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Getting Away From The Bonanza Model Of Internet Marketing

You’ve probably heard them, the online equivalent of fisherman’s tales.

“This one time, I had a campaign that generated 400% ROI. Yeah, I spent $50 and made $200.”

“This one offer was generating $2,300 per day. It’s about 10x higher than anything I ever had. Unfortunately it was a Christmas offer and died after 3 days.”

This is the same type of mindset you have with newbie punters who visit Vegas expecting to hit the jackpot, or the old guy who shows up at the gas station and buys $30 worth of scratch-and-win lottery tickets.

While it’s possible to strike the motherlode, whether you’re buying a ticket, signing an insertion order for a high-value media buy, or trying out a new strategy with PPV traffic, just realize that beyond just the dollar value of your return, there’s the repeatability of the offer too.

If you won a $30 million lottery, you’re probably set (for a while).

But with the broader picture, your income is a function of:

[dollar value] x [repeatability].

If you’re generating say $1,000 a day, the strategy is to keep this going every day, to hit a consistent $30,000 per month. Because someone who’s doing $10,000 per month consistently (or $120,000 annualized) is going to outearn someone who had a one-off $50,000 campaign over a month, but then has difficulty finding his or her legs for the rest of the year.

Scalability (the ability to grow your campaigns on a massive basis) and sustainability (the ability to consistently generate returns from your campaigns) might be among the easier concepts to understand, but probably among the most difficult to understand.

To grow your internet marketing or affiliate marketing efforts to the next level requires understanding of this concept.

Should Marketers Fear Competition?

Your “inner game” or mental outlook has a great deal to how you run your business.

In a recent conversation with another marketer I mentioned that a specific home improvement niche might be worth developing, he mentioned that there’re a number of incumbent sites in the space and it might not be worth developing.

There’re bound to be free high authority sites with great content in any lucrative niche. They do have to monetize, even if it’s via adsense, yahoo publisher or some other form of advertising, if they’re planning to be in the business longterm.

On the other hand, you could take a rock and hit some other marketer who’s in the same niche and charging a premium for content – video, PDF reports, audio walkthroughs.

What’s the difference between something that’s free and another that’s paid? Should you fear competition?

My stock response is that free stuff tends to be limited. Unless someone is paying you, the site tends to be one-sided. The site owner publishes content based on keyword demand and search volume and works on 1-2% of traffic clicking on ads or picking broad enough keywords to bring a nice ROI on their CPM-based advertiser payouts.

Paid sites tend to be more customer-focused, just because it’s performance marketing-oriented. If they don’t like the affiliate program you’re promoting or the ebook or guide you’re created and are selling, you’ll come away with empty pockets at the end of the day.

If capitalism teaches anything, it’s that markets are self-correcting. Or in simple English, if your product sucks, you will get zero sales.

So the first thing you need to figure out is your concept. If it isn’t sound, you’re going to have an uphill battle making much headway in your niche, let alone making any decent coin.

The second element is probably the more important one. While a solid business model and concept are good, I’d say that marketing is even more important. You could have the world’s best product and yet fail. Two examples: Creative Technology (based out of Singapore) was the first out the gates with sound cards (remember those?) especially it’s “SoundBlaster” series of cards. It was also one of the earliest with MP3 players (at least a couple of years before the first iPod was released into the market). Given its expertise in audio technology, you’d think that it’d have stitched up the market. But no, instead it decided to come up with it’s own kookie/weird advertising and promptly lost the war once the iPod came onto the scene.

Here’s a video about branding and marketing for the iPhone (note: coarse language)

Like I said: branding/marketing > market concept.

Save $50 Or More On Amazon.com Purchases

Although other websites might have some items which are a couple of bucks cheaper than on Amazon, I still order most of my stuff from there because I can get almost everything at one place – books, DVDs, software, electronics and computer stuff.

I’m a “burst shopper” because I’m overseas. So when I come visit the US, I tend to buy a couple hundred bucks worth of stuff each time and send it to my hotel or conference location.

I just saved about $60 on an order placed just this weekend. It was really easy since Amazon has just changed some of their terms and conditions. Want to know how?

Click the “More” link below to find out:

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Internet Marketing Cookbook 2 launch promo ends Wednesday, midnight EST

If you’re not sure what the title’s refering to, be sure to read the Internet Marketing Cookbook launch promo post.

What’s happened in the past week since the launch, I’ve kicked off a pay-per-sale case study for the Mail Order Shoppe and will be revving the campaign into high gear till mid-July before shifting into another case study. Whether you’re a new or advanced marketer, you should get some tips from this to incorporate into your own campaigns.

Promo ends Wednesday, Midnight EST (which will be noon Thursday in my part of the world).

See you on the other side.

PS: The promo code is available at the IMC 2 launch post.

How not to suck at video marketing

I’ve been looking at different ways to promote the pay-per-sale merchant, Mail Order Shoppe, the main case study on Internet Marketing Cookbook (which will run from now till mid July)and it’s been amusing and sometimes funny to see how merchants and affiliates can get their  video marketing strategy messed up.

First the good news:

  • YouTube has replaced Google as a search engine for a number of demographics, especially tweens, teens, young adults.
  • The user interface means that everyone has an equal opportunity to put video up and generate leads for affiliate offers or your own products.
  • Hosted video streaming services mean you don’t need a VPS or dedicated server or content delivery network. It’s literally upload and go.

Now the bad news:

  • Just because you have the ability to upload 10 minutes videos doesn’t mean you should. I’m doing editorial consulting work now, and just because a writer has written 1,000 words, doesn’t mean they’ll get published. In some cases I’ve cut it down to 300 words or less (ie: deleted 70% of the content). You have to give content the space it deserves. More is (frequently) not always better. 1-2 minutes is the sweet spot if you want impactful video that converts.
  • Making a video that showcases your company or your product. Beep, wrong answer. Consumers search for answers to questions or problems they have. That doesn’t mean they want to watch a 5-minute video. What they want is a relevant, neutral, informative (being entertaining doesn’t hurt) video that helps them fix a problem now. Look at the “Does it blend?” videos. Be entertained as iphones, ipaqs get shredded, then go out and order your own Blendtec juicer.
  • Lacking a call to action: Institutional advertising is where big brands spend big bucks creating “branding”/mindshare. There’s no regard for ROI, in many cases there’s no clear call to action, aside from viewership or Nielsen ratings (which don’t have ROI or revenue related metrics built in). This is about as useful as a bazooka to someone trying to make an omelette.

So if you’re going to do video, consider:

  • Length: follow the “mini skirt” rule. Long enough to cover the essentials, short enough to keep things interesting.
  • On-point, on-target: Focus on the core of the problem and provide a solution. Save your lifestory for someone who cares.
  • Call to action, stats/analytics: If you’re not implementing some form of conversion tracking in your video marketing (using a special URL, dedicated domain), then you might as well be doing ppc/ppv without any conversion tracking too. Good luck with that.

Video can be powerful, effective and highly profitable.

Just don’t join the 99% of marketers who try it and suck at it.

Internet Marketing Cookbook 2.0 Released And Launch Promotion

If you’ve been reading this blog for a period of time, you might be aware that I have an internet marketing newsletter, Internet Marketing Cookbook, which publishes monthly training to provide tips on traffic generation, monetization and strategies to bring your business to the next level.

The past couple of months have been an interesting time for me as I’ve been planning to bring IMC to the next level, as well as help members get more mileage out of their membership.

Although it’s been a couple of months and days (the original announcement was scheduled for June 1st), I’m glad to announce the launch of the Internet Marketing Cookbook 2.0. This will be one of my main projects for the rest of the year and my team and I (particularly my programmer who’s made a number of enhancements to the code) are glad to announce that IMC features the following upgrades:

  • Focus: Internet Marketing Cookbook’s focus will be on my 3 areas of expertise: product creation, affiliate marketing and relationship marketing (a combination of social media + influence/persuasion = conversions)
  • Learning center: This will feature regularly updated content to help you grow your business. The IMC archive will be available here (about 20 hours of content that members had paid more than $200 each to access)
  • Case studies/”Look over my shoulder” campaigns: There’ll be multiple ongoing case studies which will feature strategies and techniques from the learning center. You’ll get to see the techniques in action and members are welcome to post their campaigns for feedback and critiques.
  • Advisors/Subject experts: I’ve invited a number of specialists and experts in different areas of online marketing to participate in the forum and share their expertise with the members. The confirmed lineup is shown at InternetMarketingCookbook.com and more will be added once they’re on board.
  • Networking: As the community is centered around a forum, there’ll be more opportunities to network with fellow marketers.

The main thrust of IMC is the focus on building a long-term, sustainable online business.  If you’re serious about bringing your business to a new level, you should check out the Internet Marketing Cookbook.

It’ll be structured as a monthly subscription at $47/month.

[Update: The launch promotion is over]

Here is the link:

#1: Internet Marketing Cookbook ($47/month)