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Affiliate Masters Course Introduction The Affiliate Masters Course is an intensive 10-DAY course on becoming a high-earning affiliate champion. How? By “building income through content,” the proven, C T P M way! An affiliate business is one of the easiest ways to get your feet wet in e-business. You send visitors (i.e., potential customers) to a merchant’s Web site that you are representing. If they buy or complete a required action (for example, fill in a form), the merchant pays you a commission. No fuss, no muss! That, in essence, is the beauty of the affiliate concept. You can be up and building an online business in record time, at minimal risk. Top-notch merchants supply everything (i.e., excellent products, ordering, credit card processing, and delivery). All you need to do is to put yourself in the path between customers and quality merchants... and earn a commission for your efforts. So what’s the best way to put yourself on that critical pathway? Follow the natural, proven CONTENT TRAFFIC PRESELL MONETIZE process… 1) Recognize the fundamental reality of how people use the Web. Eliminate offline thinking of “location, location, location.” Online, people search for solutions through “information, information, information” (i.e., Content). So plan to build a tightly-niched Theme-Based Content Site. 2) Do the critical up-front thinking and planning... • develop the best site concept/theme, based on what you know and love… perhaps a hobby or past work experience can be your springboard. • brainstorm the most profitable topics related to your theme. • select the best related affiliate programs. 3) Then put yourself into the click path of your visitors. Achieve this by... • delivering customer-focused Content (i.e., information that meets the needs/wishes of your target group). 2 Affiliate Masters Course • getting Targeted Traffic by building pages that please the Search Engines and rank highly on a search results page. The higher the ranking, the easier it is for interested and targeted traffic to find you. More traffic means more potential sales, which means more potential commissions for you. • PREselling (i.e., “warming up” your visitors) through valuable content that establishes credibility. Once you have that, your recommendations carry more weight. The difference in Conversion Rates between visitors who arrive PREsold to your merchant’s site via an in-context text link vs. a banner can be as high as 20-fold. 4) Eliminate dependency on any single source of income. By diversifying into other complementary Monetization models beyond affiliate programs, you reduce risk and increase stability. You are protected in case, for example, your merchant partner goes bankrupt, or shuts down its Web division, or reduces commissions, or fails on its payments. Multiple income streams also have the potential to make every visitor to your site count. A particular offer might not spark any interest but another one may be the match that lights a fire! The C T P M process for affiliate marketing boils down to this… Create searched-for content (the “C”) that pulls in targeted traffic (the “T”). Warm up (i.e., PREsell) your visitors so that they click on your recommendations with an open-to-buy attitude (the “P”). And then generate income through those PREsold visitors (i.e., monetize) using the low-risk affiliate model -- as a primary source of income (if you have no product or service of your own to sell) or as a profitable secondary source (the “M”). Is this process difficult? Not at all! But do keep in mind that this is not a “get-rich-quick” scheme. You need to bring effort and passion to the table. After all, you are building more than a Web site. You are building a real business! C T P M works, if you work it! Make this your affiliate business mantra and you will succeed! The Affiliate Masters Course and its 10-DAY program will show you how to execute the C T P M process on your own. Each of the 10 DAYS has a specific “Goal-of-the-DAY,” a clear target that you can easily meet. By the time 3 Affiliate Masters Course you finish DAY 10’s Goal-of-the-DAY, you will have a Theme-Based Content Site up and running and generating traffic and income. Each DAY also sets an “Ongoing Goal.” A Web site is always evolving. The Ongoing Goal is what you should be achieving on a regular basis. The Ongoing Goals provide the pathway for building maximal income over the following weeks and months. What’s the bottom line? Upon completion of this course, you will have the power of C T P M working for you, helping you to build a flourishing, profitable and stable online business. With the right process, you get the right results! Be forewarned about the Affiliate Masters Course, though. The material we cover will be extensive in scope. It will require effort and commitment on your part, as does anything important that yields rewards. Most folks have to train or go to university for years to prepare to earn a substantial income stream. Your mini-university course will accomplish this by the end of this e-book. I don’t mean to scare you. All of it is manageable. Take your time to digest the information properly before you start to work on the prescribed action steps. Use the Goals-of-the-DAY and Ongoing Goals as your guideposts, your beacons of light. Understanding the concepts will boost your confidence level in applying them. Even as adults, we never lose our need to know why things work the way they do. It’s critical that you finish each DAY of this course before you begin the next. The DAYS build on each other. Always keep in mind that you are following a step-by- step process. Please don’t feel that you have to rush. Work at your own pace, as time allows. This is not a race. Sometimes, you will be able to devote large blocks of time each day to the course. At other times, you may have only 15-30 minutes per day to spend on it. In this situation, it could take you a week or more to complete a “DAY” of the course. And that’s perfectly normal! It does not matter how long it takes you to complete the course. The key is to set aside a realistic amount of time each day to “do” the course. You’ll find it was time well, no best, spent. Final piece of advice... 4 Affiliate Masters Course Print out a hard copy and make your own textbook! There is just too much information in the Affiliate Masters Course to learn by reading off a monitor screen. Underline the important parts. Add your own notes and ideas. I promise you’ll get lots and lots of great inspiration as you go along. Please, please work with a printed version of this course. If you are at all serious about following this course to build a serious income stream, start right. Here’s a super little printing utility that will allow you to print 2 or 4 pages to a single 8.5” x 11” piece of paper. It saves you paper, space, and money... http://www.fineprint.com/ OK. Ready to begin DAY 1 of the course? Sound the bell. Class is in session... 5 Affiliate Masters Course 1. DAY 1 Intro To Affiliate Business Basics Being a great affiliate is NOT about selling... It’s about PREselling. Goal-of-the-DAY... This is the only DAY where you have nothing to do except read the material. Actually, that’s wrong. Your Goal-of-the-DAY is to understand, understand deeply, the concepts outlined here, culminating with the concept of PREselling to maximize Conversion Rates. With this goal in mind... 1.1. Focus on Maximizing Profit The goal of any business, including your affiliate business, is to maximize profits. Profit is simply your income minus your expenses. As an affiliate, there are exactly two ways to increase your income (i.e., the amount of money your business makes)... 1) Refer more visitors to the merchants that you represent. 2) Increase the Conversion Rate (i.e., the percent of visitors that you refer to your merchant… visitors who deliver the response for which the merchant pays, whether that’s a sale, or a lead, etc.). Simple formula, right? If you refer 100 visitors per day to a merchant and 1% buy, you get paid for that one purchase. But if you send 1,000 visitors per day and 3% buy, you get paid for 30 purchases. Yes, thirty times more! So it’s pretty clear how to maximize affiliate income! Of course, every business has expenses, too. Maximizing profits does not imply that you must minimize expenses, too. After all, if you spend no money or time on a business, you have no business! You must get the best possible traffic- building and sales-converting results for every dollar you spend... and for every hour you spend on your business. 6 Affiliate Masters Course Time is money. Don’t count your hours as zero cost simply because they do not cost you “out of pocket.” Assign your time a dollar value -- it will put your affiliate business on a solid, professional “business footing.” Let’s examine expenses by asking two questions... Question #1 -- What does it cost to build traffic to your merchants’ sites? Traffic-building, no matter how you cut it, will cost you... in terms of both time and money. Spending dollars is optional, but spending time is not. There are many ways, both offline and on, to drive targeted traffic to your merchants’ sites. This course will show you the most highly profitable, time-and- dollar-effective way to build traffic to your merchants' sites... Build your own Theme-Based Content Site -- one that is loaded with high info- value Keyword-Focused Content Pages that rank well with the Search Engines and that get the “click throughs” to your merchants’ sites. Let’s break that down for closer examination. For your affiliate Web site to generate targeted traffic to your merchants, it must do two things well... 1) Rank well at the Search Engines so that it pulls in lots of targeted traffic. So far, though, that traffic is still on your site. Therefore, it’s not generating income yet. Your visitors are just “looking around.” So... 2) Get those visitors to click through to your merchants. (Some affiliate program models can actually place merchant offerings on your Web site. In this case, your traffic does not actually visit your merchant’s site. But you still have to “get the click” to generate income.) It makes sense, of course, that a Web site is the way to go. After all, this is the Net! http://blogorbuild.sitesell.com/ And there are loads of other ways for affiliates to drive targeted traffic to their merchants, both offline and on. SiteSell’s 5 Pillar Program provides all the tools, information and strategies you need to PREsell effectively and generate substantial commission income. http://affiliates.sitesell.com/ 7 Affiliate Masters Course You can easily apply these marketing theories/strategies to your other affiliate programs as well. OK, that wraps up expenses and traffic-building. Now for our second question about expenses... Question #2 -- What does it cost to maximize Conversion Rates? Good news! Maximizing your Conversion Rate (CR) is simply a question of doing things right. There is no extra dollar or time cost to boosting CRs at your merchants’ sites. This course will show you how to achieve this goal, too. Remember… when this course talks about Conversion Rates, we are talking about the Conversion Rate at the sites of the merchants that you represent as an affiliate. So we are talking about how you will maximize the percentage of referral visitors who deliver the response for which the vendor pays, whether that’s a sale, or lead, etc. If you think that it’s impossible for you to change the sales-effectiveness of your merchants’ sites, you are in for a big surprise. Your primary goals are... 1) Maximize targeted traffic to your merchants, spending only dollars and time that maximize profits. 2) Maximize Conversion Rates. Do things right (no expense). Don’t do just one. Do both. Why? Because, as you saw above, your payment is determined by traffic multiplied by the CR... not “added.” Your profits grow geometrically when you concentrate on maximizing both traffic and Conversion Rates. I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing the difference between 5 Pillar Affiliates who refer high traffic to us and who deliver high Conversion Rates (% of visitors who purchase), and those who deliver low ones. The #1 reason for low traffic and terrible Conversion Rates? Banner ads! No content! Retinal studies have shown that Web surfers actually avoid banners. Yes, their eyes look away! 8 Affiliate Masters Course Our study found that 5 Pillar Affiliates who relied solely on banners had an average CR of 0.5%. But those who used “in-context” text links (i.e., text links that are part of the content of the Web page) averaged over 3.5%! How’s that for a reason not to use banners? Banners are cheesy and hurt your credibility. If visitors happen to click through (a big “if”), they arrive at their destination feeling “pitched” rather than informed. They have a resisting mindset, rather than with an open, ready-to-buy attitude. Remember that example where you sent 100 visitors per day to a merchant and 1% bought? If you rely on flipping up some banners, it will be more like 10 visitors per day and not one person buys! We reveal a lot about 5 Pillar Affiliates during this course. But it is not the 5 Pillar Program that is important here -- it’s the lessons to be derived. This course is about making any affiliate of any program more successful. Conclusion?... Don’t use banners. Yes, I know “they're so-o-o-o-o easy.” It’s always easy to not make money. That’s how all those get-rich-quick-guys do so well... the allure of easy money. No such thing. I must repeat… don’t rely solely on banners. If you simply must use banners, save your “in-context” text links for super companies with wonderful products that deliver true value to your reader. Beside the obvious futility of banners, I’ve spotted another major point. This one is more subtle, but it’s important… extremely important. The #2 reason for low traffic and terrible Conversion Rates? After banner advertising, it’s the second most common error. And it’s an even bigger shame because this boo-boo involves a lot of work... misplaced work. If you’re going to fail, the best thing would be not to spend much time at it, right? Reason #2 is... Selling instead of PREselling. Some 5 Pillar Affiliates have really made great efforts in creating sites to promote our SiteSell products. And they are building some sales and traffic. But when I 9 Affiliate Masters Course see a low CR (i.e., CR under 2%), I know that something is amiss. Great efforts deserve greater results than 1%. Yes, I agree that these efforts are better than banners. But remember… creating these sites takes a lot more work than tossing up a couple of banners. We’ll see in a moment that it’s misdirected work. (The good news is that this course will redirect those efforts into high-profit areas.) Time for a philosophical perspective... In life, the vast majority of people just keep doing the “same old thing.” Life seems easier that way. But “doing the same old thing” guarantees the “same old results.” So in the long run, it’s actually much, much harder. In the movie, “The Renaissance Man,” Danny De Vito’s character makes a profound statement... “The choices we make dictate the lives we lead.” To paraphrase... “Where you are today is the result of all the choices and actions that you have made in your life.” When he said that, I remember thinking, “You know, he’s right. Except in rare cases of extraordinarily good or bad luck, people basically end up where they are as a result of choices they make and courses of action they take.” People tend to blame a lack of success in life on “bad luck” or “poor timing” or other people. And yes, at times, that can be accurate. A heck of a lot of factors beyond our control can blindside us. In the long run, however, as long as we persist in our efforts, these factors tend to even out and De Vito's statement remains valid. Now, here’s the good news... E-commerce is simpler than life. Due to its digital nature, there are fewer variables... so the outcome is more controllable. Which means that we can boil De Vito’s statement down to “The #1 E-commerce Reality.” This Reality is almost self-evident, yet it’s so easy to forget. Your success with anything you do in the world of e-commerce flows from it. Internalize it and act upon it... and you will succeed. Yes, it’s that fundamental. And that leads me to… 10 Affiliate Masters Course The #1 E-commerce Reality “Nothing happens by accident in the world of computers, the Net, and customer response. There is always a reason for what happens, good or bad, and that reason is YOU.” When I see some 5 Pillar (“5P”) Affiliates with CRs over 10% (and a few over 20%!), I figure that those with CRs at 1-2% or less could be multiplying their sales five-or-more-fold. How? Not by working harder, but simply by channeling their motivation in a better direction. Let’s continue with the case of 5P Affiliates who make “great efforts” but get so- so results... As I reviewed many of these affiliate sites (those who are getting sales but have CRs under 2%), I realized that almost half were basically one big sales letter for SiteSell products and Ken. Which means that these affiliates are selling (with sales copy) when they should be PREselling (with great, and related, content that is of value to the reader). There’s really not much point in straight selling off your site -- that's what your merchant’s site needs to do. Picture this... A visitor arrives at an affiliate’s site that is really just one, big sales site. Yes, I know that the words are sincere -- I owe all 5P Affiliates a big thank you for the truly wonderful things they say. But put yourself in these visitors’ shoes for a moment. They don’t see inspiring, editorial content. They see a sales effort. But they were searching for content! “CONTENT!” I said. (Sorry for yelling.) People resist sales efforts, so your click-through actually goes down. And if a visitor does click, what does she see when she arrives at an SBI! site? More sales effort. And, in some cases, many of the words on SiteSell’s site are similar to the words that she’s just read. Result? Poor Conversion Rate. If your site is basically a “bunch of sales letters,” you have not yet built your credibility and likeability with this visitor. Your visitor ends up feeling “pitched.” And then she feels double-pitched if (chances are low) she clicks through to your merchant’s site. That’s why the CR actually goes down. 11 Affiliate Masters Course To make things worse, as she “smells” a sales effort, she becomes less likely to click! So referred traffic drops, too. Women represent 50% of all surfers. And they control approximately 80% of all shopping dollars. To reinforce this in your mind, we’ll use the feminine pronoun to talk about readers/visitors/customers. To keep things simple and even, we’ll use the masculine pronoun when referring to affiliates. OK, let’s see... 1) Referred traffic down. 2) And Conversion Rate down. But these are the two ways to increase your income. (That’s what we talked about near the beginning.) We’re going in the wrong direction! Conclusion? Don’t sell! Instead, warm your visitor up for your merchants by PREselling her with great content that she values and respects. She’ll click-through with pleasure, arriving at your merchants’ sites in an open-to-buy mindset. It’s your PREselling effort that will boost your traffic-to-merchants and CR, which in turn maximizes your income. This brings us to our second philosophical premise… “The #1 Affiliate Reality”... “Your CR will literally vary from 1% to 10% (and at times, as much as 20%!), purely because of... 1) HOW YOU REACH your visitor, and… 2) WHAT YOU SAY to her, and… 3) HOW YOU REFER her to your merchant.” Your CR depends upon what you do and how you do it. You do not need Lady Luck, Sir Serendipity or anyone else. There is always a reason for how well you do, and that reason always relates to what you do and how you do it. 12 Affiliate Masters Course Once you realize this, then you know success really is do-able. Some people do succeed... big-time… but not necessarily the first time. Just keep trying until you find the right approach. To quote Calvin Coolidge… “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Of course, the goal of the 10-DAY Affiliate Masters Course is to reduce the amount of trial-and-error persistence that will be required before you find your own successful formula! Why is “The #1 Affiliate Reality” true?... Because how you reach your customer, and what you say once you reach her, and how you refer your visitor to your merchant directly affects your visitor’s mindset when she arrives at SiteSell. A positive mindset turns into a purchase with amazing regularity. A negative one is nearly impossible to overcome. And that is what “high-CR affiliates” have known all along… ******************************************* “They refer people to their merchants in an OPEN-TO-BUY frame of mind.” ******************************************* Best advice? Write “The #1 Affiliate Reality” onto a yellow Post-It Note and stick it onto your monitor... “Your CR will literally vary from 1% to 10% (and at times, as much as 20%!), purely 13 Affiliate Masters Course because of... 1) HOW YOU REACH your visitor, and… 2) WHAT YOU SAY to her, and… 3) HOW YOU REFER her to your merchant.” Some people contact our Support team after reading this course, refusing to believe that we have affiliates who can generate a CR exceeding 20%. Do they do that every month? No. But we know a high CR is not a fluke. Why? The reason is simple. Although each affiliate’s CR may fluctuate in any given month, a “high- CR” affiliate does not suddenly become a “low-CR” affiliate. The good ones score high, and make significant dollars, every month. And the proof is in the pudding. SiteSell’s astounding success is affiliate- driven. Instead of paying for very costly advertising like other companies do, we pour our money into making you succeed by giving you the best business-building system in the world… http://proof.sitesell.com/ It is amazing what a great product, successful customers and proud-loyal affiliates can achieve! OK. Take a quick stretch and then we’ll continue. Back already? Let’s go... 1.2. PREsell To Convert Your strategies and actions as an affiliate directly affect your Conversion Rate. This section deals with how to PREsell effectively. (Later in the course, we will cover traffic-building in more detail.) Let’s look at examples of how “low-CR affiliates” create negative mindsets by making how-you-reach, what-you-say, or how-you-refer boo-boos. We’ll begin at the top… 1) How to Reach Your Visitor... Free-For-All Sites (FFAs) are a great example of how not to reach people. For the most part, FFAs have become so seamy and useless that no matter what you 14 Affiliate Masters Course say, you’re doomed from the start. I once made a request to all 5 Pillar Affiliates for FFA success stories... not a single success story! I won’t bother to ask again. Compare this with how smart and open-minded your visitor feels when she finds you via a Search Engine! 2) What to Say to Your Visitor... Don’t write a site purely devoted to “hard-selling” your merchants’ products. Imagine a visitor who hits your site and reads an immediate sales pitch. That person will resist because she does not know you. Then, if she clicks to your merchant, she gets another sales pitch on the SiteSell site ==> Negative x 2! Never devote your site to one company’s product line. No matter what you do, no matter how sincere you are, this kind of approach always ends up “smelling” like a sales pitch. It simply makes no difference that you honestly love the products -- your visitor will mistake your devotion for selling. Remember, she doesn’t know you! It’s far better to develop a concept that relates to that company’s products and to other products from other companies that are complementary. Develop related content that PREsells. Then “get the click” through “in-context” text links. 3) How to Refer Your Visitor to Your Merchant... Banners, as we discussed earlier, are the best example of how not to refer your visitor to your merchant. In plain and simple language, people feel “pitched” when they click on a banner. And people who feel “pitched” are difficult to convert into a sale. Now for a critical Action Step... Review your site or whatever other means you are using to reach, talk to, and refer visitors to your merchants. Put yourself in your customer’s brain. What will she think, how will she feel, at each of the 3 major steps from above? If you’re doing everything perfectly, congratulations! You must have a high CR. If you don’t have a high CR, or if you see some big mindset mistakes, consider how much higher your CR would be if a visitor… • found you in a bona fide manner (ex., as a result of doing a search on a Search Engine), 15 Affiliate Masters Course • became “your friend” (or your “trusting admirer” if you do a truly awesome job!) because you provided excellent content • and finally was led to a context-appropriate recommendation. (There will be more on recommendation vs. sales pitch shortly.) Key learning point? Always consider how these actions affect your visitor’s mindset... 1) HOW YOU REACH your visitor, and… 2) WHAT YOU SAY to her, and… 3) HOW YOU REFER her to your merchant. Get inside your visitor’s head. Realize how she will feel each step of the way. Whatever you do, consider the impact on your visitor -- if it does not make her more “open to buy,” don’t do it. PREselling is really all about selling yourself (i.e., your credibility) to your customer, every step of the way. You reach your targeted traffic in a proper fashion, you deliver valuable, appropriate, editorial content, and you recommend merchants to your visitor after she has come to respect and like you. Your CR will soar. Why does PREselling work so well? A sale via any affiliate program is really a two-step process. It requires the delivery of two “Most Wanted Responses,” yours and your merchant’s. As an affiliate, what is your Most Wanted Response (MWR)? No, it’s not to get the sale. That’s the second step and it's also your merchant’s MWR. Your MWR is to “get the open-to-buy click” (i.e., your visitor clicks through to your merchant with an open-to-buy mindset). Writing to PREsell does not require genetic talent. It’s not a “gift.” Writing to PREsell is a skill you can acquire. Make Your Content PREsell! (MYCPS!), the only book of its kind on the Net, shows you exactly how to do it. Learn how to... 1) Write to communicate. 2) Develop your own “voice” with flair and substance. 3) Spin your site/biz/self into a unique position. 16 Affiliate Masters Course 4) Honestly convince people to trust and like you. Everyone, regardless of what they do online or offline, needs to know how to write effectively. For more information about this free, must-have resource, please visit… http://mycps.sitesell.com/ Let your merchant’s site do its job and get the sale. I remember when I used to tell my star baseball pitcher, Joel Leonoff... “Joel... you don't have to strike 'em all out. You’ve got a great team behind you. Let them do their job.” The same goes for your merchants. Let them do their job. Our “Top 100” 5 Pillar Affiliates all provide useful content. They PREsell. Then they let the rest of their team (us here at SiteSell) get the sale. It’s a two-step process that builds to the sale... STEP 1 You PREsell to get an open-to-buy click-through to your merchant. STEP 2 Your merchant gets the sale. So, whatever you do, however you do it, it should always pull your visitor one step closer to delivering your MWR... Get an open-to-buy click through to your income-generating source! Whoops! I was just about to move on to the next point. Good thing I heard you asking... “Ken, if I leave it up to the merchant's site to get the sale, I still don’t see how I have any influence on the Conversion Rate. I'd much rather sell the visitor on my own site.” First, let’s make sure we have our terms straight by examining a real case study. Elad Shippony, from Israel, is an excellent example of an infopreneur. He is creating fun and entertaining content to drive traffic from the Search Engines, and then monetizing that traffic, without selling a product or service. http://case-studies.sitesell.com/infopreneur-elad.html PREsell effectively, and your CR will zoom. But if it reads like a “hard-sell sales pitch,” you’ll quickly lose credibility with your audience. 17 Affiliate Masters Course On the other hand, let’s say that you do not have a mega-content, ultra-high traffic site. You really love SiteSell products and that's why you’re so proud to represent them. After all, you’d never want to just “push stuff” on people, products that you do not believe represent true value-for-dollar. Site Build It! (SBI!) gets results at an affordable price… http://results.sitesell.com/ Do not represent merchants who simply bribe you with a high commission to recommend overpriced products. A short-term gain like this ends up in long-term pain. Your reputation is your foundation. Build it on rock rather than sand. Watch the SBI! Video Guide for an inside-look at how SBI! provides all the information, strategies and tools needed to progress from brainstorming to content-development to traffic-building to growing a profitable business. http://demo.sitesell.com/ You create a Web site that really raves about SBI! and other SiteSell products. You mean every word of it, of course. And you are really proud of your site. And you know that you are doing visitors a favor by telling them about the SiteSell products. Whoa! Let’s shift the focus from YOU for a second. Let’s focus on your visitor’s mindset. Up above, I said... Get inside your visitor's head -- realize how she will feel each step of the way. Whatever you do, consider the impact on your visitor -- if it does not make her “open to buy,” don't do it. So maybe you see an honest site that tries to share the benefits of SBI! with your visitor. But your visitor does not know you or your motivations. And most importantly, she is not reading the relevant information that she was searching for. (The fundamental reality of the Net is information, information, information). Your visitor sees a straight sales effort. With no other true content, it would be hard for “an outsider” to see it any other way. It does not matter what you see. If your visitors basically perceive a straight sales effort for your merchants, you’re selling, not PREselling. That means that the two-step process is now SELL-SELL... 18 Affiliate Masters Course Redundancy = Turned OFF customer = LOW CR. But if you develop great content, it will lead to the click. You become a friend making a recommendation rather than a stranger making a sales pitch. And if you create a truly great site, you’ll actually become a trusted expert making an endorsement. Recommendation = Turned ON customer = HIGH CR. In other words, don’t push your visitor to the click. Make her want to click. It makes all the difference if your visitor feels that it’s her idea to deliver your MWR (the open-to-buy click). Another question? Geez, I was about to grab a coffee. Fire away! “Can you give me another example of using content to PREsell?" Sure. Let’s say that you love Make Your Words Sell! (MYWS!), the perfect bookend to Make Your Content PREsell!. Your plan is to create a Net marketing site. Whoa! My first recommendation... Do not create another Web marketing site. There are zillions of them. However, if you can develop a unique twist in the way you present high-value Web marketing information and build at least 30 quality content pages about this subject, then go for it. But don’t limit your monetization efforts to PREselling Site Build It! exclusively. Instead, diversify. For example, let’s say you create a content page about “how to write persuasive sales copy on the Net.” Within that page, include in-context text links to your Top 3 books about copywriting. Add Make Your Words Sell! (a free book) http://myws.sitesell.com/ … and include a #2 and a #3 recommendation. Why? First, this approach gives your page extra content value -- it shows visitors that you have their best interests at heart. Second, it adds extra credibility to the #1 choice (ahem!). And third, it gives you three possible links for your visitor to click upon. 19 Affiliate Masters Course Include your favorite book about writing “offline” copy, too. Naturally, it’s an affiliate link to one of the online bookstores! It’s a WIN-WIN-WIN situation for you, your visitors, and your merchants. Now, please think about the following for a moment... Why would I, a merchant, recommend that you not create “yet another Web marketing site,” and especially not one that is dedicated to selling Site Build It!? It’s because I know you’ll waste your time. The two-step SELL-SELL does not work. Period. Sure, you’ll get a few sales. But you won’t make enough money to stay motivated to build your business. I’d rather give you a far more powerful, successful approach… http://affiliatemarketing.sitesell.com/ …and have a smaller piece of your larger and more successful attention! Bottom line?... If you want to create and build a site that is related to Net marketing, take your time and do your homework. Find a new concept, or a unique twist, or a trend that you think will become important, and be the first one to do it. Do not be a “me too.” Better yet, find your own unique concept. And where do you find a great concept for your site? Inside you! You do know stuff other people don’t... things people would pay to know. You might have learned it “on the job” or through your hobby. There’s a good chance that you don’t even realize what you know. It’s often right under your nose. But, as you’ll see in DAY 2, everyone is an expert about something. In the meantime, check out how these small business owners have created their own unique site concepts based on what they know and love. Find out how they discovered SBI!’s most valuable benefit of all… http://ilovesbi.sitesell.com/ Here’s a real concrete, non-Web-marketing example that will succeed... It’s all about creating a Theme-Based Content Site that is loaded with Keyword- Focused Content-Rich Pages. Your theme?... 20 Affiliate Masters Course You love concrete. Yes, cement! It’s been your hobby, your passion, for years... Concrete statues. Concrete painting. Decorative concrete. Concrete in the garden. Repairing concrete. The various types of concrete. Hand trowels. Things to do with cement blocks. Concrete trade shows. Concrete and swimming pools. Concrete molds. Cleaning concrete. Ready mixed concrete. Concrete countertops. For this example, I had to brainstorm topics for concrete. I know nothing about it. I chose “concrete” because it was the first thing to enter my head. But I could develop topics about concrete forever. (There is more about brainstorming and developing high-profitability topics later in the course.) Anyway, let’s say that you decide to create a Theme-Based Content Site that is all about concrete. Your home page explains how your site is the site for everything concrete, from structural to esthetic. Of course, you create high-value, content-jammed Keyword-Focused Content Pages. For example, your page about concrete statues explains all about how to make striking statues for the home and garden. You could even expand it into an entire “Statue Section,” with a page on the history of concrete statues and another one about how to market and sell the statues that the visitor makes. The main point, though, is that you create truly excellent, high-value content that attracts and delivers what your readers sought at the Search Engines, “warms them up” and increases your credibility… C T P You also weave relevant, “in-context” text links right into the content (i.e., your recommendations)… • Books about the topic (ex., concrete statues if that's what the page was about) • A garden supplier for concrete molds, trowels, etc. • A concrete supplier • Consulting services -- your own, of course! M 21 Affiliate Masters Course See what’s happening? When you write about a niche that you know and love, the content is easy. I’ll show you how to attract even more targeted traffic by ranking well for the Search Engines (Search Engine Optimization) later on. By providing great content, you PREsell your reader, increasing your click throughs and your CR. And by monetizing through related and excellent affiliate programs, and other appropriate monetization models, you develop multiple streams of income from one site. This is the way to go. I’d love to have just a small piece of your attention on a site like this... perhaps a button link “Powered by SiteSell.com” or perhaps a page called “How I Built This Page.” If you can create a way to make it fit on your site, I’d love to be with you. OK, we can summarize this section into a key take-home lesson. I am giving it this title... “The Road to Becoming a Master Affiliate” The more I researched successful 5 Pillar Affiliates, the more PREselling techniques I found. But, no matter how they do it, they all accomplish the same thing in the end... ************************************** “They refer people to their merchants in an ‘OPEN-TO-BUY’ frame of mind.” ************************************** What's the key? PREselling. Not selling. You must, must, must know how to PREsell! Basically, The Affiliate Masters Course delivers the single most productive approach to affiliate income. It will show you how to PREsell your way to a CR of 5-10% and at the same time, maximize targeted traffic to your site and your merchants’ sites (and your other monetization options, if applicable). This brings us to the bottom line of this DAY... If you’re drawing targeted traffic to your site... and if your site is getting a great Click-Through Rate (CTR) to the merchants that you represent (and your other monetization sources)... and if you are converting a high percentage of them into sales... 22 Affiliate Masters Course You are following the roadmap to becoming a high-earning affiliate champion! Let’s summarize the whole point of PREselling with this question... Which would you respond to?... A stranger with a sales pitch? Or… A knowledgeable friend making a recommendation? Before proceeding to DAY 2, please complete your DAY 1 Goal-of-the-DAY, and take note of your Ongoing Goal... Deepen and focus your understanding of this material. Re-read it once per week for the next eight weeks, monthly after that. As you progress through DAYS 2 through 10, it’s going to be easy to lose sight of the “big picture” presented today. And there’s another reason to re-read regularly. It will mean more and more to you as you gain each DAY’s new perspective. And with that, it’s on to DAY 2…. Time to begin the blueprint for your Web site. Take the first step by brainstorming your Site Concept… 23 Affiliate Masters Course 2. DAY 2 Brainstorm Your Site Concept “Do What You Love... The Money Will Follow” Goal-of-the-DAY... Identify the top 3 Site Concepts that you know and love. Before you take this next step, take a moment to decide how you want to spend your time. Benjamin Franklin gave us this valuable advice to follow… “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” 2.1. PREpare, Not REpair You have just arrived at the most important part of your entire affiliate business. Yes, I know some of you haven’t started yet. And I know you really want to get going! And yes... Wrapping up the necessary preparation work before you begin “doing business” on the Net will, of course, delay your grand opening. But it’s important that you take your time to prepare well now. Then there’ll be nothing to repair or repeat once you launch. You’ll just roar ahead! **************************************************** The few hours or so that you spend here, in preparation, will determine exactly how big your success will be. **************************************************** Most people fail in any business because they don’t plan adequately. That’s three times as true for an Internet business and five times as true for what you are about to do. Here’s why... If you pick the wrong concept, if you develop the wrong topics, if you pick the wrong affiliate programs... you’ll get the wrong results. So many small businesses fail to start at the beginning with Content. Instead, they start at the end with Monetization. 24 Affiliate Masters Course They spend time and energy setting up a shopping cart and a merchant account or some other way of “collecting the money.” That’s putting the (shopping) cart before the e-horse of traffic. As we saw earlier, Monetization comes last. It’s the final result of doing everything else (C T P) correctly. The hardest part, where 98% of small businesses fail, is in attracting Traffic, the visitors who convert into income. Yet many start with the cash register! The solution? The only solution?... Content Traffic PREsell Monetize SBI! sites follow the process, generating ongoing targeted traffic… http://ctpm.sitesell.com/ This part of The Affiliate Masters Course focuses on what you need to do first. It guides you past the barriers and hazards and sets you on the road that is right for you… Your road to success. You are embarking upon a truly rewarding journey. Have no doubts -- this is “winnable” e-commerce. It’s totally under your control. What you are about to read is likely a radical departure from what you have been doing. Take your time and read carefully. Receive the key to becoming an Affiliate Master. OK, enough “kung-fu grasshopper” stuff. Back to real-time preparation. You have already started your journey in the right direction by completing the first preparatory step, the foundation for all future actions... • Understand PREselling and its Effect on Conversion Rates (DAY 1) There are three more preparatory steps... • Brainstorm Your Site Concept (DAY 2) Brainstorm a high-potential idea. Discover the best Site Concepts for you. Then narrow them down to the one with the most potential. Remember... it takes just 25 Affiliate Masters Course as much time to build a low-potential business as a high-potential one. So invest the time now to maximize your returns later. • Develop High Profitability Topics (DAY 3) Develop hundreds of possible Keyword-Focused topics for your concept, then narrow them down to the ones with the most profitability. Relax, it’s a snap once I introduce you to a few Net tools. And then it’s on to the final preparatory step... • Plan Your Monetization Models (DAY 4) Here’s where it starts to get fun. Based on the concept and topics that you developed, research affiliate programs that excite you and that fit your concept. At this point, plan for affiliate marketing to be your primary monetization model. However, it is also important to consider other potential income streams that would be suitable for your business. Diversity fosters stability. Don’t rush through the prep DAYS. They are easy -- so it’s tempting to zoom. Don’t. Even though they are not difficult, they do require thoughtful consideration. I hate to be a nag, but please remember what I said before... Building a profitable business is a process. The Video Tour takes you through the C T P M process… http://videotour.sitesell.com/ Take as much time as necessary to do each DAY properly. There is no stopwatch ticking. Some careful planning and fine-tuning will pay you big dividends down the road. Let’s move ahead and... 2.2. Find Your Passion Everyone, absolutely everyone, has a special interest... a passion. Everyone knows something that is of value to others… something that others on the Net seek. 26 Affiliate Masters Course Passion makes work fun and easy… • What is it that you love to talk about? Read about? • What is your hobby? • What do you do for fun and games? • What are your natural talents? Don’t forget to look right under your nose... • What special body of knowledge have you learned from your job? • What do you do day after day, without even thinking about it (ex., child-rearing, taking care of sick parents, renovation contractor, customs inspector). Think about what you do in a typical day, and what you’ve learned from it… • What sections of a bookstore or a magazine shop do you automatically gravitate toward? • What kind of TV shows do you tend to like most? Movies? What activities do you enjoy most about your current occupation?... • Is it research? • Helping customers achieve their goals? • Managing other people? • Teaching or explaining things to others? • Talking/selling on the phone? • Organizing things? • Making a process easier? • Discovering or creating new products or services? • Marketing products? 27 Affiliate Masters Course Problems are also a good source for ideas because problems need solutions!… • What bugs you? • What’s tedious? • What does not work?... We all encounter obstacles, problems, and nasty people in the course of whatever it is that we do every day. What are the three biggest problems in your work place? What are your biggest pains as a parent, or as a teacher, or as a gardener, or as a single mom, etc.? Now repeat all the questions above, except pretend that you are in a “five years ago” time warp. Yes, ask yourself the same questions, except place yourself where you were five years ago. Next, repeat for ten years ago. To paraphrase an old saying... “You’ve forgotten more about some things than other folks will ever know.” Call friends. Ask your kids. Phone your parents or your siblings… or anyone else who can jog your memory. It’s so easy to miss what others see. Your mission, should you decide to accept it (!), and it is not as easy as it sounds, is to find a subject that you really know and like. Here are a few examples of starting points to get your neurons firing... Advertising Cleaning Ergonomics Aerospace Communications Financial services Agriculture/farming Computers Food Antiques and Construction Gambling collectibles Consulting Games Apparel/clothing/fashi Conventions/Trade Government on Shows Health Architecture/buildings Design Hobbies Arts & Crafts Disabilities Home/garden/flowers/ Auctions Education plants Automotive Electronics Hospitality Aviation Employment Information Beverages Energy Jewelry Books Engineering Law Chemicals Entertainment Manufacturing Children/parenting Environment Minerals 28 Affiliate Masters Course Music Retail management Trade New age Science Transportation Office supplies Security Travel Publishing Sex Video Real Estate Software Weather Religion/Spirituality Sports Research and Telecommunications Development Toys Take your time on this -- the final concept will, after all, form the foundation for your affiliate business. So, now that you have read this far, review all the above brain-stimulators with pen and paper (or keyboard) in hand. Write down concepts as they hit you -- make the list as long as you can. Don’t censor yourself. Just write down ideas for Site Concepts as they occur. Next, pick the three concepts that you love the most and that you think would have some appeal for others -- this is your “short list” of Site Concepts. Remember... if a concept really turns you on, you won’t be working. You’ll be playing. So focus on topics that you love. Believe it or not, plain, unbridled enthusiasm or passion is the best PREseller you have. When visitors know you share their passion, there is an instant bond. They approach your solutions with less caution and distrust. Narrow down your top passions using this free decision-making tool. Is it Option A or Option B?… http://chooseit.sitesell.com/ You are now at a critical “Loop Point.” What do I mean by that? Well, at this point, there is no way to tell you which Site Concept to pick. Here’s why... You definitely know which Site Concept excites you the most, but you have no idea which one is most profitable. You do not have enough information yet. Solution? Simply start with the Site Concept that excites you the most. As you accumulate more information during DAYS 2, 3, and 4, grow your concept so that you maximize its profit potential. For example, let’s say that your passion is the Renaissance artist, Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), a highly individualistic and graceful artist who fell out of fashion and died in obscurity. (Hey, in art, ya gotta be good to die broke!) It’s your passion to give this man his due on the Net. 29 Affiliate Masters Course At first glance, the focus is rather narrow. It might be difficult to develop enough HIGH-PROFITABILITY topics to attract sufficient targeted traffic (DAY 3). And there may not be many affiliate programs to develop a substantial primary monetization model (DAY 4). On the other hand... • that may not matter to you -- the passion may be primary, while the money is secondary to you. Or... • since you really are an expert, you just may succeed in developing tons of Keyword-Focused topics to be able to create lots of high value Keyword-Focused Content Pages about Botticelli. You may end up “owning” this niche. And, while completing the prep work, you may discover... • a superb art gallery that specializes in Botticelli, but that gets zero Net traffic • a stock photo service that features a comprehensive selection of Botticelli art • a Botticelli museum in Florence. The stock photo service has an affiliate program. You set up a private referral arrangement with the other two. You’re in e-business heaven! Or... • you conclude that while you love Botticelli, there is not enough income potential for this narrow niche. So you expand it. How far? Do you stop at Botticelli?... Or do you grow your idea to include all Renaissance artists? Or do you grow it into a comprehensive art portal? Of course, you don’t have to go “the whole hog” all at once. You can start with Botticelli and widen the scope of your site over time. How big should you grow your Site Concept? How much should you change it? Only you can decide. And you’ll be able to do that when you finish... 30 Affiliate Masters Course DAY 3 -- Develop high-profitability topics DAY 4 -- Plan Your Monetization Models If the financial potential seems limited after you have finished the above, you have three options... OPTION 1) Expand the concept -- make it more general. But remember... you don’t have to start huge. Build it over time. OPTION 2) Loop back to this point and try the next concept on your “short list” of Site Concepts. OPTION 3) Recognize that you’re “in it” for the passion, and not for the money. Botticelli rules! It’s all up to you. Let those creative juices flow. (A word of caution, though. Before you decide on your final choice for your Site Concept, do DAY 3 and DAY 4.) Before proceeding to DAY 3, please complete your DAY 2 Goal-of-the-DAY, and take note of your Ongoing Goal... Revisit this only if you want to build an entirely new and different Theme-Based Content Site. Now that you have 3 Site Concepts that excite you, let’s find out where the profitability lies... 31 Affiliate Masters Course 3. DAY 3 Develop High-Profitability Topics “Why do you rob banks?” the officer asked infamous bank-robber Willy Sutton moments after he arrested him... “I go where the money is.” Goal-of-the-DAY... Use the SUPPLY and DEMAND WINDOWS to build a Master Keyword List, fully researched, of 5 high-profitability keywords for each of the 3 Site Concepts (brainstormed in DAY 2). With this goal in mind... Let’s say that you love fashion. You eat, live and sleep it. You read all the fashion magazines. You head straight to that part of any bookstore. Your friends beg you to talk about something else “for a change!” It’s time to brainstorm and prune. Initially, you’ll brainstorm as many related “Keyword-Focused” topics as possible that are related to fashion. Then you’ll prune out the low-profit-potential ones. First thing you do? Power up what I will call your “keyword tool center.” There are three WINDOWS of information that you will be researching... 1) DEMAND 2) SUPPLY 3) BREAKOUT Open your browser and start with... WINDOW #1 -- THE DEMAND WINDOW Time to brainstorm some Keyword-Focused topics with Search It!... http://searchit.sitesell.com/ If you're not tapping into the unlimited information on the Web, you're missing out. Search It! converts you into a business power-surfer. 32 Affiliate Masters Course OK, let’s fire up Search It!. A search could involve three or four steps. STEP 1 and STEP 2 both utilize a drop-down menu. I highly recommend that you click on the link, “Click Here for information About Search Type AFTER completing Step 1 & Step 2,” every time you do a search. These short tutorials will help you get the most out of your research until you get more comfortable with Search It!. Now that the mini-orientation is over, let’s get started. STEP 1… Select “Brainstorming” from the Search Category menu. STEP 2… Select “Wordtracker Free Tool” from the Search Type menu. (Don’t forget to click on the help link before you proceed!) STEP 3… Enter the keyword “fashion” (without the quotes). In this course, the term “keywords” includes both single words and multi- word phrases. When building a keyword list, never limit yourself to single words. Many more people search using multiple-word keywords composed of two, or even three, words. Since there is no STEP 4 for this particular search, you can now hit the Search It! button. (Do not use the Enter or Return key.) Let’s quickly recap your search formula… Search It! > Brainstorming (STEP 1) > Wordtracker Tool (STEP 2) > fashion (STEP 3) Please note… we will use the above shortcut style when outlining the steps of future searches. 33 Affiliate Masters Course OK, onwards and upwards. Got your DEMAND WINDOW ready? Here are some examples of the most common keywords (at the time of writing) that Web surfers search upon that contain the word “fashion” at Yahoo!… 3083 fashion 3054 fashion games to play 1366 fashion bug 1268 fashion accessories 387 fashion design You can also try the other search types in the Brainstorming category to expand your keyword list. OK, what do we have so far? We’ve got a good idea of what your potential visitors want. In other words, we know what’s in demand, and by how much, for a variety of keywords (some of which will become your high-profitability, Keyword-Focused topics) that contain the word “fashion.” Now it’s time for... WINDOW #2 -- THE SUPPLY WINDOW Ready to prune out the low-profitability topics? Before we can start pruning, we need to check out the SUPPLY of your “fashion-containing” keywords. In other words, how many sites already provide content for the keywords that we found in your DEMAND WINDOW (i.e., WINDOW #1 above)? Let’s start the ball rolling with “fashion design.” Open Search It! once again. (You did keep it handy on your desktop, right?) Search It! > Competition (STEP 1) > Google Single Keyword SUPPLY (STEP 2) > fashion design (STEP 3) This specific search yields this information… Results 1 - 10 of about 18,100,000 for “fashion design.” Repeat the same process for each of the “fashion”-containing keywords that you found in your DEMAND WINDOW. Yes, seriously, do a search for each keyword. It is a bit tedious, but the research will pay off in spades. Before you do those searches, create a Master Keyword List. I recommend that 34 Affiliate Masters Course you do this either in a simple text file or via a database or spreadsheet program. A database or a spreadsheet will speed things up and provide you with extra functionality. If the idea of a database or spreadsheet scares you, simply stick with a text list. It’s a bit inefficient so it will take you a little longer, but it will do the job just fine. Whatever you decide, please, please, please... Do use a Master Keyword List. It will evolve into the master blueprint for your entire site. If you follow these instructions, the site will almost build itself! OK, here’s what to do with your Master Keyword List. Create four columns and label them KEYWORD, DEMAND, SUPPLY, and SUPPLY SITE INFO. For each “fashion”-containing keyword in your DEMAND WINDOW... 1) Enter the keyword itself into the column labeled KEYWORD -- copy-and-paste to avoid typos. 2) Enter how many times it is searched (info that you found in the DEMAND WINDOW) into the DEMAND column. 3) Enter how many sites Search It! finds (in your SUPPLY WINDOW) in your column labeled SUPPLY. 4) Read the listings for the Top 20 sites that Search It! returns for each keyword. Make brief notes in the fourth column, SUPPLY SITE INFO -- no need to visit the sites yet (perhaps just a quick click to the home page if you need a bit more info). Just get a flavor for the kinds of sites that each KEYWORD search delivers. I’ve started your Master Keyword List for you... KEYWORD DEMAND SUPPLY SUPPLY SITE INFO fashion 3,083 577,000,000 See NOTE... NOTE: “Fashion” is too general. Don't bother researching this word for products/services. The real opportunities lie in the niches, in topic keywords that have more specificity. fashion design 22,032 18,100,000 Design principles, patterns 35 Affiliate Masters Course Add as many notes as you like for SUPPLY SITE INFO. I’ve kept it very brief here, since it is only an example. Finally, make two more columns, one labeled POSSIBLE PARTNERS and the other called IDEAS FOR CONTENT. Time for some in-depth, professional, SUPPLY WINDOW research... Review as many sites from these results as you like. I’d suggest at least the first 10-20 sites. But you may find merchants in need of traffic help (i.e., you!) deeper down. As you get into this in-depth research, you’ll notice three types of sites... • irrelevant -- for whatever reason (off-topic, geographic, lousy site, etc.), they just don't fit. Skip these. • merchant -- in POSSIBLE PARTNERS, enter what kind of merchandise they sell. If they have an affiliate program that fits your concept, enter the URL of the “join page” for the affiliate program of that merchant. These are indeed potential merchant-partners for you. Even better, you’re automatically organizing the POSSIBLE PARTNERS according to each keyword. This means that you are already pre-planning each Keyword-Focused Content Page’s “in-context” text links and setting the groundwork for the “M” (Monetization) stage. • content -- these sites are your direct competitors. They make money through affiliate programs, too. And good news! They’ll speed up your learning curve by giving you a lot of information. Why? Because they've already done a ton of work for you! Here’s what to do... i) As you review these content sites, you may get some great ideas for content on your own site. Enter these ideas into the IDEAS FOR CONTENT column. ii) Browse the site, drilling down into the content. Click on the banner ads and text links, following these links out to their destinations to see what kind of merchants they have chosen as affiliate-partners. Or perhaps it’s a straight advertising deal -- make a note of these merchants as potential advertisers, too. If a given merchant fits your concept and has an affiliate program, enter the kind of merchandise it sells, and the “join page” URL, as you did just above. Once again, you are preparing for the “M” stage. 36 Affiliate Masters Course QUICK TIP: It can be a tedious pain to look for a link to a merchant’s affiliate program. Some home pages are quite crowded. Here’s how to find it quickly... 1) See if you can find a reference to it with a quick scan of the top, left and bottom navbars (graphic or text links). If not... 2) Do a quick find on the home page. Pre
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