Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

The Trouble with Internet Marketing

So, as anyone who reads this blog knows, I released an e-book recently entitled Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly the Plane. And with the publication of the e-book, I threw myself into learning how to sell products on the internet. Reading the popular books and blogs, listening to podcasts, and even purchasing a couple of products from the gurus out there like Perry Marshall and Derek Gehl.

And, after looking at what some others (including fellow security blogger Mike Rothman) had done, the site went live looking like this.

And, while the sales have been fair (and I really want to thank all the people who have purchased the book), the site simply didn't convert traffic in the way that I would have hoped. And then I realized that the approach wasn't necessarily what I had hoped: my wife called it "ugly and over the top". Someone else compared the site to Steve Gibson's site. And I realized that there had to be a better way.

And I went back to the gurus and tried to see what I was doing wrong. And then I realized that all of the gurus are selling their expertise. But I couldn't find any examples of their expertise beyond what they were telling me. And beyond what they were selling themselves. So, they're experts because they're selling products.

So, I went on a bit of a search for someone who had just done it. And I found exactly one example: 37Signals' book Getting Real. They sold a huge number of copies of the book. And their site looks absolutely nothing like the sites that are touted as the paragon of internet marketing virtue by the gurus: John Carlton, Perry Marshall, and Derek Gehl.

And, believing that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I re-designed the Forget The Parachute website based on the design that 37Signals used for Getting Real. (I admit it: I'm a terrible web designer, so this first iteration borrowed a lot more from 37Signals than I'd like. But, if it works, I'll continue to refine.)

I'd like to ask for some feedback from my readers: please leave a comment or send me email: which site makes you most likely to actually buy the book? The original long-sales-copy site? Or the new site based on 37Signals?

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray