Get Free Marketing Advice (With a Catch)

Ian Lurie

I’m launching a new service called 1Thing.
The idea: Provide internet marketing advice, in small bites, at a low price.
I’ve designed a landing page, created the templates, etc..
And I hate it. The landing page is nasty. Horrible. It makes me cry.
I’ve gotten fantastic advice from other marketers. And I’ve used quite a bit of it. Problem is, they gave me advice from the perspective of super-experienced internet marketers.
I need advice from potential consumers. That’s where you come in. If you read this blog looking for little nuggets of advice you can use to improve your site, then please, take a look at the 1Thing page.
Then, comment below: Do you understand the service? What would make you buy it or not buy it? What do I need to say to make the benefit clear as day?
In exchange, I’ll send you 1 piece of 1Thing advice, for nuthin’.

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See how Portent can help you own your piece of the web.

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  1. From what I understand, I ask you a specific question and you provide a short memo or response with an answer that references specific elements on my site. However, I am not exactly sure what I would be paying for without any examples and how in-depth/technical/useful the feedback is.
    Also, what is your target market? If it is inexperienced internet marketers or owners of poorly made sites, would 1thing be of great value to them (like leaving a gem in the middle of a landfill) or would an advanced SEO/SEM book provide a greater service to them.
    For more experienced marketers or owners of polished sites, wouldn’t they rely on a peer review or the person they originally hired for the site?
    I guess I would be able to tell you if this service would benefit me when I understand what type of feedback you would provide and what type of sites would 1thing help the most.

  2. My thoughts:
    – I think changing “It’s enterprise-level marketing” to something else would be a good move. I don’t think small business want ‘enterprise-level’ anything. The connotation doesn’t fit right… I think you would be better off with “guru-level” or something along those lines.
    – Remove one of the sales banners… they’re a little too dense for the length of the page.
    – I’d be more likely to be moved as a consumer if you were telling me what the “1 thing” I should do to make the biggest improvement was rather than asking you 1 thing. So, you look at the site and say essentially “Out of the thousands of things you could do, this 1 thing is the most important for where your site is now.” Your ability to identify the most important 1 thing would be huge value…
    That’s my 2 cents… hope it is useful!

  3. Interesting question – and looks like a good service to offer. Here are my suggestions:
    1. I know who you are, which is what makes it a good service; but if I came to that page cold, I might click away. How about a photo or an About Us link? Yes, there’s a link to Portent in the top right, but it’s not obviously a link, and I had to search for it.
    2. My first thought was ‘but I wouldn’t know what to ask’. Yes, your step 1 says I can choose if I want, but its not clear to me whether I should identify something, or whether you will identify the one key thing I should fix first. That would put me off (I’m such a process person).
    3. I was initially confused by step 3. I make the improvement and then you send me a recommendation? Is this a second recommendation? But it says no commitment. Am I signing up for a series of 1Things? Clearly not, but that was my thought process. Not enough coffee this morning yet, perhaps …
    4. And I’d like to have been able to read the whole of the sample recommendation. Perhaps provide an anonymised sample?
    Hope that’s helpful…

  4. It doesn’t look as bad as you make it sound. It’s straightforward enough and you seem to explain correctly what the product is about. I do have some negative comments though:
    1- Looks like you used a 37 Signals template
    2- It’s unclear as to who you’re addressing your product to: Businesses? Amateur bloggers? Internet marketers? Your choice of semantics is sometimes geared towards businesses and marketers (“How can I improve the conversion rate on my web site?”) and other times not (“My site loads slowly. Help!”)
    3- What is in your product that I can’t find elsewhere for free on the web or on your site?
    I think if you make your intentions clearer you’ll have something better and more desirable to offer.

  5. IMHO, the “sample” report is not as powerful as the quotes from clients. I would suggest leading with the quotes to validate the service as established and serving satisfied clients.

  6. Hmmm… from a consumer’s perspective, I’m not sure that I would buy. It feels like some of the Internet marketing pieces that you warn us against; I have a little bit of a “too good to be true” feeling, but I can’t put my finger on what’s bugging me about it.
    I understand that the service is offering professional answers to Web-related questions for $47. But the options provided seem too broad — $47 seems like a lot to pay to be told where to place a button, but too little to ask the burning questions like “how do I improve the click throughs on my home page?”
    On the other hand, one of the things that I struggle with is that I don’t know what /one/ question I need to ask about my corporate Web site. Perhaps that’s why I’m not signing up right away…

  7. I go to the site and I understand what the product is and what to do. My first question I asked myself is “Where do I click”. Took a second to figure it out. I assumed that your “Order Online” orange graphic was just that. Like you were using it for a ‘starburst’.
    I would disconnect the “Order online” in your main header from that screenshot and move it to the left hand side under “Web Marketing Advice from top…”. Instead of the orange square make it look like a button. Loose the foot prints. They add to much visual noise.
    I’d do something similar to your “Start improving your web site now!” image. Make the orange area look more like a button. In the green area add some more padding to be easier on the eyes.
    A few design related things that might help improve readability.
    • The “Web Marketing advice from top internet…” text in the header. You might consider making that a little bit smaller so that the text wraps better.
    • Your secondary H1 tags in the white content area…you might consider making them smaller and blue. There doesn’t seem to be enough size difference between those and the tags in the green header.
    • You might consider having the “Start improving” and quotes much closer to the top. I would be much more interested to see what other people say about your service than you.
    That’s all that comes to mind at first glance. You don’t even have to send me free advice 🙂 Your blog is more that sufficient.

  8. Great idea, Ian. I understand the service and would absolutely buy it. I think the benefit is clear. I just have a couple of comments:
    – The text under the tagline looks jagged. You might consider using a different font or font size.
    – The top half of the page is jumbled in IE6.

  9. Hi Ian,
    As someone who thought about using your service when I saw your twitter update a few days ago, here are my comments:
    1. First off, the service sounds like a great idea. It sounds (to me) like a way to gather client leads and not so much a way to generate revenue. I think getting a bite sized piece of what portent has to offer without complex billing statements/contracts/having to talk to someone will bring you many happy prospects. But at the same time that is what I was concerned with; if I chose this service I don’t want to be contacted a day later with a sales pitch or guilt trip.
    2. Repeating the same banner three times while using its as a divider doesn’t do anything for me. My eyes start to ignore things that are repeated well… repeatedly.
    3. The example review was excellent. I would have three examples (maybe using other literary figure). One thing I have learned is when you display three examples, then me as a potential buyer can start to see a pattern on what you deliver.
    4. Dropping names like Princess Tours, AdAge Magazine, momAgenda, etc. doesn’t do anything for me because I haven’t heard of them. And if I had heard of them chances are I still wouldn’t know their internet marketing campaign.
    5. I would use colons after your titles. The colon helps make clear the title-list relationship.
    6. Your image alt text is set to the image name.
    7. Your orange buttons seem a little crowded, specifically the semi-transparent $47 with the foot prints (dance steps?) behind them. I can’t offer a specific suggestion but I would recommend cleaning that up.
    8. When I am purchasing something online, I like one clear “move to next step of the checkout process” button. 1thing is set up now with four equal buttons and a text link that all move on to the next step. Whether you decide to keep five links all pointing the same direction or not, I would find it more effective to have a single “dominating” link that takes me to the next step.
    9. Your webform is beautifully simple. I appreciate that.
    10. One thing that I am still wondering as a potential user of this service, is how would I actually pay you? Maybe its made clear after I press submit, but that issue does make the buying experience a little less fluid in my mind.
    That’s all for now. Hope that helps.
    -Tom Moullet

  10. 1Thing looks really cool! Here are my impressions:
    – I like the lean, minimalistic layout, even though it is nasty, horrible, and makes me cry =)
    -The “Order Online” button looks a bit cluttered with the dance steps behind it.
    – I like the division of the page content using banners – allows you to order right off the bat, or scroll for more info.
    -47 bucks is too much to pay for someone to tell me that I should be using keyword-rich title tags. Emphasize the individuality of the advice given as well as the specific steps you give customers to implement your advice.
    – Sample reports maybe? Could tie in with customer testimonials. I would like to be able to see the 1Things that other people have recieved.
    Hope this helps!

  11. Well, this is coming from another marketer, but two things came to my mind:
    1) I like the second and third blocks of text (What 1Thing Is, How 1Thing Works) more than the top section (I think they more clearly describe what you do).
    2) The orange “Order Online – $47” square doesn’t look enough like a button – it doesn’t jump out to me as clickable. (I realize it says “Click the Get Started” in small text, but I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of the average consumer)
    That being said, I think 1Thing is a great idea. Wish I had thought of it myself!

  12. Ian,
    I like the 1Thing concept. In fact, it fits nicely into the current state of the Internet / mobile computing & communications marketplace where most successful Web services are free and the rest of us are trying to figure out how to survive while charging for our services.
    Many potential customers I talk to today seem to question my desire to make money by charging them a fee when they can get everything else for free on the Web – except for iTunes and some iPhone apps – hence, the appeal of a “for under $50 in less than a minute, no long-term contracts or subscription fees” approach.
    It’s a very interesting state of affairs. My guess is that it is affecting your business the same way it’s affecting mine. The 1Thing proposition suggests this is so.
    Since I definitely read your blog looking for nuggets of advice, here is my comment. (I will not pull punches. I think you appreciate candor.)
    The name “1Thing” sucks. It does not say or even hint at what the service is or does.
    What you are offering is great, valuable. (Unfortunately, it’s going to put both of us out of business in the long run, but if you don’t do it someone else will, as they say. And anyway that’s a different issue.) But the name is a non-starter. “Thing” is one of the least descriptive words in the English language. You are going to have to work VERY hard to make up for this.
    I can make an extended case for this claim, but, for the sake of brevity, I will say only that “1Thing” reminds me of the Volkswagen “Thing”, a car that lived up to its name.

  13. Ian
    Bloody brilliant.
    Totally get it.
    Will order.
    But you got me thinking hard about what one thing to ask !
    The copy is spot on and don’t get hung up on the design, it’s fine. It’s the proposition that matters – one piece of marketing advice for $47 is a good exchange of value.

  14. I really like the concept, and I plan using it!
    One question (and I haven’t read all the comments, so feel free to ignore it if you’ve answered it already), why $47?
    Why not $50?

  15. Hi Ian,
    I like that I can get specific help (with SEO, Usability, Design, etc.) with a lot less money.
    Just how detailed is the advice given?
    It will help greatly if you have a couple of specific examples of how this has helped your clients.
    Oh, at which point in the buying process do I pay?
    Thanks and best regards,

  16. The site looks great, and I feel like what you do is presented well.
    I like the large text and use of white space.
    I’m not a huge fan of the footprints/price graphic.
    I feel like the banner is on there one too many times – maybe do some testing, but I believe most users are on a display that is 1024×768+, so at most parts of the page the link is there twice. If you want it there twice, maybe consider different banners?
    Lastly, maybe consider not asking for/requiring telephone number on the click-thru page? You can get it later if you need it?
    All the best,

  17. I like the 1Thing concept, too. Maybe it’s because it reminds me of The Cat in the Hat: “Sally and I did not know what to do / So we had to shake hands with Thing 1 and Thing 2.”
    Also because the price is right. And I need all the help I can get.
    I don’t have any constructive comments on the website. I’m just babbling….

  18. I have nothing constructive to say and I apologize but I find this painfully ironic. You are going to offer a paid service in which you will answer the very questions that you are posing to the world and hoping to get a response to for free?!?!

  19. @Matt You’re right. I should erase the blog where I’ve given free advice for 6 years. God forbid I should ask for a little for once.
    And yes, for once, a commenter officially ticked me off.

  20. You are going to offer a paid service in which you will answer the very questions that you are posing to the world and hoping to get a response to for free?!?!
    Sister Margaret Eulalia: “Diagram that sentence.”
    Ninth-Grade Me: “…uh…er…agggh….”

  21. Since I read your blog and know who you are it colors my view of your service so it’s hard to look at this through the eyes of a person who found it from an SEM campaign, but I’ll try…
    The offer is easy to understand but my #1 question for you if I didn’t know who you are already would be about your credibility. What makes your expertise awesome enough to gamble the $47.00 and expect the advice to be worth the expenditure? Client testimonials are great but I’d rather read specific instances of what you did for the clients that pleased them and what results the clients saw after following your advice.
    I also agree with the statement that the onus should not necessarily be on the customer to know the right thing to ask. If they have a specific question great, but they should have the option to have you tell them what they need to do also.

  22. I understood the service just fine (great idea, by the way!), but I found it hard to read through the site. There was no clear pattern of where my eye was supposed to track down the page. When I reached the first order bar in the white space, I assumed that was the bottom of the page… then scrolled down to double-check that it was really the end and was very surprised that it wasn’t.
    I think part of what hurts that is the side-by-side points. I intuitively want to drop to the next one down, like following one column in the newspaper before popping up to the second column. However, the order bars chop up that scanning style, and my eye can’t decide whether to continue down or pop over to the second column.
    Maybe putting a skyscraper-style order bar next to each column on alternating sides would fix this. Then the copy would still flow essentially in a single column, but the skyscrapers on alternating sides would break the copy into digestible chunks.
    Hope that helps!

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