in Projects, Programming, Technology

The secret technique for getting filthy rich

Wow. This marketing pitch really turns my stomach. I got on Trey Smith’s Software System product launch email list by following an affiliate link from Ed Dale. I’ve gotten a lot of value from stuff Ed’s given away for free in the past, but this one is blatantly over the top. (I’m not going to link to it, but Google it and you’ll find it).

Smith is selling a “Software System” – instructions for how to outsource a piece of Software, then market it. So far as I can tell, Smith has had a couple iPhone apps developed, and made a few thousand dollars from them. He also claims to have made over $2M selling TV software – probably the “Watch free satellite TV” kind I see at the top of the clickbank marketplace. His big “secret” is that you can design your software to prompt users to upgrade and collect downstream income without even the need to send an email.

I’ve learned a lot from Internet marketers. The mile long sales letter kind. I love the spirit and the promise of salesmanship. I enjoy milking as much free content from them as possible (and observing how they run their campaigns). I’m fascinated by their ability to “move the free line” – give away their best stuff for free and then charge an arm and a leg for the leftovers. I also love to learn how to market my software better.

The reason this one pisses me off is because he so blatantly over-simplifies the art of building and selling software. If he was selling “6-minute abs” the average Joe could at least evaluate for himself how likely the system is to work. It is only because I know what is inside the “black box” (he literally refers to software as a black box) that this pitch is so absurd.

I should probably list all the blatant falsehoods. It’s hard to find good outsource developers. It’s hard to write bug-free software. It’s hard to market it so people find it on the Internet or in the app store. Games (like the app he uses as an example in the video) are a hit based business. I’m not saying its not worth doing, it’s just hard – and there is certainly no system for doing it.

One of the most fascinating things I discovered with the information product that I did was that only about 1 in 5 people ever made any progress in the course. Less than 1 in 10 people actually completed the course or had time to ask me questions. Like self-help books, the emotion of buying something to solve a problem is powerful. Actually following through is the hard part.

When people start selling their systems it means that a market is finding equilibrium. It is getting hard to make money by doing what they’ve been doing, so they shift to charging other people to learn what they’ve been doing.

What this dreadful marketing campaign helps us learn is all of the elements of an information product launch. Just substitute “widgets” for “software” and all the sales elements stand in sharp relief.

I’d love to do a “Cow clicker” style parody for an information product launch. How would you do it without making completely false claims about a product? Perhaps you could make it self-referential – use a marketing campaign to promote selling a manual on how you created the marketing campaign. Actually, that’s what Jeff Walker does with Product Launch Formula, which I bought and very much enjoyed.

Here are some of the obvious elements.

  • Landing page with a lead magnet signup (the downloadable “blueprint” or “system”)
  • Sales videos, long sales letter, email sequence. Warm your prospect over time. Build their commitment and consistency. Train them to buy from you.
  • Affiliate network promoting the product for a commission. Also increases the authority of the salesperson.
  • The free downloadable system.
  • Some kind of “secret” to be discovered
  • Using Facebook comments as social proof
  • The story of the salesman – every day guy who his persistence or luck made money and now wants to share that luck with you.
  • Likability – by describing a customer’s problems better than they can themselves, they will assume you have the answer.
  • A few testimonials for social proof and authority.
  • Scarcity: a fixed window during which the product is for sale, and a limited number of items for sale.
  • Bonuses for buying early
  • Reciprocity: giving away free stuff builds a relationship with your prospects

The real moral of the story is that, like software, good sales and marketing is hard too. If you think you can get rich from your basement be prepared for a long haul.

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  1. Adam,
    You are right on with your comments. All the hype about making money easy is a bunch of hot air. There are times when people can have a windfall but it is typically shortlived. The real way to make money online from my perspective is to create valuable websites as prime real estate, like your blog here. Create value, share value and the money will come.

    Would be interested in knowing what you are into for online marketing.