Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why Staying Motivated Is Very Important While You're Marketing On The Internet

I have seen dozens of people complaining in forums on how they are not able to make enough money. When you ask them how long they have been into Internet Marketing, they say 2 weeks or maybe even shorter.

Let me tell you something from personal experience - I had told my relatives that I was keeping myself busy with Internet marketing for the last few months. They didn't seem interested then and just gave a very disinterested 'okay'. Now months later, when I told these very relatives how much I am earning, they all of a sudden want to know how it's done. But the problem is they are not willing to work for it. The result? They gave up after a try.

So you have tons and tons of info on your hands, and you keep on taking in info without any action -- will that work? Obviously, you will know everything about affiliate marketing but then again it won't work out for you when you thought it would. This is because there are so many methods and techniques out there to carry out e-marketing, and you can attain success only with 'some' of these methods and techniques. Unless or until you try you will never know what works for you and what does not.

If you are into affiliate marketing, staying motivated is important because :

1. It's not a get-money-quick-and-easy scheme.
2. You will need to work hard.
3. There are times when you can feel burned out, but if you keep a goal then you will be able to work towards it more effectively.

For starters, my target is to earn $500 a month (a very small achievable target) and I am almost there!!!!

If you are totally burned out and can't even move an inch further, I would suggest taking a break! Come back after a month or so, and you will see that you're able to perform better.

If you are feeling bored and lonely, why not go for it? If I can get something out of e-marketing, so can you!

Read success stories here.
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The Affiliate Networks That Have Worked For Me!

I am not here to list down dozens of affiliate networks that exist out there which I am skeptical about. All the links listed down here are legitimate and highly beneficial!

#1 - Amazon Affiliate Program

I get most of my sales using this program. You get almost anything and everything here but they offer a low commission as compared to other programs.

#2 - Clickbank

This program offers the highest comission - around 75%! Mainly because the products are digital which can be downloaded. I have made a few sales using Clickbank too. Presently I have only used a few Clickbank affiliate links because I wanted to test it out first. Now that I see it's working nicely for me, I intend on increasing the links to Clickbank products.

#3 - ShareASale

ShareASale can be confusing at first, but soon you will get the hang of it. You get thousands of programs to choose from in this network.

#4 - Commission Junction

Another great network with lots of programs to join. The interface is more simpler as compared to ShareASale but getting into programs can be tough if you don't get enough traffic to your site.

The last two - ShareASale and CJ - haven't worked that well for me. I barely make sales using these networks because I have so few links. But these networks have proved very beneficial for loads of other people.

Other Popular Affiliate Programs (which I haven't tried) :

PepperJam
LinkShare
Google Affiliate Network
AffiliateBot

After you get approved to an affiliate program, you will get HTML codes - banner links and text links - which you can copy paste onto your page or website. Then you're all set to promote your products!
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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Step 3 : Selecting Amazon Products To Promote

So, now you know everything you need to know regarding Squidoo and Hubpages. What next? How about promoting some products related to the topic you wrote? Since Step 1 includes signing up with Amazon Associates, I am guessing here that you already have an account ready to use and benefit from.


How To Select Amazon Products To Promote


1. Go to Amazon.


2. Select a category which goes with your topic. Do you want to promote books or other items related to your topic? Select the category appropriately. As an example, I will choose Electronics -> TV & Video.







3. Go to the bestsellers list. These are the items you can earn a profit in because they are popular and people are actually looking for them online!







4. The more customer reviews there are for the product, the better! People like to read around a bit before they purchase stuff, so if you direct them to a product page you have to make sure that the landing page is effective enough -- customer reviews help in just that! On the same page, also check out 'Hot New Releases'. You will find more items (new ones) in there to promote.



On Squidoo


1. Use the Amazon Spotlight module (check modules list) for highlighting single products. These modules provide a bigger and a more attractive product display picture. I have made max sales using this module.

2. If you want to highlight multiple products use the Amazon module.

3. Make sure you have the following options enabled on Amazon modules - "Availability", "Ratings", "Used Price". I would recommend leaving out "List Price", because sometimes (rarely though) the list price might be lower than the Amazon Price. You don't want to drive your customers away with that info! ;)


4. Save.


On Hubpages


1. Load the Amazon capsule and enter the URL of the product.

2. Save.


Sharing Commissions With Squidoo and Hubpages


Since you're using Squidoo and Hubpages for promoting products, they take a part of your commission. If you want to earn the entire commission yourself, you will have to link products directly using 'Link This Page' option present at the top of each Amazon Page (you will have to be signed in to your affiliate account to view this). Then select 'Text Only' and post the code/link to Squidoo and Hubpages.






Learn How Squidoo Amazon Commissions Work.

With hubpages there is a 60-40 sharing of affiliate revenue. When you are using Amazon capsules, 60% of the time when the page loads, your affiliate code would be embedded in them, 40% of the time you will see the hubpages code. If you think you can avoid using Amazon capsules and use only the direct affiliate URL (as shown above), then think again -- Hubs allow only maximum 2 links to the same site (other than to hubpages of course!).
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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hubpages - More Traffic Than Squidoo?

Don't get me wrong. I am in no way comparing Hubpages to Squidoo or telling you that Hubpages is better. I like them equally, but if you are lazy and you intend on driving that extra income primarily through Adsense, then I would suggest Hubpages for you coz -

a. Hubs get more traffic than lenses. I have half the number of hubs as compared to lenses, but they are getting almost as much traffic from search engines. So yes, I would say my hubs get more traffic as compared to Squidoo and that they seem to get ranked on search engines faster. Hubpages is also ranked ahead of Squidoo at Alexa. Squidoo - #237 ; Hubpages - #230.

b. Hubs are easier to create. You just have to drag and drop modules without loading the page each time.

c. There is a WYSIWYG editor unlike Squidoo. If you want to add some HTML code of your own, you can do that too by clicking the 'source' option on text modules.

Since it's so damn easy to use, I won't be offering any help pages -- coz I am certain you won't need them. You can rearrange the modules or 'capsules' by clicking on the arrow buttons present at the top right corner of each capsule. Using these arrows you can adjust the width or arrange the capsules as right-aligned or left-aligned.

I have heard people getting their Adsense disabled on hubs that are overtly promotional, so try to avoid promoting too many products on your page and instead concentrate on using Hubpages to drive traffic to your site, blog or lens (which promotes such products) instead.

Just promoting stuff is not enuff, you have to market yourself -- go introduce yourself in the forums! Forums are the best place to be on both Squidoo and Hubpages... coz there is a wealth of information available there. Read a lot but don't forget the carry out the tasks! ;)

Need Some Motivation?

Janet is there at Hubpages too! - See her keeping track of her earnings at Hubpages.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

I Squidoo. Do You?

This is just a basic tutorial to tell you how to make lenses at Squidoo.

How To Create A Lens And How To Select A Page/URL Name

Creating a lens is easy. You can create lenses on anything and everything you want. If you want to promote your blog/site, set up a lens and write about it. Direct the easy traffic to your site and earn more readers.

All you have to do is click on 'Create A Lens' on your Squidoo dashboard and you are all set to go. Enter the topic title but when you are selecting the page name, make sure to separate words by a hyphen. Google likes this better as it is more comprehensible. Eg : If you want to a make a lens on your sports blog, then you might want to name it as 'sports-blog' (with the hyphen) instead of 'sportsblog'.

Modules and HTML

You will have to know some simple HTML code at Squidoo because as of now they don't have a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor like blogger has. Because of this editor we are able to make text bold, underlined, italic without having to do anything else other than a click... but it's not the same at Squidoo. You will have to add HTML code to add extra text effects.

If you dunno anything abt HTML, I would suggest the following pages -

Basic HTML For Squidoo
Advanced HTML For Squidoo
HTML For Photos
Borders For Squidoo Images

Go through some of the codes to make your lens more presentable, but it's really not required if you like things to be kept simple and clean.

You can add these codes to the introduction module plus any text module (you can see these modules to the right hand side of your workshop). You have lots of options when it comes to modules - "Text", "Text With Big Picture", "Video", "Twitter Search" etc etc. Always add a guestbook module for comments by the end. When you have lots of comments on your lens, it just increases your lens ranking.

Change Your Payment Settings (Important!)

Go to 'My Payments' tab on your Squidoo dashboard and enter your Paypal address properly plus edit your global lens settings where you can decide whether you want to get the entire money or you want to contribute a small part to charity. If you don't edit these settings, all your money by default will go to charity. I have seen on the Squidu forum, people complaining about all their money going to charity. It wouldn't have happened if they had checked their payment settings. ;) Get to know more about Squidoo Payments.

Finally, Some Recommended Reading -

1. Learn How Janet Made It Big At Squidoo. - This is a lensmaster who is vocal about her earnings per month. She has inspired a lot of people to take Squidoo seriously.

2. Learn Tips and Tricks From Jennifer - Another go-getter! I love her quote - "If you're willing to do for a year what others won't, you can do for a lifetime what others CAN'T!"

3. Captain Squid Blog - The best Squidoo blog!
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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Step 2 : Set Up A Free Web Page

You need a space to promote your products. For this, you don’t have to register and buy a domain coz that’s only for experts. All you need is a page to test out your novice marketing skills, so where do you get a web page for free?

You can set up a blog of course. Apart from that, there are two really popular websites where you can make pages for free and promote your products – Squidoo and Hubpages. You will find dozens of Squidoo vs. Hubpages comparisons online, but I will compare the both of them here to make your choice easier.

Squidoo

1. Here each page you create is called a ‘lens’. Don’t get confused when you see the word ‘lens’ thrown around at Squidoo, coz they are just implying a web page.

2. You can get money from Squidoo (just by writing about anything without even selling any products or doing any affiliate marketing), provided your page gets a good ranking (check 6th point).

3. They pay you through PayPal.

4. The Squidoo forum (Squidu) is extremely rich in marketing info.

5. The Squidoo support staff are extremely helpful. They have solved all my problems quickly and on time!

6. This Squidoo rank is based on how much traffic you get to your lens, how other lensmasters (people like you who have joined Squidoo) rate your page etc etc. A good page with good, interesting, informative and original content can earn you a good ranking. Here’s how the payment is (without affiliate marketing) –
a. Rank 1-2000 (first tier) – You get around $20. (last month's came around $22).
b. Rank 2000-10,000 (second tier) – You get around $4.
c. Rank 10,000 – 85,000 (third tier) – You get some cents.
d. Anything above that? You get nothing at all :D
This amount keeps increasing or decreasing according to the amount of traffic Squidoo gets per month.

You might think ‘WTF! It pays so less’. But think of it this way, the more lenses you have the more you get. If you have around 5 lenses in the top tier, 10 lenses in the second tier, you can make $140 easily per month. This too without doing any affiliate marketing – all you need to do is write good content on anything you absolutely want!

The maximum I have heard anyone earning from Squidoo is around $2000 and that too because the lensmaster decided to be vocal about it. There are many lensmasters in there earning $1000 per month – and they all have loads of lenses! Some of them ended up quitting their jobs coz of Squidoo.

If you have trouble believing me on the earning part of Squidoo (I did too at first!), this is my graph of Squidoo earnings (numbers not displayed for personal reasons). The first couple of months were awful, and I had decided it would not work out for me, but then boy did it take an uphill climb.

Even if you have a day job, this is a great way to earn some extra needed cash. It won’t come easily though ;) You will have to work towards it. I will talk in detail about Squidoo later.

HubPages

1. Pages are called ‘hubs’ here.

2. Creating pages is easier than on Squidoo coz modules (text, photos etc) load faster.

3. More traffic than Squidoo.


4. HubPages, unlike Squidoo, don’t have a ranking system and they won’t pay you. But if you have a Google Adsense account, you can add it and get revenue – this means, you get paid according to number of page loads (impressions) and ad clicks that you get on your page. Don't go about creating an Adsense account now if you don't have one. There are some things to keep in mind before applying for Adsense which I will talk about later.


5. You get replies on HubPages forum faster, but I have to warn you that they talk about absolutely anything and everything in there including highly personal stuff. This kind of pissed me off, and I stopped visiting their forums :P


6. You can’t market too much stuff here, but writers prefer HubPages because it’s more about ‘quality’ than ‘quantity’ there unlike Squidoo which encourages you to create more and more lenses.

Now, quick think of a topic! Any topic! Anything that you would LOVE to write about – be it cooking, dancing or any other passion. Please don’t copy paste stuff – write original content! I want you to get familiarized with the site before we actually get into marketing things – so it would be better if you wrote on some lighter stuff first and get to know the site more.

The plus point of both these websites is that pages created here tend to get indexed on Google fast – this means your page can get easily discovered through Google searches. I started on Squidoo first and then went to Hubpages when I heard it gets more traffic, but then kept creating a lens now or then at Squidoo coz it earns me money without having to do much. I say ‘without having to do much’ now coz I did all the marketing that I needed to do in the beginning itself, and now I don’t have to promote my lenses like before to get them noticed. You can interlink lenses and hubs – so that you can end up getting money from both sites. This means, you can create a hub and a lens on a similar topic and leave behind links to the other. This way you can benefit from both.

You don’t have to go too deep now. Right now, what you need to do is think of a topic you would like to write on. After that, what would you like to do? Create A Page On Squidoo or Create A Hub At HubPages? Or both? ;)

read more...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Step 1 : Set Up Your PayPal Account and Join Amazon

PayPal in India and How To Get It Verified

Your first task is to sign up at PayPal. This is for receiving money from various programs. Though PayPal would not be needed always, I want you to sign up for this in case there is a program that does transfer money to PayPal accounts... plus, the next post I am going to write involves getting money using PayPal.

I had loads of doubts when I joined up for PayPal. One of them was what info do you have to give to programs for them to send money to PayPal? You just have to give/enter your email ID which you registered your PayPal account with for these programs to pay you. Using PayPal you can transfer your money directly to your bank account (this option is available only in India and some other countries. Lucky us! For others, there is an option of withdrawing money to your credit card/debit card). They will ask you to get your bank account verified once you enter the info. This is not required if you want to receive money from someone but remember if you want to buy something online using PayPal money or withdraw money to your bank account, you first need to get it verified. I tried a couple of times to buy stuff online using my PayPal money but failed coz I hadn't verified my bank account.

Verifying bank account is easy. PayPal sends two small (really small) amounts to your bank account and you have to enter these amounts after clicking 'Verify Bank Account' on the right side of your PayPal home page. After verifying, you can withdraw or send as much cash as you want. Remember to enter your FULL bank account number (not just those digits we use to access account locally), and IFSC Code (you will have to ask your bank this). The IFSC (Indian Financial System) code is a 11 digit code of the bank that I found was available even online if you search for it, but it's better if you just ask your bank directly about this.

Once you get money into your PayPal you can transfer amounts equal or greater than Rs. 7,000 for free. They charge a small fee for amounts lesser than this plus if you request a check. What sucks more is that you have to pay a small 'punishment' fee in case you enter the wrong details (wrong bank account number, wrong bank etc.) so be absolutely sure that the details you enter are correct.

When you're withdrawing to your bank account, money usually reaches within 3-5 days to your bank account. I get email plus sms notifications from my bank whenever the PayPal money reaches my bank account. It's such a relief considering you don't have to keep calling up your bank to get details. Yay to modern technology! :D

Join Paypal

Amazon Affiliate Program

I had talked about various affiliate programs that allow you to market their products. The most popular one (even if it offers low commission rates) is Amazon.

Most of the people trust Amazon, and are willing to buy stuff from there. As far as I know, Amazon even allows customers to return back stuff they are not satisfied with. Plus, there are truckloads and truckloads of stuff -- which is why every affiliate marketer should have an amazon affiliate account.

Signing is up is easy and free, and no you can't get money earned from this transferred to PayPal. You can use the money to buy stuff from Amazon or you can even get an Amazon check (which involves processing fees) delivered to you. PayPal is for other goodies which I will talk about soon.

Join Amazon Program.
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Friday, May 7, 2010

WTF Is E-Marketing?

This was one of the first questions that crossed my mind when I came across the term. I knew it was about marketing (duh!) but how do you market around the Internet? Where do you get the products to promote? Are companies willing to let you, a newbie, promote products for them?

E-marketing is the general term given for marketing products on the internet. You can promote your own products but if you don't have any special artistic/creative talents as such (like yours truly) then you can promote other people's/company's products. This is called Affiliate Marketing. You are the affiliate marketer i.e, a person who acts as an intermediary between the company and the buyer. Companies are looking for people (even newbies) like yourself to promote their products on the internet because this helps them in cutting expenses that comes with actually employing a person in their office. If you help these companies in making sales, you get commissions for doing so. How do these companies look around for affiliate marketers? They first join sites dedicated to this very purpose online. We, the marketers, join the same sites too in order to intract with these companies. I will talk about these programs later on.

I never thought people actually bought things from the Internet, but I was surprised to know that people (mostly outside of India) do look forward to buying products from the net mainly coz of the following reasons -

1. They hate going to crowded shops with pushy sales people.

2. They like shopping within the comforts of their own home.

3. They are too lazy to go out and get those things they want. Sad, but true ;)

4. They can get some things at great deals online.

5. All the items you want is just a click away.

So if you think that nobody buys things from the Internet, think again ;) We live in those times where we want everything easy and fast -- this is where e-marketing benefits.

To make things understand in a better way, here's a picture from Wikipedia -



If you have any doubts (not those personal 'how much do you make' questions please), don't hesitate to ask in the comments section below! I know when it comes to my personal blog, I answer emails personally... but as far as possible try to clear your doubts in the comments section below because this will help the others who read this blog too. Like I claimed before, I'm no expert, but I will sure try to clear your doubts. :)

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

How It All Started...

It all started when I came to India from Bahrain for good. I had resigned from work there because my parents wanted me to settle down like a good Indian girl as fast as possible. You know how parents can be -- they won't settle down unless they get it their way, so I had to give in! I was not allowed to go anywhere until I found a guy and I was in a helpless situation. I wanted to earn my own money, but how could I do that if I wasn't allowed to work outside their vicinity? Nearby places weren't an option either because they paid a pittance (and I am earning slightly more than that pittance offered here, so I am glad I took the right choice).

Frustration, helplessness and boredom led me to start Internet Marketing (which is also known as E-Marketing/Web Marketing/Affiliate Marketing around the Web). And I haven't been bored since!

I wasn't even aware what e-marketing was and I stumbled across pages to come across a site called Printfection which allows you to design shirts/tops and sell them. I knew I had no scope in this coz my designing skills suck to the core! I registered anyway to look around and jumped into their forums where people mentioned this so-called Internet Marketing. I did a lil research of my own (thank you Google!) and that was when I decided I wanted to give it a try. And why not? I had loads of time on my hands, didn't I?

The persistent hard work paid off a few months later when I made my first few sales! The elation it gave me cannot be translated into words. I guess you can feel this type of elation and happiness only if you start something on your own and see that 'Hey! Not bad! It's working!'.

I am starting this blog for my friends who have no clue and idea of what Internet Marketing is and to provide them a step-by-step guide on how to get things started. Hope I am able to help in some way. I am no expert, but I have learned so much the past few months that I felt I should offer some assistance to people who are interested in getting into web marketing but don't know how and are confused about the whole thing. Stay tuned!
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