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