Category Archives: Helpful Tips & Tricks

So, You Want to Be an Authority?


If you’re an online marketer who wishes to break into a certain market, one approach is to establish yourself as an authority on the given subject.

One of the best methods is to start a blog and share your expertise and experience on the given subject. Once you have established yourself, your followers will become faithful customers who may also spread the gospel of your message.

Okay, so what’s a good route for establishing yourself as an authority if you’re not super experienced in your chosen market? For many it’s tempting to ‘fake it ’till you make it’ by exaggerating your knowledge set to your prospects.

Well, that might work at first, and you might think that it will draw more followers, but sooner or later someone is going to corner you on something.

I remember way back in the early 90’s, I went to a computer expo in Miami with a friend along with another acquaintance who were both computer geeks. At the time, I didn’t know squat about computers, but I was rapidly getting interested in them, so I went along on the trip.

When we first arrived, I wandered off by myself to look at all the cool stuff. I could hear others all around me chattering the latest tech-speak. They might just as well have been speaking Greek, because that’s about how well I understood it all.

Within the first few minutes, a group of about 5 well dressed gentlemen approached me and struck up a conversation. I was a little surprised that they wanted to chat with me so I decided to have a little fun with them, and prop myself up into their league.  I was too proud to admit that I was a computer ignoramus and a newbie to the game (lol!).

The conversation went something like this:

Business Man: Hello.

Me: Hello, an interesting expo, isn’t it?

Another Business dude: Yes it is. Where are you from?

Me: Fort Myers… and you?

Business dude: Miami. Do you have a company?

Me: Ah.. Yes, I have small company. (Actually, I was managing a TV repair shop, and freelancing at the time).

Business dude: Are you in hardware, or software?

Me: (Thinking, hmmm, which is better?) Ah, It’s a software company. (I was lying like a dog in July!).

Now I had peaked all of their attention.

Business dude: What type of software?

Me: Ahhh, business software. I help provide businesses with customized programs to help their accounting. (Man I’m good, I’m impressing the heck out of these guys.  This is hilarious!).

One of the other Business dudes: Do you have a development team?

Me: Yes I do. (Oh, the B.S. is getting deeper by the syllable!).

Other business dude: How many in your team?

Me: Ah, It’s a small team, only 10 people at the moment. (Starting to sweat a little now because the conversation is progressing farther than I’d like it to).

Still another business dude: What’s your IPO?

Me: (Thinking to myself – WTF is an IPO?!!!!)

The room temperature is suddenly getting much hotter.

Me: Ahh… IPO?… Oh… well actually I don’t need one. I just prefer to work without ’em… um, but I’ll consider getting one someday! (…d’oh!)

At that instance, they all did a 180 degree turn in perfect unison and immediately walked away. I had totally PWNED myself!!! They had my number, and they weren’t going to waste another second of their time on me.

Not only was it embarrassing as heck, but I lost all credibility. Suppose I would have pulled something like this on the internet and got busted? My credibility would be lost forever!

I walked away, a little hot and sweaty and I’m sure my face was red as a beet with embarrassment. Aside from continuing to ask myself “WTF is an IPO?!”, I learned an important lesson.

If you want to network with people and learn from them, be yourself! If I would have just been upfront with them and let them know that I was here to learn more about the computer business, who knows how I could have benefited from the conversation.

Perhaps our encounter would have led to an entirely new and interesting opportunity at some point. At the very least, they might have given me some great pointers at learning the ropes, and where I should focus my resources.

At the time, they were way out of my league and I thought for a moment that I could run with them just by blowing a little smoke up their patootie-holes.

If you’re a beginner, let your audience know that you are.  Don’t act like an immature moron like I did!

For example, with internet business you could frame your own blog as a ‘learning together’ experience where you share your ups and downs on the journey so that others can learn with you.

You’d be surprised at where that will take you. No web of white lies to keep track of, and you’ll go very far, very quickly.

You’ll develop great relationships with your followers who will also be happy to share their experiences as well. People love to see how others can go from nothing to success.

Being honest with your audience will ultimately give you an iron-clad authority as time goes on.

Building a strong foundation in honesty and credibility is absolutely priceless for both you and your followers.

Blazing a trail to prosperity that others can follow, and sharing it with them along the way. Now that’s a legacy worth leaving!

Ion Propulsion Marketing

ionCowWhen diving into the world of online marketing, especially for the first time, it’s natural to be excited at the prospect that this may be the ticket to a better life. An escape hatch to lead you out of your current state of self-imposed slavery.

I remember when I first dove into internet business, I wanted to hit that magic number of 10K a month on the very first month that I launched my business. Any why not? After all, the possibilities are endless, right?

There was just one minor catch. I had the drive, an idea, a plan, and some technical know-how, but I was missing one key ingredient. This was an ingredient which can’t be bought. Not really. That ingredient was ‘experience’.

In 2005, I was quite the green-horn, and I poked around blindly just like the rest of us. I chased all the opportunities which offered short-cuts. Sometimes I would get lucky and find info that was actually practical, and based on someone else’s real life experience, saving me some pitfalls along the way.

But when it all came down to it, I had to learn most of it by just doing. In the beginning, I crammed as much as I could into my projects to keep moving forward. At other times, I would just lose steam and felt that I was going nowhere, but I managed to press on.

As I analyzed things along the way, I realized that if I kept a steady forward motion everyday, no matter how small, it had a cumulative effect on my business. If I was stuck in some area, I would move in some other way while figuring my way out of it.

For example, I couldn’t get the hang of Adwords for a while back then. Despite getting pounded, I still kept moving in other areas. Baby steps every day.

Today, I was watching one of my favorite shows, The Universe. Yeah, I like all that geeky cool stuff. There was a segment about ion propulsion, and how this type of engine generates just about enough thrust to lift a piece of paper. Yet, in outer space where there is no friction, this constant stream of ions keeps the spacecraft accelerating faster and faster with time.

In time it achieves a mind boggling velocity. I couldn’t help thinking how this same philosophy applies to internet business. Applying a steady stream of forward motion every day in your business leads to the same effect.

Always keeping your focus forward in your business is just like that steady ion stream which gets you to the other side of the solar system in the most efficient manner.

The ion propulsion method is designed for the long term. Is your business? It’s good to be excited about the short term, but always remember that the longer you’re in the game, the more velocity you can build. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t feel that you’re moving quickly enough.

Slow and steady will compound its way up to ‘holy terminal velocity batman!’ Stick to this mindset, and you can’t lose.

5 Ways to Pimp your Bottom Line

bag-o-moneyIf you’re looking to make money online, or if you are already making money online, then you either need, or already have something to sell.

After all, anyone making money online is selling something in one way or another, whether it be a service, physical item, or a digital product, it all comes down to having something that someone else needs or wants, and providing it to them for a fair price.

If you don’t feel that you’re pulling in as much as you could be, then maybe you just need to be adding a few tricks to your bag. I find that many of us hear so much of the same ol’ same ol’ on the forums and around the net, that after awhile we just tend to ignore them hoping that there’s a new magic bullet out there you may stumble across that only you and a select few get privy to.

You know what I mean about same ol’ same ol’, right? Article marketing, building a list, and stuff like that… blechhh! How totally boring.

But you know what? There’s nothing fancy about a hammer either, but if you need to pound in a nail, it works every time. It never needs a re-boot, and it’s absolutely reliable, but how many of us actually get excited about using or possessing a hammer.

It’s not likely that you’ll be struting into a club somewhere shouting to your friends, “hey man check out my new hammer!”, and soon gathering a huge crowd of interested spectators as they check out your new hammer with the genuine rubber grip. If anything, they will likely dispurse rapidly out the door not quite knowing if you’re some kind of nut job getting ready to throw down and break bad with it.

Concentrating on the staples of your business is not overly interesting, and sometimes downright boring, but it happens to be the very fuel that keeps your buisness alive.

Have a product, generate leads, sell your product, generate more leads. That’s the simple basic formula. When you start straying into other areas, always ask yourself whether this is going to either create a new product or service for you, generate more leads, or more sales in some way. If not, then don’t waste your time.

Here are 5 essentials to a healthy online business:

  1. Build a list – Yeah, you’ve probably heard it a million times, but are you actually doing it? And beyond that, are you providing your people with value? The people on your list are the single most valuable asset you can have. Treat them good, and they will reward you over and over again, pretty much on demand.
  2. Do the article thing – Another subject that gets old after the um-teenth time… remember the hammer story? It really works, and once its on the internet, it can be there forever, sending traffic your way. Not only that, but there are so many ways that you can maximize your articles. One example is that you can put some of your articles in your blog, and then refer your list to them as a way to provide them with value.
  3. Test everything. If you enjoy leaving serious bank on the table, then by all means, don’t test. Testing what works and what doesn’t is vital to improving your sales over time. You may think that you came up with the greatest headline of all time in your sales page, but your visitors may beg to differ. You may think that you know what they want, but they may tell you otherwise if you give them the chance. Test, test, test… Testing is literally your keys to the kingdom.
  4. Look professional. I don’t care what the so called gurus say about shabby looking websites pulling in millions… Bull-stuff! If your site looks shlocky, why should I, the prospect, take you seriously? What does that say about your product or service? Take a little time to check your spelling, add some nice graphics, and straighten your margins to say the least. The extra effort will pay off again and again.
  5. Offer great customer service. As amazing as it sounds, some will disagree with me, but offering the best customer service possible will reward you greatly. Some see this as a loss leader, or time spent that offers nothing in return for you. I totally disagree with this philosophy. I see great customer service as a way of showing my prospects that they are important. A repeat customer and a raving fan is a priceless commodity. This aspect of your internet business is not a loss leader, it’s an investment!

Follow the 5 essentials, and you can’t help but to have a thriving internet business. 🙂

Are You Chained to Your Business?

image credit - www.funkyspacemonkey.comA vast majority of us who venture into online business have one real goal in mind…

In the beginning, you may think that your desire is simply for extra money, or maybe its because you just don’t want to worry about money. Perhaps your goal is to be filthy rich. But is money really what you are after?

When you think about it, money is really just a tool. The more you have, the more that you can accomplish. It gives you to power to do what you want when you want.

It gives you the ability to travel, to purchase things that make your life more comfortable. It can allow you to spend more quality time with your family. It gives you the power to tell your boss to stick it where the sun don’t shine… It is liberating. And the list goes on.

Many realize (often too late) that their true core desire is freedom. Having this goal defined in the beginning will allow you to create systems in your business that will keep you out of the trenches, so that your business can grow faster while freeing you up to enjoy the finer things in life.

A prosperous business can ultimately give you freedom if you structure it that way. Your business can be your ticket to freedom, or it can be your master and jailer.

Way back in the day when I was living out of my car in Virginia Beach, I was able to wander around and walk the beaches, as if I was truly free. There was just one catch… this wasn’t the way that I wanted to live out my life.

Without money, my options were really limited. On the one hand, I loved the freedom of not answering to anyone or anything, but on the other hand, I was imprisoned by my circumstances. Scarcity was my mindset, and as a direct result, scarcity then became my reality.

Our business can become a prison too if freedom was our core desire, and we didn’t have this goal defined from the start. When you get started, really drill down and get in touch with your core desire, so that you can shift into the right direction from the beginning.

Are you working 16 plus hours a day trying to scrape a living out of your business? If so, you’re probably using the wrong systems (unless you enjoy working 16 + hours a day).

Don’t be a hero. You can duplicate the things that make you money in your business by outsourcing it to other people. Would you spend $500 in a month to have someone make you $2000 or more?. Would you then spend $5000 to make $20,000 or more?

Of course! Getting rid of the “no one can do it better than me” mindset, and stepping away is one of the best ways to really multiply your business.

The most you can work yourself is about 60 to 80 hours a week with a guaranteed burnout in the end. By outsourcing, you can get hundreds or thousands of hours accomplished in the same amount of time!

…Just a little something for you to ponder.

Article Marketing Vs. Video Marketing Vs… blah blah blah


One of the most common questions that I encounter in online marketing is the “which is better” scenario.

Which is better, article marketing or video marketing? Is Forum marketing better than article marketing? Is blog commenting better than forum commenting?

We can apply this same line of questioning not only to traffic generation, but also list building techniques, keyword research, yadda yadda…

So back to Article marketing vs. Video marketing. Which IS better? Okay, here’s my short off the cuff answer… I dunno, test it and find out.

On the surface that doesn’t sound very helpful does it! Well if you think about it for a minute, you’ll realize that this is exactly what you should do. Don’t worry about whether it works for Joe marketer on the warrior forum.

Find out if it works for you. What works wonders for Joe may not be the best for you. It depends on your market, what you’re trying to accomplish, and even how you have your procedures set up. You do have procedures… right?

Also, I think that it’s a big mistake to be limiting yourself to only the “best” way to do something. Test all of the above and see what works for you. I’m willing to bet that they all do.

One of the techniques may work better than the others, but that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the others! Incorporate everything that drives traffic to your website or squeeze page.

Why would you want to limit yourself to only the best performing one? If you had 15 streams of income, would you dump them all and only keep the best income source? Heck no! A little bit of income from many sources really adds up.

The same is true with traffic generation. Joe Smoe might get tons of targeted traffic from article marketing, because he’s a great writer and passionate about it. You on the other hand, may be a great communicator and draw tons of traffic from video marketing, whereas Joe sucks at it.

Starting to see the picture? Traffic generation isn’t just a “apply one principle” technique. A little traffic from stumbleupon, a little from article marketing, a little from youtube, viddler, from forums, blogs, twitter, SERPS, etc, etc… it all adds up to a lot of traffic.

For free traffic generation (and pretty much everything), focus on the techniques that you are best at which give results. Outsource the tedious stuff so you don’t have to mess with it.

Do I hear mechanical turks?

As a business owner, your time is too valuable to be spending on tedious stuff or stressing over which is better because you’re obviously not testing. You’re the idea person… the creator, the captain.

Sam Walton didn’t build an empire by running around all day unloading trucks, stocking shelves, helping customers, and running the cash register. Why should you?

It’s a big world out there full of opportunities to achieve your goals. Test everything, scale up what works and toss or tweak what doesn’t.

In either case, tweak, tweak, tweak. Always try and improve what you have. The results will reverberate all through your marketing funnel. A little improvement goes a longgggg way. 🙂

Five SEO Tricks to Help Increase Your Traffic

Traffic picSEO, or Search Engine Optimization is considered by some as the holy grail for driving traffic if they can either master it or pay a master to optimize their website.

Some are confused because they think “huh? Search Engine Optimization… How can I optimize a Search Engine?!” SEO of course is really referring to the Optimization of your web page for the Search Engines to consider it most relevant to those keywords for which you are optimizing.

Keep in mind that SEO is but one strategy to drive traffic. Many people wrongly assume that all you have to do is optimize your website and then watch the visitors come rolling in by the millions.

Did you ever notice on those cereal commercials how they tell you that their cereal is part of a balanced breakfast. Notice the catch word “part“. The balanced breakfast in addition to the cereal may also include juice, toast, bacon, and eggs.

By eating cereal alone, you are only getting part of the nutrition. The same applies here. SEO is a part of a balanced traffic strategy. Other components can include article marketing, blog & forum commenting, paid traffic, affiliate traffic, & list building, for starters.

Okay, onward & upward. Here are my top picks for getting my page relevancy recognized by the search engines.

  • A good title tag – The title tag is one of the key elements for good SEO. Always get that important keyword into the title of your webpage.
  • images; Name, Alt & Title tags- Name your image something relevant to your keyword / web theme. Always get your keywords into your alt & title inside your img tag, but and this is a big but, I mean like J-Lo big… they must be relevant to your image & the image must be relevant to your keyword. Don’t name non-relevant images, or use alt / title tags with them. Non-relevant images could include a buy button, checkmarks, background gradients, etc.
  • Link Text – Always include keywords into your links. Creating a link to somewhere and making the active text something like Click here now is a wasted opportunity. Instead, make your links keyword rich such as “get your Sony Bravia LCD HDTV here”.
  • Bold & italics – Use bolding on some keyword rich phrases where you would like that extra attention from the search spider. Don’t over do it though or it could backfire. Italicized words can also add some juice.
  • Menus & Footer – The footer is another key area to get the attention of the Search Engines. Getting active keyword rich links into the menus & footer of a web page is an important factor to peaking up your page.

Consider these five as a primer. There are a lot of aspects to good SEO, but much of it isn’t exactly rocket science either. The key thing to remember is to never get spammy with your content. Writing strictly for the search engines and not keeping your visitors in mind is a sure way to not keeping (& converting) your visitors, and you’ll lose ground as well.

Stuffing your web page with hundreds of invisible keywords (using text with the same color as the background) might have worked back in the stone-age of the internet, but search engines are much smarter now.

It’s all about relevance and what will keep your visitor on your page for more than a just few seconds. When your visitor found you in the search results, they expect your content to be relevant to what they are searching for. Google has many methods for determining if that visitor had a relevant search experience with your site or not.

I’m going to be covering SEO in much greater detail in my first edition of the “Jack Keifer Letter” which will be debuting soon. Keep an eye out; the Jack Keifer Letter will get you access to the inner workings of my business where I will reveal information that is only available to paid subscribers.

This will be premium meat & potatoes stuff, with surprise bonuses shipped out to you from time to time, and I don’t mean cheesy PLR stuff, I’m talkin’ my own genuine KeiferSoft™ products FREE just for being a part of my inner-circle!

My next post will probably be a 24 hour special, so stay tuned. 🙂

The Worlds Coolest Blogging Software

BlogDeskEvery so often, I stumble across something that stands out above the noise and makes me go “wow, that’s cool!”.

It’s an application called “BlogDesk” created by Johannes Oppermann. BlogDesk lets you write and publish new blog updates right from your desktop.

It’s compatible with all the major blogging platforms, including WordPress. In fact, the last post that I wrote was done in BlogDesk!

Adding pictures to your posts, bullet points, and any formatting is effortless the the BlogDesk WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) visual interface.

Typing a great looking article is as easy as pie. Writing blog posts is a joy with this software. It’s a nice, clean, intuitive interface which allows me to be creative without having to muddle with complex menus.

Setting this up to work with my blog was also a breeze. A setup wizard simply walks you through the steps, and does most of it for you!

Now I can simply write my blog updates, click my categories, and submit. Oh, & if you want to edit your update later after it’s already been published, you can do that too. Very cool.

One thing that I particularly like is how easy it is to insert pictures, audio files, pdf’s, etc. You can simply insert them from your computer, and BlogDesk will upload them automatically to your website when you publish your blog.

I’ve tried a couple other offline blogging apps, like Windows Live Writer from Microsoft. It was pretty good, but when I would publish, the formatting never seemed quite right, especially with pictures. so I stopped using it after a couple of times.

I can tell that BlogDesk will be my weapon of choice for blogging from here on out. You can also have multiple blogs in BlogDesk. Just create your article, choose your blog (or blogs) to publish to & voila!

There are a ton of other features that I haven’t even touched upon such as adding effects, resizing, & thumbnailing of your pictures, frequently used phrases feature, tag generator, and more…

Oh yeah, there’s just one catch… the price… its, er… ahem… it’s FREE! Yes, I couldn’t believe it either. This is a first class piece of software, take it from a guy who develops software myself. I would give it three thumbs up if I had an extra hand.

If you’re a blogger, and you haven’t tried this yet, go check it out. I think you’ll love it as much as I do. And if so, why not show them a little love while you’re at it.

Breaking Out Of The Infinite Doodle Loop

Infinite Doodle Loop Pic -

One of the biggest online business killers that I know of is the “infinite doodle loop cycle”

We’ve all been caught in this, myself included. Your’re caught in writer’s block, or maybe you lack solid procedures in your business, so you don’t know what to do next.

As a result, instead of accomplishing anything constructive, you’re surfing the forums hoping that someone is going to share that magic formula that just made them rich overnight with no effort. By the way, don’t count on it.

Other common feedback loops include:

  • constantly checking your emails for something… anything.
  • Checking your web stats every 15 minutes
  • Taking long time-outs to watch TV, hoping your mind will be fresh with ideas when you come back (if you come back).
  • Going back into the forums again… maybe that “secret sauce” has been revealed since you checked 10 minutes ago.
  • Making paper airplanes & throwing them out the window, hoping that your business will build itself.

You can keep yourself very busy with all of this activity. Most marketers even deceive themselves into thinking that something is actually being accomplished. Perhaps in the name of education.

So, how do we break out of this cycle?

The first basic step is to identify why you’re not doing anything to begin with. Is it because you are lost as to what to do next? Maybe you’re frustrated because what you are doing is not working. Perhaps you’re disorganized, or overwhelmed.

When you understand what category you fall into, then it’s time to make a quick action plan to break out. This doesn’t have to be complicated, it only needs to take a few minutes to work out.

Let’s say you’re overwhelmed from information overload. Take a step back and see what you have done so far. Don’t try to do it all at once. Just define your next step and then do it. After that, repeat.

The most important thing you can do is develop procedures in your business, and follow them. I know, this sounds complicated, but it really isn’t.

Just write down (or make a video of) anything that you currently do in your business. Write them in a way that anyone else could follow if they were reading or watching them for the first time.

Are you using Pay Per Click to test out campaigns? Document how you do it. Are you submitting articles to various directories and getting results? Write down how you do it and where you are submitting to.

Make everything you do a documented procedure, right down to approving blog posts or posting to forums.

You’ll be surprised how many procedures that you come up with, just from what you are doing right now. From here, you need to make a schedule of when to follow each procedure.

Some of them every day, & maybe some once a week, whatever the case may be. If you have a set of procedures, then you have a proven set of techniques that you can follow every day to constantly build your business.

You should always be tweaking your procedures to give you the absolute best results. This will compound itself when practiced across all your procedures.

Now that you have systems in place, you will be perfectly positioned when you are ready to outsource your more tedious tasks. The systems will already be in place, so that members of your team can easilly follow them without the need to be bothering you every 5 minutes for direction.

To get the best out of building your business, you should follow a proven plan. I would recommend getting an experienced mentor. This is without a doubt the quickest & most sure way to build your business while avoiding the common and often costly mistakes that go along with internet business.

I’ve often been asked about offering mentoring. I’ve often considered offering this service, but the puzzler has always been how to give my clients the best value and the best results.

I’m currently in the process of re-structuring my online businesses, and within the next few weeks, I’ll be offering various forms of mentoring.

Interested? Stay tuned…

In the mean time, follow my tecniques above and you will be armed with the firepower to blast free of the infinite doodle loop and get your online business back on track.

A Few Of My Favorite WordPress Plugins

You can find them here:

aLinks –
Edit 05-26-2009 – aLinks seems to be no longer supported by its developer, however you can get an updated (modified) version of aLinks here:
A WordPress plugin that automatically links keywords in your blog post. By Sean Hickey.

AWeber Plugin
Aweber allows you to subscribe people to an aweber list when they register or post a comment to your blog. By Guru Consulting Services, Inc..

Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a compatible sitemap of your WordPress blog which is supported by, Google, MSN Search and YAHOO. Configuration Page By Arne Brachhold.

Upgrade your WordPress installation with one simple click via the InstantUpgrade panel. Attention: This is a BETA release; if you don’t know what that means, you shouldn’t be using this software. By Alex Günsche.

Lucia’s LinkLove
Where a commenter has commented at least some number of timeslinks are made “dofollow”. User interface permits blogger to do follow author link or links inside comments. By Lucia Liljegren.

NextGEN Gallery Widget
Adds a sidebar widget support to your NextGEN Gallery By NextGEN DEV-Team.

Odiogo Listen Button
Give your blog a voice! Add a “Listen Now” button to your blog so your readers can listen to your posts and download podcasts. Free Sign up. By Odiogo.

SimplePie Core
Does little else but load the core SimplePie API library for any extension that wants to utilize it.  By Ryan Parman and Geoffrey Sneddon.

Sociable Zyblog Edition
Automatically add links on your posts to popular social bookmarking sites. By Tim Zylinski.

TinyMCE Advanced
Enables advanced features and plugins in TinyMCE. By Andrew Ozz.

WordPress Database Backup
On-demand backup of your WordPress database. By Austin Matzko.

Provides a simple way to sell clickbank products via customizable HopFeed ad blocks. By HopAd Plugin.

WP Ajax Edit Comments
Allows users and admin to edit their comments inline. Admin and editors can edit all comments. By Ajay D’Souza.

Instantly Beef Up Your Affiliate Conversions

Affiliate Marketing Money PictureWhen I first got into the online marketing scene back in late 2005, I immediately came out of the gate with my first product.   To me, it seemed logical that having your own product line is ultimately the best way to build a business online… at least for me.

There’s tons of ways to make money online, including creating e-commerce stores, providing services to online & offline businesses, affiliate marketing, etc.

Well, in the beginning, I had no Idea how to market my product, so I stuck it on eBay & did quite well with it.  This was when they allowed digital products.

In the mean time, I was also curious about affiliate marketing.  The idea of putting up a review site with a couple affiliate links, then passively making money every month seemed very appealing.

No tech support, no dealing with refunds, none of the typical headaches that come with having your own products.

So like everyone else, I jumped onto the affiliate review sites & landing pages bandwagon.  I put up my product reviews, pointing out how great product ‘X’ was and pointing my visitor to the affiliate link where they could make the purchase.

I remember after setting up my first affiliate review page thinking that the money was going to immediately start rolling in.  I would check my email about every 10 minutes looking for that coveted “Congratulations! You Have Made a Sale” type email.  Really! No kidding, almost every 10 minutes, heh heh!

Needless to say, that first day came & went, and so did the next… and the next.  Hmmmm, maybe they don’t like the way I write?  Does the product suck?  But it’s a hot seller!  So I started testing different variations of the review page.

Hmmmm, two weeks and counting – still no sale.  Uggggh!  I had already sold dozens of my own product, but nothing from these stupid affiliate products.  Maybe affiliate marketing was just a crock.

About this time, I was ready to pitch the whole affiliate marketing thing out the window.  Around this same time, I had injured 3 of my fingers pretty badly on a Skil saw, and they were sliced up pretty good.  I had lost much of the feeling in them at the time.  Because of this, I was interested in finding some type of skin cream that could help my fingers heal faster and maybe even minimize scarring.

So I did the next natural thing.  I Googled for “best skin care for injuries” and many variations including keywords like “review”, etc.

Well, wouldn’t you know it.  Every website I came across had affiliate reviews of how great THEIR product was.  Hmmm.  I didn’t put much credibility into it because I knew that they were probably just trying to get a sale.

I searched onward…  Onward some more… and more!  I must have went through a hundred results before I finally found ONE site that didn’t appear biased.

This site pretty much had a fact sheet format which did comparisons of different skin care products for fast healing & scar reduction.  I was able to use this information to make an informed decision and I bought the product through their link.

YIKES! I suddenly had the “Duh!” moment when I realized how aggravated and frustrated I was getting, trolling hundreds of search results just to get some real info on what I needed.

I already had made my mind up that I wanted to buy, but I had to have real validation that my purchase decision was okay.  I went back to my own affiliate review page and realized that it didn’t look any different in format that those other hundred sites that did absolutely nothing for me!

This time, I changed my landing page from a fluffy, feel good review, to an informative fact sheet, modeled after the website that I had purchased through.  It wasn’t an exact copy of course, but by educating the customer in a complete non-biased fashion, using bullet points and snippets of customer reviews from other shopping sites (with credit back to them of course), I suddenly realized that this page was now an authority page, not a pre-sell.

This time I was excited again, but I didn’t check my email every 10 minutes like I did before.  The next morning while checking my email, there it was… “You Have Made A Sale!”.  I could hear the angelic music in the back ground as I clicked the email link.

I’ll never forget the excitement of my first affiliate sale and the valuable lesson I learned from that whole experience.  I started to realize right then & there not to follow the herd.  Do the opposite.  As marketers, its easy to get so focused on making a landing page, and pushing your visitors to that affiliate link, that we forget about their real needs.

I have found that the real secret is to intercept the buyers.  People who have already decided that they are going to buy.   Generally, we need to validate our decision before pulling out the credit card and that’s where you should come in.  No need for pre-sell, just the facts validating to your visitor that they had made the right decision, and now it’s time to click the link.

It’s brain dead simple.  Not something the ‘gurus’ want you to know, LOL.

From that point on, I stayed in the affiliate marketing game which ultimately inspired my next product.  That product was AmazingCloaker.   Between the fact-sheet layout and the AmazingCloaker embedded-cookie feature, my affiliate projects became a whole new ballgame!