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Why no one cares that you want to become their affiliate

February 23rd, 2018 by Bob Bly

Has this ever happened to you?

You are starting or have already started an internet marketing
business.

And you have begun asking some of the other marketers in your
space for information on how you can become an affiliate — so you
can sell their products, for a commission, to your list.

Much to your dismay, the bigger marketers … the ones whose
products you’d really love to sell … have little or no interest
in your offer — and many don’t even get back to you.

With a start, you realize that they don’t really give a fig
whether you become their affiliate or not!

So are they stupid? Well, yes and no.

Yes in the sense that it is just bad business and rude to ignore
people or be nonresponsive to them, regardless of who you are and
who they are.

But no, in the sense that these big marketers have correctly
surmised that the value to them of you promoting their products
is likely going to be zero … or close to it.

The reason is the “99/1 rule” of affiliate marketing.

The 99/1 rule says that 99% of your affiliates aren’t going to
sell hardly any product for you.

And conversely, the top 1% of your affiliates — known as “super
affiliates” — will account for 99% of all your affiliate sales
revenues.

It may seem odd. But it’s virtually always true. And here’s why….

There are countless well-meaning, ambitious internet marketing
newbies — and maybe you are one of them — who figure a good way
to get started is to sell other people’s products.

Unfortunately, because most of these newbies have no list or
traffic to speak of, they also have no means of generating a
significant volume of orders for any products, let whether theirs
or anyone else’s.

On the other hand, there are the “big dogs” — the known major
players in their respective niches and markets.

They make millions in sales … have huge lists … and get massive
web traffic.

So if you can convince these top dogs to become an affiliate of
yours, you stand to generate a lot of new sales, orders, and
customers from their efforts.

The problem is that, because these super affiliates are such
desirable joint venture partners, they are inundated with offers
— and very picky about whom they work with.

Just getting their attention and on their radar is a major
challenge.

So, the problem becomes: how can you recruit some of the big
super affiliate players and get them to offer YOUR products to
their huge and highly profitable lists … when they won’t even
respond to you?

That’s a question we’ll take up in my next article. Stay tuned.

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 17 Comments »

How I differ from my fellow info marketers

February 20th, 2018 by Bob Bly

PL writes:

“Bob, I am an internet marketing newbie.

“I am not on your list. But a friend forwarded me one of your
emails and suggested I might want to follow you.

“But there are already so many people out there teaching ‘how to
make money on the internet’ today — and some of them seem to be
making piles more money than you are.

“So why on Earth would I want to add your name to the list of
marketing teachers I follow, Bob?”

To begin with, PL — perhaps you should not.

No skin off my nose whether you do or you don’t. Either way works
for me.

But your question is not the first time I’ve been asked, “What
makes you better than other marketing teachers offering products
and courses?”

Well, truth be told, I don’t ever say I’m better.

But I can tell you the 6 things that I do feel may make me a bit
different than the others:

>> First, while I’m by far not the highest paid information
marketer online today — I do believe I am one of the highest paid
when calculated on a per hour basis.

That’s because my little info marketing empire makes me a mostly
passive six-figure annual income.

And I “work” in my internet marketing business just a few hours a
week to achieve it.

So who makes more money an hour?

Mr. X, pulling down a million dollars gross online a year, but
putting in grueling 60-hour weeks with his team every week of the
year to orchestrate his major product launches?

Or me, who produces low to mid-six-figures working literally less
than 2 hours a week selling digital info products delivered
automatically to customers by auto-responder?

>> Second, others teach a time-intensive approach to online
marketing that is pretty difficult to pull off if you are holding
a 9 to 5 job or have another career.

By comparison, I teach info marketing as a spare-time home
business — a second source of income to supplement your salary
while you keep your day job, if you so desire, as I do.

In my case, that “day job” is being a full-time freelance
copywriter, writing copy for clients.

>> Third, let’s say you want to quit working.

With my method, which I have nicknamed “The Internet Marketing
Retirement Plan,” you earn a “full-time” income with extremely
minimal part-time effort.

So in effect, you live as if you are retired, only with an online
passive income equal to a huge annuity or generous corporate
pension.

>> Fourth, a lot of people selling “how to make money on the
internet” have in reality only sold one thing in their life —
their course on “how to make money on the internet.”

Just as back in the day, there were some guys running mail order
ads selling books on how to get rich.

And when you got the book, it told you the way to get rich was
running ads selling mail order books.

In sharp contrast, I have had success selling the widest range of
products and services imaginable — everything from a $1 pocket
football season schedule to a $32 million corporate jet.

>> Fifth, all info marketers are teachers of a sort, yet most I
know have never actually worked as a teacher.

As for me, I have been doing corporate training classes for
decades … and I was an adjunct professor years ago at New York
University.

So I know my way around a classroom better than some.

>> Sixth, every teacher of info marketing has their strengths and
weaknesses.

Others are much more savvy in many areas than I am — most notably
in technical aspects of internet marketing, social media, and
online media buying … though I have experts at my beck and call
in these and any other areas where I am not stellar.

But, because of my nearly 4 decades as a freelance copywriter, I
am, among the sell “information” online crowd, on the strong end of
the spectrum as far as copywriting goes.

Also, because I have written more than 95 paperbound books for
mainstream publishing houses, my content writing skills are also
quite respectable.

So if you are particularly keen on improving your info marketing
sales with killer copy …

… and boosting repeat orders by offering A-level content …
perhaps I’m your guy.

On the other hand, if you want to get rich with a Facebook group
or a zillion Twitter followers, I may not be.

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Category: Online Marketing | 37 Comments »

Is content marketing overhyped?

February 9th, 2018 by Bob Bly

A week or so ago, I received via email a link to an article
titled — “How to Stop Acting Like a Marketer and Start Thinking
Like a Publisher.”

And the misguided ideal it promotes — that we are all publishers,
not marketers — is a sure road to ruin.

The problem with this attitude … that we are educators, not
sellers … is it fools too many unsuspecting content marketers
into believing we are in the business of creating and giving away
free information.

But we are not. No, the business we are really in is that of
marketing and selling our products for a profit — ideally,
products that can help our customers solve their problems and
give them better value than anything else out there.

To that end, content marketing (publishing) — is merely one of
multiple channels we use to promote our business.

But it is not THE business we are in. It is simply a way of
generating leads and sales. The thinking implied in this article
title is fallacious and potentially wasteful and costly.

For instance, if you manufacture valves, pumps, and mixers, you
are in the chemical process equipment business.

You may publish a variety of materials about these products and
their features, design, and application — everything from data
sheets and videos, to technical articles and white papers, to
case studies and installation manuals.

So yes, you are publishing useful content.

But, you are not IN the publishing business. You publish these
materials only to support the real business you are in: the
process equipment business.

If you believe otherwise … that your business is publishing or
brand journalism … you are fooling yourself.

Worse, you may be turning out a ton of publications that, while
interesting and educational, are not supporting the marketing and
selling of your products — and are therefore largely a waste of
time, money, and effort. In other words, content pollution.

Action step: create a marketing plan, and integrate content in
support of the sales funnels, calls to action, marketing
objectives, and the information needs of buyers — overcoming
objections while convincing them that your technology is the best
solution for their problems.

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 22 Comments »

Writing: the #1 barrier to digital marketing

February 2nd, 2018 by Bob Bly

Digital marketing has an insatiable thirst for good content and
copy to fuel it and produce results.

And therein lies a problem: companies that lack writing resources
neglect certain digital channels — because they do not have the
time, talent, nor temperament to write the copy these marketing
tactics require.

In my experience, the marketing-related writing tasks that are
most problematic are blogs, e-newsletters, email marketing, and
lead magnets.

>> Blog posts … writing one or two 500 to 1,000-word blog posts
daily is difficult, especially in a corporate environment where
everything published has to go through a review committee.

>> E-newsletters … experienced online marketers know the
importance of having an e-newsletter and building its subscriber
list. But the #1 complaint of marketers I advise in this area is,
“We don’t have the time to write an e-zine or the budget to hire
someone to do so!”

>> Email marketing … not a problem if you send one email blast to
your list a month, but it suddenly becomes a huge burden if you
want to send 2 to 3 email messages a week.

>> Lead magnets … the marketer creates a squeeze or sales page.
They then realize they want to offer a free bonus report. But
they don’t have one. The deadline is around the corner and the
budget has been spent. So they skip the report — and response
suffers because of it.

So how do you get around your resource limitations and get these
things written with sufficient quality and quick turnaround without
breaking your marketing budget?

Here are a few suggestions:

1–Recruit in-house wordsmiths.

At most organizations there are usually some people who, while
not professional writers, are decent “wordsmiths” — as we used to
call them at Westinghouse back in the day.

2–Repurpose and recycle your content.

Don’t reinvent the wheel with every new piece of copy and content
you write.

A blog post can be reworked into an article for your online
newsletter. A series of articles from your e-newsletter can be
compiled and edited into a special report or white paper.

3–Use other people’s content.

You probably already get a ton of material on your topic —
e-newsletters, webinars, trade magazines, and other sources.

As you read them, you can extract and reprint this information,
rephrased in your own words, in your e-newsletter and other
digital marketing. Just be sure to credit the source.

4–Set a schedule to publish regularly.

If you decide to blog or write e-newsletter issues sporadically,
then you have no commitment to get the material done by a
specific date — and therefore the writing is in danger of being
continually put off as more pressing tasks come up.

On the other hand, when people sign up for and you promise them a
weekly e-newsletter, you have an obligation to deliver — and you
somehow get it done.

5–Carry a smart phone, digital recorder, or pen and note pad.

Copy and content ideas will pop into your head when you least
expect them to.

Write them down. Capture ideas immediately. If you don’t, by the
time you get to your desk, you will have forgotten that great
idea or content tidbit you wanted to use in your next blog post
or podcast.

By the way, the problem companies have with getting blog posts,
online newsletters, email blasts, and lead magnets written seems
not to apply to bigger writing projects — including websites,
landing pages, and video sales letters.

That’s because these can usually be planned, and that plan
includes a production schedule the team agrees on and finds
reasonable — or at least possible.

Also because these projects are perhaps bigger, more critical,
and less frequent than the blogging or online newsletters,
marketers are comfortable devoting more time and effort to their
creation.

So they can afford and are willing to pay qualified professionals
higher fees to write these bigger pieces.

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Category: General, Online Marketing, Writing, Writing and the Internet | 249 Comments »

9 reasons to market yourself by writing articles

January 12th, 2018 by Bob Bly

Subscriber DK writes:

“How much stock, if any, do you put in the strategy of putting
articles on-line (or elsewhere) for free?”

Answer: a lot.

I wrote my first article for one of the marketing trade
publications when I launched my freelance copywriting business in
1982.

And I’ve been writing articles to promote my copywriting
business, info products, and books continually since then right
up to this day — and I still do it.

Why?

Here are 9 specific ways you can profit by writing and placing
articles for free online and offline:

1–Builds your reputation as an expert in your field.

Writing how-to articles about your area of expertise helps
position you as a leading authority in your subject matter.

2–Makes great sales literature.

Whether in print or PDF, reprints of your published articles make
great sales literature.

I always recommend having one of your articles as part of the
standard information kit on your services or products.

Also, a PDF with 3 to 5 articles can be an effective lead magnet.

3–Pumps up your online bio.

If you have written for major consumer or industry print
magazines, or even top e-newsletters, say so in your bio.

It impresses prospects when you tell them you have been published
in the Harvard Business Review or even Hydrocarbon Processing
magazine.

4–Drives traffic to your site.

Editors typically include a URL or hyperlink to your website in
the short “about the author” paragraph that runs with your
article.

In this regard, publishing in online media can often out-perform
print, because online has a live hyperlink vs. print only offers
a URL that must be manually keyed into a browser.

5–Gets you free advertising (sometimes).

When a print or online publication doesn’t pay for articles, they
may be willing to give you something else instead — such as a
free ad in their magazine or e-newsletter, or a free banner on
their website.

Not all will. Others might agree to it, but only with authors who
specifically ask.

6–Raises your website’s search engine ranking.

Posting a lot of keyword-rich articles and other content on your
website can raise your ranking with Google and other search
engines.

7–Improves your workshops, seminars, and speeches.

Reprints of published articles with your byline make great
handouts at events where you are a speaker.

8–Broadens your knowledge.

Writing articles educates you as much as your readers.

It forces you to organize your thinking, dig deeper into your
topic, and gain a better understanding of your subject and your
audience.

9–Builds your content library.

The articles you have written for publication and now store on
your hard drive are your content “goldmine.”

You can and should continually recycle your articles. No need to
reinvent the wheel every time you write about your topic.

The key to getting maximum ROI from your content is to retain all
rights to everything you write.

Type “first rights only” in the upper left corner on page one of
every article you submit to any outlet. This way you remain in
control of the rights.

If you sign the rights away, you can’t recycle your material for
multiple uses — which dramatically lowers the ROI from your
article writing.

 

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 41 Comments »

Upsell yourself to bigger profits

January 2nd, 2018 by Bob Bly

When I started my freelance copywriting career in the early
1980s, the most lucrative assignment was writing direct mail
packages to sell magazine subscriptions.

And perhaps the toughest assignment was the “free to paid
conversion” campaign.

This was a direct mail package designed to get people who
formerly received a magazine for free to now pay to subscribe.

Free-to-paid conversion is one kind of upsell, with an upsell
being any marketing that gets a customer who buys a less
expensive (or in this case free) product to buy a more expensive
product.

Now, thanks to the internet, upselling in general is much easier,
faster, and more profitable.

A case in point: Classmates Guestbook.

This is a great website that connects people who went to the same
high school and especially those who were in the same class.

You can look at some of the content and post your profile there
for free to update your classmates on what you are up to.

Then, when a classmate looks at your profile, Classmates
Guestbook notifies you by email.

But, the person’s name and image are blurry.

So you can’t actually see who has checked up on you … unless you
upgrade your Classmates Guestbook status from free to a paid
monthly subscription.

It’s a brilliant upsell, though there have been many smart upsell
programs both pre and post internet.

The classic at Mickey D’s, which has become iconic, is: “Do you
want fries with that?”

In MaryEllen Tribby’s online newsletter, she says this upsell
increased sales of fries at McDonald’s 15%.

And in fact, the fast food chain sells 9 million pounds of fries
worldwide each and every day of the year.[1]

An even more effective upsell was from the copywriter or brand
manager who first wrote these words on a shampoo bottle:

“Rinse. Lather. Repeat.”

This simple consumption doubled the consumer’s usage and purchase
of shampoo for a 100% upsell.

Arm and Hammer baking soda had a similar classic upsell with
their ad campaign extolling consumers to buy a second box of
baking soda to put in your refrigerator for absorbing odors.

For ecommerce businesses, the proven upsell strategy is to serve
the buyer a page with an upsell offer right before or at the
point of checkout.

We recently promoted a $19 ebook; when buyers went to the
shopping cart, they were upsold to an audio course.

The course is regularly $47, but the upsell offers it for only
$28, and about one out of three ebook purchasers takes the upsell
offer.

Opposite of the upsell is another offer that can work: the
downsell.

For instance, decades ago, a company sold a business opportunity
where for a high price you could buy a “business in a box”
selling gold chains, necklaces, and baubles at flea markets, swap
meets, and such.

When someone responded to their ads in business opportunity
magazines but did not buy after getting a series of mailers, the
next mailer offered a scaled-down “start-up” kit for a fraction
of the price of the full business kit.

In restaurants, the downsell to a full racks of ribs is the half
rack.

But that usually bothers me, because although I don’t want to eat
too much, I also don’t like feeling I am getting ripped off —
which is how I feel when a rack is $17.99 and a half-rack is
$14.99.

Once, when we were eating out and the server pointed out this
pricing to me on the menu, I replied, “If the rack is $17.99 and
the half-rack is $14.99, can I get the other half for the
remaining $3?”

The only people less amused than our server were my wife and
kids.

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Category: General, Online Marketing | 24 Comments »

Get others to sell your products — without commission

December 26th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Subscriber MI writes:

“‘Influencer marketing’ drives me crazy. Many outdoor
businesses are joining the trend to hire athletes to promote
their products.

“At an industry conference, I asked one ad agency rep what the
return on investment was on influencer marketing. His response
was void of examples. He told me it boils down to brand
awareness.

“I think there are better ways to sell because influencers fail
to mention ‘what’s in it’ for consumers who use the products they
are sponsoring.

“I’m an outdoor recreation junkie, so I’ve been using the gear
and clothing these athletes are promoting for decades. But
instead of telling me how to use rock climbing gear more
efficiently so I can climb faster, influencers tell me stories
about their climbing adventures.

“I could be missing something, but I don’t understand the draw to
use this marketing strategy.”

Let me see whether I can give a quick answer here….

To begin with, an “influencer” is a person who can influence the
actions, behaviors, and opinions of others.

Influencers exert their sway online primarily through blogs,
online newsletters, content, and social media including Facebook
posts, Pinterest boards, YouTube videos, Tweets, Instant posts,
Snapchat stories, and more.

Influencer marketing works because, as shown in research from
Nielsen, more than 8 out of 10 people use recommendations they
got online from an influencer to make a purchase decision.

The leverage online is this: If you just tell a neighbor you like
a particular bar in your city, you’ve influenced that one
neighbor.

Back in the day, we called this simply “word of mouth
advertising” … or in business and professional services “referral
marketing.”

But a bar blogger who recommends a pub can influence hundreds of
his readers to give that watering hole a try — so influencer
marketing is often more effective online than offline.

For instance, Ace Hair enlisted actor Josh Peck, who has over 4
million Instagram followers, as an influencer.

The most effective offline influencer marketing is through people
who reach a wide audience in traditional print media — magazines
and newspapers — as reviewers, critics, columnists, or other
trusted resources who recommend products and services.

Why does influencer marketing work? According to the 2016
Influencer Marketing Guide, “Influencers draw passionate audience
that engage with their content and actively take part in the
community conversations that stem from it.”

An article in Forbes reports that 85% of marketing communications
professionals worldwide will launch at least one influencer
marketing campaigns within the next 12 months.

Done right, influencer marketing is like having another team of
sales reps out there selling your product or service for you —
only in most cases they are doing so for free.

And they are often your most effective sales reps, because they
are credible experts or respected celebrities, and their
recommendation of your product more effective because it is an
endorsement.

I wish I could steer you to a report or info product of mine on
influencer marketing, but it is largely outside my wheelhouse and
so I have none.

If you offer or can recommend resources on influencer marketing,
please email me at rwbly@bly.com so I can share them with your
fellow Direct Response Letter Subscribers. Thanks!

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 36 Comments »

The worst thing about being an info marketer online

December 19th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Recently subscriber SP wrote to me and said:
“Bob, I purchased your e-book 3 days ago, and the status of the
order is pending. Would you please tell me when I will receive
my purchase?”

The day before, another subscriber and customer, SH, also emailed
to ask me where was the e-book he had ordered a couple of days
prior.

This happens all the time. Why?

Not because we didn’t send the e-book the customer ordered
promptly.

We did.

In fact, a link to download is automatically sent via
auto-responder to everyone within minutes of their purchase — no
exceptions.

What SP, SH, and so many others don’t get is that the reason they
didn’t get the e-books they order is on their end — typically, an
overzealous spam filter, Internet Services Provider (ISP),
corporate firewall, or other technical barrier to delivery.

Yet, I know from numerous email exchanges that, even if
customers are polite in their inquiries … and they almost always
are … when I ask them — well yes, they really did assume, though
they are not irritated, that for some reason we did not send the
product they asked for.

Makes no sense, but in cases of non-receipt of product in every
business, the customer always assumes the fault is that of the
seller — though it is virtually always one of the reasons I just
stated.

So I am reaching out to all of you info marketers who subscribe
to my emails to ask one simple question:

If you also have this “where’s the info product I ordered”
problem, how do you handle it?

Now, you may be wondering how I respond to SP, SH, and others who
ask, “Where’s my info product?”

Simple. I don’t.

I forward their complaint to my customer service manager JV.

Here’s how she responded to SH:

“I’m sorry that you had trouble receiving your e-book and also in
leaving voice mail for me.

“In fact I had received your email. I responded to that yesterday
morning and sent you a new download link along with the PDF for
your purchase. My apologies if you are not receiving these
messages from me.

“I’m attaching the PDF for your e-book to this email and if you
could, please confirm once you have received it. I’ll also
resend the download link again as well.

“Please let me know if you need anything else.”

And that’s it. Easy peasy. As the kids say, “No biggish.”

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Category: Online Marketing | 24 Comments »