Beware the Pet Projects that Bite!

quote-doingwell Internet marketing is as susceptible to trends and fads as any other niche. A couple of years ago it seemed almost every sales page featured a graphic that included a military gas mask. There were other testosterone fuelled macho images and even the products had names that included words like Sniper, Assassin and Bootcamp.

Titles and images like these are designed to appeal to the gender and age group that is most active in internet marketing. Think about it. Even the most popular internet marketing forum has the word ‘Warrior’ in its name.

At that time I was just beginning to form the outline of a product based on competitive intelligence and the idea of emphasising the spying element occurred to me.

Another trend in recent years has been the growth of the blind offer, where attention-getting promises heavily outweigh any details about the product.

Consequently when I came to plan the sales video for my product I was determined to be more open about what I was offering and I also decided to take the spy theme for a run. At least part of the video would include a closer look at the product and be presented as if it were a trailer for a spy film.

Many trailers in the spy film genre tend to be fast paced and involve a lot of cutting from scene to scene. So I planned accordingly and filmed and took screenshots of about 100 different images.

Ever had one of those ideas that you like and hate by turns? Your mind swings like a pendulum between thinking one day that it could work and the next day you’re convinced that it’s a terrible, unworkable idea. This part of the sales video is one such example.

Implementing the plan did not make things any easier. Without any substantial editing experience I loaded the live action, screenshots and PowerPoint presentations into Camtasia and started cutting and splicing.

Within a couple of days I ran into problems. The memory requirements of all the editing meant Camtasia started crashing. I contacted their support desk and, as usual, they were very helpful. They supplied a patch which effectively doubled the memory I could work with.

This worked fine for another couple days, but then the problem resurfaced. This time the support desk asked me to zip the file of the video so far and send it to them. My first Gigabyte transfer!

The data was promptly compressed and returned to me. By the end of the week the video was completed and ready to be posted online.

However, the doubts still remain. Is it a good idea? Has it been executed well enough? Will it have a good or detrimental effect on sales?

One thing I am sure about is that this part of the sales video became a pet project. One that was not necessary and one that certainly took a lot of time and effort. It’s not something I would recommend anyone else do. Keeping to a simpler, more straightforward format would have saved time and brought the launch date closer.

When you are putting together content, whether it’s a single ebook, a multi-video online course or sales material there are often decisions to be made regarding what to include and what to omit. I certainly believe material should be presented in a way that makes it unique to you, but you should also remember that you are operating a business. Keep your eye on the costs and benefits of the work you undertake.

In future I’ll try to avoid being lead astray by pet projects. Particularly ones that can cost excessive time, money or both. Beware the pet projects that bite.

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