Selling Goal-Setting and Motivational Information to a Niche Market of Nascent Planners and High Achievers: The Goals Guy Thrives with Laser-like Focus on Creating Quality Digital Products, Superior Search Engine Optimization and Smart Strategic Alliances
Gary Ryan Blair is a serious strategic planner. His personal philosophy can be summarized in two words: Everything Counts!™ Blair believes in sweating the small stuff, and teaches that every action, word and thought either moves you toward or away from your goals, mission and ultimate legacy—that every moment offers an opportunity for advancement or retreat.
As a business professional, he knows how to set goals for his company and how to reach them. That expertise is also the basis for the many goal-setting and inspirational products he sells online. His GoalsGuy.com website is the hub of what will soon be a network of sites, including 128 distribution channels established through alliances with other quality companies. In a recent interview, he explained his vision for GoalsGuy Learning Systems and how continuously focusing on the answer to just one specific question has made him a fortune.
- Most Goals Guy business relationships begin online with his free email newsletter, which has more than 100,000 subscribers.
- Search engine optimization is key to driving traffic to GoalsGuy.com. “We’ve got anywhere from a Number One to a Number 10 position with close to 100 keywords,” Mr. Blair explained. “That’s been the driving force of everything that we do.
- Mr. Blair calls his marketing plan Nine Lives, by which he means that any of his information products can be developed in multiple formats—speeches, books, Web seminars, MP3 audio files, DVDs, self-study guides, etc.
- GoalsGuy Learning Systems has strategic alliances with other business websites, such as MonsterGoals.com and WeightWatchers.com. The result is “like a rotating cash machine.”
- Although he was not familiar with the Mequoda Editorial Hub concept at the time of our interview, Mr. Blair acknowledged that he envisioned a Goals Guy network, with an individual website for each of his products—Mind Munchies, Got Goals?, Web Seminars on Demand, etc.
“Our mission is to help our clients achieve their goals,” says Gary Ryan Blair, a.k.a., the Goals Guy. “Our core purpose is to help other people to become successful.”
Mr. Blair is a nationally recognized authority on goal setting and personal strategic planning. He is president of GoalsGuy Learning Systems, a training and consulting firm.
His core website, GoalsGuy.com, was launched in 1998. Customers include a wide range of national companies, individual entrepreneurs, athletes, parents and educators. Many of his products, which comprise The Goals Guy Library, emphasize goal-setting and discipline for children, teenagers and college students, as well as adults.
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Most Goals Guy business relationships begin online with his free email newsletter, which has more than 100,000 subscribers.
“I put out a very good newsletter,” Mr. Blair said. “It gets a lot of readers. It gets redistributed. A number of people put it on their own sites. As it gets passed about at different companies, more and more people sign up.”
Successful email newsletter delivery is one of his biggest challenges.
“People have gotten a little more frightened about putting out their email address,” he said. “So we’ve got to be a little more aggressive from the standpoint of capturing names, respecting them and taking good care of them.”
Search Engine Optimization is Key to Website Visitors
Search engine optimization is key to driving traffic to GoalsGuy.com.
“We’ve got anywhere from a Number One to a Number 10 position with close to 100 keywords,” Mr. Blair explained. “That’s been the driving force of everything that we do.
“The key is, we’re very focused. We’re not trying to sell negotiation programs or time-management programs. We understand goals, strategy and focus, and that’s where we’ve picked our lane.”
Among the keywords GoalsGuy Learning Systems has optimized: goal setting, goal setting skills and strategic planning initiatives.
Driving Visitors to the Site Through Personal Appearances
“I do not believe that you can survive just on the Web alone. You can survive, but you can’t completely prosper. You need a hybrid,” Mr. Blair explained. “Part of my practice is to do a lot of speaking, coaching and workshops. Those help to drive additional traffic (to GoalsGuy.com) and I think they’re absolutely necessary.”
Mr. Blair does two or three keynote addresses and an equal number of training programs each month that put him in front of sizable audiences. Last month (September of 2005) he spoke to more than 40,000 affiliates of a network marketing company in Malaysia, for instance.
“What I try to do, whenever I give a speech, is tell people I’ll give them a free MP3 file,” he explained. “One of my products is called How to create your own Big BANG. BANG is an acronym for Bold Ambitious Noble Goals. The only thing they need to pony up is their email address.
“We let them know they get a free subscription to the newsletter, and we are happy to send them a complimentary copy (of the MP3 file). I use the speaking gig to drive traffic to the site.”
“We sell a lot of products,” Mr. Blair said. “This just happened two days ago. We had a human resources executive for a large oil company who was looking for some material to teach their employees. As a result of searching the words ‘goal setting’ they came to our site, asked us to overnight a package, and anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 books will be sold as a result. And that’s not a fluke.”
Mr. Blair calls his marketing plan Nine Lives, by which he means that any of his information products can be developed in multiple formats—speeches, books, Web seminars, MP3 audio files, DVDs, self-study guides, etc. He has created a number of spin-off products, including:
- Mind Munchies—A collection of e-learning treatments designed to deliver concise and comprehensive messages on performance improvement strategies in a convenient, inexpensive format. Downloadable text and audio—$79.95.
- Got Goals?—Inspired by the Got Milk? advertising campaign, this collection of 32 physical products includes t-shirts, caps, notebooks, mousepads, fleece jackets, etc., all in black and white. Next up: Web-based content and a series of (physical) books under the Got Goals? theme, many about sports and inspirational athletes.
Affiliates and Strategic Alliances
GoalsGuy Learning Systems has 2,800 affiliates in its program, but Mr. Blair does not count them as an important source of new business.
“Affiliate programs are tremendously overrated,” he stated categorically. “I’m in the branded information business. I don’t copy anyone else. Our content is proprietary. It’s all my own. It’s under the Goals Guy brand. But I also have seven trademarks under which I sell additional products.
“The dominant question that goes through my mind every day is ‘What non-competitive products or services are being sold to my ideal customer?’ This question has made me a fortune.
“My ideal customer wants to lose weight… retire early… be in great physical shape… build a business… advance in his career… run her own corporation… wants his children to be doctors.”
GoalsGuy Learning Systems has strategic alliances with other business websites, such as MonsterGoals.com. That’s a subsidiary of Monster Jobs a leading global online careers and recruitment resource. Monster sends millions of visitors each month to this site, which sells only electronic (downloadable) products.
“We took a number of products that I’d already created and stuck them on their site. The download, the entire process, is literally transparent. So far as everyone’s concerned, it looks like a Monster-related site, but really they’re coming to our site,” Mr. Blair said.
GoalsGuy Learning Systems has similar revenue-sharing relationships with WeightWatchers.com and many others. The result is regular income to GoalsGuy Learning Systems from 128 different distribution channels.
“It’s like a rotating cash machine,” he said. “It’s not just a one-dimensional business model. It’s pretty robust.”
Next Product Offerings
Mr. Blair says he will soon enter the online training conference market. He says terrorism, the rising cost of fuel and demands on employees’ time all conspire against traveling to in-person training programs. The solution is reaching people with training seminars that they can access from their own offices via the Internet.
GoalsGuy Learning Systems will soon launch Web Seminars on Demand with four new programs that he has already created. In a beta test, the company sold 718 downloads at price points ranging from $12.95 to $49.95.
Mr. Blair says he plans to make all his content available in this format and sell it using the subscription website marketing model, with site licenses granted to larger companies. Additionally, he plans an entire separate franchise built around the initial Got Goals? products.
Surprising Key Metrics
“I don’t count Alexa ratings,” Mr. Blair said. “Alexa is just a joke. Eyeballs is not how you measure success.”
“The first is the lifetime value of a customer. Our people stick around. That is a metric that everybody needs to embrace,” Mr. Blair said.
“And secondly, do they make money? I don’t know any other metrics, as they relate to a website, that you really need to pay all that much attention to.”
Although he was not familiar with the Mequoda Internet Hub concept at the time of our interview, Mr. Blair acknowledged that he envisioned a Goals Guy network, with an individual website for each of his products—Mind Munchies, Got Goals?, Web Seminars on Demand, etc.
“For me, it’s about how you put out the best quality product. The rest will take care of itself,” Mr. Blair explained.
“Here’s the game that I’m playing. I want mass quantity. I want to be in a low price point, with extremely high value quadrant. What you (often) see on the Internet is high price point, low quality. That’s the thing that bothers me.
“You’re leaving behind a legacy. If it’s something you really want to be proud of, make sure you’re really paying attention to the quality of the work that you’re doing.”
“The key is to be very focused, if you want to be successful on the Internet,” Mr. Blair said. “Follow one course until you’re successful.
“Some people think it has to be much more difficult than that. It’s not. You just pick a lane. I’ve really been disciplined at that.”
Disciplined and focused. In fact, Mr. Blair has set goals—and the Goals Guy has indeed reached them!