Russell D. Hoffman Interviews Ed Taylor


An Interview with Ed Taylor

An interview by Russell D. Hoffman on his radio show HIGH TECH TODAY.

The following is a full transcript from a radio show broadcast on radio station WALE. The views expressed are solely those of Russell D. Hoffman and his guest and do not necessarily reflect anyone else's point of view.

March 22nd, 1996

Russell Hoffman ("Host"), High Tech Today
Ed Taylor ("ET"), Author

Host: And you're listening to High Tech Today with your host, Russell Hoffman. My guest today is an author of several books on using the Internet and marketing on the Internet. The first one, published last year with Vince Gelormine, was called How To Use The Internet for an Almost Unfair Business Advantage, which is a great title. It's a wonderful book. He has a new book out. It's called How To Give Good Internet. I'm not so sure that's as wonderful a title! (Both laugh.)

But anyway, I had the privilege of meeting Ed at a G.E.N.I. meeting, Global Energy Network International, where he came and advised that non-profit organization on how to use the Web to increase their presence worldwide--to increase the number of people that know about them and also, how to raise money for the nonprofit organization. So Ed, first of all, let me welcome you to the show.

ET: Thank you Russell. And let me address the title of this book real quickly. How to Give Good Internet, I thought was a catchy title and I want to quickly add after that, that it's a special report on exactly how to make money online, and no por.nographic reference at all. In fact I don't deal with any por.nographic clients at all. But I thought it was kind of a catchy name for a special report and this new book is over a hundred pages of exactly how people can use the Internet today to make money and to raise revenue for non profits, etcetera.

Host: I think one of the things that I began to realize from meeting you and reading your book and listening to you talk, is that the methods that were popular, I guess on TV and radio and so forth--there are definitely some differences in how to market on the Internet.

ET: Oh, it's incredible. In fact, I hear all the time, stories about these failures online. People say "We went online, and we really expected to make a lot of money, and we're glad we're online, and we feel we should be there 'cause it's the right thing to do, and..." You know, there's a "Keeping up with the Jones's" kind of mentality. But there's a lot of businesses that are disappointed with the results that they're getting online. And I'll tell you, the reason is, they're implementing a strategy that doesn't make sense in that environment! And for many, many companies, they just don't recognize what you need to do, to be successful online, and whatever 'successful' may mean, whether that's increasing sales, or decreasing costs through a customer service program or what have you, they are not implementing a strategy that's been proven.

One of the first things that I did when I decided to go into the business of training on Internet successes, I went out and studied successful sites online. In other words, I found sites that were producing revenue, people that were making sales via the Internet and via electronic marketing, and found out, what do these sites have in common?

And, in time, a strategy essentially developed. It became very very clear that the successful sites were doing certain things that most of the rest of the sights were not. And that's exactly how we've developed our books, and how we went about training people on how to be successful online. By modeling those that have gone before us. And we get a little bit creative from time to time, but with the thought that we have a model in place, and then we will try to do something to expand our results but if it doesn't work, at least we do have a model in place that's creating revenue.

Host: Well, certainly the Internet is so big and so new, that among the people that have succeeded, chances are that in many cases, it's just chance. Nobody has statistics, really, to back up--at least long term statistics to back up what they're doing right. So, you've gone through and just kind of looked at people, and said, well "This guy--This is working. What is it that they're doing--"

ET: ---right--

Host: --"that somebody else is also doing, that's working."

ET: Well, what I did exactly was I went out and posted to a number of different electronic news groups, and said "Do any of you guys have Web sites, and if you do, are any of you making any money? (laughs) And I got a varied bunch of replies, as you can imagine! But every once in a while I'd get somebody that would come back and say "Yeah, I'm making money. It's pretty exciting."

And I would go, and I would either personally interview the person, I'd certainly go look at their web site. Like, Pierette Van Cleve, who is an example that I use often, the very first month that she put her web site online, she did $35,000 in sales. Now these are brand-new sales. These are sales that are altogether separate and aside from any revenue she would have made, had she not developed that web site. And she did that her first month, and every month since then now for fourteen months, she's never fallen below $35,000 in sales. Now, that's an interesting success story. And Pierette is an incredibly brilliant woman, who implemented a strategy. She's been studying [the] Internet, and the use of the Internet, and who is online, for a number of years before she launched her web site, and she's just an absolute example of how to do things right, online.

And her web site, for people that might want to visit that, it's called the Art Cellar Exchange. And if they want to go check that out you'll see a sight that's producing revenue to this day. And of course, there are many many others. I have dozens of clients now, that are generating anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars a month regularly online. But Pierette is just such a wonderful example of how to do that in a massive way. And she's an art broker. She actually brokers art. And another interesting statistic or interesting fact that she likes to bring up, is the number of high-profile people that visit her site. Essentially celebrities. That would not probably go into a retail outlet, that access her site online. It's absolutely incredible. So--

Host: Yeah, certainly celebrities are, I mean, they might go into a Greenwich or a La Jolla or something like that or a Midtown Manhattan but you're not going to find them [just] anywhere in the world, not too often, and yet on the World Wide Web, why, everybody is everywhere!

ET: In the comfort of their own home, shop for whatever they'd like to shop for, absolutely.

Host: Let's talk a little bit about some of the actual 'startling facts' that you reveal. I mean, I'm not going to ask you to reveal them all, and besides we only have about twenty minutes! But one that was interesting to me, and maybe you can share this one with the users, is the average World Wide Web user only scrolls down twenty percent of the pages they go to! And you say "Learn what you can do to get a browser hooked!" What are some examples of what you could do there?

ET: Well, there are--I'll give you some examples of what to do, and certainly what not to do. And, for the people that have spent much time on the Internet you find, especially on the World Wide Web, you find very very quickly, how heart wrenching it is when things go slow! If they have large graphics, or if you go to a site and nothing happens, you sit there looking at a blank screen--you just don't stay long. I mean, none of us want to sit there and wait and wait and wait for something to materialize on the computer screen in front of us.

So what I always suggest is that the people, when they design the web site, design it so your text comes up first. And, if you have graphics or you have any large groups of scanned in images of any kind, logos, whatever, let that come up, and that's okay, as long as it's reasonably quick, I recommend that it should all appear within twenty seconds, but certainly, get your text part up first. Give somebody something to read while the rest of the stuff is materializing. And ideally, hit him with something good. A strong hook. Whatever the reason that you have a Web site--I hope you have a good reason, and if you do, hook 'em! Give them a good headline. There's nothing more important in any kind of marketing than having a good headline. And if you can get that to materialize, and then some good bullet points or some good information underneath that, people will wait, and become impressed as your page does materialize.

Host: ...[break]... back to our guest, Ed Taylor, author of How to Give Good Internet, and other special reports, and we were talking on the break about online ethics, and there's, somewhere, there's a fine line between shameless promotion, and promotion. And how do you know where that line is?

ET: Well, I'll tell you, Russell. What's happening is, and I highly recommend this to anybody who's going to start marketing online, and that is: Get online, and join some news groups, and pay attention to what's going on. Don't go out, and blatantly start trying to promote everything that you're doing everywhere that you go. What will happen is, you will get 'flamed'. That's not the way the Internet works. And people need to realize that, that a part is a subtlety to all this, and part of the beauty of it, at the same time, is that this is really micro-marketing. It's not mass marketing, it's not network marketing.

In mass marketing, for example on television, you can create a catchy ad, and if the guy's sitting on the sofa and doesn't get up and run to the restroom or run to the kitchen during break, you might hook him, and he might pay enough attention to your commercial to actually buy the product. I personally don't feel that most commercials evoke that response, but that, that's a personal philosophy.

But on the Internet you certainly don't have the luxury of throwing your message at an audience that isn't interested. What you are trying to do, is evoke these people to come to your site. And what I mean by that, is typically when you're online marketing, you'll market to different news groups and user forums, etcetera, and those news groups and user forums are developed as a way to share information with, amongst people with like interests.

And even though one of my interests may be aviation, flying small aircraft, what I could do on the bottom of each of my postings that I might make to that group, I might put something on there that says "Please check out my web site" or "Come to my web site at and so" or "For more information about..."

And that's a very passive, and a very acceptable way to make people aware of the fact that you have a web site. Now again, once you get them to the web site, the web site better be very sales and marketing oriented, and do all the right things that'll evoke the response that you want. But when you're out trying to get people to go to your site, you want to be very subtle and you want to also make sure that you're adding value to the people in the news groups that you're a part of. It's a society, a community, and those people that are perceived to be the used car salesmen are not going to do well online, and that's been very very evident. They have a very active self-policing online, and the people that have been flamed (laughs) certainly are aware of the consequences of that! I mean, this is not a one-way medium. This is a two-way street. So, yeah, I definitely feel that the people that are doing well online recognize that you have to play by the rules, and the rules are fairly clearly defined, I feel.

Host: Before anybody gets too scared, you also go into advice on what to do if you do get flamed.

ET: Oh, sure, and that may happen. I've been flamed, in a very small way--I've never been flamed with thousands and thousands of postings, like some of the horror stories!-- But I've had a few people, that have taken offense at some of the posts that I've made, and I've received fifteen or twenty, or even thirty comments back, that say "hey, that was a pretty self-serving type of post" and sometimes I would respond to those, and sometimes I wouldn't, again it depends on the flavor of the person that sent the message. But in most cases if you are cautious in how you deliver your message, and you do it in such a way that is not offensive and not too blatant--people are going to love it--I mean, let's face it: When we get online, we're on line for the purpose of getting information. And if we're doing that--I mean, we don't want to be sold, that's not the reason we're online, but we do want information. And if we want information, maybe pertaining to a particular product, we want that information available to us. We want to certainly know that it's out there. And again, it's certainly a very acceptable way to promote your product.

A number of clients of mine are selling how to information. A lot of books, and tapes, and those kinds of things. And, they are selling anywhere from several hundred dollars to--I have one client who's doing eight or nine thousand a month in sales, so, it really works. And when I say $9,000 a month in sales, this is a woman out of Dallas, Texas, who is selling a total package of a bunch of different weight loss products, all for in the 149 dollar range, so you can see that she's creating a lot of sales per month, to do that kind of volume. It does work. It's a very very effective marketing medium, and very very cost effective at the same time.

Host: ...[break]... My guest today is Ed Taylor, he's the author of How to Give Good Internet: A Special Report on Exactly How to Make Money Online. And he's been full of good tips.

Let me ask you a little bit about bookmarking a web site. How to get customers, how to get people to want to come back to your web site. What are some of the tricks that you can use to make people realize that this is not something that they should just see, and then leave. That they're going to want to see it again and again and again.

ET: Well, Russell, part of developing a good web site is creating a site that does offer change. It provides new information from time to time. One of my clients is an attorney, and he has a "case of the week." He provides information to entrepreneurs, on how to avoid such things as sexual discrimination suits, and independent contractor disputes, and those kinds of things.

And one of the ideas we came up with is just to have a case of the week, that he can briefly summarize, but the entrepreneurs would want to go back and find out something about that particular case, and how to protect themselves from that type of litigation.

But equally important as that, is, asking the people to do it. What I have found is, even if you have a great site, if you don't remind people when they're at the site, to bookmark it, they'll tend to forget. So, you need to post something, sometimes even in a blinking text, that says "Please, be sure to bookmark this site. Check regularly for changing information." But if you'll just put that subtle command or that direction in there, you'll find you're bookmarks and your repeats will go way way up.

We have some software available now, that actually tracks not only how people enter a web site, but what they do when they're in the web site, where they go, how long they spend in each page, etcetera, and then we can track the amount of times they come back. And then, doing that and then implementing that kind of software, we can track a lot of the effectiveness of some of these marketing ideas. And it's working real, real well. So I'll give that as a little freebie for all the listeners, that they'll definitely want to do: Instruct people to bookmark your web site.

Another great idea, is if you're asking people to call you for whatever reason, if you're trying to generate a phone call, you might put your phone number in the title line of the web page. So then every time they look at every page, they'll have your phone number right in there. Very very subtle, but it's available. Again, lots of times you'll see web sites developed, and page after page after page will go by and you won't even know how to get a hold of the people if you become convinced that you should. So, you want to make sure to make it easy for people to respond when they're ready to respond.

Host: I think what you're also pointing out there is that consistency from page to page is probably a good idea. If they have to look throughout the page to find the same piece of information that they expect to be somewhere on the page, that's not as good as if they know that for example the email address is always going to be at the bottom, that's a pretty standard thing.

ET: Right. And the development, the design of a page or of a web site is crucial, and again, I recommend to anybody, before you develop your own site, really look around, and find out both what you like and also, what works. There's just nothing more important there. You don't want a model of failure. Jim Rolm, a speaker who's also a friend of mine, he said one of the things that he would love to do, is find out what failures do, and be sure not to do that! I think that's as good of advice as, find out what successful people do and be sure to do that! (Laughs.)

Host: Well, I've been in the educational software business for many years and people ask me, what--how do you market educational software, and I say "Study very carefully everything I've done, and don't do any of it!"

ET: (Laughs) Yeah, there you go!

Host: Hopefully things will be different on the web. Now, um, most of the people listening, probably 99% of the ones listening, don't have a web site yet. 99.9% of them don't have one yet, but by the end of this year, by golly, a good percentage of them will! And you do give some advice on what to ask a web service provider. I found this particularly funny. You suggest that there are forty two questions that one should ask. Now, I contend that if you ask a web service provider forty two questions and they answer them all, you should stick with them regardless of what the answers are because they're obviously very concerned with giving good service--and that's probably the #1 thing that you want from a web service provider. I know when I have problems, it's nice to be able to get a voice. A real person.

ET: Right.

Host: But what are some of the more important things for people who are just starting out and who are looking for a service, what should they be looking for?

ET: A good question is when was the last time that your web server went off line? How reliable is the Internet connection? Are you connected with a T1 or a T3? Again, the bigger the pipe, if you have a T3 access, probably everything will go faster. If their computer is down frequently, that's not a good sign. Do you provide online ordering capabilities? I mean, can people order online? Do you have Netscape encryption available if you want it?

There are many, many questions. I do have, in fact, if people would like, I'm happy to provide that list for people, for free, if they wanted to call, I can give them those questions, just as a bonus, for listening to the program today, I can give them an 800 number for that if that would make sense.

Host: Okay, yeah. We're right near the end of the show, so let's go ahead and start giving out those numbers.

ET: Okay, well (800) 760-1995, and they can certainly order the Special Report, which is $79.00, and I'm happy to throw in, as a bonus, to anybody that would like it, the 42 questions to ask while selecting a web server or an Internet access provider. And I also want to say real quick, Russell, that the first six or seven months that I was involved with this, I did not have a web site of my own up, and I generated thousands of dollars in consulting, off of--via my online marketing, just via newsgroups. So if people are considering getting online or doing online marketing, don't wait until you're web site is up! I mean, get involved with newsgroups and the other vehicles right away! Because you can generate a substantial amount of revenue with that as well.

Host: And you can also, if you have America Online, or CompuServe, you can set up a web site for free!

ET: Oh exactly, and I highly recommend using BOTH of those services. Even as a moonlighter, people interested in moonlighting, there's just so many ways that you can make extra money doing things online.

Host: Okay. My guest today has been Ed Taylor, he's the author of How to Give Good Internet: A Special Report on Exactly How to Make Money Online. It's available for $79.00, and you can call (800) 760-1995 if you'd like to order a copy, or, he's offered a free report on 42 Questions You Should Ask A Web Service Provider Before You Go With One.

You're listening to High Tech Today... See you later, Bye Bye.

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