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Internet Marketing Cookbook May Update: Tier-2 PPC Networks

Since the Google Slap took place some time back, it’s been no secret that many affiliates and internet marketers have been switching to alternative traffic sources, including social network advertising (primarily Facebook Ads and Plenty of Fish) and dabbling in impression-based advertising and media buys (like AdSonar, Pulse360).

Depending on your experience, it could have been a better experience compared to bidding on the big 3 PPC network, or a terrible one.

What’s worked for me in recent months has been looking at Tier-2 PPC ad networks. Which shouldn’t be a surprise if you’re constantly looking at and testing new sources. Just like any other traffic generation strategy, some smaller PPC networks will have low traffic, poor lead quality or all of the above. It’s a matter of testing and tracking your campaigns that’re going to show you the winners and give you enough information to pause or delete losing keywords.

In this month’s InternetMarketingCookbook update, I go through:

  • Some of the key differences between the Big 3 PPC networks and their smaller tier-2 brothers.
  • How you should structure your campaigns differently and ways to implement tracking
  • Strategies to test offers and determine the winners.
  • Tips to decrease your PPC costs and increase traffic
  • And much more!

Visit the InternetMarketingCookbook to find out more.

Local lead generation can give almost infinite ROI

In case you’re wondering if it’s worth the hassle of setting up your own lead generation business, compared to just getting offers from a CPA network. Here’s my local lead generation story. You make the call.

About a year ago, I was involved in renting out real estate to tenants. I’d run about $500 worth of classifieds and display ads in the local media. I had a number of prospects contact me, but they didn’t proceed to make an offer.

I’d also added the property to internal realtor databases (MLS – multi listing services) and that didn’t generate any leads, even if there were at least 20,000 realtors accessing the system.

So I went through some of the most popular community sites in my geographical area (Singapore) and posted a number of ads on these sites. They were a combination of social networks, forums, chat sites. Total investment: about 2 hours.

A couple of days later, I got an email enquiry from a prospective tenant and I brought them to check out the property. They made an offer about 6 hours later. 2 weeks later, I collected a nice $3,500 check from the property agency.

With about 5 hours invested into the deal for a $3,500 ROI (or about $500/hour), looking at possibilities outside the networks can be very rewarding (This is not factoring that the 50+ leads which could be sold or distributed via a revshare basis to other realtors).

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If you’re interested in finding out more about local lead generation, be sure to check out my review of Chad Frederiksen’s Local Lead Plan.

Chad Frederiksen (CDFNetworks) Local Lead Plan product review

Chad Frederiksen has a number of titles – Top 10 Azoogle affiliate, author of the popular CDFNetworks (btw, CDF stands for Chad D Frederiksen) blog, former owner of a linkbuilding business, daredevil mountain biker who’s fractured, broken and torn more parts of his body than most of us would like to think about. Add to that his newest title of ebook writer/course creator of the Local Lead Plan.

As many as he dislike ebooks because he finds that many are pretty scammy, he’s found that the digital format is perferable to deal with book publishers. And you might be wondering what sort of ebook course would someone who dislikes ebooks come up with?

Chad offered me a review copy so I can give a neutral, unbiased opinion of his product (pretty damn good).

First off, who will NOT benefit from this – If you’re totally new to internet marketing, if you prefer to stay holed-up in your bedroom, you will probably not do well with local lead generation.

On the other hand, I’ve used the internet to generate leads for a couple of brick-and-mortar businesses I’ve been involved with (real estate, pharmaceuticals, engineering services businesses and my own ebooks and courses), and online lead generation has been pretty darn profitable. On the average, each dollar of marketing spend online can translate into $10 of offline business. Plus online media being very cheap, it’s about 10-20% the cost of offline media (print advertising, display ads, direct mail).

So what’s local lead plan (which deals with local lead generation) all about?

Lead generation is something you’re already familiar with if you’re an affiliate marketer. If a patient is worth $2,000 per year to a dentist, the business owner might be willing to pay $50-$100 for each new referred customer. (When it trickles down to the affiliate level, those “dental plan” CPA offers might offer a payout of $10-50 per lead).

You might’ve read my previous post last September where someone I coached in lead generation turned a $200 ad spend into a $4,000 profit. This was all through the power of lead generation.

Local lead generation means working with businesses and entrepreneurs in your community or states and generating leads for their business and selling those leads to them.

This can be very lucrative because:

  1. If you’re the only marketer in the area, you have non-existent competition.
  2. Local traffic costs are significantly lower than fighting with other marketers and affiliates on a national level.
  3. You have control over the lead generation process.

Now for the negatives:

  1. If you’re planning to sit in your bedroom all day and have a thriving local lead gen business, it’s just not going to fly. It usually requires a couple of face-to-face meetings and phone conversations.
  2. There’s more work involved upfront, compared to the 5-10 minute quick setup CPA arbitrage campaigns.

But then again, you’re talking about selling leads for hundreds (possibly thousands) of dollars in some cases. It can be pretty lucrative, especially since I’ve seen a number of top PPC affiliates move into this space.

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Local Lead Plan: What’s it all about?

The #1 stumbling block for marketers/affiliates (especially if you’ve not run a brick and mortar business before) wanting to break into the local lead generation will be figuring out how to get started. Since Chad has been working with local businesses for some time, he goes through the thinking behind each step of the process and gives you a blueprint for kickstarting your own business, or improving your processes if you’ve already been doing lead generation locally. The Local Lead Plan is pretty comprehensive, although if you’d like to become a master at the lead generation game, you will probably find yourself heading to the library or bookstore to pick up additional books on prospecting and sales closing when you decide to scale your business on a massive scale.

Local Lead Plan is a good place to get started and covers breaks down the process into 3 areas:

  • Client prospecting, negotiation, lead pricing
  • Lead generation via various traffic methods, screening/de-duplicating/cleaning leads, tracking/billing
  • The “secret sauce” – well, Chad doesn’t call it the secret sauce, but he includes his own tips and methods he uses in running his business and once you’ve mastered the basics, this is where the value of the product stands out, especially in dealing with potential problems you might face and how to protect yourself, and tips for scaling your business

If you also consider that he’s providing document templates for sales proposals, lead generation agreements, invoices and other documents, it could save you a lot of time when you’re getting started.

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Chad’s Local Lead Plan bonus:

A recent addition to the Local Lead Plan has been the addition of a private discussion forum for product owners to share tips and their experiences. The community aspect could be a great asset, especially since some of the experienced members have been posting case studies of past campaigns and sharing their own tips for setting up and optimizing your own campaigns.

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As Chad mentions, the local lead gen business isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme, and it’s not likely to put a huge sum of cash in your bank account by next week. However, if you’re interested in building a steady, long-term business, or add some stable income to an existing affiliate marketing or internet marketing business, local lead gen is probably one of the best options out there.

Check out the: Local Lead Plan

Project Collaboration Tips

I find myself working on 3 different computers – my desktop or one of my laptops and keeping files synched and having easy access to email when I’m at home, at the office, or at a coffeehouse can get challenging. Here’s some of productivity tips I’ve been using.

Dropbox: My buddy Josh Todd tweeted about this and the concept of a desktop client used to access a bit of web storage seemed silly to me, since you could set up a FTP account on each of your machines and have easy access to hundreds of gigabytes of data storage on your web server. I take that back. When collaborating with partners, setting up a shared folder gives easy access to project files, especially if you’re labelling the files. This adds an extra dimension to collaboration via web apps (next tip) alone.

As an added bonus, if you’re running torrents you can set your home machine to auto-start downloads from torrent files in a dropbox-ed folder. So if you’re dropping torrents into your dropbox from work, you could go home to your evening’s entertainment.

If you sign up for the free version through this link, you’ll receive an extra 250mb of storage with your free 2gb account.

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Google Docs: Google Calc, the free, web-accessible spreadsheet application has been useful in the last month, especially with filing my tax stuff. I’ve also used the “Powerpoint” type presentation tool to create and share simple presentations in a pinch.

The text editor is functional and good for to-do and tracking projects, although I probably wouldn’t be creating any finished products using it soon.

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Skype/AIM: You need some instant messenger to collaborate, especially if your partners are a continent or two or three away. If they support voice-chat, it will help cut down on long distance phone bills. Video chat hasn’t been a deal maker or breaker in any of the projects I’m working on now.

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I used to use basecamp, active collab and other tools, although I don’t use them as much anymore.

Are there any other project collaboration tools you find useful/invaluable?

Internet Marketing Success Lessons from Evan Williams

In case you aren’t familiar with Evan Williams, he’s one of the founders of Blogger.com (acquired by Google in 2003) and later Twitter. So EV (his online moniker) knows a thing or two about success. What you may not know is that Blogger was on the verge of going bust when all the employees at that time left, and Evan was the only one running it for a time.

Evan has also had a string of failures (or projects that didn’t pan out along the way), so it was good to hear about the reality element of building an internet-based business.

There’s a lesson for affiliate marketers, internet marketers and product owners too if you listen to his interview by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) about his strategies in developing concepts, launching companies, monetizing them, marketing, and a whole bunch more.

Here’s the BBC link.

You might also like to check out this month’s InternetMarketingCookbook update on breaking through 2 barriers faced by all entrepreneurs and business owners.

Useful links:

Testing and Tracking Joint Ventures Post-ASW

If you made the effort to head to Affiliate Summit, PubCon, AdTech or any of the other industry shows, you’d have had the opportunity to meet up with networks (affiliate/CPA as well as traffic), and fellow affiliates and marketers with whom you’d speak to regularly over AIM or on the forums, the question is aside from the tax break, what benefit have you got out of attention the event?

I’d started out with 6 possible projects following this past January’s Affiliate Summit West, and following up and following through with possible partners is part of the business.

About 3 are proceeding, with progress underway. If all works out, at least 2 of the 3 will continue growing till the next Affiliate Summit West at the Wynn.

I’ve seen potentially successful partnerships break up sometimes due to pretty trivial reasons. Here’re some of the most common:

  • Investment of time and resources: While we’re all subject to a finite amount of capital, I’ve found that time is often the breaking factor, especially if one of the partners put in only 30 minutes a week. This is fine if the business is up-and-running and generating consistent projects. The reality is most new projects will end up being a timesuck, at least until they’re on their feet.
  • Clear outcome and objectives: Document all discussions you might have, especially when it comes to roles, responsibilities, how much each partner is expected to put in in terms of time and capital and including exit clauses. Make sure all parties are agreeable to the terms and edit if needed. With a reference document, it significantly reduces any disagreements which may arise later.
  • Partner selection: Although you can pick possible partners based on their reputation or your initial assessment of them, it’s not easy to understand how well you’ll work together until the project is underway. This also means that you could put in a significant amount of time and work and discover that the partnership isn’t going to work out. Rather than get angry, frustrated or feel upset about it, it’s in your best interest to keep moving forward.

If you’ve similarly got some followup projects post-Affiliate Summit, how’re they working out for you?