After a year of publishing The Total Package™, our Alexa ranking – the service that tells you how you rate in terms of traffic – is around 35,000. That means, we get more traffic than roughly 99.93% of all the websites out there.
Not bad – right?
Well get this: Ken’s website, www.sitesell.com weighs in with an Alexa ranking of 200. That means of the 50 million sites on the web, he gets more traffic than 49,999,800 of them.
Imagine – a small businessman who doesn’t spend a single penny on PPC … who never buys banner ads or TV spots to drive traffic to his sites … in fact, never spends a nickel advertising – and he still gets more traffic than ibm.com!
Not only that: Type the word “sell” into Google and guess what? Ken’s site generally appears in the first 10 or 11 listings. Those aren’t sponsored ads, amigo – Google just figures that if you’re interested in selling, you’ll be interested in Ken’s site!
So how does he do it?
Glad you asked – that’s what this issue is all about!
I spent an hour on the phone with this Internet miracle man a few days ago – seemed like 30 seconds. His unique approach to building world-beating traffic is already helping me – I’m betting he’ll make you a bundle, too!
So whaddaya say – want to listen in?
Here goes …
Clayton Makepeace: Why don’t we get started with a little bit about your background? I understand you originally trained as a medical doctor in Canada.
Ken Evoy: Yep, I used to teach and practice emergency medicine at McGill as an emergency doc.
Clayton Makepeace: What made you decide to set that aside and get more involved in Internet marketing?
Ken Evoy: I started at Montreal’s Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical System and after a couple of years of wrangling with the government in a socialized medical system, decided that medicine was a wonderful hobby, but it shouldn’t be a lifetime profession because I was going to be doomed to be slaves to the state.
That’s whenI decided to start a business.
My wife and I started in a toy design business and we became Canada’s most prolific toy inventing and licensing company, having sold 23 different toys and games.
I had a little niche investing hobby which I had developed myself and which was ruthlessly, methodically profitable. And one day I’d been hearing about this thing called “The Net” – and I began wondering if I could use the Internet to get the data that I need for my little investing hobby.
Now, I’m sure you remember the first time you went on the Internet. You do a search on something you’re interested in and it’s just like the lights go on. It was mind-boggling. Even back then, somewhere around ’96, it was all there.
It took me about one month of using the Internet as a consumer to realize that it was the ultimate niche marketing vehicle and that I could use it to reach other people interested in my particular little area. I began wondering if I could take my piece of my little database and turn it into a piece of software.
Over the course of the next year, I taught myself basically how to write sales copy. Then, I had to figure out how the search engines worked. And finally, I had to work out how to convert my little database into a piece of software that people could use.
The deal was, we were only going to sell 1,000 copies of this investing software for $1,000 each. I knew if more than 1,000 people were using my approach, it would stop working.
I figured it would take us about three years to reach that sales goal – but in a year and a half we had sold out of the product. Today, people still find the site and they call offering $3,000, $5,000, $10,000 for the program. But I just tell them, “it’s not for sale at any price.”
That was the beginning.
I’d been taking notes along the way and so my next idea was, “Geeze – I should turn this experience into a book to help other folks market online." That book became Make Your Site Sell! which really took the internet by storm back then. Using a completely unique affiliate program, the book has sold over 100,000 copies, all by ourselves without any major publisher, without selling it through any big companies.
That started a brand of books for us: Make Your Knowledge Sell, Make Your Price Sell, Make Your Words Sell.
Next, I started realizing that even with a great “how-to” book like Make Your Site Sell!, a lot of people can’t break through all the barriers the HTML, CGI, FTP, and search engine mastery and make it work. The average person reads and understands it but then is just baffled by the details: “Which is the best brainstorming software? Which is the best search engine optimizing software? Where should I host?”
That’s really where our core concept of a product that would combine a process, the theory with every single tool that you would possibly need at each step of the way. In other words, use technology to make technology disappear, and let the small businessperson focus on what they know well.
Clayton Makepeace: I’ve noticed that your company is ranked in the top 200 by Alexa. That means your sitesell.com site gets more traffic than ibm.com and walmart.com – and yet until you and I met, I’d never seen a single paid ad driving folks to your site.
How do you drive that kind of traffic to your site? I mean the last time I checked our Alexa ranking was at about 35,000!
Ken Evoy: If you’re in the top 100,000 that’s very good. If you’re in the top 50,000 you’re basically in the top, you know there are about 50 million websites out there, so that puts you in the top tenth of a percent. So you’re doing an awful lot of stuff well Clayton.
But to get inside the top 500 and the top 250 is pretty rarified air. And you’re right, we don’t spend a penny on advertising. It’s all word of mouth.
It’s very gratifying to see daughters recommending it to their fathers and vice versa. And people telling it to their friends at work who then tell it to their spouse at home. It’s a real testimony to how well the product works.
It really boils down to people. 99.9% of small businesses online just start all wrong. We’re ten years into e-commerce now, as I was saying, everybody starts out thinking monetization: “I want to put up a store. I’m going to do auctions. I’m going to be an affiliate.”
That’s off-line thinking. You know you can put up a store on the corner of 57th and 5th in New York City and get walk in traffic, but online there’s no such thing as passer-bys. And every single person who comes to your website arrives there because they’ve clicked.
Nobody comes by accident. Nobody happens to walk past your website.
So you have to go right back to the basics and ask yourself, how do people use the Internet? They use it to search for information, for solutions, for cures, whatever it is that they’re doing they use it to search.
Way back when I wrote Make Your Site Sell! I called search engines the very, very best bargains in the world. Imagine an organization that does nothing but send you qualified targeted, editorially generated leads all day long for free!
It was almost too good to be true. I worried that this flow of free leads couldn’t last forever – sooner or later, the search engines would have to find a way to make money and that they’d have to begin charging websites for sending leads to them.
Instead though, Google figured out how to sell targeted advertising while still providing the basic search service for free.
The reason Google is worth billions today, Clayton, is because most sites never figure out how to drive their own traffic. So they have to buy advertising to generate that traffic.
The beauty is that Google needs content sites or else they have no editorial to sell. So in fact sites that create content are more valuable than ever.
The best way for a small business with no existing brand online to succeed is to start at square zero by creating content. If you offer people the quantity and quality of content they’re looking for, the search engines will find you and send masses of qualified leads to you.
Sounds simple, but there’s an art and a science to how you create that content. You have to make sure your pages have enough of the page hooks and key words people are searching for in the right spots: In the title, in the META keyword tag on in your text, for example.
Those are just the basics, though. Search engines are getting more sophisticated all the time. Their job is to serve up the quality of content their users are looking for. And to do that, they’re figuring out more and more ways to track human behavior.
They track what users were doing before they clicked the link on the search engine’s results page … which page they’re clicking to … what they do when they’re on the site … and even what they do after they visit the site.
They’re asking the question, “Did this person enjoy this website?” If the answer is “Yes,” your traffic is likely to increase. If not, you could be dead in the water.
Now, you can go about maximizing traffic from search engines two ways. You can do what’s called SEO (search engine optimization), the way a professional does it, which is really about manipulating the engines.
You’re doing things specifically for the engines. And every now and then when Google makes a major change, it’s called “A Google Dance” – and you may have to make big changes fast.
When that happens, search engine optimizers will wail as if Google somehow owed them a living.
But if you’re building truly good content you’re both pleasing the human and you’re pleasing the search engine. And if you do that you won’t get hurt. Even if you get caught up in an algorithmic change, you’ll come back.
Ultimately quality content builds traffic and it builds targeted traffic.
So our model is something we call CTPM – or “Content, Traffic, Pre-sell, Monetize.” Provide the “Content” and the “Traffic” will follow. If the content is high-quality, it “Pre-sells” your website visitor, which makes them more likely to make a purchase, allowing you to “Monetize” your investment.
My daughter’s website – Anguilla-beaches.com is a great example of this principle. She’s only 17 now, and started the site when she was 14 – and it’s the #1 website in the world on Anguilla.
She spent maybe an hour or two hours per week building content on her site over those three years. And it’s a charming site – about a family’s adventures, favorite restaurants, hotels, and little misadventures throughout the island.
People just love the site. When we go to Anguilla, I see people nudging each other in the restaurant pointing at my daughter. The owner of the clothes stores won’t let her buy clothes. For her, they’re free. A prominent chef at a major resort comes out and panders to her. She has become a celebrity on her island.
The fact is, everybody has an island of expertise. Your goal online should be first and foremost to establish yourself as an expert. You don’t have to be “THE” expert – just an expert who provides great content. Nobody ever visits one site in any given niche and never goes anywhere else.
But if you do that, you now have mastered CTP: Content builds traffic and pre-sells. Now, monetizing is a snap!
My daughter monetizes by selling Google ads on her site and makes $1,000 to $2,000 a month. She also recommends a local real estate agency that has her on a retainer of $1,000 a month. She also makes money from the local businesses she recommends.
That’s why I created my “Site Build It!” product – to help everyday people build websites that automatically generate huge traffic, pre-sell visitors and make monetizing that traffic a snap. Let me tell you: Watching people who thought they were otherwise ordinary, really blossom, is a kick!
Local businesses are really starting to get the CTPM message. It’s surprising in this day and age, but 60% of local businesses still do not have a website. They somehow don’t quite grasp that you don’t have to be a global business to profit on the Web – or that the Internet can turn local businesses into global businesses.
The son of a dear friend of mine had an asphalt ceiling business in Montreal – which meant his business worked only about one month each year. The rest is winter.
He started out creating a high-content website to boost his local business. That content attracted huge search engine traffic and pre-sold his site visitors – and now he sells asphalt ceiling kits all around the world!
Clayton Makepeace: As an old direct mail marketer myself, it occurs to me that what you’re talking about here is essentially the advertorial approach that we’ve used so successfully in direct mail. Instead of going directly with a benefit oriented headline and shouting, “Lose 50 pounds in 50 days!,” we provide content up front in our promotions that demonstrates our expertise and the fact that we’re champions for the reader.
By doing that, we eliminate the “salesman-vs.-customer” dynamic and create more of a “champion” dynamic where we’re on the prospect’s side. That then creates the pre-sell and ultimately allows you to monetize the new relationship you have with the prospect.
Ken Evoy: Correct. And that’s not to say that you don’t have sales pages on your site. But this is a very patient approach. We’re not really talking here about something that you know is a quick hit, somehow putting a product out there, sell it for six months and get in and get out.
This is a long-term build. It will be two to three months before you see your first dribs and drabs of traffic. But as you continue to build content, the inbound links start growing on their own. That snowball starts to gather momentum. My daughter might not touch her website for say, two or three months before her final exams – and yet the traffic continues to grow and her income grows while she does nothing on the site. It’s a very long term, self-sustaining type of model.
So when you decide to monetize, you can either put up a store and monetize or have a dedicated sales page with straight good sales copy and monetize. But if the person who reaches your sales page came after being immersed in valuable content, he’s already pre-sold.
In the offline world – say, newspaper advertising – it’s like getting a wonderful publicity piece about yourself versus taking the same amount of space as an ad. Because they’re already pre-sold, your sales copy doesn’t have to work as hard.
Clayton Makepeace: One of the challenges is creating the content that will make a site valuable to visitors – that takes a lot of time. Are there any shortcuts to acquiring content?
Ken Evoy: That’s a really good question. There are article clubs where you can buy content. But lots of other sites also carry those same articles – and so it’s unlikely you’re going to impress your visitors, and that means you’re not going to fool Google.
So the answer is no, Clayton. It really does take work to build good content. “Site Build It!” provides everything an average small businessperson needs, except for one thing. We call that “one thing” BAM: “Brain and Motivation.”
You have to bring brain and motivation to the table. Now, “Brain” doesn’t mean that you have to be a genius. It means that you have to know something about something. You know a heck of a lot about copywriting and direct marketing. You can take your particular body of expertise and brainstorm those key words.
“Site Build It!” has brainstorming software which literally goes out and visits hundreds and hundreds of websites and brings back key words that are used in relation to your theme. It tells you how often people search for these key words and how much competition there is for each of them.
As you’re doing this you’re starting to build what we call a “content blueprint”. And you’re starting to develop a three-tiered structure of how your site’s going to be organized: A very simple structure that both of what the spiders (search engines), will spider through very efficiently and humans can navigate very efficiently.
You always design a site with two audiences in mind, the spiders and your human visitor. If you’re not pleasing both you’re gonna fail.
So the content really isn’t work if you know your field, if you’re passionate about your field. But it does take time. It’s not something you bang out in 15 minutes. You know it better than anybody how hard it is to write well. Content copy’s gotta really sing to please the visitor.
But once you’ve created content, it’s not like a piece of direct mail. It doesn’t just get read and thrown away. It’s online, attracting traffic to your site and preselling your prospects forever.
On my daughter’s site, her single most important word is “Anguilla.” That’s what her site is about – but there are 115,000 other Web pages containing “Anguilla” as a key word, so it’s also her hardest key word.
You will win the war for your hardest key word last. You start up by winning the easiest, less competitive words which starts the traffic, which starts to get you on Google’s radar. Then, you’ll start to win the harder and harder ones.
At first her site didn’t show up in the top 500 at Google. Then it didn’t show up in the top 100. Then it showed up around number 50. And then it showed up around number 20. I’m not sure where it is now, but it’s somewhere probably in between number five and ten. The first five are gonna be irreplaceable, I mean they’re like government sites and gigantic sites.
Her site has risen through the ranks from “invisible” to top ten purely through creating good content, starting out with some inbound links and from there the snowball grows and grows and grows. Here’s the key point. She never tweaked her home page, never changed it during that time. It does take time. Surprise, surprise – the internet does not defy the laws of business gravity. There is no such thing as “Get-rich-quick.” There is no shortcut to building good content.
Clayton Makepeace: How much content do you need to drive that kind of traffic? How do I know when enough is enough?
Ken Evoy: The key is finding a niche that is neither too big nor too small. My daughter isn’t going to win the search engine wars with the keyword “travel,” for instance. She doesn’t have enough time and money in the world to beat out Expedia. “Caribbean” would probably take her two years at 50 hours a week to start to really score seriously. “Anguilla” is just the right niche for her to be able to build what is now 200 pages, of good content.
So, first you have to define a niche that’s right for whatever your business happens to be. Second, you must pick keywords that enough people look for to make it worth your while. Third, you need keywords that don’t expose you to more competition than you have the time to build content to beat.
In general, starting out at about 40 to 50 pages you’re gonna start to build some decent traffic. Then from there as it grows, 75, 100, 150, 200 pages you’re gonna have a very serious business under your belt.
Clayton Makepeace: Are META keyword tags important?
Ken Evoy: Yes for a couple of reasons. Some SEO-ers will argue that META keyword tags are not important.
Yahoo! is on record as using META keyword tags. And many engines use the META description tag as the blurb you see that describes a site on the search engine results page. So yes, I’d say you should have both. But META keyword tags are just one tiny piece.
A common mistake that’s made in the META keyword tag words though, is to load up the META keyword tag with every single key word you can possibly think of that’s related to your business. Pretend you’re the search engine and you’re seeing 200 words in the META keyword tag. What are you going to ask yourself?
You’re going to ask yourself, “Which of these words is this page REALLY about?”
Just focus on no more than I would say three to five key words in any given META keyword tag. If I’m a search engine and I see a META keyword tag with two or three keys words, I’m gonna figure that the page is about one of those words.
And beyond that, things like the key word in the title tag, the key word in correct density through your body copy and so forth and so on, those should all be there.
And again – just going back to “Site Build It!” – our software does all that stuff. When you build a page, the METS keywords tags are automatically created. The title tag, everything. You have a little program called “Analyze It” so before you actually build the page, it says, “Hey! You didn’t include your key word for this page in your title!”
But all that’s just sort of like the ante in a poker game now. Now the search engines want to know, “How well-regarded is this page by human beings who actually visit it?” That’s why your content has to be top-notch.
Most of your content, Clayton – your ezines – are what I would call “Tier-Three” content. From there, you have “Tier Two” content – the major subdivisions your content might fall into – direct marketing, business management, copywriting, etc.” Finally, you have your home page and everything filters up to that.
Clayton Makepeace: Fantastic stuff, Ken – and since your sites are beating the dickens out of sites that spend millions to drive traffic, your CTPM approach obviously works gangbusters. How can I learn more about it?
Ken Evoy: www.sitesell.com explains the basic concept of CTPM very well. You can spend tons of time on SITESELL. It really gives away the entire process.
What’s stunning to me is 99% of small businesses don’t understand the basic concept. So we give away that information free. Of course, we have an ulterior motive: We know that a LOT of the folks who come to us for that content don’t want to invest the time to learn and do all this themselves. And since our content demonstrates that we really do know what we’re doing, we know that a percentage of them will wind up becoming our customers.
Clayton Makepeace: You deliver a huge benefit to entrepreneurs and businesses, Ken. I came to the web as a direct mail guy several years ago. I’ve spent hours trying to learn all the nuances from the ground up and I still feel completely inadequate in some of the more specialized areas, like SEO. The volume of knowledge needed to do everything right is so formidable – and it’s changing all the time.
Frankly, I want to run my business. I want somebody else to do those things for me. And it sounds like what you’re offering here is an opportunity for business owners who don’t want to become specialists in all of this to get all the benefits of it.
I am definitely going to get your book, “Make Your Content PREsell." I know how to write to sell, of course, but what you’re saying is absolutely critical stuff that no one has told me before. And I think you’ll be seeing me at an upcoming conference in Chicago. Can you tell me more about that?
Ken Evoy: Yes, its from July 12th to 16th in
Chicago – and by the time each attendee leaves, he or she will have a real, working online business.
This is a first for us – and we’re doing it in partnership with Agora Learning. We’re taking “Site Build It!” and doing a hands-on, five-day working seminar.
This is very intensive. This is not a 9-to-5 and hit the bar conference. This is an 8-to-6, then do your homework, then hit the sack – because the next morning we start bright and early again.
Clayton Makepeace: I want to know more about this.
Ken Evoy: If you like, just check out the website: fivedaysinjuly.com.
Clayton Makepeace: Ken thank you very much.
Ken Evoy: Thank you, Clayton, it was great talking with you!
Hope this helps …
Yours for Bigger Winners, More Often,
Publisher & Editor
THE TOTAL PACKAGE™
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