We briefly mentioned 10 different growth tactics we’ve identified in Episode 128 of our podcast. This week, we wanted to look at each of those in more depth.
We’ll cover some of the advantages and disadvantages of each and give additional resources and examples of these strategies applied correctly.
There were a ton of resources mentioned in this episode and we’ve linked to all of them below for your reference.
If you’re looking to buy some websites or online business and need help with different growth tactics and strategies, this is the episode for you.
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“If you don’t know what you’re doing be careful with the on-site SEO changes you make.” – Joe – Tweet This!
“Internal link building works best on sites with more content.” – Justin – Tweet This!
So – which of these tactics are you most familiar with? Which do you work with for purchased sites? Let us know in the comments!
Justin: Welcome to the Empire podcast episode 130. In episode 128 we briefly mentioned 10 different tactics you can use to grow and expand purchase websites. In today’s show, we wanted to cover each of those examples in depth and look at specific examples of the tactic done right. You can find the show notes and all links discussed in this episode at empireflippers.com/growth. Alright, let’s do this.
Speaker 2: Sick of listening to entrepreneurial advice from guys with day jobs? Want to hear about the real successes and failures that come with building an online empire? You are not alone. From San Diego to Tokyo, New York to Bangkok, join thousands of entrepreneurs and investors who are prioritizing wealth and personal freedom over the oppression of an office cubicle. Check out the Empire podcast. And now your hosts, Justin and Joe.
Justin: Alright Joe, so the episode where we explained in detail the lifestyle Larry approach to building website portfolios was one of our most popular recent episodes. There were a ton of questions via email, you know, in comments and Twitter, and messages regarding the 10 different tactics for expansion that we mentioned, and I wanted to just dedicate an entire episode to unpacking those tactics and trying to make them more legible for the audience so they can better understand them. I think this is gonna be a good episode buddy.
Joe: Yeah, I think it’s a great idea. I’m glad we’re coming back to something that we said we would cover.
Justin: Cool. So let’s talk a little bit about the background for this episode. Now, we needed an organized way to kind of tag sites based on the expansion method that we thought would be the most successful for them, and this is something that we’ve been starting to implement based on the investor program that we have rolling out. So, I wanna to be able to look at a site and say, you know, I think number three, number seven, number nine and number ten would be the best expansion paths for this particular site. So we want, you know, an organized way to do that, and the way we’ve done it is to create these 10 and then, you know, they are in our wheelhouse, we understand generally the marketing and the path to getting there. So we wanted to be able to tag these sites and say, okay this is the growth strategy for this individual site.
Joe: Yeah and my phone calls over the last 10 days I’ve definitely noticed a lot of people asking this kind of question. What about growth? What about growth? I wanna buy a site with growth and then what do I do to grow it? So this is gonna be a great episode just for those people. Hopefully I can direct them to it next time I have this question.
Justin: I think I should also point out that, you know, our educated guess is not necessarily the only way to do it. It’s just our best guess on the best approach. So, you know, there may be an approach that would work better for the sites, but we needed a way for us to be able to determine which we think would be best. The plan here is to create SOP’s for each of the individual tactics. So, one through 10 and have an SOP that lines out in details the steps that need to be taken to, you know, maintain and implement those strategies for growth. This will make it a lot easier for you to keep yourself on track. It’ll make it a lot easier to train VA’s to take it over, and it basically acts as your intellectual property with your website portfolio.
Joe: Yeah getting VA’s on this and making sure that you understand what it is we’re gonna be doing, is important because, you know, before you start training these VA’s and letting them loose, you’re not gonna be able to just hand them a laundry list of things to do. You’re gonna wanna make sure that you understand the steps.
Justin: Yeah and the plan for this is we’re gonna lay out the tactic, we’re gonna define it, we’re gonna give you some sources for more information, kind of talk back and forth about some of the advantages, disadvantages, and then look at a few done right examples. There are gonna be a gazillion links and shares and shout outs in this episode, so clearly if you wanna get links to all these you can just go to empireflippers.com/growth and check out all the links and all the mentions that we have in here. I think it’s gonna be a resource, you might wanna bookmark this one so you can come back to it later when you’re expanding your sites.
Alright man, before we get into the heart of this week’s episode, let’s pay the bills with your featured listing of the week. What you got for us buddy?
Joe: Fair amount of brand new listing here 40188. It’s a health and fitness site monetized with Amazon. You know I really like the health and fitness niche when it comes to Amazon, because this type of equipment definitely has a high price tag value on it, and that means we’ll make a lot of money in that shopping cart and people who buy one piece of equipment tend to buy more. So that’s always good. We got it listed for just a smidge under $60,000 and it’s netting almost $3,000 a month. The only expenses it has are some PBN expenses, which by the way, the PBN is included in this particular listing, and some content expenses. So, it’s really ready to roll from the get go and it’s got about 70,000 page views a month, so it’s getting some good traffic, and only about half of that is from the search engine, so it does get some other types of traffic.
Justin: Cool, and the seller’s looking to raise money for a wedding. I always like to read these reasons. Sometimes you know they’re just kind of like your standard, “Oh I’m gonna spend it on other projects.” but that one sounds pretty legit. I mean, the guy’s getting married, and that’s pretty cool. I like these sites that have high dollar value Amazon purchases, but do you have any idea what percentage he’s at via Amazon ’cause that’s a great way I think for buyers to take advantage and instantly get a bump. If they’re at 8 or 8 and a 1/4%, and there’s a guy at 6 or 6 and a 1/2, that’s an instant bump when they pick up the site. You know what I mean?
Joe: I don’t know exactly where he’s at. That’s a good question that should be answered during the due diligence process, during a deposit process. But absolutely agreed, there’s a lot of sites out there, we’re selling some of those sites that have a high quantity of sales, but maybe not a big dollar amount, and you could pick up a relatively cheap Amazon site 10 or $15,000 and turn a $60,000 site into a big winner right away just by bumping up your rate.
Justin: Yeah, we’ve had buyers that have some of those Amazon sites that are high ticket items and they’ve been looking at some of the low volume, or like heavy volume, low ticket price Amazon sites simply as a tactic to bump their rates. So I think it’s a real interesting strategy. If you’re interested in this one we’ll have a link to it in the show notes obviously it’s 40188. Alright man, let’s get into the heart of this week’s episode.
Speaker 2: Now for the heart of this week’s episode.
Justin: So we’re talking about 10 proven tactics for growing purchase websites, and the first tactic should be known to everyone, it’s low level content. And this basically means, you know, creating passable content that targets very specific long tailed keywords and phrases that’s closely associated with your niche. So if your keyword is about washing machines, you could be targeting Maytag washing machines or whatever, you could be targeting specific brands. You could be targeting types of washers or types of dryers, that kind of thing.
Joe: Yeah, I definitely think that most content sites should be doing at the very least this when they’re bought. This is a suggestion I always give buyers, even sites that require little to no maintenance. Adding low level content’s not gonna hurt. So, as long as it is a 100% unique and checked thoroughly, I think expanding the site in that sort of category is always a great idea.
Justin: So there are suppliers for this. One of the suppliers I’ll mention and we’ve used is iWriter.com. That’s probably on the low end. I’d say on the higher end for the low level content would be textbroker.com. You can also find these writers on oDesk and Elance and those types of places as well.
Joe: I would also add HireWriters.com to that list. It’s a very good resource of higher level, low level content and you tend to find some even Americans and Canadians writing there.
Justin: Let’s talk about this a little bit Joe, one of the problems, especially refining on the writers directly on oDesk whatever is that, we found it’s really hard to find and keep these writers because they really come and go at these lower price points. I think the fact of the matter is that the good writers start off there and then they wanna graduate. So they wanna get paid more money and they kind of move up the value chain. So if you find someone good, they’re probably gonna start moving up and charging more and leave you on the dust, especially if you plan on keeping the pricing for them the same.
Joe: Absolutely. You see this a lot. Guys come in, they’re doing a little contract work, but they’re really looking for a full-time position, they find someone willing to give them that full-time position and then of course you lose them for your contract work. I’d also say yeah the quality varies very widely, from the worst of the worst spun just copied content from the Internet to really great stellar stuff, but like we said, they’re not gonna hang around long.
Justin: Yeah and the quality varies even when you use a service like Textbroker, so writer to writer on their platform, varies even more if you’re trying to find someone on oDesk and that’s why you have to carefully weed through when you are finding these people. I’ll give a warning here, is that you really wanna stay in the upper echelon for this low level content. So, you don’t wanna be the worst of the worst. And the reason for that is particularly bad content can hurt your site. Google is getting a lot smarter at determining what’s useful valuable content, and at reading kind of the metrics and time on site and page views and that sort of thing. So, it’s not particularly useful, you might find yourself in trouble down the road.
Joe: Yeah I gotta totally agree here. Really gotta make sure that this is checked and double checked sort of content. Run it through Copyscape, make sure it’s a 100% original and trust your supplier so that you don’t wind up with bad content on your site. Really, if it’s too good to be true and they’re offering this kind of stuff at pennies when it should be a few dollars, then there’s probably something wrong with the content.
Justin: Yeah that’s the point Joe, is that you know this process, specifically for this type of content has to be managed. Right? You’re saying run it through Copyscape, you’re gonna need to have SOP’s in place and you’re gonna have to offer very clear directions so that they can do the content the way you need it done. Just to give a couple of examples of the types of sites you might see with this type of content, one would be, that’s a very public example, would be Pat Flynn securityguardtraininghq.com. That would be the upper end of this low level content. So it’s pretty good. It’s not mind blowing, it’s not like you read and go, “Oh it’s so valuable to me.” But it does have valuable pieces and it’s useful enough to provide value to the user. You also find this with generally the sites that we sell anywhere from the 5,000 to $40,000 range, they’ll have this type of content as well.
Joe: But don’t underestimate this kind of content. It can be very valuable especially when bulk, especially on geo targeted sort of sites where you need to cover one topic over a lot of different localities, you can add a whole bunch of content to your site quite quickly. And one more thing about SOP’s, I would make sure to run through them yourself a few times. Justin and I, we used to do this ourselves when we were back at the AdSense flipper days. I don’t know if you remember Justin.
Justin: Oh I remember buddy.
Joe: Not a fun time but [crosstalk 00:10:58]
Justin: I remember writing some content when we were just starting out. Oh it was miserable. Yeah.
Joe: It made it a lot easier when it came time to actually make the SOP and teach it to the crew.
Justin: Alright. Number two buddy, high level content, and what we mean by high level content is, this is when you’re getting amateur even to professional writers that are curating or even creating original thoughts, ideas and concepts in the content. So this is high quality content. The quality in this can range anywhere from, oh that’s pretty interesting to wow that content blew me away. It depends on the writer and kind of whether that article was a hit or not. Some of the sources that you can use to get this type of content, I would check the ProBlogger job board. We’ll put a link to that obviously. The CopyBlogger job board. You can check Tom over at leavingworkbehind.com. He’s in contact with lots of these types of writers that are willing to write articles for 30 bucks, 50 bucks, 100 bucks, even $200 depending on the length and the quality of the content you need.
Joe: Yeah, you know what I’m thinking about is one of the things we don’t cover here, which might be a good thing to look into for high level content, is hiring a writer to help you with a podcast or video series or something like that so that you can add really good quality content to the site. It doesn’t just all have to be written content.
Justin: Yeah, let’s break this down a little bit. With these types of content writers, they can write right, but they still are gonna need some level of direction. You’re probably gonna need to give them the keywords and the kind of the general format you’re looking for, the approximate length. But you can be little more open with these writers, give them some creativity and allow them to kind of create their own style, their own message in the content. One tactic I think you should use is you should trial several different writers, and then stick with the top two.
The reason you wanna run with two is that you have some redundancy if one of these writers up and bails on you, you still have another writer there. And you’re gonna want to work in terms of managing the process, you’re gonna wanna work on consistency between the two of them. So one writer may have a different kind of voice and message than the other writer. Sometimes they can be pretty far apart and so you’re gonna wanna bring those a bit closer so they match the brand and the message you’re trying to put out.
Joe: Yeah I think that’s pretty important with any sort of high level content you’re putting out there. You’re really gonna have to look at the higher level subject matter that you’re trying to get through. The higher level point. And that’s something where the voice becomes very important and keeping that consistent with your marketing efforts is paramount to a good marketing channel.
Justin: And this isn’t just for niche sites again, we’ll give you a couple of examples that are not niche sites that are full on online businesses that use this specific model. For example, you’ve got the WP Curve guys over there. Dan Norris who is just a prolific content generator himself. I think he even hit the wall, and so they now have a team over there that’s helping to generate content. So he has people writing some blog posts and putting out some content on their site. And you’ve got Rob Walling with Drip, his email software that he’s hired writers to put out some evergreen content on the blog to help soak in those customers.
If you go to his site Drip, and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes, you’ll see that the first page is just basically a sales page. Just like normal SAS page and to get to the blog it’s not even on the top menu, it’s at the very bottom. More reason for that, it’s called this high level content that he’s putting out there that’s really just meant to suck people into the system and then target them toward the software product. So, he’s not highlighting it on the main page, but he’s allowing that to come in organically and then to target them as a potential customer.
Joe: Yeah, Rob Walling does it the best probably that I’ve seen out there. It’d be interesting to know his process, and how he does it, and what is outsourced and what he actually comes up with himself, but maybe that’s another podcast.
Justin: A lot of these, like the viral type sites and stuff, they do a lot of this too. So, say what you want about their ridiculous headlines, but the articles are fairly well written. They are interesting or to the level of even being wowing, and you’ll see that they are just knocking that content out because they’ve got a nice engine that is just consistently putting out that content. They’ve got a ton of writers. Alright man, onto the third point.
The third thing we wanna cover is onsite SEO. This will basically include a professional analysis of your current state of SEO on the site. It’s gonna include tweaking and optimizing your content for search engines. It’s gonna be things like tweaking your internal link building to help pass the SEO juice around the site. A lot of times on a website there’s a bunch of SEO going to one page, it’s got a whole bunch of back links for whatever reason, there was a particularly popular article or post or whatever, and that link juice isn’t spread around the site all that well and someone that can help with your onsite is gonna get that link love spread around and make sure that you’re getting ranked for the key words you need to be ranked for.
Joe: Yeah I think that’s a key thing to remember here. If you don’t know what you’re doing, be careful what onsite changes you make because you definitely could hurt the site. So, whereas if you’re adding content to new pages or new posts, it’s unlikely that you would hurt the site. That’s why consulting with an expert or maybe even testing your tactics out on a smaller site might be a good idea.
Justin: So a couple of experts that we’re working with on this is Chris Dietrich, over at chrisdietrich.net and then his buddy Nikko over at pagespeed.io and they will do an analysis of your site on a project basis. But do an analysis of your site, help you create the silos you need, and really start working on your onsite SEO. A couple of points on this. It’s gonna work best on sites with more content. So I’d say at least 50 pages of content, but preferably a 100 plus pages of content I think is important. It works well on sites that are on the bottom of page one for certain key terms or maybe even page two for critical key words, because these tweaks and changes can either get them to the middle or top of page one, or at least get them on page one if they’re on page two.
Another thing to note is that you’re gonna wanna do some prep work for this. So, what we did is we looked at the top 30 to 50 key words that we wanna rank forward that are critical to our industry, and then we ranked them in terms of search volume. So, how many exact match searches they were getting per month. We ranked them by relevancy, how relevant they were to exactly what they do. So if it’s a broker, could that be misconstrued as like an online stock broker or a website broker. That’s kind of ambiguous. We looked at things like difficulty, like how difficult would it be to rank for those keywords. And so we could then put a number on all those and the ones that had the highest search volume, that were the most relevant, and had the least difficulty were obviously the first choice targets.
Joe: Yeah it’s funny how these keyword research tactics come back to haunt you huh? I mean, this is stuff that we learned way back in the day when were building little list sites and now we’re using it on our primary money maker Empire Flippers. So, just goes to show you that those types of small ball tactics that you use can help you with the larger strategies.
Justin: Yeah and as I said before, this is kind of a pay per project thing. But you may want to get some quarterly tweaks in there. So you may wanna have them review it every quarter, make sure that you’re still on track, make sure that you’re adding the right content, that your link love is spread around. And this is really a long ball strategy. You’re gonna be paying for this as a project up front for improvements that may not be seen for three months, four months, six months down the road. So it’s something that you’re putting in place Long ball, it’s not something you do when you first create a site, obviously you’re gonna wanna build the content up first, but then you can bring them in to really kind of I think maximize your onsite SEO benefit.
Joe: I think it’s hard to measure our lie for something like this as well. It’s difficult to say, okay we made these onsite changes and that caused our ranking to go up directly. So, you’re gonna have to just take it on faith that you did the right changes and things improved in general.
Justin: Yeah and I think if you’re targeting sites that have a whole bunch of content that are the bottom of page one or page two for critical key words, those are the sites that have the most opportunity to gain from this. Let’s talk about some other sites I think that could benefit. Sites that are built from the ground up for readers and not search engines. So, good examples of this would be our buddies over at tropicalmba.com, maybe Spencer at Niche Pursuits, it’s Empire Flippers. Like this content wasn’t built generally speaking with SEO in mind, it was written for readers specifically. So it means that we have a lot of pages that could be optimized or slightly tweaked just with a few changes that could really get us some SEO benefit.
Another way to look at this is sites that have the unevenly distributed SEO juice. So these would be sites that had a couple of articles that really went viral, got a ton of either press or links or mentions, and the rest of the site not so much. Like maybe there were some follow up but it’s not nearly as much and so all that link juice is being held on a couple of like internal pages. You wanna let that SEO break free and spread around the site a little.
Joe: Yeah, I think that this is so important and something that we were supposed to do early here in 2015, but unfortunately it’s gotten a little delayed with some other projects. But something that I think would be very valuable to emplireflippers.com.
Justin: Other sites I think that are good examples of this working out well are sites that have massive amounts of content. So if there’s 400, 500 pages of content, those could really benefit from some internal link building, especially if that wasn’t done well. They could benefit from setting up silos, having particular category pages that are all linking to the individual pages, and the individual pages linking back to the silos. I think there’s some value there. So it’s not just for the Tropical MBA’s, Niche Pursuits, Empire Flippers, it’s also for affiliate sites. It’s also for Amazon sites that have plenty of content.
Joe: Yeah I can see a geo targeted site that has a lot of localities and a whole bunch of content possibly needing a clean up like this.
Justin: Yeah that’s great. Like why not have a category page either by region, Northern California or by state, Arizona, and then you can link to the individual cities from there. Alright. So our fourth tactic we wanna talk about is low level link building. Now, this is generally considered an inexpensive, low level link or links that are built to the site to give a slight boost and edge aside from the natural, organic rankings and traffic and links that they’re currently getting. Now when I say inexpensive, I mean they don’t take a whole lot of time.
They’re not gonna take a whole lot of money and they’re relatively low level links. Now I’m not talking about some spammy links that you buy on Fiverr or some crappy back links that some back link seller’s pushing. There’s a lot of that out there, so that’s not what I’m talking about. We’re gonna get into this a bit more. Some sources to learn more about these types of links that are being built, I would recommend nichepursuits.com. I would recommend the nohatdigital.com guys. You can also check out Sean’s site at authoritywebsiteincome.com. They talk a lot about kind of the lower level link building tactics that are effective today.
Joe: Yeah these strategies are something that’s probably gonna work for you, and some of these sites used to sell services that would do it for you, but obviously they’ve moved on from that kind of stuff. But still I think the tactics have some value when taken correctly and not too aggressively. Like you said, stay away from the providers that are just looking to spam links.
Justin: Yeah and I’ll mention the scam, but you need to be very careful here. Crappy links can be a waste or even worse they can actually do damage to the site and what you currently have. So you wanna be very very careful. One effective way to do this that remains is blog commenting. I know this sounds really weak but, if you’re actually commenting on industry relevant and specific websites and blog posts, you’re not doing it just for the link back, although that helps to kind of get your site seen and get you out there. But you’re also doing it to engage other people that are in your niche. Especially if they’re in your niche and they are a blogger or whatever, they’re gonna notice you, especially if you’re commenting pretty regularly, engaging their audience, and that’s a way for you to make connections with other people in your space. And that’s when cool things happen.
Joe: I mean that’s how we started with AdSense Flippers and it worked out extremely well for us and I think it’s a tactic that other people could take. I’m not sure you know if you were doing it with product or a service that you weren’t fully convinced in, you might wanna pass that off to a VA a little bit faster than normal, but definitely if it’s your primary baby it’s something that you should be doing yourself.
Justin: And yeah I mean this is easily put into an SOP. Now you’re not gonna have VA just go out there and, “Hey nice article. Sounds great.” or anything like that. Like not some crappy comments, but actual comments, someone that works for you and knows about what you’re doing and can comment on relevant blogs, and you can give them a list of those blogs that I think are helpful.
Another thing you can do here, is you can actually link your portfolio to other relevant sites that you own. So, you know some people were worried about this, they say look I’ve got two or three sites in the health industry, I should be pretty careful about linking from one to the other, right? No, that’s completely fine. So if you’re linking from one of your sites, and you’re talking about something that’s relevant from one to the other, doing some link building between them is absolutely okay. That’s how it should be. A lot of the large companies, major companies do this for the multiple companies that they own, you’re fine doing that as well.
Joe: Yeah I had a guy that was very concerned about this on the phone today. In one of the packages that we were selling they all have to be in the health and beauty niche, and he was very concerned that they were linked together in some way, and I tried to explain that as long as they were linked together correctly that was okay. But yeah, if they were just spamming each other with links, that would cause negative effects.
Justin: Let’s be very explicit about what we mean with correctly, like if you have an article on one site that’s around the niche of the other site and you mention your other site, even if you just anchor text whatever, that’s fine. If you’re putting it in the footer and doing all these these spammy links that are just all over the site to each other site, that’s not so fine. Right? That’s not great. So, yes if you mention it in an honest, straightforward conversation in a blog post, yeah link to it, no problem.
So an example of this type of low level link building, really the majority of the sites we saw, I’d say more than 70% of the sites we sell and have listed have this type of link building done. This is common for most earning sites, they’re gonna have some level of low level link building. It can be either through a PBN they control, it can be through a PBN service that they’re paying for, it can be through other sites or through blog comments or those types of things that they’ve done themselves. It’s really gonna vary. So if you wanna know a little bit more about the link building, obviously you can pay a deposit that’ll give you access to the site and you can start digging into the back link profile and make sure that it’s a good fit for you.
Joe: Yeah. I don’t think that everyone should be turned off by low level link building strategies. PVN’s when used correctly can be a good way to get increased rankings at a suitable risk. There is a risk there, but it think it’s a suitable risk and it’s something that you’re able to manage.
Justin: Alright. The fifth thing we’re gonna talk about is high level link building and this is gonna be from serious SCO professionals, it’s gonna be where they review your current offsite SCO situation. They can advise you going forward or they have a team in place that they can actually build out these high quality links that have traffic. So generally aren’t just a back linking kind of approach, this is gonna include links on sites that have traffic and they can actually drive traffic to you as well. Some of the best SEOs in the world will tell you links are great, but if I can give you links and traffic, that’s what you really want.
Joe: Yeah I think that that’s an amazing part of this kind of high powered link building approach, and it’s not gonna be cheap, but it’s definitely worth it when done right.
Justin: Some of the sources for this if you wanna read more on it would be our buddy Travis over at supremacyseo.com. You can check out John over at pointblackseo.com and always you can check Glen over at viperchill.com. These guys are up on the tactics and will either provide these types of services or can out you in contact with the people that do, if they’re currently booked out or can’t take your site on for whatever reason. As you said Joe, this strategy is not cheap, it’s gonna cost you some money, but you have to view this as a very long term investment.
You’re investing in a long term benefit of your site, we’re talking six months, nine months out and you’re gonna have to start paying today. It’s a bit of a risk. It’s a gamble. It’s an investment and you’re gonna wanna hope that pays off. The best way to do that is to go with real professionals. Even if they’re more expensive, the guys that really know what they’re doing is who you wanna be talking to.
Now one of the things you and I don’t like about SEOs, and we’re not SEO fans, we’re not fans of SEOs because it’s easy to pretend like you’re an expert in SEOs. But so many people know so little, that to even pretend like you know a little bit you can confuse people. You can make it seem like you have some kind of magic behind the scenes when you don’t. Like you read a couple of Ma’s blog posts or something, and you think you’re an expert. So, I think it’s important to separate the true experts, the people who have devoted years of research and work into this verses the ones that are saying, “Hey, I’m wanna be an SEO consultant, where do I get customers?” That kind of thing.
Joe: Yeah yeah and these guys that just drop the jargon and try to use esoteric terms to confuse their customers, and then wind up overcharging people and using tactics that are not very safe. I think that that’s a stigma that goes along with the high level link building community. Unfortunately there’re some shady characters in there who have given it bad reputation. But, if you stick to the right people and do your homework, this can definitely be a very valuable way of expanding your site.
Justin: Yeah you’re gonna need to do your due diligence in picking an SEO provider, and part of that includes considering your return on investment. Right? What’s your ROI on this? If I have an Amazon site making $2,000 a month and I’m gonna have to pay 1,500 bucks a month for six months to get this SEO done, if the best that can happen is I go up by 50% in earnings or something, it’s not fantastic. I mean it’s pretty good especially if you’re planning to keep a site long term, but you know you have to determine what’s the best this can do for me? What’s the upside and the worst case? Like what could happen to the site, what’s the worst case that could happen? You need to determine whether it’s worth it or not.
Joe: Yeah, this is not something you use on those low hanging niches. Those niches that don’t have a lot of competition and you could probably rank by just some onsite SEO kind of work, or maybe better content kind of thing. This is the kind of thing where you wanna attack really hard to rank valuable niches.
Justin: Yeah we’re talking supplements, we’re talking weight loss, we’re talking these types of things. Really the hot valuable niches that require some high level SEO, and where there’s a big payoff if you get it right. Now what these SEO’s are gonna do, I’m generalizing a bit here, but they’re going to help you create or help you find the very legit or at least semi-legit anchor links to your money site. So maybe you’ve already got some press mentions, or if you don’t they can help you either through white hat tactics or even gray hat tactics by contacting some editors they know at certain magazines or certain websites, and getting some posts up there with links to you.
What they will then do is they can build the low level links and they can send links to that particular page. If that page is on the New York Times for example, they can handle all different kinds of link strategies that they throw at it. So, it’s a way to kind of buffer your money site with a very strong authority site that’s gonna get you traffic that already has a great amount of SEO love already. It’s gonna be improved as they SEO and optimize that page that’s linking to you.
Joe: Listen to your expert on these sort of tactics and if he wants that buffer site in there, I think that that is a great way to go about it, and he’ll have the strategy laid out for you. It’s important to execute that to a T.
Justin: A great example of this, it’s been done I think is Neil Patel’s Kissmetrics. He’s done a really good job in terms of SEO. Take a look at the site and look at his back link profile, and you’re gonna find some really high quality links, and some quality links to his anchor links as well. So he’s done a really good job with some high level link building and there’s definitely been some money spent on SEO there. I’d hate to see Neil Patel’s SEO budget across the board. I’m sure it’s outrageously ridiculous Joe.
Joe: Yeah I can only imagine.
Justin: The sixth tactic we wanna to talk about is monetization changes. This basically means split testing the various monetization changes to improve the margins and to move up the value chain. This can be anything from split testing, ad placement with Adsense, it can be with Amazon sites adding a drop shipping component or drop shipping sites adding a source product component. We’re gonna get into that in a bit, but basically trying to move up the value chain in terms of improving your profit margins and earning more from the revenue that’s currently being driven.
Joe: Yet this seems like the low hanging fruit to me. I mean it really seems like something where you can just change the code on a site from AdSense to Amazon and you might be able to increase the revenue. I mean obviously it has be tested. I think a lot of our sellers don’t actually test this, and if you’re buying a site it might be the first thing you wanna shoot for.
Justin: So, I totally disagree with you on this Joe. I think that this probably is gonna have the most work required. If you wanna take an AdSense site to an Amazon site first off, you’re gonna change the content to have more of a called action, to be more sales focused rather than content focused. If you wanna change from let’s say an Amazon site to a drop shipping site, you’re gonna have to go out there and find the products that match exactly, find the drop shippers, set up those relationships, change the site, add a shopping cart. I mean there’re some serious work that’s required for these.
But one of the benefits I think, is that you can take a site from just being kind of an affiliate site, just kind of a straight forward affiliate site, to being a full fledged business. Right? And so that’s I think the real value, is that you can take a $2,000 a month affiliate site and within the course of a year, a year and a half, it’s now a $6,000, $7,000 a month business where you’re sourcing goods, and you’ve got a warehouse, and it gets really interesting.
Some of the sources if you want more information on this, there’re a couple of places you can check out. Check out dropshiplifestyle.com. It’s actually not a blog, it doesn’t have a whole bunch of content, it’s a course. What’s interesting about the course, it’s kind of in the middle. It basically explains how to do drop shipping, a [inaudible 00:33:23] process for drop shipping and because that’s between Amazon and actually sourcing the products, it’s that good middle step that you need to learn if you wanna take that expansion process.
You can also check out a site like ecommercefuel.com. He’s got some great content over there on his blog. Both of those actually have communities or forums where people that are building drop shipping sites or eCommerce sites hang out, chat, help each other, that I think could be helpful for you.
Joe: Yeah, if you’re converting from an affiliate or from an AdSense site into an eCommerce or a drop ship site, definitely those resources are gonna be the best for you for getting started and probably even into the expert level. If you’re looking to just change from one affiliate program to another, I might look at something like a commission junction, a click bank, even a JVZoo and just see what sort of other affiliate programs they have out there that might pay a little bit more than what I’m getting on a revenue per user scale right now.
Justin: Yeah. I think one of the things that you need to consider when you’re looking at a monetization change, is it helps to set up kind of that customer avatar or the profile of a person that’s visiting your site. So for example, I won’t say it too clearly, but we have a website that’s an Amazon site that sells furniture for people with back pain. Sorry that’s vague, but specifically targeting people that have problems with back injuries or backaches, that kind of thing. So, when you’re thinking about that, the monetization currently is Amazon but are there some natural remedies that those people would pick up.
Like are there any ClickBank products that people could purchase from that Amazon site that would be helpful. ‘Cause they’re in that position, are there any good products out there that would be helpful for them, are there any other add on products for people with back pain that you could add via Amazon or via drop shipping or whatever, that you could basically start selling around your customer avatar instead of just selling one particular product.
Joe: Yeah. I think that’s a good point Justin, is, it doesn’t have to be a total monetization change, it can be a monetization assist, right? You can add an additional sort of offering that may help you bring in a little more revenue. We usually say that mixed sort of monetization methods when you’re mixing things like AdSense and Amazon, you’re probably hurting yourself really than helping, but it could be the fact that when you have a strictly well targeted affiliate play as an assist to your main monetization method, it could definitely boost revenue.
Justin: Yeah, and you’re talking about doing it like partial changes. One of the best strategy I think is to take some of your highest volume Amazon affiliate products, and switching those to drop shipping. So, it’s a lot easier than finding let’s say five or six different suppliers to match all the different Amazon products you’re selling on the site. Instead, just take the 80 20 and find the 20% of products that are bringing in 80% of the sales revenue and see if you can find drop shipping relationships for those, and then test that out. And honestly if it’s not working, or this is not converting as well as the Amazon traffic, then you know you can switch back to Amazon, it’s not a problem but at least you’ve tested through it.
I think you’re gonna wanna keep in mind that you wanna stop when you’ve maximized the return for your effort. There’s no reason to go from drop shipping to a source product if your margins aren’t there. So, if you went from Amazon at 7% to a drop shipping scenario and you’re at 20%, you’ve effectively tripled your net profit on the site, and then you’re looking at sourcing the product from China and you’re gonna be at 25% margin, [inaudible 00:36:59] it may just not be worth that additional hustle. Yes you’d make more money but the headache that would come with it just isn’t worth it for you. So, when you get to that level stop.
Joe: Yeah I see a lot of people missing this factor, and it’s definitely something that you should consider, is your time vested better elsewhere in another change of the site, or maybe even in another site rather than trying to squeak out an extra percentage point or two here or there.
Justin: I’m gonna be a little self congratulatory here, but a good example for this would be Empire Flippers. We started off selling very small AdSense sites when we started. We tested out a bunch of different monetization methods. We tried product [tight 00:37:39] services, and we did that for a while, it definitely helped bring in additional revenue. And then as we started moving up the value chain and selling larger websites and online businesses, we saw that is being the big winner, we realized that our margins and the market was definitely there. So we dropped everything to really focus on that. And the only we figured that out was by testing through these different monetization methods.
Joe: Yeah and it was a bit of a painful process but I’m glad we got to where we’re at.
Justin: Yeah it took a ton of work but ultimately I think it got us where we wanted to go and where we needed to be.
The seventh point we’re gonna talk about is conversion rate optimization, and this includes split testing the landing pages, are you gonna be split testing different sales funnels, you’re looking at ad placement on the side, and basically the idea is you’re looking to squeeze the most revenue per subscriber out that you possibly can. So a lot of times you have a site, now you buy a site, or you built a site and it’s not maximized. You’re not maximizing your revenue per visitor or per page view, and there are serious tweaks and improvements you can make, and the best way to do that is just to test for [inaudible 00:38:45].
There are some assumptions that you make, you know, I think this would be better this way but those can be dangerous because people think, “Oh my E-commerce site looks like it was built in 2002, I need to upgrade it.” and they upgrade it and then it sucks, right? So it does convert to worse. So it’s good to use I think software to kind of help you figure that out. Some of the things that we’ve used and recommend are Visual Website Optimizer, we’ve used them. We’ve used Optimize Lee and we’re using right now, we’re using Leadpages which allows us to split tasks. Different landing pages for our paid traffic and that kind of thing.
So, there’s quite a bit of software out there, there’s other options than that but I think doing some level of conversion rate optimization over the long haul is a really good move.
Joe: Yeah. I think a lot of our sellers miss out on this and I’m wondering if buyers are checking this as well, because it makes sense to me that if a site is not properly optimized, even small tweaks could have a huge impact on the revenue of the site. Now again, you need to know what you’re doing, you need to approach it in a systematic way and really test things, but once you have some good data in place, I think you can make some decisions on whether improvements are worthwhile.
Justin: So buyers that are particularly experienced with conversion rate optimization, they look for sites that meet the profile, right? That meet the profile of a site that they can improve through conversion rate optimization, and one of the examples would be sites that have quite a high traffic but have low revenue per visitor per page view, when you compare to their peers or other similar sites in the industry. That’s somewhat difficult to do especially if your peers are doing income reports and not sharing that information and that’s common. What you can do is look for sites like us, and look at our sold sites, look at Flippa, and look at some other sites in your industry around the same size and see what kind of revenue they were bringing in per page view or per visitor and see how that compares to you.
Joe: Yeah. We just sold a site like this that was in the pet niche for under $10,000 getting hundreds of page views a month.
Justin: Hundreds of thousands of page views a month.
Joe: Sorry. Hundreds of thousands of page views a month, and really it was not monetized or the conversion rate optimization wasn’t there as well. So these two things, for point six and seven, I think there’s something that could be applied instantaneously to a site like this and increase its revenue two or three fold in a very short period of time.
Justin: Now one of the things you need to be careful with here too, and this is especially true if you’re kind of going with the Brand Inside approach. Is you have to balance CRO with kind of your long term brand or vision. When we had Empire Flippers on our previous design, we had these huge side bar kind of banners for opting in and they converted quite well. They were doing really well but it was just too aggressive and our fear, our worry, was that we were turning away some of the more sophisticated website buyers and sellers with how aggressive we were being. And so if we wanted to target a more sophisticated audience long term, and that’s where we see our brand heading, we need to change that a bit. So we backed off of the CRO that we had done previously because of our long term brand vision of where we wanna take the company.
Joe: Listen, if you’re really trying to build a great brand, a really awesome site and you have some sort of pop up that comes up every time I hover over the URL address bar, I’m not sure that that’s the greatest type of conversion rate optimization for your brand.
Justin: This is a curious topic, right, because some guys do this to the point of annoyance for me. I’ve seen Neil Patel does this on some of his sites. It is like overly aggressive. I wanna talk a little bit more about him in a bit, but it works. It works for them and it works for their audience, and the way they figured it out is they’ve done this conversion rate optimization. They know that the subscribers and the customers that they’re driving with those tactics, works for them. So it really doesn’t matter, you need to test the road and see where you’re at. Keep In mind too that you’re gonna have diminishing returns of this over time.
So if you’ve been split testing a bunch of kind of like the major things, you can link it into the minor bits, but if you don’t have a ton of traffic then some of the minor tweaks or testing some of the inside page stuff rather than your primary sales funnels, you’re gonna get a much smaller return out of that. So, 80 20 there still. Look at your main sales funnels, look at your top of funnel landing pages, do some split testing there and I think you’re probably good to go.
Joe: Yeah good point Justin. I really think again, there’s gonna be some point at which you could squeak out a couple of percentage points but it’s not gonna make a huge difference compared to the amount of time and investment you’re gonna have to put in, you’re better invested in going with one of our other points or maybe switching to something entirely.
Justin: Yeah, and if you wanna take an example of a site that pop ups all over you but they’ve really tested the [inaudible 00:43:34] is Neil Patel’s kissmetrics.com. Also, one of the companies we mentioned as a source for conversion and optimization with lead pages, check out their site too. Check out Leadpages and look at all the different optimization they’re doing. Open it in a different browser, preview the cookies and try again. You’ll see a lot of the differences and changes they’re making.
Alright, point number eight man. Let’s talk about some paid traffic. So, with paid traffic we’re talking about pay per click, we’re talking about banner ads, we’re talking about related content platforms that deliver either a neutral or positive ROI on your dollar spent. Some sources for this if you’re looking to get into paid traffic and you need some help, obviously Vincent, previous marketing apprentice, you can check him out over at growthninja.net. We’ve got our buddy Dave Hass who said does some AdWords work over at groscout.com.
So I said earlier that break even can be okay, and the reason for this is, when I was talking to one of our sellers recently who has a paid traffic strategy that, you know, he effectively breaks even on his paid traffic, but because of the stickability of the paid traffic, and the great signals at SenseIt Google, he’ll pay for that traffic, break even on the earnings because it improves his organic rankings. These paid customers, [inaudible 00:44:49] Hass really resonates with them, with the paid visitors. So even when he’s breaking even on the paid traffic, he does it for the organic benefits he gets.
Joe: Yeah, you know I looked up this tactic after I heard about it, it’s definitely hotly debated. So, before people start going out there and buying a whole bunch of AdWords thinking that their organic rankings are gonna increase, definitely look into it ’cause there is fine new ones to the approach and you could wind up spending a lot of money and not getting anything back.
Justin: Well, let’s talk about that. You can lose your ass with a strategy, let’s be clear. If you’re not monitoring this closely, if you’re not setting limits, you can quickly go from break even to a serious negative for the [inaudible 00:45:26] on your paid traffics.
Joe: Yeah I once heard a guy, we were doing managed paid traffic back when [crosstalk 00:45:32]
Justin: I remember this.
Joe: And he made a mistake and fat fingered a daily budget from five dollars to $5,000 and spent $5,000 in one day.
Justin: So I think they fixed that. I don’t think you can do that anymore, like there’s warnings or something, it’s not like a global [inaudible 00:45:47] but I remember when that happened. That was interesting. Couple of days later and I was like, “What’s going on here?” The benefit of paid traffic is it’s very very scalable. We have some savvy buyers that specifically wanna look at sites that have the opportunity for paid traffic. So, they have the right margins, or they are uniquely situated for paid traffic. They work in strategy all the time and they’re looking for sites that they could exploit using paid traffic.
Some good sites I think that are good examples of sites that do this well are, there’s a whole bunch of drop shipping or E-commerce sites and a bunch of different niches that you can take a look at. A lot of the viral type or funny sites, and they’re using a lot of the related content platforms. I can’t remember the names of those right now, I’ll try and look them up and put them on the show notes after the show. But basically they are the funny, viral, got you type sites and you can pay some people and get on the related content at the bottom of some of the really popular sites like that.
Joe: Yeah. I think that the reason why these types of sites work is because not only are their margins in sync, but also their visitors tend to stay on these sites quite a long time. So you’re willing to pay for that traffic ’cause you know they’re gonna stay on your site for a longer period of time than somebody that was just going through an AdSense site and is gonna click off for an ad.
Justin: Let’s talk about the ninth strategy we have here which is email list. Now, this is effectively just collecting email lists of site visitors and prospective customers so that you can market to them in the future. You know, some of the sources you can use for this, I think if you’re entry level you could look at AWeber, you could look at MailChimp. Those are some of the popular providers. If you’re kind of mid level, you can look at Ontraport or Infusionsoft. We’re currently using Ontraport and it has a lot more automation built in. Instead of just an email list, it’s more of a contact record, or contact database. Then again like he mentioned about Leadpages as well is great for building email lists, and Leadpages integrates with AWeber, MailChimp, Ontraport and Infusionsoft. So it’s great in addition to your main email provider.
Joe: Yeah, I’ve been having a lot of experience with Ontraport over the last 10 days and I have to say, I don’t have anything really to compare it to other than CRM’s that I’d used in the past, but I’m impressed. I mean, it’s good enough with the stuff it can do and we’ve always been very successful with these sort of email marketing that we’ve put out. So I think that the Ontaport’s a good solution and it helps in sales if you use it in the right way.
Justin: Speaking of which, and this is on the side, if you’re listening to this podcast and you either are an Ontraport expert and I don’t mean by setting up funnels, I mean more like a technical expert, in terms of helping with APIs or you can help us convert to the latest and greatest Ontraport. We’re still on the old office autopilot, please leave a comment on this page, please get in touch with us we’d love to talk to you ’cause we need some help in this area right now. One of the things I really like about building an email list for purchase sites is, it can help diversify against only organic traffic.
So with an email list, and a strong email list, you can continue rolling that no matter what happens to the search engines, and I think it’s a really great way to diversify. If you look over at our buddy Pat Flynn’s security guard training HQ site, he’s building an email list for that right now, where he didn’t use to in the past. I think if you want to really grow a site and expand a site, you’re gonna have to start building that email list, you’re gonna have to start treating it like a brand.
Joe: Yeah I’ve learned just from what you’re doing Justin with Empire Flippers, that the way to treat that email list is like gold. You don’t wanna burn through them, and you wanna segment them in such a way that they get the proper information that they’re looking for, and you wanna market the right things to the right sections of the list.
Justin: At the right time, yeah absolutely. You know this is something that I think a lot of new people are a little weary about, and they only put in like one or two opt-in forms in their site. They go, “Oh if you wanna opt in you just opt in here.” and that’s really not enough. You can put enough opt-in forms on your sites to where it makes it kind of uncomfortable right? ‘Cause other people, who are those reading the content and they’re going through, those can skip over that. If they’re already signed up or they don’t want to sign up, they’re gonna skip right over it. Don’t make it to where it blocks them from navigation or anything, but if it just kind of just like popped up or it’s in the middle of the content, they’ll skip right over it. But people that are interested, they wanna opt in, make it really easy for them.
Joe: Yeah I would say the biggest thing I learnt about this is, you can’t let your designer or programmer make decisions about opt-ins. It has to come from a marketing perspective and obviously that has to be balanced with good design and good user experience, but it has to be aggressive. Otherwise you’re really just giving up a lot, especially if you’re a high traffic site, you could potentially be giving up thousands of opt-ins every moment.
Justin: So another thing to keep in mind is that bribes work as long as they’re highly relevant to your customers and you’re solving a specific problem for them. So rather than giving them this 200 page book that you wrote, if they have trouble with, I don’t know, WordPress, give them the top 10 tips for a new WordPress user to watch out for, or whatever right? Like make it relatively short, easy, digestible and solving a particular pain point or problem that they have, and give them a reason to opt in. It definitely works. Don’t worry people talk about, “I don’t want any free people on my list, or I only want paid customers on my list. They have to pay five bucks for whatever.” That’s all crap, and don’t but into any of that. Give your customers what they want, help them out. It doesn’t matter if it’s free, it doesn’t matter if they’re paid and help them out. Eventually if they like your stuff they’re gonna come back to you and buy from you again.
Joe: Yeah. I mean, the free guide that we gave away was one of the biggest things that helped us build our list in the beginning. And I think it’s something we definitely are gonna approach. This year we have a solution in my mind and hopefully we’re gonna get to it by the end of 2015.
Justin: Right. So let’s look at some examples of email list that I think are done at first, and this is really aggressive, you’re talking about aggressively promoting. Again this is a Neil Patel over at Quick Sprout, I mean, it’s all over the place. If you’re gonna try that, leave he’s trying to opt you in and it’s a bit aggressive for me and actually to the point of annoyance for me personally. But it works, I mean, he’s tested through this like anyone has and done a fantastic job at it, and he knows that it works for his particular customers.
If a really aggressive approach like that just freaks you out, and you just can’t do that at a site you want, you can look at some [inaudible 00:52:17] like us I think we’re definitely more moderate today, or our buddies over at tropicalmba.com. They take a very moderate approach and they have great emails that they send out. Dan sends our emails or [inaudible 00:52:29] is writing the emails and they’re very personal. They’re not pitchy or spammy or anything like that. They’re truly helpful. I think that’s what’s great about a really good email list, and that’s what we try to do with our emails as well.
It’s not all pitchy and we put our new listings out every Monday, but we’ve got auto responders with really good, helpful and insightful content. And then you have like on the very low end, you have guys like Derek Sivers over at sivers.org. I’m on his email list and literally Joe, it’s like not aggressive at all like you can opt in if you want, whatever if you don’t. If you get emails from him it’s like, “Hey guys. Got a new blog post I think you’ll like, link.” That’s his email. It’s so amazing.
Joe: His emails are amazing, and he only does it once every month or something.
Justin: But he’s such a burst, you know what I mean. Like he’s great, he puts out great content. And I wonder about this sometimes Joe, sometimes I feel like some of the emails I’m sending out, it’s like a bit too much fluff. Like I’m kinda talking around it rather than just giving it. I think that’s an interesting approach. I wrote something, think you’re gonna like it, feel free to share, copy, send to someone else, whatever, link. You know, that’s his emails. Pretty cool.
Joe: Yeah and I think that works and definitely gets people to come to his site. I just wonder though, for me the way I work in email, that Derek Sivers email will get my attention immediately. I’ll click on it ’cause I know his articles are short, but if you give me a long email, I’ll come back to that long email and really digest it, you’ll capture my attention for a longer period of time.
Justin: Yeah, for me I don’t know. For long ones I’m like, “Oh that looks really good, lemme come back to it.” and then 60 emails later, I’m like archive. Archive. [inaudible 00:54:06] I don’t know, I get all the time for that aint nobody got time for that.
Alright man. So tenth point I wanna talk about is the social media promotion strategy, and this would be anything from paid to free social media strategies designed to drive traffic. There’s a whole bunch of people who are talking about a bunch of different ways to do this. Some of the sources I’d like to share with you, one of them would be buildersociety.com. There’re some great traffic strategies for Reddit over there.
Neil Patel wrote a guide on search engine journal that we’ll link too, if you’d like to take advantage of some Reddit traffic which is absolutely hot right now. Our buddy Nate Ginsburg has got a couple Udemy courses on Pinterest, and Pinterest traffic strategy. This is great for E-commerce or anything that’s kind of product related, or visuals, really help. Or you can talk to any of these guys running the Teespring campaigns that have definitely kind of maximized Facebook paid traffic strategies.
Joe: Absolutely, and we’re selling at Teespring sites. So that’s pretty interesting. It talks about Teespring strategies as well. It’s funny that you should bring that up.
Justin: I am for marshal Joe.
Joe: But I would say that one of the things to keep in mind here about social media, one is just paid traffic or some sort of social media promotion. Okay you can outsource that, you can hire a service, and I would probably recommend doing that because spending a lot of time on that can be really time consuming. But in terms of interacting on social media, I would say it’s a nearly impossible to outsource that sort of thing. I mean, how many times did we get people that try to come to us for outsourcing somebody says, “Hey can you outsource my Twitter feed?” and it’s just garbage. So, unless you’re gonna be true and a real person out there on social media, don’t try to outsource the interactivity of it.
Justin: Yeah. You’re gonna wanna review the platform we’re looking in at, whether it’s Pinterest, or Reddit, or Facebook, or Twitter, or whatever, and you’re gonna wanna legitimately give those social media platforms what they want and how they want it. So, you may have to tweak the headlines for your content that you’re sending him to, you may need to adjust your content to match their interest. On Reddit if you like, the particular sub Reddit that you’re posting to. You’re gonna wanna adjust your social media strategy to fit a template of the profile that they’re comfortable with.
You’re not gonna wanna make this crazy over promotional thing that no one really wants to share, or that will get you down voted that kind of thing, and the links I have on this art, particularly great at getting you started on things like Pinterest and Reddit and stuff. One way to I think get some traction in social media is to appeal heavily to one side of an argument. If you have an opinion, you’re likely to cause some controversy and if you really lean towards one side of the argument, you’re gonna get some people to go, “Yeah, hell yeah. I’m sharing this.” and the other side are gonna go, “Oh they’re crazy.” and they’re gonna down vote you or not like you or whatever. I mean, comment back and forth and it’s to really help the content, or the article, or the marketing strategy gain traction.
Joe: Debate hacks, huh Justin.
Justin: Debate hacks man. Yeah. I mean there’re some really devious ways to go about this. I’m just saying like, if there is a debate in your industry, take a stand, if only to bring out more value, to get commenters that say, “Hey no, here’s the other side.” and make really good arguments on why the other side might better. It’s interesting in terms of like, idea sharing. I bet it’s also very popular on social media. I think Seth Godin’s point on the Purple Cow really reigns true here. You’re gonna have to stand out if you want your social media promotional strategy to work. No one wants to like or share basic run of the mil type contents, your low level content isn’t the kind of stuff that you’re gonna be doing a social media promotion on because no one cares about that. They don’t wanna put that on their Facebook wall.
Then you’re gonna have to really stand out and make it different. Some really good I think downright examples for this would be The Foundation. Now, the guys at The Foundation do a really strong and great paid traffic strategy across a variety of platforms, and they’ve been following me around. They’re really good with their paid traffic and I think it’s actually really interesting. And then for free you could check out markmanson.net. He just gets a ton of Facebook promotion, shares, likes, just a ton of action. I actually got a chance to sit in a brief seminar with him in the Dynamite Circle event in Bangkok last year, and got to see some of the behind the scenes and what he’s doing and it is fantastic.
I mean, the guy’s a phenomenal writer, he’s an amazing writer anyway, but how he really manages his social media promotion was really eye opening. He does a great job.
Joe: Yeah I really think anyone who’s working at a social media strategy should look at what he does and the content’s very interesting, and they’re fun to read as well. So [inaudible 00:58:57]
Justin: Alright, that’s it for the heart of this weeks episode. Let’s get into some news and updates.
Speaker 2: You’ve been listening to the Empire podcast. Now some news and updates.
Justin: First off buddy, we’ve been doing some calls man. Last week and this week we have been on the phone, knocking it out. We’ve talked to probably 40 50 potential buyers or people that really just wanna have a chat with us. Each are really gonna get a ton of feedback. I just think it’s really been viable. It’s been viable from our perspective, they’ve given us some really great ideas and things to think about, and I think we’ve been able to help them understand our process a bit better. I spent some time clearing up misunderstandings about [inaudible 00:59:39] process like the deposit process or the purchase process, and I think that really helped them feel more confident about buying sites with us and using our platform.
Joe: I totally agree. It’s been an eye opening experience and something we have to do I think on a regular basis. It’s definitely been a grind and I really appreciate everyone who’s taken my call and listened to me with a foggy head sometimes at seven o’clock in the morning, but yeah, almost everyone invariably at the end of the call says, thank you so much for doing this, it has really cleared up my questions and helped me build trust with your process. You know, I spoke to somebody from ScheduleOnce today because I had some questions. That’s the scheduling app we actually use, and it was the CEO who jumped on the call with me and scheduled something with me, and they have over 70,000 customers.
Justin: How did that happen Joe. So like you just called in and you’re talking to a customer service rep, did they know your account or was it just this random CEO pop in.
Joe: Nope. I sent a message to their support system. I had a pretty detailed question about being able to set up calls between buyers and sellers, which is something we might add to empireflippers.com, and sure enough the CEO emailed me back and gave me his ScheduleOnce linked to schedule a call and he happened to be available. He’s in Israel, he had to be available in the next couple of hours otherwise I’d have to wait a week to speak to him. So I quickly scheduled a call, we jumped on a GoToMeeting, and he walked me through a few things and he said, yeah he does this thing almost every day because it keeps him in close touch with his customers and he gets good feedback on the product, and I can’t argue with that.
Justin: That’s pretty cool that the CEO is definitely also using his own product number one, but is getting on the phone in their fairly large organization and getting larger. You know it’s funny you mentioned to me before the show, you said you got some really good feedback from people that said they loved the ScheduleOnce they wanna know what it is, how they can get it, how they can check it out. I thought that was kind of interesting ’cause I got the opposite response. I had a few people who said, like scheduled at the wrong time based on their time zone, or they were just kinda frustrated, like hey can I just set up a call this time. Anyway, I got like 10 people telling me that and trying to email back before there was a mess. I was like no please just use the link. But yeah I was [inaudible 01:01:52] that you got really good feedback about it. I got a couple of rumbles about it.
Joe: Yeah I think you’re gonna get that from time to time, people just want it their way but honestly this ScheduleOnce app, there is no better way to do mass schedule of meetings and it’s pretty powerful. I mean, if you have things like conference rooms or pieces of equipment it can even schedule that kind of stuff too. So it’s really interesting.
Justin: Yeah I love it too scheduleonce.com if you wanna take a look. A second bit of news and updates, we had a really bad February in terms of websites sold. There was under 100,000, I haven’t done the report yet but it was under the $100,000 in sales and we had some scammers, a Russian syndicate steal $25,000 from us, which is painful. We’re gonna be putting up a blog post on that. We’re gonna get into some detail about that, we’ve just been kind of in the middle of it, we’re just coming toward the end now. So I can mention it and we’ll be detailing exactly what happened there, but it was ugly.
So we had a really bad February, so it’s nice to see that we’re having a really good March. It’s just interesting to see like how streaky this business is, it is kind of like the mortgage of the real estate industry back in the day where you’re on one month and you’re off the next month. But I’m hoping we can find some ways to kind of level that out and fix the streakiness of the business.
Joe: Yeah. I think doing all these phone calls has helped, and this is maybe something that we have to do in a more regular basis and to analyze our marketing to sales funnel. But yeah, that said, it’s definitely a what have you done for me lately kind of business. Just ’cause you had a great month last month, you start from zero and go again. But I’ll say at the same time, you know, sometimes those kind of recurring businesses can make you a bit lazy, and you don’t get as hungry as you should and strive for success every month. So I kinda like it ’cause it lights a fire out of my ass and makes me say we really gotta move.
Justin: Silver lining Joe Magnotti right there man. I want the lazy. I want the recurring sit back on my laurels and collect the money. That sounds pretty good. Let’s get into some listener shouts, the ultimate, and the indulgent ego boosting social proof segment. We’ve got a five star iTunes review buddy.
Justin: Yeah. We got a new one from Brandon Clay five stars Justin and Joe rock the iTunes house. I’m not looking to buy right now unfortunately. We’ll be looking here first when it happens, enjoy the diversity of content since you guys cover so many areas in viable ways, keep it up. Well, thank you so much Brandon for the review, glad you’re digging the show.
Joe: Yeah thank you so much Brandon.
Justin: Twitter, I put out a message on Twitter and I said, “Not so great February leading into a great March.” I mentioned the business being up and down similar to real estate, and buddy Jeff [inaudible 01:04:31] got back to us and said, “If you know the specific cycles from year to year.” and I responded telling him that, our market share is low so any trends we see are specific to us and not necessarily market related I believe. ‘Cause I wanna be careful about that when I say, okay the market is doing this, or the market is doing that, because we don’t own the market in terms of buying and selling websites, so we see little streaks and little things where it’s Empire Flippers related and not necessarily industry related.
So I don’t think we can speak for the industry in terms of what’s happening. I mean, I do see some trends and I think we’ll be talking about that in future episodes, but I wanna be careful that it’s not just Empire Flippers’ thing and not a buying and selling websites thing.
Joe: Agreed. We just don’t have a big enough picture.
Justin: Got another mention, “In Europe same up and down, how was last year’s February and March on your side compared to this year’s February and March.” It’s a good question. I don’t know, I will look at that, like kind of our annual month by month comparison on our next monthly report which should be out towards the end of this month for the month of February. So I’ll take a look at that.
Chris Salvatore said, “I’m a super serious 30 to 50,000 dollar seller, just sent a few questions to the contact form looking forward to replies so I can list ASAP.” Thanks for that Chris, yeah our team will get back to you and let you know our answer and your questions and help get you onboarded so we can take a look at your site, get you through vetting and then get the site listed for sale.
Joe: Yeah it’s a little bit of a lengthy process Chris, but it’s better to put the work in now so that when we go to sell the site and we have all the information in front of prospective buyers and don’t have to ping you again.
Justin: In Zendesk we’ve been a bit slower. We’ve had a couple of people out, we’ve had increase in ticket volume, so we’ve been a little slower in getting back. We did have a good and satisfied reply from Dave. He’s still a bit nervous though, he said, “So far so good, but I don’t think we’re through the process completely just yet.” This is a buyer, I think we’re actually getting through the process almost by today. So yeah, thanks for that Dave, we’ll do you right man, we’ll keep this deal completed for you.
We got a not so happy or bad or unsatisfied message at Zendesk from Rob. He says, “The support from Joan was fine at Empire Flippers. It was great, the only reason I’m standing unsatisfied is so you can potentially make improvements to your deposit process. I made a deposit on the site Monday morning, never received any information on the site that I made a deposit on. I went to Empire Flippers website on Wednesday to request an update only to find the site I requested in the phone marked as sold. Perhaps you were all just busy but I thought the communication could have been better.”
One thing is that, it’s critical that when you pay the deposit you’re sent to a redirect form to fill out a couple of pieces of information that has to be submitted otherwise the ticket doesn’t go in. Now, we generally will catch it but it may take a couple of days for us to match the deposit to the fact that no one filled out that order form. So I think that’s probably what happened there, but I have noticed some worse response times for our customers in the Zendesk and that is something we’re looking to improve.
Joe: Yeah. The new apprentice is gonna be out here end of the month. So that’s gonna be an extra set of hands and we’re adding a new agent formally who used to work with us. She’s coming back to the company in the first week of April. So I think some extra people will help and will definitely work on the process of getting this a little bit smoother. But thanks Rob for the feedback.
Justin: That’s it for episode 130 of the Empire podcast. Thanks for sticking with us. We’ll be back next week with another show. You can find the show notes for this episode and more at empireflippers.com/growth and make sure to follow us on Twitter at Empire Flippers. See you next week.
Joe: Bye bye everybody.
Speaker 2: Hope you enjoyed this episode of the Empire podcast with Justin and Joe. Hit up empireflippers.com for more. That’s empireflippers.com. Thanks for listening.
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