Exclusive interview

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Paul Tranter and Terry Johnson had been working in the information publishing business for several years before deciding to move over onto the Internet full-time at the beginning of this year.  Paul told The Online Trader,

“Our main reasons for moving to the Net were the ease of product delivery and cost effectiveness.  Marketing offline is far more expensive – it costs approximately $775 to mail out 1000 flyers, yet we can hit our entire 80,000 email database at the touch of a button for nothing!”

Between them, Paul and Terry now run several online businesses, all focused on selling digital information.  The main business is ‘The Vangard Alliance’ which promotes an extremely popular business and personal development plan called ‘The Omni-Science Principle’.

Initial expectations for the site were high but it was hard to get the ball rolling at first as Paul explains,

“We thought it would be a lot easier than it is to sell online – we thought we would just build a website and people would come… they didn’t!  Seth Godin (online marketing guru) sums it up best with his quote, ‘it took ten years to become an overnight success’”.

It is beginning to snowball now, but we have not hit our sales target for Vangard this year.  Much of our time has been devoted to lead generation and building traffic, as well as growing our customer database.  We now have all the elements in place to hit next year’s targets more easily”

In June 2002, the partners launched a new site, freenetleads.com and things began to pick up.

“The new site took off like a steam train and within 1 week melted the server – we upgraded and took 10 million hits in the first month!” says Paul

Freenetleads now boasts almost 40,000 operators and this figure is growing at a rate of 10,000 a month.

If two high-traffic websites weren’t enough to keep this pair busy, Paul and Terry also own two subscription databases – www.governmentauctionsuk.com and www.properties4auction.com,

Paul says, “Terry Dean has just written a book on paid-for databases and he can’t praise them highly enough.  They are the biggest thing on the Net right now and we plan to roll out our subscription template to other businesses in the near future.”

I asked Paul how successful the websites have been in financial terms, he told me,

“All the sites are making money now.  If we advertise a quality eBook to our Freeleads database, it can pull in $5,000 practically overnight.  Vangard is beginning to grow, with several hundred subscribers paying $40 per month.

The government auctions site is currently taking approximately $4,000 a month and this site is projected to clear over $150,000 next year.”

These are terrific results from businesses that have really only been online for a very short period of time.

In closing, I asked Paul if there was one thing that had made their Internet businesses work, he replied,

“Without a doubt the only thing that has made any of our businesses work is determination.  We never gave up without a result”.

Paul and Terry, thank-you for taking the time to answer my questions and congratulations on your success so far – may it continue long into the future.

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