I was flying in for Ed Dale's event (Over The Edge 2 aka #OTE2) and had settled into seat 42G with a good book. The title was The Power of Full Engagement, but I didnt end up getting fully engaged in the book (well, not on that day anyway - but more about that later).
Instead, I ended up having an interesting conversation with "Passenger Steve" who was seated next to me for the 90 minute flight.
I really wish I would have had room to maneuver, because I would have caught this conversation on video. Unfortunately between elbows and seat belts it just wasnt possible, so you'll have to settle for the text recollection...
I dont recall how the
interview conversation started, but Passenger Steve (like most 20-somethings) said that he used the internet daily and shopped online frequently. I couldnt resist the opportunity to ask him a few questions .
Me: What search engine do you use?
Steve: Google. I like the simplicity of the search page. No distractions, and ad-free.
Me: True. So do you just look at the listings on the left side of the page, or do you also check the ads down the right side?
Steve: If I'm searching for information, I look at the results on the left. If I'm shopping, I check the ads on the right first. But I never click on them. I just type the URL into the address bar.
Me: Yeah? Why is that?
Steve: Because I know they are "pay per click". Plus I want to check out the main page of the site.
Me: What you see in the ad is called a Display URL. Its not always the same as the Destination URL, or the page you actually go to if you click on the ad.
Steve: I thought that might be the case.
Me: So do you do a lot of shopping online?
Steve: I do. A big selling point for me is if the merchant uses Google Checkout. It makes the process so simple since I have my Google account integrated in my mobile device and my computer. If I have to fill out a long customer form, half the time I end up changing my mind and abandon the order. But if they use Google Checkout its two clicks and I'm done.
Steve also mentioned that he doesnt use PayPal and wouldnt purchase anything that is sold only through PayPal. He said that he simply doesnt trust them.
The entire conversation was very interesting. It's not often that you get an opportunity to sit down and talk to someone that is basically on the other end of what you do every day.
Passenger Steve is the person who types in the search queries that end up in your keyword research results. He is the one that clicks on your search engine listing, and decides whether to purchase a product from your web page. He represents one of those impressions for your pay-per-click advertisement that didnt result in a click-through.
Now you know what he is thinking. And why.
Passenger Steve ultimately asked what it is that I do, and I gave him the quick spiel. When I mentioned Affiliate Marketing, it got his attention. That's when the tables turned, and he started asking the questions...
While reading a magazine about one of his favorite hobbies, he ran across an advertisement for an affiliate program. The ad mentioned that he could earn money promoting their products. Products he bought from them himself, and would gladly recommend.
That advertisement stayed in the back of his mind, but he said that he had no idea how to proceed from there. We still had a good half hour left in the flight, so I gave him a quick overview and ideal marketing plan for the niche.
His first question: About how much would it take to get started?
My answer: Ten bucks.
I told him to go to ClickNewz.com and look in the right sidebar. Start with the link under the blue subscribe box that says "starting a free online business". Read the free tutorials I link to there. Next, look further down in the right sidebar for the link to the HostGator coupon code. Use that to set up your hosting account. That will get you the first month free, so your only cost upfront is the domain name (which is less than $10).
When I returned home from my trip, I had an email in my inbox from Passenger Steve. He had registered a super cool domain name, and set up his hosting account.
That really made my day.
Its impossible to do what I do on a one-on-one basis like that every day, but I love that rare opportunity. Passenger Steve represented 1 new unique visitor in my stats last month. And unlike random marketing, my face-to-face conversations always result in a 100% conversion rate.
Not only did I make a sale, which is always good... I had the opportunity to make a difference, which is even better.
And yes, I told Passenger Steve that I would earn a commission when he signed up for his HostGator account (full disclosure). I explained that it was also an affiiate program. We both thought it was a fair trade.
p.s. On the way back from the OTE2 event, I had another great conversation - this time with Passenger Cathy. Somewhere between Orlando and Atlanta, she shared a cool little piece of information with me that I have folded up and stashed away for future use. I cant say what it was, but it was a sweet little nugget for sure