About Me

Hi, I'm Stephen Pratley.

I started this blog way back in the early 2000's as a way of venting my opinions about all things marketing.

I still do that, (mostly the venting has moved to Twitter), but the blog has grown up (a bit) and now it's here to help share some of the stuff I've learned, and that I have data, not just opinions about.

Why keep reading?

What you'll get most of, is how I've made a living since the early 90's. Building big lists of prospects, and making them offers. Mostly using email. Mostly selling “invisible things” like information, consulting and software.

Some people say I'm pretty good at it:

I learned online marketing skills the hard way, pre-Google, pre-YouTube, through trial and error, testing and improvement, long nights and strong coffee. This is the blog I wish I'd had back in my 20's.

Since then, the challenges have changed.

Once, building websites was hard, but traffic was easy and cheap. Now it's the other way round. Anyone with an ounce of persistence and imagination can start building an email list and selling online.

But that ease has opened up competition, so now the challenge is to stand out and be convincing. To turn increasingly expensive and hard-won traffic into customers and repeat customers.

That's where I come in.

I help people selling digital products in competitive marketplaces to build simple, scaleable campaigns that turn traffic into customers at scale.

I don't have some marketing super-power, but I do have two pretty-good-powers which I combine to get consistent results.

An understanding of marketing technology.
I'm not a coder, but I can hack tools together pretty well. I know my way around the deepest depths of Google analytics and a bunch of other places to find insights on your customers and competitors.

An unhealthy interest in customer psychology.
If there's one thing I know about people, it's that they're as illogical as Dr Spock says they are. But they are predictable once you start to understand their motivations. Hanging around creatives and copywriters in agencies for a decade taught me that campaigns that work on these motivations are successful, whilst campaigns that look clever and win awards rarely do.

Pulling these two skills together is the recipe for my “secret sauce”. Use data to gain insights, and psychology to come up with more successful campaign assets.

Putting it into practice needs two things though:

  1. An understanding of the process of turning traffic into transactions and transactions into lifelong customers. That's what I do at The Conversion Co.
  2. A business that can do this consistently, and a leader who manages to remain creatively productive at the same time as juggling a busy product and services business. Those challenges are what I write about in my own blog.