Affiliate Marketing

When it comes to making money online most of us start out with affiliate marketing. I know I did. But working hard at affiliate marketing and succeeding at affiliate marketing are two very different things.

It's said that somewhere between 90% and 95% of affiliates make less than $100 per year online. That's sad because affiliate marketing, done right, can be profitable and fun too.

There is so much more to affiliate marketing than choosing a "high gravity" product from Clickbank and sending a solo ad.

I hope these articles help you chose a proven path forward in your affiliate marketing, and help you avoid the pitfalls as well.

If you have questions about affiliate marketing be sure to ask them on the Questions and Answers page. I'll be happy to help.

Charlie Page Signature

Affiliate Marketing Overview

What is affiliate marketing and is it right for you? Get easy answers, and begin marking real progress, with this helpful free article.

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It seems that everywhere you go people are taking about how easy it is to make money with affiliate marketing.

“Earn $347 per day with this affiliate marketing method” they say.

I’m sure by now you know it’s not quite that easy.

So how can you make a real start with affiliate marketing?

By first understanding what affiliate marketing is, and then taking action on what you learn.

So what is affiliate marketing? Here is my brief definition …

Affiliate marketing is the process of selling other people’s products and earning a commission.

So, when you do “affiliate marketing” you are basically a commissioned salesperson. Not to worry, this is not personal one-on-one selling.

This is selling online, where you don’t really have to talk to anyone, ever.

Now we know what affiliate marketing is.

Next, let’s look at what sorts of things affiliate marketers do.

When doing affiliate marketing you will need to focus on three things.

  1. Choosing the right product to promote.
  2. Choosing the right places to advertise.
  3. Monitoring your statistics to make sure your advertising is effective.

Yes, it really can be that simple. In fact, it should be that simple when you start out.

It is true that affiliate marketing can be simple or complex. No doubts there.

And it is a fact that the higher you want to go with affiliate marketing (for example, earning a six figure living or being a “super affiliate”) the more complex it will become.

But there is no need for that right now.

For now, let’s focus on the basics and help you earn your first, or next, commissions.

Now we have a clear definition of affiliate marketing, and you know what tasks are involved in being an affiliate marketer.

The next common sense question is this - what are the pros and cons of affiliate marketing?

To keep things short, I will list four advantages and disadvantages of affiliate marketing. I know these lists could be long, but I know too you are busy today.

Here are the advantages of affiliate marketing as I see it.

  • You don’t have to create a product.
  • You don’t have to have a web site of your own to start.
  • You don’t have to deliver products.
  • You don’t have to do customer support.

Now for the disadvantages.

  • You are driving traffic to someone else’s website.
  • You may get paid up to 60 days after the sale is made.
  • You never know who your customers are or how to contact them.
  • You are not building your business, you are building someone else’s business.

As you can see, driving traffic is an important part of affiliate marketing. So let me share a few words about that topic before we conclude our overview.

And then I will share my best “getting started” tip about choosing the right products to promote.

When it comes to advertising there are a couple of different ways you can go.

You can use paid advertising methods like solo ads, banner ads, social media, or pay per click.

Or you can do free advertising methods like article marketing, content marketing on a blog, social media, or by doing webcasts or podcasts.

The best affiliate marketing happens when you use a mixture of both free and paid methods.

I have articles you can read right now about both paid advertising and free advertising.

Now for my best insider tip about choosing what to promote.

Here’s my insider tip: Promote the things you use.

That’s a great place to start.

The reason I say “promote the things you use” is simple. If you use a product, and like it, other people will like it too. You will be able to promote it from a place of experience, from a place of personal recommendation.

This will matter more than you know when you advertise. Even if the people who read your ads never know who you are your ads will ring true when you are honestly endorsing something you use and like.

Plus, and this is huge, it will be easy to create ads for the product you are promoting!

Just make a list of what you like about the product and write a short ad about each one of the things you list.

Need help writing ads? I have an article here about how to write ads that will help or I can write the ads for you.

Here’s an example, I use Aweber as my autoresponder. Aweber is one of the first things I ever promoted online. I did that using a solo ad, and still do today.

A lot of people overlook promoting products they use and like.

Affiliate marketing is an easy way to earn money online and it usually is the way people start with trying to make money online.

If you are not doing affiliate marketing, it is well worth your time to learn how.

My best advice is to choose a product you love, choose an advertising method you can afford and understand, and take action today by placing your first ad.

Then monitor your results so you can know what to do next.

That’s my overview of affiliate marketing, I hope you enjoyed it. I hope too you pursue becoming a successful affiliate marketer.

Because earning commissions promoting products you use and love is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Affiliate Marketing: How Many Products Can I Promote?

Learn the simple steps that empower you to promote an unlimited number of products. This is affiliate marketing power!

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When it comes to affiliate marketing, I'm often asked, "How many products can I promote effectively?"

Of course, there's no universal answer that's perfect for everyone.

But today I'll share a few guidelines that you can use to promote many different products online effectively.

The truth is that you can promote an unlimited number of products once you learn how to promote well.

This is important so let me repeat it.

Once you learn the process of promoting one product you can use that process to promote an unlimited number of products.

The key to effective selling online, the key to making money online, is to find a thing that works and repeat it over and over again.

It's kind of like the Green Bay Packers with Vince Lombardi. They were a football team that won the Super Bowl. You know, they didn't have "all these fancy mystery moves."

What they had was this: they could run and they could tackle and they could pass and they could block.

They could do the basic things of football extremely well over and over again, and that's one of the reasons they were so successful.

If you focus on the basics and do them well, you can sell an unlimited number of affiliate marketing products online.

Now, I want to introduce you to a concept that may be different from what you've heard before. It has to do with two types of products to begin with when you promote products online.

The first is what's called a core product and the second is called a feeder product.

Let me share with you what these mean and how they can work for you.

When you promote CORE products, you're promoting products that almost everyone needs on some level.

An auto responder is a core product.

An auto responder, like Aweber, is an email system where you can pre-program messages, and then when a person joins your list, those messages go out to them automatically.

It's a core product, because it's a product that a lot of people need.

Whether you're a florist or whether you're selling a business opportunity or you're in the health niche or pretty much anything you do using email marketing, using an auto responder is a very wise thing to do, so it's a core product.

It's one of those basic things online.

Other examples include web hosting, or graphics. There are a lot of core products out there. You can choose a great core product to sell, and people will buy it because it's so widely needed.

A feeder product is different from a core product in this way

A FEEDER product is something that feeds your prospect into the next purchase.

Often it feeds into the need for another core product.

For example, let's say that you're promoting web hosting. You really love to promote Host Gator or another hosting company. Take a minute and think about what a person needs who gets their hosting account.

If you've got hosting, what are you going to do with that?

Well, you're going to build a website or you're going to put up a blog. So let's say, for the sake of this discussion, that your customer's going to put up a WordPress blog.

Now, what are they probably going to need if they put up a WordPress blog?

Well, they'll need a good theme.

Sure, there are a lot of free themes out there they could use. But there are some fantastic paid themes that will do a great job, make them look professional, and you get paid a commission if you're an affiliate of those paid  themes and you send your web hosting customers that way.

What else might they need?

Well, they're going to need all sorts of different plugins to do search engine optimization or to build their mailing list or to create other functionality on their website, on their blog.

You can sell them those plugins as an affiliate, too.

What else are they going to need?

If they're going to build a mailing list, they're going to need an auto responder, right? You can sell them that auto responder.

If they've got an auto responder and they want to send out messages, you can sell them a course about how to write messages or a copywriting service, and you can earn commission as an affiliate that way, too.

You can see from this example how a feeder product is a product that people buy that naturally creates a need for another product.

If you're smart about it and think about your customer's needs a bit, you can take a core product and turn it into a feeder product, by letting the sale of the core product "feed into" other sales.

If you set up a follow up system where you're promoting the main product such as hosting, and then after that sale it offers them a series of products that are relevant to their needs, now you're promoting a feeder product.

There are core products and feeder products, and you can promote an unlimited number of them once you learn the process of marketing online.

I hope this helps you see how affiliate marketing can work for you. Check out the other articles on this blog for more info on affiliate marketing and making money online, and come back soon for even more.

I know thinking about these things seems like a lot of work. Many people want to just follow someone's advice, place an ad and make money. Sadly, it does not work that way.

If you take time to think these things through, if you choose your marketing methods and the products you promote carefully, you will be building a real business. A dependable business.

A business you can pass on to future generations and one that can be automated to give you both time and money freedom.

And when you have that you will have a beautiful thing indeed.

Charlie Page Signature

Affiliate Marketing: Should Affiliates Use A Follow Up System?

Supercharge your affiliate marketing today! Here are three ways using an email follow up system can help you become a super affiliate!

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If you’ve been online for very long, you know that people are doing a lot of email marketing.

They are using a follow up system where you go to their website, are offered something free and you put in your email address and begin receiving emails from them over a period of time.

Sometimes you’ll receive one email a day, sometimes more. Sometimes it’s one email a week.

There is no doubt about it, email marketing is popular among those who are succeeding online. From the "gurus" to the person quietly earning a six-figure income, email marketing is the most popular form of marketing you can find.

It's popular because it works!

But it is working for you?

If you answered no (or not yet) I hope this article will help you see how to use follow up email marketing in your own life.

Here is a question I am often asked ...

When it comes to affiliate marketing, should you have a follow up system?

Should you put up a squeeze page, have a series of emails that go out after a period of time and then try to make affiliate sales that way?

I believe you should.

I’ve been doing this for a long time now, I’ve sold a lot of affiliate products, and I've sold a lot of my own products.

My experience indicates that using an email follow up system is by far the easiest, fastest, and most effective way to succeed with affiliate marketing for people of all types of experience.

Whether you're a beginner or you've been around for a while or you’re an expert, using a follow up system is really the most powerful way to market.

There are three huge advantages to using a follow up system and I’ll share those with you today.

1. It is the easiest way to sell the main product you are promoting.

Let’s say you are promoting a product that you really believe in and you love. The fact is out of 100 people who buy that product, there might only be a few people who bought it for the same reason as you.

For every product out there, there are a variety of reasons to buy.

  • Some people want to try to get a benefit of some sort. They want a promise of gain.
  • Some people want to try to avoid some kind of painful experience. They want to avoid loss.

There are many reasons to buy a particular product, and you can identify those with a little thought about what you're selling.

Then you can send an email about each one of those reasons to your list and let your messages connect with their motivations, even though you don't know them personally!

  • You can write a message about a promise of gain, “If you buy this product you will get this great thing,”
  • You can also write messages about avoiding problems.

You can address both of these motivations easily in a great follow up system.

Whether you are promoting a weight loss product or you are promoting a “how to make money” product or a relationship product, it doesn’t much matter.

There are going to be multiple motivations for buying that product and the easiest way to sell it is going to be to have one email message for each major motivation of buying that product.

2. You can sell other products to the same buyers.

With follow up email marketing you don’t only have to promote the main product that the person signed up for.

You can also offer them other products.

So if they liked this, maybe they'll also like that.

Or if they don’t want this, maybe instead they want that.

It’s perfectly fine to do that. It just needs to be done well. You won't get ahead blasting your list five times a day with the latest and greatest "special offer" from the forums.

But you will do well if you offer products to your list that help them and make sense in relation to why they joined your list.

Ultimately, with a follow up system, you can not only promote the main product but you can also promote other products.

An easy way to do that is to find products that compliment the main product you are promoting.

So let’s say that you’re selling a “how to make money online” system.

A person who joins a business opportunity is going to need an autoresponder.

They are going to need an ad tracking system, and they are probably going to need some copywriting.

They might need to buy some private label rights products, all of which you can promote once they are on your list.

3. You can ask the people on your list what they need, go out and get it, and offer it to them.

It’s been said for a long, long time now that the best way to do business is to find a need and fill it.

The way that you find that need is that you develop a communication relationship; you develop a relationship through communication with the people who are on your list.

Ask them what they want.

It might be a formal survey, it might be just an email message to say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about you. I’m wondering what your needs are and how I can help.”

This way, you find out exactly what they need.

The easiest way possible to take a survey, is just to send an email and say, “Been thinking about you, wondering how I can help. Just hit reply and let me know what you need. Do you need traffic? Do you need to make money? Do you need to save time? Do you need to lose weight? What is it that you need?”

Then you find a product that’s well suited to their needs - one that you can believe in, one of that you can promote with all your heart - and you offer that product to them.

Can you imagine how much more likely they'll be to buy when they know you've gone out and found that product specifically for them, based on their needs?

So these are three powerful reasons to use a follow up system as an affiliate. You can promote your main product, and future products down the line, more easily and more automatically with a follow up system.

Think about this for a second.

Once you create your follow up system and you program it into your autoresponder, like Aweber, then a person comes along and joins your list today, tomorrow or two years from now, they are going to get the same series of messages automatically.

They get exposed to all those selling messages, but you only had to enter all that into your auto responder once.

It’s a great way to sell your main product, and a great way to sell other products especially when those products complement the main thing you’re promoting.

It’s also a great way to do market research for free to find out what people need.

I hope you choose to build a follow up system for your affiliate marketing because most affiliates aren’t doing this. This is what super affiliates do - it’s not what the bottom 2% do, it’s what the top 2% do.

When you combine a follow up system with affiliate marketing you will have a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Affiliate Marketing: Should I Use A Squeeze Page?

Can a squeeze page help your affiliate marketing succeed? Discover the pros and cons of driving traffic to your own squeeze page!

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When it comes to affiliate marketing, people often wonder whether they should use a squeeze page.

Of all the affiliate marketing questions I receive, this one is very near the top.

People ask me all the time whether they should send traffic to a list-building squeeze page, or directly to the product sales page for a quicker purchase.

It's a great question and important to think about.

I’ve been doing this for a long time and I’ve driven millions of clicks to various websites. I will tell you that I absolutely believe as an affiliate marketer, you should always drive traffic only to your own squeeze page. 

Let me tell you why I believe that.

Below are three reasons I believe that you should use a squeeze page when you do affiliate marketing.

1. The list is the key

The key to what, you ask? Well, one could say it's the key to everything.

Without a doubt, if you took everything away from me, all my employees, my computers, my office, everything, and you left me with my mailing list, I could rebuild my business almost overnight.

The size, the relationship and the quality of the mailing list that I have is by far my number one business asset.

I’ve worked very hard over the years to build it. I protect it, I work hard to keep building it and it is the thing that I couldn’t do business without.

So the list really is the key.

I know that everyone is tired of hearing that "the money is in the list." But the truth is, the money is in the list.

So you’ve got to have one. If you don't, you are at the mercy of those who do have a list. You must rely on them to get the word out for you.

The only way to build a list is to put up a lead capture page, also called a squeeze page, and to drive your traffic there.

2. Email marketing is THE most powerful form of marketing on the planet.

I know that might sound controversial to you, but let me tell you what my reasoning is.

Facebook and Twitter have come along in the last few years - they’re very powerful, don’t get me wrong.

But the most powerful use of them is to do what?

It’s to build an audience of people who get to know you, who get to like you, who get to trust you and will therefore buy from you.

The easiest way to do that is to send email marketing messages.

Very few people will choose to visit your Facebook page (or your Google+ page) every single day.

You can’t get them to do that no matter what you do, but you can email them every day if you want to.

Or every other day or every week, whatever schedule you want, once they’ve chosen to give you their name and email address.

Please understand that I am talking about 100% ethical opt-in email marketing. It’s the only way to go and it’s the most powerful form of marketing on the planet.

Most of the things that you’ve bought online probably came from an email offer and most of the things that you sell online will probably be best promoted by using email.

Email is number one. By all means, use it. It’s very easy to do, and we'll discuss that in more detail in another article.

3. A squeeze page creates the lowest possible barrier to entry.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

Think about your visitor's experience for a moment, in the context of what they are being asked to do.

Let’s assume for the sake of discussion that you get 100 people who click your link.

And let's pretend 50 of those people go to a website that is trying to sell something, which means asking them to give you their money. You know, the good old video and "add to cart" button routine. Or a long form sales letter.

Now let's pretend the other 50 go to a website where something of value is being given away for free and all they have to do is enter their email address to get the thing of value.

Which of those two groups do you think you’ll have the best success with?

I believe it’s the second one.

A person will find it much easier to give you their email address than to give you their cash.

That's what "lower barrier to entry" means.

I believe that giving away something of value for free in order to get a person to join your mailing list is absolutely the easiest thing to do. It’s the lowest barrier to entry.

Because it's so easy, it’s a thing that people will do over and over and over again. We see squeeze pages that convert at 10% for sure, but we also see lots of squeeze pages that convert at 30, 40, and even 60 or 70% when the value of what is being given away on that squeeze page is high.

And after you are past that initial barrier to entry, it's like you've "broken the ice" with them and they feel more comfortable doing business with you.

So once they've given you their email address and received something of value from you for free (which was really easy and comfortable for them), they'll only be that much more likely to buy the product you're promoting anyway.

You can still send them to the product sales page so that you can make those sales. But after they opt in. Or by using an exit pop up in case they don't opt in.

But when they do opt in, and they will, you have immediately established a small relationship with that person, they'll be excited about the free thing they got on the squeeze page, and they'll want to buy from you that much more.

It’s super easy to create something of value to give away on a squeeze page. I’ll cover how to do that in another article.

For now, let me recap.

  1. The list is the key. It absolutely is the key to your long term success. When you’ve got a list of your own, you’ll never have to pay for advertising again.
  2. Email marketing is the most powerful form of marketing and the most automated form of marketing. It can set you free.
  3. Sending a prospect to a squeeze page where they get a free gift just for putting in their email address is easier than sending them to a sales page where they have to immediately spend money.

It’s super easy to get people to go to a squeeze page and opt in. And that is exactly what I recommend you do when promoting any product, be that your own product or when you are doing affiliate marketing.

Once they opt in you can begin to communicate with them, they can get to know you, they can get to like you, they can get to trust you.

When those three things happen, they’ll buy from you not just once, but over and over again.

By all means, please do use a squeeze page.

All right, I hope this helps you in your affiliate marketing.

Check out the other posts on this blog for more about affiliate marketing, and stay tuned for more articles coming soon.

Charlie Page Signature

Affiliate Marketing: What Product Should I Promote?

Curious about which affiliate marketing products you should promote? Here are three tips to help you choose the right products for your online business!

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Many people want to make money with affiliate marketing, but they find it hard and confusing. That's understandable. There are literally tens of thousands of products, possibly more, that offer an affiliate program. 

So how is a person to choose without falling victim to information overload?

When it comes to affiliate marketing, I am often asked ...

"What is the best affiliate marketing product for me to promote?" 

In reality, there is no "best" product, but rather there are products that we feel passionate about or they pay very well or they're easy for us to promote.

There's no single "ideal product" for everyone, because it's a little more individual than that.

Choosing the best affiliate marketing product for you to promote has to do with three important factors.

  1. What your desire is. What products excite you?
  2. What niche you're working in.
  3. The budget you have to work with.

Let me share with you three ways to determine how to choose a great product, one that fits you well and one that is easy to promote.

1. Promote products that are in demand. 

I know that sounds like a no-brainer and you probably didn't need to read this article to get that advice. 🙂

But it's worth saying because so many people try to promote a product that they feel passionate about but where the market is very small for that product.

And hey, there's nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you are getting into. It's fine if you feel passionate about it and you want to be like an evangelist for that product.

But if you're in business to make money and you are trying to choose a product that's going to sell well, you want one that's in high demand.

You want something where there's a very large, preferably hungry, market.

What that will mean is, it'll be easier to reach prospective buyers, you'll pay less for advertising because there will be a lot of advertising opportunities there, and you'll actually sell more, faster, because of the demand.

Oftentimes, in-demand products pay a little bit less in commissions but that's okay because it's a great way to get your cash flow going when so many people already want to buy it.

I'll use AWeber as an example.

So many people who are using an auto responder online use AWeber. A lot of people use Constant Contact, too, both of whom have affiliate programs that you can promote. But may people forget to promote these products because the product is so ubiquitous.

I would say the first step is to choose an in-demand product. That way you have a built-in market and a huge pool of potential customers to reach.

2. Make sure the product pays you well. 

By well, I mean that I try to go for $100 commission or more.

I'm not saying rule out products that pay you less than $100. I promote products myself that pay $20 per sale and do well. But, generally speaking, I use a $100 payout as my threshold.

Here's why ...

You're going to work very hard to get every sale, no matter how big or small that sale is.

If it's going to be hard work to get a sale to happen, why not make sure you earn enough that you can be rewarded for the effort you're going to make?

After all, if you're going to really promote a product and you're really going to get behind it, put your heart and soul into it, you want to make sure that there's a return on that investment of time.

And if you're buying advertising,  a return on the investment of money.

Try to make sure it pays you well.

It's very difficult to make a living online with affiliate marketing, or to make very much supplemental money with affiliate marketing, if you're selling a $10 product.

Look at it this way - You would need ten sales at a $10 commission for every one sale if the product paid you $100 dollars.

Getting paid well is a very important part of affiliate marketing.

3 . Choose a product that can easily be advertised. 

Now, it's true that almost any product can be advertised.

But what I'm talking about is, are there easy advertising avenues for you to pursue?

  • Are there ezines where you can place ads or run solo ads?
  • Are there blogs or websites where you can place banners?
  • Is it obvious to you and easy to understand where to go to advertise this product?

If these things are true it will make your job as an affiliate marketer much easier.

You don't want to choose a product where advertising it is going to feel like pulling teeth.

As much as possible, choose a product where you feel easily inspired about advertising ideas and you can clearly see accessible paths to go down for advertising that product.

You really want to be able to see the advertising opportunities pretty quickly - and by pretty quickly, I mean you should be able to figure out in half a day or less where you want to advertise.

Summing things up, remember to:

  1. Choose a product that's in demand because that gives you the broadest possible market.
  2. Choose a product that pays you well because when you do make a sale, and you will, you'll be highly rewarded and that will make earning a profit easier.
  3. Choose a product where the advertising opportunities are obvious to you, where it's easy to understand where to advertise.

You know, business online can be hard or it can be simple.

I'm a big believer in keeping things simple.

If you choose an affiliate marketing product in high demand that pays you well and it's easy to understand where to advertise it and you can afford to advertise, then go for it.

Because finding all three of those things is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Are Link Shorteners Costing You Sales?

Are you using a free link shortener service? If so you may be costing yourself sales! Learn which services to use and which to avoid! You'll be glad you did

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Do you use a link shortener to cloak your links? It seems like everyone these days is using a free link shortening service in order to shorten their long affiliate links.  Cloaking links makes sense and protects your affiliate commissions too, so shortening your link for free is a good thing, right?

Maybe yes, maybe no.

While shortening makes perfect sense (and I do it every time I promote) did you know that using certain free link shortener services might actually cost you sales?

It's vital that you know which services to use and which carry risk. This article by the good folks at Aweber sheds light on this growing problem and will help you make sense of what service to use.

Read the article here

My take? I would never use a free link shortening service unless I absolutely had to due to money. Great link trackers like Hypertracker (my favorite) and others offer cloaking and split testing and sale tracking and much more. I know you are serious about your business so, when you can afford it, I feel it makes sense to invest in your success by using a professional grade link tracking service.

Hope you find this helpful.

Charlie Page Signature

Are You Swimming with the Sharks?

The internet is certainly full of sharks -- people waiting to take a bit out of your wallet! Let me share with you the things you *really need* to succeed online, before you become an online shark's next snack!

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A number of years ago an incredible businessman named Harvey Mackay wrote a book called "Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive".

The Internet is a lot like the title of that book.

The water is certainly full of sharks, all ready to take their $37 or $97 or $2000 bite out of YOUR wallet!

Before you become some online shark's next snack and make your credit card scream "Not again!" let's look at the things you will really need to succeed this year and beyond.

I believe you can make a living online, pretty much without regard to your age, experience or education level. I have seen 20 year old people do well and people in their 80s do well too.

And I think that having a successful online business can be a pretty simple thing to do if you have a great plan, make a strong start and maintain focus.

Let me also add that I'm not going to recommend anyone's product or service, even mine. 🙂

Will you need to buy products and services along the way? Probably yes. But far too many today have spent their hard-earned money on junk products that promise the moon only to deliver yet another disappointment.

It’s a cycle that needs to end, and end fast.

So what DO you really need to succeed online?

The FIRST thing you need is knowledge, and plenty of it. But the trick is getting that knowledge without falling into information overload. That can be a difficult balance to achieve.

Please notice I said knowledge and not just information. Getting information is oh so easy. Knowing what to do is a different matter.

Fortunately, there are great resources you can tap that won't cost a dime. This blog is one of those resources. Many other people share openly on their blogs and websites and in special reports as well.

Getting this free learning can help you make a solid start.

I think that when it comes to consuming free information one key is this - is the person trying to sell something or trying to share from their experience?

Most good business people know the value of giving helpful free information so that people can get to know and trust them. This can create an excellent free education for you!

Do these people want to sell things? Yes. Nothing wrong with that. Is that why they are giving out the free information? Probably. Nothing wrong with that either. We all have to eat.

But you really can get a very good basic education by doing nothing but carefully reading and listening to the right free resources.

That’s what I did when I started online. I can’t even count how many “how to” articles I read back then. I learned a lot, including what good article writing looked like! I went on from there to end up writing over 1000 articles and even teaching a course on article marketing! Learning by doing worked well for me. I believe it can work for you too.

So with that bit of background, here are the things I would tell any person wanting to "make it" online.

1. Know the Language

Imagine being dropped by helicopter into the deepest, darkest jungle you can imagine. The natives don't speak your language and you certainly don't speak theirs.

Welcome to the Internet! 🙂

The first thing you must understand is the language of the Net. You must become familiar (not an expert, just familiar) with things like ...

  • Autoresponder
  • CPM
  • CPA
  • Ebooks
  • Ezines
  • FAQ
  • HTML
  • PHP
  • ROI
  • USP
  • MLM
  • Opt-In
  • PDF
  • And more!

The more you know, the more time you will save sifting through the offers you receive and the less money you will waste buying something you really didn't want.

Here's a tip — When you find a site that defines terms well, write down the definitions and create an "Internet Dictionary" for your own personal use. Soon you will know the language which will help you save time and avoid confusion. And that’s a good thing.

The truth is that nothing we do offline prepares us for working online. Just the language of doing business online — terms like CPM and CPA and solo ads — can be strange and confusing at first.

Note: For a good basic dictionary of online marketing terms click here.

It will open for you in a new window.

2. Avoid Confusion

Succeeding online requires some basic skills. Most people who really succeed online (and by “really” I mean they last longer than a few months) have learned how to do these things.

  • Choose profitable products to promote
  • Get traffic to the sites they promote
  • Place ads
  • Write articles to get free traffic
  • Create blogs to develop a loyal following
  • Build a mailing list
  • Using autoresponders to follow up

The problem is that there are endless web sites and "gurus" who are all saying different things about how to do these things. No wonder most people are confused!

Here's a great way to avoid confusion. Make a list of the things you will need to succeed. Start with is the list above if you like. Once you make your list pay careful attention to the material you find about that topic and ignore everything else!

Yes, I said ignore the rest for a while. I call this "careful neglect".

This means reading email once a day and not once an hour. It might even mean getting a new address for email you really want to receive. It means not clicking the links in emails and reading every sales letter. Sounds like blasphemy coming from an online marketer but it works and you deserve honest advice.

YOU set the agenda. Don't let the email you receive or the latest product launch set it for you.

It takes a laser focus to succeed online. In fact, focus might just be the #1 skill needed.

So make your list and choose what your focus will be for the next week and then let everything else wait. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at how much progress you can make in one week if you focus.

Here’s a tip that works - Find one eBook, eCourse or ezine that deals with the subject you chose as your first area of focus.

Now, here's the really hard part ... you have to READ it. Read it all. From cover to cover. Pretend you are going to make a book report on it.

My best advice is this … never let yourself buy a product, book, course or webinar and then not use it. Use what you buy every time, and use it to the fullest extent possible. You will learn the skills you need and save money too. Now that’s a win-win!

3. Understand the Cost of "Cheap"

We would all like to believe that you can get everything you need for $37 and go on to make millions on the Net.

But that's not the real world.

The fact is that you will need to spend money at some point. The real key here is to buy only those things that you really need and that have a good reputation online.

Another key is to avoid committing so much time to cheap "shortcut" methods that you end up not having time to learn what you need. If something you have been doing is supposed to work quickly but is not working for you then you are probably not the problem!

The good news on the low-cost front is that there are things that really do work and don’t cost a dime. Article marketing and social media are two great places to start. They work now and have worked well for a long time. There is no reason they won’t work for you too.

4. Avoid the Hype

If there were a magic formula, a "shortcut to success" or a way to make millions in 90 days everyone would be doing it.

The next time you get a "too good to be true" offer ask yourself if it makes sense for someone who makes a million dollars a year to be spending time sending YOU an unsolicited email. Or why they would be selling their secrets for $37.

Then hide your credit card for the next 24 hours. If you still want the product after cooling down, go for it!

5. Have a Plan

I'm NOT talking New Year's Resolutions or time management here. I'm talking about sticking with something until you have the chance to succeed.

SO many people on the Web join a program, don't make a dime in the first couple of months and then quit that program to do another.

No one can succeed this way.

If you opened an offline business you would not expect to succeed wildly in the first 90 days. Some offline businesses don’t make a profit in their first year!

Doing business online IS different that doing business offline.

People can and do succeed much faster online and with much less start-up cost. But the pie-in-the-sky situations where you make six figures a month just by copying what someone else is doing are not real. Never have been. Never will be.

The best advice I know is to find something that interests you, investigate it well, make sure real people (not just the super-promoters) are making real money and then make a commitment to it. How long to commit will come out as you investigate it.

Want to make this year your best year ever?

Focus on the basics of success, learn the skills we all have to learn, be persistent and I believe success will be yours!

Charlie Page Signature

Five Ways To Spot A Great Product

Don't let all the 'shiny new products' available overwhelm you. Here are 5 things to look for when choosing a great product, without wasting time & money!

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One of the challenges to working online is the huge number of choices we have. While more is sometimes better, when it comes to choosing which tools to use to run or establish your online business, things can get confusing ... fast.

Sometimes more is not really better - it's just more.

Take autoresponders for example. There are countless companies selling autoresponder services, more sites selling autoresponder scripts, and even more "back office" situations where an autoresponder is built in.

But you really only need ONE autoresponder account to run your online business.

Talk about "overkill"!

When it comes to "how to" information the problem grows by leaps and bounds. Many people belong to three, four, five or even more sites all teaching the same basic concepts and principles. Confusion and information overload set in because each site focuses on one method as being the holy grail of marketing.

If marketer A says that pay per click is the only way to go and marketer B says that solo ads are the only way and marketer C says that social media is where it's at the consumer (YOU) becomes confused.

As with most things in life, the choice is not either or ... it's and!

The facts are different. There is no ONE method that stands above the others. Successful online marketing is almost always made up of using many methods to reach an overall goal.

While solo ads are powerful, solo ads and pay per click and follow up emails and social media become an unstoppable (and very automated) way to sell any product online.

The real key to success comes when you tailor ALL of these methods into a plan designed for you and you alone.

Not people "like" you but rather YOU.

That said, with so many products out there, and more being introduced every day, how can we spot a GREAT product, and avoid wasting money online?

Here are the five things I look for when buying products. I hope this list helps you too.

1. IS IT FROM A RELIABLE SOURCE?

Considering the source of a product has become a MAJOR factor in buying things online ... especially when buying information.

My bottom line here is simplicity itself - if the person selling the information has not proven that they can do what they propose I should do I don't buy. Simple. I need to see a track record, not a screenshot of a Clickbank account for the last six weeks.

One example: There is a LARGE group of people pushing "how to make money" products who have never made a dime online. I know, because I talk to these people often when they ask me to do a joint venture. If you buy something from this group you might get your money's worth but you might not.

Even if you buy their product and then get a refund because they mislead you the entire experience will have wasted your time. And you can't afford that. You can make more money but you can't make more time.

Here are two quick ways to know if a source is reliable.

  1. Look at their sites. If they have a hyped-up site that promises the moon, look out. Even worse, if they don't have their own domain, run ... don't walk.
  2. If you are concerned, or don't know the person, try to contact them. How they handle your contact will speak volumes about who they are trying to serve, you or themselves.

If a site owner answers every question with "buy my product" (or worse - doesn't answer) hide your Visa and count your blessings that you found out BEFORE you paid.

You should expect real help BEFORE the sale happens. While you can't expect them to give you their product you can and should expect them to say that they feel it will work for you based on YOUR set of circumstances.

I really do tell people every week to not buy my product yet. Don't get me wrong, I want everyone's business but ONLY if it's right for them.

If you are not sure if a product is right for you by all means ASK. It's the only way to know for sure before you buy and begin spending time using a product.

2. IS IT GUARANTEED?

This is an absolute essential in my book. If someone offers a 30 day guarantee, I usually won't buy. The reason for this is two-fold.

  1. If they won't stand behind what they sell for more than 30 days, it really does indicate that they are not in business for the long haul.
  2. It sometimes takes me 30 days just to TRY what I've bought. Like you, I'm busy. And the worst thing is to be busy, delay trying something, find out it won't work for you, and then get stuck because you had to wait.

Look for a rock-solid guarantee when shopping online as well as a company with a reputation for honoring their guarantee.

HINT: One reason Clickbank is so successful is that they are the ones who issue refunds, not the vendor. You are always protected when buying a Clickbank product.

3. DOES IT MEET A REAL NEED?

When I say "need" I don't mean a basic need like food, but rather, will it help me accomplish my goals?

The real key here is to know what you need.

Sometimes a great product is one that saves time. Sometimes it helps you save money or make money. Some products do all three, saving you time and money and helping you make money as well. Those products usually pass the test of time.

The bottom line here is simple - does this product meet a pressing need in your life right now? If yes, move forward with your decision-making process. If not, no matter how great their sales letter is, the time is not right for you to buy.

4. DOES IT WORK AS PROMISED?

This is, of course, for after you have bought, but it's still a valid point. If you bought something that does not perform as promised, don't just give up or get a refund. Ask the site owner for help first.

Products today, especially membership sites, are somewhat complicated. Many membership sites (mine included) offer so much information that a new member can feel overwhelmed.

So why would a site owner do that? In my case I want to serve beginners, intermediate and advanced marketers alike. To do that requires lots of information. This is why I created the Quick Start Guide, a trend that's catching on among other site owners.

There are many products that will work like wings once we know what they are supposed to do. If you don't understand how to use what you bought, or have questions, be sure to ask.

If you find it does not work as promised, of if you can't get the support you deserve, return it and find something else that will meet your needs.

5. IS IT COST EFFECTIVE?

The trend among marketers today is to create ever more expensive products. Two years ago products often cost $47 or $67. Today it's not unusual to see $497, $997, or even $2000 priced products.

If these products deliver BIG value, then the price is fine. But for MANY people, $500 is an impossible amount to spend.

Before you spend your hard earned money, take a look to see if you really can afford it, and if the product is reasonably priced.

Here are the questions I ask just before buying - sort of my "great product checklist" if you will.

  1. Do I need this right now?
  2. Do I already own something similar that will do the job?
  3. Is the person selling this product credible? Are they an authority in their field?
  4. Will I use this? (In other words, will I take the time to learn the system so I can profit from it?)
  5. Are there others who use and like this product? (I do read the testimonials)
  6. Am I protected if this does not work out?
  7. Is there any reason to NOT buy this right now?

If a product passes those tests I will move forward, feeling confident in my choices.

So there you have it - my five guidelines for finding great products to use in your business. Use these five guidelines when you shop online and you'll not only find GREAT products, but you'll pay less too.

And that's a beautiful combination!

Charlie Page Signature

How To Choose An Affiliate Program

Confused about which affiliate program you should join? Here are five tips to help you choose the right program, to both save you time and make you money!

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There are a thousand ways to make money on the Internet. And for every one of those ways, there are at least ten more ways to waste your time and money!

One of the best ways to make money online is to join an affiliate program. It’s how many people start online.

But the question often arises -- which affiliate program should I join?

It’s a great question. The right affiliate program can make you a lot of money.

The wrong affiliate program will waste both your time and money.

Over the years I have discovered five things that will help you choose an affiliate program that fits you, is fun and should be profitable.

Starting as an affiliate makes perfect sense. As an affiliate all you do is promote and get paid. No product creation, no customer service, no building websites.

But we all know it’s not that easy!

Let's look together at the basics of affiliate programs as well as some things to watch out for if you decide to affiliate.

First, what does the word 'affiliate' mean? Webster's Dictionary defines the word this way...

Affiliate: [verb] To associate as a member <Example: She affiliates herself with the local club>

That's exactly correct. When you become an affiliate you are associating with the product or service you will be selling. You are the front person for that product.

You are the first point of contact for a potential customer.

So this is a very important consideration ...

When you promote an affiliate product everything the product owner does reflects on you. 

So being an 'affiliate' is simply a fancy Internet way of saying that you are going to be a commissioned salesperson.

Just like your car insurance agent collects a percentage of your premium (a commission) when you pay your bill, so you too will be paid a commission when you sell someone's product or service.

Now that we have that definition out of the way, here are five things to look for BEFORE you associate yourself with someone's product or service.

1. Find a program that fits you

If your passion is fashion it’s going to be very difficult for you to succeed outside of the fashion world. But SO many people try. People who love cooking try to promote autoresponders, even when they don't use or understand autoresponders.

The good news is this -- you don’t have to go outside the area of your passion to succeed as an affiliate marketer!

Today almost all companies, big and small, have affiliate or “partner” programs.

If your passion is fashion, or genealogy, or cars, you can easily find an affiliate program to join.

By pursuing what you love your work will become less work than play.

Let’s explore that idea by sticking with the fashion example for a moment.

If your passion is fashion you will have fun ...

  • Writing about fashion ideas
  • Reviewing new trends, fabrics and ideas in fashion
  • Keeping up with trade shows, events and more
  • Knowing who is wearing what at public gatherings
  • Watching videos about fashion and fashion shows
  • Researching accessories that go with various styles
  • And more

Here’s the magic move --

Take all of those things (things you like to do anyway) and begin a curated blog about fashion.

Then find a few affiliate programs you love and display their ads on your blog.

Over time an audience of other fashion lovers will find your blog, become addicted to your great information and, yes, buy the products you recommend.

This is building a real business online, not just trying to make a few commissions.

Want to make money in markets where you don’t have a passion? No problem.

Stick with what you know at first and, once you learn how to promote on the Internet, move on to different products.

Here’s a truth many don’t share -- once you learn how to promote one product successfully you will have the skill to promote ANY product successfully!

2. Don't just jump in because it's easy

How many times have you been told to “find a high gravity Clickbank product, run an ad and watch the cash roll in?”

You’ve probably heard that often. And I’m sure you know by now it doesn’t work.

If it was THAT easy everyone would be doing it!

So what does work?

  • Aligning yourself with products you believe in
  • Promoting products that pay well
  • Making sure you will get paid on time
  • Learning the process of marketing those products
  • Repeating the process once you become successful

It takes time. It takes some money. And it takes work.

That’s why 99% of affiliates fail to make any real money. Or so we hear.

Ask yourself this question;

Is the product or service you are affiliating with something you would bring to your best friend?

If not, you may want to keep looking.

3. Look for appropriate support

What is “appropriate” support?

In my view it includes answering questions, providing materials and making suggestions.

While affiliate program owners won’t make sales for you they can and should do everything in their power to help you make sales easily.

After all, they get a share of every sale! You are driving customers TO them!

If you need something from an affiliate program owner, ask. If it’s reasonable and they don’t provide it, or don’t respond, move on.

One word of warning - Don’t believe everything you hear on affiliate forums.

The sad truth is that many people will say anything, including slandering a product owner, to avoid admitting their own failure.

Do your own homework and draw you own conclusions based on your interaction with any company and you will do well.

4. Think long term

Thinking long term involves two things.

  1. Your unwillingness to fail
  2. The type of product you will promote

Let’s look at each.

If you are unwilling to fail at affiliate marketing you will succeed. Others are succeeding and you can too.

But you can’t expect your first try to yield huge results.

Like all things this is learning process. By all means, learn all you can and emulate those you trust but know that everyone fails their way forward.

This is why limiting your ad buys is important. More on this in another article.

Now to the type of product:

There are many choices here but for this article let’s focus on one-time payment products and residual products.

If you promote a one-time payment you get paid a higher commission now but never paid again.

That can be fine, and fun.

But if you promote a residual product, one that is billed every month, you can get paid every month!

Now that’s thinking long term!

Doing the work once and getting paid many times is a cornerstone of what I teach.

And promoting residual affiliate programs is part of that process.

But hear me - I’m not saying to only promote residual programs. You really do want a mix.

Most of all, don't give up.

Many people on the net are making excellent incomes with affiliate programs.

You can too.

5. Go for quality

Remember what I asked before about your best friend?

It’s important -- if you are proud of what you do you will do it with all your heart.

Avoid all programs where you don’t really understand what they are doing but move ahead because they are so persuasive about you joining.

Here’s my advice ...

Make a checklist of everything you want, find two who meet the criteria, and go all out with those two.

Regardless of the hyped up videos, guys driving in sports cars or other “rags to riches” stories, you probably won't get rich in the next 3 days with affiliate programs.

But you CAN make huge money with affiliate programs once you learn the process, learn how to choose which products to promote and have some success under your belt.

Begin today to find the right two to start with and, in time, be making buckets full of money.

You can succeed as an affiliate!

When you do you will work when, where and IF you choose.

And when that happens you will have found a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

How to Promote an Over-Promoted Product - Part 1

To promote a popular product well, you have to work smarter - not harder. In this article, I'll share 5 principles to help you sell over-promoted products.

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Have you noticed how so many ads, especially ads for today’s hottest programs, all sound the same?

  • "Earn $500 a day!"
  • "No selling! No phone calls!”
  • "Fire your boss!"
  • “Newbie friendly!”
  • “Never pay for leads again!”
  • “Just click three times!”

Sometimes it feels like everyone is promoting the same thing at the same time, doesn’t it?

And that begs a very important question …

Can anyone really make any money promoting a system or product that is so over-promoted?

More importantly …

Can YOU really make any money promoting a system that is so over-promoted?

My answer is … YES YOU CAN!

But not by doing what everyone else is doing.

You need to be different than the others who are beating their head against the wall with no results. You need to be more strategic than they have been taught to be.

You don’t need to work harder than everyone else (although hard work is required) but you do need to work smarter than everyone else.

And I’m going to show you a few ways to do that in this three-part series.

FIRST A WORD OF WARNING

Sorry to sound so dramatic here but this is actually very important.

Not all products deserve your promotion!

There are some products out there that promise the moon and deliver only disappointment. They promise too much too fast with no real effort, and that’s just not the real world.

If anyone had found the “magic loophole” or some crafty way to beat the system and make a million dollars with no experience and no effort and no expense they sure as heck would not be selling it on Clickbank for $37!

So be sure to not fall for the hype but instead promote really great products that have stood the test of time. If you have been told that high gravity alone is enough to mean that a product is worthy of your time and promotional efforts you may not have been told the whole story.

I have an article about choosing great products here if you want to know more.

Now, back to the topic at hand … how can YOU successfully promote an over-promoted product?

To begin we will cover five principles. Then in Part 2 I will help you write a strong profit-pulling ad. Then in Part 3 we will talk about placing that ad and how you can avoid disappointment when running ads.

So let’s get into Part 1, five principles to apply when promoting a highly-promoted product.

Principle 1 - Don't Use The Company Ad Or URL

Every company I know hires writers to write great ads and promotional pieces for their associates or affiliates to use. Nothing wrong with that. They are helping affiliates get a head start by providing ad copy. And that’s a good thing.

But what happens when literally thousands of people are placing the same ads?

The ads become almost worthless. People read the first few lines, or the headline, and say to themselves “Yeah, I’ve heard this before. Not interested.” Your ad simply doesn’t stand a chance because people pre-judge it. They think they know what they need to know about your offer and simply don’t click.

This is one reason that so many ads get seen but not clicked!

And it is the reason why you must avoid using the ads the company provides for you.

By all means, you can test their ads to see if they work for you. If they have ad copy they claim works, and if you have reason to think that the ads are not being used too much, then use them and see what happens. After all, tested and proven copy is powerful.

But the truth is different - the truth is that many (if not most) affiliate programs are not giving you “tested” ads but rather ads they had someone write for their affiliate page. I can’t prove that scientifically but I know it’s true.

The ads might sound good but sounding good and working well are two different things.

Be sure to write ads in your own voice. This is the only sure way to stand out from the crowd when promoting an over-promoted website.

One easy way to do this is to modify the ads the company provides you. By changing the headline or simply rearranging the paragraphs you can often make a dramatic difference and make the ad more appealing.

I will show you an easy formula for writing a great ad for yourself in Part 2 of this series.

Principle 2 - Focus On One Problem And Solve It

Professional sales people have known for a long time that the human mind gets confused when asked to make too many decisions at one time.

This is why classic advertising (the kind that works) gives readers ONE choice to make.

Let me give you an example from the world of selling cars. Let’s pretend that you want to buy a new car and have decided to make the move. You do your homework, take the test drives and are ready to go.

At the moment of decision the sales person makes a rookie mistake and says “What color do you want?”

Now your mind is reeling with the possibilities. You begin to recall all the pretty colors you have seen. What color DO you want? What about your spouse - do they care about the color? What about the color the other car company had? You actually liked that color better but like this car better. You wonder if that color can be put on this car?

Soon you are uttering those deal-killing words every sales person dreads hearing … “I’ll think about it”

Not good. You might be back, might not. But one thing is for sure. You are not taking action today.

Now here’s a good closing statement, one that our imaginary sales person would have been better off using.

“Would you prefer the frosty white one or do you want the midnight blue instead?”

That’s a great closing line because it takes the choice off of saying yes or no and puts the choice instead on which one to buy right now.

Let’s look at another one. “Want to drive it home today or would you like me to fill up the tank and deliver it to you tomorrow?”

Again, no matter what the prospect chooses the sales person wins.

THIS IS WHAT YOU WANT FOR YOUR ADS!

No matter what the reader chooses, you win.

Your ad, be it a banner ad, solo ad, pay per click ad or any other form of ad IS your sales person.

So how does this apply to you?

Your ad needs to focus on one benefit and one benefit only, even if your product offers a dozen benefits.

Let me give you an example. The Directory of Ezines offers members many benefits. They save time, they save money, they get free ad writing … on and on it goes. I could list a dozen benefits or more.

And I do on my sales letter. Because that’s where listing benefits works.

But it my advertising I want to focus on ONE benefit at a time because that makes it easy for the reader of my ad to say yes and learn more about the site. Once they say yes to the click and visit my site it’s up to my sales letter and my follow up system to do the job of selling.

That’s because the ad can only sell the click. It cannot sell the product.

So you’re going to focus on ONE benefit in each ad.

That’s great, but how can I know which benefit will matter to them?

Answer: You don’t, so you stack the deck in your favor by selling only SUPER benefits. You will learn about super benefits in Part 2.

For now remember these two mini-principles.

  1. A confused mind cannot make a clear decision.
  2. We must make it as easy as possible for the people who see our ads to say “yes” to learning more about our product.

Principle 3 - Sell Benefits, Not Features

This one is easy once you see it but can be confusing for people who are new to selling things, especially selling online where the convincing gets done by words or video or an image instead of an actual conversation.

The best way I know to think of the difference between features and benefits is this.

  • A feature is something the product does
  • A benefit is what that product does for me

Each feature of the product you promote has a corresponding benefit.

This is a principle as old as time itself. People care about what’s in it for them. That’s natural and normal really, so why let our ads talk about anything else?

Our ads must talk about what they want. After all, that’s what they really care about.

Here’s an example: When I bought my daughter a car I wanted it to have side impact air bags. The feature here is a high safety rating and protection from head injury in the event of a crash from the side.

But that’s not why I wanted them.

I wanted them because of the peace of mind I get (and my daughter gets) from having the safest possible situation.

I was buying peace of mind, not side impact air bags.

So the question to ask yourself is this — what is the company (assuming it's a business opportunity) I am representing really selling? Are they selling a members area with 75 videos to help you learn to do something quickly?

No, they are selling freedom. They are selling a lifestyle. They are selling independence.

In Part 2 we will cover how to inject your ads with these emotional appeals.

Principle 4 - Never Send Anyone To The Company Website

That might sound radical to some, but follow the logic and see if you agree.

Let's say you work hard to promote your new-found venture, and spend a few bucks buying some pay per click ads. You insert your good old affiliate link as you've been instructed. And now Paula Prospect sees your ad and clicks the link.

Whose business are you building now?

The company's business, that's whose.

Sure, you might make A sale or two. But the company will make a fortune. Over time they will market to Paula again and again and again. Nothing wrong with that, it’s how people make money online.

But make no mistake — the company is building THEIR mailing list off of your efforts.

Now to be fair about it there are times when this is okay.

If you are new and don’t know how to create a great squeeze page or create a winning follow up email series then you are far better off using something created by a pro instead of something that doesn’t work as well. If the squeeze page and follow up system the company you are promoting uses works and is proven then you are better off, in the beginning, using their system.

But do create your own squeeze and follow up system as soon as you possibly can. Do begin building your own list. It matters, and it matters much more than most people realize.

Succeeding online ultimately really is about having your own list.

The evidence for this is overwhelming actually. I know of no successful person online who does not have a list of their own and who does not market to that list as a major part of their promotional efforts.

Principle 5 - Use An Autoresponder Address AND A Website

Here’s an “old school” piece of online marketing that works incredibly well but is used by very few marketers.

The idea? Include an autoresponder email address AND a website URL in your selling message. This can work for other forms of advertising too but it works really well for email marketing since the person reading your ad will already be in their email program.

Let me ask you this — why does every click have to go to a website? Answer: they don't.

As I talk to people I hear over and over again that people do NOT click a link in the email ads they get because they want to finish processing their email. Only makes sense really, humans like to batch things together.

We don’t wash some of the dishes after supper, we wash them all. We don't play 14 holes of golf, we finish all 18. We don’t go out to lunch and only have iced tea, we order a meal.

Email is no different. When we start reading our email we really want to finish reading (or at least scanning) all the new email.

So why not capitalize on that fact and make your response device sending an email to learn more instead of visiting a site?

It’s faster. It’s easier. And it works.

The person who responds still gets on your list. They still get the information you want them to have. But they do it at their own pace.

Instead of interrupting them you are letting them get the information at a time of their own choosing! Instead of trying to "drive" them you are attracting them.

This is so powerful, and so often overlooked.

So that’s it for part 1 of the series.

We covered a lot of ground so let me recap.

The problem we are trying to solve is helping you stand out from the crowd when promoting super-popular products that are being promoted by many other affiliates.

In Part 1 I made these five suggestions.

  1. Don’t use the same ads everyone else is using.
  2. Let your ad focus on one problem and the solution to that problem.
  3. Sell benefits, not features.
  4. Build your list, not the company’s list.
  5. Give them multiple ways to respond quickly to your ad

In Part 2 we will cover how to write ads that will help you stand out from the crowd. I’ll be sure to cover a few types of ads so you have options. Options are a good thing.

In Part 3 we will cover how and where to buy ads and how to stay safe when buying ads. I think you’ll like that one too. Hope so.

I have to thank my faithful Directory of Ezines members for the idea behind this article. In the last six months I've received about 200 phone calls (no kidding) from affiliates of these various programs asking "Is it saturated" or "will my ad for this product even be noticed?"

It is through working with these members that I was able to test the methods above and prove they work.

There ARE ways to promote even the most over-promoted of programs. It takes thinking outside the box and a willingness to try new things.

But if you do that, and succeed, you will have created your own mini-marketing plan that is proven effective. Once you do that, you will have the power to promote any product in any market you choose.

And THAT is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

How to Promote an Over-Promoted Product - Part 2

In part 2 of our series on promoting over-promoted products, I'll share the importance of writing powerful ads when promoting affiliate products.

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Have you ever wondered why most ads on the internet fail miserably to get the job done? It’s frustrating, isn’t it? You pay your money, place your ad and the result is ... underwhelming.

Why do so many ads fail to get the response we hope they will get?

The answer lies in an ancient proverb. The proverb says:

“An army of sheep led by a lion would defeat an army of lions led by a sheep.”

When it comes to doing business online, we can translate that proverb this way :

“It is better to have 100 highly qualified visitors to your site than 1000 visitors who got there by mistake or misdirection from a misleading ad”

You see, our ads need to lead the right people, qualified people, to the sites we promote.

Are you satisfied with your results online right now?

I’m willing to bet that your ads are not working well, and that you are not making the money you hoped online, especially if you are promoting a “hot” or “high gravity” product that is supposed to convert well.

And I’m willing to bet that it’s not your fault — that no one ever told you how to write a truly great ad.

So let’s fix that right now.

The simple fact is, most ads are sheep.

They are weak and they don’t get results. They don’t inspire the reader to take action now, which is all that matters.

Why do they fail to attract the right visitors?

Because they sound so much like all the other ads that the people who read them just say to themselves “Yeah … I’ve heard that all before. No thanks.” and then click away.

But it does NOT have to be this way.

Your ads can capture attention and cause the visitors you want to come to your website IF you know how to add real selling power to them.

So how can you stop using “sheep” ads and start using “lion” ads?

I believe there are three ways that you can create new and better ads than you use now.

STEP 1 — KNOW WHY PEOPLE BUY

The bottom line here is actually quite simple once you grasp these two core truths.

  1. People buy based on emotion and justify what they buy with logic.
  2. People want to buy specific products, not general solutions.

Let’s look at each briefly.

PEOPLE BUY BASED ON EMOTION

Professional marketers have long known that people buy with emotion and justify their purchase with logic. This is why so many great commercials, in print, on television and online, tug at the heartstrings.

Why? Because people remember what they feel but rarely remember dry facts and figures.

Here’s an example — can you recite the periodic table you learned in high school? Some can but most can’t.

Now, can you remember your high school prom? You probably can. You might even remember what you wore and with whom you went!

How about your first kiss?

You remember these things because you remember the emotions you felt, be they good or bad. Those feelings — the sites, sounds and more — are captured in your mind forever.

Even commercials that seem to rely on logic to sell use emotion to create interest.

Take car commercials for example. We often see ads for cars that can “go from 0 to 60 in 5.2 seconds”. But why would anyone apart from the police or a professional race driver want to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 5.2 seconds? To impress. A clearly emotional appeal.

This is why people buy houses that are much too large for what they really need, why they buy shiny new cars when it would cost much less to repair their existing car and why they buy products online that convince them IN THE MOMENT OF DECISION that the product will meet their needs.

You see, the moment of decision is what it’s all about.

There is a moment in every online purchase where the person makes the leap. They decide to trust what the website is saying and move ahead.

That decision, a very emotional decision by the way, comes much easier when your ad is CONGRUENT with what the site offers.

Congruent is an interesting word. It originated somewhere around 1375 and it’s basic meaning is to fit together. So when your ad “fits together” with the website you are promoting there is congruence. When your ad is mismatch with the site the reader feels the disconnect in a very real way.

More on this in a moment. First, core truth #2.

PEOPLE BUY SPECIFIC PRODUCTS, NOT GENERAL SOLUTIONS

People buy with emotion and they also buy very specific solutions to their problems.

Have you ever gone to the mall or your favorite store and said this — “I want to buy something today. Any old thing will do, I just really want to buy something.”

No, we go to the mall or clothing store to buy shoes, not to buy just anything. We go to the hardware store to buy paint and hammers and nails, not to buy a dress.

We buy specifically, not generally.

We buy because we need or want something. And that something is very often something emotional, like freedom.

And it’s almost always very specific.

Too many ads today are so generic that they don’t appeal to anyone.

Remember this — when you try to appeal to everyone you end up selling to no one. I’ve seen it happen a thousand times.

So point 1 is to know how people buy … with emotion and they like to buy very specific solutions to their problems.

Now let’s look at the second way you can create more powerful ads for any product you want to promote.

STEP 2 — KNOW WHY ADS EXIST

The ONLY purpose of the ad is to get the right kind of click... period.

You see, the ad can only create a click. It really can’t sell anything. That’s the job of the website.

The ad creates curiosity and that causes people to click. The website convinces them to buy. Classic two-step selling.

If people click, you might make money.

If they do not click, you have no chance to make money. It’s really as simple as that.

So what does “the right kind of click” mean? It means getting the RIGHT people to come to your site...

  • Not tire kickers.
  • Not “lookie Lous”.
  • Not time wasters with questions who never take action.
  • Not freebie seekers who won’t spend money even if they have it.

What you want is REAL prospects that know what you do and are genuinely interested in learning more.

Misunderstanding the importance of the right kind of click has led to two great mistakes by far too many advertisers.

MISTAKE 1- The first misunderstanding is that we should do anything we can do to get the click.

This is the old “throw it all against the wall and see what sicks” idea. Sure, it’s fun getting lots of people to visit the website you promote. But making sales is more fun.

Getting everyone to your site is not the goal — getting buyers to your site is the goal. People who want what you sell and can take action.

MISTAKE 2- The second misunderstanding is that all clicks are equal.

The truth is that not all clicks are created equal. In fact, the ONLY clicks that matter are from people who want (or need) what you offer and who can take action.

Think about that statement for a bit, because it is important.

They must want or need what you offer. If they do not then everyone is just wasting time.

They must be able to take action. Wanting (or even needing) what you offer means nothing if they fail to take action once they arrive at your site.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you are promoting a business opportunity. The website you are promoting uses a very left-brain logical approach to making the sale. Nothing wrong with that. But your ad is very “excited” in tone and promises quick riches for those who click to learn more.

Your ad says that you can make money in days, sometimes hours. But the site doesn’t say that at all. It says buyers will need to learn and work and then good things will happen.

When this type of disconnect happens you will get lots of clicks but very few sales. The reader is left wondering who they should believe. In their state of confusion they end up not acting on your offer.

Everyone loses.

Why? Because the reader feels you mislead them, even though that was not your intention. The ad and site don’t match and that creates a feeling they are being tricked. Not the right emotion.

But when your ad and the site you are promoting match in tone — they fit together — very good things can happen. The reader feels reassured when they reach the site. They feel that the site is merely a continuation of what they read in your ad.

Now you are creating very valuable clicks indeed.

This is the congruency factor we discussed earlier. When your ads MATCH the approach of the website to which you send people who click on your ad they feel reassured and comfortable. When there is a mismatch people feel afraid and skeptical. And that’s not the right frame of mind for making sales.

SHEEP AND LION AD CASE STUDIES

To illustrate this point I’ve written two ads that are, to my way of thinking, good and bad.

NOTE: To be totally fair I made sure both ads are the same length … 146 words.

First, the timid little sheep ad. I'll mark where the ad begins and ends to make it easier to see.

--- START OF AD ---

Fire your boss!

Ever want to fire your boss and start your own profitable business from home? Our proven process means that now anyone can make a small fortune working from home!

Millions of people are replacing their jobs and experiencing what it feels like to work from home. Imagine only having a 3 second commute! Imagine you being the boss!

The fact is, there are more people online than ever before — and more are logging on every day. This massive audience means opportunity for you!

Making money online has never been easier. From teenage millionaires to retirees who are living the good life they always dreamed of, everyone is cashing in on the 21st century gold rush.

Isn’t it time that you took control of your own destiny? Learn more now and start living the life of your dreams.

Click here to learn more.

--- END OF AD ---

This is a “sheep” ad that will generate clicks but will fail to make sales.

What you will get from this ad is visitors who are in a dream-world. Sure, they would love to fire their stinking boss, but are they going to take action?

I suppose you could go for these types of clicks and hope that your website is so appealing that it convinces them but, candidly, that rarely works.

The fact is that most sites today don’t do a great job of converting visitors into buyers.

This is why your ad must pre-sell them with emotion.

By the way, the most common model being used online right now is to get EVERYONE you can to your site and hope that your website does the selling.

If you are still reading this article I suspect you know that this model does not work.

Now scenario two is where you run a “lion” ad; one that is bold and unafraid and actually qualifies the prospect BEFORE the click.

Here is an example of that ad.

--- START OF AD ---

Tired of the rat race and ready to make a massive income working at home?

Many people feel that way but few are willing to do what it takes to make the big bucks. Freedom is possible if you are willing to take action and be bold.

Do you have what it takes?

Are you the type of person who will “go for it” once you see what you want?

If you answered yes our proven system will show you the step-by-step process to follow so that you never have to work for anyone else again!

You really can have the freedom and peace of mind you want and deserve.

Today could be the best day of your life IF you are bold enough to act.

Will you take control of your future today?

Only YOU can decide!

Click here to take control today!

--- END OF AD ---

In my view this is a “lion” ad that will get fewer clicks but make many more sales. The reason is simple. This ad has pre-qualified the prospect.

In this ad I was very clear that they were going to need to take action to get the benefits I am offering them.

If they click the ad they have accepted the challenge to get more information and change their lives. And that is exactly the mindset you want them to have when they visit the site you are promoting, be it your own or an affiliate offer.

Remember this -- your ad has an important job ... pre-qualify the prospect and, in so doing, set up the sale. Not to just get any old click.

It is vitally important to understand the difference between sending just any visitor to a site and sending a pre-qualified visitor.

Yes, you want clicks but you want the RIGHT kind of clicks -- qualified prospects.

STEP 3 -- ADD POWER TO YOUR ADS

Want to convert a weak “sheep” ad into a bold “lion” ad? Here are six principles that will help you do that today. I’ll keep them short since this article is getting a bit long.

These are not in order of importance but rather important principles that should be in every ad. The more of them you use the better.

PRINCIPLE 1 - The right headline

Use a HEADLINE that sets the right tone.

Excited but not hyped up. One idea is to let readers know that this is NOT for everyone or for those who will not take action but that massive rewards await those who will take action.

PRINCIPLE 2 - Make the offer

Make a clear statement of what you really are OFFERING.

If you can’t be proud of what you offer then it might be time to find something else to sell online. Tricking people might work for a while but it’s no way to build a business. Be very clear about your offer.

A note about this — if you are promoting a highly promoted product then using the name of the product in your ad is not a good idea. If you do mention the name you run the risk of being associated with other advertisers who might have over-claimed (or outright lied) to get the click. No sense in taking that risk in my view.

PRINCIPLE 3 - Qualify them

Make QUALIFYING STATEMENTS so the reader can know that they qualify for what you offer.

In our example the phrase “Are you tired of the rat race and ready to make a massive income working for yourself at home?” is a qualifying statement. Another one is “Are you the type of person who will “go for it” once you see what you want?” If they answer “yes” in their heads then you have a great prospect.

If someone is happy with their job — it can happen 🙂 — then they would quickly know that your offer is not for them.

PRINCIPLE 4 - Be truthful

Always be TRUTHFUL in your ads. This should go without saying but often is not the case.

If you have been given misleading ads to use by your company please don’t use them. You will only hurt your reputation, and reputation matters online. Plus, hype really doesn’t work too well so why waste the time and your ad budget?

PRINCIPLE 5 - Sell benefits, not features

Sell BENEFITS. Be clear about what the reader will gain if they do take action.

My ad is selling freedom and peace of mind and control, not the product I had in mind when I wrote it. And it clearly states that they will be shown a proven system but only IF they qualify.

PRINCIPLE 6 - A clear call to action

Always include a strong CALL TO ACTION. In the “lion” ad above I included a call to action that is congruent with the rest of the ad … “click here to take control today!”

The bottom line to all of this is simple -- you must advertise if you want to make money online so your ads might as well be as strong as they can be.

If you take a little time and make your ads “lions” instead of “sheep” you will not only sell more, get more signups, and maybe make a little money for a change but you will save advertising dollars as well because YOUR ads will be the ones that work the best.

And having ads that work, that REALLY work to make sales happen, is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature

Promote Many Products From One Blog

Ever wonder how to promote many products from one blog? Here are three proven ways to do just that.

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Recently I posted an article entitled "How Many Sites Do I Need?" It was encouraging to see that readers found it helpful. A reader named Darrel asked this. "With many offers at one site people can be confused. Maybe you could address that thought in another blog post?"

It's a great question actually. How do you promote many products from one blog without confusing visitors?

There are several ways to do that. I will share my top three and one tip that can literally multiply your commissions with very little effort.

NOTE: These ideas build on each other so please do read the entire post, or print it out to read later.

1 - Realize that context is king

It's often been said that "content is king" on the Internet. It's hard to argue that point. People come online to find things like ...

  • The best price
  • How to do a specific thing
  • Where to find something locally
  • News and gossip on today's trending topics
  • Pictures or videos about things that interest them

All of these are content. So content is king when it comes to building blogs and websites.

But when you want to promote many products from one blog then CONTEXT is king.

Here's what I mean.

You can use many different methods to get clicks on the links you want to promote. Many people rely on banners on the right side panel, and that works well in most cases.

But what about other opportunities to put links where people will click them? I believe this is the hidden power of a blog.

Just a few places you can put links include:

  • In your author's box
  • In the middle of the article content (see example below)
  • At the bottom of the article
  • Just above the article comments

There are more of course, but these work well. So try them.

Now here is why context is king.

You can't put links in any of these places if the product you are promoting is completely disconnected from the content of the article on your blog.

  • An article about automation is a great place to put a link about Aweber.
  • An article about losing weight is a horrible place to put a link for Aweber.

So use context to guide your choices and put more than just banners on the right panel of your blog to do well if you want to promote many products from one blog.

2 - Make each product's function a category

One of the best tricks of the trade is to make your categories match the function or purpose of the product you are promoting.

I have reviewed blogs where people made the actual product name (like Aweber) a category of the blog.

In my view that's too obvious.

But if you made a function of Aweber (like automation) into a category then you could write and curate all sorts of articles about automation, and your promotion of Aweber would make sense to readers.

How easy would it be to slip in a line like "Click here to learn how to automate your marketing" in the middle of an article about automating your life or business?

Answer: Easy ... and effective! The entire line is a link that pays you when sales happen.

As Charlie Sheen would say ... winning!

3 - Make your content sell the IDEA of the product

Now here is a power move. Make the content you write or curate sell the idea of what the product does and not the product itself.

The fact is - people do not want to own products. They want to own what the product does for them.

Sometimes this is a tangible thing (like saving money) and sometimes it's more emotional, like looking good in front of others.

This is the classic "features vs. benefits" discussion, and it's an important one.

Here are two very brief examples.

People who save "15% or more on their car insurance" don't really care if you know where they get their insurance. They just want the savings and want to feel good about getting the best deal.

People who own a Rolls Royce want to be seen driving their Rolls. They are not content to watch TV in their living room and know they have a Rolls in the garage. They want you to know they have a Rolls.

The key to making content sell ideas is to figure out what people really want when they buy a product.

For example:

  • People who buy Aweber are buying convenience and increased sales, not programming.
  • People who buy Six Pack Abs are buying better looks and longer life, not a specific type of exercise.

Generally speaking, people want the result of what a product does, not the method by which a product creates that result.

There are a million ways to get six pack abs. Yet the good folks at Six Pack Abs sell millions teaching their way. That's because they know how to sell the benefits, not the features.

Now for my best piece of advice about how to promote many products from one blog

Build your list, not the other guy's list

Here is the big one. I know this article is long already, so I will be brief.

It's vital that you build your own mailing list and not build the other person's mailing list instead.

The bottom line here is simple - instead of letting your banners and links take people off your site build your list instead right on your site!

This is vital for three reasons.

1. You really do need a list of your own to build a strong online business.
2. With a list of your own you can promote a range of products, not just the product for which the visitor clicked the link.
3. By using simple polls and surveys you can learn what list members need and help them by providing content and resources to meet those needs.

Here is your action step - review your blog today and find all the places where people are leaving your site by clicking a link or banner ad.

Now ask yourself if those ads or links are profitable for you.

If they are, and you know they are by looking at tracking, keep them. If they are not replace them with a link that builds your list.

Then begin communicating with that list of people, finding out what they need and serving them by providing answers to their questions, helpful content and suggesting products they need as well.

When you do that you will build your list, build your business and be on the road to freedom.

And freedom is a beautiful thing indeed!

Charlie Page Signature