10
Dec

Try Selling Cheeseburgers In China

Cheeseburger In ChinaHonestly, sometimes when I see what other people have to overcome to be successful in their businesses I feel like a total wimp. I love to complain about Google, Facebook ad editors, article editors at EzineArticles.com and just about anything that doesn’t suit me well. But some people are on a mission and regardless of the obstacles they just keep plugging away doing business.

Case in point – Yesterday Jean and I were trying to decide what to have for lunch so we got out the menu from one of our local Chinese take out restaurants and phoned in our order. During the process we quickly figured out that we didn’t have the updated menu from the restaurant and the numbers and prices of the 497 items on the menu didn’t quite line up. As you might guess there was quite a large language barrier going on here and it took a little while to get the guy on the phone to understand what I wanted.

After running my mouth for awhile I just stuck with the names of the old items on the menu such as, “bean curd, Szechuan style”, and everything was fine. Once I got to the restaurant to pick up lunch, the hilarity continued as I tried carry on a conversation with the guy at the counter. “Were you the person I talked to on the phone?” was met with a smile and a nod. “I guess we had the numbers mixed up” was again met with a smile and a nod, but when I used the word menu in conjunction with the fact that we had an old one, he knew exactly what I was talking about and nodded vigorously.

At that point I figured out we could have a conversation as long as I stuck with keywords like order, bean curd (or any ingredient on the menu), credit card, thank you and a few others. It was also interesting to note that the guys running the restaurant were all talking to each other in their native language and it wasn’t English.

And that’s when it hit me…

I thought of the incredible barrier language is, yet these guys don’t let that stop them, they have a booming business and they keep plugging along despite the fact that they can hardly communicate with their customers, except for when it comes to food. And it’s not just Great Wall Chinese Food in Palm Bay Florida, if you haven’t noticed there’s probably a Chinese take out restaurant within walking distance your home. In fact, a quick mental check brings up 7 of these restaurants within about a 10 minute drive of our home. And yes, 2 of those are withing walking distance.

Many families run these restaurants and they have become incredibly adaptable to the American way of life. Even though their English may not be the best, they may not know the customs of our land all that well and they probably had limited start-up capital to get their businesses going, they have succeeded and keep pumping out Kung-Pow chicken and broccoli with garlic sauce as fast as we can eat it.

Compared to these food service entrepreneurs we affiliate marketers have it easy. The next time you think you have it difficult in your online business and are ticked off at Google for one of their slaps or some such thing, think about how difficult it would be for us Americans to start a family business and sell cheeseburgers in China.

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25
Aug

Tropical Storm Fay Has Finally Gone Away

Last week was supposed to be a week long celebration and vacation for my wife’s birthday, but instead turned out to be more like a long bout of cabin fever thanks to tropical storm Fay. The home of Affiliate Confession was right in the eye of the storm as we are located in Palm Bay, Florida. And as you can see from the rain totals map, we were in the dark green zone for receiving between 15 and 30 inches of rain. I think we got about 20 inches of rain where we are for a 3 day total.

Fay Rainfall

Thankfully, we we’re high and dry through the storm, but as you can see from the pics below some people lost their cars and had their entire neighborhoods blocked off from the rising water.

Flooded Cars

Flooded Road

A friend of ours standing beside his mailbox. His home was okay, but others in his development did get some water inside.

Flooded neighborhood

The town of Cocoa, which is about 30 minutes north of us, had some neighborhoods that were flooded and water got into homes and in areas north of Orlando several homes had to be evacuated because of the flooding St John’s river.

This is pretty unusual for Florida because we just don’t get floods here like you see around the Mississippi with actual rivers overflowing their banks. I’ve been through so many hurricanes and tropical storms I can’t count them, some with winds 100-120 mph, but this one kicked our tail even though it never reached hurricane strength. Fay was way different than most storms like this because it just wouldn’t go away. Once it reached Brevard county it hung out here for 3 days and poured rain for 72 hours solid.

Even in bad hurricanes most of the time we get strong winds and pouring rain for 12 hours or so with medium rain for another 12 hours. These storms usually move fairly fast and the worst passes in a few hours. Fay gave us torrential rain for 3 days with medium to heavy rain for 12 hours while it approached and 12 more hours of rain when it passed and moved up the coast and across northern Florida.

Durning the storm since we were couped up in the house I worked on some PPC and Facebook ads and it was pretty nice just to be able to concentrate on that and nothing else. There sure is something to be able to focus on just one thing for a few days. We’ll see how the results turn out.

After the storm we got to enjoy some of our vacation and went over to Orlando and Winter Park for a couple of days and have another week long vacation planned for Grayton Beach in the Florida panhandle in mid September. Even though Jean and I didn’t get to vacation like we had planned, we’re very thankful that there wasn’t any damage to our home as some people are having to deal with now. We were only slightly inconvenienced, others lost their homes and vehicles.

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14
Aug

Harsh Reality 5 – No Risk Equals No Reward

Big RiskAffiliate marketing is somewhat like investing in that you have to decide what you are willing to risk to ultimately succeed. Be it time, money, a regular work schedule or the comforts of a nice car and other material things until you reach a livable level of income, all these things will factor into your risk tolerance.

Time is not always thought of as being risky to spend, but it is because we only have one time bank account and when it’s gone, it’s gone, no earning it back. That’s why it’s important to put your time into something that has the potential to earn you an income for a long time.

Working on spammy techniques or purposely going against search engine webmaster guidelines that put your business at risk may earn you some money up front, but they will seriously hamper your venture for the long run. There’s a difference in using a loophole in the system, that when it’s closed will only cause you a loss of traffic from one source versus risking your entire site or network of sites being deindexed from the major search engines. Loopholes are meant to be exploited, clear policy violations will eventually kill your business.

You can also spend time on building what you thought was a wonderful idea for a site only to have it fail and not really be able to figure out why. I put many hours into a work at home site a few years ago and even though the site has been up for about 4 years, it may get 30 visitors on a good day. The site used to get 200 or 300 people a day, but it eventually died a slow death as page after page lost rankings and traffic plummeted. Maybe it was too may affiliate links, maybe the site was too broad in scope, probably it was the domain name with 6 dashes in it (stupid!), I might never know. But I do know I put a lot of work into something that didn’t pay off. At least one thing I learned from building that site was to never get a domain name with dashes in it.

Money is a harder commodity to be risked because we can see the immediate results of losing it and racking up big debts through PPC or other advertising. But that’s what any advertising is really all about, getting your product or service in front of the right customer in the hopes you’ll make some sales, eventually making a profit. You do that by risking money up front and there are no guarantees.

That’s why it’s important to set a budget that you can afford to spend (risk) on advertising. My wife is the accountant in our home and we determined that any earnings my affiliate business generated over $2,500 per month could be spent on advertising and more specifically PPC. Through reading the adventures of PPC masters and thoughtful consideration of several offers, I am now earning some money with PPC.

I was also fortunate enough to get $250 in Facebook ads coupons and even thought I didn’t do so well with them and ended up spending more money after those coupons ran out, I’m now turning a pretty good profit with FB ads because I just felt there was a way to make them work. Despite losing money up front, despite the ridiculous hoops they make you jump through at FB to advertise, if I would have given up I wouldn’t be realizing almost $100 a day profit now. The risk in time and money has definitely been worth it.

And that’s the lesson to be learned. If you are reading what the experts in PPC have to say, learning from your mistakes, willing to risk time and money and are dilligent in your efforts, more than likely they will eventually pay off. The reason I was willing to risk more time and effort with FB is because for the people who are succeeding, they are succeeding wildly and I just though, ‘I don’t care if I have to spend $2,000 or $3,000, I’m going to make this work.’ Something just happens when you have an attitude adjustment like that. The trick now is to transfer my Facebook success over to PPC with Adwords. Maybe a bit more difficult task, but the truth is, it does work for some, why not for me or you?

Educate, calculate, risk, and earn the reward.

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10
Jul

Facebook Ads Are A Disappointment

I scored $250 in free Facebook advertising by signing up for the Visa Business Application ($100 free ads credit) and grabbing $150 in coupons from NeilsWeb.com (down at the moment) and while it’s great to get a bunch of free advertising from Facebook, the results are quite underwhelming.

As you can see below here are some results on 5 campaigns I started this week and the best performing one is getting a 0.03% CTR. That means for every 10,000 times the ad is shown I get a whopping 3 clicks. I’m trying to think of a stronger word for abysmal to describe the results, but nothing comes to mind right now.

Facebook Ads

I’m not the only one experiencing these kind of results with Facebook Ads as is evidenced by doing a simple Google on Facebook ads success. It looks like no one is having that much success at this point and what’s interesting is that these ads were touted to be a new and unique way to advertise on the web and extremely targeted to just the right audience you pick. From reading some of the articles that come up in the above search, it looks like it doesn’t really matter if you “highly target” your campaigns or not, you get the same dismal results. With Microsoft’s investment driving their perceived value up around $15 billion, Facebook is going to have to do better than this for their advertisers.

All is not lost though because the advertising isn’t costing me anything. My next approach is to target ads quite a bit wider and throw massive campaigns in several different niches their way and keep the ones, if any, that are producing. I’ll report back in a week or so to let you know if the results are any better.

I’m curious to know if anyone has had success advertising on Facebook?

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19
May

Market Leverage Affiliate Network – Awesome Personal Service

Market Leverage Rocks

Market Leverage cool stuffIf you haven’t heard of the affiliate network Market Leverage yet, you must be living on Mars, or perhaps you’re just not an affiliate marketer. I first learned about them back a few months ago when Debby Banning left a comment on this blog linking to Market Leverage. I get lots of attempted comments from affiliate managers or others pushing an agenda that are kind of spammy and very rah, rah promotional, but what was different about Debby’s comment was that it was relevant to the post. She left a comment just like any other blogger would. Other companies might want to put that in their pipe, take a nice big hit and contemplate good PR for a moment here.

Debby later friended me on Facebook and I finally checked out Market Leverage and figured out they were an affiliate network (I’m slow, I didn’t catch on at first). Then I think I saw the whole ML team featured on Shoemoney all in their SuperShoe T-Shirts and just had the inclination they were different. Then they started showing up on major blogs across the globe and thought I better get in on the action and joined about a week ago. So on Friday, a nice promotional package containing a T-Shirt, a 2 GB USB pen, a Nike golf shirt and a nice Market Leverage hat showed up on my doorstep.

And what’s even cooler than that is the Nike shirt was too large, I let Debby know and she promptly sent out one that was my size and I received it in 2 days. (Look for a contest tomorrow or the next day to win the other Nike golf shirt) I’ve never seen personal service such as this and I’m completely impressed with Market Leverage as a company.

But you want to know more about what Market Leverage offers. They are one of the largest CPA ad networks on the net and they’ve been in existence since 2001 offering some of the highest paying affiliate offers in the industry such as biz opp offers with a payout of $45 or more, diet and weight loss offers paying out $30 or more and lots of exclusives available only through their network. But for affiliates the number one thing beyond their great offers and personal service is that they offer the highest paying referral incentive in the industry. When you refer someone to Market Leverage you get 5% of their commissions, not for 6 months or a year, but for life.

They also have MLTV which is a pretty cool video produced by the Market Leverage staff outlining their best offers every week and explaining more about how they work. If you’re looking for personal service and a lot of great offers to promote as an affiliate, you should definitely sign up with Market Leverage and see what they have to offer.

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