Truths Of Internet Marketing

It’s tax time in the United States, so I was compiling the numbers on my Internet Marketing efforts for the last year. My income was down, since I really haven’t been putting much effort into IM this year.

For 2008, I think my income was around $2,500. For 2009, it was around $1,400. But here’s the catch, and what prompts this post and what every part-time beginning online marketer should pay attention to.

For 2008, I ended up with a net loss of about $2,000. For 2009, I ended up with a net profit of around $900.

This leads to some Truths of Internet Marketing that most beginners fail to realize until it’s too late.

It isn’t important how much you earn

How much you earn is not important. What is important is how much you spend in relation to what you earn. If your total at the end of the year is not positive, then you may be doing something wrong.

There is no magic program

The number one mistake most beginners make is falling for the hype that there’s a program that will make them successful. It just isn’t so. There is no “one true program”. That hype is put out by the people who will make money if you invest in the program.

You can make money with anything online. Chasing programs just costs you money. Pick one and stick with it.

There are magic skills

There is a learning curve. You must learn SEO, copywriting, keyword research, creating web sites, etc, etc, etc. Those skills are what will make you money.

And you can learn them without paying out a lot of money to expensive programs. But it takes time, and trial and error.

The Recipe For Success

Pick an affiliate program to promote. For beginners, affiliate programs are an easy way to get started on the learning curve without the hassle of creating your own product.

Start on the learning curve. Write some articles, put up some web sites on likely keywords, and see what your results are. The only things you should be spending money on at this point are web hosting and directory submission services. A new site should cost you very little to put up.

Keep at it! Explore the corners of the product you’ve chosen to promote. Don’t switch products, see how many different ways you can promote the one product or line of products. This is the way you learn.

When you are comfortable with the process of promoting a product, and making a little money at it, create your own product. This can be anything! Create it, and promote it. You’ll spend a bit more here for a system that can accept payments (such as Rapid Action Profits), but that should be a one-time payment that can be amortized across this and future products.

Again, keep at it. Promote your product using the skills you developed, and while you’re at it, look for ways to develop more related products. Creating a line of products allows for better branding, and allows you to build on the relationships you’ve made with sales of each product.

Internet Marketing is not supposed to cost a lot of money. So if you’re chasing programs looking for the one that will magically make you money, get off that treadmill and start learning the skills that will help you succeed.

Neglected Niche Sites Free Ebook

Okay, as promised, here’s the Neglected Niche Sites ebook.

Some quick background…I stumbled across this technique early in my days of investigating Internet Marketing techniques. I created a web site around a specific keyword, and put in some affiliate links and Adsense. It wasn’t a good web site, but it was a cut above a Made For Adsense site (if only just). I used that site as a target when I was testing Directory Maximizer.

Nothing happened with the site, and I forgot about it for several months. I continued looking at other Internet Marketing techniques, and as part of those was checking my Adsense income regularly.

Much to my surprise, I found that site actually making some money. Investigating more, I found that it was on page 3 for its keyword in Google. Over time, the ranking grew, despite me doing nothing more to the site. Today, that original site is #1 in Google for its keyword, with no additional content added to it since creating the site.

Eventually I got around to writing up the technique, and duplicating it. In the ebook I’m giving away in this post, I walk you through the complete process of creating sites like this, using one of my sites as an example (not the original site, but one of the ones I’ve created since).

I earn an average of $50 a month from each site. Obviously, some perform far better, some far worse. Your earnings potential depends entirely on picking a good niche and keyword basis for the site, so it’s a bit hit or miss. But the sites are easy enough to put together that duplication is the key, so you can average out the misses with the hits.

If I were doing this by the book, you’d need to opt-in to a list to get the ebook, and then I’d try to sell you various things in the sequence of messages that followed. But I’m busy enough in my teaching job right now with some pretty exciting projects that I’ll just let you download the ebook with no hoops.

You can ask questions as comments here, or you can use the contact form on the blog to ask questions. I’ll answer questions as I can, and update the ebook as needed.

You can download the ebook through this link: Neglected Niche Sites Ebook

Update: I’d be very interested in hearing your results with the techniques presented in the ebook. Niche selection is probably the most important step, and can largely be trial and error. My best performing site is still the first I created, and it just happens to be a niche that does well during recessions. So don’t worry if some of your sites don’t earn well at first, you never know what might happen. Leave them up and create more.

Choosing Affiliate Programs – The key to success

Also as part of Phase Three, I’ll continue to run guest posts to give other people’s writing exposure. Here’s a post with great advice from Daniel Kane on choosing affiliate programs.

There are essential elements required to become a successful online affiliate marketer. The first is the ability to attract a reasonable number of visitors to your website(s). The second is making the correct choices about which affiliate program(s) you choose to promote.

The first question you have to address is demographics. Who visits your website(s)? Men, women, or both? How old are they? What are their interests, needs, and consumer habits?

These questions, and the answers to them, are nothing less than critical. You’ll need to spend a lot of time thinking about which products and services are most likely to be attractive to your audience. Even more important than determining what they buy is identifying what they are willing to buy online. And, be prepared to make changes in what you offer them if your initial attempts are unsuccessful. A bit of trial and error can often be effective.

When considering affiliate programs, you might also want to give extra consideration to those that pay you for leads rather than actual sales. Some programs pay more than $70 for a qualified sales lead. Mortgage companies, banks, schools, colleges, and insurers are only a few of the kinds of organizations always looking for more leads.

Because these and other organizations want to grow their mailing lists, you can also earn a commission when one of your website visitors signs up for a coupon, a free restaurant meal , free business cards, introductory offers of various kinds, or other freebies.

Of course, you should try to choose affiliate programs which pay high commissions, but commissions by themselves won’t determine your earnings. Try to find those which will pay you for attracting other affiliates. Those with two, three or more tiers offer even greater potential.

You should probably limit yourself to affiliate programs which:

1. offer you daily online tracking and meaningful statistics so you can determine how you are doing and make necessary changes quickly.

2. attractive, tested banners and/or text ads that get results.

3. respond to your inquiries quickly, provide you with good suggestions and advice, and pay you on time.

4. offer your website visitors a good product at a reasonable price.

Lastly, here’s the best business advice I was ever given… track and carefully analyze everything possible to identify trends and areas in which you can make adjustments to increase performance.

Daniel Kane creates and maintains websites (supported by affiliate advertising) on scholarships, career schools, career colleges, college admission, online degrees, and online colleges.

Building Trust

You hear all the time about how it’s important that you build trust with your prospects.

It’s 100% true; nobody will spend money or send contact information to someone they do not trust. But actually building that trust is a delicate business.

Take a website I ran across today. Here’s the link.

In that website (which is not an affiliate link, by the way, since I wouldn’t recommend you opt-in), there’s a statement to the effect that the only thing stopping you from making money is your lack of trust in him.

That’s a pretty powerful statement, and some great sales copy. It might even be true. But consider the conflicting messages being presented in this page. The “From The Desk Of” line at the beginning has his last name fogged out. In the video, his face is fogged out.

How is this building trust? In fact, since he brought up the lack of trust idea, that caused the ways in which he doesn’t trust his visitors to stand out to me.

Frankly, I wouldn’t sign up with this guy no matter what his pitch.

As I said before, building trust is a delicate business, and something you really want to consider as you’re writing content online. Every time you copy and paste an affiliate sales letter instead of using your own words and opinions, you’re losing some trust from your readers (half of whom probably have access to that same sales letter, and the other half have seen it from a dozen people already).

Be a real person, and provide your prospects with real value, and you’ll build the sort of trust that will carry on for years.

Lessons Learned From JV Giveaways

I wrote an ebook (Link Cloaking 101) recently for an Internet Marketing related giveaway. While regular readers are probably tired of hearing about it already, I’ve learned a lot from the process of seeing what other Internet Marketers to in giveaways, and wanted to share.

Here’s how to maximize your results from participating in a JV giveaway.

Do Not Provide A Direct Download Link

The giveaway sites will ask you for a direct download link, so that upgraded members can download your gift without filling out your opt-in form. This is bad, because you don’t get that person as a subscriber. But it’s good for them, because they don’t have to fool with opting in.

Most giveaway sites are fine if you provide a link instead to a web page that contains a direct download link to your gift. On that web page, provide the direct download link at the top, but just under that tell them what they’ll be missing by not opting in to your list.

Michael Badger did this extremely well in a recent giveaway. I can’t post the link here as an example, because then you’d be able to download his gift directly. But basically, he provided the download link first, and just after told people about the one-time offer that list subscribers could get. And yeah, the OTO was nice enough to convince me to sign up to his list and pay for the OTO.

So, do not provide a direct download link, but instead provide a link to a web page that contains the download link. You can do your best on that web page to convince people to sign up for your list even though they don’t have to do so.

Use An OTO

You have two places you can provide an OTO. One is the direct download page mentioned above…below your attempt to convince someone to sign up for your list, you can also make an OTO that you think they’ll enjoy.

The second is after someone becomes a subscriber, you can do a one-time offer after they confirm their email address. The OTO has to be on target with what you’re giving away, or you won’t get many takers.

I recommend using Rapid Action Profits to manage the list subscription and OTO process. No need to mess with payment options or secure downloads, RAP takes care of all of it, and integrates with whatever autoresponder you’re already using.

Do Not Automatically Give Resale Rights

Give a gift that is just for personal use, and provide a link for people to opt-in to get resale rights. What you’ve done is taken a list that is interested in the original topic of your gift, and transformed it into a (smaller) list that is interested in selling the product themselves.

That second list is more likely to be open to tools and training that will make selling things online easier.

How’d I Do?

I pretty much missed the boat on every lesson with Link Cloaking 101. I’m too lazy to go back and fix the problems with that ebook, but the next one I write I’ll do from the ground up with all these lessons in mind.

What techniques have you found helpful with giveaways?

Stealth Traffic Report Review

Seems like everyone is writing a Stealth Traffic Report of one form or another recently.

This one is from Michael Badger, and was given away at the Auto Pilot Cash Streams giveaway (the link in the first paragraph is directly to the PDF itself, no need to join the giveaway to get it…if you’d rather join Michael’s list to get the report, click here).

The report lists 6 tactics for driving traffic to your website. Some of the tactics will drive targeted traffic, and some drive untargeted traffic. The report does a nice job of describing how to use each type of traffic properly.

Some of the topics include using social bookmarking sites, article marketing, software development, offering resale rights, etc.

If you’ve been working online for any length of time, most of the techniques here won’t come as any surprise to you. One in particular isn’t one I would recommend (what he refers to as “Fire Linking”), because Google slapped blogs for doing it last year.

Other techniques are great. His suggested use of social bookmarking sites is a great compromise between getting traffic from those sorts of sites and avoiding abuse of the sites. You’ve probably seen his technique for using resale rights to build a list before, but it helps to be reminded of it since most of us don’t get around to actually using most of the techniques we read about. The techniques described for article marketing can help you to create more effective articles, and pull more traffic with them.

Auto Pilot Cash Streams Banned By Paypal

Regular readers will remember that I wrote an ebook called Link Cloaking 101 in order to participate in the Auto Pilot Cash Streams giveaway.

Turns out that pretty recently, Paypal decided they didn’t like the concept of the site, and are requiring the owners to remove Paypal payments from it. It just shows that you never know what Paypal is or isn’t going to like, but that they’re sensitive when it comes to anything Internet Marketing related.

If you’ve put a One-Time-Offer on the giveaway site, then you’re going to have to modify it to include your own payment processing. This is a pain, because part of the benefit of using the giveaway for this was not having to figure out payment processing.

But it’s also good, because you’ll get 100% of the sales price instead of most of it going to the giveaway site and the buyer’s sponsor. You can also take the opportunity to build a list of buyers, if you’re comfortable with payment processing.

I’ll assume you’re not comfortable with payment processing, and tell you how I modified my OTO on the site to handle taking payments. I used Oronjo, a free service for selling digital products online.

You can set up your product to be sold via Oronjo, and then simply paste the HTML for the order button at the bottom of your OTO page. You’re instantly set up to take payments!

So if you’ve thought about setting up an OTO at Auto Pilot Cash Streams, but this latest news put you off it, use Oronjo to make taking payment trivially easy.

Traffic Wave Tutorial #4

If you’ve been following along with the Traffic Wave tutorials, you’ll have your autoresponder set up and your thank you pages done. All that’s left is the opt-in page.

Traffic Wave does provide an opt-in page for you, but I don’t use their pages for a couple of reasons. One is that I like to host my own opt-in pages so I can use my own analytics system (in my case, Google Analytics) to get insight into who is visiting the pages, and what percentage of visitors make it on to the various thank you pages (e.g. through the sign up funnel). Another is that the Traffic Wave opt-in pages only give you a limited selection of templates. Even though the opt-in pages I come up with aren’t that great, at least they’re my work…and when I want to, I can pay someone to create a custom opt-in page for me.

On to creating the page.

Pick A Template

Unless you’re the sort of graphical genius that can create an opt-in page from scratch, you need to pick a template. There are tons out there, just look around (or join The Advisory Panel and download a few packages from the free library there).

Your two basic choices are a squeeze page, or a sales page.

A squeeze page is a short page that can be seen all at once. It’s designed to catch the visitor’s attention and entice them into submitting their name and email. A sales page is a longer page that is designed to overcome the visitor’s reluctance to sign up by bombarding them with claims about how your product will cure all the ills in their life.

Which you use is up to you. Long sales pages are popular these days, even though I never read them and think they’re horrible tools. But they’re popular, so maybe they’re working for someone.

Whatever template you find will provide you with an HTML file and possibly some image files. You’ll need to edit the HTML file to add your opt-in form.

Creating A Capture Page

You have a template that has a space where it says, “Put your opt-in form here”. But where do you get your opt-in form?

Login to your Traffic Wave back office, and go back to the autoresponder you set up in previous tutorials. Choose the option titled “Capture Pages”.

That will take you to the area where you can define what information your capture form requires, as well as defining custom capture forms. I recommend you stick with just name and email for the information. After all, the goal here is to get them as a subscriber, not to get their life story. Time enough to get more information later once you have permission to contact them regularly.

For now, click on “Create New Hosted Capture Page” to be taken to a screen with a lot of information to fill out. For the most part, we don’t care about all of this, because we are not going to use this capture page, we’re only going to swipe the opt-in form from it.

You should put something meaningful into the Page Nickname. You must also put something into the Headline, Paragraph 1, and Signature Name, although it doesn’t matter what.

Down at the bottom, under Subscription Landing URL, put the full URL to your opt-in thank you page. This will show after they subscribe, but before they confirm. Under Confirmation Landing URL, put the full URL to your confirmation thank you page so it shows after they click the confirmation link.

Click “Create New Capture Page”.

Note that if you didn’t care about using your own analytics, and liked one of Traffic Wave’s templates well enough, you could put real information into the Headline, etc, and use the capture page as hosted on Traffic Wave.

Getting The Opt-In Form

You’ll be taken back to the Capture Pages area, and now the information for your new capture page will be listed at the bottom.

Copy the URL of your new capture page and paste it into the address bar of your web browser. The capture page will show…if you’d decided to use it hosted on Traffic Wave’s system, this is the address you’d direct traffic to to get sign ups.

I always host my own, though, so I just grab the opt-in form from this page and integrate it into my own squeeze page. To grab the opt-in form, view the HTML source for the capture page (on Firefox, use the View menu, and the Page Source option).

Somewhere in the HTML that shows will be a line that starts with something like this:

<form METHOD="POST" ACTION="" onsubmit="return myValidate.Apply('errWin')">

This is the start of the opt-in form. Copy everything from that line down to the line that has this in it:


All those lines together are your opt-in form. Remove the onsubmit section from the beginning form line, so it reads like this:


Also remove from inside the form any script tags (these make the form check for required information, which is a good idea, but requires Javascript…I prefer to keep my forms as simple as possible).

You’ll also have to modify the table inside the form to get the look you want when integrated with your squeeze or sales page. I can’t provide advice on that since it depends on the template you’re using. Do some searches on HTML tables, background colors, etc, to tweak it to fit the page you’re using.

After you finish, you’ll have an opt-in page that you can host yourself, but will sign people up to your Traffic Wave autoresponder. Now you just need some visitors, so go submit it to a giveaway, traffic exchange, etc.

Auto Pilot Cash Streams Giveaway Open

So, I’m all prepared to work on the last part of my Traffic Wave tutorial for tonight’s post, and when I start my laptop up it’s complaining about drivers not being installed, and not able to find the network, etc, etc. Basically, it crashed big time. Strange, since when I shut it down last night it was working fine. So instead of working on the tutorial for tonight, I’ll be spending tonight (and probably the rest of the weekend) trying to get the laptop back in shape.

For tonight, then, I’ll just announce that the Auto Pilot Cash Streams giveaway has started. You can join and download for free hundreds of gifts, including ebooks, software, and site memberships.

No matter what level of your Internet Marketing experience, there will be something there for you.

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!