Are you grateful about what you have today?

I usually leave the mindset and motivation posts for sunday, but today I was listening to a podcast where Lewis Howes interviews Tony Robbins and Tony asked Lewis a question:

Do you focus mostly on what you have, or on what you DON’T have?

And I think this is a very powerful question.

If you focus on what you have, unless you really have absolutely nothing, or only bad things in your life, you will be grateful and happy.

If you focus on what you don’t have, you will be unhappy.

Now of course I think daily about what I don’t have (yet), and I strive to achieve it. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to improve your life, but it’s easy to forget all the amazing things you have.

So, if you are reading this, take 2 minutes to think about what you have, be truly grateful for it, and you will see things from another perspective. Guaranteed!

And once you have do it, put your mind (and body) to work to achieve that what you don’t have (yet).

Marketing 101: What’s In It For Me? (WIIFM)

Sometimes, the simplest ideas are the easiest to overlook.

These days we are bombarded with everything: information, ads, products…

So you get a small chance to attract a visitor, whether you are using an ad, or driving someone to your website.

You get 5 precious seconds in which the potential visitor / customer will decide if he/she wants to keep listening to what you have to say, or simply leave.

IF you want them engaged, make sure you are answering straight to their main question: What’s In It For Me?

It does not matter if you want them to subscribe to your online newsletter, purchase your next product, read your blog post, like your Facebook page…

Just try to get in their head, see their pain and problems, and see if you are answering THE question.

Because, don’t forget, marketing is about THEM, not about YOU.

My next project, a viral page

This week I started a new project: a viral page (in spanish).

What is a “viral page”? Hard to describe, but in my mind, it’s a page that depends on social/viral traffic (as opposed to SEO).

So it will be full of “trigger-happy” stories, hoping that people will share them on Facebook/Twitter.

The idea is to monetize them initially with Adsense, and then move on to other offers (affiliate offers, CPA…).

For content, I have hired two part-time writers from Upwork. Aside from their monthly salary, these are the initial expenses

Hosting: using my current Bluehost VPS server, if/when traffic starts growing I will consider moving to a more powerful server

Domain: $9 in Godaddy

Theme: $59 in Themeforest (Bimber Theme)

Logo: $5 in Fiverr

I will be using Facebook to promote the posts that I add to the site.

I’ll keep you posted monthly on income-expenses, and lessons learnt.

There are 2 sides to have in mind

  • Traffic
  • Conversions

For traffic, the only initial source will be Facebook ads.

For conversions, I will need to check the best offers. Adsense is probably a good way to get started, but there might be other sources of revenue. I’ll also keep you all posted on this.

Which products should you promote as an affiliate?

So you already know how to find products to promote. Great!

However, you must have realized by now that there are literally millions of things to promote.

So how do you choose where to start?

In my opinion, there are 2 approaches to it

  1. Follow your passion
  2. Follow the money

Follow your passion

The great thing, if you choose a niche that you are passionate about is that it will be easier for you to write about it, and you will understand the products, the language, etc.

However, if there is no money spent in that niche… You are wasting your time 🙁

Follow the money

People will spend a ton of money in certain niches (ie, dieting, which is a multi-billion niche), and virtually none in others (ie, online tattoo designs). So it’s good to know beforehand if there is money to be made or not before you decide to promote something in that niche

 

Obviously, the best situation is when those two categories converge, and you are promoting products in a niche that you are passionate about AND there is money being spent.

But if you have to choose one of them, I’d go for the money, even if I sound like a total capitalist.

 

You also have another choice

  1. Virtual Products
  2. Physical products

Virtual Products

These are things like: ebooks, courses, software…

The great thing about them is that since there is hardly any cost in producing extra units, the commissions are higher.

Physical products

Since producing them has a cost, the commissions are lower. The advantage is that physical products have a higher perceived value. Plus, the refund rates are lower.

So which one should you promote?

Honestly, there is no clear answer to that (at least, not from my side). I have made money selling software, courses, Amazon products… So there is money involved in all of them (I wasn’t very helpful with this one, was I?)

 

Ok, let’s assume you have taken a decision for the niche and the type of product.

You SHOULD take into account “Mum’s rule”. Do not recommend/endorse anything that you wouldn’t recommend to your mum.

Yes, you can make money in the short term promoting crappy products, but in the long term your brand will suffer, and your followers will not trust you.

Ideally, you should also test any product that you promote. That will give you extra credibility, plus an edge since you can do a better review (and recommendation).

Also, you need to know your audience, their needs and wants (and pain), so you can recommend what’s best for them (and they are likely to purchase).

 

Hope that was, at least, a bit helpful and gave you a hand to find your next product to promote.

 

 

Motivational Sunday: How to force yourself to take action (this time for real)

The other day I was going for a walk and listened to this podcast (the title catched my attention).

I had never heard about Mel Robbins, but after listening to the podcast I purchased her book “The 5 Second Rule” (not to be confused with the other “5 second rule”, which states that if you drop some food on the floor, and you pick it up after less than 5 seconds, you can eat it again safely).

The book is a bit repetitive (you can get the main idea by listening to the podcast, for free).

Apparently, when you want to do something but hesitate, that sends a message to your brain saying “hey, this might be dangerous/uncomfortable”, so your braing cooperates and gives you tons of excuses for not doing that thing.

So you have around 5 seconds to take action before your brain voice kicks in.

What the author suggests is the following: when you are about to do something that you know you SHOULD do (ie, get up from bed, have a difficult conversation, get to work, go to the gym, speak up in that meeting, talking to that guy/girl…) simply count down from 5 to 1 and do it. No excuses, allowed.

It sounds silly, but the thing is, it works. In fact, it has helped me get to write this post (before that I was doing some mindless browsing around Internet).

I counted mentally: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO! and started writing this post.

It worked.

If you would like to know more, you can listen to her TED talk:

So where can you apply the 5 second rule in your life?

I want to be a super affiliate, where can I find products to promote?

Once you decide you want to promote affiliate products, comes the next question: what should I promote?

Luckily, there are products to promote in almost any niche, so you don’t even need to have your own product to make money (after you master the niche, you will make more money if you decide to create your own product, though).

So how can you find products to promote?

Here are some tips and ideas:

Affiliate Networks

This is possibly the easiest way to find programs. The network lists all the products, and you can choose which one to promote (no need to go searching in multiple sites).

Some of the best affiliate networks are:

Clickbank

Only sells digital products. They have been in the game for a long long time. Used to be one of the biggest ones but some new players are quickly taking them over.

Link

JVZoo

Also focused on digital products. Although you can sell any kind of products there, there are mostly products from the Online Marketing industry. It’s great for affiliates since you get instant commissions (if you get approved by the seller).

Link

e-junkie

I always thought it is a funny (and weird) name. It makes very easy for people to sell their own digital products.

Link

Zaxaa

A relatively new site, it’s getting some traction lately

Link

CJ (previously Commission Junction)

One of the biggest networks. You can find almost anything here, from digital to physical products.

Link

Rakuten Affiliate (previously Linkshare)

Very popular network with a lot of programs (less than CJ though)

Link

Tradedoubler

Very popular in Europe, it has over 2000 advertisers. It focuses on the european market, so not so many products for the USA.

Link

Awin

A merge from Zanox + Affiliate Window, they are also very big in Europe.

Link

Shareasale

Now purchased by Awin, it has more than 4000 affiliate programs (some of them are only offered here).

Link

The big ones

Amazon

Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 10 years, you have probably heard of Amazon. They have multiple websites, in different countries: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Brazil, Italy, Spain. If you want to promote in different countries, you will need to join from those specific countries (for ex, amazon.es for Spain, etc)

The great thing is that they are really good at selling, so your main job is to drive visitors to Amazon and let them do the sale.

Link (for USA)

eBay Partner Network

They don’t take in everybody (you need to fulfill certain conditions), but it can be a great source of income.

Link

Affiliate directories

These are sites that aggregate offers from different networks, so you just need to enter the name of the offer or the product, and it will tell you where to promote it, plus other extra information.

Some of these sites are: oDigger, Offervault, Affplus

CPA Networks

CPA stands for Cost Per Action, meaning you get paid when the user performs a specific action. Sometimes it will be a purchase, but other times the visitor just needs to enter their e-mail, or register to a website, and you will make some $$$.

Some reputable CPA networks are

Peerfly, Maxbounty, Affiliaxe, Mobidea, Mundomedia

Google

Remember the saying? Google is your friend. If you enter in google:

product name + “affiliate program”

chances are you will find what you are looking for.

Why SEO traffic is not free traffic

There seems to be this understanding in the Online Marketing community that you can have either paid traffic or SEO traffic, the later being free.

And while it’s true that once you are ranking for a specific keyword, you don’t need to pay for that traffic, that does not mean that getting there was all free.

If you are going to do SEO, you will need to invest time, and probably money too.

And all that work can be wiped away if Google changes its algorithm, or decides that they don’t like your site anymore.

The thought process for many people goes as follows:

  • They find a specific product to promote, or a specific niche
  • They build a website targeting related keywords
  • They do SEO work to rank better and get traffic from search engines.

At this point, one of these things will happen:

  • The page will never rank, so all work is wasted
  • The page will rank ok, but it will not convert (ie, no sales)
  • The page will rank and convert, so money comes in

So assuming that there is a 33,33% for each possibility (which is a lot to assume), most chances are you won’t make money (or not enough).

What you should do is, instead, as soon as you get your page up and running, send paid traffic to it. Then see if the traffic converts. If it does not, tweak, and see if you can improve things.

If money is coming in, NOW is the time to do SEO work, once you have proven that your business model works. Try to rank for some keywords, and make money out of that extra SEO traffic.

If you start doing SEO before you know if you have a profitable site, you could be wasting time (and money).

In the past, when ranking in Google was a matter of throwing a few backlinks and repeating your keyword a few times in the post, it was not so painful, but in these competitive days we are living, you will need to put extra work to rank.

Just saying 🙂

A more complex, yet more profitable way to make money online

Yesterday I wrote about a very simple way to make money.

However, that was a bit of a “machinegun” approach, meaning you shoot everywhere without aiming.

If you want to try something similar, but better, try this instead:

Focus on one niche, learn about what sells, what kind of problems the potential customers have, etc.

Then buid a website (can be very simple, 5 to 10 articles), and -very important- build a list. You can also promote affiliate products in that page (put a couple of banners in the sidebar).

Now, instead of direct linking using PPC to the merchant’s website, direct people to your website. You will need to test with review articles, linking to your homepage, etc.

Whereas if you direct link to the seller you will get 100% to go to the sales page, if you use your page as a bridge, not every visitor will click and visit the sales page (assuming you are doing affiliate marketing).

BUT you will be building a list (ie, an asset, which is a business in the end) along the way, learning what sells, and learn about the niche.

You will position yourself as an expert, people will go to you for advice, and even when this means more work, you will end up selling more.

And what is the natural next step?

Once you know the kind of products that sell, and have made some money as an affiliate, the logical, natural next step is building your own product.

All in all, this is a better long term strategy than the machinegun approach (PPC direct linking).

Once you build a list, even if the PPC company bans you, or some of the products you are promoting as an affiliate stops selling, you still have your list, and can promote other products, sell your own products, etc.

A very simple way to make money online

Today I wanted to share with my readers a super-simple strategy to earn money online.

It’s called “direct linking via PPC“.

What does this mean? Let me explain with a simple example:

Let’s say there is a company called “Papazon” (I already check, it does not exist) that sells, among other things, laptops. For example, they sell the model “Cherry Air” at their website at papazon.com/cherryair

So when people go to a Search Engine (for ex google) and search for “Cherry Air laptop”, at the very top is your ad, linking to papazon.com/cherryair BUT with your affiliate link. So if the customer purchases, you get a commission, and you didn’t even need to build a website or send an e-mail.

Everything you did was:

  • Grab your affiliate link
  • Bid on that search engine (Google, Bing…) with very specific keywords
  • Create your ad (with your affiliate link as destination URL)

And that’s all 🙂

Obviously, you have to pay for every single click, so you are expecting to make more money than you are paying.

This works much better for digital products, since they usually offer higher commissions (as opposed to physical products where the commission is much lower).

Now wait a minute, you say. This sounds too good/easy/simple to be true.

Of course, it has some caveats:

  • Many brands do not allow you to bid on certain keywords (most of the times trademarks)
  • Many companies do not allow direct linking at all. Amazon did in the past (before 2009), and many affiliates were making a killing.
  • Most search engines do not like this (although there is nothing wrong per se)
  • You are paying for every click, regardless of whether it makes you any money or not
  • This is not a sustainable, long-term strategy. You are not building any assets (the merchant might be building a list, but not you). If you get banned from the merchant (or the search engine), there is no business any more.
  • As stated above, your account/s might get banned. Back in 2010 I got my Adwords account banned for doing this (in all honesty, I was promoting a product that was built to cheat Google; I should have seen it coming, but I was doing between $1000-$2000 a month with literally 10 minutes of work – total time, not monthly)

The upsides are:

  • Simple & Easy
  • If you bid on the specific keywords, many people are in buying mode, meaning they are likely to buy
  • Traffic from Search Engines (especially the top ones) is usually pretty good and reliable

So, you ask, have I done anything like that in the past? Mmmm, I already said too much 😉

As I said, this is not a sustainable business, but it can be a great way to make some extra side money.

A simple strategy could be as follows:

Go to Clickbank and find a product that is selling properly (for ex, anything with gravity over 10). For the sake of example, let’s say the product is called “The Spanish Miracle” and their website is http://thespanishmiracle.com (with that name it would probably be a spanish course)

Then you would go to either Adwords or Bing Ads and create a new ad.

The ad text would be something you come up with (be creative and compelling)

The display url would be thespanishmiracle.com

The destination url would be your Clickbank affiliate link.

Then you could bid on the following terms:

  • the spanish miracle
  • spanish miracle
  • spanishmiracle
    • (and other misspellings you can think of)
  • http://www.thespanishmiracle.com
  • http://thespanishmiracle.com
  • www.thespanishmiracle.com
  • thespanishmiracle.com
    • (and any other url variations)

So people searching for anything of the above would see your ad and (hopefully) click on it.

Google Adwords has a much higher traffic, but on the downside they are a bit more strict and expensive than Bing Ads.

Optimizing is a bit harder. Some keywords will convert, others not that much, so you would need to know which keywords are bringing you the money, so you can wipe out the non performers. To do this, you would need a tracking system (like prosper202), which will keep track of that, but we’ll leave that for another time.

What do you think of this system? Have you ever tried it?

Some of the Highest AdSense Earners websites worldwide

In case you are looking for some inspiration, here are some of the top revenue generating websites in the world.

I’m not writing this so you can copy everything they are doing: as always, look for inspiration but develop your unique approach.

However, nothing stops you from checking their ad placements, colors, keywords… You can be sure that those sites have spent time and money optimizing, so you can get an idea or two (obviously they also have millions of daily pageviews, which is harder to get).

Here are the sites (in no particular order, since earnings can vary over time):

Mashable.com

Mashable is a blog focused on media, entertainment and technology.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $650.000 per month.

Digital Point Forum

Digital Point is a forum focused on SEO marketing (and in my humble opinion not very good looking). It was founded by Shawn D Hogan at the age of 19.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $550.000 per month

Plenty of Fish

This dating website combines Google Adsense with paid ads.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $350.000 per month

Digg

If you have been around the Internet for the past years, you have probably heard of digg. It is what it’s called an “aggregation website”, where people can share specific urls and people will comment (that’s the base idea, but it has grown to be much more).

Estimated Adsense earnings: $250.000 per month

EHow

EHow is a website about how to do things. Literally. It has how to guides for almost anything, with some nice Adsense ads along the way.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $240.000 per month

Techcrunch

Techchrunch is one of the most popular technology blogs in the world.

Estimated Adsense earnings: $240.000 per month

Perez Hilton

Even when there are some websites that make more money monthly than Perez Hilton, I had to mention it. It really puzzles me that a website about celebrity gossip can make that much money. Really?

Estimated Adsense earnings: $150.000 per month


So what do these websites have in common?

I can see some common patterns here:

  • Tons of traffic (yes, you need traffic if you want to make big bucks)
  • Lots of content
  • Niche (or niches) with a lot of potential visitors (apparently there are many people interested in celebrity gossip)
  • Focus on the user/visitor (meaning, the sites are created to help the visitors)