Monday, March 18, 2013

Review: 21 Ways To Create A Sales Stampede On The Internet

I have to admit, I was flattered when a team member at reached out to me to ask if I’d review 21 Ways to Create a Sales Stamped on the Internet by Jason “Wally” Waldron. I’m always on the lookout for resources I can pass on to folks I develop software for, and figured a book on marketing is just that kind of resource. A few days after I replied I was interested, the book showed up.

I’m going to have to be blunt here: I’m not a fan of the writing style of 21 Ways. It’s basically broken down into chunks as follows: first, there’s a super enticing headline (example: “Build Your Sales Funnel And Drip Money Into Your Bank Account For Life”). Then there’s a few paragraphs of chit chat, usually including an anecdote, and finally a couple of direct paragraphs for implementing the strategy alluded to in the title. I ended up finding it both wordy, as well as short on detail.

But here’s the thing: the advice given is actually remarkably good. Much of it that seems counter intuitive has taken me years to learn. For example, many of my customers are distraught to learn that the software they create can’t be somehow legally protected from having competitors. But as Waldron explains, and I’ve learned the hard way, that’s exactly the kind of market you want to avoid. Being part of an active and competitive marketplace is ideal because that’s where the customers already are.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve climbed on my soapbox and given speeches to prospects and clients about the importance of providing actual value. Not some slick experience that looks valuable, but the real deal; something that solves a real problem. I was surprised and delighted to find that Waldron is on the same page with me here, and stresses that same point a number of times in 21 Ways.

I find that many marketing strategies seem to be based on trickery. If only you can trick Google to list your site first, and enough folks to opt in to your e-mail, then you’ll manage to trick enough people into buying your product to make a boat load of money. That’s obviously not the terminology that gets used, but more often than not, that seems to be the strategy. And while Waldron comes across as being a classic fast talking web marketer, he goes out of his way to advise strongly against this approach. SPAM, duplicate content and any other sort of shady activity has no place according to Waldron. The book makes it clear: you’ll win by providing value. You’ll be doing actual work (writing blog entries, creating an e-mail list, reaching out to customers, etc.). There may be short cuts you can take, but those are technical matters to make life easier. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to work for this.

Perhaps the strongest recommendation I can give to this book is that I found myself using some of the techniques. I was talking with a client about how he could improve on his conversions, and all that advice from Waldron about e-mail came bubbling up. Between the client and myself we developed an automated e-mail follow up strategy that is absolutely inspired by Waldron’s suggestions.

If you’re looking for detail, theory or don’t like a strong sales pitch, 21 Ways isn’t for you. But, if you’re new at all this and you want an approachable text to help you take action today, 21 Ways may be just what you need.

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