Should I Create My Own Product?

Your Product
Your Future Product

If you're an affiliate marketer struggling with making a decent profit, then perhaps you should consider the other side of the coin: creating your own e-product.

Sure, it's a lot of research and hard work but if you come up with a half-decent product to market, not only will it be profitable but most likely others will market it as well. And that's where you can make a killing. Market places like Clickbank's Market Place are a great place to get free exposure for your products. On top of that, Clickbank can handle billing (both normal and recurring) for you. But that's only part of the puzzle.

Creating your own e-product entails a number of things, including:

  1. Research & Development
  2. Branding
  3. Website Creation
  4. Billing
  5. Marketing

Research & Development

Now in terms of research and development, it's important that you either choose a niche that you're passionate about or that you choose a niche that contains information you are privy to. Of course, it's possible to come up with good material for products you have no interest in, but if this is your first product it will come out much more smoothly if you put a little bit of love into it.

Good e-books shouldn't be too short that people feel cheated when they purchase it, but also it shouldn't be too long that your customers won't even finish reading it. The best e-books I've read have been concise and informative. After all, that's truly what we're after in e-books: the information. Don't be afraid to add visuals either. This ties directly into branding.

Branding

Coming up with the right "look" for your e-book shouldn't be something you do in ten minutes. Colors matter, fonts matter and composition matters. I don't recommend stealing a "look" from someone else's e-book, but definitely pay attention to the way successful e-books and their corresponding websites are colored, the way they lay their graphics out, what sorts of graphics they use and the way that they organize text around graphics. If you aren't a wizard with graphics, don't be bashful about paying someone else to come up with something stylish for you.

In order to come up with a nice e-book graphic like the one you see above, either download software or read my post on creating your own e-book cover.

The way your e-book looks will tie directly in with how your website looks.

Website Creation

If you aren't a web developer, your best bet is to pay someone to build you a decent site. Creating a small site (5 pages or less) should run you less than $150 if there's nothing special to it. The best part is, they'll have your existing branded e-book to base the design on. A good site will do a great job of getting people salivating for the information in the e-book, which means excellent sales text. Again, if you aren't the best with words, don't be afraid to outsource that department either.

Billing

As I stated previously, Clickbank will handle virtually any kind of billing you'd need as well as refunds and things of that nature. Paypal is also a solid option, but requires a bit more work on your part unless you want to shell out some decent money for a web developer to custom-create part of your website that interacts directly with Paypal. There are other decent payment gateways out there (2Checkout, for one), but I've used Clickbank's billing with absolutely zero issues. All they require is that you deliver a decent product and that you have a return policy (60 days). And part of the perk of being with Clickbank is the market place.

Marketing

Here's the fun part. When you have your own e-product, not only can you market the hell out of it but so can affiliates. Clickbank in particular has an excellent tracking system for affiliates selling your e-product through their website. You don't even have to worry about your affiliates getting paid as Clickbank does it for you. And at this point you want to start focusing on getting affiliates to sell the product for you as that will only mean more money for you in the end.

Additionally, I recommend doing some heavy search engine optimization to guarantee more hits from search engines to your sales page.

Conclusion

This is not, in any way, a detailed guide to creating your own product. My motivation in creating this post was to illustrate how simple organization can yield great products that will most likely profit you many times over. For anyone struggling to market other people's products, I can tell you from experience that it's exponentially more thrilling to market your own products and even more so to see other people doing it for you.

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Creating Your Own Ebook Cover

3D Ebook Cover Generator
3D Ebook Cover Generator

For anyone in the process of creating their own informational product, I highly recommend using the 3D E-Book Cover Generator from 3d-pack.com.

Not only does it create the awesome reflection effect for your E-book cover, but you can rotate the image any way you want and the on-page Flash will render it to either a gif, a jpeg or a png image for you.

Creating each side could not be easier. Simply upload an image for the cover, the top, the side (and optionally the back, if you so choose) and voila -- you have a beautiful fake image for your e-book.

I was able to create this e-book in less than 10 minutes in order to demo it here:

Your Product
Your Product

Sure, you might notice that I could have spent a lot more time making it look fancy but I just wanted to show you how powerful this free online tool is. Here are the three graphics I used:

E-book Front
E-book Front
E-book Side
E-book Side
E-book Top
E-book Top

I just uploaded each image to the corresponding areas and within ten seconds, I had a beautiful E-book graphic. Could not have been easier.

If you guys have similar recommendations for creating 3D E-Book covers and the like, please feel free to share them!

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What Are Your Favorite Affiliate Tools?

I've had over 500 RSS subscribers for quite some time now. While that might seem like a big number to some, I have a feeling most of it's fluff because if it's true, only a few of you visit regularly and fewer still ever comment.

So if you're out there, I'm interested to hear what you have to say.

As an affiliate, what tools do you use to make your life easier?

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Offer Vault: Compare Offers .. and Free!

Offer Vault

As of this morning, I received an email from the people at Affiliate Radar, announcing that Offer Vault is now free. Yeah, that's right. You can now cross-compare offers from multiple affiliate networks for free.

Here's the email they sent out:

Dear Scott Weaver,

After much heated debate between my partner, Raakesh, and I, we have
decided to allow free access to OfferVault.

In case you are not aware, OfferVault is a research tool for
affiliate marketers that contains a database of over 10,000 offers
from the top CPA and affiliate networks, updated daily.

You can sign-up at http://www.offervault.com

With this powerful tool you can:

Compare offers and payouts between networks

Research niches

Receive optional email alerts based on your own search criteria to
stay on top of new offers as they come out

Preview landing pages (this is huge!)

Quickly sign up for new networks

This tool was formerly available only as a component of our paid
membership site, Affiliate Radar. Now you have the opportunity to
access it free at www.offervault.com, so don't pass it up!

Get your free membership now at http://www.offervault.com

What does that mean for you? It means you no longer have to log into each different network to see where the highest payout is. What it also means is that yet again, I've increased your profit margin. But hey, that's what I'm here for.

Now you can see what networks are offering before you even bother signing up. Apparently, all that OfferVault is asking in return is that, much like on my blog, you sign up using their referral links to new networks you join.

Just this morning, I've found several higher paying offers than the ones I'm currently running and those are the default prices. Not even the negotiated prices.

If you're worried about a product monopoly (even though it's free), don't worry. I'm aware of another site that is whispered to have a similar product coming out soon.

For now, Offer Vault takes the cake as the cat's pajamas. Incidentally, if you want to go right to registration, click here.

You're welcome.

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Need To Get A Hold Of An Affiliate Manager?

Just a quick note, for those of you who want to get in touch with an affiliate manager at any popular affiliate marketing company, check out the Affiliate AIM List (www.affaimlist.com). My Azoogle affiliate manager is listed on there along with some of the other best in the industry.

Incidentally, you can also view the Skype list, which as you might guess, lists all the affiliate managers who use Skype.

I've noticed a lot of people asking how to get ahold of someone at X company as they are trying to get approved. Well people, here's your chance.

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My Favorite Affiliate Tools

I've been thinking of writing a 'favorite tools' post for a few days now and after reading Shoemoney's "What is your edge?" post, I'm convinced the edge of this blog is to give out the top notch hints and tips for free.

Essentially, I give you the information you'd normally pay $97 for from some guy with a really long landing page. And why not? It keeps you coming back.

So here's my current list of favorite tools:

  1. Keyword Spy ($) - One of the biggest problems when doing PPC is coming up with a solid list of keywords. Even worse is coming up with the keywords your competition is using and Keyword Spy will give you just that. I will say that their information is a little out of date and seems to come mainly from Google rather than Yahoo or AdCenter, but you are able to download not only your competition's keywords but also their ads. I'd go into detail on what they have to offer, but truthfully, I only use about three things. One thing that is worth mentioning is that they have a Clickbank product lookup to give you keywords used to generate get to specific Clickbank products.
  2. WordTracker ($) - Although it's not too different from Keyword Spy, WordTracker offers a couple of things that Keyword Spy doesn't seem to. For instance, WordTracker has a built-in thesauraus and lateral search that you can use to find similar keywords in the particular niche you're searching in. One notable difference is the cheaper price. At $59/mo, this one is definitely a contender with Keyword Spy.
  3. Google AdWords Keywords Tool (free) - AKA Old Faithful has been a staple in my affiliate marketing career from day one. If you want to generate a sturdy list of keywords for any product you're selling, you need to use this bad boy on a daily basis. For a free tool, I give this two thumbs up.
  4. Google Trends (free) - If you're going to get into any market, make sure you do your research first. No, Google Trends won't give you actual numbers to go by but it will give you a relative comparison of the search trends for particular keywords. This baby will tell you how well ringtones are doing (not great) and whether 'sex' or 'stock' is the top keyword of the day. Or say you want to know what the hot topics are today -- Google Trends has them for you. Never go without this bad boy.
  5. Aweber ($) - If you're running any kind of opt-in mailing list (and you should be), you need Aweber. With Aweber, you can send personalized email messages to all your subscribers easily. What I like best is that it checks my broadcast messages to see whether they're too spammy or not and gives me a scale to check. If they're going to be too spammy and picked up by spam filters, I just remove a few things until I'm flying close to zero on the spam-o-meter and bam. You wouldn't believe how many legitimate messages are thrown into the spam bin until you use this service. On top of that, you can have a list of pre-written messages that can be sent out at different intervals based on when a user signs up. It's truly beautiful and I would never be without it.
  6. Good Keywords (free) - When I started doing ring tones I needed a ton of, well, good keywords. Someone recommended this software to me and I was able to generate long lists of keywords for my campaigns. I've used it ever since and I intend to keep using it. This bad boy will tell you whether a keyword gets a lot of searches or not as well as generate misspellings for you. It does more, but as I said before, this is all about what I use the thing for.

So these are my golden six, I guess you might say. These are the tools I use on a regular basis to grow my business and conquer different niches. That's not to say they are the best of the best and if you know of any that are better, please feel free to let the people know!

To the best of my knowledge, however, these work great.

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