Sales or relationships is a false choice

Is there a sale on? @ Lowestoft, Suffolk

From the mailbag, Luke asks:

“I lately have been told to add people on LinkedIn and then cold call them about our products. I haven’t received a lot of good results. How do you choose between relationship building and sales?”

Great question. The strategy you’ve outlined above is immediately doomed to failure, because it’s the equivalent of walking up to someone and asking them to marry you without ever having gone out for a date, or even a cup of coffee. Whoever gave you that advice should stop giving advice for a little while.

Relationships versus sales is a false choice. It’s not an either/or; it’s a dependency. In order to get the sale, you need to have the relationship first.

The easiest way to begin building relationships is through what’s called giver’s gain: be the first to offer value, to give something freely, without asking for anything in return. You may have to do this half a dozen times, but it nets results.

Create content that solves people’s problems and offer it to them, as I do on this blog. If you’re using LinkedIn, first build out your profile to incite curiosity, then jump into communities and conversations where appropriate and offer general solutions that your products fit, without mentioning your products.

For example, if someone were to say, “My laptop keeps overheating, anyone know a way to handle this?” and you sold The Chillerator 2500 laptop cooling fan, you could offer as suggestions, “Definitely don’t use it on a padded/cloth surface – hard surfaces with plenty of ventilation will help. Could put your laptop on a sheet of aluminum foil like a baking tray, too, for passive heat reduction. Have you thought about a cooling fan for it?”

Thus, you’ve offered value, you’ve provided at least two solutions, and you’ve hinted at a general solution that matches your category of product without blatantly plugging your product.

If your product has no name recognition, you may want to look at investing in an influencer program to get some reviews of it. Distribute review units to people and direct them to post their reviews in LinkedIn’s publishing program, with all the necessary caveats about disclosure.

Ultimately, to build a relationship, be the first to give, give often, and give without immediate reciprocal expectation. It will take time to grow your professional relationships, as it does all relationships, but you will see results from it.

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Are you on the MAP? (Marketing Affiliate Program)

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I’m grateful that many of you have enjoyed my books and publications over the years, from Marketing White Belt to the most recent Marketing Blue Belt. Today, I want to unveil a new way for you to be a greater part of these books: join the Marketing Affiliate Program!

What’s in it for you?

By becoming a marketing affiliate, you’ll earn a commission on each book or webinar you sell to your audience. The more you sell, the more you earn.

How much will you earn?

Here’s the good part. If you’ve already been reselling my books using an Amazon affiliate link, you know that Amazon pays a paltry 4% to affiliates. For every $9.99 book you sell, at Amazon you only earn 40 cents, and you can’t even buy webinars on Amazon.

In my Marketing Affiliate Program, you’ll earn a 25% commission on anything sold.

So for my books, you’ll earn $2.50 per book. For webinars, you’ll earn $7.50 per webinar.

How do you get started?

This is an easy two-step process. First, you must register for a free account on This is mandatory – I can’t set you up as an affiliate until you’re in their system.


Once you’re done, and only after you’re done setting up your free account, just fill out this form. I’ll get you customized URLs for the products you want to resell, normally within 3-5 business days.

Join the Marketing Affiliate Program (MAP)

Register to become an affiliate for my marketing books and webinars. YOU MUST ALREADY HAVE A FREE ACCOUNT ON GUMROAD.COM BEFORE STARTING! New affiliate registrations will be processed in 3-5 business days or less.
  • You will receive an emailed invitation from me with customized links for the products you want to sell.
    Choose any of the above.
  • Yeah, it's a CAPTCHA. Any time you dip your toe into affiliate marketing, the spammers come out in droves.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

If you’re reading this in an RSS reader, chances are no form will appear, so you’ll need to visit this post on my website.

I look forward to having you in the program! Oh, and a reminder that if you do participate, be sure to read FTC guidelines on disclosing that you are an affiliate.

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Minimum effective dose in online advertising

A while back, we talked about the minimum effective dose, the dose of medication needed to cause the desired outcome. As I’ve dug more and more into paid media and advertising over the past few years, the minimum effective dose concept has cropped up more and more.

One of the questions I’m often asked is what the minimum spend is for online advertising to be effective. To answer this question, you have to be able to answer two subordinate questions.

First, how much money do you have? This sets guidelines for what ad venues you should pursue.

Second, how competitive is the space you want to advertise in?

Let’s look at a practical example using Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner, a free tool that anyone can try out in order to buy AdWords ads. I’ll start by choosing Click and Cost Performance Forecasts, and typing in a few keywords that I’d want this blog to be known for:


When I hit go, I’m presented with the following chart:


Look at the red arrow. It’s at that point, roughly $8.28 per click, at which the more you pay per click doesn’t really get you more clicks. That’s where we get the desired effect. When you type that bid in, or move the slider, AdWords will then tell you what you need to spend to hit that click volume:


Suppose you don’t have $1,460 to spend every day on advertising? What if you only had, say, $50 a day? Type that into the daily budget box and watch the chart change:


You can see above that your budget runs out before you capture even a fraction of the total number of clicks. If maximizing audience growth through paid advertising is your goal, then the $50 per day budget clearly doesn’t cut it.

The reality is that for these terms, the minimum effective dose to hit the market you want to hit is going to cost a lot of money. Monthly, that budget works out to $43,800 per month in ad spend. That’s the minimum effective dose to win at owning those particular keywords. From here, my choices are to either find cheaper, still relevant keywords, accept far fewer clicks, or find a different means of marketing for the budget I have.

The above is just an example using AdWords. Virtually every online advertising tool has a campaign planner that will help you identify what the minimum effective dose is on that platform.

Before you set off on any digital advertising venture, be sure you understand the minimum effective dose and whether you have the resources to hit it. Create a spreadsheet that shows the cost per click and the minimum budget needed to get your ads to show to the segment of audience you need to be in front of.

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