James Schramko

Owning The Racecourse

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James Schramko is unquestionably one of Australia’s top internet marketers. In this interview we discuss James “Own the racecourse” strategy which will help you build an authority web site that attracts a ton of of traffic to it, this method is working so well for James that he is getting 50 new opt-ins for his list everyday without having to pay for expensive traffic methods.

You can listen to this interview by watching the video below or you can read the entire transcript underneath the video,


Joey Bushnell: Hey everyone, this is Joey Bushnell. Today I have with me a fantastic guest, his name is James Schramko. James thank you for being with me today.

James Schramko: It’s my pleasure thanks for having me.

Joey Bushnell: Thank you James. James is a fantastic Internet Marketer, he’s from Sydney Australia and he has a website called superfastbusiness.com. If you go over there you will find a lot of content that will help you grow your business using the internet, it’s one of my favorite blogs that I like to follow. I’ve seen James speak live and he’s also got a short course called “Own The Racecourse” which is perhaps 9 – 10 blog posts but they are really useful. The concept in that blog post series is what we are going to be talking about today. So could you let us know a little bit about how you became an Internet Marketer?

James Schramko: Sure, quite some time ago I was really interested in the idea of having my own business because I was working for somebody else at the time. In fact I used to work in Mercedes Benz dealerships. I knew that most of my customers were entrepreneurs who had their own business rather than being employees. One of the most appealing things was that you get paid by lots of different people instead of one person.

The thing is I didn’t really know what my business would be. I some how figured out that being able to build a website would be a good idea. From there I stumbled across the concept of affiliate marketing which is selling other peoples stuff for commission. I started developing my own affiliate income to the point where about 2 years after I started I was able to quit my job and go in to it full time. I really really enjoyed this whole concept of selling and marketing but being able to do it online for a really wide catchment area.

Also these days one of the major benefits is you can be some what location independent. That’s pretty much how I got started in internet marketing and once I went in to it full time it really allowed me to explore various aspects of the online marketing world, different strategies and to learn a hell of a lot about it, spending every day thinking about it and applying stuff.

Joey Bushnell: So how long ago was it that you got started in Internet Marketing?

James Schramko: The first domains that I bought were the end of 2005 so that’s coming up to 7 years.

Joey Bushnell: I’ve already mentioned that you have a course called “Own The Racecourse”, when did you start to develop that concept?

James Schramko: I think I’ve consistently always put the focus on my own websites instead of building on someone else’s platform. Which is lucky for me and it was drummed in to me by one of my mentors, that you want to control things if you can, rather than be at the mercy of someone else. When I say this a lot of people go out there and build up a Facebook page, YouTube channel or a free blog on a platform like blogger. Then invariably things change, it gets slapped or turned off and then these people complain but I always recognized that I should build on a domain that I own and control.

Joey Bushnell: Have you ever had that experience of getting slapped James? Is that something that has ever happened to you with any of those 3rd party tools?

James Schramko: Yes I have. I remember losing my Adwords account once because of some of the CPA marketing that I was doing a few years ago was direct linking. Later on they retro-changed that and said it’s not accepted even though I couldn’t go back to the domains that I was using because they weren’t mine. I had warnings from Google about Adsense. One day I logged in to my Facebook paid advertising campaign and they had turned off my account without warning. These things happen, that was just a mistake and it’s back on now. I still have the ability to advertise with Google Adwords. But it is very common. I’ve seen many other people complaining about it. Whole YouTube channels getting turned off over night. It’s something that you should really plan for, almost as if it’s going to happen. You should say what if you can’t have that or can’t have this, will you still survive?

Joey Bushnell: So when you say you own your own domain, do you put your content on that domain and then you use those other channels to then get traffic?

James Schramko: Exactly, the whole idea is that you own this thing. You get a domain that you own, you get a website that you are in control of and give that your absolute best content and make it do what you want it to do, whether that is to get an opt in or to make a sale, then you use all these other sites to drive people to this site by putting out little pieces of content that lead back to your core content.

Basically making your website the base. If you think of it as the head of an octopus, your website is the head of the octopus where it feeds itself and the rest of the sites are just tentacles. You want to put your videos out there on YouTube, you want to post to Facebook with pictures and tweet about these posts but bring them back to your site where you can do what you need to do.

Joey Bushnell: Then if something goes wrong with one of those channels then at least you’re not dependent on that, you’ve still got other sources of traffic even though one may have dropped off.

James Schramko: Exactly, if you cut off a tentacle, you build a new one.

Joey Bushnell: Yes, so it’s kind of a safe guard in many ways. Are there any other reasons why we should follow the “Own The Racecourse” formula?

James Schramko: Yes, because it’s really easy to have one place that you are going to put your efforts and continue to put your efforts over the long haul. Over time that actually compounds, you get the benefit of every time a new page is added, it powers up the whole site and you build authority. Once you build authority then it’s easier to make conversions on anything that you offer and you get a bigger audience. The audience grows because they keep sharing and finding more people to come to your site. So it’s a very strong way to do it and it’s a very simple business model compared to trying to put yourself across a whole bunch of sites.

Joey Bushnell: So is this something we can do on our own or is this something we are going to need the help of other people to accomplish?

James Schramko: You can definitely do it by yourself and that’s how I started, is doing every single step myself. Then you just decide how big you want to go, how many posts you want to put out and how much time you’re willing to invest in it yourself.

There’s a lot of steps that can be done by somebody else who could be equally or better suited to doing those tasks. For example things like transcriptions or encoding an audio version of a video they don’t have to be done by you. Chances are, if you’re like me you don’t love typing and there is no difference in skill between me and someone else converting a file into MP3 so why not have someone else do that?

Joey Bushnell: So where can we find people to help us do this?

James Schramko: There will be different ways to go about it. In my case I have my own team. It takes a small team of about 3 or 4 people to do this really well on a high level and I’m talking about multiple posts per day. That’s fine, if you were to add up the marketing costs of that it could be something like $5,000 a month. That can fuel a multimillion dollar business.

Now if you don’t want to have your own team then you could use a service who does it. My team actually do this for other people in one of our services at SEO Partner we have this expert pack and they replicate what I do on my site for other people and they just pay per post. It’s quite an easy way to get the same team but without the overhead. Then I guess you could share a team with someone else, so there’s a bunch of different ways you could do this.

Joey Bushnell: You’ve mentioned transcriptions and converting files, is there any other tasks that we would need other people to do for us?

James Schramko: Generally it comes down to text based things like transcribing and having them posting content to a website. They could be doing video or audio related things such as editing or encoding, creating players, uploading to YouTube, tagging and describing videos.

Then there is the art side. I have an illustrator make a picture every time I put a post up because I know that Facebook and Pinterest in particular are very visually driven. Also the search results can be guided from having a well made image on your post, so every single post I put out has a picture and I need an artist for that. It’s well worth having an artist if you re going to be putting out a lot of content. You never have to worry about iStock pictures looking cheesy or someone else saying you stole their image, not if you create it originally with each post.

Joey Bushnell: Is that something that we would get if we use your team, they would provide an image as well?

James Schramko: Yes exactly. They actually take the media that you give them, they format it and upload it to the appropriate place. Then they create a bullet point summary of the media so you get that text thing. Then they get a custom image that highlights the point of the media and then they publish that with all of the correct namings and tags etc.

Joey Bushnell: That sounds like a very good deal then. Are there any other tools that we will need to get started with this?

James Schramko: I think it’s going to come down to your favorite media type. In my case I’m putting out a lot of audio and video. I love podcasting and I submitted my podcast to iTunes and it’s a great way for people to pick up on my show without doing anything. It’s on their smart phone and it’s synchronized.

Now if you are going to get in to podcasting or if you are going to get in to making videos you will probably want to invest in some nice equipment. By nice I don’t mean expensive I just mean good enough to make a substantial difference to the “off the shelf” stuff that people are using. So a good microphone would really help the quality of your show and a decent camera is going to lift the production values of your show over what people are putting out there with just hanging out with their iPhone.

Joey Bushnell: How regularly are you creating these blog posts James? Is this a daily thing or potentially more than that?

James Schramko: Yes, I tend to make one piece of content per day on average and I publish one post to my site each week day, sometimes 2 or sometimes 3. But it’s not all about quantity, it’s about what type of quality you are putting out there. If you can put quality and quantity you are going to accelerate the results that you get.

Joey Bushnell: So do you have any tips for creating the content? Where are people going to be getting ideas on a regular basis for what to publish?

James Schramko: Yes, the best type of content is to solve problems that your typical audience are having. They’ll really relate and resonate with that and you’re being helpful and valuable. These are all things that help you get your content shared and you get a response from when you publish this, you get comments. You also will have people coming back over and over again because they got a fair value exchange when they spent the time with you.

Joey Bushnell: What format do you the publish the content? Is it written, audio, video, images or is it a combination of all of them on every single blog post?

James Schramko: Most of my posts are video which is also transcribed in full, also there is a custom image and the audio versions. That is the default post but I do have some podcast only posts and they are still audio, text and image. I’m just missing the video component. So that’s the 2 types that I put on my core blog.

Then I have dedicated podcasting sites that just get audio and bullet points. Those ones are still getting SEO value from the text they are still getting picked up in iTunes and some times they are supported with a press release. That’s another part of the enhancements because once you have put the post up there, you want to tell people about it.

Joey Bushnell: The different mediums that you publish it in, is that to help people who prefer to consume content in different ways? Or is that something that helps with SEO? What are the reasons behind different types of content that you publish?

James Schramko: It’s all about relevance, if I’m going to break it down to one thing. It’s about relevance because now you’re putting out the media in a way that your customer likes the most. A lot of people like the audio especially if they are catching transport, walking the dog or just mowing the lawn, doing something where you can’t necessarily watch a video.Then there are people who are highly visual they just want to watch a video. Then there is the other ones who just like to read. They don’t want to watch a video or put or their speakers on, they just want to read the text and skim through it. Whichever way they like to consume it, that’s how I like to deliver it.

Joey Bushnell: How do you then get traffic and visibility to the posts that you publish?

James Schramko: You have to promote the content and that’s the syndication part. Step 1 is you publish the content on your site. Step 2 is you syndicate it so some of these things happen automatically.It goes up to iTunes automatically and it goes up to YouTube subscribers automatically. Then you email your customer list tell them there is new content, hopefully they like it and share it with the social sharing widgets. Then you go and post it to Facebook and Twitter to tell people that it is there, they come and have a look and see what is there.

If you really want to get it out there you can also support it with a press release. These things combined are quite powerful because now you have a bit of a push happening. Then Google picks it up and will start showing your post when people search for relevant inquiries as well.

Joey Bushnell: Would you ever send it out to your email list?

James Schramko: Yes, you definitely send it out to the email list. You can also do a weekly summary and get another turn at sharing your different stories with people.

Joey Bushnell: Because of this method that you are using I’m guessing that it gets easier over time. As people start to consume your content and get to like it you will get lots of repeat traffic as well down the line. As you’re “owning the racecourse” I’m guessing people are also subscribing and staying in touch with your updates on social media channels. Would you say that if people aren’t seeing results straight away they should keep pushing on because it will get easier as time goes by?

James Schramko: Absolutely, I see about 2/3 of my audience are repeat visitors that’s the make up of the visits. But then the actual visits themselves have doubled every 30 – 40 days so it’s really snow balling. I would say yes, it starts off like a snow flake at the top of the mountain and it’s insignificant and doesn’t look like it would do much damage. Then it turns in to a little snow ball and rolls down the hill and it turns in to such a big snow ball with so much momentum it really could demolish a small village.

Joey Bushnell: Well that’s good motivation for anyone who isn’t seeing it straight away because this does take a little bit of time. So on that note how do we measure our results and the progress as we use this method? Is there a way that we can track and see how successful we are being with it?

James Schramko: You can yes. One thing is if your site happens to sell things you can measure the sales. If it collects opt-ins you can compare your opt-in flow to see if it’s increasing. You can also measure with your analytics things like page views, time on site, number or visitors and where they are coming from. You can also look at things like the Alexa.com ranking of your site just to see if it’s increasing or decreasing in size. You can also compare comments on posts or how many shares to see if you are actually resonating with your audience. So I get a lot of comments and I get people hit reply to my emails and say “Thanks for that. That was really what I needed to hear today”

Joey Bushnell: Fantastic. Well James thank you so much for doing this interview with me today. Where can we get the full “Own The Racecourse” course in it’s entirety?

James Schramko: The easiest way to get that is to go to Owntheracecourse.com and you can get the entire Own The Racecourse for free. Or you can go to Superfastbusiness.com there are a number of banners to opt-in to get the course as well so either of those will work. You can see the system in play because that is a great case study site the one that I’ve been focusing on as a public facing thing that people can see in action. As it changes, people can see what I’ve learned and what I’ve adapted.

Joey Bushnell: Superfastbusiness.com that is a good example of owning the racecourse. If people want to see how this works and how it looks, you are actually doing it with that blog aren’t you?

James Schramko: Exactly it’s a case studying. I’ve got it up to 50 opt-ins every day and it’s growing in size, visits, traffic and it’s generating sales for my business so I strongly recommend this marketing strategy. The best thing is I don’t care about just Google, just Facebook, just YouTube or just iTunes because I can have the lot.

Joey Bushnell: Absolutely. How can people get in touch with you James? And also do you have any products or services that people can take use of and grow their online business?

James Schramko: Sure, we already mentioned the done for you version of this where people can have it done for them. Anyone interested in learning more about how to do this stuff and get surrounded with a community of other marketers I would suggest my fastwebformula.com membership is ideal. It’s how you are going to grow your business a lot faster. Inside there we have a lot of members who are applying this to all sorts of industries. Such as tourism industry and the Japanese english products industry. It works in any industry and that is what is so good about it. There’s people in there sharing their own results and talking about it in more detail.

Joey Bushnell: Thank you so much for doing this interview with me today James. I highly recommend that you go and check out James’s site. As I mentioned before it’s one of my favorite internet marketing websites right now. There’s a lot of great content over there and you will be better off for going there and learning what James has to offer. So James thank you once again.

James Schramko: Thanks Joey.

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