This is a guest post by Lori Culwell.  Lori is the owner of Get Creative, Inc.. She has worked on websites for some really big companies.  She’s the author of the bestselling novel “Hollywood Car Wash,” which is being re-released by Touchstone | Fireside in April of 2009, and the forthcoming book “Million Dollar Website.”  You can find her blog at:  http://www.funnystrange.net , where you will subscribe, or she will cut you.

Years ago, in San Francisco, I saw a crazy pimp on a bus.  I wrote a short story about it that got nominated for a Pushcart Prize, which was cool.

Here’s the thing, though—now I think that pimp had a profound effect on my life.  Now, I’m not saying I condone the pimp lifestyle or the implied female subjugation that goes with the profession, but you know what?  You have to be scrappy to be a pimp, and I think some of us could use some more of that in real life.  I find that the lessons I learned from that pimp have stuck with me, even in my life as a Creative Director/ Consultant/ Novelist.  For the purposes of this article, I am going to apply these lessons to search engine traffic and internet marketers.

Here’s what I took from the pimp, and how I use it in my life, even today:

  1. Consistency is key.  In pimp-life as well as well as the life of a webmaster, you have to be in it to win it, and you can never quit, even when another pimp beats you up and threatens to steal your girls and your territory.  Consistent tweaking and updating of your site is key to internet marketing, especially if you want to keep rising in the search engine ranks.  Putting energy into your site (your business), whether it’s through regular blogging or updating of your site, keyword research, writing articles, posting in forums, or continuing to educate yourself, is invaluable.  If you don’t know what to do, just pick something and go with it.  This “fly by the seat of your pants” strategy works for the pimp, and it will work for you.    Just don’t give up!  The pimp wouldn’t give up!
  2. Be friendly toward your fellow man.  This one applies to good customer service.  Whatever your game, you must have the follow through to get the job done.  This “common courtesy” rule applies to not spamming your mailing list, to following through on customer inquiries, to answering people’s questions left in your comments, and to generally being decent to your fellow man and internet marketer.  Of course, like the pimp, you must also know how and when to use the pimp hand if someone is trying to take advantage of you.  Know what I’m saying?
  3. Be patient— You know, it’s hard out there for a pimp, and an internet marketer.  But eventually, if you hang in there, someone will want your gold, or your women.  This also applies to search engine traffic.     If you follow rule # 1 (consistency) and combine it with patience, you are just as likely to build your subscriber base and traffic as the pimp is to build his (ahem) clientele.
  4. Diversify.  Hey, do you know who used to be a pimp?  Ice-T.  Yeah, and then he was a rap star, and now he’s on Law & Order:  SVU.  That is some great diversification, and also some excellent paying attention to new opportunities.  Pimps are always out there, hustling, keeping up with the industry and what-not.  And just like the savvy pimp, you must be open to new things like business affiliations, new design, new strategies, or social networking sites.  Pimps never stop pushing the envelope, and neither should you.
  5. Be true to yourself, even if the full expression of that self involves a big floppy hat and a gold tooth.  Make sites that you want to make, not because you think they’ll do well in the search engines.  This is really a “follow your bliss” issue.  Everyone knows when you’re phoning in a crappy “mortgage banking” mini-site, dude.  I will guarantee that if you make a site you’re not interested in, you’re not going to want to put in the time to make it successful.
  6. Never let them leave without paying.  Pimps have a 100% profit margin. 100%!!!  That is brutal!  In internet marketing, I think we can apply this to monetization; namely, if someone is leaving your site, you want to make sure you’re getting paid, or there will be hell to pay.  This applies to AdSense, PhoTrade, affiliate/ eBook links, or anything else you might have come up with to make money online.  At least—at very least capture their name and email address with an opt-in so you can provide them with some excellent information at a later date.  If you do not, I promise you that there will be someone else out there picking up your slack.
  7. Keep Up Appearances.  The pimp takes time with his appearance, and that of his crew.  You must take this same care with your website.  No one is buying anything from you if your shopping cart doesn’t work, or if you have broken links.  Take care of your asset!  Respect the customer, and they will respect you!   Outdated design, typos, and sloppy layout shows that you do not care.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

110 thoughts on “What An Internet Marketer Can Learn From a Pimp”
  1. Very good post!!

    “I will guarantee that if you make a site you’re not interested in, you’re not going to want to put in the time to make it successful.” …also a very good point!

    1. Sometimes I have so many ideas that I wish I could have more hours in a day. But I’m sure most people feel the same way.

      1. Time management is the key..
        I am sure you would be wasting a lot of time daily .. need to use it to the best first ..

    2. not in all cases true, but yes, it’s very hard to concentrate on something to make it successful when you don’t like what you do.

    3. “If you can’t beat them join them”
      People were paying me out about commenting in threaded comments….yet now everyone is doing it. They couldn’t beat me so they joined me….mwa ha ha

    4. This is the most important point to me – which Jeremy also points out very often. To be able to work consistently, you just have to luv what you do.

    5. Ya man. Gary Vaynerchuk loves wine and that is why everyone knows him. if you like it then you will like doing it and you will do it more than if you didn’t like it.

  2. I have always wanted to be a pimp, now I see the road I need to walk! 100% margin, you have to love that! LOL

    I would love to see more posts by lori!

    1. Then try for becoming a pimp. I’m sure it will be worth it. Good Luck since you’ve found the road. I hope you continue walking without failure. Keep us updated 🙂

  3. “…generally being decent to your fellow man and internet marketer. Of course, like the pimp, you must also know how and when to use the pimp hand if someone is trying to take advantage of you…”

    The customer is NOT always right. So, be good to one another, but keep your pimp hand strong and don’t hesitate to use it. Hesitation is weakness, and weakness is for losers.

    – Lee Collins

    1. Do I hear a book coming along, “Marketing for PImps” or “Pimp-elicious marketing” or “Marketing Pimp-style” “Marketing for the strong Pimp hand” “Marketing for the Pimpless” or “Don’t let a pimp, pimp your customers”

    2. I do not agree with the last part of the commentary. The weakness does not always have the quality of losers. Very often in life is the opposite.

    3. My wife tells me I have poor customer service….I just have a difficult time being sensitive to some peoples ignorant approach to what they want. I once had a customer call my hotline to complain about me….wha????

      I just had to put the smack down….just had to…

  4. Couldn’t the same apply to learning from a Hooker?

    1) Consistency is key (you have to stay on the grind)
    2) Offer “irresistible” goods to your fellow man
    3) Be patient (someone needs what you are offering, trust me)
    4) Diversify (hooker, dancer, porn star)
    5) Be true to yourself (you are only doing this to get you through college)
    6) Well. Hoes have to pay pimps, but still where is the overhead? 100% profit and depending on the service, they’ll come back.
    7) You gotta look good to attract clients, nobody wants a HOE with missing teeth, broken heels and torn clothes.

  5. You are so right. I just got into the whole online marketing thing, and I have to say that is veerrrry hard. First off, the internet is saturated with people trying to make money online, which means you have to work extra hard to make a buck.

    Thanks to fail of the economy, everyone has no where to turn but online, and this has caused a lot of competition! You are right. It is hard out there for a pimp!LOL

    1. I agree with you. However I think the make-money online niche is super-saturated. You have tons of other niches waiting to be hand picked by those who want them. Regardless what niche you go into, you still have to work like your going to get evicted in 2 weeks. I think Shoe said it took him plus 5-8 years to reach Shangri-la (earthly paradise). My advice is to find a niche that your passionate about and work the hell out of it. I have 2-3 niches I work on and no one is agressively marketing to this audience. So find what works for you and pimp it pimpin.

  6. Maybe some one should start a TV show, A-List Pimp to A-List Blogger. I can see MTV jumping all over that bad boy. Note you read it here first, and it was my idea!

  7. oohh controversial, or is it just intellectual slumming? how obnoxious, it would have been better if the bullet points at least said anything new at all about being a webmaster… but its not about content, it’s about traffic, right.

    1. I like the number 7 one a lot too!
      It means, dont keep an unprofessional site with broken links or say scripts. For example, contact us form doesnt work, thats really unprofessional.

  8. lol I’ve always wanted to be a pimp and now I can compare myself to one. Thanks for the great article, it was an enjoyable read.

  9. Time for me to step up and be the pimp i’ve always wanted to be. Cheers for the sound advice. I guess the Key is to update, then update, then when you’re done, update again.

  10. Never thought of blogging or running any kind of online business as the same as being a pimp. But great analogy. And great advice.

    I’ll have to keep my pimp hand at bay for now. 😉

  11. This is an awesome comparison. I like the concept of never let them leave without paying. Does anyone know where I can find her full story about the pimp. I am intrigued.

  12. What an excellent post. Your note about Keeping Up With Appearances is such an great point – that plenty of newbies miss.

    @Lee_Collins also brought up an excellent point, the customer is NOT always right and a real Internet Marketing pimp never backs down or wimps out.

  13. It’s all about the basics. What are people looking for? What would help them get it? How can we make other’s lives better?

  14. I’m not sure I agree 100% with all the statements as it applies to pimping (keeping up appearances) – at least not some of the “customer service representatives” I pass by some of the time.. You’d be lucky to find a full set of teeth among them, but the point is well taken. 🙂 The pimps themselves always have it going on, the crew… not so much.

    As it applies to your website though, I agree 100%. If things dont’ work, the message is inconsistent, or just looks bad – they’re gone. You most likely won’t get a chance to make that second impression with that customer.. and that’s a shame.

    Take time to get things right the first time.. much cheaper (on many levels) to get it right from the beginning. Not saying you can’t tweak it as you go, but make sure it’s functional and appealing from the outset.

  15. “Never let them leave without paying” Great advice! I don’t want people to just visit the site, I want them to come away with a purchase.

  16. How to pimp your market. . .
    1) know your niche and dress, aproach, and interact accordingly
    2) know how to treat your customers so that they keep coming back .. gentleness or abusive…you make the call.
    3) Keep it interesting. Give them a reason to come back. entice them to want to want to come back.
    4) know your profit margin and risk. If you do have 100% margin then if you are out for a few days because of family issues, beat up by the next pimp over, or really anything else then you have the capital to fight through the hard times and come out on top on the other end.

    What a fun post to think about and apply to well….any thing, relationship business, or even personal developement.

  17. I really enjoyed reading this post. Pimps and internet marketers being in the same sentence is just interesting. I learned a lot but in a weird way. I never thought about stuff like that and this is a well worded article. Nice work.

  18. Very Interesting analogies. I like the thing about being diversified. I know if my site fails, I can always rely on the investment income I generated from my online profits.

  19. I am learning the game right now . I am a official Newbee. But I am excited and geeked to know the game. I have so much to learn I just signed up the http://www.websuccessdiva.com link that teaches the game . I am excited and I agree with the writings of the article. So true and I totally dig the originality and down to earth examples . Its definately Hip Hop . LoL . any tips or sights to suggest for me to learn my graphics as well as web know how . I am willing to be Schooled.
    Undastan

  20. There’s always the hustle too, you gotta find the angles and exploit them in any business be it pimping, consulting, or some other business.

  21. LAME! These types of articles are incredibly craptastic. It’s so unoriginal and takes about 0 brainpower to come up with. I think that they cater to people that automatically will see, PIMP=Awesome, regardless of the quality of the article.

    Maybe I should write an article called “Duhhh. Why internet marketers shouldn’t run their business like prostitutes. Number 1-Prostitutes take it up the rear, your business does not want it up the rear”

    lame.

  22. I think an online marketer has better values than pimps who abuse women and sell these girl’s bodies for sex…

  23. So would the affiliate networks be the bottom girls? Historically bottom girls were just under the pimps. Like office managers. They would keep track of the money, let the pimp know about law enforcement activity, and collect money from the prosititues. So here’s the connection. Affiliate networks have to:

    1. Let us know which campaign ads are “performing”
    2. Update us with our campaign “activity”
    3. Provide us with new and fresh “campaigns”
    3. And most important, make sure we get our money

    What do you guys think since we are on the subject of pimping.

  24. Pimps aren’t the only ones that get 100%! Your average gas station charges $4.00 per gallon, yet the guy that runs the station as an owner operator only gets 5 to 7 cents of that total $4.00, and that’s if he’s lucky!

    The way they figure it, he can make money on the concession items he sells inside, that’s why you pay $2.00 for a .50 cent soda at times!

    So figure, 7 cents on $4 gas is less than 2%.

    Affiliates are well compensated, we all just have to agree NOT to bid over each other on the SERPs when using PPC and we all just might make more per sale…

    PIMP OUT -!

    🙂

  25. So just to keep score – yesterday was a video clip that included brief discussion of midget porn, and today discusses pimps and their application to business. hmmmm…. given the current course, tomorrow could be a shade disturbing!

  26. See! Its posts like these! Plus the scantily clad female . . . um, cartoons . . . is the reason why my wife won’t let me attend these events! 🙁

  27. This was a great attention grabbing article filled with lots of good points. The only part I disagree with is “Pimps have a 100% profit margin.” Pimps have business expenses just like every other business.

  28. Wow, what a great analogy. Pure pimping! I should get Snoop Dogg to read this, Lol! 😉

    This is true and quite inspirational.

  29. Excellent post as always never a disappointment Shoe! Question, since I am reading your blog and have my own blog, would that mean IM out of pocket? LOL

    Keep up the good work or “there will be hell to pay!” LOL :0p

  30. […] What An Internet Marketer Can Learn From a Pimp – Shoemoney Blog […]

  31. What a comparison! But I get the similarities between the two in terms of making your business-or-blog a profitable investment. Got to remember this for my blogs 🙂 Thanks

  32. What a great post. I cracked out öoud when i read through it. Wonderful and soooooo true. Great !! and thanks for sharing that with us.

  33. Hey pimpin ain’t easy! that’s one thing you can count on it takes hard work and persistence and it should be on something you love and enjoy.

  34. If I have all these pimp’s values..i would have been a successful internet marketer in no time! 😛

  35. Funny but true I love it! I will employ several of these concepts on next round of websites.

    Ryan

  36. Great article, I think consistency and be patient are to very important. I receive emails all the time from people looking to start an online business. I start talking to them about affiliate marketing and their comment is “I tried that for a few months and it did not work”. There is money to be made online if you are consistent and have patient.

  37. I genuinely like your post. I found it really usefull. I should visit your internet site again some day.

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