Hey folks! Remember a few weeks ago, I wrote a huge piece about how hard it was to make money blogging these days? Well I just got back from FinCon13 that happened 2 weeks ago and heard the same song from other bloggers; Google sucks, money is hardly earned and the community is stronger than ever.
FinCon13 is a great conference where 511 financial bloggers met in St-Louis. This is the 3rd edition of the conference and I’ve been to all of them. As always, I learned a ton. Here’s my personal take of what is going on in the blogging world.
If you have any blogging friends irregardless of topic, forward this to them, it will be a great help!
My first thought on the trip back home was “OMG, the internet moves so FAST!”. That’s funny; I sound like a 60 year old that can’t keep up with technology. The truth is that I’m 32 and…. I can’t keep up with the internet! The fact that I started blogging back in 2006 makes me a dinosaur today. Forget about the whole “with age comes experience”. There is an Ice Age crashing dinosaurs every 2 years on the web so 7 years in the business is like 500 million years in the real world.
The last Ice Age happened for us in early 2012 when Google struck with his minion called PANDA. Since then, my race (thefinancialusbloggerus), is starving and constantly on the move to desperately find Atlantis, the promised land. Jeff Rose from Financial Cents shared how he strived and survived being dumped by Google in a hilarious presentation. The most important lesson learned from his speech was about what to do when you get hit by Google. I’m sharing this with you…
Yeah… not the fanciest way to put it, but it’s so true. There is nothing you can do, so you had better move on. The thing is that Google is too big and too powerful for you to do anything. The worst is that you are too small and too insignificant for Google to care about. Therefore, you can enter in an endless manual reconsideration process but it will take you several months of back and forth email before it achieves anything.
Once Jeff got over the “denial stages” and stopped thinking “Google is going to fix this mess, it’s a matter of days”, he started to hustle like a villain.
He started this huge guest post campaign to be featured on about every single blog in the financial niche.
He connected with several bloggers and went back to the basics of blogging; connect with a community.
He used other ways to get traffic such as Twitter and Pinterest (he also has an awesome wife who does all the “Pinteresting”).
After all his work, after going back to the basics of blogging, after he worked like a maniac on his websites, he finally got his traffic back, and more. All this took him 12 months or so of hard work and thinking outside the box.
The most important lesson from Jeff was to “suck it up” and start hustling. If you don’t work very hard, all the time, you will get mediocre results. I’ve seen this for many of my sites which I’ve left drifting in the web ocean. Nothing good is really happening with them. This is why it is so important to keep your focus and work on things that matter… like your main blog!
Another great session was delivered by a great panel of self-publishers; Derek Olsen who wrote The Four Week Financial Turnaround, Mike Piper who is living from his 8 investment books on sale at Amazon, Todd Tresidder who wrote an Amazon top selling retirement book called How Much Money Do I Need To Retire? and Ben Edwards from Money Smart Life who wrote Get Out of Debt Like Debt Heroes with the help of 21 bloggers.
The four guys reminded me, once again, that evolution is faster than the motion. About six month ago, offering your eBook on Kindle for free for a small period (3 to 5 days) was an amazing way to jump in the rankings and surf among the top sellers of your category. If you had a good readership (read a sizeable mailing list), you could drive enough downloads to make your book a success instantly. Well it appears that this technique is still good, but doesn’t provide the same drive as it used to. The reason? Amazon changed its ranking weight depending on the price of the book; a book sold is worth a lot more than a book downloaded for free!
However, while Amazon evolves with time, its internal search engine is similar to what Google used to be… 10 years ago. This means that keyword stuffing still works for your book description! In order to find your book in its library, Amazon has designed its own search engine where users type in some keywords to find what they are looking for. A good example of keyword stuffing is to add a sub-title to your book that includes several good keywords. This sub-title doesn’t show on your book cover and will be mostly read by the Amazon search engine and nobody else. For example, for my book “Dividend Growth”, I could add a sub-title like: A Dividend Investing Process to Invest in Dividend Growth Stocks. Not the most appealing sub-title and pretty repetitive (where you get the word “dividend” and “invest” twice in the same line). But Amazon’s search engine will pick it up and rank you for those keywords!
Mind you, by the time you read this, this trick might not even work anymore… hahaha!
Since I’m nearly working on just one thing these days (launching a membership website), I attended several “course building” or “mailing list funnel building” sessions. Steve Chou from My Wife Quit Her Job was generous enough to share his step-by-step email funnel generating a 6 figure business.
What was truly shocking was to see how he used what he learned from his first email funnel (to help his wife build his wedding handkerchief business) to build a second business (related to how to setup an ecommerce store). So he basically “copied/pasted” his funnel for his second business and the results were instantaneous.
I’m not going to “steal” his stuff and tell you about it on my blog. Instead, I’m going to tell you to register to his free mailing list and you will understand his process as you receive the emails. I think it’s the best way to learn.
Have you ever heard of creating a freemium to convert more people to your product once they have registered to your mailing list. A Free what? A FREEMIUM. Quinn from Cubicle Free was the first guy who told me about the concept. Then, I revisited the concept and more in a great presentation given by David Siteman Garland (Rise to the Top) who sells an online course about making great online interviews.
A Freemium is basically something you can offer for free that would be halfway between what’s free on the web and what you truly offer in your membership/product/online course. For example, David offers a first series of free videos on the basics of how to do the interview. This series is offered to his mailing list subscribers at no hidden cost whatsoever.
You probably know a bunch of people who register to his mailing list, “steal” his free videos and move on. From those readers, David makes zip.
However, there are others who will register to the mailing list, watch the videos and think “I definitely need more info about this; I really want to invest myself in this project”. These readers become clients and this is when David makes money.
Is he leaving money on the table because he gives stuff away for free? I don’t think so. The basic info found in his first videos is just to get you started to hold the interview. So if you are not ready to do more, you are not the right client for his product anyways. The freemium is also used to validate the interest of your potential client. If someone who’s not too sure about hosting an interview ends-up paying $500 for a course that he doesn’t really use because he bought it without thinking too much, you can be sure you will get a complaint.
The last thing I want to highlight from his presentation is the following:
When you think about it, the more you charge for your product, the higher the chances are that your clients won’t be jerks who expect everything for free. They are more likely to appreciate your work and effort to deliver a high end product. The satisfaction of a client doesn’t come from the product or the price, it comes from the perception of the product compared to the perception of the price paid. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’m going to stop here for today, however I have a lot more to share in the upcoming days. For now, I have to get back to my membership site and launch it before Christmas!
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