Archive of ‘Internet Marketing’ category
Yes, I’ve disappeared from my own blog since about late 2012. No, I didn’t quit the industry or start promoting some weird MLM.
So here’s a breakdown of what I’ve been up to.
2011-2012: Neverblue affiliate manager
I had a good experience working with some of the top affiliates in the industry. Seeing how they systematize their business and scale was a good example of how you can build a business which generate fairly consistent results on a long-term basis. During my time as an AM, I was part of a team which travelled to Bangkok, Thailand, to conduct the first Neverblue Interact event. It was so popular we hosted 200 affiliates over two days.
Also, as part of the development effort, I organized an overnight hacka (more…)
If you’ve been in the Internet marketing game for some time, you might have tried incorporating email marketing into your promotion strategy.
So, here’s what I feel doesn’t work for long-term email promotion – continually sending pitch emails to the list, consisting of messages asking people to buy something. I’m pretty sure most people didn’t join a list so that they’d get ads all day.
Unless you’re sending out massive amounts of email, the promotion is likely to tank, whether it’s for a CPA (cost-per-acquistion/lead generation) offer or a CPS (cost-per-sale) offer.
Eventually the list will burn itself out, with members unsubscribing from (more…)
Back in the day where I used to buy a lot of ebooks, I would be disappointed when a $97 ebook contained just 20 pages. Making each page worth $5? The problem is that it probably could have been condensed into a couple of paragraphs.
And when the books were good, they usually offered a “trick” of some sort, usually a loophole that Google, Squidoo, YouTube had left open.
Depending on when you bought the ebook and how fast you took action, your mileage on being able to generate earnings from the technique would range from a week to a few months.
And that is for the good ebooks. The bad ones would just suck, and some newly-published ones would cover techniques that had died the previous year.
Buying this stuff left a bad taste in my mouth, so I quit (more…)
Last year (2012) was a busy year. Between recruiting and managing some of the top affiliates while I was an affiliate manager with Neverblue and organising training events in Singapore as well as a very successful one in Thailand, I did not get much sleep.
It was a great experience working with Sam Brachat, then Michelle Reid from Neverblue, as well as a great time of account managers (who’ve a great understanding of how advertisers structure their offers and the best ways to provide great lead quality and get onto accelerated payments).
Tips for aspiring affiliates: Work hard and probably more importantly, learn from your mistakes.
Almost every campaign will start off as a loss-making one. Being able to pare away losing keywords and high volume keywords with don’t have a chance of recouping what you’re paying in ad costs will only bring down your campaign.
Having a Vegas mentality that after spending $100-200 on a single keyword or url target or demographic, seeing zero to a handful of conversions is treating your business like a lottery and won’t help anyone (except maybe the ad network).
Get a book on statistics, read up on statistical significance, split testing. Learning the business, rather than learning how to use spy tools will give you a better competitive edge in the long term.
Is everyone gradually moving from promoting casual dating offers via adult traffic to mobile offers? Should you blindly follow them?
Are you a sheep? Can you think for yourself?
There’re still relatively new affiliates (3 years or less experience) who’re doing 3- to 4-figure profit days consistently working relatively unsexy verticals, stuff that isn’t widely discussed on affiliate blogs or forums.
I had a conversation the other day with a newer affiliate who asked “Should I be considering these offers? It’s not mentioned on the forums or blogs.”
Here’s a tip.
If you’re making a killing with a particular method or offer, should you:
1) Tweet about it, brag about how much you’re making and how you’re going to spend your earnings?
2) Post pictures about what you’ve just bought, go to the network’s facebook page and say “Thanks ABC affiliate manager, I’m making a killing with XYZ offer.”
3) Shut up about it and bank in silence.
You go figure it out.
Success has a lot to do with:
1) Figuring what works for you with the type of traffic you’re using and the offer you’re promoting
2) Coming up with a system to follow, so you’re going through a series of steps that make sense and maximise your chances of success and ability of scaling what you’re doing.
3) Repeating what you’re doing, being able to scale the traffic (at about the same quality level) that you’re sending to the offer.
The steps are easy, aren’t they? Being able to follow them is not.
Back to 2013: The past couple of months have been a little busy for me, with my older daughter starting primary school (grade school to you yanks) and working a couple of consulting gigs that had been backlogged.
In the next couple of weeks I’m working on:
1) Launching a resource site that will be useful for affiliates and product owners
2) Developing/revamping and launching/relaunching existing and new products/services.
3) Publishing some stuff for Amazon’s Kindle platform
4) Publishing new blog posts (hopefully more frequently than once a year).
So what’s on your plate for 2013?
PS: This is a new blog template, not everything is fixed yet. It should be…any day now.
He was born Steven Paul Jobs on Feb 24, 1955 in San Francisco, CA. The world would know him better as “Steve Jobs”. To the Apple faithful, he would be like a god to them, but that image was broken when he died on Oct 5, 2011, aged 56, having lost his long-running battle with pancreatic cancer.
Some will be fixated with Forbes’ estimate that Jobs’ net wealth was $8.3 billion in 2010, making him the 42nd wealthiest American. They’ll probably see the glowing success of the iPod, iPhone, iPad, iMacs and neglect to see the failures Jobs encountered along the way. That could be a major mistake because it’s only in failures that lessons can be learned, especially for Internet marketers.
Jobs was an astute businessman, in an early episode with Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, the book iCon recounts:
Atari’s founder, Nolan Bushnell (who later founded the Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant chain). Bushnell asked Jobs to figure out a design for the game Break-Out, where players would use a Pong-like paddle to smash a wall of bricks. Unbeknownst to Bushnell or Alcorn, Jobs turned around and made a deal with Woz: Do the coding, and Jobs would split the $600 completion fee with him. Woz did the work, and Jobs got his money and gave Woz $300—his “half.” Problem was, Jobs got $1,000 as his fee. Woz didn’t find out about Jobs’s lie until a year later, according to iCon, the 2005 book by Young and William L. Simon. When he did find out, he was so hurt he cried.
The lesson is that if you own a business, you need to run it astutely. I most would consider Jobs to be charismatic and project an aura. Not as many would call him a nice guy.
His desire for getting things right played a large part in his success. In the same way that successful marketers will continually strive to get something right so that their business ran correctly. As some would say, “If you do what you’re supposed to do, you’ll get what you’re supposed to get”.
Here’s an insight into Jobs’ quest for perfection from iCon;
Jobs wanted the next computer to be something different—an appliance, something anyone could use. That was the Apple II, which came out a year after the Apple I. He hammered at his message as the company grew: Computers should be tools. Trip Hawkins, one of Apple’s first 50 employees, remembers Jobs obsessing over an article he’d read in a science magazine about the locomotive efficiency of animal species. “The most efficient species was the condor, which could fly for miles on only a few calories,” Hawkins says. “Humans were way down the list. But then if you put a man on a bicycle, he was instantly twice as efficient as the condor.” The computer, Jobs said, was a “bicycle for the mind.”
Jobs had another message: These tools had to be beautiful. The Apple II did look great, for then: It had a case and keyboard and fit easily on a desk. Jobs’s aesthetic suffused everything, even the circuit boards. He insisted the circuits be redone to make the lines straighter.
And just in case you mistakenly associated Apple’s touchy-feel human-friendly products with the personality of it’s founder, here’s a reality check:
At Apple, Jobs inspired without inspiring much love. “He’d stop by and say, ‘This is a pile of shit’ or ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve ever seen,’” Andy Hertzfeld, who helped develop the Macintosh, told Moritz. “The scary thing was that he’d say it about the same thing.” The people at Apple had a name for that behavior, too: “the shithead-hero roller coaster.” Guy Kawasaki, another early employee who was assigned to recruit outside developers to write software for the new machine, said Jobs once came by his cubicle with an executive Kawasaki didn’t recognize. Jobs asked for Kawasaki’s opinion about some third-party company’s software. Kawasaki replied that he didn’t think it was very good. “And Steve turns to the guy and he says, ‘See, that’s what we think about your product,’” Kawasaki says, laughing. The stranger was the third-party company’s chief executive officer. “I’m sure the CEO did not expect to get ripped like that.”
Lesson: If you want to get what you want, you need to do whatever it takes. This means working on your PPV, PPC, SEO campaign till you get what you are shooting for. It means working on it on weekends, holidays till you get it right. Closing shop at 5pm every day is just asking for trouble.
Despite all that hard work though,
The board told Sculley he had to act. In April he relieved Jobs of day-to-day duties and made him vice-chairman. Then Jobs lost that title, too. At 30, he lost the thing that most mattered to him. “I didn’t see it then,” he would say in 2005, “but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.”
So even if you start a company, there’s no guarantee that you won’t be kicked out. Though Jobs’ managed to turn it into an opportunity:
After losing a power struggle with the board of directors in 1985, Jobs resigned from Apple and founded NeXT, a computer platform development company specializing in the higher-education and business markets. Apple’s subsequent 1996 buyout of NeXT brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and he served as its CEO from 1997 until August 2011.
Although Next was touted to be the next big thing in computers, Jobs’ struggled to find buyers for his $9,999 computers. He poured $7 million of his own money into the company and it nearly went bust. Funded by VC money, the company continued to chug along.
It was only after a turn of events that Next was acquired by Apple in 1996 for $429 million.
In case you’re wondering, parts of the NextStep operating system formed the foundation of Mac OS X, which were a crucial part of Jobs’ iMacs after he rejoined Apple.
Also, Next’s WebObjects, an object-oriented software platform, would power the Apple Store, iTunes and the MobileMe services.
Lesson: Smart entrepreneurs will learn to reuse, recycle, repurpose tools and intellectual property from previous projects. If you’re an enterprising marketer, this won’t be news to you.
While Jobs was involved with Next, he also acquired the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm for $10 million. The company, which would later be renamed Pixar, first tried to sell the Pixar Image Computer, but failed. After years of unprofitability, the company would contract with Disney to produce animated films, the first of which was Toy Story and the rest is history, with hits like A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo and the Incredibles following.
If you think running a business with “years of unprofitability” to its name is a good thing, you’re probably an optimist, but might not do well running a company. Being able to adapt Pixar’s business model not only ensure its survival, but brought it to a whole new level of profitability.
And Apple was not without it’s failures too. It’s attempt to launch a tablet computer-type device through it’s Newton subsidiary was a pretty big failure. Placed side by side, you can see some similarities between the Apple Newton MessagePad and today’s iPad.
Lesson: Expect failure no matter how smart or good you think you might be. Picking yourself up is a test of whether you’re capable of getting to where you want to be.
Psst. If you missed it, the secret to Internet marketing is contained in the title to this post.
That mantra also happens to be the subtitle of Guy Kawasaki’s Rules for Revolutionaries (first published in 1990s), and still equally relevant today.
There’s a paradox/dichotomy with Internet marketers. Almost all of us have the potential for unlimited income, but the vast majority (ie: more than 90%), work less than an hour a day.
That’s excluding time spent on twitter, facebook, watching youtube videos, reading ebooks, chatting on AIM. That’s less than one hour of purposeful, meaningful, goal-direct work each day.
The other “law” is that your amount of meaningful work is directly proportional to the amount of income you generate.
So that time spent goofing off translates into throwing away potential income too.
Deciding to be an “internet marketer” could mean spending time after you finish your day job, after you’ve eaten your dinner/supper and sitting at your table, trying to figure this “internet thing” out. I have a lot of friends and acquaintances tell me they want to “do what I do”, and then they go on to talk about how working from home would be great for them, how they’re really good at marketing/writing/creative stuff and they would make an excellent internet marketer.
So, like a fool, I give them an idea to work on, and they buy into the idea, they see they can do it, and I finish off the conversation with… “Remember, more than 90% of people give up after the first day, of the rest, 90% of the guys left give up after the first week. So only 1 out of 100 ever gets anything done.”
After promises that they’ll be that one outstanding individual, they go off to do their thing.
Two weeks later, I speak to them and they’ve got a lot of stuff to tell me. Mainly a lot of reasons why they didn’t do anything. Usually a combination of either:
- Their day job
- Stress, fatigue
- A lack of drive
- A loss of confidence
- Or they bought about $100 worth of books off Amazon, but haven’t had time to read a single book.
Which is a little disappointing because I gave one simple thing for them to do. If they had done it, they would have made $10, $20, or maybe even $100.
Even if they’d have made their first $1, it’d drive them to go on.
I’m fairly sure, it’s not anything specific to Internet marketing, e-commerce, being an entrepreneur.
It’s got everything to do with your drive, your motivation, your ambition.
It’s free to say you want to have a lofty goal, but it takes real cojones to do something about it.
Are you going to fail if you try it?
Possibly, and the probability is pretty big, especially if it’s something like CPA marketing, or using a new traffic method like PPV.
Are you going to lose money?
Heck yeah, possibly a lot of it too.
In sci-fri writer Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series, the protagonist Paul “Muadib” Atreides is put to a test by the Bene Gesserit order.
His hand is put into a box and it feels like the flesh is being burned off it and his hand is being torn apart.
But he survives this test because his mother Lady Jessica has taught him a mantra, the “Litany against fear” which goes:
I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
Besides being my favorite sci-fi series, Dune also contains one of my favorite quotes.
Substitute “Fear” with “Failure” or “Adversity” and you’ll realize that anything worth the effort is going to involve some degree of pain.
If you’re starting something new, it’s going to take time to master it.
In all likelihood, you’re going to spend about 8 to 12 hours a day just figuring out something new – whether it’s blogging, social media, PPV or CPA.
Once you’ve understood the basics, it will probably take 4-6 hours a day to fine tune what you’re doing.
And in the third stage, you can probably get things going smoothly and you’ll be able to maintain your level of earnings with just one hour of effort a day.
How long will it take to go from stage 1 to stage 3?
It varies from individual, but typically the ones who aren’t afraid of fear, or don’t let it become their mind killer move much faster through the stages.
If you haven’t been brainwashed by some of the talk of buying a business-in-a-box or a pack of 2,506 ebooks to kickstart your e-commerce business, you’ll usually start out on a better footing.
To address some emails I’ve received:
“What’s the fastest time it will take for me to earn $xxx per month from websites/affiliate marketing/blogging?” – I suggest that rather than shoot for “fastest”, it’s better to bone up on your fundamentals. I’ve noticed that these “fastest” methods tend to rely on learning one method (usually blackhat) way of doing something and these generally last a couple of hours/days/weeks depending on your luck. Then you’re left running to learn another “trick”. You’re not building a business in my opinion, you’re just hustling for some spare change.
“Does it work?” – I could tell you I’ve been doing this for many years, but I guess you won’t know for yourself, until you’ve tried it out, will you?
“Can you coach/mentor me?” - I’ve not offered this for a long time (since 2008 I think). Unless you have an interesting project proposal/joint venture in mind, I’m wholly focused on long-term projects. If you’re newer or looking at bringing your earnings to a higher level, you should check out PPV Playbook. I’ve mentioned it a number of times, and you can check out a write-up here.
By the way, PPV Playbook discount codes are still available.)
“Will more Friday Podcast episodes be coming out?” – While I produced the series, it took a fair amount of time and resources. With two young kids and a number of ongoing projects, there’re no plans to continue it at this time. You can check out the archive here though).
“Will you be blogging more regularly?” – I was inspired after meeting FinchSells (aka Martin Osborn) last week in Singapore. He claimed that he was blogging about once a week now. I wasn’t going to call him out on it, but he seems to be blogging every 2 weeks, so I guess he’s a big fat liar. Now that my gnarly taxes are out of the way, I plan to publish a post every week. So check back often.