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Essential Affiliate Program Dos and Don’ts

Having your own affiliate program can be an effective way to reach buyers you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach without a lot more time and effort. And when you attract the right affiliates, it can even boost your credibility. After all, many buyers make purchase decisions based upon the recommendations from marketers they know, like and trust.

But before you start your own affiliate program there is a lot to consider. What do you need to do to make the most sales? Attract the best affiliates? Make everything run smoothly and seamlessly?

Affiliate Program

Here are points to take into consideration, whether you’ve already set up an affiliate program or you’re about to:

Are You Leaking? Every affiliate who takes a look at your program is going to want to know if you have leaks. That is, are there any links that lead prospects off of your merchant website and onto someplace where the affiliate won’t get paid? For example, are you linking to other pages or other products? Do you have other ads, banners, link exchanges, etc. on your site? Are you using Adsense? Is there anyplace where traffic could leak out and be lost? Affiliates hate this, and rightfully so. An affiliate puts effort, time and money into sending traffic – they want that traffic to be held captive by your sales process until they either purchase or leave on their own accord.

Are You Going to Use a Network or an In-House Affiliate Program? A network provides tracking and an interface for the merchant and affiliate to communicate. The network also makes the payments to the affiliate, unlike an in-house program where the merchant is responsible for paying the affiliates. In-house affiliate programs are run either on software the merchant purchases, or software that comes with the shopping cart they’re using.

Basically it boils down to how much control you want, versus how many responsibilities. If you want the ultimate in flexibility and control, you’ll want to run your program in house. You’ll have access to all of your affiliates information so you can contact them, unlike some networks that are available for running your affiliate program. However, if you want a built in pool of affiliates and someone to handle the reporting and tax-forms, then use a network.

Are You Using an Affiliate Manager? Or an OPM? An affiliate manager works directly for the merchant to manage the affiliate program and recruit affiliates. An Outsource Program Manager is a consultant who runs multiple affiliate programs for multiple merchants.

A good affiliate manager will more than pay for him or herself, but finding one isn’t easy. Your best bet is often to find someone experienced in online marketing and then train them to be an affiliate manager.

TIP: Make at least a portion of their pay performance based – that is, pay them a percentage of sales. The more active affiliates they bring on and the happier they keep those affiliates, the more they will earn through the increase in sales.

If you want to try using an OPM, you can find many companies that supply them through Google. A good OPM will have plenty of established relationships with affiliates which is a real benefit.

You can also use an OPM to help get you started. Once you are more established that same OPM can help to train your in-house affiliate manager.

And obviously you can also act as your own affiliate manager in the beginning.

You’ll Want Plenty of Affiliate Tools. This includes banners of various sizes, short and long emails, Text-based ads, etc. Are you going to create these yourself? Or hire someone to do it? Conversion is key – if spending money to get it done right translates into enough sales, then obviously it’s worth it. Another factor to consider is that professionally created tools will tend to attract more affiliates and also a higher caliber of affiliates.

Is Your Offer Already Converting? If it’s not converting without affiliates, it won’t convert with affiliates. Also, affiliates want to know what the conversion rate is before they will consider promoting, so you’ll want to send some highly targeted traffic to any new offer before asking affiliates to promote. If you have an in-house list, then this should be as easy as making a blog post and sending a few emails. If not, hopefully you are friends with at least a couple of list owners who will test it for you. Otherwise you’ll want to buy traffic or use some other means to send targeted buyers to your site.

Do You Have a Terms Of Service for Affiliates? (Also known as an Affiliate Agreement) If not, you need one before you start recruiting affiliates. You need to clearly instruct affiliates on what they can and cannot do. Don’t go overboard on this or you’ll end up tying your affiliates’ hands, but also make sure they’re not allowed to do anything that could jeopardize your business in any way. You’ll want to look at the TOS on other affiliate programs and perhaps even consult with someone on this.

Are You Going to Restrict or Limit Affiliate SEO? This is relatively new – some merchants are placing language into their Terms of Service that restricts an affiliate’s ability to rank their affiliate promotion on the first page of the search engines. For example, an affiliate may make a video that promotes his/her affiliate link, and get that video on Page 1 of Google’s natural search results. An affiliate may even get a video or webpage ranked higher in the results than the actual merchant websites, and some merchants take a dim view of this.

Frankly and in my opinion, if your affiliate is outranking you on SEO, then you need to improve your own SEO rather than tying the hands of your affiliate. I know there are merchants who disagree, but if your affiliate is ranking on page 1, your affiliate deserves those sales. But this is something that you need to consider in advance. Once an affiliate has made Page 1 is no time to change your agreement and tell them they’re not allowed to rank naturally, because your affiliate will then substitute your competitor’s link for your own.

A good compromise is this: Allow affiliates to rank naturally for any term other than your exact brand name. If you have trademarked your brand name, you can actually enforce this if you choose. More importantly, you can enforce this against anyone else who tries to rank for your trademarked brand name, especially competing brands and their affiliates.

How Does Your Site Look? Are there broken links, missing images, or a design straight out of 1999? Does your website look professional? Are your “About Us,” “Contact Us” and “Privacy Policy” pages complete and accurate? Is your branding consistent from the beginning to the end of the sales process? Bottom line – would a stranger enter their credit card info based on your website? This is what affiliates look at.

What Are You Going To Pay? If your product is a digital download and there isn’t a great need for customer service, you’ll want to pay at least 50%. If your product is, for example, a monthly recurring billing (such as software, hosting, etc.) that can involve customer service (phone calls, emails, etc. that cause you to hire help) then you might need to pay less. If your affiliate program is basically a way to generate a list of buyers, then pay as much as you can – preferably 75-100%.

Having said all that, here’s what NOT to do: Do not lower commissions on existing sales. For example, if you’re paying 50% on a recurring commission and find you are losing money, do not then reduce that commission to 30% on pre-existing sales. Ever. This is the fastest way to lose your reputation and your affiliates. You can, if you must, lower the commission on FUTURE sales.

Also, do not look for reasons not to pay affiliates. Do not reverse commissions, create loopholes, look for technicalities, etc. The moment you fail to pay an affiliate what they earned, that affiliate will tell others, often in very public forums. It’s simply not worth alienating present and future affiliates because that commission you save today can cost you thousands of sales in the future.

How to Select a Great Domain Name

Do you think all the great domains are already taken? Think again – do some searching and you’ll be astounded by the possibilities still available.

How to Select a Great Domain Name

Here are several tips for getting great domain names:

Use repeating sounds. For example, TerrificTeachingTips, EasyBreezyPeasy, MasterMakingMoney.com, etc.

Base your keyword on your major benefit or promise to the website visitor. For example, if you cater to artists, you might use something like: MakeYourArtSell or 30DaysToMasterfulPainting.

Take your keyword or keyword phrase and add something to the end, such as…

now
today
secrets
results
strategies
formula
system
fast
quickly

Examples: BuildYourEmailListQuickly, EasyWeightLossStrategies, LookTenYearsYoungerNow

Add something to the middle of your keyword phrases, such as…

of your
to
for
of the

Examples: SellMoreOfYourProducts, GardeningForBeginners

Add something to the beginning of your keyword or keyword phrases, such as…

get
you
your
the
how to
discover
learn
real

Examples: DiscoverBestSuccessTips, HowToRaiseDucks, RealResultsRealFast.

Never dismay because the first domain you search for is already taken. Apply one of these tips and you’ll soon find a great domain name to launch your next online venture!

Why Successful Marketers are Truly Weird

I’ve observed 10 traits in marketers who make 6 figures or better that are – for lack of a better word – just plain weird. What I haven’t figured out yet is, are marketers successful because they’re weird? Or do they become weird once having success? You decide.

Why Successful Marketers are Truly Weird

Successful marketers think backwards. We’ve been taught to progress through a series of steps to get to our destination. But these guys don’t think about steps – they focus on their end goal. They make it totally real in their minds, like they’ve already got it. And then they reverse engineer their way back to the beginning to figure out how they got there.

When using this process, it’s almost as though they’ve achieved the goal before they even start. An added perk to this method is obviously the added confidence it gives them that they will succeed, because they already have. It’s sort of like a time travel machine for the mind.

Successful marketers quit. A lot. Have you ever known someone with stock that was dropping like a rock in the market? Odds are they continued to hang onto it because they didn’t want to lose money. Result? They lost even MORE money.

Successful marketers know when to cut the rope. If something isn’t working, they stop doing it. If something or someone is sucking their time or resources away, they let it go. In a nutshell, they quit anything that isn’t working and focus on what is working.

Successful marketers cut corners. Practice makes perfect, right? Actually, if you’re a successful marketer then practice makes for a more streamlined system. In discovering what is necessary and what it not, you can cut out a lot of little things that accomplish nothing more than distracting you or taking up your time.

And often times these are the exact things that seem so important to others. For example, rather than proofread your book 5+ times, you can do it just once or have someone else do it just once, and then insert a line at the beginning that explains you felt it more important to get the information out in a timely manner than to see to it that every possible error was edited out. It’s still a quality product, it’s just not a perfect product and it never would be, even if you didn’t cut that corner.

Another corner cutting example: Taking a long time to make a decision. Most people like to do research, weigh all the facts, sleep on it for a few days, etc. Successful marketers use the information they have available to make a decision quickly and move on. Sure it baffles everyone else and makes the entrepreneur look reckless – but this can also account for why they are so successful – money LOVES speed.

Successful marketers are risk takers. Imagine you’re a mountain goat and you want to get to the other side of am exceedingly deep crevice. You can either climb all the way down the mountain and up the other side of the crevice, or you can get a running start and make the leap. But in jumping you must give it your all – you cannot make a mediocre attempt or you will plunge to your death. You are risking everything to gain everything.

Successful marketers risk making a product no one wants, risk buying traffic that does not convert, risk making fools of themselves trying to contact more successful marketers for help, risk looking silly on social media or making a really big mistake while trying to build their brand. Everyday they take risks. It takes guts to be a successful marketer. It’s also a heck of a lot of fun when even the tiniest of risks pays off.

Successful marketers say no more often than they say yes. Opportunities are everywhere and no one sees them more easily than the successful marketer. But they learn to say no to most of the opportunities in order to make the most of the opportunities they do pursue. It’s called focus, and it’s a key ingredient to success.

Successful marketers are also careful to say no to people and opportunities that are simply not right for them or their customers. Just because mailing the new XYZ offer to your list will make you a lot of money today, does not mean you won’t regret it later if that XYZ product turns out to be a dud. Sometimes saying no is the most profitable thing a marketer can do.

Successful marketers repeat themselves, almost to the point of being boring. When they find something that works, they don’t go in search of something else. Instead, they ramp it up. They do it again, bigger and faster than last time. They accelerate and expand the process. They do it over and over again, tweaking as they go to make it better each time. Sure it’s more exciting to start a new project every week – but as long as your attention is pulled in many different directions, you will get nowhere.

Successful marketers don’t go on shopping sprees or puff themselves up. It’s a natural inclination – you’ve finally made a few thousand dollars and you’re sure you’ve cracked the code to success. Now let’s go shopping! But successful marketers reinvest a major portion of their profits straight back into their business to grow it bigger and stronger. And then they begin investing in their future – just in case one day the bottom drops out of their business.

By the same token, making much ado about yourself should be reserved for the insecure people of the world who feel they have to prove something to others. The next time you go to a marketing conference, pay attention to the other attendees. That guy bragging about how well he’s doing is probably barely making ends meet, while the quiet guy taking notes could be a millionaire. People who are already successful have nothing left to prove to others, and they have the confidence to simply be themselves.

Successful marketers don’t have back up plans. This is counter-intuitive, but it’s powerful indeed. Remember the mountain goat who wanted to jump across the crevice to get to the other side? Do you think the it will be successful by keeping one hoof on the mountain, just in case?

So it is in business. When you don’t have a backup plan, you go after your goal like your life depends on it because it does. This factor alone can make the difference between failure and success.

Successful marketers aren’t the lone wolf. They don’t go it alone. They forge alliances with other people in their niche, with their customers, and with outsourcers. They ask for help. They play really, really well with others. That image of a self-made man or woman who did it all on their own? That’s nothing more than Hollywood fiction.

Successful marketers work. A lot. Now that is strange. I thought online marketing was all about lounging on the beach and working 5 minutes a week? Yet successful marketers work like crazy to earn their success. Hmm, now that is weird.

The Real Magic Button to Online Success

I’ve decided I’m really, truly going to do it, right here and right now… Yes, I’m going to get a lot of hate mail from the 6 and 7 figure earners for doing this, but that’s fine… Today I’m going to reveal the closely guarded and highly coveted secret to online success.

The Real Magic Button to Online Success

You know how they say there are no magic buttons, and then they try to sell you magic buttons? And then when the magic buttons don’t work, the remind you yet again that there are no magic buttons?

The truth is there is one magic button.

Just one.

And it works every time. EVERY time.

When the Internet marketing guru gods got together, they wondered where they should hide this magic button.

It went something like this…

“If it’s found, everyone will know the secret.”

“That’s why we should hide it on the tallest mountain.”

“No, hide it in the deepest sea.”

“No, hide it away in an electronic vault that not even Anonymous can crack.”

Finally one young guru stepped forth and quietly said, “Better still, hide it in plain sight.”

Everyone gasped. “It will be found!” they cried.

The young guru just smiled. “Everyone knows if you want to hide something, place it in plain sight. This way even those who do see it will not recognize it’s true value, and will pass it by in search of the hidden treasures.”

And so it was decreed that they should place this secret where everyone could see it and no one would recognize its worth.

Thusly this magic button sat, ignored by all but a small number of marketers who quietly used it to build their fortunes.

Have you guessed yet what it is?

Do you know the secret?

Or would you pass it by on the street, thinking it was too ordinary to account for the fortunes made by others?

Even now, as I pass the secret on to you, you are likely to miss it completely. A monkey voice in your head will shrill, “But I already know that!”

The secret will be forgotten before your next meal and you will continue on, searching for that holy button of wealth, ever plodding forward, ever wondering why you are not yet earning the 6 and 7 figures you yearn for.

But never the less, I shall attempt to impart the secret to you thusly:

Focus only on that which furthers your business.

There, you see? Already your monkey mind is dismissing this advice. In fact that little chatter box in your head is probably telling you to go check email and Facebook right this instant. “Go!” it screams. “There is nothing here for you, run to email, run to Facebook, go play a video game or watch Netflix, go go go!”

Are you still here?

Then I shall impart onto you the very foundation that goes with that magic key. You will already surmise that when I say, “Focus only on that which furthers your business,” I am telling you to focus on those things that directly impact your bottom line. The most important of those are of course creating products and getting buying traffic to those products. In fact, if you simply drop everything else and focus on those two things, you will be successful.

But if you want to build a solid 6 or 7 figure business that grows year after year, we need to go just a bit deeper.

After all, you don’t want to create just any product. You don’t want just any traffic. And you don’t want to throw just anything together and see if it somehow sticks to the wall.

Perhaps the best explanation of how to build a thriving, ultra-successful business comes from the book, “Why 5% Succeed: The 5 Principles of Predictable Profit” by Elaine Starling, and it goes like this:

Become Relevant to your future customers. Your customers have a problem. They will only notice and work with you when you offer a relevant solution. This might be by helping them accomplish things faster, cheaper, easier, etc. Perhaps you’re solving a critical business or personal challenge for them. Or you could be creating products that are unique, cool, differentiating and compelling.

Being relevant is not enough. The adage, “Build a better mouse trap and they will come” is wrong. They won’t come if they don’t know about your mouse trap, or if they don’t trust you. So your second task is to…

Foster Relationships. In the case of online marketing, you’re fostering relationships with your readers, your visitors, your list, etc. You’re also fostering relationships with your affiliates and JV partners, too. The better you are at building relationships, the more successful you will be. In fact, if you could be good at only one thing, it would be to build relationships. You could always promote other people’s products, but only if you have customers who already know you, like you and trust you.

The more your relevance and your relationships intersect, the more successful you will be. In other words, the more people you have relationships with who can see how relevant you are to their needs, the higher degree of…

Results you will experience. If you imagine being relevant as one circle, and fostering relationships as a second circle, the area where they overlap is where you are making your sales and getting your desired results. If you want more results, you need to first make sure you’re on the right track, and then increase your relevance and/or increase the quantity and/or quality of your relationships.

Lastly, the speed of establishing your Relevance and fostering more and deeper Relationships depends on two skill sets:

First, how Receptive you are. The more Receptive you are, the more you understand your clients needs, wants and priorities. It’s all about knowing your customers inside and out, listening to them, and making them a part of the solution process. You’ve got to be completely open to discovering what they want and then fulfilling those needs and desires.

And the second skill set that determines how successful you are at this process is…

How Resilient you are. The one constant in life is change. What worked yesterday doesn’t work today. What your customer wanted yesterday is what they are ignoring today. You’ve got to recover quickly from adversity and move fast to take advantage of new opportunities.

As the author states, “The more ways you can win, the more often you can win.

So to get back the the essence: Focus your time on those activities that further your business. Talk to your customers to find out what they want, and then create those products and services. Build relationships of trust and respect with both customers and affiliates. Be open and receptive and agile in change.

That’s all you need. It’s really rather simple, and it’s been staring you in the face all this time.

The question is, are you going to say, “Yeah, I know that stuff?” Or are you going to start to live it?

Because if you’re not consistently earning $100,000 a year or more from your online business, you’re likely not living it. And until you do, you will be hopping from one thing to the next, always looking for that big score, that one-hit wonder that makes you money today and and leaves you wondering why it didn’t last tomorrow.

You have the magic button now. What you do with it is up to you.

How Outsourcing Can Save Your Business

If you’re not outsourcing some of your work yet, you might be wondering what the benefits are. Obviously you’ll save time, but you’re trading money for the time saved.

How Outsourcing Can Save Your Business

So is it really worth it? Here are 7 benefits of outsourcing you may not have realized:

1. Not only are you saving time, but the time you save can be put to a higher use. For example, instead of spending time writing your next article, you could outsource the article creation to a professional and spend that time making contact with potential JV partners who will promote your products.

2. You don’t have to learn a new skill. If it’s a skill you’re going to rarely use anyway, or if it’s something that you simply have no interest in learning, you are much better off outsourcing it to a professional.

3. Even if you know how to perform the skill you’re thinking of outsourcing, there is a good chance someone else can do it better than you. Maybe a lot better. Do you really want to spend the next ‘x’ amount of your own hours to achieve mediocre results? Or do you want an amazing payoff that can only come from someone who skillfully performs that task every day of the week?

4. You can grow your business faster when you outsource. If you’re trying to do every task yourself, you can only grow as fast as you can work. But if you harness the skills of others, you can grow exponentially.

5. You can react to the market faster. Let’s say a new social media site hits the scene and you want to create a product that teaches people how to use it. If you do all the work yourself, it could take weeks. But if you outsource some of the work, you can have it done in days. Money loves speed.

6. Once you have a system that works, you can ramp it up on a large scale with outsourcing. For example, you’ve discovered the exact type of video to make to promote affiliate products and how to get it ranked high in Google. Now outsource the work to others and instead of creating and ranking two new videos a week, you can do 2 a day. Or even 10 a day.

7. You’ll be happier. By outsourcing all the tasks you either don’t enjoy or aren’t very good at, you can focus on the areas of your business that you truly enjoy. And when you enjoy your work, you will naturally tend to get more done and be more successful.

Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

We are all familiar with social proof – placing positive testimonials on your sales pages and websites to show what others think of our products. However, there is a form of social proof used by many marketers that actually backfires and causes sales to drop dramatically, and it’s what they call “negative” social proof.

Why Negative Social Proof Does NOT Work

It works like this: You want to create a sense of urgency, so you say something like, “A lot of people have missed out on this, and you do NOT want to be one of them.” Or “Only a handful of people who read this letter will be smart enough to grab this offer before it’s too late.”

The problem is, you’re indicating that a lot of people are not buying the product. And since people tend to look to others for indications of what to do, this kind of social proof will actually encourage prospects to follow the lead of the majority and not make the purchase.

If you read the book Yes!, you’ll see Robert Cialdini’s experiment where he measured the effects of signs posted in the Arizona Petrified Forest to prevent theft of petrified wood. They tested 3 different signs, and the one that included negative social proof actually INCREASED theft.

The sign read, “Many past visitors have removed the petrified wood from the park, destroying the natural state of the Petrified Forest.” This sign actually TRIPLED the amount of theft because it demonstrated to readers that other people were already stealing, thereby making it seem alright for them to steal as well.

Here are more examples of negative social proof:

“This year Americans will produce more litter and pollution than ever before.” Potential result in thinking: It’s okay to litter, everybody’s doing it.

“35% of sexually active teens do not always use condoms.” Potential result in thinking: I don’t have to use a condom if I don’t feel like it.

“4 years ago, over 22 million single women did not vote.” Potential result in thinking: They didn’t bother to vote, why should I?

“50% of women report being harassed in the workplace.” Potential result in thinking: Lots of other men are doing it, I’ll do it too.

However well intentioned those messages may be, as you can see they are likely to have the exact opposite effect than what was intended.

So for example, if you’re marketing something to enhance the security of a WordPress blog, do not say “80% of WordPress owners unintentionally leave their websites wide open to hacking.” If you’re selling an SEO product, do not say “90% of website owners do no SEO whatsoever.”

If you’re selling a diet product, do not say “90% of overweight people will never lose the excess weight.” And if you’re selling a dating product for people over 40, do not say “Most single people over 40 have given up looking for their ideal mate.”

How can you avoid negative social proof? Don’t focus on how common the undesirable behavior is. Instead, show that it is rare and practiced only by social outcasts. Emphasize (where appropriate) that the behavior is:

– Illegal
– Subject to penalties
– Immoral
– Reprehensible
– Irresponsible
– Stupid
– Outdated and no longer acceptable
– (And best of all) Universally scorned.

By doing this, you can make negative social proof work for you rather than against you.

You might want to look over any sales material you have, and make sure you haven’t inadvertently used negative social proof. Just because 80% of marketers have unintentionally used it at least once doesn’t mean you should. 😉

And if you didn’t catch that last bit of negative social proof, you might want to reread this article again.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

Successful email marketing starts with getting the attention of your subscribers. If you don’t nail it on the subject line, there’s little chance your subscriber will open your email.

10 Attention-Getting Email Subject Lines

When you’re stumped for what to say in the subject line to get your next email opened and read, refer to this handy guide to demand attention and boost your email open rates.

The Big Benefit: You already know to emphasize benefits over features, but are you placing your biggest benefit in your subject lines? Try it and if the benefit matches a major desire of your list, you’ll likely see your open rate go through the roof.

How-to: This one is easy and effective – use your subject line to indicate you’re going to reveal how to do something they are likely to want to do. “How to lose 5 pounds today,” “How to make $100 this afternoon,” etc.

The Urgency Factor: Create some anxiety and get your email opened. You can do this two different ways – first by showing your subscribers what they gain by taking immediate action, such as gaining a free Kindle book today only. Second by demonstrating what they lose if they don’t act, such as losing entry into a program that is closing shortly.

The Numbered List: There is something almost magical about using numbers in subject lines and headlines, plus it gives you a road map to write the content that follows. For example: “Top 10 reasons why you’re doing email marketing all wrong” or “5 ways to get your children to behave.”

Keyword Bait: If you’ve built a targeted list, then there are certain keywords that will likely get your emails opened by that list. For example, if your list is made up of horse lovers, then you’re going to want words like horse, colt, foal, mare, riding, etc. in most of your emails since they act as triggers for your readers.

Discover Astounding Secrets: Benefits plus curiosity are always a winner. Use words such as discover, secrets, amazing, astonishing, etc.

Ask a question: A question irresistibly compels the reader to think and answer. “Is he the right man for you?” “Would personal coaching help you achieve your goals?”

The Eyebrow Raiser: If you can get them intrigued enough to raise an eyebrow, they will open your email. For example: “Why chickens are master gardeners,” “The couch potato’s guide to weight loss” and “5 foods that make you LOSE weight.”

The Story Starter: Everybody loves a good story, so if your subject line sounds like it’s leading into a story, people will click it. “This morning my son asked me where babies come from” and “My client got blistering angry when”

The Curiosity Raiser: You’re not telling them much of anything in the subject line, yet you still make them curious enough to open it. How? By raising their curiosity. “This is B.S.,” “Never again,” “What was I thinking?,” etc.

Next time you want to send an email, refer back to this list and try out some of these proven subject line tips to get more of your messages opened, read and acted upon.

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

If you’re in the IM niche, you probably get the same emails I do asking: “I need to make money YESTERDAY, what do you recommend?”

Proven Idea to Make Quick Money Online

Or maybe you need some extra money for a project you’re working on right now, or you’ve got an unexpected bill.

Here’s a method I sometimes suggest for earning a quick $500 or $1,000, and what people seem to like about it is how simple and straight forward it is.

Ask yourself what skills and knowledge you posses right now. Maybe you can write really well, or you’re good at building WordPress sites. Maybe you’re a graphic artist, or a photographer or videographer. Maybe you’ve got great people skills and you can act as an affiliate manager or set up joint ventures. Perhaps you can coach people on how to do something specific, or teach them how to find the perfect virtual assistant. I guarantee you have at least one skill or piece of knowledge that others are willing to pay for.

“But I don’t have a skill!” Really? Then you need to find dynamite outsourcers who do have skills you can market. You must find something that others are willing to pay for, and that’s usually a skill and sometimes simply a piece of very valuable knowledge.

Once you’ve identified your skill, set up a web page offering that skill for hire. A simple blog site will do, preferably on your own domain. Check out other similar websites to get ideas on how to set yours up.

Find blogs that are relevant to your skill and allow guest bloggers. For example, if you’re really good at writing engaging blog posts, find blogs about blogging. If you can troubleshoot antique engines over the phone, then find blogs about old cars. These blogs should have a bare minimum of 5,000 readers a month, and be sure they already allow guest posting.

Now write articles that provide awesome content for these blogs. Study each blog and write an article just for them that solves a problem or tells how to do something that is totally relevant to your particular skill. For example, if your skill is article writing, you’re going to tell them how to write the perfect article. If your skill is photographing products, then that’s what you’ll teach. Don’t worry about giving away all your secrets – some people would much rather hire a professional than do the work themselves. Link back to your website in the author’s box.

Don’t know if you spotted it, but there is a flaw in the steps above and here it is…

It can sometimes take WEEKS to get your guest blog post published. How do you speed up the process? One way is to link whatever you are writing about with something that is current in the news, preferably in the last 12 to 48 hours. You might need to get a little creative here but if you can pull it off then blog owners will be racing to publish your post. For example, if you’re a sales letter copywriter and the FTC just handed down new rules for what you can and cannot say in your sales copy, you’re golden.

Another trick for getting published quickly is to provide dynamite graphics, pictures or even infographics to go with your article. In fact, your infographic could even BE your article. And don’t forget to politely make a good case to the blog owners on why they should consider publishing your article as quickly as possible.

Continue writing articles and getting them published until the orders start coming in or your phone starts ringing.

The entire process could take as little as 48 hours or as long as 10 days, depending on how fast you get those first blog posts published.

Added benefit – you’ll make more business connections which can continue to benefit you in the future.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

The New Year is upon us – time to talk about your goals, right? Goals are important, yes… But I’d like to focus for a moment on one of the real drivers that will allow you to achieve all of your 2019 ambitions, whatever they might be: Keeping Your Brain Happy so it can help you to accomplish your tasks and see your intentions through to success.

Keep Your Brain Happy to Enjoy Success

We all know what it’s like to try to try to work when our brain is in a fog or just doesn’t want to cooperate with us. We feel like we can’t get it in gear, like everything takes too long and the end result is sadly lacking.

Just like any other part of the body, brains can get tired. Suffering from cerebral fatigue results in a lack of new ideas, poor thinking, lousy problem solving and can even be a cause of depression.

Here then are 12 tips to keep your brain refreshed, energized and happy:

1. Mix it up. It’s just common sense that if you spend hour after hour on the same task, you’re going to get burned out. So instead of writing articles for 8 hours straight, try writing articles for 2 hours, researching your next product for an hour, returning emails for an hour, etc.

2. Don’t multi-task important stuff. Sure, you can listen to the radio while you’re doing the dishes, but that’s because neither one requires your full attention. When doing something important like learning a new skill from a webinar or working on your next product, don’t be checking email or the score of the game. By not multi-tasking you’ll accomplish more in less time, and your quality of work will be better, too.

3. Stand up and move around. If you can, get one of those standing work desks and use it at least half the time. If you alternate between standing and sitting you’ll find that you’re more alert and your brain works better.

4. Take a quick break every 20 minutes or so. 20 minute “bursts” of work followed by 2-3 minutes of non-work can make you productive and keep you and your brain energized. BEST: Do something physical on these short breaks like push-ups, sit-ups or deep knee bends.

5. Engage your senses. Use some peppermint or orange oil to wake you up. Make your work space interesting to look at with thought-provoking art. Use colored paper and pens. Get a worry stone or some kind of object you like to hold and pick this up for tactile stimulation when you’re thinking through a problem.

6. Relax for 10 minutes every 90 – 120 minutes. Take 10 minutes off to meditate, walk around the block or work on a puzzle. Your brain will love this.

7. Work when your brain wants to work. Everyone has their own circadian rhythm. Some people are morning people, others are night owls, and many fall in between. Find out what time of day is your most productive and then schedule that time for your most intense and important work.

8. Prioritize. Work on your most important task first, when your brain is at its freshest. Getting this task done first will also give you a much needed feeling of accomplishment and free you up to focus on smaller goals and tasks.

9. Work less, play more. Seriously, if you’re working 100 hours a week then I suspect you’re only doing 50 hours worth of work. Think about it – how much of your time is truly devoted to working, and how much is devoted to “getting ready to work?” Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by emails, games, news, weather, etc.

Instead focus yourself on getting your tasks done as quickly as possible, and then leave your computer, leave your office and go do something totally unrelated to work. While you are out “playing” your brain will be rejuvenating. One unexpected benefit to this is you’ll find your brain becomes more creative and a much better problem solver when it gets periods of rest, relaxation and diversion from work.

10. Take a weekly vacation. No, I’m not kidding. Getting away once a week does wonders for every part of you, especially your brain. And you don’t have to leave your area to take a vacation. Go someplace locally you’ve never been to, take a class, go to events, spend the day walking downtown or in the woods, etc.

Is the weather terrible and you don’t want to leave home? Then grab that book you’ve got of nature photographs or travel shots and sit in a comfortable chair and transport yourself to the exotic places you see in the photos. In terms of benefits to the brain, it’s almost as good as being there.

11. Exercise. I’m not going to tell you all the reasons why you should exercise here – you probably already know them. And one of the biggest reasons is because when you exercise, your brain works better. You think better and more clearly. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if people who regularly exercise improve their IQ scores – it’s already been proven to increase memory and comprehension.

12. Feed your brain. Good nutrition is vital to your brain’s well being. If you’re eating processed foods or junk foods, you’re starving your brain. If you’re eating things like fresh fruits and vegetables and fish, then you’re feeding your brain. Don’t believe me? Cut out all junk food and processed food for one week. Add in fish oils or fish, along with plenty of veggies and some fruits. See if you don’t notice a massive difference in both the way you feel and how well your brain functions.

Be good to your brain and it will help you reach your goals this year, and beyond!

My New Year’s Present to You – Your Own Money Making Machine

I could have sent you a fruitcake this Holiday season to thank you for being a loyal subscriber and reader, but I think you’d appreciate something with more enduring value. So instead I’m giving you the gift that keeps giving – your own money generating system.

2019

As you (hopefully) have already discovered, making money online isn’t difficult, but it does take some knowledge and the ability to put that knowledge to work.

I’m going to outline a rather simple and straight forward system that I believe anyone can use to make income. It can be scaled up as large as you like, depending on how much time you want to put into it and what you want out of it. And it’s easy enough for even new marketers to do.

Mind you, this is not my invention, but rather a system that has been working for many marketers for years. It’s not a shiny new bauble – instead, it’s a proven method that brings home the paycheck week in and week out – if you put in the time and effort required.

Ready? Let’s get started.

1. Choose your niche. I’m going to make it easy for you here by recommending that you choose one of the following 3 niches: Money and finance, health and fitness, or relationships and dating. All three are evergreen and bring in a ton of money.

For purposes of this training, we’re going to focus on health, because I believe it’s truly the easiest of the 3 niches in which to make money. True, there’s plenty of competition, but that won’t really be a factor for what we’re doing. That’s because people who are desperate for a health related solution such as alleviating pain or losing weight are ready to make a purchase now.

Google “most common illnesses” and you’ll find acne, allergies, ADHD, arthritis, asthma, back pain, bad breath, bursitis, etc. And that’s just a few from the A’s and B’s. $320 billion is spent on prescription drugs in the U.S. alone each year, and that doesn’t include over the counter medications and remedies.

This is a HUGE market full of desperate buyers. So forget selling granny square patterns or children’s bedtime stories for now – focus on where the money is.

And if you want to focus on money or relationships, those are always hot, hungry markets as well.

2. Choose a product to sell. This is going to be your One Time Offer after they opt in to your squeeze page. Most people will tell you to create your free report, then create your squeeze page, and then find an OTO to offer after they opt in.

This is good advice. After all, they found your squeeze page, they filled out the form and they pressed the button – they are eager for a solution to their problem! Logically this is the time to offer it to them.

But I do things just a bit differently. I find the product I’m going to be promoting as my OTO first. Preferably I also find a second, similar product to use as my back up, in case the owner of the first product pulls it (yes, it happens.) The reason I find the product first is because I want to tailor my squeeze page and my free report to that EXACT topic.

For example, if my OTO is how to cure adult acne, I will write my report on ADULT acne, not teenage acne. But if I had done things the way most people do, I could have had a report on teenage acne and an OTO on adult acne. Sure it’s the same problem, but it’s two entirely different markets and my conversion rate on the OTO would have been terrible. That’s why you want to find the product you’re going to be promoting as your OTO first.

What product should you choose? Here are criteria to look for:

* Low price – something less than $15 is ideal because it becomes an impulse purchase. And that’s exactly what you need here, because you haven’t yet established a lot of credibility with your new list member.

* Excellent product – you’ve got to buy the product and make sure it really delivers on whatever it promises. This is no time to be selling junk. Actually, there is never a time to be selling junk.

* High conversion rate – okay, this is a no-brainer. You want a product that converts really well so that you’re making money.

The ADVANCED ALTERNATIVE to promoting an affiliate product is to create your own product. The drawback is you need to create it or hire someone else to do it for you, either of which takes time. The benefit is you keep 100% of your sales, rather than splitting them with a product owner.

The CHEAT METHOD to creating your own product is of course to use some high grade PLR.

If you are using your own product, here’s a trick I like to use: At the top of the sales page, let them know that their free report is on its way to their inbox. This builds consistency and credibility and shows them they’re at the right place.

3. Next you’re going to create something to give away to your new niche. Here’s the key – you’re not going to slap together any old report or re-purpose some PLR. Instead, you’re going to create something so awesome, people would PAY YOU to get it. Best of all, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel or come up with some brilliant insight to do this. Instead, you’re going to let others do the research for you.

Head over to Amazon and search for your niche in the book section. Write down titles that grab your attention. Search inside the books and look at the table of contents. Take notes.

Now do the same with magazines in your niche. Look at the headlines on the magazine covers – these can be a goldmine. You’ll need to change them to accommodate your exact niche (and not plagiarize) but that’s easy. You want to pay attention to what the hot topics are and what headlines are used to sell those topics.

Next, visit other websites to pick up more ideas and information. This entire research process should take you about an hour or two, depending on how much time you want to put into it.

Outline the information you’re going to present, and then either write your report or record it, your choice. Don’t want to write it yourself? Then outsource it. It only needs to be 10 to 20 pages of solid, useful information – don’t write a book.

As you go through this process, always keep in mind what you’ll be promoting for your OTO, so that your freebie is 100% consistent with that product. This will give you the highest conversions on your OTO.
4. Make your squeeze page. Hopefully you garnered 1-5 smoking hot headlines during your research. Use these on your squeeze page as the main headline and bullets, let them know they get the report for free for opting in, and that’s it. Don’t make this complicated – less is more. Create excitement and curiosity. Again, if you don’t want to make your own squeeze page, you can always outsource it.

A word to the wise: Once you begin using your squeeze page, test it. Test headlines, test colors, test the call to action – just TEST. The more you test, the better conversions your page will get, the more you will make. Doesn’t testing seem boring? Let me ask you this – does doubling your conversions and thus doubling what you earn seem boring? Don’t think about it, just do it.

IMPORTANT: If you’re using double opt in to build your list, customize the page they land on after confirming their subscription. At the top of that page, let them know their report is on its way. Then either direct them to your affiliate page if you’re promoting an affiliate product, or place your sales letter on this same page. This gives them a second opportunity to purchase your offer.

5. Get some professional articles written. These articles have got to be outstanding, so unless you’re a brilliant writer, I would suggest hiring this out to a professional.

Remember when you did your research in magazines and books? These are your very best clues as to what to write about and even how the title should read. Keep in mind: If you see something on the cover of a current magazine, that likely means it’s a hot topic now and will make an excellent topic for one of your articles.

Number of articles to write: At least 2, although 30+ is better. If you’re on a budget, start small and get more written later. The articles should be magazine quality. They should immediately capture attention and rivet the reader all the way to the end of the article.

Add your resource box to each article. This is your call to action where you promise the reader your shiny new report if they simply visit your totally awesome (squeeze) page.

An alternative to sending them to your squeeze page is to send them to your blog or website. Be sure to have a sign-up form on every single page of your site, offering your free report.

Variation: If you’re sending your new traffic straight to your blog or website, make it for “members only.” This means they have to opt in to get to your website and read the content. Yes, this is also a great way to list build. I recommend testing between the squeeze page, straight to the website with opt-in forms and making your website member’s only to see which one converts the best.

6. Find blogs in your niche. You’re looking for blogs that match your niche really well, that get lots of traffic (bare minimum – 10,000 hits a month) and that are open to guest written articles. If a blog doesn’t meet all 3 of these criteria, then take a pass.

Steer clear of any corporate looking websites – it’s nearly impossible to break into those. Find the sites run by individuals that get a lot of traffic. Make a list of possibilities, and do further research on each by checking where they stand on Alexa: www.alexa.com/siteinfo

[One note here: The higher traffic blogs might be harder to break in to, but they’re well worth the effort. If you are more comfortable starting out with blogs of 10,000 visitors a month and working your way up, do it. After all, those 10,000 hit blogs may well be getting 100,000 visitors or more soon, and if you’re already established there, so much the better.]

Also, visit each blog you’re considering and look at the bylines. Are all of the articles written by one author? Or does this blog accept submissions from others? While it’s not impossible to get your article on a blog that is generally only written by one person, it’s far easier to get it published on a blog that regularly uses guest authors.

7. Rubber meets the road. Remember the articles you had written? You’re going to contact these blog owners and give them your articles. Give each blog owner 2-3 articles, and only give each article away once so that each blog owner gets completely unique material from you.

Why give each blog owner 2-3 articles instead of just 1? Because you’re proving that you can consistently write great articles. Also, what if the one article you send them is on a topic they don’t want to cover? Or maybe they just did an article on it? By sending more than one article you give them a choice and you also greatly increase the odds that they will publish at least one article for you.

Here’s how you give the articles away: Contact these people. Do it through email, through Facebook, through Skype, whatever. Better yet, contact them through all of those methods at the same time. No, you’re not spamming them. You are HELPING them. Send them a very friendly, upbeat message that includes the following points:

– You’ve been reading their blog

– You love what they write

– You’ve written exclusive articles just for them

– The articles are free – they can do whatever they want with them

– No strings attached

– You would like (LOVE!) to be a guest writer on their blog

– If they would publish one of your articles on their blog with your author’s box to help you get exposure, that would be totally awesome

– Thank you

What you’ve just done:

* You’ve made contact and you’ve GIVEN them something right off the bat, no strings attached. What happens when 99 out of 100 people contact a blog owner? They WANT something. But you are GIVING something, and it’s something totally cool, too: Well written articles that are perfect their blog.

* You’ve got a new contact in your field. Do you think s/he might want more articles? And maybe they will even promote one of your own products? It could happen, and it starts with this initial contact.

* You’ve solved a problem for this new contact – you’ve given him or her high quality content. If you’re a blog owner, you know how hard it can be to create new content week after week. Having help is always much appreciated.

* You’ve got some serious link juice going. You’re contacting BIG blogs with major traffic, many of which will be posting your articles. Think Google will notice? Absolutely!

* You’ve got traffic. FREE traffic. Highly TARGETED, raving fanatical traffic visiting your website.

* You are building a LIST out of this traffic. A list of highly targeted people who think you must be an expert because you write articles on important blogs. Traffic that reads your stuff. Traffic that BUYS your stuff.

* You are making money immediately with your OTO. Remember, you’ve got a low priced and highly targeted OTO after your squeeze page. This product is something directly related to the issue you wrote about in the article and in the report.

Total cost for this list building/product selling business? If you do everything yourself, it costs you nothing but time. If you outsource the squeeze page and articles, it might run you a couple of hundred dollars, more or less.

What do you do now? Rinse and repeat. Continue writing articles (or having someone write articles for you) and continue contacting new blogs. Write more articles for the blogs on which you’ve already been published.

This works. Don’t reinvent the wheel – just do it.

The downside is you will find a few blog owners who simply won’t publish your stuff. That’s okay. Most times they will tell you that they won’t, and then you can take those same articles and offer them to a different blog.

Power Tip: A variation to sending them 2-3 articles is to send one 3-part series. It’s got to be totally researched, relevant and on a hot topic. If you get them to publish this (generally over the course of 3-5 days) you will see even more traffic than you would from getting one regular article published.

Now let’s talk hypothetical numbers just to get a feel for what this system can do for you: You contact one blog that gets 250,000 visitors a month. 25% of them read your article (that’s kind of a low number – you might get more.) Of those who read your article, 40% click your link, and 50% of those get your free report (meaning they joined your list.)

That’s 250,000 times .25, which is 62,500 people who read your article. How cool is that?? Just imagine for a second that 62,500 people read your article and see your byline – you’re already an expert and they haven’t even clicked on your author’s resource box yet.

Of those 62,500 people, 40% click your link. That’s 25,000 people going to your squeeze page. I don’t know about you, but when I think about getting 25,000 HIGHLY targeted people to my squeeze page, my heart beats a little faster and you can’t wipe the grin off my face.

Of those, we’re hypothetically saying that half join your list. I know some of you are thinking that number is high, and for the typical squeeze page it is high. But in this case they’ve just read your article on a high authority website and obviously liked it. They already know why they are coming to your page (to get your super-duper hot report on a topic they’re really interested in) and so unless your squeeze page is awful, you can expect to get a higher than average conversion.

Half of 25,000 is 12,500 new people on your list. People who have read your article. People who think you’re pretty hot stuff. People who are now going to read your report and KNOW you are pretty hot stuff. People who are far more likely than average to open and read your emails.

12,500 people from one article. Okay, true, you had several articles written and probably sent 3 of those to the blog owner, who maybe only published one. Still – is that a good return on your time and money or what???

And if you only do 1/10th as well as our example? Then you still have 1,250 highly targeted new subscribers. Not bad.

To those skeptics who think that only the “big dogs” can make money online, I hope I have just given you something to think about, and more importantly – a plan of ACTION.

It’s the New Year. What better time to roll up your sleeves and put this to work?

One more number I want to throw out here: Suppose you got 12,500 new subscribers per month. Maybe you did it with one article, maybe it took you 20 articles. Whatever. Each month you do what it takes to get 12,500 how new subscribers. Assuming a high attrition rate of 20%, how many subscribers would you have by the next holiday season?

I’ll leave you to do your own math on this one.

Happy New Year!!!

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