Joint Ventures, Ebay and Amazon on Information Products Marketing
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Some of My Pet Peeves
I am not sharing these items to vent and get a bunch of crap off my chest. These are mistakes that other people make with me that you should be aware of so you don’t do the same things.
Read the next few sections carefully. I think you’ll find them very helpful and profitable to you.
I will often get emails from people who send me pages of information to peruse and/or questions for me to answer.
An average day for me is now running (much to my chagrin) about 375 incoming email messages.
If someone I don’t know sends me an email that is lengthy, all it does is annoy me. Back in graduate school, I researched and put together a fair number of business plans. Every business plan has an executive summary.
So that busy people can get a quick synopsis of what the entire piece is about before they ‘waste’ their time going through the entire thing.
Every good business plan has one of these. Every good email from someone I don’t know should give me the executive summary of an idea or concept before sending me (or you) the entire text of the message.
It’s very similar to what I do to promote a product or service of my own. When I promote something to you I will frequently give you a LITTLE bit of information and then give you a link to a website that gives you the complete picture and tries to sell you on buying the item.
Selling products is very similar to selling ideas. You have to whet my appetite before asking me to consume the entire project.
When you send me or anyone an email that you don’t know, respect their time. Send them an executive
As my email list continues to grow (now over 67k) I am more and more often solicited to do JVs. For many, this would be a great problem to have.
Lots of people asking me to promote a product or service where I make a large commission by simply letting you, my reader know about them.
One BIG problem for me.
I won’t even think about doing a deal like this unless I know the party VERY well and have actually seen their efforts yield results.
About a once or twice a week I get an offer to make an ‘obscene’ (their wording) amount of money from some new offering.
Am I the only one out in cyberspace who believes that money does not rule the world? I assume that most people jump at these offers because the emails I get look almost identical. Regardless of whom they are from.
A recent email went something like this: ‘I saw that you promoted a copywriter, Peter Beckwith in your last email. I would like to serve as a back-up if and when he gets more work than he can handle.’
Let me explain my thinking process and suggest you might want to use the same system.
First off, I’ve known Peter for 10+ years. I KNOW his level of integrity and the quality of the work he’s done. I’ve worked with him where I’ve seen his integrity DEMONSTRATED and the quality of his work PROVEN.
So, when I get an email from someone I have never met I respond with trepidation. Is it possible that the person who contacted me is every bit as good or even better than my friend Pete? Absolutely.
BUT, I don’t KNOW that. Am I willing to risk a solid relationship with you, my reader, just to add another person to my list of recommended vendors? Hell no.
For me to work with someone I have to see two things. I have to KNOW they are honest and I have to KNOW they are good at what they do.
How in God’s name can I make this determination with someone I’ve just met? I can’t.
What about if they come highly recommended by a good friend who I respect? That will certainly help me to CONSIDER listening to that person in the future. It will not make a deal happen.
Because my friend’s experience may be very different than the experience that I have with that individual. I need to speak the truth from my heart. Only I can make that determination with my own experiences.
When someone approaches me with a service that they are interested in having me help promote I usually respond by asking them to do some work for me at no charge to have me check out their work. Many a service provider seems taken aback when I do this.
Those who have said YES to this deal, I will look at their work and then decide if it’s up to snuff. After I work with them a while and talk to a bunch of people I will decide whether it makes sense to promote them.
I admit, there have been some people that I have fastracked and in most cases, it has been a mistake.
I remember one instance when someone really screwed things up with a long time client and all I could say was SORRY. Not good enough. I felt like a moron.
Think about some of these things when you next think about doing a JV.
If I were to record and share with you some of the phone messages I get, you’d be shocked. Well, maybe not.
There are some big mistakes being made in this area.
First off, I limit my answering machine to 60 seconds. I do NOT tell people that they only get that amount of time. I let them find out for themselves. You’ll see in a second.
Too long a message. Tell me your name, number and what you want, QUICKLY.
Do not sound like you have one foot in the grave. Do I want to speak with someone who has that level of enthusiasm for life? I don’t think so.
If I want to play party games with my friends, I’ll do that during non business hours. Don’t leave a cryptic message thinking that I will enjoy or be intrigued to figure it out.
I want messages to be short, sweet and to the point.
Tell me who you are, what you want and what you expect me to do. If you can’t do that in well UNDER 60 seconds, you need to have someone coach you to develop an effective ‘elevator pitch.’
Make sure and try to follow the above rules. It will work out better for everyone!
Ebay and Amazon
One very often neglected way of getting customers as an information marketer is through both Ebay and Amazon.
If you understand and subscribe to my philosophy that it’s all about making money ‘on the back end’ then you’ll love some of these ideas.
Amazon and Ebay are both very both in the top 10 most visited sites. Since there is already lots of traffic going there you might was well take advantage of it.
Both of these sites have a search function on them. When people go there they use them very much like a search engine. Someone will go Amazon interested in the topic of Bodysurfing for example and just enter that word and see what comes up.
After they enter the word they will then look at some or all of the books and other products/services that come up.
There are two things you need to do. First, make sure that any and all of your products are available on both of these sites and secondly, that you understand how people search and NAME your products accordingly.
I produced a video on customer service over 10 years ago. I can’t tell you how many copies of that video I sold on Amazon. Right now it’s not up because of some ‘issues’ I’m having with those folks, but the example serves well.
The official title of the video was: ’24 Ways to Radically Improve Customer Service’. Notice that I didn’t have to have the title start with those important key words, they just had to be some- where in the title itself.
When you start to put your products on both Amazon and Ebay remember this. Name your products so that people will find you using a keyword search that is relevant to your products. Also, when you get them to find your product, make the title a mini sales piece for your product or service.
In this case: 24 Ways to Radically Improve Customer Service is a great stand alone headline or promo for that video. Do the same with any of your own products when you you list them on that site.
I use what is called the Amazon Advantage Program. In this system, I send them the products and they fulfill the orders. The downside to this system is that I don’t get the customers contact information. The upside is that amazon handles all the fulfillment issues in exchange for 55% of the gross cost of the product.
Given that I want live my life with a minimum amount of hassle and aggravation, this works for me. You can also speak to my friend Bret Ridgeway at www.Speaker FulfillmentServices.com if you need someone to help you with fulfillment of orders that you send to Amazon or direct to your customers. I use him myself.
Some info marketers are annoyed and even angered by Ebay.
I just got an email from a guy who refused to buy from me because he was able to find the exact same item on Ebay. For MOST info marketers this WOULD be a problem. But, not from you if you have been studying what I do.
Every product that I sell is laced with bounceback offers for other products and services. Naturally, I would have preferred to have made the initial sale to a customer, but I’m not greedy and I take the LONG view. As long as this person gets my material (no matter who it’s from) and likes it, he/she will probably be interested enough to buy some of my other products/services.
Does Ebay make you look like a bargain basement discounter? Maybe to some, but in my eyes this isn’t a matter of image, it’s a matter of money. From a financial standpoint you’ll be hard pressed to convince me that it does NOT make financial sense to get your products out into the marketplace at virtually any price.
This is of course true ONLY if you have other products to sell and you properly bounce people back to you in everything that you sell.
My net analysis? Sell any and everything you can on both Ebay and Amazon. After all, they get tons of traffic. You can’t fight their numbers so you might as well JUMP in front of this traffic.
Asking for Help Personally
There is no shame in asking for help either personally or professionally. That’s my opinion, but it will be tough to make me change it given my experiences.
Let me give you an example of both.
I used to be a hothead. I can still lean in that direction, but it’s changed pretty dramatically.
The key for ME was admitting that I wasn’t Mr. Perfect. After acknowledging that I had a problem with my temper I went to a therapist. Did they fix me completely? NO.
Am I better than I was before? Yup.
It’s all about the trendline. Don’t beat yourself up for not being better/different than you are. But if you’re standing still, that’s trouble.
I don’t quite get it why people feel so ‘ashamed’ to either admit or actually go to someone to help them on with personal matters.
I love going to see my therapist. She is bright and insightful and gives me tremendous insight into a variety of life matters.
People will hire a coach to get them ahead in business and not feel comfortable talking to someone about personal issues? What’s up with that?
The big issue in this area is making sure you work with someone who is a good fit. Make the wrong choice in this area (particularly in NYC) and you’ll end up not getting any better and helping your therapist buy their boat on the lake.
I go see Darlene every 2 or 3 weeks. Heck, according to Howard Stern (someone EVERYONE knows and loves – ha) he sees someone 4 times a week. A bit excessive in my view.
So, if you’re not feeling completely ‘right’ in the head, go see someone. You won’t be alone!
There are a bunch of areas in which I need help on the business side of my life. The sooner that you can become comfortable with admitting this, the better off you’ll be.
I hired a great guy, Erik Luhrs to come out and help me get organized. He’ll be coming out again within the next month or so.
We ended up either throwing out or giving away about 75% of what I owned. Some of the stuff I wasn’t comfortable getting rid of I put in ‘purgatory’ (read storage unit). Things will live their until I revisit them at some later date.
If you want to get in touch with Erik to have him help you out, send him an email. He’s at: erik (at) progressiveorganizing (dot) com
Whom to Believe
I gave a speech yesterday to the Oklahoma Chapter of the National Speakers Association. My friend Dick Alexander was instrumental in getting me back there and I want to publicly thank him.
Great group of folks.
While there I brought up the concept of gurus who make presentations. I’ve seen a number of people present in the past year who made wild claims about both income and expertise.
When you hear people ask yourself about a few things.
First, how do you KNOW if what they are saying is real. Can they PROVE their claims? If so, be wary.
There are a lot of people just waiting to be led. All we need is another Jim Jones to lead people off the cliff. Jim Jones is the guy who got all those people in Guyana in the late 70s to all drink Kool Aid in hopes of getting to ‘a better place’ together.
It’s not as severe as this, thank Good, but you may be committing business suicide by listening to people who CLAIM to have the answers but really don’t.
Second, ask them for people that you can talk to who have used their ‘system’ or whatever you are considering using of theirs. Ask for a FEW names. Ask those people very pointed and direct questions. Dig deep.
You’re looking for both competence and integrity. I’ve spoken about this before in this ezine.
Third, watch out for pressure tactics. Any attempt to have you decide NOW on something that costs over $1,000, be careful.
Hope these items help!
As always, I appreciate your feedback. I also apologize if I can’t personally respond to each one, but I do my best.