Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Free Marketing Advice, Pay what you want

Given all the doom and gloom in the media at the present.

A rough start to the year for some.

I thought I would offer Free Internet Marketing Advice.

That is you email me with your problems, questions, advice on strategy.

Anything Internet Marketing related.

Who is this suited for? Any kind of business, maybe your a small business who hasn’t ventured online, a tourism business, owner operator, b2b, b2c….

You probably have made cuts of your marketing expenditure.

And so you should, if it has questionable returns.

BUT with internet marketing you can measure your returns. Down to the dollar.

If you know how.

So to help clear misreprentations about it and encourage spending in internet marketing I am doing this.

The catch? Well the catch is I ask you to pay me what you think my information to help you out is worth to you. If its worth nothing pay nothing, if its worth $250 pay that. Up to you, no pressure, my aim is to help you.

I just want to repeat that, my aim is to help you!

Given my time is costly I am only doing this for a week from now till Friday February 6th 4pm NZT.

Update: I am extending this till the end of February to maximise the opportunity 🙂

Update 2: This is now a permanent offering, read more here.

Send your queries to [email protected]

(Oh and if its not for you please forward on to your friends, they may need some help or know someone who does, there is a link at the bottom of this post to email to your friends).


Please note a few things:

1) Give me some background information about your company, clients (in the email).  I can clear up to several thousand emails in a busy week so if you have all the information in the email helps me out (vs a web address for more info).

2) If I help you, could you post feedback in the comments below (good or bad, mostly good Im sure)

3) Forward to friends this post to help them out.

Why me? Five reasons

1) Why not, who else is motivated enough about the internet marketing industry and helping you to offer this?

2) I have a decade of experience in internet marketing, starting out in ’99 with Search Engine Optimisation

3) Read up on me here.  

4) I am New Zealands #1 (only?) Internet Marketing Strategy Coach.

5) Also you have absolutely nothing to lose….

So I’ve been of tremendous benefit to you and answered your questions and you want to actually pay me for it? You can send me some funds via paypal to [email protected] or click the button below.

January 29th, 2009


I once had the opportunity at a conference to ask Sir Bob Geldof a question.

I asked ‘What is your vision for the world 10 years from now’.

Now this is paraphrasing but he said:

I don’t have a vision for the world in 10 years, you need to stop dreaming, you need to wake up, you need to do it now.

He went on to explain its easy to get lost dreaming about what you would like the world to be rather than simply going out there and getting it done.

Whilst I truly believe in having a vision and seeking to fulfill that and I’m sure Sir Bob does as well he is right, often we get lost in the big picture and forget all the steps it takes to get there.  It’s too easy.

I just thought I’d share that with you, stop dreaming and start doing.

January 28th, 2009

The Art of the Zero Start

The art of building a business from absolutely nothing with no money.

I have built four small businesses from a zero start. The first three I sold successfully the fourth failed to get off the ground.

So I thought hey why not share some of my experiences.

Firstly why would you take part in a zero start?

  • If you have no capital
  • Your idea is too risky to raise debt financing
  • It forces you from day one to be creative about achieving objectives
  • To prove an idea works with minimal capital
  • To give yourself a huge challenge

What are the personal pros/cons?

  • Forces time management
  • Stimulates fight or flight response, really need to drive the idea to fruition
  • Can develop workaholicism which impacts on the rest of your life
  • Doing things you never thought capable
  • Can be a time sink if you do not manage your time effectively
  • Can get stuck in the mud and forget the strategic macro level
  • Helps you realise what is truly important to you

Overall I think it has been a huge learning curve for me, forced me to grow up and provided challenges I wouldn’t have gained elsewhere. I would highly recommend everyone to give it a go.

I think that doing this can be a bit of trap for some people so I highly recommend some steps to take to avoid this.

Here are the Top 10 Must Do for Entrepreneurs starting a zero start:

1) Have a board of directors (whether they be friends or family) Report to them as you would a real board of directors. They will help you recognise (and admit) problems in a faster manner.

2) Take time out. Have your limits. Keep home time, family time, your own time. This is essential.

3) Eat healthy, exercise, keep up with your favourite recreational activities. When your sick and have a day off you lose earnings. So suddenly life / health balance is vital.

4) Review/Reflection. Force this every week, month and quarter to check your up to par.

5) Set Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and report to board of directors.

6) Watch your cash. Cash is king. This needs to be your top priority, a business without cash is nothing.

7) Quit and quit often. I fail at lots of projects a year, it helps to recognise something is failing and quit early.

8) Persevere, in contrast to 7, persevere with your business, its up to you to drive it to fruition.

9) Delegate, as soon as possible bring on others to delegate responsibilities to.

10) Read. Read as many reputable business books as you can. This will help you draw new perspectives and learn.

How can you be creative with money to get your business off the ground?

  • Minimise your fixed costs (till you get significant cashflow), ie trade work for office space, use a home office. Try and make all others variable costs.
  • Use free software and online tools.
  • Pay your suppliers on time, you will get more efficient pricing from them and give you leverage when you need it.
  • Bundle your technology costs, mobile, internet, phone. Save by bundling where possible.
  • Stretch every dollar, business meetings have tea instead of a coffee, use public transport, skype for meetings.
  • Give equity to key suppliers in exchange for services, not only builds better relationships but keeps them with a vested interest.
  • Share the love, if you can’t deliver what a customer wants, send them to someone who can, this may return.

That concludes Part 1 of of my Art of the Zero Start.

I suspect that you may have questions or more of your own to add, I welcome both just post in the comments.

Also note for my readers there is only 24 hours left to grab my Blogging Strategy at half price which you can find here.

January 27th, 2009

Blogging Strategy, Updated Edition

Over the last few days I have updated my Blogging Strategy.

With everything in life I research before leaping in.  I have been blogging off/on since 2003 so had the experience but I sought the ‘success factors’.

This updated revision covers what I have found by strategically looking at successful blogs and from my own learnings.

Sun Tzu said it best:

“All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.”

I have drawn all the tactics used by myself and other successful bloggers into a comprehensive plan of action.

Follow the 25 Ideas in this Blogging Strategy and you will conquer.

How much would this be worth to you? Well at only $2/idea I am selling it for $47 USD.

(Ok my maths sucks its actually $1.88 an idea)

Let’s say you waste 2 hours a week for the next month as you fumble your way through.  At $20/hour thats $160 wasted.  You could have bought the book three times over!

My challenge to you is to take just five ideas from this book implement them and you will recoup the investment (and compound it) month after month.

Just so your not going hang on Ben what about a freebie? You can get the first 10 Ideas here for free (and have been able to for 6 months or so).

As I really appreciate you all, my loyal readers, I will offer this for only $25 USD (approx 47% off) for 48 hours only.  After that it will revert back to the normal price of $47.

 Update: this has now finished and is available at the standard price.

You can purchase below by clicking the buy now button.  You will receive your copy from me personally via the email you specify.  


Why not buy a couple of licences? Send a copy to your top clients.  Help them help you.  

Simply select a different option from the drop down box.  Contact me [email protected] to purchase a higher number of licences. 

If you don’t think this is for you, thats ok, but if I’ve helped you with any of my blog posts a few retweets, trackbacks or helping me spread the word is much appreciated.

Update: Oh before I forget as is my new years resolution 10% of proceeds will go through to my Kiva account to help provide micro loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries.

January 26th, 2009

Bringing your customers up to speed

Complaint #1 of internet marketers: my clients don’t get it.

This weeks Monday Ideas post throws half a dozen or so ideas to help them get it.

So here are some ways to help them get it whilst delivering value to them.

  • Send a monthly newsletter of your 10 favourite blog posts
  • Highlight your own blog posts of relevance to your customers, make them into a small ebook and send them around.
  • Put together a compilation of podcasts, chuck them on an ipod and gift.
  • When you come across innovation in their field, forward them on. (Tip: use google alerts to be proactive). This makes you invaluable to them.
  • Forward on some of the more popular videos on YouTube. Then follow up highlighting the success of it.
  • Write an email in the style of this blog post with some ideas

Go ahead teach them by showing them.

I do this all the time and not surprisingly my clients now come to me with ideas.

January 25th, 2009

Relative Spheres of Influence, Change in

Relative spheres of influence are changing. And rapidly.

They are becoming fragmented, diverse and often a group provides a sphere of influence rather than an individual.

Traditionally it was friends and family who influenced your decisions, whether they be purchasing, career or clothing decisions.

Instead we had become much more transparent.

Suddenly your favourite blogger is providing you with business advice, your purchasing decisions are judged by average ratings on IMDB, your clothing is dictated by international fashion rather than local.

Firms have yet to wake up and realise this.

Some get it.  Others still struggle.

People exist in multiple spheres or Pods as I’ve discussed prior so can in turn be influential in multiple pods.

The good news is you can reach them, they will listen, if your worth listening to.

Now how do you reach these spheres? By being proactive online, building a blog, developing a local twitter presence, making your own iphone apps.

As the talkers are out there and they would love to hear from you.

January 22nd, 2009

Its happened to music…. now for books

Browsing a book shop over the holidays I was scanning the business section.

Now as a bit of a side note, I don’t read any old book, I like to limit the ‘content’ that I engage with so purchase books that others have read and recommended.

And I thought about all the rubbish books there must be.

Think about it.

How does a book come to be?

You merely have to be a) good enough b) persevere through the process.

The publishers have the distribution, editors, marketing materials.  If you can get through that process wham your book is out.

However with self publishing I think books are going to emulate whats happened with music.

As the number of books released each year soars, the talent pool is going to increase, and the ‘average’ books just aren’t going to sell.  As everyone will buy the remarkable books within their interest.  The long tail is only going to grow.

Never been a better time to be remarkable huh? 

I wonder what publishers are doing to be proactive.

January 21st, 2009

Where the Platform play falls down

The platform play is a common one in niche industries.

It can be very successful.

However a recurring problem (and downfall) is a lack of focus.

Imagine your platform is like a big slab of concrete on a vacant lot.  This is your platform.

It can be anything; a carpark, a basketball court, a place to throw your rubbish.

Without direction it is open to interpretation.  It may even remain abandoned.

There may be easy road access so people park there; maybe the sun is really bright so people sunbath, maybe there are fences so people play sports inside.

As the owner of the platform, you need to pick a path, direct the audience towards that, open up to other opportunities later.

If you be everything to everyone you become nothing.  

(For more info best read my prior posts on Platforms here and here)

January 20th, 2009

Inspired… the artist within

With all the doom and gloom atm I just wanted to share with you a private email I sent to a few of my colleagues back in November…


As per my usual weekend ritual, which is to take some time out, step back, have some fun with my friends & family, review and reflect upon the week, treat myself, I went out this morning and purchased a book and I wanted to share with you a couple of paragraphs from the first few pages:

“Business is creative.  It’s like painting.  You start with a blank canvas.  You can paint anything – anything – and there, right there, is your first problem.  For every good painting you might turn out, there are a zillion bad paintings just aching to drip off your brush. Scared? You should be. You start. You pick a colour. The next colour you choose has to work with the first colour.  The third colour has to work with the first and the second.  The fourth colour… You get the idea.  You’re committed now.  You absolutely cannot stop.  You’ve invested. There is no reverse gear on this thing.  People who bad-mouth businessmen and women in general are missing the point. People in business who succeed have swallowed their fear and have set out to create something special, something to make a difference to people’s lives.  Are the colours just right? Are the planes polished? Do the crew look good? Are they comfortable? Are the seats OK? What’s the food like? It costs how much….?

And whether you’re a surrealist or a CEO, there are always bills to pay and money always arrives later than you ever dreamed possible.  In the teeth of a downturn, petty financial hassles can turn into major, life-changing crises, and tough decisions often have to be made.  This is the side of business that journalists like to write about, – but it’s the least exciting, least distinctive part of business.  It’s secondary. It’s dull.  What really matters is what you create.  Doe is work or not? Does it make you proud?”

Isn’t this what business is about? Isn’t this why we got into business? To be creative, to destroy something we didn’t like, to build something we saw, to say that’s not right let’s do it this way. We are all artists, business artists, entrepreneurs.

This is certainly why I got into business, I have told many people when they ask Why do you go through the pain? I love doing it, I love creating things, growing, moving entities that reflect change in peoples lives.

This is what I see in every entrepreneur I meet today, a spark in their eye, as they know they have leaped off a cliff, but they are making their dreams happen.

Now we all know that there is a shake up going on, it’s been going on for a while, but people don’t change fast, they cling to what they know.  The shake up is on, things are going to change NOW. Fast.

The challenge and responsibility that lyes upon us as entrepreneurs is to create, to innovate, to inspire others, to be the glowing light in the dark.

We need to group together, help each out, what are the challenges you are having? share them with your peers, maybe we can help you or find someone to help you.

The turn is coming, through pain and pressure comes creativity, we have to survive and thrive within the environment, we can and we will.

So take this on a whim, or think about what you can do.

If you have got this far, thanks so much for your time, I truly appreciate it.

I wish you all the best and keep in touch, let’s make things happen.


The quote is from Richard
Branson‘s new book Business Stripped Bare,
go out grab it, read it, loan it to friends, spread the inspiration.


Remember perseverance is genius.

My only comment to add is, it’s all about action, so start walking.

January 19th, 2009

Ideas for a bounty

The Best Ideas are Free we know that.

But often in a business scenario to stimulate the idea generation we need to part with some dollars.

A few crowdsourcing sites have popped up, the idea is to tap into a large crowd to generate ideas for marketing, business and general problems.

Fantastic model.

Yet for Marketing I think its slightly overengineered and appeals to a slightly lemon market.

That is those that have the time to invest in the site may not necessarily be that savvy (exception to the rule is those that commit time to invest in it strategically).  

Typically the target market are very time poor and do not have the time or resources to invest into yet another social resource.

I think a simple email list suffices.

Create a list of interested parties, email then occaisonally with a marketing problem, provide them with a bounty.

Keep it simple.

January 18th, 2009

Time Out

Just to let you know I’m taking a bit of a sabbatical this week and next.

Some time to unplug, unwind and revitalise.

I shall be off exploring some of the upper North Island of New Zealand.

In the meantime check out some of my most popular posts:

  1. You Can do What You Want
  2. 12 Hour Startup is gaining momentum
  3. Running a Twitter Campaign
  4. You wonder why Starbucks is struggling
  5. Bloggers Pack
  6. Personality
  7. Am I smiling?
  8. Customers becoming Evangelists
  9. How Marketing can help solve Poverty
  10. I fail lots

I look forward to catching you all the week of the 20th. 2009 is the year to dominate!

January 5th, 2009

Price Discrimination at the Pump

One of my first Monday Ideas Posts was about how Petrol Stations could improve their service.

I want to follow that up and push it a bit further.

Cafes are renowned for price discrimination ie Free Trade coffee for $0.50 extra however the coffee beans only make up a minor part of the production cost.

Petrol stations have this with premium petrol but I think they can do better.

Let’s help the customers help themselves.

Have a carbon credit rate, where you pay for your gas plus a premium to cover the avg carbon credits you would use for that tank of gas. 

By my calculations, using 22mpg and 12,000 miles/yr (from here: you would pay$0.0045 per mile or 11 cents a gallon.

Why do this?

  • Customers know about global warming
  • They also still need to fill up their car.
  • You can help them do this without feeling guilty, garner extra revenue but also help build your brand for whent he day comes that fuel is no longer needed.

Thoughts? Would you pay extra for this? Should it be compulsory for businesses to pay the premium? Government vehicles?

January 4th, 2009

It's all about me

Yes it is.

But also it isn’t.

You think movies can earn billions of dollars by keeping all the money for themselves.

No they don’t.

They involve hundreds of different organisations to help produce, edit, marketing, distribute, sell, merchandise, ringtones, cross promotions with McDonalds.

Growing an organisation is the same, sharing the pie with others.

So it is all about you, but to make it big do not be afraid to bring others in.

They add credibility, expand the pie and most of all share the risk.

(oh and plus its fun).

That’s my rant on entrepreneurs whom want to keep the pie all to themselves. Stop it. Chances are your too arrogant to grow what you’ve got.

January 1st, 2009

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
- Or maybe email this to a friend
- Or subscribe to get blog updates