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The Marketing Pro vs The Marketing Amateur (Case Study)

This email is a real life example of the difference between how a pro and an amateur operate…

Turning Pro (Steven Pressfield)

There seems to be two types of business owners on the inter-webs (within our little marketing subculture).

Those who actively play an offensive role and those who are passively defensive.

The distinction being that the former will actively go after opportunities (read: not shiny objects; that’s very different) that will add more value and stability to the engine of their business.

Whereas the latter will wait for shit to happen (or not happen) before reacting.

AMATEUR: Well, everything is working just fine-ish. Why rock the boat? Why try fix something that ain’t broke, right?

For them there needs to be flashing lights going off…

And air raid sirens blasting away…

Before they fire into action and (attempt to) plug the hole to stem the flow of incoming water.

In this context the former is the smarter play.

By far.

Chalk and cheese difference.

The former is the active behavior of the pro.

The latter the passive attitude of the amateur.

But sadly it’s the behavior of the latter which seems to be the staple diet of the status quo.

I get it.

Us homo sapiens are inherently lazy bastards.

So we naturally gravitate more to the passive and reactive than the active and offensive.

AMATEUR: This ain’t the freakin’ season playoffs after all. It’s just an internet business. So why all the fuss, bro?




Here’s a real example…

Through the grapevine I heard that my cousin decided to build an online asset.

His first affiliate site. Ever.

So he built a little woodworking website (James Martell style).

He wrote all the content himself.

Put it live.

Then waited.

But nothing happened (shocker!).


I then heard a sitrep through the same grapevine, that my cousin got his panties in a twist and got all depressed…

So he downed his tools (laptop) and did nothing for three weeks.

Um … like that would solve everything!

I got a sitrep update that reported that for three weeks he was sitting on his ass texting friends and family who would console him in his time of need.

Then I got a text from him.

So I told him what I would tell any client who was paying me for advise.

It didn’t go down well.

I think we fell out.

He’s not spoken to me since. I’ve become radioactive to him.

The obvious issue I saw is that he knows nothing about woodworking. He’s never been a woodworker in his life.

So his site was built around content that was a result of shallow research.

Not the depth of knowledge that a buddying woodworker would find insightful and valuable.

That was the first thing I had said which ruffled his feathers.

Second problem was that his traffic didn’t exist (obviously!).

So to fix that problem he just wrote more articles for his site…

Like that would magic up the traffic he was seeking.

So I gave him the fix, or rather, I gave him the RECIPE on how to fix his problem.

Which was better, I thought. Better than just giving him the “fish”.

But he didn’t care to hear the recipe, he just wanted the damn fish on a plate.

The thought of actually executing the recipe seemed like work that would push him way past his comfort zone.

So he took the safe option and said, “Thanks Andre, I’ll see what I can do.”

But I heard later, through the grapevine again, that he had done absolutely nothing since that text chat.


Achieving predictable results online is never a result of ‘magic fairy dust’ sprinkled on ‘crossed fingers’ with a dash of ‘hoping for the best’.

Or being passive about what to do next.

Let’s look at a meta solution; a recipe that we can all follow to be more active in the health of our businesses (no matter our niche).

(Basically this is the recipe I laid out for my cuz.)



A strategic way of being more offensive IS TO ASK BETTER QUESTIONS.

Let’s go through a use case:

And for fun I’ll use my cousin as the use case example (read: if I was him, knowing what I know, this is that I would do).

(Remember, he was getting no traffic. Zip.)

QUESTION 1: Do I want to focus initially on free (requiring time) or paid (requiring money) traffic acquisition channels?

This will result in an answer.

Because I know my cuz had no money (but had time), his answer would have been “free”.

Which leads to the next question:

QUESTION 2: Do I focus on internal or external SEO to kickstart traction?

Answer has to be external.

It’s a no brainer.

Even a rank amateur would know this; or could learn this very quickly.

So external.

QUESTION 3: What are leveraged ways that I can work to acquire inbound links and direct traffic?

This is where options would start to emerge.

Where the “choose your own adventure” would start to take shape.

High-level answers could be some of these:

  • guest blogging,
  • write articles on sites like Medium,
  • shoot YouTube videos,
  • engineer ‘Expert Roundups’ content,
  • write and submit editorial articles,

At this point I would rank the list in order of leveraged priority (as in which would yield the most value?).

I would have a second column where I would score the level of difficulty (time required, and how much influence would I have over the outcome).

So if “editorial article” on PopularWoodworking.com was identified as high value, it would also likely get a high difficulty score.

Getting published would require a lot of things outside of my own influence and control.

There would need to be back-and-forth back scratching and hoop jumping.

So I would tackle the high-value, low difficulty opportunities first.

And then work my way down the list.

[Fast forward.]

So now I would have a handful of on-topic high-value guest posts out in the wild, working for me day and night (read: tiny assets).

They would have boosted my own site authority, and be funneling a few people to my site every day.

For free.

At this point the pro and amateur would typically move forward DIFFERENTLY.

The amateur would stop actively working their inbound marketing campaigns.

For them, for now anyway, it would be job done. A pat on the back.

Until it all stopped working.

Which it would, at some point. Being a house of cards.

But in contrast the pro would never stop working his systems and his marketing campaigns.

He would keep asking valuable questions.

He would work his list.

Every week.

He would cross items off and replace them with new ones.

And at some point, once his organic traffic was generating a level of predictable value for his business, he would start to expand to paid traffic channels.

But the pro would not stop the one to do the other.

The pro knows this is not a zero sum game.

So he would work both.

And when needed, he would hire help.

This is an example of how a pro and amateur DIFFER.

In the QUESTIONS they ask (constantly).

And in the work they’re willing to do to generate the value and leverage and stability they seek and demand.

My cousin was an amateur.

In his thinking and in his behavior.

Maybe he’s just not cut out for this.

Until next time.

You rock!



If you are one of those peeps who waited in the long lines to get your hands on an iPhone X.

What are your overall thoughts?

Happy with your purchase?

On a scale of 1 to 10? … hit reply and lemme know. Would really appreciate it.

The “X” has not yet arrived in little Gibraltar, but I think it will likely happen by Xmas.

So I’m curious. Just doing my due diligence.

I still have an iPhone 6 (predating the SE). It’s a slow old dog now. Needs replacing. Or dropping.