Categories
Internet Marketing Performing

When Audio Was Boss

I just stumbled across a dozen promos I created back in 2007 for a (now defunct) company called Deal Dot Com. They wanted to do short daily promo podcasts (about 2-mins each) and asked me to create a couple weeks worth. They really liked them, but we couldn’t come to an agreement on price so the project was bagged. But I kind of wish I’d used them as a spring board to doing that for someone else because it was a lot of fun.

They gave me a link to the product and just let me decide how to promote it — I wrote and recorded the commercials then sent them the final version that they published.

Here are a couple of the promos:

Press Release Profits

Keyword Elite

There are 10 more just like that sitting in the “archives” (my hard drive).

Categories
College Game Development Internet Marketing Product Creation

Three Ring Ranch: The 4P’s

Three Ring Ranch 4 P’s

  • Place: Online business, which saves on inventory, rent, etc.
  • Products: Video tutorials that are aimed at beginning game developers.
  • Pricing: Competitive with similar offerings; price testing often.
  • Promotion: Focused on social media. Single worst P of the bunch.

Of the 4 P’s for Three Ring Ranch (TRR), the place is the easiest one to talk about because TRR is a digital-only company that exists online — there’s no physical storefront. However, there’s still the idea of “curb appeal” when people open the site in their browser, so looking good and making it easy to find the products is just as important online as in the real world. The TRR site is built on top of WordPress so it’s designed with ease-of-use in mind. There’s a link to the game development courses (the product) right on the home page.

The main products of TRR are online courses that teach game development. The video tutorials are self-paced so the customer can go as slow or fast as they like. Besides the videos, source code for the sample projects is included. Online courses are available for the Corona SDK and Unity tools.

Pricing for TRR products is based on current pricing of the competition plus the amount of material in each course. Due to the number of free courses available online (even though typically of lower quality) TRR is often price-testing the courses to try and find the “sweet spot” for each one — make the most sales, but don’t leave money on the table.

Finally, promotion for the TRR products is mostly an after-thought since the company is run by just one person and time is fleeting. Most promotional activities are tied to social media — answering questions on game development forums and Twitter, then including a link to the game development courses. If there’s one area TRR should improve on, it’s in promoting the current courses.

Categories
Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation

Kindle Publishing Riches! Swoon!

In recent months there have been a rash of “systems” promoting all the money that can be made simply by publishing for the Kindle on Amazon.

“We’ll get rich, Martha! It’s guaranteed! Look, all these other guys are doing it!!!!”

Um, yeah.

Those other guys are not starting from ground level. They have a built-in audience who will buy whatever they pitch. And once you have a base that will help push your Kindle book to the top, it’s within view of “normal” people who might find it interesting and buy a copy.

But the rest of us? Those folks who don’t have tens or hundreds of thousands of people on a list?

We publish to Amazon’s Kindle store, step back and…

*crickets*

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I despise the “internet marketing” world.

Because nobody makes it?

No, some people do. There are exceptions to the rule. But those systems are promoted to make you think you are the exception. Sure, not everyone makes it, but I will!

And maybe you will, but here’s the question I’d like you to think about…

Are you an author? Are you a publisher? No and no? Then why are you messing around with book stuff on Amazon?

“Because it’s the new gold rush! I’ll get rich!!!”

Maybe, but I doubt it, because the people who think like that are “business opportunity seekers” and as much as they like to think they are, they’re not building an internet marketing business. The mark of those people (sorry if this describes you) is someone who was building web sites to flip last month, is publishing Kindle books this month, and will be doing who-knows-what next month.

Always jumping from one “opportunity” to another, because the next one is the one that will finally make all their dreams come true.

Sigh

If you want to write a book because you have a story to tell or information that’s useful to people, write the book. But don’t do it because you think you’ll get rich — odds are you won’t.

Making money as an author has always been a rare thing, and the fact that you can now self-publish doesn’t really change that. In order to make money you need to sell a truck-load of books, and to sell the books you need people to see that book.

In other words, it boils down to traffic. Just like it always has for every product. You need to get eyeballs on the product. Every one of those “gurus” has the traffic in a bag. All they have to do is point it in the right direction to kick start sales.

(Note: I’m not anti-guru. Some of my best friends have been gurus.)

Do you want to make money writing?

About the only surefire way, assuming you have some skill, is freelance writing. Someone hires you and you write something for them in exchange for money.

Writing a book and hoping it sells is like buying a Lotto ticket and waiting for the numbers to be called out.

The guys who are making money with self-publishing — and I mean the real guys, not internet marketers — are the ones who are writers. And they write a book, throw it online and forget about it because they’re busy writing the next book.

And maybe they make a few bucks, but usually not, though that doesn’t stop them. They write the next one and get it online and forget about it. And they keep doing that…

…and according to those guys, the ones actually making money with self-publishing, something magical happens somewhere around book 9 or 10. Sales start to pick up all across their line of books. I’ve heard multiple people give that as their experience. No extra marketing, no special PR blasts, just writing decent quality books and putting them online.

But they don’t write one book and call it good. Or even two. And they don’t expect to get rich because someone sold them a “system” that says Kindle publishing is the road to riches.

The real secrets to self-publishing

Here are two truths — and I believe them to be truth not because I came up with them, but because the guys who have had true success with self-publishing prove these things work:

1. You need to have about 10 books available before you start making any money to speak of. You may get lucky earlier, but assume at least 10 books.

2. Don’t go exclusive with Amazon. If someone uses a Nook, or some other ereader and they hear about your book and it’s not available for them, you may never get them as a reader. Ever. When you self-publish, publish to all of the major venues so your book is available to everyone in every format.

That’s it. The secrets to self-publishing.

Unfortunately for me there’s not enough there to charge $497 for a system.

Categories
Game Development Internet Marketing Miscellaneous

Expanding the Niche

There’s a lot of be said about focusing on a specific niche, but if your niche is too narrow you may not have a large enough market to build the kind of business you really want.

I’m kind of in that boat right now.

My niche is game programmers who use the Corona SDK framework. But as wildly fanatic as Corona developers can be, there are only so many of them. My business has been good, but it didn’t seem like there was a ton of room for growth. And now with two competitors offering the same kind of tool I’ve been selling, it’s going to be even harder.

I have two options and I’ve been brainstorming both of them:

1. Stay focused on Corona SDK developers but come up with more products to sell into that market.

2. Sell my existing tool into other gaming markets to developers who use a different framework.

Both options have their pros and cons and I’ve changed my mind about which direction to go several times in the past week.

The marketer in me thinks option #1 is better because I already have a foothold and selling new products to existing customers is usually easier than finding new customers to begin with.

But the programmer in me thinks option #2 is best because it means I get to play with more game development languages. Plus, the marketer in me agrees that expanding they pool of potential customers is no small thing.

I have to make a decision soon so I can get focused on my new direction.

At this point I’m not sure whether it’ll come down to flipping a coin, or what. 🙂

Categories
Internet Marketing Miscellaneous

Using the iPhone As A Computer?

Today I read an interesting article called, “What is the Everyman’s PC?” by Ben Brooks.

It’s easy to see why one would argue that the iPad could be better suited for most people than a MacBook Air, but a cellphone? That seems like a stretch, right?

An iPhone is a very cool phone, but a computer? No way.

That may be your initial reaction, but I ran an experiment today…

I paired my iPhone 4S with my wireless Bluetooth keyboard and sat down in my recliner. Then I mirrored my iPhone onto my 42″ HDTV. You can do that if you have one of those little Apple TV boxes hooked up.

Over the next little bit I read and replied to email, browsed some web sites, checked in on Facebook, and wrote an article.

All things most “normal people” do everyday with their computers. But my computer in this case was my iPhone. With the addition of a keyboard and a (giant) monitor I had almost the full computer experience. Enough to see that, for a lot of people, it could be a replacement for an actual computer.

Most people wouldn’t choose to do that, but someone with a limited budget or limited space could do it and probably be pretty happy.

Do your email, check out some web sites, then pop your computer into your pocket and head to the store.

Awesome. 🙂

IMG 0753

Categories
Internet Marketing Miscellaneous Product Creation

Stuck In The Middle (Updated)

I’ve been the owner of a Kindle Fire for just about 12 hours now so I don’t have a lot of experience, but my initial reaction — overall — is that it’s the wrong size.

At the risk of being called a fanboy (or even fanboi) I think Steve Jobs was right about 7″ tablets not being a good size. (Now watch them come out with one…) Here’s why:

If I’m in a “mobile” situation, stopped at a red light, standing in line, etc., my iPhone is the perfect size. And if I’m in a “settled” situation like sitting in bed or on the couch, I’d rather have the large screen of the iPad.

The middle size of the Fire is too large for mobile and too small for stationary.

As far as usability goes, it’s fine. There are some stuttering and things that happen that make me realize I take don’t notice the smoothness of the iPad and/or iOS until it’s gone. And while I don’t know what the actual weight is, it feels heavier than my iPad with the case. Maybe the Fire feels heavy because it’s too big to grip comfortably in one hand, and the bezel is too small to hold comfortably that way.

I bought the Kindle because I need the device to be able to test my games on it, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered. It’s not a bad device, but if you need a tablet and can possibly swing it (price wise) go ahead and get an iPad.

Update Jan 14, 2012

A few days later and I may need to rethink my opposition to the size of the Fire. Since then I’ve used it several times each day and even carried it with me on one outing instead of the iPad (okay, I had the iPad in the car just in case, but didn’t touch it).

When the iPad came out people claimed it was a “consumption device” and not suitable for creating content or doing real work. That idea has been knocked completely out of the ballpark but I’d say that description is a good one for the Kindle Fire.

Reading books, watching movies, playing games — those things all work fine. But I wouldn’t want to have to update a web site, type more than a short email, etc., on a Kindle Fire. I can take my iPad to a coffee shop for a few hours and get a lot of actual work done — that’s not the kind of thing you’d want to do with a Fire.

I still find the size awkward and the web browser is too small to really use for “browsing”, but as an extra tablet it’s nice to have around.

Categories
Internet Marketing Miscellaneous Product Creation Programming

Is That A Computer In Your Pocket…

Laptops are outselling desktop machines (by a huge margin) and tablets (iPads, specifically) are being used to replace laptops by more and more people.

I can see a time within a couple years (yeah, that soon) where the only computer most people will need will be an iPhone.

Sidebar: Yeah, someone using Android could pull off what I’m suggesting, but Apple has a proven track record of doing more cool things. Sorry, just a fact.

A “home computer” could consist of a monitor and a keyboard — and your iPhone. Sit down in front of the keyboard and connect your iPhone to the monitor — that could be as simple as tapping the phone against the the monitor. It’s wireless — and iPhones can already mirror what’s on their screens.

And iPhones already talk to Bluetooth keyboards. So right now, today, you can actually do 90% of what I’m talking about.

What’s missing is a way to use a touchpad to control the “cursor” on the screen — of course, while the iPhone is sending its signal to the HDTV/monitor, it could be used as a regular touchpad that controls an on-screen cursor, so that piece is easy for Apple to add.

Your iPhone is powerful enough to do 100% of what 90% of people use computers for:

  • Listening to and watching audio/video
  • Reading
  • Browsing web sites
  • Using Facebook
  • Email
  • Playing games

Am I missing anything? Isn’t that about the extent of what *most* people do with a computer?

With a system like that in place you could be at someone’s house and check your email, update your Facebook status, etc., without needing to log in and out of someone’s computer — because you’re using the computer in your pocket.

Make the monitors just a little bit “smart” so they can watch for nearby iPhones and when you walk up to one it can ask if you want to connect — wirelessly, of course.

Right now I can do a lot of my computing on my iPhone and/or iPad but I have different data on those devices than on my desktop computer. Cloud storage helps with that problem to some extent, but I’m looking forward to the day when someone (Apple, probably) puts all the pieces together into a really compelling package.

Categories
Article Marketing Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation Video Marketing

My Top Internet Marketing Tools

I’ve written a LOT of tools over the years but the ones I use day in and day out are the following (and you’ll notice these are all aimed at creating and promoting products):

Article Architect – While I don’t do tons of article marketing anymore (I do it, but it’s very focused — no more shotgun approach for me) I create content all the time, and I still do most of my writing in AA. It’s one place where I can find all my content and then auto-post it to my WordPress blog or export and upload as an HTML web page.

Sonic Sneak – I’ve been cloaking and tracking my links for years and it’s probably the single best task I’ve ever done. At any time I can look at my dashboard and see which sources are bringing me the traffic. Is it a post on my blog? An article? A forum message? With Sonic Sneak behind the scenes I never have to guess about that, I simply know.

Instant Video Web Pages – Web video is a proven workhorse, whether you’re using it to promote a product, show someone how to use some software, or giving people a glimpse at how clever your cat can be. And since we should make use of it, I created IVWP to make it brain-dead simple to not just put up a video, but put up a complete video web page. Fill in the blanks, choose a template, and boom, it just works.

Product Creation Station – Finally, while I don’t “use” this actual product on a daily basis, the ideas and knowledge that went into creation of this course is what I use to create all the products I crank out. If you want a comprehensive course on info product creation, delivered on a weekly basis, PCS is perfect for you.

Categories
Article Marketing Content Creation Internet Marketing Product Creation

Article Marketing Explained for Kindle

If there’s one thing I’ve preached in the years I’ve been doing internet marketing it’s to reuse and repurpose the content you create. I’m not a big fan of using PLR materials for much when it’s really pretty easy to create your own content.

And once you have that original, unique content, you can put it to use in many different ways.

Here’s a perfect example:

Article Marketing Explained on Amazon

Click that link and you’ll be taken to amazon.com where you’ll see a new ebook on article marketing. While some material is new, the bulk of it was created with content I wrote a year or two ago for a different project (membership web site).

Over the weekend I pulled together the materials, wrote some “glue” content to pull things together, and submitted it to the Kindle book store. Today it’s available.

And honestly, I didn’t know what a thrill it would be to see my name and ebook on amazon.com until I opened the page in my browser. 🙂

I have no idea how sales will be, but the point is that I did most of the work previously and used the content for one project (or more), and now for this project that I can just set and forget. Amazon handles all the sales, order-fulfillment, etc., so I can turn my attention to other projects.

Actually, one of my next projects is to take the same content and either turn it into an ebook app for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad, or get it into the Apple iBooks store.

Categories
Internet Marketing

Coming to the End?

If you’ve followed my blog for very long you know that, for the last several years, I’ve focused on making tools for internet marketers. While it’s been a fun journey, last year I started missing the game development field — that’s how I got started in computer programming back in the 80s. So for the last 6-8 months I’ve been splitting my time between marketing and gaming.

But it looks like that may be about to change. 🙂

I’ve been approached by a company that wants to buy one of my tools and hire me to continue working on it for them. And while I’ve *loved* being self-employed and had no intention of “looking for a job,” this company is one I strongly believe in and have dreamed about being a part of the team. What they are doing is awesome.

If this deal goes through I’ll be dropping off the face of the earth in the next couple months — as far as “internet marketing” goes. All of my tools will be taken off the market and I’ll continue updating and supporting only those people who have already purchased.

Instead of working on “this and that” I’ll be focusing on basically one thing — and it’s something that will change the world for a lot of people. (Okay, we’re not talking about “cure for cancer” kind of stuff, but it honestly will change people’s fortunes/futures.)

Hopefully this will all come about within the next month or so and as soon as I’m able to reveal the details I’ll post them here.

If you can’t tell, I’m *very* excited about the possibilities!

What Next for This Blog?

I’ve already started posting some non-marketing things on this blog, so probably I’ll just morph this into a more personal site, rather than one that’s business (internet marketing) oriented. I’m actually looking forward to a separation of Jay the person and Jay the business. 🙂

The marketing tools I’ve created will still continue to work for the people who are using them. If you’re a member of Sonic Toolkit or Instant Video Web Pages you will see no changes (other than future updates). It’s just that very soon I won’t be taking on any new marketing-oriented customers.

It’s been a fun ride but I think the train is pulling into the station. And quite possibly my ship is waiting for me at the dock. 🙂