Startup Chat #66 – Adam Franklin web marketing that works

adam_franklinCOMPETITION CLOSED: Win a free signed copy of Web Marketing That Works. Put a comment below telling us your biggest marketing waste (of time or money). Best answer wins. Closes 21 May 2014.

This week we chat with online expert, author and agency owner Adam Franklin. Adam was the one guy I looked up to early on and set me on the path to marketing through content. In this interview you will learn from Adam on what works online.

Better always beats more @Franklin_Adam via @wpcurve – CLICK TO TWEET

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Web Marketing That Works

Web Marketing That Works

Background and links

General web marketing themes

Asset building

Create content that will live on and add value over time.

Flagship content

  • Better always beats more
  • Create a flagship downloadable or pillar blog post that will define your business
  • For Adam, it was his Web Strategy Planning Template

Downloadable resources

  • Give away what you are already using with your clients
  • Don’t be afraid to give away tools you are charging for

Get the opt in not the sale

  • People want advice not products (75% looking to buy only 2% ready to purchase). So get people to opt in for something valuable and sell later.
  • This stat comes from these great Hubspot marketing statistics

Be generous

  • Give away as much as you can, help people and it will come back to you.
  • Adam started off doing free design for clients to get his first few jobs.


Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

39 responses to “Startup Chat #66 – Adam Franklin web marketing that works”

  1. Danny Cohen says:

    Once sent an email to 10,000 people with the call to action link being a broken link

  2. VeloNomad says:

    Not doing viability testing early.
    OR, building something (including hours of automation setup) without doing viability testing!
    NOT emailing my list enough.


  3. TourWriter Staff says:

    my biggest waste of time is not trying new things because my current system work. Now that i know everything is ‘broken’ im constantly improving…

  4. Dan Norris says:

    My {biggest | largest | massiveist | most significant} marketing waste was {spending | paying | dispensing with | allocating} {money | funds | benjamins | cash} for value adding {link building | backlink building | SEO} {tactics | strategies | techniques} like article spinning.

  5. Dan Norris says:

    Ha thanks mate, that makes it easy!

  6. Dan Norris says:

    We’ve all done it Danny! I’m hoping it was on your domain so you could quickly set up a re-direct?

  7. Fred says:

    My biggest marketing waste was spending 15+ hours on a blog post centered around a huge interactive summary of research data, which I then didn’t try to share very widely…

  8. Dan Norris says:

    Could have been an investment in disguise. Get sharing!

  9. Fred says:

    Agreed. Cheers, and thanks for the great interview!

  10. Hey Danny, the very first email newsletter I sent was addressed “Dear Adam” to all 700 subscribers Embarrassing huh!

  11. Chris Hess says:

    I spent a few months (9 in total although 6 of that was just watching money flow down the toilet) about 3 years ago building a business in a market I had no business being in. I spent a ton of time researching and doing surveys to potential customers. Because of the way I wrote the survey I got a lot of “Yeah! I’d totally use that!” but in the end got almost no customers. Surveys and market research are important but you have to ask the right questions (you’d use it? ok, how about we schedule an appt. right now… Oh, you don’t want to put money where your mouth is… hmm…) and do the right things with it.

    My biggest lesson was to never go into a business you don’t know 100% how to do yourself (I was relying on friends to help, friends who weren’t as committed to the idea as I was, especially financially). The second biggest lesson, was try to make money with an idea before spending $10K+ on a business model that might not work for you…

  12. Chris Hess says:

    LOL! Love this! I totally did the same, although the one product I spent the most money on I totally got a refund when I realized how sleazy I felt thinking about using it…

  13. Chris Hess says:

    I got an email from someone just this morning to *undefined* 🙂

  14. Dan Norris says:

    Great lessons Chris I’ve learned both of those lessons the hard way as well. Actually you reminded me of another business I started selling iPhone cases I’m going to post that one above, it deserves it’s own entry ha.

  15. Dan Norris says:

    I started a business selling iPhone cases. My marketing strategy involved giving away iPhone screen protectors for free (I paid the stage of 60c per screen protector). The giveaway deals would go viral on ozbargain and crash my servers. Cheap way to build a list but unfortunately as any reasonable business person would work out, a list full of freebie seekers is worth little value.


    1 – Like Chris below don’t start a business that you know nothing about or don’t enjoy
    2 – Don’t expect to make money off people who specifically show that they don’t want to pay much money

    one bonus lesson

    3 – Don’t buy branded goods on Alibaba. Got ripped off a few grand there.

  16. Iain Taylor says:

    My biggest waste of marketing spend was the sponsorship of a VIP lunch at a hospitality tech expo. I figured they would come flocking but it turns out they were just hungry. Didn’t really do my research on this.

  17. Dan Norris says:

    Haha, sorry to hear but the way you wrote that sounded pretty funny.

  18. My biggest waste of marketing was spending more than $1.000 in a mailing to 140.000 potential customers.

    We got 0 sales.

    Why it didn’t work:

    1. They were burning their database with plenty of emails, most of them ads, so mail opening rate was extremely low.
    2. Our product was advertised next to a dozen other products.

    How we could have avoided the waste? Asking one of the companies that had used the channel previously how it had worked for them.

  19. Dan Norris says:

    Good stuff Cesc, thanks for sharing mate.

  20. Karen says:

    My biggest marketing waste of both time and money is paying $5000 to join a group run by an entrepreneur, and this is not including my airfares! I heard that this entrepreneur went into business with one of the group members, then after learning the trade secrets, set up his own brand to compete directly with the group member!

  21. Dan Norris says:

    That sucks Karen. Sounds like you are winning so far based on spend!

  22. Hey Chris, it’s incredible isn’t it, just how different it for people to say “that’s a great idea” VS having people actually pay money for the very same idea. I’ve learnt many lessons the hard way too.

  23. I’m a little embarrassed to admit this but got a good laugh out of some of the confessions below so here goes: A few months ago I dedicated 3 whole days trying to achieve Inbox Zero. Talk about an exercise in futility! I’m back to the more familiar “Inbox 900+” now 🙁

  24. Nice one Alex, thanks! The problem is that I’d like to actually read many of those unread emails, not just mark them as read. Got a link to an article that explains how to add 52 hours to a normal day? 🙂

  25. I checked out your site aaaand it looks like you’re in the business of email!

    On the other hand, I don’t like email so I do the following:
    – Batch process support related emails at 8AM, 12PM and 4PM
    – Use for my personal email – Rollup (71), Unsubscribed (206)
    – Use a separate email for following blogs that I check once a week

    Rescuetime tells me that I spent 4.5 hours in Gmail and 3.5 hours in Helpscout last week. This is probably 2x where I want it to be, but I’m chipping away every day.

  26. Thanks Alex. You’re right, I am in the business of email and love email as a marketing tool. My problem is more to do with my personal Inbox (I have several email accounts for different purposes) and really it’s mostly my fault. There are lots of very clever people I like to follow (like you guys at WP Curve, for example) and unfortunately there just isn’t enough time the day to get to all of their emails. Some of your tips sound interesting though so I’ll definitely check them out and see if they help 🙂

  27. Well thanks, Noya 🙂 Let me know how you fare!

  28. Scott Jacob says:

    Dan another great interview – thank you for all the value you give all us listeners with these podcasts. I would say that our biggest waste of time, effort and money would have to be getting so wrapped up in new projects that we spend time and money going well beyond what the client wanted or was willing to pay for. Of course we offer much of this as value-add free services or just look silly if the don’t like it at all. But, oh we do like to show off 🙂

  29. Dan Norris says:

    Thanks Scott. I know what you mean. It’s good to be passionate about your work though.

  30. Janet Phillips says:

    Hi Dan,
    A great interview Thank you. I am also a huge fan of Verne Harnish and his one page strategy.
    I am not sure if my biggest time and money waster counts here because there was not internet involved in my folly only radio! It would prove to be a good comparison as to why you should not use the clunky medium as opposed to more elegant web based based strategies.
    I was totally ‘wooed’ by a spunky radio salesman and spent $35k PLUS 10 weeks of not only my time but that of a few staff members to run a weight loss challenge with a DJ utilising my facility. The grand total result was ZERO!
    I have learnt my lesson and now when I see a spunky salesman entering the building I lock myself in my office!

  31. Dan Norris says:

    lol. wow. that’s challenging for the top spot.

  32. Janet Phillips says:

    I hope so!

  33. Hi Janet, that story takes the cake! It looks like everyone here has made some exxy mistakes (me too). But as they say “experience is what you get when things don’t go the way you had hoped!”

    I can see plenty of ‘experience’ in the comments here — at least we’ve all learnt our lesson!

    Janet, do you want to send Dan your mailing address? And I’ll send you a signed copy of Web Marketing That Works.

  34. Dan Norris says:

    i would have chosen Janet too! Janet my email is

  35. Janet Phillips says:

    Thanks Adam, I am really looking forward to reading your book.

  36. Danny Flood says:

    Hey Dan, I just downloaded this episode. I think the first 5:40 or so were not meant to be recorded – it’s the two of you talking before the interview and testing the audio. Hope this helps! Look forward to listening.

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