Category Archives: Online Marketing

Why an Engaged Audience Beats PPC or SEO for Affiliate Marketers and How to Get One

Written by: Guest Author, Danny Iny

Affiliate marketing is the ultimate level playing field.

Anyone can get started, and if they’re smart and hard-working, they can be making money in a matter of days.

All you’ve got to do is find a good offer, run some good ads, and watch the traffic convert into sales.

Right?

Well, maybe that used to be true, but it’s not anymore…

The Low Hanging Fruit Is Gone

It was definitely true in the early days of affiliate marketing, for several reasons; first of all, there was a lot less for sale in the online world, which meant that any affiliate marketer had a much larger share of voice just by virtue of being there.

The regulatory environment was also a lot more lenient, which means that it affiliate marketers had a lot more room to maneuver in selling their offers (it’s good that this has changed, otherwise the whole industry would have been in trouble!).

Most importantly, though, there was a lot of low-hanging fruit when it comes to advertising opportunities; keywords and phrases that had a lot of buying intent behind them, but that weren’t very competitive yet, and could be had for mere pennies per click.

And yes – when you can buy high-converting keywords for cheap, it’s hard not to make money.

But times have changed, and you can’t do that nearly as easily as you once could; most of the low hanging fruit has already been pulled off of the online tree, and the affiliate marketing game of finding the next hot opportunity has changed into a different game altogether…

It’s an Optimization Game

Now the game is about optimization – finding an offer that converts, and then optimizing every factor that you can control until you max out your deal value. Here are some of the factors that smart affiliate marketers will do split-testing on:

  • Lead Sources – This is where the leads are coming from in the first place; you’ll find that your Google AdWords traffic converts differently from your SEO traffic, which converts differently from your Facebook ad traffic, and so forth. Not only that, but your cost per lead for each of those lead sources will be different. With enough testing, you can find the lowest cost per conversion.
  • Ad Copy – The actual text of your ads will change both the cost of running the ad, the click-through rates on the ad, and the likelihood of the clicking-through traffic to actually buy whatever product you’re promoting.
  • Landing Pages – The landing page is where the most testing is traditionally done. You can test everything, from your headline, to the page format, to the colors, to the trust seals, to your affiliate disclaimers, to when the buy buttons are presented on the screen – they can all make a difference to your conversion rate, and to your bottom line.
  • Affiliate Offers – Finally, you can try swapping out the actual offer for something different. Maybe your leads are more interested in one brand of affiliate product than another, and maybe the second brand – even though the deal value is lower – will end up delivering more profits by virtue of a higher conversion rate.

When you’ve maximized your conversion rates and deal value, and minimized your cost per sale, you’ve got a smoothly humming affiliate marketing machine. And yes, doing that does take time, money, patience and skill – but once you’ve got it, boy is it a sweet deal!

That is, until Google stops liking you…

Until Google Stops Liking You

The trouble is that most of the major lead sources that most affiliate marketers rely on are owned by bodies like Google, Microsoft, or Facebook.

What does that mean for you?

You can work your way to the top of the affiliate marketing world through diligent split-testing, until you’ve got sales streaming through your marketing system at bullet-speed… until someone’s algorithm changes, and their engine stops liking you.

Then your affiliate business is dead in the water, and you’ve got to start from scratch if you’re lucky, and work your way off of Google’s blacklist if you aren’t.

So what’s an affiliate marketer to do?

The answer lies in the old adage that “the money is in the list,” but with a twist…

The Real Money is in the ENGAGED List

If you have a list of eager buyers, then you don’t have to worry about Google messing with your traffic sources – whatever happens, your followers will continue to follow, as long as you maintain the relationship, and keep on living up to your end of the bargain.

With a list of eager buyers, you don’t have to keep working off of one-off traffic, because you can sell more than one thing to the same person – and research shows that someone who has already bought something is eight times as likely to buy from you again!

You probably agree that a list of eager buyers is a good thing to have… but where can you get such a list?

The answer is that you’ve got to build that list yourself – and for that list to be as eager to buy as you want them to be, they need to be engaged. In other words, you need more than a list – you need an engaged community.

You need an audience.

How to Build an Engaged Audience, from Scratch

Building an engaged audience from scratch is part science, and part art. You don’t have to learn it all through trial and error, because others have already done that, and you can learn from their mistakes, and from their successes.

To get you started, here are three things that you can do to convert your one-off affiliate traffic into a loyal list that will stick with you for the long-haul:

  1. Start blogging and showing your true nature. The days of the anonymous affiliate marketer hiding behind a copied landing page are over; too many people have been burned by false claims, and for your prospects to trust your recommendation, they will have to know who you are. So tell them – start blogging, and give them a reason to keep coming back, so that even if they aren’t ready to buy now, they can start following you, and buy from you in the future.
  2. Create a value-adding auto-responder sequence. People are justifiably careful about who they let into their inbox – so don’t just offer some PLR e-book and start marketing to them non-stop. Instead, give them something that they will get real value out of, and that will demonstrate to them just how trustworthy and credible you are (like we do with our free video course about how to Get More Cash Out of Any Business, Website or Blog).
  3. Offer an incentive to buy through your link. Instead of just recommending your affiliate offer, why not give people an incentive to buy through your link? This is great for improving conversions, but the best part is that it gives you a good reason to keep on interacting with your prospects after they have made the purchase – which means that you retain control of the customer relationship, and you will have the opportunity to sell to them again in the future.

Of course, this is just the start, but if you start with this, you’re already three steps ahead of most affiliate marketers, and that much closer to the pot of gold at the finish line.

Yours Free: Engagement from Scratch!

All of these ideas are expanded with pages upon pages of details and ideas, which I compiled into my new book called Engagement from Scratch! How Super-Community Builders Create a Loyal Audience and How You Can Do the Same!

Today, the book is launching, and I’m very excited to be able to share it with you – for free!

Yep, that’s right – the book is free. You can download the entire book without paying a cent. Just visit the book’s website, click on the download link, and tell me what email address to send it to, and moments later you’ll the full-length PDF waiting for you in your inbox.

Prefer a hard copy? Spend a few extra bucks and get the paperback version so that you can read on the couch or in bed, and write notes in the margins.

About the Author

Danny Iny (@DannyIny) is an author, strategist, serial entrepreneur, expert marketer, and the Freddy Krueger of Blogging. Together with Guy Kawasaki, Brian Clark and Mitch Joel, he wrote the book on how to build an engaged audience from scratch.

Easy Facebook Opt-ins – Push button opt-in wordpress plugin

Hi everyone. I just came across an interesting commercial WordPress plugin called FBSubmitter. FBSubmitter claims to offer a new way for website owners to collect email leads. It connects to Facebook behind the scenes to collect user information automatically, thereby eliminating the need for email forms. That may sound like a sneaky marketing technique, but in actuality its not. Their website describes the product as such:

“The most popular way website owners collect email information, is usually by offering up free information in exchange for the visitor’s name and email address. But with FBSubmitter, you still offer up valuable information, but instead of filling out a form, the visitor merely has to click a button that automatically collects their info from Facebook behind the scenes”

So it’s a way to streamline and make the opt-in process quicker and less of a “hassle” for your website visitors. Trust me, anything you can do to make it easier and quicker for people is worth trying and using.

I am thinking of implementing this plugin myself. If you’re curious to find out more about this interesting WordPress plugin hop on over to the FBSubmitter website.

Let me know what you folks think about it if you do decide to use it.

Cheers,
Alan

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To Your Success!

Tips to Becoming a Successful Internet Marketer

Written by: Guest Author, Nikki Young

The majority of people that start down the enticing road of Internet marketing give up soon after their first promotion. An extraordinary amount of effort for little profit sees many retire from the game almost immediately. Both affiliate marketing and online product marketing may first appear as easy ways to make money, but people soon realize that the web is not an easily tapped goldmine. Internet marketing requires commitment and hard work and can quickly become overwhelming.

The marketing processes involved span way beyond creating a web page or writing an eBook. As a vendor there are a broad range of marketing methods that can be followed, with few of them ever resulting in success. And as an affiliate, even the seemingly basic sifting through of products you might potentially choose to promote, presents a challenging task. From building a list of potential customers that trust your word, to launching a new product to market, being diligent enough to understand the multiple disciplines of online marketing is the downfall of many. However, for those with the staying power, Internet marketing is a great way to establish a lucrative online business.

For those of you just getting started with Internet marketing you will no doubt hear the following phrase many more times, and if you’ve been Internet marketing for some time you are about to hear it again: testing is critical! Internet marketers say this all the time because there are so many different marketing mediums available to be utilized in the marketing process, that it can be quite tempting to flitter back and forth trying out each one in part. Once a person doesn’t experience instant success with one, they tend to quickly switch to a new strategy, and then to another, and so on. The problem with doing this is that it means not fully realizing the potential of each marketing method. By constantly switching between strategies you aren’t giving one particular strategy a chance to flourish. Therefore it is vitally important that you test, test, and test some more with each process, strategy and theory, so you can rule out what doesn’t work and rule in what does.

By doing this you will be able to select the most valuable parts of each strategy and start to build a bulletproof strategy of your own. It is important to recognize early on is that there is no “one size fits all” in Internet marketing, and that the same strategies don’t work for every niche, or even necessarily in the same niche. What works for you might not work for someone else, and vice versa. So decipher what works for you through a continual process of trial and error. Develop a system of your own. It will take some time but will be well worth it in the end. And who knows, one day you might be able to sell your system online as a top-selling product!

Trying multiple marketing methods and only putting limited input into each will only bring frustration. Instead, focus all your energy on one or two marketing approaches. Master them and make sure you have exhausted their capabilities before moving on or adding a new approach to your armory. Don’t keep dipping your fingers in and out of a bucketful of ideas hoping that one will suddenly come to fruition.

Think long-term not short-term. Invest wisely in the short term in order to make money in the long term. And by this I mean investing in the help of some educational programs/books and the advice and help of mentor(s) to help you learn faster and get to your destination of success quicker. If you can master one or two approaches, you will be well on your way toward a successful business. If you learn only parts of a number of different strategies you will remain a “jack of all trades but master of none.”

Internet marketing can take its toll on you psychologically, especially when you have tried out a variety of marketing methods, invested financially and put in a lot of time and effort for little or no reward. But this psychological battle presents a critical stage in your development and success. This is the very point at which many who made it past the first promotion and into further learning stages give up. A knack for perseverance is so very important in Internet marketing and indeed in starting any business. Don’t give up at the third hurdle. Stick by your guns and persevere with strategies that feel comfortable and complement your strengths and ability.

Four Solid Bits of Advice to Help You Succeed in Internet Marketing

Advice #1: Find a Mentor
Whether in business, self-development or Internet marketing, growth can be rapidly moved forward by finding a mentor. Mentoring helps you develop at a faster rate, helping you learn faster, develop skills more adeptly and avoid making the same mistakes over and over again. A mentor, like a good teacher, will help you understand exactly what you need to learn, how to learn it and the best time for you to execute the knowledge.

I seek mentors in my life because I know it’s the fastest way to learn. Not only has mentoring helped me to get to where I am today in Internet marketing, but it also continues to be very important to me in other areas of my life. By having a mentor for each important aspect of my self-development, I learn faster and succeed faster. Since starting out on my own journey as an Internet marketer I myself have become a mentor to others. It has truly been a pleasure watching those I have helped grow from online newbie to successful online entrepreneur.

Advice #2: Don’t Work on too Many Projects at Once by Yourself
A huge mistake beginners make is thinking they need to do everything alone. Focus your energy on the most vital areas of your business; the areas that encourage growth and will help you reach your goals faster. If you work on too many projects at once you will find your progress is slow and hindered by many barriers. You can’t be an expert in every discipline, so outsource work where you can. Set aside a budget for delegating work to third parties that prevent you from paying attention to more important areas of your business. Taking on more and more work yourself will see you bogged down unnecessarily in tasks that will significantly slow your progress. Outsourcing will also allow you to have more valuable time away from your computer.

Advice #3: Utilize Free Resources
When a person first decides to get involved with Internet marketing, he or she will be exposed to numerous different online money making products. These products appear as very attractive prospects, and it isn’t uncommon for people to get excited and buy into multiple products in a short space of time. The truth is, almost every marketing method you will read about is potentially a profitable one, but mastering one takes considerable time. Don’t splash out on multiple expensive products. Instead, choose one or two referred to you by your mentor(s). Learn them and utilize them to their full potential before moving onto another area.

In addition to this, make use of as much free information as you can. There is a huge amount of great reference material online that can be found in books, eBooks, video and on blogs. It is often difficult to sift through conflicting information and ideas online, but again, ask your mentor and trusted associates for help in directing you toward informative blogs, forums and other reliable free resources.

Advice #4 Maintain Persistence
You never know when the breakthrough will come, it could be next week, it might even be tomorrow, or it could take six more months. If things are getting on top of you then take a step back from your business and re-think your strategy. Ask yourself, “Am I focusing my energy, time and investment on areas conducive to leading me to my goal?” “Are there things I am avoiding, ignoring or only doing half heartedly that could better position me for success?”

Your success in business is dependent on your mental attitude, your strategy and your devotion to learning and developing yourself on a daily basis. Commit to your goal of becoming a successful Internet marketer and be persistent in your endeavours. Take these words of advice into consideration and go for it. I hope that they help you to become successful in your online venture.

About the Author
Nikki Young has been active in Internet Marketing for 4 years. During this time she has built up a successful online business, which includes the selling of her cookbook series within ClickBank. www.paleocookbook.com.

How to Open the Door to a Second Wave of Sales

Click. Creeeaaak!

That’s the sound of a subscriber opening your last marketing email – and opening a mental door to more information on that particular subject.

Then there’s that other sound: the silence. That’s a subscriber who didn’t open their door this time.

In one scenario, you got to share some information. In the other, you didn’t. But in both, you’re still standing on the doorstep. So what to do next?

Make the Most of Your Doorstep Status

In either case, if you shrug and walk away, you’ve given up. Stick around and follow up. Sending a second email based on who opened and who didn’t can prompt a second wave of purchases.

This is called behavioral targeting: responding to subscribers’ behavior to get more response from the list and promotions you already have in place. It’s so effective, 71% of our customers report that they plan to do more of it in upcoming months.

And it’s easy as 1-2-3 clicks. AWeber’s new QuickStats show you just who did and didn’t open each email. Follow up with each group with the steps outlined here.

Don’t Just Stand There – Go In!

Your marketing emails probably cover a myriad of topics. For example, if you own a restaurant, you might promote your menu, your wine selection and your catering service.

When you see people consistently open messages about one of these things, you’ve found your niche for that particular topic. Follow up with them!

Opens shown in QuickStats

  • If they’ve shown interest in a product you’re advertising, put together a compelling reason to purchase with a call to take the next step.
  • If they usually open the emails you send about a particular topic, go more in-depth. Provide helpful details, tell background stories.
  • Explain where you hope to take things, and ask questions. These are your interested customers. These are the people who know most about the topic and will have the most helpful feedback to give.

How to Knock at the Unopened Doors

Sometimes, it’s not anything you did. Your readers are swamped with work or on vacation or their lives have changed and they’re no longer interested.

And sometimes they just aren’t gripped by what they see in the inbox.

Unopens shown in QuickStats

So try again. Let a little time go by to make sure you aren’t sending into the same circumstances. Then change the way you present the content and resend it to just the people who didn’t open it.

Here are some suggestions for changing the presentation:

  • If your email is a newsletter that covers several topics, the one your subject line mentioned the first time might not be the most interesting to your readers. Choose a different subject as the primary content and change your subject line accordingly.
  • If your email covers just one topic, try changing the subject line. Think about what problem or question someone might have that your email answers, and highlight that.

If Knocking Doesn’t Work, Ring the Doorbell

You might notice that some of your subscribers haven’t opened a message in a long time. These are fatigued subscribers. They’ve checked out, but they haven’t left the building yet.

Ask them to stay by sending them emails designed for reactivation.

Knocking Around the Block

There are also messages you could send to follow up with subscribers who clicked (or didn’t click) on your links and who purchased (or didn’t purchase) from your emails. We’ll be talking about those in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open!

Do you send messages to subscribers based on whether or not they opened previous emails? What do you send them?

Posted by Amanda Gagnon

Aweber Guest Blogger