#9 We Go Behind The Scenes Of Australia’s #1 Internet Marketing Podcast.


This is the episode where we take you behind the scenes of the Freedom Ocean podcast.

You’ll discover exactly how the idea for another (!) Internet marketing podcast came about:

If you ever thought of doing something like this, then learn from our (mistakes and) successes.

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Want to learn more about affiliate marketing?

Check out our range of Internet marketing products. There’s something there for the whole family!

(Duration 69 minutes – 63 MB)

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Tim: James Shramko, welcome to Freedom Ocean as you meander towards the pool.

James: Well, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here today, Tim.

Tim: Well, it’s even more of a pleasure than our last episode because we are literally sitting behind . . . well, it’s a very still freedom ocean, but it is a pool.

James: Well, we’re near water.

Tim: We are near water.

James: And it’s nice and blue.

Tim: And there will be some, possibly some bird sounds in the background. But what better place to do it. So I think welcome back to – it’s around episode nine of the Ocean. Now, I want to come clean, okay?

James: All right, I’m interested in this (laughs).

Tim: You ready? You ready? I’m going to come clean. In the last episode of Freedom Ocean my met fitness gave up on me. I was tired, I was overwhelmed, I was just plain exhausted. Mainly overwhelmed, and it’s interesting whilst physically it had been a long day because I was flying up from Sydney and doing the whole thing and we worked late, had a lovely dinner with the family. I also felt as though the overwhelm was just exhausting. It was like “Gosh, we’d covered affiliate, we’d covered local marketing, we’d done a zillion list of questions, and it was more information for me, and I went away and reflected on that. Now, the penny has dropped and some people might go, “Well about bloody time.” But the thing is the penny’s dropped and it’s I’m really, really excited to get back home and just start focusing, laser focusing on probably two things. I know it’s meant to be one, but a guy’s got to earn a quid.

James: Yes.

Tim: to support the family. But I know what I’m going to focus on and it’s like you know what, all that other stuff can wait. I say that in the knowledge, too, that we’re here, we’re going to be producing another series of shows right now.

James: Yes.

Tim: And there’s going to be more knowledge. But that’s okay because it can wait and I’ve got this concept in my mind of a bit of a virtual bookshelf where I’m just going to put – well, it’s the backburner, you know?

James: Yes.

Tim: The stuff that I’m learning, I’m not necessarily going to action now. I’m just going to put it on that bookshelf and come back to it.

James: Yes, that makes perfect sense. I showed you through my project stream and you can see that I’ve got a little holding bay where my ideas go and I only drag one of them at a time into production.

Tim: Well, and that was part of what triggered me last night. After we turned the mics off you showed me your project stream and in fact, what you said was “I’ve got ten projects on.” And I’m like, “That didn’t help at all.” (laughter) But then when you actually went through and said, “Well, you know, there might be ten on but there’s one in the foreground –

James: Yes.

Tim: And that is going to be nailed well and truly, before anything else occupies your head space.

James: Yes.

Tim: And I just think that’s, some internet marketing kind of stuff it’s just like human behavior. It’s how we operate.

James: It’s in at any business and I think a lot of business owners tend to get sucked into the day-to-day stuff and forget what it’s all about. It’s important to set up some sort of focal point that’s, you know, where do you want to point the laser beam.

Tim: Yes.

James: And it should be on the money-making thing. What represents a good opportunity for you that suits your goals. You’ll be able to find out what suits your goals if you do the Tim’s Matrix Project. (laughter) Do you want to make money today?

Tim: Yes.

James: Or do you want to make grange and have a great payday down the track?

Tim: Yes.

James: Or do you want a balance of something inbetween?

Tim: Yes, yes. There’s actually some – also, just to support that thinking if it does need supporting – there’s some consumer behavior study that was done years and years ago which basically said if you want to be on the shopping list, you need to be on one of the top three brands in people’s minds. Basically for every purchase decision we have there’s actually three brands that are going to meet the criteria of that purchase decision. Generally number one will meet it, but if it doesn’t then you can pull back to number two, and if all else fails number three. So, you know, it’s not about overload. So it was really good learning for me. So I’m excited about that. So we might finish the show here and I’m just going to go and start creating. (laughter)

James: Not that easy, Timbo.

Tim: Not that easy! We have a promise.

James: We’ve got listeners, remember?

Tim: Ah, exactly!

James: We’re here for them, not for you.

Tim: Are the microphones on?

James: Yes.

Tim: Right. Okay. Testing, testing. I wonder if they can hear the birds? We don’t know. We can hear them.

James: Oh, sure.

Tim: There’s a bit of wind.

James: That means it’s safe.

Tim: Okay.

James: It’s a good noise.

Tim: Yes.

James: Apparently. And there’s a great TED talk about this from a guy called Julian.

Tim: Not Assage?

James: No not Julian Assage. Julian Treasure.

Tim: What a great name.

James: It is a great name.

Tim: A really good name.

James: Lovely guy, too. Very, very good audio specialist. But he said that the bird soundtracks implied safety and it’s a great thing to play if you’re ever selling something.

Tim: Okay, so we know there’s no poisonous gasses around at the moment.

James: That’s right and you know if there was going to be some sort of natural disaster they’d vamoose.

Tim: Okay. Speaking of good names because Trish is a good name, I was watching a video the other day from the Singular University which is this kind of high-end, very intellectual university over in the valley. And one of the lead guys – they’re all academics – one of the lead guys, his surname was Brilliant – which I’d have to question whether he’d gone ahead and actually changed it, because it was just too much of a coincidence. But I often get a laugh out of people’s surnames when it reflects what they actually do in their job.

James: Yes.

Tim: Because every now and then it does happen. Now, you know what we haven’t done? We haven’t welcomed our listeners back, so I welcome listeners.

James: Well, I sort of indicated that they’re there.

Tim: Yes, we did, we acknowledged. We acknowledged, but –

James: Let’s welcome.

Tim: Well, welcome. Freedom Ocean is what you are listening to if you didn’t know already. If you accidentally hit a button on iTunes and two people via pole started talking. You are in the Ocean. (James laughs) And the Ocean is rockin’. It started, the swell, episode eight or nine whatever we’re up to – the swell is beginning, James. I think a quote from a couple of shows ago, it’s time to take off the floaties and hop on the jet skis.

James: Yes.

Tim: And we’re doing that and things are racking up. One thing in the spirit of just talking candidly, today’s show is all about going behind the scenes of Freedom Ocean.

James: Very cool.

Tim: And giving people a bit of an insight into how this baby launched itself in the first place. Because as someone who has been part of it, I’ve also sat back and watched this thing come to life, and it’s fantastic. Nothing better than when you have an idea and it actually comes to life and starts to get traction more to the point. Many ideas come to life and then sit there. But this one’s getting traction and that’s exciting. So I think there’s huge, huge amount of learning in how the Ocean has come into being.

James: So what you’re saying is by deconstructing a few things from Freedom Ocean.

Tim: Yes.

James: it could be applied for other people with their businesses.

Tim: Correct. Correct. With the View and Beach Syndicate listening to feedback on this. With the View if they’re interested, we might go off and create a product that details in detail exactly how we did each part. How each part came to life. Because we’re going to touch on the sort of bird’s eye view of how each part of the Ocean has come to life so far. But there’s probably another level of information of ‘how to’ that we won’t be able to cover in the show that we might cover in a product. So, listeners, if you are interested, what can they do, James?

Well, they could join our newsletter at Freedomocean.com.

Tim: Newsletter?

James: Yes.

Tim: That sounds very old fashioned.

Well –

Tim: It’s not really a newsletter.

James: You know in the old days, though, newsletters actually had news.

Tim: Yes.

James: And our thing does two things, really. It alerts you when there’s a new podcast, and of course you wouldn’t want to miss one by minutes.

Tim: No.

James: And judging from our current open rates, most people really look forward to their –

Tim: Yes, and I apologize for the young fellow who, when we sent out a show last night, he said, “Guys, I was just going to bed.” (laughter) This was coming through Facebook.

James: Because you need to listen to it immediately.

Tim: Yes, yes. Correct. We gave him permission to go to bed and listen to it in the morning; it would still be there.

James: It would still be there.

Tim: Yes.

James: And we’re bookended at the moment by the Australian Stock Exchange and Harvard Business Review.

Tim: Yes.

James: So I feel we’re in great company.

Tim: Do you think that the Harvard Business Review and the Australian Stock Exchange are sitting in their board rooms going, “Who are these jokers on iTunes that are sitting between us?” (laughter)

James: I don’t know, I think they’re probably having – about to launch a bidding war to see who’s going to buy us out.

Tim: Oh.

James: Would it be $50,000,000 or $100,000,000?

Tim: Yes.

James: That’s more likely.

Tim: Well, and our discussion is which one are we going to buy?

James: (laughing) Exactly! Poor, defenseless, little jokers.

Tim: Yes, yes, the little stock exchange.

James: So, yes, you get alerts but also we actually provide our subscribers a full transcription of each episode.

Tim: Yes.

James: So from that point of view I really think it is actually newsy.

Tim: Yes, okay.

James: It’s a proper print document.

Tim: Yes.

James: That is quite valuable.

Tim: It is.

James: A good little reminder, a .PDF. I like to call them Trojan Horses.

Tim: Yes.

James: Because it goes from our computer onto the subscriber’s computer and it’s sitting there the whole time. This is something worth doing for any business. Every business should be looking at how they could get .PDFdocuments from their computer onto the customer’s computer, because it’s a continual reminder. It’s the same as iTunes. It sits in that little iTunes library. If someone’s going along for a jog, they’re belting away at a samarium or something, and next thing you know it’s Tim and James.

Tim: There it is!

James: Maybe that’s how we got onto this call now?

Tim: Absolutely. Absolutely. So, here we go. So let’s start at the start. And by the way, if people want to sign up to that newsletter it is Freedomocean.com and you’re away. So, going back to the very start, you came on to another podcast that I had – Small Business, Big Marketing – and shared some love. That’s a podcast –

James: You should probably go one step before that.

Tim: Right.

James: Why was I even on that call?

Tim: That is an excellent question. Well, Luke, who I co-hosted that call with, identified you as someone who would be ideal person to talk to small business owners, bricks and mortar business owners, which is our bread and butter on Small Business, Big Marketing, and share a bit of the online marketing love which they are just not keeping up to speed with.

James: Well that’s a classic example of the pool marketing that I was talking about where you create an environment where people are coming to you. So I didn’t approach you to be on the show, you approached me to be on the show. That is worth remembering, because that will actually come into play at the end.

Tim: Absolutely. And it’s better position, too, when you’re asked.

James: Well, it’s a nice position to be in because you’ll find that if one person’s asking there’ll be a lot more thinking about asking and as soon as you get to the right place in your market, people will be calling upon you to offer information, to talk, to keynote, to produce content, to guest post, do news articles.

Tim: And I can tell you what, listeners, podcasting is a fantastic channel if you are that way inclined to encourage that type of pool marketing.

James: It’s going to increase exposure.

Tim: Well, it certainly will and it’s a bit like writing a book. People say write a book and that sort of positions you as a bit of an expert. People say speak from stage positions you as a bit of an expert. There’s that invisible line between the audience and the person onstage, and podcasting’s a bit like that. Having been doing it for 2½ years now, I can vouch for the fact that it’s amazing. People say, “Oh, how do you make money out of podcasting?” You know, you sell stuff on there and sometimes we do, but it’s more of the fact that you’re getting the opportunities to keynote. We create information products, but we also run workshops off the back of it, all sorts of things, and you just don’t even know the complete answer to that until you get into it.

James: Well, I’ve been doing it for 2½ months (laughs)

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: and it’s been extremely powerful for my business and I’m sure I’ll explain how that happened.

Tim: Yes, yes absolutely. So, invited to come on Small Business, Big Marketing. You came on and we did touch on this in the early part of Freedom Ocean, but basically the phones ran hot. Not literally because we don’t have phones on the show (laughter) but there was a huge amount of interest, huge amount of downloads, the show itself – the interview with you – stays, continues in fact even yesterday six months later it was still in the iTunes top ten podcast episodes for business. It just sparked a huge amount of interest. You gave us a wonderful special to share with our audience and we sold a lot. That I think kind of triggered you to think, “God, what’s going on here with these guys?” It certainly triggered me and Luke to think, “What? I mean, people are interested in this stuff!” This is cutting edge.

James: Yes, it’s a big area of interest.

Tim: You know, and they just don’t know what they don’t know! So I think we opened up something and revealed to them a really interesting aspect of marketing that if they adopt they’re just going to be so far ahead.

James: And for me that’s an open, interesting aspect of a marketing channel that I hadn’t necessarily been exploiting properly.

Tim: Yes.

James: And when I say ‘exploit’ I don’t mean that in an evil sense.

Tim: Yes (sinister laugh).

James: No. I mean that in the sense of actually using something properly.

Tim: Yes. Yes, yes absolutely. We’ll talk more about podcasting, in fact it’s on my list of things to create – something to show people how they can get a podcast up of high quality very quickly. Because too many people are now listening to it, and also too many people don’t even know about it and they need to and the fact is you, the business owner, can have your own show. It’s as simple as that and that’s powerful stuff. And compete against the Australian Stock Exchange and the Harvard Business Review.

James: Yes, good example.

Tim: Okay. So we did that and then I rang you and said, “James, here’s an idea. We should do a podcast because I have so many questions as a result of what we did on Small Business, Big Marketing that it’s time to get some answers.” So, the idea you jumped at it and the next thing we knew we had a concept for a show. So I then flew up to Sydney and we basically spent – I think it was the first time I’d met you, wasn’t it?

James: Yes, I went to pick you up and I didn’t even know what you looked like.

Tim: (laughs) That’s right!

You walked straight past me.

Well, you did have that hoodie on which I should’ve recognized, but no actually you didn’t. You had shorts and a T-shirt and thongs on which I thought, “That’s freedom!”

James: I was fairly incognito.

Tim: I was expecting the suit and tie but you know, you let me down. I’m holding the sign, you know, “Mr. Reid?” (both laugh)

James: That’s right.

Tim: So, we spent a day in the lab, and the very first part of that day from memory – it was about getting the name right. We spent –

James: There was a little bit inbetween that and that was there was a bit of back and forth about some of the things that really will be considerations for people doing podcasts such as who’s going to have the emails lists. Who’s going to –

Tim: There was.

James: You know, this sort of stuff.

Tim: Yes.

James: So those issues when you’re in a partnership are more complicated than when you’re just one business.

Tim: Yes.

James: So there may or may not be an issue. But you want to think long-term. I always play things through to the end in my mind and think what happens if one day you don’t want to have a show anymore and it stops? Maybe we do one episode, everyone pans it, and it’s a waste of time? Which is almost the exact opposite of what happened. But as things grow sometimes they also stop one day. So you always think through the end result. So those were considerations. But yes, the name was quite a big deal.

Tim: It was a big deal. We ummed and ahhhed. In fact it went for over two hours. I remember looking at the clock thinking, “Geeze, I’m only up here for one day and we’ve got to get a few shows under our belt.” But it was great to really spend time getting that name right. Because I think both of us now we have that name that we’re really proud of.

James: Yes.

Tim: and it actually means something. We went through – I don’t have the sheet, I’ve got the sheet somewhere of – all the different names we went through that we potentially liked and were available as domain names.

James: Yes.

Tim: We went down what I call the rational dry track. The Internet Marketing Podcast or there’s none around wealth or anything, but they just didn’t feel right. If you go onto iTunes and do a search for internet marketing podcasts you are going to get a lot of names exactly like that.

James: Yes.

Tim: that are just kind of stating the obvious and are factual and not benefit-driven. I think we got to the point where – and I remember part of that discussion was I did think we needed to have a name that was keyword-rich – and I remember you saying we’re going to be doing so many other things to get this baby known that the name of the podcast does not need to be a key driver from an optimization point of view.

James: No, and I love to cite examples like Google, Yahoo!, and Amazon – they’re not keyword rich.

Tim: No, they’re not. At all. (laughs)

James: No. It’s not like world-wide search engine.com That’s Google!

Tim: Let’s go with that!

James: But the cool thing is we’ve been able to put internet marketing training on our page titles, on our Facebook page description as well as the logo. So we get to double-dip, really.

Tim: I think that’s important, I think that’s worked very well for us.

James: We have to label what it is.

Tim: Yes. That’s almost like a tagline – internet marketing training podcast is a tagline and it’s a really good explainer.

James: Well, I think this is where we tapped into your experience more than mine. Because of your ad agency background and you were very opinionated about the name and I liked that because I like naming things as well, and I’ve quite often named businesses around the main names that I own.

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: You know like I bought the domain Silver Circle and then one day I thought that would be a really good name for a mastermind group.

Tim: Yes, right.

James: I built a business from the domain up.

Tim: Backwards!

James: I quite often do that. I’ve got a lot of beautiful domain names.

Tim: Well you think it might have happened coincidence. Somebody would say there’s no such thing as a coincidence. You knew you were going to do that; it just so happened that the name came first before the business, but –

James: Well I definitely had the domainese before that.

Tim: Yes, well you just don’t know. So we came up in the end Freedom Ocean really ticked a lot of boxes. It was available. Gee, there was a lot – the word ‘freedom’ really rang through for us, but it wasn’t easy finding an interesting name that had ‘freedom’ in it that was two words, you know?

James: Well, we could blame MLM for that.

Tim: We probably could (James laughs), absolutely.

James: Because that’s really the big sell.

Tim: Yes, yes. But we were pretty adamant that we wanted two words and not three.

James: Yes.

Tim: And the whole concept of Freedom Ocean was in the end for us it’s the outcome of being a successful internet marketer.

James: Freedom is definitely the defin – that’s number one beyond wealth or money-type stuff, I think a really good lifestyle is a tremendous goal if you have a family. If you want to have a rich an full life.

Tim: Yes.

James: And lifestyle doesn’t mean that you do nothing. It just means you do what you want to do.

Tim: Yes.

James: more than what you don’t want to do.

Tim: Choice.

James: There’s a big difference between doing what you want to do and having to do something because you have to do it – for me, anyway.

Tim: I remember one of the names that you actually came up with which we were toying with. It came sort of a close second or third, which was ‘I’ll Take Two’.

James: Yes.

Tim: .com. It had a few problems in regards to there was three – sort of an ‘I’ and two ‘l’s and it was hard to –

James: It wasn’t ideal.

Tim: It wasn’t ideal, but –

James: But it was sort of that attitude of, you know, when you –

Tim: Choice.

James: You know when you go to the checkout when you have the big credit card debt and you hand over the card, you start shaking hoping you don’t get embarrassed that it won’t clear. I remember those scenarios when I had millions of dollars worth of stock and property loans against my salary.

Tim: Yes.

James: and I was just this rat on the wheel (Tim laughs) and there were times when my wife would say I went to the supermarket and I was really embarrassed because the credit card didn’t clear. I used to hate that really, really badly. Now price isn’t really an issue anymore. So, yes, you could say well I’ll just have two.

Tim: I’ll take two.

James: That’s how I bought my car.

Tim: Yes.

James: We went to get my wife a car and she said, “You like those. Why don’t you get one of those. I said all right!”

Tim: (laughs) Make it two!

James: Exactly.

Tim: Did you shout it across the showroom as he was going to get the keys for the first one? (laughs)

James: No.

Tim: Actually, mate, make that two!

James: I was very low key. He said, “When do you want it?” And I said, “Well, today’s fine.”

Tim: Yes, yes. Today or yesterday.

James: Yes. So that was good. I remember I wasn’t absolutely in love with the name Freedom Ocean, but I was prepared to trust your judgement and sometimes letting go of having to control everything is a really good thing, and to recognize strengths in others. That is particularly appropriate when you have a team. You’re going to have to let go of the reigns and let someone else take control from time to time. In hindsight, I love the domain. I love that name. I love the logo. It actually allowed us to create a cool logo and –

Tim: Could you, before we touch on the logo, because that was the next step. One thing I’ll say to anyone looking to name a business – whether it be internet marketing or bricks and mortar, whatever it is – it’s really important to go through the process James and I went through and really sort of interrogate what we like and don’t like. But also you know what? It’s interesting that you weren’t 100% committed to the name upon agreeing on it. I didn’t know that.

James: I was committed to it.

Tim: You were committed to it, but you weren’t convinced.

James: I wouldn’t have gone into a bidding war.

Tim: Okay.

James: in an auction.

Tim: So here’s the thing, the thing is that if you invest time and energy into that name and give it meaning and definition, it will grow on you. I think that’s what we’ve done.

James: Yes.

Tim: Without putting words into your mouth, it’s probably grown on you, you know?

James: Well, it’s actually grown on the audience, which grows on me.

Tim: Yes.

James: Because it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

Tim: Yes, yes, absolutely. So the next part of that – and I name a lot of things for a lot of different businesses and one of the things I do say to them is when we’re down to that last two or three names, it’s like, “Guys, it’s now time. You can’t decide based on what you’re seeing in the word form. Let’s visualize it. Let’s bring it to life visually.” And that’s where you have to go and get some designs done. Now we had a name we didn’t go and get two names designed. We did great on Freedom Ocean. This was interesting because I know that design for you is not a top priority.

James: It is now more so than ever before.

Tim: Okay. What happened?

James: I’ve got a team of designers.

Tim: Yes.

James: And I have a web development company.

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: And I’ve had a – I know you’re probably basing that statement on older works.

Tim: Yes, I am.

James: But my newer works are much prettier.

Tim: Yes. Okay. All right, well in that case then maybe what I’m about to say is not as relevant. But that said, if you don’t think design’s important, when you get good design you really see the power of it.

James: I think design is massively important.

Tim: I do, too. But that said, I’ve spoken to other successful business people who say, “If it doesn’t have a straight line to success to a transaction, then why do it?” You know. So they see design as “Well, how’s that design going to get me more sales than that design?” Probably a designer is better to answer that question. I just know that it does. Particularly as the owner of the brand, I mean, I am very proud of the way Freedom Ocean looks. Really proud. And I put it on a T-shirt, you know? A little acid test. Would I wear it on a T-shirt? Every day of the week!

James: (laughs) A T-shirt!

Tim: Yes, why not? The T-shirt test. So we sent the brief off to my designer Nicolo who’s in Serbia and hello Nicolo if you’re listening. I don’t think he is because he writes better English than he speaks and he’s a lovely fellow and he’s probably the best designer I’ve ever worked with. Ever. He came back – basically our brief, my brief was around like that tiki bar-type Gilligan’s Island type feeling.

James: Yes.

Tim: Which we wanted to create which is once again it’s all back to this – our word was ‘freedom’, you know? And then Nicolo came back with a whole lot of designs, we chose one and he gave us a color pallet. We had a bit of fun with that. The little different bodies with our heads on them.

James: Yes.

Tim: What’s that? Flight of the Concords.

James: Yes.

Tim: That was kind of the brief for coming up with that. So it’s really good that when you are into that design stage to identify references for your designer instead of just saying, “You know I want it to be funny and cool.” Actually pool references.

James: Exactly. When we build websites, we ask clients to nominate three websites that they like the look of and tell us why.

Tim: Yes.

James: Because the worst thing you can do is build something and redo it, redo it, redo it, redo it. It will eat up a lot of time and energy.

Tim: Yes.

James: And sometimes you just never conclude it.

Tim: No.

James: I love the quirky, silly, fun aspect of our logo because it’s not taking it too seriously, you know. We’re really not ramping it. We could have all the studio photo shoot out on the front garden here you know where someone got married.

Tim: (laughs) Yes, yes.

James: It’s that luscious, it’s like a big golfing green.

Tim: Yes.

James: Or by the pool or the fast cars and stuff. But the point is that’s all optional. I think for most people they’d just be happy to get rid of a couple of credit card bills.

Tim: Yes. Yes, absolutely, so –

James: And I like the hammock shots and the –

Tim: Love the hammock shots!

James: It provides lots of fodder for jokes.

Tim: It does! And it creates a whole kind of environment which we can keep building on, you know? We can have fun with it.

James: Well, one of my teams threw a little turtle into one of the videos.

Tim: That’s right. Yes.

James: People are actually having fun creating it.

Tim: Yes, they are. And that’s once again, that’s the power of a great name and the power of design where people start to buy into it and have fun with it, so, the Freedom Ocean design was born. Then importantly, we got that tag line. James makes millions from internet marketing, Tim’s got millions of questions. And that was just a really succinct way of establishing what the show’s all about. And I think now we can clearly look back and once again do the iTunes test, where you keying internet marketing podcasts, see what comes up, check their websites and what they’re putting out and we stand out. We’ve filled a gap that is all about, it’s outcome-driven, it’s freedom-driven and it’s not about – it’s challenging a lot of what’s out there. I love that notion of identifying, it’s a . . . when I run innovation workshops for small businesses, we go through this process where I ask them to identify the conventions of the category in which they operate. So how does your current
category industry go about doing business? And just list all the conventions. And then I ask them to flip them 180 degrees.

James: Yes. Great technique.

Tim: Great technique! And sometimes flipping it 180 degrees generates an amazing idea. Sometimes it generates silly stuff. We’ll use the example, and Virgin did this when they came to Australia, you know? What’s the conventions of the airline industry and what can we challenge? Now one of the conventions of the airline industry is safe planes. That’s not a convention you want to challenge, you know, so we’ll leave that alone. But another convention was free food. Well, let’s challenge that and go with paid food. Now that probably felt a very brave thing to do back then, because when you hopped on a plane you expected free food. But it’s worked. It’s brought prices down and you know the rest is history. So it’s good to challenge the category and not necessarily always follow what everyone else is doing.

James: Well, it’s good, I like that technique where you take something that could be perceived as a negative and turn it into a positive. Like kunaki.com – the CD-ROM or DVD fulfillment company has pretty much no phone number. It’s like dealing with a robot.

Tim: Right.

James: But they translate that as ‘look, we don’t have customer service. You can’t call into us. You just get the very cheapest prices.’ It’s like it’s a self-order system.

Tim: Yes.

James: You fill out the stuff, it happens.

Tim: Great. Kunaki.

James: Yes.

Tim: How do you spell that?

James: I think it’s K-U-N-A-K-I.

Tim: I like that.

James: It’s a really cheap fulfillment center. It’s pretty much like a robot.

Tim: All right. Now, so we’ve got a name, we’ve got a look, and then we had to sit down and say ‘what are we going to talk about?’ (James laughs) You know, we’ve got to figure out what’s the structure of this thing. How’s it going to play out? And I don’t remember spending a lot of time on that. I think we already knew in our minds that there’s a lot of questions to be asked here and let’s make that the basis of it. I think we agreed that it wasn’t going to be a sequential like training series.

James: Yes.

Tim: Start with episode one, by episode 20 you’ll be rocking. It’s not like that because everyone’s –

James: Because people are likely to step in at some point in a year’s time.

Tim: Yes.

James: You wouldn’t make them go and review a year’s worth of podcasts.

Tim: No. And it runs at a different stage.

James: Yes.

Tim: I mean, you know, it just wouldn’t work.

James: Well, we have a vast array of people in our audience.

Tim: We really do.

James: from seasoned internet marketers who may or may not have come from my side of the marketing sphere and a few of yours. And then you’ve got small business owners who’ve more than likely have come across from your sphere.

Tim: Yes.

James: And then everyone in between.

Tim: Yes. So it’s a broad range and I think the way I’m looking at it now when I sit down and think about structuring the next show or something on Freedom Ocean is that it’s a magazine. You know? You can flick through it and you know one time we might be answering a middle level internet marketing question, and five minutes later we’re addressing an absolutely basic start-up question.

James: Yes.

Tim: But I think, you know, maybe the seasoned professional – and tell us if you’re listening – they’re probably interested to reflect on how they went about it? Were they doing it differently?

James: Here’s the truth. Some of the most seasoned professionals in the internet marketing space are extremely weak in some of the most basic things. And the highest-end clients that I have now I help people with seven-figure launches, I help people who’ve been around the block more than twice who have multi-million-dollar businesses do the most basic things because they’re just missing those building blocks.

Tim: Yes.

James: So I think you can never get too good at the basics. Like if you want to make grange you’ve got to be really good at picking grapes and mixing it up and sticking it into barrels.

Tim: Yes.

James: You never move from step A, B, C. Some people might never get to step D, E, F. But all the basic stuff should be revisited. I think if we just stick to asking for feedback if we’ve got a really good participation from our audience.

Tim: Yes.

James: And we keep addressing what’s important to them, we should stay close to the mark.

Tim: Absolutely, and then on that we, with feedback one of the things we are going to set up in the future is a bit of a hotline where people can call in and they can leave an audio message and we will play it on air and answer it on air. Just on that, too, don’t wait for that hotline list because we’re not sure what show that’s going to come up as. You’ve all got iPhones, you’ve all got laptops with recording facilities, record a question and send it to us.

James: That’d be awesome.

Tim: Our email address is – ah, a bit of pause there!

James: Oh, you want me to –

Tim: Yes, yes, yes.

James: Just send it to feedback@freedomocean.com.

Tim: That’s right. That’s it. I was thinking ‘questions’ but no it is feedback@freedomocean.com. Send us your recorded question because that will add to the flavors of Freedom Ocean. So we talked about content and we kind of agreed that let’s let it flow and basically, yes there are a lot of questions. Let’s just answer them, and that’s how the content came into being. We never really talked about the duration of a show. We let the content drive that. We thought the idea of maybe keeping it to 15 or 30 minutes would be a bit problematic, because what happens if you got to 15 or 30 minutes and you were half way through discussing some really engaging content? So we figured that people can turn it on and off as they please and come back to it. There’s the transcript, so let’s just make sure the content drives the duration of each show. Then we said well we need a website. We’d better get a website! That started to happen pretty quickly and that’s when the Ninjas took over. They grabbed it like a newborn.

James: Oh, yes, they’re fast.

Tim: Absolute newborn! Before we knew it we just had this wonderful website with some, we went through potentially what we could put on that website, and we agreed that the best thing to do was keep it simple. So it’s not a website full, crammed full of information. In fact, I’m looking at it now and there’s the homepage, there’s the sign-up form, the homepage, there’s a podcast button, there’s a button about you and I. There’s a products button where you can check out all the different products that are relevant to your stage of doing internet marketing. There’s a contact button and subscribe. So that was pretty much it, you know? We agreed that we wouldn’t blog. Our blogs would be our podcasts, just to keep it simple.

James: Yes.

Tim: We might blog in the future, but right now that’s –

James: It’s, again, it’s just picking that starting point and to get a basic website up is actually really fast if you don’t complicate it and get in your own way which is what a lot of people do. I know someone who’s up to their sixth month so far before they’ve gone live with their new website because they have over-thought every single possible element to death.

Tim: Yes.

James: And I’m thinking of all that wasted business and traffic in that six months that could have been got. I mean we haven’t even been going six months with Freedom Ocean and we’ve got lots and lots of subscribers, we’re starting to get search engine results for some pretty cool terms. And to have something in the traffic is better than nothing. As long as it’s half decent, people will forgive you when it’s new.

Tim: So let’s get talking about the website and how that developed, and in particular of the Word Press platform for sure. Plug-ins, though. I mean you started adding those plug-ins that I hadn’t seen before and now I’ve got another podcast and I was thinking, ‘wow, those are really cool.’ Do you want to talk about some of those plug-ins?

James: Yes. It’s basically our standard build. We have a package that we put on all of our starting websites. They’re plug-ins that I’ve tested and fallen in love with over time. I won’t get too technical, but first with plug-ins, the less the better. That sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?

Tim: Yes.

James: If you have more plug-ins, that means there’s more chance of a conflict between plug-ins, and it also means you’ve got to update them more often. Now because our website is managed by my team, they’re going to update the plug-ins on a schedule. They’ll just go in and update them on a schedule. Secondly, for example every week when they go and add the new podcast, they’ll just check the plug-ins anyway and update the site. It’s just automatic. It’s built-in. It’s a habit. One of the plug-ins, it’s the podcast plug-in, of course. So that was a new plug-in for us. We haven’t used the one that we’re using now, it’s Blueberry Podcasting. So we learned that. The Ninjas just read the instructions and fired it up.

Tim: That’s a great one because basically it says well here’s the information you need to fill out for each podcast and up it goes.

James: Yes, there weren’t too many choices for that. There’s one that actually – every time we make a podcast post it will go out and submit the post to RSS directories. That’s called Web Traffic Genius. There’s a number of plug-ins that do that, but that’s the one that we’ve been using and it requires a little bit of set up in the beginning, but once you’ve got the set up it’s really good because it means that every time you post, a lot of other sites will find out about it quickly. Google will be all over your websites, and we want that.

Tim: We want that.

James: Yes. Where there any other –

Tim: Is the SEO pack?

James: Okay, yes. Well, with Thesis which we’re using we don’t really need an SEO plug-in. So we probably haven’t activated any additional SEO. But there are, if you’re really into SEO plug-ins and you don’t have Thesis, the one that I’d recommend is called Yoast. It’s Y-O-A-S-T. Yoast SEO it’s a sort of newish one. That guy is a SEO Ninja.

Tim: Is he?

James: And he’s a great Word Press developer and he had a cool plug-in that I’ve always used called RSS footer. And what that does, it lets you put a web hyperlink in your RSS stream. So if someone tapes your RSS feed and pastes it somewhere like Facebook or Friendfeed, it’ll actually create a hyperlink back to your site.

Tim: Nice.

James: Yes, it’s a pretty –

Tim: So you like Yoast SEO above, because SEO packs . . .

James: Well, there was all-in-one SEO and platinum SEO.

Tim: All-in-one SEO is the one I’m thinking. And you’re saying Yoast has overtaken those?

James: I believe so.

Tim: Okay.

James: Yes.

Tim: Nice. What I love, too, about that in Thesis was the ability to – and sometimes, often people forget to fill those things out but – you can control exactly what appears in your Google search results. We were doing that last night.

James: Yes. Just a subtle little change made such a big difference.

Tim: Google are either going to randomly pull information from your site.

James: Or you can tell it.

Tim: or you can tell it. And once again, I’m just going to talk on behalf of small businesses here, but I don’t think many people know that.

James: No.

Tim: To be able to fit that linkable line in Google, that two or three lines of copy that you get in Google and the permalink which is that link that actually will go off to the page of your site. If you can affect all that and put relevant keywords in there, then your chances of being clicked through increase dramatically.

James: Well, imagine the difference between “Welcome to my website.”

Tim: About us.

James: “We have been serving the blahblahblah for blahblahblah years”, right?

Tim: Yes.

James: That versus, “Emergency plumbing, Sydney. Need a plumber today? Call this number now!”

Tim: Yes.

James: But you can control that.

Tim: That is powerful stuff.

James: And it’s in Word Press and Word Press is actually free.

Tim: Yes. I think people, some I know from speaking to a lot of business owners, that freaks –

James: It’s definitely covered in Trafficgrab. In Trafficgrab I went through, actually it’s one of the free training modules. I did a whole module onsite, and I give it away.

Tim: Yes.

James: And the link is on our product page. If you go there and click on the link, it will take you to free training. I go through my favorite plug-ins in Word Press and how I set up my permalink structure, my ping list, and the plug-ins that you need to have on your website if you want to get a better result.

Tim: I tell you what, anyone listening to this and wants traffic, they’ve just got to, you know, I know we get a lot of questions from listeners saying, “You know, we’ve been to the Freedom Ocean product page” and it’s not a huge, long list. There’s about ten products there but it’s like where to start. We have, we’ve gone ahead and created a little audio under each product that basically says who’s it for, what is it? Who’s it for? And they even ranked it so that you know if I’m starting out then just start here, and once you get a little bit more involved then –

James: Plus, we’ll mention the correct product in the podcasts, so if you hear us mention a specific thing, go to the products page and find it.

Tim: Yes. So specific to that, go to the traffic product on the products page. So once we’ve got, so the website’s rocking. I think we spent some good time, really good time and great learning for me setting up the autoresponder series.

James: Yes, that was fun.

Tim: It was fun. It really was fun because it was about getting it right to the point that you know what? People are going to click on those emails that we send out.

James: It was just funny emails back and forth, you know? What do you think about this? And I’ll go, “Okay, tell me why you want to do that?” I was being a bit Socratic, wasn’t I?

Tim: That’s a big word. What’s that mean?

James: It means I was using the asking questions technic of teaching.

Tim: Right. Okay, well you tell us, go through the process. I’m going to look up an example of what I sent you and then how you came back and changed it. So, the autoresponder series, just tell us what that involved.

James: We’ll remind people what it is.

Tim: Yes.

James: It’s our email database. When we ask people for their details, I think we had some debate about what details we want to ask for. We definitely had some debate about the layout of the form and even the formatting of the capitalization or not.

Tim: Massive. Yes, capitalization, bolding, line breaks.

James: I went lowercase with stuff, and the name on the button, the location on the signature…

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: These back and forth emails relating to that. And I think one of the biggest issues was my suggestion of the subject line was met with some quizzical . . . (laughs)

Tim: Questions like, “Really? What?”

James: Exactly.

Tim: Two question marks.

James: Yes.

Tim: But it was and I clearly – those tiny little things – those one percenters almost, make a huge difference. The fact that when you get an email from us it’s got Freedom Ocean in those square –

James: Those square brackets.

Tim: tell us what’s that about?

James: It’s about helping peop – let’s think of the basics. How many people do you know are overwhelmed with their email?

Tim: Yes. Everyone.

James: So, I thought why not use a Kodak to make it easy for people to see when we send an email so they can pick it out of all the crap.

Tim: And square brackets is our thing.

James: They want our email, and they don’t want all the other emails so we put the square brackets Freedom Ocean. So we’ve actually labelled it for them so that we’re being very transparent here. This is a Freedom Ocean email. We’re not going to try the old “Oops, I forgot to send you this!” or “About Your Commission” you know, all the stuff you get.

Tim: All the oldies.

James: They’re all, their thing is we’re going to trick you into opening the email because we know you’re not going open it if you actually found out it’s from us. We’re going to pray on your wizard brain and go for the greed gland and they get you to open it and then they try to suck you down that rabbit hole.

Tim: Yes.

James: But in our case we’re like, “Okay, you actually asked to be on the email list when you nominated to be on the email list, so we’re going to be open about it. This is from Freedom Ocean. You can love us, you can hate us, you can unsubscribe, you can stay on the list.” But when we send you an email – and we actually make promises on our email sign-up. So this is about framing the offer.

Tim: Yes.

James: We’re actually clear about what it is we’re sending, we’re telling people that we will send email alerts when there’s a new episode. Each week or thereabouts when we put a new episode, we send an email saying there’s a new episode. So we’re actually doing what we’ve said we’d do. We’re not sending them 17 emails in one afternoon because there’s a big product launch. Hey, Tim! You’re about to miss out! They’re closing the thing! The server crashed and you’d better get in and –

Tim: Twelve hours left!

James: Yes. You just have to push a button and you’ll be making $180,000.00 a week. We’re not really taking the piss out of our customers and pretending that they’re stupid.

Tim: Look, I’m just looking in the email we sent last night for an episode that we sent out, and it just stands out. I’m looking at all the emails in my trash because I’ve read it, deleted it, and Freedom Ocean’s just standing out. Every time it’s the same formula. Every time we send out a new show – one of the things I thought we would be doing was actually creating an engaging headline for the subject line of that email that we send out.

James: Yes.

Tim: But, importantly, what we’re doing is Freedom Ocean in square parentheses, hyphen, episode, number, then the plus sign, transcript is ready . . .

James: Yes.

Tim: And if over time you line up all the emails that you’ve got from us telling you that there’s a new episode of Freedom Ocean out, they’re going to look exactly the same except the number’s going to change.

James: They should be able to easily find a particular episode using that format. The other thing is we may from time to time like you send out the feedback request email. We may from time to time send something other than an episode, but it will be clearly labelled as something that will –

Tim: We’ll still have Freedom Ocean in the square parentheses. What’s the formula for what we write after that?

James: Well, it’s up to us what we put there, but we’ve still categorized it in an easy-to-find format.

Tim: Yes, okay.

James: Someone could actually type that into their Gmail search, ‘Freedom Ocean’ and it will pull up all of their emails and they should look pretty sweet.

Tim: They should look sweet.

James: By the way, why don’t we talk about the open rates we’re getting.

Tim: Well, let’s, but before we do that I just want to – because there’s a whole part here we just can’t, an episode doesn’t give us the time to dig into – but there was a wonderful process that we went through when you are setting up your autoresponder you’ve got to go through the copy on the form. Once we spent a lot of time getting that right. Our form simply says ‘Get Freedom Ocean’ alerts to your inbox. Podcast updates, episode transcripts, bonus .pdf reports.’

James: I remember your email about that was – it made me cry.

Tim: Oh, really?

James: Yes, it was something like: Are we really running with that? That’s very ugly.

Tim: Oh, that’s right!

James: It was rather offensive, I thought.

Tim: There it was! Right up front!

James: That nearly killed the whole Freedom Ocean podcast! (laughs)

Tim: It was gone! But you came back, chin up! We can break through this!

James: Yes, we could. And our sign-up rates are actually pretty good.

Tim: Yes. Yes. So that was a very simple form, but then importantly, there’s a process of if you sign up you’re going to get an email from Aweber. You’re going to be taken to a success page. So there’s all those things we had to write. We don’t have time to go through that now. We would go through that if we were to turn this into a very detailed, how-to, product.

James: Well, I think there’s actually a session on – there should be a session about email marketing.

Tim: Yes.

James: This is what most companies do, they blast their customers. They actually use the word ‘blast’.

Tim: Yes.

James: “We’re just going to send out a blast.” And it’ll be some crappy ad.

Tim: Terrible turn of phrase, isn’t it?

James: It’s not respectful of your audience, is it?

Tim: No.

James: Who likes to be blasted? In fact, go and have a look at the form on our website where we collect our details and see if it says ‘submit’. Because –

Tim: Well, I won’t say. Go and check it out!

James: Go and check it out, because it doesn’t say ‘submit’. Because no one likes to submit. “Oh, yes, I will submit to you!”

Tim: “I’m submissive.”

James: That’s right.

Tim: There’s a button for me!

James: Just changing that should see a lift in response rates.

Tim: Yes. Yes.

James: So there’s a few subtle things, but they are important.

Tim: Yes, yes. So, look, the open rates, James, are being phenomenal. In fact, we’ve had open rates over 100%.

James: Yes. (laughs)

Tim: And I can’t figure that out, but basically what that’s saying is that there are a number of people who are opening the email more than once.

James: Correct.

Tim: And that’s tremendous.

James: That is right.

Tim: And the power of Aweber to be able to give you that information, and Aweber’s so good and I’m sure there are other email clients that will do this as well, but the ability to actually say, “Okay, you can now send an email to the people who’ve opened, you can send an email to the people who haven’t opened, and really start to get quite targeted.”

James: So in their case, the one’s that haven’t opened, that doesn’t actually exist. (laughs)

Tim: That’s right.

James: We’re getting 100% open rates.

Tim: Yes.

James: Which is pretty much unheard of.

Tim: Yes. And click-through. So there’s always a link, in fact that’s another thing of those emails, there’s a lot to the email part of this –

James: And we actually did probably the biggest discussions we’ve had about Freedom Ocean were the communication method and the – here’s something most people don’t consider. If you want your emails to be opened, if you want such high open rates, there’s actually more than the subject line. There’s two other – there’s actually three other critical things. The first thing is what did you actually tell people you were going to send them? Because if you just said to people, ‘download this free thing.’ But then you start emailing them every week, you haven’t actually told them you’re going to email them.

Tim: You’ve lied.

James: So now because you say we will continue to email.

Tim: Yes.

James: It’s not maybe that they’ve lied, it’s just that they weren’t clear about it.

Tim: Telling the complete truth.

James: Well, they just weren’t clear about what they’re intending to do.

Tim: Yes. Yes.

James: The second thing is, the ‘from’. Who is it actually from? That’s critical. Is it from the person, is it from the company? Is it from info@? Now who’s it from and I think you now say I think it’s like from James and Tim or something, you could probably remind me who it’s from?

Tim: It’s from James and Tim.

James: So it’s quite personal.

Tim: Yes.

James: And we’ve got a relationship when people come into Freedom Ocean, it’s James and Tim that you’re getting to know.

Tim: Yes.

James: Then the next thing that people miss is after the subject line in most email clients – and by email client I’m just talking about Gmail, Outlook, whatever – you’ll get to preview the first line of the email. Your version is going to be something like, ‘dear James or dear Tim or dear Freddy’ blahblahblah – now that’s quite common. But ours doesn’t do that. In fact, we do use the first name personalization, but it’s further into the email.

Tim: Yes. Yes, okay. Little nuances, huh?

James: Very subtle.

Tim: So I’m just looking at what I’ve sent you. One of the first drafts of what I sent you for the first email that we were going to send out, and it says, “We trust you’re enjoying the intellectually nourishing waters of the Freedom Ocean. Being the number one business podcast on iTunes within 48 hours tells us there’s something going on. In episode 2 James lifts the lid on ten internet marketing business models and reveals the one with the most explosive growth potential.” I click on a very long link and then I say . . . actually this might be more of an advanced one then the first one.

James: It does sound like that.

Tim: It sounds a bit more advanced, and then I had our names all in uppercase which you very quickly said drop into lowercase because it’s shouting. I didn’t repeat the link more than once, and we do that now, we repeat the link twice. You came back and just the structure of the email, it’s just completely different. The linebreaks are different, you have a little button which says ‘Go to Episode 2’ which is linked so there’s no ugly link.

James: Yes. If you’re going to use HTML you might as well maximize the link.

Tim: Yes.

James: Instead of having the raw link.

Tim: Yes.

James: You actually use some compelling call to action words. Very clear. There’s no confusing there. Go to blahblahblah.

Tim: Yes.

James: Or ‘get such and such’.

Tim: The first link says ‘Go to Episode 2.’ The second link says, ‘click here’, uppercase, to listen to Episode 2.

James: Yes.

Tim: What’s the thinking there?

James: Because you’re appealing to two different peoples. If I put a link early in the email, if you’re the impetuous ‘just give it to me now’ type, you’re gone. You’ve clicked on that first link. You’re not even going to read the rest of the email. If you’re the detail-oriented, ‘I’ve got to read every single thing on the page’ you need to put a link further down.

Tim: Yes.

James: To get that.

Tim: Okay.

James: Second one is, okay if I didn’t get you with ‘go to such and such’, then perhaps you’ll respond to ‘click here’. So –

Tim: Two different calls to action.

James: What we’re doing is the short attention span, the long attention span – we’re appealing to different commands to try our luck.

Tim: You’ve then got a piece that says ‘download the transcriptions here.’

James: Yes.

Tim: I was of the school of thought that, ‘one message, one link.’

James: Yes.

Tim: Yes? We’ve got one link that goes to the one place, but we’ve got three links that go to two places. Is that okay?

James: Yes. It’s fine.

Tim: Okay.

James: I’ve sent multi-part emails with six different links.

Tim: Have you?

James: Yes. In fact, I do it every single week for my Superfast results members.

Tim: Okay.

James: We send a weekly newsletter with the highlights of our community, and it links to I don’t know, 15, 20 different places.

Tim: Yes, okay. Good.

James: And you should see our open and click-throughs on that.

Tim: My last question about the way I was structuring these emails, James, is the line breaks. You’re very particular about where – it’s almost the width of

James: Chunking the copy.

Tim: chunking the copy. What’s that about?

James: Well, when we read it’s just easy to read in narrow of blocks.

Tim: In fact your emails, just generally, like when you send me an email it’s exactly the same.

James: Yes. I encourage anyone to go and pull out the front page of the biggest newspaper in town and tell me, does it go right across the page? Or is it broken into small blocks of easy-to-read chunks?

Tim: So, is it like five words a line or what? Do you have some kind of criteria?

James: No, it’s just a wits and pixels actually.

Tim: Right.

James: For me, I just do it by hand. I just see what I think looks about right.

Tim: Yes.

James: Some people are extra wide, some people are extra skinny, and some people are somewhere in the middle. I’m like the Goldilocks – I’m somewhere in the middle, I think it’s 70 pixels.

Tim: You’re mommy bear? (both laugh)

James: It’s characters, actually. Seventy characters.

Tim: Yes. Okay.

James: In the community, we actually have a text-wrapping tool where you can pop code and just hit text-wrap and it will actually wrap it into whatever width you set in characters.

Tim: Well, all right!

James: Yes.

Tim: Well, auto Aweber also allows you to do that.

James: Yes, but I don’t like the auto on it. I found it unreliable. I actually do a hard return.

Tim: It’s not as neat, the auto one, is it? It’s a bit random.

James: Yes.

Tim: It doesn’t keep everything in a kind of set width.

James: That really drives me wild, because I have a 24-inch monitor and you can imagine trying to read across the screen. I’m like, why don’t they wrap it?

Tim: It’s great learning. Now there’s a lot more to cover. That’s pretty much – there’s a lot more to the website and to the whole autoreponder series, but as we said we’re just giving an overview of how this baby came into being.

James: I just want to point out a subtlety there. There’s a reason why the email database is so important to us, because of all the assets that is Freedom Ocean, the email database is the most valuable asset that we have. It’s a relationship that we’re cultivating to develop to solve problems for, to continue to evolve things. That relationship is where the value is.

Tim: It certainly is.

James: And so few businesses appreciate that. I just wanted to highlight it.

Tim: And I think, too, we say (just looking at our notes, but) the bonus .pdf reports that we will be sending to our list, we haven’t sent one yet but we will, and they’re going to be irregular because we want people to know that when we do send something there’s a reason we’re sending it. It’s of high value and you’ll find it useful as opposed to other marketers online who pretty much – I know this one guy that I don’t think you get it anymore but I still get him – and it’s every third day.

James: Well, there’s many marketers that subscribe to the send an email every day thing.

Tim: You know, I don’t understand that at all.

James: Unless you’re Seth Gordon, I reckon you’re going to struggle. Because Seth Gordon sends something useful. These guys send you a sales message every day.

Tim: Yes.

James: And you know what they say when they’re in the back room and they’re sitting around talking about it? This is classic.

Tim: What?

James: They say they’ve made so much more money because they send money every day and I’m like, great, you’re making it now but you’ll be out of a job in a year from now.

Tim: Yes.

James: And the marketer that told me this just sacked his entire office and shut down operations. In fact, he makes the same profit as I do, but he has five times more gross sales. So his business is very ineffective.

Tim: Yes. So once we got that website up and running and the show under control, it was time to then start to socialize this thing. We had a Facebook fan page created and then a YouTube channel.

James: Yes.

Tim: Love our YouTube channel.

James: It’s a fun channel, isn’t it?

Tim: It is fun. Let’s just touch briefly on that because Facebook’s a longer conversation. But the YouTube channel’s very clever. It is simply the first ten minutes of each episode with PowerPoint slides summarizing what we’re talking about a the time, and at about the 9:40 mark, it says, ‘to hear more, go to Freedom Ocean.com’.

James: Yes. Very simple.

Tim: Nice, simple call to action. And it’s fantastic! It’s just opened up a whole new market to us.

James: It’s opened up a lot more than a new market. It’s actually giving us a huge springboard into getting search engines to pay attention to our website. Now if YouTube is the most popular video site on the internet and in the top three websites on the internet.

Tim: You want to be there.

James: and you’re linking to your other site from it, that’s got to be a good thing.

Tim: Yes.

James: And then what we do is we take videos from there and we submit them to other video sites pointing back to YouTube site.

Tim: Okay.

James: So that it will actually go five layers deep by the time we’ve done the –

Tim: So why do you point back from those other video sites to YouTube?

James: Because we want to get the views up.

Tim: Right.

James: We want YouTube to say, “Well, people are paying attention to this video. Other people are linking to it, people are watching it. It’s more interesting, I think we’ll give it a little more preference when people search –

Tim: Right.

James: – for the tags that are in this video.

Tim: Yes.

James: So, YouTube has its own search engine built in and we want that to get good results. We want our videos to show beside other videos that are internet marketing related. So they’ll look at the boring internet marketing, spammy video and they see a Freedom Ocean video on the right-hand side as a related video, “Ooo, that looks interesting, what’s that?”

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: There’s this funny little cartoon here.

Tim: And I do love the design of the whole YouTube channel. That just really extended what was already happening on the website.

James: And do you remember our design brief for the YouTube channel?

Tim: It was probably Gilligan and Tiki bar, wasn’t it?

James: We didn’t have one.

Tim: No, we didn’t.

James: We didn’t have Intel to do it.

Tim: The Ninjas grabbed us.

James: They just did it.

Tim: They grabbed us.

James: They grabbed it and they gave birth to this YouTube channel and decked it out. And now it’s got the big ‘subscribe here’ arrow pointing to the subscribe. It’s just part of our process . . . it’s what we do.

Tim: Yes, powerful stuff. In fact, I want to talk to you about outsourcing and getting that VA onboard, but I think we might save that for the next show. So we’ve got the YouTube channel and Facebook happened in a similar way where we all of a sudden there’s our Fan Page.

James: There it is.

Tim: Email from James saying, “Hey, can you like this so I can make you an administrator?” (James laughs) And then we very quickly I think within an hour got our first 25 lights which gave us the ability to name our Facebook page with our own vanity URL.

James: Yes.

Tim: And the rest is history. That page is now a wonderful source for us to engage with our listeners, but also for them to engage with themselves and encourage them. I mean I use the example of purging the email box where people were literally posting screenshots of their empty email box.

James: Right.

Tim: which is fantastic and great encouragement for everyone who was thinking of doing it. I’m interested in you developing – instead of sending people to the link – Facebook.com/Freedomocean

James: Yes.

Tim: You created a domain which is likefreedomocean.com.

James: Yes.

Tim: And point that to our Facebook page. What’s the thinking there?

James: Quite simply, Facebook may disappear one day. But likefreedomocean.com won’t because we own it. It’s better to have control. If Facebook disappears one day, we just redirect it back to Freedomocean.com. But when we’ve put it in .pdfs, when we’ve told people about it, when it’s out there on the internet archives, we want it to point where we control. The worst thing you can do is link directly to an end-source that you have no control over.

Tim: Yes.

James: I’ve made that mistake plenty of times.

Tim: Yes, right.

James: Some of my old websites or reports that are out there, I cannot change the link and they point to things that no longer exist.

Tim: Yes, right.

James: And things change. I’m willing to bet that in five or ten years from now, I mean where was Facebook five years ago, it wasn’t really that big a deal. Google ten years ago virtually like this little test thing at Stamford University.

Tim: Yes.

James: You know, things change rapidly.

Tim: Okay. So basically the idea is to redirect that and have 100% control.

James: Control. It’s a control thing, it costs you $9 bucks a year.

Tim: Yes.

James: Not a big deal. But it’s ownership. And also we try not to trademark breach. We don’t want to write Facebook in the name of our domain, because Facebook could rightly say, “No, that belongs to us. Stop using it.” That’s why we’ve put our name and then something like ‘like’. The other one I use is fbjames for my own one. The other thing is, you try spelling Shramko.

Tim: (laughs) Yes, yes, that’s right, yes!

James: It’s so much easier to say, “Tim, go and visit me at fbjames.com. Much easier. Simple. Well, I wonder what that is? I’ll click on it, instead of Facebook.com/Jamesshramko. That’s a mouthful. So I’m always in favor of a nice, simple, website address that people can say over the phone, write down easily, remember.

Tim: Yes.

James: Even I can remember likefreedomocean.com.

Tim: Yes, it’s not hard, is it? And I think also importantly with Facebook what I’m finding is that just being there as the owners of that page I think it’s good that we’re there every day.

James: Yes.

Tim: And I know there’s some businesses out there who put it up an d then kind of let it be and hope it grabs a lot of its own. It’s not going to happen.

James: Yes. It’s not going to work itself.

Tim: No.

James: Really what our Facebook is, it certainly has brought us new listeners and we track it. You know that I like tracking my URLs. Sure to be a topic for discussion (laughs).

Tim: Yes, absolutely.

James: So what it is is sort of insurance as well that we’re always on topic. Because our customers have a way to tell us if we miss the mark.

Tim: Yes.

James: They’re certainly telling us that we’ve hit the mark.

Tim: Yes.

James: and we love that and that’s great. We want to keep that as our benchmark. We want to make sure that we can announce new episodes. We can ask for people to comment on them. We can ask for people to tell us what they want to see. I mean the last few episodes we created were entirely customer-driven, which is exciting.

Tim: It is exciting. So, that’s Facebook. There’s more detail to Facebook but once again time won’t allow us to cover it here. What I do want to say is two things we haven’t touched on. Once we produce a show, we didn’t go into equipment and all that type of stuff about how we actually produce it. Suffice to say that it doesn’t have to be complicated or hard.

James: No, it can be very simple. (laughs)

Tim: And we are sitting out by a pool producing a show, you know, we’re not in some crazy studio or anything. The lab got a bit hot, so we decided to sit out by the pool. Once that show is finished, we literally upload that raw file to a drop box. We found a producer on Fiver who puts it all together, sweetens it.

James: Yes.

Tim: And sends us back –

James: Takes that sweet audio, and turns it into something good.

Tim: Something good. And we got the intro and outtro done on Fiver. All that is just Mike our producer puts it all together, sends us back an mp3 file ready for upload to the website with some very brief show and I’d say that was another good learning. I was of the opinion in the early days that we should have very detailed show notes, and yet what we are doing is literally saying, “Hey, this is the episode where we blah blah blah.”

James: Bullet, bullet, bullet.

Tim: Bullet, bullet, bullet. I will also list the questions that I asked beyond the core topic. We’ll put any links that we discussed about, and that’s it.

James: Yes.

Tim: Okay. And that will generally run for – you know, show notes won’t be more than just a few lines of copy.

James: It’s really just selling the idea that you should listen to the podcast. We provide subscribers a full transcript of the podcast so if they want the full detail, it’s there for our premium members.

Tim: That’s right, so on the transcript once that file goes into drop box it also gets sent to our transcriber who types it up, sends it back, we pretty it up – importantly put a link on every single page back to our website. If we talk about any products in the show, we link back to our products page and the transcription’s done. The next thing you know it’s out there, we send an email, we iTunes grab it. We’ve submitted the podcast to iTunes once through an RSS feed –

James: And it picks up when we make a change.

Tim: iTunes comes in behind the scenes and I think you said to me last night, “How quickly does iTunes pick it up?” We put it up and certainly within two hours that next episode was up on iTunes. So they’re constantly going behind the websites and seeing if there’s a new show and we only have to do that once.

James: Now you just sort of skipped a little bit. So you’ve got the transcription and the next thing it’s out with the customer. What happened inbetween?

Tim: Well, there’s a lot we’re not covering, but I’m just conscious of time. We always say we wouldn’t – we’d let the content drive the show, but –

James: I think the short answer is that somebody else sets it up for us.

Tim: Yes.

James: That’s the short answer. Someone else makes the blog post, someone else types up the broadcast theme using the the template format that we have in place. They put trackable links in the report and on the broadcast. We actually know which traffic came from which episode, which broadcast, which .PDF. That’s cool.

Tim: Yes.

James: And then there’s a test broadcast sent and once that’s done all saved as a draft, that’s when all we have to do is hit ‘Publish’.

Tim: Yes.

James: That’s it. And we could have that done, too, if we really wanted to.

Tim: Just want to put a disclaimer in there that to those that are listening who thought they might like to do something like this and they’re all of a sudden we get someone else to do that or we send it off to our producer or we send it off to our transcriber . . .

James: You can do all that stuff.

Tim: You can, you really can.

James: And I’ve done all of that stuff up until now.

Tim: We will do, we will cover outsourcing in detail. I know you’re not a big fan of outsourcing tasks.

James: I don’t like the word ‘outsource’.

Tim: Okay, well, replace it. Give me the Shramko-ism.

James: Build a team!

Tim: We’ll talk about building a team. And it’s not around getting tasks done, it’s about actually bringing people into your virtual marketing team.

James: You’ve seen the contrast between the way that people will typically outsource versus the way I have things.

Tim: Yes.

James: I’ve got helpers.

Tim: It’s massive. It becomes, I think the difference I’ve noticed is they become proactive. That’s the major difference where you bring that team together, that virtual team, and this is not putting huge amounts of stress on your payroll or anything – it is a virtual team.

James: It’s a lot less stress on me.

Tim: Yes.

James: Not having to deal with job boards and –

Tim: Yes.

James: – brief, I don’t have to brief stuff or check it or send it back all that. I just request things.

Tim: Yes.

James: They get done. Not only that – this is the coolest part – since Freedom Ocean I discovered that my team had gone and podcasted another one of my websites. They’d auditioned, they’d started recording the content into podcasts and getting it prepared for iTunes submit – they actually went and found other broadcasting sites as well and we saw one of the pages last night.

Tim: Yes, we did.

James: There was a whole page full of podcasts from one of my other websites

Tim: Isn’t that great?

James: That had to happen on order, and not just one now it’s two –

Tim: Yes.

James: Two that I know of. The first one they did has doubled in profit in a month.

Tim: There you go. Podcasting is alive and well.

James: It is alive and well.

Tim: James, have we missed anything?

James: I bet we have.

Tim: We have, I’m sure we have.

James: We might have to do future podcasts.

Tim: Well, that’s right, there’s no rush.

James: Why don’t the listeners tell us what they’d like to hear of based on what we talked about today?

Tim: It’d be good to hear.

James: Get some comments going.

Tim: Because there’s a lot of stuff behind, we’re about to implement a whole lot of that information around traffic and making sure that we start to SEO this baby beyond belief over the coming weeks and months. Backlinking, all that stuff.

James: Well, we’re going to spaghetti-ball it.

Tim: Ah. The old spaghetti ball.

James: We’ll be spaghetti balling the Freedom Ocean. That’s when it will be like injecting steroids. All we’re doing right now is setting the good foundation. If you start with good foundations and then you magnify it, you get a strong business. If you magnify a weak business, you just get a really shitty looking business that’s everywhere like the plague.

Tim: Yes, yes.

James: So, getting the foundation in place.

Tim: James, I reckon that’s enough. We’ve covered once again a lot. The next episode of Freedom Ocean is going to be listener questions. It will be a show for the people where I’ll shut up for a time and let them ask the questions. So until then, thanks, mate. Don’t forget to visit, listeners. Freedomocean.com and sign up and just watch what we do if nothing else.

James: Thanks for stopping by. Yes.

Tim: Thanks for stopping by. See ya!

James: And end.


  1. Hey Guys!!

    Loving the show, the last two in particular have been extremely practical for me.

    I must say though, after completing James’ exercise of clearing out my inbox (Which was AMAZING by the way, I had 6000 emails in my inbox!!) I have to say that nothing screams WASTE OF MY TIME more than the small column style copy in the body of the email. I’m sure the proof is in the punch but every single email that had that column style copy I have unsubscribed from. I like it when my emails look like they’re sent from a real person. My friends would never email me column style copy so why would I be more likely to read it??

    Anyway definitely not a slamming I just thought it was interesting.



    • This is an interesting point you raise, Joe. Personally, I love reading the single column emails as I find them much easier and faster to digest. Sometimes I think we do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. This doesn’t make it right, it just makes it consistent … and traditional. I thinks it’s good to challenge conventions … and the ‘continuous’ email seems to be a convention that’s worthy of a good old challenge!

    • Cool Joe. You are individual. Yes the proof is in the testing. Our open rates and loyalty rates prove we are doing the right thing.

      Question: Do you sit there all day just to read emails from friends? If so great you didn’t just make a dreadful mistake.

      If you use email for business then you just threw the baby out with the bathwater. Oops!

      In my case, I filter emails by usefulness not column width.

      The emails we send are easy to read, short and to the point. They are designed to help our readers get to the new podcast and transcription. They work.

  2. Hey James.

    I wasn’t having a dig at all, it was just an observation I made while filtering other emails that weren’t useful.

    In answer to your question, I don’t sit around reading emails from friends all day, I just used that as a trust analogy as I trust my friends more than people I don’t know. As I said I’m sure the proof is in the results which I’m sure you’re getting, and I don’t merely delete emails from you guys without reading them as I know what you’re about through the podcast. But emails that look similar to these from other organisations have been a little shonky in the past.

    Congrats on the show and also your open and loyalty rates 🙂

  3. Paul Smart says

    Going back to the first 9 episodes has been gold. Just as I am starting up. Listening to this episode, while Christmas shopping, has made the shopping experience awesome. I forgot about the crowds and had no stress, just a feeling of “get me in front of a computer, I have stuff to do”. Thanx again Timbo and James

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