Looking to pivot, need your perspective

12 replies
Hey guys,

Glad to e-meet you all!

I'd like to give you a brief overview of my Entrepreneurial journey to date and get your perspective on some thoughts I have about where I could go from here. I would love to get your input and viewpoints if you would be so gracious as to impart them to me!


I have been on my Internet Entrepreneurial journey for a couple of years now and have been doing it full time (pretty much) for a little over a year.

I have started a number of businesses over that time and have had limited success until this year when my new DropShipping business took off and this has provided me with some much needed income at a time I really need it.

This of course has been a great outcome, however I realise that I still have a lot to learn and an long way to go before I can really say that I can make ends meet with only income from my business(es).

I understand that learning to be an Internet Entrepreneur takes time, effort and money, and that I will likely fail a number of times before I really get something off the ground.

However, failure is really just a learning opportunity and I'm learning a lot

I come from an IT background and this, combined with my recent learning and experience in Internet Marketing / Commerce, means that I have fairly good exposure to systems and general methods and approaches. However, I still have much to learn about sales.


While, as I mentioned, I have experienced some level of success recently with my DropShipping business and I see potentially large opportunities in ECommerce in the near future, there are a number of significant challenges with ECommerce which have recently become apparent.

I can also see clouds on the horizon due to the current state of the global economy which may culminate in a depression. If that happens, even ECommerce may suffer greatly; if people don't have money to spend, they won't be buying much from anywhere.

In this scenario however, I do see opportunities in certain areas, which would be best be serviced via delivery of digital products, which have a lot of advantages. This could be in the form of direct sales of products (PLR/MRR), or sales of other's digital products via affiliate marketing.


The heart of my quandary comes down to the following:
1) Taking into account my past experience and the current state of the market, do you think that getting into digital sales / affiliate marketing a good idea at this point?
2) If so, which do you think the best approach for me would be; direct digital product sales or affiliate marketing of digital products?

I see advantages in both approaches, but I have no experience in either, so I would appreciate the benefit of your collective experience to help guide me.

Thanks in advance

Sam.
#perspective #pivot
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  • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
    I've been promoting affiliate / CPA offers for over 19 years. However, I do things differently than most.

    I heavily promote PPL (pay per lead...lead generation) offers. This is because there is no credit card / purchase required to complete an offer. All a user has to do is fill out a form, so conversion rates are typically much higher compared to offers that require a sale to be made.

    I favor offers that have a make, get or save money benefit to them, as they have overall worked the best. They also tend to have the greatest mass appeal (will be of interest to a large general audience), so the potential exists to produce high volume and they are fairly easy to cross-promote on the back-end.

    Some of the verticals (niches) I have done extremely well with are: education, insurance, loans, debt, credit, mortgage, assistance, discount offers, homeowner offers, etc...

    The bulk of the PPL offers that I promote pay $15-$40 per lead, but I also promote offers that pay more and less. You don't want to get too caught up on what an offer pays because how well it converts is just as important. For example, if you have an offer that pays $9, but if it converts at 2X or more of a $20 offer, then it will perform about the same or possibly better. At the same time, if you have an offer that pays $90 and it converts poorly, it may not even be worth promoting.

    I have also done just as good with dating website sign-ups and pretty good with free trial + S/H offers. I also promote a very limited number of offers that are straight sales. For them, mass appeal is still the number one thing I look for and I also look for one of the following...

    1) The product is new and/or novel-unique and you can't purchase it locally or even something similar. I don't waste my time with it once something similar shows up in Walmart.

    2) The buyer can truly get what is being offered at a decent discount.

    3) Solves a house is on fire type problem.

    However, I mainly promote non-PPL offers on the backend.

    Bottom line, it's far easier to get someone fill out a short form than to get them to pull out their credit card and make a purchase. So why struggle with trying to sell this or that, when you can provide free information that users want/need and get paid well doing it.

    Something to think about.
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    How to Build LARGE EMAIL LISTS on a Budget and MONETIZE Like a PRO
    19 Years Exp . . . . . . . . . . . . Email - CPA - PPL
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    • Profile picture of the author SamboNZ
      Thanks for sharing your valuable insight DIABL0, I really appreciate it!

      I have to say that this business model has a lot of attraction for me. I've been aware of it in the past, but it hasn't been on my radar. It has to be the simplest Internet business model out there! I'll definitely give it some serious consideration!

      So you basically just run traffic to a sales page of some kind I'm guessing? Plus maybe some kind of email / list management system in the background?

      Where are the best places to find PPL offers?

      Are there any 'gotchas' I should be aware of?

      I assume that the email lead effectively belongs to the company you're selling them to? You can't re-market to the leads yourself after the fact?
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      • Profile picture of the author DIABL0
        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        Thanks for sharing your valuable insight DIABL0, I really appreciate it!

        I have to say that this business model has a lot of attraction for me. I've been aware of it in the past, but it hasn't been on my radar. It has to be the simplest Internet business model out there! I'll definitely give it some serious consideration!

        So you basically just run traffic to a sales page of some kind I'm guessing? Plus maybe some kind of email / list management system in the background?

        Where are the best places to find PPL offers?

        Are there any 'gotchas' I should be aware of?

        I assume that the email lead effectively belongs to the company you're selling them to? You can't re-market to the leads yourself after the fact?
        The easiest way to get access to PPL offers is to sign up with CPA networks as most will have them. You can also sign up directly with the advertiser as an affiliate, which is typically a bit more work. The upside is you can often get a higher payout, as there is no middleman. Lastly, you can create your own offers and develop your own buyers. This offers the highest payout and you can also get affiliates to promote. However, it also has the highest risk because if you do it long enough some buyer(s) will eventually stiff you.

        As far as traffic goes ... I drive traffic and build responsive email lists by acquiring different forms of email data. Essentially what I'm really doing is monetizing the data using PPL offers.

        Fresh / targeted 3rd party data, which is email leads of users that have shown an interest in a specific PPL niche or offer and have given permission to receive messages from third parties. You get the opt-in record of each user and it's 100% can-spam compliant.

        Generate real-time Co-reg, which works by placing an ad for a specific PPL offer on a co-registration network and their publishers display it and users that view the ad can request more info about the offer. When a user requests more info, their contact info is automatically imported into your ESP (autoresponder) account / campaign and they are immediately sent details regarding the offer, along with future follow-up messages. You pay on a per lead basis.

        There is also rev-share data, which is basically 3rd party data (typically fresh / targeted) that you get for $0 upfront costs and you split the revenue generated from sending it with the data provider. Those that provide rev-share are typically just aggregating the data and aren't marketers and provide it to those that know how to monetize it.

        So with the above, I am getting fresh / targeted leads specifically for the offers I'm promoting. However, they are not typically as responsive as a high-quality opt-in list that you build yourself. So to compensate for this you need to work with higher volume. This is not a big deal since the cost is so much cheaper and highly scalable compared to traditional list building methods.

        With your own lists, you own and control the traffic and can drive traffic to offers at will at very little cost. Which is key if you want to be successful at affiliate/CPA marketing Also, you're not at the mercy of any marketing platform that could one day make a change that adversely affects your ability to make a living / income.

        When mailing, you want to skim off the top any fast-track conversions, and then for long-term success, you want to always be collecting your opens / clickers, segmenting and removing unresponsive users...converting the leads from quantity to quality and into responsive lists. Which you can then also cross-promote other offers on the back-end.

        So basically the real reason I heavily promote PPL offers because they provide the path of least resistance to generating conversions / $$$ and converting the data into cash-producing assets.

        There's actually more to it than it sounds, but done right it can be extremely profitable. Everyone that I know that is in the business and knows what they are doing, for the most part, does 6-7 figures. While that's a huge range, much comes down to one's ability to scale and effectively build / manage the infrastructure needed to scale.

        Also, as a side note. Once you have experience promoting PPL/CPA offers via email, you can go out and find companies that have opt-in and/or buyer lists that do little with them or nothing at all via email marketing and help them fully monetize their data.

        These are mainly companies that call all the users and or don't know anything about promoting affiliate / CPA offers. This requires more work because you have to find the companies, wherewith the other options above it's easy to get access to data. This is what's considered 2nd party data, as you manage the companies data and monetize it for a percentage of the net profits generated.

        Hope that helps.
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        How to Build LARGE EMAIL LISTS on a Budget and MONETIZE Like a PRO
        19 Years Exp . . . . . . . . . . . . Email - CPA - PPL
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  • Profile picture of the author myob
    Hi Sam,

    Welcome to the Warrior Forum.

    I started in affiliate marketing nearly 25 years ago, and never looked back. The biggest advantages in this marketing model of selling other people's products are there is almost no upfront risk and usually you are provided with marketing collateral and/or proven conversion system.

    For example, I built a fortune as an affiliate selling Amazon products. But they recently had a major cut in commissions (50-80% reduction in most categories). It was just a matter of swapping out affiliate links for higher paying platforms (ie cj.com, shareasale,com, rakuten, etc.

    If you still have a list, consider marketing comparable products found on these or directly from companies within your area of expertise. Nearly every company these days now has an affiliate program. Despite all the doom and gloom sayers, there are opportunities out there perhaps now more than ever.

    Record numbers of people are either working at home or starting home businesses. Many of them (in the US at least) are sitting on cash from withdrawing out of the stock market. The demand for home office equipment, technology, services, consulting, maintenance, etc seems to be growing at an unprecedented rate.
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    • Profile picture of the author SamboNZ
      Hi myob,

      Thanks for your insight, I really appreciate it!

      What would you say are your core criteria when choosing an affiliate offer to market?

      Do you think there is much (or any) barrier to a 'newbie' like me getting into affiliate marketing in 2020?

      My perception is that this is now in the realm of the 'big boys', and that a small fish like me has little chance of success. But that's a completely unqualified position.
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        Hi myob,

        Thanks for your insight, I really appreciate it!

        What would you say are your core criteria when choosing an affiliate offer to market?
        My criteria is simple - whatever sells. I built a fortune as an Amazon affiliate over nearly 25 years. This certainly wasn't all from Amazon itself, but rather through tracking my customers' buying patterns and identifying the top selling products across major markets. Many manufacturers and vendors selling on the Amazon platform have their own affiliate program. They are generally open to anyone who can generate relevant traffic and sales.

        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        Do you think there is much (or any) barrier to a 'newbie' like me getting into affiliate marketing in 2020?
        There is almost zero cost to entry in perhaps tens of thousands of affiliate programs. Major companies and networks (like Walmart, Target, Rankuten, cj.com, shareasale.com, etc) are scrambling to attract affiliates who have abandoned Amazon since they slashed commission rates.

        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        My perception is that this is now in the realm of the 'big boys', and that a small fish like me has little chance of success. But that's a completely unqualified position.
        The 'big boys' have always been in it to win it. They need affiliates now more than ever.

        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        While I think that overall, buyers will have less cash to spend, I think that there are some niches which are either evergreen or will become more popular in the likely future environment.
        Many people are indeed having a very tough time right now, which can be a good arena for providing MMO and home business opportunities. More people are either working from home or looking for home businesses than ever before.

        On the other hand, there are also large segments of the population still prospering or awash with cash from pulling out of the stock market. Much of this demographic is not even being tapped because of this general misconception there is no money out there.
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  • Profile picture of the author dave_hermansen
    I think the whole premise you set up contradicts your solutions. If a poor buyer's market develops, it doesn't matter what you sell - physical or digital products - you're not going to sell either if nobody has money to buy things. Likewise, whether you sell as an affiliate or dropshipper doesn't matter if nobody is buying anything.

    Predictions of dire consumer spending have existed as long as the internet has. Internet sales have continued to grow every one of those years as it will this year and in the future.
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    • Profile picture of the author SamboNZ
      While I think that overall, buyers will have less cash to spend, I think that there are some niches which are either evergreen or will become more popular in the likely future environment.
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      • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
        Originally Posted by SamboNZ View Post

        While I think that overall, buyers will have less cash to spend, I think that there are some niches which are either evergreen or will become more popular in the likely future environment.

        You have to turn that perspective into your advantage. Less for this but may spend even more on that. The other day I bought as much 70% alcohol as I did food!

        Took 3 weeks for me to find any here where I am.

        We need to adapt. No need to pick on creating or affiliation inside your own book can be affiliate recommendations as well or in your additional content.

        You can find a great recurring affiliate program and create a tutorial product around it.

        Let me ask you? Do you think with everyone sitting at home there will be more video uploading or less? You take that and run with it as an internet marketing entrepreneur. People need equipment, tools, guides for SEO etc.

        There may be more opportunity these months than there were before COVID.


        Take some time and think how others will be forced to pivot...there is an opportunity for YOU to help them do it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris-
    Many webinars about online business are getting their best ever results right NOW, and there are way more than ever new affiliates signing up in recent weeks (although most of them will never do anything, a few will). In a recession, people lose their jobs, so online business courses still sell well.

    As for affiliate products or your own products . . . I recommend you build a list and test both. See which works for you, and know that you will make money either way.

    Creating your own product takes a lot more time and effort, but can get great results if done well. You need to choose your price-point before you start . . . either high-ticket or low-ticket.

    Webinars sell products typically around $500 to $2k, and for that to work everything needs be done really well . . . high quality product with video modules and personal help, lots of real proof of the system and great testimonials, and a high-converting webinar. A webinar JV broker I know represented a recent webinar which made $997,000 in sales in the first 70 days. So that works well for both the product-creator, and for the list-owners (who get 50% affiliate commission), but everything needs to be done really well, and you need cash (or your own list) for initial testing, else you might never get any sales at all (list-owners and brokers won't talk to you until you've tested and got competitive stats).

    Low-ticket product creation can work well but is typically short-term, so most product-creators in this end of the market need to keep making new products every few weeks, to get a continuous stream of sales.

    For a list, most list-owners specialise in either low-ticket, or high-ticket. But there are a few who test both on the same list, then separate out those who are interested in the high-ticket stuff onto a separate list, find those who want low-ticket and make a list for them, and promote CPA and similar stuff to the rest.

    Hope this helps

    Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author SamboNZ
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Chris, much appreciated!

      My list marketing idea is around building a niche-specific list and marketing relevant products to them. Do you think this is a viable approach or am I limiting my options too much being that narrowly focussed?
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