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Ramit Sethi Exposed: How He Earns Millions Blogging

This guest post is by Michael Alexis of WriterViews.

In this post, I’m going to show you the exact steps one blogger used to earn over $1 million.

Not long ago, I interviewed Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich. If you’re serious about making money blogging, then you need to read this interview.

Ramit SethiBut a heads-up: this post is long and extremely detailed. It took me over 20 hours to write. It will take you about 15 minutes to read. If you like, you can download a PDF of the entire article here.

I know you may be skeptical about the $1 million, so let’s start by looking at the facts.

Ramit Sethi and I Will Teach You To Be Rich

Ramit’s advice on money has been featured on CNN, Wall Street Journal, ABC News, FOX Business, PBS, The New York Times, CNBC, Yahoo! Finance, npr, REUTERS, and most recently in a major feature in Fortune Magazine.

His personal finance book, I Will Teach You To Be Rich, is a New York Times bestseller, and a Wall Street Journal bestseller.

IWTYTBR is ranked 19,466 on Alexa. It hosts over 250,000 monthly readers, and has 100,000+ newsletter subscribers. Prices of IWTYTBR products range from $4.95 to $12,000. But most importantly, Ramit’s tactics get his readers results. See this post, where over 500 readers wrote 54,818 words that say so. That’s as long as a novel!

Impressive, right?

Now, let’s break down Ramit’s five-step system for creating and earning immense value.

  1. Do Research That Gets Inside Your Readers Head
    • Examples of research insights for IWTYTBR
    • Use surveys to uncover the words readers use
    • Collect words from your email subscribers
    • When to ignore your readers
    • Don’t refer to comments on other blogs
    • Collect all the testimonials you will ever need
    • It’s your birthday: ask for feedback
  2. Target your customers closely
  3. Write a sales page that makes your fortune
    • Naming your product
    • Answer objections before your customers even have them
    • Don’t waste time A/B testing: it’s about the offer
    • Understand the taxonomy of pricing
    • Write Super Specific Headlines
    • Give Your Product An Unbeatable Guarantee
  4. What to do right after the customer buys
  5. Using ethical persuasion

1. Do research that gets inside your reader’s head

When you can truly deeply understand people, even in fact better than they understand themselves, then your sales skyrocket.—Ramit Sethi

There are two reasons getting inside a readers head will skyrocket your sales.

First, you will use the information to create a product or service that matches their wants and needs.

Second, you can use their exact language in your copywriting to reach them at a deeper level.

A big part of selling a product is being able to understand your reader’s barriers. What’s holding them back from their goals? In terms of money, people already know they need to manage and invest it. In terms of weight loss, people already know they need to lose weight and eat better. And in blogging, you know it’s offering immense value to your readers that will make you a problogger.

But they aren’t doing it. There is something much deeper than this goal, which is the barrier to achieving it. You’ll only discover that by doing enough research.

Maybe you’ll find out that in finance, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, “I really need to study a compound interest chart and start investing!” Nobody. They say, “this year I am going to try harder,” or “yeah, I should probably do that, but first I need to figure it out.”

When you know that language, you are inside your reader’s head.

Imagine you are a weight loss blogger. I want you to write a headline for a coaching session on losing weight. Go!

Wait. You don’t have enough information to write an effective headline. The best you can do is generic stuff like, “Lose 10 pounds in 10 days with our experienced coach!”

“Weight loss” is too broad a topic. Maybe your reader wants to lose fat from a specific area. Or perhaps they want to lose weight for a specific reason. A 50-year-old mother of two will have different reasons than a 28-year-old guy living in Manhattan.

So, you do some research and find out your target customer is a single woman who wants to lose weight from her thighs. You could write a killer headline pretty quick, right?

Soon, you’ll be able to truly understand your reader’s hopes, fears and dreams—and articulate them even better than they can. That’s the power of research.

Examples of research insights for IWTYTBR

During our interview, I asked Ramit to share some of the specific insights he has applied from his research. Here’s a big one.

A couple of years ago Ramit was doing a book tour, and he’d ask readers what they really want to learn. Everywhere he went, people were telling him they want to earn more money. That’s why he decided to create his flagship course, Earn 1k On The Side.

But just like “I want to lose weight” is too generic, so is “I want to earn more money.” Here’s what Ramit thought: “I’m so smart. I know my audience so well! They want to live a better lifestyle—fly to Vegas for the weekend and drop a couple grand.”

Then he did his research.

It turned out the real reason his readers wanted to earn more money was so they’d have the option of quitting their jobs. Yeah, just the option. This insight profoundly changed how Ramit created and positioned his course.

By the way, take a look at the signup page for Earn 1k. How much do you want to bet “I can’t freelance … I don’t even have an idea” was one of the objections Ramit was hearing over and over?

So, how do you go about doing research that gets you inside your reader’s head?

Use surveys to uncover the words readers use

The beautiful part is that because so few people are doing this, if you do even a small amount—you completely stand out. You don’t need 25,000 data points. That’s ridiculous. It took me years to be able to get to that. If you have 20 qualitative responses to one survey question, that’s pretty informative.—Ramit Sethi

Before launching Earn1k, Ramit collected 25,000 data points, and then over 50,000 for version 2.0. He calls this his “secret sauce,” which allows him to be the “wife who knows her husband better than he knows himself.” Most of that data came from surveys.

He says that a lot of people don’t use surveys at all, so they come up with useless advice like “keep a budget.” So if you survey even a little bit, you’ll be way ahead of the competition.

Ramit starts with really broad surveys, and narrows the questions down over time. He asks the questions four or five times until he really gets at the truth. Sometimes it takes Ramit four months and 6,000 answers to get at a single nugget of truth. You don’t need that many responses, though: even 20 qualitative responses to one survey question can be extremely informative.

Preparing your survey

  1. Sign up for a free or $20 account at Survey Monkey.
  2. Ask open-ended essay-style questions. You aren’t aiming for statistical validity here.
  3. Ask five questions. Keep them short and specific.
  4. Include examples of the kinds of answers you want: really long, detailed responses, not one-liners.
  5. The two most important questions are “What is it you’ve tried and failed at?” and “What do you want?”

Here’s an example of a question from one of Ramit’s surveys:

“In your own words, what skill would you use to earn more $ on the side? (For example, “I’m good at writing, but I just don’t know how to earn $1,000 using my writing skills…”)”

Download copies of Ramit’s surveys—and an audio case study that walks through an example step by step—here.

Never do this on your survey

I asked Ramit if there was anything we shouldn’t ask on a survey. Here’s what he said.

Don’t ask them what they would be willing to pay. They don’t know. They will tell you an untruthful answer, and it’s pointless to ask them. Okay. People don’t know how to do pricing, so they get lazy and they are like “hey, what would you pay for this special mastermind ebook bootcamp” and you get the worst answers in the world. By the way they are total lies. People aren’t intentionally lying, they just don’t actually know what they would pay for something.—Ramit Sethi

Another thing you shouldn’t do is try to sell. You are doing research. How do these two research questions make you feel?

  1. If I told you I had an eight-week course that was guaranteed to make you 1k a month on the side, would that interest you?
  2. Have you ever tried earning money on the side? What happened?

Aim for the second option. It’s like my mom always said: “treat people how you want to be treated.”

Getting people to take your survey

You write great material, you are adding value for your readers. They love you. They wake up in the morning and see you in their reader, or come to your website or see you on Twitter. They like you.—Ramit Sethi

The key to getting readers to take your surveys is that they have to like you.

If you don’t have a good relationship with your readers, then none of this stuff matters. You can stop reading this post and go read How To Build The Relationship With Your Readers instead.

But if your readers like you, you are set. You don’t need thousands of them either.

Step two is to reach out to your readers via email and social media, saying something like this: “Hey guys, I’m looking for some help here. I’m trying to figure out how I can help you best. Would you mind taking like 5 minutes to give me your thoughts?”

That’s enough. You are set to start getting in your readers’ heads via surveys. But there’s another way you can do it.

Collect words from your email subscribers

You can also use email to better understand your readers.

Here’s what Ramit does.

  1. He writes a big, detailed email with a story about something that happened to himself or to a friend.
  2. He finishes it with a call to action, “Hey, I’d love to hear your story. Please email me back, I read every one.”
  3. He responds to some of the replies. The recipients of those personal responses think, “Wow, this dude actually reads his emails and he cares”.

That last point is pretty good for relationship building, too. These are the little things you can do that will bring you disproportionate results.

When to ignore your readers

Sometimes you’ll get reader feedback that you disagree with. Over time, you will develop a filter for what to listen to and what to discard.

Here’s a way to start developing your filter. When you get a good response, try to find out a little more about the person who wrote it. If everyone who buys from you is a 26-year-old man living in the USA, then listen to them. Ignore the 72-year-old grandma who’s complaining your font size is too small.

If you haven’t made sales yet, focus on getting to know your target audience. As Ramit advised in a previous interview, don’t write for everybody. For Ramit, IWTYTBR isn’t just another blog, so he isn’t interested in people reading just for intellectual entertainment. He wants people who will take action.

Don’t refer to comments on other blogs

You’ve probably heard this advice before: look at comments on other blogs in your niche, then blog about the questions they ask. Ramit says there is no value in this kind of research.

Why? Because audiences on different sites are so profoundly different.

Ramit recently wrote a post called The worst career advice in the world. It received over 200 long comments and was very well regarded. The article was syndicated by another site where the audience didn’t know him at all. On that site, the article got 24 comments, most of which were super-negative.

Your audience is unique and special—that’s why they are your audience.

Collect all the testimonials you will ever need

Another part of your research and development should involve collecting testimonials. We’ve all seen those generic testimonials that are totally contrived: “Oh wow, this is the best product I ever bought and it changed my life forever!”

You need real testimonials, and the best source is people that have bought your products. Send them an email that says, “Hey, hope things are going well. So happy to see how everyone is doing.” Then tell them to click the appropriate link: “If you accomplished x in 5 hours a week, click here. If you did y, but you were skeptical, click here.” This gives you testimonials for all those options.

Here’s another tip for getting rock-solid testimonials. As readers are going through you course, get them to fill out progress reports. That way, feedback is part of the funnel. Believe it or not, Ramit gets so much feedback this way he hired a guy whose sole job is to manage them.

And if you’re developing your first product, Ramit suggests two ways to get testimonials.

First, you may have some respondents you’ve never engaged with before. In your survey, include a comment like, “Hey, if you’ve used any of my free material for x/y/z, I’d love to hear your story. Please be specific”. All of a sudden you have 20 testimonials!

Another way is to offer free trials for your product. So, find five to ten friends or readers. Tell them “Guys, I’m planning to release this thing. It will be about $100. I’m looking for ten people to go through it and give me feedback. If you agree to fill out three surveys, you get this trial for free—and the final product as well.”

It’s your birthday: ask for feedback

During our interview, I asked Ramit about one other way I’ve seen him get people to leave feedback at IWTYTBR.

On his birthday this year, Ramit wrote a post and included this call to action at the bottom: “Nothing could be better than hearing how my material has helped you. Just leave a comment on this post. Or, upload a video to YouTube and tag it “iwillteachyoutoberich.”

“The more specific, the better Share a story. Tell us how IWT helped you hit a goal, pay off debt, earn more, get a better job — whatever. Provide specific, concrete #’s. Tell me what it meant to you. It would make my day.”

You know how many responses he got? Over 500. Check the post out at It’s my birthday today. Will you do me a favor?

The comments are people saying things like “I’m earning $70k more than I was before”, “I was able to quit my job and move across the country” and “I was earning $10 an hour, now I’m earning $40″.

These comments weren’t destined to be testimonials, but here’s one way Ramit uses them. When he makes a post about how he’s able to charge 100x what others do, and why his students are delighted to pay it, he includes the link. It proves that he’s not just providing information, but is also delivering actual results.

Target your customers closely

We saw earlier that Ramit targets his customers closely. He targets people who take action. He says it’s better to have a small core audience that takes action, respects what you have to say and gets results from your material, than a massive audience that doesn’t open your emails.

Here is a way to filter them out. Don’t sell via a squeeze page. Ramit sends subscribers through weeks of free material before giving them a chance to buy. If people complain, he unsubscribes them.

Then he tells the subscribers who can and can’t buy the course. For example, people with credit card debt are prohibited from buying his courses. If he finds out they bought it, he will ban them for life. Why? For one, Ramit doesn’t believe it’s right to take that money when he knows it will end up costing the customer twice as much. Second: it sends a message to the other readers.

Write a sales page that makes your fortune

We’ve had pages that convert at 68.7%, which in the online world is unheard of.—Ramit Sethi

Ramit spends months (or even years) doing research and development. He spends a lot of time crafting his product and offer, and he has converted as high as 68.7%. In our industry the average is 2-4%.

Realistically, you won’t get conversions that high. But could you improve your sales? Of course. If you don’t you are leaving a ton of value on the table—not just money—but value that users aren’t receiving because you aren’t messaging correctly.

Your blog doesn’t need as big a following as IWTYTBR to implement this. The basic patterns Ramit uses are modeled by people in businesses much larger and smaller. To succeed, you need to deeply understand your readers, then spend time on stuff that matters, and avoid what doesn’t.

Naming your product

Naming your product is some of the most important language on your sales page. If you want inspiration, check out Chris Guillebeau’s work at The Art of Non-Conformity. Chris names products like The Travel Hacking Cartel, Empire Building Kit and A Brief Guide To World Domination.

Let’s look more closely at how Ramit names his products. Why did he call his earning money course Earn 1k on the side? Because $1000 is an achievable figure. A lot of students go on to earn much more. But Ramit says if you tell them they will earn $10,000 they go “I don’t believe you, I’m not the kind of person”. Earning an extra $1,000 a month is life changing for most people. And it’s “on the side” because to become richer, people tend to think that they have to quit their job and start the next Google. The vast majority will not and cannot. But anyone can do five to ten hours a week on the side.

For Ramit’s new Find Your Dream Job course the naming process was similar. Even though the long-term goal is to help people find their dream career, he is using their language. If you are sitting around with your buddies, what you actually say is “I wish I could find a new…” What?

“Job”.

And “dream job” is what people are thinking.

Answer objections before customers even have them

Remember all those testimonials you collected? Now it is time to use them, and they are very strategic.

Imagine you find in your research that people don’t believe they have enough time to implement your advice. Great. Now you go to customers who are really happy and say “Hey, I’m looking for anyone who thought they wouldn’t have time to complete this program, but now you’ve achieved x results.”

Add that testimonial to your sales page, and when the reader’s there, they’ll find an answer to their objection before they even had it.

Don’t waste your time A/B testing: it’s about the offer

So few of us are even spending time on language. We are spending time on things that give us a shiny pop. You know you might be able to measure an increase in conversion by 1.6%. But when you do can things like this you can increase every other conceivable measure. Revenues up 500%. Engagement up 750%. Because you are actually speaking to people in the language that works with them, and not at them.—Ramit Sethi

Ramit really emphasizes how you should spend your time on the things that matter. “My point is, focus on the stuff that matters and is going to make the biggest most valuable gain for you… don’t get caught up in this microtesting world. It’s sexy. It’s fun. We see a 1.3% increase in open rates because we tweaked our subject lines. Or, you can get a 500% increase in revenue because you came up with a better offer,” he says.

Why all the hate? Two reasons. One is that even if you change the color of your button and improve opt-ins by 24%, it doesn’t mean you are going to convert any more sales. Second, even if you do increase the conversions to opt-in, they will eventually regress to the mean. You know who actually gets results from testing button color? Amazon.com.

Ramit says one area to test that can skyrocket your sales is your offers. Do your research and find out what people want. Do they want a standalone ebook? Maybe, and they’ll be happy to pay $97 for it. Or if someone doesn’t want a full video course, maybe they do want transcripts at a lower price. Others want accountability, like live calls every week or even a one-on-one call. Ramit warns that people might say they want an ebook but they may really need someone to check in.

One way to craft your offers is to study people you admire in both the online and offline worlds. What do they offer and how do they offer it?

McDonald’s created the kids’ meal. That’s an offer. They packaged up certain things in a certain way. Offered bonuses. Changed pricing. And the kids’ meal is one of the most successful packages ever created in the history of business.

When I interviewed Neil Patel of Quicksprout he told me about a $199 traffic generation system he offered. He also gave buyers a 30-minute phone call, and after hundreds of sales, is buried in scheduled calls. Ramit says Neil learned two things: that he will never do it again, and that people want his time. That’s very valuable.

Understand the taxonomy of pricing

There is a taxonomy of pricing that is well understood in the information product world.

It goes like this:

  • blog post: no one will pay for
  • PDF/ebook: $27-$97
  • audio/video course: $497-$997
  • must have video or live component: $997+
  • in person, one-on-one: the most

If you are putting out a book, and all the others in the store sell for $10 or $15, it’s going to be awfully difficult to roll in and get $200 for yours. Stick to the taxonomy.

Write super-specific headlines

There are plenty of great posts on writing headlines, so I won’t dwell on it here. Check out Copyblogger’s How to Write Headlines That Work instead.

I will note that Ramit says headlines matter profoundly. So spend 50% of your time on them and get super-specific. Doing this, you might decrease conversions, but the people that come through are worth so much more—not just in terms of money, but also in terms of the value you offer them.

Then you want to start thinking about your guarantee.

Give your product an unbeatable guarantee

Offering a money-back guarantee forces you to step up your game, because if your product isn’t good, you don’t get food on the table. I think all of us in this market need that, because there have been so many sleazy people that released substandard products. So I’d like all those people to go out of business, and I’d like the best people, the ones who say “look, my product is so good you try the entire thing and if you don’t like it I’ll send all your money back, even the credit card processing fees.” I want more people like that, because that is a product with integrity versus a fly by night product.—Ramit Sethi.

A big barrier for business people who want to offer guarantees is that they are afraid people will rip them off. Guess what? Some people probably will. But the ability to get a refund will drive more revenue and expose you to many more great people than the few bad apples acting illegitimately.

People expect the opportunity to get 100% of their money back. If your product is good enough, why not let people try the whole thing and get their money back? You have nothing to worry about.

But you should monitor your percentages. On a $97 product you can expect a return rate of about 10%. If you are getting 40% of sales returned, your product is not good. If you are getting 2% returned, that’s a problem too. Why? You probably aren’t selling to enough people. Generally the higher the price, the more refunds are requested.

Ramit offered some tips on creating an unbeatable guarantee. First, the more powerful you can make your guarantee, the better. In The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferriss talks about offering a 110% money back guarantee.

Second, the best guarantees are very specific. So don’t just write, “if you are not satisfied for any reason, we’ll give your money back.” Instead try something like, “if you don’t get three paying clients within 60 days, then write me and I’ll send all your money back.”

Third, take as much risk as possible onto yourself. That means offering refunds greater than 100%, paying for shipping, whatever—as much as is economically feasible.

Neil Patel says you can reduce refunds by sending people free stuff you didn’t tell them about during the sale. Just before the refund period is up, send them an email that says, “Hey, next week I’ll be sending you a document that breaks all this down.” Or, “I’ve got a special bonus for you that I’ll be sending along next week,” for example.

So you’ve created a sales page that converts like crazy. But what do you do after your reader buys?

What to do right after the customer buys

When they buy, think through their experience. What are they feeling? Nervous. Don’t want to have gotten ripped off. Don’t want to have been taken advantage of. Don’t want their friends to think they bought a weird internet course.—Ramit Sethi

If you told your friends you bought a $2000 video course, they would probably say you got scammed. Normal people don’t buy stuff online, right?

So your newly acquired purchaser is nervous. And after you ease those nerves, they’ll be excited. They can’t wait. Where do they start?

Welcome your customers with a video—Ramit recorded his first one with his MacBook. Tell them something like, “You made a great decision. This is what you are going to get. If you ever have problems, contact us at…” Then give them the material.

It’s important to curate the material your customers see. If you ask people do they want all the information up front, they say “yes.” But if you give it all at once they will be overwhelmed and more likely to cancel or ask for a refund. So tell them, “Here’s why I’m not giving you everything—trust me, and take these action steps.”

I recently watched a Mixergy Master Class called Grow Your Recurring Revenue. It was about how to keep customers that signup for your membership site or courses.

Noah Fleming led the course and said there are three essential Cs: Character, Content, and Community.

In the case of IWTYTBR, the character is Ramit. He’s the personality that readers buy from. The content is what you offer—Noah also emphasized not dumping it all on new buyers all at once.

Community is the elements of your product that let buyers interact with each other. Noah says this is a great way to keep people around, and suggested the idea of forming small groups and giving them tasks: like creating a product together, or developing a landing page.

Ramit tried community by including a forum for Earn1K buyers. He took it down when he found people were spending more time on that than doing work. People still ask him for a forum. It’s what people want—but not what they need.

Using ethical persuasion

Life is not just about more conversions. You want to be classy. You want to be respectful. Yeah, you could make more money, but that’s not the goal—the goal is to help them make an informed decision.—Ramit Sethi

Why is ethical persuasion so important? Because now that you know Ramit’s techniques and frameworks for sales, you’d find it just as easy to implement them on the dark side. There are many ways you can use persuasion nefariously, like to convince people to buy things they don’t really need. Ramit says he knows of hucksters who find out how much money their leads have available on their credit cards, then charge that.

Here’s Ramit’s framework for knowing who to sell to.

rational (information + motivation) = decision?

  • Rational requires that the potential buyer is in a sound state of mind and able to make their decision. Someone in desperate financial circumstances might not be.
  • Information assumes the potential buyer has all the information in the world about Ramit’s product.
  • And motivation means it is something they want.

If those three criteria are met, and the lead would buy the product, then Ramit has the privilege to persuade them to buy.

For example, take someone who’s earning $60,000, has $25,000 in the bank and works 9-5 but really wants to earn more. The person has the time, energy, and no credit card debt. If they took the time to go through Ramit’s program, and they trust him, would they buy it? If the answer’s “yes,” it’s a sale.

If someone makes $30,000, has $20,000 in debt, and is looking for a magic bullet, Ramit won’t let the person make the decision to buy.

So, I asked Ramit about those guys who run sites like www.SuperInstantMoneyMakingMachine.com. You know the kind—the ones where they tell you about their life on the beach, drinking margaritas, and chasing women. And there’s a picture of the guy in front of a jet. There is always a jet shot.

Ramit says if that guy has a product that would genuinely change a customer’s life, and gives them an out in the form of a full refund period, then it’s ethical to aggressively pursue the sale. He warns that many pages of long copy, flashing icons, the jet shot, and highlights are scams. Those guys do it because it works, and there are deep psychological reasons for it.

Click here to listen to Ramit’s final thoughts from our interview. Thanks so much for reading through. I know this article was long and I hope you got a ton of value from it.

Can you do me a favor and leave a comment sharing the most important insight you got from hearing what Ramit has to say? Be specific—tell us a story, please.

I’m Michael Alexis and I interview the world’s top bloggers at WriterViews. Check out this ProBlogger article from the last time I interviewed Ramit.

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Comments

  1. Glen Allsopp says:

    Monster post!

    Been a fan of Ramit for a while so definitely bookmarked to go over in more detail. Nice work :)

  2. Absolutely astounding. That could really have sold out – the info, suggestions, ideas and Ramit!

    I read through the whole article and found it absolutely enriching. I hope I will be able to inculcate the energy of Ramit to make my first million someday through my blogging.

    Thanks again for a detail insight into the core concepts of Ramit’s blogging genius.
    Thanks again for the detailed insights into the core of Ramit’s

    • My pleasure Lawrence.

      Best wishes for implementation.

      Remember – Ramit says this process works independent of audience size – so no need to wait for a huge following to get started.


      Michael

  3. Oscar says:

    “Don’t waste time A/B testing: it’s about the offer”

    You can improve the conversion by 10, 20 or even 100% (I had one that was 300%) bij A/B splittesting your salespage headline or price for example.

    Of course, you need a lot of traffic to test, but to conclude that you should not focus on it, is a bit weird I think. Setting up a splittest only takes 20 minute or so, then you just have to wait.

    • Howdy Oscar,

      Ramit is all about getting the largest returns for time spent. From his experience testing your offer can increase conversions by 500%+

      The largest scope of this article is getting inside your customer’s head. So assuming you’ve followed all steps, your headline should be in pretty good shape anyways.


      Michael

  4. I’ve been a reader of IWTYTBR for a while. I’m glad you emphasized research and getting into your customer’s head. Many of us leap before looking but putting time to prepare will definitely pay off in the long run. Plus it will save you grief later.

    One technique from Ramit, is the briefcase technique. Before your interview or meeting, spend time researching the company. Write down issues you have discovered with solutions on 1-2 pages. During the meeting, present it. The person you are meeting with will appreciate the time you spent not only understanding their issues but presenting solutions.

    • Not to mention the “wow-factor” of busting out a briefcase ;- )

      But yeah, again an example of research and being ultra prepared winning the day.


      Michael

  5. Excellent article. I think the unbeatable guarantee is something we should all be giving. But yes it does require the faith that most human beings are in fact bonafide. (which is true to an extent)

  6. Tommy Olsen says:

    Great read, thanks. Great insight.

    Tom

  7. Great post, Michael.

    Really interesting to see Ramit’s strategy dissected in such a way – it especially spoke to me because I have a Weight Loss blog of my own and I found your examples both refreshing and inspiring.

    Good read.

  8. Paul Wolf says:

    Great article. The audio discussion providing feedback on the surveys created was very helpful.

  9. Wow, this is a gold mine. I love the ethic stuff. Interacting and helping people instead of just trying to make a quick buck. Great, thanks for this feature!

  10. Mike says:

    This is a great outline for the rest of us to be able to get figure out some of the things that we need to be doing for our own blogging efforts. It is essential to be able to get those people involved rather than always trying to get them to buy.

    • Definitely. And while the overall scope of the article was generating revenue – you could also just use surveys to figure out what your audiences problems are… and then write about it. Offer value :- )


      Michael

  11. Prasad Shan says:

    I think most people need to save their money instead of spending money.Ramit talks about the ways that you can save money.Michael, You have interviewed the just right person and your research is great!

    • Ramit also talks about the ways you can leverage your time, earn more money and find your dream job :- )

      Thanks Prasad!


      Michael

  12. Wow that was an epic post- thank you for taking the time to write that all out for us. I’ve done some surveys with my audience, and it is very eye-opening to learn what type of content would be most interesting to them versus what I would have done without asking anyone.

  13. Mr.G says:

    If Sethi reads this, I’m sure he will be very upset. Someone writing tactis using the name of someone that is against tactics? Did he really allow you to use his name and image for this? Hard to believe!

    What surprises me the most is how this post passed Darren’s quality control.

  14. Speaking of headlines… your headline grabbed my attention just enough to get me over to this page. Then I spent the next 10 minutes on this page until I realized I had alarms going off to do other things. Bookmarked to come back and read in more detail. Excellent stuff!

  15. Joi says:

    Thanks so much for the time and effort that went into this wonderful and thorough article. As a writer, I know the hours you must have invested. I intend to share this article with everyone I know… the ones I want to get rich anyway!

  16. Hot damn, one of the best posts I’ve seen on the site since… my last post ;).

    I’m playing, but seriously, excellent post all-around.

  17. @Aaron_Ardle says:

    I liked the explanation of how to use surveys to get inside your readers heads. Ramit talks about this a lot, but this article was really specific and it makes more sense to me now.

  18. Brandon says:

    Wow! That’s a lot of info! Thanks for sharing!

  19. Jeff Taxdahl says:

    I honestly didn’t plan to read all the way through that… But I just kept going! I also didn’t really know anything about Ramit before hand, but apparently he has some really great ideas. I like your commentary on them too and breaking it all down while organizing it all into here. And I agree with Lorilee, I like the ethical stuff in there. I think that’s the kind of thing that gives businesses and communities sustainable success, and is hopefully the way the whole world is headed.

    • Thanks, Jeff.

      Yeah – Ramit is definitely a guy to watch. Even beyond blogging I’ll listen very carefully to what he says and then find ways to apply it in other areas of life.

      Think you’ll be able to use some of this info over at Thread Logic?

  20. Torrey says:

    Epic post. I have learned about Ramit over the past month or so. Great insight into his thought process.

  21. Paul says:

    Well-thought, wonderfully written. Thanks for taking the time. Ramit’s emails and materials have helped me get a new perspective on many things: personal finance and motivation being the top two.

  22. Most important insight: Answer objections before customers even have them aka “understand your customer’s needs and have the ability to fulfill their needs”

    No need for a specific story, sorry ;)

  23. One aspect that keeps coming through on this article is that it takes TIME to qualify what someone wants and needs. Instead of jumping on the next shiny object, spend time doing the research and build a sustainable business that provides value to the consumer.

  24. Jason says:

    This is a great post. I’ve purchased Ramit’s IWTYTBR book, follow his blog and basically consume all the material he puts out there. As an owner of a content-based website to help students get into medical school there are some many ideas and tips that I can implement immediately just from reading this post. Surveys and getting to know your ideal customer is key. Also realize very dumb to ask what people are willing to pay because most will always come in at the lowest price point possible. Additionally, the idea of following up and providing additional bonus materials after the sale is great and something I will definitely work on. Lastly, I do have an email list and I am now going to be more personable and not be so formal about things because technically I am the brand that my visitors are buying into.

    • Cool – thanks so much for sharing the actionable insight.

      What kind of survey questions would you ask medical students?


      Michael

  25. This was an awesome post! I really appreciate it when you can see that there has been effort put on the work – not just some quickly hashed together crap.

    I think one of the biggest things this post highlights is the importance of research. Recently I have seen quite many successful people talk about doing research as a way to grow their business. And I wholeheartedly agree on that. After all, that is what all the real companies are doing. They are not just looking for keywords or “pictures people like” and all that kind of hooplaa. They put in a lot of effort to understand their customers so they can serve them better.

  26. John says:

    Wow. that’s one epic post. It’s always exciting to see how the inner mechanics of those successful marketers work. Thanks.

    *bookmarked it for future reference

    • Many thanks – of course, going beyond seeing and taking action is exciting too :- )

      Plan to use this info over at niche profit strategies?


      Michael

  27. Wasim Ismail says:

    Love the bit, why need to spend hours tweaking the subject line, when you can just come up with a better offer.

  28. Peter Hughes says:

    The most relevant thing for me was “don’t refer to comments on other blogs.” It’s easy to say “write your own content instead”, but the reason was also given, in my own words: readers of other blogs are a different market, so write for the market that you’re building for yourself.

    It seems reasonable to suggest that those other comments may show you WHY it’s a different market, which may count as useful information for your own work.

    P.S. my blog is dormant! I haven’t given up though, which is why I’m here :o)

    • Long live your blog!

      Yeah… it was a pretty eye opening example Ramit had about his audience LOVING an article and another one HATING him for it.


      Michael

  29. Motyar says:

    Is it really possible?
    “Pages that convert at 68.7%”
    If yes, than its amazing, need to read the article 100times and that pages everyday.
    It breaks my limits. Thanks.

  30. Excellent. Let’s see if this changes my life.

    It would be nice to know how much time Ramit took to build up the following on his blog. Ramit has reached a snowball point, is getting a lot of press. But I am sure there is a lot of toil behind is. What’s the typical keep-trying-hard-with-modest-results time?

    G

  31. Tyler Novem says:

    This is one hell of a guest post, sir. I will read every word.

  32. Thom Holland says:

    Michael…did you crash your site with this post? :-)

    Tip of the hat to you sir – awesome post.

  33. Noah Fleming says:

    Thanks for the shout out. Just one M in Fleming.

    Great post.

    Cheers
    Noah

  34. hasan says:

    Thanks for making pdf of this article.

  35. 1ayah says:

    i appreciate differentiating between scams and ethical persuasion. it can be a fine line but its an important one that i dont see many people making.

  36. Wayne Harrel says:

    This post in itself is a great idea about how to guest posts on external blogs that have more influence.

  37. Joshgun says:

    Every single thing that Rummit said was already said before but it is us that always tend to forget. Good reminder though. I love the part with a complaining 72-old woman.

    And the birthday trick was also to the point…

  38. Ayad says:

    Hi Mike!

    Great post! I follow Ramit and his IWTYTBR too. For a moment I thought the post was from Ramit himself – such was the depth of the insights you shared. People would say that there was nothing new in it – which ofcourse is true – but I don’t care what’s new or old. I care what works for me, what to do, how to do, and when to do. Your post comes at a time when I really needed it, as I’m about to launch a training program for enhancing customer-experience based on my years of experience in the real world.

    Keep rocking! Thanks!

    • “for a moment I thought the post was from Ramit…” might just be my favourite comment ever – thanks!

      And best wishes with implementation – would love to hear from you afterwards on how it goes.


      Michael

  39. Mark Say says:

    That was a ton of information to digest, what I found most valuable was the section about the money back guarantee and how you should be able to gauge the effectiveness of your product from it. For me getting very few refund requests meant I was selling a good product, now I’m thinking maybe I’m not selling enough!

    Also spotted a typo in the taxonomy part:

    blog post: no one will pay for
    PDF/ebook: $27-$97
    audio/video course: $497-$997
    must have video or live component: $997+
    in person, ONE-on-one: the most

    At the end in CAPS is what it should be.

    Thanks for the interview

  40. claudia rowe says:

    I did sign up for one of his courses (I was paid to research) and reserved 4 exercises pages to the anticipated practical tips. I took down exactly 7! Like most of the cheerleading marketer milleu, he is big on creating fear and cutesy stories and very little on the “how tos”.

    I found the course to be more recycling and rehashing of the free stuff, the content was much the same as the book, but with more cutesy anecdotes, anti-competitor stories and a lot of “Why I’m AWESOME”.

    I wouldn’t say he’s a scammer, I think he appeals to people who aren’t really looking for skills, tactics or specific behaviours to effect a result as he has very little content in that regard but his cheerleading, “rarara” is excellent. I especially love the way he slams his competitors for lack of specificity and then does exactly the same thing.

  41. Hi Claudia. Perhaps because you weren’t a genuine student the information wasn’t that relevant for you? Ramit is pretty open about the fact that he doesn’t just share shiny tactics – and there are a lot of people (including myself) that testify his material is life changing. Also, did you read this interview? It’s a good example of Ramit sharing actionable advice.


    Muchael

  42. sanchita says:

    Actually most of ‘Do’s’ are known to all of us. it is just that we need someone whom we idolize to say it to us. For example, who in the world does not know that paying the minimum balance of credit card payment is actually pulling you into a debt trap. it is making your present just slightly bearable in return for making your future hellish. i guess we all know!

    notwithstanding, its enlightening.

    • I think “all of us” must be way smarter than me – because before interviewing Ramit I didn’t know how to develop and sell a product via a blog.

      :- )


      Michael

  43. dagolden says:

    Is it too late to comment? :-) Most important insight was the depth of research Ramit does. The more general insight I got was that Ramit works really hard — but he’s working really hard on things that have big impact on his perceived value instead of working really hard on minutia or SEO simply to drive traffic.

    • Comments are always welcome :- )

      You are bang on – Ramit is insanely productive, and it has a lot to do with going after big wins.


      Michael

  44. I just finished writing an article on the most important things I have learned from Ramit and found this article while searching for it. Over the years, I have really been impressed with how his site has evolved along with the book and the products that he now sells. Most importantly, I think he sells only when he genuinely believes that he is adding value and takes personal responsibility for it.

  45. Parin says:

    This post may have been a bit long, but it was well worth the read! Some great insights from Ramit that apply to business in general – not just online.

    My favorite piece was the fact that he isn’t afraid of saying “no” to customers if he knows what they’re asking for won’t add value (i.e. forum).

    Also really liked the point about doing research – I think we assume that we need “hundreds” of responses for surveys and are afraid that we won’t reach those numbers, so we don’t even bother. When in reality, even a seemingly small number like 20 responses, can be good quality data.

    Thanks Michael & Ramit!

    Cheers!
    Parin