For many entrepreneurs, marketing is simply one of many components required to operate a business and is primarily viewed as a necessary promotional tool. The successful subscribe to the notion that marketing is business. For example, consider the following ad campaigns:

  • “When E.F. Hutton talks…“
  • “Where’s the…?”
  • “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz…”

The large majority of people born from the 40’s through the 70’s can easily recall that, “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” Wendy’s put itself on the map by asking, “Where’s the beef? And, “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz” ends with, “oh, what a relief it is.

When implemented correctly, marketing not only tells a company’s story, it serves to establish bonds with customers, differentiates their product from the competition, and secures brand commitment.

One of the world’s foremost marketers is John Kremer. An Internet authority and award-winning author he understands, and consistently implements, cutting-edge strategies.

A Look Back

Today, John is well known among marketers and authors across the globe. It wasn’t always this way. John started his career handling marketing for a friend who owned a toy company. Though he knew little about the subject, he dove in headfirst. Over many years, he honed his skills and eventually left the company to become a writer. Given his marketing expertise, he opted to self-publish his titles.

He was soon selling 5,000-10,000 copies of each of his books.

Due to his noticeable success (the average self-published title sells less than 100 copies), others contacted him to learn more about replicating his process. As a result, he wrote the now-famous industry bible, 1001 Ways To Market Your Books, which Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen largely credit with helping them sell more than 200 million copies of the massively successful Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

In addition to writing, John has become a leading voice for cultivating inexpensive online traffic. He currently operates dozens of sites, including BookMarket.com which is ranked #1 on Google for virtually every keyword it targets.

Let’s dig deeper.

1. The Value Proposition: Don’t underestimate the value of providing information for free.

When John released 1001 Ways to Market Your Books, it cost $27.95. If you were to ask the authors of Chicken Soup if the price was fair, they’d likely say they would’ve gladly paid 100x that amount for the results realized. Creating happy customers leads to long-term profitability. This process begins with over-delivering for clients. One of the easiest ways to over-deliver is to provide beneficial products or services without cost. Providing free merchandise, learning materials, ebooks, and other products not only attracts attention, it helps ingrain your brand into the customer’s mind.

Further, in order to receive the free product, contact information is provided. This data has immense value (for example, Daily Candy, which sold to Comcast for $250 million, or $50 per subscriber), as does entering the sales cycle. Though metrics vary wildly, consider Internet marketing standards:

  • Marketing response rates hover around 2%. As an example, for every 1 million impressions, approximately 20,000 visits are generated.
  • Of the 20,000 visits, 11.5% opt-in to join a mailing list or receive a free product.
  • In addition, 3.5% convert to paying customers within three months.

Therefore, for every 20,000 visitors or 1 million impressions:

  • 700 customers are secured.
  • 2,300 potential clients are added to one’s database.

2. Guerilla Traffic: Consider creating a directory and drive traffic to others.

There are three proven strategies for generating traffic online:

  • Spend millions on traditional and online media.
  • Create a site that Google and other search engines love.
  • Create an interactive forum that promotes stickiness and contribution.

Assuming the first choice is out of the question, let’s move to the engines. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll focus on Google. Google, like any other company, seeks to best serve its customers. Their business model requires the provision of relevant results that addresses the user’s specific inquiry. While there are a multitude of SEO techniques that can be leveraged to land on page one, the easiest way to make this happen is to establish authority in your niche and feature massive amounts of content related to the subject matter. One of the most powerful ways to accomplish this feat is to build a directory.

A directory features scores of related providers. Google loves directories.

In other words, forget about page two…and the bottom of page one. Everything after the third search result is nearly invisible. At this point, you’re likely thinking, “Okay, that’s interesting, but why on Earth would I want to promote other practices?” Great question. By creating the directory, you now ostensibly own the category. And, you have complete control over the order in which the practices appear, the ads are displayed, and the content is featured.

3. Interaction = Transaction: Create a sticky site that fosters user participation and content contribution.

Building a community of followers, content providers, and visitors is crucially important. Today’s most successful online marketers look for ways to start discussions, open up message boards, create user groups, and involve their audience. The theory is by jumpstarting participation and encouraging a free-flowing, interactive dialogue, traffic will be generated. TripAdvisor.com is a prime example of a site that plays this concept to the hilt.

A search for “Travel Advice” on Google demonstrates the power of content. While TripAdvisor has paid for placement at the top of the page, it is likely done as a preventative measure and clearly doesn’t need to. The sheer mass of feedback, photos, and advice propels the company to the top of all travel advice site listings. By cultivating user-generated content, they have built one of the industry’s largest businesses. Monetization is realized through brand placement, booking fees, and pay per click revenue.

In 2010, TripAdvisor grossed $486 million, an increase of 13% over 2009, and earned $260 million. Not bad for a site that largely aggregates available information and profits from its visitors’ contributions. And, TripAdvisor is sticky as the average visitor spends around four minutes on the site. While not nearly as impressive as Facebook (24 minutes per visit), Yahoo (eight minutes per visit), or eBay (14 minutes per visit), it far exceeds the average time spent on a web page—which is 58 seconds, as reported by Nielsen.

4. Leverage the value of relationships: Model John’s two no-cost, proven strategies for driving traffic.

Contribute to blogs you admire:
Leaving thoughtful comments or interesting information under your signature not only contributes solid content for their readership, it has the potential for driving traffic to your site and opens the door for future collaboration. Bloggers live for feedback and appreciate those who provide constructive criticism, share opinions that further other’s understanding of the topic, or offer new ways of thinking.

The most popular bloggers generally receive hundreds (if not thousands) of comments per post. As a result, they may not read more than the first 10 or 20. To grab their attention, post early.

Write a Column
Online, content rules. Website owners desperately need fresh, quality material that keeps their audience engaged. A powerful way to build your brand and add value to others is to create your own column. Columns vary from interviews with industry experts to original posts or a Q&A format. Written daily, weekly, biweekly, or monthly, columns achieve four objectives:

  • Adds value and no-cost, high-quality content for the site that features it.
  • Drives traffic to your site/business.
  • Establishes credibility and increases search results.
  • Can often be sponsored, which provides revenue based on the size of the audience.

Ultimately, creating a profitable business requires a pinch of luck, a handful of focus, and a ton of effort. John has provided the recipe for creating magical results. Time to get the apron on.