All posts in "Thoughts"

Looking Ahead to 2016

Published a couple of years ago - 13 Comments

Following a recent email from an email subscriber asking how all the stuff I’ve been talking about in the past year fits together, I just made this 30-minute video for you.

In this, I’ll explain the massive breakthrough I had recently regarding my “genius” (it’s probably not what you think), and how this impacts everything I’m doing.

I talk about Open Source Marketing, the Ethical Marketing Group, a new ethical marketing channel, WebPro v2, a massive new book project, another book project, and finally a revenue stream for 2016!

Please watch this right through, and feel free to comment.

My Thoughts on Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula

Published a couple of years ago - 27 Comments
Jeff Walker Product Launch Formula

I got this message recently from someone on my email list.

Im a novice in this but i was studying a lot years ago. The thing that made me step back in it was that in my quest for knowledge i found out this thing about The Internet Marketing Syndicate.

https://omegavirginrevolt.wordpress.com/the-syndicate-the-internet-marketing-scam-organization-behind-game/

Could you if possible clear for me if there any truth on this Scam and what are the guys i need to avoid get info from?

The thing is that im from Brasil and i know now there are some Internet Marketers promoting similar stuff there. Similar to Lauch Formula of Jeff Walker. Is there any good in this stuff or are only hype?

Thank you in advance.

Here’s my response.

Hi ———.

Obviously, I’m not in a position to comment on the Syndicate, and I really know nothing about “game”. Of course, there is obvious and clear history linking a lot of these “marketers” together.

I am happy to talk about Jeff Walker’s “Product Launch Formula”. In my opinion, it works. That’s obvious, because everyone’s using it, and have been for ten years.

Why does it work? Because it systemizes a model of scarcity and pressure-selling. For me, that’s unethical. Sure, if you have *real* scarcity (like if you only have 2 boxes of the product left, or you’re offering coaching and there are only so many hours in the week) then that’s the truth and you can use it to increase urgency in your selling message. People have been doing that for thousands of years.

But PLF is about creating artificial scarcity. It says, “Instead of just offering the world what you sell, create a buzz around an limited window of opportunity.” Then there’s a lot of stuff around the tactics of how you build up that buzz, and create multiple opportunities to buy, etc., all stuff that’s been tested and pretty much perfected over the years.

At the end of the day, it’s fundamentally unethical. So the question is, what do you want? If you want to make as much money as possible, by persuading or coercing people into buying your stuff, use PLF.

I choose a different path. I prefer to build real trust over time (sometimes a long time) and to earn a small tribe of loyal followers. Not “get rich quick” addicts. People who are like me, and who want to build the same kind of world that I want to build.

It’s down to your own ethics and your own choice, my friend.

What do you think of PLF?

Jeff Walker PLF I’d love to hear your thoughts.
  • Have you tried Jeff’s Product Launch Formula?
  • Did it help you to sell your stuff effectively?
  • Do you think it helped you to sell ethically? (i.e. The right people were empowered to make the right choice for them, with all the information they needed, without being misled or manipulated?)
  • If you offer a guarantee, what percentage of buyers have claimed on it?
  • How have the client relationships panned out?
  • Perhaps you’ve just read Jeff’s “Launch” book? (I have, and found it very interesting.)

Please comment below, thanks.

Web Pro 2 – This Changes Everything!

Published a couple of years ago - 0 Comments

If you’re a business owner, you have probably already been burned on marketing projects.

Most likely you risked a significant budget on a website or marketing campaign that would never repay you. Maybe that happened multiple times.

Isn’t it crazy that business owners and entrepreneurs — the champions of innovation in the world — have been expected to gamble their hard-earned profits on the whims of web designers and so-called “marketing experts” for the past twenty years?!

As I explain in this 25-minute video, I’m as guilty as the next web pro!

In fact, I’m pissed off enough to do something about it.

In the video/audio below, I’ll explain what’s so shitty about the current system, and introduce my “Web Pro 2” model, which I think offers the solution we need.

I believe that Web Pro 2 will revolutionize the way we deliver marketing services for ever.

It will be an open-source project (an evolution of the OSM Client Service system). That means we’ll publish the “how-to” so that anyone can pick up and use the Web Pro 2 model.

Watch the Video (or MP3 is below)

Want to Be Part of “Web Pro 2”?

At the end of my talk, I invite any businesses who are interested in working with this model (who wouldn’t?) to contact me with details.

If you would like to be part of the beginning of “Web Pro 2”, please email me with a short overview of what you currently market, giving your website address, and stating what you would like to achieve. I’ll then review and we’ll take it from there together.

I have a group of amazing consultants ready to go, who’ll work alongside me to help you achieve real growth — at practically zero risk to you! Rest assured, you will get our priority attention.

The only caveat I would add is that you should be willing to let us share at least some details of your success as part of a case study for WP2.

Listen to the Audio

Announcing the Ethical Marketing Group

Published a couple of years ago - 15 Comments
ben-grumpy

This is me looking pissed off

Anyone who knows me is clear on where I stand on ethics in marketing.

I see a lot of dishonesty, manipulation, and pressure tactics being used online — and it pisses me off!

What’s more, I’ve learned I’m not alone. And this is really exciting!

Just check out my posts on Ryan Deiss’s bullshit, his other bullshit, or this from Frank Kern. Notice they all have a LOT of comments? That’s because there are a lot of pissed off people. Perhaps you’re one of them.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve spoken with in the past few weeks who have told me about paying good money for some course.

  • Several people have said the content they have received simply doesn’t match what was promised. Some of the braver ones have demanded refunds.
  • On another course the guru didn’t even bother to show up, and left all the attendees to do their homework and critique each other’s work in a social media group! (I understand that was because he was going through a bankruptcy, which says a lot about the claims some of these guys make!)
  • Other courses are nothing more than upselling mechanisms, designed to see how deep attendees’ pockets (and trust) extend.

The Real Problem

The more I’ve thought about it, the more it seems that the real problem is not that most marketers are cheats.

The real problem is simply that the ones who are make the most noise.

The picture in my head is of one of those classic cowboy movies, where the bandits take to the streets and the good folk of the town all quickly bolt their shutters and hide indoors until the gunfight is over.

You see, there are only a few bandits. But they’re loud and dominant, and that makes it seem like the town is lawless.

But… I believe there are a lot more of the good folk! We are in the majority. The ones who want to trade fairly and with integrity, earn an honest living and live in peace.

Now Is The Time To Stand Together

Three years ago, I dreamed of setting up some kind of Ethical Internet Marketing Association. (I wrote a blog post about it here. However I was busy with other projects, and it never happened. Maybe it wasn’t the right time. Maybe I didn’t care enough back then.

I deeply believe that ideas have a Right Time. In fact, that’s one of the big lessons I have learned in my series of “Cracking Content” interviews. If you want to make a real difference, you need to be intimately connected with your Tribe, your right sector of the market, so that when you feel a powerful idea emerge in you, it’s likely to be popping for other people at the same time.

Well, I think that NOW is the time for ethical marketing to get a voice!

A few weeks ago, after meeting with a few like-minded marketers, I was inspired to revisit that idea of some way that consumers (which includes all of us) could more safely navigate the minefield of Internet Marketing.

I reckoned, what if we developed a code of practice for ethical marketing? Then those of us who wish to show the world that we stand for fair business can say, “We subscribe to that!” and customers who want to deal with ethical marketers can see our declaration.

So that’s what I’ve done. I have spent the past few weeks building the foundation for The Ethical Marketing Group, and it took its first blinking steps into the light today!

Here’s how the website looks now. You can see that, at the time of writing, we have just two members.

This is literally day one, so there’s still a lot of work to do!

The Ethical Marketing Group website

The Ethical Marketing Group website

How Does the Ethical Marketing Group Work?

The core idea is the Code of Practice. Any vendors — whether you’re an info-marketer, or you promote products and services, or even market a brick & mortar business online — all of us can simply say, “Look, we follow this.”

And you can do that for free. Just grab a line of HTML code, and put the “Supporter” badge on your website!

There are also three different levels of membership, which show increasing commitment to ethical practice, backed up with support from myself and a small group of ethically-minded marketing consultants I’m building.

(We’re going to have lots more different badges that you can use on your websites and email templates.)

So, if you want to do it yourself, you can! If you want a listing on the Ethical Marketing Group website, you can get that too. And if you would like ten hours of consulting from experts, to help you keep your marketing compliant AND effective, no problem! We’re here to help you to do whatever you want.

Now, for the first time, consumers can easily verify anyone’s level of commitment to ethical marketing standards.

And if you’re a Member (does not apply to Supporters), visitors to your website will shortly be able to submit a message to the EMG if they think your marketing process does not comply with the agreed Code of Practice. In that case, our consultants will do what we can to work towards a positive resolution, learn from the experience, and try to improve all our processes.

(When you work through my draft Code of Practice, you may find it challenging. I did! It has made me go back through my websites to make changes. No one said that doing the right thing is easy. But I believe it’s worth it.)

It is worth saying that the Ethical Marketing Group does not set out to be the ethics police! After all, what is “ethical marketing” anyway? It is actually quite a challenging exercise to sit down and write out what it means to you. So our Code of Practice is there simply by agreement.

We don’t wish to say that we’re ethical and anyone who isn’t part of group is not. We’re just saying to the world, “Here, look at the standard that we declare we are striving to meet.”

And, of course, that standard is bound to evolve. We will be continually testing it, improving it, adding or removing pieces. But that’s how things get better.

Let’s make things better — together!

Is It Right For You?

Do YOU want to be a Founder Member?

I don’t know if you are as inspired by ethical marketing practices as I am. But if you are, I would request that you check out the ways in which you can be part of this movement. I hope there’s a solution that fits for everyone.

If you do wish to join, I have discounted all the membership fees by one third until January. That makes you a Founder Member, and you keep that discount for the duration of your subscription.

(Every member gets a sequential member number, so the next person to sign up with be Member #3, which I think is pretty cool.)

In addition, if you sign up for Annual membership, you pay for only eight months, so you save another third that way too.

Note: If you choose to join, I will assign the membership numbers in strict order of sign-up. It may take me up to 24 hours to get your listing on the website, so please be patient. Thanks.

Recording of Blab meet, 17th November 2015

We had a great 90-minute call on Blab today, where a group of us tackled some pretty serious questions, and arrived at some conclusions!

Download MP3 audio from Blab

Ryan Deiss, Bullshitter Par Excellence

Published a couple of years ago - 39 Comments

I don’t like writing these blog posts, but someone has to.

I got another email from Ryan Deiss, who we all know is the Fresh Prince of marketing bullshit.

Just check this out. (It’s not the whole email. I’ll spare you that.)

Email Subject: “Do NOT publish another blog post…”

ryan-email-lies

Okay, there are a few important things to clarify here.

  • First, there are patterns in marketing that have been proven to work. They have worked time and time again.
  • Second, they don’t always work. Sometimes, proven patterns fail.
  • Third, smart marketers know that, surprisingly often, doing the exact opposite of the current “best practice” can be incredibly successful.
  • Fourth, I’m sure Ryan Deiss knows all this. I’m sure he’s a smart guy. Yet, he’s a shrewd marketer. He’s taking a truth (i.e. these patterns have been proven to work) and deliberately applying a logical fallacy (i.e. therefore they always work).
  • Fifth, that means he’s lying. It means he knows he’s lying, and he knows that lying like this is going to earn him short-term profits.

That makes him a scammer, in my book at least.

Deiss, you’re a lying scammer!

(Glad we’ve cleared that up.)

Now, by all means subscribe to these guys’ email lists, because there is a lot to learn, and I have seen some really excellent articles on Ryan’s website.

I’m not saying for a minute he doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think he knows exactly what he’s doing. But be careful to treat any claims of “universal effectiveness” with a heavy dose of skepticism.

So What’s the Reality?

Unfortunately, the world of marketing is fuzzier and dirtier and less predictable than purveyors of these cure-alls are prepared to admit. Hey, fuzzy doesn’t sell!

I can say, with confidence, that there is no pattern or model or template that works every time. (Anyone who says there is is a lying scumbag.)

The right message, delivery, tone, and length… all these things depend on who you’re talking to, what you want your brand to mean to them, and what you’re trying to sell.

And there’s no formula for that. I’m in the middle of writing a book about how to create killer content, and the rabbit hole is a lot deeper than Ryan Deiss would have you believe!

You know we all have very finely-tuned bullshit meters these days (and it’s a good job, because there’s a lot of bullshit around). That means we’re getting very good at spotting when someone’s trying to sell to us and immediately switching off.

As I’ve suggested, very often, the best way to get your message noticed is to ignore what everyone else is doing, and do something quite different. Even if received wisdom tells you that X works, don’t do it. Why? Because if everyone’s doing it, your market is likely already to be switching off.

Truly successful content is not formulaic. I haven’t cracked the whole code yet, but I can tell you, at the very least, that it requires two things:

  • sensitivity to what’s happening around you (and within you) right now
  • and the self-belief and guts just to create, right now!

You know what else? The key to your most powerful content is within you, right here, right now. No one else can figure it out for you. And no marketing wiseguy can sell you the answer. Just remember that.

Please watch this space. Let’s keep this conversation going.

Internet Marketing is Broken

Published a couple of years ago - 6 Comments

If, like me, you feel deep down that there’s something deeply wrong in the way online marketing information is shared in this world, this post is for you!

Here’s a quick update (17 minutes) to bring you guys up to date about recent thoughts about how Internet Marketing is hollow and broken.

Plus there’s news about the three Open Source Marketing systems we’re starting to roll out, which promise to turn the whole IM world on its head.

Frank Kern Scammy Email?

Published a couple of years ago - 91 Comments

Our Open-Source Marketing community understands that, in order to succeed in marketing, you need to go deep.

You need to ask a hundred questions, challenge assumptions, and use every ounce of your imagination to craft a position that will be unique, compelling, and deliver real value.

Then you get emails like this from Frank Kern, which appears to offer a cookie-cutter solution to marketing (one of my pet peeves).

What Frank’s offering seems nonsensical and I reckon can only possibly work if you’re in certain narrow niches.

The idea that Frank’s people can set up 7 campaigns for you — without knowing about your business in great detail — is preposterous, and the only people who’ll fall for this have to be so desperate for the promise of easy money that they’ll believe anything.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.31.35

Now, the email does say that there’ll be a two-day, intensive workshop where I’m guessing you’ll do the deep-dive, but I’m still very dubious that there exist 7 patterns for email campaigns that are universally applicable.

People love to be offered simple solutions that promise great results. Magic beans, shortcuts, cheats, easy money… we love that stuff. So I think this is either clever marketing, or Mr. Kern is a bona fide marketing genius. You be the judge, but personally I think this is over-stretching (at least for the majority of businesses out there).

By the way, the email says, “This is the first time I’m actually having my tech team doing ALL the work for you before you even arrive.”

I think that may be a lie, because I got the same email from Frank on November 17th, 2014, where Frank offered me…

I’m doing a live IMPLEMENTATION Boot Camp 
here in San Diego in January …and I wanted to see if 
you’d like to come.

And again on February 5th, 2015, where he was curious to know if I’d be interested in…

I’m doing a live IMPLEMENTATION Boot Camp 
here in San Diego in February …and I wanted to see if 
you’d like to come.

In fact, I have received this same email at least five times in the past year, every one claiming:

This is the first time I’m actually having my tech team doing ALL the work for you before you even arrive.

So that’s either a deliberate deception or a silly mistake. Let’s hope it’s the latter.

Open Source Marketing Presentation

Published a couple of years ago - 0 Comments

Here’s the recording of the presentation I made in my twice-weekly Inner Circle hangout earlier today.

I present the philosophy and rationale behind my “Open Source Marketing” concept, and explore what needs to happen in order to carry it forward.

The idea is at an early stage, but we’re agreed that the core strategy material I’m giving away in Ultimate Web Design forms a very useful starting point.

Please feel free to comment and to contribute your ideas.

Note: In the discussion that followed, we agreed to change “Rapid Delivery” to “Campaign Delivery”. Although marketing deployment is usually far more rapid today than in the past, and often a feature of well-executed online marketing campaigns, rapid deployment is not universal.

To make sure you’re updated on developments, if you’re not already on my email list, simply add your details below.

Update: 2nd February, 2015

Here’s a further video about the potential business model for “Open-Source Marketing”, which explores how we might profitably run a collective of consultants and experts on the back of the free platform, and deliver incredible value to our market at multiple levels.

How Can I Earn My Money?

Published a couple of years ago - 9 Comments

What? You’re giving away all your products? How will you pay the bills?

A few people have asked me the same thing this week. They say what I’m doing flies in the face of conventional wisdom. They say…

  • No one ever pays for something that’s offered for free.
  • If you don’t put a price tag on something, no one will value it.
  • It’s right that you should profit from your years of experience.

I’m sure there’s truth in all those things, and I’m grateful to my friends for reminding me. That is what conventional wisdom says.

I guess I’m putting my trust in some less conventional wisdom.

I know the world is not full of people who can see the value in something even if it doesn’t have a price tag.

But I believe there are a few of us

There’s no secret that I’ve made decent profits in the past from selling information. I’m just choosing not to do that anymore, for no other reason than because my heart says it isn’t the right way. I want everyone to have access to the best marketing knowledge I can provide, if they need it, irrespective of their ability to pay.

I believe in human nature. In fact, I’ve seen it in the past 24 hours, in the dozens of personal messages of support I have received, which have really touched my heart. (Thank you, you know who you are!)

So, in the spirit of marketing with full transparency, let’s answer that question: How will I pay the bills?

Here's My Plan

The basic principle I’m working on here is that, in giving this information for free to the world, I will reach many more people. I want to make a real, big, difference! And, even if I’m paying the bills with easy, I’m not going to do that with a few dozen subscribers.

By reaching more and more people, I’m hoping to increase my reach, my brand.

And, by zagging against everything everyone else is doing, I hope to stand out in a world that’s full of noise.

I want lots more people to use my ideas and my methods, and I want them to help me improve them.

And I believe that, by doing that, I can continue to earn an honest living.

Now, in any market sector, there are always people who want the DIY — “Do It Yourself” — option. They’ll typically have more time than money. Whether it takes the form of an ebook, a video course, or a webinar, they say, “Give me the information, tell me what to do, so I can go and do it.”

There are also those of us who want some assistance. That might take the form of a course with some coaching element, or maybe group support. These guys say, “I want you to collaborate with me, to help me to do it myself, and coach me along the way.”

And finally other people don’t want to do it themselves. They need it done now, and they need it done properly. I call this the “DFY” or “Done For You” group. They may have less time and more urgency, which makes it worth investing in a solution.

All of these positions are real, and they’re all one hundred percent valid. At different points in time, we’ll each find ourselves in any of these places.

DIY?

First, I want the DIY crowd to use my stuff, to get huge value from it, and in doing so to get to know and trust me. (They may choose to tip me. That doesn’t matter. It’s my gift.)

Just Need Some Help?

If you want a bit of help with your strategy, or guidance on any matter I can help with, I’ll be happy to give you an hour’s consulting over video for $200.

However, if you’d be happy for me to publish our session on my site and YouTube etc., I’ll do that for only $100.

(You’d be amazed what value you can get from me in an hour!)

Collaborate?

But there are people who, for whatever reason, need more than the information. And I’m there for them. That’s why I have my Inner Circle group for ambitious web professionals (currently closed), which you can read about here.

DFY?

Then there are the folk who need it done for them. For this group, I’m offering my services as a consultant. I would love to help you craft an amazing, inspiring vision for your business, or to plan a way to take your vision to market.

If you would like me to help you with your project, just email me direct, and we’ll talk.

Or maybe you need a full service, but you’re sick of getting ripped off by agencies, who promise the world and fail to deliver.

If that’s you, you should consider my Inner Circle project group (closed), possibly the most highly skilled, but certainly among the friendliest, web marketing professionals you could ever meet. We’d love to help you roll out an amazing campaign, hopefully helping your business to thrive for years to come.

So that’s how I plan to pay my bills in 2015 and beyond…

  • By giving you my best material for free and asking you to try it for yourself, instead of just telling you how great it is.
  • Making myself available to you by the hour, to help however I can.
  • Offering to be there to guide and coach you if you want to be an outstanding web marketing professional.
  • And by providing a team of talented, honest, and friendly people who can help deliver your perfect marketing campaign.

(For more insight into this “stacking” model for products or services, check out my video on Ultimate Web Design.)

Marketing Magic Beans

Published 3 years ago - 8 Comments

Many Internet marketers are no more than gangsters.

As I write about in, “What’s Wrong With Internet Marketing” they depend on maintaining a knowledge divide.

They’ll promise you that their insights are new (which is usually not the case, only new to you), that they work like magic (which they usually don’t, but the idea of getting something for nothing appeals to human psychology), and that if you’re not doing what they’re doing, you’re losing money (appealing to both our greed and our fear of loss).

Essentially, they’re attempting to manipulate you into buying their lessons on how to manipulate people.

It’s based on a false need, like protection rackets that offer “protection” from harm (which wouldn’t even have been a problem, except if you told the racketeers you didn’t want their help).

Essentially, this is what’s going on…

They're trying to sell you Magic Beans!!!!

And, guess what, when you fail to apply their lessons and you don’t manage to make millions like those guys do, what do you think will happen?

That’s right, they’ll have discovered more magic beans… which I bet they’ll tell you will, “Work like crazy!!!”

And which they’ll sell you at a price… again.

Want Some Real Magic Marketing Beans? Do Ya?!

I’ll give you some real magic marketing beans!

Let’s turn to one of my favourite sources: Mother Nature. If you want to see how things work at their best, and that work in the long-term, start by looking at nature.

What can nature, and — specifically — beans, tell us about marketing and business?

... you ask

I’m glad you asked. It turns out you can learn a lot from beans!

Let me tell you a short story…

When Sally and I moved into our new house, about 18 months ago, we found a large garden that must have once been a pretty orchard, but was now mostly overrun by brambles and stinging nettles.

So I got into doing a bit of gardening, just trying to grow some vegetables to help feed my family. I confess I’m not very good at it, but it’s fascinating, and I love learning new things.

Gardening gives me a deep sense of satisfaction, out in the fresh air, turning over dirt, picking up stones, setting fire to stuff, and generally getting filthy. And it gives me a great time to stop and think.

Just a couple of hundred yards from our cottage, there’s a row of three other cottages. In one of those lives a kindly elderly gentleman called Colin.

Colin is a great gardener, and after we got chatting, he sent me away with two trays, one with tiny leek sprouts, and the other with little seedling runner beans.

We planted them. They grew. The beans grew into 8-foot-high plants.

The plants produced pods, most of which we ate (delicious!), and some which we never got round to picking.

A few days ago, we walked past the bean plants, which have pretty much died down, and decided to check out the dried-up old pods.

beansThey contained the most beautiful beans!

And here’s what I’ve realised…

  • Colin started with a couple of dozen beans, which he grew into sprouts, some of which gave to us.
  • We have been eating runner beans all summer and autumn.
  • And we still have three dozen beans left over, which we can plant again, or give away.
  • So the cycle can go on for ever, each time making more and more. It isn’t a zero-sum game!
  • This is the nature of Nature: to be abundant! A flower doesn’t care if you can afford its scent. Given the right conditions, a raspberry plant will produce raspberries, and doesn’t care who eats them.
  • It’s all really about giving.

Natural Marketing

I think the abundant natural cycle of life can teach us a lot about business and marketing.

The Internet marketing gangsters don’t want you to know this stuff. They want you to continue believing their stories about the latest shortcuts. They want you to want to be like them, to “make a killing” instead of making an honest living.

Here are three important lessons I got from my beans…

#1. Things Want to Grow

The first point is, things want to grow. If you plant a seed, it will grow. If you start a business, it should grow.

Beans want to turn into more beans! It’s what beans do. Nature isn’t a zero-sum game. Beans will grow to create a surplus of beans.

At its simplest, business is the same. It’s all about adding value. Take raw materials or time, invest something to turn it into something better, and you’ve created value. That value generates profit, which you can reinvest to repeat the cycle.

Growth is natural. We just need to let it happen, naturally.

#2. Start with the Right Strategy

That means you have to start with the right strategy. If I tried to grow pineapples, I would fail, because it’s below freezing outside right now.

My soil is a very heavy clay, which means it is not good for carrots or parsnips. The tomatoes I planted died and rotted. But I can grow mountains of potatoes, rich kale, raspberries, and runner beans.

Beans grow where beans grow, and they grow great in my garden. Pineapples grow somewhere else. Even if I wanted to, even if I wasted hours of my time, I’m never going to produce pineapples.

So, in business and marketing, play to your real strengths. Don’t try to be something that isn’t right for you.

Do something that’s right, that’s natural, that the world really needs. And be sensitive to your environment.

You know, there’s a lot of truth in what the Internet marketing gurus will tell you.

For example, stories do work. But they work better if they’re real stories, told from the heart.

Content marketing can work. Books can work. Webinars and videos and email follow-up sequences can work…

But all these things work best when done with integrity, and with a generous spirit.

#3. Invest in the Environment

Don’t feed your plants. Feed your soil, and your soil will feed your plants. (Anonymous)

If I had just thrown my bean seedlings on the ground, I’m sure they wouldn’t have grown. I needed to prepare the soil, put in bamboo frames for the beans to climb up, protect them from slugs and snails, and water the soil to keep them moist in summer.

It wasn’t a lot of work, and it was fun. But it was essential. My beans needed me to do the right thing.

Since then, I’ve started a compost heap, and I’m continuing to improve the soil in my veg garden by adding lighter soil from other areas that’s richer in organic matter.

Why? Because I know it will give me better vegetables. I can’t prove any direct connection, but countless generations of farmers and gardeners have learned it.

We need to do the same in business and marketing. We need to invest in the whole environment, making sure that everything we do is good for all.

Gardening is not all about direct cause-and-effect, and neither is marketing. The reality is that it’s really fuzzy. The things we do have impacts that we can’t ever measure, and often won’t even be able to understand.

As an example, I have met three new people in the past couple of weeks. Two of them had been following my work for literally years. I didn’t know them, had never had a conversation with them, until the day they decided to get in touch. One of them decided to join my team. The third came across my stuff only yesterday, but instantly felt an affinity.

The point is that I didn’t know that the articles, emails, interviews, or ebooks I published would have those effects. But I wrote them anyway, and put them out there.

That’s what it takes to create an environment where your business will grow. This is about working in a natural way, in accordance and harmony with the way the world really works.

If you’re miserly and only take from your land, your soil will become weak. (That’s what’s actually happening all over the world through intensive farming, as John Seymour explains in this great 23-minute film.)

If you’re miserly and only take from your customers, your market will die out. It’s vital to give and to give and to keep giving, even if you can’t see a direct return for your investment.

IM gurus are the Monsanto of marketing

Internet Marketing gurus are like the genetic modification multinational Monsanto… taking nature, making tiny modifications, and then ransoming it back to the world.

Manipulation may make money, but it has a short shelf life.

Natural marketing is for ever.