I am literally floored right now because I just totaled up my January 2010 sales figures from my internet marketing activities, and I managed to rake in $12,961 in sales in that month alone! This was all done even though I made 2 major major mistakes, which I will talk about later on in the my post.
Obviously I had expenses.
- Other advertising costs
- Outsourcing costs
I did it in under 9 months from complete scratch in markets that I had absolutely no assets in - No websites, no brand, no lists, no affiliates, no knowledge in any of my niches, nothing.
I also did it using techniques that have been in use for at least a decade now(all of which I learned from the WF and various marketers I follow), so it's not like I had some 'magic bullet' on my side.
Now look...I'm not trying to brag here or anything. In fact, compared to some of the other success stories here, I am the little guy. I was watching a Lee McIntyre video the other day, and he was talking about how he did something like $30k on his 5th month online, so I am by no means special.
I just wanted to do my best to give back to this forum which has given me so much, and to help some of you who are struggling with making money online.
Alright. Let's get down to business, shall we?
I made my first $4k/m doing affiliate marketing using age old techniques that haven't really changed since 2000.
I think It's best to start out as an affiliate for the following reasons:
- It's easy
- You can build up your seed capital
- You will learn important techniques like pre-selling, list building, traffic generation, etc.
- There is hardly any risk involved
- It's the first stepping stone onto something greater.
The problem is, there are a million and one ways to go about that, which kind of confuses people.
Now, I'm sure most of you reading this took the advice of some of the gurus out there and started out on the notorious Clickbank affiliate network.
Which is all fine and dandy...if it were 2005.
I'm not saying you can't make money off Clickbank(I get Clickbank checks all the time), it's that nowadays, unless you know what you are doing, you are going to get eaten alive.
So for all you newbies out there, I would recommend you stay away from clickbank for a few months. At least until you get some basic skill sets down.
Instead, start with an easier, less crowded affiliate network like Amazon.com.
Amazon is super easy to start making a quick and stable income. I wrote an entire post on this topic, which you can check out here:
(No sense in me writing it again)
Use Amazon to build up your confidence, and to build you a base level income which you can use to fund future expansion.
Next we move onto Clickbank
After you level up your affiliate marketing skills a level or two, it's time to move up to a more advanced form of affiliate marketing.
I am a fan of using mailing lists for clickbank related products.
I personally have found it pretty hard to sell an ebook by simply writing a 300 article and slapping an affiliate link in it. In my opinion, the days of easy sells like that are pretty much gone because virtually everyone does it.
Instead, I tend to use this model for CB promotions:
Articles (blog or article directory) ----> Squeeze Page ----> Mailing list follow up ---> Product review page(this is where your affiliate links are) ----> Social proof ---> freebie ----> social proof ---> additional informative freebie articles.I know this sounds crazy, so let me give you a visual:
The reason why I like to do it like this is that I personally have found it hard to convert people right from an article. This gives us more opportunities to build trust and follow up with our offer again and again.
*An important note on freebies*
Nowadays I create two freebies instead of one. The first one is to tempt for an opt-in, the second one(usually a video) is to further build trust and authority, as well as it gives us another opportunity to present our offer in a high converting manner.
The key to this entire model is to create GOOD freebies. A good freebie is something you would be willing to pay for.
Not some piece of crap that you threw together in an hour just to fulfill one of your freebie requirements.
You want to give genuinely valuable content. Sorry to break that to you, but it's 100% required.
Why this model is so important...
The reason why this model is important is that it can be used to do greater and better things. This model is something you can use when you progress into more advanced techniques like product creation.
My first major mistake I made was that I stopped building affiliate sites to early. I was starting to get bored with affiliate site creation, and decided to move onto product creation(thank you ADD!). What I should have done was continued with my affiliate site creation as I would probably have made a lot more than $12,961. I would probably be at the $20k/m mark right now if I would have continued.
But that's OK. I'd rather do what I want to instead of forcing myself to do something I don't.
My recommendation to you is that if you can, stick it out for as long as possible. It gets boring...trust me. But looking back, it would have been in my better interest to continue with my affiliate sites.
Once you have mastered Clickbank selling as an affiliate, it's time to move on to bigger and better things...
And that is product creation...
Product creation was responsible for nearly $9,000 in sales for me in January.
The reason product creation is so powerful is for three reasons:
- Affiliates build your assets(I'm not pro at this yet).
- You get all the money, allowing you to advertise in places that regular old affiliates cannot afford.
- You get to build your list of buyers
You also have to make sure people are interested in your topic.
I recommend that for your first product you mimic what is working for someone else. If you go and try and go after some never tested 'big' idea that you have, chances are it will either fail, or take forever to finish.
The very first product I created not only took me the longest, but it made me the least amount of money. I wanted to create a product where no one else had gone before.
What I didn't do was check and see if people wanted it.
So how do you know if people want your product?
Look at what is currently selling, and mimic!
There are certain niches that I consider 'super niches' with proven buyers that are prime candidates for new products:
- Dog training
- Internet Marketing
Dog training is a massive niche that has tons and tons of products created around it.
You know what will work? Creating yet another product on dog training!
The key is to put your own spin on it, position your product differently than the rest, and then get your offer in front of eyes of people before they see an offer for a similar product.
It doesn't matter if your product teaches the exact same thing as someone else's as long as you get in front of the customer's eyes first and make the sale.
So how do you put your own spin on it?
Using the dog training example, we could make our product about basic dog training. Usually these types of products are positioned as 'Learn dog training from a 30 year dog training'.
Instead I would position my product as 'Watch as this person who knows nothing about dogs, trains his dog to follow his every command in less than 30 minutes'
The spin is that the product is more newbie oriented than it would be from the guy who made the same product who has 30 years of experience.
Once your product is created, make your sales page and then tie it into your payment processor.
Then we get started on the fun part which is getting the customers.
Everyone says 'Make product, put on affiliate network, and start recruiting affiliates' as the best way to make money with this method.
I think this is complete and utter BS.
FORGET ABOUT RECRUITING AFFILIATES FOR YOUR FIRST PRODUCT
You will only set yourself back.
Who is going to want to promote no-name joe's $17 ebook when there are more well known offers out there with customer value in the $200+ range?
Think about it - which would you be more like to respond to:
'Hello, I got a $17 book that I am launching on how to train dogs. Will you promote it for me? I will give you 50% commission'Instead of focusing on getting affiliates at first, focus on driving your own sales to bring you income, creating complimentary products, all the while building your own personal list of customers which you can use to leverage affiliates later on.
'Hello, I am launching a $17 ebook which also has a $29.95/m continuity program as well as an additional $67 upsell all of which you get 50% commission on. Will you promote it for me? Oh, and did I mention that I'd be willing to send your offer to my list of 10,000 customers in return?'
OK so now instead of wasting your time looking for that one affiliate who *may* change your life, you decided to promote your product on your own and do it all on your own steam.
You now have yourself a list of 100 buyers.
Time for the easy part.
All you have to do now is listen.
Listen to the questions your customers are asking you.
Let's say you launched your $17 dog training ebook and say 40% of the questions asked were about 'How to get your dog ready for dog shows?'.
What does that tell you?
People want to know about training dogs for dog shows.
Do you think that if you created a product on dog training for dog shows and marketed it to your list of 100 customers that it would sell well?
You can also assume that people who aren't yet your customers, will probably also want to know how to train dogs for dog shows.
Listen to your customers, because they will tell you exactly what they want.
Quick sales to your current customer base isn't the only advantage of creating this complimentary product either.
You can simultaneously market your 2nd product to other people while you market your original ebook. Now you have 2 lead generation products which will double the rate at which you build your buyers list.
Not only that, but you have just increased the overall customer value of someone who comes to buy your $17 book, because you have a 2nd product to offer them during the upsell process and back end.
You are now looking more favorable to potential affiliates and JV partners.
I am currently at the stage of where it is time to start recruiting affiliates, and now that I have all my ducks in a row, I am 100% certain that my business is about to seriously explode.
But remember, this doesn't happen overnight. It takes time and consistent effort.
Looking back, I think I had somewhat of an advantage over the average joe because at 16 I started my own web hosting service and was very successful with it. Because of that, it gave me certain assurances.
I was assured to know that any work done online will eventually turn into rewards. I think a lot of new guys and gals fail at this because they don't have that reassurance.
They don't understand that there is a curve to when you put in your work to when you start seeing returns, and end give up after they don't see money after a measly week or two.
When I started this business 9 months ago, I went into this with a positive attitude.
Not 'if' I will make money...but when.
I fully believe that if your mind and attitude is right, absolutely nothing will stop you from being successful. Now obviously it won't happen overnight, but with the right mindset, a good work ethic, and some time, the money will start to pour in.
I also want to address upon the people who doubt. You know who you are.
- 'This will never work...' (aka I'm too lazy to try)
- 'It's too saturated now...'
- 'I don't have anything worthwhile to provide'
I will tell you right now that with anything that you try online, if you go into it with the attitude of 'this will never work', it won't work. You have already set yourself up to fail because your expectations are failure.
What happens when your mind is like this is that you will half-ass everything. You won't follow through with anything because you already believe it won't work. You won't create the right kind of content because you have already killed your will power only because you believe you will fail.
Too bad...no money for you. If you are reading this now and I am describing you, get over yourself and get to work.
Secondly, If I hear another person say 'It's too saturated now...', I am going to puke on myself. This is the most half baked excuse you could ever give.
NOTHING is too saturated online. There is always someone out there who will hustle harder and grind longer than the next. Your mental attitude will allow you to keep chugging along.
Personal fact: 90% of the money I have ever made online has all been done in so called 'oversaturated' niches.
The above is my entire business model in a nutshell. However, there is a lot of stuff that I left out that I couldn't really squeeze into a quick forum post.
So please, if you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reply and ask. I am always happy to help and provide my input.
I hope you all learned at least a little something from this today...
Thank you for reading!