How to put some clothes on the Internet (construction marketing) emperor

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travis botranger

internet squeeze page
The Hans Christien Anderson fable “The Emperor’s New Clothes”
tells the story of how vanity and misrepresentation are ultimately caught out by childhood innocence. I needed to re-look the history here and Wikipedia came in handy, because I had intended to relate the story to the Internet marketing fairy tales that seem to snare most of us at least some of the time. The Andersen fairy tale and truth don’t correlate exactly, so this story is built on a false analogy. Big words for a modest reminder: Don’t believe all the hype you hear without some close examination and review.

In the Internet marketing space, best-practices offers seem to offer (if they are legitimate) wonderfully fast, easy, and inexpensive solutions to our business problems. Just pay $9.97 (or $99.97) and you’ll discoverer the fountain of inspiration. In truth, real-value programs indeed offer useful, practical and worthwhile information. (Then there are the scams, which play to every emotion of greed, self-interest, effortless-return and vanity — and deliver nothing but more sales pitches.) However, the hype doesn’t exactly match the substance, and the real solutions require real work — and plenty of patience and commitment.

I took all of these thoughts into account when I learned about Travis Bontrager’s Internet training program: LinkedConstruction: How to Construction Projects Using LinkedIn. We first met when he interviewed me for his website. (Here he has practiced one of the most effective marketing techniques in the universe: The principle of reciprocity — Do some good for others, and they will quite often return the favor, often with many times over what you give (but while this concept can be effectively psychologically manipulated, you will run smack dab into skepticism and even hostility if you implement it with overtly conscious effort and without a really longer-term perspective.)

He indeed is attracting profitable business with his LinkedIn initiatives and with his own group: Real Estate and Construction Owners Success Strategies. There’s lots of useful information and resources on his pages — including one with me, perhaps wearing some of those ill-fitting emporer’s clothes.  His group has at latest count, 334 members.

Naturally, I was hopeful his $97 LinkedConstruction course could tell me the magic formula to LinkedIn marketing success, because the Construction Marketing Ideas group I started in 2009-10 now has 6,484 members, and is growing by upwards of 10 to 15 new members each day. My bragging session ends when I review the numbers about how much direct business we’ve actually acquired through LinkedIn. Ugh . . . While indeed I can quantify some really profitable results from this blog, the LinkedIn numbers seem to fall below the level of measurable gain. (I’m sure there are some — for example, my Construction Marketing Ideas book continues to sell 25 to 30 copies a month. Since most of these sales are through Amazon and other third-party retailers, I cannot tell how many people who have purchased the book discovered it through LinkedIn, or elsewhere.)

This video interview with Travis shows, how, indeed, his program will provide real value, though perhaps not in the way his marketing squeeze page represents.  (This is not a criticism of Botranger’s marketing approach — he is following the norms and best practices within the Internet marketing community, and anyone wishing to sell products or services online can certainly study and learn from his textbook-perfect approach.)

Travis says, no, you won’t acquire business instantly from an effective LinkedIn strategy. You will, however, be able to begin the process of building and developing relationships. These online relationships can and should lead to one-on-one meetings (or better, speaking engagements, where you can speak one-to-many); and then, through this community, you’ll begin to drill down to real opportunities and actual business. Be prepared to be patient, however.

In detail, I asked Travis for success stories using his methods. He could offer one, a Denver-based contractor, whose business he won through his own LinkedIn marketing. After a face-to-face meeting, the contractor agreed to a $600 per month consulting and social media management contract, an after several months, the contractor is now reviewing and bidding on two sets of plans. (He didn’t know whether these plans are from one owner, or two.)  Of course the contractor hasn’t won the job yet, so right now, based on his examples, it seems Travis Botranger has made some money but the story is still inconclusive for any of his construction-industry clients.

However, as you listen to this interview, you’ll see that I don’t think there is anything wrong with the results either Botranger or his clients have achieved. The reason is that you’ll rarely experience instant gratification in construction marketing, which seems to be a combination of intense bidding on projects, coupled with rather long-range relationship development. You rarely succeed on the public bidding initiatives without the relationship-building effort (or if you do, you lose your shirt, because a true low bidder on a widely advertised non-specialized public project generally experiences so much competition that the “winner” is working for free or below actual cost.)

Accordingly, I’m quite confident that the contractor Travis cites in the interview is receiving his money’s worth, and you’ll receive genuine value from both the $97.00 LinkedIn program and, if you elect to purchase Travis Bontrager’s one-on-one consulting services, you’ll be treated fairly and obtain support in expanding and improving your lead generation and marketing pipeline (and, yes, I’ll earn a modest affiliate commission if you purchase his program through this link.)

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