“Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree and I’ll spend the first 4 sharpening the axe.” Abe Lincoln
I’ve been thinking about this quote a lot lately.
It all started when I was on the set of an online reality show I’m a part of. The show chronicles the creation of an information product from conception to launch and beyond.
A cadre of experts (myself included) meet on a regular basis to discuss all aspects of the project. Our meetings are videotaped and will be put online for the world to see (I’ll let you know when it goes live).
At a recent taping I made some points about the importance of research and how, especially on the marketing side of things, the project would benefit from doing some (I’m purposely keeping things vague here… can’t reveal too much right now!).
As we were wrapping things up for the evening, one of the other people involved made a comment that if she had a gun to her head and had just 30 days to launch a business, she’d skip the research and just jump in and get started.
I totally understand the thinking here. In fact, you’ll hear a lot of business experts saying that one of the marks of successful entrepreneurs is the ability to execute on their ideas quickly.
But I guess where she(they) and I differ on things is I believe that research is the first, and most important part of executing a successful business/marketing plan.
And that’s why I’ve been thinking about Abe Lincoln’s quote.
Because when it comes to marketing, research is your AXE.
Here’s a little secret about the great “A” List level copywriters…
Yeah, they’ve got some writing chops. But that’s NOT what makes them truly great.
The thing that separates the truly great ones from the pack is their research skills.
Before they write a WORD of copy, they’re immersing themselves in the product/service they’re selling, the audience they’re marketing to, and the competition.
All the top PPC guys I know are all fanatical about research… Keyword Research… Competitive Research… Market Research.
That’s the heart of getting a successful AdWords campaigns off the ground (as is digging in/researching the data of live campaigns to religiously optimize them).
The cool thing about the Internet (well, other than Amazon Prime and TED Talks) is that it’s now easier than ever to do your research. And you don’t even have to TALK to anyone to do it.
Speaking of Amazon, that’s one of my favorite sources to use for research.
The reviews on Amazon are a treasure trove of information that can be invaluable to the savvy business owner.
These are reviews written by people who have taken their time to express their views (the good, the bad and the ugly) about the products they bought.
The key word being BOUGHT… these are BUYERS writing about products they’ve actually shelled out their hard earned cash for. These are the people you need to be paying attention to.
During one of our recent filming sessions we spent some time on Amazon and got some incredible insights.
What we did was look at reviews people left for books related to the info product we’re tasked with creating and marketing.
Here’s what we were looking for…
At the end of the day, doing this research gave us a much clearer picture of:
And we got all these insights simply by spending some time on Amazon.
Now you might be thinking you’re a dentist or run a restaurant or own an industrial/manufacturing company and there are no books/products related to what you sell on Amazon.
Fair enough. But Amazon ain’t the only place to find this sort of information. If there are no related products/books on Amazon, you can…
There is a deadly trap you have to be wary of with research. It’s one I’ve been guilty of falling into in the past.
The trap is Analysis Paralysis… it’s when you just keep researching but never take action. That trap’ll kill your marketing efforts because you never leave the starting gate.
As I said at the top, I think research is a PART of executing on a successful marketing plan. But it’s just a part of it. You have to ACT to have any chance of success.
With 6 hours to chop down a tree, Abe Lincoln would take 4 hours to sharpen his axe. And that’s probably a decent rule of thumb. Spend about 2/3 of your time up front doing your research… then create your USP, write your copy, build your campaign, etc.
Most of your competitors have dull axes. Do the research… sharpen your axe… and you’ll be chopping down trees they don’t have a shot at making a dent in.
I know. Yuck. Homework. So let’s not call it homework, let’s call it a challenge.
What insights does that give you into your market that you didn’t have before?
What ideas for headlines, copy, offers, products, services, etc. did it give you?
What ideas for new products/offerings or tweaks to existing products/offerings did you get?
After you spend that hour, come back here and share what you learned in the comment section below.
I’m betting that 1 hour may be one of the most enlightening hours you’ve spent in a LONG time.
And I say that confidently because, well, I’ve done the research! 😉
When it comes to finding local keyword data, there are a lot of ways you can go about finding the best ones for your business. But there is only one source you can turn to get accurate, reliable data about what local keywords people are typing into Google and how many (if any) are typing them in each month.
In this video, we reveal what that source is and share a real world example of how powerful getting this accurate data can be.
You’ve done your local keyword research and found a keyword that would be awesome for your business.
Problem is, the Google Keyword Tool indicates that keyword gets zero search each month. Bummer? Maybe not.
Especially for relatively low traffic local keywords, the data you get from the keyword tool can be highly inaccurate.
This video shows you a simple, yet powerful, trick you can use to see if people are actually searching for that keyword or not.
So where do you go digging to find the best local keywords for your business?
The place to start (and in some cases, perhaps the only place you need to go) is the Google Keyword Tool. It’s part of the Google AdWords program, but you don’t have to use AdWords to use this awesome tool…for free!
It will help you uncover the best local keywords that your customers are typing into Google to find the products and services you offer.
This video shows you how to make the most of this tool and some tricks to help you find keywords your competitors may be missing!
But when doing your local keyword research, what should you be looking for?
What are the factors that make for the best keywords?
As you’ll see in this short video, there are 3 main factors to be looking for when researching keywords.
Two of them have to do with numbers, or the “science” of keyword research.
The third, and arguably most important, is all about the “art” of keyword research.
Watch the video to see what they are…