If you’ve been following my earlier posts like “Looking for a few lazy affiliates“, you might come to the realization that there’s no “secret sauce to internet marketing success“, at least in the early stages of your business. Here are some tips to help you get your business to the point of being able to operate when you’re not there (my definition of being a business owner, rather than have your business “own” you).
First you need systems in place. If you’re new to this game, you’ll probably be doing a lot of things on-the-fly.
- Offer selected? Check
- Landing page/creatives in place? Check
- Keywords researched, screened, sorted, bid prices loaded, campaign uploaded? Check
- Campaign live and running? Check
Conversion tracking in place? Oops. Now go back and fix it.
I was speaking to a new affiliate yesterday, and explaining that there’s a lot of fire fighting in the early days, and even more screw ups.
Have you ever sent $200 worth of PPV traffic to a blank testing page? I have.
Kept a YSM campaign going, sending traffic to a domain that has since expired and been registered by another affiliate going to the same offer? Yeppers.
Making mistakes and “wasting money” are part of the game. In my opinion, you’re not “wasting money” if you learn something from the experience (especially not to leave campaigns on “auto fund” or “auto top-up”). If you’re learning from your mistakes, systematizing the way you’re running your business and listing the process down (a flowchart is a good way to track the steps), you’re ready for the next step in scaling your business.
If you’ve read this blog or listened to the Friday Podcast for a decent amount of time, you might be familiar with the 2 strategies to scaling your business: Automation and Delegation.
You could buy off-the-shelf software and it’s a good investment when you think that a $50 – $200 software might save you a few hours of time each week, freeing you up to focus on setting up, optimizing campaigns.
However, if you need a custom script, you might look to sources like hotscripts, sourceforge or other sites and have it customized to your requirements.
Higher up the value chain, you might also consider getting a desktop or server-based script developed, which will follow the steps outlined in the process you’ve mapped. This can be expensive, especially if you’re not clear about the specifications of your script and change the specifications on your coder.
Seth Turin, also known as the “uBot guy” has recently launched his uBot, which is a VSL-based (visual scripting language) tool which helps you create scripts. If you’ve used browser-based automation/macro tools like iMacros, you’ll find that uBot gives a lot of flexibility. I’ll be posting more about uBot in the coming weeks. You can check out uBot (here’s a link to the secret coupon page and the code “wiaw199ubot” will give you a nice $46 discount).
There is a learning curve involved, but once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll be able to replicate the functions of a number of paid scripts.
Most marketers will think “outsourcing” when it comes to passing jobs/tasks on to outsourcers, typically in Eastern Europe or Asia. However, it can be more than just subbing lower value work out to a country with lower labor costs. (Note: if you need a virtual assistant/outsourcer, you can drop me an note as I’ve some outsourcers I’m working with).
Delegation can be in the form of employees whom you’re hiring on a long term basis, especially for matters relating to administrative work, accounting, tax and other stuff you might not enjoy doing. If you’ve not had an employee before, you’ll find out how organized it makes you, because you’ll have to think weeks and months ahead in terms of projects, so you can brief your worker effectively.
The ultimate working relationship is likely to come with joint ventures and partnerships, where you’re finding partners with complementary skill or network or maybe finances, to complement a project you’re working on. Trust and your partner’s competence/skill are major factors to making this work and it’s not often that you’ll go through a couple of partnerships before you find one that works.
With whichever strategy you use when scaling your business, do realize that there’ll be an intial period where you feel you could do things faster if you did them yourself. But if you work through the transition period, being able to scale your business effectively will more than pay for itself many times over.