There will be several instances where I will be sharing some very specific, practical and step by step procedures I took in relation to one of my entrepreneurial endeavors.
I have committed to doing so because it encourages, inspires and teaches by example from a first-hand perspective rather than from a theoretical or conceptual perspective. That is what text books are for.
People however relate to people better. Therefore on this blog, I will do my best to share my practical experiences, which hopefully will help you in your endeavors.
This post is about one of my niche content websites Sue the Airline. This website is essentially a single sales page that sells an e-book about how to sue an airline carrier by filing a complaint in small claims court all by yourself, therefore avoiding expensive attorney fees and litigation costs.
In one of my previous lives as a consultant, I traveled all year long, multiple times in a given week sometimes. During this time I was exposed to all things airlines related. I’ve experienced so much I swear I can even tell you things that an airline company CEO might not be able to.
But anyway, my George Clooney’s Up in the Air-ish life on the road exposed me to several frustrating experiences resulting from airline company or staff neglect, oversight, lack of training or insufficient manner in which crisis situations were handled.
Eventually, certain experiences had just pushed me over the hump. One such event was when my luggage was lost on my way to attend a friend’s wedding. I had some very expensive stuff in my bag, including brand new Ipods and other expensive gifts. The clothes that I wear are not cheap either.
Bottom line was that the airline refused to take care of me and after hours and weeks of banging my head against their corporate wall, they sent me a check for $125 I believe, hoping that I would go away. So what did I do? I threw away the check and instead I sued them for the maximum amount I could in small claims court.
Here is a $3k settlement check stub that came with a $500 voucher – also seen on my website:
Unfortunately for me, and more so for airline companies that I dealt with, I found myself filing multiple airline complaints subsequently, all resulting in wins usually in form of settlements.
A settlement is when the airline called me and offered healthy compensation and other perks in exchange for me withdrawing my complaint rather than compelling the lawyer of the airline company to show up in court.
Here is what I realized in the process of doing this repeatedly:
There are countless other reasons in addition to this brief list that compelled me to write the book and get it out there. You can read more about my qualifications and the idea on the Sue the Airline website.
Here is a snapshot of the website:
I began planning my website the minute I was convinced that there is a dire need for this information out there.
I researched the best domain name (URL) for the website based on extensive keyword research and secured a domain immediately through GoDaddy. After securing the domain, I used the results of my detailed keyword research to determine the keywords I wanted the website optimized for.
Once I determined my target keywords based on supply (searches conducted on the Internet) and demand (number of other competing webpages online), I began writing the content for my website.
I included an image of a check-stub I received from settling a small claims suit with an airline company to provide visual proof. Most people are visual, and a picture speaks a lot more than written words, especially online when it is hard to trust just anyone.
I had my friend Dan (online video production expert) do a quick video for me which I optimized and uploaded to YouTube. I took the video embed code provided by YouTube and pasted the code to my website.
That allowed my website visitors to view the YouTube video on my website upon arrival. You can check out both the image of the check as well as the video on the Sue the Airline website.
If you don’t have an expert video production friend like Dan, it’s ok. You don’t really need a video. If you do want one however, you can temporarily hire someone for the gig through Elance for a very reasonable rate. You can also try Craiglist.
As you might have seen, there is nothing fancy at all about my website. It is a basic HTML website that is built with solid fundamental search engine optimization (SEO) principles I learned from Site Build It. In fact, most of my websites are basic HTML websites just like this. Nothing fancy, very plain, neat and as optimized as they can be for search engines.
I have always told anyone who has asked me about my simplicity and success that no matter how expensive or technologically sophisticated a website is, it is useless if it doesn’t get noticed and ranked high in search results by search engines.
Well then how do you get a website ranked high on search engines? Simple – implement basic SEO principles and internet marketing strategies consistently and the results will take care of themselves.
The best tool / resource I can recommend to accomplish this is SBI. It is the SBI methodology and principles that I have learned and implemented in all my niche content websites that consistently rank on page one of Google and generate a healthy passive and residual income for me month after month.
Let me show you just a brief example. Go to Google and type in any of the following: “sue the airline” “sue an airline” “sue the airlines” “how to sue an airline” “how do I sue an airline” “airline complaint” “airline abuse” “common airline complaints” and the list goes on and on. Notice that my website is right on the first page.
The last time I checked, this website ranked on the first page of Google for over 100 search terms. For many of these search terms, my website is the #1 result on Google.
Now notice the number of total search results. Those are all my competitors. Just imagine the wonders your website can do if it consistently ranks on page 1 of Google out of hundreds of millions of competitors?
I wanted to get the website up before the e-book to give it some time to “soak in” search engines. Once the website was up, I wrote the e-book on a Word document file and converted it to PDF using PDF995, a FREE software you can get from download.com.
Knowing what I know now and having experienced what I did, if I were to do it all over again I’d likely use EBookCompiler to put together the e-book. This program is the simplest of its kind and a joy to use.
Among many other things, the e-book is a compilation of practical steps to take to plan, prepare, file and follow up on small claims court complaints. It provides specific details and researched information that is hard to find such as court jurisdiction names and addresses, claim limits, processing instructions, etc.
After I finished the e-book, I designed a simple e-book cover using Adobe Photoshop. If you are serious about a career online as an internet marketer, I highly recommend you invest in Adobe Photoshop.
This tool will help you create banners, images, e-book covers and all kinds of graphics that you will need for your website, digital products, marketing material and a lot more.
I submitted my e-book for review to ClickBank, my preferred third party processor for my digital products. The Sue the Airline guide is just one of several digital products that I sell through ClickBank. You can read more about my thoughts on ClickBank here.
ClickBank also has an excellent affiliate program management platform. This means that I don’t have to keep track of my affiliates’ activities and worry about paying them on time. ClickBank does all that. When an affiliate of mine makes a sale, ClickBank automatically deposits my affiliate’s commission into their account while depositing the remainder in mine.
I highly recommend taking advantage of affiliate programs whenever possible. When you incorporate an affiliate program for your products, you are improving the odds of selling more of your product without an incremental cost to you.
Building an army of affiliates (people who sell your products in exchange for a commission) is like building your very own private sales force without having to pay them a base salary. Your affiliates only make money when you do and it is a win-win situation for all involved.
My e-book was selling very well before I launched my affiliate program. It has been selling like hot cakes ever since I started the program and offered 75% commission on each sale.
Here is a snapshot of my book’s listing on ClickBank:
With the website ready and the e-book ready to be distributed, I began marketing my website on the internet to get the word out there. I wasn’t too concerned about the marketing aspect because I was confident in my website’s SEO.
With good SEO, you can attract organic (or natural) search traffic to your site. That said, I do recommend marketing your website in addition to SEO to expedite its success and not limit its potential.
To start off, I submitted my website to the major search engines Google, Yahoo, Bing/MSN and Ask. I then embarked on a 5 day directory submission task, submitting my website to all relevant directories I could find online.
Next on the list was article marketing and press release marketing for about 15 days, followed by a Pay Per Click (PPC) launch campaign. I started a PPC campaign to drive immediate traffic to my website while the SEO soaked and kicked in.
Parallel to all efforts, I participated in a handful of blogs and forums in my niche and left comments over the course of 8 weeks. I followed that with some social bookmarking and social networking to generate buzz about the website launch.
Most of these internet marketing efforts were geared toward building page rank, or website credibility in simple terms. By submitting articles, press releases, commenting on blogs and forums, I left links back to my website (also called inbound links) which helped boost its credibility in the eyes of the search engines.
Have a look at the traffic chart above for one of the months. The chart shows that 53% (or 3,794 visitors) are coming from search engines, while 37% (or 2,639) are coming from referring sites such as article and press release directories.
So there you have it. A brief summary of how I went from experience, to idea to product and then to success. I haven’t touched this website since 2008 and sales have only grown since. So why create an e-book to begin with? Because I have learned that people will pay for your experience.
It is my firm belief that everyone has at least one e-book in them. My website is a perfect example of how you can turn your first hand knowledge and experience into a passive income generating cash cow. Ask yourself if you know something, or have a skill / expertise you can share in form of an e-book? I am sure the answer is yes.
While a product is necessary – after all it is what customers pay for – it is the website and incorporation of fundamental SEO principles and internet marketing strategies learned from Site Build It that I attribute my success to.
Because of my efforts overtime, I was able to get my website listed on Wikipedia, a miracle not many can put a claim to. Sound SEO plus internet marketing has yielded very good results for my website.
This post wouldn’t be complete without a shameless plug, so here it goes. If you have ever been troubled or abused by an airline, and you want to sue them on your own because they neglected your complaint and ignored you, read my book Sue the Airline.
The book walks you through the step by step procedure of filing an airline complaint in small claims court all by yourself, without paying super expensive attorney fees.
The book also ensures you are as prepared as you can be prior to filing to ensure maximum chances of getting the compensation you deserve for all the troubles you had to go through.
Before I move on, I do want to emphasize that although my book is specific to the USA market, the principles can be applied on a broader basis.
Do you have a personal experience which others might benefit from that you can profit from? How do you feel about monetizing that experience in the way I did? Do you have other suggestions on how to help others with what you know while profiting from it?Previous: Determining How Much to Charge for Private Advertisement on Your Website or Blog