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The Secret of Success

The Secret of Success

August 9, 2001
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" The class fell silent, realizing that in all of their planning, the customer was what they had overlooked... "

I spoke to a pleasant young lady the other day. She was considering entering the Adult Web biz, and asked me what I thought the single most important factor for achieving success was. Before I answered her, I asked her a simple question: "How do YOU plan to ensure your site's success in this incredibly competitive marketplace?"

Her response was that as a highly trained graphic artist with impressive PhotoShop skills and a firm understanding of HTML, JavaScript and Flash, she was sure that she could build a site that was so attractive, so "cutting-edge," and so unlike anything else that she had ever seen before, that visitors would be blown away and unable to do anything else but sign up for a membership.

I considered her comments and the reasoning behind them. They expressed a viewpoint that I had heard before, a view usually presented by folks that underestimate the number of people in this business possessing "mad PhotoShop skillz." Having the idea that if you build it they will come, and if it's pretty enough they'll buy, is an almost certain recipe for failure in this business.

A Little Story
I related to her a little story, one about a discussion I once had with "Busa," the Head Designer for the True Cash family of sites. When he first started out, he had much the same belief, and spent endless hours tweaking and perfecting his craft, evolving it to an art form of its own. Experience and experimentation eventually led him to a "startling" conclusion: most folks who want to enjoy online porn could care less about the design of the site delivering it. Clean, fast loading pages and intuitive navigation are far more important than fancy graphics that do little more than stroke the designer's ego.

Having said that, I acknowledged that as far as pay (and AVS) sites go, having an attractive, well designed, and fast loading tour will definitely increase sales. But WHO will those sales be made TO? I asked. She looked at me silently, a glint of confusion in her eye. "To my site's visitors" she replied, still not understanding where I was going with all of this. It was time for another story…

Another Little Story
Somewhere in my vast library lies an old video, "The Wit and Wisdom of Gary Halbert." While it has been more years than I care to admit since I last spooled up this VHS relic documenting a $7500 seminar presented by the aforementioned direct marketing guru, one of the treasures I absorbed from Mr. Halbert was this little thought experiment:

He once boasted to an audience that if he, and they, both decided to enter business as direct competitors, in this case with "hamburger stands," that he would easily surpass them in sales; if they allowed him just one advantage. In exchange, they could have anything they could think of in order to try and beat him. This graduate class of marketing majors accepted the challenge and set upon their business planning, calling out the advantages they required: "A better location!" "Fancier Menus!" "Higher quality beef!" "Fresher bread!" - the list went on and on...

Satisfied that they had covered all the bases, the students turned to Gary and declared "See, we've thought of everything; there's NO WAY that you could be more successful than us, given the many overwhelming advantages that we have over you!" Gary smiled and said: "You forget, I get to have an advantage as well." "Go ahead, choose your advantage; it will do you no good against us!" they responded. Gary smiled again and said: "For my one advantage, I want to have a starving crowd."

The class fell silent, realizing that in all of their planning, the customer was what they had overlooked - and despite their best efforts, the most important ingredient to their success was forgotten. They conceded that in all likelihood, Mr. Halbert would have sold more hamburgers than they would have…

Well, the young lady understood where I was going now. Without a steadily increasing flow of traffic, her chances of success were slim. Traffic is the single most important ingredient needed to build a profitable web business, and in the weeks and months ahead, I'm going to show you the steps needed to bring a crowd of surfers to your site - a crowd that's starving for porn!


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