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Archive for May, 2007

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Promoting your software Series
This is a great series by Andy Brice over 6 parts on how to promote your software. He covers a lot of ground and provides a lot of good information therefore I strongly recommend reading it. Here part 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Ariane 5 Flight 501
An extreme example of why you should always do product testing.

Foreclosure pace nears decade high
California is really experiencing a downturn in the real estate market creating a lot of opportunities for savy real estate investors.

No One is Going to Steal Your Brilliant Idea
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it here, but Ideas are a Dime a Dozen. Don’t worry about someone stealing your idea, worry more about how you’ll execute on it.

Two-Income Trap: Why Many Couples Shouldn’t Both Be Working For The Money
This is a good example of why you should always do the math before you decide anything. Sometimes you can come out ahead, or very close anyways, with a completely different path.

Programming Knowledge versus Programming Ability
I’m also a strong believer in that there’s a large difference between knowledge and ability (this goes for anything) but wasn’t able to properly express it. This article does just that.

The man who owns the Internet
Most people don’t really understand why there are so many single page sites with just ads. It’s because there’s a lot of money to be made through the natural traffic of domains, which this author explains in good fashion. This world is a little more complex, but this is a great introductory article.






LandlordMax Sales Revenues

It’s been an interesting ride getting LandlordMax to where it is today. We’ve had many bumps and twists along the way, and we’re still in the thick of things. The good news is that we’re definitely showing revenue growth, even amongst the real estate market downturn in the US (the majority of our customers are from the US). I won’t get into it here, but I think this is good business wise for LandlordMax. Its unfortunate for the people who will lose their investments but I believe it will strengthen the astute real estate investor. In my personal opinion the real estate market downturn will reduce the number of “hobby investors” and lead larger real estate portfolios by professional investors. Whether this is good or bad overall is another question, but I do suspect this will lead to more sales of LandlordMax (our average customer has anywhere between 5-1000 units). In any case, this ia a discussion for another day.

Getting back to LandlordMax, I decided to quickly create a graph of our sales revenues (not profits, just revenues) over the last few years which you can find below. I didn’t have the data for version 1.00 easily accessible and hence it wasn’t included (it was only two months before we released 1.02 anyways). As well, these numbers are approximations. In any case the graph below gives you a ballpark idea of where we stand in terms of revenues.

LandlordMax Sales Revenues

As you can see we’re definitely growing! Our best revenue for a month in 2004-2005 is now pretty much our worse revenue for a month in most of 2006 (excluding the first two months) and all of 2007.

I also included the major released of LandlordMax along the way, to see what impact they had. Version 1.00 to version 1.02 did have an impact, but again unfortunately I didn’t have easy access to those numbers to display in the graph. Actually if you look at the graph, all new major versions seem to have positively affected our sales revenue except for version 1.08, which didn’t seem to do much either way.

This is an interesting anomaly because if you look at the release notes, we definitely added a lot to the software with version 1.08. My guess is that we didn’t as many new “major” features as we thought, they were probably considered more as enhancements and niceties by our customers: more reports, a Late Fees button, accounting filters, due dates, partial payments, etc. With all the other versions we added at least one major component. For example in version 1.02 we added the concept of landlords, in version 2.12 we added pictures, table sorting, etc. For version 3.11 we added huge performance enhancements, receipts, preferences, etc. For the upcoming version we anticipate (this is not an official list of features, this is what we’re currently working on and hope to have available for the next release if all goes well) adding Quickbooks support, charts for the reports, etc.

All around it’s very exciting to see the sales revenue climb over the years. As you can clearly see from the graph, we’re about to beat our best fiscal year (our fiscal year ends in the fall). To be honest, we’ve already beaten it by 10% as of last month and we still have some months to go! Very exciting times!






Can a User Review Be Considered a Testimonial?

As part of releasing an updated version of LandlordMax Property Management Software we contact all the shareware sites to let them know about it. In the past we used a service by Rudenko with great success. This time however we decided to try their software RoboSoft and do it ourselves. It’s been a very positive experience and we’ll be purchasing it shortly. In any case, as part of testing out RoboSoft I was randomly looking at some of the sites it submitted LandlordMax to verify it actually worked as expected. At about the third or fourth site I saw the following “User Review“:

“Does not limit you to how many properties that can be entered.

Keeps track of everything even tentants their roommates as well as being able to list every appliance for each property (fridge, oven, dishwasher, water heater, furnace etc.) This is the most comprehensive program that I have been able to find to date! For the price it is a bargain. Most other programs that I have looked at have been less appealing and didnt offer as many features/reports (this one generates hundreds of reports including cash flow for each property!!!) The main advantage that I liked is that the number of properties that can be entered is limitless (as many as you want this program will handle the work load!)”

This is a great user review! To me it’s also a great customer testimonial. Is it really though? Should we use it on our Success Stories and Testimonials webpage? This is my dilemna. What do you think?






LandlordMax Version 3.11c is Now Available

We just released the latest version 3.11c of LandlordMax which resolved a few minor issues. You can find the complete list of fixes here. The biggest fix included a bug which sometimes didn’t save the second modification (or further modifications) to the tabbed data panels if there were intermediatary saves done between each modification after the second time. Please don’t ask me to explain that more clearly, it’s a very specific (consistent) sequence of steps which caused this issue.

The other biggest change is that the Suggested Invoices/Receipts End Dates are now pushed back by one day. This is so that if you do a monthly Invoice/Receipt, it will be from the 1rst to the last of the month and not the first to the first. In mathematical terms instead of first + 1 month it’s now first + 1 month – 1 day.

There are some other minor changes, but these two are the most noticeable ones. It’s not a major update but we always do recommend upgrading if you can.

Also as an insider tip, we anticipate adding a new feature in the next version to give the software the ability to upgrade itself, so that you won’t need to manually download and install the upgrades. It will of course ask you before going ahead, but other than pressing the Ok button you won’t need to do anything else. This is on our list of new features for the next version.






An Example of Horrible Customer Service by Telus

I really don’t like to talk negatively about any company or person but today I’m making an exception about Telus (I don’t think I’ve actually ever really done this before). I just finished a good 1-2 hour call with their customer service department about my last bill and I was very angry and frustrated. I know I should wait a day or two to publish this but I’m going to break my self imposed rule because of the insanity of it all.

Palm Treo 700wx Cell Phone

It started about 3-4 months ago when I bought myself a new Palm Treo 700wx from Telus (one of the bigger telco’s in Canada). It’s a great looking phone that was going to serve all my needs (top of the line). What I need from my cell phone is the ability to talk on it and read my emails (very simple). I still enjoy getting email messages sent to my phone about my daily sales, etc. Nothing too crazy, no more than a few messages a day (summaries, etc.). That being said, this phone was going to be perfect. I got the data connection for 4mb/month for $20-25/month (I can’t remember the exact price). There’s no way checking my emails every 60 minutes would use up 4mb of bandwidth a day, assuming most of the time there’s no new emails and those that do come in are summaries of at most 10-100 characters.

As part of the package I got they also gave a discount of $400 on the PDA bringing it down to $200 (with a three year contract). As well they gave me free unlimited bandwidth for the first three months so I could test out the internet. I was excited to get my new phone.

Within a week or so later I noticed that about a third of the time the person on the other of the line couldn’t hear me when we initially connected. This is annoying to say the least!!! So I went back to the store and they were more than happy to exchange my phone with a new one. Great. The downside was that it was going to take at least a week since they had to order in a new one because they couldn’t just exchange it for what was on the shelve. I don’t understand but fine, I can go along with that since I get to keep the current one in the interim, with calls with no voice and all.

A week goes by and I get my new phone. At first everything seemed to work well but within a month again the same problem. Many times the other person can’t hear me. So I started to surf the net about this problem and it appears to be very common with this phone. No one is doing anything about it, no firmware/software upgrades, nothing. And you can’t really change phones without paying the full price of the PDA (ie. the $400 difference). Not only that but the phone crashes at least once every other day forcing a hard reboot. This is not uncommon. So in the meantime I’ve decided to wait a bit for a firmware update. Still nothing as of today (I just checked).

Now you’d think the story ends here, but this is just the tip of the iceberg, the really interesting part is just about to begin! My three months of unlimited bandwidth have ended and now I’m on the 4mb/month data plan. I haven’t really been monitoring my traffic because its not accurate. I did try to surf on the net when the bandwidth was free to see how it all worked, which was interersting, but because of this I knew that my current bandwidth usage wasn’t indicative of my email usage. So I didn’t even bother to check the numbers. Either way, once the unlimited bandwidth was over I only checked my email every 60 minutes for 1-5 messages a day with 10-100 words of content. Nothing that’s bandwidth intensive. Nothing that should use many megabytes of data month. So you think…

Last week I received a bill for a whopping $406.71!!! How come? Because I used 86Mb of bandwidth to check my 50-100 email messages a month. Yes, that’s right, its not a mistake. I immediately called Telus which led to the conversation I just finished with their customer service representative a few minutes ago. The first thing I questionned was the accuracy of this bandwidth usage. It made no sense at all, 86mb a month to check and read 50-100 emails… He confirmed it, I was using about 4mb of bandwidth a day to check my emails. I told him that was impossible, that it didn’t make any sense at all. At this point I was put on hold for about 10 minutes as he confirmed something with the technicians. When he returned he told me that each email check would cost me about 100kb of bandwidth, regardless if there’s any email or not. This is completely laughable. At those numbers, checking your email and finding there’s none is transffering more data than a complete 100 page MS Word document. How much data does it take to say you have no new emails. Not 100kb.

Not only that, but if that’s true, doing some quick math, it would cost me 50-100mb of bandwidth a month just check my emails once an hour! If you do the numbers, where we know people check about 5-10 minutes in a corporation, that would be about 500mb a month per user (not counting the email content). The math makes no sense, the bandwidth costs would bankrupt everyone. Later in our phone conversation after a few more technical support discussions, he did admit that these numbers made no sense and that 4mb per month should be ample for my usage. But it didn’t really help to solve the issue and took a lot of pushing for him to even admit that.

In any case, after I explained to him several times that this wasn’t possible, he said that the bandwidth was coming from my cell phone. They had the serial number of the cell phone registered. I told him specifically that I didn’t use the net to surf but only for those emails. After about 10-20 iterations of exactly this (how many times can you tell someone you’re not surfing the internet)I finally convinced him to call the technicians to see what kind of bandwidth was being used. He came back and told me that at least half of my bandwidth was directly from surfing the net on Internet Explorer on the cell phone. He called out several dates, including yesterday, the day before, etc. Basically he said every day I surfed for at least 2-3mb on my phone. I told thim this isn’t possible. He then insisted it happened or that someone else was using my phone to do this. The phone is attached to my hip. It’s not possible.

So what’s going on? What’s causing this? I’d like to know to. The technician just kept insisting I was using my phone to surf everyday. So right there on the phone, I removed the check every 60 minutes to see what would happen (and killed all running applications). Now before I proceed, please note that when you connect to check emails, the phone doesn’t disconnect right away, it sometimes stays connected. That’s ok as no data is being transmitted, hence no bandwidth costs. Going back, I just confirmed with him that I had nothing connecting to the internet. Within a minute the phone connects back to the internet. I check with him on the phone the list of active applications. Nothing is open. I manually disconnect. Within another minute or two it connects again. We both have no idea why. I repeat this several times and I can see he’s wondering why but won’t admit it for obvious reasons. I ask him if he can check with his technician if there’s any activity going on right now with the phone to which he strongly insists he can’t. So here we have a connection that’s being monitored, that I can’t close, and he can’t tell me if there’s any data moving back and forth. Great…

At this point I ask him if there’s a way I can force it not to automatically connect, or at least something to monitor what the phone is doing (some kind of utility that will give me something). He says no. The only thing I can do is to either delete the connection completely (and hence continue paying for a service I can’t use) or to turn off the whole phone which is even worse as I get nothing. I simply cannot set the phone to only manually connect, it’s all or nothing.

After a few minutes of this he then tells me he wants to check something and goes away for another 10-15 minutes. When he comes back he tells me that it shouldn’t matter anyways, that no data is going back and forth when the connection is idle. I then remind him again of the 4mb I’m suposedly using each day. He doesn’t really know how to respond, so he repeats himself again about the idle connection. Then he proceeds to suggest that I should upgrade my data plan to a higher more expensive plan to cover my usage where I’ll pay another larger amount per month each and every month. I quickly explain to him that he’s not only asking me to pay for something I’m not using each month, but to pay more for it! To pay another $60/month for something I’m not doing. Not only that it might cover my current usage, I have no guarantees that more bandwidth won’t be used since I’m not the one doing this. He confirms this and suggests an even higher plan where were getting to $100/month or more. Again I explain to him that he’s asking me to pay for something I’m not using!

He then suggests I reset my phone, to do a complete reset in case there’s a software issue (I’ve not installed any third party software). I can accept this, but what if the issue persists. I’ll be going over my plan each day. So I ask him the cost whereby he looks it up and confirms it will about $50/day extra should it persist with the same bandwidth usage. I ask him if theres something we can do so I don’t get charged $50/day should the problem persist. Remember this is my second phone because of defects and I’m experiencing problems again, my faith in a replacement phone is extremely low, especially when it’s going to be out of my pocket at $50/day. He goes back to suggesting a higher plan to cover the full bandwidth should it continue ($100-$150/month). I ask him about getting real time bandwidth usage data or a technical person to assist us. He informs me this is not possible and that the bandwidth usage information will be delayed by at least 48 hours. He guarantee by how much exactly.

At this point I’m thinking this is getting nowhere and I just want out of the whole thing. I can live without my email notifications if this is the cost so I ask him if I can just cancel the data connection ($25/month part of the plan) where he informs me that with the phone I purchased this is not possible for at least a full year. At this point, my options are extremely limited and I have no idea what to do.

My options are:

  1. Keep the current phone (where on a third of the calls people can’t hear me) and delete the internet connection completely. I continue to pay $25/month for 10 months ($250) for a service I can’t use because it’s broken.
  2. Keep the current phone (where on a third of the calls people can’t hear me) and reset it hoping it works. If all goes well no extra costs and I’m happy. If something goes wrong I pay $50/day for at least 2-3 days ($100-$150 minimum, probably more) before I can even tell if there’s a problem. And then I disconnect the internet completely and try again for another round of costs.
  3. Keep the current phone (where on a third of the calls people can’t hear me ) and get a much higher plan paying $100-$150 more a month to cover the additional bandwidth costs ($1500 for the remainder of this year alone) and figure out the issue. Minimum cost is $150 if I’m lucky and I can resolve it in a month.
  4. Return the phone and try one of the above (same prices).
  5. Return the phone and get a non-PDA phone where I have to pay the $400 difference and save $250 in data costs (paying $150).

In no case can I guarantee I won’t pay at least $150 more (probably more) for something I didn’t do!!! Think about that. That’s insane! No matter what I’ll be charged at least $150 to figure out what’s wrong. I explain this to him, that he’s given me no good options, only terrible ones. This is EXTREMELY poor customer service to say the least. I’m absolutely not impressed. He can’t find another solution and he’s at a lost for words. He quickly restates the options, says he put a note on my file, and quickly says a very polite goodbye (I will admit he was very polite and friendly throughout the whole discussion). And I can’t blame him for wanting to end the call quickly, I’m pretty much left with only horrible options.

I will also admit that he did go ahead and offer to credit me the $400 amount when I was listing these options. But he also let it slip that for this month I was already at about $200-$300 in additional bandwdith charges! I asked him if we could also credit this balance to which he answered no. He could not credit this additional amount. Same problem same issue but he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it. So I’m going to be out another $200-$300 on top of my costs to figure out this issue (probably another $150-$250). They can’t help me with that. Talk about poor customer service. At the very least if you can’t credit me (knowing there is an issue) than at least help me solve it without charging me more money! Horrible horrible customer service

At this point I just don’t know what I’ll do. I’m going to sit on it for a day or so. I’ve already completely disconnected the internet so I’m now being charged for a service I can’t use.

I’m just completely amazed and apalled at the customer service of Telus. It’s beyond ridiculous. Will I ever go back to Telus once my contract is done? NO. Will I ever refer anyone? NO. But worse yet is that they got me upset enough to publish my story here because I want to help prevent others from getting caught in a similar mess. And if you look at the reach of this blog, the amount of money they were able to extract from me will cost many multiples more in negative PR than they’re getting!

*** UPDATE ***

To give you a better idea of the scale of this issue, up until I was credited the $400, this would have been a $950 issue at a minimum: $400 (current balance) + $300 (next balance) + $250 (cost to resolve the issue) minimum. It’s now a $550 issue.

*** UPDATE 2 ***

I’ve sent emails yesterday to two of Telus’ main PR contacts from their website and still haven’t received a response from either… If you have any suggestions who else I should contact please let me know.

*** FINAL UPDATE ***

You can find the conclusion of this story on my follow up article: “Telus Customer Service






How to Get Published?

In my last entry I wrote how I was interested in writing a book about marketing and sales for small businesses (all small businesses, not just software based small businesses). It was received with good enthusiasm based only on the summary. Several people commented that they would buy it. I also received a number of personal emails saying the same. Therefore I’ve decided to go ahead and write the book.

And like everything I do before I fully commit, I researched my options. I spent the last week analyzing what options there are to authors like myself, and its amazing to see how much the publishing market has changed. In the past you pretty much had to go with a major publication company to get your book out, and even doing that was a challenge. The odds of being selected for publication were really low, never mind actual success. You could also look for a small presses, which is almost the same as large publication company but without all the benefits. In any case, you needed a publishing company to get your book out in the world.

There was also another option, you could self publish. This however was, and still is, a very costly endeavor. You need to have a lot of seed money to truly self publish, you have to cover all the expenses. Let’s say you decide to print 100, 1000, or even 5000 books (for an initial print run), you personally have to cover that cost. That’s above the costs of writing the book, creating the artwork, getting the ISBN, hiring a copy editor, marketing etc. It can be a very profitable venue, its just that you need a substantial bankroll and expertise to go this route.

Today the market has changed for the better, there’s more options. Although most people still prefer going with a publication company there’s a couple of new ways to publish that are easier, quicker, and more affordable. The main ones are POD (Print on Demand) and ebooks.

Print on Demand is where you partner up with a company like iUniverse to print your book on demand, be it one at a time, 20, 100, and so on. You don’t need to make runs, your book can be printed one at a time if need be. However to take advantage of this with Print on Demand you do have to spend a bit of money to get your book ready and into the “system”. The fees aren’t astronomical but they aren’t cheap either. For example iUniverse has packages ranging from $299 to $1,199 (not counting editorial services, etc.). This is great when you consider you can be self published without have to do a full print run of your books.

How do you make money using this service? Like most publishing companies, it’s mainly through royalties. iUniverse gives you a 10-20% royalty depending on what options you want to use. Another benefit is that they’ll sell you copies (again even one at a time) of your book to you at a heavy discount.

The option I investigated with POD and traditional publishing is ebooks. Ebooks are basically books sold in digital format (generally PDF) that you can purchase and download online. I’ve purchased at least a couple dozen myself and I’ve even sold one in the past. Ebooks can be great because the costs are only your time to write and market the ebook. Each sale goes almost directly to your bottom line. The downside is that it’s generally less credible, harder to sell and market. People prefer traditional books over ebooks.

After looking at all the options, I’m strongly leaning towards Print on Demand (POD). You don’t get some of the benefits of a publishing company (big distribution, some marketing, etc.), but you make up for it in other respects. With POD, you’re guaranteed to have your book published, you’re publishing it! With POD you can also get your book to market much quicker. With traditional publication companies getting through the approval process can take months, never mind going through all the steps and negotiations. The difference is 2-3 months versus a year or so. Personally I just don’t have the patience for that anymore, I’d rather just go ahead and get it done. That’s what being an entrepreneur for so long does to you.

As a disadvantage you don’t get your book professional edited for you with POD. You need to do this or hire a professional editor. That’s ok with me because I don’t mind hiring someone for this. Also, you don’t get the full distribution of a publishing company. Your book will not appear in bookstores across the nation, at least not unless you’re a proven bestseller. That’s ok I can accept that. Another disadvantage is that you need to provide all the marketing for your book (books don’t sell themselves). That’s ok too, the topic of the book is about marketing and sales after all. If I can’t do that I shouldn’t be writting this book. Something to also remember is that publishing companies will only continue to market your book as long as it has a return on investment otherwise they’ll leave it entirely to you. Either way you’ll still need to do a lot of the marketing yourself.

Having looked at all the options, the benefits and disadavantages, I believe I’ll proceed on the Print On Demand route. I like the timelines. I like the control. I don’t mind doing all of the marketing, that’s something I know (its definitely a serious consideration for most people). I also don’t mind the loss distribution, my plan was to focus mainly on sales through Amazon anyways. I plan to emulate the success the authors of the book Call To Action had using their own techniques (great book by the way, I commented on it back in July 2005). I can’t find it anymore, but I remember reading somewhere that they didn’t want to sell the book directly on their own website, even if it was for a much higher margin! They wanted every sale to go through Amazon.com so that they could increase their Amazon ranking, giving it some serious momentum (there’s more to it than that, but that’s for another day).

Get Published

Another factor that really helped make my decision was a book I recently picked up at my local bookstore called Get Published. It’s written by the CEO and editorial director of iUniverse so its very skewed towards iUniverse, it’s almost a sales pitch. But even with that it was a great read. I read most of it in one sitting. Again, there’s no doubt its a book to sell their service, they have testimonials of iUniverse sprinkled throughout, but it still clearly explains a lot about the publishing world. The fact that even with their sales pitch I’m still recommending the book should say something. They really do explain how things work in the publishing industry. They really do tell you the good and bad of the different types of publishing methods available to you (traditional, POD, etc.). They don’t try to oversell you on iUniverse, they tell you what they can’t and won’t do for you. They tell you exactly what the differences are and what you’ll need to do to be successful in both. For example, they tell you that you will need to do 100% of the marketing for your book with iUniverse, they won’t provide this for you. Again I strongly recommend Get Published if you’re looking for information on how to get a book published.

When will the actual book be available? My personal goal, which I’m publicly sharing right here and now, is to have it written before the end of summer. It’s an aggressive goal but I think I can do it. Add another 2-3 months to get printed by iUniverse (ISBN assigned, printing, edited, cover design, etc.) and I’m hoping to have it available for purchase on Amazon.com by late fall to early winter. Let’s see what happens!






Marketing And Sales For Small Online Businesses

For some time now I’ve been considering writing a book about marketing and sales for small online businesses. Not just software businesses, but all small online businesses. During the summer I was even a spearker at such a seminar with Glenn Scott where I personally presented “Website Promotion and Traffic Generation” which got some really great reviews. As one attendee put it, “if the average course is like drinking from a cup [content], then this course is like drinking water from a fire hydrant“. Btw, congratulations Justin on starting CitySales.ca.

Marketing and sales is now a domain of business which I’m quite familiar with, one that I’ve been really striving at since I founded LandlordMax about four years ago. Since that time, LandlordMax has steadily grown in traffic and sales.

In addition to LandlordMax, I also personally started this blog (FollowSteph.com) almost two years ago now. Together, these two sites get approximately a combined total of a million unique visitors per year! It might not seem like much when compared to the major players (Google.com, Cnn.com, or even Digg.com), but the thing to remember is that both of these sites are focused to niche demographics, so these are phenomenal numbers! All in all this is a very big achievement which I’m very proud of.

Which leads me back to my initial concept of writing a book about everything I’ve learned since I initially started. It’s been quite a road, with lots of bumps and turns. And I can tell you, I’d have been a lot further ahead today (at least I’d have gotten there quicker) if there had been a book like this one explaining everything I needed to know about marketing and sales for an online business. There’s a lot of information out there, no doubt about it, but it’s all over the place. It took me a lot of time to consolidate it all into one. This doesn’t even bring forth all the trial and error experience I got along the way. I can tell you as part of this whole learning process I also purchased lots of books, lots of ebooks (ebooks are great for quickly changing information such as “Adwords Definitive Guide“), read tons of articles, read tons of blogs, and so on. All in all, it’s been a great big adventure of learning.

So now I’m considering putting it all together in nice little book that will contain lots of information, more meat than fluff. I’m personally not a big fan of fluff, I like to get a lot of information for my money, and especially time (it’s my scarcest resource bar none). My personal value of a book is if I can get at least ten times the what I paid for it (time and money), then it’s worth its price. I’m hoping this book will be worth more than that!

So without further ado, here’s the outline I’ve been looking at so far:

Introduction

  • Some of my personal story, including some successes and failures.

Section 1 (General information)

  • Why is marketing and sales important to you?
  • How does traffic affect your revenue?
  • Is all your traffic worth the same?
  • Will your efforts need to change over time?
  • How will people find out about you?
  • What is SEO (Search Engine Optimization)?
  • What are the free types of website promotion?
  • What are the paid types of website promotion?

Section 2 (SEO – Search engine Optimization)

  • What exactly is SEO again?
  • Why is SEO important to you?
  • What can SEO do for you?
  • Tips to improve your website for better search engine ranking?
  • How does Google view your site overall?
  • How can you improve your site’s ranking outside of your own site?

Section 3 (Free Website Promotional Campaigns – Blogging)

  • What is blogging?
  • Should you blog?
  • How you can blog to increase awareness of your website
  • How you can promote your website in your blog
  • The real power of blogging

Section 4 (Free Website Promotional Campaigns – Part 2)

  • How can your content help drive traffic?
  • How can your content help your search ranking?
  • What are loss leaders and how can they help you?
  • What all this social networking about?
  • Is linking still important?
  • Do you really need an online presence?
  • Are directories worth anything anymore?
  • Are e-zines worth your time and effort?
  • Potpourri of tips

Section 5 (Paid Website Promotional Campaigns – Adwords)

  • How does Adwords really work?
  • Is Adwords really that good for you?
  • Does it really matter how much effort you put into Adwords?
  • What’s CPC?
  • What’s CTR?
  • Why are they both so important to you?
  • How you can do Multi-variate testing with Adwords
  • How can you improve my Adwords Ads?
  • What’s the best way to Manage your Adwords campaigns?
  • Does it really matter what keywords you bid on?
  • Are the other systems like Overture, FindWhat, etc. worth trying?
  • Adwords Potpourri

Section 6 (Paid Website Promotional Campaigns – Part 2)

  • What are presses releases and how do they work?
  • Are press releases worth your time and money?
  • Which services should you use for a press release?
  • How do you determine what’s newsworthy?
  • How do you write a press release?

Section 7 (Paid Website Promotional Campaigns – Part 3)

  • What domains should you buy for your website?
  • A great tip on how you can get an amazing ROI by buying domains
  • How do you know which domains to buy?

Section 8 – Promotional Potpourri

  • Why you should always sign your emails
  • The power of giving testimonials
  • Can you use RSS to your advantage?
  • Misc Potpourri

Section 9 – Sales Conversion

  • What is sales conversions?
  • How can you increase your sales conversion?
  • How can you monitor what’s going on?
  • What to look for when you try to increase your sales conversion?
  • Some quick tips on how to increase your sales conversions

Section 10 – Resources

  • Links to great blogs and articles
  • Recommend books and ebooks

Section 10 (Tentative)

  • Small interviews and tips from industry leaders

Well that’s the outline I have so far. It might seem like a lot, but imagine if it’s not all consolidated in one place and rather spread out across multiple books, ebooks, websites, blogs, and so on. It took me a long time to get a real grasp of all this and how it can really affect a website’s presence.

I’m also a big believer of the multiplier effect, which is the concept that your business is a multiplier of many factors. And assuming that’s a fact, multiplying any one factor will significantly increase your overall effectiveness. For example, if you score a 2 on one thing, then 4 on another, and 10 on still another (all out of a max of 10), then you’re a total of 2 * 4 * 10 = 80. However if you increase just one item, since it’s multiplied, you get 3 * 4 * 10 = 120, where you’re whole business is running 50% more effectively! By being 10% more effective in just one area (going from a 2 to a 3 out of a max of 10), you increased your overall business effectiveness by 50%!

Therefore I think there’s a lot of value in marketing and sales, and coming from a more technical background, these are some of the tools I wish I had know more about beforehand. Things I wish I didn’t have to learn at the school of hard knocks. I can tell you that I spent a lot of money learning many of these priniciples. Adwords alone cost me quite a bundle before I finally started to really “get” it. On one ad alone I increased it’s effectiveness from 0.42% to 1.62% through about a dozen small iterations in just a few weeks time. This alone increased my ROI incredibly, much much more than four times! I won’t explain here why it’s much more than four times ROI (42 * 4 is approx equal to 1.62), I’ll leave that to the book. All I’ll quickly say is CPC * CTR is the key to your success (hint: another multiplier effect is in play here).

Anyways, please let me know what you think. Would you be interested in this book? Would you buy it? Would you buy it in ebook format or just as an ordinary book (from Amazon for example). How much would you pay for this book? $29.95? $49.95? Are there other topics you’d like to see included? Any topics you’d like to have skipped? Basically any feedback you may have would be greatly appreciated. At this point this is just my outline, but I will start writing it this weekend.






 
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