Published on March 10, 2009
The Perfect Newbie Mindset! REAL REASONS why 9 out of every 10 people who try to set up their own internet businesses fail. Presented to you by: Tim Owen “The Mastermind and Implementation Coach” http://TimothyBertOwen.com Your guide from the side Emerson said, “The whole course of things goes to teach us faith, we need only obey. There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening, we shall hear the right word.” …the right word? DESIRE Napoleon Hill in his book “Think and Grow Rich” said only 2 out of 100 people have such a DESIRE Desire backed by Faith, fueled with Persistence Are you ready to be the “Master of your Fate, and Captain of your Soul?” Here you will find the resources to begin with… 1
Table of Contents Introduction.................................................................................3 It’s all in the mind!.......................................................................5 But, the bad news is…...................................................................6 It’s an old, old story...................................................................6 The most common internet marketing ‘starting points’…..................7 So…why?..................................................................................9 The first thing that you must have…...............................................12 If tomorrow is not for selling, what do I do?.................................13 Internet marketing is information overload central!..........................15 The road is not always smooth…....................................................18 It is a business….........................................................................19 Everyone has the secret…............................................................21 Pre-conceived ideas and overnight millionaires................................24 No-one taught me….....................................................................26 Starting you research..................................................................28 Researching your market...........................................................28 Where to find products and how to choose between them..............32 What’s next?..............................................................................37 Traffic is crucial........................................................................37 Where to send them?................................................................37 Final thoughts and a conclusion.....................................................41 2
Introduction Over the past year, the world has become a much tougher place in which to survive and thrive. In every developed country, hundreds more people lose their jobs every day and with little or no prospect of getting a new one any time soon, life is hard and it just keeps getting harder. At the same time, there are millions of people who are earning money on the internet and many of those people are doing very well, thank you! This is not to say that a global recession will not affect these online business people and internet marketers at all. No-one is totally immune when money starts getting tighter and almost everyone (including most Western governments) are having to tighten the purse strings. The fact is that many people who run online businesses are doing fine, and those that are the smartest are likely to continue to do so. Combine the tough times and this latter fact and you come to an inescapable conclusion. There are many people going to be trying their hand at running their own online business over the next few years as they seek new income streams over which they and they alone are in control. In this way, they are also able to take charge of their own destiny. The fact that you are reading this report suggests that you are one of these people, or that you are, at least, considering whether getting into internet marketing is something that you should do. Indeed, you may even be questioning whether it is something that you are capable of doing. Throughout this book, I’m going to address these questions and many others, the kind of questions that any online marketing beginner (or a ‘newbie’ as beginners are more commonly known) might want to ask. However, if that was the only purpose of this book, then I would not be doing anything that has not already been done dozens of times before. There are hundreds of ‘how to succeed in online marketing’ handbooks, special reports, video training series and e-books already in the market place that walk you through the logistics of setting up your own online business. Now, that does not mean that you should rush out and buy a library full of online marketing books. Indeed, having been around internet marketing for many years, this is one of the first things that I tell every newbie not to do, for reasons that I will analyze later. 3
You do not need to do this because I am going to explain and walk you through the ‘nuts and bolts’ of setting yourself up in online business towards the end of this book. Before then, however, I want to address something that I have seen addressed in books like this far too rarely. This is a tragedy because there is one thing that everyone needs if they are to stand a realistic chance of achieving success, and yet nobody in internet marketing ever talks about it! That is just about to change, starting now! 4
It’s all in the mind! What I am talking about here is the absolute necessity of approaching internet marketing in the right way. The first thing to appreciate about working on the internet is that it is a completely unique experience. There is nothing else like it, and there never has been. For this reason, internet marketing is a very strange beast. On the one hand, as suggested, the advent and growth of the internet has been unlike anything else that has ever happened in the history of mankind. However, while many things about the internet and running an online business of your own are totally new and unique, many other aspects of working and doing business online are exactly the same as things have always been in business. Understanding that there is a correct approach to marketing online is a fine balancing act between the new and the established. It is nevertheless a balancing act that you have to master in order to stand any chance of achieving long-term success. This is proven everyday by the fact that the marketers who have managed to master this critical mental balancing are the people who most consistently achieve success and earn the big bucks. Approaching internet marketing in the correct way is about nothing more or less than understanding that this balancing act exists, and then moving on to learn how to master it for yourself. 5
But, the bad news is… It’s an old, old story Without wishing to be the bringer of bad news or a harbinger of doom, every day, all the world, thousands of people decide that they want to become an internet marketing expert. They have seen the stories of internet millionaires, and decided that they want their slice of the same pie. The vast majority – and I am talking of somewhere around 95% of these people – will fail. Rather than make millions, they will lose money (often thousands of dollars that they don’t really have to spare) and the experience will be a chastening and immensely depressing one for them. In these circumstances, it is almost inevitable that any sane person is going to feel as if they have failed. What is even worse is the fact that in the majority of cases, most failed online marketers have no idea why things didn’t work out for them, so they have no way of rectifying the situation. They will be able to produce reasons (or, more likely, excuses) to friends and family members explaining why things didn’t work out for them. They will be happy to tell anyone who will listen about the other people who didn’t help them the way that they should have done, or cheated them when they least expected it. However, the bottom-line truth is that all of these are really nothing more than excuses after the fact. This has been happening ever since people first started selling and promoting products and services online, and it will happen many times again in the future. While every failed internet marketer can no doubt point to circumstances or situations that were totally beyond their control, and they will feel like they are the only person who has ever had to go through this, nothing could be further from the truth. It’s a given that no-one wants to fail, and as you are reading this, you are properly telling yourself ‘there is NO WAY that is going to happen to me’. However, unless you know the real reasons why it happens to in excess of nine out of every ten people who try to set up their own internet businesses, you have very little chance of stopping it happening! Think of this analogy. 6
If you smoke and you know that your habit can cause cancer and kill you, then when you get cancer, you have no excuse because you could have prevented it. If, however you smoke and you do not know it causes cancer, then when the big C hits, well, that’s tough luck. If you didn’t know what the consequences of your actions were, you could do little to prevent those consequences right from the beginning. Running an online business is remarkably similar. If you do not know why so many people fail, then you will make exactly the same mistakes as they did. As a consequence, your business is pretty much doomed from the outset. The most common internet marketing ‘starting points’… There are lots of different ways that you can make money online. However, the majority of greenhorn newbies who do not have their own product or service to sell in the global marketplace that is the world wide web will begin their online money making career in one of two ways. The first option is to start trying to earn money through what is known as Pay Per Click or PPC advertising. In this scenario, our newbie friend will build a simple website or blog on which they feature PPC advertising. This advertising is placed on their site by a PPC advertising company, the biggest of which is AdSense, which is in turn owned by Google. Because of their overwhelmingly dominant position in the on-line global advertising market place, Google attract millions of customers who want to place advertising online as a way of promoting their business, products or services. In order to do so, they are willing to pay companies like Google and the dozens of other similar PPC advertising companies operating in the online marketplace. At the same time, however, these companies do not want to waste their advertising budget. Added to this is the fact that advertising online is not all that different from advertising in the ‘real world’ through newspapers, magazines, television and so on. Targeting your advertising is critically important. For example, if you can present your advertisement for a new Honda or Toyota to someone who is already interested in buying a new car, you have found yourself a red-hot prospect. Presenting that advert to someone who is more interested in buying a loaf of bread or a new three-piece suite is, however, going to be far less effective. 7
For this reason, PPC advertising is targeted. If you create and publish a blog about keeping tropical fish, the PPC advertising that will be placed on your site by a company like AdSense will be tropical fish related. When people visit your site from your tropical fish related promotional activities, they are presented with targeted advertising which massively increases the chances of them clicking on those adverts. When they do so, you get paid. Making money from PPC advertising is simple, easy to set up and costs nothing. There is no selling involved either, which is something that many newbie marketers (most of whom have no previous selling experience) feel comfortable with. For these reasons, using PPC in this way is a very common choice for people who are just getting into internet marketing. The downside of utilizing PPC is that for every click on an advert featured on your site, you are only going to receive a few cents. In order to generate a reasonable income, it is therefore necessary to have dozens of websites that feature AdSense, allied to an aggressively pursued program of sending thousands of people to those PPC enabled web pages. While there are dozens of PPC training manuals on the market that promise to show you how to make $10,000 a month from AdSense, the vast majority of newbie PPC marketers are only ever going to see small change in return for their efforts. It is for this reason that other newbie marketers choose to start their internet marketing career as affiliate marketers. Here, the would-be online entrepreneur concerned chooses to sell the products or services of someone else in return for a share of the proceeds of every successful sale that they generate as a commission. An affiliate marketer is an independent salesperson who is selling the products or services of someone with whom they otherwise have no established relationship. In the same way that any other independent, self-employed salesperson would be, this affiliate marketer is responsible for every single aspect of their own business. For instance, it is up to them how they promote their products in the marketplace and find new prospects by doing so. Every expense of running their business has to be covered by them, so that they are almost inevitably out-of-pocket until they start seeing an income flow from successful sales. 8
In order to be a successful affiliate, you must be able to convince people to buy the products or services that you are promoting. As a consequence, it is not quite so easy to generate an income from affiliate marketing as it is by featuring PPC advertising on a blog. After all, it costs a site visitor absolutely nothing to click on an advert, but buying a product or service that you are promoting is going to necessitate them getting their credit card out and spending money. So there are downsides to marketing as an affiliate, and yet hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are marketing as affiliates as you read this. The reason that people choose to do so is the fact that for every successful sale, it is possible to generate commission payments of anywhere from $10 to thousands of dollars per sale! The amount of commission that you generate per sale depends on the product or service that you are promoting, but there are successful affiliates who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from their efforts. It is therefore easy to understand why it is so attractive for newbie marketers to sell as an affiliate. While you can probably start earning money more quickly and easily using PPC advertising, you are far more likely to start generating ‘real’ money in affiliate marketing. In addition, you do not even need to go to the trouble of creating your own product or service to get into the business. If you decide to become an affiliate marketer today, there is no physical reason why you cannot start running your business by this time tomorrow. This is not to say that featuring AdSense on a website does not have a place in a sensible internet marketing business process. It does, and I will highlight where it fits into the overall picture a little later. However, the rest of this report is going to assume that your primary moneymaking efforts are going to be focused on affiliate marketing. So…why? You already know that most newbie internet marketers are going to fail, and you knew well before you started reading this book that you did not want to be amongst them! It is therefore important to begin considering why so many people fail when they get into marketing as an affiliate. The first thing to say is that it is unlikely to be anything to do with the products or services that the failed affiliate marketer was promoting. 9
Of course, it is possible that they chose poor product or service to promote, and that would certainly not help their chances of succeeding. This is, incidentally, something that you will learn to avoid or at least offset in the concluding chapter of this report. The vast majority of people who are operating as online affiliate marketers are promoting products or services from only a small handful of websites. In essence therefore, the affiliate marketers who are making thousands of dollars every month and those who are losing money hand over fist are promoting exactly the same products! There is experience and market knowledge to be taken into consideration. The $500,000 a year super-affiliate has been around a lot longer, they know the market place far better than any beginner could ever hope to and (in most cases) they are not working alone. It is also fair to say that in many cases, these super-affiliates do have other advantages over ‘ordinary’ affiliate marketers like you and me, such as inside information from their other super-affiliate buddies. All that being said, however, they are still selling the same products into the same global online marketplace. The reason why so many ordinary affiliates do not make it cannot therefore be because of the products they are selling. Of far more significance is the way that these ordinary affiliates are selling. As you will discover later, there is a right way and a wrong way of promoting affiliate products. If you are going about it the wrong way (as the majority of affiliate marketers are), you are making life extremely difficult for yourself even though the chances are that you have no idea that you are doing so. The next question is, why does this happen? The answer to this goes to the very heart of why so many affiliates fail, and why, unless you understand and follow basic guidelines, you are making it very difficult for yourself to achieve success. Irrespective of how simplistic it sounds, success as an affiliate marketer comes down to having the right mindset and mental attitude to what it is that you are doing. Over the years, I have met many brand-new internet marketers who were just taking their first steps into affiliate marketing, and, without any doubt, almost every one of them had an awful lot going for them. 10
They were enthusiastic, fired up, keen to learn and (above all else) desperate to get moving with things. These are all tremendous qualities that every new affiliate marketer must have. Yet, these qualities are not enough to guarantee you success. Irrespective of your enthusiasm or desire to succeed, you must have your mindset and your mental attitude positioned correctly if you really want to generate a good income online. There are things that you must do and there are many things that you mustn’t do when you first start out. These do’s and don’ts could be viewed as the ‘success rules’ of affiliate marketing. By following these rules, you are giving yourself the best chance of achieving the online income powered lifestyle that you want to achieve. There is, however, one massive problem that prevents so many marketers achieving this lifestyle. It is not that they know all the rules and choose to ignore them – it is the fact that they do not even know that these rules exist! This is exactly what having the right mindset and mental attitude is all about. Over the next few chapters, I am going to highlight every do and don’t rule that I have ever come across in the internet and affiliate marketing game. In this way, you will learn how to avoid the traps that so many marketers before you have fallen into, the pitfalls that they did not even know existed which lured them to their ultimate online business demise. 11
The first thing that you must have… Earlier in this report, I highlighted the fact that, if you are going to market as an affiliate, there is nothing to stop you making your decision to start today, and doing so tomorrow. There is one barrier to jumping straight into business in this way. In order to get some idea of what the barrier might be, imagine this scenario. Some time later today, you decide that it would be a great idea to drive from the East Coast to the West Coast. First thing tomorrow morning, you jump in your car and off you go. That is it, there is nothing more to it than that. You don’t bother packing a bag for the trip, checking whether your car is up to it, and you don’t for one minute think about buying a set of maps (or a GPS) to cover the whole journey. You just wouldn’t do it. To undertake such a journey without any preparation would be insane. At the very least, you would do the basics because you would know that, if you failed to do so, the whole thing is likely to end in total disaster. Deciding to become an affiliate marketer today and starting selling tomorrow is very similar to setting off from one coast to the other without any kind of planning or preparation. If you’re going to become a successful affiliate, planning is absolutely essential, because without it, you are almost guaranteeing your own failure from the outset. Here is another thing. No matter how desperate you are to start earning extra cash as quickly as possible, you cannot jump straight in to the affiliate marketing business without having a plan in place. There are many different aspects to planning, some of which can be dealt with at the very beginning, while there are others that cannot be completely factored into your plan just yet, for many reasons. For instance, there are millions of products online that you can promote as an affiliate, and everyday hundreds more appear, At the same time, many older products disappear. As a consequence, it is impossible to plan exactly what products or services you are likely to be selling in six months or a year’s time. What you can plan in advance, however, is a broad classification of the types of products or services that you are going to promote for the first year or two. 12
What you do know is that, all being well, in six months or a year, you will still be selling something. You can at least factor that into your planning operation. A huge percentage of newbie affiliate marketers jump straight in to the deep end of what is an extremely competitive pool without having the first idea of how they are going to defeat the competition and where they are going, in either the short or the long term. The only plan that they have is to start earning money as quickly as possible by doing something on the internet. With that kind of mindset and complete lack of planning, no new affiliate marketer could ever stand anything better than the fabled one chance in a million of being successful. As I have stressed, I do understand that times are hard, and that millions of people all over the world are struggling to make ends meet. I appreciate that desperate times make for desperate people and that as much money as possible hitting your bank account in the next day or two might represent the perfect scenario for you. Nevertheless, even if you can see yourself in this picture, it is still fundamentally important that you take a step back from your current situation and try to take a longer term view. As you are just about to discover, there are many fundamental errors that far too many newbie affiliate marketers make that must be avoided. If, however, you jump in too quickly, then I can almost guarantee, that, even with this warning fresh in your mind, you will still make some of these fundamental errors, and that (more importantly), you will probably have less money rather than more in your pocket tomorrow as a result of doing so. If tomorrow is not for selling, what do I do? The simple answer to this question is research. In the same way that when you are driving across the country, you do your research by getting out the maps (or consulting the GPS) to plan your route, the towns that you want to stay along the way, convenient gas stops and places where you get your car repaired if it breaks down, the first thing you do as a new affiliate marketer is research. I am not going to get into the ins and outs of the research that you should be doing at this point, because research is what the final few chapters of this book are all about. 13
What is important to appreciate that this juncture, however, is that there are two aspects to the way that you should go forward armed with the results of the research that you do. The first result of the research you do should be that you have a clear idea of what you need to do in the future to make money as an affiliate marketer. This research should also highlight many simple, everyday errors that affiliate marketers make and teach you how to avoid them. However, before we get to examining that particular situation, we must return to the idea of getting your initial mindset right. In particular, I want to highlight many of the major critical errors that newbie marketers all too commonly make because they are not even vaguely aware that such mistakes and errors exist. 14
Internet marketing is information overload central! One of the biggest and potentially most damaging problems of internet and affiliate marketing is that there are simply too many people involved. As a consequence, there are literally millions of would-be experts and gurus who are willing to give you the benefit of their advice and what they have learned over the years. There is an unbelievable amount of information about affiliate marketing flying around, to the extent that it can very quickly become almost impossible to know which way to turn. The major problem is that every person who is marketing or promoting a product online has their own point of view to promote. Everyone has a viewpoint that they are pushing, one that is dictated by the product or service that they are selling. The more you ’dig into’ affiliate marketing, the more information you will collect, and there is no doubt that lots of the information you collect will be contradictory! While one affiliate marketer who is promoting blue widgets will present a dozen incredibly persuasive arguments as to why blue widgets are the best, another affiliate will be arguing the case for red widgets equally persuasively. In this situation, it is completely impossible for you as a beginner to know whose opinion to listen to or trust. Rather than helping you, collecting too much information in this way has done far more to confuse things than clarify them. This is known in the internet marketing game as information overload, and it is something that you must do everything in your power to avoid. Here is another thing that the majority of new affiliate marketers are simply not in a position to appreciate. When you first decide to become an affiliate marketer, it is very easy to arrive at the conclusion that everyone else is an affiliate marketing expert except you. It is easy to understand why this should be. After all, if someone has created their own website and apparently written a report that promises to tell you the 20 biggest secrets in affiliate marketing, it is quite natural that you believe that this individual knows what they are doing. 15
A lot of the time, this is simply not true. It is quite likely that they have used a ready-made template to create their sales page, and that the report that they are giving away is one that they got from someone else. All too often, this marketer who is positioning themselves as an expert has only been in the business for a month or two and has little more experience or knowledge than you do. However, because you can get their report for nothing, you download and read it. Much of the information in that report contradicts a lot of things that you have read previously, so rather than helping you make progress, what this report has done is set you back several steps. Rather than having a clearer picture of the way forward, you are more confused and unclear about what to do than ever before. In this situation, do you know what you are most likely to do? Nothing, that is what! You are too confused and you do not know the best way forward. You are determined to do things in the best way possible but you don’t know how, so it becomes easier to do nothing. It might sound completely crazy but there is not a successful affiliate or internet marketer operating today who has not been in this position at some time in their career. Information overload leads to ‘analysis paralysis’ – you have so much information (a lot of it contradictory) that you seem to spend all of your life reading it, rereading it and trying to work out who or what to believe. You spend your whole life analyzing and end up doing nothing. Having too much information can sound the death knell for your business even before it gets off the ground, because if you do nothing, you earn nothing. So, in the final analysis, it comes down to a question of who you should listen to and follow. The answer is simple – you should listen to and follow those who are cast-iron certainties to know what they are talking about - that is, the established experts in your particular line of business. For example, if you are an affiliate marketer, then you should follow the advice and teachings of those who are established expert affiliate marketers. There are many acknowledged online business experts, people whose names you will come across many times during the course of your online marketing career, such as Mike Filsaime, John Reese and Joel 16
Comm. These are people who are undoubtedly online marketing experts, amongst the top people in the online marketing game, but none of them particularly focuses on affiliate marketing nowadays. If, however, you run a Google search for Ewen Chia, then you are searching for information about a guy who is widely regarded to be one of the world’s top super-affiliates. The information that Ewen publishes is always top-notch and focused on tactics and strategies that are specifically designed for affiliates who want to maximize their success. Thus, you are not likely to go far wrong if you read, digest and then act on everything that this guy (and any other super affiliates that you can find) recommends while getting rid of all of the other stuff that is, at best, of dubious quality and value. 17
The road is not always smooth… Another thing that you will come across on a regular basis are so-called experts and gurus who are happy to tell you how easy it is to run your own home based affiliate marketing business. It is no coincidence that this ‘pitch’ is almost invariably accompanied by a product they are selling that shows you exactly how your business can become so easy to run. The fact is, however, that it is not always easy to run your own home based moneymaking enterprise. As you will discover in the next chapter, your business does not just happen and grow on its own, and as a consequence, a willingness to work hard is an essential requirement of achieving affiliate marketing success. Nor is your progress always going to be smooth and trouble-free either. Although there will be times when things are going your way and everything in the world seems to be the way that it should be, there will also be difficult and demanding periods as well. Do not make the mistake of setting out on your affiliate marketing journey with your eyes closed. Irrespective of what people online blithely announce, it is not easy running your own affiliate marketing business and there will be times when things definitely do not go your way. And the reason is very simple, as highlighted in the next chapter. 18
It is a business… As you already appreciate, if you are promoting or selling products or services as an affiliate, you do not own that product or service. It is therefore sometimes a little too easy to lose sight of the fact that, even though you are promoting someone else’s product, what you are nevertheless doing is running a real business. It is therefore critical that you approach everything you do in your affiliate marketing career as a business person would. This does not necessarily mean that you cannot run your business on a part-time basis. The majority of new affiliate marketers start off working on a part-time basis because they have a regular full-time job which takes up almost all of their time. However, even if you are marketing on a part-time basis, it is still a business. It is not a hobby that you can pick up and put down whenever you feel like it, and it is not something to which you should adopt a ‘part-timer’s’ attitude. Nor is it like working a shift in a fast-food joint. You cannot turn up, get by doing as little as possible and then get the heck out of there as soon as you can. Having told you what it is not, therefore, let me tell you what your affiliate marketing venture really is – IT IS YOUR BUSINESS! The success of this business is going to depend on you and you alone. Therefore, in addition to your plan, you have to bring several other personal qualities to your affiliate marketing efforts. You must have and be willing to apply: • Determination; • Motivation; • A ‘win whatever the odds’ attitude; • A willingness to work as hard as it takes; • An ability to work under pressure; and • Total focus on achieving your objectives to the exclusion of all unnecessary distractions. Now, these are exactly the same characteristics that are required to succeed in any business, whether that business operates online, or in the offline world of ‘bricks and mortar’ commerce. 19
This should not be any great surprise, because doing business online and offline is not different. Despite the fact that many online marketers will try to convince you that the internet represents some wonderful new type of business, or that it has somehow shifted the ‘business goalposts’, none of this is true. Business is business whether it is online or off. In both cases, you have a product or service to sell, and if you can find prospects who want to buy that product or service, then you will make a sale. The only thing that is new about doing business online is the way that you present your products or services to prospects and potential customers. In other words, the internet is a new marketing channel rather than a new kind of business, little more than a brand new kind of ‘shop window’. So, it is important not to get carried away with the myth or mystique of the internet as a totally revolutionary way of doing business. Everything that is required to make an offline business successful – a marketing plan, keeping control of your spending, making sure that jobs get finished on time and so on – are equally applicable and vital to your online affiliate marketing business. Treat this as a hobby and it will only ever generate a hobby income for you. If you treat it as a business, however, then it will reward you in the way that a business should. 20
Everyone has the secret… As suggested earlier, everyone who is involved in online business has their own product or service to sell. It is their job to do everything in their power to convince everyone who sees their product ‘pitch’ that the product in question is the best in the market place and the only one that you should ever consider buying. Now, perhaps you are wondering why this is relevant to you. After all, aren’t you the person who should be doing the selling? Well, yes, of course that is true to a certain extent. At the same time, however, it is important to appreciate that both internet and affiliate marketing can sometimes be incestuous businesses. In other words, while there are millions of affiliates selling ‘real world’ related products and services such as weight-loss pills, dog training products, music and video downloads for MP3 players and so on, there are millions of others who make their living selling internet marketing products to other internet marketers. Whether these people are affiliates or whether they are selling their own product, what they have is a product or service that they believe (or claim to believe) that every other internet marketer must have in order to be a complete success. It probably does not surprise you to learn that this is an incredibly competitive marketplace. For this reason, get online any time, any day, 24/7, and you can find hundreds of products or services that are targeted at someone exactly like you. Almost all of these products will promise to reveal the long lost hidden ‘secret’ of this or the one answer that everyone is seeking in that market. In other words, these people are professional marketers, and they are quite happy to promise you that the world will be yours if you will only buy their product. If you have not seen any of these products already, perhaps you believe that you will not fall for this sales ‘pitch’. You will. They will absolutely and completely convince you that you cannot achieve business success without buying the product or service they are promoting. 99.9% of it is complete boloney! 21
You categorically, completely and totally do not need any of the products or services that other marketers will try to sell you in order to be successful affiliate marketer. If you do buy these products, there is something else to consider. By doing so, you are demonstrating very clearly that your mindset is completely wrong. You buy these products because you are looking for a short cut to success, a ‘magic bullet’ that is somehow going to turn you into an instant, overnight success. However, there is no ‘secret’ and ‘magic bullets’ do not exist. Nor is there such a thing as a shortcut to success. If you believe that there is, you are allowing yourself to be blinded to the truth that success only comes because of hard work, drive, determination and focus. Now, you might be asking, ‘How do you know this, Mister Know-All?’ The answer is because, like almost every other online marketer that I know, I have a hard drive full of products like this that I bought in the past! The fact is that almost all of them (with a couple of notable exceptions) have been dormant and unread since the day I wasted money on them! From experience, I know all that buying useless ‘short cuts’ does only one thing. It runs down your credit card at a time when there is no money coming in from your affiliate marketing business, and that is the recipe for guaranteed financial disaster. There is no secret, because if there was, why on earth would anyone else be willing to tell you what it is? So, every time you are tempted to by the latest must have product that some so-called guru undeservedly guarantees will make you this year’s big success story, do everything you can to put your credit card away without buying. However, just in case the temptation becomes too strong from time to time, here is what you do to build up a small ‘kitty’ from which you can buy the odd product without destroying your credit card. Head over to Blogger.com and get yourself an account. Once you have done your initial research as explained later, you will have a few ideas of markets where there is money to be made. Create a simple blog for each of these markets, monetize each of them with AdSense and use the few dollars a month you earn as your product buying kitty. I really believe that after buying a few of these products, you will quickly realize that most of them have little value, but if you really want 22
to dip your toe in the water with a few purchases, then at least do so from money that you have already earned. 23
Pre-conceived ideas and overnight millionaires One of the attractions of getting into internet or affiliate marketing for most people is that they know that there are many, many online success stories, and that internet millionaires are becoming increasingly common. They would love to be in the same situation, hence the attraction of making money online. There are two dangers here that you must be aware of. Firstly, from any reading or research that you have already done, you will have formed preconceived ideas about how to be a success story as an affiliate. It is even possible that these ideas have been at least in part fuelled by the stories you have read of online millionaires. Forget the preconceptions. Until you become actively involved in marketing, it is likely that most of the ideas that you already have in your head are wrong. For example, I have lost count of the number of e-books and training courses that I have seen over the years that promised that anyone who bought it was guaranteed to become a millionaire by applying the information contained in it. Some of these products would even promise that you could become a millionaire in the three months, six months or a year. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that no one can tell you how long it will take to make money because they do not know how hard you are willing to work, the fact is that the majority of people promoting and selling these products are making absolutely nothing from their online marketing efforts! They have absolutely no idea how to become a millionaire, because they don’t have two brass nickels to rub together. They are doing nothing more than push someone else’s product, either as an affiliate or because they have resell rights someone else’s product. When you see any product that promises you the keys to becoming an overnight millionaire, run away! For example, one of the best-known and most widely respected internet marketers John Reese is widely credited with creating and launching the first internet marketing product to gross $1 million in a single day. Not, how did John get to this position? Do you think it was anything to do with the 20+ years of hard graft, learning his business and honing 24
his skills, or do you realistically think it happened overnight, completely out of the blue? Of course it didn’t happen overnight. If it will not work for one of the biggest names in the business, you can be absolutely certain that it is not going to work for you either. Business building is a question of step-by-step growth. Sometimes that growth will be slow and steady, while there will (hopefully) be times when your business will be growing more quickly than you could ever have imagined possible - but, becoming an overnight millionaire? Don’t even consider wasting your time and your money on it. 25
No-one taught me… Marketing products and services online has only become commonplace in the recent past. For that reason, most people who are currently involved in internet or affiliate marketing had no formal training in what they are currently doing. This is, I believe, one of the reasons that so many newbie marketers make such fundamental and foolish errors. Although by reading this book, you are learning about many of the potential pitfalls and hurdles that will appear on the road to affiliate marketing success, anyone who does not have the opportunity to read something like this remains uneducated about the business in which they are involving themselves. This does not have to be the case, however, because there are quite a few places where you can learn a great deal about internet marketing and online business simply by observing and following what is going on. These places are the premier internet marketing forum sites such as Warrior Forum and Antony Blake’s Entrepreneurial Success Forum. Sites like these are something like top level universities of internet and affiliate marketing, places where the foremost experts in the business hang out and get involved in conversations and discussions with other members, including newbies. Both of these sites are completely free to register with. So, you should do so as a matter of urgency, because by simply following other people’s threads, you will gain a better online marketing education than you will by buying a hundred ‘how to be an affiliate marketer’ e-books written by less knowledgeable would-be gurus. The Warrior Forum in particular is an absolute goldmine of free information and advice. It is a place where, once you are a member, you can ask other members any questions that you want about affiliate marketing, safe in the knowledge that some of the most profitable affiliate marketers in the business are active members of the site. For example, most of the experts that I have already mentioned in this report are ‘Warriors’, and there is no other way that I know of gaining access to the kind of experience and knowledge that these people have than through the Warrior Forum. The bottom line is that by joining the two forums highlighted, you can always ask people for advice when, for example, something in your business does not seem right but you do not know why. 26
As I have previously suggested, it is as a direct result of (entirely understandable) ignorance that so many newbie affiliate marketers launch their business on completely the wrong foot and then compound that mistake by continually making the kind of errors that I highlighted in the previous chapters. Joining these forums will give you a ready-made way of avoiding these mistakes that is not going to cost you one single penny. the next time you are looking for answers and considering buying an e- book that you believe might be able to solve the problem, go to the Warrior Forum first and ask. Someone will be able to answer your question, almost guaranteed! 27
Starting you research As suggested, in order to be successful, you need to have a plan, and to be in a position to formulate a plan, you need to do your research first. In the initial stages, this research is going to be on two levels. Firstly, you need to establish what market you are going to promote affiliate products into, and, secondly, you need to source a suitable product for that market. Researching your market One of the first rules of any business is that you should always sell the products that people want to buy, simply because it is easier to sell into an existing market than it is to create that market yourself. This rule applies just as much to online business as it does in the real world. Apart from when they are buying the basic necessities of life, most people spend money for one of two reasons. They either buy something because it is going to bring them pleasure, or they buy it because it solves a problem or eases something that is causing them pain. Of the two, the second is far more powerful than the first. Therefore, your most effective marketing tactic is going to be selling solutions to people with problems or products that ease people’s pain. For example, it is no secret that the world is increasingly populated with obese people. Most of these people know that it is not good for their health to be in this condition, and many of them dislike or even despise themselves for their weakness and inability to do anything about it. What they are looking for is the same kind of ‘shortcut’ to success, some magic bullet that guarantees them weight loss success without them having to do any work to achieve that success. Obese people spend millions of dollars on diet pills, because they want to lose weight, but would rather eat more than make the effort to achieve their objective. Consequently, the weight loss market is a classic ‘desperate buyers’ market, which explains why the amount of money spent on weight loss products online is second only to the amount spent on ‘how to make money’ materials. Other similar markets would be people who have bad breath, smelly feet, bad teeth, or are losing their hair. They are all desperate for solutions, and if you can provide that solution, they are more than likely to be willing to pay for it. 28
These are only a few of the markets where there are desperate potential buyers waiting for someone to come along with the answer to all of their problems, but there are lots of places where you can find many more. For example, visit the groups pages of one of the major online networking sites like MySpace and you will find over a million different groups focused on almost every imaginable aspect of human life: If you open up any of these individual categories, you will find the most popular groups at the top of the page. Health and fitness is always a very popular online marketplace, so let us open up the category homepage to see which groups are the most popular: 29
Okay, so you have bodybuilding, muscle and fitness, martial arts, autism and natural cures. As these groups are featured at the top of the page, they are amongst the most active and that immediately tells you that there is a great deal of online interest in these topics and subjects. However, if you really have no idea of a marketplace in which you want to start selling, I would recommend that you dig a little deeper than simply looking at the first half dozen results. Dig down several pages deep and build yourself a list of 20 or 30 potential topics that might be worth getting involved in. In order to do this, you might have to look at several categories, but every time you discover an interest group with more than a few thousand members in a particular market or niche, add it to your list. Armed with this list, the next step is to establish that ordinary internet users (that is, people who are not necessarily members of MySpace 30
groups) are searching for information in the markets in which you are considering marketing. Doing this is a simple two step process involving a couple of completely free tools. Firstly, open your internet browser, logon to Google and run a standard search using the primary term from your list. At this juncture, we are not looking for anything in particular, other than establishing that people do search the internet in large numbers every day, and if there are a large number of web pages listed, that suggests a popular search topic: There are over 92 million web pages returned on the Google search results pages for the term ‘weight loss’, indicating that marketing weight loss products online is, indeed, a massive business. The next thing to establish is how many people are actually searching for information of this nature on a daily basis, and in order to do this we are going to use the free Word Tracker keyword research tool. Type the term that you want to research into the box on the page and click the ‘Hit Me’ button: This will return the top 100 most popularly searched weight loss related terms from Google with the total number of searches shown at the top: There are nearly 34000 people using Google every day to search for weight loss related information, and remember that this is only one of many search engines (although it is by far and away the largest), so the 31
total number of people searching the net every day for information of this nature is likely to be considerably higher in reality. Now we know that people want weight loss related information, so it is a question of finding out what information we can provide to them to start generating affiliate commissions. Where to find products and how to choose between them As an affiliate you have a choice of promoting tangible, physical products, or working with digital information products. It is not difficult to find products that fall into both of these categories, so it really is a question of you deciding what kind of products you feel most comfortable promoting. For example, in the weight loss market, you could promote diet pills, dietary supplements, fitness machinery like treadmills or exercise bikes and the like. There are quite a few affiliate program network sites like Commission Junction, Share-A-Sale, Hydra Media and LinkShare where companies who offer affiliate programs to people who wanted to sell products like these can be found. However, the majority of newbie affiliate marketers begin their career by promoting digital information products rather than physical products, primarily because it is considerably easier and quicker to get yourself set up in business in order to be able to do so. As an example, if you want to promote a physical product, then you must have a webpage already established in the market place in which you wish to operate as an affiliate. Furthermore, the company whose product you wish to promote has to approve that page and this can often result in the kind of delays which you do not need when you are trying to get your business up and running. For this reason, while I would definitely recommend that you take a look at the physical product affiliate program network sites, I would also suggest that you start off by promoting a digital information product that can be delivered to your customer instantly. The number one for sourcing digital information products that you can sell as an affiliate is Clickbank.com, although it is worth taking a look at PayDotCom.com too. However, because Clickbank is the largest network site in the digital information product market place, with over 100,000 existing affiliates promoting in excess of 10,000 products, this is the site that we will use to research our product. Open the Clickbank ‘Marketplace’ page and type in the word or phrase that is most appropriate to your market, which in this case is ‘diet’ (if 32
you use the seemingly more relevant ‘weight loss’, what you actually get is a page full of bodybuilding and fitness related products): When you hit the ‘Go’ button, Clickbank will return all of the most appropriate products that are being offered by product vendors through their site, in order of popularity. The product that appears at the top of the page is the most popular in this particular market at the present time. This does not, however, automatically mean that this is a good product to promote. Especially as you are a beginner, you do not want to start promoting a product that is already too popular in the market place. Popularity in online business equates to competition, and the more competition there is, the harder it becomes for you to generate sales. So, is this product too popular? Let us investigate by considering the information that Clickbank is showing on this results page: The most important data are the statistics shown in the green text line beneath the main product details. 33
What you can see here, on the far left, is that you are going to earn $36.73 per sale commission, which is an adjusted figure that takes into account refund requests from unhappy customers over the past couple of weeks. It is therefore an accurate net income figure. Moving over now to the three statistics on the right-hand side, ‘%/sale’ tells you that, as an affiliate, 75% of the product sales price will be paid to you as a commission. Next to that, the %refd’ figure indicates that 90% of all sales of this product are being handled by affiliates, which basically tells you that the product owner is not aggressively marketing the product themselves. This is good, because it means you are not in direct competition with the original product creator. Finally, on the far right, you have the ‘grav’ figure, which is Clickbank shorthand for gravity. Although no-one outside of Clickbank actually knows how this is calculated, it is generally used as an indicator of the popularity of this product as far as the Clickbank affiliate sales force is concerned. It is showing you what level of competition you are likely to be up against from other affiliates should you choose to promote this product. This is, of course, exactly what you need to know. And as a general rule, it is widely believed that for a product to be one that you can realistically expect to earn money on reasonably quickly, you should be looking for a gravity figure of between 30 points and 100 points. Below the lower of these two levels, the product is either too new to have acquired a reasonable gravity score, or it is simply an unpopular product. Anything above the higher level, however, indicates that the product has already taken off, and that it is being successfully promoted by other affiliates at a level that is going to make it difficult for you to impose yourself upon the marketplace. Based on these guidelines, this product is already too popular, and while it would certainly not be impossible for you to generate sales of it, doing so is going to involve too much time or possibly even money being expended. Having discounted the product in the number one slot, you would automatically look at the number two possibility. However, even though the statistics of this particular product look good, there is one other thing that you must look at (beyond these statistics) before you decide to run with any particular product. 34
That is the sales page (or ‘pitch page’ in Clickbank terms), and in this particular case, my opinion would be that the sales page is as likely to hinder your sales efforts as help them! Assessing a sales page in this manner is, admittedly, very much a question of gut reactions and personal preferences, but I would recommend that if you are not convinced by the sales page yourself, you should never attempt to promote the product that is featured on that page. After all, if you cannot believe in the ‘sales pitch’ yourself, why would you expect your prospects to be convinced? By promoting a product with a poor sales page, you would make your own life unnecessarily difficult. So, you would move on to the next product in the popularity rankings: Okay, in this situation, the only thing that I can see that might count against it is that, at $17.73, the commission payable is a little on the low side. Having said that, this also means that the price the customer has to pay for the product is lower. It is therefore quite possible that what you lose in commission per sale you will make up for in the number of customers who you can convince to buy the product because of its lower price. This would be something that you would have to test. The one final thing to check is the sales page: 35
It is plain, simple and straightforward - which often translates into ‘effective’ in online sales - so this would therefore be a sales page which I would have no problems working with. So, for the purposes of this exercise, this is the product I am going to run with. 36
What’s next? With your market decided, and your product sourced, there are two more things that you need to do in order to get your business operational. The first thing is to start finding people who are interested in accessing weight loss information that you can pull to a webpage from where you are selling the product that you have just decided to promote The second thing is to decide what kind of webpage that will be. Traffic is crucial Perhaps the single most important aspect of running any online business is learning and mastering the art of sending visitors to your webpage. If no-one ever sees the offer that you are making, it does not matter how attractive that offer is because no visitors equates to no prospects, and without prospects, you can never have customers. Traffic generation is the subject of many thousands of e-books and special reports that are floating around the internet, and if you search Google for ‘free traffic generation ideas’ or ‘free traffic generation tactics’, you will find a great deal of free information available. One site that I would thoroughly recommend that you visit, however, is the Bum Marketing Method site. Despite the name, there is an excellent complete traffic generation training course available completely free on this site which you really should grab. What is more. the traffic generation ideas recommended actually work extremely well too. Just by applying these Bum Marketing principles, you will start sending visitors to your webpage, and sales will follow as a result. Where to send them? You may be thinking that, as the product vendor has already published their sales, you should send the visitors that you are hoping to turn into customers there. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you send your visitors directly to the original product sales page, then that visitor is lost to you and your business for ever. If they decide to buy the product, you will get a share of the commission, but the product owner will get the new customer’s contact details. They will subsequently add those contact details to their customer mailing list and start sending product recommendations to that customer every two or three days. 37
At some point in the future, it is highly likely that the customer will buy one of those recommended products, but every penny of commission will go to the original product vendor, with nothing to you. You will never get another cent from that customer, because you do not have their contact details. It is your customer contact details that will ultimately be the single biggest asset of value in your online business. In short, if you send your prospect directly to the product vendor, you are building their business rather than yours, and that is not a good thing to do! So, you need to create your own webpage to where you can send your prospects. On this webpage, you will include a mailing list sign up form that you generate from an online autoresponder service like Aweber (which is a brilliant service, but one that you have to pay for) or AutoSenders (which is free, far more limited, but at least advert free). Set up whichever autoresponder you are using so that, immediately after they have signed up for your mailing list and confirmed their e- mail address, that prospect receives the free gift that you are going to send them and is then taken directly to the product vendor’s sales page. They can make their decision of whether they are going to buy, but even if they do not do so, you have already added them to your mailing list, meaning that it is you that can make future product recommendations to them and thereby gener
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