A Client’s Greatest Fear – Why Some Clients Make the Leap, and Others Don’t

Recently I’ve had a client who stopped midway through when a website was 90% complete and started being totally impossible.

Basically he wouldn’t reply to my emails for 2 weeks, then come out of nowhere and complain that the website was running late.

He’d try to cause arguments and threaten me with mediation (even though I did nothing wrong).

At first, I was like, ok this client is insane, but now that I think about it – I have another theory, something a bit more “deep”.

I think secretly the client is afraid, and what he’s afraid of is not that this website that I’ll make for him will be a failure, it’s that the website will be a success.

Why would someone be afraid of that?

Well here’s my theory. I remember when my business started doing really well, and I was increasing my income and one week I made a lot of money – now granted this amount was from a bunch of jobs some of which had taken a month to do, but still it was cool to receive all that money in one week.

But instead of saying “Ok, cool, I made some good money this week, I’m going to go buy myself a nice chocolate bar and continue on” or something along those lines, I started sabotaging myself. The next week I hardly got any work done, I missed deadlines on purpose, and the reason – which I now understand from talking to my psychiatrist (which I see every week) – is that I had an idea in my head about how much money/success I could have, and if that number increased I felt that I was either:

a) Being a fraud/ripping off my clients


b) I was unworthy of the income and should do whatever necessary to put things back to the way things should be (the proper order order of the universe)

This type of mentality is really bad when it comes to being self employed – because some weeks you make good money and some weeks you may crap money, you can’t sit on your thumb when you have a good week because the next couple of weeks could be dry.


The point that I’m trying to make is – and this is going to sound a bit conceited, but I think when the clients went with me they didn’t expect to get the quality of work that they did, the website looked good, it functioned good, everything was setup. And suddenly they had to confront their fear that if this website were to go up, and they were to do the marketing they planned their income could increase quite a bit. And so this fired off their schemas (which is a psychological term for emotional critters that live in your brain and lie to you about reality – it’s a long story). So what does the client do? He needs to do something to stay at the level at which he’s all ready at – so one of the best ways to do that is to get on bad terms with your developer.

The one trait I see, the difference between the clients that I have that become successful (and long term clients that keep coming back for more stuff/upgrades for their site) vs. the ones that fall off is that the ones that get to the level where they should be are the ones that get over this initial fear.

It’s that fear when you’ve composed your message to say your new site is launched and you’re hovering your mouse over the ‘Send’ button in your email campaign manager, knowing it’s going to go to 5,000 people in your industry. Knowing that everything you worked for hinges on this moment, that you could have f$#@ed up and written a typo, and so you check your email 50 times before you send it (yet for me, for some reason there’s always a mistake I find right after the email is sent and it’s too late – which by the way is that schema playing up).

Anyway the point I’m trying to make is that some clients make that leap and get over their fear, and others get consumed by it. I think that’s the one biggest difference I can find. It’s not that some clients are incredibly intelligent, most businesses I work with don’t require a lot of brain power to operate – or at least not Einsteinein levels – but they do require you to use initiative and do what you’re not told to do.

And unfortunately for some, they’ll never get over their small fears, and will continue to play small, arguing with me over a $30 invoice to the point where I just chuck them – and they move on the next web developer and start the process all over again. I can relate because I’ve been there with the contractors I work with.

Playing small, thinking you’re not worth it are feelings that are so deeply embedded that most people would rather admit they don’t exist – and those people are the ones most susceptible to it. Those are the ones that never confront their fears – kind of like an alcaholic not admitting he has a drinking problem – and so they self sabotage the moment they get close to their goals, and that’s how they stay small.

This is just a phenomenon I noticed as I worked, and it’s something I’ve noticed in myself and this is my theory behind it ^^. Maybe you can look at your life and see how this relates to you, because it is definately something that I’ve had to (and still continue) to struggle with.

Annoying Client Vol. 1 – Late with Everything, Somehow My Fault

So I should probably preface this by saying most of the clients I work with are great, and if not great at the very least logical.

There comes a time when after you’ve been working long enough that you’re going to run into some a$@#les.

I don’t know why I’m writing this, but if you are a potential client and you read this and you nod along saying “Well what’s wrong with that?” then chances are we are not going to get along.. so in a way it’s a good way to filter out clients that are going to be a nghtmare.

So anyway let’s get righ to it, I’ll have a heading for every client situation – also note as ridiculous as some of this stuff sounds I am not exagurrating this, so it’s not some comedy piece, all though at times it will sound like it.

So, in no particular order:

#1 Throw the whole website out because I wouldn’t transfer the domain

I had a client that I started working with who wanted me to build a very complex site and make an iPhone app. We started out and had a really good relationship, we even met up from time to time at a bar and talked about how the website was going.

Finally the client had released payment for the website side of the project and I started working on the iPhone app.

Finally the iPhone app was about 90% complete and I asked the client to provide feedback on it to get it to a final stage. All in all I was proud with the work that I have done and how little issues there were with the project.

So anyway, 2 months after the site is finished the client decides to actually take action and call the payment provider eWay to setup payment processing on the website. The client also decides to send me yet another spreadsheet to import into the website, which me, being the sucker that I am, agree to do for free, in exchange for getting 50% of the iPhone app invoice. Make sense so far?

So then he sends me this spreadsheet on let’s say Friday and I tell him that it should be imported by Monday (as I didn’t really have anything to do on the weekend). So come Monday I had imported the spreadsheet but there were a couple of issues left. So this client calls and starts crying to me and talking about how I have delayed the website. Anyway I let him whinge, it was no big deal, as long as I got my 50% of the invoice once I had done everything I needed to it should have been fine.

So after I had done my part (which included updating the website to comply with eWay guidelines) – eWay had told the client that the website was registered under Head Studios (domain and hosting) and that they would need a letter from me to authorize this company to use eWay as a payment processing platform on a domain owned by me.

Now the client freaked out that the domain/hosting was not under his name so he called me and requested that it be transferred to him.

I told him I’d be happy to transfer the domain/hosting over to his name once the iPhone app was finalised (since I had finished 90% of it and still hadn’t gotten paid anything). Now the client was having none of it and started saying s#@t like “Don’t f##k with my business!”

I told the client that I’m not f#@$ng with his business and I just want to get paid for my services, and at the end of the day he can still launch his site and take payments and have everything work even if the domain was under my name, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

So here’s where the story gets weird. We had a conversation about this domain issue but at the end of the day I thought the client had dropped it, and since my part of the work was all done and I hadn’t heard anything from the client, I was assuming we’re just waiting on eWay to approve his site.

Now lo and behold this guy calls me one morning about a week later to basically tell me that:

1) They no longer want to work with me
2) The domain issue left a “bad taste” in his mouth
3) They all ready have another developer who’s been working on making the site and he’s 1/3 my cost
4) They’re upset that their site is not mobile compatible – remember this is 2 months after he approved the site and released the deposit (not to mention that a mobile site was never included in the agreement)

Hmm… that’s interesting. I enquired further about this other so called developer who was making what I did at 1/3 the cost. So here’s how the convo went:

Kosta: “Wow, 1/3 of the cost. That’s really good, but can the website have the feature of importing the data like mine and matching it up to all the unique fields” (I’m not going to get too technical here but I had custom wordpress fields and repeater fields and wrote a script to populate these from an Excel file)
Client: “Yep! He’s all ready done that and I’ve imported a couple of jobs and it works!!”
Kosta: “Wow, that’s really good… can I see this website?”
Client: “I don’t have to show it to you!!”

Ah, so it’s the old “I have someone else who can do a better job then you at a better price but they are invisible and I cannot show them to you!”

What can you do with these people?

At this point I gave up on this client. Either he was trying to play for me an idiot or he really did find a developer that was going to screw everything up for him.

Anyway I’m chasing him up on my costs to develop the app and the silver lining is that I learned a lot on the project – but for a simple issue of a domain not being in his name (which I had assured him by email would be transferred) he threw away the whole site and started with someone else. Talk about a bad business move.

A sad day for all. That’s what you call lose-lose.

What a depressing blog post aye?

Well it’s not all sunshine and lollipops in this world. I bring the bad and the good unlike others who sugercoat everything.

P.S. I never did get the iPhone feedback, it’s been 4 weeks now – I’m sure he’ll email it to me in 2 months and then complain that I’m delaying the project. Same old story man.
P.P.S. I have sent the client an email with our original agreement and asked him where I had gone wrong and what part of my obligation I didn’t fulfill, of course there has been no response as to the old ‘avoidance’ tactic.
P.P.P.S. if you’re going to pretend like there’s someone out there at a better rate/service than me, at least put some effort into it. Pay some random $100 to say that he’s charging you $1 for an awesome site lol.

When Companies Lie About What They’ve Done – Marketing Testimonials

Thought I’d take a quick moment to vent – is that ok with you?

The thing I wanted to vent about was testimonials on marketing agency sites and a common strategy that’s popping up amongst digital “agencies” that’s complete bullshit and should be illegal.

Ok, so here’s how it works.

Have you ever been on a nice looking “digital agency”, “SEO Agency”, “Website Development” company or really any company that creates digital assets and more so offers the service of looking after your marketing?

Now it’s been shown that the least trusted people in the world are marketing people, right under (or is it just above) used car salesmen. The reputation is well earned. I’m not going to sit here and talk about how I’m a saint and I’m above it all, I’ve bullshitted a little here and there – mostly when clients ask me if I can do something, and I have no idea how to – and I say I can. But what I’m going to tell you is much worse than anything I’ve done.

Basically, imagine you’re starting out in this ‘marketing’ or even ‘web development’ field. You don’t have any work that you’ve done in the past, you’re pretty crap really, you’ve never achieved any results – and you don’t want to work to build a client portfolio and put in the hard yards. What do you do?


You go to 5 companies that have done good work in the past, maybe they’re overseas or in another state. And you say to them:

“Listen, can I house your work on my site and pass it off as my own? Then if any work comes in I’ll make sure you get a piece.”

And so these 5 people say to themselves, why not, it can’t hurt.

Now these 5 people don’t know that you’ve approached the other 4 offering the exact same offer but by the time they realize it’s too late.

In either case now you have a website that looks like you’re the who’s who of marketing because all these companies are in your portfolio.

Except the problem is they’re not.

You didn’t go out and chase, and make the deal happen with these clients.

You didn’t go through and walk the ropes with these clients from beginning to end.

You didn’t end with the client being satisfied and leaving a testimonial.

All you’ve done is used other people’s work.

And that’s why you don’t have any testimonials on your website.

So next time you see a company that says they’ve worked with Sony or whatever, ask the guy you talk to who exactly at Sony he worked with and sit back and enjoy the stammer and attempted topic change.

How dare you ask me questions that expose my mask!!??

How dare you say facts that expose my mask!!??

This is how I increased leads by 400% for a multinational client

I used to read these advertisements you see where companies say “Increase your leads by 400%” and would think – ok, I smell some bull s#$t. That is until I got the results myself.

So here is the thing – sometimes a very minor change to a website, a small element can completely blast open the amount of leads it receives.

Instead of blowing theory on you I will show you a real world case of a change I made to a client’s website. Here is a popup for a client of mine:


This comes up automatically when a user visits the site and you can check it out for yourself at brookermarine.com.au.

Now, this popup is linked to a CRM system (the fields are what we call Web to Lead – so those fields are entered as a new Lead in the CRM system).

Unfrotunately for privacy reasons I can’t divulge too much information – as far as how much leads they’re generating, but here’s what I can say – the amount of leads the company used to generate per week they have started generated per day, or if I want to be more conservative – every 2 days.

The concept is really simple:

  1. Get in the user’s face when they land on your site
  2. Request their contact details (this could be email and phone or just email)
  3. Give them something in exchange for itoh and one more thing
  4. Make sure it’s a layover popup, not an actual new browser window that pops up – the reason is for this is that many browsers don’t allow your website to create new browser windows and it just doesn’t look as good anyway

In order for this to work you need 2 elements:

  1. A good chunk of traffic all ready coming to your site (no point getting in people’s faces if there’s no faces to get in front of)
  2. You have something to give away – if you’re anywhere near established you’ll have something to give away, it doesn’t have to be something amazing. For example the example I used above was a simple PDF brochure, I mean that’s not even like something informative, you’re basically getting the same info that you’re getting on the site from the brochure.


If anyone is actually in the market for a Brooker boat are they going to pass up on a chance to have a nice PDF brochure?

Here’s another example that I’m making for a client –


Notice the red text for 2.7+ hours and immediate access. People want it now! Not that you’d make them wait anyway but it can increase the conversions by a little bit. This popup should do even better because you’re getting 3 videos which you otherwise wouldn’t have access to – this is a legal site and so these 3 videos are going to be interesting to the target audience (maybe not to you) so I expect this to do very well, and if it does I’ll be sure to talk about it (if it doesn’t I’ll just quietly pretend it never happened and clean up the evidence that I tried).

So, if you’ve got:

  1. Good traffic coming to your site
  2. Something to give away for free

You could be looking at a potential gold mine here.

By the way my rate to set all this up for you (auto responder, graphics, text fields, implementation into CRM) is $649. If you are indeed a large client and you have the opportunity to blow up your leads $649 is a drop in the bucket. But that’s my rate for now.

However whether you go with me or someone else (or, in a lapse of sanity decide to do this yourself) you have all the info you need. Whatever you do just don’t procrastinate.

Proof how useless SEO companies are

Maybe someone somewhere has had a thought that big SEO companies have more experience or whatever the 2 bit salesman tells you on the phone.

Firstly, I’m not an SEO expert by any means but the more I see how useless these established companies are the more it makes me lose faith in the human race.

Notice I say the word ‘established’.

Simple story – we had an ‘established’ company working with a client for a period of 3 months, charging out $600 a month (so by the time they came to me they had all ready spent $1,800 with this company). Here are the results:


Something I need to point out to you – I started working with this company on the 22nd February. Yeah, not to boast but that’s all me.

This company had charged the client $1,800 so far. What did they do? I don’t know, but I know what they didn’t do:

  1. They didn’t submit a sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools
  2. They had every title as ‘Online Store’ instead of the company name (I mean at least put the company name in the title)
  3. They did not have any keywords in the title pages whatsoever

Here’s where it gets interesting – even though the SEO company had failed so miserably in getting results, and it was clear they were duds, they still had the gall to chase up the client for the 12 month contract – in other words even though they were doing nothing, they still wanted the client to continue paying the $600 a month for whatever they claimed they were doing.

So from this day forward I will say I am not an SEO guru/expert – but I’m better than these lost souls.

P.S. I’ve gone against publishing this company’s name, only because of my respect for the client and I don’t know what their contractual terms are, but rest assured the second this company takes its teeth out of my client, with the client’s permission I’ll blow this whole thing wide open. It makes me sick.

Viral Video: even old media is taking notice

Today there was an article in the Daily Telegraph about viral video and how marketers are taking advantage of the new trend in online video dissemination. There was talk about whether it was ethical for an advertising agency to disguise their marketing in what at first sight seemed like a genuine organic, grass roots campaign.

The article is worth a read and is available by clicking the link: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/secret-sell-brands-exploit-viral-videos-20110224-1b61p.html

Also, as a side note, I thought I would include the YouTube viral videos in this post that were referenced in the article with a brief caption on each:

The Shaving Helmet

This was eventually ousted as a hoax by a shaving cream company.

Hell Pizza: Interactive Zombie Game

A promotional online video campaign for a pizza chain in New Zealand. Beware this one is quite long and actually allows you to pick your way through the adventure similar to a pick a path book.

Old Spice Commercial


If you haven’t seen this you would have had to be living under a rock (especially if that rock was not in the United States and did not have a wireless internet connection). The commercial above was actually created for television however the Old Spice campaign had no idea how much attention the clip would garner online. In fact the clip was so successful that Old Spice followed up with an online only campaign of the Old Spice guy answering questions from Twitter users, one of the clips can be seen below:

Carlton Draught: It’s a Big Ad

Sometimes when it comes to online viral success, nothing beats a huge budget and a bit of humor.

NAB Bank Break Up


I actually did a blog post devoted to NAB’s online efforts in a previous blog post which can be found here. Even though this runs the thin line of being cheesy however I respect it for its audacity and embracing of new technologies.