Always Sell Yourself & Always Sell Yourself First

Recently a reader asked me why I didn't have other ads on my blog. My response was:

As a business model most quality SEO services do not scale. Those who really want to provide consumer level services have more referrals than they know what to do with.

Most of the ads in the SEO industry are for scam crap that people do not need. Why diminish my own credibility by plastering them all over my site?

All content, is in some way an advertisement. For example, good comments help add value to content and help the original author learn.

Plus I already sell my ebook on this site. When Threadwatch had AdSense ads front and center (to the point of being somewhat spammy about them) this site was still making way more than that one.

The viability of a business model or publishing model not only is reliant on the quantity of ads but the quality and relevancy of ads.

Giving people other options for other products would likely only hurt my conversion rate and credibility.

Recently I have been getting too much email to keep up with, so I took the send me an email part off of my site. I need to catch up. It may go back up sometime down the road, but if I ask for people to contact me and don't quickly respond then I am just going to piss a lot of people off (thanks to Andrew for the link).

If you are feeling stressed out, sometimes making yourself less accessible will help you build your brand and improve your customer service because you will be able to focus more on each person who contacts you.

I am sure some sociologists have studied the value of strong and weak relationships, but the mind is limited in how many relationships you can keep. If you got more weak ones than you know what to do with and are finding that you have not put as much effort as you would like toward growing some of your stronger relationships maybe it makes sense to try to build a few stronger ones, or to try to hit a different market segment.

As a test, when I pulled down the contact me note I put up a new sticky thingie on the side selling 1 hour of consulting services for $500. In the last 3 days that sticky note has made far more money than I made in ebook sales, and I haven't even marketed it other than putting that note on the right side of the site.

Not surprisingly, a couple of the people who purchased the service were people I remembered emailing back and forth with in the past.

The value in ads is in the targeting. How much more targeted of a prospect can you get than a person who regularly reads and like your stuff? If someone else can get more value out of that ad space then perhaps it is a hint that the business model might be worth changing.

A few big goals most consultants should really want to achieve:

  • automated passive income streams

  • diverse revenue sources
  • creating and/or packaging information in chunks that either need rarely updated or can be sold on a subscription basis (I am screwing up with that idea at this point)
  • packaging similar content in different formats
  • make sure that if you create good stuff that many people see it (I screwed up so much in the past by answering tons of questions via email and just throwing away boatloads of content by not formatting any of them into articles or blog posts)
  • getting so much demand that they can't keep up with the market, to where they can afford to raise their rates and control their ease of accessibility or price point to keep up with market demand
  • using price as a filtering mechanism to filter out bad leads

Even though I sent out thousands of emails helping people the free help I gave over the past couple years was a form of selling myself (even if I didn't really know it when I started doing it).

Always sell yourself first. That is especially important if you are trying to break into a crowded marketplace. After you start doing well you need to keep selling yourself, but if you can't keep up with the market demand intentionally filtering some of your relationships (even if only temporary) is much better than doing a poor job of communicating with almost everyone who tries to contact you.

You also have to leave room to invest in yourself. If you stop learning then eventually you are going to be trading on outdated reputation, which may eventually hurt people. Its a hard balance to strike with SEO stuff because you don't know who will read what you write or when they will read it...and the market is growing increasingly competitive and what provides the quickest best ROI today may be a sure ban tomorrow.

Published: April 6, 2006 by Aaron Wall in marketing


April 6, 2006 - 2:50pm

You once helped me out waaaay back when I was trying to market my homemade product by offering some great advice for free. This is why it didn't bother me when you didn't have time to answer my recent emails. Keep up the good work Aaron.

April 6, 2006 - 4:49pm

Spot on advice, Aaron. I think the tide is turning for some on the whole advertising thing. Time to build real businesses.

April 7, 2006 - 4:36am

This is the ONLY blog I regularly come back to cause I get real advice from someone who is on top of his game. Thanks Aaron for blogging and sharing what you can when you can! Let me know when you can take questions again cause I would really love to hear your take on the recent wierd page rank update...

Keep up the good work!

April 7, 2006 - 6:42am

Thanks for this post, Aaron. I will be rereading it many times.

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