15
Sep

Affiliate Marketing Training

As affiliate marketers it is important to be constantly learning and improving our skills and of course learning that from the people who’ve gone before you and have been successful. While you can get a bunch of that training for free from everything that’s available on the net, sometimes you come across something that’s worth paying for. Shoemoney does Elite Retreat for I think it’s $4k, Affiliate Summit ranges from $900 to $1,700 depending on when you register and there are other courses that are as much or more.

A few days ago I invested in a training course of sorts that’s not quite as expensive as some of the ones mentioned previously, but it is quite a bit more than your regular $49 or even the $97 ebooks that are so prevalent these days. I call it a training course because it’s much more than just a simple ebook. It consists of about 50 videos, 20 short ebooks and guides, and 9 tools including those for keyword research, Adwords spying, keeping track of your search engine positions, an article submission tool and so on. Plus there are bonuses within the course and some coming out on an ongoing basis.

So far the course looks pretty good. There are things that I love about it, there are things that are just okay and there are things that either need to be fixed (which the developers are working on) or that seem kind of cheesy probably because they are already familiar to me. This course is huge and with anything like this there will definitely be things that are old news to at least a few people. Fortunately the developers have taken that into account and have labeled the content for beginners, intermediate and advanced users.

Right now I’m going to refrain from telling you exactly what the course is because I haven’t fully worked through it yet. Quite frankly, the course is overwhelming because there is so much material. It is organized very well into modules such as seo, ppc, article marketing, building sites, sales conversions, keyword research and more, but there’s so much stuff it’s hard to know where you should start .

In the next few days I’ll be doing a complete review of the course and may do more in-depth reviews of some of the modules and tools as I get a better grasp of what you can do with them. There isn’t any way you can get through all the training has to offer in just a few days. Of course this will be an honest review of it mainly because that’s what I do here and yes, I actually invested the money necessary to purchase the course. No fake reviews here, I own the product. Stay tuned.

Popularity: 36% [?]

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31
Aug

Keyword Elite 2 Review – It’s Trash

Ahh, the greatest keyword tool in the history of the universe, 2nd edition, has been released and just about everybody, especially the MMO blogging gurus, are singing its praises. Unfortunately, the MMO types are going to give you a fake Keyword Elite 2 review because they’re going to make money off of it if you buy it. If they told you the truth about it, that you can get almost all the keyword information offered in the product for free, you probably wouldn’t buy it, and then they wouldn’t be the famous MMO bloggers they are.

Of course one missed fake product review isn’t going to matter to a MMO blogger making a killing, but if they changed their business model to doing only honest reviews, they’d be making substantially less.

Since I’ve been having some pretty good success lately with ppc marketing I was pretty excited when the news hit that Keyword Elite 2.0 would be coming out soon. It’s always good to add the right tools to your ppc arsenal so you can scale your campaigns up when you find a winner and I thought Keyword Elite Two would be a tool to get. However, after spending about an hour watching all the videos on the sales page about every aspect of the product, all I could think was, ‘why would anyone pay $197 for this when you can get the same data for free?’

Here’s three of the modules within Keyword Elite that you can easily find data for and are basically a big load of processed cheese: 

Keyword Surge is one of the modules that’s supposed to help you, “Generate the largest, most diversified keyword lists imaginable.” Thanks, but I don’t need large keyword lists anymore, I need keywords that convert and I can find those fairly easily with Google Trends, Insights For Search and the Google Keyword Tool. I’ve had my fill of inaccurate keyword tools, including what Google even puts out, I don’t need something less accurate than Google.

Advanced Adwords Site Targeter is another module that you can just as easily go to Google to find the same info for free or you can download Adwords Digger for free if you are unable to type in your own keywords at a search engine and find the top ranked site that displays Adsense.

The module that had me guffawing the most had to be the CPA Magnet that will, “Quickly and easily find super hot CPA offers with the click of a button!” I guess a bunch of affiliate managers are going to lose their jobs now because of this one…or probably not. I have 2 managers that send me a weekly email with the best converting offers on their network for search, email and web display and another report available on a weekly basis that I can download anytime and I can also call any of them at any time for suggestions. Reach out to your affiliate manager, it’s a lot less than $197, it’s free.

It was a process to come to the conclusion that Keyword Elite 2.0 isn’t worth buying. A friend tweeted me and asked if I wanted to split it with him so I went to the website and spent an hour watching the videos and was underwhelmed. I then ran across Griz’s Keyword Elite V2.0 Review and pretty much made up my mind not to go halfsies with my friend, who later tweeted me back with his review after he went ahead and bought it, “Messed with it for a while. It’s trash.” At that point I was pretty convinced, I didn’t need the greatest keyword tool humankind has ever seen.

Kinda makes you wonder about what those MMO blogging guys are peddling and how they really make their money, doesn’t it?

Popularity: 37% [?]

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28
Apr

Paint What You See, Not What You Think You See

Paint What  You See“Paint what you see, not what you think you see.” Those were probably some of the most profound words uttered by a teacher in a painting class I was taking while working on a graphic arts degree. It helped me finally “see” what I was doing wrong in drawing and painting still lifes, people and landscapes.

The trouble us budding artists had was that we knew what an apple, an orange, a wine bottle, and a human face looked like close up, but from 20 feet away we were trying to draw in the detail that we knew was there, but couldn’t actually see. When we all eventually realized to just paint what we saw, the entire process became much easier.

If you think about what you do in affiliate marketing and especially how you work your paid search campaigns, sometimes doing the stupid simple things, or at least being able to realize what they are, can make a huge difference in your business. Taking a step back and examining what you really see and how you really get conversions, what makes people buy, or fill out a lead form and ends up making you money can be an eye opening experience. It will probably turn out to be different than what you may have been led to believe or thought you had your head wrapped around.

For the longest time it was like I was banging my head against the wall trying to figure out this ppc thing and just about 4 or 5 months ago it really began to literally “click” for me. The conventional wisdom for years was to throw thousands of somewhat related keywords into a few different ad groups, see what converted and then trash the rest. The trouble with that philosophy was that you could have hundreds or thousands of words that end up getting 1 or 2 clicks each and you continue to hold onto them while they get 3, 4 and 5 clicks, waiting to see if one of them may convert while they up costing you lots of cash (especially in a competitive niche) and valuable time watching them. I now never, ever use more than one keyword in an AdGroup.

There are certainly lots of ways to make ppc work, but what started finally paying off for me was when I realized that there is an entire group of impulsive individuals just waiting to pounce and spend money on the hottest thing or get the latest bit of information that’s important to them especially when it’s recommended by someone else or has the force of the all powerful media behind it.

Up close it looks like ppc is a huge chore with all the market research, keyword research, tracking, quality score issues, bid prices, conversions and everything else that goes with it. The right in your face view of ppc marketing is fraught with details, but once you step back and take a look at the bigger picture the fundamentals are really quite simple. The basics are no more complicated than: find a source of lots of cheap traffic and send it to a relevant offer that converts.

Whatever you think of the media, when it comes to identifying hot trends, hot products and niches relevant to us affiliate marketers, they are absolutely your friend. If you keep an eye on the Drudge Report, the morning shows, the nightly news and the extended news programs like Dateline, 20/20, 60 Minutes and others and then regularly check Google Trends, Insights For Search, Yahoo Buzz and anything else that keeps track of hot topics, everything you need to get gobs and gobs of traffic is right there.

The more familiar you become with watching trends, the easier it becomes to identify topics that could possibly be a successful ppc campaign or other affiliate marketing venture for you. It is becoming much more frequent that I get up from watching one of these news programs right in the middle of it, start a ppc campaign and and end up making money 15 minutes later. And the great thing about these hot topic campaigns is that no one else is bidding in that space, plus if they don’t end up working, the cheap traffic doesn’t end up costing you much.

You’ll probably have to run several of these type of campaigns until you get the hang of it and figure out what makes people react and buy and more specifically what works for you and the way you target your ppc efforts. For some of you, this will probably be fairly easy if you are already in touch with trends, popular culture and the like. It was an initial effort for me because I tend to shy away from trendy subjects so it was hard to identify what was important and would eventually be profitable.

The bottom line though is not to over-complicate the process because even if you are remotely familiar with the news and general happenings you already are in touch enough to make your affiliate marketing and ppc efforts work much better. You may just have to refocus, take a step back, and learn how to paint what you see, not what you think you see.

Popularity: 26% [?]

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6
Apr

Attention Amazon Associates – No More Direct Linking Via Paid Search

I just got an email at 5:01 this morning from the powers that be at Amazon.com letting their associates know that as of May 1, 2009 they will no longer allow direct linking from paid search ads. If you are an Amazon affiliate and have been making a bit of cash this way, as I have, you’ll have to wrap everything up by the end of this month.

Ever since eBay made a similar change, I guess it was about a year and a half ago, Amazon became one of the only all inclusive affiliate programs that still allowed direct linking. By all inclusive, I mean that with Amazon there is hardly a product in the world you can’t get through them, thus giving affiliates in almost any niche the ability to direct link. Being able to direct link to Amazon via paid search left the possibilities wide open for anyone that knew ppc fairly well and wanted to make some easy money. No matter the product, model number, color, size, shape or whatever, you can get it at Amazon and affiliates could send customers directly to any page right from Google, Yahoo, MSN and other paid search platform. Unfortunately, that will no longer be allowed.

This is a serious bummer since I’d been doing this exact thing for the last several months earning a few hundred dollars in commissions on a monthly basis and had been planning to scale this up quite a bit. It’s not the end of the world since I’m learning to take everything in stride, it just seems to be the nature of the affiliate game. You have to learn how to constantly adapt in this business or you’ll find yourself out of work.

Update: I thought I’d add the content of the email below:

Dear Amazon Associate:

We’re writing to let you know about a change to the Amazon Associates Program. After careful review of how we are investing our advertising resources, we have made the decision to no longer pay referral fees to Associates who send users to www.amazon.com, www.amazon.ca, or www.endless.com through keyword bidding and other paid search on Google, Yahoo, MSN, and other search engines, and their extended search networks. If you’re not sure if this change affects you, please visit this page for FAQs.

As of May 1, 2009, Associates will not be paid referral fees for paid search traffic. Also, in connection with this change, as of May 1, 2009, Amazon will no longer make data feeds available to Associates for the purpose of sending users to the Amazon websites in the US or Canada via paid search.

This change applies only to the Associates programs in North America. If you are conducting paid search activities in connection with one of Amazon’s Associates Programs outside of the US and Canada, please refer to the applicable country’s Associates Program Operating Agreement for relevant terms and conditions.

We appreciate your continued support and participation in this advertising Program. If you have questions or concerns, please write to us by using the Contact Us form available on Associates Central.

Sincerely,

The Amazon Associates Program

Now that direct linking to Amazon from paid search is gone at the end of the month, it just makes being an affiliate all the more interesting. Share your thoughts, especially if you are direct linking to Amazon.

Popularity: 27% [?]

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10
Feb

Screw Adsense, Just Be Like Julio Osegueda Work At McDonalds For 4 Years

Watch the video below and weep. If this is the mindset we have in this nation, we are done.

Julio Osegueda is a 4 year employee of McDonalds and can’t get another job even though he’s going to school so he expects the government, or rather The Immaculate One (President Obama), to do something about it.

While I commend Julio for working and going to school to better himself, it’s not the job of the government to bail people like him out. Sorry, you want benefits from Uncle Sam because you’ve been at McD’s for 4 years, it doesn’t work like that, or at least it did’t used to. Julio, by the way, is quite excited about meeting The Immaculate One. Did you notice his shirt? It say’s “King Obama”…scary, just scary.

When is the government going to send a check my way for some of the stupid things I’ve tried to promote through PPC or because I’m still not making $2,000 a month through Adsense?

Popularity: 17% [?]

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