Direct Marketing, Scottsdale Arizona, and Why a $10 Ebook Can Change Your Life

by | May 24, 2013

One of the first things I did when I started my blog was write “foundation posts.” These posts—on basic concepts, terms, and processes in your field—are really important to build on as you continue to develop content for your blog.

Along with the posts on book design and book construction, I wrote an article about what should be on your copyright page. It’s a simple topic but necessary for self-publishers to get right, and over the years I’ve linked back to that post on many occasions.

That’s one of the great things about foundation posts—they allow you to treat your own blog archives as an article vault to link to. Eventually you build up this rich network of subject-oriented links that can really help your ranking in search engines.

As a new blogger, I had also installed Google Analytics to measure… whatever it is that it measures. To be honest, I really didn’t know.

What I did know was that measuring is important.

A Little History

You may not know this, but I spent some time in the direct marketing business in New York. My design studio acted as the creative department for a direct-response advertising agency, so we developed all sorts of mailings over the years.

In the direct mail industry, you measure everything. Direct mailers invented a lot of the metrics and ideas internet marketers use today, like a/b split tests, conversion ratios, “funnel” marketing, and so on.

Testing is continuous, and you are always looking for little changes that make a difference. If you’re mailing 100,000 messages and you can increase your conversion ratio—the number of people who act on your offer—even a small improvement can mean a huge difference in your results.

So I was naturally very curious about what kind of measurements Google Analytics could provide.

What I Didn’t Know I Was Going to Find

After poking around in the most obvious categories, I found, to my surprise, that the article on copyright was the most popular page on my blog. After all the articles I had slaved over, written and re-written, researched and reported, I thought that was pretty ironic.

This was a real lesson for me as a new blogger: I might think I know what readers will need, but in reality you readers are the ones who tell me what’s important.

CopyrightLike any good direct response marketer, I sat down and started writing a lot more articles about copyright. Eventually I gathered them together into a PDF ebook that I sell here on my site for $10.00.

That copyright PDF is the most popular item on my site and it always has been. Over the past few months I’ve been selling at least one copy a day.

Do you know that if you can sell 1 PDF a day, you can add $3,650 to your bottom line every year in completely passive income?

But suppose I could improve my conversion? Suppose I could sell 2 or 3 a day? That doesn’t seem like a big leap, does it? And what if I had a few other ebooks?

I think you can see where this is going.

The Secret Buried Deep Inside Your Blog

Creating a sustainable business from blogging and writing is quite a challenge, yet it can be done. That leads me right to Arizona.

Over the years, I’ve continued to poke around in Google Analytics. But there’s a problem with the program: it has way too much information!

Google Analytics seems to measure everything to such a degree it’s completely confusing. Every time I looked at it to check my visitors, or pageviews, simple stuff like that, it just looked like it would take a long time to learn how to really use this tool.

So when I was standing in line at a marketing conference last year in Scottsdale, Arizona, and heard somebody mention “Google Analytics,” I immediately invited the fellow to lunch.

His name is George Gill, and I’m going to be introducing him to you next week. This is really exciting for me, and here’s why:

I keep thinking about that $10.00 PDF. If I hadn’t found that one piece of information in my analytics, I never would have produced the content for that book. Now it’s producing income from the work I put into this blog.

I know that there’s gold in those analytics charts and graphs that are “greek to me” at the moment.

That’s where George comes in.

George says his idea is to help people work less and get more results, and that sounds pretty good to me. On Monday I’ll post an interview I did with him in which he explains some of his approach to this stuff.

If you’re working at running a blog, using your expertise, or creative writing, and you’re starting to build a community, I think you’ll get a lot out of this.

It will be Memorial Day here in the U.S. on Monday, so have a great holiday. And if you’ve gone off to the beach for the day, don’t worry. I’ll leave the interview up on Tuesday as well just so you don’t miss it.


tbd advanced publishing starter kit


  1. Mike

    This sounds interesting, Joel, but my question is whether Web site analysis should default to Google Analytics or whether one can get just as good a result from AWStats (which I’ve used for quite a few years now) or Webalizer. Will George address this question?

    • Joel Friedlander

      Mike, that’s another good question. As I said above, the program only involves Google Analytics. Although I also have AWStats and Webalizer in my control panel, and I’ve looked at them, I personally rely on GA which seems like it has become a de facto standard. When I realized there were very different statistics from each of these programs, and the first two almost always reported much higher numbers, I felt it was prudent to stick with GA although I can’t claim any expertise about which numbers are closer to reality.

  2. ABE

    Please be careful to say, right up front, whether whatever you recommend can be used for FREE WordPress blogs (and other, I assume).

    I spent a lot of time following links on Google Analytics, and setting up and account because of posts like yours, only to find, at the very END, that you couldn’t use them on the free blog I have.

    It could be mentioned with ‘you’ll want to know about this for when you decide to go to a paid blog or website’ format.

    It would be a kindness to beginners – many of whom do start at a free blog.

    I’m not ready for marketing – you have to have product first! – but I’m doing things like blogging because I knew for me it was the next step. I need to know which is the next step for ME (by reading – I don’t need any special handholding): for example, same thing after following a bunch of posts on how to get your picture on your Google results pages – to find it also doesn’t work for us newbies.

    I appreciate your many posts for guidance – and read them all, trying to educate myself. But my energy is severely limited, and it would be nice to spend it where it will do the most good (after WRITING, of course).


    • Joel Friedlander

      ABE, this program only concerns using Google Analytics, but later in the week you’ll have a chance to ask George any and all questions, so stay tuned for that.

  3. Paula

    Fascinating stuff!
    It’s seriously amazing to think of how much info is out there to take advantage of. I can wait to hear what George has to say!

    • Joel Friedlander

      Thanks, Paula, you’ll be hearing a lot from George next week, so stay tuned.

  4. chris

    How did you define “most popular page?” Was that based only on visitor count or did that take into account time-on-page and / or bounce rate?

    You might title my comment “how to avoid building a product around a page that’s visited by people looking for something else (but related) – and where you are on the first page of google for the term.” :)

    • Joel Friedlander

      Hey Chris,

      I was simply looking at the number of visits, under the “Content” category in Google Analytics. Believe me, my use of the information there was very primitive, and it has only improved a little. I didn’t take account of bounce rate or time on page, both measurements that George says are very important to evaluating your results.

      I will say that my article is still #1 on Google for the term “copyright page” so I’m assuming most of the visitors there are actually looking for exactly that information. But I’m very interested in the idea of matching content to traffic, that seems like one of the key ideas I’m hoping to learn more about.



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