2007 Archives

3

Here’s a really new one for you that, if not addressed, could be all but catastophic for you.

This new security issue can affect even Firefox users which means browsing security holes aren’t just for IE anymore.

So what is this insidious new problem?

Well, here’s where it gets kind of scary.

Apparently it is possible for executable javascript to be attached to PDF documents.

This means that spyware can quite easilly be spread to your machine when all you’ve done is open a PDF document.  The code will automatically activate and execute whatever it is the nasty author designed it to do (key logging, cookie value capture, etc.).

This is a serious problem which it seems can be corrected by installing the newest Adobe Acrobat Reader update.

That may seem fine, but the real problem is that many, if not most, people may never be made aware of this before it’s too late.  There are a tremendous number of users of the Acrobat Reader that never update their software and there are also some folks on older machines and operating systems who simply cannot update.

You can read more about this issue and see some examples of how it works (in theory) at O’Reilly OnLamp.com and you can check out an ongoing discussion thread (there are links here to a number of discussions).

I urge you to use one of the links above and update to the newest Reader if you are able.

Just one more beautiful way our wonderful technology that we all love and count on so much can be a huge problem as well.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #

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The newest Microsft operating platform is about to hit the market and start making waves.  The size of the waves and how stormy they may be is yet to be determined.

I myself have not worked with Vista beyond browsing through a bit of it on a friends machine (it’s good to know Beta tester type folks!) and I can say that at first glance it looked pretty cool.

Yes, they’ve done a lot of pretty cool things with it both in terms of functionality and aesthetics.

No, we do not yet know how stable (supposedly very), bug and security-issue-free it will prove to be. 

Only time will tell.

Now, corporations have had the final version – build 6000 – for a while now and I already mentioned that there were consumers Beta testing it, so you may have heard some things about it.

Regardless, I have a little peek inside I found via good old Ziff Davis’ Jim Louderback.

Here’s the scoop:

Hands on Review of Vista

Top 10 Favorite New Vista Features

6 Coolest Vista Tricks

These are all pieces put out by Ziff Davis Media and PCMagazine’s www.whatsnewnow.com.  If you don’t subscribe to their newsletter I suggest you try it out.

Lots of insider news and great product reviews.

I’ll review Vista once I have it on one of my machines.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings by  #

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I’ve spent some interesting time recently moderating on a Private (members’ only) forum for Jim Edwards.

One of the things I see there that I also saw in some high priced coaching I did last year was dificulty in staying focused.

The ironic part of that is that one of the key teachings in both places was  to identify one’s niche and then focus in on it with laser precision and intensity.

The tough part for most people feels like the initial "niche identification process" as they languish over all of the possibilities in front of them.  I’ve watched many people sit stuck for months because they just couldn’t pick the right niche.  They analyze and research things to death and never get anything off the ground.

Now, I will admit that it is easy to fall prey to this trap.

Many if not most budding infopreneurs are seeking that big break/product/JV that will make them $100K or more over night.  We read about rags to riches every day and the folks that write what we read make it seem so easy.

Wake up!!

The folks writing that stuff are often people like me.  They are skilled copywriters who are adept at crafting a story, pulling you into it and leading you through and over every nook, cranny, twist, and turn they can throw at you.

It is their job to take the most likely mundane and craft a story around it that will engage and entertain you while preselling you on a product or service.

I’m here to tell you… don’t fall for it (speaking from experience).

Put on your blinders and don’t read those letters except to capture them as excellent examples of good copy you wish to emulate at a later date.

Resist buying the newest, latest and greatest.  There is no blue OR red pill you can take that will lead you down the path of IM enlightenment.

Pick your niche. 

It is going to be much easier if it is one about which you already know something.  Even better, if you have any level of expertise in most any field… there is a market wanting to hear from you.

Once you have your niche identified then hit it full bore. 

Use tried and true marketing techniques and avoid buying into any of the newest $5K to $10K systems.

I’ve been there and I promise you there is no Easy way to do any of this.  You need to set up basic marketing, response and support systems and then be tenacious about supplying good to great content with offers just sprinkled in occasionally.

The top marketers use pretty basic techniques to pull people into their marketing funnel, supply great content and then market the heck out of people.

Again, pick your niche and then do as Dan Kennedy says and "take Massive Action".  Work that niche until you own it.

Now one more thing I want to add here is a book recommendation that I know will provide a fresh perspective and way of going for you as you move into your marketing.  It’s called the Blue Ocean Strategy and I guarantee it will open your eyes to new ways of going about competing and developing products.

I have the book listed in my book list on the lower right of this blog.  Simply scroll down until you see it. 

That’s all I have for now.

Thank you for listening to me rant.

Now… quit sitting in the headlights, pick your niche and go out and Kill it!

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #

0

I’ve been reading this was coming and now it is truly here.

Not long ago Google decided they wanted to branch out from their comfortable seat in the PPC world and weave themselves into ALL forms of advertising both on and offline.

One of these areas they planned on targeting was radio.

Well, today it is here.

You can watch an overview video here: Google Radio Ads Overview

They have made some elements of this quite easy and have included yet another revenue source by also including a "providers" program one can use to produce audio ads.  You access the whole thing via your regular Adwords interface.

Obviously the jury is still way out on this as it has just launched. 

One thing that will definitely be a factor is the very nature of radio advertising.  One of the greatest aspects of Adwords is the ability to be very targeted in your efforts.  If done correctly, your Adwords ads can show only to those viewers for whom your offer is the most relevant.  This translates into prospects with the greatest potential for conversion.

Radio on the other hand, can be chalked up as one of the LEAST targeted advertising medium available. 

Advertising on the radio is like tossing a small rock into a big pond and hoping to hit a specific fish.  Yes, there may be lots of fish in the pond but the chances of hitting any, let alone the one you want with a single rock are pretty slim.  If on the other hand you are casting a large net out over the pond and you are willing to eat a wide variety of fishes then you can feed yourself very well.

This doesn’t mean Google Radio can’t be effective.  Radio advertising can be very effective but extra efforts and considerations must be taken in order to match the right offer to such a broad audience.

We’ll be watching this one as it develops.

That’s all for now.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Radio by  #

1

Right from the start you need to know that I’m not using this post to whine, complain or gripe about anyone or any product.

Rather, what I am writing about is my current feelings about Internet Marketing.

I’ve recently made some pretty dramatic changes in my life. 

For the first time in 4 years, I am working in an office outside my home.  I actually have to get up and take a shower first thing in the morning (I always took one eventually… it just might have been at 2PM 😉

What prompted this and what am I doing?

I am now working with an ad agency as their "Commander of Analytics and Internet Strategy".  In short, I am taking all of the IM knowledge, techniques, tricks, contacts etc. that I’ve amassed over the last 4 years and I am applying it to every single one of their clients that has an Internet presence.  If they aren’t yet on the Internet, they will be soon.

This has been a very unique endeavor which I can only explain as a completely different world.

I am no longer working with tiny to nonexistent budgets.  Not to say that these clients don’t watch what they spend, but rather than working in $100 increments it is now in the 10’s of thousands.  One of the clients I am handling directly is a yacht manufacturer selling products that range in price from $250,000 to $5,000,000.  When you spend millions developing a new product that sells for $750K the focus tends to be simply blowing them away with all marketing efforts.

Now, I cannot reveal who our clients are here and frankly, even if I could, I wouldn’t talk openly about them in any way shape or form.  That’s really not why I am writing this.

What I do want to touch on is the change in mentality this has been required on my end.

I, like many "Infopreneurs", am used to doing it all myself.  Even as I undertook efforts to outsource all I could over the last year, there was still an element of "If you want it done fast and right… do it yourself".

That is no longer the case. 

One of the reasons I took this position (besides the fact that I will end up being one of the principles in the business) is the fact that I can do what I know and love, but I can and must employ the efforts of others to make it all happen.  I’ve spent the last 4 years fully immersing myself in all things IM.  I have more IM stuff rolling around in my head than I almost know what to do with.  I now have an outlet for it.

I now find myself teaching team members ranging from account managers, to web designers, to in-house coders, what needs to happen in order for our clients marketing to not only succeed but to surpass the competition.  This means not doing the basics as many marketers tend to do, but hitting every single little design detail, email, copy element etc. so that every single angle has been covered. 

One of the great challenges for a solo IM’er is getting it all done.  There always seem to be too darned many pieces to the puzzle that we KNOW we should be doing that still get left undone.  Now I am able to make sure that every single one of those pieces gets fit into the puzzle exactly where they should be.

Now, if you will please take a moment and imagine this next scenario…

  • A mailing list with 3,500 names on it
  • Many email addresses on the list with not even a first name associated with them
  • All data in a desktop mailing system that must be left to run overnight in order to send out a single broadcast to the list.
  • No automated series of messages, let alone a single message set up to go to that list because it is in no way associated an autoresponder (honestly, one of the greatest weapons in any online marketing arsenal!)
  • No way to get all of those names into an autoresponder account without asking them to re-confirm their subscription (a great way to rapidly reduce your list size).

Tough situation which is most likely all too common.  We’re now having to do frequent broadcast mailings designed to try to get people to optin to a new list (with an autoresponder system running in the background).

Who wouldn’t want to have a list that size?  Now imagine having it and then having someone tell you it’s great you’ve got it but you aren’t using it as you should be and unfortunately you’re going to have a tough time ever getting out of it what you should have been able to.

I remember talking with a personal client roughly a year ago who was spending $500 per email broadcast, mailing 4-6 times per month.  They were mailing to an established list which is cool and as long as the ROI is good, not a bad idea.  The kicker was they were making no effort at all to peel those addresses off into their own house list. 

I explained how and why they should do this and the fact that an Aweber account would run them roughly $20 per month with unlimited mailings, messages and autoresponders.  Talk about an excited client!  They paid me to write a 15 part, evergreen email series and have been building their list with it ever since. 

Now, the reason they had been doing those expensive mailings and not trying to build their own list was that they’d been told it would take expensive mailing servers and software to do their own mailings… by the owner of that big list.  How were they to know any different.  I don’t know about you but that sort of thing really pisses me off.

That list I mentioned earlier that was built and relying on the PC based mailing system was all on the recommendation of someone who was supposedly an "expert" in their field.  Unfortunately that list building issue was only one of a series of unfortunate events caused by a guy who billed himself as knowing better.  Again, that stuff is all too common and all to frustrating.

So why this ramble and where is it heading?

I took this new position after talking with these guys for over a year and a half.  It was not an easy decision to give up some level of supposed freedom by no longer being my own only boss.  I realized though that I had learned all I needed to from the incestuous world of Internet Marketing and it was time to move on from conceiving products simply to sell them to other Internet Marketers.

We are already doing some killer things with online video and are positioning ourselves to really start blowing away the rest of the Advertising world.  That is just one of the things I wanted to do that I am now being asked to do.

After starting this new work I found myself not even wanting to touch my other IM projects.  I was frustrated with the baby steps I had previously felt I had to take and the general sense of knowing I was not thinking BIG enough.  I had also been increasingly turned off by the very marketing circles of which I’d worked hard to be a part.

I needed a serious break quite honestly.

I was also frustrated by hearing what some other "experts" had done and by seeing my own clients get led down the wrong path all too often.  It was time to change both of those situations.

In short, I am washing my hands of how I used to do things and why I was doing it. 

I am going to help those people that have been unfortunate enough to get worked over or flat out ripped off by people "helping" them as they’ve struggled to unravel doing business on the Internet.

I am going to push the boundaries for our new clients, giving them weapons no other agency has in their arsenal and have a heck of a lot of fun doing it.  I’m also going to share with you how I am doing it all, every step of the way.

You my friend will see both an increase in helpful video products from me as well as huge growth in my InternetHowToVideos site.  That site and this one will be my primary focus.

It’s time for Sam and all of his readers to drink in some sweet new success and wash the sour taste of frustrating Internet Marketing out of our mouths.

Buckle yourself in and hold on tight because this is going to be a killer ride!

Thanks for allowing me to vent and ramble.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #

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