The Best Business in the World

ETR’s Info-Marketing Bootcamp started last night. And for those of you who couldn’t make it, we’ll be publishing breaking news throughout this week from the conference.

Writing those Bootcamp dispatches will be Jason Holland, ETR’s Managing Editor. He’ll be playing the part of roving reporter. (His first dispatch is below.)

Jason will give you the skinny on the big-picture strategies being revealed in the presentations from the dozen experts joining us. But you’ll also hear about those little nuggets and “aha!” moments that pop up.

We don’t let any of our experts “rest on their laurels” when they come to Bootcamp. They must promise to reveal up-to-the-minute techniques they are using in their businesses right now. So you can be sure Clayton Makepeace, Rich Schefren, Scott Martineau, Joe Polish, Chris Chickering, and all the rest will be bringing their “A” game. And you’ll hear all about it.

But you won’t just get the scoop on what’s going on “on stage.” Jason will be interviewing these experts personally… talking to attendees… filling you in on the cocktail conversations and those deals that always seem to be made in the hallways. It’s between sessions and after hours that much of the business of Bootcamp goes down.

What ties it all together is Info-Net Marketing. That’s what I write about in my essay today… and it’s the great love (business love, that is) of my life. It really is the best business in the world. And it takes advantage of three forces coming together right now. Combined, they add up to explosive profit potential for start-up Internet businesses… like those being started at Bootcamp right now.

Bootcamp Dispatch From ETR Managing Editor Jason Holland

What do you really need to start building a life-changing amount of wealth?

Your 401(k) ain’t gonna do it. Neither is your day job.

The 200 aspiring Internet entrepreneurs at Bootcamp know what they need. It was the subject of Michael Masterson’s keynote speech: The Special Theory of Automatic Wealth.

It was a tough assignment. I was asked to speak to Agora’s top people about “everything we had learned in the last nine years about selling our publications through the Internet.”

There was so much to cover. So many new tricks, techniques, and protocols.

And most of it had been discovered by the same people I was talking to: the 40 people who headed our 20 divisions.

I made a long list of all the “new things” we had learned. It was overwhelming. So I put it down and forgot about it for a week. When I picked it up again, I sorted the items on the list into “very important, “important,” and “not-so important.” Then I put it away for another week.

The next time I picked up the list, it was no longer so discombobulating. I realized that I knew all the “very important” secrets quite well. They were the same ones we used back in the days when we did direct marketing through the mail.

But that raised some questions. If all the important secrets were the same, why had Agora’s revenues and profits soared? Why had Agora’s competitors not grown as much? What were they not doing that we were doing?

After some thought, I realized that it all came down to the business model Agora has been using. I don’t know whether I coined the term or borrowed it, but I dubbed it Info-Net Marketing.

Info-Net Marketing is a combination of information publishing (our industry), direct marketing via e-mail (our primary marketing method), and the Internet (our medium). And in the years since 2000, these three elements have converged in a very powerful way.

Looking back at it now, it’s clear that our getting involved with Info-Net Marketing 10 years ago was a good move. And although some of the bloom is off the rose, it is still a very good business to be in today.

In fact, it is probably the best way for newcomers to get in the game. By newcomers, I mean young people fresh out of college, middle-aged people who want a career change, and retired people looking to make extra income working a few hours a week.

You can understand why I say Info-Net Marketing is the “best business in the world” for newcomers by looking at the main advantages of each of its three elements.

Information Publishing

You can keep dozens, even hundreds, of digital products in “storage.” And you can sell them to your customer base, a little at a time, indefinitely.

Direct Marketing

You can start out small and keep testing new products and promotions cheaply. When you find something that works, you can “run it out” quickly.

The Internet

Because of the low cost of customer contact via e-mail, you can communicate with your customers daily — and thus significantly increase (even quintuple) the lifetime value of each buyer.

If you want get into a new business without spending a ton of money, you should definitely consider Info-Net Marketing. If you come to one of ETR’s Bootcamps, you will meet dozens of people who have already done it — the “chicken entrepreneurship” way — starting with very little and moving cautiously.

It’s the Info-Net Marketing model that sets Agora apart from its competitors — especially, the direct-marketing component.

Most people who have started online businesses in the past 10 years have used models based on affiliate marketing and advertising. These sometimes work, but they are more costly and much less efficient than direct marketing. Plus, they don’t give you the chance to “run” with your winners.

Let me give you a quick example of how Info-Net Marketing works:

Let’s say you write a book or have one written for you.

From the book, you create a special report. The special report focuses on one of the best ideas the book has to offer. You sell that report inexpensively online — maybe even give it away for free.

The report is used to draw in prospective customers, to develop your own house file. Essentially, you use the report to capture names and e-mail addresses. As they come in, you give those folks more stuff — good stuff — for free. You give them a free e-mail newsletter. You send them occasional news alerts. You start to build a relationship.

How often do you communicate with your house file? Daily. Why not? Thanks to the Internet, it costs next to nothing. And this has radically changed our business.

In the old days, when we communicated with our customers through the mail, it cost about 50 cents per contact (for printing costs, postage, etc.). If, on average, each customer was worth $30 in sales to you over the course of a year, how often could you afford to do a mailing? Maybe once a month. Tops.

But now, as I said, you can “talk” to your customers on a regular basis. And before long, they recognize your name. Not only that, but because of all that good free stuff you’ve been sending them, they think of you as a source of reliable, useful information.

That’s when you can begin to sell them things — starting with the book you used to create that original special report. Then, based on that same book, you sell webinars, teleconferences, live seminars, and thin-sliced reports. For each thin-sliced report, you take one of the chapters of the book and make it bigger and deeper. And you sell those reports for $50 apiece, $100 apiece, $500 apiece. And then they themselves can develop into personal coaching programs you sell for thousands.

Your fixed costs for all of these products — the book, the reports, the webinars, the teleconferences, the seminars — are extremely low. But the profit potential is huge.

This is the dynamic model Agora uses.

With Info-Net Marketing, direct marketing meets information publishing meets the Internet.

It really is the best business in the world.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]