Growth Hacking Interview Series #114: Bill Burniece
Bill Burniece is a full-time internet marketer since 2006 (read more about him HERE)
How did you start out as a marketer?
I studied marketing in college and went into direct sales right after graduation. My first job was pounding the pavement selling office copiers which was absolutely brutal. Zero leads and 100+ cold calls a day with about a 99% rejection rate. It was a miserable job but I lasted long enough to learn a lot about relationship selling and how to handle rejection and failure without the urge to jump off a high bridge.
I eventually migrated over to the mortgage industry where I was a loan officer for about a decade. That was a great gig up until the real estate crash that occurred in 2007. In a single day I was laid off and out of work and my final 5-figure paycheck bounced.
To make matters worse my employer filed bankruptcy before I could get my money back. Oh, and did I mention that my wife was also in the mortgage industry and lost her job simultaneously? After that catastrophic series of events, and contemplating the high bridge ‘solution', I vowed to never work for anyone else ever again.
I stumbled into affiliate marketing by pure luck and found it to be exactly the kind of business I wanted to do. Since I mentally burned my bridges back to the corporate world I had no other choice but to make it work. I only lost money only one month and that was my first month online when I was clueless.
Looking back what is your hardest struggle when it came to delivering results?
I started my internet marketing business with zero cash so my biggest struggle initially was getting traffic to my sites. I couldn't afford pay per click (PPC) advertising so I decided to learn everything I could about search engine optimization (SEO).
I read everything I could get my hands on about SEO and kept at it until one day I found my website listed on the first page of Google for many of my targeted keywords. In fact, a few of them were actually in the #1 position on page one of Google. I was stunned. That's when my site traffic, my confidence, and income really took off.
What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
The freedom that it provides. Let's face it; having a lot of money is great but what we all really want is what being financially independent allows you to have and that is absolute freedom. Being able to work when you want, where you want, on what you want, all on your own terms.
Since I work for myself I can't get laid off and if I fail it's all on my shoulders. I have no boss, no commute, and decide for myself which direction my business is heading in. Perfect for a control freak like me.
We have a lot of readers who are bent on becoming freelancers, aside from freelancing how else can someone earn online, and what is your advice?
Email marketing is the key to the kingdom. Email marketing thru list building delivers a huge return on investment and is more cost effective than any other single form of marketing. When you set it up right, it allows you to literally make money on demand. Send out an email… get paid. It's really that simple.
If you were given the chance to build your career all over again what would you do differently so that you will achieve your dreams faster?
I should have started building my email list from day one. I'm also scatterbrained so I wish I would have focused on only one thing instead of trying to build several unrelated websites simultaneously.
How is your typical work day structured?
I'm completely task-oriented. I divide each day up into the tasks I've chosen to complete the night before. I assign each task a segment with a specific start and end time and work each to completion uninterrupted. It's regimented, but I do allow for some flexibility since something unexpected often comes up.
You’ve been tasked with redesigning the company’s brand strategy from the ground up. Walk us through your process.
I believe branding is very important, even for a one-person business like mine is. I would start by comparing what the company's present branding message is vs. how it's perceived by others (customers, fans, prospects, the marketplace, etc). In most failed branding cases, the message the company is trying to convey through their branding isn't how the customer is interpreting it. A great example of this is when Tabasco Sauce decided to release a green milder version of their classic red pepper sauce.
They initially named name it Tabasco Jalapeno Sauce. Even though the sauce was much milder than the original, the word “jalapeno” conveyed to buyers that it was actually hotter! After getting a cold reception (no pun intended, OK maybe) they re-branded it Tabasco Green Pepper Sauce and included the caption “milder jalapeno” on the label. Once they solved this simple branding miscommunication it became a hit.
What recently-developed marketing strategy, technique or tool interests you the most right now?
The evolution of chatbots. I believe they'll be the next big thing in internet marketing since they're perfectly fitted for interactive automation platforms.
What do you do to stay up to date with new marketing techniques?
I'm involved in several private mastermind groups where we brainstorm and solve problems. Other than that I follow some of my favorite internet marketers on social media.
Can you tell us about a project you’re most proud of from your past work history?
Creating my flagship website highpayingaffiliateprograms.com.
When I got into affiliate marketing I decided I wanted to target the affluent market with high-end offers because that's where the money is. I began searching Google for a good resource website on big ticket items to sell and was surprised that I couldn't find any good sites that had what I was looking for in one place.
So I decided to create my own website on that topic to fill that market segment. I settled on the long, but aptly titled, domain name highpayingaffiliateprograms.com.
I had no vision or plan for what the site would become. In fact, when I started building out the site, I had no idea what I was going to do with it; but I knew somehow I was on the right track. I created the site organically, building at least a page a day, and it began to grow and get noticed very quickly.
By the end of it's first year it was included in the Affiliate Summit's list of Top Affiliate Marketing Blogs of 2013. Now, it's unquestionably the authority site in the high-end affiliate marketing segment.
Which one book/blog post would you recommend every Marketer should read?
Ready, Fire, Aim: Zero to $100 Million In No Time Flat by Michael Masterson. It teaches fast-track entrepreneurship and it really hits the mark!
What advice would you share with other Marketer's who want to become more productive?
Forget about making something perfect. I've suffered with perfectionism my entire life and as a result wasted years of valuable time that I can never get back. Do the best you can for each task and accept that good enough is good enough.
If there's one Marketing Guru you'd recommend who and why.
Dan Kennedy. I'm sure most people already know who Dan is but for those who don't, he's a legendary marketer that's been at the top of his game for decades now. He's not an internet marketer but an old-school guy that understands all of the fundamentals of selling and the behaviors of buyers inside and out.
If you've never read any of his books go to Amazon and pick one. Believe me, you'll be hooked, and you can make a lot of money by implementing his ideas and practices.
What is the best way to learn more about you and your services?
Come on by and say hello. I still answer all of my emails and phone calls myself because I think it's important to be reachable no matter how successful you get.