Here’s a look at my interpretation of how one of the biggest names on the Internet went from practically unknown, to selling out areanas around the world, and what youu can learn from him.
When it comes to conspiracy theorists, David Icke is arguably the biggest name on the planet.
You’ve probably heard of him.
Chances are you or somebody you know really digs his stuff.
The guy travels the world selling out arenas wherever he goes, his books top the best-seller lists and his website receives millions of hits every month.
He’s THE rock star of the conspiracy world and love him or hate him, he has the kind of following that most infopreneurs can only dream about.
But things weren’t always like this.
There was a period, a long time ago, that his business was on shaky ground. And being the Internet-savvy kinda guy that I am, combined with my anti-establishment leanings, I found myself working with David Icke.
I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in the unusual position of witnessing someone I respect climb out of obscurity and actually catapult themselves to the forefront of a thriving global movement.
It’s not too often that we get to see something like that happen right in front of our eyes. We only notice it that after it happens.
David Icke isn’t the only conspiracy theorist that I’ve worked with but he is the most recognised, in my opinion.
Freedom And Independence
His achievement would be the ideal outcome for many people reading this; bloggers, online teachers and product creators – anybody who sells information.
So it doesn’t really matter what you niche you’re in, there are valuable lessons to be learnt here.
The whole purpose of Profit Copilot is to help people like you become more independent, gain more freedom, and become less reliant on corporations. So I find inspiration wherever it appears, and share it on here with you guys.
And those values I mentioned, independence and freedom, well they also just happen to be the same values that are held by the international movement that David Icke helped to build and shape, albeit viewed through a different lens.
So in a way, this post has been 15 years in the making and I wrote it to reveal how David Icke’s achievements can be a source of inspiration for you – and so I can run you through each of the components, from a marketing point of view, that enabled him to earn a place on the global stage.
Marketing vs Activism?
It was around 15 years ago when I first began to see marketing and activism as essentially the same thing; drawing attention to a solution.
I experienced the weird relationship between marketing and activism firsthand when I was approached by a marketing team involved with a film called ‘What The Bleep’. I now realise they had probably been inspired by Jay Conrad Levinson’s seminal book ‘Guerrilla Marketing’.
You see, they were sending boxes full of glossy posters to activists and asking them to distribute them – an attempt to create buzz for the film. This was the first time I realised activism is effectively a form of marketing, and vice versa.
It suddenly gave me the permission I needed to reach out to other people and aggressively promote the things that I believed in. Because it wasn’t JUST for my benefit – it was for their benefit too, I felt like I had a higher purpose. Drawing attention to laws that limit our freedom and invade our privacy under the guise of national security wouldn’t be just for my benefit anymore, it’d be for everybody else’s too. It was a game changer for me.
Even though I’d been creating brochure websites, banner ads, writing ad copy and running search engine optimisation campaigns for companies since my late teens, I’d never thought about combining technological and psychological marketing techniques for use OUTSIDE of the corporate world.
Once the penny dropped, the amount of time I spent with activist groups swelled, allowing a symbiotic relationship to develop between them and my own business. And that still stands today.
Building the business in this way actually resulted in a couple of cool things happening to me. The first; my own TV show, which sounds more impressive than it really is. But the second thing is what really matters – gaining lifelong friends in an industry that remains close to my heart.
When you clearly show your values, you become magnetic to the people who share those same values. Win-win.
But all this required me to step out of my comfort zone, you’re probably going to have to step out of yours from time to time.
For me it’s being being the centre of attention, I’m deeply uncomfortable with it – I’m much happier working behind the scenes and it’s a weird feeling when somebody you don’t know walks up to you and recognises you. Being the introvert that I am, I quickly discovered that the limelight isn’t my thing. So the occasional YouTube video or blog post is where I’m happiest. I only step into the spotlight when I need to say something that I feel is important or need to share something that I think will benefit others, and the more I think about digital marketing the more I have to share.
But way before that TV stuff happened, back in the early 2000’s as I was slowly building my business, David Icke knew of my website and he asked me to help him with his. I agreed – but not because we shared the same beliefs but because we shared the same enemies.
Shared enemies are important when it comes to establishing trust. I’ve written about this before; there are three main types of groups that marketers can use to influence consumer behaviour, and one of them is a dissociative group – a group that we DON’T want to associate with.
What are my enemies in the marketing world? Well, hype, and get rich quick or biz-op schemes.
Freebie seekers, serial refunders and the lazy all belong to another one of my dissociative groups. For one, they all make lousy customers and are generally unsuccessful. As an online teacher I want my students to be successful, not only for themselves but also for the word of mouth it might generate. It’s my experience that freebie seekers, serial refunders and lazy people don’t achieve much in life, so I don’t want them as students.
So looking at the groups I’ve mentioned and boiling it down to its bare bones, the ‘something for nothing’ mentality is my enemy; it tells people they don’t have to work for things, that they’re entitled to the same as you and I are without the effort, that they don’t have to contribute or pull their weight, and that somebody else will provide for them.
It’s not individuals I have a problem with, but the belief and mentality.
Who was the common enemy that myself and David Icke shared? The military-industrial complex, political corruption, and a scandalous economic system.
These also happen to be the things that David’s followers are against, and by opposing them he grows closer to his core audience.
To make this work for you, make a list of all the things about your niche that annoy you. Then make a list of the things that people in your niche complain about. When you find the same thing mentioned on both lists, then you’ve found your common enemy.
I’m gonna bet that you already know that you can’t fake this stuff, not that you’d want to. But you’ve seen the same sleazeballs that I have and the extremes they go to, to make a sale. Remember the Rich Jerk? Kelly Felix created a parody and he’s a friggin’ genius for it, but some self-proclaimed ‘Internet marketers’ must have figured that his videos were sales instructional manuals.
I’ll save my rant about ‘Internet marketers’ for another time, and why I’ve decided to stop dealing with them.
But for now, if you want to build a following of any kind you have to be real. Over the years some naysayers have speculated that David Icke is running some kind of nefarious scheme to “cash in” on all things conspiracy.
That is absolutely preposterous. But hold up a second, when people start bitching about you it’s actually a good sign. It’s a side effect of having a following. The bigger you get, the more haters you get.
Anyway, there was a time when David faced serious financial troubles – he’s spoken about this in a number of interviews, and it would have been easy for him to give up. It might even have been the most sensible thing to do at the time. But obviously that would have gone against his true calling.
So, at every step of the way, he communicated openly and honestly with his audience, no matter how small that audience was at the time. And he stood up for what he believed in and he faced the storm.
And here’s the real clincher; it’s apparent that he also believed in himself.
That’s what true authenticity is; knowing you’re doing the right thing – BECAUSE it’s the right thing to do.
When we stop focusing inwards, stop focusing on our minor problems, and go beyond our selfish concerns and start sharing our knowledge for the benefit of other people, that’s authenticity – finding our calling, and following through with it even when times are hard. Of course, we all gotta eat and you have to make sure that you’re compensated for your time and your knowledge, but find a reason to do it that isn’t about the money.
So, how do you find your calling? How do you become authentic? That question is an oxymoron, if ever I saw one.
Some people will tell you to find your passion, and pursue that. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s the right approach for everyone.There are some hobbies and passions that will never give you freedom and security, no matter how big your following or email list. If you can monetize your passion then you’re in a great position, but it’s not the only approach.
Niche research is your friend. I’ll talk more about niches in a couple of minutes.
Even if you can’t think of any passions to get started with, as I’ve personally discovered over the years you can become just as passionate about running a business. And that’s a good starting point.
I’m not talking about logos here. I’m talking about complete brand image. From top to bottom, the message has gotta be clear and concise.
Straight away, you know what David Icke is all about, why it’s important and why you should listen to him. He has a mission and it’s bold, it’s loud and it’s in your face. If you’re a fan of David, then you’ll likely perceive him as representing absolute honesty, in a battle of good vs evil.
So what can you learn from this?
Look at the entry point into your funnel – and look at every stage onwards, every email campaign, sales page, every stick page for every product.
Boil it all down to the core message of everything you’re creating. Find that one meaningful reason, and you’ll find the reason for your content to exist.
That’s your message.
For me, my core message is that solopreneurs can become financially independent if they’re willing to do the work.
Storytelling is important in marketing.
Humans learn through stories, it’s hardwired into us. We understand them, learn from them, and we automatically share and repeat stories we hear. And our survival has depended on it for thousands of years.
If you want to see master a storyteller in action go ahead and listen to almost any David Icke interview.
His remarkable true story takes us on a ride that’s filled with tension, drama, highs and lows. It’s compelling and irresistible in equal measure.
By revealing his vulnerabilities it immediately makes him relatable and likeable. He begins with a journey of ‘loss and redemption’, and escalates to an ‘us vs them’ storyline.
The thing is, we all have these stories to share. You have a history and a background that’s FILLED with parables. Yet most people don’t give these a second thought. Think about a time when somebody helped you to solve a problem, or a time when somebody that gave you life-changing advice.
You probably have plenty to choose from.
To people like you and me, this stuff is gold and it helps us to convey our message in a meaningful and entertaining way.
Think about how these events relate to your niche, and what your audience can learn from them.
David Icke’s message is clear and it’s also consistent. In fact, almost EVERYTHING about his brand is just that; clear and consistent.
His website is updated everyday like clockwork, his social media accounts follow suit, and his video casts are recorded every week without fail. David is consistent, literally right down to the number of dots he uses on his ellipsis.
This takes dedication. Thankfully he is now in a position to pass a lot of the work onto others, while he focuses on producing high value content for his audience.
So, are you being consistent? Sure, you might publish every week and stick to whatever schedule you’ve set. But it’s more than that; think about the QUALITY of your output.
How well researched is it? Are you using your unique voice, or are you constantly outsourcing it to different people?
Are you being consistent with your time? Or do you have periods where you slack off because you’re not feeling ‘motivated’? It takes discipline.
For me personally when it comes to Profit Copilot, being consistent means that outsourcing ANY of the content is totally unacceptable. From my blog posts to my products, I won’t hire anybody else to create content here.
I can’t tell you how many times somebody has asked me to joint venture with them, only to suggest that we hire somebody else to create the content or worse, use PLR. There’s nothing wrong with businesses that use those practices, it’s often a smart thing to do but that’s not the brand I’m trying to build; it wouldn’t be consistent for me to engage with that stuff.
This one is a biggie. You’ve probably heard me talk about the importance of finding the right niche, it’s something I try to make sure all my students fully understand.
So here’s something else to think about. Along with all the wonderful keyword research that goes into finding the perfect niche, there’s actually a second approach that you might not be familiar with.
This is far more difficult, and I’m positive that David Icke didn’t intentionally set out to carve out a path in this way.
Look at the information David publishes. You might not be familiar with his work so let me fill you in. There are two enormous markets out there; the conspiracy industry and the New Age industry.
David speaks to both these markets, but not exclusively.
In fact, I wasn’t involved with conspiracy circles when I first became aware of David Icke, it was through some of my New Age friends. And while he now dominates the conspiracy market, he still has a strong foothold in the New Age movement too because that’s where he started.
As the diagram here shows, a portion of the conspiracy industry has a leaning towards New Age beliefs, and a portion of the New Age movement has a leaning towards conspiracy theories.
What David Icke has done, I believe unintentionally, was to effectively overlap two seemingly unrelated niches and position himself directly in front of the people in the middle.
He acts as a bridge between both niches. Smart, right?
So how can you use this to your advantage? Well the cool thing is, you can apply this approach to almost any niche you can think of.
Ok, you CAN go looking for two separate niches and HOPE there’s fertile middle ground that hasn’t been discovered yet, but there’s too much uncertainty in that approach.
Instead of overlapping two unrelated niches, how about we fold our current niche in half, and just target those people? That means we’re also cutting the amount of competition in half. And what if we fold it again?
What’s happening here is; we’re drilling down and segmenting the audience.
The easiest way to do is it by gender. Then you’d be smart to slice it again, because there’s so much competition out there in every niche. If you go two or three levels deep, you’re speaking to very focused people with a particular problem they need to solve and cutting out most of the competition in the process.
David uses a wide range of sales channels, probably more than most.
We don’t need to apply all these sales channels because choosing just one of these can give you great results when you do it the right way.
When it comes to information products, David Icke knows how to sell.
As I mentioned earlier, David regularly tours the world selling out shows wherever he goes and he delivers absolute value for money – often speaking for more than 6 hours at a time.
This is the equivalent of a seminar, in our little marketing community.
While people can attend his talks in person, David occasionally offers the chance to watch online instead via a live stream webcast.
This allows people all over the world to tune in and watch his live talk.
This is where he started, and it took a long time to gain traction – in fact his material was so controversial that no publisher would touch it, so he self-published.
Today, people like you and me can easily produce and sell ebooks.
Remember those live talks? Guess what happens; some of them are recorded, put onto DVD and sold. It’s a smart thing to do because it maximises the potential returns, in addition to the live stream experience.
In our world we see this happening with physical products and pre-filled USB disks.
David also runs a membership site where you get exclusive content and weekly updates.
This is something we should each be considering for our own business because it can lead to recurring passive income.
Putting It All Together
So that’s about it for the moment, I hope you’ve gained some inspiration from my perspective of David Icke’s approach to marketing and activism.
When you get everything lined up right (but it doesn’t have to be perfect) you’ve got a better-than-average chance of connecting with your core audience in an original and meaningful way, and building a solid business in the process.
– Share common enemies with your audience
– Be real with them, be real with yourself, be authentic
– Know your core message (branding)
– Use genuine life experiences to share knowledge
– Be consistent with the tone and quality of your work
– Split niches two or three levels deep
– Use sales channels that your audience will be comfortable with