Tag Archives: online marketing articles

Three Constants in Affiliate Marketing

Written by: Guest author, Simon Slade

Those of us who have been involved in the affiliate marketing world for a while are all too aware that it is an industry prone to change, and lots of it. A website that makes you money one day, might literally disappear from the search engine rankings overnight, and leave you struggling to find a reason why. The terms of service (TOS) on one of your favorite Web 2.0 sites might change in the blink of an eye, and you suddenly find yourself losing an important traffic or income source. Wouldn’t it be nice just to have some reliable marketing constants for once? Well today, you are going to learn about the three constants in affiliate marketing; these are the things that won’t change any time soon, and they should form the foundations of your affiliate marketing efforts.

1. Content is King

You’ve probably heard this term referred to many times before, without actually paying too much mind to it. However, one of the constants of affiliate marketing is that search engines and readers alike reward quality content. Not only are you going to rank higher in the search engines by creating original, well-researched content that provides value to readers, but you will also build trust. This trust factor will help you to achieve better conversion rates and more sales, since people are far more likely to buy from someone they trust.

Creating quality content IS actually an exact science, and there really isn’t much guesswork involved at all:

  • Find a problem that people in your niche have
  • Research a number of different ways to solve the problem
  • Write it out in a clear and logical fashion
  • Make sure your content contains good grammar and spelling
  • Teach what the headline of your article/content piece promises to teach (this is by far the biggest secret to creating quality content)

Many websites provide free and informative lessons on creating quality content.

2. Keyword Research

I used to have a high school history teacher who swore by what he called the “5 Ps” system – “Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.” Not only was this great advice for passing exams, but it relates directly to affiliate marketing as well. Proper keyword research is going to help you prevent poor performance (i.e. not making any sales).

For as long as people have been searching for information online through search engines, keywords have been relevant. According to Wikipedia, Google receives several hundred million searches per day, and with more people coming online every day, this number is only going to increase. It seems unlikely that search engines are ever going to disappear as one of the cornerstones of the Internet!

Keywords are at the very heart of search engine queries, so it makes sense that keyword research – getting to the bottom of what people are actually looking for – is a constant in affiliate marketing.

Look out for keywords based around the following:

  • Urgency (‘fix bad credit score quickly’)
  • Crisis/desperation (‘how to get ex back’)
  • Product name + review (‘The Truth About Abs review’)
  • How to/learn (‘how to fix a broken Xbox 360’/ ‘learn to fix a broken Xbox 360’)
  • Product type (‘dog training DVDs/eBooks/guides’)

To find keywords you could try the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, or get a free copy of Traffic Travis (a little bit of self-promotion there!).

3. Proven Affiliate Products

The final constant in affiliate marketing is making sure you promote proven products. There is always a massive temptation to jump on board and promote the latest products from the Clickbank Marketplace that promise huge commissions and launches, and then fade to nothingness after a while (leaving you stuck promoting a product that isn’t really going anywhere).

As an affiliate, you want to avoid promoting “fly by night” products if you plan to build a reliable income stream that has good growth potential. Instead, focus most of your energy on promoting products that have been around for a while and have a proven track record.

Our SaleHoo affiliate program, for example, has been running since 2005, and provides plenty of resources for affiliates, with new ones added regularly. Look out for affiliate programs of this nature, which provide consistent support and potential on a going forward basis. Take your time when picking products; research here will save you potential headaches down the track.

Some things to look out for are:

  • How long has the product and affiliate program been around
  • Does it offer free resources to help you, the affiliate, do your job properly
  • How easy is it to get in touch with the product owner/affiliate manager
  • Are customer reviews of the product largely positive (look for unbiased reviews in forums or blogs)
  • Is the product high quality (consider asking for a review copy first)

In conclusion, you can see that there are some constants in affiliate marketing – a world that usually evolves at such a rapid rate it can even give experienced marketers a headache. Quality content, solid keyword research, and promoting proven affiliate products; these are the three “bedrock” constants in affiliate marketing that are unlikely to change any time soon.

About the Author

Simon Slade is the CEO of Affilorama, an affiliate marketing training portal that offers free video training, education, and affiliate tools to both beginning and advanced affiliate marketers.

How to make money from Google+

google plus

Google+ is finding itself in a somewhat disadvantaged position of a latecomer to the social media world. Despite the fact that online marketers are always willing to get their hands on any new technological development that could help them promote a business online, they often make a mistake of trying to use Google+ the same way they would use Facebook or Twitter. While it is similar to the other two in many ways, there are some key differences that you need to consider if you want to turn your Google+ into a powerful online marketing tool. The main strategies and steps for launching your successful Google+ campaign are as follows:

1. Create a Google+ business page

It is common sense: keep your business and personal lives separate. Not only will you avoid the embarrassment of accidentally sharing a personal update with your professional circles, you will also be able to take advantage of multiple Google+ features geared towards a business audience. Ability to create professional circles and virtually meet with customers via Google Hangout are the two most practical features Google+ offers. That being said, your business page does have to be linked to your personal account – you can’t create a standalone page the way you would on Facebook.

2. Expand your circles

This is simple, and very similar to any social media platform you want to use for marketing – you do need to make your content visible to as many people as possible. Work on building your audience prior to overwhelming them with affiliate links and product offers – let your circles get to know your company first. Ability to create multiple circles is a great way to segment your customer base and only share specific content with particular groups, thus minimizing the “spamming” effect.

3. Focus on the quality of your content

This applies to all your online content, but it’s even more important for your Google+ page. Research shows that the average age of Google+ users is higher than that of Facebook users, which indicates that your Google+ audience is probably more mature and won’t necessarily be compelled to buy your product if you post a Tinkerbell picture next to it. Keep your stream updates relevant and to the point.

4. Cross-post content from other sites

If you are running a business, you probably already have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and perhaps a company blog or a YouTube channel. Share the content that you publish on your other sites on Google+ – it will create perception of consistency in your customers’ minds and generate more interest in your Google+ account among users who are already following you on other platforms.

5. Add a +1 button anywhere you can

Encourage people to share your content anywhere on the web with a +1 button. Put the button on all the pages of your website and all the posts that you would want your customers to see and share.

6. Capitalize on the fact that it’s a Google product

As an owner of an online business, you know all about the importance of search engine rankings. You have probably done a good amount of SEO for your website. Google+, being a Google product, makes this a little easier. Each +1 share of your content automatically turns into a backlink to your original post. This feature has been implemented very recently – prior to this update, clicking on shared content would take you to the author’s profile, but not the post. Fortunately, this is no longer the case.

My name is Nisha Sharma. I represent a site called http://www.comparelogbookloans.co.uk. I love to write, especially about travel, finance and offer business advice.

Pitch Page Design Success Using the Block Approach

Written by: Lars Clausen, Guest Author

If you’re a new ClickBank vendor, writing the text for your Pitch Page can be an intimidating task. When you’ve got nothing but a blank page on your screen, it can be tough to know where to start. One technique that I’ve discovered over the years for writing effective Pitch Page copy is what I call the “block approach.”

Basically, it just involves breaking your Pitch Page text and design into separate blocks of content, which you can easily rearrange and edit separately. Block designing gives you layout flexibility, easier editing, and a solution for writer’s block. To successfully create a Pitch Page using blocks, all you need is a clear sense of who your product is intended for (your target audience) and the difference it will make in their lives (value).

Here are the 5 steps to take to build your Pitch Page using the block approach:

Step 1 – Create primary blocks

During creation, the order of these blocks doesn’t matter much. If you get stuck, put aside the block you’re working on and start on another. At this stage, perfection isn’t the point, as you’ll do your editing later.

You’ll want to create:

  • 3-5 headlines consisting of problem, solution, and benefit statements
  • 3-5 text blocks focusing on benefits and descriptions
  • 1 bullet list of thought-provoking questions
  • 1-3 bullet lists that focus on benefits
  • 1-2 testimonial blocks, preferably with pictures. Before you ask for a testimonial, write down what messages will be helpful and invite your testimonials to include specific statements. Once the testimonials arrive, edit them if necessary and ask for permission to use the edited versions.
  • 1 set of images that support your product’s value

Step 2 – Arrange these blocks into an initial layout

Again – don’t worry about perfection in this step. Just test out a sample layout that you can read over to see if it flows well and makes sense to the reader.

Step 3 – Evaluate as if you were a member of your target audience

Does your rough draft connect with your target audience? Does your Pitch Page clearly deliver the benefits and the value of your product? If you had the problem or concern they have, would your sales copy address that need and make it clear why your product solves the need?

Step 4 – Add secondary blocks to the page

First, you’ll want to create subheadings that emphasize benefits, smooth transitions, and create page flow. Next, create “urgency messages” that raise the purchase priority for your reader. These elements tie your primary blocks together and add to the strengths and urgency of your arguments.

Step 5 – Edit

Many successful authors live by the credo that “writing is editing.” A block approach makes editing simple. You can edit individual blocks to increase their clarity. You can rearrange blocks to increase the power of the Pitch Page. If something is missing, you can just create and insert a new block, rather than having to completely redo your page content.

Try out the block approach when you design your next Pitch Page. I think you’ll find that getting in the habit of working one block at a time will help you avoid writer’s block, keep you from throwing away your whole project and starting from scratch, and let you get your Pitch Page finished faster!

About the Author
Lars Clausen works on the team of PitchMagic, an automated Pitch Page and Thank You Page creation tool.

The Secrets of Writing Sales Copy That Converts

sales copy

Written by: Chris McNeeney, Guest Author

In my years as a super affiliate, I have seen some of the best and worst that copywriting has to offer and almost everything in between. ClickBank is awash with sales letters and copy for vendor products and it’s not always obvious which ones will convert to sales at first glance.

Even the ugliest site will convert browsers into paying customers if the copy is well written and does its job as it should – and if the copywriter understands how to sell to the niche in question.

In this post, I am going to teach you the copywriting elements that are vital to the success of any sales page (no matter how good or bad the design and graphics). The end result should be that your customers feel they simply have to buy the product you’re offering, without delay.

The Key Element of Converting Browsers into Buyers

One of the most important elements to concentrate on when promoting your own or someone else’s product is your sales copy. The better your copy converts, the more products you will sell and the more you will attract affiliates to sell your product for you. It’s all a virtuous cycle – and arguably your sales copy is the most important factor in the entire mix; perhaps even more important than the product or the affiliates you recruit.

If you can write a great sales letter, one that converts into sales, then you will have other marketers ‘eating out of your hand’ in a bid to promote your ClickBank products. Get it wrong and you won’t get any traction in the ClickBank Marketplace, and your product will stagnate and die.

The starting point of writing killer sales copy is to understand your market. By that, I don’t mean reading a few articles and assuming you know the market. You really have to do a bit of leg-work to understand who you are talking to, establish what they want, and research what’s already out there and what isn’t.

Find a gap in the market and fill it. Visit forums and find out what people are talking about, what their frustrations are, and how likely they are to spend money to get a solution to their problem or need. Read your competitors’ sales letters and sign up to their e-mail newsletters. Listen to the problems they talk about that the average customer has (e.g., “Aren’t you sick of diet pills that don’t work?”), along with which benefits they push hardest (”Lose weight without hunger pangs”). This will highlight important clues as to what is on the mind of your target audience.

So do your research and work out what is going through their heads. In other words, you really need to resonate with your potential buyer. If you can do this you can establish empathy with your potential buyer. If you do this, you are well on your way to a winning formula for your sales copy.

Getting Started

Now, before you exclaim, ‘But I can’t write copy,’ know that it is actually easier than you think. In fact, the transition from never having written a word of copy to being a ‘monster’ copywriter is perfectly achievable in just days – but only if you follow and implement some simple but extremely powerful copywriting rules.

The Short Cut To Copywriting Success

One of the fastest ways to get yourself from 0 to 60 writing great sales copy is to leverage the years of experience of some of the great copywriters who have already tried, tested, and proven the elements of copywriting. In short, we are going to cheat a little by building up a big pile of other marketers’ copy and swiping it (a.k.a. “the cheat sheet”).

Note: before I proceed, I want to be very clear on something. I am not suggesting you break copyright rules by copying other people’s work – you simply cannot do that – it would be copyright infringement. But the good news is, we don’t need to. Instead, we can examine and discover the successful elements, phrases, hooks, and buzzwords that are being used, and spin them to work into our own copywriting. In other words, we are going to extract the most important elements and rework them into our own sales letters. This is not only lawful – but its common practice in successful copywriting circles. The trick is to go to other niches and take elements from the most successful sales letters there for your own inspiration.

For example, let’s say you want to write copy for a bodybuilding product. You might come across a Forex sales letter with a headline that reads:

“Just In: Renegade, Grass Roots Trader Exposes Forex Loophole and Siphons Off $3,000 In 30 Days.”

You have a lot of words you can work with and use here, such as renegade, grass roots, exposes, loophole, siphons, etc. So if your niche was bodybuilding, you could work those words into your own headline:

“ Renegade Bodybuilder exposes muscle-building loophole and packs on 8 lbs of muscle in 3 weeks.”

The idea is to take the words and adapt and fit them to your own copy, whilst keeping the same elements of newness (renegade), something uncovered (loophole, exposed) and, very importantly, how quickly something can be achieved (6 days / 3 weeks). This method should not only be used for your headline, but also for your sub headers and the body copy of your sales letter.

Benefits Are Vital

Why? Because it’s a proven fact that people will buy something based on its benefits. Benefits are simply what the customer gets out of buying a product – in short, they’re the reason that people decide to buy a certain product. For example, if you have a product on making money, people will buy because of the perceived benefits that making money will bring, such as being able to pay off debts, improve their lifestyle, and by doing so appear more attractive to people around them. If it’s a more advanced guide, benefits might be very specific – for example, if it’s a blogging guide, one benefit might be “generating a flood of backlinks to your blog.”

Also, there’s a deeper psychological aspect here. Whilst people think they just want to make more money, in truth the benefits they will gain from doing so are much deeper than it at first appears. So it’s not enough to just sell the ‘idea’ of making money – this is far too general and unfocused. Instead, you should sell the benefits that will have a knock-on effect as a result of making money. So the more you understand the deep reasons behind why people want something, the more likely you are going to be able to tap into a person’s psyche when writing sales copy.

Check Out What’s Working

The best place to start when researching what is and isn’t working in a given niche is to check out the top performing products in that niche. This is easily achieved by heading over to the ClickBank Marketplace and doing a keyword search in a given niche. Alternatively, you can check out affiliate niches or the top ClickBank products on my site, Affiliate X.

For example, let’s look at dating. We know that Internet dating is a huge market that continues to grow repidly, but what about digging deeper into the dating niche?

Doing a search in ClickBank on any aspect of dating will bring up the top performing products, which are easily identified by their high gravity score. Take a look at the headlines of the top performers. The headline is the most important part of the sales copy. If you don’t grab the reader’s attention at this point, you will have lost them forever. A headline should be compelling, intriguing, and raise curiosity so the reader wants to read on. In the same way, the sub header should pull the reader in with a taste of what’s to come.

Generally, a good formula for a headline is: “How [someone like the customer] [got the kind of benefit the customer wants] in [x days].” For example, “How a 27 year old renegade Forex trader made $1,000 with a breakthrough new robot in 10 days,” or “How a 21 year old scrawny kid stacked on 13 lbs of chest muscle in 31 days.”

Remember that empathy is a powerful copywriting tool. If you can identify with the reader and show that you understand their problem or need because you have been “in their shoes” yourself, that helps build trust. Explain your situation and how you worked to discover a solution, and now you want to share it so that others don’t have to go through the same hurdles and problems that you did.

Empathy in any situation is beneficial, but in copywriting it’s essential. For this very reason, your story (i.e., how you arrived at this point) should make up a major part of your copy. It’s important not to underestimate the value of empathy within your copy – get it right and your copy will result in insane conversions.

Don’t Ignore The Competition

When writing your copy, you may be tempted to ignore the competition and hope that potential buyers will see your product for what it is and just buy it. Don’t make this mistake. Instead, explain in your copy why your product is better because it covers an angle that isn’t covered in competing products.

Try to think of a unique selling point that makes your product different from the others out there. Maybe it’s a better value, easier to understand, quicker to implement, or has better proof. Whatever the unique selling point is, elaborate on it and make it stand out. Just put yourself in a reader’s shoes – if you wanted to buy a product on dating women or learning to play the guitar – would you just check out one product? No, of course not; you would check out what’s available from a selection and then choose the best one.

Which brings us nicely to…

The Power of Proof

The number one reason why people don’t buy a product is because they don’t believe its claims. How many times have you thought to yourself, “that sounds too easy” or “that sounds too good to be true?” This is why it’s so important to demonstrate empathy within your copy.

However, the second element that cannot be overlooked is proof that your products does what it says it does. If you can provide screenshots of profits you’ve attained using the product, or a live working example, or even testimonials from existing customers, then you are on to a winner. Once you have the proof, it will be easier for potential customers to identify themselves with the benefits your product will deliver and they will want it for themselves.

To Conclude

It’s important to understand that in order to write great copy that will convert into sales, you DON’T need to be an experienced copywriter. It’s as simple as breaking down the sales copy of highly converting web pages out there, and carefully working out why they are selling. That’s just something that comes with a little digging and a bit of experience.

It doesn’t matter what niche the sales copy is in. You can swipe the buzz words and curiosity elements within the headlines, sub headers and sales letter body and rework those to your suit your own niche. Well thought-out copy and strong proof will almost guarantee your sales pitch will convert into sales. Once you have mastered these essential elements, you’ll be able to create copy that converts in any niche you choose.

About the Author

Chris McNeeney is the owner of Affiliate X – a resource for ClickBank affiliates with affiliate tools, affiliate videos, and training information.

7 Keys to Big Video Profits

Written by: Benjamin Ravaru, Guest Author

Many years ago when I started marketing online with the usual web-page sales letters, I was living in fear that one day everything would move to video. If that happened, would the little guy still be able to compete with big companies and their video budgets?

Fast forward to 2010, and the answer is an emphatic YES.

There’s an explosion of homemade videos online. YouTube has become the 3rd most-visited website in the world. Video gets higher conversion rates and builds a deeper relationship than print ads. But the really exciting news is that it’s easier than ever to make videos at home.

Cameras are cheap. You can buy a Flip or Kodak Zi8 for under $200 and record great HD videos at home. Keynote and PowerPoint make it easier than ever to create beautiful screen-casts. Tools like Camtasia and Screenflow make it easy to capture your videos and put them online in the cloud using a service like Amazon S3. You can then play them back with tools like Flowplayer or JW Player.

There are more sources of great content than ever before, including royalty-free music, photographs, and videos on sites like iStockPhoto.com.

But even with all of these tools, not all videos are created equal, and not all videos convert. So what are the keys that will guarantee your video is a success? To achieve big video profits, I recommend the following:

1. Great Script: Take time to sit down and write a script for your video. You might be a great narrator, but you need to think of your video as your spoken sales letter or sales presentation. A great script with a killer intro makes a huge difference in whether your video converts into sales.

2. Interesting Hooks: Make interesting promises and deliver on them, or have nice visual effects and/or music. Anything that can hold people’s attention is worth its weight in gold in these times of multitasking and short attention spans.

3.  Keep It Clean: Make sure to remove the noise from your audio recordings and use image enhancing effects for your photos. You want clear sound and sharp contrasts. It doesn’t cost any money to do this, just a bit of time. It will really separate your video from the mass of videos out there and give you that professional edge.

4. Easy to Read Text: Make your text high-contrast, so it stands out against the background of your video. Big, black, bold text is a good rule of thumb, unless black won’t show up against your background.

5. Reasonable File Size: Resize your video to be between 500×300 and 800×600. Any less than that and the video is too small; more and it’s too big. When compressing your video, use the H.264 compression codec with the compression settings set to “best” to ensure a good file size.

6. Promote Other Video Products: As obvious as this may sound, it’s best to use video to promote an offer that uses video on its sales page too. Having a nice video presell as an affiliate and sending people to a non-video offer can kill conversions. The feeling of continuity and flow is important.

7. Always Be Testing: This is true of any selling or promotional techniques, and it holds for video too. Don’t get complacent, and always fine tune your scripts and videos. You can always improve your conversion rate and make more profits.

About the Author

Benjamin Ravaru is a ClickBank vendor who has used video to sell and promote ClickBank products, including his own product Xocoslim.