CNN = Constant Negative News

I don’t know about you, but I have stopped turning on CNN these days.  All you have to do is turn on the news and listen to one of the so-called “Commentators” or “News Anchors” telling us all how bad things are, and you then begin listening more intently to those ads that run for anti-depressants!

Even our new President is causing wide spread panic every time he opens his mouth and tells the world what a crisis we’re in. 😥

First, the media tells us about 15 people being gunned down, then they show us some cute video human interest story, and just keep smiling the whole time.

C’mon here folks! Are we REALLY going to determine the future of our business and families based on what these bozo’s in the media tell us and how we should be acting and thinking? Our government is casting us into a debt situation this country may never get out of with all these billions in bailouts. Layoffs are going through the roof, and everyone is sitting on their hands waiting to see what happens next.

Every time one of these morons starts spewing off about more bad news for the economy, it makes me realize that we’re not really hearing news… we’re hearing carefully orchestrated bits of information designed to achieve a predetermined response. The media tells us what they want to tell us, and we listen, and respond. Right now, we’re being fed negative in huge junks, not just little bits and pieces.

I’m not saying we aren’t in a recession.  Heck, I said the “R” word over a year ago on another blog when no one else was even HINTING that our economy was in trouble. I said then, “Folks, whether you realize it or not, this country is IN A RECESSION.” We’re all feeling the pain, myself included.

But what I’m warning you of is this: If you succumb to all the news reporters telling you about how bad things are, you’ll have a hard time ever recovering from this down time, and depending on what you do with the bad news you’re being fed, you may NEVER climb out of the cellar.

Many fortunes have been made during bad economic times… and I’m here to tell you, this time will be no different. The question is, will you be one of the ones making fortunes, or kissing yours goodbye? The decision is really yours!

I’ve run a business through a recession, and I know what I’m talking about. (I survived two before this one, and I’ll not only survive this one, I’ll thrive.)

The key is to make changes RIGHT NOW in your business strategy. I’m making them in mine, I suggest you do the same!

Here is what I suggest you do:

1 – Shut off the news for 30 days. Stop listening to these morons telling you how bad the economy is. Stop reading the negative in the newspapers. Put your head to the grind and stay focused on your business and your profits.  Who gives a rip about which bank failed this week, or which of the automakers is going to buy out the other one? Does that REALLY affect what you’re doing in your business?

Stop believing the hype!


2 – Increase Your Marketing. I know this does not exactly fall under the category of “Cutting Back during Down Times” like many of us have been brainwashed into thinking we should do, but it’s the absolute BEST MOVE you can make right now. 

While everyone else is shrinking their business because that’s what they’ve been told they should do to survive, you should be growing yours. I’m not saying you should make irresponsible decisions and spend more than you have and hire 3 people that you can’t afford to hire, but this is a HUGE chance for you to grab a sizable chunk of your niche and marketplace by pushing ahead with an aggressive marketing plan. When the dust settles and those news reports FINALLY start telling us “things appear to be turning around” ( and you KNOW they will turn around ) then you’ll be solidly in control of the top spot in your market… everyone else will THEN start to try and claw their way back into the game… you’ll be looking back and smiling. 🙂

For the first time in over 7 years, I am ramping up my own business’ advertising budget – SUBSTANTIALLY. Because I know, when the storm settles, I’m going to be in a better position than I’ve been in since I started in business for myself in 1989. No question in my mind.


3 – Listen to Winners. Let’s face it, most of us have not been through a depression. Many haven’t actually tried to survive a business through a major recession. So knowing what to do, and when, is not always easy. For many, it’s a guessing game. And if you’ve ever tried to “Guess” when the best time to buy a stock is, you already know, it’s usually too late by the time you made up your mind to buy something. It’s already started going up.

So who do you listen to when it seems everything is going from bad to worse? Listen to positive news… not the garbage these idots on the news channels are spitting out every day.

I’m not a big advocate of the “Rah Rah, You Can Do It” tapes and listening to speakers who make you think that everything is in your mind. But there is some merit to turning off the negative and focusing only on the positive.

I made a personal decision when Barrack Obama got elected that I was going to ignore his platform and just build my business in spite of him. Not that I’m against him personally, I just don’t believe what he is doing with all this porkulus spending is good for anyone, and it’s going to take a long time for this country to dig out from the debt he’s putting us in right now. The question is, will you and your business survive it all?

I am reading only positive “how to build my business bigger and better” news these days and have stopped reading the garbage. The old computer saying “Garbage In – Garbage Out” applies to your brain ESPECIALLY in bad economic times like these.

For some, you may not even have a business. You may be thinking of starting one. Trust me when I say, “There is no better time to start a business than during a bad economy…”  I know that doesn’t make sense to some, but to those who understand how and when most fortunes get made, you’re probably looking for more ways to expand your business umbrella right now.

Take a look at this list — do you recognize any of these companies?

  • Hewlett-Packard
  • General Electric
  • Sports Illustrated
  • MTV
  • CNN
  • Federal Express
  • Burger King
  • IHOP

What do these companies have in common? That’s right – they were all STARTED during a recession!
Remember, spending doesn’t just “stop” during economic downturns. People are more selective, and they work harder at getting value for their money — but they’re still spending.

So you want to make sure you’re out there where they can see you, and that you offer a superior value to them.

So let the doom-and-gloomers carry on, but don’t listen to them! Instead of waiting for the politicians to ‘spend’ us out of trouble, focus on how you can make more money! That’s exactly what I’m doing. I hope you’ll be doing the same.

Until next time!



Ed Hudson

P.S.  Are you as fed up as I am with all the negative news? Have any other suggestions for growing a business during these down times? Click the comment link and leave your ideas. Would love to see other view points.


Why You MUST Advertise in a Bad Economy

Who (besides me) is sick of listening to the news on a daily basis? CNN has become what I now call “Constantly Negative News”.

A plummeting stock market, banks failing, hundreds of billions of dollars being passed around in the hopes of fixing it all.  People are understandably worried about the economy, their jobs, their homes and their credit.

Meanwhile, in the past 6 months, my business has grown by about 20%. How is that possible? It’s simple: Marketing on the Internet is very different, and you have to approach it differently.



Television and radio are kept alive by the ROI (return on investment) of their sponsors, and the commercial web is no different. The advantage of advertising online is that it’s far more efficient. When a sponsor puts an ad on a television show or radio program, they can only be vaguely certain of who is watching or listening. Sure the networks provide their own research in demographics and how large their audience is, but much of it is guesswork and impossible to know for sure.

Also, results from TV and radio are very difficult to track. How do you know if the person who just bought your widget was motivated to do so by seeing or hearing your commercial? Again, it’s guesswork.

The internet is different. When you place an ad online, you can track exactly how many people saw it, precisely how many people responded (clicked-through) and exactly how much money you earned from it. You can work to refine and improve your ads to improve your ROI as well. It’s vastly superior to TV and radio in that regard.

So when it comes time for companies to tighten their belts, it only makes sense that they will focus on the ad medium that has the best ROI.

What does this mean for you, the guy just trying to be found on the Internet? It means your advertising-driven web sites that use AdWords ads or other mediums will likely remain relatively healthy during hard times, providing you don’t overspend your budget.

When times get slow, the natural tendency is to start slashing costs where ever possible just to stay alive. That is the absolute worst mentality there is when it comes to your ad dollars. Yet, I see people making the worse mistake of their lives in the advertising category, and they start cutting back there too.

My own advertising has increased over the past 6 months, and will continue to increase over the next 6 months.  I have been in business for myself through three recessions now, and my experience has shown that “Now is when you have to be ramping up your ad business, or you may not be in business this time next year.”

I will be the first to tell you, if you’re not careful and don’t know what you’re doing, you can spend a fortune with Google AdWords campaigns and still not increase your business all that much.


A Better Option

Raise your hand if you’ve ever done a Pay-per-Click ad campaign, and either spent a ton of money and gotten mediocre results, or spent your monthly budget by the 8th day of the month.

I have stumbled on to (thanks to one of my blog clients) what I honestly believe is going to turn the online advertising world upside down in the coming months. Better than Pay-per-Click because your monthly ad costs are fixed, not skyrocketing beyond what your budget can afford, or worse, your monthly ad budget is totally exhausted by the 8th of the month. Yet, in many cases, I am seeing better placement of ads with far fewer dollars on major search engines, even on Google, with this new ad medium.

I only wish I had known about this advertising resource sooner, it would have saved me a lot of advertising dollars!


A survey I conducted recently included a question about advertising budgets, and I was not at all surprised to see that most respondents to the survey either didn’t have an ad budget, or the budget they did have was to include less than $5000 for the entire year for all sources of advertising.  That’s less than $420 per month, and many said they planned to spend less than that.

What if I told you that you could spend $200 per month and show up on more than 100 search engines for an entire month?

What if I told you that you could spend $100 per month and do the same thing?

Forget all of the software and gadgets that all the marketers are peddling trying to sell you the next best thing to come down the pike to help your PPC campaigns. You won’t need it!

I am still in the testing stages with my own ads, but I can tell you (even before my 30 day testing period is up) that my ROI is going to be phenomenal.

I want to share this ad opportunity with you, but doing so now would be just a tad-bit pre-mature. So stay tuned here, and once I’ve completed my own personal ad testing, I will give you another update.



Watch for my next post, as I try to explain to you what all the fuss is about with this crazy thing called “Twitter”, and why you might want to take a closer look at that (if you haven’t already).

Until then, have a great weekend!



Cheap “Trash” Traffic

Let’s face it: pay-per-click can be very expensive, especially if you’re wanting to drive thousands of visitors to your site.  There are few keywords that I’ve targeted with AdWords that cost less than 50 cents to a dollar per click that generate any real traffic.  If the return on investment is there it may not be a problem, but what if you don’t have thousands of dollars to float your costs while you wait for your paid ads to turn into closings?


Because of how expensive PPC can be, many people turn to lesser traffic sources that promise a flood of traffic for pennies per visitor (or less).  If you’ve ever been tempted to buy traffic from places that promise, for instance, "5,000 visitors for $67", perhaps my case study into these traffic sources will help you in your decision.


You see, there are a lot of brokers for this kind of "cheap traffic" at a popular forum I frequent.  I kept seeing dozens of people buying from those vendors, and yet I knew what they were selling had to be worthless.  Why?  Because why would anyone sell thousands of real, valuable visitors for a penny per visitor or less?  Anyone who could drive that kind of traffic (if it was quality traffic) would be raking in the profits from it and earning (on average) a dollar per visitor or more.


So I setup a test landing page and started buying traffic from these brokers and redirecting the traffic to the test page.  That page contained a list of 16 cheap traffic brokers.


The bottom line is that I ended up getting 41,499 unique visitors sent to my site (far fewer than promised by the vendors in most cases) and I earned a total of about $25 from the traffic.  Given that I spent around $200 for the traffic, clearly the return on investment (ROI) was not there.


In doing this, I tracked a lot of details about the visitors to find out what was going on.


I tracked the time of the visit, the IP address, the host name of the IP address, whether or not the visitor’s browser supported javascript and/or accepted cookies, the referrer, the length of time the visitor stayed on the page, and whether or not the visitor actually saw the page (meaning that the page loaded completely without interruption).


This list of "visitors" is very typical of the cheap traffic vendors I bought from.  First, the referrer was the same for every single visitor.  Most cheap traffic vendors do this, modifying the referrer so that you don’t know where the visitors are really coming from.  They do this because they know you would be a very unhappy customer if you saw where the visitors were really coming from (and how they were delivering these "visitors").


One broker forgot to turn on the referrer replacement, and so I got to take a look at the methods they were using to send "traffic" to the site.  He promptly realized his mistake and replaced the referrer, but it was too late: I had seen the truth.


The truth is – what you’re being sent are not visitors, not really.  They’re views, and not really even that.  This particular cheap traffic source used what’s called a "pop over", where a box appears on a 100% completely unrelated web site and displays your site in the box.  It’s very annoying, and promptly causes the "visitor" (who never asked to see that site) to close the box immediately.


The viewer was so annoyed by the pop-over that they closed the box before it even completed loading my very small test page.  Closing the box before the page completely loaded prevented the javascript I put on the page from loading (since it was setup to execute after the page was completely loaded, in order to track precisely this behavior).


I also tracked the time a viewer spent on the page revealing that virtually nobody spent any time on it at all.  Why should they?  It was an annoying pop-over that had nothing to do with the site they were visiting.  There are a few really high TOP values that apparently are from the javascript failing to execute that ends the "visit."


Another thing I noticed was that many of the "visitors" were from the same hosts and IP addresses.  This means that the broker was claiming to be sending, say, "5,000 visitors", when in reality it was the same visitors being shown the same pop-over again and again.  No unique visitors here, folks.


The bottom line with traffic is: you get what you pay for.  Yes, AdWords is expensive, but it is operated by a reputable source.  My opinion is that any source of "traffic" that hides the referrer is really a "trash traffic" source and should be avoided like the plague.  It’s most likely a rip-off.  If it wasn’t, why would they need to hide the referring page?


I am currently testing some new ways to advertise on Google that Google has not made much fanfare or announcement about that it’s even available…. and will report my findings to you about that current ad testing when I have enough data to tell you whether it’s worth your time or not.


I originally performed this "Cheap Ad Source"  test to see if there was some low cost ways for you to drive traffic to your site.  I thought the information would be useful to you as well, in case you were considering buying from these cheap, bulk "traffic" vendors.


Please post your thoughts and comments below.



Few Ideas

Well.. either most everyone is far too busy working with clients (not the reason I suspect), OR, most everyone is stumped by the question.


My question was:

What is your USP? What makes you different from your competitors — in ten words or less — and gives your customers a powerful, compelling reason to use your service?


Some of the responses were:

  • I have the key to your new home at the price you want to pay.
  • 100% HomeBuyer Representation 100% of the Time!
  • Protecting your bottom line is our business.
  • Exclusive Buyer Agent – Don’t invest in real estate without one!
  • Three important words in real estate: exclusive, buyer, agent.
  • Real estate “no spin zone” – an Exclusive Buyer Agent.
  • Where HomeBuyers Make and $ave Money.
  • Sellers NEVER, Buyers ONLY!
  • The Home Buyer’s team, always on your side.
  • I have a ‘Heart’ to be an Advocate** for HomeBuyers. 
    (** Advocate-to zealously work on your behalf always.


Let’s be brutally honest here for a moment, can we?


If you were an un-educated home buyer just beginning to think about buying a home, and just beginning to research real estate agents online (or off-line for that matter) Do ANY of those above USP’s cause you to say, “Hmmm… now that sounds like an agent (or company) I need to check out..” ?  Do they?


I’m not here to condemn, criticize or complain, just trying to stir some thought process here folks. 


I think, ALL TOO OFTEN, we all get very complacent and stuck in our ruts of thinking that just because we offer a unique and top notch service to home buyers, they are all going to automatically know it, just because I call myself an EBA.


It’s no fluke that EBA’s EVERYWHERE are having bad years.  The terrible press, the constant news about how bad the real estate industry is, the constant bad publicity with the sub-prime mortgage markets, all of these things are lending themselves to everyone (in most markets) seeing their lead flow decrease dramatically over the past few weeks and months.


Add to that, the fact that we (and I say we in general terms) are not exactly screaming our USP’s to the buying public and causing them to come running to see us or sign up at our websites for more information… and it’s no wonder that traffic is down.


Yet, at the same time, some brokers are having their best year ever… and recent news proves that record numbers of people are buying real estate right now in spite of all the bad news about how the home buying sector sucks.


One of the things that continues to amaze me after all these years is the number of brokers who don’t even promote their own blog or website on every single thing they do or send out… including, business cards, email signature lines (a big missed opportunity) letterhead, all print ads, phone on hold messages, and the list goes on and on and on.


I see it everyday… people who put up a website, and think the world will come flocking to their doorstep (their home page)…. and it just doesn’t happen.
“What’s wrong with my site?”  “What am I doing wrong?”  “Why am I not getting any leads?”


All very legitimate questions, but also questions that should be causing you to re-examine how you’re treating your business.


Over the next few weeks, I am going to continue this thread here, trying to instill in everyone a different mindset.  One that will cause you to look at what you’re doing (or not doing) in your business, and make you begin to think more about how you can compete better with today’s Internet, and what you need to be doing next to stay on the cutting edge, and how you need to be marketing today in order to stay competitive.


As EBA’s… we all too often get caught up in the fact that, yes, we know that what we do is best for the consumer, but how can we get that word out there, so the consumer knows?  That’s a question EBA’s have been asking since day one.  And although I don’t claim to all of a sudden have the magical answer… I do believe I have some ideas that, if put to use, will help you turn the rest of 2007 into one of the best years you’ve ever had.


You see, I am a firm believer that when real estate (in general) slows down or hits bottom, THAT is is the time to ramp up, not pull back.


Conventional thinking among most brokers is just the opposite.  Most start pulling back and cutting back when sales or leads are down, and that is the quickest way to sure death in your business you could go!


Keep reading here, and please.. continue to post your ideas and thoughts.  I don’t want this blog to be a one-way conversation of just me.  I appreciate your input, and appreciate your thoughts.   I know we have a lot of very smart individuals as clients, and I appreciate you being out there on a day-to-day basis… battling the battle and struggling to survive in a down market.   Let’s all share that wisdom, and make this blog a very active forum for idea exchange.


I’m also going to be changing this blog in the very near future so that you will be able to subscribe to comments, giving you the ability to receive an email anytime anyone comments on one of your comments.  Stay tuned for that.


In the meantime, as you prepare for this upcoming Memorial Day Holiday weekend… I’d like to personally thank you for your continued support and loyalty… and beg you to put your thinking caps on and be ready to expand your thinking over the coming weeks and months as I share some new stuff with you here. 🙂


Have a great holiday weekend!  Take some time to relax and enjoy!!