Archives for May 2006

Tips For Maximizing Your Marketing Return Using AdBrite.com

As I wrote about in – Are You Taking Advantage Of All Your Opportunities? – I recently stumbled upon the potential ($250USD+ and counting so far!) to earn money from my websites by selling text links via the brokering services provided by Text-Link-Ads.com. Of course for this system to work there has to be advertisers looking to buy links on sites and based on the volume of sales I’ve received there are plenty of eager business owners taking advantage of this online marketing method to generate traffic and quality backlinks to their sites.

AdBriteJohn Webster from AdBrite Guide contacted me about his new website aimed at helping publishers and advertisers maximize their return from another text link broker, AdBrite.com. AdBrite offers a similar service to Text-Link-Ads.com, brokering advertising deals between publishers and advertisers.

Buying text links is effective because it provides a one-way link to your site. As you should know if you have read some of my search engine optimization articles, the more quality, authoritative one way incoming links you get to your website the better your search rankings will be. Improving search rankings and the raw incoming traffic from direct clicks, are the main benefits from buying links on other sites. Text-Link-Ads.com and AdBrite.com make the process of buying multiple links for a complete “link campaign” easy, so if you have the cash to spend you may want to check these two sites out.

John kindly offered a list of tips for me to publish to help you get the most out of AdBrite as a publisher and an advertiser. I’m posting the tips for AdBrite advertisers (those wanting to generate traffic from buying links) here. Tips for AdBrite publishers (those wanting to make money from selling text links) are posted on my other blog, Entrepreneur’s Journey.

Tips To Maximize Your Results From Advertising With AdBrite

  1. Always check the hottest sellers list on the home page to see what sites might be new, or relevant at the current time period.
  2. Always check out the “ad specials” section in the advertiser dashboard, you will typically find some great deals.
  3. Think outside of the box, and think demographically. If you want college students where might they be?…if you want to reach women, what sites might they be on?
  4. Try multiple campaigns with different ad copy to see what might be converting.
  5. Setup multiple Run of Network campaigns at varying CPC rates. If CPC rates change or some advertisers drop out then your campaigns may see a big boost in traffic. Some at high CPC rates and some at the lowest.
  6. Test a variety of offers at low CPC rates for Run of Network ads.
  7. Make sure you add all of your key terms and all the Adbrite ‘categories’ that apply to your Run of Network campaigns, this determines how much traffic you will receive.
  8. Buy ads on big traffic and small traffic sites. You can find some diamonds in the rough, small sites, and have 20 of these low volume sites at low rates and build up good results.

You can find more AdBrite publishers tips and AdBrite advertisers tips at AdBriteGuide.com

The Truth About Online Marketing

I’ve been ripping the CDs I received when I joined Perry Marshall’s Renaissance Club to listen on my MP3 player while I jog and walk. I originally joined the Renaissance club to get a cheap copy of Perry’s Definitive Guide To Google AdWords for $29.95 rather than the $49 price you pay when you buy it separately (you can read my ramblings about this special deal), but I’ve since realized that the club itself is probably of more value to me. The CDs and paper newsletter have lots of advice for small businesses, and while AdWords is very important, getting fresh marketing ideas is more valuable.

I just completed listening to the Part 1 CD by Ken McCarthy from a marketing seminar with Ken, Brad Fallon (search engine optimization expert), Perry Marshall (AdWords pay-per-click advertising expert) and Jay Abraham, who convened the whole event.

This CD was titled “The Essential 20% that Produce ALL The Serious Results On The Web”, and if you know me I love 80/20 rules and this is a good audio presentation that cuts to the chase about online marketing.

An Introduction To What Really Matters When Marketing Online

I won’t repeat the whole CD here, just the really good stuff I took away from it. This is beginner style materials but with enough depth that you feel you have learnt something. Probably the most important point made, or should I say the most important THREE points made were these –

  1. Online marketing is a direct marketing medium – Ken really stressed this point and I understand why. Many business owners tend to look at the Internet as this frontier of marketing with everything being very new and technical. While there certainly are technical barriers to cross, online marketing is really just direct response marketing. That’s why many of the best old-school offline direct marketers are doing so well – you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to market your business on the web.
  2. Internet marketing is about traffic AND conversion. – This point was stressed because many people when they enter Internet business tend to focus on traffic – just getting more and more of it – while the process of optimizing the conversion system is forgotten. Very important point this one – it’s all about converting your traffic, not just increasing it.
  3. The methods you use to sell products online is different to how you would sell services or information. – This was definitely the most interesting point for me. While I consider myself quite the veteran of online marketing I’ve never made a clear distinction between selling the three different types of commodities online. I’ve been selling services for many years. I’ve occasionally sold products, but never as a proper business and I’m only now getting into the information marketing business. There definitely is a different methodology to use when marketing each of these items and you need to be certain you are applying the right system for what you are selling.

How To Get Traffic

Next up Ken reviewed the five essential ways to get traffic to your website.

  1. Joint Ventures – Probably my favourite since you can really get huge amounts of traffic very quickly. This is when you partner with other businesses/individuals in a win-win relationship to send targeted traffic to your website where you share the revenue from resulting sales with the venture partner.
  2. Home Grown – Probably the slowest method is when you work to create your own traffic. Usually this is achieved by offering free valuable content and keeping it up for many months to build an audience.
  3. Buy It – From day one if you have money you can have traffic. There are many ways to buy raw traffic or filter advertisements out on the web to bring in audience. Google AdWords pay-per-click was the method on the CD they recommended to business owners, and Perry Marshall went on later on another CD to discuss pay-per-click advertising.
  4. Seize It – This was how they described search engine optimization. Seizing traffic was by making sure your website was in the right place in search engines to seize traffic, which doesn’t cost money, but is a tricky business sometimes. This was of course Brad Fallon’s expertize and on another CD he discussed SEO, which I summarized in – The Top 8 Search Engine Optimization Techniques.
  5. Public Relations/Publicity – Using media to generate attention is a classic tactic for marketing a business and it applies online. You can attempt to drum up some news yourself (submitting press releases, promoting on blogs, etc) or by hiring a specialist PR agent to do it for you.

You Must Be A Writer

One last point I thought worth mentioning was that if you intend to sell online you really need to a be a writer or be prepared to employ one (or many). The web is a text medium and despite the increasing presence of video and audio the web will always rely on text to sell. If you want to succeed online you need to be able to tell a good story using text, just as you always have in direct marketing.

Yaro Starak
Word-Weaver

Thank You Sponsors And Network Recap For May 2006

This post catches up both May and April’s content across the Yaro blog network, but first, a big thank you to those who provided sponsorship during the last month (if you are interested in increasing traffic to your website check out the advertising options).

Blish.com – The easiest place to buy and sell digital content, including eBooks and Legal Forms.

Great FX Business Cards – If you need Raised Print Business Cards or Business Card Holders try these guys.

GoBIGnetwork – If you are looking for startup capital search the largest network of Venture Capital, Angel and Private Equity Investors.

Content Recap

As always, I’ve been very busy over at the Entrepreneur’s Journey blog, where many articles were published that you will be interested in, including:

Entrepreneur's Journey

Motivated Marketing System Review
Motivated Marketing System is a simple and efficient software package to build a website that can manage affiliates, members and to distribute information products. Read this review to find out what I thought of it.

Analyzing Key Metrics in Your Web Site Traffic Reports – Part 1, Part 2.
John Webster offered an in-depth two part article introducing you to some of the basics of analyzing your website traffic reports.

Paypal Review
Read my opinion of the Internet’s largest online payments processing service.

What Is A Namesqueeze?
Internet marketers have long been using a special technique called the namesqueeze. Find out what it is all about in this article.

AWeber Email Autoresponder Review
If you have been looking for a solution to host and deliver your email mailing lists and newsletters check out this review of AWeber to help your decision.

Steve Pavlina Interview – Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
Steve Pavlina, the self development expert completed a fantastic three part interview series where we (myself and the Entrepreneur’s Journey readers) asked some tough questions on children, dealing with apathy, society, finding meaning in life and more.

Blog Carnivals This Week

My blogs feature in a couple of carnivals this week.

The Carnival of the Capitalists is at The Integrative Stream and features my two articles – Paypal Review and How To Throw Away $500.

The Carnival Of Personal Finance is up at Frugal for Life and also features my Paypal review.

If you are looking for quality blog content from the best the blogosphere has to offer in business, finance and marketing, check out these blog carnivals.

Audio: Interview With Dave Jackson From SchoolOfPodcasting.com

Download PodcastDownload the MP3 [ 33 Minutes – 7.5 MB]

Dave Jackson has a great voice for podcasting and he should since he’s the dean of the School Of PodcastingSchool of Podcasting, a membership service to help budding podcasters get their shows up and running. Dave and I had a fun chat about running an online membership service including discussion of various software packages, we delved into his history and looked at the future for his online project. If you like podcasting, plan to launch your own membership service online or just enjoy a fun interview then download this podcast.

Show Notes

  • We started with a brief intro to Dave, his School of Podcasting and how he got into podcasting.
  • Dave offered some advice on running an online membership service business (including discussion of AMember).
  • Next up we looked at how to attract an audience for a podcast.
  • I asked Dave about his previous online ventures, including firsttimevisitor.com.
  • And we wrapped things up with a look at the pricing of his membership service and the scripts and software he uses to manage School of Podcasting.

How To Throw Away $500

Lets take a step back in time. It’s me, Yaro, I’ve just decided to go full time working on my editing and proofreading business BetterEdit.com, and I’ve got my marketer’s hat on.

My website is set up. It’s not perfect since I’m rather green about Internet marketing but it’s not all that bad. It will do the job, but certainly could use some work. I have a couple of editors ready for work and I’m eager to bring in new business. I know my main target market is international students but I just can’t figure out a good way to inform them that my services exist, especially on a budget of well, not much.

I focus on universities in my hometown of Brisbane and look for any communication medium that can reach a lot of international students at once. I brainstorm.

I come up with the idea of approaching student clubs and societies. There are clubs for almost every country that has students at the campuses in Brisbane so I start sending off emails asking about sponsorship opportunities.

A make a contact with a person in charge of the Taiwanese student club who informs me of a big event they hold called the “Battle of the Talent”, which is a singing and dancing competition. I’m provided with the sponsors package where I learn that approximately 2000 international students and their families will congregate one evening to watch the performances.

There are several levels of sponsorship available, from logo branding in the event handout to having an advertisement circulated on two big projectors during the show. Depending on how much cash and/or prizes I’m willing to donate will determine what type of advertising I receive.

I’m convinced that I need to be on the projectors during the show so I need to commit a minimum of $500 in cash and prizes. I sign up stating I’ll offer $300 cash, a $100 stereo prize and credit vouchers for BetterEdit editing. They accept.

I go to work planning my powerpoint slide to be displayed on the projector. My copywriting skills aren’t brilliant at this stage but I come up with a plain text presentation that is not too wordy and I hope will display well on a large screen.

I’m provided with free tickets for the show as a premium sponsor and take my parents with me. I’m eager to see how my advertisement will appear. The place is packed with Asian families so I’m confident my targeting is right.

The show begins and the two powerpoint projectors are beaming on the left and right side of the main stage. They are not too prominent but the constant slide changing as the different sponsor ads are circulated should garner some attention. I see my ad for the first time. The font is a bit small and I think I tried to cram a few too many lines of text in but you can read it so the message should get across. Most importantly the website address is there and is easy to remember…I hope!

I wake up the next day expecting to see some emails in my mailbox as a response to last nights advertising. I open my mail and nothing. No jobs, not even a query.

Over the next few days I still receive no response to the promotion, then finally I receive an email saying they saw my ad at the show. They ask me how much the service costs and I direct them to the appropriate page on the website. I never hear from them again.

That’s the first and last response I received from the $500 I spent, or really $400 since the recipients of the two $50 credit vouchers never claimed their reward.

What Went Wrong?

This one promotion was the single biggest once-off payment I ever spent promoting BetterEdit and by far had the worst return on investment. What did I do wrong? To be honest I still don’t know. I could say that my copywriting on the powerpoint slide was off, perhaps the timing was bad catching people during leisure activities, the last time they want to think about university assignments. Maybe the audience was full of parents and not students. Maybe no one looked at the projectors. Who knows!

What I did learn was that spending large sums of money on marketing promotions like these was not the way to go. With no prior testing I had no knowledge of what to expect. My intentions were good and I thought I had made a smart choice figuring out where my target market was. It turns out I was wrong.

How To Avoid My Mistake

I chalk this experience up to learning and it makes a good story for a blog entry too, but all business owners should be working hard to avoid these kinds of marketing gaffes. Here’s a few tips I took away from this experience that should help you avoid making similar mistakes:

  • Don’t make assumptions based only on “feelings”. Okay, yes I am a huge believer in intuition and “blink moments” where you know something will work out well and you just have to jump in and put it into action. I still do fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-marketing where I test something out without doing much prior research or getting my facts straight. The difference now is I won’t spend $500. I might spend $50 and jump straight in and use testing as my research before spending more, but I won’t jump in with the whole kit and caboodle.
  • Don’t spend $500+ in one go. While I’m sure there are some business out there that will spend a lot more than $500 on a single advertising medium chances are if you read this blog you own a SMALL business, in which case I wouldn’t recommend spending $500 at once. You may spend $500 on one media over time as you carefully weigh your results (Google AdWords being a great example), but you would be hard pressed to gamble $500 on any one advertisement unless you know your expected results from prior testing.
  • Conduct more due diligence before signing up. When I agreed to sponsor the event I didn’t ask very many questions. I didn’t ask about expected results, case studies, statistics or any data whatsoever. Perhaps if I found out that the audience would be full of adults and not students I would have decided against the sponsorship. Simply asking about the demographics of the audience may have been all that was necessary. At the very least, ask the obvious questions and don’t jump in blind. If they can’t provide answers then perhaps that is a sign not to do it.

Yaro Starak
Fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants-marketer

Do You Sell Information Products Online? – If So, Read This…

Just a quick heads up for any of my readers who manage Internet marketing businesses. On my other blog Entrepreneur’s Journey I’ve arranged a special deal with the producers of Motivated Marketing System, an online system that provides tools to sell information products online, including affiliate management, membership management, product delivery and sales conversion.

The window of opportunity on the special price for my readers closes May 17 (and that’s for real!), so if you are keen please head over and read my review of the Motivated Marketing System and see if it is for you.

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