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Decisions that Lead to $400,000 in Affiliate Income (Part 2)

April 18, 2012 · 14 comments

in Affiliate Marketing

Decisions that Lead to $400,000 in Affiliate IncomeLast time I began discussing my journey to significant affiliate income through various decisions that had to be made to overcome the barriers that stop most of us from reaching our potential.

What I’ve discovered in the process is that most of the barriers in our lives are mental (in a sense that you are the only one who’s stopping yourself). Wishful thinking, underestimating the amount of hard work and mostly procrastination are the top 3 barriers that I’ve been able to observe time and again.

The problem with most people is that they think it will be easy to make money out of nothing – after all that is the main goal of our internet marketing efforts right? No. Unless you have my imagination you will require money to make money. I started by spending $50 a day tweaking my ads, keywords and landing pages until I broke even. Once I was making $0 net, it was time to examine the weak aspects of my overall strategy:

  • Am I paying too much for my keywords? Do I have a good ad score or can it be improved? How can I minimize the spending yet retain the same volume? If the answer is: impossible, then look elsewhere.
  • Is there a missed opportunity that I am just not seeing? It helps to brainstorm these things on paper. A good exercise that helped me is to get away from everything but a piece of paper and pen in front of me and write down the question that’s bugging me at the top. Take 1 minute to write anything and everything that came to my head while I think as hard as I can about the possible answer to the question.
  • Was my landing page good enough? Were there loopholes that weakened my conversions? The strategy for a strong landing page is fairly simple: funnel all traffic to your conversion code (in my case a content locker). Avoid any external linking in the funnel that lets your visitors escape to another website. Test the content locker looks, text, headlines. A/B split tests are fairly easy to do and require no external tools. You can utilize some of those fancy A/B testing services or simply make 2 landing pages with everything identical but the single variable you’re testing.

During my strategy examination I discovered that the look and feel of the content locker made a do or die difference in conversions. I tested every variable from Title, subtext, actual offers and the content locker skins (design) to see which ones had the best conversions. It must have been about $800 later that I figured out the winning combination of the best converting variables.

Eight hundred dollars in testing might sound like a lot but my goal was to make thousands so I didn’t care. Once I figured out a way to get my cattle to the grazing grounds, allow them to feed until they were full and produce some milk in return it was time to expand my herd – SCALE!

Why Settle for Less?

The hard work has paid off, I was making more now than I ever did with my screensaver websites. This was the point where it was very tempting to settle for what I’ve achieved and let the ads go on autopilot while I simply enjoyed my day.

Let me stop your thoughts right there: there is no such thing as autopilot in AdWords. Yes, there are controls you can set up to do your bidding for you and such but the sheer power of human instinct, insight and consideration is unmatched by the big G.

Running ads all day is a full time job that requires you to put in many more hours than the typical 9-5, but hey, you’re making way more green.

The key to making it into the big leagues is: scale up your existing working strategy.

In my case it was simple: find more keywords that turn a profit. Test, test and then test some more. It’s actually quite fun at this point since you’re trying to figure out how to spend as much money as possible.

During the scaling process I turned enough profit to reinvest almost all of it back into advertising dollars over and over again. The rush and euphoria that comes over you when you turn on your ads and see $100 disappear within a few minutes is indescribable and I wish for all IM’s to experience it.

More so is the feeling of seeing $1200 of net profit sitting in your account, waiting to be collected at the end of a single day! Finally, only when the $40,000 -$60,000 monthly payments were deposited into my account that I realized the power of thinking big.

My first book, if I ever write one will be titled “Attitude is 70% of the Battle” because I believe that statement to be absolutely true. Forcing your brain to think the impossible and then daring to take on the challenge is the hardest part for a small time internet marketer / SEO guru with big dreams.

Fear is the number one human response that keeps us where we are in life, no matter the area (personal life, work, relationships, everything.) Watch the TED talk by Regina Dugan of DARPA if you don’t believe me. Once you get over your fear of trying, losing, failing, being humiliated, and laughed at behind your back by family and peers that you will be able to succeed.

Watching hundreds of dollars from my personal savings disappear within hours was gut-wrenching, but I had no choice than to swallow the fear and pursue my goals. I’d like to list a series of steps that may help you on your journey; steps that would not have been revealed without determination, great expense and tough personal experiences, yet shared here with you at no cost:

  1. Get over all fear, negative emotions, doubt and feel like a champ.
  2. Think big, scratch that previous thought then think bigger. Make no excuses.
  3. Find great content and make it available for free.
  4. Lock it.
  5. Drive traffic to it (AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Affiliate Program, whatever…)
  6. Test, Test, Test.
  7. Scale up.
  8. Repeat.

If you want to earn big you have to start somewhere and the biggest tip I can leave you with right now is to finish reading this entry and start working. No more digital point, no more Warrior forums, no more Blackhat World, no more SEO reading. Stop procrastinating! Take real, tangible steps – however little to achieve measurable gains.

Image Credit: sheelamohan

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Dan Applegate (not his real name) is currently kicking it back and is doing some freelance work for injury attorneys in Los Angeles. If you need any advice, don’t hesitate to contact him at danapple02(at)gmail.com

Dan has written 3 awesome articles for us at Opportunities Planet

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Clint Butler April 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Thanks for the inspiration, I have to tell you that I have been putting off using PPC for my marketing for fear of losing my shirt. You all those horror stories about PPC campaigns that have gotten out of control and cost people tons of money. But like you said, you have to invest in your business if you plan on succeeding and PPC is growing in importance on my marketing sheet.
Clint Butler recently posted..Online Lead Generation Through EngagementMy Profile

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Dan Applegate April 19, 2012 at 9:05 pm

PPC doesn’t have to leave you broke in the testing phase if you test on low costing keywords. Adwords tells you the average cost per click so pick a few cheaper keywords to test on before hitting the high volume ones. Just make sure those smaller volume keywords (that are less expensive) are still pertinent to whatever you are promoting and that traffic will actually stand a chance of converting on the landing page.

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Lynn Brown April 19, 2012 at 5:04 am

This is the BEST article I have read in many years! I am so glad that my good online business friend, Kostas Chiotis shared this with me today.

Dan, you make an good explanation about affiliate marketing and how the path of success is what you really spell out here. I can’t tell you enough how this will help so many people that give up after a few weeks or even a few months.

It took me years and didn’t have the (what I call luxury) of ‘social media’ like we know it today. There are so many ways for people to now make money online as long as they realize it does take work as Dan mentions.

This isn’t get a website up and people will come. You have to work on your business each and every day. And I promise, things will happen for you — just never give up!!

Thank you again Dan for sharing your story of truth and what it really takes to become successful as an affiliate or as an online business owner or marketer.
Lynn Brown recently posted..The Importance of a Positive AttitudeMy Profile

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Dan Applegate April 19, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I’m glad you liked it. Hopefully there is something to take away here. I would say the biggest hint anyone can follow is to stop procrastinating.

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Jupiter Jim April 19, 2012 at 6:53 am

Ok, Dan, I must say right from the get go that it is disturbing to me that you refuse to sign this article using your real name. I’ve been commenting on blogs for over 2 years and this is first time I’ve seen that.

Please explain why you do that.

I don’t do PPC at this time so I really cannot comment on that. I will comment on the fact that the more I do this stuff, the more I realize that it is our own mind and preset limits that hold us back more than anything. It’s the programming of our subconscious mind that sets the course of our lives until we fully understand that and take the necessary action to change those programs in our subconscious mind.

You also point out that people procrastinate and underestimate the hard work necessary to succeed online. So true. Running your own online business is a never ending proposition. You need to learn to relax but the business is always on the back of your mind.

~ Jupiter Jim
Jupiter Jim recently posted..Which Social Media Site is Best for Your Blog or Business?My Profile

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Dan Applegate April 19, 2012 at 9:03 pm

I’m glad we agree on a few points I mentioned. As for not using my real name, I am a fan of anonymity in the world where anonymity is no more. Also, I promote products in various niches that I do not want my real name to associated with when someone performs a google search. Hopefully that answers your question?

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Scott April 23, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for sharing these two articles with us. I especially appreciated the last line about not procrastinating. I found very early on that so much more can be done when online marketers or bloggers focus their efforts on achieving real goals. It does not matter how difficult they may appear or how insignificant they seem. Checking off tasks and making progress in others pays dividends.
Scott recently posted..Jim Cramer’s Stock Picks – Mad Money & his Investing CareerMy Profile

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Julieanne van Zyl April 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

This is a really good article Dan, it explains what we should be doing in all kinds of marketing. Testing first – on everything we can possibly test. And then scaling up to maximize our return on investment. Thanks for explaining it so clearly.
Julieanne van Zyl recently posted..How to embed your YouTube video into Blog PostMy Profile

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jacob April 25, 2012 at 1:48 am

One thing that most people don’t do is test ad and such. Always be split testing, you never know what ad or tweak will make you lots of money over and over and over. It is worth putting the effort because you know it will pay off in the end.
jacob recently posted..Network Marketers Guide To Overcoming MLM Information OverloadMy Profile

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Dan Applegate April 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm

I’ve actually had a content locker that without split testing would have yielded no profits. The example I use in my post of making profit with adwords comes directly from this locker that I split tested over and over to maximize conversions enough to make a nice profit. People don’t realize the importance of color, elements and their placement when it comes to conversions and that 1 little thing can make a HUGE difference in conversion rates.

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shawn April 27, 2012 at 7:40 am

I was doing a research online for my case study and finally found this website with this spectacular content. I am looking for additional information I can put on my website and start a new topic for people to read. Thank you for posting this.

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Shalu Sharma April 28, 2012 at 3:03 pm

its amazing how some affiliate marketers can make so much money. I have heard that some marketers are able to make thousands from just one email to their subscribers. Absolutely amazing.
Shalu Sharma recently posted..Plan to Tap Into Affiliate Marketing EarningsMy Profile

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Andreas Pazer May 3, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Thanks for the inspiration, I have to tell you that I have been putting off using PPC for my marketing for fear of losing my shirt. You all those horror stories about PPC campaigns that have gotten out of control and cost people tons of money. But like you said, you have to invest in your business if you plan on succeeding and PPC is growing in importance on my marketing sheet.
Andreas Pazer recently posted..7 Steps to Better Blog EntriesMy Profile

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Yogesh June 9, 2013 at 7:15 am

A good decision can lead your business to a hike specially in affiliate marketing when you take a decision to affiliate a good product.
Yogesh recently posted..4 Great and Legitimate Ways to Make Money OnlineMy Profile

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