Pat Flynn Talk on Using Free as a Marketing Tactic

Pat Flynn is the creator of the very popular podcast and blog Smart Passive Income and is an exceptional online marketer who has made a living from publishing niche websites and eBooks. The SPI podcast focuses primarily on interviews with lifestyle entrepreneurs who are making a living from successful online businesses and also covers online marketing topics like SEO. His mantra is to work hard now so you can reap the benefits later which is a very attractive offer for a large segment of the population who dream about passive income that was made famous by The 4 Hour Workweek. Becoming an effective online marketer can certainly help individuals in pursuit of this goal. Here is Pat’s excellent presentation on leveraging the power of free in your marketing that he gave at New Media Expo in 2013.

Key takeaways from the talk:
-People will go amazing lengths for free like waiting 3 1/2 hours for a free Grand Slam from Denny’s.
-We know that free works to build connections.
-Dan Ariely did an experiment where he sold Lindt Truffles for 15 cents and Hershey’s Kisses for 1 cent. 73% bought a Lindt Truffle and 27% bought a Hershey’s Kiss. When he lowered the price of both by 1 cent, then 30% bought the truffle and 70% took the Kiss.
-Free is an indirect path to profit.
-What is the ultimate goal for people coming to your site?
-If you create something amazing, people will share it.
-Introducing free changes behavior.
-We hate to lose things.
-Free is not a business model, it has to lead to something else.
-Make it easy, people are lazy online. Make it one click.
-Earn trust with people and show them you can create amazing content.
-You will get higher quality leads.
-Cliff Ravenscraft’s free teaser course was viewed 24,000 times. 40% of purchasers of the full course also took the free course.
-Surprise people with something out of the blue.

Check out Pat Flynn’s book Let Go:

Derek Halpern Talk on Nonverbal Website Cues

Derek Halpern is the author of Social Triggers, a popular blog that shows how to use findings from academic research to be more effective in marketing and business. In this talk at Affiliate Summit, he discusses research that suggests ways to improve conversions on your website.

Some key takeaways from the talk:
-The British College of Optometrists found that 43% of people thought people who wore glasses are more intelligent and are more likely to get hired from a job interview.
-A study found that a fancy font on the menu made it seem like more time went into the preparation of a meal.
-A study found that people preferred a shorter content column width when reading online.
-If you get people to read the first three sentences of your copy, they will almost always read the rest of the copy.
-You should have one specific goal for each page.
-People don’t like to spend money. Don’t give them any reason not to buy.
-People prefer to read out of a book.
-Online people prefer consuming small chunks of content.
-Remove navigation on order pages to increase conversion.
-People have a tendency to look where other people are looking.
-It makes you feel good to see other people smile.
-Avoid using stock photos of people smiling. People are turned off by fake smiles.

Derek Halpern also hosts the excellent Social Triggers Insider podcast where he interviews authors and business people about psychology and business topics.

Creative Commons photo by Shashi Bellamkonda.

David Meerman Scott Talk on Inbound Marketing

David Meerman Scott, author of several successful marketing books including The New Rules of Marketing and PR and World Wide Rave, gave this talk about inbound marketing at the Inbound 2012 conference.

Takeaways from the talk:
-Hubspot generated a million dollars of business from the free tool, Website Grader.
-Amanda Palmer fired her record label and raised 1.2 million dollars on Kickstarter for her new record.
-“On the Web, you are what you publish.”
-Newsjacking is creating inbound marketing content at the moment when journalists are looking to write about a breaking story. Example: TIO insurance offered free crocodile insurance to President Obama when he visited Australia on their blog.
-The Wynn Hotel generated tons of media mentions by waiving Prince William’s hotel fee in Las Vegas.
-Get rid of goobledygook like “innovate” in your marketing and press releases.
-There is something wrong with using stock photos to represent your employees or customers.
-Make some of your inbound marketing content totally free with no registration.
-More people own mobile phones than toothbrushes.

Books by David Meerman Scott:

John Moore Talk on Creating Buzzworthy Companies

John Moore gave this excellent presentation at Word of Mouth Supergenius in 2009 about things you can do to make your company more remarkable. John is also a terrific public speaker. Check out John’s popular marketing blog Brand Autopsy for more great word of mouth marketing insights.

How to Create Buzzworthy Topics — presented by John Moore from on Vimeo.

Key takeaways:
-The average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company is 14,600 days.
-The bad thing about buzz is that it is often very temporary. Your goal should be to have sustained buzz over the long term.
-Buzz doesn’t create evangelists. Evangelists create buzz.
-The fruit of an evangelical customer is a new customer.
-3 secrets to buzz: great customer experience, explaining complicated things in simple terms, and being entertaining.
-Advertising still works. Entertaining advertising can be memorable and start discussions. An example is The Most Interesting Man in the World.
-The more obvious you are the more original you appear. An example of this is improv comedy.
-Voodoo Doughnut creates unique doughnuts like a doughnut with bacon on top or a giant sized doughnut that gets people to have a reaction and talk about them.
-People take pictures of their Voodoo doughnuts and share them online.
-A company’s personality will always be their best form of advertising.
-“Every person who wears our shoes becomes a marketer of our shoes.” -Tom Shoes
-Rackspace built their company culture around fanatical customer support.
-Whether you are B2C or B2B, you are people to people always.
-Companies that share more than they are comfortable sharing earn love from customers.

You can also check out John’s book Tribal Knowledge:

Creative Commons Photo courtesy of Josh Hallett

Duncan Morris Talk on the Google Panda Update

Duncan Morris from Distilled gave this valuable presentation that can be found at You can get the video of the talk for free by signing up for Distilled’s free monthly videos here and you will receive a code to get the video for free or you can buy the video from their store (individual videos typically cost about $70-90).

Key takeaways from the talk:
-Blekko banned 20 content farms but there are some search results that are better due to content farms.
-Make your content valuable to people.
-Don’t have advertising as more than 50% of your page.
-A common denominator of sites hit by Panda was poor design.
-Having a Wikipedia page is a good signal that your site is trustworthy.
-Spammy sites don’t typically have Twitter followers and use Rel=Author.
-Don’t buy Twitter followers.
-Remove low value content from your site.
-Noindex your worst quality user generated content.
-Long load time increases bounce rate.
-Google is more concerned with getting rid of bad content.
-Great content will be shared online. That is how Google could tell that it is great.

You can visit the Distilled SEO Blog for more great SEO tips and advice. They also have a new premium SEO training course called DistilledU.

John Jantsch Talk on Generating Referrals

John Jantsch, author of the small business marketing book and blog Duct Tape Marketing, gave this valuable talk on getting referrals and leveraging social media to connect with customers.

Key takeaways from the talk:
-Most people say they prefer face to face communication.
-High tech, high touch: the more technology becomes a part of our lives, the more we will crave personal interaction.
-A lot of businesses don’t have a system to get referrals.
-Bringing your customers together for an event like a lunch can be a great way to build loyalty.
-Throw a customer appreciation event for your customers and provide a camera crew to help them record a short video about their business that they can use on their site.
-A lot of small businesses look at marketing as an event or idea of the week rather than a process or strategy. Every business is a marketing business.
-A common reason that businesses don’t receive referrals is that they let the customer down somewhere.
-A great opportunity for referrals is to create a strategic partnerships with other businesses.

Rand Fishkin Talks About New Opportunities in Search

Rand Fishkin, whose company SEOMoz recently raised an $18 million round of funding, discusses tips for taking advantage of recent changes in search in this webinar for Clickbank.

Here are a few takeaways from the webinar:
-Is search dead? No, 2010 to 2011 was one of Google’s biggest periods of growth for volume of searches.
-A video result that ranked #3 in search results received more traffic than the #1 ranking for SEOMoz for a keyword phrase.
-Search has changed significantly from the old days of 10 blue links.
-Quantity of reviews is an important factor in local rankings.
-A PO Box is not acceptable for Google Places. One alternative is a shared office space.
-Google local uses a citation based algorithm (based on mentions).
-Consistency of local business information is important. Make sure mentions use the correct info.
-YouTube accounts for 26% of videos watched on the Web.
-The role of the SEO professional has expanded.
-Rel=author can significantly help click-through rate in the SERPs.
-You need to host your video with a service like Wistia or Vimeo for your video search rankings to send visitors to your site instead of YouTube.
-It helps to set up a video sitemap for your site.
-No one will put their Google+ profile URL on their business card because it is really long.

Reading the SEOMoz blog regularly is a great way to keep up with the latest changes in the search field and find opportunities to take advantage of.

Photo via Dana Lookadoo from Flickr

Brian Halligan Talk: Building a World-Class Inbound Marketing Company

Brian Halligan is the CEO of the fast growing marketing software company Hubspot and gave this informative talk at Dreamforce that discussed the virtues of inbound marketing and how to build a world-class inbound marketing organization inside your company.

Key takeaways from the talk:
-The traditional marketing playbook is fundamentally broken.
-The way people consume information has fundamentally changed.
-Inbound marketing effectiveness depends more on your ideas than the size of your wallet.
-Each piece of content is a magnet that pulls people in.
-Asking people to “Please Retweet” actually works.
-The word “insights” was really effective when used in blog titles.
-Content with great titles spread.
-99% of blogs are just plain boring.
-If you write great content with a poor title, no one will read it.
-Don’t hire a traditional marketer or someone who speaks digital marketing with an accent.
-Hire great bloggers.
-Marketers should know how to use pivot tables.
-You want to hire marketers with a large following in social media.
-Let any of your employees write for your company blog.
-Rank your company’s best bloggers.
-Warren Buffett says you should build a moat around your business.
-Negative feedback on your blog provides an opportunity to address issues in a public forum.

Photo by Hubspot

Similar Marketing Talks:
Rand Fishkin’s Talk on Why Inbound Marketing is Awesome
Mike Volpe Presentation on the Dangers of Marketing Automation

Andy Sernovitz Talk on Word of Mouth

Andy Sernovitz, author of the book Word of Mouth Marketing, gave this talk at the Word of Mouth Supergenius conference about how companies can leverage word of mouth to save their brand.

Key takeaways from the presentation:
-Happy customers are the best advertisers.
-Love is what makes a brand extraordinary.
-Zappos gets about 75% of their customers for free through word of mouth referrals.
-Your brand is what other people say it is.
-Companies that are nice to people make more money.
-Case study: a duct tape company awarded a scholarship to the best duct tape prom dress.
-People will talk about anything, even duct tape.
-Give people a reason to talk about your stuff.
-Make it easier for the conversation take place.
-Advertising is the price you pay if you can’t answer the question “why would people talk about us?”

Photo courtesy of Josh Hallet

Rand Fishkin Talk on Free Marketing for Startups

Warning: Some language NSFW

Rand Fishkin gave this animated talk about how startups can leverage online marketing to cost effectively get the word out about their offering. The top challenge for startups, Fishkin says, is not technology but rather marketing. If no one knows about your life changing tool, then it won’t succeed even if it provides great value.

Some key takeaways from the talk:

-SEOMoz didn’t spend money on acquiring customers through advertising until 2010.
-SEO is like a hack for marketing.
-In search results, PPC gets about 18% of clicks, organic results get about 82% of clicks.
-Inbound marketing channels are underinvested and undervalued (about $5 billion of investment in 2012).
-The main idea of advertising is to interrupt people to sell things we don’t need.
-92% of people in US use search every day. About 6 use social networks every day. -PEW The death of search is a myth.
-Time, creativity, and energy are essential for good inbound marketing and startups often have a lot of these things.
-Social media functions like brand advertising to increase awareness before you have a need.
-Connect your creative advertising to your SEO.
-Talking to customers who went to landing pages to understand why they took action or didn’t.

I’m a big fan of SEOMoz’s blog, videos, and tools. Their link finder tool, Open Site Explorer, has been tremendously valuable in my online marketing efforts and their Pro Webinars are very good resources. You can get a free 30 day trial of SEOMoz Pro Membership by clicking on this affiliate link:

Photo credit: Thos Ballantyne