Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation

UK Property Investment news and comments from Mark Harrison of YourPropertyExpert.com

Archive for the ‘Blog marketing’ Category

How well do you know your parents?

Posted by markharrison on August 22, 2007

I’ve just come back from a rather good party – after all, my parents are only going to have one Ruby wedding anniversary.

Meeting some of the family I’ve not seen for 10+ years, and hearing some of the stories about my parents’ wedding, I’ve realised how little “hard footprint” they left back in the 60s – a few family photos, and personal memories locked in peoples’ heads.

I, on the other hand, have presumably left a huge footprint that will be available to my children via Google (or whatever takes over from it over the next 15 years.) Flickr photos, this blog, the YPE newsletter, but also tens of thousands of posts on mailing lists ranging from Morgan cars to Home Automation, via a whole range of wild and wacky niches.

Anyway, the reason I’m thinking about this is that I’m again co-hosting The Old Grey Video Test with Nik Butler and Phil Campbell tomorrow. (23rd August)

The next episode is live at 20:00 (UK Time) here. We’re doing it as a live show on Operator11, so if you’d like to come along, then you can participate in the show – if you have a webcam, we can bring you in by video – otherwise the “live online chat” will be running throughout the episode.

Nik, Phil and I are all in our 30s, all with young children, and the theme for tomorrow’s show is indeed “what our children will be able to discover about us.”

Posted in Blog marketing, SNO, Social Networking, Social Networking Optimisation, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Good blog design really affects rankings

Posted by markharrison on August 21, 2007

If you’re blogging (and, of course, you should be), then you will probably be interested in reaching as many people as possible.

One way to do this is by submitting your blog into the “blog lists” – the likes of blogtopsites, and blogtoplists and so on.
If truth be told, not that many people find my blog because of those (about 2-3% of readers of this site), but some do.

While most people deny that they are influenced by what others do, but there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that actual “peer validation” is something that most of us find hard to ignore. Presumably, because of that, I’ve noticed that the higher I rank in the lists, the more hits I get through them. There is definitely a positive feedback loop going on, anyway.

Over the space of a week, however, I rocked from about 150th place in the “Real Estate Blogs” list on BlogTopSites to 88th, and it’s all because of a design change.

There are three ways to see my blog:

  • You could come to the main blog (seeing lots of articles) (about 1/3 of readers)
  • You could come to a particular article on my site (about 2/3 of reader)
  • You could be reading this article on another site that “syndicates” what I write (no idea, by definition I can’t see those figures)

The various blog lists tend only to count those readers who come directly to my site (so, SingingPig, Ubuntu, you aren’t helping my ratings :-) ).  The way they tend to do this is by looking at how many people need to see the “icon” (which you’ll find in the left hand column of this site.) The icon gives a rating of how well I do on their lists, and the more people who load a page including that icon, the better I do…

The old design of my site only showed the stuff in the left and right columns when people were seeing the “main site page” – ie viewing lots of articles. This meant a poorer experience (because there was no indication of what else there might be of interest in the blog) and meant that those people were being excluded from the blog list ratings.

The new design of the site has the columns visible, even when you’re reading one particular article… so as far as the list sites are concerned, I suddenly have three times as many readers.

And sure enough, not only have my ratings improved, but actually, I can see rather more people come in referred by those list sites.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the vast majority of people reading this blog have just found it by searching on Google for things like “Property Negotiation”, “foreclosures UK” and “Mortgages”, so the whole “concentrating on property” seems to be what most of my readers are looking for.

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Free to good home?

Posted by markharrison on April 23, 2007

There are several reasons why it would be nice to be French – good wine and great cheese spring to mind… but one of the big advantages of having French as a mother tongue is that there is a difference in the words “libre” and “gratuit”, both of which translate into English as the word “free”, but which mean completely different things.

  • “Gratuit” means “free” in the sense of at zero price – as in “buy one, get one free”
  • “Libre” means “free” in the sense of unrestricted, unconstrained – as in “Nelson Mandela is now free”

What on earth has this got to do with Web Marketing?

OK – let’s re-cap the complete basics of web marketing. To build a business you:

  1. Attract people to your site
  2. Offer them something “free” in exchange for getting their contact details and permission to email them
  3. Make the “free” thing of such good value that you build up (over time) a reputation as a trustworthy source
  4. Once you have that reputation, explain what you can offer that would cost them money
  5. Track the whole process so that you understand what percentage of visitors to the website hand over their details, and what percentage of people getting the “free thing” go on to become paying customers – then use this information to gradually refine all aspects of your business so that those percentages improve over time.

This is exactly the model I use on two of my sites:

The vast majority of people who get the free stuff are perfectly happy with it – I regularly get emails of thanks attributing specific figures that people have made using some of the tips in the mini course – and this is absolutely fine. However, a small number of people go on to buy either my ebook on Property Negotiation, or even attend my one-day training course. (95% of the material in the two is the same – it’s really a question of whether people learn better by coming on an instructor-led course, whether the emotional commitment of coming to a course spurs them to action, and whether they want the confidence boost of meeting a bunch of like-minded people who are accomplishing similar things.) And let me be honest, this isn’t a huge money-maker for me – I run training courses because I enjoy it, and like meeting interesting people, rather than because it’s the most financially efficient use of my time!

However, this is only “free” in the sense of “gratuit” – I don’t charge for the newsletter or mini-course.

What about “libre” – what “freedom” comes with these items?

Under UK (and International) copyright law – the contents of the course and newsletter are mine – and the only “rights” a subscriber has is the right to read that newsletter / course item. They don’t have the right to forward them to friends, nor the right to reproduce them in their own newsletters.

The traditional view of “intellectual property” says that it would be sensible for me to enforce these rights – to try to clamp down on anyone “ripping off my material” by passing it on.

However, there’s another view – if the point of my giving this stuff away “gratuit” is to spread my reputation as a credible authority (in my case, on property negotiation specifically, and property investment in general), then what’s in my best interest?

  • To lock down and restrict the material so that only people who have given over their contact details get it?
  • To make sure that it only ever appears in exactly the format I’d intended, without modification

OR

  • To open it up, and let as many people as possible get at it
  • To allow other people to use vast chunks of it, with their own angle, or improvement
  • (providing the new readers know where it came from originally)

The second model is exactly the one that that the “free software” community uses. The software licences like the so-called “GPL” are specifically written to give people a bunch of rights not just to use software, but to modify it, and redistribute it. Both of the elements are key – the “redistribution” right means that software like Ubuntu Linux now has millions of users world-wide. And the “modify” right means that the product is far, far, better than if only the small team (who work for a company called Canonical) who produced the original Ubuntu CDs could change things. Canonical make their money be providing support and installation services – though you are welcome to use their products whether you buy their add-on services or not. Indeed, their products are, in turn, modifications and improvements of other products issued under similar terms.

My view is that I’m far better off trying to get the newsletter stuff out to as wide an audience as possible, and not worry too much whether I have the email address of every reader on my database!

So, what does this mean to my material?

As of today, there’s a “new deal” available on the yourpropertyexpert.com newsletter:

  • If you run a website or newsletter yourself, you are welcome to take any article from the http://www.yourpropertyexpert.com website, and re-distribute it to your readers provided that you include the line “Copyright <year> http://www.yourpropertyexpert.com – reproduced with permission” on the article.
  • There is no obligation on you to let me know you’ve done this (though it would be nice)
  • Obviously, you’ll need to replace the text <year> with the year the article was actually written.
  • If you allow other people to use articles from your stuff, you need to make sure that they know they have to include that message as well!

Right, that covers the “redistribution” side, what about the “modification” side?

  • If you run a website or newsletter yourself, you are welcome to take any article from the http://www.yourpropertyexpert.com website, and use parts of it, added in with your own text, and re-distribute it to your readers provided that you include the line “Parts of this article are Copyright <year> http://www.yourpropertyexpert.com – reproduced with permission” on your version.
  • There is no obligation on you to let me know you’ve done this (though it would be nice)
  • Obviously, you’ll need to replace the text <year> with the year the article was actually written.
  • If you allow other people to use articles from your stuff, you need to make sure that they know they have to include that message as well!

At this point, the traditional “list-builder” marketeers will be reeling in shock! The traditional approach is that you have to capture every name, and that the key metric to success is the “size of your list”, because they are the people you can sell other stuff to more effectively.

My point is that making all this stuff available for free (libre and gratuit) is, I believe, a better way to grow that list quickly – since many people who’ve read my material elsewhere will ultimately choose to come to the source and subscribe directly… and that providing material to other people will only increase the brand awareness of the name “Mark Harrison” in property investment circles.

Posted in Blog marketing, Building Businesses, Open Source, Web Marketing, Wikinomics | Leave a Comment »

Blog marketing DVD – order before Wednesday if you want it for Christmas

Posted by markharrison on December 10, 2006

OK, OK, OK – I know it’s hardly the world’s most family-friendly / romantic / religious Christmas present, but…

… if you want to order the Blog Marketing DVD in time for Christmas, you do need to get the order placed by Wednesday 13th December to guarantee delivery for Christmas.

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

The first “Blog Marketing” DVDs ship

Posted by markharrison on December 2, 2006

Hurrah – the first “Blog Marketing” DVDs shipped to customers yesterday.

This is just over an hour in length, and covers:

  • What a blog is (it’s not just a website!)
  • Why you should blog (if you’re a business or an entrepreneur)
  • How to blog (from setting up your blog through to getting registered with the search engines)

It’s available from My Main Site and costs £27 + vat (including P&P).

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation now allows comments

Posted by markharrison on November 26, 2006

Up till now, I’ve been a little scared about letting people comment on this blog.

Not that I didn’t want to hear what people were saying (quite the opposite), but because I was worried about the amoun of Spam comments that might be added, promoting products that, ahem, had little to do with negotiation.

Well, thanks to the marvels of the Askimet anti-spam engine for blog, my blog is now protected. Sure enough, despite the fact that, up till now, I required people to have a WordPress account to post comments, Askimet has caught lots of spam already…

… which has proved it works.

So, the restriction is off, if you have a question, or disagree with anything I’ve posted, then say so. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get back straight away, but it’s the only way I can learn.

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | 1 Comment »

A new project – blog marketing

Posted by markharrison on November 24, 2006

I’ve been blogging for about 7 years now, however in 2006, I’ve noticed a huge explosion in the number of people interested in blogging.

Given the number of questions I’ve been asked, I’ve decided to start a new project – to release an informational / training DVD about blogging (in parallel, of course, with a blog about the project!)

If you are happy with the idea of a blog… about a DVD… about blogging, then have a look at bloggingforcash.wordpress.com

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

Welcome SingingPiggers (and why it looks like I’ve had zero views if you’re reading on the SP site)

Posted by markharrison on November 17, 2006

This morning, SingingPig started “syndicating” my blog. Syndication is one of the really clever tricks that you can play with blogs. Basically, SingingPig’s site is able to take an automatic “feed” of my blog posts, and have them appear on the SP site, in their formatting, together with all their other blogs.

There is a downside, though. On SingingPig’s blogs page, it shows blogs both hosted directly with SingingPig (stored on their servers) and those syndicated from other sites (such as mine.) It also shows the number of “views”. For directly-hosted blogs, this number can be counted. For syndicated blogs, though, SP can’t get at the logs from my server – only the content – so it looks like none of the articles have been read.

I can see my own logs :-) and it’s clear that a good number of “SingingPiggies” (if that’s the right term) are now reading Negotiation, Negotiation, Negotiation.

So, welcome to SingingPiggies – I hope you find this blog profitable and interesting.

Regards,

Mark

Posted in Blog marketing, Web Marketing | Leave a Comment »

 
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