Over the weekend I attended Ed Dale’s 30DC Coming Home three day event in Melbourne.
Ed Dale, if you don’t know him, is one of Australia’s most well known and likable Internet marketers, who adds a uniquely Australian flavour to the industry. Currently he is most well known as one of the founders of the 30 Day Challenge, an introductory program that aims to take any person from absolute beginner to making their first few dollars online, and beyond, within 30 days.
Ed also has a rep for website flipping, having earlier in his career sold his website portfolio for $5 million dollars. He then moved on to teach how to build niche sites with Frank Kern using the “Underachiever Method”, which focused on creating small sites that each earned a few hundred dollars a month, and then pumping out as many of them as you could.
Ed is one of those types of people who likes to keep up to date with everything and anything going on online, with the eyes of a marketer and a geek. He’s constantly talking about the future before it gets here, and it’s clear this is a passion of his more so than a business interest – he just likes to geek out on technology, marketing, social media and the web, but always refers back to how it could be used to make money.
The seminar on the weekend was by far the most relaxed event I’ve been too, led by the TubbyNerd himself (Ed) wearing his sandals, shorts and geeked out shirts. This wasn’t a formal seminar with suits, or people attempting to keep up professional appearance or sell you anything. It was a bunch of experienced guys and girls coming together to teach a bunch of up and comers how to make money online, in the format of a casual conversation. Just how I like it
What Are We Talking About
Going into this event I wasn’t exactly sure what the topic was, since Ed and his team dabble in all kinds of subjects, from niche sites, to SEO and website flipping. It turns out what we got was all “of the above” – a broad range of presentations on keyword research, domain and website flipping/investing, offline and online lead generation and plenty of advice about search engine optimization (Leslie Rohde from the SEO Braintrust was a special guest).
At the end of each day hot seats were offered, where members of the audience could nominate their website for review by the speakers, which depending on how you look at it, was a brave thing to do. The experts really hammered some of the sites, but in all cases they deserved it! Most of the websites submitted needed some significant improvement.
I featured on a panel interview on the first day of the event, with Darren Rowse, Lynn Terry and James Schramko. Our subject was the “Third Tribe”, the idea that there is a spectrum online of people who are Internet marketers and do “evil things” to make lots of money, and then social media people (including bloggers) who sometimes on principle prefer to stay in the struggling artist category and not make any money.
The Third Tribe is supposedly somewhere in between on the spectrum, using money making ideas from Internet marketing, but not in quite so evil ways (this is very subjective of course) and leveraging social media as well.
It was a fun panel to be a part of, which although perhaps not overly practical, helped to debunk some myths regarding attitudes people have about making money. If you attended the event, I’d love to hear what you thought of the panel discussion.
The Cutting Edge Of Internet Marketing
One thing Ed Dale and his team are known for is staying up to date with the various new trends online and actually testing them as viable techniques to build traffic and make money. For example, Ed was one of the first marketers to heavily test Facebook Flyers (Facebook PPC Advertising) and then report back his results.
As a result of this I was excited to hear what the speakers would talk about, expecting to learn what’s new in the Internet marketing space.
It’s worth mentioning that this event was targeted at beginners. While there were some good nuggets here and there during the presentations I sat in on (I didn’t make every presentation – sometimes I hung outside with other speakers or slept in ), the majority of the content covered subjects I was familiar with (the advantage of having ten years of online marketing behind you).
That being said, it was interesting to see how people apply techniques, even if I was already very familiar with what they are doing, because the secret is in the implementation.
So what did I learn? Here are some notes from what I took away from the event –
- Much of the conversation talked about search engine optimization and traffic related advice, which fundamentally hasn’t changed. We’re still talking about title tags and incoming links as the most important SEO variables to focus on. In fact you can go way back to my series on Top 8 SEO Techniques from 2005 and much of what was written there still applies.
- Video is definitely a key factor, with it heavily endorsed as an easy tool for landing and sales pages and very strong when it comes to user engagement. What’s not clear, is how exactly to rank video based pages well in search engines. Transcribing video content is an option, and the core SEO principles still apply, but it’s not as clear cut as text since the search engines can’t actually see what is in the video.
- Based on the website review hot seats, most people have a long way to go with their websites. Nearly every hot seat featured a brochure style website with no or a very micro content strategy, thus very little traffic coming in organically, and a user “unfriendly” design, making it difficult to even figure out what the purpose of the website is.
- People are still eager for “opportunities” to make money, for example, buying and selling websites and domain names both featured as presentations at the seminar. I’m all for those ideas of course, but there’s nothing new here that should force you to jump ship from what you are currently doing unless it’s time to try something new or you haven’t started something yet. Beware becoming a serial “ship jumper”.
Why Only The Few Succeed
Since I spent time talking to some of the experts in attendance, who all make significant money, and also people from the audience, some of whom are still finding their way, I was able to clearly see what separates the money makers from the dreamers who make no money.
The answer: focused repeat action
Take James Schramko for example. This guy has an idea and just gets it done. Anything he thinks could make money he tests by actually creating a website and driving traffic to it. The more he does this, the better he gets at figuring out what elements matter most.
Where I think most people go wrong is they become paralyzed with indecision, which results in little action to change what they are doing. This stems from fear of course, stories in your head which stop you from succeeding.
As I see it, people who don’t get results have a fundamental error in their thinking process. They believe they don’t have enough information or don’t know how to do something or fear failure, which in fact are all possibly real conditions. Instead of using those elements as motivators to go and do an experiment to learn and eliminate the fear of the unknown, they use that fear as an excuse NOT to do anything and instead, distract themselves with tasks and thoughts that don’t lead to success.
This is a pretty insidious thought pattern, but it’s very easy to fall into when you feel insecure about what you are doing. Doubt, disbelief, skepticism – fear – these are all very real feelings when you are building a new online business.
The act of studying more is commonly applied in situations, the idea being that education can shine a light on the unknown and other people can tell you what to do. This can be dangerous however, as often studying makes you feel like you are getting closer to your goals, especially when you hear the success story of other people because you “taste” the success, even though it belongs to other people.
In reality you only move closer through action, and while education is important, taking action is the only way to get a result, so sometimes you just have to jump in and start making mistakes until you succeed.
The Blogging Advantage
I’ll end this with one last insight I took away from the event that should make my members and fellow bloggers feel good.
Repeatedly throughout the weekend the advice given was that you need content to succeed online. Content is the catalyst for traffic and traffic is the catalyst for sales. As a reader of this blog you should definitely get this – it all begins with what you give people in exchange for them giving you attention.
As bloggers this is what we do best and throughout the weekend many of the experts kept saying “add a blog” or “start blogging” as a path forward to capture traffic from search engines.
In the context of the event, often the advice was to use a blog as the tool to execute a content strategy to improve an existing website, or as a means to start bring in the first visitors to a niche site.
There wasn’t much talk about going deep or building authority within a niche, which is largely because most of the focus of the event was about getting started online or entry level best practice techniques, which blogging certainly is – but it can go much further than that, it can be the center-point for your entire business, as is the case for myself and many other bloggers.
In other words, if you don’t have a blog, you’re missing out on perhaps the most powerful online marketing tool we have available today, regardless of whether you are focused on dominating one particular niche, or entering multiple small niches, or helping clients with their online marketing, or all of these things.
This event once more reminded me, that if I do one day finally run my own event, the opportunity to sell to beginners is always there, if you have the patience to share what you know and answer even the most simple of questions.