Sunday, November 4, 2012

Easy Money Left on the Table



You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. : Wayne Gretzky. Read more athttp://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/w/wayne_gretzky.html

Foolish blogging…

I read blogs every day that are a waste of time for both the writer as well as their readers. Many of them do nothing but talk about every-day activities of the writer and have no particular use to anyone except the writer’s ego and a need to say what they have to say. Others have tremendous value to their readers for various reasons, even if only to inspire the reader to do something with their life than read useless blogs!
Both types of blogs have something in common, in that they somehow manage to acquire loyal lists of readers, or at least followers, regardless of how silly or pathetic the reason is. On the better blogs (but still not the best) the writers actually put useful information out there for all to partake in, and yet stoically refuse to tell people where to buy the products that they talk about!
That is a disservice to their readers as well as to themselves! They sometimes go to great lengths to write lengthy reviews of the products, telling people of both good points and bad, and even show pictures of the products… and the pictures go nowhere… except to (maybe) a larger and also useless version of the same picture! That is not helping their readers nor helping themselves to profit from their actions!
What a foolish waste of time that is!

What makes a blog good…besides just writing…

The “best” blogs, not only review products, but also provide a place for the reader to buy those products! If I am reading a blog, I don’t even want to be told about a product unless there is a link to it! If I want that product, and have to waste precious minutes of my time to go research and find a vendor for it because the blog writer was too lazy to present it properly I am going to be pissed! If I don’t want to buy it, I can simply ignore the link to it.
This isn’t the stone age! Anyone who can’t stand to look at ads had best crawl in a hole, because he won’t be able to listen to the radio, watch TV, read a magazine or newspaper, buy a product, or drive down the road without seeing advertising. If you think that still leaves books…guess again. Chances are the author has his other books listed at the back, so people will be encouraged to buy them! What do you think that is, if not advertising? It’s the way the modern world works today so get used to it!
You don’t have to clutter up your site with banner ads, although adding a little color to an otherwise :all text" page actually helps to make the page more visually appealing and breaks up the monotony of line after line of text. Most people won’t click on banner ads anyway. on the average, only about 2% of readers actually buy something from an ad, especially on blogs. 

But using unobtrusive text links in the right way will get all the clicks you need to make sales. Some will say that they despise seeing ads on sites. GET OVER IT! You wouldn’t have anything within your line of sight (that wasn’t already made by nature) without someone having sold it first! We’d all be living like cave men if it weren’t for things getting sold! Selling is a natural part of life, of society, and our well being! Many of us would be dead already if it weren’t for medical equipment and medicines being sold to a hospital, so think about that the next time you claim you “hate” sales pitches, and be damned glad you’re alive because someone stepped up to do it to save your life!

The mindset of wealth…

I remember reading something years ago about billionaire J. Paul Getty that said that the reason he was able to acquire such great wealth is that he made a conscious effort to NEVER do anything (or buy anything) that did not further his efforts in making money.
When you think about all the things we do every day, it’s hard to envision some of those things NOT being done without monetary gain involved.
Can we make money by eating? Sure… if we’re a food critic and getting paid to write about our opinion.
Can we make money by sleeping? Maybe… if we agree to be part of a paid sleep study program!
Is that magazine we bought going to make us money? Maybe… if we are concsiously watching competing ads presented in it so that we can do better in our own sales.
Is watching TV or a movie going to make us money? Maybe… if it’s the financial news we are watching, or we’re getting paid to give our opinion of certain shows (like a TV critic).
Some people will jump on those opportunities when they arise, while others will blindly go through life without even thinking about finances, and the latter will have a much  greater chance of ending up broke!
For many bloggers, they already make enough money to be happy, and if that’s “really” true, then maybe what they do simply makes them happy and takes some stress out of their lives, even though it may not add some extra money to their pocket. After all, the simple act of writing is therapy in itself.
But the sad part is, I read about people every day who are barely able to afford a vehicle to live in, they aren’t eating properly, and are depriving themselves of the simplest of luxuries that most of the world takes for granted, and yet they refuse to take the simplest of actions that would help to make their lives better, even when they are led to it and given the information for free!

Forgetting your future…

Don’t get me wrong… I have nothing against people traveling in small vehicles, but from what I read, most of them have no choice! I wouldn’t have written a book about creating a minivan camper if it were not inspired by finances (or a lack thereof). But if I had my choice, I would prefer something larger and more comfortable. Having already owned a 40-foot motorhome, I would never go back to a huge money-pit like that again, but a nice mid-size class “C” or at least a larger van type that I can stand up in… and that has its own shower… and that gets decent mileage… could easily be in our future… if we are willing to do what is necessary to get it.
Maybe some of these vehicle dwellers think they are young enough now to enjoy living in their vehicles and traveling as they please, but the rest of us (especially the older crowd) sees the bigger picture that seems to elude these poor uninformed people.
What are these people going to do when they are too old to travel like that anymore? They forget that Social Security only pays out according to what is paid in. If they live off minimum wage (or less) all their lives, and have not put their proper share into Social Security, then they could very well end up with NO Social Security or only the bare minimum of (currently) about $550 a month to live on for the rest of their lives… when they won’t even be able to afford health insurance! The combination of those two things will keep them perpetually living off someone else! And guess who gets to support their foolish lifestyle after their parents are gone… the rest of us working taxpayers!
I have gone out of my way to try to offer a helping hand to such people, and yet my words seem to go in one ear and out the other. Maybe they prefer to be broke. Maybe they prefer to live off the generosity of others. Maybe they prefer government assistance to making a living on their own. Maybe they have absolutely no ambition at all. Whatever the reason, no one can help people who refuse to take the slightest of actions to help themselves, and I don’t feel that able bodied people should be living off the hard work of other people!
I can’t guarantee how much of a helping hand I provide, as much of the end consequences of what I help them with is the result of what they do with the information after they receive it. But at least I have tried, and that’s more than most people would do.
The whole truth is that many that I have tried to help through this blog won’t even sign up for new post notifications so that they can continue to learn for free! Anyone who really wants to learn will go after the information on their own, and if they don’t, it’s  their loss. I’m not selling anything here, so I don’t need to chase them down for their money. If they want a reminder to come back here, they can easily drag the icon in the URL address to their desktop so they can click on it to come directly here anytime they want. Or on Chrome, there is a provision in the menu bars on the right hand side to send the web page to the task bar on their computer. If that's too much trouble to figure out, they wouldn't study marketing anyway.
In the meantime, I am continually acquiring new students who actually WANT to learn how to successfully sell things online (marketing), or at least have me help them build a web site so that they can make their lives better. Some actually want to build businesses that will sustain them beyond having to depend on someone else. Some will expand on what they learn here, while others will only use enough of what I show them to make a few extra bucks a month. I can show them the techniques and tools, but unless they actually put them to use, the end result will be ziltch!
A catch-phrase from an old “Dirty Harry” movie has always stuck in my mind, and that is that people will only rise to the level of their own ability (or something like that). Some people’s ability is much more than what they will open themsleves up to, because they are lazy and refuse to take the time to learn new ideas. They have the intellect to learn, but they either refuse or don’t care. They would rather be out having fun than doing something to exercise their brains and make them some extra money. I knew one person that actually was “stealing” his mother’s Social Security check even past the day she died! And this person was old enough to know better and young enough to go find a job!
But what are they going to do in another ten or twenty years, when their bodies start to fail and they can’t work at normal jobs or afford proper healthcare? What are they going to do when they discover that their Social Security isn’t nearly enough to cover the lifestyle they had hoped for, and what little extra money they have isn’t even enough to keep them healthy?
Successful people take the time to learn something new every day that will help them to make their lives better. Sometimes lessons are easy, such as how to make fire to keep yourself warm, or to dehydrate food or prepare canned food to get them through the seasons, or to build a meager shelter.

Difficult lessons…

Other lessons are very difficult, and can take years to master, like playing the piano or learning marketing. But there’s no market for making fire for people (unless you’re an arsonist!). On the other hand, a musician can always make money, even if it’s only playing street corners. A marketer can always make money, even from someone else’s computer in a public library. Both incomes are dependent upon how well they are performed, and they aren’t something you learn overnight. Neither are they something you “buy” your way into with trying to resell someone else’s “cookie-cutter” methods. You can’t “fake” good music, and you can’t “fake” your way to a good income in marketing. You either have what people want or your don’t! Best results are always achieved by proper and continuous study, and then applying what was learned.
Some people don’t have the mindset for either, because it’s too easy to live off someone else rather than actually have to put their mind to work to learn something useful. They may think that it’s only “tax money” that is funding their “fun times”. Where do they think that tax money comes from, other than from other hard working people? Are they that stupid to think that it simply appears out of thin air? Or maybe they don’t care how hard other people work to make up for their laziness and apathy!
Even if they don’t want to learn marketing, just the simple act of having someone build a free web site for them can provide residual income that will carry them through retirement years and beyond! All they need is the foresight to recognize the potential the internet holds! That doesn’t take a lot of brains. It only takes action!
I have tried to tell people that something as easy as signing up for a free account at Skimlinks will let them make at least a few dollars a month from their sites and blogs, even if they do it badly. For those willing to learn proper techniques, they can do much better… and whatever they start with will continue to build as they learn how to use their site properly. Many people make full-time livings from their web work and live like millionaires (which they may be). And if one blog isn’t making enough, how hard would it be to create a second blog, or a third. If they already have one, they obviously know how to do that much, so it’s only a matter of scaling up the process. That puts THEM in control of how much they make… not some uncaring employer!
Through this one Skimlinks account they have access to over 18,000 vendors, more than enough products for more sites than they could ever manage, so their refusal to make money can’t be a matter that they can’t find a product to promote. And promotion is nothing more than what they have already been doing on many of these blogs!
All they have to do is “talk” about a product they like, and provide a link for people to buy it. How hard can that be to do? I know high school kids that make more money at their web work than their parents do at professional careers! It can’t be any easier for people to start making money, and still, they refuse to take action. I cannot help those who refuse to help themselves. And I’m done feeling sorry for them. I’m already giving much of my tax money to them. They need to start paying for the knowledge they receive!

Future limitations…

Due to my ever increasing time restraints, I can no longer go out of my way to help people unless they actually want the help, and prove it by contacting me and participating in discussions. That’s the only way people learn… by doing! And I don't mean private discussions on email or Facebook! I mean commenting publicly on this blog, so that others can learn from the questions and answers!
Based upon what I am seeing, there are more that want the help than those who don’t. I have been spending a great deal of time to help people for free, on a one-on-one basis geared to their exact goals and topics. I actually enjoy helping those who want to better themselves and their lives and create businesses to sustain them for the rest of their lives. And I don’t even mind doing it for free, on an “honor” system as I have been, where I help them and they help me by buying through my links the things that they would buy for everday use anyway.

Show me the money! (Or not.)

In the past, I tried to help people on an honor system, where they were to buy through my links for most of the items they would use every day anyway. I even provided a page for those people to use at the “Marketing Resources” menu tab on this site, (Update: it has since been removed by a hacking attempt and I haven’t rebuilt it yet), where they can buy everything they need for their daily lives (including food and clothing), for their homes, and for their cars… the three main things that people HAVE to spend money on.

I know what the average person spends on those things from statistics, and yet I know that the people I tried to help were not spending even 1/20th of their income through my links. I will not  continue to help people for 14 hours every day, and not make a fair share of money from my efforts. Just like it may be more convenient to buy some things from stores, it was also more convenient for me to drop this whole free teaching program and do something else!

Unlike many foolish bloggers I have better things to do with my time! Besides, I am retired now, and traveling full-time. I have already done what I have tried to teach, only now, I still continue to do it for my own benefit, and on my schedule.
This entire blog has been an experiment to see how many people would actually follow through to make this method of teaching worthwhile… and it hasn’t worked. As always, it’s only 5% of people who have the ambition and determination to make a difference in their lives, and in the world.
Due to time constraints, I have to limit my time to those who are really serious about learning. Those who have shown an interest will continue to get all the help I can possibly give them. New readers can read all they want for free, but if they want questions answered or support for any of the topics I talk about, then they will have to make comments and ask questions, and get involved in the discussion. It doesn’t cost anything nor do I make anything from it, but it’s a start. It’s a “show of faith” on their part. After all, if they don’t trust me with an email address to receive new post notifications, then why should I waste my time with them?

No new marketing students…

I cannot teach in only a few months what it has taken me 15+ years to learn. The delays in trying to do that is a disservice to both them and me in waiting to get their sites online and make money. I can build sites in much less time than it takes to explain all the marketing reasoning behind the techniques, and it is more productive to do that for my own benefit. If they wish to observe and copy my actions for their own use, that’s fine. I will answer questions as they are asked.
But be aware, just because someone can build a site, it doesn’t make them a marketer or guarantee that anyone will make money with it. I will still do free site reviews, and suggest techniques and tools to correct the problems, but it will be up to the student to implement the changes.
Reading only one post, or even many of them, without reading “all” of them is not going to be a lot of help to anyone serious about learning marketing. It has taken me 15+ years to get where I am, and I am still learning new things every day. It takes ALL of the pieces of a puzzle to make it complete.To complicate that, the “puzzle” of marketing is continually growing. I don’t have the time to learn, teach AND implement everything, especially if I make no money in doing so.
As time goes on, I may even change from free information to a small membership fee, but I feel as though I have to provide more consistent content before that happens.
If I can sell other people’s products and make money on autopilot through building sites for myself, why would I want the hassle of developing my own products, and dealing with customer service and teaching? Any wise business person is going to go where the money (and the least amount of work) is.
For those learning about marketing through this free training, this also explains by example the natural progression of building a business. If a business doesn’t grow by at least 10% every year, it is considered “stagnant”. Growth can be income growth, intellectual growth, acquisitions growth, or just growth in techniques…but it MUST grow. If it doesn’t it will surely die.
Simply growing a reader base is not growth, because it isn’t accomplishing anything unless you actually DO something with it! I see countless blogs every day that can brag of HUGE subscriber lists… but the blog is still as dead as canned tuna unless that list is “working” for a purpose! You could just as well have only three people reading your blog and it wouldn’t make any difference!
The progression from free information to a free membership, to paid membership to paid products is part of natural growth. I am not saying I will go that far... only that it is a possibility.
Knowledge is the fertilizer that fuels that growth, and implementation of that knowledge is the space to let it grow. Both can be in endless supply… or choked off by apathy and laziness.
What was the last item you wanted desperately to buy but couldn’t afford? What simple thing would you be willing to do to get it? Or is it easier to stay broke, both financially and in spirit? Would you rather have people look up TO you, or down AT you? Whether it’s learning marketing or something else to make your life better… at least do “something”!
As always, let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Making Money with Cookies (No, not that kind!)




Before we can get into making money online, we need to know what cookies are. I’m not talking about the kind that Grandma used to bake… I’m talking about tracking cookies used in internet work.

What is an “IP” address?

Every computer has an IP address (Internet Protocol) built into it by the manufacturer. That IP address is what is used to identify your computer to anyone else who sees it on the web, and that address directly relates to how cookies are used.

What are cookies?

Internet cookies are little pieces of script that are used for various reasons, but mostly for tracking purposes. From there, they can be used to identify what ads you click on so that other relevant ads can be shown to you based on your past choices of what you looked at. They can be used to identify your computer to remember passwords and other information so that you don’t have to enter it each time you visit a site. But for our purposes, we will be discussing how they are used in making money… and I don’t mean selling them at a bake sale.

An ad banner like this one from Amazon, comes preformatted with my affiliate ID already embedded into the html code, so they know that it was me who sent them a customer. At their end, they keep track of when that cookie was activated, when it will expire, and any other information relative to a paid click, or an actual sale, and they enter all that information into my affiliate dashboard on their site so I know how much I made, from where it came, what the product was, and other useful information that can guide me in future sales efforts.

How are cookies used in marketing?

In marketing, a vendor will either use their own software for setting up and tracking affiliate programs, or they will contract with an aggregator to manage those links. If they manage their own links, they might use a program like Affiliate Royale, especially for WordPress.

What if a vendor doesn’t want to manage his own affiliate program?

If a vendor chooses to let someone else manage their links, then they might choose an aggregator… someone like Commission Junction, Linkshare, Link Connector, Avantlink, Shareasale, or any of numerous others. The drawback is that there are usually hefty fees involved to set it up and then there may be an ongoing percentage of sales paid to the aggregator.
One company that handles most of the major aggregators plus individual vendor accounts is Skimlinks. The costs involved might be offset by the sheer volume that these aggregators handle. They already have other marketers signed up with them who can help sell the vendor’s products, so they don’t have to recruit a whole new sales force from scratch, as the vendor would have to do when managing an affiliate program by himself.

What are the pro’s and con’s?

There are advantages and disadvantages with each company and each method, and rules must be read and followed. For instance, Skimlinks is very convenient for both vendors and marketers to sign up with, there are fewer rules involved, and all payments come through one dashboard. On the other hand, they use mostly text links, and most banners and other creatives must still come from the vendor or the aggregator, or you must create your own, using product pictures and doing your own linking. (Update: Skimlinks now has “Showcase” banner ads available, but as of this writing they only work with Amazon. If you live in one of the sales tax nexus states, they probably won’t do you any good.) If obtaining your own product pictures from the web, you may have to get permission to use them from the vendor or manufacturer, but that’s usually not a problem if you attribute the photo properly. Still, ALWAYS check with them on proper procedure.
Also, most stores run special sale promotions that only registered affiliates would know about. If you are using only word links, generic banners or photos, you may never know about such promotions and won’t be able to pass them on to your readers.
When using an individual store that runs its own program, you have one dashboard and access to creatives and special promotions, but one store, or even one aggregator of many stores, is very seldom going to be sufficient for a professional marketer. Each store or aggregator requires signing up for an account and a new dashboard to monitor sales stats.
A marketer who signs up with an aggregator (except Skimlinks) will get more stores per dashboard, but they still have to apply to both the aggregator AND then get individual permission from the store to join its affiliate program and have access to it’s banners and promotions. If the marketer uses more than one aggregator (which he will likely have to do), he will also have more than one dashboard to monitor, which obviously creates more work.
Skimlinks, on the other hand, has over 18,000 vendors and aggregators that it manages accounts for, and you only have to apply to Skimlinks…NOT all the individual vendors… so if text links and/or creating your own banner links works for you, then it can greatly simplify your link management and save you a tremendous amount of time!

How does one manage all that information?

As you can see, an affiliate marketer must have a good head for organization, and have a plan in mind ahead of time to keep track of all this information. They may have to create a spreadsheet to keep track of the vendor name and address, the URL, the affiliate link., the log-on information to their affiliate portal, the commisson percentage, and much more. On top of that, it must be kept in a secure place, and backed up off site in case their computer is stolen, crashes or destroyed, any of which can put a marketer out of business.

How long do cookies remain active?

No matter what type of affiliate program is used, they ALL rely on cookies to manage their accounts. Each time a reader or customer clicks on a link, a tracking cookie is set connecting their computer’s IP address to that vendor. The cookies can vary in length. Some may be programmed to disappear when they close out of the store site, and some may last a “lifetime”. Most will expire within 30 to 90 days, and then erase themselves from the store computer’s memory.

Also, most cookies are reset to the last affiliate’s computer. So if a visitor has clicked on your link and visits the store but dosen’t buy, and then comes back later through another affiliate’s link, the last one clicked on will be the one credited with the sale. If they come to the site later without using an affiliate link, it will still revert to the last affiliate link used to get there. On some cookies, especially the “lifetime” cookies, the link will still remain even after years, and will not be overwritten by a new one, therefore assuring the marketer of a sale regardless of when the visitor returns to the store (as long as they have not changed computers).
Obviously when they say “lifetime” links, it usually refers to the lifetime of the visitor’s computer. If it crashes or becomes unusable, and they have to get a new one, then obviously the IP address and link are lost, also. However, if someone steals the computer, or it is sold to someone else, and they happen to visit that same store, the original marketer will still get the credit for the sale, even though it is a different customer!
And even if a customer deletes the cookies on their own computer during routine maintenace, it isn’t “their” cookies that matter. They can’t erase their IP address, and it is that address that registers on the store or aggregator’s computer system that matters. As long as their systems stay intact, the cookie will still be good, as long it sees the original computer’s IP address and matches it with the marketer’s link to the store.

How does software manage cookies?

An affiliate program software such as Affiliate Royale simply matches up IP addresses with affiliate links and monitors how much each sale was, so that it can sort out how much to pay to the affiliate (the marketer). It may even monitor what items were sold, so that the marketer can actually see what items are selling best, so that he can optimize his sales tactics and product offerings.

Summary

Unless you are a programmer or developer, that’s about all a marketer needs to know about cookies. The management of them is normally someone else’s responsibility, unless you are selling your own products and want other people to help you do that. In that case, you will either want a program like Affiliate Royale, or hire someone else to do it.
Either way it will come at a cost… for the program, for the time in learning it, for the time implementing it and managing it, or in fees for someone else to manage it for you. It all boils down to the bottom line, and whether it’s "cost effective”. If it can increase revenue and profits by 10% or more, then it’s worthwhile. Anything less than that may not justify the cost of such a program. As a marketer, it will be your job to run the figures and decide.
Now, please excuse me while I go get a glass of milk. That old “power of suggestion” is kicking in. And then the big decision… peanut butter or oatmeal raisin?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Behind the Fine Print



Before we get too involved with finding all the different ways there is to make money online, we have to learn to do it the right… and legal way. You can’t just promise people the world and not be able to deliver it. Many people have the mistaken impression that the internet is a totally unregulated medium where anyone can do what they want, and therefore a certain distrust is born, preventing some from feeling the freedom to use it as they would like to.

Internet legalities are real!

The reality is that there ARE laws governing the use of the internet, particularly in the realm of ecommerce.The FTC and other government agencies are very watchful of what goes on there, and they will come down on those who don’t abide by the laws!
As a small business operator, you might wonder how a person stays on top of such information, so that you know what can and can’t be done. The simple answer is trade magazines, such as mThink, a marketing magazine geared toward affiliate marketing.
An article in today’s issue caught my attention in regard to what is happening in the area of legal issues with web sites, and it should be required reading for anyone thinking about owning an online business. It isn’t just fun and games in the online world, Running a business means paying attention to ALL aspects of running a business, the same as in the real world.
Too many in this business think that just because they don’t have a phycial property, where someone can trip and fall, and subsequently sue them, that they don’t have to worry about liability. The truth is that there are as many legal issues to deal with here as anywhere else. The fact that the minor infringements may be smaller than a physical business is overshadowed by the fact that you aren’t just dealing with local customers. You may likely be selling to the entire world, and therefore, there is more likely a chance of someone noticing one of those small indiscretions and call your bluff on it!

Examples of internet legal issues for web site owners might be…

  • copyright infringement, where you used someone’s article without their permission. Or maybe you used someone’s music in one of your ads without their permission. Or maybe you used someone’s photo or video without their permission. It’s one thing to read, listen to, or watch something for your own entertainment, but just because it’s on the web doesn’t mean you have a right to use it for your own gain. Typically, if you are using all or any one of these mediums to enhance sales of your own products, then you may owe the rightful owners of such products a portion of the sales for their effort in helping you to make that money!
  • plagiarism, which goes hand-in-hand with the above paragraph, is also something you want to avoid. This means taking someone else’s work and claiming it as your own. In this business in particular there are all kinds of written products, with all kinds of legal permissions involved, such as PLR (private label rights) to MRSR (master resell rights). And even within those, there can be specific permissions given. In a later article we will discuss what all those permission types are and how they are used. But know also, that the search engines have software that looks for duplicate content. I even have a copy of one such product myself, which even tells me in percentages how close my writing is to someone else’s! If the search engines see duplicate content, then they will place less importance on it because it is not new and fresh, and therefore will not rank your site as high. So besides the legal issues, there are marketing issues why you should not copy someone else’s content!
  • exaggerating facts. You can’t just “exaggerate” claims to people just because they may be half way around the world, and aren’t likely to come after you! Your business has to be conducted fully “above board” so that people know what they can “really” expect. In other words, you can’t write a headline that says that people are going to make a certain amount of money in a certain length of time. You have no control over what people do, so you have no way of knowing whether they will or won’t. As you can see by the aformentioned article in mThink.com, even saying they can make “up to” a certain amount can trigger an audit of your activities by the authorities.
  • failure to use disclaimers. Making money from people without their knowledge is also something that is against the law. No matter how you make your money, it must be disclosed somewhere on your site in plain view. It may be obvious to most people that if there is a big yellow “buy now” button on the page, that you are selling something. Less obvious are the word links that you put on your site, such as the ones you find on my sites, some of which I put there, while others may be provided by Skimlinks. There are several companies out there that provide software to create these “contextual links”, or you can simply create your own links. Companies like Adsense also provide contextual advertising, meaning the ads shown are “in context” with the topic of the page. Either way, sometimes money is made from a reader simply clicking on those links, whether they buy anything or not. That action is not made clear to the reader unless you make it clear in a disclaimer somewhere on your site. If they don’t like what you have to say, maybe they would prefer that you didn’t make money off their efforts. That is their right to refuse to do business with you, so if there is way of that happening that is not readily apparent, it is considered deceptive, and you have to tell them. That’s the law!
  • fabricated testimonials. If you put testimonials on your site, it is permissible to use simply initials, in case the “testifier” would prefer to remain anonymous, but you had better retain the proof of those testimonials in case the feds come knocking at your door! It is illegal to fabricate testimonials or to use people’s remarks out of context and without their permission! Always ask permission if you can use their remarks! And in reality, the more credible a testimonial looks, the better effect it has. The mention of your name or business in their remarks is always a bonus, and of course, having their full name in the credits also helps. Beyond that, the use of video testimonials is on the rise, so having them on your site “in person” endorsing your product is about as good as it gets!

When NOT to use testimonials!

There can be many reasons, but the reason that I don’t show them anymore is simple… some of the people who gave them are no longer being trained by me. They gave their testimonial when they first started, but then I discovered that they werent following through with what I recommended, and their sites never came up to the quality that they should have been.
Keep in mind, I can’t do your work for you! I can advise you on what you should do, but if you don’t do it, that’s not my fault! In turn, I will not give references to students or their sites if those sites aren’t up to the quality of what they should be. If my readers go to those sites and see crappy work, then it reflects badly on me, even though I didn’t build them!
On top of that, providing testimonials is like providing a link to those sites, which I would be glad to do if they were something that I could be proud to recommend. But when they aren’t, or are totally off topic of my own site, then those inbound links are both worthless to the search engines, as well as “un-earned” by the site owner.

Summary and Expectations

There are many more things that you need to be aware of, but those mentioned above seem to be the most noticeable, and will get you in trouble the quickest. To stay aware of the rest, I suggest you get a free subscription to mThink, and be sure to read the articles like this latest one on how to stay legal in your business. This magazine is totally free, and available in both print and emailed newsletter editions. The emailed notifications are usually sent about every week to three weeks, depending on when the posts are written. They also have other magazines geared toward this trade and in other specialites, and you can choose which ones you get when you sign up.
In future posts I will get more in depth into the different types of permissions available for written products, many of which could be used for posts on your site, as enticements to opt-in for the free reports, to be given as bonuses with other products, or even to be sold outright. It’s all a part of marketing “know-how” and in running ANY kind of web site online, and no matter what you sell online, you need to know about these things in order to be in this business.
We’ll also get back to the various ways to make money online with your web site or blog, so stick around, and as always, let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks for reading.
(Update 11/11/12: The article mentioned above has since been moved or removed from the mThink.com site, so we changed the link to go to the main site only.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Internet Marketing Mindset, and Using Skimlinks...with Examples!




I am currently working with a few students right now who are having problems with getting into the mindset required to market on the internet. So before we get into other subjects, I want to show by example exactly what it takes to think like a marketer, and I’m going to use Skimlinks as a good example of how to implement the strategies to make money.

What do I sell on the web?

Usually, one of the first questions people have in their mind is what to sell on the web. And the answer is “anything and everything”. The next question is usually “where do I get it”. And the answer to that is “anywhere and everywhere!”
Many people think of places like Amazon, or Walmart, but the truth is, those are already retailers. They will not sell to you at a price point low enough for you to make a profit. There are hundreds of thousands of places to get products to sell at price that you can afford to resell them. Some places will sell physical products to you directly if you show that you have a business license and are serious about how you run your business, but that usually involves buying in larger quantities and getting into a warehousing operation. As I have said before… been there, done that… never again! That kind of an operation is too restrictive to travel to suit my tastes. But that doesn’t mean YOU shouldn’t do it.
If going more than 25 miles from home is a scary adventure for you, then chances are good that managing a warehouse would work well for you. We all have different ideas on what “having a life” means.
Many online suppliers will ask for a business license before they will sell to you, so it always pays to be prepared, but one of the easiest ways to sell things online is to be an affiliate. That simply means that you will drive traffic to their online store, where they will process the order and then pay you a commission for referring the customer to them! It doesn't cost the customer any more than they would pay otherwise. It's just that the commission paid to the affiliate is already included in the vendors advertising cost. It's no different than using a billboard or a newspaper ad. If the customer didn't see the ad, they wouldn't be at the store!

But instead of the vendor paying a fixed cost for results that are hard to measure, he is only paying for results, and therefore can pay a little more for the referral that leads to a sale. He can measure his return on advertising dollars much more accurately, and the person doing the advertising for him gets a better percentage of his profits. It's a win/win situation for both! I should actually include a third win, because the customer normally pays less at online stores than at brick and mortar stores, and often gets free shipping. And even if they pay shipping costs, it's always less cost for them than using their own time and money by getting in their car and driving somewhere to get the product!  
The question now is “how do they know that it was me that sent the customer?” They simply use tracking cookies, which usually have your affiliate ID with that vendor imbedded in them. There are special computer programs designed for that type of marketing, so that a store can tell what affiliate sent the customer to them. You don’t need to have that software. Only the vendor needs to have it. The cookie that is placed may remain good for as little as ten days to 30 days, to 60 or 90 days, or even for a lifetime, depending on the vendor’s rules. That way, even if your reader doesn’t buy today (which many don’t) you will still get the commission if they come back to that vendor any time within the life of the tracking cookie!
It is a statistically proven fact that people do not generally buy the first time they visit a site…especially something that is not a sales like, like a blog. Statistics say that it takes seven times (on the average) of contact with that seller, before they feel comfortable enough to buy from/through him, even if they are just using a link to a well-known vendor like Amazon.

If you want to make a sale within 7 days then go to eBay. You can control the amount of the sale and even what is sold. With affiliate links, particularly on blogs, you may never know exactly what link was clicked on without having special software. Nor can you control how much is made from that link. It might pay a small commission for just clicking on it, or it may lead to a sale of something very expensive. The reader may not even know what he wants until he enters the vendors site and sees something he likes.
Still, there is money to be made with affiliate links, and people are doing it every day. If you don’t believe me, go to http://rvsueandcrew.net and click on the “Money” menu link at the top of the page. That will take you to a page where she has laid out her income and expenses for her traveling as well as how much she makes from her Amazon store link on her site! She isn’t even a professional marketer and is making up to $800 a month in "non-holiday" months, in commissions from Amazon! At their typical 6% commission rate, that means she is making more than $10,000 worth of retail sales every month! And that’s from one site! What would be possible if she duplicated her efforts on more than one site? What would be possible if she actually studied professional marketing techniques?
But also, what if you live in one of those “sales tax nexus” states in which Amazon refuses to allow Associates, because they don’t want to deal with the sales tax issues? That’s where having other vendors available can be the saving grace.
In a later post, we’ll discuss some of the different ways you can sell for some of these other vendors, but for now, we’re going to discuss the simplest and easiest way to make money online, and that is through Skimlinks.

Why should I use Skimlinks?

The simple answer to that is ease of use. The normal process of applying to be an affiliate to any other place goes like this:
(1) you pick out a product
(2) you search out who carries that product
(3) you see if they have an affilliate program
then (a) they might or might not have one, (b) they might manage it themselves, or (c) they might have an aggregator manage it, then
(4) you either apply to the store itself, or
(5) you apply to the aggregator and then to the store
(6)  “IF” (and that’s a BIG “IF”) they approve you, then they will direct you to the affiliate resources pages to get your links and banners to use on your site, and
(7) then you have to copy and paste all that code into the html on your site everywhere that you want to use it.
(8) for the next product, you will have to go through that entire process again!
(9) AND… for every vendor you use, you have a different dashboard to monitor to see what’s happening with your sales!

(10) AND... if the vendor does away with the ad that is served from his hosting company's server, and the link becomes dead... you have to go in an find another ad to display!
Think about that! How much time is that going to take you to source all the products you are going to need, make applications to each aggregator, and then STILL have to make separate applications to the stores that they manage links for? And if they turn you down, all that time is wasted, and you have to try another vendor!
Also, if you are approved, you still have to go back to each vendor’s affiliate page, get the code that you need, and then implement it on every linked word or location on your site that you want to apply it! Let’s say you have a site (a blog) already built and have 150 posts on it already, with an average of five links per page. How long is it going to take you to go back through all those 150 pages and 750 links to monetize the site properly? The answer…. MONTHS!
The solution: Skimlinks… because they do it all for you in less than 30 minutes!
Skimlinks has two programs that are automatically connected. One is the original Skimlinks, and the other is Skimwords.

How does Skimlinks work?

First, you have only one vendor to deal with, and therefore only one place you have to go to see all of your sales reports and earnings. They already have over 18,000+ different vendors and more than forty aggregators (ex.: Commission Junction, Linkshare, Share a Sale, etc., that already may have hundreds of individual stores that they manage links for) that Skimlinks has made agreements with, so you don’t have to go through the process of applying again to each one! Once Skimlinks approves you, all those other 18,000+ vendors HAVE to! Think of the time that saves!
Have you been turned down by places like Amazon because of sales tax nexus laws in your state? No problem! Skimlinks has so many other vendors, including eBayWalmartKmart, and thousands more, that you simply direct your sales toward those other vendors! Still, Amazon has decided not to honor commissions on “sales” made through Skimlinks that are generated in states where there is nexus laws in effect, but they will still pay on clicks on the links where applicable. Clicks a re not considered sales, and therefore no taxes are due. So even if an Amazon ad shows up, you will still make money from the click on it, whether the customer buys or not.
Their bonus program, Skimwords, is automatically active with your account, There is nothing “in addition” to apply for, and nothing to set up. The one line of code, OR the WordPress plug-in does it all for you, on your entire site… even on old posts! And despite what you may have heard, it DOES work with Blogger, and is perfectly legal. You just install the script in a “text” side bar gadget, and it puts the links on the entire site, clear back to posts that may be years old!

What does it cost to use Skimlinks?

Absolutely NOTHING! And you lose nothing! As an example of how they work, let’s say that Amazon normally pays you 6% as what they like to call an “advertising fee” for displaying their products on your site. Because of the volume of business that Skimlinks does, they arrange for an 8% commission for themselves to let Amazon into their system. They keep 25% of those commissions (only 2% of the total purchase) for themselves, and you still get the original 6% that you would have gotten anyway!

How do I make better commissions?

Once you have an account with Skimlinks (VERY easy to get, by the way), you can search for a particular product and see a list of all the stores within their collection that carry that product. It will also show you each vendor’s commission rates. Many of them also pay on a per click basis, so that your reader doesn’t even have to buy to make you money! If you see that one store offers 5% and three cents per click, and another vendor offers 15% and five cents per click for the same product, YOU get to choose the link you want to use. All you have to do is install your own link on the keywords within your site, and Skimlinks won’t change them. If you don’t make enough money it will be your own fault for not managing your site propery!

How do I implement Skimlinks/Skimwords?

First of all, Skimlinks refers to actual links or ads placed on the site from which you make money through purchases. The Skimwords part of the program is what automatically activates certain keywords into links, and from those, you may get paid for clicks as well as purchases.
After you get your account set up, you will have an entire affiliate section to refer to with all the help you need, including videos. They will also give you a snippet of code to use on your web site, so that it activates whatever page it appears on. If you use WordPress, they already have a plug-in for Skimlinks, so all you have to do is enter your affiliate ID number assigned to that site in the setup form, and it does the rest for you. If you have multiple sites, you will have a separate ID number for each site.
Any product words or vendor keywords (Usually nouns) that it sees on your activated pages or posts will automatically be turned into links to whichever store (in their collection of over 18,000+ vendors) that handles that product. And it’s “retro-active”, meaning if you put it into a sidebar, or widget on your site that shows up on all pages…. it will go back and monetize all those pages that may have been written months or years ago!
What if you want to select your own products to recommend, rather than let it go to their selection?  All you have to do is create the link first, and then Skimwords will send the link to YOUR recommendation rather than theirs. It doesn’t get any easier!
What if you already have affiliate agreements with other vendors? Skimlinks will know which ones you already have agreements with, and will send them straight through to that vendor without interference. You will still get your commission from that vendor. But if you don’t have an agreement set up, Skimlinks will process the click or the sale, and will pay you through their own company, Skimbits Ltd.
So even if you don’t know the first thing about html, there is no excuse for not using it! Pay someone else to set it up for you if you have to! It will be worth the fee!

Is there anything that I “don’t” get with Skimlinks?

The only thing you won’t have access to with Skimlinks are the “creatives” (the various banner ads and direct links) that are available with a direct connection to one of those vendors. But you may not need them. If you still feel a need to use a banner, you can still apply to the vendor or aggregator, and have access to them. Skimlinks will automatically detect if you have a relationship with the vendor outside of their scope, and if so, they will simply send your link on through, and it will be handled by the vendor. If Skimlinks detects that you have no relationship, then they will make one for you and run the link through their system. Either way… you get paid!
Also, they have a new program called a “Showcase”, but at the time of this writing, it only works with Amazon. You can set up your links so that when moused over, a full product picture, or even a scrolling catalog will show up, to give the customer a look at the product and more information, without having to go to the site. If they click on the pop-up ad and buy from it, you get the commission (if you aren’t in one of the nexus states). Unfortunately, if you are in a nexus state, it isn’t worthwhile to use it, as you would only get paid for clicks if they were applicable for that product.
What if I want to use a vendor that has no agreement with Skimlinks? In fact, I just ran into that situation this morning. I saw a vendor that I wanted a link for, and they were not in Skimlinks’ arsenal. So I looked up the vendor on the web and they happen to use PepperjamNetwork as their aggregator. I then double-checked Skimlinks and that aggregator was not in their arsenal either. So I had to make an application to Pepperjam to get an account. As soon I am approved by them (the aggregator), then I may have to also apply to the vendor. This is the way normal affiliate marketing works, and why we should ALL be thankful to Skimlinks by taking much of that work away!
If I had simply created a link to the vendor site I would have been referring traffic to someone that would have never paid me for it! Not that I don’t do that sometimes, anyway, but it’s like going off and leaving money on the table!
For some product creatives, you might simply use one of the vendor’s graphics that you can copy from the web and paste into your site, but you should always ask first, and if they allow it, use a little caption with it that says something like “logo use courtesy of (the vendor’s name)”.  Some logos and images have very tight rules associated with their use, right down to the color rendition, and you could be sued if you use them without proper permission.
Can I also sell my own products through my own payment buttons?
This is a good question, and is very important… you may also lose the ability to sell your own products on your site through your own payment buttons. Skimlinks doesn’t care if you have a “donation” payment button on your site, but they really want to see ALL affiliate links on a site. That’s probably due to some legal issue with their contracts with their vendors, and I can understand that trying to find common ground with that many vendors is a daunting task in itself!
If you have products that you are selling through your own payment buttons, then you can put those on a separate site and just use links to “cross-reference” the sites to each other. Actually, that’s good for SEO, too, as it lets you be more specific with your keywords on each site as well as giving another inbound link to your site to add to its importance in the search engine’s eyes.
Also, if you are selling your own products, having people click away to go buy something from someone else is counter-productive. You should keep direct sales away from affiliate sites!

How do I create my own links with Skimlinks?

First, always make sure it is a vendor that is under contract with Skiminks, otherwise you may not get a commission at all! Then, all you have to do is go to any vendor’s web page and copy the URL of the page from the address bar. In your site editor, you highlight the word (or words) you want to make into a link, and click on the “chain link icon” on your editor header, and paste the link into the form box! Be sure to click the check box that says to open the link in a new window, so it doesn't take them totally away from your site. That’s all there is to it! The link will automatically go through Skimlinks directly to whatever page you sent them to, and Skimlinks will take care of the rest.
If you are using a general term, with no specific product in mind, you might go the catalog page of the vendor, so that when your reader arrives there he can see all of the products of that type and make his own decision. If you are recommending a specific product, then go to the exact page that shows only that product, and copy the URL from that page to make your link. Skimlinks will send them to wherever you want them to go, but if you make no recommendation at all, they will still make links where they see product keywords, and you will still make money! If you don’t want to use a particular vendor for any reason, you can keep their ads from showing up!
You also have your choice of link density. You can set it light for only a few select words to turn into links, medium for picking up a few more words, or you can set it to the max for picking out “most” of the keywords it finds.

Do people read older posts?

You bet they do! Any new visitor who arrives on your site for the first time is VERY likely to go back and read from the beginning to catch up, or they may check out specific topics or specific posts or categories within your blog or site. If they searched specific keywords, the search engine will direct them to the appropriate post or page of your site, even if it was written years ago! That’s why it is important to monetize not only your new content, but all of your previous content as well!

What if I don’t want banner ads on my site?

Many people don’t want their sites cluttered up with gaudy banner ads, and the truth is that people are becoming somewhat immune to banners, and many won’t click on them because they know it is a blatant attempt to sell them something. Some banners are as bad as carnival barkers, with flashing logos and some even use video with the banner. Used in the right context, some of that may be OK, but can be annoying to many people. That’s what’s so great about Skimlinks/Skimwords… they are very “unobtrusive” in that they simply link words to products. People can read right past them and ignore them or they can click on them to see where they go.
You can also use one of your own photos, maybe of you demonstrating a product, or of the product itself, and you can make the photo a link to the product. Since you own the photo, you won't have any issues with copyright infringement. All you have to do is click on the photo to highlight it, and then go to your editing bar and click on that chain ink icon to open the link window, and then paste your link into it. There's nothing hard about it!
Even though the majority of people come to the internet for information, a lot of the purchases that are made are “spur of the moment” decisions. Many people don’t even know there is such a selection of products or that certain products exist. If you lead them into it by talking about the product honestly,providing both pros and cons without being “pushy”, and then offer a place for them to buy it, many will click on the link and say “Gee, I didn’t know anyone made that! I’m going to get one!”. Even if they don’t buy it today (maybe they simply have to wait until payday) the cookie will remember that you sent them and you will still earn a commission if they purchase later!

What happens if the product or vendor that I’m after doesn’t have an affiliation with Skimlinks?

If you don’t see your desired product or the vendor listed with Skimlinks, then look them up on the web and see if you can find any links on their site that say “affiliates”, “partners”, “resellers” or some other indication that might offer that service. For those that do, you may see that their program is handled by a third party, usually an aggregator, and if so, you may have to make an application to that aggregator and then also apply to the vendor through that program. Some vendors handle their own affiliate program, and if so, you can apply directly to them. You can use any other affiliate links in conjunction with Skimlinks.
There are many sites on the web that will let you buy from them at wholesale prices, but they don’t show any indication of it on their site. If that’s the case, it doesn’t hurt to send them an email (or through their contact form) and ask them! That’s all there is to it! But they may still ask for a business ID, so again… be prepared!

But, how do I “think” like a marketer?

I just went back through some of my previous posts this morning and started looking for words that I saw. The Skimwords won’t show as links in your editing mode, only the ones YOU create yourself will show, but it doesn’t matter. The Skimlinks will show when you preview your site or it goes live. You can overwrite any of their links with your own if you see the need to.
In my post about seeing a (possible but not likely) cougar in the yard, I mentioned the street light. Amazon has security lights, so I linked “street light” to a catalog page showng their choices.  I also mentioned a 6-volt lantern, a game camera, and even threw in a little quip at the end about “lions and snakes and bears! Oh My!” with a reference to the tin man in the Wizard of Oz (think collectibles). So I made “tin man” a link to Wizard of Oz collectibles. There was a total of at least four new opportunities to link to vendors sites to offer up products for the reader to buy, just in that one post about “maybe” seeing a cougar! And I can guarantee you that even set at “max”, Skimwords may not detect all of those referrences on their own! It is up to YOU as a marketer to THINK, and to monetize everything you can. The more opportunities you present to people, the more money you are going to make!
A marketer has to look at everything he does with the thought of “how can I make money from that?” And what can be easier than simply converting text words to unobtrusive links to give people the opportunity to act upon them, without the seller being “pushy” about it? Regardless of how you feel about sales, remember… there isn’t anything that is within your field of vision (other than what was created by nature) that isn’t there because a sale was made first! You would be “naked in nature” without someone making a sale at some time in the past! Sales are a natural part of society and sooner or later, EVERYONE makes a sale, even if it’s only selling themselves to an employer (perish the thought)!
Many of my blog readers are fellow travelers. If you write about travel, then think about what you can connect people to for travel products, such as air packages, camping, hotels or rental cars. If you talk about attractions or entertainment, then check out the possibility of offering tickets to your readers, or hotels that are in the area, or even a nice restaurant that they can go to afterwards. If you talk about improvements to your home or your RV, then offer them those products. If you talk about food or beverages, then offer them coupons, recipes, beer-making kits, or wine club memberships. What better time to sell than when offering products that you have already used and liked? You already have your readers’ attention, and they probably trust you if they have been reading your blog, and subscribed to it, so why wouldn’t they buy from you?
How can I maximize my commissions?
Be wise about it. The reason most people don’t make any money is because they depend on things like Adsense to monetize their sites and then they never study how to choose keywords that will attract the higher paying clicks. The result is they get paid pennies for clicks and never reach the $100 minimum payout that Adsense imposes! You have to get past worrying about making pennies and learn how to pick both the methods and the products that will get you the most profits! That means choosing a good mix of higher priced products as well as a few lower priced, and paying attention to the commission rates paid by different vendors for the sale of those products. You can’t just set things up at random and hope to make money, any more than you can just show up for an employer and hope to make money!  You have to WORK at making money. In marketing, that means simply learning to think like a marketer, pay attention to what is happening, and think outside the box to figure out how to make it better!
With Skimlinks, you can go into the “Merchant” section and search for specific products or vendors. You will get a list of the vendors who carry the product, as well as the commission rate they pay, and if they use pay-per-click, it will also tell what they pay for each click on the ad or word. You have complete control over choosing vendors that pay the highest commissions, but if you don’t, Skimlinks will choose whatever matches with the keyword. It’s up to YOU to maximize your profits…not Skimlinks!
Why sell ad space on your site for a piddly, fixed amount, when you should be getting paid on commission for the sales volume that ad produces? Why settle for click rates on generic products when you could be offering to sell the same products at 50% commission or more? THINK!!!
It takes just as much time and effort to market a $5 product as it does a $5,000 product, but if you have to settle for a 10% commission, then which one are you going to put the effort into? DUH!
In thinking like a marketer, remember that your own time is money. As an example, think about selling something on eBay…say, from your own inventory. Sure, you may sell MORE of the lower priced items, but can you sell a hundred of them? Not if you only have one to sell! A hundred low priced items may justify writing a listing once, and then pushing a button to relist over and over. A one-shot sale very seldom justifies the time spent unless it is something worth more than $50.
You have to learn that some things are better off donated than to mess around with selling them online! Think about the time it takes you to research them, the photography time, the uploading time, the sales pitch writing time, and then the processing of the order afterward. If you can’t make what your time is worth, then you are better off to give the product away as a bonus with a more expensive product! Don’t waste time on unproductive efforts!
On the other hand, if you think that spending 4 hours on a site that might make $30 a month on autopilot…indefinitely… is unproductive…. think again! If that site stays out there on its own and can generate $30 a month for the next 15 years or more…. that’s a minimum of $5400 that you will have made for that 4 hours of work that you did ONE time!
THAT is what I mean when I say you need to get your head on straight and think like a marketer! Now… if you could build two sites like that a day, how long would it take you to reach your immediate income goals, and never have to work again? And how much income will you have made for that effort over the next 15 years? Think about it! YOU do the math!
This is a form of what Einstein called the “most powerful force on earth”… the power of compound interest. This is the power to do 4 hours worth of work to generate the same income that would take an average worker 180 hours to earn at $30 an hour! That’s leveraging your income by over 45 times!  But yet 95% of people will never understand that and never do what is necessary to get there!
It is a statistical fact that only about 2% of first-time visitors will buy from you. Like real life, they may want to get to know you better, so they can feel assured that you are who you say you are and that they aren’t going to get ripped off.
Regular readers on blogs feel like they know the site owner after they have followed his writings for awhile. They learn to trust him, and in turn the sales conversions go up! Referrals from blogs to regular readers often result in 7% or higher conversions. If the blog also has a subscription to new post notifications going out, so that the reader has agreed to being sent special offers by email, those offers, many times, result in as much as a 40% increase in sales volume! Now you know why most web sites want you to opt-in for special offers! They want to stay in touch with you, just like any other friend would want to stay in touch with you. And regular contact with those visitors, either through email or blog posts will keep you in their minds and they will learn to trust you, and buy from you!
This is how a marketer MUST think if he expects to be successful. Online sales isn’t about sending out a bunch of spam to anybody and everybody and pestering them like some bad used car saleman, only to get a paltry 1/10th of one percent conversions! It’s about using the right keywords to attract people to your site that already have an interest in what you are offering… first in information… and later in products you recommend to them. That’s how long term sales relationships are built, and why you have to get your heads on straight if you expect to be successful at it.
There’s no sense in pestering people that have no interest in what you are offering. You don’t have time to worry about them and neither should any other salesman!  You need to find out…
(1) what it is that people are searching for in huge numbers and not finding answers for,
(2) find or create a product to fill that need,
(3) and then learn how to put it in front of as many of them as you can at the least cost!
If you can do that, you won’t have to “sell” to them… the majority will automatically buy what you offer them!

Summary and expectations

Now you have everything that you need to “start” making money with a site or blog, so there is no excuse not to go sign up for Skimlinks, get approval (may take 24 hours), and then put that little line of code into a widget or sidebar of your site (or let WordPress do it for you) and start making money within 24 hours of setting it up! Every page or post of your site should become a salesman that sells for you 24/7, whether you do anything further or not!
But we have only scratched the surface as far as all the different methods and how to promote the site or blog. What we have done so far is only generic SEO (search engine optimization). There is still a lot to learn about “off site” promoting, through social channels, and video! What you are going to make in the next month off your sites will be only a drop in the bucket compared to what you will make once we really get serious about implementing all the other strategies!
We will try to present things with a good balance of both monetization as well as promotion, so that you can begin to make money as you go, using mostly free products. Don’t expect overnight miracles. It will start slow, and keep building, but that’s the way it should be. If anyone tells you in this business that you can make a bundle overnight with no work, you need to run like Hell, because the times that it actually happens are few and far between, and often times are built on “flash-in-the-pan” methods or products that have a short life.
My method is to show you how to build your business with products with long life spans that will remain as viable AND valuable five years or more down the road as they are today. That cuts back on “site maintenance” so that you can enjoy more time to do the things you really want to do.
As we progress into more depth within these posts regarding other products and promotional methods, your sales volume will increase as you learn new techniques and make your site more visible to the public. You need to start NOW, so that you will have the income when you need it. If you wait until you “really” need it before you start, it will be a long time coming!
Until then, go start making some money with what I have already shown you!  And if you run into problems, let me know in the comments so that I can help you! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your business be! There’s a lot of growth ahead, so stick with it, be patient, and it will come!