Basma on Affiliate Marketing Troubles with ClickBank and PPC

Hi, my name is Basma Yaghi. Jim is my son.

Over the past few months, Jim’s been showing me the ropes with PPC advertising to help me promote affiliate products from Clickbank. I was asked to share with you my journey here. And hopefully I can either inspire you or teach you what works and what doesn’t in affiliate marketing.

For the past 10 years, I’ve been teaching at the college of chemical engineering in one of the Arabian Gulf countries. Until my son came from Australia to visit me in April of 2008, I had never heard of affiliate marketing.

He used some jargon that with time I started to understand. At first, I took an interest in what he was doing only because I wanted to make sure my son is doing something that was worth having sacrificed his PhD education for.

During his visit I noticed he was busy all the time; writing articles, writing a book, taping videos, doing interviews etc. He was good at what he was doing and financially he was doing really well.  

Because I was working in a foreign country, I was not entitled to any retirement plans. So when my contract finished I would have to leave the job and the country and start fresh elsewhere. But as you grow older your opportunities of getting a job are reduced.  Jim and I were talking about this issue and he suggested that I leave my job and do internet marketing to have financial security at my old age. I laughed and said I can’t do what you are doing. He said of course you can, you were able to have a PhD. If you put your mind to it you will do it. I said why bother, I am 48 and too old to try and learn new things.

He asked, “Mum, what if I tell you, you can start doing affiliate marketing without having to do the amount of work I am doing?”

He got my attention. Late last year, I left my job. Jim passed onto me a link to listen to an interview with an affiliate marketer who was doing click bank and CPA offers without a website using PPC only. The guy was making a fortune with this. It sounded a lot easier than what Jim is doing. So I decided to give internet marketing a go.

Being an academic, I spent at least two months educating myself about mind set, internet marketing, PPC, SEO, web sites, key word research, copy writing, how to write effective ads, building a mailing list etc etc. Every time Jim called me to check how I was doing I tell him I am still reading. He must have gotten fed up with me. He told me this theoretical stuff is good but will not do you much good until you create a campaign and start advertising and leaning from your mistakes. 

Jim was writing PPC Domination at the time and he sent me the material as he wrote it. I studied his course and gave him feedback. Eventually, I thought I was ready to start promoting an offer.

My biggest problem was what to promote and how to choose the offer. I spent almost a month studying the criteria for selecting an offer. 

Why did it take me this long? 

Because I read a lot. Yet, the more I read the more confused I got and the more distracted I became. Different super affiliates teach you different criteria for selecting an offer and in most cases they are contradicting. I was so confused and extremely frustrated. I kept telling myself what have I got myself into? I better not waste more time, I should quit now this is not for me. 

Jim pushed me to keep at it. He said all marketers went through what you are going through and worse. I told him I can’t decide what to promote. He said it does not matter what you choose. I said what if it does not work? “Who cares?” he said. “I KNOW whatever you choose will not work straight anyway, you have to tweak your ads, test your keywords, there is a lot of work for you to do. I thought that was not very helpful neither comforting. Was it?

I finally chose an offer from click bank. What a relief! 

Then I had to do keyword research which I had no problem with, in theory. But then I had to decide how much to bid. Most marketers suggest to bid small amounts–like 20 cents and set $25 for your daily budget. But they do not tell you what to do next if you face a problem. They assume your campaign will be successful straight away. So I bid 20 cents and I waited a day but I only had a few impressions. I did not know what to do, so I went to the internet to find the answer to how to increase my impressions.

The material I found was about how to improve click through rate and how to increase conversion. Why no one is talking about impressions. How come they do not have a problem? I was so frustrated and honestly I spent days trying to find what to do to increase my impressions. Jim travels a lot, and at the time he was in the States. Because of the time zone difference, I did not see him online for many days at a time. In addition to that I did not want him to think that whenever I face a problem I ask him instead of finding the answer on my own.

Unfortunately, at the end I had to go back to him. The first thing he asked was, “What are you bidding and what is your daily budget?”

When I told him that I bid20 cents with a daily budget of $25, he was surprised.  He said no wonder why you are not getting impressions. Raise your bid to $1 and your budget to $500 and monitor your campaign closely.

I thought that is a lot to bid especially for an offer where you get paid $17 in commission per sale and the expected conversion rate is 1%. This means I will have to pay $100 to get $17. And I did NOT want to spend $500 a day. He said if you can get $500  dollars worth of clicks at this stage you will be lucky but do not worry you won’t use it all up. A high budget gets Google to display your ads more often. And if you establish a good click though rate your cost per click will drop and you won’t have to pay $1. 

Hesitantly, I increased my bid and daily budget. I did not sleep that night. I stayed by the computer.

Holy! My impressions started to soar. I paid $0.95 per click but I did not get many clicks. Jim said, “That’s GREAT NEWS. Focus on the positive. You now have impressions. After this you can start tweaking your ad to increase the number of times it gets clicked.” 

I spent around $20 dollars on the offer before I began having problems. As I found out, later, it was because I was direct linking. Straight to the merchant’s landing page.

Over the past few months I tried promoting 16 CPA and Click bank offers by direct linking. I made enough money to cover most of my advertising costs–which was nice. But I faced two problems with direct linking: expensive clicks, and the bidding war I had to get into because of sharing the same URL with much more experienced marketers. 

Eventually, my ads did not show often and conversions were very occasional.

I looked for a solution. Super affiliates suggest a “framing” or “masking” strategy for those who use direct linking. So, I bought a domain from GoDaddy for one offer and tried masking it. As a result my cost per click dropped, my quality score was good, and Google got off my case about the shared URL.  

According to a newly launched product on Clickbank marketing, if you are direct linking you can use domain masking.  Jim told me that Google does not allow masking and it will flag those who use it. 

So my easy options were gone.  

I still want to do direct linking especially if I want to test an offer. I do not want to waste my time creating a landing page for it before I am sure it is profitable. Direct linking is being promoted by big marketers and just last month I bought a product from Clickbank. I kept telling myself if they are able to do then it can be done. This time I tried direct linking on the content network. I had initial success, but my clicks cost around 71 cents when other people were paying 3 cents for similar offers.

Even with this high cost, I stopped having impressions.  I contacted Google support and was told to increase my bid, increase my budget and/or increase the number of countries in which my ads would show. None of this got me impressions. So I contacted Google support again, and explained to them that I did everything they asked me to do but my ads are still not running. They told me there is nothing technical to stop my ads from being syndicated on the content but they will check with their supervisors!

Finally, after 14 e-mails of communication between me and Google support the answer came; they said that they do not allow health and fitness offers on the content network.

The thing is, I was promoting other offers that had nothing to do with health and fitness and these were stopped too. Jim told me it looks like your account is flagged. Google did not tell me they flagged my account. I ran the same campaigns on the search engine and I got impressions but I still had the same problems related to direct linking.

I was puzzled because Google did not tell me my account is flagged and I see fitness ads on the content network, so why are mine not allowed?  Jim then ran one of my offers on content network using one of his own accounts…and guess what? He got impressions. So we concluded that Google is not happy with my account but we are not sure why. 

I tried advertising on Yahoo. I had no problem with direct linking but Yahoo traffic is very little. I would get 1 click a day per ad group and sometimes 1 click/ a day per campaign. I had so many ad groups per campaign, but although yahoo’s traffic is little, most of my conversions came from there. The new issue was that conversions were occasional conversions and I could not make any conclusions from the results.

At this point, I have had it with the whole marketing business. I told my son I am sick of this. I better stop and save my self the extra tension but deep within I did not want to fail. I never failed anything I attempted. I am not a quitter. I will not forgive myself if I stop now. I invested a lot of time and money in this I can’t leave it now. Others were able to make it work for them, I should be able to but I must find a way that works for me. 

 My son said mom stop looking for easy ways. What these guys taught you might have worked for them. You learnt a lot and you gained a lot of experience in what does not work. Now, you must focus on building your own business your way and learn what works. No more quick get rich schemes.

I was not looking for get rich quick schemes, I am not stupid to believe it. I was made to believe that it is possible to make a business without a web site, a mailing list, a product etc… This is promoted by gurus and super affiliates. 

I had to take another direction. 

I realized that if I want to have a proper internet business, I must build my own web site and start attracting people to it. To do that I should give away something of value first. So I came up with my own give away–a single page with my unique personal touch.

It outlined a scientific experiment (since I am a scientist by training) about what works and what doesn’t with weight-loss. I already had some experience with this because over the past few years I changed my diet and started a successful exercise routine that helped me lose 15kg over 3 months. Later, many of my female colleagues had asked how I did it and I showed them with excellent results.

This became my unique selling point that would help me sell not JUST one affiliate ebook on weight loss, but all kinds of related affiliate products.

Of course, this meant a new learning curve.

How would I build a web site? It all seemed so difficult. I never did that before.

It turned out it is not a big problem. Jim gave me the link to a capture page generator program he designed. I answered a few questions and had a page in minutes. 

In addition, I took a few HTML lessons to understand how to modify the page to look nicer. After a few tweaks in Frontpage, I was ready to go. 

Since I didn’t know the problem with my Google account, I started a new one. I started by only advertising my landing page on the Google search network. I used only ONE targeted keyword with its broad, phrase, and exact match. I started my bid with $2 but I got clicks for an average of 60 cents over several days.

My quality score is good finally. And I don’t share the same URL with other marketers. In fact, I don’t even share the same offer any more because of my own landing page and autoresponder series. Every day I add one extra keyword to increase my traffic gradually. I modify my landing page to suit each key word theme to maintain my quality score. 

I was under the impression that building your own web page requires a lot of work compared to direct linking. But the truth is once I created the landing page the amount of work I do is minimal and the results are much more promising.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you any other discoveries I have about being a “value-added affiliate” of Clickbank products.


To be trained by Jim in PPC advertising, check out PPC Domination.

Impressions Problems Solved for Clickbank Affiliates Marketing “Diet & Fitness”

I’ve been privately coaching a few frustrated people who are promoting Clickbank products.

Google Adwords has given them problems recently. Particularly the Content Network has been refusing to show many ads in the diet and fitness industry. Since this is the most common affiliate product out there, I think it’s important that we address it.

This also applies to people marketing “Make Money” products.

Oddly enough, so far my own ads have not been affected in the same “Make Money” market. So obviously you too should be able to get your ads going.

I had a theory that the problem was that Google didn’t like regular affiliates any more. And after much back and forth, we finally got to the bottom of the problem. Here’s what happened…

Google starts off giving impressions on Content Network ads and then after a few hours would kill off the ads. So we got in touch with support to find out what the deal is.

First, the staff made obvious suggestions like “bid higher”, “check your daily budget”, and “target more countries”.

At one stage we were bidding $2 per click on keywords that should NOT have been that competitive. We had a daily budget of $500. And we targeted 65 countries. I did this just to prove to the Google staff that their suggestions are bogus.

So we got in touch with Google again, who seem to have eliminated their “live chat” feature for whatever reason.

After multiple messages, and persistence on our part, support forwarded our complaint to their technical team.

The technical staff suggested that we do not promote diet and fitness products as they are currently being prevented from syndicating on their networks. And upon further prompting from us, we discovered that this will soon become a permenant part of their policy. (Although I highly doubt the truth of this since the Acai Berry ban was never publicised in their rules and policies).

To be honest, I find this hard to believe.

We’re talking about two of the very largest industries and biggest money makers for Google. And it would make little business sense for them to eliminate relevant ads from showing up in Adsense blogs and sites that feature related content.

To top it off, I was seeing ads both on content and search that DID feature weight loss, diet, and fitness products. So some marketers were getting impressions.

Also, I was surprised that NONE of Google’s support staff were aware of what the technical team told us. It was only after the complaint reached the Adwords technical staff that we were told such ads are not allowed on the content network any more.

So rather than bend over for Google support staff (who seem to be as illiterate as non-marketers), I started to do a series of experiments with my students.

The first was to address the harsh reality that affiliate pages are AWFUL duplicate content.  Thousands of affiliates are running ads to the SAME page competing on the same words. We built our own landing pages with an optin box and “bribe”. Yes, the bribe had to be original too to pass manual review.

We ran a small test ad on my students’ account. And after almost an entire day, the ads failed to get any impressions.

So I tested a related set of keywords but avoided anything that says “weight loss” in both the ad and keywords.

Still, nothing.

I raised the bids. And still nothing.

I then took the exact ad group into one of my own accounts and tested it. Within a few hours I had 6,000 impressions!

What!?

Yeah, obviously Google didn’t mind my account which spends thousands a day. But on my students’ accounts there were issues. I believed that somehow the previous accounts had been flagged as bad users of Google and their content network.

So I instructed one of my students to open a brand new Adwords account and write a small ad on the Google Search Network only.

Once more, many hours later, the ad received NO impressions.

This time, I edited the ad myself. I noticed that it used the words “lose weight fast”. I thought that it could be interpretted to be a promise of a “miracle cure”. Google specifically prohibits this in their policies.

I removed references to fast weight loss in the ad copy and ran it again.

Within a few minutes, we were seeing impressions on the ad!

What’s more, even though the keyword was very competitive, we were able to get clicks for only 25 cents a click for the #1 position! The quality score was also high.

A few more tests later, we were able to establish a few rules of thumb that some of you doing weight loss ads should be aware of.

They will help you get your ads back in business :-)

  1. If you’ve already been flagged for duplicate-offer marketing by Google, start a new account. It’s likely that if you’ve been noticing that no matter what your ad it won’t get impressions, you’ve been flagged. You can use the Google MCC (My Client Center) to manage more than one account with a single login.
  2. Use my Capture Page Generator to build your own self-hosted landing pages and become a value-added affiliate. You can check the resources section for recommended web hosts, autoresponders, and domain authorities.
  3. Phase your keywords in ONE at a time in order to establish which of your keywords might be the source of your original problem that got your account flagged earlier. That means you only add ONE keyword with one ad and wait a day or so.
  4. Do not advertise on the content network until you have estbalished your credibility as an advertiser with good quality scores and well-behaved campaigns. This could be a matter of several weeks.
  5. Avoid trigger words in your ad copy that might be interpretted as miracle cures like “make quick money” or “lose weight fast”. Test out different alternative wording until you find something that Google accepts. Allow at least 15 minutes between tests.
  6. Run your ads on the content network only after you’ve got successful search campaigns.

In the next few days, I’m going to bring in one of my students as a guest blogger here to keep you all posted about what works in affiliate marketing with Google Adwords. Implement these suggestions, and stay tuned for specifics in the meantime :-)


To learn more of Jim’s PPC advertising techniques, check out PPC Domination.

How to Advertise Online and Survive in a Brutally Competitive Market

I remember a children's book called "How to Make Your Own Computer Controlled Robot"

I remember a children's book called "How to Make Your Own Computer Controlled Robot"

Thursday was library day.

My sisters and I would frantically look for our books from last visit. We’d check them against a list in a notepad dad made us keep in the car. When we were ready, we’d buckle our seat-belts and wait for dad to finish brushing his teeth and take us.

It was a sacred family ritual.

He only let us check out 3 books each. Sometimes, if I begged hard enough, I could get my father to make an exception for one more book. And before we took our week’s reading home, we were made to write the titles and authors into dad’s notepad.

I remember this one book. It was part of a dated British series made for children on technology and computers. Its title was “How to Create Your Own Computer Controlled Robot” by Usborne.

For months, I was obsessed with the project. I came home from school, headed straight for the yellow pages, and called every electronics shop in Auckland. I asked about foreign brands and old component names no one had ever heard of.

I spent my afternoons in the dark amongst the spiders under my family home–Searching for the exact colour combination or code on some tiny electronic part.

That’s where all my projects got their parts.

The technician for the Architecture college where my father worked was kind to me. He passed onto me junk radios, amplifiers, and computer circuits he didn’t need.

Mum didn’t like my mess. So she made me keep my “electronic junk” under the house. There, I’d meticulously scan every soldered component on every circuit board trying to find what I needed. It would take hours. But under the house I usually had more luck than with the electronics shops.

I would take the parts I wanted from other circuit boards and use them in my own electronic projects
I would take the parts I wanted from other circuit boards and use them in my own electronic projects

When I found the part, I’d excitedly get out hunched, scratched, and sore. I’d take the entire board to my room, and unsolder the component. Sometimes I made mistakes. Sometimes I just forgot the colour code or part number I needed. And I was usually back under the house within minutes, repeating the exercise for another part.

Electronics and pieces of solder were scattered all over my bedroom–on the table, in the carpet, sometimes in my blanket. It was a mess that frustrated my mother to no end.

I scavanged for those parts until I gathered all the resistors, transistors, and motors that the book said I needed. And finally, I was ready to build my robot.

Sometimes, when looking online today, I’m reminded of being 13 crouched under the house scanning for parts. Unlike the library, the Internet has no order. It’s a giant mess of pages and sites all linked together. Could you imagine what it would be like  without search engines like Google?

Search engines bring order to an otherwise disorganised and messy medium.

They make it easy for us to find answers to pressing questions with a quick search. We’ve gotten used to having every answer we ever wished for, only a few key-strokes away.

Maybe we’ve grown spoilt. I mean, we expect a lot from our search:

We expect it to read our minds and know we’re looking for a recipe when we type ambiguous queries like “enchiladis”. Or that we’re looking for a printer cartridge when we type “UR-1320C”.

  • We want the search engine to correct our spelling mistakes
  • We want it to ignore our typos
  • We make it define words for us
  • We want it to calculate conversions from metric to empirial units
  • We expect it to give us the weather forecast
  • We’re so darn lazy, we don’t even bother to type website addresses any more, we just search for them and ignore the “com” or “net” extensions.

Yet, few advertisers make the effort of targeting keywords besides the most obvious. If a keyword requires creativity or leg-work to think of, it’s overlooked.

Well, searchers don’t stop searching or spending just because no one bothers to show them an ad. They’re just more likely to buy from the handful of advertisers who do show up with an answer when the searcher asks.

Had Google been around when I wanted robot parts at 13, imagine the havoc I would have brought to the search…

I wouldn’t have looked for something obvious like “electronic components”. I would’ve looked for transistor codes and weird words from the book like Veroboard instead of “circuit board”. I would’ve been searching for “100K ohm” and “green cap capacitor”. Sadly, most advertisers wouldn’t have found me.

Few merchants take the effort to bid on measuring units, common variations on the names of components they stock, and the names of their brands and model numbers.

Yet, these are the kind of searches that the average internet user expects to find answers for.

There’s an infinity of queries your website might match. Searchers come from all walks of life, all ages, all levels of literacy, and have different cultural backgrounds, language, and ethnicity. They all deserve answers to their question.

As an advertiser, you can only guess at the way your target customer will word his or her queries. Because of this, I usually test hundreds of thousands of keywords to find 4 or 5 that result in sales.

While this guessing and testing is a bit of a drag, it is worth the effort because competition will NEVER be a problem for the creative advertiser. No matter how competitive or saturated a market gets, there will always be new questions, and infinite ways people will word them.


To learn more of Jim’s PPC advertising techniques, check out PPC Domination.

New Interview on Quality Score & Rumours of “Adwords Hate”

For all PPC Domination customers, we’ve just uploaded a 40-something minute interview about your quality score, high minimum bid prices, and low or no ad impressions.

In addition, we discuss the recent rumours that Google is banishing MLM businesses from advertising with them.

You can get access to the new video in your Magnetic Sponsoring backoffice under the products tab. Choose PPC Domination and then look for “Call #3”. 

I also include an easy way for you to produce landing pages of your own

Share with you a technique i use to get really cheap clicks

Talk a little bit about the new keyword research tool PPC Bully

And much more…

If you don’t have PPC Domination and you’re still trying to advertise your home business with Pay Per Click–what the hell are you doing? Watch PPC Domination now.

later!

What Sucks About Internet Marketing Is This…

They line the entire wall. All across that side.

The shelves are stacked so heavy that they sag in the center from years of strain.

Mostly, in the study, they’re just highschool and university textbooks. Endless references and software manuals. Dictionaries, historical books, calculus, statistics, and every programming language under the sun. A quick glance will leave you confused and baffled.

I don’t think you could tell if I’d studied to be a computer scientist or a philosopher. That’s how vast the selection of books in my study is.

The wall of my study is lined with books
The wall of my study is lined with books

And don’t you dare believe for a moment that’s all.

In the television room is another tremendous library of shelf-sagging fiction. Here the books are layered on top of one another and the paperbacks are two, sometimes three, rows to a shelf.

Every word of every single story…digested.

On those shelves is a chronicle of the reading material that fills my head. From the day I first read a Charles Dickens novel until now.

That’s not all. Shelved in my bedroom closet, strewn in hallway cabinets, and stuffed into boxes in the storage room are enough books to fill a public library. Such is my love of knowledge that some were shipped from country to country and with all the space of my home, there isn’t room to display them all.

At the back of all of these books, I find both incredible and horrible marketing.

Every time I brought a new book into my library, I had turned it over in the shop to read its back cover. I always read the blurb. That back-cover is a mini-sales letter. And what it said there made me either want the book or return it where it came from.

The back cover is the second place most people read after the title. It has a summary of what the book is about, a teaser, and a couple of reviews.

Just like in a sales letter, reviews are testimonials from recognized experts: “Riveting story-line packed with action and suspense”, for example, may be quoted by the New York Times.

If the message on the back cover of the book is written just right–it alone will cause someone to hang on to the book, and walk to the check-out with their Mastercard in hand, ready to buy.

One of the book-shelves in the TV room
One of the fiction-shelves in the TV room

Yesterday, my mother sat by one of my fiction shelves. She was over for a one-on-one PPC coaching session with me. I’m helping her market Make-Up CPA offers. Basically, that means she’s brokering traffic for some well-known cosmetics lines.

Our discussion turned to a training “system” recently launched by one of the King Kongs of wholesale traffic. It was recommended to me by one of my students.

I asked mum to read the sales letter and find out if it would be useful for her to invest in.

“I read the whole 30 pages,” she said. “And, believe it or not, I still can’t tell what the stupid thing is!”

Holy pumpkin pie. Seriously. Marketers sometimes frustrate the shit out of me.

Most of their sales letters are so filled with copyrighting tricks aimed at getting you to buy, but not even the smallest indication of what it is exactly you’re buying.

Oh just keep in mind, if you write sales letters, build squeeze pages, post PPC ads, or even film YouTube videos, you’re still selling something.  You might be selling someone on clicking your ad, filling out their email address, or opening your e-mail. Each is a cost people pay in exchange for something they might perceive to be valuable to them.

At the core of marketing is the exchange that’s on offer.

And crucial to selling is being able to properly communicate what it is you’re offering otherwise you sure as hell aren’t getting their click, email, or hard-earned dollars.

Anyway, I wanted to illustrate the point to Mum. So I picked up a random novel from the shelf next to her and I read to her this:

 

Stephen King's "The Tommy-Knockers"
Stephen King's "The Tommy-Knockers"

Everything was familiar but everything had changed. The people, his old friend Bobbie even her decrepit, ageing beagle. 

Coming back to the little community had been like walking into a nightmare.

It all looked the same, the house, the furniture, Bobbie herself, the woods out at the back.

But it was in the woods that she had stumbled over the odd, nearly buried object, had felt a peculiar tingle as she knelt down and brushed the soft earth away.

And looking back, that had been the start of the terrible, terrifying transformation of a quiet, unremarkable place into something utterly alien and hideous. A place of unrest and insane powers.

Wow. Not!

I remembered, as I started to read to her, that when I bought this novel, it had taken me a long time to start on it. Yeah, I heard a bunch of positive feedback on it from my friends, but even that wasn’t encouraging enough to embark on the 693 pages of Times Roman size 9 book until I had run out of reading material.

Why would I be in a rush to read it? I had no idea what the book was about. Only that it was a best-selling thriller of some kind, written by a very popular author. The blurb failed to communicate what I would get for the time I would invest in reading it.

From a marketing perspective, this blurb I shared is the equivalent of what are called “blind bullets”. They’re intended to create suspense by conveying a benefit without revealing the information. I’m sure you’ve seen ads with pages and pages of bullets that look like this:

“You’ll discover a secret bidding strategy which will get your ads clicks for mere cents while other advertisers will pay a pound of their flesh for the same keyword.”

Vomit.

ick

It’s so sleazy and hypey. Even though, blind bullets have their place. But if your entire marketing message consists of suspense in this way, you’ll raise the “bullshit alarms” of your readers. There’s no proof or credibility. Especially if the reader already bought 10s of products that made the same claim–how can they be sure that this isn’t a “secret strategy” they already paid for and “discovered”?

Many marketers follow all the techniques to a TEE. They use the right headlines, create mystery and suspense, identify pain, offer solutions, and scatter testimonials throughout–yet, they fail to sell at the most basic level. They just tease.

And teasing just ain’t enough to sell.

On the other hand, an expert communicator will tell you exactly what you’ll get. And give you enough information to decide if this is, in fact, for you or not.

Copy techniques are SPRINKLED in their marketing message. They’re subtle and hard to identify. In an increasingly skeptical marketplace such as internet marketing, being transparent is KING.

I picked up another book from the same shelf. Again, completely at random. And I read to mum this blurb:

 

George Orwell's Animal Farm
George Orwell's "Animal Farm"

When the animals take over the farm, they think it is the start of a better life. Their dream is of a world where all animals are equal and all property is shared. 

But soon the pigs take control and one of them, Napoleon, becomes leader of all the animals. One by one the principles of the revolution are abandoned, until the animals have even less freedom than before.

This is a classic of modern English fiction, and is a powerful study of the use and abuse of political power.

Now there’s a winner. I remember becoming engrossed in this novel, when I was 12, on the way home from the bookstore. The blurb communicates the story-line in a few words without giving away the story. It leaves enough suspense in there for its readers to want to unpeel it as they read the novel.

Also, it gives shoppers a chance to decide that this book is NOT for them if a story about an animal revolution with political commentary isn’t their style.

Many marketers take the concept of ‘perception is everything’ too far. They think, that if they can make you FEEL LIKE their product is valuable by calling it “system” or “top secret strategy”, then you will pay. Sure, it’ll work on a few people. But as soon as the smoke clears after they buy and waste their time, when they’re disappointed and annoyed, they’ll never trust you again.

As for my mother, she bought the training product based solely on my students’ recommendation. Not by any merit of its marketing. She discovered that the “system” consisted of a pdf file and an expensive monthly membership for a piece of software that does exactly the same thing as one she owns.

She cancelled her subscription within days.

Such is the state of marketing today. Frankly, I find it unethical.

Along Came a Spider

Last summer was perfect…

The weather was warm with a mild breeze. Compared to the sticky and humid Sydney summers I’d been through over the past three years, this was heaven. With relaxed body and clear mind, here I planned to create, record, and compile PPC Domination.

I arrived in Amman international airport in the afternoon. My baby brother picked me up.

Even though he’s nine years younger, I noticed he was now much taller than me. We kissed and embraced in our traditional style. I flinched as he brushed his stubbled chin on my cheek.

Sydney was behind me.

With a great sense of relief, I’d given away all my furniture to the Salvation Army, packed ONE bag with three changes of clothes, my computer hard drives, and my marketing books. Where I was going, I didn’t need any of it. So I burned everything else. Said goodbye to the only true friend I made in three years and boarded the plane.

Ironically, my greatest lesson in marketing was not to be found in those books I took with me.

It was, of all things, inside the garden of my fortress.

Home in Amman
Home in Amman

My home in Amman sits on top of a mountain. The rear-wall is unnecessary because it’s shielded from wind and weather by forest. But for the other three sides, the walls had to be errected high to keep the garden safe.

The garden is dear to me. It’s the envy of guests and the topic-of-choice with every outdoor feast.

All around the house, within its walls, a gardener helps carefully plant and maintain trees, vegetables, and fruit.

In the back, he’s planted plums, peaches, and cherries which are quite mature now. In their season, buckets overflow with sweet fruit.

The front entrance has roses that blossom in multiple colours–almost immediately after being watered. Even now, as spring approaches, orange and black butterflies jump from one flower bud to the next.

Lined along the edges of the courtyard are lavender, sage, rosemary, mint, camomile, and thyme plants. When guests visit, they enjoy a special hot drink made from their mixed leaves while sitting around the fountain. Their children watch a movie projected on the west wall.

My favourite part of the garden, is one of the small “vineyards” right by the gate.

Here in the vineyard is where I made a remarkable marketing observation. Taught to me by nature itself.

Grapes Dangling From Above
Grapes Dangling From Above

In this part of the world, vines are hung and strung high. Metal bars are connected in a ceiling structure with lengths of wire between them. The vines are made to wind around these wires. When the vines bear fruit, the heavy load dangles from above.

Last summer, the first harvest was ripe and ready for picking.

As I stood in the shade of the leaves on a ladder clipping thick vines laden with grapes into buckets, I noticed spiders. The little guys were making homes between the tangles of grapes, leaves, and vines.

This discovery was strange to me. At first, I thought it was cute that the spiders shared my love of grapes. In fact, I thought they were the ones making the holes in some of them. But as I clipped on, I saw the truth.

These spiders were not fruit eaters. Some of their webs held captive small, dead and dying insects. They were actually predators!

After some research, I learned that spiders discovered, as they evolved through the ages, that grapes made excellent homes. Grapes with their bright colours, fragrant aroma, and sweet juices attract all kinds of insects. Spiders who live in a vineyard don’t have to work to eat–All they have to do is make their deadly webs between vines and wait. Dinner will be served.

Vineyards are a spider’s dream.

Here was the Attraction Marketing principle being demonstrated in nature itself. No marketing book could have showed me so colourfully what it means to find a rabid buyer base and give them exactly what they want.

Marketing, when you follow this basic principle is easy.

I feel sorry for network marketers who sleaze themselves all over their customers in the social networks: “Take a look at my widget”, “Please, visit my site!”, “Add me!”, or “Join my business!”

Because, if you have attractive goods, exposed to the right market, you would never need to ask.

You wouldn’t have to push for the sale. Ever.

In the case of the spider, he found insects already “buying” and made his web.

Hey and don’t think spiders are the only creatures who figured out how to use attraction marketing to lure eager customers into their web.

Think of the colourful roses and flowers in my garden blossoming in spring. Their fragrances being blown through the air and their sweet nectar rewarding the bee or butterfly that approaches. These insects, after they drink from the flower’s nectar, go on to repay the favour with a service: The service of carrying the flower’s pollen from male to female so their species can survive.

These laws of nature have evolved through millions of years of trial and error. Insects who failed have already paid with their lives, and sometimes their species’ existence.

As marketers, we need to take a lesson from nature: Marketing is easy when you live inside the vineyard:

  • Go where people are already looking and buying: Buyers search with search engines, so market there using PPC Google Adwords or Yahoo SEM.
  • Bid on buyer-keywords: People in buying mode know what they’re looking for–they’re running searches with specialised vocabulary, and industry jargon like “downline” and “sponsor”. Position yourself in front of searches like that, not the broad “work from home” kind.
  • Advertise an attractive bait that searchers want: People are looking for solutions and answers to their questions. They’re not looking for pills, potions, or MLMs.
  • Lay a web with your baited lead capture pages: Offer something valuable (not a sales pitch) in exchange for contact information.
  • Reward visitors of your site with a small taste of what they’ve been looking for: Once you get contact information, demonstrate to the prospect the happy experience of their problem solved with your product, service, or business opportunity.
  • Slowly expose them to your ideas so that the sale is a simple matter of fact: When you educate someone, they adopt your way of thinking and decision-making. They don’t need to be sold.

Remember, social networks are not the place for our sales pitches. People there want “fun” and socialization. Selling there makes people run away from you.

Heck, the spider gets it. He uses attraction marketing to survive. Surely, we can too.

How to Create Camtasia Videos for YouTube Wide Screen

I’ve been a little absent from the blogging and social scene the past few days and for good reason! I’ve been tinkering with recording some new videos on Keyword Research for PPC.

Unfortunately, this tends to take me a LOT of time because I’m not that fluent with video. But I’ve finally figured out how to record videos in Camtasia and get them the right size and quality to fit in the YouTube wide screen format. And I’ve managed to do this in such a way that doesn’t leave me with a massive file that will take all year to upload on my 3rd world aDSL.

Here goes:

1. Set your screen resolution (or recording area) to 1280 x 720 pixels.

2. Record your video normally at this resolution.

3. First time around you’re going to need to add the video to the timeline with any settings, and then choose “Produce Video as”

4. In the production wizard window, choose from the menu Add/Edit Preset

5. Click New…

6. Give the preset a name like YouTube HD

7. Choose WMV as the file format

8. On the next screen choose from the Profiles menu “Camtasia Best Quality and File Size (Recommended)

9. Click Next

10. Choose “Custom Size”

11. Type 640 for the Width and 360 for the Height

12. Click Next

13. Untick Embed Video into HTML

14. Click Finish

15. Click Close

16. Click Cancel

17. Start a New Project

18. Import your recording again

19. Now when you add the recording to the timeline and Camtasia asks for the Project Settings, choose your new profile from the drop-down menu “YouTube HD” or whatever

20. When you produce your video, you can simply choose the same profile for output as well

 

Typically videos produced like this come out of reasonable and readable quality. Video size for 10 mins of recording should be between 10 and 20 MB which is pretty cool considering all the guides i saw showed you how to make 1 GB files. That’s totally unnecessary!

That’s it girls and boys. Seriously, if you already know all this don’t laugh. It took me ages to figure it out and I’m sure not EVERYONE knows. So at least now that I shared this, those people technically challenged like me can save themselves hours of frustration.