Today we are promising to teach, show and explore the idea of building a collaborative venture that will not only grow your list and grow your income, but will get you in front of the people that your audience members are following all of the time.
It’s a product called the BC Stack. We do it for Blogging Concentrated, and we do it for clients. We help build their “stack,” per se. We find 65 people in the niche. In our case, it has always been blogging on internet marketing. We put together a package with 65 products, and we sell that package for $27.00, and we use the 65 people to help market it by sharing the profits of all of its sales. So, not only do we grow the list with people who have already been filtered, but everyone gets in front of people they need to be in front of.
Benefits of Collaborating with Influencers
The primary reason for doing this is because Tom Cruise knows Oprah Winfrey. Dave Ramsey knows Suze Orman. The top people in any industry know the other top people within that industry. As far as I am concerned, the top people do not know you. You are not at the top of the industry. You’re just not there. In order to get there, you actually have to reach out. It doesn’t happen the other way around. People don’t just randomly call the smaller people in the industry. You have to reach out.
This is an opportunity to reach out with something of substance, with a reason to say, “Hey look, we’re going to put your product, your ideas, in front of a bunch of other people who have already been filtered. All of these other people in our niche have already filtered the audience. Nobody follows them but people that like that kind of thing. This is your audience too, so how about you contribute a product, and we’re going to put together something that nobody else does.” Now, all of the sudden, I am talking to Tom Cruise. Now I’m a position by name.
Now the top people in any industry have more of a chance to get on big podcasts and big shows. If they are ever going to mention your name, they actually have to know it exists first. I mean, our first major benefit is if you want to be somebody in your industry, you have to meet the other people in the industry, or you’re just the guy in the basement.
Outside of our world, validation comes when Dan Rather mentions someone in the news. If you’re a runner, you’re probably reading Runner’s World magazine. If Runner’s World magazine mentions you as a good running trainer, that is a third-party validation of what you’ve been trying to do the whole time. That is part of rolling the snowball of your business, finding ways to make sure that you’re always planting in the minds of your audience that not only does what you’re saying work, but other people respect these concepts. Everyone has objections to buying your product. Everyone has objections to even following or listening to your webinars.
When you can slowly overcome those objections by putting validation in front of your audience, this makes it so much easier for you to say that you have a book coming out and have people pre-order it. We’re huge fans of marketing to people through filtered lists. For instance, coming on this particular podcast, these people already exist that are listening to this, which I would like to speak to. That is much better than a billboard on a highway, which is not filtered; it’s just thousands of people. So, this is an opportunity to stand in front of a filtered list, and a big list, in a big way.
The second benefit, that I didn’t know the first time we did it, was that once it was over people wanted us to come on their podcasts, or they would say, “How do we do something together?” I say, “Send me the copy of what you want me to say to the email list.” I will send it out. I will help you reach all of the people that we have gathered. Not everyone downloads every single product. There’s always more people on the list than any contributor gets. That kind of camaraderie like, “Why don’t we build a product together?” Those more personal JV kind of things are the second benefit. I didn’t foresee them, but they were very welcomed when people asked.
People always say that you should be authentic online. They try to tell you to be yourself, but the fact of the matter is that everyone is themselves. That’s not the issue. The issue is how to get an audience to follow you because their interests are your interests? Click To TweetHow do you speak in a way that makes people say, “Man, I really need to follow that person because he has things to say that I want”? What the BC Stack does, that a $25 Amazon gift card giveaway doesn’t do, is it bring in people to your audience who actually, in their heart, want to learn what you teach.
You know, when you give away an Amazon gift card, if you want to do some sort of list building thing, then everyone on the planet comes to join your list because they want the gift card. However, at no point in time is there an authentic relationship between you and them. The filter isn’t there. The reason why they entered your community isn’t authentic. It isn’t real. So, I love this concept. I might be on your podcast today, but you could also be on mine tomorrow. That helps you, and it helps us. It builds that relationship with our audience as well.
Step #1 – Finding the Top Influencers
Here’s the big picture. We have a spreadsheet that we call “The Universe”, and in the middle of it, we put the niche. So, it’s the DIY Universe, or maybe the Blogging Universe. On this page, we have:
- TV Stars
- Radio Stars
What we do is go to every one of these sites and we find the top people. For example, we find the top person on Udemy within that particular industry. We figure out who the top authors on Amazon are for a certain niche. We learn who the top podcasters are who are talking about the subject at hand. Then, we build out the universe as it pertains to the top people within the industry we’re looking into. If you are a player within an industry, you should already know who the top people in that area are.
Most of the time, the list that we develop are 90% full of people we’ve never met. It may be some guy in India who wrote a great guide to blogging. According to Amazon, this is one of the top sellers, and I didn’t even know it. But, now I’ve got my universe defined, and all I have to do is reach out and talk to these people. That’s the big picture.
Step #2- Making Contact
A member of the team, usually a VA, has to go find this information. What’s their website? What’s their Twitter handle? What’s their email address? We use a plug-in called Search & Scour for Gmail, and it actually finds email addresses like crazy. It’s pretty much a Chrome plug-in. So, I can find pretty much anyone’s email address, and then their Twitter handle, and we put together a letter. It’s easier for me now because we have three under our belts. I can say, “Hey, look at what we’ve done before.” That makes it a much easier cold call.
That first cold call letter, we did not reach out until we found somebody that wanted to be on-board. So, we asked John Lee Dumas if he’d like to contribute to the very first one because I was on his show, and he said, “Great!” So our very first letter said, “Hey, we’re doing a stack of products. John Lee Dumas is involved. Would you like to be involved?” Basically, we’re leveraging somebody else’s name in the industry that the person we’re contacting has probably heard of. That shows that this isn’t a fly-by-night type of thing. It’s real.
In any case, that’s the first letter, “Would you like to be involved? Can I tell you more about it?” I don’t put any more in it because it really is a cold call. All I really need from them is to press, “Yes, I’d like to be involved.” Then the door is open to say, “Let me tell you more. This is what we’re trying to do.” And, you reach out to all of them, which takes some time.
You know, we have a saying, which is, “Be the biggest small dog you can be.” In order to get Tom Cruise to say, “Yes, I would like to be involved”… Maybe you think, “I could never get Tom Cruise,” but maybe you go to LinkedIn, and you find Tom Cruise, and you use LinkedIn’s professional tools to tell you the path. Who are the people that I know who could get to him? Can I use one to introduce me to another? An introduction is fantastic because that’s validation right there. Or, do you use a small guy to get to a medium guy?
This thing worked really well, if you remember back in the 90’s, when the very first viral thing online was OneRedPaperclip.com. It was where a guy turned a paper clip into a house by trading his way up. This isn’t that different. We’re basically trading validation for validation to get to where we want to go. Once you do the first one, you can just use the last one to sell the next one. You really just have to do a bunch of work on the front-end.
Step # 3- Affiliate Set Up
The hard part is the affiliate part. Like, we use aMember. There are a variety of tools that you can use, but you really need to have some sort of software that can produce an affiliate link for your people. So, once they agree to be part of what we’re offering, we send another email that says, “Hey, here’s what we need, and here’s when we need it by.” For the most part, I haven’t really asked if they would promote, and a few people don’t. I’m not as concerned about that. Obviously, we want them to promote, but I don’t want to be a pain. Like, I don’t want to be a jackleg. I mean, it’s not required that they promote
After I get their information, the next email that I send, and, this is the hard part and I haven’t perfected this, but it works really well, I send an individual email to every single affiliate. Now, we had 370 affiliates at the last one. So that’s 370 emails, and we send them every single day. It includes their affiliate link, and copy for an email they could send out, and images we create. You know, we create new images every day for the product, saying like there are four days left or three days left. We send them out individually so that the people who are helping promote do no work. Like, “Here. Just copy and paste. Copy and paste this Facebook update. Here’s an image you can use on Facebook. It’s already optimized for Facebook, and here’s one for Pinterest.”
We do that every day for the seven days that we do the project. I don’t really ask for promotion; I normally just give them the tools. When people ask me about promotion, I basically say, “You are in the business of selling your product. I’m giving you a one-week opportunity to sell your product with 64 bonus items.” And, I let them just do what they do. I always say, “How many books do you think you’re going to sell this week? 20? 15? 8? How about 100 if you offer 64 bonus items on top of your book? Just tell your audience ‘Hey, guess what? My book is on sale this week with 64 bonus items. You’ll never get this again.’”
If your book is $50, and you’re used to making $50, then $50 x 8 is a lot different. You’re going to make $13 as an affiliate with our product, but you’re going to make $13 x 100. That’s kind of how we talk to people. Like, “This could be a no-brainer for your audience.” They might be saying to themselves, “I’ve really been thinking about buying this product, but I haven’t yet.” I mean 64 bonus items? That is a different world than just telling them, “Hey, it’s on sale for 10% off this week.”
Let me tell you, as far as I can tell, there is no other way. If you do affiliate marketing, you’ll know, and you’ll have a list of affiliates, but only 3% of them will keep selling your product. For the rest of them, it’s at the back of their mind because there are so many different things going on. It’s not malicious. It’s just hard. Unfortunately, in our world, since most people don’t have CEO training, and most people don’t really have a team, the path of least resistance is the one that people take every day. A good percentage of people don’t even build strong businesses because a shopping cart is too difficult. They skip it every single day and say, “Well, I’ll get to that later,” because the path of least resistance is writing a Facebook post with an affiliate link.
When you do the work for them, it makes it so much easier for them to even be excited about getting on it because there aren’t the stumbling blocks that you have to get over. Your audience is never going to be as energetic or as grid worthy as you think that they are. You think that they’re going to be gung-ho to sell your product, but they won’t be until they see how easy it is to be gung-ho and they see that they can probably make money from it since, for the most part, the stack is a no-brainer.
Step # 4 – Work
The next step is work. For the next seven days, there are lots of people that are going to email in. There are going to be questions, problems, and new affiliates that come out of the woodwork. Hour after hour, you’re going to have to be on your game for seven days. Like, if somebody wants to promote, I’m going to get their affiliate link, I’m going to get their email ready, I’m going to get their graphics, and I’m going to email them back within like five minutes. I’m going to tell them, “I’ve got you set up. You don’t even have to register. Here it is.” I do all of that. I can take care of getting their PayPal email address later, or whatever other crappy detail that I need.
For one week, it is work. For Rachel and me… Rachel is my business partner… It’s a lot of work. We have people on the team, but still, you’ve got to know, if you’re going to make a lot of money this week, you’ve got to earn it. There’s really no way around it. This isn’t an automated IFTTT thing. It is work. I like it. It’s one week. Get a babysitter because you’re going to need focus time. Things come up, and you just have to be ready. Basically, the stack is open for 60 days. We allow it to be open because if someone important contributes a product that basically means that on his website there is a page where people can come and get it for free, where they would normally pay for it. If I make him keep that open for life, that is a risk that I can’t make other business owners take.
We have tried to open it for 60 days, for everyone to get in and get out. When they buy it, then it gets sent to PayPal, and it gets sent to. I guess we can go through the minutia of that, but really, that’s as simple as it gets. It involves setting up the PayPal button and the affiliate link inside. You’re going to want to make sure that person’s email address gets added to AWeber and make sure that email goes out in the auto-responder that says, “Hey, if you didn’t get automatically redirected to the page, here’s your download link.” Then, making sure that on Day 2 they get that exact same email, and on Day 3 they get a similar email, but make sure that you take customer service out of the equation. You don’t have time for it. So, you’ve got to keep sending them emails that say, “Hey, here’s your download link,” and/or, “Here’s your password.” Make sure that’s built in.
Now that we have a big email list, we send an email out that says, “Look, you cannot be an idiot business owner. Just because you paid for 65 items, doesn’t mean you should download them all. Really, what’s the one item in here that’s going to make you $28? Because, if you can spend $27 and make $28, that would be a win. Download that, and do that, and get better. That way, if you don’t download anything else, you’ve made your money back and your business is moving forward. If you spend all day today downloading 65 products and getting bogged down by all the different things you have to do to make all of them work, that won’t be a good thing.”
That’s not good for the contributors because they shouldn’t download products that they don’t need. They don’t need you on their lists. You need to go find the thing that is going to make your life better. Then, the next time we do the stack, you’re going to buy it again. That’s what we want. We want you to stick around for a long time. At some point in time, if your customer didn’t have the product that he needed today, he’s going to reach out. He’ll say, “Hey, I did this thing that I got through the stack, and I need help with this part.” Now, all of the sudden, he has a relationship with someone in the stack.
That whole authentic part has to take place. Our job is to continually be good stewards to that list in order to make sure that people don’t unsubscribe. A certain percentage will unsubscribe, but if you got on in the first place, how can I make your life better until the next one. How can I send out an offer that I agree with, that I think is so much better, that’s going to help everyone? That’s kind of our job. How do I roll you into the next thing?
Understand that this should be a promotion that lasts from a certain start date to a particular end date. This is important, first of all, because of the laws of persuasion. One of the laws of persuasion is that there needs to be a sense of urgency. There are actually countdown times on the sales pages. That’s because when there is a time limit, you actually feel like you have to take action. The second part is that you have to limit access. If you can’t always get it, then you know that you have to take action now because it won’t always be available.
I will tell you that many, many affiliates show up on Day 6 and say, “Hey, I just found out about this. Can you extend it for my audience for four more days?” We can’t. I can’t train the audience at any point that something happens beyond the cut-off date because next time, even if 1% of people go, “Ahh. This will probably be available for another day, or there’s going to be a second offer where they reduce the price,” you’ll lose sales. That’s because the power to procrastinate is huge.
It’s very important to remember, if you say something as a business owner, you better live up to it. Click To TweetWhatever it is that you say, you have to stick to it. So, if something is ending on a certain time and date, that’s it. It’s over. That’s one of the reasons why when I do a promotion, there’s a countdown timer, and it automatically redirects when that timer goes to zero. That’s it. It’s over, and there are no exceptions.
Actually, I only allow one exception, and that is if a contributor comes to me and says that a certain person in my audience was on vacation and wants in. If they say that within a day or two, and it’s the contributor that comes to me, I want to honor the contributor. I feel like, I don’t want you to say “no” to your people because you’re not the one who created the timer. This has only happened a handful of times during these promotions, however, and it’s like a lot of rules. There are always some exceptions, but the general rule of that rule is “no exceptions”.
There was a mistake that we made the first time, and that was that we asked all of the contributors to contribute the product by the 12th because we were starting it by the 15th. That worked fine, but what didn’t happen is I didn’t have a moment in those three days to look at the entire picture of everything that had been contributed and come up with angles, or marketing ideas, and put together a more comprehensive and strategic plan, in terms of marketing it for those seven days. I would love for you to put 15 days, or two weeks, between the contributor deadline and the day that you start. This way, you can email the contributors and educate them on what else is in it so that they have a better idea about how to sell it, and you also want to do this because it allows you to look at it and organize it, say, on your sales page in different ways.
Once you see all of this, you might be like, “Oh man! I could have grouped these four and these four so that people feel like they got a podcast pack and they got a blogging pack.” If you don’t give yourself a little bit of time between the promotions, you’ll never see the things that might actually make you more sales. I would say, spend a month trying to get the contributors so that you can put two weeks between the two. Not a lot. You really want those people to be fired up, and if you put too much time in there, they lose sight of what you all were doing in the first place. You should, however, give yourself time to come up with some sort of strategic plan. Look for some trends, or patterns, or something interesting.
Also, I’ve had an opportunity to be on a couple of the podcasts of contributors who wanted the podcasts to come out the day that it started. So, if you don’t give yourself a little bit of time, people can’t do that. Then, we use a simple spreadsheet to keep track of the affiliates and their affiliate links. Just on the spreadsheet, I kept track of their product names, the link to the website, and the code in case I had customer service problems, to make that very simple. We did have the sale for seven days.
I always try to bring in non-contributor affiliates. One of my big ones is conferences. I really like to contact conferences and say, “Look, one of the things that you do is you give like a $150 discount for tickets, but what if you gave away the stack for free? Like, what if you just buy it for everyone who buys your ticket?” That’s a $27 discount, and you’re going to get $13 back. So, really you’re only giving $13 back, but you’re giving people an actual product, which is kind of the LeadPages way of marketing. Every weekend LeadPages gives away a bonus. So, I do like to offer that concept up.
I like to suggest an idea. Like, you could say, “Are you interested in marketing this stack?” That’s nebulous, and they are like, “Well, maybe.” However, if you say, “Would you like to give away the stack for free as a bonus for someone buying your ticket? It will only cost you $13, but it’s a cool bonus.” That gets their mind thinking. If you say, “Hey, would you like to be part of the stack? I know that you’re selling your book all of the time, but you could sell it for one week with 64 bonus items,” that’s a different mindset for them. It’s kind of like if you have a blog and you have a “Pin It” button, that’s a great thing to have, but if you say, “Add this to your Halloween board,” that’s different. It’s like, “Oh, that is a good idea. I should add this to my Halloween board.” The power of suggestion is important.
Other than that, there’s the customer service in the backend. I lost my email address. I lost my login. That part is hard to get around. You can do the email auto-responders, but there is going to be some of that and you’re just going to have to deal with it. That’s just part of the business. After that, for us, it’s thinking about the next one. More importantly, for us as an income source, it’s finding new clients to do that for between BC stacks. We only do ours once a year, and if we did it more often during the year, I think it wouldn’t be as powerful. Maybe it would. Maybe twice a year, but I like once a year.
I’ll do it for a DIY blog next week and for a gardening blog a week after that. We use it as an income source, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m tapping my community for $27 every few weeks. I like that because, you know, we’re doing the course starting September 12, 2016 and in that I can totally tell them, this is why it’s for you. You know, every course is 100% for you.
I don’t mind tapping the audience for things that I have developed specifically for their needs, but tapping them for the BC stack where there are some things they probably don’t need [is different]. Like, there’s a product on how to load up WordPress. Most of our audience doesn’t need that. So, I feel like asking them for the same $27 a week for things that won’t 100% benefit them would be a violation of trust. Trust and integrity are vital to your business because once you lose it, it’s damn-near impossible to get it back.
I do want to say that you also have a responsibility for your audience’s time. So, when you give them 65 products to download, you’re basically saddling them with 65 things to learn. Consider that too. That’s part of being the guardian and leader of your community. You’ve got to make sure that what you’re bringing is really valuable.
Connecting with Dan
You can always go to BCstack.com. That’s the page that’s live every year. In between times, there are links to the past ones so that you can see what we did. Plus, visiting the site will give you an opportunity to get on the list so that you get notified when the next one is coming up. Primarily, we run Audience Industries, which is BloggingConcentrated.com. We also run FindingJoy.net, which is a site about motherhood, which Rachel writes. It has blog posts that have over a million likes on them.
You know, a couple of hundred thousand people a day. It’s a really big site. We also run Benefits of Resveratrol, which is an anti-oxidant and nutritional site, and we do that for the specific purpose of learning niche things that we need to do for the audience. Otherwise, BloggingConcentrated.com is our hub and Provide Podcasts is the way that we do this kind of thing on a daily basis.
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