Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Has anyone said something so obvious to you that you'd just overlooked and took for granted? Every chapter in Outliers felt that way for me, and in a good way. The stories of success from people like Bill Gates to Gladwell himself are quite obviously not just stories of amazing genius just by themselves. In our world, success is smarts, persistence and who you know.

In the book, Gladwell points out that you've heard of people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and even the CEO of Google but do you know the name of the smartest man in the world? Not many people do and that's because genius alone does not make someone a true success.

The stories alone are worth reading, so I won't ruin those for you but I will say this: I'm giving this out to several people this Christmas as a gift because I think the book is just that good. If nothing else, it's an amazing look at how people can use their situations to their advantage and tip fate to their advantage.

Here's a recent interview of Gladwell on the book-

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Ten Thousand Dollars

$10,000.

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.

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Don’t Quit Your Day Job … Yet

Another thing I get asked all the time is why I haven't quit my regular job yet.  The answer to that one is simple: I don't need to.

Sure, your logic might tell you that the reason you're doing all this is to get away from your day job. It might even be your number one immediate goal, but consider this:

  1. With a job, you have insurance. Insurance is a lot more expensive when you're self employed.
  2. Unless you are very disciplined, it's hard for most people to separate work and home when they're actually at home. Time restraints (doing business after work) push us to do more with less time.
  3. You'll have stable income. Affiliate marketing can take you to much higher places but don't be fooled into thinking it's steady income, especially when you're just getting started.
  4. It's more income. Sure, you might be able to make more with affiliate marketing in a day than you do all month at your day job, and perhaps at that point you're ready to quit, but until then -- more money helps cover those advertising expenses.
  5. Connections. It's difficult not to meet useful people at work and since my philosophy is that you should always keep your eyes open for what you can learn from anyone you meet, I think work is a great place to do this. Use your connections to your advantage.
  6. Benefits. You might laugh but it's always good to have a fall-back in case you completely fail at affiliate marketing. Not that you would, but...
  7. It gives you expertise that might help you at work. Who knows?

In the end, it's really up to you when you quit. In fact, "when to quit" is such an interesting question that I asked it a while back with What's Your Quit Number? If you noticed, my 'quit number' is high due to everything I've mentioned in this post. For me, the value of having a job is much higher than my monthly pay check. Another thing you probably noticed is that other peoples' quit numbers are low -- most near $5000/month. I don't blame them but for all you with such a low quit number, I urge you to consider the points made here.

If nothing else, the old adage holds up -- don't put all your eggs in one basket.

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Coming This Friday – My New Ebook

This Friday -- March 8th, 2008 -- I'm going to release my latest creation as a dessert item on the blog.  It's my guide to getting started with affiliate marketing and it will be FREE.

I started writing the guide when I realized people were coming to the blog and asking the same questions I created the blog to answer! So the e-book will be an introduction to affiliate marketing, featuring some of the posts you'd find here, as well as a sort of introduction to this blog and all it has to offer.

As always, my intention is to put out information for free that you'd normally have to pay for. This e-book will be no exception to the rule. Just like I normally do, I'm just going to put my referral links in the book and hope people enjoy it enough to pass it along and I'll consider that payment enough.

So definitely keep an eye out. For all those getting started with affiliate marketing, this should give you a decent advantage in the game. I'm writing it just like I like to read things.

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Beginners Luck? Affiliate Marketing… Not Hard, Just Confusing.

Hi Everyone,

The name is William. I've known Scott for awhile now and I love his blog, so I thought I'd ask him to let me do a guest post because I used to own a blog long ago but sold it for quick cash. I've been trying to get my new blog set up but every coder I've tried to hire ran off and I've never heard from them again, so I miss writing to the masses.

Anyway, here's what I want to talk about today: with my recent success at Affiliate Marketing (which you can read about on the forums here "Killafawks Journey"), everyone was interested in how I did it and really how I started killing it over night.

Well, I'm going to tell you how I set up my campaigns and how I went about turning profits over night.

But first we've got to clear some things up...

Affiliate marketing is a tricky business and can be rough to break into but it's not impossible. If you're going to tell yourself that you can't do it then you probably shouldn't be in the field. I used to tell myself that affiliate marketing was too "big" for me and that it was already saturated. I blew it off for years and spent most of my time trying to make that next big hit website. While I read stories of people making $100, $500, $1000 a day doing affiliate marketing, in most cases within months, this amazed me. So of course I wanted to know how to do it.

I finally gave it a go and failed at it and lost a good $100 or so. I left affiliate marketing never giving it a second thought. I went back to Adsense and was fighting just to reach $10 a day. Still, people where showing up every day on forums like Digital Point and writing out their success stories all over the forum, and it wasn't long before I saw Scott's success story on there. Scott and I used to share website ideas and whatnot months before and to see Scott now take a huge step up the ladder with affiliate marketing really intrigued me. Scott was in a similar boat as me not to long ago trying to make money through Adsense and to sustain a suitable income online and now he's posting about making $1,000 a day with affiliate marketing. That just told me that this stuff is real and possible. I gave it a second chance and with the help of Scott starting me off on the right path I was on my way to where I am right now.

Anyway, I am carrying on way too long. The point is - we live in the technology age and since the internet is still young in terms of the possibilities it holds, RIGHT NOW is your only shot to make it big unless you plan on going to college for 4-6 years and trying to secure a high paying job cutting people open. Even then, some 17-18 year olds make more money than some of the best doctors in the world.

Let me repeat again - most likely, never again will you get an opportunity like the present to take a chance and make money from the internet. They may say the markets are saturated and from an online marketers view, some markets are. But not in terms of how many people are actually in them. Right now I would guess the number of online individual marketers is insanely low in terms of how much money can be made from it. The rest of the offline world thinks making money off the internet is a ridiculous idea; most still think it's either from porn or you've gotta own something like YouTube to make money. We are fine with that because there is more money than anyone could imagine and we don't need any more people trying to mine from the money pit. This is a once in a life time chance to make it big, GO FOR IT.

You can't do this half-assed. Dedicate yourself to it. Once you have gotten yourself motivated and dedicated to do this, hold to it. The money is real and the possibility of living in that dream house could be a couple days or months down the road. Not 4-6 years.

Let the Journey Begin

Once you are ready to start this exciting adventure, there are some things we are going to need to make you successful.

1. Website (in this post we will be using ringtones).
2. Affiliate Network (I suggest AzoogleAds or NeverblueAds).
3. Advertising Network (Google or Yahoo; I suggest Yahoo because of its ease of use and it's not as strict as Google).
4. Advertising Budget (I know everyone wants free free free. Sorry, no free lunches. You either fork up money to spend or you can sit at your computer desk for 5 hours a day writing articles to drive traffic to your website. Either way, time is money. Is your time justified by writing 10 articles a day to only get 1-2 sales a day or would you rather fork up $50 and make $100-150 back in 1-2 hours of setting up and testing?).

Now I am going to run through the steps one by one on how to get you up and running for Ringtones (which we will be covering in this topic, you can use the method for any niche just make sure you test).

1. Website / Domain - You're gonna want to register a domain at your favorite domain registry. We all know how to do this I hope but make sure when you register a domain to make it related to your niche. Since we're doing ring tones, do something with ringtones in the domain.

2. Affiliate Network - Azoogle has the best offers for ring tones and Neverblue has its own strong points. I suggest you sign up with both just so you can switch whenever you feel like it and test offers from both networks.

3./4. Advertising Networks / Advertising Budget - I suggest you set up a Yahoo Search Marketing account for this experiment. Go search online for the free $100 Yahoo voucher. There are higher ones I think but you might have to pay to buy those off of someone. I wouldn't suggest it because of the amount of scamming that goes around from this kind of thing. Just pay the 30$ sign up and get $130 in your account and move on to the next step.

Get Your Campaign Going

1. The first thing is to get your website content. What you're gonna want for this test is a Ringtone Carrier Page. You can either get one professionally designed for about $80 or make your own... or if you're feeling bastardly you can look at other landing pages and copy their templates from their own site and change it up enough to not seem obvious.

Once you've got your template set up, make sure you have buttons for all major carriers. Just look at other landing pages to get an idea of what the top carriers are and model it off that. Get everything set up and when your template is complete with buttons and everything is looking good, head over to your affiliate network (in this case, Azoogle).

2. Once you're in Azoogle, look up ring tones in the offers page. Now you will notice there are all kinds of offers for ringtones. Personally, I've had good success with Thumbplay and Dada Mobile. So go ahead and look up those offers and click "promote these offers by search," the little blue button on the bottom of the offer page.

*Important* This is one thing I overlooked when I first started: For most offers you will notice that they have more than just one landing page. I never noticed this since the landing page changer was a drop down menu and it's on the very bottom!

Also Remember that not every offer accepts all carriers. The top paying offers only accept the top tier carriers like Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. So pick a high paying offer like Thumbplay for your top tier sites and Dada Mobile or another offer for your low tier offers.

Once you have looked through both offers' landing pages and you've got the two landing pages you want to use for your top tier and bottom tier, save the affiliate links and put them in their corresponding places in your landing page (Example: For the Sprint button, put the top tier offer jump link so when they click, they get sent to the top tier offer).

Once you have sorted out all the links to each button you can go ahead and close up your template and you're finished with it, unless you want to add some things to it like click tracking software (I'll cover this later on down the line).

(Optional) iFraming. Personally, I just started using this method not too long ago and it's shown some great results. iFraming will basically make it look as if the affiliate landing page is part of your site, which is great way to improve trust and conversions among visitors and it hides your affiliate link at the same time. I highly recommend it but iFraming doesn't work too well with a lot of offers, so test test test.

Here's some example code for iFrames:

<html><head>

<title>Sprint Ringtones - Step 1</title>

<script>window.status = ' ';</script></head>

<frameset rows="100%,*" frameborder="0" border="0">

<frame src="affiliate link" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="auto" noresize>

<frame src="UntitledFrame-2">

</frameset>

<noframes><p>Sorry, but it appears you are using a Web browser that does not support frames.<br></p></noframes>

</html>

Let's say your site is coolringtonesdude.com. Make a carrier for each sub page, like "Sprint, Verizon etc." so it will look like this: coolringtonesdude.com/sprint.html. In your button links, point your jump link to that page so when they land there you can put something like "Sprint Ringtones" as your title and if they see the address bar, it looks legit.

Do this for each carrier and watch your conversions increase!

3. Next let's get your Yahoo campaign going. First thing you're going to want to do is get some keywords for your campaign. Since we are doing ringtones, you want something related to ringtones.

Now for keywords. If you have a Wordze subscription that would be great but I actually like to use Google Keyword Tool more; it displays search volume along with advertiser volume.

For this experiment, we want ringtone-related keywords, but don't aim for the high volume ringtone keywords. They are way too saturated with other advertisers and it's very easy to lose money with them. Let's try getting keywords for popular artists and songs. Start typing artist names in and download the 150-keyword-return list and save the keywords. Get about 15-20 of these going. Now once you have 15-20 groups of different keyword groups for different artists or songs, we can set up the campaigns.

Go back to Yahoo and set up a campaign and ad groups within for each artist. Input the keywords and bid anywhere from 10-30 cents (whatever you feel safe with). For me, it's about 15-25 cents depending on the volume of the searches Yahoo predicts. If it's low, I'll bid higher to secure top position, so when ever it does get searched I can get top 3 spots. If it's a lot of clicks I can lower it and get a good amount of clicks still.

Once you have set up all your campaigns, talk to your affiliate manager over at Azoogle and go into your Yahoo account and get your tracking code. This is where my click tracking comes in handy. They can place the tracking code in the actual landing page you are sending people to so you can find out exactly what keyword was it that converted for you! This is all I use to track keywords.

Now that you got all your campaigns up and your landing page perfect, go pass some time, watch a movie or if it's late go to bed early and pray for good stats in the morning to look over.

4. The big day! When you wake up, it's always exciting to see where you are in your daily earnings. Here are things to look out for:

a. Total spending vs Earnings - If you're in the red, don't worry it's normal. Don't get mad and quit. Getting profit the very first day is pretty damn rare. If you're converting, that's the best thing you can hope for at this point. If you had your tracking code installed, check which keywords converted and write them down. Typically I will only let a keyword rack up to around the amount of a payout before I trash it. So if there are high volume keywords that haven't converted for one payout yet trash it and repeat step 3 (keyword part) again. The point here is to eliminate needless spending and get converting keywords.

b. Your Bounce Rate and eCPC - Look back at Scott's bidding calculator and find out what you should be bidding and go back and tune your campaigns to match it. Not exactly but roughly.

c. Delete the 100 or so keywords you know didn't convert well and add more keywords and repeat the process. You might be thinking: how am I going to get rich over night doing this? This is gonna take forever! Well, you aren't going to get rich over night and you won't get rich at all unless you do this, so no excuses. This is how people generate keyword lists that convert at 1:10 and they've got hundreds and thousands of them so do the math.

5. If you're a total control freak, you can even make sub pages for each keyword group with detailed content for each ad group. This is recommended to improve conversions. It can be tedious work but it could pay off in the end. It's worked so-so for me but I no longer do it. You should test it though as it's highly recommended but honestly I hate dealing with anything website-related so I tend to stay away from it.

6. Remember, try testing out new ads. Higher CTR is good because it means you get more clicks and if those clicks are converting keywords it's just more money every day. Never stop testing and this goes for your landing pages, too. Add some nice little tricks to your landing page, like putting high trusting logos with text related to your site on there, like a Forbes logo that says something like "ring tones are a new way to express yourself." People who will notice the logo will think your site is trustworthy and will feel safer putting in their cell numbers.

That's it.

Just test new keywords every day and delete ones that don't work and next thing you know, you've got 20-50 keywords in a week that convert and you're making 2-3X the money you put into it. It's really that simple. The same method can be applied to any niche. It's really all about a decent landing page and good converting keywords. Once you reach a certain point like $100 a day pure profit from ringtones, you can go into the dating market with the same approach and work till you get it right. Next thing you know, you've got ten offers that bring in $100 a day each and you're earning $1,000 a day profit.

What are you waiting for? Go test!

Hope you enjoyed the long article and I hope it helps everyone who's new and wants to get into the field.

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Great Book: Moonlighting On The Internet

Moonlighting On The Internet by Yanik SilverIf you're just getting started with making money online, you're probably feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of the nonsense floating around the internet. Sure, there are hundreds of different ways that people claim you can make money, from reading emails, surfing the web for cash, or even taking surveys.

The truth is, these ways might make you some money but they won't give you a second decent income. What The Affiliate Toolbox is all about is helping people to start their affiliate marketing business and the reason for that is because it's the best kind of business. One word: autopilot.

What other business features ALL the following?

  • Large volume
  • No inventory
  • No employees
  • Residual Income
  • Never Sleeps (On 24x7)
  • High profit margins
  • Low Startup Costs
  • Low Maintenance
  • No need for high technical skills
  • No need to involve friends & family
  • Can become your main business
  • Can help your other business ventures

You get the idea. Internet marketing allows you to create a strong business that you can manage from anywhere in the world. That's exactly the idea behind this book.

In Moonlighting On The Internet, Yanik Silver describes how he's making money as well as how his students are making money as well as their different backgrounds. What's great is that most of them have no technical skills and they're good at one or two things, allowing them to create informational products they can sell. Others market products for companies (affiliate marketing) and some run informational websites.

Overall, this book is outstanding for newcomers. Much like this blog, it contains crucial information to starting out in the industry. There are still billions of dollars to be made.

Why not take your fair share?

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NeverblueAds.com – Diamond in the Rough?

When I originally signed up with AzoogleAds, I had been with ClickBank for about a month and immediately, I was drawn to Azoogle's cleaner interface and the idea of having a personal affiliate manager. Not that I'd ever stop using ClickBank as they do provide a customer experience that is unique, but I was definitely more impressed with Azoogle. What I found most impressive about Azoogle was that I was able to tap into their reports remotely with their API (a secure way of interfacing with their server).

Fast forward eight months and I joined ranks with NeverblueAds on the advice of a friend. Immediately, I had that familiar feeling of being impressed. They were prompt with my confirmation phone call to activate my account and my new affiliate manager was friendly and open to intelligent banter. My Azoogle manager will forever hold a place in my heart, but I figured it wasn't a bad idea to broaden my horizons.

Once my account was activated with Neverblue, I logged in and right away felt as if it were a design I would come up with, so as you might imagine I was very comfortable. There was a search box right before my eyes and a handy graph on the right to tell me how my monthly sales are doing, plus up to the minute updates. Very slick.

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Why People Fail At Affiliate Marketing

For every person I've talked to that is successful at all with affiliate marketing, there are probably nine others that are either in the red or failing. I know, not just from talking to people, but from my own personal experience that it's likely you'll fail your first couple of times around in the Affiliate Marketing game. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and there will be those that inevitably take to the business like a fish to water, but this article isn't for those people.

The intention here is to save people before they throw up a white flag and go back to their jobs with their heads hung low.

First and foremost, let's get one myth out of the way: you will not get rich quick with affiliate marketing. In most cases, it is either supplemental to or a replacement for a regular job. Yes, you might make more money doing it and you'll have more freedom doing so, but it's a long, arduous journey to actually call yourself 'rich.' When I started affiliate marketing, my initial goal was (besides making a single sale) to generate a steady $100/day. It took me 5 months working 14+ hour days to reach that goal. That is by no means rich and by no means quick; it's actually quite slow but at least I was turning a small profit from it. I was spending about $50+/day at the time which seems trivial now, but at the time, seemed like a ton. It wasn't easy to keep pushing forward. In fact, at one point, I was failing so bad and spending $150+/day to the point where I just abruptly stopped and let everything stabilize. It was scary.

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