Traffic Wave Tutorial #3

It’s time to create the thank you pages for our autoresponder.

This isn’t strictly necessary, since Traffic Wave provides generic thank you pages for us. But, for the same reasons we hosted our own opt-in page when Traffic Wave would have provided one for us, it’s a good idea to host our own thank you pages. By hosting our own, we can use Google Analytics to measure drop outs down the sign up funnel, and we can provide more useful thank you pages than what Traffic Wave provides.

There are two thank you pages we’ll need to write. One will thank the user for filling out the opt-in form and pressing Submit, and the other will thank them for clicking the confirmation link they are then sent.

Basic Skeleton

Use the same basic page skeleton for each page, to maintain a consistent look. I recommend using a branded logo at the top, and the ebook or product cover on the left. See my own pages for Link Cloaking 101 for a simple example. These pages do not have to be fancy, they need to load quickly and provide the information the user needs.

Opt-in Thank You

You’ll hear a lot about how you should provide one-time-offers on your thank you pages. The opt-in thank you page is not that page!

The only purpose of the opt-in thank you page is to encourage the person to click the confirmation link they’ll be sent. They are not your subscriber yet, they’ve just expressed an interest in being your subscriber. Traffic Wave uses a double opt-in process, so they only become your subscriber when they click on the confirmation link. So the opt-in thank you page should give them instructions on what email address the email will be coming from, suggest they white list it, and give them a link back to the opt-in page in case they need to try again with a different email address.

Confirmation Thank You

This page thanks them for becoming a subscriber, and this is the one where you want to put a one-time offer if you choose to do so, or a link to a related site that you have a relationship with (or your own related site).

A one-time offer on this page must be laser targeted to the topic of your list. If you’ve just given away an ebook, don’t assume they’ve read it yet (after all, they just clicked on the confirmation link!) Personally, I don’t use or like one-time offers on thank you pages. But, they are a great place for a link or two to other sites that you’d like your subscribers to visit.

Upload Both Pages

Put both pages on your web server in whatever location you like. Make sure that you can type the URL for both into your web browser and see the correct pages come up. We’ll use those URLs in the next tutorial when we create our opt-in page.

Almost there!

A New Paid To Search Site

There’s a new paid-to-search site in town, called Scour.

In Scour, you earn points by performing web searches. Scour pulls results from Google, Yahoo, and MSN, and ranks them according to the individual rankings on those search engines (it also shows you what each page ranked on each). This alone makes it useful to get a snapshot of where your site ranks for different keywords in each search engine.

What makes Scour different from the other paid-to-search services is that users can comment on individual search results, and vote them up or down. Enough user votes up or down, and that result will display higher in the search results.

So your first act after joining Scour should be to do searches on the keywords you want your sites to rank well for, and then vote them up. It’s a small start, but if you encourage others to do the same, you should get a better ranking on Scour. What will that be worth? It’s hard to tell, it’ll depend on how popular the service becomes. Paid-to-search sites have been popular in the past, so this one might do well.

You can convert your points into prepaid VISA gift cards, mailed to you. So this should work for international users, too, which is a common complaint with any get-paid-to site. I’m not sure how many points convert into how many dollars.

And, of course, you earn a portion of the points your referrals earn, so like all GPT sites, you earn the most by both using the site and getting referrals.

So, join Scour, vote your own sites up, and then do a search on “Online Opportunity”, and leave a comment about this blog.

P.S. I was out of town this weekend, so haven’t had time to continue the Traffic Wave tutorial. It’ll return Wednesday.

Marketing Your PLR and MRR Material

A quick post before I continue the Traffic Wave tutorial, since this is time sensitive.

These days, it’s hard to not accumulate a collection of Private Label Rights and Master Resell Rights material if you’re doing anything in Internet Marketing. But what do you do with all of it? You certainly cannot sell the items individually, because tons of other people have the same rights. There are two basic strategies here:

1) Edit multiple PLR items together into a new work. This has the advantage that nobody else is selling the exact same thing.

2) Package multiple MRR items together into a package that seems irresistible, on the basis of how much value they get for their money (e.g. $5,000 worth of product for $47)

But even when you do that, you’re left with the problem of how to market it all. One-time-offers (OTO) are a popular option for doing this. You show your OTO to someone after they sign up for your list or buy something else from you, and some percentage of people will buy.

But again, we’re only pushing the problem back one step. As a beginning Internet Marketing, you aren’t that great at building a list, and you don’t have other products people are rushing to buy. It’s a bit like the chicken and the egg, how do you sell what you have when you don’t have any prospects?

Enter Auto Pilot Cash Streams.

As of right now, there are 4,259 contributors signed up to the site. Each of those contributors will log on regularly to see if any of their referrals has purchased an OTO (which earns them a commission). They’ll log on to edit their gift details. They’ll log on to see what gifts other people are giving. And every time they log on, they are presented with an OTO from another member.

That’s right, as a contributor you can provide an OTO that gets displayed in rotation with all the other contributor’s OTOs. The web site handles the payments and pays commissions to the referrer of the purchaser, and credits your account with the remainder. You can get your OTO in front of a whole slew of people interested in Internet Marketing, and you do not have to do any traffic building or payment processing.

In fact, the only things you need to do are:

1) Provide the HTML for the sales page (you do not host this, it’s hosted on the Auto Pilot Cash Streams site)
2) Say how much you want to charge
3) Provide a download link for the product (the product file itself is hosted on your domain)

Once your offer is approved, it starts into rotation.

At this point you should be wondering how often your offer will display, if there are over 4,000 contributors. Luckily, most people are lazy. They join to earn from their referrals, not to put up offers. I’d say there are only about 20 offers up there right now, based on how often I see the same ones. That will certainly go up, but it’s still a good ratio.

And, the giveaway hasn’t even started yet, so these are just contributors. Regular members will join starting August 1st, and you’ll get more traffic to your offer. I see this as the perfect opportunity to test an OTO. You’ve invested nothing but half an hour of your time getting it set up, since most PLR and MRR products provide sales pages for you. And you get to see how well the OTO does with an Internet Marketing audience.

To get started, join Auto Pilot Cash Streams. And if you have PLR and MRR material and aren’t excited about the possibilities with this site, ask yourself how you plan on earning anything from those packages if you aren’t willing to put them in front of people?

Traffic Wave Tutorial #2

I’ll use Thursday for this post to keep up with the momentum from yesterday.

We saw last time how to create our autoresponder. Now we need to upload our file that contains our free gift to our web space, and create an autoresponder message that provides a download link. You should also create a few more messages that are helpful, to start to build trust with your subscribers. I’ll leave that part up to you.

Uploading The File

You’ll upload this the same way you upload anything to your web host. You’re uploading a single file, so you could use the file manager on Cpanel pretty easily. A couple of things to watch for:

1) Don’t put the file someplace obvious. For example, at /gift/ Otherwise people might be able to guess the location and get it without signing up for your list.

2) Put an index.html in the directory with the gift file. This prevents someone from seeing all the files in that directory. The index.html can just be blank, or can contain a link to your opt-in page, or whatever.

Creating The First Message

Make sure you know what the direct download link for your gift file is. If you put it in /gifts/, it’d be Log into your Traffic Wave area and get back to the autoresponder you created, so that you’re viewing the Campaign Profile.

From the menu across the top of the profile, choose Letters and Create New Letter

You’ll get to the letter composition screen. The first bit to enter is the subject. Just beneath the subject edit field is a button that will allow you to add in the recipient’s name (at least, the name they entered when the opted in to your list) to the subject. I recommend using that to personalize this email a bit.

The body of the email is created using a typical WYSIWYG editor. One of the controls allows you to add in the recipient’s name, which I recommend doing for personalization. It’s the one that is labeled Custom Tokens.

When you click that you get a screen with various things you can add in. Most opt-in forms only ask for their first name and email, so Name is usually what you’ll want to add to personalize the message.

Type in a welcoming message to the new subscrber, and don’t forget to include the download link! Then click on Save This Letter, across the top of the editing window. You’ll end up on the screen that will eventually show all the letters you’ve written, but for now only shows the one. As the message across the top says, your new letter has been put into the Held area. These are letters that are not sent out as part of the normal autoresponder sequence (typically letters you broadcast to everyone at the same time, telling them about an offer, or new information, or whatever).

But you want this letter to be sent out immediately, so put a 0 in the # Days Delay edit field and click Submit Delay Changes.

Your letter is now all set to be automatically sent to subscribers as soon as they click the confirmation link!

Next we’ll look at getting the thank you pages created. We do that before the opt-in page because Traffic Wave needs those pages to exist before it’ll create the skeleton of the opt-in page.

Traffic Wave Tutorial #1

Last post I mentioned that I wrote an ebook for the Auto Pilot Cash Streams giveaway (as a reader, you can get it here without signing up for the giveaway: Link Cloaking 101).

As part of that whole process, I had to set up an autoresponder, opt-in page, custom thank you pages, the whole bit. After all, the whole point to giving the ebook away is to build a list of people interested in link cloaking. Capturing the names and emails in an autoresponder will allow me to send periodic emails to the list when new developments or products are available.

Since the whole process is fresh in my mind, I thought I’d do a series of tutorials covering it. That way those of you who haven’t been through it before can get involved in the giveaway with a minimum of fuss. This series does not cover writing the ebook, you’re on your own for that. If you want to get involved in the giveaway, and don’t feel like you can write anything, buy some PLR articles and make them chapters in an ebook.

Today’s tutorial will cover setting up the autoresponder itself.

I assume you already have an account at Traffic Wave. If you don’t have one, they have a 30-day free trial so you can follow along with the tutorial and get things set up before you decide if you want to pay for a membership. Personally, I see Traffic Wave and Aweber as being the two autoresponder services to choose from.

Note that the screenshots in the following are accurate as of today. Traffic Wave is continually upgrading its system and adding features, so the screenshots might not be accurate if you’re reading this in the future.

Create Your Autoresponder

Log into your Traffic Wave account, and select the Autoresponder Campaigns menu item (shown below):

Traffic Wave Menu

That will take you to the list of autoresponders you already have, which presumably is empty (if it isn’t, you probably don’t need this tutorial). There’ll be a list of options on the left (shown below). Choose “Create New Campaign” from that list.

Autoresponder Menu

The next screen will ask you for the campaign nickname and campaign description. The campaign nickname cannot have spaces in it, while the campaign description may.

Autoresponder Menu

Fill out the fields and click the “Create New Campaign” button. You’ll get a confirmation screen that talks about an email address. You won’t be using that email address, so just ignore that confirmation (shown below), and click “Confirm”.

Autoresponder Menu

You’ll next get the campaign profile screen. These fields will be filled out already, but you’ll want to change some of them.

Autoresponder Menu

The return email name defaults to your complete name. If you’ve written the ebook under a pseudonym, change this field to the name you used. You may also decide you only want your first name to show here. If so, change the field to what you want to show in emails sent out to the subscribers.

The return email address defaults to whatever email you used when you signed up to Traffic Wave. I recommend changing this to an email address specific for the ebook itself. That way all replies go to that email address and don’t clutter up your main email.

The campaign title will show up in a few places, to change it to something that represents your actual ebook title. Do not click “Publish these letters”. Click “Submit Profile Changes”, and you’ll end up back at the Campaign Profile page.

Your autoresponder is now set up!

Of course, we still have some tasks to complete before we can use it. These include:

1) Upload the ebook to a directory on your domain, and create a first letter in your autoresponder with the download link
2) Create custom thank you pages to host on your domain
3) Create an opt-in page to host on your domain

Note that Traffic Wave does provide some default opt-in and thank you pages. I do not recommend that you use these! Not only do they look pretty generic, but you don’t get to put your analytics code into them, so you won’t get information about how many people sign up but fail to confirm, etc. Google Analytics in particular has goal tracking that will let you see at a glance the numbers for the funnel that starts at the opt-in page and ends up at the second thank you page.

The next in this series will cover uploading the ebook and creating that first autoresponder message.

Open Office Ebook Creation

I wrote an ebook for the Auto Pilot Cash Streams giveaway (as a reader of the blog, you can get it here without signing up for the giveaway: Link Cloaking 101).

It took a bit of research to figure out just how to create the PDF for the ebook, so I wanted to share the results of the research with you. That way, you won’t have to waste that time but can start writing your ebook quicker.

I decided to use Open Office rather than Microsoft Word, because Open Office has an export to PDF built into it. With Word, you have to install a printer driver, too. You can download Open Office and install it, or if you don’t want to install another program on your system, go to Portable to get a version that you just unzip and use.

The next step is to find a nice template to use. An ebook really should have some consistent graphics from page to page, not just be black text and white page. I used a template from the EZ Ebooks Template Package #5. It’s well worth the $4 for the templates so I didn’t have to fool with creating graphics myself (although I did end up needing to modify one of the images slightly, so it fit on the page better).

Note that the templates in the package are not templates in the Open Office sense. You don’t install them as templates and then create a new document using that template. Instead, you just open the template file like any other document, save it to a new file name, and then start typing in your contents. Each template has instructions in it if any of the images or anything needs to be modified before use. Pick a template you like the looks of, and get started writing!

When you’re all done with the ebook, use Open Office’s File->Export To PDF option to create a nice looking PDF from your document.

In later posts, I’ll go through the process of setting up your autoresponder, creating an opt-in form, and getting your PDF in the hands of your subscribers.

Auto Pilot Cash Streams Review

I’ve written before about giving away free stuff to build a list.

These days, it isn’t enough to just give away something free, you practically have to join one of the big giveaway events. These things have popped up like weeds lately, usually around some sort of holiday. Auto Pilot Cash Streams is a new one that will open its doors on August 1st. If you’ve ever thought about giving away something to build a list, this is a great opportunity to jump into the beginning of a major giveaway.

Auto Pilot Cash Streams works pretty much the same as the rest of the giveaways. Members sign up to each contributor’s list in order to download their product for free. Products do not have to be original, you can repackage a PLR product if you want. Remember that this is your reputation, so you do want something that’s useful, not just junk. But there are a lot of good PLR products out there, or you can write a short ebook as a way to get people interested in a product you want to sell.

Auto Pilot Cash Streams also sends out regular emails with offers in them to the members, two a week. Some of those members will purchase items through the offer, and if you referred them to the site then you’ll get a commission on the sale.

Build a list, and earn a bit, too.

Okay, so you’re thinking, how do I take advantage of this giveaway?

1) Join Auto Pilot Cash Streams as a contributor. This is free, but of course they’ll offer you an upgrade for a one-time fee. Read about the advantages and use your own judgment on the upgrade (for me, the ability to download all the gifts without opting in to any lists was worth the fee all by itself).

2) Set up an opt-in page to let people sign up to get your free gift.

3) Set up a one-time offer related to your free gift to earn a bit on these opt-ins right away.

4) Put your gift into Auto Pilot Cash Streams

5) Let people know about the site

Simple, right? Yeah, #2 and #3 are a bit tricky. The opt-in page can be done by anyone with a bit of HTML, or if you use a nice autoresponder service they might provide opt-in pages for you. The one-time offer is harder, and generally not something you’ll just throw together, since it involves payment processing. You could put something together with some of the free payment processing services I’ve reviewed recently, but the most convenient way of doing both #2 and #3 is using Rapid Action Profits. This tool not only builds your list and provides for one-time offers and payment processing, it also allows people to become your affiliates in exchange for a commission on the one-time offer.

If you cannot manage setting up a one-time offer, it’s still worth it to join and put an opt-in page together to build a list. Just remember that the list you build will be interested in the gift you are giving. If you provide a gift talking about affiliate marketing, don’t send offers to the list for golf ebooks. Keep your offers targeted, or you’ll lose the list as quickly as you built it.

Oh, and I do plan on trying to put together something to give away for this. Any topics you’re particularly interested in seeing my take on?

P.S. If you’re not interested in joining to give something away, you can still join as a contributor and promote the site to earn from any offers your referrals purchase. It isn’t necessary to actually contribute a gift to earn from referring others. If you go this route, sign up through this page, and then promote it in traffic exchanges. It won’t cost you anything, and might earn you a bit over time.

Giving SezWho A Try

I’m sure all you EntreCard users out there have seen the announcement about the partnership with SezWho.

SezWho is a commenting service that will combine with EntreCard to earn you EntreCard credits for commenting on SezWho enabled blogs. I’m a bit skeptical about the whole thing, because the quality of EntreCard traffic is pretty bad already, this may just lead to a deluge of junk comments. Supposedly, you can rate down junk comments and the person who left them won’t receive EntreCard credits for it.

Personally, I want to test the integration between SezWho and the WordPress comment moderation system. WordPress does well at allowing me to not publish junk comments, so if SezWho plays nicely with WordPress, I shouldn’t have to worry too much about more spam.

I’m excited about some of the features of SezWho, including the ability to follow a specific individual’s comments across all SezWho enabled blogs. If someone leaves an especially good comment here, I can see what they’ve left elsewhere, too, and subscribe to their comments no matter where they leave them. It’s a bit like subscribing to a blog, but with comments instead.

SezWho has a lot of potential to create a sense of blogging community, but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve just enabled the plugin on this blog, so the theme integration may be a bit off until I get a chance to work with it more.

What do you think about SezWho?

More Offline Marketing

I’ve written before about the potential of local marketing.

Things like billboards, postcard mailers, advertising on downtown benches, that sort of thing. There are wonderful possibilities to get your message in front of different eyes, and perhaps find a whole new audience for what you’re selling.

I recently got a postcard mailer at home claiming, “Receive $1,000, $5,000, or $10,000 Daily By Inviting People To Your Website…”, and it went on to list all the things you wouldn’t be doing. Things like selling products, pushing ebooks, calling people, or pretty much anything. Supposedly it’s all automatic.

I give the person who sent this out credit for thinking outside the box. They did a pretty good job with the postcard, the purpose of which is to get someone to go to a website. It turns out that they’re using a domain redirect, so that on the postcard they have a catchy, easy to remember website address. When you go there, it takes you to a popular gifting system’s affiliate link.

While most people who’ve been around much at all won’t touch gifting systems, using a postcard mailer to get to a less savvy audience is a fine idea. Someone with a website who isn’t involved with online marketing might just bite, and gifting systems are such that a fairly low conversion rate would still turn a profit.

I don’t recommend any gifting program, but this particular example shows how you can match a particular opportunity to a less skeptical audience by using offline marketing. Think about how you might be able to do the same for whatever your primary business happens to be.

The Myth Of Paying It Forward

You’ll see a lot of offers on the traffic exchanges lately with headlines like, “I’ll pay your way”.

The whole “pay it forward” fad is designed to lure people into systems that they aren’t sure about. The idea is that your sponsor pays for your to get into the system, placed people under you, and at some point you take over payments. That might be at the second month, or at some other time.

This sort of scheme typically doesn’t work, but it’s worth looking at why.

Think about the sort of person who is going to be attracted by a pay it forward scheme. Someone who doesn’t know how to market, because if they knew how to market they wouldn’t need their sponsor to place people under them. Someone who has a low amount of disposable income, because otherwise they could afford the $10 or $20 a month for membership. Someone who is either gullible enough or desperate enough to believe the hype of the system.

In short, your recruits are not being qualified based on their willingness to stick with a system, their need for the product the system offers, or their ability to recruit others, which are all valuable qualities in referrals.

The money doesn’t work out, either. The sponsor will always come out behind in a legitimate pay it forward system. Say they pay $10 for you to be a member. They’ll get some portion of that $10 back, but it’ll typically be a small portion. Most of the pay it forward systems seem to use GDI, which pays the sponsor a whole $1 per referral. So the sponsor loses $9 per month on you.

Normally the sponsor offers to pay for your first month, as a trial. The idea for them is to immediately put one or two people under you. That gets you hooked, because you’re making a couple bucks a month from those referrals. Then, when the second month comes and it’s time for you to pay your $10, you stay in because you think your sponsor will continue putting people under you.

But they’ll have moved on to the next new person, trying to hook them. You’ll be mostly on your own, although you’ll probably get another referral now and then to show you that they’re still working on your behalf. They want you to stay in long enough to pay them back what they paid for your first month’s membership. But it takes a full ten months for that to happen. How many of you will pay $10 a month to earn $2 or $3 a month for nearly a year?

The reason that MLM payment schemes such as GDI work at all is that each person is expected to do recruiting. As your downline grows, so does the number of prospects being shown the sign up page. If the entire downline waits for their sponsor to get referrals, though, the number of prospects the sponsor can get remains the same as the downline grows. They simply cannot keep up in the long term.

Now, if you were looking to get into one of these programs, and you knew how to market and intended to do your own work, joining through a pay it forward scheme would make sense. Just don’t rely on your sponsor to do all the work to get you into profit, because it probably won’t happen.