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How I Made $860,538.38 PROFIT in 4 Months!

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First off, I would like to make it clear that this post is NOT to impress you, but to impress upon you what’s possible! This is a quick review on how I went from one of my worst years of making money online to my best year, and all it took was one big idea, one web site and several hundred hours of effort along with many sleepless nights. This is “How I Made $860,538.38 Profit in 4 Months!“.

MARKETING EXPERIENCE & RIDING THE WAVES:
Time and time again, I talk about how you must change your marketing niche every once in a while to continuously make new money online. Over the years I have done everything from content web sites, to sweepstakes and freebie type sites, to running my own affiliate programs and even permission based email marketing. In early 2004 I had one of my best years with making money online, then later on in the year things started to slack off and this continued on through most of 2005. At the time I wasn’t making much money and it was quite depressing. It’s very tough to get back into the groove when you hit a few underachieving projects in a row. In short, I was in a dip… and at the bottom of my latest successful wave. It wasn’t until October 2005 that I came up with my next big idea that would soon bring me my best months and year!

FIND A NEW IDEA & TAKE CONTROL OF IT!
Social networking was just starting to catch fire and for months I knew there was a way to profit from it, but I just hadn’t come up with an idea yet. MySpace had millions of users on their network 24 hours a day, there had to be a way to take advantage of this. Soon enough I realized, instead of trying to sell to all of these users, why not offer them something for free. I ran through some ideas and came up with my own site to provide free content for social network users. To make a long story short, my site and my content went viral extremely fast. Instead of having users upload their own content or have to search around for what they were looking for, I provided everything for free. In no time I was receiving thousands of users to my site daily. At max points I was pushing up to 180,000+ unique visitors per day, while pushing TERABYTES of data bandwidth. Imagine hosting thousands of images, viewed by millions across several different social networks!

MANAGEMENT OF MASSIVE GROWTH:
Just two months after going live with my new site, I was starting to accumulate some amazing hosting costs. Imagine the cost on hosting thousands of widgets, text applications and images, which are loaded millions of times a day across social networks like MySpace! The only reason why I was able to afford these insane hosting costs, was because of the massive volume of users I was receiving back to my site, not only through social networks, but also from Google and other search engines. You only need a small percentage of a very big number to click on ads, fill out surveys or take any action, to make money. In two short months I went from having a single dedicated server to having over TEN, then with the insane bandwidth costs added in I was paying up to $12,000 a month. At this time I was currently with EV1Servers.net, and leasing all of my servers. Since I’m not a tech/programmer type guy, I also had a server management team watching my servers constantly to make sure they were always running, just being down for a few minutes would have lost $100s of dollars. This server management team was not part of EV1Servers, and cost $1000 a month to manage all of the servers, and keep the servers balancers in place. By the end of the third month, I talked with my server management team and we decided it was time to for me to invest in my own servers and take out the middleman for hosting. I went on to order 17 servers from Dell, which are all held and managed in a data center now.

MONETIZATION IS KEY:
On average, my site was receiving around 100,000 unique visitors per day, and I was generating most of my ad revenue through Yahoo Publisher Network, ValueClick Media and CasaleMedia. It wasn’t until a year later that I would start testing CPA offers on the site. To my surprise, the CPA offers from networks like NeverBlueAds worked extremely well. Originally I had stayed away from promoting a few of their offers because I thought they were over saturated and wouldn’t convert. I finally took their advice and listed a few on the site and to this day they are still pushing some great earnings through the site.

TO EXPAND, SELL OR STAY THE SAME:
Back in April, I wrote a post asking the question… “To Sell, or Not to Sell?“… This was a question I had to ask myself when I was approached by a company that wanted to merge/purchase my MySpace resource site. I not only turned down their seven-figure deal, but I was lucky enough to not be one of the many sites screwed by the company, as they tried buying many other sites as well. Once acquired by the company, they would wreck the site with adult-like video content and I heard from several people on how they got screwed out of their owed money and contracts.

SUCCESS IS FOUND:
Two years, and over seven-figures later… my little site idea that rapidly became one of my most profitable ideas yet, is still running strong. Despite the fact that I really haven’t touched the site in several months, it’s still receiving over 25,000 uniques per day and still making a decent amount of change.

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EARNINGS DETAILS:
As I mentioned earlier, three of the main initial revenue sources I monetized my site with were ValueClick Media, CasaleMedia and Yahoo Publisher Network. While I did use other programs such as NeverBlueAds and Google Adsense later on, these three programs were heavily used during months of peak traffic. As for promotion costs of the site, during this three month period, there were none. No PPC Advertising either, everything was viral traffic and a couple links off my other sites. This write up focused on how I made $860,538.38 PROFIT in 4 months. The site is now well over two years old and has since earned over seven figures in profit/earnings.

ValueClick Media is a company that buys your web site advertising space on a CPM basis. From my stats chart below, you can see the monthly increase in revenue went from $243.63 to nearly $30,000 a month.

CasaleMedia provides the same type of service as ValueClick Media, but are more strict with acceptance into their program. They also have higher CPM rates, but usually purchase a smaller percentage of your ad space. Peak earnings with CasaleMedia were around $7,000 a month.

One of the major reasons for my dramatic increase in income, was due to the release of the Yahoo Publisher Network. This program, run by Yahoo, is basically their response to Google Adsense. Like Adsense, you are paid an unknown percentage for each click you send to the contextual advertisements displayed on your site.

It wasn’t til about a year after launching the site, that I would start testing with CPA offers from NeverBlue. To my surprise, the majority of offers I listed on the site performed extremely well. Even though I thought the market was over saturated on these offers, there was still a high demand. With the new revenue generated from NeverBlue, the site was able to pull in another $60,000+.

For any of the doubters, or photoshop addicts… Just to prove my legitimacy, take a look at the video below!

 

 

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5 Different Scenarios Where Discussing Money Is Taboo

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Being an affiliate marketer or an entrepreneur, and working in the internet marketing industry is completely different from any other business or job in the world today. Head to any major affiliate marketing or business event, and everyone is talking about how much money they made from their recent ad campaigns, promotions, mailings, and product launches. In fact, not only are people talking about how much money they’ve made, they are also helping others to make more in the process.

Jump outside of this industry, and you will find a completely different world, where the concept of talking about money or how much you make, is completely taboo!

To further stress this point, most companies consider discussing salaries among co-workers an offense for which one can be fired. Remarkably, this mindset permeates society at large. In fact, a University College London study found people were more comfortable discussing romantic or intimate matters with a stranger than to discuss financial matters.

All of which leads one to wonder, why is discussing money taboo? To answer this question and concept, let’s take a look at some of the most popular places where the discussion of money and self-made profits usually isn’t an acceptable talking point.

At Work

Employers frown upon co-workers having salary discussions because it will ultimately cost the company more. If you find out the person at the desk next to yours, who has the exact same credentials and experience as you make more money, you’re going to seek parity. And well you should. Keeping everyone in the dark about pay means employers can choose to reward individuals as they see fit—rather than base it entirely upon merit.

In Social Situations

Money is a way to “keep score” for a lot of people. They use it to measure their relative success against others. In a consumption-driven society like ours, people tend to pass judgment on others based on where they live, the car they drive and how they dress. People with money problems are (regrettably) considered unsuccessful. Meanwhile, people who aren’t doing well console themselves by believing people must be greedy to be rich. If money were discussed openly, this would only exacerbate the phenomena. Therefore, in an effort to avoid such uncomfortable conversations, people tend to avoid talking about finances altogether.

In Personal Relationships

One of the leading causes of divorce is varying expectations surrounding money. By and large, children learn to deal with money from their parents. If one partner comes from a family prone to frugality and the other comes from a household given to indulgence, the resulting disconnect can be quite jarring. Arguments surrounding fears for the future lead to strong disagreements as well as loss of intimacy. The earlier a couple discusses finances and finds a space within the topic where they can co-exist, the sooner they can get on the path to building a solid financial future together.

Fear of the Unknown

Out of sight is out of mind for many people. They believe if they never talk about money, they can live blissfully unaware. However, this attitude can create money problems. If you give your finances no thought, spend freely and worse, resort to credit to acquire the trappings of success, you could find your income incapable of supporting your desired lifestyle. You could also inadvertently pass these habits along to your children, dooming them to the same fate.

It’s OK to Consult Professionals

As difficult as it might seem at first, especially if you’re in a situation in which money problems have escalated into missed payments and collections calls, working with a financial professional can be of great benefit. On the other hand, even if things are flowing well, you could benefit from the services of a financial planner who can help you ensure the security of your future.

If you’re having problems meeting your obligations, then one might find comfort in talking with a professional financial and loan company for guidance. A perfect example of this can be seen at Freedom Debt Relief reviews where they provide a list of financial solutions that openly discuss the topics of interest rates, terms, loan amounts, and much more.

Silence Isn’t Golden

Ultimately, keeping quiet about money does you more harm than good. Talk to your spouse, teach your children, and try to learn from your friends. There really is no good reason why discussing money should continue to be taboo.

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Affiliate Marketing

PayKickStart Shopping Cart Checklist: Can Your Online Shopping Cart Do This?

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On the surface, selling something online — whether it’s digital or physical — seems like a reasonably straightforward affair. The customer arrives at the website, adds an item or two to his or her virtual shopping cart, and proceeds with the checkout process by entering his or her payment information. The order is received by the merchant, the product is delivered, and everyone is a happy camper, right?

While robust and reliable basics are an absolute necessity, they are ultimately insufficient if you want your online business to thrive. You want to offer the best possible customer experience, but you also don’t want to leave any money on the table. It is in your best interest to consider the most valuable features that online shopping cart solutions should have.

This is exactly what you will find with the all-new PayKickStart shopping cart solution.

However, to simply call PayKickStart a ‘shopping cart’ solution would be a big mistake. There are actually many more features and built-in benefits than you could ever imagine. Aligning with the title of this article “Can your shopping cart do this?”, we are going to walk through a list of ultimate features and tools that every shopping cart should have. If your online marketing and business isn’t currently using these features below, it’s time for you to take the leap over to PayKickStart.

One-Time and Subscription Payments

This will depend on the type of product or service that you are selling, but it’s critically important that your shopping cart software can support both types of payments. Recurring payments can be a tremendous source of revenue for your company, especially since there are no additional costs involved in customer acquisition. This steady cash flow can be much more predictable and consistent too, which puts you in a better position if you are seeking investors.

Subscription Saver

Encouraging your customers to sign up for a subscription is a good thing, because it means the payments will be processed automatically at set intervals, whether that’s monthly, annually, or over any other period. As convenient as this may be, customer billing details can become invalid over time, like if their credit card expires or they move to a different address. Did you know that about 30 percent of rebills fail?

Prevent this from becoming a problem in the first place. An automated email sequence can ensure that all customers keep their billing information up to date, so every payment goes through as it should.

Free and Paid Trials

Particularly for businesses that operate on the SaaS model with monthly subscriptions, offering a free trial especially can be one of the most effective tactics for getting your “foot in the door.” Many customers are hesitant to commit to a one-year subscription or even pay for a month-to-month service until they know what they are getting. A free trial, either with or without full functionality, lets you acquire that key customer information and switching them over to the paid subscription is a piece of cake.

Pre-Filled Checkout Page

The fewer “friction points” you can have during a transaction, the more likely a customer is going to complete that transaction. This is even true with repeat customers. Arguably, it’s especially true with repeat customers. Have you ever noticed how easy it is to complete a transaction on Amazon, for instance? They already have your shipping and payment information, so you never need to enter it again. The easier the process, the better.

Payment Plans

There is a reason why the “five easy payments of” type business model has existed for so long and across so many industries. Some customers simply cannot afford the up-front cost of higher-priced items and, even among those who can, they might not want to have a single outlay of cash quite that substantial. if your shopping cart offers the option of alternative pricing options, you have a much better shot at appealing to more potential customers.

Address Auto-Complete

Much like having a pre-filled checkout page, you always create a better customer experience when the process is as fast and simple as possible. A great feature that you’ll find with PayKickStart is auto-complete for addresses. Customers simply start typing in their address and the form is able to predict and auto-fill the rest of it. This also ensures that the address format is consistent across all orders.

Upgrade and Downgrade

The situation for a customer when they first decided to subscribe to your SaaS may not be the same situation for the customer a few weeks, months, or years down the road. In an ideal world, customer needs increase and they’ll want to have a plan that scales alongside their requirements. Instead of requiring a customer to go through the whole order process again, it is paramount that the upgrade process is far simpler and more seamless. Again, the fewer friction points, the better.

Likewise, it is far more desirable if a customer chooses to downgrade his or her services than it is for them to leave you altogether. Again, the downgrading process should be easy and frictionless too.

Exit-Intent

In the business of the Internet, there’s something called a bounce rate. In the context of e-commerce, one of the biggest challenges is overcoming the abandoned shopping cart. The customer has nearly gone through the whole transaction, only to leave the site for some inexplicable reason. This can account for up to 25% of potential customers! By using a simple popup, you get one more chance at closing the sale.

Pending Order Follow-up

Perhaps that exit-intent popup wasn’t enough to convince the customer to complete the transaction. Maybe he or she had every intention of completing the sale, but had to leave the computer for whatever reason. This does not have to result in a lost sale! If you’ve got their email address, you can send out a “pending order” email as a follow-up reminder. Having such a feature integrated into your shopping cart can recapture those potential sales!

Checkout Page Library

Not everyone is a web designer or web developer. Most people aren’t. That doesn’t mean you can’t have an amazing checkout page that is proven to work! When selecting e-commerce software for your site, it’s incredibly useful to have access to a library of pre-designed checkout pages and pop-up widget templates that are ready to go right out of the box.

Translation and Currencies

You might assume that your primary demographic is located in a specific geographic region, spending a certain currency and defaulting to English. And that may be true, but it really doesn’t take much to open up to different languages, currencies and regions when you have an e-commerce tool that automatically supports such variations with no extra effort on your part. Again, it’s about minimizing friction and making sure you don’t lose any sales over small details.

Sales and VAT Tax

Whether you deal mostly domestically in the United States or you sell to international customers, keeping up to date with sales and VAT compliance laws can feel like a challenge. This is especially true when taxes can vary from state to state, region to region. It’s far more convenient when your online shopping cart updates all of this information automatically.

1-Click Upsells and Order Bumps

Don’t leave any money on the table! Did you know that having 1-click upsells as part of your natural transaction process can boost conversions by as much as 40 percent? Suggesting additional products to buy at checkout can double your sales! If a customer is already interested in product A, they’d be a natural fit for product B (even if they didn’t know they were). You just have to nudge them along and make it as easy as possible.

Want to convert those fence-sitters into actual buyers? The option to create coupons within your landing page and order form pages exist as well. Sometimes all they need is a time-sensitive coupon that increases the level of urgency. No one wants to miss out on a good deal, so having this kind of functionality built into your e-commerce solution can increase sales significantly.

Integrations

Do you already use various third-party applications like email autoresponders, webinar platforms or fulfillment services? It’s important that all of these tools are able to work with one another in a seamless and easy-to-manage way, so you don’t waste your time with logistics and administration, manually updating data across platforms. They should all just work together.

With so many of us already using different membership platforms and online payment gateways, it’s important to always use a new solution that is easy to integrate within these other platforms as well. As you can see through the screenshot below, PayKickStart easily integrates with the likes of Paypal, Stripe, Ontraport, Kajabi, Aweber, Teachable and many other CMS and payment solutions.

Best of all, through the use of tools like Zapier, many of these integrations can be accomplished with just a few clicks of a button!

Affiliate Features and Tools

One of the fastest, most powerful, and most cost-effective ways to grow your online business is by offering an affiliate marketing program. And one of the great strengths of a solution like PayKickStart — you can help promote it with 50% commissions on the first year and 40% recurring commissions for life — is the amazing wealth of tools it offers to empower such a relationship.

The ability to track and pay commissions is built right into the system, including the ability to deliver instant, delayed and lifetime commissions. This kind of flexibility, combined with an easy way to share marketing materials with affiliates, empowers you with the ability to grow your customer base in a sustainable and profitable manner.

How to Get Started with PayKickStart

As you can see, there are plenty of amazing features and benefits of using a solution like PayKickStart to expand your business into a whole new area. To help better understand this process and start implementing these methods into your own business, I highly recommend you take a moment to attend the next upcoming webinar from Mark Thompson and how to take advantage of everything PayKickStart has to offer. Best of all, it’s free to attend!

There’s more to a shopping cart than just putting through a simple order. It’s about extracting as much value as possible while offering the best customer experience. You just need to have the right tool for the job.

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Affiliate Marketing

How to Make Money Promoting Survey and Quiz Affiliate Offers

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Remember the days of email and zip poll/survey offers being all over the place, and how they would pay out $1-$2 per lead? Back before GDPR and data regulations were in place, these offers were everywhere you looked. They still are today, but just not as popular as they once were. While these offers aren’t getting the same attention and promotion as they used to, personal data is big money and these same types of offers are still generating millions of dollars daily.

In addition to the “Complete this survey to get a free _____” offers that you’ve seen all over the place, the survey niche is still stronger than ever before. However, it’s not so much the smaller zip and email submit offers that are getting so much attention, but actually the data companies behind them. You’ve likely seen these names and brands before — InboxDollars, Pinecone Research, Vindale Research, and Survey Junkie are some of the more popular ones.

WAHadventures.com highlights many of these surveys on their site and say it possible to make over $250 per month by using survey and incentive networks like Survey Junkie, SwagBucks, MySurvey, InboxDollars and PanelPayDay in your spare time. If you are already making good money online, this might seem like nothing to you — but the average person, getting paid $250+ to take online surveys is like a dream come true! With this same concept in mind, this is why email and zip submit offers do so well. People want free stuff!

Even more, when you start to add a viral or personal interest factor into the mix, that’s when you will really start to see some great results. Just take a look at BuzzFeed quizzes and how they are still one of the most popular sections on their site. People love taking surveys, seeing results, and when you throw an incentive, prize, or money into the mix… big things happen!

The Business of Online Paid Surveys and Giving Stuff Away for Free

On the business side, these offers still do well because customer data is worth a ton of money. Most of the data from these survey sites are sold for huge multiples over what they are actually paying for people to complete a survey. They are also making a huge profit because a large number of survey takers will simply never get to the point where they can cash out (hitting the usual minimum $25-$50 thresholds), which ultimately just keeps that money sitting within the data company.

With all of that being said, millions of dollars are being spent daily from these ‘get paid to complete survey’ companies in advertising, content creation, paid search, and of course, affiliate marketing. To make the most out of all of this money up for grabs, be sure to follow some of the recommended steps below.

How to Promote and Make Money with Online Surveys

Now that we have an idea on the offers available, you will need to focus on how to drive traffic and convert these surveys to audiences that actually convert into leads. One of the best ways to bring in low-cost traffic and convert them into leads is through a survey/poll site or creating an ad campaign with an attractive call to action. Using surveys to generate leads is nothing new, but I will break down the process for you and show you how easy and effective it is.

PRO TIP: Before moving forward, you must check the affiliate promotion guidelines for any specific offer you promote. For example, many zip/email submit offers will allow you to create a custom landing pages, but other high-end survey offers might only allow for text or banner ad placement. Either way, just make sure you are promoting the offer in the required method so you don’t get all of your leads reversed.

Step 1: Find something that everyone is talking about!

If you want to get cheap clicks and grab the attention of audiences around the world, you need to find what everyone is talking about today. For example, “Donald Trump” is likely to be a hot topic for several years now, while “Lebron James” going the Los Angeles Lakers is bound to be a hot trend throughout the next NBA season. This also works well for any highly searched celebrities as well, or anyone is currently trending in the news. The good thing about both of these examples is that it would be quite easy to target these audiences through Facebook Ads, Media Buying, and Social Media.

Still can’t figure out what a good topic is to base your survey or ad campaign around? See what’s currently trending on Google Trends, Twitter, and Facebook.

Just for example sake, let’s take two celebrities (Jennifer Lopez and Jessica Alba) and plug their names into Google Trends. We can immediately see that there is a steady flow of searches being made for both and that they continually have a solid following online. Let’s move forward with that.

 

Step 2: Create a survey/poll landing page.

Using the topics above, I created a simple landing page that can be used for media buying (or banners if you were to resize it). This literally took two minutes to create within Canva. All you need to do is add some fancy images, create a title and make it look like an interactive survey.

There is really nothing that special about this landing page/media buying copy. Make sure you have a clean design and to the point. I also enticed the visitor to place a vote, by adding “BONUS: Vote Now & Qualify to Receive a Free Gift Card!“. (This can vary depending on your backend offer) All you want the end user to do is click on the image, button, or text you might have in place here.

Again, this is very simple, and depending on the time and effort you put into this, you can make it more advanced or even collect user data for yourself or a newsletter.

Step 3: Finding your backend offer

The next step in the process is to find an affiliate offer that you want to promote. Ideally, this should be a simple email, zip, or one-click submit type of offer. Once you have an audience click on your initial survey/vote offer, you can then pass them along to the affiliate survey offer to complete. You can either setup your own landing page and pass the user onto a confirmation page with stats, or pass them directly to the offer. Make sure you check on marketing options available for the campaign before promoting.

Leadbit currently has this offer active for audiences in the UK and is paying out .70 per lead. The offer can be promoted through mobile, display, emails, search and pop — which allows for a nice range of data, traffic, and split testing purposes.

Step 4: Promotions and getting traffic

Now that you have created your landing page or media buying ad copy, you are ready to go. The best way to generate targeted low-cost traffic would be Media Buying (popunders) and possibly Facebook Ads and using Facebook Fan Pages or Groups (direct relationship or ownership of a group). You could also start targeting news/celebrity sites/blogs through the use of Google Adwords (context display network), native advertising, and popunders ads.

To start playing around with demographic targeting and see how much of a demand there is for a topic, you can use Facebook Ads campaign tool (shown below), or play around with search reports on a tool like SEMRush — which currently shows ‘jessica alba’ at 368,000 searches per month, and  ‘jennifer lopez’ with 823,000.

Step 5: Tweaking and watching your numbers

The last step of making money with surveys/polls and news is to continually tweak your landing pages and ad copy to try and get the best conversions. Don’t put all of your traffic to one offer, the reason I went with celebrities, is that there is pretty much an endless supply of traffic related to them out there. See what works best with your traffic, and then expand out into different countries when you start finding success.

This concept is not just limited to celebrity campaigns, however with all of the attention towards the latest hot movies, celebrities attaching the President, and everything else going on… it’s a good market that hasn’t died down and likely won’t.

It all starts with a click…

A few things to point out here…

  • This concept is nothing new, but it should act as a reminder of how to reach new markets
  • Customization and creating unique landing pages and ad copy is key here
  • You also need to split test the end affiliate offer, as this will sway heavily

If you haven’t done anything with affiliate marketing or CPA zip/email submit offers, it’s one of the best ways to get started — as the conversions are usually very high, and the payouts are low. Which means you can start split testing campaigns fast and know right away if you are going to soon find financial success.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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