How TV Shows can make it big Online

Just thought I would send out a quick post as I had this on my mind.

I was driving in my car running some errands when a radio ad came on. It was talking about Netflix and how they now offer the option to not only watch your favorite movies online or via mail, but that you can now watch your favorite tv shows as well. This set my mind to thinking. How can tv shows make money in the online world, the ‘new media’ realm where you control what you want to watch, where you want to watch it, when you want to watch it, and how? From many of my excursions into the television industry, I know that most of the money tv shows earn come from the ads that play during each episode. There is also the option to “place products” into the episode slyly enough for you to not notice the subliminal ad. This strategy works well in movies also.

Anyways, the thought occurred to me that the easiest way tv shows can make a living online is to partner up with companies such as Netflix and Blockbuster to syndicate episodes where the public wants them. There is also throwing it up on iTunes, Hulu, and Zune Marketplace that can bring in some easy revenue. Problem solved, cue the applause and cheers from an audience that has been waiting for this moment.

If you are a tv show producer or are thinking of becoming one, factor this into your equation. The tips pay out better here, trust me.

How to get “Custom Customers”

As I am writing this, I am currently home from college on spring break. As my college blocks every video site except Facebook videos, I had to catch up on the videos I missed while I was away for three months. I only have a select few tv shows I like to watch, and ALL of them I watch online. I was in the middle of watching an episode of Chuck when a chunk of dialogue caught my entrepreneurial ear. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but it sparked this idea.

How do you get customers?

Well, to put it bluntly, you MARKET to them. No, we don’t advertise to them, read that article I linked up first then continue reading here.

It takes a creative mind to pull customers in. Something that will reach out to them, and show them the solution to their urgent need.

How do you capture the entire market’s attention?

You can do something stupid and completely blow up your reputation, causing ripples in the market. Or you can do something no one has thought about to capture them, but understand this. You cannot serve everyone. Remember the old saying, “If You Try To Be Everything To Everyone, You’ll Be Nothing To No One”?

Take that idea in perspective. Look at the bigger picture. Why do you market to certain segments of people? Why are all these marketing surveys, segments, action plans, and spread the message being conducted by companies big and small?

Because you want to capture your custom customer.

What’s the inside scoop?

Customer comes from the word ‘custom’ which comes from a latin word meaning ‘habit or usage’. It is quite fascinating if you think about it. A person, custom made, just for your business is waiting out there for you to capture them. You have no idea who it is, so you send a message to your market, hoping that they are in the mix. They hear about you and BAM!, deal closed.

Forget about advertising to everybody, that is dead. Besides, we know that reverse psychology works pretty well in this area. Market only to that select group, and sooner or later everyone and their cat will hear about you. There is enough of the market for every business to have their share, you just need to find yours. That is why you have marketing campaigns. That is why you guard the customers you do have with an iron fist (at least I hope you do). That is why you are in business.

There are customers custom-made just for your business. What are you doing to make them notice you?

How I Made My First $100 Online

“It was a dark and stormy night. The wind was whipping the trees into a frenzy of leaves and branches which crashed into the side of the building I was staying in. My mind was screaming for it to be over, but I knew it hadn’t even started. I braced my inner self for the impending doom approaching the building, knowing I would also have to fight myself if my mind broke. I would either come out victorious or die fighting to my last breath. Walking to the door, I opened it. The wind blew through my hair, powerful and threatening enough to knock me over. Rain splashed against my face as I resolutely crossed the threshold and walked out into the storm, seeking the silence beyond.”

Not exactly the introduction you expected to read about right? You probably were expecting me to say something along the lines of “I hacked Facebook and got some massive dough, let me show you my insider secrets!”

No, I am not that kind of person. Nor do I expect to be. I am the kind of guy who provides you with some solid information you can use. I am the kind of guy who wants to document my journey online. I am the kind of guy who wants to give you something of value.

To that end, and in response to the unexpected introduction you just read, here is what I have up to this point.

That introduction is basically what my mind was going through at the time before I started making solid money online. Using allegory is as close as I can come to explaining my predicament at the time without giving away private information.

How did I do it? How did I make my first $100 online?

1. I searched for an Urgent Need

I thought to myself, “What do people need help with? How can I help them?” My thoughts stumbled across Facebook Fan Pages. The more I thought about it, the more I uncovered that I knew alot about Fan Pages that I could teach people and that this was something big enough for companies to have. 400 million targeted potential customers in one place with dirt cheap access to all of them and companies just flirting around the issue? I knew I had to do something.

2. I provided customers with the exact solution

I figured many businesses knew about Fan Pages, but had no idea how to create/maintain/promote one. I also knew of other companies who just jumped in without looking and stepped in a couple problem areas that could have been avoided if they had guidance.

3. I Planned In Advance

Not everything was planned out, but most of it was. I cannot stress this enough when starting out online. You need to have some key aspects planned out, such as name, upsell flow, content, offer, and price, before you start “officially working on it”.

4. I Started Free

When I started putting the wheels into action, people already started coming in, but I wasn’t even finished! I was still in the midst of making my skeleton, which was barely operating at this point, yet people were coming in. I knew at that moment that my idea had paid off and continued with renewed vigor.

5. I Strategically Positioned myself to take advantage of all the Free Traffic/Exposure

In the name, where it was located, and how I started, I strategically positioned everything to take advantage of all the free traffic out there on Facebook. I never spent a penny advertising, they all came to me. This particular step required some thinking on my end to make sure this idea worked, the rest came in all by itself naturally.

6. I converted from Free To Paid

I left the free option open for about two weeks, then shutdown the free offer I had going. I stuck a price tag on it and stuck it back on the shelf. I expected traffic to drop, which it did, but people still came and purchased based on the pricing structure I had planned out beforehand. I even made a cold sale over the phone, which left me energized for at least a week! (Gotta thank Wells Fargo for all that sales training when I was a teller) 😉

7. I Upsold to a Premium Option

Yup, contained within my plan to get their foot in the door was the first small purchase and the subsequent value I added in the content I provided. I wanted to provide them with enough value that they would be happy and clamor for more. Some did, and I gave it to them. They are extremely happy, know exactly what to do, and are all fired up to handle what they have.

What do I do?

I Create Fan Pages.

What do you do?

Building a Personal Brand vs. an Iconic Brand

Gary Vaynerchuk or McDonaldsYou are in the midst of setting up your brand, do you setup an iconic brand or a personal brand? Do you want people to remember you for something you stand for, or remember your brand for something bigger?

All of these decisions are eventually faced in the lifetime of an entrepreneur, often many times during their life. The same idea holds true for bloggers, podcasters, and every other new media vocation.

Why don’t we take a look at two popular brands and break them down. Perhaps it will help you in the decision making process…

McDonald’s

McDonald’s is known for its many fast food hamburger chains scattered across the globe. The initial idea was developed by Dick and Mac McDonald. They wanted to provide a way to give meals to people as quickly as possible. Their equity was purchased by Ray Kroc who then set out to expand it to the four corners of the earth. The result is that McDonald’s is now a worldwide brand worth many billions of dollars. Every kid from Generation Y to the present has McDonald’s branded permanently in their mind because of the mass marketing effort of McDonald’s. Can’t tell me it didn’t pay off well… 😉

What is McDonald’s known for?

  • Big Mac – This one product continues to pull in massive sales in part because of a well executed marketing plan.
  • Marketing to the younger generation- You get new plastic toys! (Who doesn’t want one when you are little?) Consequently, when you are older you just walk in there out of habit.
  • Food tastes good. Yup, nothing like sprinkling sugar on the fries to make them taste better and a soda, juicy burger, and the occasional salad or other goody. Hence why America is now plump as well.
  • Affordability. How many times do you walk into McDonalds to find you are dead broke and can’t buy anything? Unless you are dumb enough to forget your wallet when you go in…
  • Speedy Service. That was coined by the original owners and still holds true to this day. I’d like to see a system like that somewhere else on the world that is as efficient about what they do than McDonald’s. Personal Opinion Note: If I am short on time, I will go into McDonald’s to buy something fast.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary is one of a kind. He is a fireball of energy and strives to answer every question that is thrown at him. He grew up in New Jersey and was always fascinated with business. He started cutting grass, selling flowers, and then selling baseball cards. He was good at it too. Baseball card sales in his high school years amounted to “three thousand bones a weekend“! He then became interested in wine and read every magazine on the subject. He worked as a clerk in a wine shop, then created his own brand, opening a wine shop and then expanding it to unheard of heights. His tactics, as crazy as they were, are what pushed him into the position he holds now. When he stumbled upon new media/social media, he bit into it like a bull dog and refused to let go. Wine Library TV came out of that. Out of all the people I know in this space, Gary defines how New Media and Social Media should looks like.

He is now an accomplished author, video blogger, brand consultant, and speaker. That and he still holds his position at Wine Library. Contrary to what you may think, Gary actually does alot more for his wine company marketing-wise whenever he is interviewed. He has become associated with the wine world.

What is Gary known for?

  • One line sayings. Gotta admit I love hearing the “legacy is greater than currency” and “CRUSH IT” quotes he throws out from time to time.
  • Explosive Introductions. Yup, Gary is never without one. It turns alot of people off when he hollers his introduction to the video camera, but the rest become excited and engaged in a snap.
  • Wine. Gary bleeds wine. It is all he ever talks about, and he knows what he is talking about. His opinion on wine undercuts the rest and brings a new light to it.
  • New York Jets. You can’t go long without him speak on the Jets. If is blood is wine, his heart is the New York Jets. He knows everything about them too. He has to if he is to fulfill his dream of buying them.
  • Passion. Not a day goes buy that he doesn’t portray it. He loves what he does and wouldn’t trade anything in the world for it.
  • Authenticity. Gary is 100% real. Unedited and uncut, every vlog post and winelibrarytv show he has done in one take.
  • Personal Branding. Gary epitomizes how personal branding should be done.

What can McDonald’s or Gary teach you about branding?

  1. The brand is your defining point. Everything is built off of it.
  2. Have a unique story. No one likes the same old bland status quo.
  3. Personal brands depend on the person, iconic brands depend on the decisions of the company.
  4. If the person dies, their brand will continue on in a solidified state. If the icon dies, so does the company.
  5. Icons are remembered for all time, so is a person.
  6. Iconic brands become an authority symbol, personal brands become a person.
  7. People tend to trust iconic brands as they mature, same with a personal brand. With the personal brand however, a trust level is built with that person.

Hope that helps you out. I for one am enjoying building a personal brand. 😉

Am I missing anything? Am I totally wrong? Is there something you’d like to share? I’ve pulled the soapbox over, would love to hear your two cents.

How Geese are like Market Leaders

Did you ever think about this application to the Business World?

Geese fly in the classic v-shape formation, each leading one at a time, giving the leader time to rest as they fly south for the winter. Notice here that no one goose leads for the entire length, he’d be DEAD before they reached the destination! Nor do two of them duke it out for first place, it would waste too much energy.

Nope, they do it the most efficient way possible. Each goose leads for a time, then falls back to let another lead while he rests to wait his turn again. That way, they get to the destination that much faster and farther than possible by one or two geese.

Every single business in every industry works the exact same way. As a matter of fact, so do nations. Hint: I’ve been studying Western Civilization I for the past three weeks and it has been interesting to watch each nation rise to power, take the stage for a time, then fall back and give it to another nation.

Where are you in the formation? Comment below.

The Parable of the Businessman

I ran across this story (Mark 4:1-20 if you’re wondering), and it bears repeating. My life story seems to echo this parable above all others, my name defines it.

It goes as follows:

There once was a businessman, who, after he had created a product to solve an urgent need, set out to market. He stopped in many places. Villages, cities, states, and everywhere else he saw his product could do the most good. Some of the product he sold fell upon deaf ears, no one wanted to buy what he had to offer. Some of it fell upon interested people who put it on a shelf and let it collect dust. Others fell upon those who needed it. They started using it, but quickly became disillusioned and requested a refund. Still other fell upon those who recognized this product, eagerly bought it and consumed it entirely. Through them word started spreading and soon the businessman was looking at an increase of thirty, sixty, even a hundred times more then he ever thought possible.

What is the meaning? It means that you, as a business owner, will always have these four types of customers. The ones you want to go for are those where the “seed falls upon good soil…and produces… even a hundredfold…”

The rest will take care of itself.

What’s your application to this parable?

Marketing Fail: iNET Web Case Study

Welcome to a pillar series I plan on putting together on my blog titled, “Marketing Fail”. The idea behind this came out of watching companies market their products and services. Some do their marketing extraordinarily well, while some just plain fail. Hopefully reading about these marketing blunders will help you avoid these mistakes in your own company and strive to produce a marketing campaign to be proud of.

When marketing your company, there are certain ways to go about it. You have many mediums to promote in, including social media, to be aware of as well. Some mediums are more potent then others, yet each one has its own benefits associated with it. For example, in television commercials; people are listening, reading, and watching all at the exact same time. Compared to print, where someone is just reading something, you are capturing more senses and engaging that person with your message. With social media, you are engaging that person’s senses and encouraging them to respond, building a relationship with an individual that is impossible with television, radio, and print combined. But that is for a later article, lets take a look at a case study of marketing gone wrong.

Case Study: iNET Web

iNET Web is a website design and hosting company located in Waukesha, Wisconsin. They began in 1998 with the intent to “crush every Waukesha web development competitor in not only price but also design”. They have done just that through their radio ads, effectively downplaying every competitor and taking the market over by force.

Two unforeseen problems came up with this stance, and here is the predicament that now looms over my hometown of Milwaukee.

1. It incenses the “Competition”

Marketing 101 for any company regardless of industry teaches owners to focus on telling their own story. Business owners are encouraged to differentiate and sell their unique benefits for the consumers benefit. It is slightly different from the presumed my-product-is-better-than-your-product argument that companies regularly initiate in, but an important difference nonetheless. Think of it this way, are you in business just so you can “crush your competition” or to provide a solution to a consumer need? Act that way. Market your company that way. Your company is not here to give you an ego boost, you are in business to provide a way of living for yourself by providing the solution to the consumers’ need.

iNET Web effectively created a large rift and threw the competition into it, silencing all opposition. As a result, I barely hear of other website design companies. The ones I do hear of? They despise iNET. The flip side? Some of these companies I stumble across make pretty impressive websites and love their customers to pieces.

This is a fine line, yet this could spell death for your company no matter how profitable you are. Not only does this make your “competition” mad at you, it also splits the market and prevents you from working with your “competitors” down the road. Listen closely, your competition is not in business to bash you, they are in business the same reason you are: to make a profit. There are more than enough people in your market for everyone to benefit from, you physically cannot serve everybody in that market. Neither can your “competition”. That is an undisputed fact. As you understand this, you will start to view your competitors in a different light. Now, rather than “bashing” them, you will see how all of you can work together to serve your market; to both widen and deepen it.

2. It keeps the Market in the Dark

Would you be very happy with someone if they deliberately kept you in the dark? At first no, you would just assume that is exactly how things should be. Then somebody walks by your darkened room’s window with a candle. How would that make you feel? Confused? Mad? Jealous? Yup, all that and an insatiable desire to learn more about that light. Questions would be running through your mind, answers waiting to be uncovered. If the person who originally locked you up and taught you about your “dark room” came by, you would probably tackle him to the ground and give him a sound beating before running out the door after that light.

That is the exact situation the website design/hosting market in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is now facing. Business owners are walking around without a clue what their website is and what it could be. They are walking around in that dark room. They are deliberately left out of the loop, fed only the bits and pieces certain companies want them to hear. Not only is this saddening to hear, but it also makes me mad.

I know this as I walk around that very market (I used to run a website design company in Milwaukee as well) pulling out tidbits of information to gauge what is going on. The reports brought tears to my eyes. How could this market stay in the dark for so long? How could they remain this uneducated about the Internet? How could they not see how immensely powerful their website has now become? If they saw the light, they would break down that door running after the light. My response to this was to flip on my webcam and record something to educate that market, in a way hoping to be that light that would pass by their door.

I don’t think you would want to be that company (person) in their way when they see the light and attempt a mad dash towards it.

For those two reasons…

iNET Web is a Marketing Failure in my book.

Want to learn more about iNET Web as well as my own personal story with them? Watch this video on iNET Web Bashing.

Now that you understand what not to do, what thoughts do you have and what do you intend to do? Any company you’d like to see a case study on?

How does Avatar apply to Social Media?

Jake Sully in battle attireWe are now into 2010, and I am excited! I plan on posting much more often, providing you with some exceptional content in each post. Enjoy this first post!

Wow, the more I reminisce on the movie and watch it, when I have the chance, the better it gets each time. Avatar sure isn’t exhausted on my list, I’m still pulling out some social media goodies for you to enjoy! Here are a couple more…

The first post I wrote on my review of Avatar has been getting some good views lately, when the idea struck me to expand upon it. Avatar has now grossed $1 Billion dollars, has been trending on twitter for the past four weeks, and is doing quite well. Two thoughts I want to impress on you.

1.You Have An Avatar

Interestingly enough, that is your social media (online) presence. Everything you do online is your online presence. After dabbling around in social media for a while, you will most likely find yourself lost in the vibrancy of this world. But one key question remains.

How are you going to merge your offline and online world together effectively? You can’t live in just an offline world at the risk of becoming exiled, so what are you doing to educate yourself? Integrated into that question is another question. What are you doing to bring your business online and expose it to 1.7 Billion+ people?

2. Pick Your Side

Enough with fooling around and asking questions on “What is Social Media?” Every person and every business on the face of the planet is instead asking “How do we use Social Media?” 84% of businesses can’t be wrong if they are starting to implement some kind of social media marketing campaign, including Pepsi. You have a choice to make, which side are you playing on? Are you still playing by the old rules, or the new ones? Are you still going to stay in the traditional advertising realm, or hop over to the much more vibrant world of social media? You have a choice to make, and you’d better make it fast. Neither side is going to wait for you.

In Avatar, Quaritch and his side are only concerned about making the big bucks. Who cares what the cost. Interestingly enough, the mineral they are mining is called “Unobtanium” (anyone notice the irony?) and the largest source is located beneath Hometree, where all the Na’vi live. Anyone notice the parallels?

Traditional Media is trying to blow this off as a plink in the bucket, while unawares are trying to leech and destroy the base Social Media Marketing is upon. This is going to come to a head sooner than you think, I am already starting to hear the horns of war. There will be an inevitable clash between Traditional/Old Media and New/Social Media.

You’ve seen the influential power New/Social Media has had over countries, businesses, and people. The results speak for themselves. There is not much time left to think, NOW is the time to act. Ah, but just wait. You need to come at this from a different angle. You need to approach this the smart way. Don’t run in without a brain in your head. Jake Sully knew this, which is why he was smart about the way the battle unfolded in Avatar.

What are you doing to implement Social Media in your life and your company? Comment below.