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I Just Blue Myself

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I Just Blue Myself

I Just Blue Myself

I don't normally do this sort of thing, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Blueverse was kind enough to give me a little interview, so I obliged them with some answers.

Check out the interview here.

Sorry it's a tad long, but I thought I'd be thorough.

Oh and if you don't get the title reference, it's to a hilarious episode (and really, which one wasn't hilarious?) of Arrested Development where Tobias tries out for the Blue Man Group.

Outstanding. :)

Affiliate Fitness – You Don’t Have To Be Fat

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As I'm sure many of you have, I've had my fair share of weight gain since high school. In fact, I gained about 25lbs and a few weeks ago at 201lbs, I was starting to get too big for my shirts. It was depressing to say the least. It was a good wake-up call as I was determined not to succumb to the shame of buying bigger sizes in clothes. Basically all I do is sit and stare at a computer all day, first at work, then at home. I mean, my eyes should be turning into little square monitors by now. So I figured something had to be done.

The first thing I did was stop driving to work. I live about two miles from the university where I'm a web developer by day, so I decided to start taking a bicycle to work. It's sweaty business but I have a little Hawaiian Breeze fan that cools me right down. The side benefit to this is that I don't waste money on car repairs, fueling up or a parking permit.

Biking to work did help the weight a bit but I could tell it was going to be a slow process. Then my wife mentioned the Master Cleanse and after some research, I started that. No, I'm not trying to sell you on this and if you decide to try it, do so at your own risk. Now I won't go into detail but let's just say -- it's cleansing in the way that Mexican food is cleansing. I won't say it wasn't difficult to avoid eating but the choice I had was much simpler to stick to: eat or don't. So I did that for eight days and was able to lose 15lbs, of which I gained back 2lbs (water weight) after two weeks and have since lost. Currently, I weigh in at roughly 186lbs.

So the other day, my brother in law showed me a website called hundredpushups.com. Essentially, It's a six week program where you work your way up to doing 100 consecutive push-ups and it's free. I figured -- I'm no stranger to push-ups; I did them a lot when I was younger, so why not? So far, I've finished day one on Monday and I'll finish up day two today. And in case you're wondering, I was only able to do twenty push-ups for the initial test but I'm determined to get to the one-hundred mark.

Bum Marketing Is Harder Than I Thought

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So I'm about a week into my experiment and I actually have ranked for some long-tail keywords. The particular keywords I've chosen are high volume so they're naturally going to be difficult to break into. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this difficulty has been the rumored 'sandbox' that Google places new websites into when they're related to high volume (and therefore, high spam) topics.

I've gotten a trickle of traffic from Google for the long tail keywords and I'm on page four for both. I can definitely hear the rushing rapids of pages one and two coming up soon though. It just pushes me foreward. The funny thing about this is - I've only paid for a few websites to advertise my link. Other than that, I've been writing articles, posting in topical forums and manually submitting unique descriptions to directories (although none have kicked in yet). Oh, yes, and I've been paying people to post on the website's forum.

All this and I get page four for long tail keywords! Ouch. This could get rough.

So now I'm researching other bum marketing methods as well as just methods that just flat-out help you climb the rankings. I'm also trying to think of a few clever ways as well, like link bait articles or some sort of side service that gets people to back-link the site. It works well for my Myspace Layouts site. :)

So that's where I am right now. I'll keep you posted on the status of this project.

Ringtones: You Still In It?

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I've heard some good things about Ringtones lately and I was thinking about jumping back in it.

Are any of you still doing Ringtones?

One thing I don't like is all the extra steps that keep getting piled onto these types of offers. That, and the way the top dogs are in bed with the ringtone suppliers already.

Other than that, I think I've learned some valuable things that would make it possible to do a few thousand a day in ringtonage but I'd like to know what you guys think.

Top Five Motivational Sales Speeches [NSFW]

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These are my top five speeches about making money/sales. Feel free to comment if you disagree but these are the five sales speeches that make me feel inspired to stop being lazy and make it happen (it being money). I say NSFW due to the use of bad language, not nudity.

Boiler Room - Group Interview

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If you can watch this without being inspired in some way, you might be dead inside. I've seen this clip more than fifty times and I'm still not tired of it. You should watch this at least once a week to remind yourself why you're in this game.

Glengary Glen Ross - Always Be Closing

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I hadn't seen this until today when my brother in law showed me. What's good about this is that it shows what it takes to shake people out of their comfort zone and that's what it takes to make someone a closer. If you aren't closing, you're fired.

Wall Street - Greed Is Good

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I couldn't make a top five list like this without including Gordon Gekko's speech in Wall Street. It's a way to remind ourselves that what we're doing is for the benefit of man kind. ;) Greed makes the world go 'round.

Boiler Room - Telemarketing Pitch

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Pay close attention to this one. This one makes me think of the myriad of cheesy landing pages out there. People just aren't trying and it's the biggest reason you hear complaints from people. "I can't make sales." Then you get the complaints on the other side from people having to wade through all the spammy sales pitch pages. Do yourself a favor and actually SELL your audience. Go the extra mile to have them choose you over the next guy.

Jerry Maguire - Show Me The Money

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It's simple: "Show me the money." Enough said.


Incentaclick (CX Digital) Scrubbing Leads?

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After talking with my buddy Will today, I was shocked to find out that he has alarming proof that Incentaclick was scrubbing leads shaving sales. If you weren't privvy to the commotion yesterday on WickedFire, check out his post here-

CX Digital... Massive Fraud?

It's a well known fact that affiliate networks scrub some leads here and there and as mysterious as their reasons seem, it's usually something logical (someone signed up twice, tracking was down temporarily, etc.).

But it's only when you can compare the same offer on another network (Will has now switched the same offer to eAdvertising) that you begin to see where lead scrubbing goes from slightly annoying to down-right damaging financially. And what's worse, CX Digital's own CEO apparently called Will and tried to smooth things over. Of course, Will blew him off stating something to the effect of "I said my piece. Read the forum post. I don't want to talk to you." and hung up.

And this isn't the first time people have reported being ripped off by CX Digital. Numerous other people responded to the thread with similar stories and it's certainly not the first thread on this topic.

To me, it's a huge red flag when the top dog of the company individually calls its affiliates to smooth things over when the company is obviously at fault. Sure, it would be great if my Gmail account got disabled and Eric Schmidt gave me a ring. But that's one thing, and this is definitely another.

So, CX Digital, what gives? Isn't it bad enough that we have trust issues with affiliate networks already? In order for our relationship to function properly, I have to be able to trust you to properly track sales, leads, and to not screw me out of money that is owed to me. Without that, I have to have faith that you'll just ... get around to it.

Well, I don't know about you fine readers, but I don't have that kind of time. This is pretty bad. I don't think I'll be using Incentaclick anytime soon. How about you?

Ten Thousand Dollars

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How many people can say they've generated that much revenue in one day? Not many. In fact, you might not even believe people make that much or anything close in the affiliate marketing business on a daily basis. You'd be wrong, but you are entitled to your opinion. Your next logical question should be something along the lines of "well, Scott, how do you know?" Let's just say I know from experience that it's achievable and maintainable, but achieving that much revenue every day isn't the problem.

The problem is keeping it.

Depending on a lot of variables that I won't touch on right now, your profit margin for these types of sales can be anywhere from 15-50%+ if you do it right. While that might sound, taste and even smell like what you might imagine a million dollars would, think again.

What most seasoned affiliate marketers know and what many of the greener affiliates are starting to realize is that profit is never cut and dry in this business. Sure, you might profit $5,000 out of that $10,000 but where are you going to get the money to maintain your sales the next day? What about growth? What about variations in your profit margin? What about unforeseen expenses and things of that nature? Yes, it can be confusing. It's expensive.

Despite your large buffer of money, you always need more money to spend on ads the next day, and the next day, and the next day. This is a never-ending cycle that's hard to break free from. Don't get me wrong, you'll start building up a nice chunk in the bank account but it won't be what you expect. And all because for the business to work, you have to keep re-investing in the business on a daily basis. PPC (pay per click) is certainly not free.

Some people might be satisfied with a business like this despite the aforementioned drawbacks but if you're like me, you like to fix what isn't broken.

What if you could go from that 15-50%+ profit margin and take it up to about 95%+? Would you do it? I certainly would. And as I was doing it, I would tell other people about it in my blog. Not that it's some big secret, but it definitely needs to be discussed and utilized.

You guessed it. I'm talking about the golden goose, the holy grail, the cat's pajamas: organic traffic.

Now before you angrily hit the back button on your browser and talk about how much of a hack that Scott guy is, just bear with me. The people with the most successful affiliate marketing campaigns are doing three key things to be successful:

  1. Bidding on short-tail, high-volume keywords
  2. Paying much less than you per click
  3. Getting paid more than you per lead/sale

I know; it's enough to make you want to curl up into the fetal position and cry. It's not impossible to out-do these guys, but it's going to cost you.

Here's the good news: you don't have to out-do them on pay per click if you can rank for the same keywords organically. Sure, it's a no-brainer but have you seriously considered it? If you ranked in the top ten results for a short-tail keyword or two and funneled that into your same marketing campaign, your profit margin would go from measly to grizzly.

In fact, if you're already sending PPC traffic to a website, you're already getting ranked organically for those terms. Now if you start getting other people to backlink to your site, you're going to start climbing the search result ranks. After a while, you can start diverting your direct marketing campaign money (PPC) toward getting more and more back-links. At some point, you're going to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000-10,000+ backlinks and at least a few of those will be from authority links. Eventually, you can cut off your PPC spending altogether if you so choose.

Of course, at this point you'd be fully maintaining a website full of high-quality information and resources with a nice marketing funnel. Google would love you, Yahoo would love you and even I would love you. And you would love your profit margin.

Now whether all of this is 100% accurate is still up for debate. Call it another case study I'm doing, but I'm definitely gunning for some short-tail keywords with a couple of my landing page sites. If it fails, it fails and I'll definitely let you know (after a reasonable period of self-pity and self-loathing), but if it works, you'll definitely be the first to know.

Stay tuned.

Case Study: $2673.60 in Zip Submits

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As promised, I ran a one-month case study on a particular offer. In fact, it was this particular offer-

Consumer Incentive Promotions - $250 Grocery Gift Card - ZIP SUBMIT

This is offer #553 from NeverblueAds.

Here are the final stats for sales-

CPL: $1.20
Clicks: 9,689
Conversions: 2,228

Total Sales: $2,673.60

Advertising was done solely with Google AdWords on the content network to keep the study simple.

Here are the final stats for ads-

Starting bid: $0.50/click (Beginning of study)
Ending bid: $0.35/click (End of study)
Average CPC: $0.24 (Overall)
Average Ad Position: 3.3
Total Clicks: 7443
Total Impressions: 7,005,653
CTR: 0.11%

Total Spend: $1,758.60

And the ending total-

$2,673.60 - $1,758.60 = $915.00

And for the gritty details, here is the ad I ran:

Grocery Content Ad

Grocery Content Ad

As you can see, there's nothing amazing about the ad and the URL itself is a redirect. With a little updating, this ad can be improved significantly to increase the low CTR and increase the honesty factor of the ad (as it was slightly misleading).

Keywords: food stamp, food stamps, recipe, recipes

Potential Sales: The Art of the Squeeze

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What is it that separates you from success? It's not for a lack of trying, that's for sure.

Like many, you've probably been beating your head against a wall for quite some time now. You've got dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep and like a drug addict, you can't wait until your next fix. You live from sale to sale and that's why you'll never get ahead.

If there's one message I've been preaching since I started ATB, it's that you should use your traffic to its fullest extent.

That doesn't mean terrorizing each user you get with an insane display of crack-pot ads and pop-unders for them to see later. It definitely doesn't mean pop-up messages when they leave your site. What it means is this: if you pay a search engine to send a click your way, you should find multiple ways of using that single click not just to push sales but to create potential sales.

Potential sales are sales that haven't happened yet. They're sales that neither you, nor your customer know will happen. But given the right opportunity, they're almost guaranteed to happen.

Here's why.

A few years ago, I had a job as a store salesman. To train us for the position, our instructors told us that there is no such thing as "I'm just browsing." They drilled that into our heads because they wanted us to believe that no matter what, a sale had to happen. If a customer walked into our isle with that curious look but says "I'm just browsing," that's when we started really "helping" them because to us, "I'm just browsing" means "I want to buy but something is standing in the way." Usually, that something was either that they had no idea what they needed or .. their wife.

The funny part is, whether browsing in a store or browsing the web, you're usually facing the same obstacles. That's why it's important to keep the same determination in mind when selling to eyes on a web page.

Of course, you're no dummy. You are fully aware that some people are literally just curious to see what's on your site. Your competitors will look, they might even have a mean streak and click on your expensive ads. It just comes with the territory. In fact, it's all the more reason to work on your squeeze.

There are several mainstream ways to go about squeezing sales out of your customers after that initial click:

  • Collecting Emails - I won't go into it again but suffice it to say, it's absolutely necessary. If you aren't doing this, you aren't serious about making money.
  • Offering Similar Products - If you've ever spent ten minutes browsing through Amazon.com, you'll notice they'll always tell you what else customers bought when they purchased the particular item you're looking at. That's because they know it increases the likelihood that you'll buy it on impulse. Think about it.
  • Building Your Organic Rank - That's right. Keep your customers coming back to a site they can actually use and link to. You give your customers something to talk about and suddenly, you won't have to pay so much for people to click your ads because they'll be coming on their own and bringing their friends.
  • Offering Free Things - As long as the free things you're offering are of some use, people will typically come back. They'll say "where did I find that one thing? Oh yeah!" and suddenly, your customer has returned. And that means a chance for more money.
  • Updated Content - Regarding 'free things', if that same customer comes back and sees updated content they're more likely to see what else is happening on the site just because they're curious. If you get people to subscribe to an RSS feed that's attached to the blog that's attached to your landing page, then you'll have a full list of people that you can actually give information to. Just make sure it's decent information and hopefully information they can't get elsewhere.

I could think of more, but I just wanted to get you thinking about what else you should be thinking about when you're building your landing pages. This sort of determined frame of mind will lead to more sales and less sales withdrawals (those periods of depression and insecurity you feel between sales).

So take a step back, take a good look at your sites and think: am I doing all I can do to squeeze my customers?

Just don't squeeze too hard.