What Is This Site?

This isn't another blog. We're a filter for the internet marketing blog world.

Instead, this is a curated, semi-frequently updated list of the best posts I find on Internet Marketing from around the web, all in one place.

Over at Reddit, the impossible has happened – their trademark (but frequently rather content-lite) “IAMA” interviews have turned up an absolute gem, with serial entrepreneur Bob Caspe offering in-depth, interesting responses on a wide range of startup questions.

You’ll have to trawl through the comments a bit, but his responses contain advice on many, many aspects of entrepreneurship – well worth a read:

“It’s all about value and risk. Start by making sure that you’re offering real value, or for example, better service for the same price.

Next, if the customer is afraid because of your age or inexperience, DON’T change the price, just change the payment terms. Take the risk in the beginning.

For example, you might say: “My price is $X and that’s a good price, but I know that you’re concerned about whether I can deliver. So, don’t pay me until you’re certain that I have delivered good value to you. I am certain that I will deliver good value, so I’m willing to take the risk.”

The key is to not modify your price but only the payment terms.

For the next customer, use the first one as a reference and take less (or none) of the risk. Slowly, you build up your credibility in the market.”

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Hey, guys!

Just a quick heads-up as to the state of play at the Gourmet here. Unfortunately, we’re not going to be keeping the hectic pace of recent weeks up over here – whilst I’ll still be updating, it’ll be on an as-and-when basis for the near future.

Why’s that? Well, two reasons.

Firstly, a somewhat longshot business idea of mine is starting to bear rather unexpected fruits, and I need to put time into it nownownow. Unfortunately, that means something has to give, and I’m afraid it’s IM Gourmet.

Secondly, I’ve been reviewing my year’s business plans with my periodic business coaches (the lovely people over at Ittybiz – highly recommended). I’m enjoying IM Gourmet, and I’m really glad that people are getting value out of it – hence my decision to continue with it on an as-and-when basis – but the first month has shown this one’s going to be a tough site to turn into a significantly profitable business.

But fear not – we’re not going away altogether. I’ll still be updating, and depending on what happens, the Gourmet may return to my focus in one form or another in the near future.

Thanks to everyone who has encouraged its development so far!

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I’m on holiday next week, so things will be quiet around here – but before the silence, here are a few posts I couldn’t quite fit into individual showcase pieces today:

  • The “Web Marketing Ninja” (lotta ninjas in our business) writes a useful tutorial on setting up a Google Web Optimiser A/B test within WordPress“Ask these questions about any web page. and you’ll end up with a long list of stuff you can test, but for now, let’s start with a headline—a big part of telling the story, and probably a fairly strong element in any sales or signup conversion.”
  • Aren’t A/B tests old hat after this week? Nope – the guys at Visual Website Optimiser have taken a detailed look at the “Multi-Armed Bandit” optimisation method, and they’re decidedly unconvinced“Actually, if you just talk about average conversion rates, multi-armed bandit algorithms usually perform better than A/B testing. But a fundamental point missing here is the concept of statistical significance. “
  • And finally, Steve Pavlina continues his “passive income” series talking about ways to profit from intellectual property, including licensing and other avenues many of us may not have considered“Don’t let the word licensing scare you. Licensing simply means “giving permission.” Normally when you license work you created, you and the other party will sign a contract to spell out the terms.”
Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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Wow, people are fast off the blocks these days! It’s only the first of June, but we already have two interesting income reports in from entrepreneur bloggers:

Interesting stuff – and I’ll be interested to see how everyone else’s May was too.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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It’s hard work being a small entrepreneur. Looking at companies like Instagram, it’s easy to get jealous of how “easy” the VC-funded startup world has it.

Well, not so much. Amy Hoy of Unicorn Free writes a fascinating post today looking at the less-than-rosy truth of many VC-funding-style startup operations:

” A few years ago, I met a designer I admired at SXSW. He’s not super-famous and you might not know his name, but I knew and loved his work, and he’d designed and created an amazing web app… which he sold to Google.

The sale was not terribly long before the conference, but long enough that the app had dropped off the face of the internet.

I said to him, “Hey, congrats on the sale! When can I start using insertapphere? I was on the beta list forever but not early enough to get an invite!”

He gave me some PR spin story about integration yadda yadda. It was clearly a party line and it was equally clear that he didn’t believe it.

Because the fact was this: Google had shut his app down, to cannibalize its parts, and they were taking forever even to do that. His previously healthy, well-loved, popular baby was dead. And allegedly the arms and legs of the murdered baby were going to be grafted, Frankenstein-style, onto an existing app… some day… but for now and the foreseeable future, they were on ice. Waiting.

He had that wan, worn-thin quality of a person trying to put a good face on things.”

Obviously, Amy’s tales don’t hold true for every startup – although I’ve seen, several times over, that big investment can turn out to be far more of a shackle than it appears. Nonetheless, I know a couple of our readers work happily at Silicon Valley-style startups!

But still – next time you feel like you’re shoving your startup along and it weighs a thousand tons, just remember – it could be worse. You could have VCs “helping” you.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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Is email marketing still the mutt’s privates? Or is it soooooo 2009?

The argument rages on across the blogosphere – but the pro-email crowd might have just fired the last shot they ever need to. Patrick at Kalzumeus Software has just fired off a massive cannonblast of a post on email marketing, comprehensively covering the advantages of contacting your customers through email with incredible thoroughness -

“One of the largely-unsung secrets to Facebook having such an insanely high user retention rate is that they use activity from your friends to give you highly personalized emails designed to bring you back to the site and post stuff. (A detail I really like: you can reply to email and then post things on Facebook without even visiting it. Facebook will then, predictably, hit your friend with an email and use social pressure from you to bring them back in.) Many social startups are extraordinarily aggressive with this early in their lifecycle (I’m looking at you, Quora) and gradually back it off over time.

Some folks might think I’m saying Build Trust With X, Monetize Trust With Email Sales Pitches, but it can work in exactly the opposite fashion, too. For example, I wrote a drip marketing campaign (a series of emails scripted to go out at particular intervals) for WPEngine. They sell high-end WordPress hosting, and every sale requires a strong commitment to change on the part of the customer — migrating your blog is not easy or fun for most people. They also charge multiples of what the typical WordPress host charges, because they’re not the typical WordPress host, so it is imperative to educate the customer on the difference. Many customers will not sit down and read 10,000 words of your marketing copy just because your face is pretty, but if you pitch them something like e.g. a course on how to improve their own WordPress installation, they’ll happily sign up for email from you. (Really.) You can then spend, e.g., eight emails over the course of a month educating them on what happens to WordPress under load and how to improve that, what WordPress’ security record is like and how to lock it down, and how browsers fetch and display content with reference to how to optimize one’s site to take advantage of it. As you gradually build up trust as a respected provider of optimization advice that your customers (if they are diligent) can see working for themselves week in and week out, you can get more aggressive with “So we talked about X and Y and Z, and you’ve implemented some of it and not implemented some of the rest yet. We could talk your ears off about this, but tell you what, if you switch to our service you’ll get it all because we breathe this stuff.”)

This type of approach demonstrably works well at selling software, even software which you might expect would require high-touch consultative sales processes. Indeed, this is a way to scale the initial parts of the high-touch sales funnel while simultaneously passively collecting information about customers to help you do lead qualification for the really intensive portions, like say webinars or live sales presentations. It also scales down beautifully to low-touch self-service sales approaches, too.”

My impression is that this post is more targetted at people who have yet to be convinced of email’s usefulness in marketing, like the tech-focussed Hacker News crowd, but the numerous examples, use cases, and demonstrations that Patrick offers are of use to those of us with a more conventional IM background too. His discussion of the psychology of email is particularly useful – who knew that people, by and large, actually like recieving it, for example?

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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As you may have noticed, I’m not a big fan of linkposts. But Copyblogger’s “48 elements of copywriting” post today was the exception.

It’s a short, bite-sized tour through just about everything you can think of related to making copy convert online – including a certain amount of obvious stuff, but – and here’s where I became interested – also a focus on things that often get ignored, like graphical elements inside copy, layout, and more -

19. Eyes

A simple trick of persuasive content — include a picture with eyes. If you have a picture of a woman looking to the left, the reader’s eyes will look to the left, too. They want to see what she’s looking at. So if you need attention on something on the page, let the eyes lead the way.”

There are a lot of gems in here – and it’s a quick read. For that reason, I’m going to make the rare distinction that this one is in fact a link post you should read.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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I’ll confess – I’d never really explored Facebook’s internal analytics before. I’m aware they’re there, but what can you do with them, and how much use are they?

Well, today KISSMetrics is answering that question in a really interesting, thorough survey of the strengths, weaknesses and uses of the Facebook Insights tool -

“Select Page Level Data and the MS Excel format option. You can choose a date range for the data.

Once you’ve downloaded the insights you’ll see never-ending columns of data which may at first seem overwhelming. At the bottom, you’ll also see various data sheets containing information such as key metrics, daily like sources, daily viral reach etc.

Each column in the key metrics sheet provides you will different information. For example, if you scroll to the Lifetime Total Likes column you’ll be able to see how many likes your page received over the dates you specified. Total Daily Reach is useful as well and here you’ll be able to see the number of people your posts may have reached (even from friends of your fans).

Takeaway: Sometimes looking at the tabulated data can give you more insights than graphs. If you’re proficient with Excel, you can slice and dice your data to find out more about your Fans and social media impact. Our recommendation: Don’t be afraid to dive in and see what’s inside!”

I’ve not seen or heard many people talking about FB Insights. Obviously, if you’re not actively engaged with Facebook, this post’s not for you – but for those who are, this is a detailed tour through a tool most people have yet to master fully.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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As always, case studies are gold dust. And in this case, YouMoz provides us with a fantastic study – the case of a simple infographic that ended up getting its makers onto literally thousands of major news media sites.

What happened? Well, it all started when the folks at WordStream decided to write a study comparing the effectiveness of Google Adwords and Facebook ads

“The news cycle is fast – it’s important to adapt your story to the prevailing narrative, by anticipating different angles for your news. When we first launched our study, our press release headline read: New Research Compares Facebook Advertising to Google Display Network: Who Comes Out on Top? It was OK, but not viral.

But when the GM news broke, we re-released a similar press release with a slightly different angle: Does Facebook Advertising Work? This was because we found that the press was now looking to find reasons for why GM dumped Facebook. This new angle was much more effective than our original angle.

And we didn’t stop there. I wrote follow-up stories, such as: Why I Bought Facebook IPO Shares Today and Why I Dumped My Facebook IPO Shares at the Open Today, to keep this thing going.”

There’s a share of survivor bias in any success story, but nonetheless this piece is full of interesting tips as well as some pretty startling results. If you’re looking to attract links, traffic or press, it’s well worth a look.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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Yup.

That’s the unequivocal conclusion of this fascinating study from Branded3: that Twitter mentions seem to help search results to a very significant degree:

“What our findings show, is that tweets appear to provide a rankings boost up to 50 tweets, but anything from 50 to 1,000 tweets, don’t really affect the ranking any further.

From 1,000 tweets onwards however, a URL’s ranking is significantly boosted, and URLs with over 7,500 tweets rank on the first page.

Of course, there are so many factors at play here; URLs with lots of tweets are more likely to have media coverage and have links from blogs and news sites, and also many of the Twititions with over 1,000 signatures will be specialised and so will rank higher as they’re in a small niche; but our study has conclusively found that there is a correlation between number of tweets and Google rankings.

Whilst you can never prove anything in the unpredictable world of SEO, our study is the biggest of its kind, and we have succeeded in what we set out to do.”

Obviously, there’s a strong “correlation vs causation” bias here – did the Tweets cause ranking rises?

But nonetheless, we’ve been looking for signs that the search engines are moving away from links and toward social signals – this is some of the first conclusive proof of their effects.

Wondering who we are? At Internet Marketing Gourmet, we recommend you the best, most useful posts on Internet Marketing-related topics from the hundreds of blogs out there, every day.

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