This is a true story about a musical friend, an internet marketing guru, me, a major holiday, a talking monkey named Charlie, a Christmas music CD, and some kids in Liberia, West Africa. OK — I'll admit there is no talking monkey in the story, but it is still worth reading. It's a bit of a long post — I hope you'll stick with me to the end.
Lions and Tigers And Scumbags, Oh My!
One of the things that really bugs me about the internet marketing industry (if you want to call it an industry) is the total sleaze factor that I see from so many internet marketers. There are so many people out there making unrealistic claims, trading on people’s fear and taking advantage of people’s hopes and dreams.
It just drives me absolutely crazy to see all the sleazebags that are promoting junk products in the internet marketing space.
Now, having said that, there are some internet marketers that base their entire business on a platform of ethics and helping other people . A short list of those includes people like John Leger, Nicole Dean, Lynn Terry, Andrew Hansen and Josh Spaulding. There are many more out there like them (sorry if I left you off), but you have to know where to look.
My most recent favorite good guy is Pat Flynn, by the way.
Case In Point: Nicole Dean
No, Nicole is not a sleaze ball. She's not quite sane either (but that is a topic for another post).
As it turns out, a post of Nicole's from the other day is actually what motivated this post. A couple of weeks ago Nicole published an Expert Brief (Is Marketing Good or Evil) and asked people how they used internet marketing to help other people. I loved this post, because actually this is the magical secret of internet business.
Everybody is always asking, “What’s the secret? What’s the magical product I can buy to drive traffic? What’s the special product I can promote to really make a killing in the marketplace? What’s the magical niche that I can choose and make a killing in two weeks?” The answer is there aren’t any magic bullets except to make sure that you’re always helping people in your business.
Zig Ziglar said it best,
“You can get everything you want in life by giving other people what they want.”
This is true in internet business. If you focus your business on helping your customers get what they need without worrying too much about the money, the money will come. This has been proven time and time again.
But, in Nicole’s case she was asking a different question. She was asking,
“What do your internet marketing skills allow you to do outside of your business to help people?”
Problem: My Answer Was Totally Lame
The problem with my answer was that it was totally lame. I mean, my internet business is built around helping people, but Nicole was asking a different question. Essentially, she was asking what I was doing outside of my business to help people.
My answer: Not all that much.
Then, as if by magic, an opportunity fell out of the sky.
A friend of mine needed help with a charity project. My buddy Phillip is an incredibly talented musician who made a Christmas CD about two years ago. He needed some help with some “internet stuff” related to his project.
Now I would have helped him anyway, but with Nicole's post fresh in my mind I was highly motivated to make some quick progress. I embarked the a project as a favor.
Turns out my friend is doing some great work with a missionary school in Liberia, West Africa.
The Christmas CD that he made is absolutely fantastic and the great thing is that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the CD go to support a missionary school in Liberia, West Africa.
Phillip started supporting the school after a trip there in 2007 and he’s been sending them money ever since. It turns out that you can pay for one year’s education for a child in Liberia with a mere 100 dollars. That means for every six Christmas CDs that Phillip sells he is able to put a child through school for a year.
Internet Marketing Help Wanted
Now, this is an amazing thing and Phillip has sold a lot of CDs, but he’s mostly sold them to family, friends, and acquaintances. In fact, he had about 300 CDs sitting in a box in his office.
Of course, knowing some internet marketing I was able to offer to help Phillip by creating a website to showcase his CD, sell it online, and take money via Paypal. We launched the website this week and we’re hoping to simply make it easier for people who know me or know Phillip to purchase the CD and help these deserving children in Liberia.
This is just one example of how internet marketers can work to change their reputation by adding value to the internet, by helping people in their community, and by doing the right things to create an industry image that’s worth having.
I’m particularly sensitive to this topic of professional image because I come from a very respectable background in engineering and have worked for 20 years at a company that is known for it's ethics. We just don’t have image problems. So, the image problems that are present in the internet marketing space really bugs me.
Anyway, I’ll get off my soapbox now and encourage you to go over to Phillip’s new website and check out his Christmas CD, it’s absolutely fantastic. It makes an excellent gift.
Buy all of the copies you want and all the proceeds will go to help a child in Africa who could really use your help.
And — My challenge to you comes from my friend Nicole. Do something this month to make the internet a better place.
P.S. — No, I don't make any money if you buy the CD. Sheesh. All the money goes to the kids.