Category Archives: Marketing

Verifying Your Products Links

As you’ve probably noticed, at the end of almost every individual post I pop in an affiliate sales banner of some kind; there’s one on this post. A couple of posts ago, I was thinking of adding a banner for one of the products I market via my side panel, now named “Recommended Products”. I knew I’d seen a banner for that particular item, or site, and so I went to my main source to look for it.

The source is Clickbank, which is one of the top affiliate sources in the world; so I’ve been told. Anyway, I did my search for this particular entity, and it wasn’t there, anywhere. I put in different combinations, and nothing came up. I thought this was strange, because I’d initially gotten the link through them.

So, I sent their customer service a letter, because I just couldn’t find it. Then I went directly to the source, where they’re still promoting themselves through Clickbank, and found what I needed. Then, just a little while ago, I received email from Clickbank telling me that this particular company is no longer one they represent. Well, when the heck did that happen? I’ve been promoting this thing for over 2 years, and suddenly it’s no longer valid? How long has it not been valid? And, since I’m a member of Clickbank, and they knew who I promote, why didn’t I receive some sort of notification? That’s how both Commission Junction and Google Affiliate Network works.

No matter. I’ve removed the link from the side and replaced it with something else, and, after this post, now have to go back to the other post and remove that banner link and put something else there. Not a biggie, but a little notice would have been nice. Anyway, this is proof that, sometimes, we have to check our own stuff out, just to make sure it’s still valid, especially if we want to get paid. Word to the wise.
 

Credibility, Article Writing, And Marketing Products

A few posts ago, I wrote about Lynn Terry and some of her tips on making money online. Well, a month ago, I had the opportunity to participate in one of her weekly marketing sessions, and I got to ask her a couple of questions during that time.

The first question was what she thought about writing articles to put on article marketing sites. The second question was what how she felt in advertising products that one hasn’t really used. She gave me some interesting answers, and I’d like to talk about those answers.

On the first question, she answered that she thought writing articles and posting them at article marketing sites was a great idea. She felt that the traffic one could get from one of those sites could be important traffic; that you’d get links from those sites; and, if someone else decided to pick up one of your articles for repost, with the caveat that they give you attribution, your articles have a chance to give you a lot of publicity in other ways, possibly driving traffic to your site.

I’ve given this one a lot of thought, and though I don’t disagree with her assessment on the topic, I decided that I would check my own statistics on this one. I couldn’t do it for this blog, though, so I did it for my business website. For that site, I have about 20 articles posted in various places, but on two specific sites I’ve got maybe 16 articles posted. Maybe it takes more than that, but hey, it’s a sample. What I see doesn’t give me much encouragement to post any articles to any of these sites. Checking Google Analytics over a 60 day period, my site shows that I haven’t driven a single person to my site via any of these sites. And, before anyone asks, yes, one of those sites is Ezine Articles. Now, some of those articles have been picked up and are in other places on the web (it’s amazing where you’ll find your stuff on the internet), and I’ve verified that none of those places has driven any traffic to my site in the last 60 days either. Now, I’m not going to claim that this is overly scientific, but it’s not quite a catalyst in making me think that article marketing is going to help me much. I’m not saying not to do it; I’m just saying I don’t see it working for me.

On the second question, she said that one doesn’t have to use everything that they market, but that it helps with credibility if you’re writing about products that you’ve at least used some of them or have tested some of them, or that you know something about the people you’re pushing at least some of the time. On this one, I wholeheartedly agree. Building credibility is a big deal; as a matter of fact, my new friend Dennis Edell of Direct Web Sales Marketing also just addressed this issue ((though Dennis won’t believe this, I hadn’t read the article until just now, but I’d seen that he had written an article on it via CommentLuv). And, since he’s linking to another article, it’s obviously a subject many people are thinking about, and works well with my post on sales, to a degree.

I decided to take a look back at some of my posts, things I’ve recommended, items I have on my sidebars, to see how balanced I’ve been. When I first started this blog, I wrote posts on affiliate ads that I was marketing via Commission Junction, which shares most of the bottom ads I put on this blog with the Google Affiliate Network. I talked about Ultra Diamonds with “CJ”, but I’ve never bought a product from them. I also talked about and posted links to the Harry Potter series of books and movies, which I have read and seen all the movies for. Not quite balanced, but it was the first month.

As time has gone by, I’ve gotten more into talking about things I’ve given some type of thought to, and have fully participated in them. The last five products I’ve endorsed, not including the latest, Startup Rebel, which I just started looking at a day or so ago, are eHealth Insurance, Tweet My Blog, Recover My Data, Error Doctor, and FreeCreditReport.com, I’ve used or still use four of those, with the only one I don’t use being eHealth Insurance, but since that was more about an opinion on why people should have health insurance if they don’t, I don’t count that one against me.

And, as a further extension, with the ads I have on the side, which I’m not going to list here again, not including the Text Link Ads (which I may still remove at the end of the month), I’ve used or read every link that’s over there (at the top, since, by this time, we’ve gone down the list a little bit), especially the book I wrote, Embrace The Lead (run over and buy that one now! :-)), and of course Joel’s book, which has helped my website and Adsense revenue jump almost 400%.

As for the individual ads I put at the end of each post, I’m not going to claim that I’ve used or purchased most of them, because it wouldn’t be true. I have visited every website that I put up, though, just to see what it’s like, something I like to do before I decide to market them unless I’m already familiar with the product or company. And, of course, everyone’s familiar with Adsense. Goodness, as I’ve gone back through some pages of my blog to research this post, I realize I haven’t really spent a lot of time marketing as much as reviewing things and giving my opinion; that’s somewhat enlightening to me, so I’ve learned something about myself writing this post.

Anyway, I believe I’ve shown some balance in my recommendations of products through my blog, actually leaning more towards someone who has used, or at least tried, many of the things I talk about. Now, does that boost my credibility? I think so, but only you, the reader, can tell me so for sure. I feel fairly secure in what I’ve written about on this blog, and how I write this blog as honestly as possible, and in my own way addressed the issue I’ve been discussing with another online friend Rich regarding a post he directed me to regarding his belief that if one accepted ads on their site that it would make them less likely to speak their minds honestly. He may be right in general; at least, in my mind, he’s not right as it pertains to me. By the way, he writes some pretty good and heady stuff, so check him out.

So, there you go. How credible am I to you? Trust me, I care. How credible are you to your readers? I hope that, many decades down the line, that I remember how I felt when writing this post, and how I felt while writing this blog. Can one be too old to dream? I hope not, but if so, well, then take this little bitty video with you on that subject (y’all do remember that I’ve said before how much I love the Muppets, right?):

Muppet Show Season Three


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How Lynn Makes Money Online

Lynn Terry of Clicknewz, is turning into one of my favorite people, online or offline. We’ve had a couple of conversations with each other through email, and I’ve talked before about her weekly internet marketing online get togethers on Tuesdays.

What separates us, besides lots of dollars and time on the internet, is what defines who’s a professional and who’s still got a long way to go. While I’ve written what has become the beginning of my series on blogging, Lynn recently referred her regular readers, through an email, to a series of posts she’s made over the years telling people how she makes money online. I thought these were fascinating articles, and asked her if I could put the links to those articles here. She has agreed, and so here you go:

How I Make Money Online

How I Make Money Online Part 2, An Inside Look

Starting A Free Online Business

Where Lynn Was 10 Years Ago

Of course I talk all the time about making money online, but I haven’t made any yet! 🙂 Okay, a little here and there, but certainly not enough to live off. It’s not only great to find someone like Lynn who’s willing to share how she does it, but is willing to allow others to help her share the information. Truthfully, this goes well with my post on selling online because she proves you don’t have to constantly beat people over the head to make big time money online.

Thanks Lynn, for allowing me to post this. And I hope all of us can learn some of these same lessons for our futures.


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Can You Stomach Sales?

And now, controversial post number two; let’s see if this one gets to at least 1,800 words as the last one did.


from Business Pundit

Something’s been on my mind for about a month now. I’m on Twitter, and by now I have a good number of followers, and people I follow. Nothing like the thousands some people have, and I don’t go around pimping for more, so I’m content with the number I have. Anyway, one of the people I follow wrote an open message to another person I follow, and her comment was something like this: “Is the only thing you do on here is sell, sell, sell?” It was easy to tell that she wasn’t pleased one bit.

I’ve wondered why that phrase has stuck with me for so long. I’ve probably thought about it at least once a day since I read it, which is why I’m finally writing about it. Psychologists believe that if you write about something that’s been on your mind that you’ll be able to move on; or maybe it’s just Zen thoughts.

I’ve come to a realization that all of us have a level of tolerance against sales, or being sold to, at some point. Whereas those of us who are trying to make money on our blogs or websites understand that the way to make money is to find ways to drive people to our sites and blogs, most of us aren’t willing to do some of the things that others are willing to do to get those visitors.

For instance, I’m reluctant to add popups or popunders on my blog because they irritate me. I’m reluctant to send a bunch of email out to people, or capture email addresses, because I don’t like how everyone asks me for my name and email address when they’re offering something for free, or even when I actually pay for something, and suddenly Im being inundated by all sorts of email, sometimes multiple times a day, until I eventually unsubscribe. It’s the same syndrome that makes most of us cringe whenever we’re at a party or event and the person we’re talking to tells you that they sell insurance. Isn’t that a shame?

Now, the person who the initial post was directed at is one of the big time internet marketers. I’ve mentioned his name previously on my blog, but I’m not going to call him out in this post. But I will say that I’ve noticed his sales habits on Twitter, and at times they do seem obsessive. There isn’t really a balance of personal posts compared to sales posts, and yet he does have some personal posts.

But here’s the thing. He’s not on Twitter to just have fun, or tell people he’s eating PB&J sandwiches. He’s there to talk about his products, and some of the people he meets in the course of his business. Personally, I find him interesting, and when it seems like he’s hammering one product way too many times, I just ignore it because if I’ve checked once, I don’t need to check it again.

However, I also understand why he’s doing it. One, because throughout a 16 hour day, there are people who don’t go backwards who may have missed previous listings of the post, so he’s trying to make sure he’s covering as many people as possible. Two, he’s trying to make money; this is his life, after all, and Twitter is just another tool, another ends to his means. I don’t have a problem with that.

So, what does that say about the rest of us? My friends, let’s talk about this a little bit. Over the past couple of months, I’ve visited a lot of blogs, and seen a lot of ways we all advertise our stuff. We put up banner ads, paid ads, link ads, widgets, Adsense, etc. We request people to subscribe to our RSS feed, which is a different way of getting people on a mailing list of sorts, in that they’re notified whenever we make a new post, and every new post that someone reads means there’s another chance we’ll get one of those people to look at what we’re marketing, and we hope that one day someone will buy something from us; that’s fair. We see that as unobtrusive because those people have requested to be a part of our community; it makes us feel as though we’re less salesmen than providers of information; that’s slightly true, but not fully true. In essence, it means we’re not good salesmen and saleswomen. We’re non-threatening, we’re comfortable, and most of us aren’t making much at all. How’s that working for you?

Of course, some of us are kidding ourselves. I’ve read some of the comments and posts on this blog and the blogs of others, where the writer says they really don’t care whether their ads and products make much money or not, but if it does it would be nice. I’m like that to a degree, so count me in with those folks. I have a short term goal of $100 a month; I have a long term goal of at least $3,000 a month. It would make the life of being an independent consultant a lot easier. I doubt there’s anyone who says they’re not overly concerned about making money online, that’s running any kind of ads, that would say they wouldn’t be happy making at least that much money online (anyone that’s not already making it, that is).

Being an independent consultant isn’t easy; no career where you’re working for yourself is easy. You have to learn how to sell yourself, which is always harder to do than selling products. You have to go to networking events you might not want to do. You have to join organizations you might not care to join. You actually end up putting more time into your business than you did working a regular job. Sure, the rewards can be outstanding, but there’s a lot of pressure.

You have to do the sales things, as I mentioned. You have to send regular letters, mailers, post cards, or flyers. You have to send email, many times unannounced, and risk someone calling you a spammer. And, from time to time, you have to pick up the phone and make cold calls; ugh. Still, if you want to make a life of it, you have to be willing to do some of these things. Why wouldn’t I want to have that extra bit of online cash coming in on a regular basis? Then I’d get to spend more time writing these missives that hit my mind from time to time that I hope enthrall the masses?

When it comes to internet marketing, there’s tons of information for us to pick from. I mean, internet marketing is big:

So, if you’re actually serious about trying to make money online, what are you willing to do for it? Are you willing to write about yourself all the time, and post it everywhere and anywhere, at all times? Are you willing to lie about products you’ve never tried just to try to sell them? Are you willing to take chances and do things that aren’t ethical? Are you willing to buck the trends that everyone else seems to follow and look for something that sets you apart from the field? Are you willing to spend money from time to time to learn more, or to attain things you don’t presently have, but things that could possibly help you make money in the future? Are you willing to pay for traffic, or purchase Adwords? Are you willing to take a stand or position on dofollow or page rank issues that others may tell you they disagree with?

By the way, just to share this, as it pertains to this article and my last post, doing good SEO tactics on your website or within your blog may help, but it’s not always end be all/end all. For instance, do you know what the top search terms are for finding my blog? Credit cards and conference calls. Has anyone ever seen me writing about either of those things? Nope, but they’re embedded into my footer, which is encrypted so I can’t remove it. One of my Twitter friends did recommend removing the footer, which worked great on the main page, but not for all the individual pages. So, sometimes, even your best SEO activities are not good enough. However, just to put it out there, if anyone has any ideas how I can overcome my footer, I’m willing to entertain suggestions.

Just for clarification, I’m not advocating anything, just discussing the issue. Everyone has their comfort level, as I said before, but when it comes down to it, just because there’s things we don’t like doesn’t mean that we should necessarily condemn people who do it, although I’m as guilty of some of it as other people are. In the end, though, I recognize that I don’t have the right, in the long run, to complain about how anyone decides to make a living. I can do what I’ve always recommended people do who don’t like a TV program; turn the channel, or, in this case, ignore, unsubscribe, and de-list anyone who’s irritating me too much.

At the same time, I still remain open to learning more and more things. I hope you are also. I didn’t quite hit that 1,800 words; I’m betting you’re happy about that. Oh yeah; I also hope you’re ready to buy something from me from time to time also. 😀

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A List Of Affiliate Networks

While needing to write a post to test whether I’m going to have a gravatar show up or not, I came upon this post on a blog called Traffikd titled 23 Affiliate Networks For Monetizing Your Website.

It’s a pretty good list, I have to say. I belong to the first two mentioned, Commission Junction and Clickbank, and I’d also signed up with Clickbooth a very long time ago, but have never been back; guess I should see if I still have the password for them.

Anyway, the name of the game is selling product, and these folks have stuff ready to go, whether it’s just banner ads or actual products. I exhibit some of both on this blog, especially something at the end of each post. But I share the above for your perusal.

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