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David Siteman Garland


David, you wrote the book, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business. In the book you help readers change their approach to marketing by teaching them to move away from leading with the product and move toward lead­ing with the person. In other words you teach them to focus on sharing great content, building relationships, and doing it all with mentality of giving. Can you take those themes a step further and give us a specific example of how someone would use that approach to list building?

Absolutely, so the concept here is what I call “selling around” the prod­uct. Meaning, when you are promoting your product or program, you don’t go for the sale right away. Instead, you give away awesome con­tent BEFORE you ask for the sale by entering their email (list building!).

The old approach was just send people to a sales page over and over and over again. Sure, some folks might buy, but a lot of potential customers might not and then will dis­appear never to be seen again.

A better approach, is for, example what we did (and contin­ue to do) with my program Create Awesome Online Cours­es. When people go to it isn’t a sales page with me talking about how awe­some the product is. Instead, I give away a free high-qual­ity video series to folks. At the end of the series, then we ask for the sale for the folks who want to go deeper and join the program but it isn’t high-pressure.

The key is your free giveaway content HAS TO BE GOOD. It can’t be a glorified sales pitch. It really has to help people.

You joke that when you started your show, The Rise to the Top, the only people watching were your parents. What kept you going in the begin­ning? What encouragement can you offer to our readers to do the same – keep going, even if the only members of their list are people who are biologically related?

Haha, or perhaps your cat or dog! Listen, everyone starts with an audi­ence of 0 or 1.

As long as you continue to learn how to do things (like build your list) and create products/programs and then (here comes the key) actually imple­ment what you are going to be successful.

For me, I was just plain excited. I knew what the possibilities of media­preneurship could mean: A passion­ate fan base, actually helping people, being on my own schedule and gen­erating revenue. Keeping that in mind always kept me rolling.

You tell the story of knowing exactly when you made the decision to be­come a mediapreneur. (Even though it sounds like you were doing some pretty interesting things before that, too.) You’ve built a big audience over a relatively short time. What gave you the courage to jump in with both feet like you did? So, being a curious person coming from a business that I *liked* (at best), I knew the next business I wanted to create would have a different set of criteria. I wanted to:

• Be in full control
• Actually help people
• Be able to work from wherever, whenever
• Not require a massive team
• Not have a huge amount of overhead or need to raise money or any of that shenanigans
• Wanted to have a really amazing life away from the business as well (and not have my business suck the life out of me!)
• When you open your eyes to the possibilities good things happen. I found some folks doing what I wanted to do and I talked with them. I went to events. I learned. But the key...was implementing. You can learn all day long, but if you aren’t implementing you will be stuck in the mud.

You’ve done a phenomenal job of reaching out to interview some amaz­ing people. If Modern Achiever readers wanted to use interviews as a way to build their lists, what three key things would you recommend that they do? Also, can you tell us about your course that helps with this?

Looks matter. When you are reaching out to someone, the first thing they are going to do is go check out your site. Does it look like crap? Or have you spent some time on the branding/design/direction? Re­member, when someone agrees to an interview with you, they are now associating with you.

Timing matters. When is the best time to land someone for an interview? When they have “news” of some kind. New product launch. New movie. New season (for sports). As opposed to begging for an interview, focus on telling the potential interviewee you want to promote them.

Brevity matters. As exciting as your childhood was and the story of your first business, keep the email asking for an interview short. Two para­graphs will do. Explain briefly why you want to do the interview, a little about your interview series and a link to your previous best interview.

My course Create Awesome Interviews takes people through the EN­TIRE process (A-Z) of creating your own interview show online. Step-by-step processes to get guests, record the interviews, how to ask the right questions, how to promote your interviews and build your list, generating revenue from interviews and much more. The most reward­ing thing for me is the results of “graduates” of the program who have interview shows & series all across the world on every topic imaginable from car racing to working abroad.

Do you find that when you launch a new course, you also build your list? What kind of list-building success have you had with the recent launch of your new course about creating awesome online courses?

Absolutely! And great question by the way. Of course when doing a big launch the idea is to generate revenue and sell your program to people who are the right fit, but it is also an AMAZING AMAZING list builder. Just to give you a scope, my list DOUBLED during the Create Awesome Online Courses launch. The funny thing is even if the launch was a failure (which it wasn’t it was a massive success), I would still consider it valuable because of all the new folks on the list.

Something fun: The Borg have just taken over cyberspace. Planet earth continues to do business in stealth mode, which means you’re limited to a small amount of bandwidth on the interwebs (or risk being assim­ilated!) using just ONE list building technique per year. What would be your choice – and why?

I’d promote a free video series. People love free video series’ and all types of traffic sources love ‘em (affiliates, partners, ads, people you know, guest blogs, literally everything).

Any last thoughts or ideas about list building and lead generation you’d like to share?

Just keep trying new things. Some will work. Some won’t. Some will be free. Some will be time intensive. Some will be paid. Keep learning and implementing.