Article Marketing: Personal Approach

Article marketing has been one of the best ways to drive targeted traffic and to build back links to a website. In this article I’ll emphasize on the personal approach in article marketing and how this should be the way to generate good income on the Internet.

Actually I’d like to call from this article for a “revolution” in making money online against the teachings of the “black hatters” and the “loop-holers” so that we all make money on the Internet while enriching the web with valuable knowledge and life experiences.

Without any more delays here is the theory around which this method is built:

In the real physical world the best kind of investment is real estate. And the best of which is the one that generates residual income on monthly, weekly, or even daily basis. Examples are rented apartment buildings, vacation time share, and hotels. It’s the best in terms of the amount of work from your side in order to get this money. All of the work is done by the acquisition of the property and hiring someone to do the maintenance and collect the rent, and in case of hotels you hire a company to manage it for you and collect the money.

At the end of the day your property is still yours, and could be acquiring more value with appreciation, and you get to make stable residual income as long as you own it. If you need a loan to start another business you can easily get one because you can back it up with your property ownership.

So far so good, but how to do that online?

On the Internet there is a whole virtual world of property called “websites”. Yes, people buy and sell websites, and rent advertising spaces on high traffic sites, and there is a whole industry built on flipping domains and websites.

If you can control a website or a blog with high traffic volume you can rent advertising space for a certain amount of money that’s proportional to the amount of traffic and the kind of audience of your blog.

The beauty of the idea is that it’s easy to own such property because a domain name is in the $10/year area and a hosting could be as low as $1.99/month (All Inclusive Plan for only $1.99/mo). Even if you can’t pay for those now, you still can build a free personal blog on blogger.com and when you have the money buy a domain name for $10 and change your blogger blog settings to be on your new domain.

What do I Mean with Personal?

When I say personal I am not talking about the whole “you” here. Personal can also mean just one side of you. Maybe the one side you don’t want to speak about out loud with your friends and family who don’t understand you, or the most exciting experience you ever had in your life, or even the hobby that you have a strong passion for and have gained experience around it over the years. Anything you like, but just one thing, is what you can blog and write articles about from a personal perspective.

I know that you might be thinking that article marketing can not be personal and successful at the same time. Don’t jump to a conclusion yet. I have a plan for you, just be patient and keep reading.

Why Personal?

If you have been around the Internet marketing field for a while you must have been over exposed to the “keyword research” concept. There will be a little keyword research that anyone can master in a matter of minutes, and does not involve a lot of thinking because you will be doing it in a “personal” way. Here is how:

The best company to rent your advertising space to is Google through Adsense program. The program displays Google ads in blocks that you have already installed the ad code on.To be accepted by this program it’s easier if your blog is personal.

Another reason is that we want to make money while enriching the Internet with your knowledge and experience. It’s YOUR touch that’s needed here for two reasons:

1. The audience gets more easily attached to a personal blog than to a corporate website. This means more loyal visitors to your blog.

2. You can be referred to as an authority in your subject by name. Names are easier to remember than urls or brands. It’s also easier to credit you for any content copied from your website even if the copier don’t do so. Your audience will know and your job of getting their host to take them down will be easier.

Most importantly, a personal blog complies with all the TOSs of advertising companies as far as I know (not a guarantee though).

Where is the Article Marketing Part?

It comes after you blog about yourself, your passion, your hobby, your education, your political or religious views, or anything you want to blog about. There is no keyword research here. All what you are doing is that you are spelling your guts out on the web.

This blog will be your personal website where people who want to know more about you can come and visit, like your friends on facebook and twitter.

The article marketing comes after you have a few posts on your blog, got accepted by Google adsense as a publisher, and you are ready to receive traffic to your blog to read your content first, and to see the ads second.

This blog will be your signature everywhere you go; in your email, on the forum signature, in your social media profiles, on your personal cards … everywhere.

The article marketing will not be marketing at all. It will be a contribution from you to the Internet society with your knowledge, views, experience … anything you like. And your signature here is no exception from the above list.

How to Do the Article Marketing:

Here comes the technical part which involves keyword research, but it has nothing to do with keyword tools. Here is the plan:

1. Go to Google Trends and find out what is the buzz about now. See if you can write about one of the top 10 hot searches or topics. If yes blog about it on your personal blog.

2. Go to ezinearticles.com and rewrite what you had on your blog in a formal way and publish it. Your bio box will include your personal blog and a few words about you as an author.

3. Do that daily if you can. Some days you’ll not find something you can write about. Take what you wrote yesterday, rewrite it and publish it elsewhere, like Squidoo.com, HubPages.com, GoArticles.com and AcrtilesBase.com.

The above plan takes 30-60 minutes at most if you are blogging about something that’s part of your personality. I mean you are not going to need a lot of research to come up with a 300 word article about something you love.

The kind of people who will visit your website is the “general audience” type. This means that a lot of “branding” advertising will show up on your blog. The beauty of “branding” advertisers is that they don’t care about immediate direct response and they do have the budget to burn. All what they care about is getting their name in front of as many eyeballs as they can, which is what they will get from your blog visitors.

To keep track of who visited your site, where they came from, what did they do on your site, how they exited your site, and how long they stayed there you can install the code from statcounter.com.

Let’s all focus on providing the valuable content and money will follow.

Are you with me?

The Death of PPC?

When a giant like Google slaps those who’d been feeding it since it started making money with Adwords and Content Ads (Adsense) it means one of two things: either they are losing ground to other search engines due to the low quality of user experience with paid ads, or they’ve found a huge source of income that Adwords revenue dwarfs next to it.

I have my reasons to believe that it’s both. The millions of annual spending of individual affiliate marketers are not stable, and are declining anyway (as will be explained in a minute). Compare that with fixed advertising budgets from big brands whose advertising aims mostly at branding and not at  making direct sales.

Due to the shrinking of profit margin expected from direct sales generated through Adwords more and more affiliate marketers are dropping the ball, and others are shifting their advertising budgets to other more reliable and profitable sources. And this very same shrinking is caused by Google itself. Here is how:

To get lower cost per click with Adwords you need a higher quality score, which in turn depends on several factors including the click through rate on your ad. Recently, the average Google searcher started to pay little to no attention to the sponsored links. This only means lower click through rates and consequently higher cost per click due to the low quality score caused and given by Google!

That only means one thing; the battle for the next several months will be in the SEO zone, where every one wants to get as many organic clicks as possible because this is where the average Google users shifted their attention to.

The first half of 2010 witnessed the release of tens of high ticket, as well as low ticket, paid traffic guides and courses. The target of those courses was the ex-Google Adwords users who lost their accounts in the late 2009 slap. Makes sense?

Now as it became obvious that Google is losing the PPC battle due to the natural development of user behavior (which is pretty predictable and I don’t know how in the world a giant like Google, with 50+ PhDs and a huge army of grad students, is not prepared for it) I expect tens of SEO courses and services, both in the high and low ticket zones, to dominate the marketing arena at least until the end of 2010.

The question is: Since PPC traffic is declining and SEO is unreliable (changes with Google’s moody algorithms), what is the reliable alternative?

PPV (pay per view traffic generated by adware) is also declining, not only in available inventory, but also in quality and profitability. So, this is not the answer.

Face Book PPC was really hot early this year, but not anymore. The attention is shifting back away from that ad zone and the competition is eating the profits of average affiliate marketers. They still can make it do better at Face Book by changing the ads display positions so that the user doesn’t get trained on ignoring a certain area on the screen.

Twitter doesn’t have an advertising platform yet. I have no idea when it will come to live, but unless they act now they’re missing a huge opportunity to fill a black-whole-sized gap in the advertising space.

Good ol’ banners died for a while, but advertising agencies figure out a way to partially revive it. The regular user is used to two kinds of banners more than the others: the 468×60 (like the on at the top right hand corner of this website) and the vertical 120×600 and 160×600.

On the other hand, squares 250×250 and rectangles 300×250 are more perceived as a picture than as adverts, especially when they are embedded within the text. This kind of banners still gets some attention and I expect it to keep getting that much attention as long as people are interested in pictures that could save them the time to read the whole thing.

Finally, my view of the way to revive PPC advertising again is only by embedding sponsored ads within the organic search results, or changing the search results page layout so that the ads are not shown where they are used to be ignored. This could give PPC another push for a while, maybe to the end of 2010 if implemented immediately.

Specialization or Diversification?

Carrying on any type of business comes with a certain amount of risk depending on the nature of that business. But no matter how secure your business looks and how stable your market sounds, the risk is there.

For this reason you might have heard a lot of business coaches, or from your instructors in the business school, that you need to diversify your business and never to “put all your eggs in the same basket”.

Sounds wise, no doubt. But it also means a lot of distraction if you are going to do business in 3 or more different markets. In order to succeed in any business you need to focus.

How would you focus and diversify your business at the same time?

This is a controversial dilemma, but I’ll try to put my own experience in this article. If I were to go back in time this is how I would do it:

First I’ll study the market and pick up 3-5 business models in totally different markets. Then I’d put a business plan for myself so that I get to start each business at a certain time in the near future. Based on information interviews with other business owners in each one of these models I would have put a time table for starting each of project once the previous one has gained momentum as planned.

My goal would be to get each project to be able to support my business as a stand alone project (as if the others don’t exist). Then I would pick the one I have more passion for and take to the next level.

This way I would have achieved the diversification to reduce my risk focusing on each project at a time, and specialized when appropriate in the one field that I would like to end my career in.

The #1 Ingredient In The Long Term Success Recipe

Ted and Robin are both Internet marketers. They both follow the same strategies and techniques. They both build lists, buy advertising, sell on the front end, back end, offer an upsell and a downsell, and follow up with autoresponder series to promote affiliate products.

Although they do every thing similarly, after 5 years Ted is very successful while Robin is still struggling with his unresponsive list, building a list after another to refresh, and doesn’t seem to be able to take himself out of the equation.

The difference is that Robin promotes everything and anything to his list, and is only thinking about how to get them to open the emails and buy from my link. Ted on the other hand is picky on what he promotes to his list. He tries it first either by himself or by his staff, makes sure it provides and delivers a real value, and will help make his subscribers’ lives easier.

Not only that. Ted also provides value in all of his emails to his list. Even in his promotional emails, Ted provides valuable information on how whatever he is promoting now will help them, how to implement it into their lives, and how to avoid being scammed by other competitive offers around … etc.

The result is that Ted’s list is very responsive and is making him money on demand, while Robin’s list is unsubscribing/ignoring his emails and he doesn’t seem to be able to maintain the most valuable source of income that no body can take away from him: HIS LIST.

The difference is that Ted respects his list and treats them the way he likes to be treated, while Robin treats his list as a money machine with no human dimensions involved.

Ted acquired the credibility and respect of his list by providing value all of the time, while Robin lost them both.

The #1 ingredient in Ted’s success is VALUE. Provide value, and in return you’ll get all what you want.

Which one would you like to be: a Ted or a Robin?

Brand Names Are Taking Over

During the first quarter of 2010 it was obvious that the biggest names in affiliate networks are flirting with brand names. And although these networks are criticizing the Google slap and it’s impact on the affiliate marketing industry, they are doing the same.

Small affiliate marketers are now having their accounts terminated or suspended for low volume. This means that small affiliates are now facing the challenge of either growing into big boys or losing their business. This challenge is time sensitive. And affiliate marketers who are just starting and those who lost their Adword accounts are supposed to find an efficient way to grow their business according to a plan.

The picture is not different on the other side of the coin. Small advertisers are now facing the challenge of being crashed by the big brand names. Some networks,  like hydra, is now moving on this new trend: brand names. If you don’t have a well known brand name your offers are facing the threat of elimination.

Which brings us to the point of this article. Branding is the key to succeed in 2010. And it works for both advertisers and affiliates.

What I expect to see during the rest of 2010 is as follows:

1. Advertisers will be spending more on branding their names. This will open the door for new positions in those small companies that will focus only on media placement and getting their name in front of as many people as they can, for as long as they can. Fly-by-night businesses will be having hard time getting their offers accepted to rotate on big affiliate networks, and as a result scams artists will be very busy finding a way around the new situation.

2. Affiliate marketers will also try to brand their names, or turn their small home “commission-based-sales” businesses into registered marketing companies with their own trademarks. This will put the marketers in a position that they will have to be picky on what to promote in order to maintain a good reputation for their trademarks.

3. The very limited liability of affilaite marketers will be a history due to the new FTC regulations, and the branding trend they have to take in order to succeed.

4. The small affiliate networks that deal with small advertisers will have a lot of work to do due to the increasing demand from the small advertisers who can not, or are not willing to, brand themselves, and due to the termination/suspension of low-volume affiliate marketers by the big networks. It’s pretty obvious that the quality of offers on these networks will be questionable and this will push their affiliates to work hard on protecting their anonymity.

As have been seen before in the offline world, small business will shrink, or be forced to the back alley, while big brands will be expanding. Good for the consumer, good for the super affiliates, good for the affiliate networks either way, and bad for the scam artists. New and low-volume affiliate marketers have to take it seriously from now on.

The “Not So Secret” of Super Affiliates

If you have been around doing affiliate marketing for a while you must have noticed that there are some names that are always at the top of the list of super affiliates. And since you have been around for quite a while you must be at the same time on some of the lists of those super affiliates.

Whenever a new product is about to be released you’ll get emails from those top super affiliates giving you heads up about the new product, warming you up and preparing your mind set to be in the buying mode. And when it’s time for the launch you’ll receive an email (or several ones) telling you about their bonus for you in case you buy through their affiliate link. Sometimes, actually most of the time, the bonuses value is way beyound the commission that you’ll earn from buying that product through your own affiliate link, and difinitely more than what you are going to pay for the actual product.

That makes it look like a better deal for you to buy through the super affiliate’s link than when you buy directly from the seller or through another affiliate link (including your own link if you are allowed to).

And that IS the “not so secret” of the super affilaites. Build a targeted list, keep in contact with your list with bonuses and free information (keep moving the free line), and give incentives for them to buy through your affilaite link.

The real secret though is how to engineer this process. You’ll need to prepare a list building system that is engineered to funnel in a certain demography, subniche … whatever your target is. But first you’ll need to study this market and be aware of the past and the forcasted trends, the products that serve this market, and evaluate your share “to be” from this market and how to get it.

There are resources that will help you with engineering your list building system. In addition to the basics (the hosting, autoresponder or list management system, tracking software etc …) you’ll also need to have at your disposal a stock, or a source of, master resale rights products that you can use as bonuses (in case you don’t have your own products).

If you find this process intimidating it is recommended to get yourself a coach who knows the ins and outs of this business and can hold you accountable for your business building tasks as scheduled.

Unforunately I have too much on my plate to think about coaching, besides I don’t see my previous students doing any good (perhaps because I am not harsh enough or easy going). But don’t hesitate to ask any questions using the comment feature below.

The good news is that there are super affiliates out there who are willing to share with you their secrets, for a fee of course. And those super affiliates are the only ones you can trust in this environment of deceptive misguidance (to rob you off your money and minimize the competition). And at the top of list is Jennifer Ledbetter (aka potpie girl). In her private training she teaches how to use free resources to generate cash as an affiliate. She also teaches how to expand on a successful free campaign into a serious source of income they professionals do.

Her methods are time proven and have been generating cash for me since 2009.

Click here to get a free taste of her training.

Why do you need to build a list?

There are several models of online businesses. There are online shopping malls, niche stores, affiliate marketing, memebrship sites, and a lot of other forms. There is one common feature among all forms of online businesses: Money is in the List.

Even offline, stores like Old Navy, Sears, Gap, Banana Republic, Best Buy, and a lot more are using emails to multiply their sales several folds through coupons and special offers.

They all do that for a reason. They all realized the MONEY is really in the LIST.

Building a list is the one trend in marketing that never gets old. The method of communication might change with the advancement of technology, but the principles are the same.

The first thing that might have come to your mind is that those businesses are big already and they are seaking to spread their businesses to reach more customers. You are right, in a way.

Those businesses started on the ground. They have locations and over the years they have already built a brand name with reputation. But for you to start a business on the virtual world, whatever your business model is, you’ll need to build a list and capitalize on the power of email marketing.

Think about it as a crowd of customers that gave you the permission to sell to them. All what you need to do to make money is to find what you’ll want to sell to them, and  send them an email about it. That’s it. It’s like a virtual ATM machine.

Your list can also be the fastest source of traffic to flood any website with visitors.

This is as true for affiliates as for merchants, except that affiliates have no after-sale obligations.

List building is easy, it is actually the easiest thing to do in order to create a steady source of decent income within weeks from now. But not any list will do it. There are strategies and research involved in the process. You need to know those in order to be making a good use of your marketing efforts, time, and budget.

About the budget, it doesn’t have to be a big one. In fact, there are ways to build that list without any upfront investment. Just keep in mind that as soon as you have the money you’ll have to start investing in building your biggest asset for earning online; your list.

In the following few days I’ll be writing regularly about list building stages, strategies, tools, and how to monetize the process of list building.

Stay tuned my friend. This is going to be the best investment of your time.

FOMT Admin

Work At Home does not equal MLM

Whenever you mention working from home people jump to a conclusion that it is an MLM. Whether they are negative or positive about it, it is not necessarily the case. There are hundreds of ways to work from home without having to be involved with a multilevel marketing (network marketing) company.

Nothing against the industry, but a lot of scams have been disguised as MLM companies. This gave the industry a bad reputation even to those who’d never heard about it. Consequently, when you mention that you work at home, some people start judging you without even giving you the chance to explain what you are doing.

There are hundreds of work at home models that don’t involve recruiting, autoships, commissions, or any MLM-like activities.

Examples are: Virtual assistant, customer service representatives, catering, baby or pet sitting, dog breeding … just to name a few.

There are companies and small business that outsource some tasks, like writing, coding, accounting, designing, even some lazy students outsource their assignments.

You see … Working from home does not equal MLM.