Monthly Archives: December 2011

Dec 30

Success Stories – Michael R Roberts

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

In late 2008 I got involved with Internet Marketing. I started out building affiliate sites and was semi-successful but then Mike Filsaime gave me a chance to own Butterfly Marketing. When I started going through his course it really struck me…

I need to start my OWN membership site

I knew the membership site had to be about something I was interested in and, although Internet Marketing was the obvious choice, at the time I didn’t know enough about the subject to begin teaching other people. Instead, I decided to focus on software. What tool or application could I create that would solve a problem faced by Internet Marketers?

Soon after I purchased Butterfly Marketing, I became a subscriber to MDC and I read an article about outsourcing. Next thing I know, I’m taking Mike’s advice and selling my truck to raise the capital to build my own product.

I went to work solving a problem. Eliminate the time-intensive process of Social Bookmarking and Directory Submissions by automating the work with software! Simple yet ingenious!

I’ll be honest; it wasn’t easy to accomplish this goal. It took me a long time and quite a bit of money but within just two months of launching my new membership software site I had received 10,000 opt-ins, many of whom upgraded to the paid level. My company now makes over $1,000 per day and I’m receiving a steady stream of new opt-ins. I’m also proud to say that my membership site has since become a recommended product in the annual “30 Day Challenge” (www.thirtydaychallenge.com)

Making the decision to sell my truck and devote all my time and energy into this project wasn’t easy to do but the rewards are amazing. I work only for myself and I only work the hours that are convenient for me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot of work, but any time I need a day off or want to go for a walk with the wife… I can!

And that’s my story! You can check out my site at www.traffic-bug.com.

You can also watch the“30 Day Challenge” video featuring my site at http://tinyurl.com/trafficbugvideo

I went from zero knowledge of Internet Marketing to having a $500,000+ online business in just one year. Mike Filsaime is a big reason for that so smack him in the arm and tell him thanks 🙂


Michael R Roberts
http://twitter.com/MichaelRRoberts

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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Dec 27

When Project Management Goes BAD

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

If it’s true that you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes then the most instructive project I’ve ever worked on has to be Instant Affiliate Website. That doesn’t mean that IAW itself is a failure – far from it – but the journey from concept to completion was, shall we say, a little bumpy.

I originally conceived IAW in 2005 and the project eventually launched in 2008. When you consider that, in the past, I’ve had projects go from idea to launch in under two weeks you’ll realize that I consider three years to be an extremely protracted development period. So allow me to take you on a tour of the main culprits, along with the systems and procedures that I’ve since put into place to ensure these problems don’t reoccur.

1) Too Many Ideas
I originally wanted too many features, too many bells and whistles, too many moving parts. What began as a delightfully simple concept became an overcomplicated beast.

The 80/20 rule applies perfectly to the development of features. 80% of your users are going to use 20% of the features, whereas the other 20% of users are going to keep pushing for more features that nobody else needs or wants. Simplicity is the key when developing a project; it allows for rapid development and is the fastest to way to get you to the market. Rather than trying to dream up a feature for every possible user, let the users themselves tell you what’s important once it’s out there for them to use and experiment with. If someone recommends an addition that is a logical feature, then add it. When it only sounds cool and there’s just one user asking for it, don’t waste your time.

2) Fuzzy Thinking
Initially the coding of the project was developed by a programmer I hired through ScriptLance. That didn’t work out so I hired someone else; they got 90% of the way there and then I realized that it just wasn’t what I wanted and I scrapped it.

One of the key things in keeping a project under control and on schedule is to not fly by the seat of your pants. You don’t want to be micro-managing a project daily by instant messenger and e-mail, back and forth, changing things and adding new ideas along the way. Before you hire anyone, take an extra two or three weeks to plan out and realize your idea on paper. Keep it simple, focus on clearly defining the key features and even take the time to design the navigation of your software or website up front. Use mind maps and create mock-ups of everything.

If you get this right at the beginning then you can basically hand everything over to the coders and leave them to get on with it. If you’re going to fly by the seat of your pants and give daily medicine to your programmers, the project will become messy and wasteful, all of which carries a cost both in time and money.

3) Practically Perfect
Instant Affiliate Website is a project that I’ve spent a lot of time working on and I really wanted to make sure I had EVERYTHING right before I let anyone get their hands on it. The launch date kept being pushed back, and back, and back…

The most important thing in marketing – and this is a great lesson that I want everybody to learn – is that, 99% of the time, the first to the market wins. First mover’s advantage is crucial and is lost if you’re waiting to be perfect and you let somebody else get there first. I believe strongly in moving projects out while they’re still in beta. TweetGlide, which at the time of writing has only been available to the market for a couple of days could, if I’m honest, probably use another 60 days of polishing. But then it STILL wouldn’t be perfect and I’d have missed out on two months of valuable user feedback. No amount of personal testing can predict the way that users out in the real world will interact with the software.

4) Wanted Needed: Project Manager
I was involved with most aspects of the development of Instant Affiliate Website. This wouldn’t have been a problem if I wasn’t already overseeing quite a number of other projects.

I’ve since hired a project manager to oversee the people working directly on our developing projects. I probably waited a little bit too long to hire someone for this role but in some ways this is better than if I’d removed myself from this role too early. It probably isn’t necessary to hire someone specifically for the role of Project Manager until you have over ten employees. Once you’re running multiple projects and the time needed to manage them is having a negative impact on other areas of your business, that’s a pretty good point to consider hiring a project manager.

Learning from your mistakes is always a useful lesson; learning from other people’s mistakes even more so. Looking back, it isn’t difficult to pinpoint where things went wrong with this particular project and, hopefully, this article will allow you to avoid falling into the same traps.

Project Management Essentials

Basecamp
http://basecamphq.com

Basecamp is an online project management system that allows every idea that you have to be documented, given a timeline and given a priority. It also allows you set “To Do” lists, assign them to different individuals working on the project, hold people accountable for the work they do, and measure their success. Simply put, if you’re not using project management software like Basecamp you’re not going to be able to communicate well.

Basecamp was developed by 37signals. You can learn about other related software that they provide at http://37signals.com.

Getting Real
http://gettingreal.37signals.com

Another resource from 37Signals, this book can be purchased in paperback or read online. It’s a recommended read for anyone who wants to learn how to keep their project management simple and controlled.

CodeIgniter
http://codeigniter.com

CodeIgniter is an open source toolkit for coders working with PHP. When developing a new project I highly recommend finding a programmer who is comfortable using this web application as the framework for your software. Not only is it highly reliable but if things don’t work out with the coder that you’ve hired, you can hire someone else who uses CodeIgniter to take over where they left off and they’re not going to tell you, “Oh, I think we should rewrite this from scratch because the other guy was a flake.” This is a huge deal. It means you’re covered just in case something goes wrong during the development process.

Balsamiq Mockups
http://www.balsamiq.com/products/mockups

A virtual whiteboard is the best way I can think of to describe this. Balsamiq Mockups is a software application that allows you to sketch out your project and then tweak it until you have a pretty good representation of your idea. Your mockup is then in a perfect format to give to your development team to use as a blueprint for your project. You can watch a video demonstration of the software at the above web address.

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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Dec 23

State-of-the-Article: Part Four The Final Five

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Welcome to part four of State of the Article. In my last article we talked about landing pages and their purpose. There are five basic types of landing pages that you can build: AdSense, Opt-in, Direct, Blog and SEO. Each of these types of website has a specific purpose for monetization and a different format; in this issue, we’ll take a closer look at each of these types of pages. I’ll share my tips for success on each format as well as when each type should be used, depending on your needs. Finally, we’ll go over a few tips for setting up your opt-in form for your newsletter.

The Adsense Site

The key to building a profitable AdSense site is to find a high-paying AdSense niche. There are several that are consistently good performers including:

  • Financial niches – FICO scores, loans, mortgages, bankruptcy, credit cards, payday loans, taxes, debt consolidation.
  • Investment niches – FOREX, stock quotes, estate planning, Internet-related, FOREX, stock quotes, estate planning.
  • Internet-related niches – domain names, web hosting, anti-spam, adware and spyware programs, shopping carts, web design and development, high speed, DSL, broadband, cable Internet, wireless.
  • Travel niches – hotels, airfares, vacation packages, vacation rentals, timeshares, cruises.
  • Cars niches – trucks, sports cars, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs.
  • Telephone, cable and satellite niches – cell phones, VOIP, toll-free number, cheap long distance, ring tones.
  • Health and fitness niches – diabetes, heart disease, weight loss, diets and dieting, body building, anti-aging, nutrition, supplements.

Naturally, Adsense sites need to feature prominent ad-block placements, as you can see in the example below. If you build an AdSense site you can write articles that promote affiliate products but your real money is going to come from AdSense clicks. Each site of this type should include 10 to 20 pages of solid content. Use articles, reviews and product descriptions to fill out your pages.

An AdSense site is a good choice when you’re chosen niche has high AdSense payouts (such as those mentioned above). You can outsource the articles, use PLR content or, if you have the experience, write the material yourself. You may also consider placing AdSense on some of the other types of site to make some extra money. Just be sure that the AdSense ads aren’t distracting from the main purpose of that site.

State of the Article

The Opt-In Site

The main purpose of the opt-in site is to get the visitor to sign up to your newsletter or mailing list. That being said, you need to build
trust quickly and show that you can deliver value. Opt-in sites should have a strong headline with a clear incentive for signing up. The incentive (a free report, video, teleconference, e-course, etc) should be something that the visitor would be willing to pay for. The headline should be backed up by a sub-headline that emphasizes the main benefit of opting into the list.

Besides your strong headline and incentive, the Opt-In site should contain an opt-in box where the visitor can sign up to receive more information. The opt-in box should only ask visitors for their e-mail address and name – nothing else. The more you ask for, the lower your conversions will be. Keep it simple!

A privacy policy is necessary for an opt-in site (and really any other site online these days) and you should link to this directly from your opt-in page.

Your opt-in site doesn’t need to contain a full long-form sales letter. Instead it should have bullet points that highlight the advantages of subscribing. You should also show proof of your claims through screen shots and testimonials.

The tone of your opt-in site should be handled very carefully. You should keep the exclamation points to a minimum (they imply “scam” if they are used too much) and you should be polite but not too “chummy”.

As you’ll see in the following site descriptions, you should really have an opt-in box on ALL your sites, no matter what type they are. Choose an opt-in site specifically if you have easy access to content that you can use for a newsletter. PLR content that has been sitting on your hard drive is a great resource for this. You can also benefit from an opt-in site if there are a decent variety of products available that you can promote to your list either directly or as an affiliate. If you can find at least three good Clickbank products in your niche, then building a list through an Opt-In site is the way to go!

State of the Article

The Direct Sales Site (Comparison Site)

A direct sales site is designed to sell a product and there are many variations. For the purposes of this strategy, we’re going to focus on the comparison site. As the name suggests, the comparison site compares two to three different products and is often more effective than just offering one product. People have a hard time believing that one product can solve all their problems so comparisons are important because they lend credibility to your site.

The site should include all the products on one page. Arrange them in descending order of their Clickbank Gravity score starting with the highest gravity first, and so on.

The secret to an effective comparison are to keep it real and keep it short. Your site visitors will most likely skim the text on the site so make good use of bullet points and short sentences. Avoid hype entirely and focus on including proof of your review or your claims about the products. Include graphics of the products next to your short, bulleted list of benefits.

At the top of each product review use a strong headline to highlight the main benefit for each individual product. If a person is skimming through the site they should be able to get the basic gist of each product from the headlines alone. Make your “call to action” links very visible and use phrases like “Click Here to get started” or “Click Here to learn more.”

Even though this is a comparison site, go ahead and use an opt-in box as well. Put it below the fold so it doesn’t detract from your reviews. Your #1 goal is to get your visitor to buy one of the products but, if they go through all the product reviews and don’t buy, you can still capture their information for further marketing. You’ll need to include links from your comparison site pages to your privacy policy and disclosure page.

A direct sales site is a good choice when your research turns up multiple Clickbank products with good gravity and a high number of referred sales, but you don’t enough content options to build an SEO site. Try creating a direct sales site for each product and also a comparison site that reviews several products. Track your results to find out which approach works best for you.

State of the Article

The Blog Site

Blogs are a unique form of website because they rely on the social media interaction between you and the audience. You should choose a niche that people are passionate about so enthusiasts will want to participate in your site, encouraging it to grow. You can use a blog site to take advantage of the instant traffic possibilities from Web 2.0 and social networking.

Blogs are all about content, so be prepared to write one post a day for at least a few weeks to get some good traffic coming to your site. When you create your blog you should always use WordPress and your own domain. Avoid free blogging sites because they won’t give you complete control over your website content. At the end of it all, there’s nothing to stop them from banning your account and seizing all of your content.

Blogs work well with an opt-in box and this should be prominently displayed above the fold. WordPress has many different blog templates available, many of which have space for opt-in boxes automatically worked into the design. If you use an autoresponder service like Aweber you can set up a “blog broadcast” to your list which will send out a message automatically each time you create a new blog post.

Having a busy design isn’t a problem with a blog. There are categories, a tag cloud, advertisements and posts in most blog layouts. This way there is something for everyone to read and it makes your site “sticky”. People will stay to read your content, bookmark it, share it, and hopefully return again in the neat future. One of the best arguments for blogs is their versatility. You can use AdSense, affiliate marketing links or promote your own products.

State of the Article

The SEO Site

SEO sites are built to attract natural traffic from the search engines, based on their content, and they are monetized in a variety of different ways (Adsense, affiliate products, direct sales, etc). As with the previous site examples, you can make the most of your SEO Site by including an opt-in box with a good incentive.

On an SEO Site, your internal links should contain your specific keywords and the articles on each page should be related to those keywords. Once your content is up you should start building incoming links from other sites that include those same keywords.
Remind people to come back and visit the site by including a “Bookmark Us” link toward to top of the page. If they choose to add your sites to their favorites in their browser, there is a much greater chance that they’ll return. You can also encourage them to spread the word about your site with a “Tell a Friend” script.

This type of site needs lots and lots of articles. You should start with at least 10 to 20 articles and at least that many each and every month. Since there is a lot of content involved, this site is perfect if you really love the topic and want to make a long term commitment to the niche. This type of site also works well if, in the long-term, you want to build an authority site.

State of the Article

Building a List

The common factor with all these different kinds of site is the opt-in box that will allow you to build a list. It can take seven or more advertising messages before people will be moved to make a purchase. By continuing to market to them AFTER they’ve left your site, you will increase your conversion rate.

State of the ArticleYou’ll need an autoresponder service to build your list and, in my opinion, Aweber.com is your best choice. Once you’ve signed up and logged into your account you’re ready to build your first list. Your first order of business, after selecting the name for your list, is to customize the verified opt-in message. You can always use the Aweber default message but it’s a better idea to personalize it a little bit with your site or company name. Add the subscriber’s first name by clicking “personalize” and adding {firstname}.

The next step is making a Web Form that you will use on your website to encourage people to opt in. Make sure to mention the incentive and collect their name and e-mail address. You can deliver the incentive by including a link in your first automatic message.

When you create your first newsletter it’s a good idea to remind people that they agreed to sign up to this list in the first place. You can use a text header before the body of your message to remind them. Even though Aweber includes an unsubscribe link at the bottom of each e-mail, it’s still a good measure to include the header. You can use something like this:

To exclude your address from all future mailings click the link at the end of this email. Feel free to send your friends to the site where you signed up for this newsletter and received your free ebook: http://www.your url.com

This header reminds people why they signed up for the newsletter, gives them a way to unsubscribe if they want, and also encourages them to refer their friends to your site. Pretty clever, huh?

Your first newsletter should be short and simple. Include the download link for your freebie report or eBook, add a link to an article on your website, but don’t bog them down with content. After that, pre-load the autoresponder with articles, PLR content, pitches for other products or a little of each.

We’re really just skimming the surface of how to build a list. However, with these tips, you can get a head start on building an opt-in list no matter what type of site you are creating.
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By Anik Singal
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Anik Singal is the Founder and CEO of Affiliate Classroom, Inc. and Lurn, Inc. Anik began as an Internet marketer and affiliate in 2001. In 2008, Anik Singal was among the top three finalists in Business Week’s Top 25 Best Young Entrepreneurs in the U.S.

Dec 20

Just Show Up

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen

How can it be that some have observed offline seminar attendance declining in recent times? Is it really possible that people in the Internet Marketing world have become even lazier?

This seems like a real stretch given the already impressive laziness attributed to the average person who claims to want an online business, but what else am I to think? Virtually every Internet Marketing professional offers the same universal advice:

  1. Build a list of opt-in prospects.
  2. Network via live marketing events.

Still, only a small fraction of individuals involved with Internet Marketing show up at live events. Offline seminars have a proven track record of creating successful marketers, yet most people just won’t get involved.

What are some possible reasons for this? Maybe with the economy in a downturn people have less to spend. As a product, seminar tickets don’t promise specific results, so it’s possible this route just doesn’t seem plausible to many new marketers at present. Another possibility is the fact that there are plenty of loudmouths online who tell anyone who’ll listen how worthless seminars are. “Nothing but a place for gurus to pitch their high-priced coaching” is the most popular complaint. Ironically few, if any, of these naysayers have ever been to an offline event! Unfortunately their sermons still have the desired effect, and many people close their minds to the possibility of hitting an event after hearing this kind of negativity.

Regardless of why people avoid offline conferences, the fact remains it’s the people who do attend that end up meeting their goals of success.

While there’s no solid data on the number of people currently interested in making money online, estimates range between 1.5 and 3 million Internet users, of which perhaps 10,000 have ever attended an offline marketing seminar. This group of attendees will collectively have more success than the rest put together.

What’s The Secret?
What is it that’s so great about these offline events? How can they take a total beginner and place him or her on the path to great success?

First of all there’s the obvious benefit of getting to learn in person. Sure, you can absorb a lot of knowledge through digital info-products or teleconferences, but there’s simply no substitute for personal, hands-on instruction. There’s a legitimate reason schools and universities teach people in a physical classroom – it works!

The people presenting the lectures at these events are all experts in their field. Despite what some of the more negative forum posters have to say on the matter, you don’t need to buy anything to tap into the knowledge of these speakers. It’s true that each presenter will offer an ongoing coaching program at the end of the lecture, but if you think it over you’ll realize that in order to sell a $3,000 program these people have to totally amaze you with their hour tutorial. They have to put their BEST information and strategies into the presentation every attendee gets to sit through. Imagine the kind of killer notes you could collect during a small event with five or six great speakers.

People can say these seminars are all pitch fests, but this is simply not the case. I’ve been to over fifty events and only ever purchased two courses. The packages offered by the speakers are nearly always worth the money but you don’t have to invest in them to benefit in a big way. You can get an amazing amount of value and knowledge by just showing up and paying attention.

Just Show Up
Beyond the information you’ll get access to, networking is another huge reason to get to an offline event as soon as possible. People are attracted to the idea of working from home because they think this means never having to deal with another human being but this just isn’t how business works. Even Internet Marketing is an industry built on personal contact and interaction. Shaking hands and meeting people who can help you build your business is one of the smartest things you can do to knock years off your learning curve.

Whether you’re already successful or not, just by showing up to a seminar you’ve pre-qualified yourself as a serious player. People who are making money will reach out and connect with you, and often be happy to give you advice. I’ve talked to people about their business for hours at these seminars, even if they’ve never made a dollar online before. Many of the people you meet at events will also be glad to stay in touch with you thereafter. If I get an email from someone who says they met me at a seminar I’m much more likely to support their product launch than if they were contacting me completely out of the blue.

If you’re nervous about attending, feel shy in crowds, etc. it doesn’t matter. You should know there will be many other people who feel exactly the same way. You could meet people who aren’t successful now but who end up wildly profitable a few years down the road. You’ll be in a great position because you met and befriended them at the start of their career.

Keith Wellman is a great example of this. Keith went to his first seminar after three years of trying unsuccessfully to earn money online. He couldn’t afford to stay in the hotel where the seminar was being held and he even brought his own food along in case he ran out of cash. Five years later he’s putting on events of his own and running a 7-figure business, and he’ll tell you point blank his success is a direct result of that first offline seminar.

The big question to ask yourself is why can’t you benefit in the same way from just showing up? The answer, of course, is that you can and you will if you’ll just commit to finding an event that feels good to you, buying your ticket, and showing up.

It sounds cliché but the reality is that it’s not what you know that puts money in the bank, it’s who you know. Offline marketing conferences are the way to meet professionals who can play a big part in helping you get your business off the ground. Don’t believe me? Put what I’ve said here to the test. Just show up at an event, walk up to any of the speakers or other attendees, and strike up a conversation. You’ll probably be blown away by what happens next.

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By Gary Ambrose
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This article was was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking <A HREF=”http://the7figuresecrets.com/” target=”_blank”>here</A>.

Gary Ambrose is a successful web designer, programmer, and Internet Marketer based in Orlando, Florida. To learn more from Gary and to obtain a FREE gift, please visit <A HREF=”http://www.garytheace.com/” target=”_blank”>www.garytheace.com/</A>

Dec 16

Business and Marketing Book Reviews: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Blink
by Malcolm Gladwell
Published by Back Bay Books

Content Suitable For:
Novice Marketer
Experienced Marketer
Online Marketing
Offline Marketing
Inspiration 
Business Management 

Blink was published in 2005 by writer and pop sociologist, Malcolm Gladwell, and very quickly hit the bestseller list. Also available in audio format, this title is highly entertaining and provides a fantastic insight into the utility of human intuition.

Using a number of interesting examples and a wealth of scientific data, Blink looks at how we make accurate split-second decisions and how our minds can process complex scenarios almost instantly. Gladwell uses the term “adaptive unconscious” to handle what many other writers and teachers have called the intuition, or even the sixth-sense. The author builds a rock-solid case, demonstrating our mind’s incredible ability to assess a situation and compel us into the correct response without the need for conscious deliberation.

Blink is not a book about mystic concepts or new age ideas. Gladwell sticks to clear examples from the real world and verifiable research findings, and he does a great job of connecting to the reader through common experiences we’ve all had at one time or another. I believe he misses a few key aspects of intuition, and this is probably because he wanted to keep the content practical, grounded, and free from excess speculation. Despite a few missing aspects that I believe are critical to a complete discussion of spontaneous perception, I’m certain readers will benefit from the illustrations and explanations provided.

Among the more remarkable points is the evidence supporting the general lack of awareness we all suffer from. Professional tennis players will explain how they hit the ball, yet video footage of these athletes in action reveals entirely different tactics. Women involved in speed dating games will say they prefer one type of man, but show interest in an altogether different personality. The gap between how we live and how we say we live is often significant. Numerous examples of this nature suggest that a first step toward understanding and mastering ourselves may simply be paying more attention!

The tagline reads “The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking”, and that’s a perfect summary of what this material relates. As entrepreneurs, we can benefit tremendously from a deeper understanding of our instincts, and from learning to trust our initial, powerful inclinations. Anyone who wants to succeed in business should read or listen to this book.

The only major flaw in Blink is the author’s failure to comprehensively outline a process for enhancing one’s intuitive capability. A few simple tips are provided but the book would have been much more effective had greater focus been applied to the practical aspects of how to leverage one’s adaptive unconscious. You’ll have to fill in these gaps for yourself, and perhaps that’s appropriate given the subject matter.

Rating: 4 stars.

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By Aaron Whiston
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Dec 13

Opinions are Free

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

You can couple the title with “Facts are sacred . . .” or “Truth prevails where . . .” whichever you prefer. Either way, everyone should be free to share their opinion, as long as they don’t object to having their ideas challenged and they have the humility to be willing to change their position in the face of a reasonable argument.

Just for fun, try posting the above paragraph on any popular internet marketing forum and enjoy the flurry of derisory posts that quickly follow.

Aside from the occasional, well-reasoned, response, the usual IM forum responses to points of view anywhere outside the norm are ridicule, insults and intolerance. Depending on your personality type, this makes IM forums annoying, frustrating, or vast amounts of fun.

I was a regular forum user for the first few years of my online career (until I realised it was a poor substitute for doing actual work). I enjoyed the banter and the debates, and it proved to be a good way to network and make contacts. It taught me to pay respectful attention to – and learn from – other successful marketers. It also taught me not to be afraid to express unpopular opinions, and not to ignore my own intuition.

This is a tricky balancing act for online entrepreneurs. On the one hand, you don’t want to “reinvent the wheel” and try to learn everything through trial and error; following the example of the marketers who have already established their skills is a smart thing to do. However, by definition, entrepreneurs are never going to enjoy a career that purely involves following someone else. Original thinking and testing new strategies, when kept in proper proportion, is an important part of the journey and without this spirit no-one would ever make new discoveries.

As is my want, the above is just a pre-amble to a story. It’s of the “true” variety and it always gives me reason to chuckle but it’s a story I’ve never told publicly. This is partly because it sounds like shameless name-dropping with a side-order of self-aggrandizing. Okay, I’ll be honest. I’ll come up with some learned life lesson to give the article a sense of profundity but mostly I just want to tell a story. Just go with me on this one.

Dare To Be Different

So I stumble across a website with an odd title and a quirky twist on the advertising exchange genre. It’s a novel idea and I register as a free member so I can poke around a bit. The early signs look good so I email the owner a couple of questions, not really expecting a reply. I’ve been online long enough to know that emails to the owner of an Internet Marketing website rarely receive a response. In fact it’s possible to accurately calculate the odds of a reply as it’s usually inversely proportional to the success and celebrity of the recipient.

To my surprise I received a detailed and friendly response from the owner. We exchanged a couple more emails and he was kind enough to reveal the strategy behind the website and how he’d used it to turn a tidy profit.

An imaginative website with a pleasant, intelligent webmaster? Naturally I rushed to post the details at my favourite forum. The forum regulars were overjoyed at my discovery and couldn’t wait to give me a digital slap on the back for making such an interesting and profitable discovery.

No, wait, that’s not quite right. Let me try that again.

An imaginative website with a pleasant, intelligent webmaster? Naturally I rushed to post the details at my favourite forum. The forum regulars turned their nose up at my recommendation, rubbished the concept, picked holes in the strategy and suggested that the owner was, shall we say, less than honest.

Yes, I’m sure you saw that coming. Hindsight is easy, right?

I was totally nonplussed. They made completely inaccurate assumptions about how the program worked. The webmaster was unknown to them, yet they were quick to assign nefarious motives. The forum thread was awash with cynicism. Bear in mind that these forum posts were not solely from negative newbies, struggling to make a dollar. Many of the comments were from experienced online marketers, making a full-time living online; people whom I respected and whose advice I rarely failed to heed. A seriously insecure person might well have soaked up this criticism and completely changed their view of the website and webmaster that had impressed them.

I, on the other hand, had plenty of confidence to call upon (some might have mistaken it for arrogant and stubborn pedantry, but those people are just wrong) and I wasted no time arguing my corner. In previous debates, I could usually rely on at least one or two people sharing my point of view, and supporting and adding to my arguments. But, for the first time, I found myself a lone voice. A position that likely only served to create the appearance of desperation. I unwisely persisted, severely annoying several people in the process. I realised that I had pressed too far when I reached the point where accusations were being made that I had a financial stake in the project. At this point, I cut my losses and abandoned the argument.

I debated inwardly for some time about whether persisting in my view was arrogance or simply a case of being more intelligent than everyone else. I reached the conclusion that either answer was… well… arrogant. I continued to enjoy using the program for some time but, if I’m honest, I didn’t promote it as aggressively as I had originally intended. I couldn’t subscribe to their point of view but I couldn’t bring myself to totally dismiss the opinions of the people from whom I’d learned so much.

I had a sense that this was all part of the learning curve but I still struggled to resolve the inner conflict. A complete novice is ill-equipped to contradict experienced marketers but, at some point, the novice becomes sufficiently seasoned and is able to use that solid foundation of received knowledge to start building an online business in their OWN way. As I already implied, an entrepreneur wants to create something that, to at least some degree, is unique to them.

Had I reached that point? That was the question I struggled to answer. If I was giving myself too much credit and placing too much stock in my own opinions, then I was treading a foolish and risky path. Equally concerning was the possibility that I was right to be confident in my judgement and that too much hesitancy was restricting me.

If my life was a Michael Mann film then this would be the point where I’d be sat by the window brooding while the rain lashed at the pane. The camera would cut to a wide shot from outside the window, the water running down the glass, turning my image into a set of fragmented, blurry, shapes, thus symbolising my tortured, splintered soul. That would be pretty cool.

Alternatively, if you prefer, a Quentin Tarantino movie would encapsulate this moment in an orgy of bloody violence and gratuitous cursing. Followed by an hour of conversation about why Superman is unique among comic book superheroes . . .

It’s Only Words

In the long run, I received an answer to my question. The maligned webmaster created a string of successful sites and went on to become one of the most recognizable names in Internet Marketing. Most of the people that had scoffed at my recommendation became his affiliates and wrote gushing, promotional emails to their lists.

Saying “I Told You So” is juvenile. It might have been satisfying to dredge up an old forum thread and embarrass one or two people, but it would be a hollow victory. Hollow because, despite this disagreement, I continued to enjoy learning from the experience and knowledge of these veteran marketers.

The nettle I had failed to grasp during my indulgent self-analysis was that opinions are just . . . opinions. The basis for my recommendation was a handful of friendly emails and some research into the website. Just because my opinion was eventually proved to be correct on this occasion, didn’t make it more valid than anyone else’s point of view. I had a little more data from which to make a judgement, but hard evidence of the webmaster’s marketing nous would only be confirmed over the next few months and years.

If I can show extensive data from an exhaustive split-test, demonstrating that bananas are better than apples . . . that’s one thing. But opinions will never carry the same weight. As soon as it was evident that my recommendation wasn’t welcome, I should have left it at that. I could have my opinion and they could have theirs, and it didn’t have to be a big deal. I could still use and promote this new website with a reasonable amount of caution and my opinion would eventually have been proved to be correct or incorrect. At which point I would take action accordingly.

Whether they are yours or that of someone else, opinions are free. Place too much importance on them however, and they can become very expensive. They can cost you your confidence, other people’s respect, and the opportunity to grow as an entrepreneur. They are also great at wasting valuable time.

Is that assessment profound enough to justify the telling of the tale? It’s okay to say yes or no; it’s just your opinion. Oh, and just in case you were wondering, the website in the story was called Don’t Touch My Ads and the webmaster was called Mike Filsaime. I hear he went on to do pretty well for himself.

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By David Congreave
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

David Congreave is a thirty-two year old writer and editor who lives and works in Leeds, in the UK. To read more of his views on Internet Marketing and Narcolepsy, you can browse his blog at www.DavidCongreave.com.

Dec 09

Preferred Partner Program

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Using a membership site to deliver your product – whether it’s an eBook, a video series, a traffic exchange, or anything else – provides you with plenty of website real estate to offer Internet Marketers when arranging joint venture promotions. No doubt about it, one of the core elements of Launch Formula Marketing (LFM) is partnering with other Internet Marketers to promote each other’s products.

So are their any drawbacks to this flexible approach? Just the one. Something that is common to 99.99% of online marketing strategies. Finding joint venture partners takes time and effort.

You might not see this as a problem. After all, most things that are worthwhile require some kind of investment. As we’ve previously discussed, when it comes to finding joint venture partners to promote your product in exchange for a permanent advert on your membership site, you won’t find a shortage of willing participants.

But there’s a reason why LFM become the cornerstone of my online success. Because even the time and effort required to find joint venture partners can be reduced and, eventually, eliminated completely. The technique I’m about to reveal will show you how to engineer a situation where marketers actively seek YOU out, and approach YOU with a joint venture request.

Not only does this take most of the effort out of the exchange, it also puts you in a much more powerful position. Now YOU get to call the shots!

Phase One: Channelling Traffic
I described this in more detail in the previous article but the gist is to contact other marketers and invite them to take part in some kind of advertising exchange. There are lots of variations of how you might set this up but, for the most part, you offer to place a permanent banner or button on one of your membership pages (login page, thank you page, members homepage, logout page, etc), advertising their website and, in exchange, they agree to send one or two emails to their mailing list promoting yours.

Phase Two: Name Dropping
Once you have a few of these joint venture arrangements in place, you can start using this fact to encourage more people to say yes to your joint venture invitation. Use a little subtlety to maximise the effect. For example:

“I’ve already made similar agreements with Marketer Joe and Guru Pete so you’ll be in expert company. In fact I think you’ll feel pretty stupid if you don’t join in as well!” Wrong
“If you want to see how this will work in practice, you can see a couple of examples on my login page (LINK) that I’ve created for Marketer Joe and Guru Pete. If you’re agreeable to this exchange, I’ll be placing your advert permanently on my “thank you” page so it will be seen by every single one of my customers.” Right

Of course, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you not to lie and pretend you have an agreement with a high profile marketer that you’ve never even spoken to. When you have a notable name onboard, only THEN can you use it as social proof.

Phase Three: Autoresponder Exchange
Once you have a customer base to call upon, you can start throwing autoresponder exchanges into the mix. As the name suggests, this means your joint venture partner places a promotional email for your product into their autoresponder. You need to be selective if you’re going to offer the same in return otherwise you can lose the trust of your subscribers. Don’t forget, however, that the exchange doesn’t need to be symmetrical. There’s nothing to stop you from offering a banner on your login page in exchange for an email in their autoresponder.

Phase Four: Preferred Partner Program
Once you have a regular flow of traffic, you’re ready for the final phase that will move you from seeking JV partners, to having them seek you. Initially this is going to sound counter-intuitive but reserve judgement until you’ve read this entire section.

You’re going to establish a “Preferred Partner Program” (although you can call it anything you like). This is a list of joint venture partners that have permission to offer their customers preferential rates on your services. This could be a discount, a free trial period, a specific bonus, anything you like as long it has a specific value and only your Preferred Partners can offer it.

Your partners will promote this preferential rate through their members area, on their thank you page, through an autoresponder email, however you want to arrange it. The upshot is that all of their current and future customers will receive a promotion for your product and an incentive to join or purchase.

So far, this is no different to any of the previous phases. The key distinction is that, on your homepage, you place a clearly visible notice informing your visitors that you operate a Preferred Partner Pricing System and that customers of these Partners are entitled to a discount. Beneath the notice you have a link to a page that lists all of your partners, including a direct link to each participating website. Yes, I know it sounds crazy to provide your visitors with a reason to leave your website and the opportunity to do. Like I said, reserve judgement for the moment.

Visitors that read this notice on your homepage and click on the link will usually do one of the following:

A) Find a Preferred Partner on the list with which they are already a member and then take a trip to that website to find the special discounted link for your product.

B) Visit one of the Preferred Partners and join their website so they can find the special discounted link for your product.

C) Visit one of the Preferred Partners but never return to your website.

In scenarios A and B, after a short delay, you still obtain a customer. Scenario C might be seen as a problem but if someone isn’t interested enough in your product to be bothered to return, even with the prospect of a discount, then it’s unlikely they were going to become a happy customer at this time anyway. In practice, this happens far less than you might imagine and any loss in this area is MORE than made up for by the combined promotional power of your Preferred Partners, all merrily advertising your product.

Now here’s the clincher. Underneath the notice about the Preferred Partner Pricing System, you have another notice that says something to the effect of, “If you are a program owner and wish to be part of our Preferred Partner Pricing System please click here for details.” This link goes to a page with your contact details (or better yet, a contact form) and warmly invites program owners to take part in this mutual exchange.

Can you see the power of this? A program owner comes to your site (maybe because one of your joint venture partners sent them a promotion about your product) and they see your list of Preferred Partners enjoying promotion directly from your homepage. Maybe some of the websites on this list are their competitors. This is superb bait for persuading marketers to contact YOU to become a joint venture partner and this has a snowball effect. The more new Partners you obtain, the more people out there promoting your product; the more visitors and customers you receive, the more marketers will hear about your joint venture operation and will contact you to get involved.

On one website where I used this system, I obtained over SIXTY Preferred Partners, and about two-thirds of those were program owners who contacted ME to ask if they could take part! You’re now free to pass judgement on this strategy. How does the idea of having 60+ joint venture partners promoting your product on a long-term basis sound?

And the icing on the cake is that though you may be sending them traffic and getting less for your product (through the discount) those preferred partners will be sending you far more traffic and new customers than you will be sending them. There is also no reason not to make those links on your Preferred Partner page your affiliate links for those partner sites, further increasing your bottom line.

Potential Preferred Partners will get right away that you will be sending them buyers who want to buy your product through their affiliate link. That gives you a whole lot of leverage in what you ask for in return.

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By Robert Puddy
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Introducing LFMpire Builders by Robert Puddy: A step-by-step, 52-week training program for making money online using my Login Frequency Marketing strategy. Can you set aside just 1-3 hours every week to complete one simple assignment? If yes . . . fill out the form here: www.lfmpirebuilders.com/signup.php

Dec 09

MDC Monthly Preview – January 2012

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

What’s inside the January 2012 issue of MDC Monthly?

Mobile Marketing – It’s Time

  • The types of mobile marketing on which you should be focusing.
  • Text message (SMS) marketing explained.
  • How to make your blog compatible with mobile Web browsers.
  • The next generation of QR codes.

“Order of Magnitude – Part One” with Robert Puddy

  • Ramp up your Traffic Exchange campaign to a whole new level.
  • Discover how to get into the insider network.

“Membership Sites: Start Here” with Omar Martin

  • Why “dynamic” beats “static.”
  • The fastest way to create your own membership site.

“The Hidden Market – Part One” with David Congreave

  • Discover a hidden market of affluent buyers who are in a hurry to spend.
  • Why this hidden market is ripe for Internet Marketers.

Latest book reviews:

  • “Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd” by Youngme Moon.
  • “Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas” by Dan Zarrella.

Additional features:

  • Internet Marketing News
  • Hype-Protector #1 (New Product Launches)
  • Reader Revolution
  • “Free Advice and Worth Every Penny” with Dafydd Manton

Don’t miss the January 2012 edition of MDC Monthly!
You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Dec 06

Creating Your ‘Low Hanging Fruits’ with Private Label Rights

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

It’s sound business strategy for recognized Internet Marketing experts that have been in the business a long time to create their own high ticket products. The credibility connected to their name or brand offers a high chance to success. Although this option is often out of reach for new marketers, this shouldn’t stop them from creating what I call:

Low Hanging Fruits

Low Hanging Fruit in the context of Internet Marketing is, quite simply, a product that is easy to create and that solves an easy problem. A low price tag (i.e. $7.00 to $27.00) caters to an audience with a low budget and is a readily accessible market, even for the novice. If you’re very new to making money online, even this may sound like a challenging prospect . . . until you factor in Private Label Rights products.

A well-edited PLR product with some fresh graphics can easily be rebranded into a newly spawned Information Product that is unique to your name or brand. You should still aim to produce a good quality, final product, but this area of the market is much easier to target because the low price tag means your customers will not have the high expectations that come with a heavily publicized, high-ticket, home study course.

A straight-forward solution, to a straight-forward problem, at an impulse-decision price point. That’s the juicy, Low Hanging Fruit that anyone can create with a decent PLR product and a little endeavor.

But don’t assume that Low Hanging Fruit and a low price tag mean low profits. You can create an instant one-time-offer upsell – without expending any additional effort – simply by offering the Master Resell Rights to your new customer. If the upsell is refused, follow-up immediately with a one-time-offer downsell of Basic Resell Rights! Most PLR product providers allow you to sell their products with any form of resell rights so take full advantage of what the license permits and maximize your income potential.

An alternative approach – but along the same lines – is to use the legendary $7 script*. The upfront income is reduced, but the upside is that you can generate an army of affiliates who are happy to promote your Low Hanging Fruits for 100% commissions. If you have your upsell, downsell and backend offers well-planned out, there is the potential to earn a lot more, simply because of the greater volume of customers this can generate.

There is a plenty of profit potential here, but realistically you shouldn’t expect this to be a path to instant riches. Think of it as a straight-forward, easily picked, method to get started. As your presence and customer list grows, you’re earning experience and credibility that will afford you a whole host of new options in the future.

Once you’ve grabbed one Low Hanging Fruit, each successive one will be that little bit easier to pluck. Conservatively, if you create just one product a month, this means you will have twelve products on sale after just one year! What if you churn out two a month? Or three a month? Or more? This is a strategy that is totally within your control; how far and fast you progress is completely up to you!

*if you don’t have it, Google it and you’ll find plenty of reseller sites offering it for… $7

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By Edmund Loh
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.

Edmund Loh is a digital Private Label Rights expert and has been marketing online since 2005. Some of Edmund’s bestselling products include PLRGold: Enterprise, PLRGold: Videos, Resell Rights Mastery, and Mega Red Packet. Visit Edmund Loh’s Internet Marketing blog at http://edmundloh.com/ for his latest online marketing strategies, witty business ideas and insights into building a successful 6 figure Internet Business.

Dec 02

Business and Marketing Book Reviews: Think And Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

By mikefilsaime | Uncategorized

Think And Grow Rich
by Napoleon Hill
Published by Various

Content Suitable For:
Novice Marketer 
Experienced Marketer 
Online Marketing 
Offline Marketing 
Inspiration 
Business Management 

No doubt you’ve already heard this title referenced by your favorite coaches and business gurus. Originally published in 1937 during the great depression, Think and Grow Rich is a personal development classic that has sold a staggering 30 million copies.

Readers will likely find the earlier copies a bit clumsy in terms of flow, since the lingo and reference points of 70 years ago are significantly different from the prose of today’s authors. However numerous reprints and updated versions of this material are available, including audio formats.

From the very beginning of the book and throughout every chapter the author references a mysterious “money making secret” given him by the famous tycoon Andrew Carnegie. This little known application is said to have created the fortunes of over 500 of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs at the time of the original writing.

The “secret” alluded to throughout the book is, in simplest terms, the development of what Hill calls Money Consciousness. In essence, believing you will be rich and focusing complete mental and emotional attention on the realization of wealth is what truly separates the very fortunate from the utterly destitute. Many books, courses, and films from the last decade also focus on this theme, and the creators of most of these products acknowledge T&GR as a powerful influence within their own lives.

The chapters cover a wide range of basic concepts, providing along the way numerous examples and allegories that state and reinforce the value of self-confidence and persistence. Great emphasis is placed again and again on the value of ideas and creative thinking.

While most of this material is on target, there are also a few odd sections that focus on how the reader might promote his or herself to a prospective employer. It seems strange to me that a book about getting rich would spend time on issues like résumé creation and interview skills; while such virtues may have been appropriate to the original period of writing, history since then has shown that wealth is a matter of personal responsibility and not the product of diligent corporate service.

Hill makes a fine point about education however, even specifically recommending home study courses. Relating his own experience, he reveals how he made a small fortune using the skills learned from a home study course in advertising.

Ultimately this is a good book with a powerful message. There can be no disputing the fact that Napoleon Hill pioneered and inspired the modern fields of personal development and wealth creation literature. However, in terms of the reader experience and flow of the material, it’s not a five-star hit. If you track down a copy, you won’t be disappointed, but I believe you’ll get more benefit from one of the many books written by teachers who were influenced by Hill and T&GR.

Rating: 3 stars.

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By Aaron Whiston
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This article was originally featured in Mike Filsaime’s print newsletter, “MDC Monthly.” You can get a free trial copy shipped to your door by clicking here.