Penny stock trader Timothy Sykes has developed a multi-million dollar information product business online.
His website timothysykes.com, along with his social media channels, is a well-oiled marketing machine. Together, these digital assets owned by Sykes attract millions of users per month and amount to over $20 million in annual revenue.
Sykes is a very smart marketer and there is a lot to learn from his marketing strategies. The more I analyzed his website and other online properties, the more impressed I was by how sophisticated his digital marketing is.
His website attracts thousands of visitors each month through SEO, he has built a huge social media following and he’s doing many things right in the online advertising space as well.
If you want to learn how to build a highly profitable online information product business you will learn a lot from this analysis of Timothy Sykes’ marketing strategy. And many of these concepts can be applied to any existing business that has an online presence.
In this case study, I will cover…
- Who is Tim Sykes – Is he a scam artist?
- His highest traffic blog posts and why they get so much traffic
- His other sources of traffic including Instagram and YouTube
- How he monetizes his audience
- Persuasion tricks used to increase sales
Who Is Timothy Sykes? Is He Legit?
Timothy Sykes is an American entrepreneur who runs multiple websites related to stock trading. He generates income through the stock trading programs sold on his websites, book sales and also penny stock trading.
In 2021, his net worth is estimated to be $17 million.
You will find mixed reviews online about Sykes’ courses and programs. Many reviews, including those on Trust Pilot say he is a scam artist. But you will also find a lot of people, including on Reddit, defending Sykes and his teaching.
Sykes has been featured in Forbes and on the Steve Harvey show. He has also been a guest on many podcasts, including The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes and London Real with Brian Rose.
Timothyskyes.com Organic Traffic
The domain name timothysykes.com was first registered in 2007 by Skyes’ company Millionaire Media LLC.
SEM Rush traffic data won’t allow us to go right back to 2007. But we can see in January 2012, the site was generating roughly 18,897 monthly visitors from organic traffic. This has since grown to over 194,000 monthly visitors in March 2021.
The website has seen a big surge in traffic in the past 12 months. Going from 92,381 monthly organic visitors in September 2020 to 190,000+ in March 2021.
Organic search engine traffic is the largest source of traffic to the website. According to Alexa data, 51% of traffic is organic.
The site ranks for over 78,000 keywords worldwide and the US is the number one traffic source, with 71% of organic visitors being from the US. While the United States brings the bulk of Sykes’ traffic, he also receives significant traffic from India, Canada and the UK.
*It should be noted that the true organic numbers are likely higher than those in this post. These numbers are from SEM Rush, who tend to underestimate organic traffic numbers. A 2016 study from Screaming Frog found SEM Rush were underestimating traffic numbers by 42%.However, accuracy has likely improved since then. SEM Rush did announce in November 2020 that they had improved the accuracy of their traffic analytics.
Top Traffic Pages
Timothy Skyes’ highest organic traffic page is his home page, which represents over 20% organic traffic.
This is simply because over 33,000 people per month are searching the keyword ‘Timothy Sykes’ in Google and his home page is the number one result. But since most of us don’t have 33k people searching our names in Google every month, we’ll focus on the non-brand pages drawing the most search traffic.
Top Penny Stocks To Watch
With over 18k monthly organic visitors in the US, this post titled Top Penny Stocks to Watch is Sykes top performing blog post in the US.
In this post, Sykes provides his top 5 recommendations for penny stocks to watch, which appears to be updated each month. He also provides general information on penny stocks and this information appears to be mostly the same each month.
This one post accounts for over 13% of Sykes’ monthly organic traffic and ranks for over 2100 keywords in the US. The post has been able to generate such high levels of traffic by ranking on page one for some very high volume keywords.
As of March 2021, the post in ranking…
- 4th position for ‘penny stocks to watch’ (27,100 monthly searches)
- 10th position for ‘penny stocks to buy’ (49,500 monthly searches)
- 5th position for ‘stocks to watch’ (22,200 monthly searches)
It looks like the post was first published in mid-2019 and since then Sykes has updated the post title each month, (eg. ‘Top Penny Stocks to Watch For April 2021‘).
Currently in March 2021, the post sits at 2749 words. Interestingly, this is actually a reduction in word count compared to one of the earlier editions of the post.
Wayback Machine allows us to go back to the post in December 2019, when it had a total of 3150 words.
What’s interesting is the post has recorded a huge increase in traffic since September 2020. September organic traffic in the US was only 2464.
By December, organic traffic had increased to 14,569 and in March 2021 it’s estimated to be 18,436.
The number of keywords that Sykes is ranking for hasn’t increased dramatically during this time. In September, the post ranked for 2588 keywords and it is now ranking for 3394. But his positions during this time have improved a lot.
In September, the post ranked in the top 3 results for just 33 keywords. Now in March 2021, the post ranks top 3 for 142 keywords.
So what lead to the huge spike in traffic?
It’s difficult to tell. There were no major updates to the content. It wasn’t an increase in backlinks. In fact, total backlinks actually decreased by 29%. Although referring domains did increase by 3%.
Stock Trading Terms Every Trader Needs To Know
This post titled ‘37 Stock Trading Terms Every Trader Needs To Know‘ is currently the second highest organic traffic post on Sykes’ website.
It’s estimated that this post brings in over 4400 monthly users in the US from search traffic. It currently ranks for 782 keywords in the US, including #1 for ‘stock market terms.’
This post was first published in mid 2017 and it’s traffic has consistently grown since then. The post currently contains 2699 words.
Among the 782 keywords this post ranks for, it’s currently ranking number one for keywords including:
- Stock market terms – 1900 monthly searches
2. Stock terms – 1600 monthly searches
3. Stock terminology – 720 monthly searches
For the keyword ‘stock market terms’ Sykes currently outranks other websites like Investopedia, NASDAQ, marketbeat.com and Wikipedia. This is particularly impressive considering Investopedia has a domain authority of 92 (according to Moz) and NASDAQ, a domain authority of 89.
The Investopedia article not only has higher domain authority but it also has far more backlinks than Sykes’ article and a slightly higher word count.
It’s likely that the Tim Sykes article ranks higher because the Google algorithm views his post as more relevant to this particular search term. The post title for Sykes’ article does more closely match the search keyword and the Investopia article doesn’t define various stock market terms as the Sykes post does.
The Market Beat article ‘225 Stock Trading Terms‘ on the other hand, does match the Sykes article for relevancy. You could say it’s even more relevant to the searcher, as it includes more terms than the Sykes article (225 vs 37).
Market Beat’s article also has a higher wordcount (7712 words vs 2699). However, Sykes post wins on backlink count (1000 vs 789).
This shows the importance of writing content that is highly relevant to the search keywords you want to rank for. But you can also see the importance of building backlinks when trying to rank for highly competitive keywords like this one.
Other Website Traffic Sources
Search engines are the number one source of traffic to Timothy Sykes’ website. According to Alexa.com, 53% of traffic originates from search.
But what other platforms is Sykes using to bring traffic to the website?
Sykes launched profit.ly in 2011, a platform for traders to connect with each other and post their trades on the website. Traders including Steven Dux and Tim Grittani use the Profit.ly website to record their trades.
This website attracts over 130,000 unique monthly visitors according to SEM Rush. And over 600,000 total monthly visits.
With links back to the Timothy Sykes website, Profitly is a key source of traffic. According to Alexa.com data, 6.85% of users go to timothysykes.com after Profitly.
If Profitly is attracting 617,600 visits per month and 6.85% are going to timothysykes.com after, that would mean Profitly is responsible for over 42,000 monthly visits to the Tim Sykes website.
Timothy Sykes YouTube channel currently has over 441k subscribers in March 2021. According to Alexa.com, 5.41% of timothysykes.com website visitors have come from YouTube.
Some of his videos now have over 1 million views, including his interview with Steven Dux. Each video contains links back to timothysykes.com in the video description.
Sykes uploads videos regularly to the YouTube channel and generally posts long form content, ranging from 7-30 minutes.
To maximize clicks on his videos, Sykes uses bold video thumbnails with large text and bright colors. He also uses clever (often click-bait style) video titles to attract interest. Sykes regularly uses ‘how to’ style headlines, which tend to attract a lot of clicks.
Social Media Channels
In March 2021, Sykes currently has over 550k followers on his official Facebook page and 1.5 million followers on his Instagram page.
On Facebook, Sykes often posts multiple times per day. Many of these posts will be links to his blog posts, which helps drive traffic back to the website. He also posts regular video content, often attracting 10,000 – 20,000 views.
As with his YouTube channel, a lot of the videos will include successful students, which acts as a testimonial for his products.
He uses Instagram to post photos and stories of his lifestyle, including travels throughout the world and luxury cars. Sykes also posts a lot of content related to charitable causes he supports.
Sykes is currently running ads through Facebook and Google display ads to drive traffic to his websites.
Many of these ads are promoting a free copy of his book An American Hedge Fund. These ads lead users to a landing page where they can enter their email to receive a digital copy of the book.
This offer funnels users into the Millionaire Challenge, once they have submitted their email address. A similar strategy to that used by Russell Brunson, which I discuss in further detail in this article.
Some of his other ads lead directly to the Millionaire Challenge landing page and he also has ads promoting his Weekly Stocks Watchlist. If you visit one of the offer pages on his website, you’ll likely see his remarketing ads across Facebook and Instagram as well.
Skyes is also running banner and search ads through the Google advertising network. As with the Facebook ads, many of his banner ads are promoting his free book offer. While others like the one below are directly promoting the Millionaire Challenge.
His Google search ads appear to target mostly brand related keywords such as ‘Timothy Sykes net worth’ ‘tim sykes course’ and ‘tim sykes penny stocks.’
How Does Timothy Sykes Monetize His Audience?
Most of Sykes’ revenue is generated through his courses and teaching products.
In a 2012 interview with Mixergy, Sykes claimed to be generating $3.5 million per year. At that time, his website was drawing less than 10,000 monthly organic visitors according to SEM Rush.
Later in 2015, Skyes claimed to be generating $20 million in revenue per year in an interview with Nathan Latka of the Top Entrepreneurs podcast. By this time, timothysykes.com was attracting over 55,000 monthly organic visitors.
Considering his website traffic has grown a lot since 2015, his annual revenue is likely to be much higher than $20 million by now.
Sykes offers three products on his website: The Millionaire Trading Challenge, Tim Alerts and Pennystocking Silver.
We can see from Wayback Machine that Skyes was offering the same three products on his website even back in 2011. The only thing that has changed is the price. With Pennystocking Silver increasing from $99.95 per month to $149.95 per month. And Tim Alerts increasing from $49.95 per month to $74.95 per month.
The millionaire challenge is sold for $6000 and he offers another program called Market Prep, which is not advertised on the website. Market Prep is offered for $1600.
Aside from his courses and programs, timothysykes.com also generates some revenue through affiliate marketing. Although, affiliate marketing is a very small part of his monetization strategy. Skyes doesn’t use any banner ads on the website to generate extra revenue either.
Timothy Sykes Marketing and Persuasion Tactics
As with most well known gurus selling information products online, Sykes uses various tactics and strategies to persuade his audience to buy his products.
These tactics which are commonly used in sales and marketing are based on principles of human psychology. In this section, I discuss some of the main tactics used by Sykes throughout his website and other marketing materials.
This is one of the most commonly used tactics in marketing psychology, particularly in the information product space.
People are more likely to trust someone they view as an authority. And if they trust someone, they are more likely to buy from that person.
There are many ways of establishing yourself as an authority. One of which is to associate yourself with others who are already seen as an authority. This is often referred to as authority by association.
Sykes leverages his appearance on the Steve Harvey show to develop his authority. By associating himself with the television presenter, some of Steve Harvey’s credibility carries over to Sykes.
Tim Sykes is well aware of this and used it to his advantage. He runs ads on Facebook, as pictured above, with a video of his appearance on the Steve Harvey show. And as part of the application process for his Millionaire Challenge, he asks students to watch the Steve Harvey interview as a homework task.
The Steve Harvey interview is even featured at the top of the home page on timothysykes.com. In fact, Sykes’ full home page serves as an authority builder…
Below the Harvey interview video, you will find this section showcasing media organizations that Sykes has been featured in. As well as video interviews on Fox News.
All of this helps to establish Skyes as an authority in the industry to his audience. It sets him apart from the many other day trading teachers online who do not have this perception of authority.
Instant Gratification & Foot In The Door Technique
If you register for Sykes’ Millionaire Trading Challenge, you’ll receive an email telling you there is an application process for the challenge. You’re told his team will call you for an interview as part of the process but that will take 7-10 days.
Sykes knows that people don’t like to wait. In 2021, people are used to having instant access to everything.
If you want to be entertained, you have instant access to millions of videos and movies through YouTube and Netflix. Companies like Amazon now offer same day deliveries because people want their goods now.
This is known as instant gratification.
Knowing that many potential students won’t want to wait 7-10 days for their interview, Sykes offers them an option.
For $197, users can join a VIP List which allows them to skip the queue and be contacted within 24 hours. By joining the VIP list, you also get instant access to some training materials.
BTW, the wait to be interviewed by his team is not really 7-10 days if you don’t join the VIP List. I went through the application process myself and it was about 3 days from the time I submitted an application to the time I was contacted by Sykes’ team.
Many users will take up the $197 VIP offer because they don’t want to wait. They want to get started as soon as possible.
This strategy also leverages the foot in the door technique. The foot in the door technique is employed by making a small request, followed by a larger one.
People are more likely to agree to the larger request when they have already said yes to a smaller request. Once someone has paid $197 to join the VIP list, they will be more likely to sign up for the Millionaire Challenge, which is priced around $6000.
Commitment and Consistency Bias
Commitment and consistency bias is a tendency people have to act in a way that is consistent with previous actions they have taken.
Following on from the previous example of the VIP List, Sykes also uses this to activate commitment and consistency bias.
On the landing page for his VIP Quick Start offer, Sykes emphasizes that this offer is only for those who are motivated.
In the headline on this page, Sykes asks the question ‘are you one of those people who loves to get a jump ahead of the pack?‘
And in the video on this page, Sykes tells the view ‘if you are serious about your education, I encourage you to start learning right now.‘
By registering for the $197 Quick Start VIP Offer, the customer is signaling that they are motivated, serious about their education and someone who wants to get ahead.
Now, when they are faced with the decision to purchase the full $6000 Millionaire Challenge (or the lower priced market prep program), it would be inconsistent for them to say no. It follows that someone who is motivated and serious about their education would take the next step and enter the Millionaire Challenge.
Obviously someone could still say no to the Millionaire Challenge even after purchasing the VIP offer. But because that would be inconsistent with the action they have already taken, it’s much more difficult for them to say no.
Sykes has impressive marketing systems in place to attract attention, bring traffic to his website and generate leads. This is why the his timothysykes.com has developed into a multi million dollar information product business.
Even aside from what’s been covered in this post, Sykes is doing many other things very well to ultimately bring more students into his programs.
If you’re in the information product business, think about how you could apply some of these lessons from Sykes. Even if you’re in an entirely different industry, look at what Sykes is doing and think about how it could be applied in your industry.
I haven’t gone through any of Sykes’ courses or programs, so I can’t comment on the quality of them. Check the reviews online if you’re considering joining one of his programs.
It’s well worth taking some time to analyze Sykes’ marketing yourself. Use a tool like SEM Rush or Ubersuggest to get SEO ideas from his website. Look at his social media accounts, his paid ads, the language he uses in his copy and his videos. You will learn a lot.