Earlier, I was reading this post from Seth Godin:

Three Things You Need If You Want More Customers

In it, he breaks down in broad but simple terms the three things you need if you want more customers:

1. A group of possible customers you can identify and reach.
2. A group with a problem they want to solve using your solution.
3. A group with the desire and ability to spend money to solve that problem.

As thirty day challengers, the first thing we hear about in Ed Dale’s “Symphony of Four Parts” is the market research, and this ties into it beautifully.

We learn about identifying our market, refining our keywords/phrases with Market Samurai and narrowing things down to our “phrase that pays.” We look at the numbers and work within those numeric parameters to make sure our “phrase that pays” is viable.

Then, we build a blog or site around it and see if we can get ranked fairly quickly and get traffic.

Once we have the traffic, we can test to see if they will “convert” – or buy whatever we’re offering.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t – and when it doesn’t work – I have to ask myself…why?

Sometimes, it’s easy to lose site of the customer…I like doing the research, looking at numbers – working within established parameters.  It’s all very logical, comfortable – numbers are so easy to define…  But I’ve come up with a couple of duds over the last six months.  And I think it’s because I get too into the science of it and forget all about the fact that I’m trying to turn a searcher into a satisfied customer.

Maybe I can get ranked…I can even get traffic – but in the case of my duds, I could have saved myself a lot of time had I simply filtered my “phrase that pays” through the three items above.

In both cases for me, I was able to satisfy number 1 – Market Samurai is AWESOME for that.

For numbers two and three, I think it just takes asking yourself those questions about your phrase, like this:

If my phrase is “how to report credit” AND the niche I’m trying to market to is “small businesses with in-house credit accounts who need to report their accounts to the credit bureaus, but don’t know how” – I just ask myself if my solution will help them – and if they have the desire and ability to spend money to solve the problem identified or implied by that phrase…

As it turns out – it will – and they do.

Now, If I was marketing on a local level only – I may not be able to get enough customers to support that business.  But because of the way we can leverage the internet, we can target and reach a large group of potential businesses who need to solve that problem.

And that spells success!

So – in YOUR efforts to build YOUR internet business, just remember to keep your customers in mind.  As you do your research and identify keywords/phrases with potential – filter them through the list of three things above.  You’ll likely save yourself some money, time and a lot of effort…

Hug your kids – as of the 14th of this month, I’ve got a NEW one to hug!

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Sometimes success comes from the strangest places…

I had some success from applying the things I learned from this year’s thirty day challenge.  So did Stephen.  The most important thing was that – as a father and son, we found a project we could work on over part of his summer break – something that didn’t involve video games – something that could teach both of us some life skills and life lessons that don’t get taught in public school.

But so far, the most interesting thing to come out of the thirty day challenge is shaping up to be a nice little business I can run from home.  Let me explain…

First, my younger brother has operated a web-based business from his home for a few years now.  He used to work for a credit bureau – and because he is familiar with credit reporting processes, he is able to help small businesses sort out how to report credit and payment history information to the credit bureaus.

Over the past few months I’ve been sharing what Stephen and I learned, plus he’s been following along with our blog.  His biggest constraint is time.  He’d like to implement thirty day challenge strategies to expand his business – but he doesn’t have a lot of free time.  So, we’ve made an arrangement…I’ve analyzed his site, his competitors, done market and keyword research – and come up with a set of action steps to take that will propel him to better organic rankings and help him get a better return on his Adwords investment.

In return, I’m getting paid to be his search engine marketing consultant.  My latest proposal to him for the ongoing work was to barter for a MacBook Pro, I’m crossing my fingers for that to happen 🙂  I figure it’s really the tool I need going forward and it’s a complete write-off for him – win-win.

In addition to this project, another client has hired me to help with his search engine marketing efforts.

Have you ever heard of a pergola?

I hadn’t, I’d seen them – just never new what to call them.  When Justin and I first met, there were some problems with his website – it was beautiful, but not well optimized for search.  There were none of the usual on-page factors like title tags, description, keywords, etc.  We fixed some of those items before we even ended the first meeting – and then I went to work.

We talked about what it would take to improve his organic ranking – and also about how to get some fast traffic to his site.  He opted to crank up Adwords right away – and using Market Samurai, the Google Keyword tool, and the things I’ve learned about Adwords, it was pretty easy to get a campaign started for him.

We’re in the process of testing and tracking his Adwords campaign and also building backlinks to his site about pergola kits.

In both cases, I’ve been able to use the techniques I’ve learned from the thirty day challenge to help my clients reach their goals.  At first, I wasn’t sure if it “counted” as a 30DC success – after all, it’s not a niche/affiliate type of business.  But I’m able to charge a fair fee based on the work – and it all started with the thirty day challenge.

I owe a big thank you to Ed Dale, Dan Raine, Caro, Nez and the entire Thirty Day Challenge crew – because this looks like the start of something big.  Also thanks to my friends and teammates from the challenge including Sheryl & Cait, Jooles, Eric G. and Allison R – (Long live the Ed Dale Mankini!).

Last but not least, a big thank you goes out to my son Stephen, who kept me accountable (and kept me off the video games.)  🙂

P.S. – If you need some help with your niche, you can let me know in the comments below…

P.P.S – We’ll have an update about Stephen’s school fundraiser soon…

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High Authority Backlinks

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 16 minutes.

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: You could spend 15 minutes on this, you could also spend hours – it’s probably best to limit your link creation to 3-5 a day.  Much more than that could look spammy.  This should be considered an ongoing activity.  You may not need to do this daily, but a few times a week wouldn’t hurt…

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 29 Introduction Video – 30DC

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Get Authority Backlinks Using Market Samurai

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Use the promotion module in Market Samurai to find areas within Yahoo Answers related to your niche – so you can answer and create a backlink.  In addition, find .edu and .gov boards related to your niche, for more authority linking.

Remember, anytime you leave a comment or post on a forum – you should use SocialMarker and/or OnlyWire to bookmark that site or page.  Anytime you can increase the ranking or authority of a place that links back to your site – is a good thing.

Market Samurai – Click here for your 30DC free trial of the Market Samurai software.

Market Samurai Support – Click here for Market Samurai Support.

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Creating Blog Authority

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 19 minutes.

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: The “OnlyWire” part of today’s training is something that should be done every time you create a new post.  Once you’re set-up, this only takes a few minutes.

The additional backlinks can take a little bit more time, but Market Samurai makes it very easy to be organized and systematic about it.  Your first few times through this may take you 30 to 60 minutes or more.  Once you’re used to it, you should be able to create a few new links for your site within a matter of minutes.

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 28 Introduction Video-30DC

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Get More Links Using Market Samurai

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Learn how to use OnlyWire to create post-level book-marks for deep-linking.

OnlyWire – Click here to create your OnlyWire account.

Use Market Samurai’s “Promotion” feature to find Squidoo lenses, HubPages, Forums, Weebly Sites and other blogs (relevant to your niche) so you can contribute by leaving quality comments which link back to your site.

In addition, utilize the “pingback” feature to create additional links.  Used correctly, this is a powerful way to build links and increase traffic to your blog.

Market Samurai – Click here for your 30DC free trial of the Market Samurai software.

Market Samurai Support – Click here for Market Samurai Support.

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Getting More Exposure

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 26 minutes.

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: This could be and should be an ongoing process – you may spend 10-30 minutes researching additional keywords.  You could spend 30 to 60 minutes or more working on additional content.  And it’s something you should probably do on at least a weekly basis…The idea is to increase the reach and exposure of your blog, which will increase its value as a byproduct.

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 27 Introduction Video – 30DC

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Search For Long Tail Derivative Keywords

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Use Market Samurai to find more “long-tail” keyword phrases with good traffic and competition numbers.  You may also find additional keywords from your Google Analytics reports.

Market Samurai – Click here for the 30DC Special Offer.

Market Samurai Support – Click here for Market Samurai Support.

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Auto Content on WordPressdirect For Long Tail

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Organize and categorize your keywords so you can use the auto content and manual post features of WordPressDirect to create content related to each of your key phrases.  Ed shows us how to use the auto content side of WordPressDirect with the proper methodology.

WordPress Direct – Click here for the 30DC Special Offer.

WordPress Direct Support – Click here for WordPress Direct support.

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More Google Adwords

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 19 minutes.

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: 30 to 60 minutes – maybe more if you’re adding a lot of keywords, ad groups and ad variations. Personally, I like coming up with ad variations – it brings out my excited, inner geek 🙂

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 21 Introduction Video – 30DC

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Finding Keywords For Your Adwords Campaign

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Keep an eye your AdWords stats
Use Market Samurai to find additional keywords, relevant to your niche – that have AdWords traffic

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Add Keywords To Your Adwords Campaign

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Use the keywords you found with Market Samurai to create additional ad groups.
Create 2 to 3 ad variations in each ad group for split testing

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BONUS CONTENT

Thirty Day Challenge TV – 2008.08.21 Episode 11

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How To Build A Squidoo Lens

Time to watch today’s videos: Approximately 25 minutes.

Additional time to complete today’s action steps: If you have all your “ducks in a row,” creating a Squidoo lens goes pretty quick. Now, by “ducks in a row,” – I mean, keyword phrases chosen, 2 or 3 – 300 to 500 word pieces of content pre-written, etc.

If you have that already done that you could put a Squidoo lens up in a matter of minutes. Considering this may be your first time, allow yourself 15 – 30 minutes to get used to the interface.

As to finding more content, well – that’s something you can spend a lot of time on. I guess I’d say allow yourself an additional 30 to 60 minutes to do some research. You’ll need more content in the days to come.

Thirty Day Challenge Transcripts and Training are available below each video.

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Day 11 Introduction Video – 30DC

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How To Create A Squidoo Lens

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Build your Squidoo Lens – build a link to your WordPressDirect blog – and submit your lens to several social bookmarking sites with Social Marker.

Squidoo – Click here to set up your Squidoo lens.

Copyscape – Click here to check the originality of your article/lens.

Use your main keyword phrase as the title of your Squidoo lens (or get as close as you can.) When you get to Step 4, make sure you use your category keywords (the other keywords you’re using for categories in your wordpressdirect blog). Use them in the section where it says “And 3 more good ones are:”

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Find More Content Using Market Samurai

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Market Samurai has been updated to help you find even more content sources for your niche research.

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