Monday, June 17, 2024

How I Made $4,000,000 on a $0 Ad Budget. Mostly…

Dead Rule Of Internet Marketing #1 – Make Everything Sound Bigger Than It Really Is

I’m as guilty of this as anyone. I’m guilty of it in the very title of this article.

Here’s the deal – we sold a high traffic website for $4,000,000. The advertising and marketing budget for the site was $0. That’s the reality. I’ll show you how I did this in a moment. In the meantime, let’s take a sober look at the harsh reality of this deal.

“$0 Ad Budget”? Yes. “No Cost”? No Way!

While we paid $0 for advertising per se, what we had to pay in terms of time and effort was great. You, too, should be prepared to sacrifice. You *can* generate great business without an ad budget, but, let’s get real – it takes effort.

Marketing on a $0 budget is like North Viet Nam fighting the United States: The U.S. had big guns – The Viet Cong had speed and ingenuity. When you’re up against companies that have big budgets, you have to out-think them and use your smaller size and agility to your advantage. The problem is, this fast movement takes energy – lots of energy.

I could list the thousands of ways this endeavor tried to sap my energy day in and day out. Rather than bore you with the minutia, I’ll pass on the wisdom that allowed me to succeed:

If someone tells you that you are crazy or that you will never succeed, this is the big voice in the sky telling you that you’re on to something big. Sometimes it will seem that you have suffered an irreparable setback. If you’re alive enough to think about it, you haven’t. “$4,000,000?” Yes. “$4,000,000 in Mark Joyner’s Pocket?” Ha. Ha. You Kill Me.

The sale of SearchHound was for $3,000,000 in cash and $1,000,000 in strike warrants. The warrants could end up being worth much more than the cash amount – or they could mean nothing at all. I’m focusing in on the cash. The company that purchased SearchHound is a fast mover for sure, and if I were an investor, I’d jump in on their IPO the moment it hits – but I don’t play the market. I’m a marketer, pure and simple.

Now, after I pay off our broker, give 1/2 of the remaining proceeds to my founding partner (who designed the technical back-end), pay the tax man, and give a sizeable bonus to my staff (I go to sleep thankful every night that I have them), I’ll end up with just over $1,000,000 in my pocket. And then there are those warrants.

So, having a cool million in my pocket after taxes and all is not bad. It’s not $4M, though. If you think I should have received more, send me an email and I’ll send a reply from my yacht. (I’m kidding about the yacht – most of the money will go into the expansion of my primary business. If you’re a competitor, the answer is: “yes, you should be afraid – very afraid”.)

How I Did It on a $0 Ad Budget

The actual marketing plan itself was very simple. I did not create a standard marketing plan like they teach you in school. Some people swear by them, but I just don’t find it necessary (if you think I’m crazy for not using a standard marketing plan, send me an email and I’ll send a reply – from my yacht! – OK. OK. I’ll stop with the yacht jokes).

What I did was create an Internet Marketing Battle Plan. If you’ve read my course then you already know what I’m talking about. The Internet Marketing Battle Plan is a system I created which can be applied to any website for any purpose, consisting of a series of “Killer Tactics” tailored to your particular situation.

An Internet Marketing Battle Plan consists of 5 tactics for:

1. Getting People to a Website

2. Keeping People at the Website

3. Getting People Back to the Website Once They’ve Left

4. Closing the Deal

5. Working the “Back-End”

Then you just execute your plan. That’s all there is to it. OK, I’m simplifying things greatly here. There is more to it than that, of course, but you get the general idea. You’ll probably develop several Battle Plans and refine them before you find one that really sticks. Any good marketer will tell you that testing is the foundation of all this. A combination of testing with this clear methodical approach is your blueprint for success. I don’t care if you’re selling a product, selling advertising, generating leads – it doesn’t matter.

People have offered me obscene amounts of money to teach them my methods. When I tell them that there is nothing I do that is not covered in my course (I just don’t do consulting or lectures any more), they say: “come on, you’re holding back on me”. The truth is, there really isn’t anything I do that I didn’t reveal in my course.

I wish I could tell you otherwise. Really. I seem to regret publishing the course every day. That is, it always comes back to bite me. I now must face an army of competitors using my own tactics against me. Live and learn.

Well, the genie is out of the bottle, so to speak, so I may as well let you in on it as well. Here’s where you can find it in case you don’t already have a copy:

Some Final Advice

As a final note of encouragement, here’s a little story. When I was a young enlisted soldier in the Army, I decided that I would like to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS) and earn a commission. There were hundreds of annoying little hoops I had to jump through before I could even submit my application. Most of them consisted of going from one administrative office or another to get some paper work signed or some form approved.

I kept a running count of all the times I heard some “desk-jockey” tell me “you can’t go to OCS”. I stopped counting when I heard my 29th “no”. I’ll tell you what these “no’s” amounted to in a minute.

A similar story can be told about the sale of SearchHound. I get really angry when I think about all of the negativity and “nay saying” I had to overcome to make this happen. A personal friend even sent me an email that said, “dream on” when I sent him a copy of the press release for the sale. Even after I showed him all of the independent news sources covering the story – he still couldn’t believe it.

Some people are programmed for failure. Allow the following information to program you for success:

I went to OCS and graduated with one of the top ten academic averages of my class – that was the result of 29 “no’s”. And, as you know, I sold SearchHound for a tidy profit despite all the nay saying and disbelief.

From time to time during both of these endeavors I was inspired by the words of one of my heroes: Sir Captain Richard Francis Burton (the explorer and scholar – not the actor). On his quest for the source of the Nile, he became violently ill and could barely stand – though he continued on. One of his partners asked him “Richard, if you continue, you will surely die. Shall we turn back?” He replied:

“The devil drives!”

Mark Joyner is the CEO of, the Editor of The Killer
Tactics Journal, and the author of 1,001 Killer Internet
Marketing Tactics. Click here to find out more information about
his latest project, ExitBlaze — the free, traffic generator that
brings high quality traffic to your site.

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