So, I by no means feel that I’m an expert on this shit, and I learn something new every time I jump into a new vertical. A lot of people ask me what I do, how I do it and how to go about getting into it. I do my best explaining the process. A lot of it either goes over people’s heads, or there’s no instant gratification, so it’s not something they’d be interested in themselves.
Anyways, this time I thought it’d be cool to do a journalish style post following exactly what it takes to dominate an entire vertical. This time I’m going to be taking over the email marketing industry.
Why The Email Marketing Vertical?
I’ve got a marketing background and know a lot about email marketing. I’ve also got some existing blog content on email marketing and existing revenue from the vertical. Therefore, I know about the vertical and I’m already monetizing it. It’s just through various blog posts, referring clients and from other oddball traffic. I didn’t have any serious email marketing traffic, which is what I’m totally going for right now.
Building The Website – Starting Email Marketing
So I’m an SEO. Damn fucking good at it, too. So of course I’m going to try to get the majority of my traffic from search engines. That, obviously, requires a website. I’ve had Starting Email Marketing for a long, long time. In fact, I’ve even had some content up on it, but it was crap and all needed to go.
There is an advantage to have had the site live at one point. I was able to 301 all the old URLs to the index and take advantage of what pathetic amount of PageRank the site has. It’s still shit, and gonna need a lot of work, but I’m not about to start complaining about what little handicap I get starting out.
Building the Directory / Informational Pages
I keep learning more and more about affiliate marketing and conversion optimization every project I do. The one thing I’ve learned is that directory pages perform insanely fucking well. First, on the conversion-optimization aspect; it’s a fucking directory full of referral links. How the hell could that possibly NOT perform well?
Second, on the SEO standpoint, you only have to SEO one page. Not that it’s always easy to do that, but you give yourself one goal in life, and as long as you pull it off, you’re fucking golden.
So, obviously the email marketing directory page is going to be really, really, really, really important. That’s what I’m needing to put all my SEO into, and that’s going to be a ridiculous money maker once I got it ranked for everything I need to rank it for.
Then you got the main informational pages. These pages are equally as important. Your mission for these pages is to SEO the fuck out of them for the company’s branded search results. You’re never going to outrank them for their brand name, but can you imagine being ranked right below them on the first page?
Not only that, but if you manage to rank those pages for the brand name, there’s a very good chance you might outrank them on some branded longtails. That’s fucking money if you get the signup they would of probably gotten organically if you weren’t such a badass SEO.
As for the secret sauce to pull off all this? Fuck you if you think I’m giving you my secret sauce. It’s not rocket science by any means, but it is very, very, very strategical. I’ve got a tested and proven formula. Not gonna lie, it’s a lot of effort, but it’s bullet proof. I’ll give you a hint; great content 😉
Design and All That Fun Crap
Okay, I’m not a fucking designer. In fact, I hate design. Absolutely hate it. I’m a content man. I’m about what’s there and not how it works. Hate CSS, hate having to seek out visual assets, hate all that stuff. So I pick out a theme without much thought. I’m happy with the one I got. It’s clean. I think I did have to do some custom CSS with the link colors and designs.
I hate when themes come with poorly highlighted links. I’m an affiliate marketer. I rely on people to click on the damn links in order to get credit. If the links aren’t noticeable, the last thing I want is the traffic Googling the brand name of the company I’m blogging about instead of clicking on the link. CTA’s and clickable links. Very, very important.
Then of course there’s hacking the child theme and removing the sitewide features you don’t like. Removing the footer attribution backlinks, getting rid of the feature image and some of the blog meta data displayed, ect. Some of it is purely SEO-related and pushing PageRank in the right direction. Some of it’s cosmetic.
I never think a lot about the theme when I’m deploying a project. Halfway through starting it, I might want to scrap the entire theme. That’s the great thing about WordPress; so easy to just change it up. The content is the important thing. And the truth is; my projects are never really well thought up. Fuck drawing up a business plan, idea web or any of that other stupid planning shit they teach you in school. I’m more about throwing shit against the wall and seeing what sticks.
Although I’m getting more and more shit right the first time as I get better at this, I always will end up second guessing myself on something in every project and changing up something; whether it’s a protocol, content strategy, navigation, ect. Therefore, I feel that pressing forward and and letting things fall into place is very important. Spending too much time thinking things out is just a waste of time when you can just start throwing shit against the wall and letting it fall in place.
Test Driving All The Different Platforms
Okay, I geek out on these SaaS marketing platforms. It’s fun seeing what’s possible, available and weighing the strengths and weaknesses of all the different platforms. But when you’re test driving, drafting comprehensive blog posts on all the platforms and trying to do it all in a timely fashion, it gets very, very redundant and boring. Especially since you’re trying to be completely accurate and 100% comprehensive, rather than just “taking it for a drive”.
I’ve gotten very, very smart about things like this over time though. As soon as I actually have traffic and this site is actually providing value for my sponsors, I’m going to make sure to get a good point of contact over at each company. You’d be surprised how eager a lot of companies are to crawl over your content and inform you of every correction and omitted piece of information. Saves you tons of time and who knows their product better than the company itself? It’s also always nice to have a good point of contact in every company. You can bounce questions off of them and the rockstar people will tip you off on information that might not be highly publicized. Saves you tons of time and gives you a competitive advantage content-wise.
As of writing this, I got like five platforms listed in the directory. Pathetic and hard from being comprehensive, but at least it’s something. Now I don’t have to feel all rushed and shit. If I get one new platform added every 1-2 days, It’ll eventually get there. Being able to go at a slower pace makes all this feel much more management, less tedious and all around not as fucking boring as it is when it’s 2+ per day.
Before I would trip on building up these pages as fast as possible. Anymore, not so much. Maybe it’s because I’m becoming complacent and less hungry, as I’ve got money coming in from other projects. Maybe I’ve learned that the damn directory pages will always be a work in progress, therefore being perfect doesn’t really bother me much anymore. I’ll let you take your pick.
Creating Email Accounts, Social Media, Ect
Now it’s time to start building up everything. I’ve gotten much more organized about all this shit. In fact, I pretty much bought a new computer for this project. Eventually you have too many browsers dedicated to specific projects, and you need a damn new computer just to have 3-4 new sets of browsers configured for specific projects.
Seriously man, I try to keep it that streamlined. I’m a 1-man show over here and doing things that entire teams and organizations can’t fuck with. I don’t do that by wasting time.
……Actually, I do waste a lot of time. Seriously, fuckin Facebook and shit. But anyways…..
One thing I learned is that you need a dedicated email address for every industry. Not necessarily one for every project or website you deploy, but at least one per industry. This is primarily for organization. When registering for any social media accounts and for any other website, you use that email address. Also makes you look more professional. For this project, I’m going to be interacting with decision-makers at all the different companies. I’ll also be working with marketers looking to implement email marketing. You want a branded email address, and mine lets all the sponsors know what kind of traffic I intend to generate.
The one thing I hate about social media is the avatar and background image. Do you grab stock art? Like I mentioned above, I ain’t no designer. I could go onto Fiverr and get something done cheap. Anymore I just holler at one of my friends with design experience. I’ll end up paying more on a lower quality product, but I’m putting money in the hands of a friend over someone in India, so it’s all good. If it’s not as good of quality as it could be, it adds character to the project. I also get to spread the wealth around.
Whatever. I told you I’m not a designer. Don’t judge.
Whenever I’m doing social media, I’m almost doing it more for SEO and credibility than anything else. Social signals and NoFollow links matter. And the people looking at your content like seeing the widget and knowing that you do have a following.
Social media can also be good for directly reaching out to companies. Sometimes the social media department speaks my language a lot better than generic support. Twitter is very good for this.
Configuring The Google Account
So I always use Google Apps For Business for corporate email. It allows you to use your branded email address through Gmail. Besides for Gmail being awesome, Google+ and YouTube are done via Gmail, so you can do all that through the corporate email account. And lets not forget Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools.
Gmail is also cloud based and everyone knows how to navigate it. Anymore I am starting to collaborate on projects, and in the future I don’t doubt there will be multiple people monitoring the same email accounts. GMail works great for this.
Get all the MX records configured and the account paid for. $5 invested into this project so far, and $5 per month. Well, I guess there’s also $15 annually for the domain itself. I’m piggybacked on a hosting reseller account I’ve got, so I’m not even going to consider hosting an overhead for the project. That means currently the operating overhead is $75 annually. I’m currently making over $600 per month off email marketing commissions going into this project, so the entire damn thing is easily completely subsidized by that vertical already.
But anyways, back onto the Google account shit….
The site is built enough to submit it to Google. Oh yeah, Bing/Yahoo too. It’s all about Google, but you’d be stupid to ignore Yahoo/Bing. Doesn’t take that long and you only have to set things up once.
Now Time To SEO The Fuck Out of It
Now that the site is officially submitted, time to hit the ground running on SEO. Linkbuilding and a comprehensive onsite content strategy. I’ve already got some content on email marketing and marketing in general. That allows me to play around with some linkwheeling. Also, there’s some dated email marketing content that I was able to 301 redirect to the better version on Starting Email Marketing. This helps a lot.
I’m not too concerned about linkbuilding right now. I’m more concerned about a very comprehensive onsite strategy. Without giving out my SEO secret sauce, I’ve devised a really strategic method of rapidly ramping up my longtail traffic, while strategically forwarding the rankings for the keywords on the very important pages.
I know it’s going to be a long grueling battle rankings the directory page. This ain’t my first rodeo. I’d be insanely happy if in a few weeks I’m page 4-6 for search terms like “List of email marketing platforms”. And slowly, page by page, you start bumping that page up the SERPs until your number one. In the meantime, you just churn out content like a motherfucker and those longtail results.
Subscribing To All The Resources
One thing I’ve gotten really good at knowing everything I need to know in a very expedited manner. If you’re going to dominate an entire vertical, you need to be able to keep tabs on the entire vertical in a very expedited process. You need to know everything that’s happening, but you need to be able to do this in a very expedited manner.
IFTTT is my best friend for this. IFTTT allows you to connect tons of sites, networks and products. I also use IFTTT for some other things, like social media automation for example, so I always setup an IFTTT account for every new project.
We use IFTTT to keep tabs on the industry through RSS feeds. Every time I stumble upon any kind of site within the email marketing vertical, I will grab their RSS feed and create an RSS/Gmail recipe for the new firstname.lastname@example.org email address I setup. Now I get every new post delivered directly to my inbox.
Most of the emails I receive, I just delete. I read the headline, that’s it. Most of it’s crap that I really don’t care about. Anything newsworthy enough, I’ll rewrite as my own blog post. SEO-wise, I’ll usually do a better job than the original poster. That works wonders for longtail traffic.
I’ll also subscribe to all the email newsletters from all the resources and companies in that industry. Just like the blog subscriptions, I usually only read headlines and will totally use this information for my content strategy as well.
Now we’ve setup the infrastructure to easily and quickly keep tabs on the entire industry. Awesome.
Trello – Keeping My Ass Organized
In this new digital age, there’s always new products. When I first heard of Trello, I was like; “great, another platform I need to keep login information for”. But Trello is actually pretty amazing. It’s incredibly organized. I keep a board for every project. Within those boards, I keep lists that look something like:
- Content Ideas
- Notes (design elements, theme qwerks, ect)
- Prospect Advertisers
- Targeted Keywords
And so on. There might be different lists depending on the specific project.
I’ve learned to make notes in Trello about everything. It’s easy to get sidetracked and forgetting about something. It’s amazing how much shit slips my mind. I’m never going to get fully caught up on all the tasks I give myself. The lists grow, they don’t shrink. That’s great, the last thing you want is to lose things to do and ways to grow.
Trello is definitely one of the best lifehacks for management and organization I’ve found. And once you’re running multiple projects and they start really scaling, this kind of organization comes in really handy.
And The Social Media Is Up!
@StartEmailing on Twitter. I actually really like that handle. Sometimes it can be hard to get a good @Mention on Twitter. Not too happy about the username though. Probably change it later. Now to configure the account. I hate this shit. I got a friend designing an avatar and banner to use on all these social media sites. Using stock art looks spammy as fuck, but for the sake of getting something up and starting to tweet, I’m going to do that.
Not really going too much for followers right now. Just getting that NoFollow profile link, a couple tweets out there and if there’s a couple followers that start trickling in, fuck yeah! As soon as I get the visual assets to build a decent profile, I’ll start tweeting out some product links with good hashtags and @Mentions. I’ll also probably embed a site-wide Twitter widget on the sidebar of the website. Or maybe do Facebook. Doubt I’ll do both on this project.
And, got the Facebook page up. Once again, the Facebook page faces the same issues as the Twitter profile; needs an avatar and a cover photo. I’m not even going to do anything with the Facebook until I get those assets. Just jumping through the hoops and getting infrastructure in place.
Google+ and YouTube I’m going to hold off on til I get the visual assets together. It’s easy enough though. I’ll end up doing some YouTube video tutorials. That makes for some great content. Screen-cap how-to’s and shit like that. All probably end up making a Vimeo and DailyMotion account too, just for that.
And got the Pinterest up and running. I personally don’t like Pinterest. Mainly doing it for the NoFollow profile link. I will totally end up pinning YouTube videos, because you can do that. More so just to make the boards look active and full. There’s an advantage to looking like you’re on top of your social media. Once again, not going to do a damn thing with this yet. Just getting everything setup, confirming email addresses, all that fun shit.
There’s some more networks that I’ll join later. Tumblr, LiveJournal, sites like that. Really, really, really lazy about social media right now. Not like I’m going to get out of control until I have the visual assets for the page anyway.
And Analytics / Webmaster Tools Is Live!
Ah, yes. Now the most important part. I used to be so restless about getting sites “good enough” to submit them to the search engines. The sites finally comprehensive enough where I feel I can pull the trigger on that.
So, soon we’ll be indexed. It is always interesting to see what Webmaster Tools looks like initially. Gives you an idea of how much of a battle things are going to be. I’ve done B2B / marketing blogging before, so I’ve got an idea, but that was years ago. Verticals change. I geek out on this search engine shit. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in a couple days.
Haha! Didn’t even have to submit the sitemap. Because it was an old domain, the sitemap URL was already present. Because I did just now reverify (can’t even remember what Gmail account it used to be under) there isn’t any search data. That’ll become available in 5-10 days and we’ll see how bad I suck at life so far.
SEO and Low Hanging Fruit
Meh, anyone who actually reads this entire thing end-to-end will have some idea of my SEO secret sauce, I guess. Normally people don’t just blatantly talk about what they do. Whatever, I don’t mind competition. Never going to just outline anything anyway.
Now it’s time for link-building. Link building is becoming less and less important, and my SEO actually improves as it does. I’m really good at the onsite shit. But, backlinks still matter, so I still need to worry about it. So, time to get those real easy links.
Setup and About.me profile. I always do this with my projects. Easy DoFollow backlinks and a little bit of traffic that trickles in.
In a little bit I’m going to setup a Blogspot or WordPress blog. Probably only syndicate the email platform descriptions. Want to wait until my sites indexed, so I’m not actually competing with the free blogs.
I already mentioned the pre-existing domains with content I can 301 or backlink from. That’s fucking awesome. Going to have to go through my list of domains here in a bit.
And time to create a Scoop.it account. Scoop.it is one of those reasons you need different browsers for different products. I don’t know if Scoopt.it links are DoFollow or NoFollow, but it’s very easy to get them. When you got a new site with zero links in the portfolio, NoFollow does make a difference.
Platforms like this, and social media accounts, also help with indexing. Being a brand new site, I should be concerned about keeping crawlers on my site as much as possible. It’s how you get new content indexed. Sure, I submitted a sitemap, but that’s only one aspect to getting things indexed.
Now I’m going to go through and ‘Scoop’ all the important pages. That’s probably going to be it for initial linkbuilding. Just “something” to actually establish a backlink portfolio. Anymore, I don’t focus that much on linkbuilding. Like I said, everything is quickly shifting towards onsite elements.
There are a whole bunch of B2B platforms out there. Honestly, been out of things so long that I don’t even really know what’s available and not. I should probably get real slutty on LinkedIn again. That’s the type of network you actually use for projects such as this. I hate how slutty B2B and prospecting is though.
I’m totally gonna get slutty with Quora. Quora doesn’t allow for affiliate links, but they do allow for external links. So what you do is look for questions on email marketing (for this scenario) and include links to blog content in your answer. I’ve actually used Quora for brainstorming content before;
- Find a question that you don’t have a blog post on.
- Write a blog post answering the question.
- Draft an answer containing the link to the blog post.
Not only do you get NoFollow backlinks, but Quora is actually a very good traffic source. The people clicking are the people interested in that answer / solution. Very, very, very high quality traffic.
Monetization Of The Project
Monetization is fucking easy. Pretty much every email marketing platform out there has an affiliate program. So I get a commission or revshare for every new customer I signup for the product. As I mentioned above, I’m already earning residual from email marketing affiliate programs. In fact, that money is subsidizing the entire project. This gives me some idea of conversion rates and how much money is in the vertical. Enough for me to really be interested, that’s for sure.
As mentioned above, the directory page is going to be the big money. The sitewide real estate also performs good. I use ActiveCampaign for all my projects (created top percentile open/click drip-campaigns, by the way) and it’s an insanely solid platform, so of course they get sitewide real estate. They offer a very generous revshare, too, and I’ll always take revshare over pay-per-signup whenever possible.
As for the second slot for sitewide real estate, I’m not too sure. Totally going to go with a solid platform, and there’s been a lot of innovation in the industry since I last really looked all the solutions over. Therefore, I’m going to have to really see what all is out there and who’s really innovated before making an informed decision on it.
Up-Selling / Cross-Selling The Traffic
One thing I’ve gotten really good at is upselling and cross-selling traffic on other services. A lot of affiliates get really close-minded on how they can monetize their traffic. I have some ideas on how to upsell my traffic, but I know I’ll discover more things out there as the project grows and involves.
As an example; if a new startup is just ramping up their marketing efforts, they might need a website and hosting. $50-$100 commissions for new hosting referrals.
Another example; A company is looking for a CRM and wants one that works with the email platform they’re using. I’m sure many of the CRMs have referral programs, meaning I could monetize that traffic through listing integration partners.
So there’s potential to sell more than just email marketing here. I’m very, very good at that. Hell, I’ll deploy sub-niche sites on various topics just for this.
Leveraging Websites That Already Exist
Like I’ve said, I’ve got tons of domains. Lot of them I’ve sunsetted due to lack of time, lot of them bare-bones and just chillin as little sandboxes that I never did a whole lot with, some are booming projects that might generate more money than your career choice. All really depends.Honestly, I need to go back and take stock of what I have going on in the marketing vertical. A lot of it’s in sad shape, I can tell you that.
So far the only thing I did is put an email marketing section on my Durango Marketer domain. That domain itself needs a lot of work. A WordPress update conflicting with the theme kind of fucked shit up. Never bothered fixing it, as I didn’t really care too much, now there’s all sorts of glitches. Silver lining; with this new project, I can 301 some content, fix the content I want to keep and figure out what the hell I’m even going to use that domain for now that I’m not offering freelance services.
The logic behind creating that page on that site:
A) That site actually has PageRank, so that’s awesome. Not really trying to rank that page, but maybe I do for some longtails.
B) Every “More Information” link to Starting Email Marketing is a keyword-rich (branded) backlink to the product information page on Starting Email Marketing. Once I 301 a bunch of dated email blog posts to that page on Durango Marketer, those will be some decent backlinks, too. Especially for a website that just started.
I know I also have a marketing webinar niche site. Bunch of YouTube embeds. Actually, I’d be very interested to know what the traffic looks like on that site. I’m totally going to have to start building it up again. Good traffic in the same vertical. How I’m going to leverage that site? If there’s an email marketing webinar, I can always put a call-to-action at the end of the blog post, promoting the user to signup with the network. At the end is a “more information” link going to the main product page on Starting Email Marketing. Good backlinks to important pages.
And this is how you leverage pre-existing websites. It’s much easier to enter a vertical when you already have things going on in that vertical. Don’t have to dominate it, by any means, just have something you can work with.
Developing The Content Strategy
The content strategy is something that doesn’t even really require much thought. I’ve already got the main site design figured out. The individual description pages and the directory pages are going to be the most important.
Outside of that, I’ve thought of some key posts. Ya know, like one on “Email Automation”, that goes over autoresponders, drip-campaigns and all that fun shit. To make things better (especially conversion-wise) you then list all the different platforms and what they offer for automation. Then you SEO the fuck out of that page.
And that’s only one example. You can also do something just like that, except with email personalization. These pages can be updated as you add new platforms for the directory and site.
Then you have all the newsworthy stuff. That’s why we’re subscribed to all those resources. See something blogworthy, you turn it into a blog post. This gets you content that targets longtails. Also, every new page brings a pathetic amount of PageRank into existence, which immediately starts redistributing itself through your site. That’s why larger sites will usually have a better chance of performing better than smaller sites. They will naturally have more PageRank by default.
New features, awards, events, case-studies, webinars, all that makes for great content. And I already know that there’s going to be no shortage of that. Definitely no shortage.
Outside of that tips, how-to’s, walkthroughs, all that fun stuff. Seriously, this is one industry where there is no shortage of a content strategy.
So…..I Did Start Rolling On Social Media
Sort of wanted to wait til I got the visual assets, but said fuck it. Get something up so I can start ramping up followings and get down on them NoFollow links. I bet you never met an SEO so happy about NoFollow. NoFollow isn’t risky, and they still have benefits.
In the past I used to automate a lot of my social media. I’m trying to stop that. It’s really not THAT time consuming to post something, but it still takes time. I keep certain social media accounts auto logged-in on certain browsers. This helps expedite the process. Really should be looking into social media suites, but, meh.
Shared and tweeted the blog posts that far. Also broke down and created a Google+ and YouTube account. So, got that going. Oh yeah, made a Tumblr blog, too. It’s amazing how much Google changes shit around. You’d think I’d know how to make a fucking branded Google+ account, but it’s changed since the last time I’ve done it.
Tumblr and Google+ both provide DoFollow backlinks. Pathetic backlinks PageRank wise, but they do pass juice. None of the links I’ve built so far are that awesome, but a great improvement over the completely empty backlink portfolio the site currently has.
Probably add all the social media icons to the footer of the site. Let people know how badass and active on all the social networks I am. *SIGH* social media marketing sucks.
And We Have Disqus Integration
I love Disqus. As far as I’m concerned, it’s the best commenting system ever. In fact, I need to swap out the Google+ for Disqus on this site, too. Integration is pretty simple. Basically just generating and supplying an API key. It’s something you do sort of have to moderate, but they make it very simple.
Now the only thing I really have to do with the layout right now is setup some rules to remove the fixed widgets on mobile devices and add some sort of social media widgets, because people always like seeing that you actually have a following (which I don’t).
There will probably be some template tweaks in the future. I don’t know how the category / tag pages behave, so might have to hack the php for that. Everything seems pretty chill to me so far though.
The Sluttiness of B2B Is Starting To Appear
I always tell people that B2B is the sluttiest business in the world. Sluttier than prostitution, escorting, sugaring or any other sex-industry careers. Nurturing prospects, getting the conversion, doing client retention, blah, blah, blah. I am soooo glad to be out of that scene. Was able to grow my beard, quit worrying about what people think of me and no longer need to suck up to everyone like a little bitch.
B2C isn’t as bad. Sure, you have to treat the customer with respect, but nobody is bending over for them. B2B is different. Landing a good client brings in what will hopefully be lifetime revenue from said client. There’s some big whales out there, too. Think them enterprise level entities with multi-million dollar operating budgets. Yep, good conversions there.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m going after those same whales. Only different is you won’t see me doing aggressive follow-ups, keeping notes about the decision-makers, trying to make small talk, positioning me as a thought-leader, ect. Okay, I take that back on the thought-leadership bit. I do like that. Ego, baby! Why not?
In fact, I prefer to do all my shit completely hands-off. If I had it my way, I wouldn’t even have to exchange emails. The people looking for the information would Google, find my shit, click my links and buy their products. Easy, right?
I do have contact forms on all my major projects anymore, and I do follow-up with inquiries. I don’t really do anything to prospect, don’t have a sales funnel, none of that shit. I’m a 1-man show over here, can’t be wasting my time on shit like that.
All these other people? Nope. Full on sales mode. Which, cheers to them. They’re salesmen and account reps. It’s their jobs and a lot of them do a damn good job at it. Now that I’ve been registering for trials and shit, people are starting to follow-up.
Which, I really don’t mind. In fact, this is very good. I get to see first hand how they nurture leads. This is important because if I’m sending these guys traffic, I want to make sure they can convert my traffic. If they can’t convert, then both of our profits are going to hurt.
Also, I need to find my best point-of-contacts at each company. It might be a sales rep, affiliate manager, someone from the marketing team or that one random individual in the company (regardless of title) that will never say “I don’t know” or “That’s not my department” and knows how to delegate requests to the proper people and follow-up accordingly. Cheers to that rockstar.
I also get to boss-up on the account reps. It’s always cool when they’re trying to sell you something and you’re able to boss-up cause you’re the one who’s gonna be sending them more leads than the damn account rep you’re currently talking to.
First rule of business; provide fucking value. It’s not a complicated concept and all our businesses would be running a lot better if that was their priority. I am very, very good at providing value. I always communicate to people from a position of value, and you can always position yourself from a position of value, even when you currently hold none, like I currently don’t.
Anyways, here’s a summary of the follow-ups so far:
Campaigner was the first company to follow-up via email, so good for them. I only get reception when I run into town and for whatever reason all these sales reps / account reps love to call. I hate that shit.
For one, I could be fucking busy. I don’t want to answer the phone to schedule a fucking phone call. That’s redundant as fuck.
Second, it’s not documented. With email, you can always go back and review it. Also, I can track emails. Which on that note, need to get email tracking rocking on the new email account. I like gauging people’s interests, and how often someone (might be forwarded to multiple entities) someone is opening an email is a great way to gauge interest.
Third, I can respond at my leisure. Don’t have to drop everything and focus on this stupid sales call.
Oh yeah, I also don’t have reception. That’s a minor little detail.
It was the generic follow-up email you’d respect for any prospect business signing up for a free trial. I introduced myself, gave an explanation of my background / marketing experience and the new project I’m pursuing. Also quizzed him on the best ways to keep up with Campaigner announcements (gonna need that for my content strategy) and told him I wouldn’t be opposed to anyone proofing what I curated for Campaigner so far.
This is cute. People all the time try informing me that I only have 250ish FB friends, so all my political ranting and satire can’t possibly have that much of an impact. For the record, I used to have over 300 friends, but my Libertarian propaganda is apparently a turnoff for some.
There’s an advantage to having your Facebook publicly viewable. (And for the record, I have inspired some dialogues in some major publications from my talking points. Never underestimate the impacts of a loud ass motherfucker)
And for the record, Constant Contact does suck at life and they’re going to be last company to offer fully automated drip-campaigns. But yet they’ll still probably have most of the SMB marketshare. Why is that? It’s more than just bloated advertising budgets, name recognition and institutionalized marketing efforts. But I still don’t get it.
Don’t really like the company, but still promoting them. They pay for leads and conversions, and I try to be comprehensive. Hopefully my traffic makes the right choices and chooses something much more robust. If they don’t; not gonna hate them for it.
But back to Act-On;
Act-On is a very solid company. I’ve sat in many of their product demonstrations back in the day. I can only imagine they’ve innovated by leaps and bounds at this point. They’re one of those companies that is probably playing around with adaptive learning algorithms and all that fun stuff.
I’m really going for the entry-level email marketers. Conversion rates are better, that’s for sure. Honestly, I see a lot of these entry-level platforms eventually innovating into full-blown marketing automation anyway, and when that happens, the saturation will drive competitiveness and the monthly costs will go down til they are “entry-level”. At that point, I’d love to have a pre-existing revshare with all the companies that are now playing at that level.
That, and I’ve found that any referral incentives the “major players” of marketing automation offer aren’t as streamlined as I like them. You either have to CC a sales rep on an introductory email, the new client has to indicate that you referred them or something of that nature. No tracking links, no cookies set, none of that fun shit. So directory listings aren’t profitable to me.
BUT they’re also marketing automation suites, so you can’t tell me they’re not capable of setting up conversion rules for me with their own fucking platform. If they try telling me they can’t track conversions that my domains are sending them, I’d have to call bullshit on that. They preach how their own fucking platform can do that in their webinars. So, touche!
So, I am very interested in discussing referral agreements and seeing if we can’t work something out that’s a little bit more streamlined than what they probably have setup. I am also very interested in hearing all the new Act-On features. Wouldn’t mind sitting in on their next live product demonstration.
I have been planning on making a second table on my directory page for “Marketing Automation Suites”, so obviously it’s something I’m eyeing. I’d probably just add Act-On, Marketo, SilverPop, Bronto, all those fun suites to the directory just for the sake of being comprehensive. I’d be willing to assume having that directory drives more ActiveCampaign or GetResponse conversions anyway, due to the insanely low starting price. Remember; there’s a lot more SMBs in the world than enterprise-level entities. You’ve also got a lot more security if you’re profiting off hundreds of companies, vs the same dollar amount from a handful.
Eventually it’ll be one of those things where I could charge for directory listings, regardless of referral agreements. I hate doing this, as whenever it’s not performance-based, one party is always getting a raw deal. Sometimes it’s the only way to make an agreement though, and I’ll take little money over no money.
Hell, one conversion for these big player marketing automation guys and the monthly billing on that one account could easily cover whatever the hell I’d be charging them monthly. Like I said, with B2B, the conversion isn’t just that first sale. It’s all the reoccurring sales. That’s why conversions are such a big deal.
So, there’s totally a dialogue that I can keep going with Act-On. Great company, too. I like them. Very ambitious. They’re one of the newer marketing automation suites and to come out of nowhere and be like; “Hey man, we’re better than those other fuckers! So pay this 4-5 figure monthly cost for our product!” isn’t exactly a walk in the park. They basically did that.
Also, notice that one of their reps managed to find my Facebook post on entry-level marketing automation? They’re very proactive, let’s just say that. Ah, yes, the sluttiness of B2B. Not saying it’s a bad thing, just saying it’s how that entire vertical is.
Got The GetResponse Post Published
Got the GetResponse post published this morning. I’ve been wanting to add at least one platform to the directory per day until it’s big enough to be called comprehensive. That’s what you need to go for with resource sites; comprehensiveness. Of courses, there’s a balance, and you’ve also got to boss up and bring the companies to the table as partners if they want included.
If you’re omitting companies, you’re not providing as good of a value. If you’re including everyone, there’s no incentive for the companies you don’t have promotional agreements with to pay you for the value you’re providing them. Shame it’s like that, but that’s how it is.
As for GetResponse? A very generous lifetime revshare on all new clients and a very, very, very, very impressive platform.
If you look at the Facebook image I added on the last second, you see me talking about the advances in automation for entry-level solutions. I also bash Constant Contact, but that’s another story. Anyways, GetResponse is one of those companies that have embraced the awesomeness that is marketing automation and has done it right. Best of all, it’s priced so entry-level SMBs can totally be rocking it.
My only complaint is that there’s no support for variable / conditional content. They have data merges and defaults for when no data is present, but no conditional content. I love conditional content, it’s why ActiveCampaign is my favorite platform.
GetResponse is still insanely impressive. Honestly torn between what’s better; GetResponse or ActiveCampaign. It comes down to conditional content, actually.
I want to find a local entity that is interested in developing some highly automated drip-campaigns so that I can field test the platform and have some fun with some personal case-studies. Oh, and if I sign them up via my referral link, I get a revshare on all future rebills. So, if they like the platform, that’s awesome.
Definitely really glad I found that platform, they rock, and if ActiveCampaign conversions are any indicator of what GetResponse conversions are going to look like, I’m going to make a lot of money promoting that platform.
Second Guessing Some Things
I mentioned earlier above that I really don’t sweat many details when I start a project. You spend too much time planning things and it stalls progress. Everything always seems to fall into place. Being more thought out in the beginning will save time and effort in the long run, but you can’t spend too much time dwelling and no time doing. Here’s what I’m second guessing right now:
So I used “/software/” for the directory page. This is because from experience, I know there’s people Googling things like “Email Marketing Software”. It’s not fucking software. Well, I guess it’s SaaS (Software As A Service), but it’s not fucking software. You don’t download the shit to your computer and blast it using your own fucking ISP and server. Well, I guess you can, but you don’t.
So calling it software is plain fucking stupid. But people Google it, so you have to optimize for it. I was hoping having that url would be enough and I’d never have to include a single mention of “Software” on the actual page. Now I just hate it. I have to change it. I hate it. Better to do it now than later.
You do 301 redirect the URLs, so you don’t lose any rankings, but there’s still the 301 hop, which takes a fraction of a second and the fact that if a URL eventually hops 4-5 times, the PageRank from the first hops will start diminishing. So it’s very smart to have the permanent URLs thought out in advance, and it’s also smart to go through and update as many of the old links as possible to avoid hops.
So I’m thinking /solutions/ or /platforms/. I don’t know. I’m hoping to get in another directory listing and comprehensive overview today. Definitely gonna figure that out before I hit the publish button, just so that’s one less 301 hop I need to go through and fix later.
Directory Table Fields
This isn’t nearly as major as the actual URL structures. I’m second guessing some of the data in the directory. So far all the platforms have an API, so that’s not that big of a deal. There’s certain companies that want to know about the platform’s API, but it’s not your Ma-and-Pa store that’s going to be interested in that. Also, I’m thinking I can consolidate the “Autoresponders” and “Drip-Campaigns” under a single “Automation” field, and just write in whether it’s autoresponder or drip-campaigns.
I changed “Free Trial” to “Trial” and I think I can change “Visual Designer” to “Designer” and just indicate whether they support module, WYSIWYG or HTML. Oh, and “Starting Price” can change to “Price”.
All that will make it a little bit better on mobile. Let’s be frank though. People sign up for this kind of shit while they’re at work and on work computers, so I’m not that concerned about it being fully responsive, but it’s still something I’m concerned about. On the mobile version you can also click on the signup link, so that’s important.
It’ll also allow more room if I want to put something else in the database. Don’t know what it would be. Stuff like this reveals itself the further you go along. Maybe reseller with “Yes” or “No”? That’s something agencies are concerned about, but not your normal business. CRM integration? Something B2B is more concerned about than B2C, and also something that would pretty much be “Yes” across the board. I mean, c’mon now, all the different platforms have API.
Anyways, things like this reveal themselves as you go along.
Blog Featured Image / Title
If you set a featured image on this theme, the fucking blog title disappears. This is very, very ridiculous. Shame, too. Outside of the default link color, I really like this theme. I’m sure it’s something that can be done with a little php hackage. Just don’t want to spend hours tinkering with php. If I do, should do it now while there’s no traffic. Otherwise, it’ll be smarter to create a subdomain, upload the files, and configure it there so that way there’s no major php errors from my fuckups.
Or I just simply retheme, which is always an option. Tons of great themes out there. Could be a great idea to get one of those premium ones with flashy homepage effects and sections where I can showcase shit.
If I retheme I can do it anytime, so it’s not that important to me. Traffic and rankings are priority right now. I’ve said it a lot in this and I’ll keep saying it; it’s easier to figure all this shit out in the beginning, but you get soooo caught up in planning and there’s not enough doing. Why I generally just shoot from the hip and by any means keep shit moving forward.
Might not be that major of a hack to get this working right anyways. I’m by no means a php guru. In fact, I suck at it. If all markup language wasn’t as logical as it could fucking be, there’s no way I could even be hacking php files. Sure as shit can’t code the shit.
Okay, nevermind, I have to correct myself. The title is just above the featured image which is stupid if you ask me. Should be a really quick fix of just swapping lines in the editor.
Have The First Pathetic Traffic
5-10 hits per day, baby! Here next week I’ll start getting the first search analytics, which is what I’m really concerned about. Then we can see positioning on some keywords. I’ll be able to laugh at myself and I’ll have an idea of how big of a SERP war this is going to be. I’ll also see the longtails I am actually ranking for, and that’ll give me an idea of what areas I can dominate while I go hard on the competitive search phrases.
You have to generate traffic where you can while working on the high-value targets. I at least need to be getting clicks and conversions so I can truthfully say I’m having success when talking to advertisers.
It’s all a work in progress. I’ll be very happy if I have 50 uniques per day by the end of next week.
My First Newsish Blog Post
Did my first newsish style blog post. It was on ActiveCampaign’s new Google Chrome extension. Nothing that’s going to make the world shift or anything like that, but it’s blogworthy. And if it’s blogworthy. it’s worthy of being shared through social media.
I’ve got a handful of local clients rocking on ActiveCampaign and it’s been my go-to platform. Therefore, I’m obviously subscribed to their announcements already. That’s how I learned about this and that’s why this was my first newish post.
And, it allow you to play around with all those onsite strategies. I’m not hoping that I get mad traffic and conversions from email marketers looking for platforms that come with Chrome extensions. But through the general onsite content strategy, you can boost up the rankings of your entire site in very small ways. That’s what I’m after.
And now that I officially have a section on “News”, I can start building that up. Eventually I want that category page to rank for queries like “Email Marketing News” and other relevant keywords. Since it’s a category, it’ll auto-populate with new posts, zero intervention on my part.
I also have the ActiveCampaign tag. That tag has the ability to rank for some ActiveCampaign-ish queries. Really just more of an organization thing though.
And this is what the content strategy looks like. Now that I have an ActiveCampaign section, I’ll probably work on ramping up more content that fits into that tag. That way it’s not just two posts; this one and the main informational one.
And Now For The First Real Blog Posts
Okay, this is where this shit actually gets fun. Now it’s time for the first “Real” blog posts. These are those badass and fucking awesome ones that are comprehensive as fuck and you go back and edit them when new relevant shit comes up.
First ones I’m doing are on “autoresponders” and “drip campaigns”. Obviously ones going to be about autoresponders and the others going to be about drip campaigns (ain’t I a logical motherfucker).
Now, these have to be the most badass and awesome blog posts about that ever. EVER. And here’s the kicker; after I explain the concepts in-depth, I’m going to list all the email solutions that have those type of campaigns, based on how epically awesome their features are.
So, the people researching those two topics (or any topics for that matter) are interested in platforms that have them. So, give them that information! And make commissions off it! C’mon now, how awesome is that?
Very simple url “/autoresponders/”, very simple URLs for your most important pages is very important, I’ve learned that over the years. Meta all perfect (with matching <h1>), changed up <h2> and <h3>, badass content, badass internal linking, some images and all around awesomeness.
I may go back later when install Tabby and do an accordion effect with some of the content. I’m not fond of the concept, SEO-wise, but it does make for more organization. I think in the future Google will realize that secondary content makes sense design-wise and user-experience-wise. Hell, they already realize it’s the case with responsive and it’s the case with desktop too. Until that happens, they’ve basically stated that secondary content actually hurts SEO.
Once there’s enough link metrics for those particular pages, you can start making content secondary without losing all that SEO goodness, so it’s something I like holding off on until I rank. Also, I’d have to install and configure tabby (which I could have done in the time it takes to write this, fucking documentation of this project) and I’m more concerned about busting out the content right now. These particular posts and “living posts” and they’ll be modified plenty of times. I can add accordion tabs at any time.
Then, the real fun shit starts. Playing around with linking and getting traffic and juice to those pages.
And The First Real Keyword Research
I’m not really dwelling too much on rankings and competition right now. It would be stupid to, my traffic and rankings are fucking pathetic. But, since I am blogging, I am starting to do that. Google “autoresponder email campaigns” and you can see exactly what I’m looking at.
Look at all that paid search. Everyone’s doing paid search. Imagine all that money going into just that search phrase. All that money going to buy traffic that I’m just going to go out and take. I don’t do paid search. I hate paid search. Organic converts better, anyway. They can all compete for that, I’m gonna work my ass off and take that shit.
Of course ranking that post on autoresponders I’m doing right now is going to take a lot of time. It will rank for some more longtail shit sooner. And as it bumps up, it’ll get more longtails, until finally it’s ranking for the actual keyword itself.
And that my friends is SEO. The technical aspect of it? lots and lots and lots of content. Lots of content. Luckily we’ve got a lot of content. In fact, we’ve got unlimited content. We do need to use that content in the right way if we want to do it right. And you can fuck off, I’m not giving you that on a silver platter.
Nothing Happening Today
First, let me just say that I FUCKING HATE INSTITUTIONALIZED ORGANIZED SPORTS! On that note, Google “Bread and Circus”. Seriously, the same tactic of suppressing the population with institutionalized sports has been a practice for thousands of years. Also, it makes for horrible, horrible, horrible background noise, which like straight drains your concentration. The game is loud, the commercials are loud, everything is just like;
OH MY GOD FREAK OUT IM IN YOUR FACE OH SHIT THIS HAPPEN CROWD FREAKS OUT ANNOUNCERS FREAK OUT YOUR SUPPOSED TO FREAK OUT INSTIUTIONALIZED ADVERTISING THAT HAS TO BE EVEN MORE LOUDER THAN FOOTBALL BACK TO THE GAME OH MY GOD THIS HAPPENS EVERYONES SUPPOSED TO FREAK OUT!!!!!!!!
Seriously, fuck institutionalized sporting events. If you’re that big of a sports fan, go out and play fucking sports. I used to be into it due to the phenomenon of social acceptance, not wanting to be the odd man out, ect. Seriously, look at some of the experiments that have been done. A bunch of staged actors doing an action and eventually everyone joins in because they don’t want to be the odd man out. Even when what everyone is doing makes absolutely zero sense.
So, if you understand the concept of “Break and Circus” (used to suppress many different populations for thousands of years) and that whole psychological mindfuck bandwagon bullshit, you’ll start to laugh at sports geeks.
So, just having people watching sports (and commercials) is enough to not be able to concentrate. Also had to do some things in town and work on some other projects today. Should have just gotten shitface drunk all day, as obviously this is not a day of actually doing things.
What The Fuck To Do With Durango Marketer?
Durango Marketer has been a broken site for a while. A WP update conflicted with some things and everything got all sorts of fucked up. I’m no longer freelancing services, so it hasn’t been very relevant to me. Now that I’m doing some hardcore shit with marketing / B2B, all of a sudden it’s of interest again.
Pretty much all the content on that site is dated, plus hella screwed up. I’ve pretty much said fuck it and just let it sit.
So, today I decided to pretty much 301 redirect all the outdated content to the index page and all the email content to the relevant email marketing content on the new site. There’s also a lot of web development content. I’ve got a domain for a CMS / web development / SEO niche site, which I’m planning on deploying. Kind of seems like I should actually get that up and running (Even if just proof-of-concept) so that I can 301 all that type of content over to that site.
Then, I need to think long and hard about what I’m actually going to do with that website. Mainly used it when I was freelancing various services. Now that I don’t take clients, slapped some ads up so I can get some revenue from it.
I’m thinking maybe I add a directory of the different local B2B solution-providers for one? I like the idea of the DIY guides I built. Maybe make more of them? Also, could always use it for general marketing related blogging. Still want to start fresh though and need to start fresh. Don’t even know how good the SQL is at this point, so feel like the real solution is to just 301 and start fresh.
How is this all relevant to Starting Email Marketing?
A) I’m 301ing a bunch of pages to that site
B) Durango Marketer can be used to drive traffic and build links
C) Total B2B domination as a whole.
So it is actually very relevant. Dominating an entire vertical does not happen on a single site, and you should always leverage any current assets you’ve got at your disposal. That’s called being smart.
So, I think I Figured Durango Marketer Out
Remember how I said it’s better to just let everything fall into place while doing rather than giving yourself anxiety over planning? Shooting from the hip, yo! So anyways, over some 301ing, whisky and blunts, I was brainstorming the future of that domain.
Obviously I’m just redirecting all the dated content to the index to consolidate shit. The domain itself has a lot of issues going on, so probably just gonna export / import the 301s, only keep like 10 pages (can just copy/paste html) and just start fresh with a new database, new install, ect.
Holy shit, when I first built that, I didn’t even know how to do child themes, that’s how dated this shit is. So, a total refresh is definitely needed.
Since the site is local in nature, I think I’m totally gonna just convert it to a directory-style site listing local marketing solution providers. I’m also going to have a couple DIY guides, written by me, on all the different channels. I’ll also have the directory pages of all the different solutions for all the different channels and of course, the blog.
Sitewide realestate, who the fuck knows. Keep it not that spammy, but totally gonna have some banners in there. Gotta make money, though the blog will also help with that.
Eventually I might have my own shit rocking in Durango, so it’s nice to have these type of properties going. If I want to be narcissistic about it, simply drop the promotion of all other local solutions and use it to promote my own shit again. Otherwise, can still give myself preferential treatment.
Like I said in the last section, I’m also slapping together a web development / CMS / SEO site, and I’ve got a shitload of content on that site. So, I think it’s totally worth getting that site hosted and running (very much in proof-of-concept) just so that way I can move all that type of content there.
So…..That’s totally what tomorrow is going to be about. The damn website will remain a proof of concept for a long time, and I feel sorry for the traffic that hits it in interim, but long-term organization, this makes total sense. This will tempt me to make that web property “good enough” (much like the email site is right now) which will totally suck up my personal bandwidth and hurt my current projects (which will do fine). *SIGH* The downfall of having limited time.
Got The Webinar Section Live
Got the webinar section live. Webinars make for some great blog content. If they’re hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, it’s incredibly easy to embed the video and draft up a post explaining it. The post containing the webinar can target longtail traffic, and the CTA at the end helps with conversions and through internal linking will help raise up the SEO value of the main informational page. SEO awesomeness.
The webinar page itself is a WordPress category page. I love using category pages for things like this.. The category page automatically updates with new posts. That saves you time and helps with accuracy. The fact that it’s not a static page (things change) also helps with SEO as well. Eventually I plan to rank the webinar category page for keywords such as “email marketing webinars”. That’ll primarily be done through internal linking, as well as some good header text on the category page. Which I still need to do. Also, being in the top-nav shows that it’s an important page.
I’m rolling on all the ActiveCampaign webinars first. Mainly because I already made that first “newsworthy” post and the ActiveCampaign section of the blog. Whenever I make a section like that, I always try to make it as busy as possible quick as possible.
Also, I’m already making some good money off ActiveCampaign and know their product well, so that always helps.
A lot of the webinars are older. I make sure to go back and change the publish date to the webinar date. Eventually once I add more from other companies, they’ll all commingle in the webinar category in the order they were released.
Today is probably just a webinar day. Now that the section is live, really want to make it somewhat busy and full.
Happy Fucking Snowdown And Some Updates
So I closed on a house in Dolores, so fuck yeah. And I’ve got a lot of other bullshit on my plate, so that’s why this thing has stopped being real time. For the email site, I syndicated some content, added some content and did some other bullshit. In the meantime, I’m buying houses and focusing energy on the projects subsidizing everything else. Emails all across the globe. Beautiful shit.
Oh, and snow and shit. A lot of show. Gonna be a great raft season.
And That’s Where I’m At Now
Anyways, this is going to be a living blog post updated as shit goes on. Probably do some handy anchor-linking at the top to create a table of contents.
I really want to document one of these projects from conception to success, just so I can refer everyone to it when I get asked what exactly I do and how to do what I do.