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Friday, October 22nd, 2010

3 Simple Steps To Help You Pursue Your Passion

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Steve Jobs told Stanford students that when he wakes up each day he tries asking himself:

“If this were my last day on earth, would I be happy with my to-do list.”

Steve Jobs told Stanford graduates that his to-do list needs to be good enough for his last day on earth

 

And if his answer is “no” for three or four days in a row, he does something about it.

Well, a goal in my life is to help people explore their passions, ideally in a way that helps them make a living.

I thought I’d share three steps that I used to further my own career passions.

Ok, so let’s dig in…

Step 1: Pick a Passion

It starts with picking a passion — your passion may be obvious to you ( politics, sports, medicine, photography religion) and you’re good to go.

If your passions are not obvious to you, ask those closest to you (friends, colleagues, family members) what they think.

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Monday, November 16th, 2009

What is Affiliate Marketing? — Tips From a Veteran

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Pam White has helped affiliates sell millions of dollars of  products…and those sales were made at little risk to the affiliate marketer’s she managed, as they were primarily performance-based (they didn’t layout any cash until the products were sold!)

She generously agreed to answer some questions to help us understand the affiliate marketing business.

Q: Welcome, Pam. A lob-ball question first: What is online affiliate marketing?

A good description, I believe, is “selling other people’s stuff” on the Internet and receiving a commission for doing so.

Affiliate Marketing Expert Pam White

Affiliate Marketing Expert Pam White

Q: If you’re a business, and you have products to sell, how do leverage affiliate marketing?

Determine the financial benefits of handing over the marketing expertise of a “staff of affiliates”, versus the cost of marketing the product through your own marketing department’s expertise.

Does the competitor have an affiliate program?  Maybe you should consider it as well.

Q: If you want to run a business, but don’t have any products of your own, how do you leverage affiliate marketing?

1. Learn all you can about affiliate marketing – in general.  SEO, PPC, etc.

2. Research products or services of which you have expertise and are passionate about.

3. Analyze keywords and quantity of searches performed for the   niche.

4. Realistically analyze your budget and ROI goals

Q: You mentioned earlier that the top affiliate marketing programs are offered by Commission Junction (CJ), Sharesale and LinkShare — please tell us more about each of them?

Commission Junction /LinkShare/Shareasale and many other networks, contract with hundreds of merchants selling products, and for a fee, handle the management, tracking internal listing of the Merchants Affiliate program.

Those interested in joining an affiliate program within the network can peruse the various products offered once they have completed the signup and approval process.

Generally speaking, however, the affiliate must have a domain name and website or blog to be approved to sell the merchant’s product.

Q: You also mentioned, that if you’re selling a service you can utilize Clickbank: how do you make money with Clickbank?

Clickbank is similar to CJ, in that there are several merchants listed in the Clickbank Marketplace and you can choose which products you wish to promote.  With most merchants offering up to 75% commission per sale, it’s very popular for those wishing to sell digital products or membership site offers.

Q: What’s the “Clickbank Elite”?

Clickbank Elite is a program sold by a 3rd party merchant that extracts the “hot” selling products at Clickbank as well as cloaking the Clickbank generated hoplinks.

Q: I understand that Google has entered this space — what are your thoughts on the Google Affiliate Network?

I must be honest and say that I’ve not had the opportunity to search their offers or speak with any Merchants who are currently using the Google Affiliate Network.

Q: Speaking of Google, I hear stories about affiliate marketers who receive “Google slaps” — What’s a Google Slap?

A Google Slap occurs when Google views your website’s content and the Adwords keyword used to drive traffic via that ad to your landing page as not relative, or of poor quality.

This will result in an increase in your PPC costs to as high as $10.00 per click.  Additionally, your page rank, and thus your Quality Score, will be adversely affected.

Q: How do you avoid getting Google-Slapped?

Consider the keywords you are bidding on and the landing page and Adwords Ad group to make sure that they all “relate” to the content on the landing page as well as offer value to the visitor.  Be sure the page has adequate “original” content.

A great place to learn all the basics of Google Adwords is from the Google Adwords Learning Center. You can also view the Youtube videos published by Google.

Q: I hear that Pay Per Click (PPC) is key to affiliate marketing — would you elaborate on that, including defining a PPC Affiliate?

A Pay Per Click affiliate bids on and pays for each click on his targeted Sponsored ad at Google, Yahoo, Bing or any PPC network.

PPC is the key to gaining an immediate presence for your brand or campaign in the search results.

Q: What do you consider to be the best affiliate marketing program of all time?

I don’t know that I’m qualified as an expert on that question, so I’ll go with Amazon, since they were one of the first to enter the space.

Q: Who do you consider the best affiliates in the marketplace?

Not to hedge that question, but “the best” I believe, would be relative to the vertical.   Best CPA, Best CPL, Best CPM.  I haven’t worked in all those verticals.

Q: What’s a super-affiliate?

Again, this is relative to the vertical.  A “super-affiliate” may be an individual, an agency, or a network.  It’s any affiliate that has the ability to drive high volume sales (consistent with the niches expectations) which outperform the “average” amount generally produced over a given period of time.

Q: What’s the best way to recruit super-affiliates?

Network, know the competition, review who is the top PPC advertiser in your niche, identify them through various online tools, contact them, present your offer and metrics and invite them to join your program.

Q: What’s the best way to learn affiliate marketing?

Forums, Blogs, E-books, Industry leaders, Google Learning Center, Articles, Mentors, Coaching programs, trade shows like Affiliate Summit. Twitter, Facebook

Q: What’s a good affiliate marketing website to check out for beginners?

Affiliate Tips owned by Shawn Collins, who is also the co-founder of Affiliate Summit.

Q: In our last conversation you mentioned ABestWeb.com — would you describe the affiliate marketing forums they provide?

Basically, almost any network you choose to join will have a corresponding forum at ABestWeb where you can discuss openly any issues, complaints, questions, or accolades you wish and have it viewed and answered by a moderator/associate of that particular network.

Q: Thanks for sharing your perspective, Pam. If someone were to want to get in touch with you, how might they do that?

You’re more than welcome.  Those who wish to reach me may do so by contacting me at my e-mail address pam.white@gmail.com.

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