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Marketing, Strategy and Awesomeness

Book-funnelPerry Marshall is a Google Adwords expert and a marketing genius that I’ve been loosely following for a few years.

He recently came out with a new book about utilizing the 80/20 principle in your sales, marketing and business in order to get more productive work done in less time and see greater results with less effort.

When I saw Perry’s book available on Amazon, I dropped it into my wishlist so that I would remember to order it when I was ready for my next book.

A couple of weeks later though, I saw a really interesting Facebook ad from Perry promoting the book for just 1 cent.

What followed was a very high level sales funnel that I want to break down for you so that you can apply it to your book or business.

Amazon vs selling on your own site

First off – why would he want to sell his book for 1 penny (and a few bucks for shipping) instead of the $16 it is going for on Amazon?

Simple, when he sells a book on Amazon he makes more money up front – but he doesn’t get any information about his customer and has no way to follow up with them – unless they take action and opt in to his email list while reading the book.

When he sells the book on his own site for much less, he is given his customers contact information and can put them through a more sophisticated sales funnel and offer valuable upsells.

He probably breaks even or loses money selling the book himself, but makes it up on the back end.

Breaking down Perry’s Facebook funnel

perry1

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If your website is like most other businesses, your traffic from mobile devices is quickly approaching the amount of traffic you get from desktop visitors.

This trend has been happening for the last few years but we are finally starting to see that some business sites are getting MORE than 50% of their traffic from mobile devices.

Go ahead and check your own stats in Google Analytics right now.

My site gets about 35% of its traffic from mobile.

Most Businesses Are Neglecting Their Mobile Site

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facebook app ad newsfeed mobileAfter a year of my iPhone app being out and only having a free version, I finally launched a paid version of the app. 

Before that I just had it available for free which made money off of ads.  With 80,000+ total downloads, it does ok revenue wise but I was kind of curious to see what paid download numbers might look like.

So I launched that a few weeks ago and then thought, hmm, when I’m on my phone I’m seeing a lot of ads in my Facebook news feed for mobile apps.  I can click the ad and go right to the download page in the App Store and install it.  Like this one:

This is HUGE for app companies and for Facebook.

The App Store is a black hole of discoverability and one of the big frustrations for app producers is how to get their product in front of the right people.

Facebook delivers the goods and stands to make big $$$ off of app companies.

I wonder if we’ll see ‘Promoted Apps’ within the Apple App Store one day?

Anyways, I got curious about all of this and decided to set up a campaign for my paid app to see how it works.

Why pay for app downloads?

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The Carousel

storage-full I’ve been getting this occasional ‘Storage Almost Full’ alert on my phone for the past few months now..

Why am I so low on storage? Because the majority of my 16gb iPhone’s space is taken up by photos and videos.

I have them all backed up but I’m reluctant to delete the majority of them because I love going back through my camera roll and looking at old pictures.  So every few weeks I’m forced to clear up space by going back through my old photos and deleting the ones from my phone that I can live with just being backed up online.

A first world problem no doubt, but a big annoyance and toleration.

Introducing Carousel..

So when I heard about the new Carousel app from Dropbox today I was excited to check it out.

I didn’t really see the benefit at first though.  Ok – so it shows my photos in a cool timeline and I can share and message friends within the app.. but I can do those things with the standard camera roll app.

carouselThen I saw this quote from Drew Huston and it made sense:
“When I’m looking at the photos on my phone, I see photos I took with the phone, but I don’t see pictures from my computer or anything else. Instead of one shoebox, I have many shoeboxes.”

Dropbox is trying to replace your default Photos app and make it so that you can see not only the photos taken on your phone – but ALL of your photos (if you’re a paying customer of Dropbox that is).

And thats why it makes sense why this is a stand alone app.  That’s why they spun it out instead of just improving the ‘Photo’s tab in the Dropbox iPhone app.  This is the same strategy used by Facebook and why there is a separate ‘Messaging’ app, Facebook Camera and Paper.

Your Best Photos vs. All of them

Facebook holds all of your best photos – your best vacation photos, the cutest photos of your baby etc.

Dropbox is aiming to hold those PLUS everything else, including: your more intimate, more embarrassing, less polished and if you use the ‘Hidden’ feature: more explicit photos.

With Carousel replacing the default photos app I no longer have to worry about balancing hoarding photos on my phone and maxing out my storage – now they’re all in one place.

Dropbox is really trying to de-commoditize online storage with beautiful software and a better user experience.  It’s their best shot at avoiding the race to the bottom.

We shall see if that is enough to convince the average consumer to pay 5x more.

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“A two day stay, you may say I need the time alone, to relax my dome, no phone, left the nine at home.” – Nas

This year I was lucky enough to attend my first SXSW.  I learned so much, met so many interesting people and had so much fun that it kind of felt like compressing an entire semester of college into a week.

I went to over 20 panels and the most interesting co-presenters had to be Ben Horowitz, a venture capitalist, and the rapper Nas.

Ben is a nerdy, white investor raised in Berkeley.

And Nas is well, Nas.

The Unlikely couple

They really couldn’t be more different but, the two have been good friends for years.  They’ve not just been friends but have influenced each others lives and inspired one another in pretty interesting ways.

Ben talked about taking business lessons from Nas’ lyrics of growing up in the projects, rising to fame and raising a family.  Nas talked about admiring and learning from Ben as an entrepreneur.

How many VCs are good friends with a rapper?  How many rappers are friends with investors?

Not many – but maybe more should be.

Cross-Pollination FTW

The theme of cross-pollination was one I noticed through multiple panels at SXSW and it was perfectly illustrated in Nas and Ben sharing a stage together.

It’s easy to get confined to your industry and read the same blogs and magazines as everyone else.

Attend the same industry conferences.

Hang out with people who only work in your industry.

That’s what is amazing about SXSW – the diversity of presentations and people attending.

It’s labeled as an “Interactive” conference but the breadth of topics is HUGE.  Where else can you go to a presentation on Robotics, then go to a panel on creativity, follow it up with crowdfunding in non-profits and top things off with a talk on astrophysics?

To get truly creative and new ideas, I’d encourage you to get your head out of the sand and cross-pollinate with people and things that seem to have nothing directly related to what you do.

You might be surprised what you can take back to your work.

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My crappy icon

My crappy icon

It’s been a year since I released my first app, Photo Date.  It’s a really simple app and I’ve always been content with it, except for one thing – the icon.

It’s pretty horrible in my opinion.  But I was in such a rush to launch the app that I just approved the first version the designer sent over.

It’s always been one of those small, stupid things that have annoyed me that I was to lazy to do anything about.

While creating the content for my ‘Make Your First App’ course, I recorded a section on how to find somebody on Fiverr.com to make your app icon for you for 5 bucks.

I was about to follow this process to have a new icon made – but for some reason thought, “It would be fun to see if I can design one myself!”

Now I’m not a designer by any means. I only have a beginners understanding of Photoshop from editing photos.  I don’t even own a copy of Photoshop.. I just used the 30 day trial for this.

I discovered though that you don’t need to be a full-fledged designer to create a basic but decent looking icon.

Here’s a screencast I recorded that walks you through my process:

You’ll need a few things:

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If you’re a founder of a bootstrapped or small software company, chances are you loath information products and the people who sell them.

“Like a lot of programmers, I used to view marketing and sales as something that was scummy and below me. – Quote from Marketing for Developers

Because of a few bad apples, info products tend to all get lumped together as ‘spammy’ and ‘sleazy’ (especially in the eyes of many developers and many in the Hacker News crowd).

But most info products deliver a huge amount of value to their customers and help them.  So it’s sad to see them looked down upon by the software world and ignored when their is actually a huge opportunity for partnerships between software companies and information products.

Moz + eCommerce Fuel

I recently stumbled upon eCommerce Fuel and Andre Youderian’s course “The Insider’s Guide to Building an Online Store.”  It’s a $600 online course which teaches you how to get started in eCommerce and grow your new business.

It’s a pretty standard sales page as you scroll down, but what really caught my eye was this part where it says that if you purchase the course you’ll get 3 months of SEOmoz Pro included.

Genius.

moz and ecommercefuel

I’m not sure who initiated this deal but it is a huge win-win for both sides.

Moz gets access to a group of buyers not freebie seekers – at no cost to them.  They’re able to get access to a group of people who are likely to purchase their product and are able to get it into their hands at no cost to the company.

I don’t have numbers on how many people from this group convert from the free trial to a paid membership – but even if its a small fraction it’s still worth it to Moz since they aren’t paying for this traffic. And eCommerce Fuel gets a huge bonus value add to their course which sweetens the deal for potential customers and ultimately helps convert more visitors to buyers.

What does this mean for you?

If you have a software company, you should be looking for info products that cater to an audience similar to yours – and reach out to them and offer an extended trial just for their customers.

If you have an info product, you can research software and tools that will help your customers and reach out to them to strike a deal where you can offer their product to your audience so that your product is even more valuable and converts higher.

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A few weeks after we moved into our new apartment, my girlfriend hung up about 10 empty picture frames on our wall. She then told me it was my job to find and order the pictures to put in them.

“Ok, easy enough, this is one home maintenance project I am capable of” I thought.

A month went by.. and the frames sat empty.

“I should really get to that” I thought. “I’ll do it this weekend.”

Except the weekend came and went and so did many others.

I felt guilty and a little ashamed every time I looked at those empty frames but for some reason I just couldn’t get around to the project.

Eventually I did — but not until 6 months after she had hung them on the wall.

We all do this.

From simple things like home improvements to larger things like working towards our goals.

It feels harmless to just push it off until tomorrow. Until tomorrow turns into next year.

Today you’re going to be​ face​d with​ ​tons of decisions that require action or answers, and you’ll have the choice to take action today or push it off ’till tomorrow.​

Maybe its doing the dishes or the laundry or maybe its calling on a potential customer. You’re going to reallyyyy want to put it off until tomorrow.

Don’t. Pick one thing and just do it today.

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successkidIn March of 2013 I released my first app, Photo Date, which shows you the date and time your iPhone photos were taken.  Admittedly it’s a very simple app, but after years of brainstorming ideas and never actually following through, I decided it was time to take action and just launch something.

However not long after that, in September, iOS7 was released which has the date functionality built in.. effectively making my app obsolete.

I expected downloads to drop significantly after that.. which they have, by about 50%.  So I expected revenue to drop as well – but I just had my biggest month in revenue – 3 months AFTER the release of iOS7.

2013 revenue

My iAd report for the year

Downloads over time

My download report for 2013. Downloads peaked in August at 12,000 and closed out December with around 5,000

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My Mom always likes to say that “to assume makes an ass out of you and me.” My Mom also always likes to be right.  In this post I’m going to suggest you listen to marketing consultant Jay Abraham instead of my Mother which is sure to bring me some grief.

In copywriting I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t like to assume things about their readers.  They start out with lots of questions like “Would you like your business to double this year?” “Are you worried how the economy will effect your industry?” or “Would you like to learn to train your dog to stop peeing on the carpet?”

I fall into the habit of starting out my writing with questions all of the time.

Conventional wisdom is that the right questions qualify the right prospects, weed out the wrong ones and helps you connect with the reader.

I thought it was a pretty good route to go.

Recently though I was reading something by Jay  where he suggested to take an assumptive approach versus a question.

Most people start out with “Do you want to learn how to double your business in 1 year?”

But we forget that the people we want to respond are obviously already interested, so he recommends taking a more intimate position and saying “I know you have big goals for your business and that you aren’t satisfied where things are now.  I know you want to increase sales significantly, maybe even double in the next year…”

If you do it right it can lead to the reader feeling more understood and feeling a closer connection to you which of course leads to them being more inclined to buy.

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