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Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

What A Blogger Can Learn From Hillary Clinton

Monday, January 7th, 2008

About a month ago, I remember reading someone's opinion that Hillary Clinton was a sure bet for the next Presidency. Right now she's slipping behind in the polls. I've seen and read in a few different places that she's becoming emotional, even tearful, and vowing to struggle on.

There's a theory that nothing the Clintons do is unplanned. Everything is supposedly mapped out in incredible detail. If you take Mrs. Clinton's emotion at face value, it seems very normal. She wants so badly to win that even the thought of not being able to take America in a new direction is enough to bring tears to her eyes. But maybe there's more to this.

Yesterday I saw a clip on a news program about what Hillary said when confronted with a statement along the lines of, "What do you think about voters siding with this other guy?" Her response was, "That hurts my feelings." It was at that moment that I realized she was probably advised to play up her differences as a woman, when compared to a man. The old stereotypes say men are stoic, and women are emotional. So Hillary was probably coached into making it as obvious as possible that she's a leader of a different caliber, and since most people are looking for change, that's a big selling point.

But here's where things get interesting. Hillary has fallen behind (or it seems that way, or it is being made to seem that way), so she gets emotional. That garners her more attention, and the more attention you've got, the more likely you are to gain public favor. If you're unknown, nobody cares. If people are aware of you, they'll make up their minds one way or another. So to win an election, it's best to get as much attention as possible.

I once read about a memory test done with average folks who sat down and looked at some names of people they'd never heard of. Then they took a break of an hour or two. After the break, they were asked to fill out a questionnaire regarding celebrities. The form had a bunch of names, and boxes that were to be checked off if a name belonged to a famous person. Most people ended up checking off names that weren't famous at all, but did in fact appear on the original list of random names. The conclusion was that the people looked at the questionnaire, recognized a name, assumed they knew it for a reason, and marked it as famous. This could work in politics, as well as with marketing your blog.

They say no press is bad press. A blog was once involved in a lawsuit. The "negative" press sent major traffic to the site, and it ended up earning record revenue. My theory for how this applies to politics is this: When you're falling behind, you need to get back in the public eye through any means necessary. The more people who are aware of you and what you're about, the more votes you'll get. That's a potential reason for why Hillary is hitting the media with a display of emotion. She wants more attention, which could lead to a reversal in her recent slippage trend.

How does this help us bloggers? The idea is pretty simple. Get as much attention you can, for reasons that appear on the surface to be entirely natural. If you come across as wanting attention, or obviously trying to pull some media stunt, it won't work. Hillary's getting attention because her emotional behavior is interesting, but not unbelievable. To put your blog on the map, you've got to be just like a Presidential candidate, and get enough attention and publicity to win over your fair share of voters and visitors.

Make Money Online Selling Other People's Digital Goods With ClickBank

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007
ClickBank Affiliate Marketer

With the rise of the internet came the rise of digital merchandise — downloadable information that people are willing to pay good money for. People buy eBooks all the time. Looking for info on every conceivable subject, web surfers will every now and again find "the promised land," a web site that apparently has all the answers, distilled into a simple, downloadable eBook. Out pops the credit card, and money flies through cyberspace. You can get some of that money.

What is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a form of business. An affiliate will market someone else's products, for a fee. ClickBank is a well-known, established company that facilitates business deals between eBook buyers and sellers, and between affiliates and product creators. There are three ways you can interact with ClickBank:

  • Buy an eBook
  • List your eBook with them for sale
  • Become an affiliate marketer

The third option is what we will consider here.

How does it work?

Let's say Misinterpreted dot Org decides to write an eBook about some key ways to earn a living online. As the author and creator, I would sign up with ClickBank and pay them to list my eBook in their marketplace. I decide to set the price of my eBook at $97. A user just randomly happens to find my eBook, and buys it. I just made $97. I'd like to make more, but I'm not interested in advertising my eBook. I've got other stuff to take care of. So not many people show up. I don't make that much money. What can I do?

I set an affiliate commission at 50%. Joe Genius is already signed up with ClickBank as an affiliate marketer. He searches for new products to promote, and comes across my eBook. He thinks it's a worthy item, and believes he can convince others to buy it. So he creates a special "hoplink" that will direct web surfers to my product, and keep in mind that it was his link and no one else's.

He goes to work, and drives traffic through his hoplink to my special product page. Some surfers leave, but others decide to buy. Every time someone Joe Genius sent me buys my $97 eBook, he gets $48.50 (50%) credited to his ClickBank account. Joe Genius is truly good at his job, so he ends up sending tons of people who are eager to buy. Let's say he sends me X visitors a day, 10 of which buy my eBook. That means that $970 is collected every day. So Joe Genius and I each earn $485 a day. Better for me, since I wouldn't have had nearly as many buyers without my trusty affiliate. And it's great for Joe, since he's making money just by moving people around on the internet!

What's so great about Affiliate Marketing?

An affiliate marketer with ClickBank doesn't have to touch physical goods. There's no shipping, no wrapping, no boxes, no postage, and no insurance to worry about. All you have to do is send prime buying candidates through a hoplink to a page they're likely to buy from, and you earn a commission.

What's the catch?

There are a few details regarding ClickBank that you should be aware of. First, the % you earn depends on the product. It can range from a low number up to 75%. But what is also important is the price. If you successfully refer a $1000 sale, and you make 10%, that's $100. But if you refer a $20 sale, and make 75%, that's only $15. So even though percentages might be higher, your overall earnings could still be lower. Lower still if the product doesn't sell very well.

Once you earn your first commission, ClickBank will credit it to your account. However, you won't be able to touch any of that money until you refer enough sales so that at least 5 different credit cards were used to buy. This is to prevent people from simply registering so they can buy through their own hoplink and get a discount. If you were to buy my imaginary eBook through your own hoplink, you'd pay $97 up front, but get $48.50 credited to your ClickBank account. You just paid half price. ClickBank doesn't think this is a good thing, and so they've got the 5 credit card number rule to try and filter out the "bad seeds" from the good affiliate marketers.

Another issue to be taken into consideration is how much and when you get paid. When you earn commissions, ClickBank creates a "ball of money" in your name. When it comes time to get paid, you only get a portion, while the rest "rolls over" for some reason. Doesn't seem fair right? Well they've spelled out their reasons at their site. The logic that can allow someone to overlook this apparent injustice is that if you make enough sales, you'll still get paid a good wage, even with the rollover in effect.

Let's get going

So how do you get started? Once you sign up, you'll be able to create your first hoplink. You go to the marketplace and find a product that fits the theme of your site, or perhaps one you plan to build a site around.

Your hoplink will look like this:

http://jgenius.ebookauthor.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=TRACK

jgenius is where your ClickBank user name would go

ebookauthor represents the creator of the product you want to promote

hop.clickbank.net is a standard portion of the hoplink

?tid=TRACK is a tracking option you can choose to use (not a requirement)

TRACK can be anything you want, anything you want to keep in mind, like EBSELL or FIRST or 0108

At the Marketplace, each product listing will have a "create hoplink" link that opens up a small window where you input your user name and optional tracking code. Once you create a hoplink, you can do all kinds of stuff with it.

More on hoplinks

You can use it in an article you write. You can check to see if the product page had a link to a special affiliate section where you can get product banners and images. Then you could use those images on your site and link them to your hoplink. You could even create an AdWords campaign and use your hoplink as the destination URL that an ad-clicker would end up at.

When someone clicks your hoplink, they are taken to the product page, and a cookie is installed on their computer to keep track of the fact that you are the one deserving a commission. If someone clicked on your hoplink, arrived at the product page, left, then clicked on someone else's hoplink, and finally bought, that affiliate would get the commission, and you would get nothing. So it pays to have your hoplink clicked last, just before the purchase.

Where's the big money?

Some people are conceivably earning incredible amounts of money through affiliate marketing. They are very good at what they do. These people are rare. Many (maybe even most) affiliates are searching for the secrets to such incredible success. There is a lot to consider:

  • Who are your visitors
  • Are they interested in the product you chose?
  • Are they looking to buy when they encounter your hoplink?
  • Or are they only looking to research?
  • Did you write an article convincing them to buy?
  • Did you recommend the product?
  • Did you give an honest review?
  • Were you obviously trying to convince them to buy just so you could earn a referral?
  • Did they get the vibe you don't care about their success, and only about yours?
  • Or did you seem indifferent as to whether or not they buy, and yet helpful in your description of the product?
  • Are you getting enough traffic through your hoplinks?
  • Is it the right time of year to promote that product?
  • Is the economy strong enough that people have money to spend on that type of product?
  • Is the product page your hoplink goes to attractive, informative, and convincing?
  • Does it convince many people to buy?
  • Or is it ugly and amateurish? (i.e., choose another product to promote)
  • Can you make a profit through paying for ads with your hoplink in them, or ads that direct people to your landing page?
  • Can you spend $1 and make $5?
  • Or do you need to spend $90,000 to make only $10,000?
  • When you read that a group of "super affiliates" just made a million dollars in 2 months, how much was profit, and how much was used to cover advertising and other costs?

Finding true success

There are many more variables to consider. The more you work, study and learn, the better you'll do. The ideal scenario would be to find a system that produces more money than you put in, and work on expanding it. The more aspects of that system you can put on autopilot, the better. If you work hard enough, and have the luck to find something that works, you might end up living the dream, and earning a mostly passive income online through affiliate marketing with ClickBank.

Trick To Getting The Edge Online

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

I came across a post by Seth Godin, marking expert, called The 7% solution.

He presents the following problem: You're in business. Everyone else is lowering their prices. You must raise yours. What do you do to keep attracting customers, even with the highest prices around?

What could you do to make your blog or website worth visiting, even if you charge all your visitors a fee?

If you can answer that, you know how to achieve the edge online.

The problem Godin presents is a type of scenario that gets you thinking in a different way. When you solve it, you reveal answers to your own questions of, "How do I do better?" and "What should I do differently?" We often already know the answers to these questions, but it is difficult to find them within ourselves without phrasing things just right. Godin's way helps us do that.

Here's another question: If you knew you were going to die if your website didn't reach its goals this month, what would you do? How would you accomplish those goals if your life depended on it?

Sometimes we need to shift our perspective a little before solutions can jump out at us.

There are lots of other questions like these out there. I bet you can think of a few.