Up In the Air with Mark
I am in the business class section on the Boeing 777 aircraft, it’s a fantastic aircraft. I’m currently 769 miles outside of Narita, Japan and Narita Airport. It’s about 3:00 in the morning in the U.S., since this is late night internet marketing I thought I would hop on the portable recorder even with the background noise that you hear with the airplane noise and say a few words about how to be a part time internet marketer by getting stuff done when you can.
A lot of you have probably heard the excuse from someone in internet marketing, maybe even yourself, that you just don’t have time to work on your own business. I totally understand that. If you’ve got a day job sometimes it can be really hard to find time to work on stuff.
One of the things that people will often tell you should do is work on things a little bit at a time whenever you have time. The question usually is, “What should I be working on?” One of the things that I can recommend that you look into is the Getting Things Done system by David Allen.
Getting Things Done is a complicated system with a lot of overhead. I don’t actually really recommend that you implement that in its full glory, although you certainly can do that. What I recommend that you look at is this idea of keeping a list of things to do according to context.
In other words, have your list sortable by the things that you can do when you’re at home versus when you’re at work versus when you’re on the computer versus when you need to make a phone call, and so forth. So if you have an extra 15 minutes you can look at your list and pick something that you can actually do wherever you are. Like right now I’m on the airplane, I have my Macbook Air with me and I have my portable voice recorder so there’s a few things I can do, including recording a few minutes of the Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast.
Everyone here in the business class section has on these fancy Bose noise cancelling headphones, so hopefully no one can hear me. But, a lot of people are asleep so I’m going to go ahead and sign off now and I’ll check in with you when I get to Taiwan.
On the Ground in Hsinchu, Taiwan
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about this episode. We had planned that this episode was going to cover the deindexing of blog networks that we’ve been talking about for the last couple of weeks.
Shane Eubanks and I had some discussion about the blog deindexing that I was going to share with you and then I was going to share with you my thoughts about what’s going on with all this and what I recommend in terms of backlinking strategy for you now that we’re having this stuff going on with blog networks.
To be honest with you, the more I researched this the more complicated I see that this issue really is. So I’m still working on an official recommendation. I’ve been following what a lot of the gurus have to say about this, but I don’t want to just regurgitate that. I want to give you something real. So I’m going to put that off for a week.
This week I’m going to pull a lost interview out of the archives. Several months ago or maybe it’s been almost a year ago I interviewed Cliff Ravenscraft and in that interview Cliff talked about the fact that the real key to being successful in business was creating value and giving stuff away. I wanted to use that clip today to remind people that while these technical issues with backlinking are really important, still the key to being successful online is creating value and helping people.
Nobody describes that any better than Cliff did in this clip that I’ve never aired before. It was a conversation that went on after the interview with Cliff while we were on Skype, so I want to roll that for you. I’ll tell you, the most important part of SEO is actually creating something that’s worth reading or consuming, creating content that’s, as Cliff says, is must have content, can’t live without it content. With that, let me give you Cliff.
Giving It All Away with Cliff Ravenscraft
Mark: I did want to get into that. Do you want to say a few words about that, do you have time?
Cliff: I will. This is an important thing and I get asked this all the time, especially as a consultant. I’m consulting people and they want to know, “Cliff, how do you build this community? I want to market, I want to sell things, I want to promote my business, my brand,” whatever the case may be, “I want to create digital products just like you’ve done. But, I can’t give it all away for free. What do I decide to give away, what do I decide not to give away?”
My answer is always the same. Give it all away for free. Don’t hold anything back. Nothing. Don’t hold anything back at all.
The thing is I used to answer tons of questions related to podcasting via email. I would spend an hour responding to somebody’s email giving them the exact step-by-step instructions they needed to solve a problem. And I wasn’t charging anything for it, I was just helping a person out.
Then I realized two weeks later I’d get the same question and I’d have to go and see if I could dig out where I got it before and I’ve have to rework it a little bit to fit their needs. I would do that and adjust it.
Finally it got to the point where I’m getting so many of these questions I just can’t answer them for free all day long. But, I always wanted to make sure that I always had a method of answering people’s questions for free. That’s what the purpose of Podcast Answer Man is for.
Podcast Answer Man, I will not hide the fact that by golly every week it is an infomercial for my consulting services and my product tutorials and the other things that I have that you can buy. But, it hasn’t always been that way. The reason I can tell you that is because it wasn’t until probably just about a year that I actually offered my first paid product.
The thing is it is there to promote me. But, here’s the situation. The way that I approach this, the number one person of the Podcast Answer Man podcast is to answer your questions. Today when somebody asks me a question, hopefully I already have a podcast episode that I can just point them to and say, “Here, have a listen to this. If you have further questions you can call it in to our voicemail feedback hotline or I’m available for consulting at $200 per hour with a minimum of one hour, or I have these tutorials, or I have a group coaching session that’s coming up in a couple weeks or whatever.” So I give those offers.
If a question comes in and I don’t have the answer I say, “Listen, here’s the situation. I’m in a place in my business where I cannot answer these questions via email. But, if you would please consider it, call my voicemail feedback hotline, leave the question there, and I’ll do my best to fit it into one of the upcoming shows. If you need an answer right away I don’t currently have a product tutorial. Here are the products that I do have, but I don’t have a tutorial that answers this. I am available for one-on-one consulting, but that’s the only way I can help you on a one-on-one basis. I’d be more than happy to try to squeeze your question into the next episode that will be out this Thursday.”
So that’s how I’m doing things. When I answer people’s questions I don’t give them 90% of the answer and then say, “Call me to set up an appointment if you want to talk about the rest.” No way. I would lose everybody. I try my best to not only answer their question, but to go the extra mile and give them more information than what they even asked for. I consistently do that.
The thing is that I make a lot of money from one-on-one consulting throughout the week, I make a lot per hour and I schedule quite a few calls. My clients know this because I tell them this. I say, “You realize everything that you’ve paid me for today is available for free online. I have 217 hours of Podcast Answer Man, if you listen to all 217 hours within that everything you’ve asked me today is answered for free in those podcasts.”
What happens is I put all this out there every single week, I’m answering questions week after week, providing top notch high quality free valuable information that is answering people’s questions. But, the situation is always that you’re going to have somebody who has a specific need and they want to get up and running and they don’t have more than two or three hours to get it going. They want to schedule a consulting call.
This is the email I get, I get two or three of these. I’m not exaggerating when I say every week two to three of these almost word for word.
Hey Cliff, my name is so and so. I found you about two weeks ago as a result of a Google search, I was searching for cameras and I saw this. I’ve been browsing your site, I’ve spent hours on your site and I’ve listened to about seven of your podcast episodes. I need to hire you.
Cliff: It’s like, “I know who you are, you don’t need to sell me on your services, you don’t need to tell me what your consulting rate is because I’ve heard you mention it a couple times. When can I get on your schedule?” That’s almost always the first initial contact I get from a new client. It’s not, “Can you tell me how you can possibly help me?” It’s, “I want to get on your schedule.”
Mark: That’s the same thing that happened to me. It wasn’t, “Convince me that you know what I need to buy.” It was, “I need this equipment. Tell me what to buy. I’m ordering it.” It’s very simple. I’m a living example.
Cliff: Let’s say you had never heard of me before. Jason Van Orden says, “You have to talk to this Cliff Ravenscraft guy.” You put it off for a while. Then you talk to someone else. You mention podcasts. They say, “You have to talk to Cliff Ravenscraft.” You think, “Who is this Cliff Ravenscraft guy?”
You e-mail me without investigating my site. You say, “Hey, Cliff. My name is Mark. I’ve had two people tell me I need to hire you. Can you tell me what you do and if you think you can help me?”
I would write back a personal message just for you. The essence of the message would be, “Do me a favor. Before you consider hiring me, listen to two or three of the most recent episodes of my podcast. If you are not 100% convinced that you need to hire me, you shouldn’t hire me.” That’s my sales pitch today.
Mark: Wow. I love that. That’s amazing.
Cliff: That’s giving things away for free. I like to go to these things called “pod camps.” Podcasters and people in general like to go to become podcasters or talk with other podcasters and social media geeks.
I have people come up to me all the time and say, “I’ve been listening to you. I’ve never had to hire you. I listen to your podcasts. You give it all away for free.” This phrase comes out all the time. “I feel like I owe you something.”
Mark: That’s reciprocity, my friend.
Cliff: It is the theory of reciprocity. Give value to people and they will want to return equal or greater value to you. I’m not kidding when I say I put out a brand new digital product. I send it to my mailing list.
Immediately the sales thunder in. The reason is because I’m busy doing other things between products. I have a massive online community of people whose lives have benefited, not just in learning how to podcast.
Mark, you said there are things that you do in your business that you’ve been inspired to do differently. There are people who are debt free today as the result of a podcast that my wife and I shared a long time ago. I’ve lost more than 50 pounds. My wife has lost more than 70 pounds.
There are people who listen to us share how we’ve changed our lives. There are people who listen to us who have lost more than 100 pounds. We’ve got people out there whose lives have been changed in a very positive way because we’re consistently looking for ways to help people and not looking at how we can get money out of it.
When we offer something people can buy, they go out of their way to buy it if it has any stretch of being something they can use. Of course, we’re only creating products that we know or believe will meet a direct need of our audience.
Mark: It’s an awesome way to roll. You build trust. People come to you because they know you can help. I love it.
Thank you so much for spending the extra time to share that. You’ve met all of my expectations and more. I really do appreciate it. Thanks for spending the extra time.
I know my listeners appreciate it, too. I love the way things are going for you. The more successful you are, the happier I am. You’re killing it and I love it.
Cliff: It’s a blessing to hear those things from people like you, Mark. You can get stuck in the daily grind. Sometimes I get used to doing what I’m doing that I forget that it is making a difference in people’s lives. I love doing these interviews and hearing those things. It blesses me. It is a blessing for me to be exposed to your audience. I appreciate the privilege and honor of having been on your show.
Mark: I want you to do one more favor for me. I want you to say hello to Stephanie for me.
Cliff: I will do that. I’ll tell her right after we hang up.
Mark: Awesome. Thank you so much. You know where to find me if you need me. Have a great day.
Cliff: You too, Mark. Thanks a lot.
Mark: Thanks. Bye.
Back Under the Blanket for Mark
I hope you enjoyed that interview with Cliff. It’s really hot under this blanket. The next piece of content that I want to share with you is another piece from Shane Eubanks where we were talking about some of the social media experimentations and ideas for getting traffic to your website using social media.
I think this is relevant, we’ve been talking a lot about SEO and one of the things we know for sure is that more and more of the signal that Google is using to rank your site is coming from social media. So we know this is really important. In this clip Shane gives some really great ideas based on some social media experimentation that he’s been doing. We’ll take you to that clip right now.
Social Media with Shane Eubanks
Shane: What we’re seeing on an enterprise level especially, and I’ve tested this on the side and Google has actually talked about this, they’ve come out and said it, that social sharing, social linking, is far more important or they give far more weight to that than all of these backlinks from all these sites that you could get links from.
I did this as a test on a brand new website I launched two weeks ago. All I did was get Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest links and I gave some +1s to it. So I made sure I had Facebook, Twitter, Google +1, and Pinterest linking to it. What I noticed was it was indexed within a day, it was indexed within 24 hours in all three major search engines, it started ranking within 48 hours, and the first week and a half it’s brought in over 400 visits primarily through search engines.
This is all from social linking, so sharing it on Facebook, tweeting about it on Twitter, posting some things on Pinterest to get repinned, just giving it a few +1s. Social sharing, Google has been preaching for the past year and a half, is becoming so much more important.
If people take their thoughts off of getting crummy backlinks from blog networks that people are never going to click through and just using those to build rank, if they start thinking about links that will actually drive traffic and that Google and other search engines are valuing, I think they’d get a lot of different perspectives on what it is that causes Google, Yahoo, or Bing to rank a website so highly.
If you think about viral, you think about social sharing, you think about the links from those social networks, they’ve been telling us for well over a year now that that’s important. You’re starting to really see that now.
Mark: The problem is though if you’re really going to get some Facebook likes you’re going to have to have good content. I think a lot of these guys don’t have that.
Shane: Yes. Like I said, it’s a come-to-Jesus moment. Do you want to run a legit business or are you trying to game the system? I hate to just throw it out there like that, but Google is starting to penalize the people that just don’t have good content. You’ve got to make sure your content is worth reading. If it’s providing value to people, Google, Yahoo, Bing are going to share with you other people.
Mark: I’ve said this many times on the podcast. If you want to have a real business you have to add value, because that’s what people pay for is value.
Shane: You quote Zig Ziglar all the time and it’s a perfect quote. It’s the same way with websites, you give people value and you’ll get what you want.
Mark: What else is there for us to cover?
Shane: I wanted to talk about some of the social things that I did.
Mark: That’s right, you’ve been running some experiments.
Shane: Yes. So talking about this new site that I launched, I want to specifically talk about Facebook and Pinterest. We all know how to tweet, I’m not going to get into Twitter too much.
Mark: Some of us tweet better than others.
Shane: Twitter basically comes down to, whether you’ve got a review site or an affiliate program or something, just tweeting, mentioning the company or the person that developed it in your tweet so that you can mention you in their reply or their retweet, it becomes a backlink or it becomes brand exposure for your website. So just utilizing Twitter smartly and reaching out to the people that are involved with whatever product or service it is you’re promoting. That’s basic Twitter right there.
I wanted to really talk about Facebook and Pinterest, some of the things that I did in the past week and a half to get some exposure, get some links back to this website.
On Facebook you create a page for your site or business and then Facebook allows you to use Facebook as that page. That’s the first tip, creating a Facebook page using Facebook as that page.
Mark: A lot of people don’t realize that where your name is in the upper right, if you pop that down you can become any page that you’re the admin for.
Shane: Exactly. This is kind of the secret sauce into what I’m about to talk about. When you start using Facebook as that page you can go over and like industry related pages or business, or if you’re talking about a product or service become a fan or like their page. What this will allow you to do is possibly post on their wall, post a link on their wall, or you can tag them in your posts on your wall so that your posts will show up on their wall.
What I did was there were some businesses that I had talked about that I actually gave awards or whatever for, ranked them in the top five or 10. I went on their page and said, “Hey, congratulations for making the top 10. If you’re a fan of this company, click like.” All of a sudden it got a bunch of likes and people started driving traffic to it and then they would like it when they got on that page because they were just fans of whatever that business was.
So that’s an easy way to get links or likes from Facebook. Does that make sense as far as that bird trail I went down there?
Mark: I think so. Let’s use a more concrete example. Let’s say you’re Sears and Robuck, so you’re Sears and Honda Lanwmowers have been awarded by Sears to be one of the best lawnmowers of the season. You’re saying that Sears should go into Facebook and use Facebook as the Sears fan page so they take on that identity in Facebook.
Now the person behind the keyboard is operating as the Sears fan page and they can do things like talk about Honda on the Sears fan page and tag Honda and say something really nice about them and invite Honda fans to click like on post on the Sears fan page, that will show up on the Honda wall as a post because they were tagged, and generate this sort of semi-viral response. Is that what you’re talking about?
Shane: Yes. Don’t do it in a spammy way, but do it in a way that’s acknowledging them for something. You would do it anyway if you were congratulating someone, you’d want other people to see that they won something or they’re being given an award.
Don’t think of it as a spammy way to do something. Think of it as you are acknowledging somebody for something great that they’re doing.
Mark: And really you are. You’re exposing the Honda brand to everyone on the Sears fan page in that way. You’re just getting the word out. I agree with you, I think you want to have a really good primary reason that is not “generating likes.” That can’t be your primary reason. Your primary reason needs to be helping your supplier, in this case, to get more recognition.
Shane: There are definitely ways to abuse this, I just wanted to draw that line as far as the proper way to do, the etiquette behind it. It is a technique that works, but use it gracefully.
Mark: You’re from the south, so etiquette is important to you.
Shane: That’s right.
Mark: I understand that. My five year old boy holds doors open for women already, so it works the same way here in Texas.
Shane: You’ve taught him well. Now, Pinterest. Pinterest is a big one.
Mark: You’re not a woman. Are you allowed to talk about Pinterest?
Shane: I know, I’m handing in my man card and I’m talking about Pinterest. But, you know what? It’s backlinks and it draws traffic. On the enterprise level in certain industries it is gangbusters right now. It is drawing more traffic than Twitter and Facebook for some niches. I can’t say if your niche caters itself to Pinterest. There are ways to use Pinterest for pretty much any niche.
One tip that I want to give about Pinterest is when you pin something from a website it does put a link to that website as the source, but it nofollows it. But, you can put a URL in the description, not with the href tags but actually put the http://www and it will turn that into a link and it makes it dofollow.
Mark: Whoa, really?
Shane: I don’t know how long that is going to be live on Pinterest and after this podcast they may shut it off.
Mark: The four people that listen to my podcast will run over there and do that and they’ll shut it down.
Shane: Anybody that’s listening to the podcast all the way through has gotten the golden nugget that you can get followed links in Pinterest by putting your URL in the description.
Mark: I’m going to go do that tonight.
Shane: You can write that one down.
Mark: Absolutely. I don’t have a Pinterest strategy, sorry. When you pin something a link gets automatically created and I’ve heard you can edit that link and even make it an affiliate link in some cases. Is that true?
Shane: I haven’t done it personally. I’ve heard the same thing that you’ve heard. I don’t know how long that will stay live, because Facebook has basically removed the ability to put affiliate links when you’re sharing anything on Facebook. I would imagine Pinterest will follow suit.
Mark: Right. Facebook follows through and resolves the link and posts the resolved link or something like that, right?
Shane: Yes. You can’t even set up redirects on your site, it will find it and take it down. So I imagine Pinterest is going to follow suit. You can play around with it and try it until it works. It’s the same thing with the dofollow in the description, just ride it until it works.
Some people may see this as gaming the system. It’s not really gaming the system, it’s just using what’s available. If you can put a URL in the description and it’s dofollow, why not? You were able to do that on Twitter when they first came out and a lot of sites benefited from it. Pinterest is doing the same thing and we’ll see how long we can ride that wave.
Mark: That’s awesome. That is an awesome tip, I’m going to go check that out.
Shane: One thing about Pinterest. On SEOmoz, I don’t know if you read SEOmoz.
Mark: I do.
Shane: They had an article in there just a few days ago about instructographics, that’s what the guy was calling it.
Mark: That’s in my Instapaper queue. I haven’t read that article yet, but it’s in there.
Shane: It’s really good because they talk about the most popular times to pin something on Pinterest and they talk about these instructographics that are really popular on Pinterest right now. It’s definitely worth the read checking that out.
Mark: I’ll check that out and I’ll locate that and put a link in the show notes, at least theoretically. I’ve got a lot of work with these show notes. You’ve created a lot of work for me to go do now.
I want to thank you so much. I know you’re normally a little bit off the radar, but if people want to find you what’s the best way for them to find you?
Shane: If I post anything about internet marketing it’s over at GenuineInternetMarketing.com. Typically I range from enterprise articles to small business articles. GenuineInternetMarketing.com is where I post stuff. Like you said, I fly under the radar because I spend all my time working on the websites. I don’t make money teaching people how to make money on the internet, I make money actually doing this stuff.
That wraps it up for this episode of the Mason World Late Night Internet Marketing Podcast. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m having a great time here in Taiwan. I’m about to hook up with a couple of my travel companions and we’re going to go on a little walking tour around the hotel and see what kind of trouble we can get into and find some local cuisine. I love all manner of Oriental foods, so we’ll find something wonderful to eat tonight.
I’ll be hitting it pretty early in the morning to go to the south end of the island for some meetings there. I’ll be headed back to the states in time to get you another episode next week where we will talk about the deindexing of blog networks. Until then, I hope you have an absolutely fantastic week and we’ll talk to you soon.