold actually were on Amazon. Amazon had a format similar to Ebay at that time Amazon auctions and it was a little bit difficult for me to figure out coz I had no experience on the internet whatsoever. And I started to dutch auctions on the Amazon giving them the information from the appraisal that my girlfriend had to describe the pearl and then he put a picture of it, put a dutch auction up and immediately started selling pearls. And my first dutch auction closed with everyone in the items up that I put up there sold.

T: Wow! Talk about a rapid reinforcement that you were on to something that was gonna work. That’s something we talk about anytime I’m talking to someone about how to get going and validate a market is surveys are great, customer focus groups are great but there ain’t anything better than the buy button.

J: They’re always better.

T: That is the best validation there is. So you very quickly were strongly reinforced that hey there’s something going on here so over the next few years how long was it until you built your own website? How long did you just keep doing this dutch auctions for?

J: I did auction probably for the first, I think close to 3 years. What I did was sell everything that I brought back from China, take the money go back to China, buy the same things and more things actually, and just kept doing auction. It didn’t occur to me at the time to build a website. When I started first selling pearls I barely knew how to turn on the computer let alone put up a website.

So my brother came up with the idea to build a website around 99 or 2000 and this is around the time where websites were a little bit more *inaudible things came out platforms that mom and pops could actually build their own websites without any background on HTML or programming. And so I built my own website myself. I sat about a week in a room, doors closed, working on it for a week’s straight. I took photos without a digital camera, a regular film camera, I got the photos developed. Went to Kinko’s where they had a scanner, scanned the photos up on to a disk, a real disk. Got the photos back home, loaded them up onto the website.

I think it took about a full week to build my website and put it this way, I wouldn’t be successful today if my websites still looked like the day I built it.

T: Yeah.

J: So 10+ years ago you didn’t need the flashiest websites to be able to sell online because the online medium was relatively new. Well it still is relatively new but it’s very new at that time. So yeah that’s how I started on the internet with my own website.

T: How long was it before you quit your job working for the airline?

J: I quit my job, well there’s actually 2 parts to this. I started to go abroad in the year 2000 or was it 2001, I’m sorry 2001, spring of 2001. And I took a leave from here. And I took a leave because I wasn’t a 100% confident that I could do this on my own coz up until this point it was really just sort of a part time hobby. I would carry pearls with me in my flight bag. I would carry a credit card processing machine in my flight bag and my computer. And so my business was raised from hotel rooms all around the US and around the world while I was still making money as a flight attendant. So I decided to take a leave of absence and I believe it was just a few months and focused solely on the *inaudible .com website. And by the end of the first month I knew that I would never go back to flying again.

I kept on taking leaves for a number of years because of course 9/11 happened so a lot of people in my industry lost their job and so they let more senior people like myself take leaves of absence so that they wouldn’t have to fire the junior people. So I was able to take leaves to about I would say almost 4 years before they finally asked me to come back to work and at that point I told them that it wasn’t gonna happen. But the great part of that was that taking a leave of absence not only did I save someone else’s job at the airlines but I got flight benefits for all those years. So I was able to travel all over the world to buy pearls and it was a benefit that you can’t imagine.

T: Well yeah you saved a whole bunch of money for sure.

J: Sure.

T: So when you first built the site how did you get traffic back then and is that in anyway, we’re gonna later in the interview of course we’re gonna talk about what’s really working well for you today, but I’m curious back then was getting traffic was it completely different strategies that you used to get traffic today or are they somewhat similar and what were they?

J: Back then we didn’t have the books that we have today, the leaders in the industry that we have today. It’s just things like SEO and SEM, social media, those sort of things, you know, those words weren’t even around back then. When I first started the way I got traffic for my website was again through the auction. I put advertisements up in all the auctions that I put on Amazon and on Ebay. I did very traditional method in the very beginning, business cards. I even tried some advertising in the newspapers, etc. But it really wasn’t until about 2003 when I started getting tremendous traffic to the website and that was from probably the best move I’ve ever made and I was hiring a PR agency.

T: Really, you mentioned that in the pre-interview questionnaire that you filled out for a side guy by the name of Paul Collins I think.

J: Paul Collins, yes.

T: Alright so we’re getting way out of order in the interview but whatever it doesn’t matter let’s talk about that because I think people are always looking for how do I get more traffic and I wanna give them that information. So let’s talk about what Paul did for you.

J: Well Paul called me out of the blue. And he found my website, saw my story and called me up and said “hey, who represents you as your PR agent?” And in my line, PR agents were for movie stars, bands. It never occured to me that I might need a PR agent. But that’s an entrepreneur, you’re always looking for opportunities. So I started to have lunch with the guy. Thought what could get hurt if I did have lunch with him. He brought forward that he wanted to represent me and what he did charge me I think was around $1,000-2,000 a month for a 6 months contract and at that time it sounded like buying a lottery ticket. What can I possibly get from a PR agent?

So we renegotiated a bit and I decided to have his services for a $1,000 a month and with no contract so I could let him go immediately. Because at that time a $1,000 a month, it was quite a bit of money. I was still a sole proprietor working on my own. And within I would say the first month he not only paid for himself but he paid for his services for a year. It was phenomenal. I was travelling in China during the SARS outbreak, he got public radio to interview me on the ground in China. He got News Weekly to interview me. It was like a roller coaster. Our sales increased exponentially immediately.

And he ended up moving out of the country after a couple of years but the last thing he did for me was he got me an interview with the Wall Street Journal. And it was nearly a half page interview on the front page of the market place section and that was the million dollar interview that changed my company from that day forward. The last paragraph in the interview said is the place for people to buy a strand of pearl they know would cost a $1,000 on a jewelry store but only $200 on And the interview and the article literally tripled our traffic, tripled our sales and we’ve taken off since that point.

T: Wow! That is a phenomenal story. Now do you still work with Paul or is he?

J: I don’t. He moved believe it or not China, Shanghai, China. He lived there as a child and decided on a whim that he wanted to go back and he wanted to spend the rest of the days there and call me when they have send me up so *inaudible. And he’s still in China. Since then I’ve had a few other PR agents that have been a bit more expensive but none of them have been quite as successful as Paul Collins was.

T: Yeah, geez that’s too bad coz I’m hearing this I’m thinking I’d like to work with Paul as well.

J: He was pretty amazing.

T: Yeah. Do you know what he did that why he was so successful?

J: I think maybe it was his personality. He was the kind of person who could walk into a room and not only be the center of attention but everybody enjoy being around him. He would talk at everyone. And he really believed in me. He believed in my story and my company. And I think that the combination of his personality and of course he believed in me really made him a powerful PR agent.

T: Yeah no kidding. And you haven’t, do you have, how big of a role does PR play in your marketing strategy now?

J: It still clearly plays a sizable role. We do things like editorial look books 2x a year. We get magazine poll because of our PR agency almost on a daily basis. They don’t know which ones magazine but yes it’s still part of what we do.

T: You said editorial look books, what’s that?

J: Twice a year we do look books for what we call editorial reviews where we create new lines in pieces and we meet with editors on the west coast and the east coast 2x a year and show them all of the new pieces that we’ve created for the year strictly for editorials. There’s some pretty crazy pieces that might not necessarily sell well on the website. And we also create look books so they can take it with them. And what that does is it sort of puts us in a place where the writers, journalists, the reporters, when they think of pearls for a particular story or for a model’s shoot for a magazine, we become sort of the go to company getting those products.

T: Yeah okay. Now I’ve gone and jumbled up the whole order of my interview by jumping ahead to that. So I wanna go back coz when I create interviews like this I have a couple of goals. One is I really wanna give people tons of usable strategies that they think they can put into work in their business now. But I also wanna give them motivation because I want people to, there are gonna be people listening to this that maybe don’t have a business yet and are just kinda like teethering and I think that’s why your story of starting off part time using mastercard to buy your first little string of pearls is such an excellent story. So we’re gonna back up just a little bit. How long did it take you to get to say when did you have a year where you did a $100,000 in revenue?

J: $100,000 in revenue? I’m trying to think around the first year, the first holiday well I did about $20,000 in sales. It was probably around 3 or 4 years before I hit a $100,000 mark.

T: Okay. And a $100,000 in revenue because the profit margin is pretty high on this. I’m assuming that that was enough for you to be able to be full time and continue to run the business.

J: Oh absolutely. When I was full time I took very little lull in business basically rent. And I didn’t buy any toy. I didn’t buy my first until a couple of years ago actually. So it didn’t take much to live on the way I was living. I wasn’t living large at all. So yeah the $100,000 a year was more than enough for me to do the business full time.

T: Okay. What toy did you buy?

J: I bought a Tesla.

T: Nice.

J: Lighter vehicle.

T: Yes. I actually used to have the Lotus Exige that the Tesla’s shares the same chassis with.

J: Same chassis, yes. Whole lot of fun.

T: A very fun car to take to the race track, that’s for sure. So I wanna dig into the psychology a little bit as well. Was anyone in your family in business before you decided to start your business?

J: My father, well I’m sorry my stepfather started his own business. He started a plumbing company when I was a child. Other than that no.

T: No. Okay.

J: But I was a serial entrepreneur growing up. It was something I always knew that I’d probably do. I started my first business very young selling cookies and I started to make a calling card business when I was a flight attendant. When I was 19 years old I started a small transportation business. *Inaudible. I was always looking for something new and I knew that I probably wouldn’t be completely happy or satisfied until I had my own company, successful company.

T: Yes absolutely. Was there a time, we’re updating with these questions as, when things weren’t really working out coz we know that’s a part of the entrepreneurial journey, highs and lows, we get down on ourselves, the visions start to fade, the confidence in the visions starts to fade, how did you deal with those particular times? Did you have a strategy? Was there certain books that you read? Did you do stuff in the morning, like what did you do to keep your head in the game for lack of a better term?

J: No I can really see where you’re coming from. You know, when people look at my business and look at me, a lot of friends that I’ve had in the past, they all think “oh, he’s so lucky. Or oh, his life is so easy.” But starting a business you’re absolutely right, you got ups and downs. There are times where you think this is not going to work, fail and plummet for a period of time. I think that innovation is probably the most important thing that I’ve been strong with over the years and that I’ve always looked for new ideas or new ways to strategize, new ways to market and a lot of that doesn’t need to come from books.

Early on in my business I decided I needed to read 2 types of books, books about online business and books about pearls. Nobody taught me anything about pearls. I had become a pearl expert on my own. Finding time to read is not the easiest thing when you’re an entrepreneur so what I did is because I go to the gym nearly everyday I started going to the gym every night and spending an hour on the bicycle and I would read a business book for an hour every single night on a bicycle in the gym. And that was the one place where I could confidently say I’m gonna spend a whole hour reading a business book every single day. And I did that for a number of years.

T: Interesting. So you read a lot of books?

J: I read a lot of books. If I can point this camera on my bookshelf I probably have a lot of same books as you do but it’s a lot of books.

T: And if any of those books come to mind, coz again I like actionable take aways. Is there any particular book that you think man oh man, this is a must to read?

J: Oh wow, a must read. Well Jake O’neil’s books on usability are very good. They helped me a lot early on in designing my website. Purple Cow. One book that stand out to me that changed a lot was Web Design for ROI by Lance Loveday. Web Design for ROI is a book specifically written for what I do, how to build a website and get the best conversion out of your website. I was so impressed by this book that I called him and actually hired him and he still works for me to this day.

T: Works for you as a contractor or works for you as an employee?

J: Contractor yeah. He reads all of our idea.

T: Okay. Great segue because now coming up, I wanna spend the rest of our time really talking about what are you doing today that’s really driving traffic, driving sales, driving conversions because there’s gonna be, I hope, some couple of golden nuggets in there that people who are listening to this who have a business can say “hey, that’s a good idea. I can do that.” So top 3 things that are driving revenue for your company right now are what?

J: Well the no. 1 thing has to be social media. That’s the most important thing I would say for my business and I start every morning with social media and I am active in social media all throughout the day. No. 2 of course is PR. And no. 3 would be search engine marketing including SEO and PPC.

T: Okay let’s dive into those, let’s dive into social media coz it’s big. Social media, what do you do? Are you tweeting? Are you hanging around facebook? Like what’s on your playbook everyday and is that the first thing you do each day?

J: First thing I do everyday.

T: And how long do you spend doing it?

J: Well I use it when I wake up around 6:00 in the morning and my wife doesn’t usually wake up though until 7. So for the first hour of the day I’m on social media. And yeah social media is a vague word, sort of a buzz word. Everybody thinks they need to be involved in social media, having a facebook page, having a twitter account, etc. My social media is very specific to what we do and in 2003 and 2004 I built another website called where I wrote a few hundred articles and posted them online.

And about a year or so later I entered a forum and at that time I didn’t even know what social media was but what I was doing was I was creating a social media platform. That forum is what I’m primarily involved in now. It had nearly a 100,000 pages in content and thousands and thousands of members. And why it’s so important is because the hundreds and thousands of pages of content, any one searching for anything pearl related online, if they’re doing the research specially they’re gonna come across and the articles that I’ve written or even just posts I’ve written on pearl guide they live forever. There are posts that I’ve written on pearl guide say 5 or 6 years ago that may have 10,000 views on them now.

And so I spend 15 minutes writing something that reach 10,000 people over the course of 5 years. Now today I’ve got thousands of posts that I’ve written and posted on pearl guide and that drive easily 25-30% of our business and it cost absolutely nothing. The only thing it cost is time, time and dedication. And of course we have a facebook page. We’ve got around 11,000 fans on facebook and we do post a lot on facebook. I have a twitter account, I post a little bit on twitter. But being so specific to our niche which is pearl it has made us the undisputed leader online for the pearl industry.

T: And then looking at pearl guide it does not appear at first glance that it’s in any way, shape or form affiliated with pearl paradise.

J: You’re right.

T: So then how’s it driving traffic? Are people finding out hey, you’re the guy writing a lot of these posts and then they click on your profile like any other forum when they say who’s this guy or gal they click on the forum and they go oh, he’s from pearl paradise, maybe I should go check out pearl paradise. Is that more or less what’s happening?

J: More or less. I think with social media there’s a mistake a lot of companies make with social media. I’m sure you’ve seen it before as well. Just think companies that have twitter accounts for example that all they do is post about stuff. They don’t post about other people. They’re not there to help people. Social media is not a talking to people sort of system, give them interaction and by meeting the CEO of a large online pearl company in the world being on pearl guide everyday and interacting not only with the members, the thousands of members that are the normal members, but interacting with people that just come on and ask very simple pearl questions. Just being there to help people has created a fan base for me and my company on pearl guide.

So not only do I go on there and talk about pearls but all the other members talk about pearls as well. They make sure photos of the pearl they got from my company, maybe even other company, but there are no other companies that are involved in pearl guide that are as highly recommended as our company. And that’s specifically because of the amount of time that I spend personally on pearl guide.

T: Interesting. So to draw a parallel for either myself or someone who’s listening, you’re saying that whatever niche that you are in you think that it is a very valuable way to spend your time to find the most popular discussion forum that’s most closely related to that niche and spend say an hour a day everyday becoming a very active participant. Even if you don’t know the discussion forum just participating in that discussion forum.

J: But there’s more to it than just participating and I think this is what the real key is. It’s not just participating, it’s being selfless in the discussions. It’s actually helping people. The people that are successful there are other companies on pearl guide, some of it buy pearls from us, some of them don’t but they participate in pearl guide. The ones that are successful on there never actually sell. It leaves sort of a bad taste to people’s mouth when people come on to these forums and they start trying to sell themselves, tell other people how great they are. When the best thing to do is just get on there and help people and if you’re seen as not only helpful but very knowledgeable people are gonna do business with you.

The analogy that I give for people that you know I’m a pearl guide and start selling themselves or go into twitter and just do nothing but link to their own websites or link to their own products. It’s almost like standing on the top of your office building with advertisement trying to make a paper airplane and start throwing them out to the street. Maybe somebody’s gonna pick it up and read them but more, gosh you’re just wasting your time and you’re just wasting money. It just doesn’t work. It’s about interaction and it’s just helping and it’s about making yourself out to be an expert without trying to sell your actual product.

T: They like showing up to a cocktail party with a fistful of business cards and go “hi, how are you? Buy my stuff” “hi, how are you? Buy my stuff”. I mean no one’s gonna want to talk to you.

J: Exactly. When they show up to the cocktail parties and you tell people what you do and they ask you some questions about maybe their business and you give them advice, well certainly they have a completely different picture of you and they’ll want to do business with you. They will take your business card. They may stay in contact with you. It’s the exact same thing in social media.

T: Yeah and that’s per my experience.

J: It’s a hard context for people to grasp because you get marketing department involved. They only know sell, sell, sell.

T: Yeah.

J: And that does not work for social media whatsoever.

T: Okay. Now well on say facebook, have you ever, let’s say someone says well you know I have a facebook page but I don’t have many fans or likes, I don’t get a lot of traffic, so what they could do is they could go to find other popular facebook pages within their niche and do what we’ve just been talking about on those facebook pages to add value to those people’s community which will then in turn draw traffic back to your own. Is that something that you’ve ever tried? I mean I think it’s common sense it will work I’m just curious as to whether you ever devoted any time to it.

J: Oh absolutely. On even my competitor’s facebook pages or just pearl fans facebook pages I’m personally on there all the time. And I will like people’s post. I will like pearl pictures that they put up. Yap it’s very similar to what I do on pearl guide. I spend a lot more time on pearl guide but our facebook fan page is if you look at the site that people like you’ll see about a half a dozen other competitors that we’ve actually included on our facebook page.

T: I was writing in that one, run that by me again. You’ve got on your facebook page…

J: Yeah I’m gonna pull over our facebook page right now and…

T: Facebook/pearlparadise okay. So I wanna make sure I’m on the right one. Yeah I am. It’s breast cancer awareness month at Good. Still 11,000. Okay so you mentioned you somehow promote or display or added your competitors on here? How do they fare on that?

J: If you look at the things that we like.

T: Yeah pearl perfections, sea hunt’s pearls, anthony dryer. You liked your competitors.

J: Yeah.

T: Okay.

J: And what you notice what we do is in turn they’ll like you back and it’s almost like a cross promotion between the companies.

T: Yeah. I’m just pulling up my own page now to see whether or not my likes are displayed in the same way. Likes, there we go. Yeah I’ve got some of my competitors on there as well. But sadly my golden nugget here we go folks. I always try and get a golden nugget as I need to be doing a way better job with spending some time on some discussion forums and other people’s facebook pages. So you’ve motivated me.

J: It takes the dedication of time. I would say probably the most difficult part about it is that social media is not something that happens overnight. It’s not something you can throw an hour at it every month. It’s something that I’ve been doing daily for years and years. And so it’s a habit of mine. But I also know that without the work that I’ve done with social media my business wouldn’t be as successful as it is today. And it’s really cost nothing. So it’s what you actually dedicate their time in doing this. It really comes down to how bad you want it. And it’s just like getting big abs. If you wanna get in shape you gotta dedicate yourself in going to the gym. You gotta work hard. You gotta eat right. If you want to be successful in social media you have to dedicate your time to it.

T: Yeah it’s not difficult, it just takes discipline. And I know I have been absolutely guilty of like getting on the band wagon for a while but then more pressing immediate stuff, oh you know I’ve got a product launch coming, I’ve got this, I’ve got that so I can’t divert it. And shame on me for today. Okay so that is a really awesome strategy for people who have some time and a high level of motivation. No. 2 is PR. This PR is this time consuming for you or is it more of you writing checks and other people doing stuff?

J: It’s about both. I bought down into the *inaudible and those come in 3x a day. I respond to queries more or less just about every single day. So that does take time. I spend probably about an hour a day just on that. I used to handle all of the PR myself and that is dealing with all the PR agencies that we’ve worked with in the past. But now I have a team here, a team of 2 ladies doing a fantastic job. They’re both designers and they work hand in hand with the PR agencies now. So I’m not as involved as I once was but I still deal with it on a daily basis.

T: So back at my hometown there’s a guy by the name of Brian Scudamore who runs a company 1-800-got-junk. I don’t think you and I were talking about this but I’m sure you’ve heard of him.

J: Sure I remember a deal like me.

T: Yeah maybe it was you and I that were talking about Brian but he’s kind of famous for getting a lot of PR in the beginning and probably still now. And I remember talking to him and he goes “Trent, it’s not rocket science. It’s just like sales. You just pick up. You don’t need to hire a PR agency coz you can pick up the phone and call them. Keep calling, keep calling, keep calling.” People, they associate cold calling can work with sales. You pick up, you talk to enough people somebody’s gonna buy. Reporters are basically the same thing.

J: Sure.

T: And these gals that work for you, are they reaching out to the media like that? Coz you said they’re designers so what do they do?

J: Right. No they don’t reach out to media themselves although it is definitely possible. I think a great PR strategy for entrepreneurs is doing exactly what you’re saying and reaching out to journalists and writers themselves. The team that I have in the office works hand in hand with a company in Los Angeles called In House PR. They are an actual PR agency that we contact on a monthly basis. And the reason we do that is because that’s all they do. Yes you can handle PR yourself but if you get a great PR agency that has all the contacts, that has writer’s that they are friends that work for different magazines, they can lead you along a lot quicker than you can do it on your own without a doubt.

But that instead doesn’t mean you can’t be successful with something as simple as I have managed all that personally and I’ve been included in books, like I’m doing this interview right now. I’ve been on Fox 2x. I’ve been on Entertainment Tonight several times. All these things I’ve got directly from

T: Now I have an alarm set 2x a day so that I know when those, the emails arrive at 9:30am and then I think it’s 2:30. There’s one that’s when I’m still sleeping so I ignore that one.

J: Yeah.

T: And another of my guest told me that, and I don’t remember if it’s here she had this point but it’s important to respond to the hard query to the email that comes out within 15 minutes. Has that been your experience? Do you set alarms? Do you know when these things are coming in? Or do you just kinda like remember to check? Or how does it work?

J: I have the query coming to my 2 email addresses, my personal email address which sound an alarm on my cellphone and my business email address. And yes I check that immediately when they come in, scan them immediately to see if there are any responses that are perfectly suited for me. I have a few emails that I have set coz a lot of them you shall find the queries although they’re completely random a lot of them might follow a similar type format it might be asking a similar type thing. So I actually have responses to the queries that I may just have to twitch that and be able to send them out almost immediately. I can only imagine that when these queries come out especially from good ones like say USA Today or Wall Street Journal. They must get thousands of responses, literally thousands of responses and there’s no way that the writer is going to read every single one of these responses.

I think that the key is getting on there quickly no. 1 and having a good headline no. 2. You gotta have something in the headline that’s going to make them want to open the email otherwise you’re gonna be buried along with everyone else. It’s all the same as applying for a job. When we put out an ad for a position in our company there are times we’ve got thousand resumes. And you cannot go through every single one of them. You start soon as they come out, you probably gonna read the first 15 or 20 of them but after that you’re just gonna start getting one down based on what’s the title of the email.

T: So let’s talk about the headline for a minute. So I’m looking at the harrow email that came in probably while we’re doing this one hour ago so just before we started this. High tech crowd funding experts is the first one. So for me I would have or I have been replying with re: crowd funding expert. You’re not doing that I’m guessing.

J: No.

T: Alright.

J: I responded in the one this morning right before our telephone call and it was without pulling it up what was the aha moment of your business. And I’ve actually already talked about sort of the aha moment of my business, getting that appraisal but I responded to it probably within about 5 minutes after receiving the harrow query and the title of it was one big whapping aha moment for you.

T: Aha, so you used some of their words but then you sensationalized it a bit so that it would stand out from all the idiots like me who are applying with re: what is the aha moment of your business.

J: Now I can’t say whether or not it’s gonna get used but I can almost guarantee it’s gonna get read. And it would turn great when it was reported.

T: Wow excellent. So another golden nugget for me right there.

J: And the reason is just looking at in my left and right I have 3 screens in front of me so I can see my other email in the other screens.

T: Yeah I’ve got a couple of screens here as well so if I’m looking down I’m writing notes. If I’m looking over here I’m looking at my laptop.

J: And you know what this might be another actually great tidbit for entrepreneurs and that is when I got 2 screens installed in my office I felt like my productivity nearly helped. The easy thing having more than 1 screen I like it so much that I had my TV pull himself a 3rd screen. Now I’ve got 3 screens in front of me. And if you work a lot with spreadsheet for example especially if you got an online business there’s nothing better than having 3 different topics going on all at the same time on your screen.

T: Well I use a really big monitor and I think it’s big enough that it’s basically like 2 screens, I just have 2 browsers and then I have my email running over on my laptop coz I try and do not look at my email generally till around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Coz email for me it’s such a distraction. I get so many of them and it takes me away from producing the content and if I don’t produce content that would be like you not selling pearls. Content is my pearls.

J: Yeah but you must be very buried at 3:00.

T: You know I’ve done a pretty good job with filters and I have 3 different email accounts and certain people gets one and another people gets other ones. It’s far from perfect but it’s working for me at this point in time.

J: And just no support.

T: With that said it’s not like I have a 100,000 people a month coming to my website, hopefully it’ll get, but it’ll be a worse problem when that happens.

J: Get on with that social media, Trent, you’ll get there.

T: Yap absolutely. Alright so anything else, any other silver bullets or golden nuggets on PR before we move on to SEM and SEO?

J: I think we’ve pretty much covered it.

T: Okay. So we know that social media is 25-30% of your sales so that’s 5 to 6 1/2 million bucks a year just by spending an hour a day for years on social media so big payback. PR any idea what percentage of sales is coming from PR coz it’s probably kind of hard to track unless you’re like a tracking link niche ninja?

J: Well it is hard to track but I can say it has been worth millions and millions of dollars, just to be on Wall Street Journal article was worth millions for us. But yes definitely hard to track except for the time when we get what we call it a big hit for example. Like if we’re on say a television show like we were on Oprah for example you would be able to track that simply because the website crashed. But for the most part it’s sort of like all of this is over. We’re always sending things out to magazines. I’m always taking interviews whenever they come. And you really never know what’s going to happen. But sometimes you’ll get a good hit and it will almost be like a domino effect and you’ll start getting other calls from other people or you get a piece of a magazine and they even get to the cover or something like that. You never know which one is going to be a big hit so it’s again something that you just have to commit to and dedicate to. Sort of like the works.

T: Okay. So let’s go to SEM and SEO coz those 2 are very different, SEM is generally pay per click traffic and SEO is generally organic traffic.

J: Right.

T: What percentage of your’s traffic is coming from paid traffic and what percentage is coming from SEO?

J: Well with SEO it’s a bit difficult to tell because of course that’s organic. Some of these are trackable, some of these isn’t. The PPC is very easy to track with analytic. And it’ll vary month to month but to give you an idea we typically spend around $20,000 a month on pay per click advertising. During the holiday month we can spend a $100 to $150,000. So each one of those clicks will cost us about a $1 to $1.50 depending on what time of the year it is. So we’ll be looking at about 20,000 visits on an average per month from PPC.

T: Okay.

J: On the SEO side which of course is again very, very valuable but a lot of work, we are etched in the search engines, we’re no. 2 for the word pearls right after wikipedia, we’re no. 1 for things like Nagoya pearls, Asia pearls, all the different genres that we sell. So a tremendous amount of traffic comes organically as well.

T: Okay. Sorry I’m was just punching it and spelling the word pearls when you were saying that. Your SEM has not over the last say year coz the search engine world google has changed a lot as they always do.

J: Oh they can’t.

T: And they have been particularly aggressive or at least so it seems in this past say or even 6 months, have you noticed much of a change? For example, a lot of people using SEO have been pretty aggressive in building manufactured links, article marketing, form marketing, press releases, link wheels, yadadi yadadi ya. Did you do any of that stuff?

J: No. The thing when updated what you were referring to that destroyed a lot of websites, a lot of my competitors fell tremendously in the ranking but a couple of them more or less disappeared. There are just links anywhere, natural linking is really important. Now there are a lot of SEO companies out there that practice into the grey areas. They probably reached to the top of the ranking. And in the past it very well been successful doing that but what they’ll do is they will like you said basically manufacture a link all over the internet whether be in comments, spam or forum, on blogs, that sort of things. We’ve never done that.

What we try to do is go after links to get it more organic fashion. Blogs for example, blogs are a big part of our SEO strategy. What we’ve done over the past few years is we research a lot of blogs online that seem like they might be a good tip for our company and then we contact the bloggers and say can we host a contest on your blog. We’d like to send you a piece of pearl jewelry. You tell your readers exactly what you think about the piece of pearl jewelry and then we’ll give one away to your readers. And we’ve done this literally on hundreds of different blogs and every one of those blogs link back to our website but they do it more of organic fashion. They’re not just putting a link in the middle of it said pearl paradise where we were say for example we were buying links from these blogs. That’s how it would appear. And so when the penguin update did happen it sort of solidified my approach to the way we do this because we weren’t damaged at all by the penguin update. In fact we were helped and we knew we were doing things at the right way.

T: Yeah no kidding. The contest on the other people’s blogs that’s a strategy I haven’t heard of before now, ding ding ding and another golden nugget. And I wanna dive more into that one a little bit.

J: Sure.

T: So first of all, researching the blog how can we talk about that people can figure out how to find a blog and see just google around that’s not very difficult to find blogs in your niche.

J: I would say there is a bit of side to that. And the reason that you will want to have like your google toolbar installed. You wanna make sure that the blog you’re reaching out to is a blog that basically google likes. You know they may have a high page ranking. You’ll wanna reach out the blog that make it inadvertently reach out to one niche is blacklisted on google and if that’s right about your product. So we specifically look for blogs with good page ranking and blogs that have a lot of twitter followers and blogs that have a lot of facebook followers. Those are the 3 things that we look for when we choose blogs to reach out to.

T: Do you look at the alexa rank at all?

J: Not the alexa rank.

T: Nope? Okay.

J: Alexa ranking is usually pretty low for blogs just as rank is pretty low for blogs.

T: Yeah.

J: For most part, for mommy blogs or mommy bloggers are the primary bloggers that we reach out for as much as possible.

T: So mommy blogs. So lots of social proof and the approval of uncle google and you’re good to go.

J: Right.

T: Okay. So then you make contact with the mommy behind the mommy blog. Generally I’m assuming you just email them.

J: Yeah absolutely.

T: What do you say?

J: Well when I first started this program I personally let it up because I didn’t know who was going to be worth it or not. I didn’t know how many people would respond to me. And I just reached out to them and sent them an email and said “hey, my name is Jeremy Shepherd. I own I read over your blog. I think your blog would be a great place for us to give away pearls to your readers. Can I send you this strand of pearls for free and you write about them. Tell your readers what you think and offer to give away a strand of pearls on your website.” Nobody said no. It’s simple.

And we’ve been sending a strand of pearls that may cost us anywhere from for a pair of earrings for example that might only cost us $20-25. And the way the contest usually work is and if they don’t understand how to run this sort of contest we can explain this to them, their followers can leave a comment for one entry, they’ll go to our website, they’ll look over our website saying what is their favorite thing on our website and leave that in the comment section on the blog. That’s an entry. They can tweet about the contest on their twitter account. That’s another entry. They can post a message on facebook about the contest. That’s another entry. And they can post about it, repost about it on their blog. That’s another entry.

So we had contests before for a simple pair of earrings that may generate thousands and thousands of entries and thousands of tweets, hundreds of facebook posts, hundreds and hundreds of comments in the comment section of the blog just for basically a few dollars.

T: How are you managing the contest because you gotta track all these entries?

J: We don’t manage the contest. The blog owner manages the contest. The blog owner just tells us who won the contest.

T: Okay.

J: And there are different apps and things like that on blog that they can use to do that and they do.

T: Yeah there are as a matter of fact. And I interviewed a guy by the name of Travis Ketchum a while ago and I think we actually did a master class, we have one on the works, and he’s got a wordpress plugin called contest domination, plug for you Travis, that works phenomenally well. And he actually has a case study on how a make up company used his plugin and they wanted to get 5,000 new email addresses they end up getting almost 7,500 new email addresses as a result of the contest. I’m gonna be using his plugin coz I haven’t even officially launched Bright Ideas yet and somehow I wanna pick your brand a little bit on that one when we’re done.

J: But you said contest domination is the name of it?

T: Yes.

J: Okay I’ll just write it down and I’ll check it out after this call.

T: Yeah. And listeners I mean it’s like $37 to buy the plugin. It’s not expensive. Now what he’s also doing, I don’t know well I don’t know if I should say it or not coz it’s not launched yet, he’s got another bigger, better, badder version of that coming out. So that’s all I’ll say at this point in time coz I don’t wanna breach any trust of stuff that he’s told me in the confidence of a private conversation. But he was very successful with this plugin and it still sells a lot of plugins everyday.

J: Well definitely I’ll check it out.

T: Contester obviously. So what if someone doesn’t have a physical product like let’s look at we’ll just use an information marketer like me. I’ve got nothing to ship anybody but I’ve got really great content. How could I run contests or how can I get other bloggers to run contests and how can I incent them in the way that you’ve kind of done without having pearls to send?

J: Well I may take some strategizing. But I think there’s quite a few things you could do. You could offer to write for blogs first of all. Create information which is what blogs are. But not only could you write for blogs but you would definitely wanna target blogs that are specific to what you do. But like entrepreneurs for example, you could offer contests an hour of your time for business coaching for someone that wants to start their own business. We all have a product whether it be a physical product, whether it be information, either way business product.

T: Yeah absolutely.

J: So figure out a way to strategize and sell or give away again coz it is social media give away your product.

T: I give away memberships.

J: Yeah.

T: And they’re even less expensive for me than pearls are for you. Yet another gold, I think you might be taking the world record or the Bright Ideas record on golden nuggets here so far Jeremy so kudos to you.

J: Glad to help.

T: I really hope that people who started at the beginning of this interview listen to the whole thing and when I do send the email out to everyone I’m really gonna drill home. And you guys gonna hang around by the end of the interview coz there’s some good stuff, some really good stuff.

J: Well thank you Trent.

T: Alright so why don’t I wanna finish off with you. There are so many other questions that I didn’t get to ask you yet. So we haven’t talked about fulfillment, we haven’t talked about team building, we talked a fair amount about marketing. You tell me where is your next, I’m on another golden nugget out of you before we finish so shall we talk about coz fulfillment, I mean 20 million pearls, you got stuff moving all over the place. But team building I don’t know which one do we wanna go on?

J: Wow, you know fulfillment is basically the core of our business and we’ve done promotions, we did a promotion for example Dec. 7, 2010 and sold 33,000 units in one day. How do you fulfill this?

T: Let’s go down that road.

J: It’s almost the topic for a whole another interview.

T: Deal.

J: I’m sorry.

T: Deal. Let’s do another interview on fulfillment.

J: And actually how to do that promotion would almost be another topic for an interview as well. We did $240 million in sales in one day for that promotion.

Teambuilding I think is also very important and we do that equally. And just a couple of pieces, we meet every morning for 5 minutes in the morning where each one of us states what we are going to accomplish that particular day. And we hold each other accountable to it every single day. We meet once a week for an hour and we recognize each individual accomplishment for the week prior. And we meet once a quarter to strategize when each individual team member is going to get done for that quarter and take responsibility for that particular quarter.

And then we have a sort of master dashboard that we got from a company called and we track of all these goals and anytime somebody falls behind in their goal or doesn’t keep up with the timeline the dashboard changes colors to that particular goal and so the rest of the team see where somebody else might be needing some help and comes and help those other people.

Other than that we do company trips. We’ve gone on cruises, we’ve gone on to Las Vegas just to build a team that builds camaraderie between the employees. And I think that as any successful entrepreneur with a company will tell you, building a company on your own is really really difficult but if you can motivate and build a team around you that is not only loyal but dedicated to their job and enjoys what they do, you’re going to be a lot more successful.

T: Yeah absolutely. Richard Branson who I’m a big fan of, that’s his big thing. I mean if you’re gonna be a successful entrepreneur and you can’t get people happily, cheerfully all rowing in the same direction, good luck to you.

J: Absolutely.

T: Alright so on that note we’ll finish off this interview coz it’s already been a long one. I wanna thank you very much. It’s been fantastic. I’ve got pages full of notes here of all the things that I think I need to be taking away from this interview. Social media, being chief among them I think. And I’m sure the listeners here, by the way if someone wants to get a hold of you easiest way to do that is what?

J: Email It’s pretty simple.

T: Yeah like no one could ever guess that one. Alright and Jeremy I would love to have you back on the show to talk about that 2 and a quarter million dollar promotion. And I think there’s a number of master classes that you could teach so you know I’m gonna be up for that in the email after this episode.

J: It would be my pleasure.

T: Alright thanks very much. And to all you listeners and watchers however you’re consuming this content thank you very much. Without you I’ve got no business to run. And if you think that this was a really awesome interview please tweet it or share it or pinterest or whatever way to try and help spread the word because there’s somebody out there whose business isn’t firing on all cylinders just right now and they’re waking up and they’re stressed and they’re wondering what to do and maybe it’s this interview that’s gonna inspire them with a new solution or a new strategy that they can use to help dig themselves out of that hole or just simply take their business to the next level. So please share this interview and the others with people who you think might benefit from it. Alright thanks so much. Many more interviews to come. Many more master classes to come out too soon.

Alright if you wanna check out the show notes for this episode just go over to And I also want to mention if you head over to and enter your email address you are gonna get free access to my massive traffic tool kit. Now if you don’t know what that is the massive traffic tool kit is the compilation of all of the very best ideas that have been shared with me by all of the experts or many of the experts who have been here on Bright Ideas. And the very best part about this tool kit is that you don’t need to be some kind of guru, SEO guru or traffic guru to be able to do the things that are gonna be taught to you in the massive traffic tool kit. Regardless of your skill level you’ll have no trouble implementing these strategies but they are a very bright set of strategies. And by the way you get that at

So this brings us to the end of this episode. I’m your host, Trent Dyrsmid. Well if you could do me a small favor if you really enjoyed this episode please go over to itunes and give it a 5 star rating and even better just leave a little comment. The more of the listeners that give the show a rating the higher it goes in the itunes store and then of course the more people that see it and the more people that we can touch and help with all of the free information that’s shared here by the expert guests on the Bright Ideas podcast. Alright so thank you very much for watching or listening, however you consumed this. If you have a comment or thoughts that you wanna share please make sure that you do so in the comment form at the bottom of this page. We’ll see you in the next episode. Take care and have a wonderful day.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

Generate Millions in Online Revenue Using Social Media & PR

How To Maximize Your Investment in PR

PR plays a very large role in Jeremy’s success. Image source:

Jeremy credits an investment in PR as his best initial traffic-generating move.  This was a catalyst that took really began to generate tremendous traffic to his website, and it’s a strategy he continues to make the most of to this day.

You’ll hear Jeremy describe what works for him with PR, and learn tips to maximizing your investment in this area, whether you’re outsourcing PR or instead investing internal time.

Listen to the show to find out Jeremy’s PR strategies. Top 3 Revenue-Generating Strategies From Someone Who Built an Online Empire

Jeremy shares that PR is his #2 strategy for bringing revenue to his site.

To learn #3 and #1, listen to the podcast.

Here’s a hint: one of them is social media.  But Jeremy doesn’t do social media in quite the same way that most companies do.  In fact, he shares his perspective of the mistake that most companies make with social media.

Find out if you’re making this mistake when you listen to the interview.

How to Build a Multimillion Dollar Online Empire

Jeremy has made it a part of his daily routine to study other business leaders. Image source:

Over the course of building his company up to the empire that it now is, Jeremy learned a great deal.  After all, when he first started selling pearls, he was still working as a flight attendant!  He learned much through the process of owning and running his business, but he also found a clever way to make time for outside knowledge and learn from other business experts.

You know that I think learning from others is crucial if you want to build or grow a serious business – hence Bright Ideas!  Podcasts are a great way to learn new information.  So are business books, and Jeremy shares his top recommendations in the area of web design and business .

Listen to the show to find out how Jeremy made time to learn business strategies that would radically grow his business.

The Ultimate SEO Strategy

Hear Jeremy talk about his proven natural SEO strategies.  Jeremy divulges what he does to have bloggers jump on board and happily promote his products to their readers.  He also shares what criteria he uses to choose the best blogs to approach, and a template for how to approach them.

Listen to the show to find out more about Jeremy’s killer SEO strategy.

About Jeremy

By the ripe old age of 33, Jeremy Shepherd was able to build a $20 million on-line empire known as To this day, he does very little advertising. His unique company’s success is based primarily on word of mouth, honest respectability and helpful service that Shepherd cultivates as carefully as his beloved pearls.

He now enjoys a worldwide reputation for his uncompromising quality standards and farm-direct prices. has been featured in such high profile magazines as Newsweek, Inc., and Entrepreneur. Although his company continues to grow exponentially, Jeremy Shepherd still delights in traveling to the far flung reaches of the globe to personally handpick and inspect each and every pearl for his customers.

Most people know that a pearl starts out as a tiny bead, around which many layers must form. It acquires its beauty and luster only through the passage of time, which is why it has become a legendary symbol of wisdom. It could be considered appropriate that the pearl also happens to provide the perfect metaphor for what Jeremy Shepherd has striven to achieve throughout his life.


What Would You Do If Your Employees Turned On You? My Story Revealed on

What would you do if your employees turned on you?

If you are a CEO, this is probably something you think about from time to time. How would you handle it? Are there things that you should be doing now to ensure it never happens?

Well, guess what? It happened to me back in 2008 when I was running my last company, and in the Mixergy interview below, I share, for the first time, exactly what happened, how I dealt with it, and how it all turned out. Hopefully, by sharing my story with you, you will be able to avoid at least some of the awful mistakes that I made in my maiden voyage as a CEO.

(Note: I also interviewed Andrew Warner of Mixergy. You can find that interview here.)


Digital Marketing Strategy: How To Build and Sell Premium WordPress Plugins (and make $100,000 in 90 days) with Travis Ketchum

Are you looking for a way to quickly build a list of qualified buyers for premium WordPress plugins?

Would you like to discover a method for building a software product that does not require you to be a programmer?

To discover how to build a WordPress Plug-in AND hear how my guest brought in over $100,000 in just 90 days, I interview Travis Ketchum for this episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Travis Ketchum, Founder of Contest Domination, an Entrepreneur and extremely smart marketer.

Watch Now

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Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Trent Dyrsmid: Would you like to create your own software product but you don’t know how to write any code? Today’s guest built a WordPress plug-in whose launch was so successful it did $100,000 in its first week and it continues to passively bring in $3,000-5,000 a month in revenue and he’s going to share with us exactly how he made that happen.Finally, if you don’t have a big list and you want your launch to be a success, you’re going to love hearing how my guest made that happen for him. All this and so much more.Hey, Travis, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for making the time to do the interview with me.Travis

Ketchum: Yes, thanks for having me on. I’m happy to be here.Trent: As I mentioned to you before we started to record, you and I have a mutual friend, a guy by the name of Chris Guthrie. [sp] Chris was kind enough to make an introduction to you. This all kind of came about after I heard an interview you did on another site where you had some pretty spectacular success by launching a software product. It was a plug-in as a WSO. Real quick, how much revenue did you do with that?Travis: Yes, with Contest Domination as a WSO, we did a little over $100,000 in sales over just a couple months so that was pretty exciting.Trent: A hundred grand, that’s pretty awesome. This was like, what, your 10th or 12th WSO?

Travis: It was my first WSO.

Trent: Confession: I knew it was his first but damn, dude, that is awesome. That is absolutely spectacular. Did you have any idea when you went into this that that amount of revenue was going to be possible for your first WSO?

Travis: No. I mean, I didn’t know anything about WSO. I had seen people do them and people like Chris had told me, “You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to launch a WSO. There’s good money there,” I looked at them and usually the sales pages look kind of clunky because it’s in a forum. I was like, “How much money are these guys really doing on these things?”

They just don’t look like they would perform that well because they fly in the face of everything you expect from a high-converting sales page. We sold like 2,000 in the first 24 hours, 2,000 copies of the software so that blew me away.

Trent: That’s 2,000 new customers into your sales funnel, which there’s all sorts of fantastic things about that and we’ll get into that a little bit later. Before we get into that, I know there’ll be people listening to this show who have never made a dime online and there’ll be people listening to this show who have an existing business but they are struggling with, “Well, how do I get more leads for my business?”

The reason I thought this would be such a great interview is one of the things that people who aren’t familiar with WSO’s might not understand is they’re not only good for making money when you sell stuff but they’re also really, really good for generating leads so we’re going to get into all that.

You had a strategy of not trying to make money on the launch and just getting leads, I mean, giving 100% of whatever was paid on the WSO to the affiliates just for a lead grab.

Travis: Yes, yes, absolutely.

Trent: We’re going to get into all of those details here in just a few minutes but I don’t know you very well, well, I don’t know you at all. This is our, really, first live conversation. We’ve traded a few e-mails. I know my audience probably doesn’t know you so tell us a little bit about your background. You probably went to school and had this vision of corporate life or what have you. I don’t know. How did you get started?

Travis: I don’t know if I had a vision of corporate life per se. I was definitely an entrepreneur kid. I was the one going around, everyone else wanted to go hang out at the beach and I wanted to do that too, but I was more motivated to mow 10 yards and wash 50 cars and grind out an extra buck, even though I didn’t have anything specific I wanted to buy with it. I just knew that if I hustled I had money, if I had money I had options and that started really young.

I did go to school for marketing at Washington State University. I started my first business, actually, when I was in high school, my senior year, after I turned 18, which did pretty well. It went like gangbusters for a few months and all it really ended up being was a arbitrage play in eBay where I was drop shipping hundreds of laptops a day at narrow margins but it scaled well.

Trent: Really?

Travis: Yes. That worked pretty well for awhile until two things happened. One, more people caught on to the opening of the market and so margins were getting pinched. And then, two, this was in 2006, and eBay had a rush about midway through the summer of fake bidders. They were going to “but it now”. It was ending the purchase cycle but it was a fake bid and they were like, “Oh, I’m sending the money through Western Union,” which is obviously not OK.

It went from insanely profitable to kind of profitable to actually costing money just because of the time and effort of going through arbitration with eBay about, “Hey, this wasn’t a real bidder,” and just screwed it all up. I was 18 and I was like, “Hey, I just made way too much money for being an 18 year-old,” I had to pull the plug on it.

Went to school knowing that I wanted to start something else but I wasn’t quite sure what yet. Someone turned me on to Shoe Money. I was like, “Man, there’s got to be some more options here,” I dabbled with a few other ideas that didn’t go anywhere. They were crap.

Trent: Give us an example because we all come up with crap ideas in the beginning.

Travis: One of the ones that I was most jazzed about, I was like a freshman in college, is I wanted to call it DropBox and I actually owned a typo on the domain DropBox because DropBox hadn’t really been launched yet. That wasn’t like a common brand like it is now. The idea of it wasn’t software for synching.

The idea was I saw all the Greek systems creating t-shirts and I thought it would be cool if you had an online configurator for t-shirts where, if it was a frat or a sorority, they would fill out a profile ahead of time and advertisers could subsidize the cost of the t-shirt printing.

Like if you’re doing an event shirt like for a rafting weekend, maybe Coca-Cola say, “Hey, our male consumption 18-24 isn’t as high as we would like,” and they could subsidize the cost of printing fraternity t-shirts or group events. So if normally your shirt would be $12.00 a shirt based on your volume, maybe Coke wants to pay a couple bucks to buy a sleeve or buy the backside, obviously, a lot of moving parts there and sponsorship problems. Yes, that’s an idea that I spent time on that just went absolutely nowhere.

Trent: How much revenue, like goose egg?

Travis: I never even actually fully launched it. I got to the stages of qualifying what it should be and all of my advisors at school were like, “This is a terrible idea. You should just not ever do this.”

Trent: OK. Like everybody else in the beginning, you didn’t light the world on fire. How did you get to the point where you thought, “I’ve never built software before but I’m going to make software.” Or maybe you had built software before. I’m actually some things which I shouldn’t do. How did this Contest Domination idea get up in your head?

Travis: A series of events happened that kind of put me into the affiliate world and as I got more comfortable and familiar with it in my own kind of affiliate mini campaigns, nothing crazy, I ended up being a JV manager for a couple different people because I could always talk to people and make a biz-dev type deal. So because of that, I’ve kind of had this intense focus on performance-based software and marketing.

I was watching all of these people that were willing to share things like Groupon and everything else where they were incentivized to share and the amazing power that had for leads. Then I looked at the readily available kind of prepackaged contest market and most of the stuff there I didn’t feel like was hitting the nail on the head because it either did one of two things.

It either only rewarded the user for the act of sharing and not the performance that came from it, so that doesn’t reward your influencers that can maybe tweet once and give you an extra 100 leads. That only rewards people that are on every social profile but might not actually have a following. Or they were overly complicated, where it’s like to get points you’d have to go create a YouTube video with a backlink or you’d have to do all this crazy stuff which, again, only rewarded someone who had the time to do that.

I wanted something that was simple, that was e-mail-based as far as collecting entries and if an influencer came through, like if Michael Arrington decided to enter a contest and tweets it out and it takes him less than a minute, that’s obviously infinitely more valuable than even 300 maybe qualified people taking the time to create a YouTube video for you with no following.

I thought that if I could focus in on something that was performance-based yet simple, that there might be something better. Then I started the journey of finding a developer and a designer and trying to put the pieces together.

Trent: We’re going to get into that. I want to hang around here this idea, the genesis of the idea for a minute. At this point in time, you’ve never built any software. You don’t write code, I’m assuming.

Travis: I don’t write code. The closest I ever really came to writing code, and I said this in the Mixergy interview too, is being like a stubborn, defiant nerd in high school. Instead of learning, back of my hand, most of the formulas you were supposed to memorize, even though I was good at memorization, instead of spending the few minutes to just memorize the formula, I figured out how to write the applications on my TI-83+.

It would just ask for the variables and then spit out in long form the solution so it was perfect every time. The thing that used to make me angry is I would mess up little, basic math stuff sometimes, like in the sequencing and it would screw up my end result. I’d get dinged the whole way through it. I got really upset about that, so I would write and bug test these apps that would ask for the variables and spit out the perfect answer every time. Then I would go through and just make small, little errors at the end so that I didn’t get 100% because they didn’t like us to do that.

Trent: Yes. I don’t even know what a TI-3 is. What is that?

Travis: It was the Texas Instruments, the high-end graphing calculators and you could actually write your own codes. It wasn’t crazy. We’re talking maybe 15, 20 lines to make it all happen but I was like going through the manual that comes with to figure out how to write an application that would graph or show me in long form how I got an answer so I could then write it on the test. I guess that’s technically cheating.

Trent: OK, You’re really not a software developer.

Travis: No.

Trent: You decided that you wanted to create some software. Tell me a little bit about just kind of the psychology that went into it because a lot of people who, and I know I’ve fallen victim to this, I thought about building software years ago and I’m like, “Well, I don’t know how to build any software,” so I never did anything with it. What was it that gave you the belief system that made you think, “Yes, I could do this”? Did you have someone in the mastermind? Did you have a mentor? How did that happen?

Travis: I knew that the way I was currently doing things, which was very much tied to opportunities of working for someone else was only scalable so far. I knew that if I wanted to scale my income and I wanted to scale the end production of my time, it would require some kind of unit, software unit of some kind. I went beyond just trading hours for dollars. Even though I was working for myself and that was great, I knew I needed some function that could accelerate that.

That’s only really possible through software to extend your total production value and you had to own it. So to own it, that means it has to be developed under your company so you have to hire a developer and a designer but to me that was a worthwhile risk because if you do the same thing you’ve always done, you’ll get the same results you’ve always gotten, right?

Trent: Yes.

Travis: I kind of went on this little bit of a witch hunt so that was my main driving mission is like, “I don’t care what it takes. I have to figure out a way to get a quality developer, a decent designer, to help me make a product that actually solves a real problem.” Finding the real problem was actually the easy part. Then it became the execution of it.

I asked people that had done it well, I was fortunate enough to have the Chris Gutherie’s in my life that have done something like that before to kind of set the ground work of what’s even involved, to give you kind of an overview. There are still quite a few blanks to fill in but it’s such a worthwhile thing to do.

Trent: And what were you doing to put food on the table? Obviously you’re at zero revenue from your software at this point in time, so were you just running JV’s and working for other people?

Travis: Yes. I was promoting some different JV programs for some speakers and authors. I had my blog, which I had written about just kind of my experiences doing that and what successful campaigns have looked like in the JV world. Then obviously there’s a handful of affiliate type things so I wrote simple guides like “How to Set Up WordPress on Bluehost,” the affiliate Bluehost, little things like that, affiliate links and stuff like that was enough to cover my base plus a little. It gave me enough breathing room to make a bet on developing my own thing.

Trent: OK. Let’s go into the development process. The very first thing that you had to do before you ever go to hire a developer or a designer was what?

Travis: Decide what had the greatest profit potential while solving the biggest market problem that wasn’t currently being solved. Most people that are entrepreneurs have thousands and thousands of ideas. At some point through the day there’s just fire. You can’t help it. There’s like, “Oh, this would be cool,” or, “This would be cool,” and just keying down to kind of like saying, “Maybe that’s not as cool as I thought it was,” or, “Yes, this is really cool,” and you looked it up and there’s already 10 people doing it.

Just kind of qualifying down that lead list of ideas until you get to maybe 5 or 10 that sound like they have some promise and then going through your due diligence process of, “How big is the market, really? How much do people make that are in my marketplace? Can they afford to buy what I want to build them but not quite afford to build it themselves from scratch?” Figuring out the different market information like that and then deciding, “OK, this is something I want to build. I think it’ll be successful. The price points seem to be bearable by the marketplace. Now how do I build it and bring it to them? How do I get it in front of that audience?” is the next part of it.

Trent: How did you figure out who your market was going to be and how did you figure out if they were going to be able to afford it or not?

Travis: It’s relatively open data, especially for WSO-type launches. People were loving to buy WordPress plugins. WordPress is obviously a popular platform and I saw a use for it not only in the Internet marketing space but for – I’m going to say this loosely – real businesses and regular businesses have a use for contests as well so I thought, “OK. I can focus on the Internet marketing space to launch this but there’s growth ability above and beyond that.”

WordPress seemed like a natural first step because it was relatively cost effective to produce. People could understand it. It was simple to use and that gave me data on what people are willing to pay for a list-building WordPress plank.

Trent: How did you find out what they were willing to pay? Was it because you were looking at what else was selling and looking at the price points?

Travis: Yes.

Trent: OK. All right.

Travis: So that gave me a ballpark of where it could sell and then I also looked at ClickBank, which is the main marketplace I launched in to start with and I saw that most things there were selling for $97.00, $147.00. There’s another contest software out there for $147.00. I thought, if I wanted to expand on an Internet marketing space and I want to get the Mom&Pop shops in this, I don’t think they’re willing to spend $150.00 to then pony up their own prize and so on and so forth, so I priced it low. Even on the ClickBank side of things I priced it at $37.00.

I knew that if they were interested and they sought out a contest solution, that if $100.00 is what they’re willing to bear and I can make it better and make it $37.00 and the math on my Excel sheets still says I can turn a profit, we might have a winner.

Trent: Yes. OK.

Travis: That was the train of thought anyway.

Trent: OK. So you’ve researched it. You’ve conceptualized. You still had to figure out, because you can’t just go to a developer and say, “Hey, I have this idea in my head. Make it,” so there’s still some stuff that happened before you could actually engage a developer. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Travis: Sure. I think pretty visually so when I think about an idea, it kind of starts forming in my head, loosely, kind of like a foggy picture but it’s there. Like I said on Mixergy, I actually took a really basic, kind of like Paint program, like the equivalent to Microsoft Paint but it’s a free one for the Mac. I did a really ugly, hideous wireframe of kind of like, “This is what a user would hit in step one. This is what a user would hit in step two,” and then just try to conceptualize it in words what I was trying to achieve.

Then I gave that to a developer and said, “Hey, do you understand what I’m trying to build here? Can you bring it back to me in developer-speak – ‘if this then that’ – kind of talk and make sure we’re on the same page? If we are, how much will it cost me for you to develop this?”

Trent: OK. You had something that was enough information that whoever you were going to hire was basically going to be able to grasp the idea.

Travis: At least get the gist of what I was trying to do and maybe fill in a few of the blanks.

Trent: Your first developer, it didn’t work out so well, did it?

Travis: No because I went cheap and it bit me in the butt.

Trent: It’s a valuable lesson so if you don’t mind sharing it, I’d love it if you would explain what you did wrong maybe.

Travis: Sure. At first, since I was on my own, I was totally self-financing it. It was kind of a solo gig. I was like, “OK. I know I need to spend money but I don’t know how much. Less is better if I can get away with it,” and that is the wrong kind of thought, I now know.

I wanted to start by just asking my network because I do have a decent amount of one or two tier away connections so I thought, “Hey, I’ll just throw it out there I’m looking for a WordPress developer. If anyone has a good recommendation, make an intro please,” and I put it on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

I know a guy who is a Google app engine developer who has a pretty big following on Google+ and he’s like, “Hey, I’ll repost it and I’ll see if I can’t get someone for you.” I got a referral through him who I later found out they didn’t even really know each other, that he just happened to be, bumped into each other on Google+, which is kind of a weird community to start with. I got this referral and he gave me a cheap price and Chris referred me to someone and he gave me a much higher price. I’m like, “These are pretty dramatically different.”

Trent: What were the prices?

Travis: The cheap price was $750.00 and the expensive price was like $4,000.

Trent: OK. That’s a big spread.

Travis: Yes. There was one other person that was kind of in between but they even, just flaked out. I was like, “OK. Well, so it’s really just these two options without having to scavenge the Internet to find a development agency.” A lot of time agencies are people that have a big reputation for developing marketing-related products will be like, “Oh, $20,000,” something crazy, so I went with the $750.00 guy and that was one of the worst experiences of my life.

Not only did he infinitely delay it to start with but then the code he gave me was total, utterly useless crap. The way I tried to explain it when I passed both developers ultimately, booked both offers to make it, as I said, “I realize that I’m a little more technical than most people but I need to you build this as though a 15 year-old, female, fashion blogger in Florida or wherever is trying to set up a contest on her blog, she needs to be able to use it. That’s how simple it needs to be. Just upload, unzip. Like we all know, install, activate, fill in the blanks and you’re good to go.” That’s what it should have been.

The first developer’s idea of that type of usability was like going into your C-panel, installing PHP Scripts, even stuff that I’m like, “What? How do I do…?” and I’m not an idiot. I work with hosting quite frequently even I was like, “Are you kidding me? I can’t use this. This is totally unusable.” There was a big debate as far as him delivering or not. It was just a mess.

I went to the new developer and was like, “Hey, I know you’re more expensive. I know I should have come to you in the first place. Can you use this code? I paid for it,” and he looked at it and he was like, “It’s garbage, dude. I can’t use any of it.” I ended up paying the $4,000 plus the $750.00, which, shame on me. I deserve to pay a little extra.

The first guy took months to try to get it to me and the more expensive guy, because he was sitting on a big code base of his own from prior projects, it took him days from the time that he said, “I’m starting on it,” to, “Hey, here’s the first beta,” and it was pretty close to done.

Trent: In a couple of days.

Travis: Couple of days. It’s crazy.

Trent: That’s pretty awesome.

Travis: He was that good and he was sitting on that much code. He was good, he had been hired so frequently that a lot of these functions were similar to other projects and his contracts always say he can reuse his own code. He wrote it by hand at one point but he just compiled it and then did some unique things for this plug-in.

Trent: For people who are listening to this who have never built software before, I’d like it if you’d expand on that a little bit because they might not understand this whole process of having objects that are premade and already available and building software, kind of like, Legos. D you want to talk a little more about that?

Travis: Sure. Probably the best analogy I could use, is imagine if you need to do some kind of remodeling project in your house. If you want to do it yourself, you probably don’t have all the tools so you’ve got to drive to the store and get a special kind of hammer and a special kind of nails and, oh, you forgot this other tool.

You’ve got to go back to the store and get a saw blade, whatever. If you hire a carpenter to come in and do it, he shows up, his truck is full of everything he needs and even though it’s a new project, he can knock it out in record time because he knows how to do it and he’s got everything that he’s used in prior projects to do it.

That’s probably the best analogy I can think of because you think about it, “Yes, you can do it. You can save some money but you take a lot of time and you have to get everything you need for the first time.” That’s an infinitely slower process than someone who, that’s what they do. Is that a good explanation?

Trent: Yes. I think that’s an excellent explanation and I think folks who are listening who have never built software before will get that.

Travis: Hopefully they’ve never had to remodel their own wall.

Trent: Yes, that as well. One of my questions, and you’ve already answered it for me, was, what’s the number one mistake that most people make when they’re going to build software? I think I know what the answer is. I think you’ve given the answer but just in case I’m offbase, what do you think the number one mistake is that people make?

Travis: They trip over pennies to try to get dollars. Obviously, in the long run, that $750.00, we make that back in a matter of days now. The $4,000 is roughly a month of income on that plugin now even many months after the launch.

Trent: You mean it’s still doing $4,000 a month for you now?

Travis: It varies. It goes anywhere from $1,500 to $5,000 of profit a month after paying an affiliate without any active promotion, just hanging out.

Trent: Wow. That is because of the ClickBank product that you created?

Travis: Yes.

Trent: We’ll get to all that in a minute. Before we get to there, I want to talk about the WSO – and if anyone’s listening to this, they don’t know what a WSO is, well, I’ll let you explain it. What’s a WSO?

Travis: I didn’t really know what it was either until I decided that this is something I wanted to launch. A WSO is just a warrior special offer, which is the marketplace, essentially, warrior forums, which is a forum dedicated to Internet marketers.

Trent: Most discussion forums you’re not allowed to say, “Hey, buy my stuff,” but in the warrior forum they have this section called “Warrior Special Offer”. I think it’s still $40.00, isn’t it, to run a thread?

Travis: It’s like $50.00.

Trent: Is it $50.00 now? Yes. Boy, the guys are making money running that thing. Anyway, so you pay your $50.00 and you can put up your thread and you can say, “Buy my stuff.” There is a little bit more that goes into it than that. Now you’ve got your product done and you need to sell lots of it, and you did, 2,000 units I think you said, in the first 24 hours.

Travis: First 24 hours of the WSO but the WSO wasn’t the first thing I did.

Trent: OK. Let’s back up. What was the first thing you did?

Travis: The first thing I did is, because I wasn’t even convinced that I wanted to do a WSO yet, I had gone through all of the approval process and everything to get it onto ClickBank. Then I just opened it up to my very small, existing audience and it did a couple thousand dollars in profit in the first month.

It was on ClickBank exclusively for about a month before I did a WSO. I didn’t make all of my money back but I made about half of it back with very little promotion. I was like, “OK. If I can do that once I get some real JV’s onboard with this and do a real launch, then we might actually have something.”

Trent: When you did that very first launch just to your own list, how many people were on your list back then?

Travis: It was kind of embarrassing. I only put it on my blog list, which was like 400 or 500 people. It was like nothing.

Trent: OK. What’d your sales page look like? Was it just a video demonstration of the software and a “buy now” button or what was it like?

Travis: Actually it looks just like it does now because I hired one of my friends to help me crank it out and he did a nice job.

Trent: What’s the URL?

Travis: It has a product image. It goes through the features. Now that I’ve had it in, since then, some social proof now that I have more people using it and I can take snapshots of the actual performance. It’s pretty basic and straightforward, no video, just text and a couple of images.

Trent: Very simple. That’s a thesis theme, it looks like.

Travis: It’s actually not. It’s a custom woofing.

Trent: It is. OK.

Travis: Yes. They did a lot of custom stuff to it though.

Trent: OK. Very cool. You test market it on your own. It did well. Then you thought, “All right. Clearly I have something here that the market likes, that they think is worthwhile. There’s people buying it.” By the way, did you track your conversion rate on this sales page when you ran it to your own list?

Travis: Yes. I’m a numbers guy. With that small of a sample size, it’s pretty inconclusive. At the end of the day, that sales page converts around 4-6%.

Trent: Wow. That’s pretty good.

Travis: With my own list, it’s not even a fair comparison, to be honest, because those people knew me really well. It was a small group. They’d been following me for a couple years and I had kind of teased them that it was coming up so I don’t even want to say the number because it’s totally outlier. It’s irrelevant. I understand why you’re asking but it’s not a number that people should get excited about because it doesn’t indicate the real market success.

Trent: No, but now we’re all curious.

Travis: It did like 30% from my list.

Trent: That’s pretty awesome. That obviously speaks to the relationship that you had with your list. I think that that’s something that’s important for people to understand and that’s why it’s so important to blog or put yourself out there and build a list because this is one of the things that can happen.

Now you thought, “All right. This is a great product. People love it.” You’d sold some copies. You got some feedback from your customers. Was there any revisions to the software that you made between your first release and when you did the WSO?

Travis: No but there was one almost immediately after launching the WSO because once I had thousands of people using it, the squeaky wheels made a lot more noise then.

Trent: All right. We’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s talk about the WSO itself. You’d never done one before. There is a very specific process to creating a successful WSO so at the kind of high-level, in the interest of time, obviously we don’t have time to go into absolute detail, but what are the steps to a successful WSO?

Travis: You talked about credibility and I’m glad you brought that up. I had never, in fact if you look at my profile now, it still says technically 0 posts because it doesn’t count posts on a WSO thread. So I didn’t have my street cred in the Warrior forum. People didn’t know who I was. Everything I was doing was kind of below the radar or for other people. My work was out there but it just didn’t have my name on it so no one really knew who I was.

I was like, “OK. Well, obviously credibility’s huge so let’s find someone who is well-ingrained in the Warrior forum and has repeatedly been successful launching products and let’s just work out a term sheet that makes us both happy.” Essentially they end up being like the JV manager for that particular launch because they’ve got the JV connections.

People trust them on the forums so let’s kind of leverage their brand equity a little bit and their connections and just share the revenue because it’ll be significantly more successful than if I just get on there, blazing, as my own because then I’m just giving a discount to people who just didn’t buy on the first wave of my tiny list. That wasn’t the goal. The goal was new leads, new revenue, new people I’ve never been exposed to before.

I partnered with a guy named Mark Thompson. It was a great experience. He repeatedly gets WSO of the day, which is the product, for those who don’t know, it gets kind of hand-picked as the best product for sale of the day, which then gets further promoted by the forum guy himself.

Mark really helped lay out like, “Hey, we’ve got to do this for the forum. These are the price points. This is how we should tweak your existing funnel to work for a funnel for the Warrior forum and then he just leveraged his connections in a way that was awesome and drove a ton of traffic to the WSO.

Trent: So what did the deal, if you’re at liberty to disclose, and you don’t have to say, obviously, anything you don’t want to, but what did that deal look like with Mark because you didn’t know him before? Did you get referred to him?

Travis: I got a referral to him and I had kind of heard of him before, mainly because he had another list-building product and I just sent him a cold e-mail. I was originally interested in putting his list-building product as an upsell on the ClickBank sales process of Contest Domination. Then over a couple weeks, as I was looking into the WSO and realized that he actually had a big footprint there as well, we decided to, instead of integrating our ClickBank product, to just do a WSO with it because we’d get more leads and more money.

Trent: OK. Essentially there was no relationship there, contacted him. Do you think it was mostly the fact that he looked at the product and thought, “Hey, this is a really kickass product. I know I can sell a lot of this. Sure, I’ll work with this guy that I don’t know,” or was there anything else that happened in there that got him onboard.

Travis: I think he realized the product was a quality product that hadn’t been launched, like nothing like it had been launched in the Warrior forum before, which is important. But I think what ended up happening is we both got on a couple Skype calls and just talked to each other. You have to kind of do a gut check and say, “Is this a decent person? Are they going to do what they say they’re going to do? Can I trust him at least somewhat and is this potentially beneficial?” You have to take a leap of faith.

With him, I kind of get the feeling that he’s a straight shooter. His terms seemed generous that he threw out. I said, “Hey, let’s just jump on it. Let’s do it.” It took just a couple minutes talking on a call after a few e-mails exchanged for us to decide to work together because we quickly found amicable terms and we both felt comfortable with what each other did, I guess.

Trent: What did those terms look like?

Travis: I ended up sharing a percentage of profits that was a large percentage but less than half because I had had the cash outlay myself.

Trent: Yes. You have gross revenue, then you have affiliates getting paid, after that is profit and he got a meaningful percentage of that.

Travis: Correct, Yes.

Trent: OK. And that worked out for you, obviously.

Travis: Yes. He, at the end of the day, probably made more on the product than I did because he had a bigger list to promote it to as well, which counts under the affiliate payment but that’s fine. It’s deserved. It’s his asset and he brought a lot to the table. I feel like it was money very, very well spent.

Trent: I think that that’s something that some people maybe get hung up on. I remember maybe two, three weeks ago, I found these guys that had this software and I thought it might be applicable for one of the niches that I was in. So I called them up and we had this conversation and they didn’t know anything about marketing so I had proposed some ideas and I said, “What do you want to share?” and they said, “Well, 25%.” End of conversation.

I thought to myself, “Man, you guys just don’t get it. Having someone like Mark,” – and I’m dwelling on this because I hope there’s some people listening to this interview who are thinking, “I built it. I should get the bulk of the revenue.” If that’s your thinking, you’re going about it the wrong way. I know why I think that is but, again, I’m interviewing you so I want you to share with the audience why you think being really generous is worth it in the long haul.

Travis: Well, especially if it’s your first product, it’s even more important, I think. You have to look at it this way: it’s guaranteed profitable user acquisition, guaranteed profitable user acquisition. For anyone who’s serious about Internet marketing, they know that the real money is in the list. I’ve made a multiple since then off of the list. I’m not saying that to brag. It’s the legitimate asset that I walked away from with that.

It’s what I can leverage into new products. It’s what I can leverage into a new version of the first product. That’s my list. That’s my communication with my users. That’s my asset. There’s no way, starting out, that I could have added 2,000, 3,000, 4,000 people to my list in a matter of days. Guaranteed profitable on the Internet plus including the promotions that happened after the fact.

So be generous. Reward people for their time because then they’ll want to work with you again too. If you come out with something else, they’ll be like, “Man, I made a killing working with this person. I definitely want to work with them again, no questions asked. I love it. I’m in. Let’s do it,” and you’ll get another wave of thousands of people.

The next thing you know, you have a big list that not only are you making money on your front end launches, but then you’re making $2,000, $4,000, $8,000, $20,000, $30,000 a month off of an e-mail list. That’s not unrealistic if you do it right over time.

Can you tell us a little bit because you talked about the list and you alluded to some of the things that you’ve maybe done since? It sounds like this launch was really a game changer for you because I’m going to guess that your average monthly revenue before this product was launched was a very different number than your average monthly revenue now after the launch, even though the launch is over, so to speak.

You kind of alluded earlier in the interview or maybe it was before we started recording and we were talking, there’s this kind of cash that keeps coming in without a whole lot of promotion. Can you tell us a little bit about why getting that list is so important and then what it is that you’re doing to make this a residual income product?

Travis: Sure. But just to give some context to it, it’s not like I was making chump change before. I was working my tail off for other people and getting compensated well for it. I don’t have to work as hard as that anymore. I put in hours but it’s not as stressful and I make about three times as much, just to give some context, of what I made before and, like I said, it wasn’t terrible money to start with.

Trent: Do you feel like sharing the number?

Travis: Not really. All I’m saying is you can have a decent job and if you can leverage that into a product and a list, you can make exponentially more money for the same amount of time and less stress, in my opinion.

Trent: OK. That should be sufficient to convince people.

Travis: It just works. Trust me. As far as what I’m doing since then to make it more of a residual income is two things. The one, I still have kind of an evergreen sales process for the plugin. It’s still doing quite well because there’s either reviews out there about it that people are sending traffic to the sales page.

On the sidebar of the contest, since it works so well as a tool, people will use it frequently, and on the sidebar is an opt out for them where it says, “Powered by Contest Domination” so we get a handful of hits everyday from people who are running contests and leave that enabled. They can just put in their ClickBank ID and get a commission for it. I’m cool with that.

Trent: Oh, so everyone who’s using the plug-in by default, unless they turn it off, they’re actually an affiliate that’s promoting you.

Travis: They have to put in their ClickBank ID so by default it’s just promoting it. They can put in their ClickBank ID or disable it. There’s not a ton of options. It’s not like it’s hidden or buried. I try to be upfront about it but it is an opt-out versus opt-in. That alone keeps a steady stream of new people coming in. These interviews are great, just kind of spreading the word about it. That organically does pretty well. The only overhead there at this point is really support because the same technical overhead I have, it’s a blip on the radar for everything else that I have to pay for anyway.

Then when you have those leads to, I try to do about two campaigns a month where I promote a paid product, someone I know that I’ve vetted, that I’ve tested the product myself. I think there’s a real use case for it. I think it’s relevant for my audience. About twice a month I’ll do a paid promotion to other plug-ins where they pay me an affiliate commission and to keep those leads warm I usually try to send out free actual content, just kind of keeping them nurtured and warm with content.

Twice a month is a paid campaign where they pay 50% or more of an affiliate commission on what’s being paid out. That alone is just easy money. It’s not abusing my users because, like I said, I always vet the product. I know the person is going to take care of my users. It’s actually useful and I can see a use case for it and they’re happy to get it when it’s still cheap.

Trent: Absolutely. Absolutely. All right. So some people listening to this are thinking at this point probably, “Hey, Travis seems like a pretty smart guy. Is there any way I can get a hold of him?” How do people get a hold of you? Obviously they know the plug-in is at I don’t know whether we can offer any kind of, do you have any kind of discount codes that my listeners could be able to get or anything like that?

Travis: It’s a pretty rudimentary process, so I don’t have any discount codes on hand that work automatically but if anyone shoots me an e-mail after purchasing saying they saw this interview, I can send them a version that has additional skins for free.

Trent: Cool.

Travis: How’s that sound?

Trent: Yes. That’s excellent.

Travis: Ten extra textured skins to help them change the look and feel so if they thumb through a buy a license and just forward me the receipt and say they saw this interview, I’d be happy to upgrade the product they have access to.

Trent: What’s the e-mail address they would have to use for that?

Travis: Just

Trent: OK. Obviously if anyone wants to get a hold of you for anything else, that’s probably a sufficient e-mail address for them to use.

Travis: Yes.

Trent: All right. It’s been a fascinating interview. I’ve learned a whole bunch, Travis. You seem like a very, very smart guy. Congratulations to you on the success that you’re having.

For those of you who are listening to this, thank you very much for tuning in. If you have questions or comments of course, please just use the form that is below the interview.

If you’re not yet ready to be a BrightIdeas Premium member, but you would like to get the transcript or the audio file so that you can download it onto your mobile device, there’ll be a way just below this video that you can opt into the list. It’s totally free and you’ll be able to access all of that stuff.

So that’s it for now. Thanks very much, everybody. Talk to you again in an upcoming interview.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

How To Build a WordPress Plug-in and Earn $100,000

In this episode, Travis shares with us exactly how he created his own widely successful software products without knowing how to write a lick of code. Travis will tells us about what he did to make his first software launch a massive success.

In Travis’ own words, he went from working his tail off to earning “exponentially more money for the same amount of time and less stress”.

You’ll hear Travis discuss the software development process, his marketing plan, and how he recruited a super-affiliate to help him ensure his launch was a huge hit.

Listen to Travis outline the step by step process he went through to make this happen.

What Makes Him an Expert

After a small launch to his own mailing list, Travis debuted his software as a WSO.  In his very first WSO release, he attained ‘WSO of the day’. There is an extremely high level of competition for WSOs, so this was quite an accomplishment – in addition to having a product that people want to buy, there are so many details to get right.

Travis not only got it right, but he also brought in over $100,000 in his first 90 days and added 2,000 new customers to his list.

If you don’t yet know what a WSO is, you’ll hear how you can use them to generate revenue and build your list.

Software Development Made Easy

You’ll hear Travis talk about the development process, the exact psychology that goes behind software development, and how he arrived at the decision that he needed to create a software product.

Travis shares what you need to consider to make certain your product will be a big hit.  He provides a list of questions that you’ll want to ask even before the first line of code is written.

Next, Travis imparts his process he uses to outline his idea and convey it do a developer.  It’s so simple that you may not believe how quickly his developer was able to go from concept to final product!

Listen to the show to find out more about software development for the non software developer.

What Travis Did Very Right (& Very Wrong)

Travis reveals how he gained instant credibility with customers who had never before been exposed to him or his brand.  This was a key component that enabled him to land so many new customers in such a short period of time, and was something that Travis did very right as he sold his software.

I also asked Travis for the  #1 mistake people make when they’re going to create software.  Hear Travis share a story about a huge product development mistake that bit him in the butt, but turned out to be a valuable lesson for him and us.  Once he corrected his mistake, he was able to create a product that sold like hotcakes.

This one lesson will help you manage expectations and will create a better product, much more quickly than you might expect.

If you’d like to save money, time and frustration, listen to the show now.

About Travis

I’m into marketing, but I have a sense a humor and very particular way of doing things.

I don’t settle.

Currently located in Seattle, WA and having attended Washington State University (whose Entrepreneurship program is notably & consistently in the top 10), I’m surrounded by motivated geek culture that inspires me every single day.

This is after all the land of Microsoft, Amazon, too much caffeine and the great outdoors.

I do my best to “do right” by the clients I work with & the people I hire.

Feel free to ask anyone I’ve done considerable work with before – they will tell you the same.

More important than being featured or mentioned across some of the top blogs and websites in my field, I just want to make cool things and help people do the same.


Digital Marketing Strategy: How To Increase Website Traffic and Grow Your List with Derek Halpern

Are you trying to increase website traffic?

Would you like to be able to rapidly grow a list of qualified prospects for your company?

To discover some proven traffic and list generation strategies that anyone can implement, I interview Derek Halpern for this episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Derek Halpern, founder of the popular blog, Social Triggers.

Watch Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

How to Get a Ton of Traffic to Your Blog

Derek Halpern created his blog and in less than a year went from having zero subscribers to over 17,000. That’s quite an accomplishment.

The best part is, Derek not only started without any subscribers, he had no recognizable name or impressive industry connections. Now he has all of those. And what he did to get them was easy, as well as reproducible.

Because of his blog, Derek now generates a solid six-figure revenue stream. He shares crucial components of the process of creating a blog, even if you’re starting from scratch. And since what he did was simple, you can do it too.

Listen to the show to find out Derek’s strategies.

How to Get Experts to Willingly Turn Their Lists Into Yours

Since Derek didn’t have industry connections, you might think that he would have had a difficult time finding industry experts to promote him to their lists. Derek may have thought so too. But instead he found an ingenious way to approach these experts. In the end, they wanted to promote Derek and his blog to their subscribers.

This was an essential component of Derek’s rapid list growth. The best part of the interview is that Derek shares the exact wording he used to solicit help from industry big shots who didn’t even know who he was.

Listen to the show to hear the precise words Derek used.

THE Biggest Mistake You Might Be Making

When I asked Derek for the biggest mistake bloggers make, he did not hesitate. He even said that in his opinion, this was the worst thing anyone could do when trying to sell anything online. Whether or not they were blogging.

In fact, Derek knows firsthand how big this mistake is. He estimates that in his past business, he missed out on not tens but hundreds of thousands of potential customers because of this one mistake. Ouch!

Listen to the show to discover how you might be making the same mistake.

What Makes Opt In Forms Truly Work

If you are collecting email addresses from your blog or traditional website, you want to be very effective at it. Each person who visits your site and doesn’t give you a way to contact them in the future may be gone forever.

With all the traffic going to his site, Derek was able to split test different opt in pages to see what produced the best results. This took hours of work and thought, so it was very generous of him to share his research with us.

Specifically, Derek shared which page of your site definitely needs to have an Opt In form, and what else you need to know when designing your pages so that they have the highest conversion possible.

Listen to the show for Derek’s tips for maximizing the number of opt ins to your list.

Other Online Marketing Tactics

In addition to blogging, Derek has grown and connected with his list through his online TV show. Before the show, Derek did public speaking events. Now this is definitely not for everyone, but if it’s something you’re interested in, you’ll want to listen to the show. Derek shares what makes a great speaker, what the benefits of speaking are, and how he landed his very first speaking gig.

Derek also shares the process he uses to create his TV show, from idea generation to scripting to producing the final product. I have to warn you, his ideas are unconventional! If you generate videos you won’t want to miss Derek’s biggest rule for video editing.

Listen to the show to hear Derek’s killer tactics.

About Derek Halpern

Derek is an expert marketer and entrepreneur.

After building several successful websites in various niches (entertainment, fashion, etc.), he’s refocused on what he loves most: Building and Marketing Businesses.

You’ll find that his approach to marketing is effective. He developed it over the past few years, and it has helped him build a few wildly popular websites, one of which attracted more than 1,000,000 pageviews in a single day.

More specifically, he uses the perfect blend of data driven marketing (conversion rates, academic research, and personal case studies) and content marketing to get traffic, attract customers, and sell products online.

Digital Marketing Strategy: How To Create Stunning Information Products with Greg Rollett

Would you like to discover the power of the information products business and how you can use it to generate revenue and/or leads?

Would you like to sell products to customers around the world and have those products delivered automatically so you can earn profits 24×7?

To help you discover how to use information products in your business, I interview Greg Rollett for this episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Greg Rollett, a Best Selling author, Marketing Expert, and the ProductPro.

Watch Now

Leave some feedback:

Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:


Today’s guest has created over 100 information products and today he’s gonna tell you the 3 most important steps on how to get it done. Don’t think you have enough expertise to create an information product of your own? Not necessarily true. In my interview, in today’s interview rather, my guest is gonna show you his best kept secret for how to create very high value information products even if you’re not the expert just yet. And finally, if you’re thinking “well, you know this is great but I don’t have time.” Well, he’s got a solution for that too. All this and more so stay tuned.

Alright, Greg, thanks so much for making the time to do the interview with me. It’s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Greg Rollett: Definitely man. Thanks for having me. Really excited to be here.

T: So I’ve come to know you as the guru of making information products and I found the research that I did on you really was interesting and it was kind of an eye opener for me coz I always created all my own information product up to this point. So here in this interview what I wanna walk people thru is kinda of a process as you have come to become an expert in it and the creation of information products.

G: Alright.

T: So on your blog when I was doing my research on you, I read a post and it said the 5 rules of ambitious marketing. So can you tell me what this rule, tell us rather what the rules are and then in particular what you meant by no. 3?

G: Hopefully I do them in the right order that you were talking about. But rules of marketing, the first one it’s gonna be direct response marketing. Anything that you do you have to have something that you want someone to take action on and then a way to track that action whether that action be committing to a sale to becoming a lead to becoming a follower even on Facebook, whatever it is, you have to say I did this and it produced this result. That way you can go back and you can test it, you could tweak it, and you could say “hey that worked let’s do more of it. Or hey that didn’t work let’s no longer spend money there.” The key ingredient to that is you need to be able to track all of this marketing and we can talk more about that in depth if you want to. So it’s gonna be direct response, right? And I’m a huge fan of Facebook, Twitter, all that fun stuff. You just do stuff and it’s fun. You’re posting “hey I’m hanging out at the zoo this weekend.”, whatever it is. But at the heart of it if you’re trying to run a business, you’re trying to make money it’s gonna be direct response marketing. I send out this email and that email produce this result. I send out or I put up this yellow page out and it got me this many calls. So it’s rule no. 1.

Rule no. 2 and this is gonna be personality driven marketing. What I mean by that is just like we’re doing this video today Trent, it’s us, right? You’re getting my personality, we’re getting your personality. We’re not hiding behind the white powerpoint slide. We’re not hiding behind a brand. We’re not hiding behind a cartoon character, whatever it is. Because this is what builds trust, right? People seeing my face and that’s why I’m on this show today. You saw me doing other interviews, other things, you’ve researched me, you know who I am really before we even got on the phone talked the first time because you’ve seen videos I’ve done. You’ve seen interviews I’ve been on. You’ve read blog posts. You’ve seen Facebook, whatever it is. And it’s that personality that creates this relationship. You’re like “hey, Greg’s probably a cool dude. He seems nice in the video. He seems very informative.” And that creates a relationship that you can’t get without the personality so it’s gotta be you, it’s gotta be your face. If it’s your business you have to take ownership of that. So that’s rule no. 2.

This is where the rules get out of order so hopefully I’ll hit your no. 3. But you cannot rely on the power of one and that’s what I’m gonna call rule no. 3. And this is really a big one for me because so many people just rely on “well I’m gonna write one book and this one book is gonna become a bestseller.” And then when it doesn’t they have nothing to fall back on, right? Or I’m going to only use Facebook ads, facebook ads is the only way I’m gonna drive traffic and all of a sudden clicks what from 50cents to $4 and all of a sudden you’re out of business overnight. Or I have one jv partner, one jv partner drives everything for me. That jv partner stops doing business with you and that relationship ends and it kills you. And the rule of one for me came I come from a music background, I was a rapper in a rock band which is always the fun story to tell. But in the music industry you always hope that one person is going to see you and they’re gonna make you a star. They’re gonna sign me this record deal and that’s just not the case. You need multiple products, you need multiple ways for people to get into your business, multiple advertising channels. You just can’t rely on the power of one because you put all your eggs in that one basket well, we all kinda know that saying and that adage. So that’s the 3rd rule right there.

The 4th rule of this kind of marketing style is that you need to know your market better than anyone especially your competition. And what I mean by that is in the context of talking about products today a lot of people create the product without knowing who that product is going to be for or what it’s gonna serve or what its purpose is. That’s the biggest issue I see with people that come to us. They’re like “Hey Greg, I created this product but no one wants it. I haven’t sold any.” It’s the worse thing in the world coz they didn’t actually know who their market is and what their market wanted. It really goes in creating an avatar for their clients I always say that people know their favorite TV characters better than they know their actual market place. I could tell you that Homer Simpson works in a nuclear power plant, his boss is Mr. Burns, his wife is Marge Simpson. I can tell you all these things about this yellow character but I can’t tell you anything about my client. Well then how are you gonna help that person. So you need to know who that person is.

And then the 5th and final rule is that you need to out hustle everyone all the time. I mean today more than anything else in marketing is worth fighting for people’s attention. So people could be watching this interview now but they can also be cooking in the kitchen, they could be playing with their kids, they could be checking email, they could be working. There’s just so many things going on in the world today that if you are not infront of your market in every way that you possibly can, audio, video, text, putting something in the mail, sending something in the inbox, send them on social media, well they’re not hearing your message coz they have so many other things going on. So do the hustle.

And so that was a long way of saying the 5 rules of the ambitious marketing. They’re really the rules that we live by in everything that we do.

T: And I couldn’t agree more. I think those are an excellent set of rules. And so you’ve become, and I wanted to kinda preface I guess our discussion on information products with what I thought was a valuable tip on marketing. And I hope that people will go and check out your blog and learn more about that. But we’re really gonna dive deeper into information products. So how did you become this information product guru as it were? And I don’t know if you like that term or not but you’ve turned it into, I mean for people who don’t know you just give a quick little bit about what your business is and how big it is coz it surprised the hell out of me.

G: Yeah so the business today, the business is called the product pros and really it started out I was creating my own information products. It did very well, 6 figure business selling info products to musicians. I was selling marketing advice, fixing internet marketing for musicians. How musicians can build squeeze pages and mining pages and their email sequences and get bookmarked and things like that using all that stuff that internet marketers do in their business. And that grew and people really started to take notice. Obviously a lot of relationships in that business and I partnered with my partner now, Nick Nanton here in Orlando. He had all these clients who were doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, financial advisors, real estate investors, agents and he was like “why don’t you do what you did for yourself for my clients?” And I was like “well what do they want products for? What’s a dentist need a product for?”

Literally just everything changed when I started seeing how people can use information in their business and today, over the last year, we’ve had over a hundred information products for everyone expanding from doctors, dentists, lawyers, chiropractors. I just created a product for dealing with menopause using ancient chinese medicine techniques. We’ve gone dating relationship products. We’ve run the game on fun stuff to do. And then we’ve been really fortunate to work with some real industry giants. We just created a product for Michael Gerber, with Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, we worked with Allan Cosgrow who is men’s health’s top rated gym and all of men’s health, we created his last information products. We worked with Dax Moy, the highest paid personal trainer in the world who lives out in UK. We’ve done some really, really cool stuff and it all stemmed from me selling $47 ebooks to musicians to kind of the company that we have today.

And the great part of this is we do it all for our clients which is really cool. We’ll talk about that later because it’s really formula, right? Whether I’m selling a menopause product, a dating product or a business product, it’s formula. You’re taking someone from here where they are now, the think point that they have and that’s why you need to know your market really well which is I think rule no. 4 that will call us tonight, to where they wanna go, right? So what’s the end result? And that is the only reason you should ever create a product is because you wanna take someone from here to here in the quickest way possible through the things that you know, the experiences that you’ve gone through and that’s why you need to create products.

T: So and this wasn’t on my sheet of questions but it’s popped in my mind and I wanna ask it anyway and that tends to be my interview style, there will be some people listening to this who barely know what an information product is. There will be other people listening on to this who have purchased information products and then there’d be some other people, we’ll call them maybe the skeptical crowd and they think that they should get everything for free. So if someone is thinking about creating an information product and that could be an ebook or a membership site or any other, there’s a variety of formats but at the end of the day you’re packaging up information that solves a problem that someone has.

G: Right.

T: If someone’s listening and they’re debating “should I make an information product or should I just give it all away for free on my blog?” do you wanna address that thought with what your opinion is on the pros and cons of both.

G: Oh totally. Alright so I’m gonna address it from 2 different angles, right? So there’s 2 ways that we create products both for ourselves and for our clients. One is we create it with the intent to sell it, right? So we’re creating a product and we intend to charge people to go through that information. The other way to do it is, going back to the personality driven marketing side, is you’re building these products with the intent to give it away but with the intent of teaching people something that’s going to allow them to make an intelligent purchasing decision to buy what you really want to offer. And what I mean by that is the dentist, right? The dentist does not care about selling a $27 ebook. What he cares about is giving great information in a way to his patients to tell them about healthy living and how healthy living starts with the mouth and how clean living is, whatever, starts to help. But if he gets his point across then someone might bring their kid in to get their routine check up. That routine check up turns into braces or something a few years later. So that free research paper for this dentist, this free report product, whatever you wanna call it, is now turned into a lifetime guide to maybe 5, 10, 20, $30,000 based on the service. And the service based in it is the same way. So in our business we sell, we’re in the product pros. We have a free product creation manifesto that we give away for our website. We have a product that we sell right out through app sumo which is $77 which is our product creation basically teaching you how to create a product. And at the end of the product if you like this but you don’t want to do the work, call us and we’ll do it for you. And so it’s an attention for us. Again, we don’t really care about making the $70, we care about the $3,000 – $5,000 – $10,000 we’re gonna get on the backend actually created for them.

So those are two different schools of thought on thinking about creating your product. So people that have an actual business service based high fees on the backend, products yes they should be used as a way for people to know you like they trust you. Educate them as to why you are the solution to their problem. On the other side creating the products and going back to your question, should things just be free, well I can just google that and find it, and again 100% it goes back to personality, right? Coz we all learn in different ways and yeah I can go google and learn how to play guitar right now and find a whole bunch of cheesy youtube videos and figure it out but if I don’t relate to the guy that’s playing and I can’t learn from his style it doesn’t matter if it’s free or not. Coz if he starts playing like Mary Had a Little Lamb and then starts doing like Jimmy Hendrick’s solos on the back of his head, he didn’t organize an information in a way where I can get the results that I want. So I’m paying to find someone that has the solution that I want and has packaged it in a way and I’m just like I like this guy. I’m gonna go and hang out with him. You’re investing time in this so there’s entertainment value along with it. There’s a process of information in the flow and there’s a trust with the person that you buy the product from. So yeah, information is free, literally you can learn how to do anything online. There’s no doubt in my mind that you can’t, but going to like there’s somebody doing commercials now, I don’t remember it’s like or something. Just ask it any question you’ll get any answer but do I want an answer from Mary Jane who’s a house mom who’s trying to give me business information, she’s never run a business before but she goes on and she answers a bunch of questions, right? Or do I wanna go with the person that I’ve seen their videos, I know them, I like them, I trust them. I think that they have a great information, they packaged it in a way they have the experience, they have the social proof. And then 99% of our finished products, 30-60-90 days money back guarantee. If it didn’t work, get your money back. It helps why we offer it.

T: And that was the point that I was hoping you were gonna get to, is there’s this element of what I call the brand experience. And I’ll use for anyone who’s listening to this who may be either unfamiliar, maybe even skeptical about this whole thing for information, but what do you make colleges? College is a brand experience information product. Because I think anyone who’s listening to this will agree, you could go and learn everything you need to learn just by going to the library and buying some books or scouring the internet. But the reason people pay to go to college is because they want structured learning from step 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 coz most people need a structured learning in order to be able to do it and they also wanna have some expectations as to the level of the quality information that they’re gonna get. That’s the brand experience that I was referring to. So I just wanted you to get to that point and I thank you for that.

G: No problem.

T: Because especially in the internet marketing space there are people who think that if it’s not free it should be, and they kinda get their noses out of joint, and I’m kind of not in that crowd. I think that when people pay for information they’re more inclined to use it and then they’re actually more inclined to get the results that they’re looking for.

G: What I’ve said, I’ll pick it at that really fast. And go to the next point. But again coming from the musician world, a real simple analogy. A lot of people go to concerts, right? And when they walk out in concerts there’s the local band that’s just giving away free cd’s. They’re just passing them out hoping that people will put them in their car on their way home. 99.99% of the time it’s either a coaster or it’s in the garbage right away. But inside the concert, for the band that you just saw that just rocked your world and you just paid $20 for their cd you’re going right to the car and you’re playing. Same exact case with information marketing and you know, honestly, honest to god, you go and you download the product creation manifesto from my site and you buy my paid course, they’re exactly the same. Really it’s just different format, different style, different kinda trim but it breaks down in the exact same thing. And the stuff that we’re gonna talk about tonight is the same stuff that’s in my paid stuff but when you pay for it there’s a sense of well, I’ve paid for this, I need to get the results that I paid for. So there is that factor with it. So you’re exactly right.

T: So for the folks who are listening who regardless of the business they’re running they’re at this point they’re thinking to themselves “yeah I think I wanna make an information product.” But they don’t know what to do. So let’s use and you can draw any kind of example you like, maybe it was a recent client of yours. I loved if we can talk about it instead of in theory, if we can talk about a little bit more with an actual case study or someone in mind.

G: Sure.

T: Can you think of a recent client, you don’t have to name any names if you don’t want to? But what, pick someone in your mind and what business were they in?

G: Alright so I have a really, really cool client right now. He runs a community basketball league which is kinda right below semi-pro and he has a ton of atheletes all across the country that are trying to play semi-pro to professional basketball, whether it’s in another country, whether it’s in the development league in the NBA and he really want to create information product to teach them the things that they needed to know before they got to the next level. So it’s a really great example because he comes to me, he’s like “I got all these people, they play basketball and they all have these dreams and ambitions.” And I was just like “that’s great!” But still we have to start at square one, what do these people really, really want, right? And he’s like “well they wanna get signed to a deal, they wanna play professional.” I’m like “great, but what do they really, really want? So in order to get there where do they need to go?” And he’s like “they just need to get the attention of a scout, or they need to get the attention of an agent.” I’m like “well then that’s the product we need to create because that’s the thing that’s gonna give them the results. You know Jamar, you’re awesome because you got me to get seen by someone without actually paying attention to my market.” So the first thing for this guy and this client and for you is to just really figure out what the pain point is in that market. These players have gone unnoticed, they’ve gone unnoticed in highschool. They probably played division 2 or division 3 in college. They obviously did not get drafted in the NBA. They’ve been overlooked their whole career so all they wanted more than anything was to be noticed for what they did, for their skill level, for whatever it is. That was the real pain point. The dream is to get signed, play professional basketball, make billions of dollars, you know the whole fantasy, but that wasn’t what they really desired because they knew that NBA is a pipe dream but if they can just get noticed for what they did.

So we had to find that pain point and whatever market Trent, you have to have to have find that pain point, what keeps them up at night. Again if he didn’t consult me he would have created the how to get signed to a deal. He would have a bunch of people buy the product, no one would have got signed to the deal because they weren’t ready for that. And the product would have been a failure, right? And that’s how most people create products. They say “hey I’m in sales. I wanna teach someone how to make a million dollars next year in pharmaceutical sales.” And that’s hard thing to do and hard thing for people to grasp. Is that the real pain point? The real pain point might just be getting more leads, getting more prospects, figure out how to cold call, how to close more to people you got, how to sell to more people. Find that pain point. What pisses people off and keeps them up at night. And that’s really the first step in this whole process is find that pain point.

T: And what are some of the ways that people could go about finding that pain point?

G: Alright cool. That’s actually an awesome question coz most people, so if you have a market, a herd, a niche, you ask them, right? And this is again a poll apart that people fail. I mean you have survey monkey, right? Free service. Go and create a quick free survey, they’re up to 4-5 questions. People will tell you anything. If you don’t, I mean if you have a blog, you obviously ask people for comments, things like that. If you have a blog and you already get comments people are probably commenting about this pain things, right? In the case of Kyle and in your site, you do interviews, what are your most popular interviews on, right? It’s just got the most comments, the most retweets, the most likes, that’s probably something that your market really cares about. So if you did more on let’s say, making up something, you know analytics and numbers and conversions, it gets a whole lot more likes, comments, tweets, all that fun stuff versus the goals and visions stuff that probably I wanna go the other side. So that’s if you have a herd. If you don’t have kind of a list or a following which is where a lot of people start out at he had to go find out where this people are interacting.

I mean the best place I like to go right now coz it’s instant feedback and there’s a lot of people is Facebook. And in Facebook on the top there’s a big search bar just like it’s google and you can just type in whatever your market is. Let’s say real estate, right? So your real estate investment and you wanna teach people how to invest in real estate. You wanna figure out what they really care about. Do they wanna flip houses with no money down? Do they want to buy and fix up houses like the TV shows in HGTV whatever it is. So go on facebook, do a search for real estate investing and then it will give you on the left hand side a breakdown of kind of advanced searching and you wanna click on groups and what’s gonna happen is you’re gonna see a list of all the groups about real estate investing. And these are people who are obviously interested in real estate investing. They go, they’re kind of in a club together, they hang out, they talk, join the group. Once you join the group what you could do is you could create a poll or survey in the group. The cool thing about facebook is when you do that it announces it to everybody in the group that says “ding! Greg just posted a new survey question. Go and answer it.”

I don’t know the numbers off the top of my head but I have a slide when I normally do a similar presentation to this. In the real estate investing niche I think there’s 4 or 5 groups right at the top that have over 20,000 people in it. So if you join the group, get invited, you hang it, and you say “hey, I’d like to ask a question. What are you having trouble with flipping houses?” All of a sudden 20,000 people get ping with that message saying “ding! Greg just asked a new question.” And it is a fast way to get feedback.

T: Yeah no kidding. I didn’t actually think, I have a list so I’ve been using survey monkey and I’ve been using it very successfully but it never occured to me. That’s why I love doing these interviews. So there’s my little take home for the day.

G: So I mean that’s the fastest instant feedback way to do it.

T: Yeah absolutely. Just find groups and put surveys in the groups and that way you can benefit from other people’s list. There was another, well I won’t go off on the attention coz people tell me sometimes I talk too much in my own interviews so I’m gonna keep this and go to a new question.

G: Yeah go for it.

T: Basically the idea and I stumbled across this, and this is kind of a list builder, if you don’t have a big list find some people, go out and find some people who are in your niche, put up a survey and get everybody to send their list to the survey so that everybody gets the insight of the kind of the niche in general. And then there was, I forgot the exact strategy, I was reading this on the airplane the other day. And there was some way that you could basically make them an offer in the bottom if they wanted to get more information. They could put their email address in and then you could never email that person again unless they actually re-opted into another list. So it was a way that build a list and it was a way to serve a team up and get a bunch of really valuable research data. I know I haven’t done the teaming up thing yet but I have done survey monkey and I tell you I learned a ton about my list for one of my sites, in my Online Income Lab blog, as a result of that and it really was different than I expected that it would be. There was a few areas that were like big light bulb moments where I was like “wow! Didn’t think that they would have said that.” So I’m a huge advocate in doing that research.

Okay so now someone understands or they should at this point understand what it is. By the way, I got a construction site going next to me, are you hearing the bang, bang, bang of the nail gun right now?

G: I’m not. But really funny when I recorded this morning I have a construction going on outside and every 2 minutes I’m gonna have to mute my phone.

T: Yeah okay well it doesn’t take up stuff that’s far away. I apologize everybody if you’re hearing bang, bang, bang, bang like I do right now. Alright so we’ve got a clear idea of who our audience is, now what? What do I do now? And first of all, I guess this I should back up, we have to have an objective first. Like why are we creating the information product?

G: Right.

T: We have to decide are you gonna sell this to generate revenue or are you gonna give it away to generate leads? Or is there another option that I’m not thinking about? Or is it just a or b?

G: Everything really plays into those two essentially. So in our model we have the free report, the flow in product, the high end back service, right? So but you do always wanna have kinda that back end goal so to kinda backtrack what I always tell people to do is when you’re thinking about releasing this information product is that why question, but also the what you want the outcome to be, right? So a lot of people have this pipe dream of selling $27 products and making a million dollars a year and I’m just like “well, you need to sell freaking lot of $27 products to hit that number.” And so you really need to think about how are you going to get to that, whatever that number is. I don’t know what everybody’s listing. Find that number. So if it’s simple math, a $120 grand that you wanna hit you have to make $10,000 a month to hit that number, right? It’s simple math again. To hit that $10,000 number I need to sell 10 products at a $1,000. That’s a heck of a lot easier than selling a thousand products at $10 in one month. And then having to do that again the next month. And again the next month. Very, very difficult. So you need to put those things into place and you need to create a product that has enough value to where you can charge enough money in order to hit those revenue goals. And what I mean by that is there’s certain things that people will spend a lot of money for obviously business advice, you’ve seen marketing products and building business products this and that at $500 – $2,000 – $5,000 in up level because it might go to this program and I implement it I can make X times more than that in my business.

Where you have a problem are the businesses where you’re teaching someone and it’s no offense to this niche coz we have people in it is that grow a home garden niche, right? I’m not gonna make any more money by growing a couple tomatoes in my backyard, it’s just kind of that personal affiliate, you can’t sell a how to grow tomatoes product for $500, right? It’s probably in the $20-30 range. So you need to think about what you can do to supplement that. And that’s where you’re gonna think about maybe partnering with someone to sell them the seeds or to sell, whatever that next level is. You have to think about that because I don’t want to sell a pipe dream.

That’s not why I’m on this interview today. I don’t want to tell you that you can sell $27 products or even hundred or a $1,000 products if there isn’t a real business behind it. A lot of people think that I’m just gonna build this thing, people are gonna come and I’m gonna get rich just because I’m smart. And that’s not the case at all. You have to build somethign that people want that has inherent value that people will pay for and they can sustain a real business. Again, rule, it was one of the rules, can’t rely on the power of one. One $27 product will not make you rich. 10 $27 that all lead into a $500 product that lead into a $1,000 coaching program that lead into a $10,000 mastermind group, that is a business model. But $27 ebook that you just sell on your site once because you have a blog with a couple of subscribers is not a business model. It’s a very, very important distinction that I wanna make coz again I’m not here trying to sell pipe dreams. I’m here to help people create real businesses that affect people and impact lives. That’s really what we’re both here for.

T: And I wanna jump in on this point because again this kind of piggy backs on what I said earlier about this decision to just give all your stuff away for free on your blog versus creating a ladder system of products. If you’re giving all your stuff away for free you don’t really ever have customers. You never really have an upsell opportunity. And you’re putting all your time and your effort in and you’re just giving it all away. And I don’t think that’s the greatest business model in the world because do you really wanna have, for example, I can think of a blog and I won’t mention its name coz it’s very popular with the traders, the guy that owns it makes a lot of money but he’s got 8-9,000 people a day coming to this blog. Do you think he can provide any personal interaction with that many people? No. So it’s an inherent limit of business model. His avatar is someone who really loves to read the blog and he makes great blog posts and he gives away a lot of really good information but if somebody would benefit from having a coaching program or a done for you program and that kind of stuff, that model, what do you think? Doesn’t work with that, does it?

G: Well it can. So I like and I love to draw in music industry examples but you pay in the ascension model, the ladder model that we were kinda about just talking about, you pay for levels of access, right? So someone comes to the blog, in this case he’s got 9,000 people coming a day. People leave comments, maybe he replies to a few, probably doesn’t. There’s no access there whatsoever. You read it, you get the information, there’s no back and forth communication. The next step is maybe he has that but I don’t know what blog we’re talking about so maybe he has that $50 ebook that you buy in the site, right? That’s a different level of access coz now you’ve given him money, he’s giving you something in return, there’s probably some, even if it’s not him, there’s some level of customer support or a community or a password protected, there’s something to pay for that level of access. With some point of access to the guy so now you pay $500 to be in maybe a 4-week telecoaching program where he delivers a new module once a week for 4 weeks. Well now you’re getting him with maybe a hundred other people live on a webinar or something. So now you have a different level of access. Still not you two hanging out. You’re not going to get coffee together but you pay for that level of access.

The next is come in and hang out with me for a day, one on one consulting but that’s more expensive coz now you’re paying for more levels of access. So same thing in the music industry, you buy someone’s CD you have no access to that person whatsoever. You put it in your player, you hear the music, good to go. You buy a concert ticket, it’s a little more expensive than the CD, you get another level of interaction with someone, right? But you still don’t get to hang out with the band, they’re still behind the stage. You get the VIP tickets, you get to go and do the meet and greet right before. You give a little more money and you can afford to bring them in your birthday party and have the Jonas’ brothers rock it out but you paid for that. So same thing you’re paying for levels of access in that situation and that’s really the ascension model because our time is all worth money. So if you want my time and attention you’re gonna have to pay for it. And if you develop that level of expertise that people really want and you can deliver value on that it’s worth the money. We pay, if any of the listeners are fans of like Dan Kennedy, we’re in his bottom coaching group. We pay the guy almost 50 grand a year but it’s worth 7 figures to our business every single year so I’ll pay the guy whatever he wants. So you have to be able to provide that value on the back end.

T: And I wasn’t trying, I’m a huge fan of the ascension model. It’s the model that I use. I just was trying to speak to the people who are maybe thinking they can build a business by giving everything away for free and hoping to make it out in affiliate commissions or that kind of thing. I’m not gonna say it’s impossible but the sheer volume that you’re gonna need to do that is gonna be more challenging to attain. Plus you don’t have that engagement. If people are just reading your stuff and maybe they’re clicking your affiliate links and maybe they’re not clicking your affiliate links. I think you have a whole lot more risks there than if you actually have a list of customers who bought $50 products or list of customers who bought $1,000 products or list of customers who are in a $10,000 or a $50,000 mastermind. And you’re gonna get more satisfaction too because you’re gonna engage those people who are paying for that higher level of access. They’re gonna be interesting people. Those are the kind of people that I wanna be around. Those are the kind of people that I wanna hang with. That’s why people join mastermind groups because it’s so much about the guy running the group, or the gal, it’s about the other people who could afford to be in that group. That’s where the real benefit for your buck comes in.

Anyway we’re getting like way off tangent here.

G: Totally off track.

T: So let’s get us back on track. So we know why we’re doing it. We know who we’re doing it for. We understand what the pain is. What’s next?

G: Yeah so we know where they are now, right? So go back to the basketball example we were using earlier, they’re playing in this community basketball league which is just one step below semi-pro. So we know where they are now and we know where they wanna go. They wanna get the attention of some kind of a pro scout, right? So now all we need to do is create a bridge to go from the community league to being scouted. And how do we get them there as quickly as possible.

Another common mistake that people make is they think they need to do a 12 CD, 12 DVD super huge product. The reality is if you can tell me in 30 minutes what to do and get that, that’s more valuable to me coz you get more fighting for time and attention. So get people here as quickly as possible. So the first thing, the absolute first thing that you wanna do is you wanna give them some type of result immediately. And so what I mean by that is the fitness industry always give this example, a P90 extra insanity. You can’t turn on the TV without seeing one of those infommercials these days. When you actually get the DVD and you put it in your DVD player and you’re in your living room, you get your Tshirt on, and you’re looking at it and 45 minutes later you’re on the floor, you’re sweating, your whole living room stinks and your wife comes downstairs like “what the heck have you been doing?” You’re on the floor, you’re on your back. Well when Tuesday comes around and you go to pop in the DVD you’re like “hey you know what? I don’t know about this.” You don’t put the DVD in, right? You do not want that effect happening with your products, right?

So you want the first step to create motivation so that they continue on the path. And so you do this by answering the question what’s the first thing they have to do in order to achieve the result and you’re gonna give me an answer and then you’re gonna wanna say what is the first thing I need to do in order to do that and what’s the first thing I need to do in order to do that. And it’s really repetitive but you’re gonna come up with an answer that is really simple to do and it’s going to cause a result.

So I was at a live event working with real estate agents and I was talking to a gentlemen who coaches real estate agents and I was like “alright so you wanna sell a product where someone wants to teach people how to sell more houses in real estate.” So how do you sell more houses? Well you gotta get more listings. So that’s the first thing you need to do in order to sell more houses, you gonna get more listings. That’s how many houses they have available for sale. Like alright great, so how do I get more listings? Like we gonna go meet more people. I was like “alright great.” So how do I meet more people? He goes “alright well you can go to networking groups and there’s this event that you can go to in our city. I’m like “great. How do I get signed up for that event for that city?” And he told me how to do that. So that was the first absolute step. So this first module, this first step, this first whatever it is, is click here, sign up for this thing, go to this meeting on Tuesday and you’re gonna meet people. Now we’re gonna teach them how to meet people, develop the relationship they’re on but you have to take that first initial step where someone can go “oh I can do that. I’ll just sign up for this thing. It took me 3 seconds. I have this gratification. I have this result. I have this positive brain juice going on. It’s like cool. You know Greg’s a cool guy. He taught me how to do something. I did it, kinda worked. Sweet.” And they’re ready for an A2 coz now they’re like what do I need to do next? What’s the next step in the process?

And really that’s how you build your product. You start with that end and you figure out what do I need to do in order to get there. And then what do I need to do in order to get there. And what do I need to do first. And what do I need to do first. And you’re gonna come up with that first step. When we create products we like to create products in four’s so four modules is typically what we call it. The reason why we do that is because if you release your product in weekly amounts, that’s 4 weeks, 4 weeks is about a month. Can you see your target prospect going through something in about a month? A lot of people again, going back to the 12 CD, 12 DVD issue, that’s 12 weeks. That’s 3 freaking months that you want someone who’ll listen to you and keep doing stuff over and over again. That is very, very difficult to do. But if you can get people to commit for 4 weeks, about a month, about 30 days and get that given result, that’s what we like to do when we create products. So we say this is the here, what I need you to do there, what I need you to do there, what I need you to do there, what I need you to do there. I got 4 steps. Those 4 steps become your product.

T: So let’s bring this to the example of blogging because regardless of who’s, I’m trying to make this as applicable to kinda 2 audiences, people who have a business and they wanna get more leads from the web and there’s maybe people who are still working for somebody else blogging is a great vehicle for either of those audiences. As you know to create a successful blog there’s a lot of steps. So if I’m hearing what you’re saying correctly, are you saying that I might wanna come out with a course first of all and you’d, I don’t know if I’m gonna get this right or not so you can tell me if I am, of how to pick a market for my blog coz that’s like the first phase of blogging. And then you gotta figure out how do you set the actual blog up coz not everybody knows how to do that. And then you gotta fill it with content and then you gotta drive traffic to it. And then you gotta build a mailing list. And and and and…. If you were making a how to use blogging to benefit your business product how many places would you chop that up?

G: So it depends on again what you want the end goal to be. So it’s the end goal. So is the product, you’re gonna buy this product and at the end of the product you’re just gonna have a blog up? Is the end product going to be that you’re going to have a successful blog up and running with 10 posts to tell your course story that whatever it is? Or is the blog, I”m gonna go from zero to your first dollar online? So again you have to know what that process is. And you also want to know who your market is because is your market completely no idea tech savvy? Is it like mommy bloggers who are not yet mommy bloggers who barely not check their email? Then your product needs to be go to godaddy, buy domain, go to hostgator, get some hosting, use fantastico in one click. That’s a different product than the 20 something, just out of college, trying to blog about gen Y or whatever it is who already is on Tumblr or whatever and you just now need to teach him what to write about.

So again it’s around about waving answering your question but you have to know your end goal coz then you just need to take a step back. So I’m gonna teach moms how to blog, how to get something up. Product no. 1 is gonna be here’s how to get your freaking blog up and running. It’s online, you can tell your kids to go visit it and leave a comment. That’s probably product no. 1. That’s probably the $27 or $47 product. Right after that is again you can’t rely on the power of one, they go to the product now they get this blog up. They trusted you, they’re like “wow, Greg showed me how to get a domain, I got my blog up, I send it to my kids, they think it’s awesome, they gave me these cool themes I could use, whatever.”

T: And that feeling of accomplishment too.

G: Right. Now the blog’s up. I paid for this product. Greg promised me and told me that if I went through this step I’d have a blog up and running. He didn’t promise me I was gonna get a million dollars. He promised me I’d get a blog up and running. Now you say “hey Jane, you got your blog up and running. We have our next level program. It’s a little more expensive. It’s about $100 but now it’s gonna show you how to write posts that whatever. This course is gonna tell you how to find advertisers. Or it’s gonna find me how to write sponsored posts. So again don’t rely on the power of one. Find that product that solves the first step, the first magic bullet in your market and then get right on to the second one. Because after they go through it, if you’ve done it correctly, they’re gonna want more from you, right? And that’s again the business end of it.

T: That’s such a good point because when I created my first information product I gave like the whole deal. All the modules.

G: And that’s what we all wanna do.

T: Yeah

G: Because we wanna create that super product that solves everything to everyone.

T: Exactly. But in hindsight as I’m listening to you I’m thinking to myself hhmm, might have been a whole lot more successful because especially for the people who are listening to the show right now, who don’t have an audience, they don’t have any blog traffic, they don’t have an information product, I know the objection that’s going in their head. They’re like “well, I’m not an expert yet.” Okay well wait a minute, if you’ve built or if you’ve put up a really good looking blog you’re an expert in putting up a really good looking blog. It doesn’t matter that you’re not getting any traffic or it’s not making money, if you’re not promising, if I’m hearing what you’re saying, if you’re not promising the customer anything more than step by step by step by step here’s how you build a really awesome and you told them how to get a header and fiverr and how to get graphic artists and all the stuff to just make a really good looking blog, that’s a product. And for the right customer that’s a product that people are gonna buy because they’re gonna have to google and youtube and get scraps of information all over the place which for someone who’s that the avatar is the new person who doesn’t know anything, wow way way way confusing.

So I kinda hammer this point home for the people who are listening to this, don’t let that I’m not an expert yet limiting belief thing hold you back from starting to make products. Because I think your point is excellent. Break it up into really simple steps. Make sure that people, that you make a promise that you have proof that you can deliver and then you’ve got a customer. And now when you have a customer I call it the three legs of the table. To have a business you gotta have a product, you gotta have a customer and you gotta have a way to get paid. Well guess what your next product is? You can teach people how to get paid coz you just got paid. You know how to do e-commerce and pay out and deliver and all that kind of stuff.

So that’s awesome. I’ll have to take that. I’m in the process of redesigning some of my own products right now. Like I’ve got one site that is the list is growing like 50-60 subs a day. And these are all, I surveyed them. I’m trying to figure out how do I monetize this list. And they’re all women 50 years old and older, married, still working with grand kids. So I don’t know if there’s a market for grandma bloggers but it’s something to think about.

G: So I’m tangent again I’m sorry. Coz this is applicable again so you’re getting 50-60 subscribers a day, you did this survey and you’re seeing that they’re 50 year olds trying to get into blogging for the first time. Here is the absolute coolest way to make a product the fastest way without you having to know anything about 50 year old mom bloggers coz you don’t, right? Coz you’re a dude. You don’t know what 50 year old mom bloggers want, right? So this is a strategy I’m using for a long time now. Once you find out that need and you’re not yet the expert in that market place go find one.

Here’s the secret to finding them. On go for the book search, on the left hand side there’s an advance search and you can search for books that are coming out in the next 30 days, books that have just launched within the past 30 days and books that have just launched within the past 90 days. What do you think every single one of those authors wants within either 30 days of their book about to be released or 90 days after it came out. They all wanna talk about their book.

T: Absolutely they do.

G: Every single one of them wants to talk about their book. So in this case you could go and you can find baby boomer marketing or baby boomer blogging or whatever, I’m just making up terms. You can find all the books that were released in that area in the past 30 days or past 90 days, whatever it is and just say “hey, I’d love to interview you. You’ve got about a 30 minute interview creating this product for moms or bloggers who are your exact audience. At the end of the interview we can talk all about your book, you can tell them where to get it, whatever you want and at the end I’ll give you that interview, you can use however you want but I’m putting it into this package, right? You find 4 people that cover 4 different areas. Well there you have a 4 module program that you didn’t have to know anything about mom bloggers and now you have a product. So this is creating the product real fast. You find 4 people like that. You jump on skype. You get a program called skype recorder, it’s like $10. You record and interview this person. You get the interview transcribed. You go to fiverr, people will cheerfully transcribe about 10-15 minutes for $5 so if it’s a 30 minute call it cost you $10 to get it transcribed. You do 4 of them it’s $40. And now you got a big manual and you just create a couple of workbook that like fill in the blank questions on stuff they need to do. Well now you have 4 MP3’s, you have a huge manual and you have an action guide and boom! Now you got a $47 product. Didn’t cost you a lot of money. Didn’t take you a lot of time. You know met 4 experts that have books out and you can say that you’re associated with and now you’ve got a product. And you can test the market place really quickly without you having to spend a 100 hours filming and worrying about lights again. Who cares? Just get the freaking thing out, see people really relate to it. Fastest most effective way to create a product without being an expert in that market place. So hopefully that tangent was helpful but it’s part of my favorite ways to create products.

T: I’d actually heard you talk about that tangent before but I was listening to the interview on the go and didn’t have a pen with me to write it down so I forgot it. So now it’s written down and I love it. I think that’s an excellent tangent. Now that made me think of a question I wanted to ask about testing products. I did this with my last launch. I launched a mastermind group. It was a $1,000 product. It was a 12 week long coaching program, in hindsight I might switch that to a shorter period of time. But anyway my point is I didn’t create anything. I simply put up a video that said here’s what I’m gonna offer, there’s the buy button, if you want in here’s an early bird price and you can get in. And a bunch of people bought. So I knew, I mean I brought in about I think it was $10,000 of revenue before I’d ever lifted a finger to create the product. But then of course you’re motivated to really make the best product you could possibly make.

G: Definitely.

T: But what about this? What if they’re not like me, they don’t have a list and why not just put up a get optimized press, it’s a wordpress theme, makes beautiful squeeze pages, put up a little video and buy some facebook traffic and just hit that squeeze page and see if people are even willing to opt into it. Do you ever do anything like that before you build products?

G: So now I agree with you but the mindset of I’m now spending money in advertising is a tough concept for people to get on their first product.

T: Yeah that’s right.

G: So I agree with you but here’s the work around for that because I know finances are usually a barrier to people when they’re first getting started out. They don’t wanna go and spend a couple of hundred bucks on facebook traffic because if it doesn’t work then they’re out of a couple hundred bucks. Even though they’re gonna go and buy a $1,000 course that’s gonna teach them how to do facebook ads but they won’t spend any money on facebook ads. But that’s another story for another day.

Alright so the work around for this is go find somebody who does have a list, offer to do a free webinar or a teleseminar to their list and sell the product on that, obviously giving them 50% affiliate commission or whatever you wanna give them. You know if you can go and find another blog who maybe has a list of 1,000-2,000 people and you can get 50 people on the phone and you can close 10 of them, you split the revenue or whatever it is.

That’s the way to test it if you don’t have a list. It’s doing the teleseminar or doing a webinar. And again if you wanna go the free way, no money whatsoever, will give you a free conference line, do it on the phone. I think people are very attracted to the sexiness of webinars because there’s video and it’s the hot crazy talk but so many more people can just jump on the phone if I’m on the car I can just jump on the phone. If I’m driving my baby to daycare or whatever it is I can just jump on the phone. I don’t have to be in front of my computer to watch this up. So don’t think that teleseminars are less powerful than webinars. Or that you’re limited because you don’t have the webinar technology. You don’t want to spend the money and go to webinar, whatever it is. That’s the quick work around to doing that.

And I completely agree with your model. Don’t create the product in that instant especially if it’s a bigger one. I can tell you it doesn’t work. That’s how I created every single one of my music products. I sold it first and then I would hold a live class every Monday for, I did one for 4 weeks, one for 12 weeks. Similar to how you did it. That way you’ll not have to work.

T: Yeah absolutely coz it can be when I created my first product I spent 6 weeks just cranking it out. Now I knew that it was an outsourcing type product and my own outsourcers it would benefit me if no one ever bought it but in hindsight I didn’t know what I was doing. I just wouldn’t want anyone to do it that way.

T: Okay so some people listening to this maybe the dentist, doctor, lawyers, whatever they’re thinking love this, love the idea “man, don’t have any time, already working too much.” And not even those people, even maybe people who are employed and they’re trying to create their own business so they got more time and they have money and they wanna get going and they ‘re thinking “man, those 4 people and 4 modules and interview, yeah, I can do the 4 calls but then what? I mean transcriptions and graphics and hay yay yay. So how can you help me do that?”

G: Yes so literally work done for you product creation company. Everything we talked about tonight from figure out who your market is, the initial ideas, developing that business model, we start there. And we really decide, a lot of people come in with the idea “hey I wanna create a product on this.” And we end up creating a product on that because that’s really the product that we wanna create. So it’s a consultive process so whether you have an idea or you have no idea, we start there. Then we obviously develop your product, the outline, the framework which is getting someone from A to B like we talked about earlier. We develop all that for you. We create the outline for the whole products. What we do is we act as the interviewer. Similar to how Trent’s been tonight, asking me the questions, I do the same for you in a systematic way to get you to solve the problem with the market place. We do that and interview some, coz there’s 2 different ways. One is because I can present you as the expert in that market place “but hey what’s up? This is Greg and today I’m joined by Trent. Trent is the leading blogger for entrepreneurs looking to do xyz and he’s been featured here and there.” And I position you as that 3rd party expert.

Second thing the interview does is it’s really conversational, just how Trent and I have been talking tonight. This is conversational. No one should feel like I’m speaking at you like I’m on a stage and I’m like pointing down. Very conversational, very low key and customers really like that because I don’t want to see a guy like on a pedestal like just shooting pellets at me telling me what to do. I wanna have that conversation. That’s why interviews are very effective. That’s why Trent is really successful with his model and we do the same with our process.

And the third is that you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to prepare anything. You don’t have to prepare powerpoint slides or bullet points or write paragraphs or script anything out. You just answer questions that you already know the answers to. And you get the questions in advance. So we record it, pretty obviously edit everything, we take out all the ums and ahs, awkward pauses, anywhere we slipped up, messed up, make you sound like the expert that you are. We’ll get everything transcribed but we don’t just transcribe it we actually turn those transcriptions into something that people wanna read because if people read a transcription the word for word how it was transcribed they’re like “this is like gibberish” because we speak and run on sentences, we switch directions and so we edit all that and make it look good. We create an action guide. This is the coolest part of the whole thing because you don’t want people just to passively listen to the product. You want people to take action so they change their life or change their business. And so an action guide it’s a fancy word for a workbook but here’s a quick free tip for you in the end. You never wanna sell a workbook, right? Because that means I’m buying work and who would in their right mind wants to buy work. They only get paid for the work that they do. So you wanna sell an action guide or a resource guide or users manual, whatever you wanna call it. We call them action guide coz that what you want people to do. You want them to take action. These are fill in the blanks. These are charts, graphs, things that they can circle, things that they can draw, things that they can answer, bullet points that we break out. We do all that for you creating this really useful guide that when someone fills this thing out and they actually do it they’re gonna be a customer of yours for the rest of their life. Really, really powerful.

We do all the graphics, we get it designed both for digital and physical so I know in the online world people really get a custom to just selling stuff and optimize press, just downloads MP3’s and stuff like that. But we get ready for physical too because there’s a huge mark up and margin for physical stuff. The same if you had 4 MP3’s versus 4 CD’s, the 4 MP3’s you might not only be sell for $47 but now put a 4 CD’s I’m gonna mail you, now it’s a $200 price or $300 product just because of the medium and the fact that this box of stuff gets shipped to my house. So we get it ready for both physical and digital. We hook you up with our for filming company which is print on demand. Going back to my again music industry analogies we used to buy disc makers, you get a brand new CD and you print up like 10,000 of them, right? Well these closets have like 9,000 of those 10,000 sitting on them. We don’t wanna do that to you so we offer a print on demand thing. So if Joe from Albuquerque buys one we print and ship one just for Joe, you just pay us for that one and you obviuosly make the mark up and all as if you own the product. We don’t take any ownership of it and you get it done and completed 30 days from the day that we rock it out.

It’s one of the coolest products and programs that I’ve seen and like this I’m biased coz it’s mine but it’s for the person who kinda has the idea but they don’t really know what they wanna do. They don’t know the direction but at the end we jump on and we have a marketing call and that’s how we’ve created over a hundreds of this. We’ve sold tens of thousands of our own products and we get on and we say here’s how you can find some joint ventures, here’s some advertising opportunities. So if you’re gonna do some mailer or if you’re buying ads or whatever it is here’s what you can do. To give you a clear path because the last thing that we wanna do is just make this thing and it just sits on a digital shelf or a real shelf. You don’t sell any coz then you’re not gonna refer anybody to us, you’re not gonna help us grow our business. If I’m not gonna help you grow your business you’re not gonna help me grow mine. So we really got your back the entire way. And that goes my long windid pitch there. So I hope everybody enjoys it.

T: And my little endorsement, Greg hasn’t said it in this interview and I haven’t asked him directly but this is not some little small time business that he’s running. This guy is doing millions of millions of dollars a year and sales of this stuff and he’s helping a lot of clients and I’ve never found anybody, and that’s why I wanted to interview him and why ask him to create a master class, I’ve never found anybody who was just like so completely focused on making high quality information products. And it’s a fantastic business opportunity. I mean just that getting 4 people and doing the interviews and like you could knock out an information product, a high quality expert driven information product and you don’t have to know anything. You don’t have to be that expert. You just need to know how to tap into those experts and we’ve covered some of that tonight in the interview and we’ll cover even more in the master class.

So I wanna thank you all very much for watching this. Now if you’re at Bright Ideas watching this, down below the video there is, you can download the MP3 and you can download the transcription but you need to be a subscriber. It’s free. You just click on that, it’ll take you to the opt in page, you give me your email address. I don’t ever spam you. I’m never gonna share your email address with anyone else but that’s what you give me and then coz I pay money I use speechpad and it cost me a $1 a minute so this is gonna cost me $60 something to get this transcribed. But I pay my VA and so forth so I figured out that’s a fair trade. An email address for those downloadable items if you want.

Alright so thank you all very much. Greg, thank you for being on the show with me. I’ve learned a lot. I was reminded of a couple of things I heard from you in another interview so that was really good. I’m super stoked to do the master class with you and I’m gonna be hiring you to help with an information product here that some are on my drawing board right at the moment. So what you haven’t given is how do people get a hold of you and then we’ll close off on that.

G: Yeah definitely. So again rule no., I think it was 2, is a personality driven business. So luckily we’ve got to hang out, if you like what we have talked about today, I actually do wanna talk to you. I don’t wanna hide behind walls so just shoot me an email If you wanna go to the website it’s just Get back to you. We can set up a time to talk and see if we can help you out man. And make sure you say that Trent sends you coz he’s a good guy. And I wanna be able to tell him that he’s got a great audience so.

T: Alright you’re too kind. So thank you very much everybody. We’ll be back with again another interview soon. Bye.

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

How To Create Stunning Information Products with Greg Rollett

Creating Stunning Information Products That Generate Massive Revenue

If you’re like most of those considering creating information products, your dream of generating massive revenue will likely remain just that, a dream. Greg Rollett is one of the few people who has tons of experience in this area. He’s created hundreds of information products for both himself and his clients.

Through the course of this interview, he shares exactly what it will take for you to turn this dream into a reality. If you’re serious about generating quality information products, you do not want to miss this.

Listen now to hear expert advice on creating stunning information products. 

It Begins With 5 Rules of Ambitious Marketing

Greg shares 5 Rules that you need to follow if you want to get the most from your marketing. Since your information product is part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to begin by looking at the big picture.

You’ll hear Greg talk about how to take mediocre marketing and make it great. Greg shares questions to ask that will help you get to know your market better than anyone else, especially your competition.

Greg also outlines how important it is for your marketing to have immediate, measurable results, so that you can track how well you’re doing.

Listen to the show to hear Greg share more details on these and all of the 5 rules.

Greg’s Proven Product-Generation Formula

Once you have your overall plan in place, it’s time to create quality information products that will sell like hotcakes.

In the interview, Greg lets us in on the key to creating quality information products – having the right formula. Using a proven formula will keep you from wasting your time or spinning your wheels. Greg’s formula creates information products that people want to purchase, without taking a lot of time or effort on your part. Who wouldn’t want that?

Listen now for Greg’s proven product-generation formula.

Finding the Right Pricing for Your Product

How do you determine how much to charge for your information products? Does it ever make sense to give them away for free? How on earth can you get people to pay top dollar for information that they could find online for free?

Greg shares how you can tell if and when you should give away products for free. He also divulges how, using one of the 5 rules of ambitious marketing, you can get people to pay handsomely for your information product. The amazing thing is, these rules apply even if the information you’re sharing is readily available for free elsewhere!

Listen to the show for expert advice on pricing strategies for your information product.

Taking the Pain out of Finding Pain Points

One secret to developing information products that appeal to your clients and fly off the shelves is to make sure the products address the client’s real pain points.

This sounds simple but Greg shares examples that demonstrate that the pain points aren’t always what you think. And if you target the wrong pain point you can waste countless hours and dollars developing information products that no one wants to buy. Identifying the correct pain points up front can save you massive amounts of time and money.

You know you’ve found the pain points when you find out what keeps your clients up at night.

If you want to effectively and efficiently locate your clients’ pain points, listen to the show now.

About Greg

information products businessGreg Rollett, the ProductPro, is a Best-Selling Author and online marketing expert who works with authors, experts, entertainers, entrepreneurs and business owners all over the world to help them share their knowledge and change the lives and businesses of others. After creating a successful string of his own

Greg is a front runner in utilizing the power of social media, direct response marketing and customer education to drive new leads and convert those leads into long-standing customers and advocates.

Previous clients include Coca-Cola, Miller Lite, Warner Bros and Cash Money Records as well as hundreds of entrepreneurs and small business owners. Greg’s work has been featured on FOX News, ABC, NBC, CBS, the Daily Buzz and The Wall St. Journal. Greg has written for Mashable, the Huffington Post, AOL, AMEX’s Open Forum and more.

Greg loves to challenge the current business environments that constrain people to working 12-hour days during the best portions of their lives. By teaching them to leverage technology and the power of information Greg loves helping others create freedom businesses that allow them to generate income, make the world a better place and live a radically ambitious lifestyle in the process.

A former touring musician, Greg is a highly sought after speaker having appeared on stages with former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Chris Brogan, Brian Tracy, James Malinchak, Mike Koenigs and Nick Nanton as well as at events such as Affiliate Summit, The Best-Seller’s Summit, Putting America To Work and many other events across the country.


Digital Marketing Strategy: How IronTribe Fitness is Using Infusionsoft to Crush Its Competition

Is your business generating enough leads? Are you successfully converting your leads to customers?

Most businesses have a terrible time with lead generation, and an even worse time with converting their leads to customers.

My guest in this interview is Forrest Walden, Founder & CEO of IronTribe Fitness and he does not suffer from this problem. Thanks to a very clearly defined marketing strategy, supported by well thought out sales processes supported by Infusionsoft software, Iron Tribe is a lead generation and sales conversion machine.

More About This Episode

The Bright Ideas podcast is the podcast for business owners and marketers who want to discover how to use online marketing and sales automation tactics to massively grow their business.

It’s designed to help marketing agencies and small business owners discover which online marketing strategies are working most effectively today – all from the mouths of expert entrepreneurs who are already making it big.

In this episode, I interview Forrest Walden, CEO of Iron Tribe Fitness.

Watch Now

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Connect with Trent Dyrsmid:

Here are some of the things you’ll discover in this episode:

How to Build a Killer Sales Funnel

Forrest has built an extremely successful fitness franchise. The first four stores are all corporately owned and all filled to capacity very quickly. Forrest wasn’t present for several of the grand openings, yet they were still as successful as the ones where he was there. You’ll hear what he did behind the scenes to make this happen.

Prior to starting his own company, Forrest worked for another fitness franchise. Making the shift from employee to employer requires a big shift in mindset first.

Listen, and you will discover how Forrest was able to make the shift from employee to business owner, and how his desire to franchise played a role in this.

When starting a new business, many people move ahead too quickly and spend too much money before properly validating that there is a hungry market for their product.

Listen to the interview and you will discover the systematic approach that Forrest took to validating his idea before he spent a dime launching the company.

One of the things that make Iron Tribe so successful is the impact they have on their customer’s lives. This results in a very loyal membership and a ‘stick rate’ of 97% for their customers.

Listen to the show to discover some of the strategies that Forrest’s team used to achieve such a high level of customer retention.

When Forrest launched his first location, he generated a list of 600 people that he called his sphere of influence, or SOI. This one tactic had a massive impact on the launch. You’ll hear Forrest give the details of the campaign that he launched to this group of 600 people and why it worked so well. (they converted 10% to customers!)

By the time they had two gyms, Forrest and his VP of operations realized that they needed to automate every aspect of their business model. The results they achieved by doing so were amazing; they now convert 98% of in-person consultations into customers!

Listen to the show and you’ll hear which software they chose and how they made it work so well.

Once their campaign to the list of SOIs was complete, Forrest and his team needed to expand their direct marketing efforts. To do that, they needed to precisely define who their ideal customer was.

Listen to the show to hear how they defined and targeted their next wave of prospects.

By this point in time, Forrest and his team had really optimized their lead generation systems. The next challenge was to create a sales process that could be effectively deployed to the sales team. To do this, they created and continuously test a very specific sales process.

Listen and hear Forrest talk about how they created their sales process.