How does a laid off employee end up building a million dollar recipe business?
Ron Douglas is the founder of Recipesecrets.net a site where web users share recipes, including how to make food from their favorite chain restaurants like KFC & Macaroni Grill at home.
Since he launched his business on his lunch hour, his upcoming book is called Lunch Break Millionaire.
Ron Douglas, Recipesecrets
Ron Douglas is the founder of Recipesecrets.net a site where web users share recipes, including how to make food from their favorite chain restaurants like KFC & Macaroni Grill at home.
Andrew: Coming up. Do you want to get other people to sell your products? Well, watch what happened to today’s guest when he got mercenaries to promote his. Also, can one bit of pre-launch research really help you ensure success? Well listen to the one thing today’s guest did before he launched, how it helped him and how it could help you. Those stories and so many others including the, I’m hoping we could get to the, picketing a strip club story. All that and so much more coming up.
Three messages before we get started. First, do you need web design work? Go to launchtower.com. It’s run by Alex Champagne who has helped me with a lot of last minute projects at Mixergy. Now he’s running a design company at launchtower.com. Second, do you need a lawyer who actually understands the startup world that you live in? Go to walkercorporatelaw.com. I’ve known Scott Edward Walker or years. So tell him you’re a friend of mine when you go to walkercorporatelaw.com Finally, what are the big challenges that you have as a founder? Got to Mixergypremium.com and take courses taught by proven entrepreneurs who want to help you get through your toughest challenges. Mixergypremium.com. Let’s get started.
Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I’m the founder of Mixergy.com, home of the ambitious upstart. How does a laid off employee end up building a million dollar recipe business? Ron Douglas is the founder of recipesecrets.com, a site where web users share recipes including, and it seems especially, how to make food from their favorite chain restaurants like KFC, Macaroni Grill and so many others. How to make those recipes at home. Since he launched his business on his lunch hour, his upcoming book is called “Lunch Break Millionaire”. Ron, welcome.
Ron: Thanks, Andrew. It’s a pleasure to be on the show.
Andrew: I want to get into the marketing of your products because I think that you’re especially good at that. But first in my notes I’ve got that you launched a million dollar publishing business. As I researched I saw that it was called a million dollar business. Can you be more specific? How much revenue have you generated with recipesecrets.com over the years?
Ron: Over the years a little under $4 million I would say is pure revenue over the years. Not including the book sales with Simon and Schuster. Since 2009 we’ve sold 1.2 million books with Simon and Schuster.
Ron: 15, 16 dollars a pop. So, do the math on that, too.
Andrew: Okay. And a big chunk of that had to go to affiliate sales, but other than that you don’t have any big expenses right?
Ron: No, that’s the beauty of having this type of business. No real expenses other than customer support. You know, everything is delivered online. You know, I ship physical books as well so there’s the cost of getting those books but I could get a book done for like 2.50 depending on the volume. So it’s a real high profit margin business.
Andrew: If you had to ball park the profit over the years, what would that be?
Ron: Profit? I mean, I probably did close to $4 million I would say, maybe two and a half?
Andrew: 2.5 million? Over how many years?
Ron: Since 2004 I launched recipesecrets.net.
Andrew: Okay. And then do you have any other businesses besides this, or is this from all of them together?
Ron: No, I have a few other businesses I dabble in. You know, doing search engine marketing for different clients. I have a video sharing site. You know I’ve been doing this since 2001 so I’ve tested out a bunch of different things but none as big as the recipe stuff.
Andrew: I saw the video sharing site is videoforward.com, right? It lets people post viral videos on a page that you create for them and then run ads all around it and they can keep all the revenue from the ads.
Andrew: Okay, alright, so, I want to go back and see how you get started and one of the things that I saw in my notes on you from your conversation with our producer Jeremy is you never met your father, right? Why not?
Ron: Right, well. It’s the greatest story. My mother and my father got married in April of 1974, April 1974 and my father was killed, he was murdered August, 1974 and I was born October of 1974, so I never quite got to meet him. We were like, he missed me by six weeks. When he was found on a rooftop. He was, my father was a hustler. He was involved with the wrong crowd.
Andrew: What kind of hustles?
Ron: He sold drugs and different things like that. He was just doing the wrong thing. He was only 20 years old when he died.
Ron: It just taught me a valuable lesson to just use the same hustle but to do it legally, you know what I mean, to be an entrepreneur. I guess it’s in my blood but I always wanted to not go that route, I guess he inspired me in that way.
Andrew: You grew up in Brooklyn?
Ron: In Queens. Jamaica, Queens.
Andrew: In Queens, me, too. What part?
Ron: Jamaica, Queens. St. Albans. You grew up in Queens?
Andrew: I did, in Jamaica.
Ron: Andrew Jackson High School?
Andrew: Wait, wasn’t it Jamaica High? I went to Brooklyn Tech but Jamaica High was the local school that I was supposed to go to where I had to do a make up course and I remember they kept talking about how they want to shoot me and it was one of the more dangerous schools. In fact, it was one of the more dangerous parts of the city. You said growing up there, and apparently we grew up roughly around the same time in that part of New York. You saw bullets? Bullets were part of your background? I didn’t actually see anyone shoot but did you? What was growing up like for you there?
Ron: It was a pretty rough neighborhood. I mean a lot of drug dealers, a lot of crime, it was a high crime neighborhood in my section where I was at. I was about 10 minutes from Southside Jamaica, Queens where they had the projects and stuff, but luckily I lived with my grandparents so it wasn’t that bad. I wouldn’t say it was projects or anything but I had friends that sold drugs, I had friends that went to jail, I had friends that got killed, luckily the thing that kept me out of it was playing basketball. I played hoops since I was like six years old and I played in college and that kind of kept me out of trouble and my mom was pretty strict as well. But it wasn’t Mayberry or anything.
Andrew: Did you ever try selling drugs?
Ron: Did I ever try? No. Stayed away from that completely because of my past and everything, the way I grew up. I stayed away from that stuff completely. I think again, hoops, kept me away from all that stuff. All I wanted to do was go to the NBA so I kept my grades up and went to school and all that.
Andrew: How often did you practice?
Ron: Everyday man, in the summertime I would wake up 5:30 in the morning and jog a couple of miles to the park and then put up 500 shots before the sun came out, before it got really hot in the summertime. I guess that’s where I got my initial work ethic from was just trying to be better than my friends on the court.
Andrew: And were you better than the people that you grew up with? Were you better than your friends?
Ron: I was better than a lot of them, I mean, I got pretty good at it. I wasn’t super athletic, but I could shoot, I could handle the ball, I was pretty good. I had a college scholarship, so I guess that’s all that really matters.
Andrew: So how’d you end up at J.P. Morgan?
Ron: J.P. Morgan. Actually, my college basketball coach, his sister worked there, and after I graduated she kind of got me in. My first job out of college was actually working for Staples. I was a customer service manager for Staples. It sucked big time. It was the worst job ever. I mean, I had no life. I used to close the store on a Friday night, leave there like 11:30 p.m. and then open the store like 9:00 a.m. the next morning. Retail, I said I was never going to do retail again, and then after that I found out my coaches sister worked at J.P. Morgan. I was like, dude, are you’re kidding me. All this time? I stayed at Staples for a little over a year and then he got me an interview at J.P. and I got the job. They were looking for people with customer service experience and they were going to train them on the financial stuff so that’s how I got it.
Andrew: Because they wanted you to make phone calls and bring in new customers, right?
Ron: Well, no, we were kind of like relationship managers for their mutual fund clients so that’s where the customer service background came in and I went into a training program there.
Andrew: And what kind of relationship would you manage for J.P. Morgan? I mean, what would you do specifically?
Ron: Well, I would make sure that the mutual fund trades got executed, trade settlement, any type of discrepancy with trades. I would make sure their remaining balances got reinvested into short term investments, repo’s and different overnight investments. I was just a liaison between the mutual fund and the bank. I would make sure that the mutual fund managers had everything they needed.
Andrew: So when you were walking around the offices of J.P. Morgan and you’d see these guys who were making big bucks, and in New York, and at companies like J.P. Morgan, you can kind of flaunt your wealth, you can flaunt your success, right? Its encouraged because that’s the way to motivate other people, especially the new guys who are coming up. Well, when you saw that, how did you feel? Did you feel motivated? Did you feel like I got to tear the roof off of this building, I got to build something big here?
Ron: Right. After many interviews, that’s the first time anyone’s ever asked me that question. It’s a good question. Honestly, the way I looked at them was I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart and working in a corporate environment was kind of like a means to an end until I figured out how to get my business off the ground. Because I started my business and I was doing that part-time while I was at J.P. Morgan and I just looked at these guys as if they didn’t matter to me how much money they made. Like some of the top, top guys were millionaires but most of the middle manager types that I had relations with had, you know, direct interaction with, they were probably making $200,000, $300,000 but they were working their asses off.
They were like, you know, working 60 to 80 hours a week, you know, never seeing their kids and they were corporate slaves just like me and I just looked at it like that way. I didn’t really want to be like them to be honest. I wanted to have that freedom to, you know, do what I want to do and not have to come in and sit on a cube or sit on an office and have somebody to tell you like OK, you’re five minutes late back from lunch. Like, I didn’t want anyone to have that type of power over me and to be able to fire me whenever they wanted. Just, it wasn’t for me so that’s the way I looked at them.
Andrew: By the way, of all the questions I’ve asked you including the ones where I broke down your revenue and your profits, that’s the one question no one’s asked you? Has anyone ever taken you through your revenue and profits the way that I did, publicly like this?
Andrew: No. How did you feel going through that? We weren’t prepped for that, you didn’t know I was going to go into it.
Ron: Right. Well, I’m a finance guy by trade anyways so it was kind of like, I should know that stuff off the top of my head.
Andrew: But you shouldn’t have to necessarily share and I’ll be honest with you, I was just checking you out as I asked the questions and every time I asked a question I thought well, he’s all right with it, he’s answering it so I better fire away the next question about his financials and then the next one to see how much I could get away with for my audience and you seemed pretty open to it. But I was wondering if you really were or were you just answering because the camera is on you or you were answering because you always are open about this stuff?
Ron: I don’t care.
Andrew: You don’t care.
Ron: There’s a lot making a lot more than me and there are a lot of people making a lot less. I mean, money is just a means to an end to live a lifestyle that you want to live and, you know, I’m doing it. I’m able to spend as much time with my family and kids as I want. I’m at home right now so I work from home. I don’t have a huge staff so, you know, if you [??] I give you an extra $5 million to work another 80 hours a week, I wouldn’t take it. I’m just happy with the way I structured my business around a lifestyle that I want and numbers are just numbers at the end of the day. It’s all about what you want to get out of life.
Andrew: All right. And so you’re at JP Morgan not getting what you wanted out of life and then they asked you to train someone. Who did they ask you to train and why?
Ron: Yes, this was like years later. I’d been at JP Morgan about 5 years at that point and they asked me to train a new financial analyst. I got promoted from Customer Service Rep and then I went into the finance department and back to school. I got my MBA, I became a Charter Financial Analyst, work my ass off. I thought OK, maybe I can make some more money, get a promotion or whatever. And actually I was making over $100,000 and once you’re making over $100,000 and the company’s revenues start to decline, you’re like a target. They’re looking at everybody that’s making over $100,000 and say where can we cut back.
So I was one of the radar and I didn’t even know it and they hired another Financial Analyst and he came in. I think he was making like $70,000 or something and they wanted me to train him and teach him everything I know and I didn’t see the red flag but basically I was training my replacement the whole time. It was kind of cheesy the way they did it and one day they called me in the office and they said ok, we’re going to have a meeting at 1 o’clock, after [??] lunch we’re going to have a meeting at 1. And it was supposed to be a team meeting.
So right around that time, my son was about to be born. This was July, 2007 and my son was going to be born in August of 2007. So a month later and they knew this, they knew I had a kid on the way, I just bought a house they knew about, I had just paid for a house and had my kid on the way and they called me in the office. When I got into the office for the 1 o’clock meeting, it was just me, the CFO and the HR person. And the CFO, the Finance guy for the division. And I knew right away what this was because I’d seen it happen before. And basically they were calling me in to lay me off. And I went in there and they pretty much said that they didn’t have any use for my services anymore, they were restructuring the group and you know sign this form. They gave me a form to sign to get severance and it pretty much released them of any liability if I wanted to get the severance.
So it was, most people would have been crushed by that especially with a kid on the way and we had just bought a house and all that stuff. But to me it was the best thing that had happened to me because I had been building my business part time for the prior six years. So I was making as much from my business as I was from the job. So I kind of just hit the ground running after that I signed that paper, I got out of there, never went on another interview. I went home and I told my wife, I thought she was going to be disappointed. And she was like, well it’s about time, you can (?) your business fulltime. And that’s what I did and then after that was when I started getting on television for my cookbook. I ended up getting on Fox Business, it was my first interview on television. And they went with the line of, they went with the story, a former Wall Street guy quits his job. They said quit, I got laid off. But leaves his job on Wall Street to pursue his passion of cooking. I had this cooking site I had these cookbooks out. And once I had that interview under my belt we started pitching publishing houses to get my book published.
Andrew: You know, let’s slow this down and really break down how you got here. So 2007 is when you were laid off and by then you were doing roughly $100,000 from your side business which you launched three years before. And you launched it on your lunch hour as you and I talked about before. And the idea to even create an online business apparently came to you from a friend of yours who was doing some online marketing, e-mail marketing specifically. Can you tell us about that?
Ron: Right. Right. Well I had gone, when I was with JP Morgan they had this tuition reimbursement program so I went to get my MBA. So I went back to school, to grad school, got my MBA and then I met a guy there at grad school a friend of mine he ended up getting a job after he graduated working for a company that marketed cell phone contracts for AT&T. And what they were doing is really just like unsolicited e-mails they were just spamming the internet trying to get people to sign up for cell phone contracts and they were getting a commission from it I guess from AT&T, that was part of what they did. And he kind of introduced me to the whole e- mail marketing thing. And it was just a great time. I learned it, this was 2002 this happened. Because I got my MBA in 2001. So he kind of introduced me to e-mail marketing. And I just looked it like, wow, I can’t believe you can make money this way. And I started researching what different people were doing online. I started following all the gurus at the time. At the time there was only a handful of like gurus. There was like Corey Ruddell, Mark Joiner, I think Yanik Silver, you know, Ken Evoy. There was like maybe ten of them that were worth following or that were really popular.
Andrew: And these guys were making bank at the time. This is when the internet was post bubble bursting, when most people were down on technology or at least internet based businesses. And these guys are walking around making bank because they’d figured out some funnel for selling information products in most cases. And you’re watching them. And what was it about these guys that especially excited you?
Ron: Just to be able to separate time from money. To be able to make passive income from the internet, to be able to make money while you sleep, while you’re on vacation. To be able to, just the freedom and flexibility to be able to make money from anywhere in the world that there’s an internet connection. That just, something about that was so, so sexy to me. It was just like, this is what I need to be doing. And that’s what I just got in. And from that point on like every day I would study this stuff. It wasn’t like a labor, it was like a labor of love. I mean I got really into it. I was so passionate about it that I wanted to learn everything I could about it and I started trying stuff, started trying to promote stuff as an affiliate. Started trying to get traffic, build a list, you know all that stuff that they were teaching back then, I was actually trying to do it. And the thing that, it was so liberating back then because no one knew me and I didn’t care what anybody thought about me. So nowadays if I want to put out a product I think like okay if this fails it’s going to be kind of embarrassing you know. Back then I didn’t care what failed. I was just throwing stuff against the wall to see what stuck.
Andrew: Even if it was an ugly e-book, even if it was. You know what, we’re going to get in to what your designs look like. Let’s see, you read Corey Ruddell’s book. I guess you bought his e-book about how to do online marketing right?
Andrew: And he’s the one who showed you, or who led you to creating a recipe based business. Can you talk about how you researched this space, and discovered, “Ah-ha, there’s an opening I can jump in.” Because I think that’s interesting, the way that he taught you to research.
Ron: Right. Well, he would always talk about his product. He had a site called Car Secrets. It’s one of his original sites. And just having secrets at the end of the domain; like secrets, something about that was inherently appealing to customers.
And he talked about finding a niche, and his was the car business. One of the things he said was, you know, find what you like, what you’re passionate about, your hobby. If you can find a niche that’s profitable based on that then it works.
So, one of my hobbies at the time was cooking. And I said, “What can I do with secrets related to cooking; cooking secrets, recipe secrets?” So, I came up with Recipe Secrets. I said, “Well, OK. Maybe, I could give some type of secret recipes.”
So, I started doing research. I noticed that 93 million people a month were searching for recipes. And, a good percentage of that niche within that overall mass market were people searching for copycat restaurant recipes; well, secret recipes. Like, “What’s the secret to KFC’s chicken, or Olive Garden lasagna, or Red Lobster’s biscuits?” You know, all these different secret recipes; Cheesecake Factory, and whatnot.
So, I said this will be really cool if I could start. I was really looking for an e-book that I could put on Click Bank to sell. I said, “Maybe I can get some of these recipes together, do a little research. Test them out. Put my own little spin on what they should taste like. Put an e-book together.”
So, that’s what I did. I put an e-book together. I only had 12 recipes, at the time and I called it, “America’s Most Wanted Recipes” And I put out on Click Bank, and I didn’t think much of it. I didn’t put a lot of time into it. I just said, “OK. Let’s see if I can sell this.” And I already had like a small list from doing affiliate marketing. So, I sent it to that list. Like, “Check out these secret recipes. This new e-book gives you 12 of the top secret recipes from America’s favorite restaurants,” or whatnot. Put together a quick sales page, headline, some benefits, call to action and a picture of the e-book. I threw it out there, and it started making sales.
Andrew: It had nothing but 12 recipes in it?
Ron: Twelve recipes.
Andrew: Just 12 recipes. What were you selling the 12 recipe e-book for?
Ron: Yeah, the secret recipe e-book.
Andrew: And part of your research was going to Click Bank, and seeing before you even wrote this book, before you started marketing it, you said, “Who else is selling it? How many other people are selling recipe books at all? How many people are selling this kind of recipe book?” And if they weren’t, then you knew that you had a big market, because 93 million people as you said, were searching for this topic on Google for recipes, with small competition, because there weren’t a lot of people offering it on Click Bank.
Ron: Right. Well, the main thing that got me was nobody was doing that on Click Bank. You know, there was a lot of generic stuff on Click Bank in the cooking market; in the cooking category. But, nobody was doing secret recipes, and I did some research. Then I found that there was another guy that was doing it, and there was a lady that did it in the ’70s. But, they were doing it as physical books, like in the bookstores with low margin. Nobody had an affiliate program for it, because of the low margins.
So, I said if I can do it as an e-book, charge $20 for it, I can give 50% – 60% to affiliates. And that’s more of a commission than they get promoting just about everything else, in the cooking category on Click Bank. There are a lot of sites out there that I could contact, that would be willing to promote it. And that’s what happened. They just saw it as something different. Rather than selling generic cookbooks, or pots and pans, or supplements, or something. They could sell these secret recipes, and it converted better than most of the products out there.
Andrew: And affiliates are hustlers, never mind drug dealers. Drug dealers know how to hustle. Affiliates will out hustle them. I mean, they’ve got creativity, they’ve got tactics that will shame; make drug dealers look like church boys. We’ll get to some of the things they did in a moment. But, you mentioned something I want to follow up on. You had a list of affiliates, or you had a list of potential customers? What did you have when you started out?
Ron: I had a list of customers that I bought, affiliate products that I had promoted.
Andrew: What kind of products did you promote?
Ron: Just products on a Click Bank. I was promoting real estate products. I was promoting make money products. I was promoting diet products.
Andrew: I see. So, you were an affiliate making money by selling other people’s stuff that you’d discovered on Click Bank, the way you were hoping people would sell your stuff. How did you promote those products that you got on Click Bank?
Ron: I would send people to a page where I’d give like a free report. The report would just kind of review different products. So, if they’re interested in that free report, then I know that they’d be interested in the actual product. So I’ve given them this free report that would kind of summarize that the product I’m trying to sell, the main benefits of it. And then I would have a link in the free report to buy the product. And then they’d get on my list and the first e-mail would also sell them on the product as well. So I was doing that back then. And I was building a list like that and making affiliate commissions off of it.
Andrew: I see. So instead of getting an offer off of Click Bank and just promoting the offer, you promoted a report and then that included a link and promotion for the offer itself. I see. And where did you get the traffic for all these offers that you were promoting?
Ron: Well I was using Google AdWords at the time. I was placing small ads on different classified sites, reclassified sites and what not. It wasn’t like a huge business, but it was enough to get me a list of a couple thousand people at the time just doing affiliate marketing.
Andrew: I see. And that’s what you promoted your book to originally and that’s where you got your first sales. How did you get your first affiliates?
Ron: Well, once my product started ranking in the Click Bank marketplace, a lot of them saw it there in the cooking category. And also I started going after affiliates as well. Everybody else that had a product in the cooking category, I said, “I’ll promote your thing if you promote my thing” — that type of thing.
Andrew: I see.
Ron: I started going after just anybody with a cooking site. I had an assistant at the time. I was working at J.P. Morgan at the time but I had a full-time assistant that was working for me.
Andrew: For your business?
Andrew: I see.
Ron: Right so I used to like during my lunch break I would call him and tell him what I needed him to do, give him like, you know, delegate tasks to him and what not.
Andrew: And the task might be, hey, go to CafeMom and find somebody there who could promote our book — our e-book.
Andrew: I see. So let’s talk about what the e-book looked like? What did it look like?
Ron: Ah man it was like – it was so cheesy. It was like the cover, I did myself. I had like a little e-book creator software — e-book cover creator software. And I was awful at graphics. And I had – I was using ClipArt from Microsoft FrontPage gives you a certain amount of free clipart that you can use. And one of them was an image of a chef with a chef hat on — like a clipart image. It was so cheesy looking back on it but it was enough to sell it. I mean I was always told, I used to follow Dan Kennedy and those guys, I was always told that it’s not about the graphics and all that. It’s about the wording, the headline and the capturing people’s attention, the benefits and all that. So that was like old school marketing — a ugly site I did myself on FrontPage and a ugly e-book cover, but said the right things I suppose and used to convert. But after a while once I started making money I started taking it more seriously and hiring – outsourcing certain tasks — graphic design and all that type of stuff.
Andrew: You got into outsourcing pretty early before it was made popular by Tim Ferriss right?
Ron: Yeah back then we didn’t call it outsourcing. It was just like find somebody to do something. You need an e-book cover? Find an e-book cover guy, find a graphics guy.
Andrew: Where did you find people back then?
Ron: Back then I was part of the Warrior forum. I used to find people just looking at signature line I just knew. Just networking with other marketers and asked them who they used. There’s a search engine you can find – just looking in Google you can Google graphic designer or e-book cover designer or whatever.
Andrew: Your sales page, the first one, took you three to four days. It’s kind of tough to write a sales page. What are some of the tactics that you used? You talked about benefits, you talked about the importance of a headline. Was there one thing that you’re especially proud of looking back that you say, “I can’t believe I knew it back then, but that’s what helped me make sales”?
Ron: I would say just having a strong headline just to suck people in. It was discovering the secrets for your family’s favorite restaurant dishes — something like that. I think that’s exactly what I wrote. And people used to — and secret recipes for your family’s favorite restaurant dishes. And people would see that and go like oh, a secret recipe. What I was really doing is kind of leveraging off the popularity of the restaurants. Really look what I did. Like people weren’t buying Ron’s Lasagna. They were buying Olive Garden lasagna. They wanted to know the secret recipes. But I had consulted with a lawyer back then and he told me that you could reverse engineer anything as long as you say it’s your version of it. That’s what I was doing. And I had a huge disclaimer in the book, on the sales page and everything saying that these are copycat recipes, it’s my version of these secret restaurant recipes. And that’s how…
Andrew: And frankly you didn’t even have to create those recipes yourself right? You could just go online; find someone else’s secret recipe, buy one of the books maybe, and look at their secret recipe, learn from how they do it, and come up with your own variation of it.
Ron: Right. But that’s not actually what I did. At first, I kind of used research online like that as a basis for the secret recipes which is why I only had 12 to start out with. Because I actually went in the kitchen and bought the actual product, and compared it for its diversion, and said, “How can I tweak this, add different things to it?” That type of thing. So, I actually did roll up my sleeves; me and my girlfriend at the time; and came up with what I thought were better copycat recipes than the ones that were online. And I only had 12 of them when we put it together, and sold it for $20 bucks.
Andrew: And to note, or collect email addresses you offered a few recipes free, and got people’s email and then you promoted the actual product?
Ron: Right. Well, I had the option I had an exit pop, right on the sales page. So, you know, people go to the sales page, and I say, “Wait. Before you leave, get five of our top recipes.” And a lot of people would just want to get a sample, like five sample recipes.
Andrew: And they were out the door anyway, so you give them five to keep them back in your system, their email.
Ron: You get them on your list, so you have another chance to market to them, then if they like the five recipes, maybe they’ll buy the book.
Andrew: You’re getting that code, because you’re not a coder, you just getting it off where?
Ron: Well, there was software at the time that you can use for exit pops, or whatnot. One time, I had an entrance pop, an opt-in form on the sales page, and an exit pop all on one sales page. At the time, affiliates didn’t really care. I don’t think you can do that nowadays, because affiliates are like, “I’m going to move on, and promote something else.”
But, back then I was building a lot of leads. And affiliates, I think click banks’ cookies are taking 90 days, so the subscribers came back to the site after getting on my list, and boy, the affiliates they would still get their commissions. So, a lot of them understood back then.
Andrew: Let’s see, call to action, guarantee, order button, all very simple. I’m looking at my notes at what you had on your page; attention grabbing headline. You learned all this stuff by buying Corey Ruddell’s [SP] book?
Ron: It wasn’t just him. I studied all the gurus, you know, Yanik, Stauphiatta, [SP]. He had a copyrighting e-book back then. Or it might have been part of his “33 Days to Online Success.” I think one of his chapters was on copyrighting. I bought all types of stuff, studying on the warrior forum, as well. I was on there lurking, and figuring out what people were doing. A lot of it, honestly, was just not actually buying a whole lot of products, but just watching what people were doing. Seeing, “OK. This is how he set that up.” And then, modeling what other people were doing.
Andrew: I see. Seeing how Yanik is selling on his site helps you create your own sales process.
Ron: Right. What was cool is like, and to this day I think it’s the same thing, if you look at what people are doing in the internet marketing niche, like the people trying to sell to customers, trying to sell internet marketing products to internet marketers. They are some of the most jaded, know-it-all, resourceful people there are online, and these guys are selling them products. That marketing is amazing, a lot of times. If you take a lot of the strategies, and you do just half of what they’re doing in outside niches, like cooking, you could make a killing because people that are cooking aren’t as jaded. You know, they haven’t seen the different tactics, and they aren’t turned back by it. They like scarcity, real scarcity in the cooking niche, and people just jump on that like crazy. Like all those different tactics, work like crazy outside of the internet marketing space.
Andrew: I see. I see, versus the internet marketing space, where the customers in their head are very aware of each element of the sales process. As they’re reading scarcity, they’re checking it off a mental list that they have. As they’re reading an attention getting headline, they’re checking if off. They are so expecting it that they’ve got a mental checklist, and they’re gauging your ad against their checklist.
Andrew: All right. In 2005 you lucked out. There was a paper click company that started promoting your e-book. Who are these guys, and how’d they promote it?
Ron: Well, I kind of had an agreement with them not to share exactly who they were. We had like, some type of NDA back then. So, I don’t know who they were. They were a huge paper click company that was just promoting all type of different products, and they caught on to my product, and just blew it up. They were doing $30,000 grand a month in revenue. This was back in 2004, or early 2005 just off my program alone, and I was giving them an extra 15% bonus for any sales over a certain amount. But they just blew up my site so I went from, the first year I started collecting leads I went from like five hundred and something subscribers to like 68,000 subscribers and then the next year after that I got up to like 142,000 subscribers. And most of them was just them. They were my top affiliate. They got me to the number one spot in the click bank market place. And it was just a crazy time.
Andrew: And they were buying pick-, do I understand this right? Tell me if I’ve got this right. They were buying paper click ads and sending the traffic from those clicks to your site and converting on your site.
Ron: Yeah, yeah.
Andrew: And then they’d collect the commission from you and the difference between what they make from you and what they pay for clicks from whatever sources they have, that’s their profit?
Ron; Right. Right. Back then you could get clicks for recipe related keywords for like 10 cents. 10 cents, 15 cents. And you know it converted because not a lot of people were seeing these secret recipes before. So it was running, they were running like I said, 93 million people were searching for either recipe or recipes, they were running ads for the generic root term recipe or recipes and converting that traffic. And I was just building a list and enjoying the passive income. It was just a crazy time.
Andrew: How much were you doing a month back then?
Ron: Back then I was probably doing a little over 50 grand a month back then.
Andrew: 50 grand a month.
Andrew: So how does your life change when you bring in $50,000 a month all of a sudden?
Ron: Well, it makes you want to quit your job, that’s for sure.
Andrew: All right, but beyond that.
Ron: I would say it, I mean they did this for maybe under, a little less than a year. It kept going but I couldn’t believe that, I didn’t know whether they were going to keep going or when they were going to stop or whatever. So it wasn’t like money where I said, okay I’m going to quit my job now and I’m going to keep making 50 grand a month or whatever. It was like, I hope they keep going and I’m going to give them every incentive to keep going.
Andrew: The 50% bonus, the support for.
Ron: It could stop at any moment.
Andrew: But Ron, you’re working hard, you’re coming up with this idea, you’re taking a risk on your reputation by putting artwork up that you’re not crazy about, by trying all kinds of tactics that who knows how effective they’ll be or how they’ll be perceived years later. You finally crack the code, you bring in revenue. Your life doesn’t change at all? You don’t end up buying yourself something nice? You don’t end up living a better life in any way, do you?
Ron: Yeah, I bought a house, I bought a car, you know. The rest of it I was just banking, I was banking a lot of money just trying to save up because I knew…
Andrew: You just did it so you could see the numbers or largely so you can see a number grow in a bank account?
Ron: Well it’s best to invest as well. I bought a couple of investment properties eventually. I was in the stock market, I was doing a lot of different things like that. But I didn’t go out and buy a Ferrari or anything like that. I was just kind of planning for the future. You know my daughter was on the way, I was getting married, things like that. I’ve never been a flashy guy. I’ve always been like kind of like a finance cheap guy I suppose.
Andrew: Okay. All right, the people who you’re reaching. They’re not savvy enough to expect a time pressure on a sales process or to expect the pop up on exit that’s going to offer them something. I mean, these are Mom and Pop buyers. They don’t even know what an e-book is, right?
Ron: Back then a lot of them didn’t. A lot of them thought they were buying a physical book. Which kind of sucked because it created like a customer service nightmare. So that actually inspired me to create my first physical book. So I just took that e-book. You know eventually I was improving the site, adding more recipes to it. You know I got to the point where I had two volumes of the book. Each had over 125 recipes in it. And I really got, this became my thing you know. Started a forum on the site. But just the customer service nightmare of having to explain to people that this is an e- book and it wasn’t a physical book, a physical cookbook, because people like physical cookbooks, that prompted me to create a physical cookbook and for everybody that complained I said well you can pay $5.95 shipping and I’ll send you the physical book as well just to avoid the refunds because I didn’t want my affiliates that were out promoting it to have to deal with a lot of refunds. I wanted them to keep promoting.
Andrew: I see. So they didn’t have to pay for the book. If they bought the e-book and they gave you some shipping and handling cash you’d send them a physical copy of the book?
Ron: Right. Right. And I was sending it media mail so I mean six bucks would pay for everything, you know, pay for $2.50 for the actual book. It was only $1.50 or so to send a book through media mail back then, and with the fulfillment service and everything else, about $6.00 covered everything.
Andrew: So, I’m on your site right now, and I see the form that you talked about. Why’d you launch a forum?
Ron: I was talking to a few different marketers back then and asking about how I could improve the site. They said “Well, it is a cooking site, maybe you can add a forum to it.” I said that it would be a great idea to have a community on the site where people can share recipes and submit recipes that we could test out and maybe add to some of our books. We added it and used a free form software. I think it was PHP Bulletin Board back then. We installed it and we had an email list so we started sending people from the email list to the forum by featuring different content in the forum, featuring different content such as “Share your favorite recipe for this,” “what did you have for dinner today? Share with us at the forum.” Come interact.
Andrew: People are voting on who should be president in this forum. “Should Al Gore run for president?” It’s e-book of the month club, but it is a pain in the butt to keep track of a forum. Was the forum overall effective?
Ron: It was huge because It got us a lot of search engine traffic. Before we added the forum we were just a one page sale site but after we added the forum we became a community. We became an authority site. We would have 60,000 pages listed in Google. We would get a lot of traffic just from user generated content, from people having that discussion on different topics in the forum, on key words that we would have never thought of ourselves. Andrew: How do you convert that traffic into orders? I’m clicking, even in incognito mode on my browser, I’m opening up your forum pages. I don’t see adds there. I don’t see anything that…
Ron: There should be an add on the right for the cookbook.
Andrew: Ah, right. So that is basically how you do it?
Ron: The registration for the forum is integrated with our auto responder. So if you sign up for the forum you are automatically on our list. We give you five sample recipes and then try to sell you on a cookbook.
Andrew: I got it. OK.
Ron: Without that, we make a lot of money on the forum just on the adds. We have an agreement with a couple of different add networks, besides just Google AdSense. W were part of the [??] network for a while, until that deal expired recently. We were part of ValueClick Media with another network. We get close to $3.50 CPM. For every 1000 impressions we get $3.50, so it works out to a nice passive chunk of income over the month. We get close to 2,000,000 impressions on the site overall, for the month.
Andrew: All right. So, you mentioned Ianic [SP], I keep bringing up Ianic because I happen to know him better than the other people who you brought up. I have had dinner with him and his wife. I have gotten to know him a little bit, but not too much because the guy does travel a ton. He’ll come out for drinks a lot. I don’t know how he gets to do a lot of works, and he’ll travel a lot, so I don’t know him super well. He keeps telling me to raise my prices. He charges a lot for his product. I think it’s hundreds of dollars; $1000 to $2000 for his event where you spoke recently, and here you are charging tens of dollars. Were you able to raise your prices anywhere near Ianic’s in this niche?
Ron: That is the problem with this niche. People aren’t willing to spend a lot of money because in the recipe related stuff. Unless you are coming to their house and are going to cook for them, people are not going to pay you $1000. What they will do though, since it is a higher volume niche, so they will sign up for something like a membership site. I have a few different membership sites that are between $10 and $20 a month. They’ll stick long- term if they’re getting quality content or good stuff from you. That was what I was able to do. My model in the cooking market was a little bit different. It was more like “get continuity from different membership programs.” We were selling the book on the front end but, but trying to up- sell them on continuity programs. Not high-ticket but more continuity based.
Andrew: So, what’s a continuity program?
Ron: I have a site. Well, I have two of them. I have one that’s a partnership with WebCookingClasses.com and it’s a chef, Todd More [SP], a trained chef who provides online cooking classes, kind of like a chef school but, online. I up-sell when people buy my e-book on I up-sell them into his continuity program and I just send him a check at the end of the month for 50% of all the profits that come to my Click Bank account. I collect the money through Click Bank. He provides the service and I pay him half of whatever profits I get.
Andrew: I see.
Ron: I used to have a site called sendmerecipes.com; I just got rid of the site recently it kind of died out. But, I used to send specialty recipes like diabetic recipes, low carb recipes, low fat recipes, and things like that. People used to get three recipes a day; it was a meal planning service. I had a partnership with cooking software called Big Oven. I used to license their software and provide it to my members as part of their membership. I ran that for about four years and that did well.
These days, I have another membership, it is a cookbook of the week club. What I do is find other cooking sites that have cooking e-books and I tell them: ‘listen, I will promote your cooking e-book, I have a list of 260,000 people, if you give me a free copy of the e-book to give to my members of my cookbook of the week club.’ So, people donate their e-books to give for free to the cookbook of the week club and I in turn promote their cookbook or their e-book as an affiliate.
Andrew: Makes sense. All right, let’s talk a little bit more about the affiliates. These are the guys who I consider to be mercenaries. They will fight for you for money and they will come up with tactics that you never would have imagined. What are some of the more aggressive, creative tactics that affiliates have taken on your behalf?
Ron: Do you want me to talk about the one that got me in trouble?
Andrew: Let’s talk about some of the good stuff first, before we get into the one got you into trouble.
Ron: All right.
Andrew: Because, this is how you built up your business, they are very creative. What are some of the creative things that they did?
Ron: What they will do is they will find keywords that get a lot of traffic, like long tail keywords. They will create a whole site just around that one keyword. They will buy the domain name, an exact match with that keyword in it. They will create a blog and they will put a bunch of content up. They will get a bunch of links to that and try to link number one for that particular keyword. They will refer people to your product from that keyword.
In that way, I had competitors that did not have an affiliate program and they really did not stand a chance online because they had all these affiliates dominating all the different keywords related to my link. That is one of the things affiliates like to do. They get traffic from anywhere they can, anywhere from popup ads on other sites to CPV campaigns.
Andrew: What was that last one?
Ron: CPV campaigns.
Andrew: What is that, Cost Per View?
Ron: Yes. Cost Per View. Cost Per View is networks like Traffic Vents [SP], Media Traffic [SP], I think is one of them. They have software from different games and different applications that are installed on people’s computers . . .
Andrew: I see.
Ron: . . .they have an agreement, people sign the agreement, whether they know it or not, they sign over the agreement to display these ads. So, when people go to different sites someone with that software on their computer might go to foodnetwork.com an ad would popup. They may think the ad is a popup off of Food Network but, really, the ad is being triggered from that software on that site. It is not something I recommend.
Andrew: Right. You have affiliates they are doing everything.
Ron: That is what affiliates are doing. I have people coming to my site thinking that I am endorsed by foodnetwork.com, thinking I am endorsed by Epicurious, and some of the other big cooking sites, cooking.com. They would just run pop-ups on these sites and send me the traffic through their affiliate [??].
Andrew: All right. Then they started doing something that got you in trouble. You were not in the wrong, I do not think, from have seen. But, what did they do?
Ron: I had a competitor who had a trademark.
Andrew: Who is the competitor?
Ron: I cannot say. I have a settlement agreement with them.
Andrew: You cannot say. . .
Ron: Yes. His name at all.
Ron: Because of the settlement agreement. But, basically, he is pretty easy to find if you search for secret recipes, he is one of the top guys.
Andrew: That is exactly what I was about to do. I am doing it right now. What did they do?
Ron: He had a trademark on his product’s name, on his cookbook’s name, on his site’s name. They saw that he was getting a lot of traffic because he got a lot of publicity. But, he was on Oprah, he was on every TV show.
Andrew: I think I might even have seen him on CNN recently. If it’s Todd Wilbur, and I don’t know if it is, but if it is then I think I just saw him recently on CNN. He seems to be everywhere. So whoever it is had a trademark
Ron: I think it’s hard to deny but basically, you know, they would use his trademark to send traffic to my site and he was my main competitor and people would come to my site, buy my products, and then do their affiliate link basically off of the strength of his trademark and he didn’t like that and I didn’t like it either. I didn’t like affiliates doing it but how do you stop every affiliate? Like, a lot of times you don’t even know who the affiliates are. Can’t even contact, really, every one. So, affiliates can get you in trouble in that way by using trademark terms and what I didn’t know was he would come after me directly.
Andrew: Instead of going after the affiliates who were doing this.
Ron: Yeah. Exactly, exactly. Because he hates me. I’m a competitor so he comes after me directly. And the thing about lawsuits, and I’m glad he did this, in 2011. I’m glad he did this in 2011 instead of doing it in 2004 because I would have been done, like I would have been out of business in 2004. In 2011, I had enough money to survive and I had more than enough money to pay for a lawsuit. So, what happened was, we ended up settling out of court and I remember my lawyer telling me that you’re probably right in this case, you’ll probably win the case. I can make you right, I can make you vindicated, we can go to court but do you want to spend 150 grand to do it?
A federal trademark lawsuit, just going through the whole process, the paperwork, the research, the dispositions, all the discovery involved in it, the lawyer putting in time to build your case, build your defense and everything. And the trademark lawyers, you can’t find one for less than $300 an hour. So it was just crazy. So, 150 grand minimum just to get in front of the judge and then if he would have found me guilty I’d would have had to pay another x amount. So I said, nah, I don’t want to be, I don’t need to be vindicated that bad. And the other guy, you know, you know, it’s like with lawsuits is the funny thing is it works both ways and he wasn’t like filthy rich either where he wanted to blow 150 grand with, it wasn’t a slam dunk case obviously, and I guess shortly after he saw that first, that first bill.
Everybody is like in pursuit of truth, justice, and the American Way until they see that first invoice. Until they see that, wait a minute, how much am I going to spend with this thing? So he saw that and all of a sudden he eased off his position and wanted to settle. So we ended up settling out of court and saved a lot of money that way. So I obviously had to tell my affiliates and Click Bank if anybody’s doing that, any of my affiliates I got to tell Click Bank and Click Bank can either alert them to stop or abandon their affiliate account or what not. So that’s basically what happened with that. You’ve got to be careful because people will come after you for what your affiliates do.
Andrew: Sometimes, they’ll do it just to knock you out. Even if they have no real case, they just want to drown you in paperwork and legal fees and waste your time and get you a little bit scared.
Ron: Yeah. They can literally put you out of business. Literally.
Andrew: You know there’s something else I’ve been meaning to ask you. When I look at your site I see logos for ABC, for Fox News, for People Magazine. You’ve been in a bunch of media. How do you get all this press?
Ron: Well, I had a good publicist at the time and I had a good angle. My angle was I found the copycat, well the media kind of ran with the story that I had cracked the code to KFC’s secret recipe for their original chicken and they were known for having that secret recipe that no one knew with 11 herbs and spices and what not. So, what happened was, we came out with that press release and my publicist had a, his girlfriend worked at the New York Post, and he contacted her and we said what story can we go with? And she loved the KFC angle. She was like that’s going to be huge. So she sent a reporter out to my house to see. I was suppose to cook for him and make the chicken and see if it’s an exact match. And when he got here my wife kind of charmed him and cooked for him and what not. I cooked the chicken and he had dinner at our house. We kind of hit it off with him and when he left he said it was the best KFC chicken he had ever tasted.
Andrew: Oh wow.
Ron: So he reported that back to the New York Post and all along I was saying that it’s just a copycat recipe. I don’t know what their real recipe is. But the media kind of sensationalized this thing, and then ran with the story. Then all of a sudden I was the guy that cracked the code of KFC’s recipe.
Andrew: Because KFC has secret herbs and spices, secret process, and here you are, you apparently discovered it. You’re saying “No, I didn’t discover it” but they need you to be the guy that cracked it, because that makes for a better story.
Ron: Exactly, exactly. That month, I mean I was everywhere, all of the different FOX stations, FOX and Friends, FOX Good Day, New York. I was even over in Australia. They sent me to New York City to film the Today Show in Australia. I went over there, I think it was six o’clock at night, and it was just morning time there, and they had me on the Today Show in Australia. I sold a lot of books over there. It was just a crazy, crazy time.
Ended up getting on Home Shopping Network, I was on Home Shopping Network, physically selling my book. I was on that show seven times, sold out four out of seven times, I believe.
Andrew: Was it just because you had an interesting story and one outlet picked up on it, then the rest took over, or was your PR person so good that you were able to just keep getting hits?
Ron: Well, publicity in my case, it kind of dominoed, it had a snowball effect. Because, all the local stations, here in New York, they look at the newspapers, to see “OK, is there any good stories in the newspapers that we can run with?” Once they saw my story in the New York Post, then it got in New York Newsday a week later. They started saying “We got to have this guy on.”
It was a combination of my publicist contacting them, and he had some contacts as well, saying “Did you see the story, my guy is in the New York Post. You guys need to run the story, it’s hot right now.” Combination of that, and a combination of them just seeing it and contact us, like this is the hot story. It was one of the hot trends on Google Trends, it was just a hot story at the time. For a period of about two or three weeks, it was a major thing.
I did dozens of interviews, I was doing one interview, and then going right in to another interview. I did the Wendy Williams show one time, and after her show I got into a black car, and a publicist hands me the phone, and I’m doing an interview with some radio show. It’s crazy.
I was preparing food to go to Good Day New York, and the local Channel 11 News here in New York, WPIX, they contacted me and said, “We need to have you on, we want to have you on our news show tonight.” I was like, “I’m about to go do Good Day New York, and I’m here cooking, and I’m about to go get in a black car and leave.” They said “Well, can we just send a guy over there to interview you while you’re cooking?” They were interviewing me as I was preparing to go to another interview. They didn’t care, they just wanted to have the story, it was that type of craziness.
Andrew: Do you miss those days?
Ron: Well, part of me does, just being in the limelight all the time, but it was so tiring, because I’m an introvert. I would come home just exhausted. A lot of times I would have to be there like five in the morning to do a morning show, and I’d have to have food ready. I’d stay up all night and go there just for a 10 minute interview. It was a great time, while it lasted, but now I have that resume to build off of. I get publicity here and there, but it was nothing like that crazy trend like that.
Andrew: Your sales peaked back then, or they peaked in the past, then they’ve gone down since their high. How does that feel? How do you deal with that, on a personal level?
Ron: Well, I just see it as a one time crazy thing that just happened. My first book, I ended up selling over 700,000 copies, just the first book. Since then, I’ve produced three additional books, I have another one coming out. All in the same America’s Most Wanted Recipes series. It made me a New York Times Bestseller. It got me a lot of publicity, now I can use that publicity to do other things. I could teach people how to self-publish, or how to get a book deal. I do webinars.
I’m still heavily in the internet marketing biz-op world. A lot of my contacts are in that space, and sell in that space. I do a lot of different webinars teaching people how to build their own platform, how to build a following, different things like that. It helped out.
Andrew: I see. What’s your product in the business opportunity space?
Ron: I have a list building product. I have a how to write a cookbook and sell it product. I have a product on traffic generation. I have that video forward site. I was doing a coaching program for awhile, but I’m probably going to open it up again. I just dabble in different things. I have a list, I promote other people’s webinars as an affiliate. The cooking niche is still my main thing, but I dabble in the biz-op space as well.
Andrew: Since we’re talking a little bit about publicity, can you tell me about the person whom you know that generated publicity for a strip club?
Ron: Oh yeah.
Andrew: Who is this guy, and what did he do? I see a big smile suddenly coming on your face.
Ron: He’s a funny guy. Vegas Vince. He’s one of …
Andrew: Vegas Vince?
Ron: Yeah, that’s his name
Ron: [??] You can look him up on Google, baby. Vegas Vince. What he did was he interviewed me on his web talk radio show. I think it’s Blog Talk Radio. It’s a platform where people have interviews on different topics on a blog. It gives you your own radio show on their blog, and they host it for you.
I did an interview with him, and he was telling me about how he was trying to get promotion for a gentleman’s club in Florida. One of the ways he used the local media was the gentleman’s club opened up, and what he did was he hired picketers to come and protest the gentleman’s club. Like “Close this place down. No more smut! This place needs to be shut down”!
He hired these picketers, and then he contacted the media saying “This new gentleman’s club opened up [??] they’re picketing right now.” so the media brought their cameras down there, and all of a sudden that created tremendous awareness that there was a new gentleman’s club in the area. He was able to get a lot of free publicity just from that when he had hired the picketers himself. I thought that was so funny.
Andrew: Do you ever do anything like that? Maybe try to get one of the big restaurants whose recipes you copy to send you a cease and desist, or to battle with you, or to do anything like what your friend did?
Ron: Nah. I was trying to stay away from getting in any type of trouble with the big restaurants. While I know it’s completely legal to reverse engineer recipes and sell a book on your own copycat recipes and whatnot, I also know if they come after me and sue me I would have to defend myself and pay to do that.
Andrew: Right, it gets expensive.
Ron: I’ve stayed in good graces with them. Actually, when I go on interviews I give them credit. I say “Listen, if you want the authentic version go to the restaurant, buy it there first, and then compare my version versus theirs.”
Andrew: I saw a Newsweek article with you where you specifically said “People can’t create the KFC chicken in their home, because they don’t have the equipment for it.” What you’re basically saying is it’s not possible to duplicate them.
Ron: It’s true. If you ever go by a KFC or walk by you smell the aroma a block away. That’s because they have these high powered pressure fryers that you can’t get at home. It’s an industrial pressure fryer, and it has to have a vent that goes out to the street. It’s impossible to create that same texture.
Andrew: Why do people want to make this at home? KFC chicken is like a buck for five pieces. Why don’t they just go to KFC?
Ron: It’s like a hobby for a lot of people. They just want to do it just to say they did it.
Ron: “Check out my version of it. It tastes just like KFC.” You can create the crispy version of it at home. You can get pretty close to it, but you can’t create the original [gummy] texture and all that.
Andrew: Alright, let me do a quick plug here and let people know if they’re Mixergy Premium members and they want to do a follow up on this interview that they should go check out…I was thinking of what course was best to recommend, but there’s one that stood out of all of them.
That’s the one with Max Teitelbaum of WhatRunsWhere where he says exactly how he bought ads when he was doing what Ron used to do; which is buy ads, then send that traffic to an affiliate program, and collect the difference between what it costs for the ads and what the affiliates pay.
What’s great about his course is he shows you exactly how to spy on your competitors to see where they’re buying ads, to see which of their ads are working best, and how you can get someone else to create a similar ad for you with all the key elements of the ones that are working best. You can then use that ad wherever those ads are working for your competitors to get traffic for your site. It works whether you’re promoting affiliate programs for other people, or going to buy ads for your self.
That’s just one of the dozens and dozens of courses taught by real entrepreneurs like Max that are available to anyone that is a Mixergy Premium member. Just go to Mixergypremium.com if you’re a member, and click on any course you want. Those are members only, and available to you.
If you’re not a Mixergy Premium member I hope you sign up right now so you can get that class, and all those others. If you’re not 100% happy then I’ll give you your money back, but I’m sure you will be. Just like thousands of other people that have signed up for Mixergy Premium. Go to Mixergypremium.com. Hey, Ron. As a sales person, as a guy that knows call to action, what could I have done to make that pitch a little bit better?
Ron: Just then?
Andrew: Yes. You watched me give the pitch; what could I have done to make it better?
Ron: Let me talk about some of the other benefits of joining besides just getting the course, like will that course teach you to do or will enable you to do, like maybe talk, maybe a better close like call to action, like maybe if you had some type of a deadline like we’re offering right now for premium members listening to this. You know, if you order by this date we’ll give you a discount. I don’t know if you could of did that or not, but maybe some type of urgency to…
Andrew: Right. I didn’t have the urgency the way that you had it.
Ron: Most people will, I’m not saying you’re not as good of a sales person. You’re probably one of the masters. But I’m just saying my constructive comments are just like…
Andrew: What do you think I should put into [??]? I should ask my customers instead of you. But you know what? You’re here. I’m going to ask you and then maybe the audience will see that I’m curious about outside opinions and start sending me their feedback on what I should add.
But as someone who’s created membership programs, what do you think I should add to mine beyond the courses?
Ron: Well, I’ve been seeing that you membership program, to be honest, I mean besides just courses maybe, I mean I don’t know if you have it or not, like check lists. People love check lists. People want just lists of, like here’s what you do. If you want to do your own webinar, it’s like you break it down, here’s a check list of everything it should include, that type of thing.
You could have maybe some type of software or applications that people can actually use to improve their business. And if they stay as a member they have unlimited access to it. That’s one of the strongest things you could do. I mean if you have some type of software people can use and they implement it as part of their business and if they drop their access they can’t use the software anymore, you know.
Like I see a lot of people that put like an order responder as part of their membership or hosting or something, something just to get that particular application of software ingrained in the person’s business so they’re using it and if they drop out they no longer can have the benefits of the…
Andrew: That’s something the software has that I think education, would have a really tough time matching. It’s possible that it would be really tough. It’s that, the way that it embeds itself in your business. Like I had Wufoo on, surveys that are beautiful, they function incredibly well, I had them on as a sponsor about two, maybe even as far back as three or four years ago. I added them to my site because they’re fantastic, and I still love them, but if I ever found something better I don’t know how I would remove Wufoo from my site.
I’d have to go back and find every blog post and every page that includes a Wufoo form and take it down and then replace it with the equivalent of the new stuff. It would be really tough, maddening.
Ron: Right. You know, I use HyperTracker.
Andrew: What’s that?
Ron: I have HyperTracker. It’s like a link tracking software. It gives you, ad and stuff you want to track the performance of your campaign. And I have a lot of different campaigns out there that occasionally I might get a sale from like old campaigns or something and I use the HyperTracker link for. And I’ve used so many, like dozens and dozens of HyperTracker links that if I ever stopped playing their annual fee I would have to go in and find all those links and change all of those links and…
Ron: You know, I run adds with like emails adds with other companies that I’ve used those links in the ads. And it would just be such an inconvenience to cancel it. So stuff like that, man.
Andrew: So you embed yourself in someone’s life.
Ron: Right, right.
Andrew: Then those customers become really passionate because if there’s a feature you need, you’re not going to sit on your hands. You’re going to have to tell them about this feature. You’re going to have to work with them to improve it.
Andrew: All right. Let me say this, usually at this point in the interview I tell people to thank the guest the way that I always do if they got anything out of it. But, something interesting happened to me. I’m looking through my notes here. What do I want to say? Oh, that’s what I want to talk about.
I had drinks last night with this guy, Justin Mayer, and I asked him how did he end up writing a book with the guy who I happen to know. And he said, “Oh, easy, Andrew. I heard him do an interview on Mixergy and I just shot him an email and started a conversation with him, and I ended up co- authoring a book with him.
They’re working on a book right now called Attract-, I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s about traction. This is with Gabriel Weinberger, past Mixergy guest that Justin liked and connected with. And he did the same thing with another past Mixergy guest that he connected with as a result of just reaching out and saying, “Hello. Thank you.”
So, I always say this at the end of my interviews, that if you got anything out of my interviews or out of anything else online, reach out to the person who helped out, reach out to the person who’s information you found useful. Don’t just sit back and be a passive observer of life, be active. And shoot them an email and say thank you. It could start a relationship that I don’t know where it will go, but from what I’m noticing in the feedback that I get from people who’ve done it, it tends to go really well, just like it did for Justin.
So I’m going to start off by saying to you, Ron, thank you, and I hope some people in the audience will follow along and do the same thing. Thanks for doing this interview.
Ron: Thank you, Andrew. I appreciate that. And just like you said, if anyone has something that they want to contact me about, feel free to, you know. I return emails. I can be reached on Face-book or whatnot. And, again, thank you for letting me on. It’s a huge honor or seeing some of the other guest that have been on Mixergy and you guys do an amazing job. You guys have some stories on that are really remarkable and it’s just an honor to be amongst those success stories.
Andrew: Thank you. I’m glad that you’re on here. And your website is RonDouglas.com, if they want to keep up with what you’re up to?
Andrew: All right. We’ll send them there. Thank you all for being a part of it.
Walker Corporate Law – Scott Edward Walker is the lawyer entrepreneurs turn to when they want to raise money or sell their companies, but if you’re just getting started, his firm will help you launch properly. Watch this video to learn about him.
Mixergy Premium Membership – When you’re facing a tough business problem, like, “How do I get customers?” Where do you go? If you do a Google search for those kind of issues, you end up with a poorly-written, link-bait article. With Mixergy’s premium membership, proven entrepreneurs turn on their computers and teach you their techniques for getting customers, or press, or new employees, or anything else that you need to be an incredible entrepreneur who leaves a mark on the world. Mixergy.com/premium, check it out.