How to Get Paid to Promote on Instagram


What if you could take what you already do multiple times a day and make money with it? Monetizing your online life is a sure way to get money. But do you have what it takes?

Instagram is a wondrous display of human life. From the foods we eat to the games we play to the things we wear. It’s all on there.

And if you’re Insta-famous, you’re powerful. Businesses understand this power. And they’re willing to pay for a piece of it.

Even if you’re not Insta-famous, but you have a decent sized following, you could make a little bit of extra cash from your following.

How do you get paid to promote on Instagram? Let’s log in and find out.

1. How to Get Paid to Promote on Instagram: Reach Out and Latch On

Sometimes fame happens to just drop in someone’s lap. But you’ll most likely die before the statistics work out in your favor.

This might sound a bit like a “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” motto, but you need to go get to succeed here. Unless you have a stadium full of followers. Then the companies might already be asking you to promote them.

How much you have to work for the opportunities depends on several factors.

  • Your niche (does it connect to a product or service?)
  • Are your followers real or fake? (ie. how engaged are they?)
  • How you will promote

If your niche doesn’t connect to a product or service, then you will have to figure out a way to make it connect to either. You can’t possibly convince someone you can promote their product if your niche doesn’t support their product.

Engagement is what makes the social media world go round. If your followers are either fake or inactive, then your account is useless as a promoting machine.

Doesn’t matter if you have 100 followers or 1,000,000 followers. If most of them are fake, you can’t promote.

Some promotional platforms on Instagram are more valuable than others. Are you going to post videos? Are you writing short blogs? How you promote will determine the price you can charge and how attractive your account will be.

Where Do You Latch On?

There are several places to find businesses who want to connect with promoters. And if you want to get paid to promote on Instagram, check out these already set places to self-promote:

Grapevine

Do you have more than 5000 followers? I know I don’t. But if you do, Grapevine might be the platform you’re looking for. It’s a collaborative center that allows you to hook up with brands who need promoters through a central marketplace.

Fohr Card

This is more like a billboard for influencers across several platforms including blogs and YouTube channels. It might be a little saturated, but it’s worth a shot.

Shoutcart

If you don’t have much of a following, you can still get picked up. And Shoutcart might be your best bet.

You can create a little advert about your Instagram account and charge a certain amount. The companies that want to eat up the “plankton” accounts for promotion will definitely be looking here.

IndaHash

If you want to just get paid directly without the hassle of latching on, you can use the indaHash app. Basically, you get paid each time you promote something from indaHash on your Instagram.

But you need to have at least 700 real followers to be eligible.

2. What If I’m Not Landing Gigs?

You have all your ducks in a row. Real followers, a niche connected to a product, and a dedicated platform. Why aren’t you grabbing a company’s attention?

It could have something to do with whether you’ve promoted anything already. Sometimes you have to give some to get some, right?

Well, it’s really no different if you want to get paid to promote on Instagram. Doing some free promotion of your favorite products will possibly get the attention of companies.

Especially if those products come from start-ups or smaller businesses. They will be monitoring their product’s social media presence more closely than a major corporation like Apple.

If you can start promoting smaller companies and their products, you’ll have the equivalent of a portfolio. And these companies might start sending you swag and products too.

Simply look at a brand’s own Instagram and see what products they mainly promote and what hashtags they use. Then promote those products and use those hashtags.

Lastly, make sure you’re advertising. Find an advertising agency that would be willing to help you promote yourself a little. Get your name in front of more people.

3. One Does Not Just Gain Followers

The land of many Instagram followers may not have a Mount Doom at its center, but getting real followers is a bit harder than simply walking through a garden gate in The Shire. You’ll need to have a few things mastered before you can grow your audience and make more money.

First, make sure your bio is complete. Optimize your bio for search. Find a keyword that fits your niche and add it a few times to your bio. Then make sure you bulk it up with some good writing and correct grammar.

Be sure to include a way to contact you. An email will do just fine.

Then begin to post. Make a schedule and post regularly. As in every day, several times a day.

Research and find out when the best time of day to post would be. And hit those times every single day.

Quality photos are a must. Brands don’t want their stuff paired with boring and fuzzy photos and videos. That would tarnish the brand.

Get a quality DSLR and snap some nice photos with good lighting. If you’re doing video, make sure you shoot on 4k and again, the lighting is key.

The entry bar for great photography has dropped considerably in the last ten years. It’s not expensive to take great photos anymore.

Engagement is the end all be all of social media success. Followers will stop paying attention if you stop giving attention.

Bringing It All Together:

If you want to get paid to promote on Instagram, get to it. That cash flow ain’t gonna wait for you to decide it’s time.

If you have a following, your opportunities are real. Who wouldn’t want a little bit of some extra money in the bank? I sure would.

Have you been paid for your social media following? What’s your story? Let us know in the comments below.



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Avoid This Ending: Inside Nasty Gal’s Massive Crash


In 2013, a particular activewear retailer released some yoga pants. When women tried them on, they found that not only did the pants show off their curves, they showed off things better suited to the bedroom rather than the Yoga mat.

The company denied everything, blaming women’s bodies for the apparent design flaw. The company’s chief product officer stepped down after a major yoga pants recall.

Then the CEO of Nasty Gal came along two months later and scooped up the besmirched CPO. A move many look back to and wonder if it wasn’t the beginning of the end for Nasty Gal.

Former Nasty Gal CEO and founder Sophia Amoruso is your typical aspiring entrepreneur turned millionaire.

In 2006 she opened an eBay shop. Her approach to gaining leads and customers was unique. Get on MySpace. Find hip young women. Befriend them.

It worked, and soon her company rose out into the world full fledged and raging.

But something happened in the next decade that turned Nasty Gal sour. And at the end of 2016, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

But what brought Nasty Gal down even after the viral Nasty Woman meme should have given them a boost? Let’s dig in and see if we can’t unravel this not so subtle mystery.

1. Nasty Gal Wasn’t Alone

While I would love to pick on Nasty Gal alone, I can’t do that. Nasty Gal are only one in eight or so retail clothing companies who filed for bankruptcy protection near to the same time.

And all of those companies were built for youth and 20 somethings. So, something is going on with the clothing retail business sector.

Really, buying habits are the biggest culprit. Young people are less interested in high fashion and more interested in other goods like electronics. And major e-commerce sites like Amazon are gobbling up the markets like whales to plankton.

Nasty Gal certainly wasn’t the only retail company to find themselves in deep water in the last year or two. But their challenges were certainly unique.

2. A Startup and Her Investors

When a startup finds blinding success, it’s easy for it to reach too far and dream too big. One major overreach perfectly frames this concept.

Most startups use third party fulfillment and logistics services long into their successful years. The sheer overhead of renting a warehouse, staffing it, hiring drivers, and more, is gargantuan.

Nasty Gal took on the gargantuan after their 2012 fundraising success. They raised $40 million dollars off investors due to a 450% hike in reported sales from 2011-2012.

They immediately rented a 500,000 square-foot warehouse. A major investment for a fledgling company.

Along with their logistics overreach, they then turned around and invested a large sum in paid acquisition and advertising agency help.

Essentially, Nasty Gal ratcheted up the debt early and fast after gaining success. And investors weren’t too thrilled with what they were seeing. But they stuck with Nasty Gal as revenue remained healthy all the way through 2014.

3. #Girlboss: An Eclipse

When your startup actually becomes successful and moves out of startup mode, everybody wants to know how you did it. And when a woman beats the odds, that’s even more of a sensation.

Amoruso was no exception. Her success was viral and she knew how to take advantage of the fame. Write a memoir.

While fame is excellent, and it made Amoruso a lot of money, it wasn’t good for business. Her book essentially opened up a new Amoruso brand: #Girlboss.

Amoruso probably hoped the book and resulting publicity would boost the Nasty Gal brand. It didn’t. Instead, #Girlboss eclipsed Nasty Gal in a bad way.

It was about the time that #Girlboss became a chart topper that Nasty Gal began to flounder. And reports of ugliness below the executive level at Nasty Gal surfaced.

On the surface, this might be confusing. Why didn’t the connect brands float each other? Besides, celebrities create successful side ventures all the time. And their fame boosts their own brands.

But the problem comes when an entrepreneur becomes the celebrity and not vice-versa. Of course, the #Girlboss brand did very little harm to an already rotten Nasty Gal. It merely didn’t do what both investors and founders hoped it would do. Save a failing company.

4. The Last Ditch

Just before their court supervised corporate restructuring, Nasty Gal owed a lot of money to a lot of people. Nasty Gal bought from retailers but didn’t always pay.

They let the bill stack up and pushed their debt into the 100s of thousands. They began holding off on orders. This was a sure sign of decline in early 2015.

In a last ditch attempt to round up higher margins, Nasty Gal sought out higher priced brands. This completely backfired.

Instead of increasing margins, it decreased their customer base. And sales quickly declined.

Why were the Nasty Gal retailers making such massive mistakes? They had on board veteran retailers from several past major brands.

But their experience was moot in the face of digital transformation. Nasty Gal had two physical locations. And most of their business was online. Yet, they still couldn’t change with the times.

Cold Feet and Lack of Experience

Couple this with the fact their investors were mainly venture capitalists who expected a more liquid and debt free business and you have a recipe for disaster.

The kind of eCommerce business that relies on physical inventory needs investors who are in it for the long haul. And Nasty Gal just didn’t have that kind of backing.

It’s quite a nasty thing to have to restructure your whole venture. But if you find your company is in decline and you are close to bankruptcy, protection by the government might be the difference between life and death.

Not Gone Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal is still around. For how long, it’s hard to tell. But we can certainly learn from Amoruso’s mistakes.

For one, despite success remain modest. Do not overreach, especially if you retail physical products.

Investment capital is certainly important. But the right investors for your industry will not get cold feet. Find investors who are in it for the long haul.

Lastly, don’t get too wrapped up in your own success. Your face might eclipse your brand.

Check out our other case study on the Cha Cha Startup failure. It will certainly inspire you to do better.



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5 Internet Marketers and Entrepreneurs to Follow on Facebook


With over 2 billion active users, Facebook has completely changed the way communication and business happens in the world today. It’s funny to think about how at one time Facebook was just for college students and you needed a college email address just to sign up. My how things have changed! Now Facebook is one of the most powerful businesses in the world today and generates billions of dollars just through ad serving on the social network.

At the same time, Facebook is helping small business, brands, and individuals grow their online following through the use of Fan Pages and Facebook Groups. Never before has it been so easy to tap into a network of over two-billion users, create a page and start creating content and messages for your audience to see.

With all of that being said, here are five internet marketers, bloggers, and entrepreneurs that you should be following through Facebook today.

Kristopher Jones

One of the most amazing things about the online marketing and affiliate industry is a number of people that have had great success, but you might not have actually heard about. You may consider Kris Jones one of them, but he is a name I’ve known and a good friend of mine for many years now. As the founder of PepperJam, Kris helped revolutionize the affiliate marketing industry through his network and advertising platform — which then went on to be acquired by GSI Commerce, then acquired again by eBay. These days Kris has been focusing his time and effort on KBJ Capital, which is his investment and consulting agency to help other businesses grow. A recent highlight in Kris’ entrepreneur journey, is being featured on “Planet of the Apps” and working alongside Damon Wayans Jr and walking away with a $1.5 million investment from the show. All of this can more can be found when following Kris Jones’ Facebook fan page.

Tai Lopez

When it comes to online marketing and Facebook advertising, one name that probably comes to mind when scrolling through your Facebook update stream is Tai Lopez. Through his paid video ad campaigns and online business history, Tai has pretty much been all over the place. With more than 6 million followers on his fan page, it’s not only a great way to stay updated on what Lopez is currently working on but also how he continues to promote himself in different ways and niche markets — such as his podcasts, social media and using celebrities to gain influence and improve his audience reach. To learn more about Tai and why he reads a book every day to become a better entrepreneur and person in general, be sure to check out his TedX talk.

Gary Vaynerchuk

Definitely one of the most well-known entrepreneurs on this list is Gary Vaynerchuk. For anyone that has been a fan of Gary for the past several years, it’s been quite an amazing journey to watch his success and fame rapidly grow from his days at Wine Library to appearing on various television talk shows like Conan O’Brien, starting VaynerMedia and now even appearing on the entrepreneur-based show “Planet of the Apps“, alongside other big name celebrities like Jessica Alba, Gwyneth Paltrow and will.i.am. In addition to everything else going on in the world of Gary Vee, it’s a must to follow him on Facebook, as he puts out some of the best video content in the world today. Be sure to follow his fan page, while also getting some daily inspiration in the process.

Syed Balkhi

If you’ve ever used WordPress to power your website and then used a plugin or theme to make it even better, it was likely connected to Syed Balkhi in one way or another. Syed is the founder of WPBeginner and also the extremely popular WordPress plugins OptinMonster and WPForms. In addition to his success with everything relating to WordPress and software, Syed is also one of the smartest and well-connected entrepreneurs in the industry — while also being an all around great guy. I highly recommend you take a look at what Syed and his team are currently working on these days, while also following his fan page on Facebook.

Jeremy Schoemaker

Of course, we had to add Jeremy to the list of entrepreneurs to follow on Facebook. Not only is this his blog, he’s also become a pivotal member of the on the online marketing and affiliate industry. The great thing about following Jeremy on Facebook is that you will get ‘the real Jeremy’, which comes with a combination of life stories, business experiences and also the opportunities to see through the eyes of a successful online marketer who has sold multiple seven-figure businesses. Even with this blog not actively being updated by Jeremy directly as much as it used to be, you can still stay up to date with all of his latest ventures and what’s happening in his life through his Facebook page.

Are You Growing Your Brand through Facebook Fan Pages?

If you currently have a Facebook Fan Page of your own, awesome! If not, it’s never too late to get started with one of your own. Many people will say that it’s not a good idea to rely on Facebook to build an audience, as it’s one you don’t have control of and organic reach seems to be decreasing day by day. However, with over two billion active users on the social network, it’s simply one that can’t be ignored. In addition to following each of the entrepreneurs above, be sure to check out these great Facebook branding examples from other top bloggers and entrepreneurs in the industry.



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If Clicks Aren’t Making You Cash, You’re Doing It Wrong


PPC advertising is confusing as ever. It really is. It may not be right up there with SEO in terms of the complication factor, but it’s pretty stinking close.

I’ve written a bunch of articles on PPC advertising. And every time I come up to write another one, I still have to do some research.

But apparently, I’m not alone. Even battle-hardened marketers have told me that they’re always learning and always adjusting their campaigns.

It’s not as if you need a PhD in astrophysics to understand PPC advertising. It’s just that you have to cut through a landfill of marketing misconceptions to make a PPC campaign work.

So, today I’ve decided to sit down and talk with you about a few of those misconceptions. Then, I’ll guide you through some corrective measures for your PPC campaign.

1. SKAGS Aren’t Even on Your Horizon

Google may be the top PPC advertising service out there. I mean, about 80% of companies focus solely on Google for their PPC needs. After all, Google’s principal stream of income is advertising.

Yet Google doesn’t always give out the best free advice when it comes to their own ad groups.

Google tells people that they should bundle a full 10-20 keywords in one ad group. And it makes sense, right? They all fit a common theme.

That’s fine if you don’t really care who sees your ads and paid search results. You’ll catch some of your target audience. But just like net fishing, you’ll catch a lot of odd and useless fish, too (maybe even an old boot.)

Message Match

Instead, you need to ensure the ad group is exact enough to message match. What is message match?

Message match is the ideal ad suited to a particular search string. When someone searches for a Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese Recipe, they don’t want a parmesan pasta recipe website. They want a Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese Recipe.

But if you sold parmesan, for example, and you created an ad group with a list of parmesan-related keywords, like these:

  • Parmesan Pizza Recipe
  • Parmesan Macaroni and Cheese Recipe
  • Parmesan Penne Recipe
  • Parmesan Pasta Recipes

You would possibly end up with a Parmesan Pasta Recipes ad. This is because the rest of the list might be on your landing page as well. The ad will be all the keywords you grouped. However, it won’t ever garner clicks.

SKAGs — It’s Not What It Sounds Like

Yeah, it sounds like some STD or a skanky dance, but SKAGS simply stands for Single Keyword Ad Groups. It’s a simple way to make sure you message match with your ad.

How do you go about performing this strange magic? Simple. Set up your ad group so that only one keyword will trigger a specific ad.

Using two ad variants per keyword is the best way to utilize your SKAGs.

The better relevancy is higher click through rate. Higher quality score. Lower Cost per click. Lower cost per conversion.

Since you have a headline and two description lines, you should set up your ad as follows:

The keyword in the headline once. Only benefits and features in the first description line. And the benefits and a CTA in the second description line.

Lastly, you want to make sure your keyword is in your Display URL. This method will ensure message match. And this ad should only be triggered by a single keyword string.

2. PPC and SEO As Far Away From Each Other As East is From West

Some PPC experts might tell you that if you’re focusing on PPC advertising, you should only focus on PPC advertising. But to me, that’s like saying that if you’re focusing on foreplay, you should only focus on foreplay.

While you might get some payoff, you’re not going to the next level.

That’s how it is with PPC and SEO. You can get a lot more out of your PPC campaigns if you add some SEO techniques.

While organic search results are the best way to increase your SERPs. Paid ads are at the top of the page. Even if Google half ignores your click throughs there, you’re getting traffic on that page.

Optimizing your landing pages with SEO is going to help them rank higher organically. It will bring up your overall SERPs as well.

And, if you’re doing both SEO and content marketing along with your PPC campaign, you’ll have even better landing pages.

Why?

Because both SEO and content marketing now focus on quality.

You have to possess quality content to get ahead in the SEO and content marketing worlds. Otherwise, you quickly become obsolete.

Lastly, you’re already doing keyword research for your PPC campaigns, right? Why not make those keywords work for your content and SEO strategy, as well.

Doubling your keyword research will help you in the long run. After all, the more data you have the better you can know your audience. The better you know your audience, the more you can improve on your campaigns.

3. You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

What mama don’t know won’t hurt her, right? But what the search marketer don’t know can hamper their results.

This especially applies to how one set of keywords might be affecting another set of keywords. In both the PPC world and the SEO world, we talk about long tail keywords.

But not all long tail keywords are equal. Some are more effective than others.

And if you’re using ineffective long tails, then these might be stealing impressions from your more effective and specific long tails.

What’s the solution? Ad group level negative keywords.

As you probably already know, negative keywords tell Google where NOT to place your ad. You can use this to keep your short tail keywords from stealing from your longer tail keywords.

Let’s say you have keywords in your report you want to show for and yet they don’t exactly match up with the keyword you’re bidding on. When this happens, you want to add that search term as an ad group level negative keyword.

Wrapping Things Up

If your PPC marketing campaign is flailing, you might want to check if the above advice might help. I know how confusing PPC can be. And hopefully, now things are bit clearer.

Do you have some excellent PPC advice? Let me know in the comments below.



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3 Myths About Why Offline Businesses Shouldn’t Be Online


Imagine how many brands and businesses there are in the world today. Now think about your local neighborhood and how many of them are or aren’t online. It’s actually quite amazing when you think about it… some businesses and brands still haven’t made the transition to the internet! How is that even possible?

More often than not, the reason for a business or brand not being online usually comes down to one of the following:

  • They think it’s too expensive
  • They have no idea how to get started
  • There is no benefit to them having a presence online

No matter which of the three reasons they might fall into, they are wrong in all cases. It’s stupid cheap to get online and the advancements in technology make it so easy to create a site that anyone can do it in a matter of minutes. At the same time, it could be more damaging to a brand to not be online, versus actually being online.

I’m going to be covering all of these topics and more in the details below, and by the end of this article if you aren’t excited about getting your business online… nothing will excite you!

Myth #1 – It’s Too Expensive to Get Online

This has to be one of the most used, yet incorrectly made statements when it comes to a business putting off their online transition. Yes, the actual costs of setting up an advanced online business where you are building a crazy advanced e-commerce store with thousands of products or launching a custom mobile app for your audience can build up… but actually starting your online presence — that’s quite cheap.

This is especially true when you look at the start-up and operating costs of a real offline business or even a franchise. How much are they already spending on a rent, products, staff, insurance, advertising and everything in between? Likely several multiple over what it would cost to simply build a presence online.

Here’s a quick glance at what you would need to get your business online.

  • Domain name
  • Email
  • Web hosting
  • WordPress site

That’s really it! With just those four things in place, you can get your business online and start ranking in the search results in no time.

When it comes to breaking down the actual costs of this, it’s nearly just as simple, and the only immediate out of pocket costs are going to have will be on a domain name and web hosting. Domain names cost around $10 a year and in most cases, many registrars will allow you to save even more money when you purchase for several years in advance. You can see a domain name price chart below to get an idea on how much a domain name will set you back for a single year, or over the next 10 — along with a look at the different domain extensions available. Again, the investment here is quite minimal.

When choosing a domain name, I highly recommend you secure the .com, .net and .org variations for your brand or business name if they are still available. Millions of domain names are registered daily, so they might already be taken by someone else. If you are having trouble with coming up with a great domain name for your site, try any of these domain name generators. They are quite helpful and allowed me to pick up some nice names over the years when I feel in a creative rut.

The only other ‘real’ cost you have when getting your business online is web hosting, which might set you back an extra $50-$100 a year. Other than that, all you need to do is install WordPress onto your site (which is free), then start adding some content about yourself and your business.

To get even more inspired by the concept of getting your business online and creating your own content, refer to my previous article on how to turn your existing site content into millions of dollars. If you already have an offline business in place, this might be something you can implement right away.

Myth #2 – I Have No Idea How to Get Started

The second common reason for offline businesses still waiting til the end of time to get their business online is that they don’t know how to get started. This is a legitimate reason, but in most cases — it’s actually much more complicated and detailed to start an offline business than an online business. This leads me to believe that anyone who is smart enough to start an offline business, should have no problem with following some simple steps to get their business online.

I already laid out the process of how simple it is to register a domain name, set up hosting and simply getting a site online. However, what if you wanted to create something more professional and advanced?

Again… this is where advancements in technology come into play. The more a business can eliminate the middle-man, or a learning process, the easier they can increase sales and grow their business. With this in mind, web hosting and site builder solutions have simply eliminated the need for customers to ever need to touch a line of code, become a programmer or even hire a custom designer.

A perfect example of this can be seen through GetResponse.com, as they now offer an all in one marketing solution for businesses of all sizes. Platforms like this are quickly growing in demand as it’s allowing businesses to get online while scaling in size and implementing new marketing components at their own pace. As you can see in the screenshot below, services provided include email marketing, webinars, landing pages, marketing automation and more — all of which can be used to bring an offline business online without the need to hire an additional website or development team.

Is there a learning curve to going live with your own site and figuring out how to use landing pages and a mailing list for your business? Of course, there is, but you already went through all of this a thousand times over when you created an offline business in the first place. So why not spend some extra time to bring it to that next level by investing some time and effort to reach new audiences like never before.

However, GetResponse isn’t the only game in town for getting your business online and using marketing tools to promote it. Neil Patel also came out with his own list of ten must use marketing tools for every business to consider when getting started online. If you already have an active website or business online, you will probably recognize many of the names, such as Trello, Google Analytics, All in One SEO Pack, Hootsuite and Buzzsumo — all great tools, while also being quite affordable for any business looking to get more done online.

Worst case scenario… get your business online with a domain name, a website, and set up a mailing list and a simple landing page for people to find more information about your site. At the most, this will set you and your business back a few dollars per day, but the new opportunities of having your business online are limitless!

Myth #3 – There is No Benefit for My Local Business to Be Online

I can’t think of a worse reason for not getting a local or small business online. In short, everyone is using the internet for everything. I don’t even need to back this myth up with any more than that… but I will.

Throw mobile usage into the mix, and without your business being online, you can consider yourself out of business. Like it or not… sites like Google Local and Yelp are going to find, list and index your business online whether you like it online. Without a brand presence of your own, this is simply a disaster waiting to happen.

To stress this point even further, let me give you three reasons why you MUST be online.

  1. Your Customers are Looking For You
    Like it or not, people are searching for your business online. A perfect example of this would be if you had a local restaurant or pizza location. Being on the internet probably isn’t going to increase your sales and bring in new customers from around the world, but it will cater to your existing customers or people looking to eat in your area. When you have a web site, Google makes it easy for people to find what they are looking for. Who is searching online for your business hours, location or even a phone number to contact someone? If you don’t have this information online, you are just making it harder for audiences to find you.
  2. Your Competition is Ranking Above You
    While you might not think it’s that important for your local business to be online… guess who does? Your competition! They are likely already online, and probably ranking for some great local keywords that could be taking business away from you right now. Not only that, but they might also be appearing within the search results or Google Maps when customers are actually looking for your retail location. If you are still sitting on the sidelines with your business and not getting online, you are just sending free business to your competition.
  3. Your Reputation is at Risk
    Probably the most concerning of the three is that if you aren’t online there is no telling what might be said or represented of your brand online. For example, even if you don’t think you are online, sites like Yelp and Google are still going to list your company information, location and areas for customers to leave reviews about your business. Without an online presence of your own, how are you going to know what complaints, issues or false reviews might be out there from your competition or just angry customers? It might seem like your little small business might not need to be online, but what happens when someone searches for it online and finds much worse? To learn more about the reputation of your business or brand, refer to any of these 97 tools and resources.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons why every business owner needs to make sure their business is actually online. Gone are the days of traditional local advertising and yellow pages being delivered to homes in your area. Sure… it’s still taking place and happening daily, but guess what — no one is looking at them. Everyone is using the internet for everything, and if your business isn’t found online, you are just creating more problems and potential disasters down the road.



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TSYS BS Merchant Credit Card Processing SUCKS


First off before you contact me you know a guy that knows a guy to get me a merchant account I am good. I have always had great merchanting.

I don’t even know why my had an account with TSYS. We already have processing coming out of our asses. I know at one time my local bank (First National Bank of Omaha) owned them so maybe it was an upsell or something to our account. Still puzzled how we even got sold that.

Anyway I am doing some “Spring Cleaning” on my payables, ya know the shit you keep paying for that you never use, on my bank account is a bunch of these TSYS charges. I just googled it and found em and gave them a call. First they said I needed to know all this info to cancel my account… like total jerks… then I got to someone semi reasonable who just asked me the taxid and then he said ok your account is canceled late termination fees have been applied.

I was like wtf is early termination fees? He said I signed a 3 year contract (which he couldn’t send me for some odd reason), and it was $400.

Lol $400. Really? I wish I could sell shit nobody used then charge them $400 to cancel it.

Now if you are looking for credit card merchanting I highly recommend going through Maria Sparagis at Direct Pay. She has decades of experience in the high risk space but also just for regular accounts. I have used her to get many mids for various companies.




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The book that made me 200k in one month


About this time last year I created the ShoeMoney Network… which soon became Blogninja.

I *thought* I was doing pretty well about 1k a day. Then I bought Russell Brunsons dot com secrets book and within 72 hours, without changing any traffic source, the revenue exploded.

Russell just released a new book *free through this week* called Expert Secrets.  This book is on a whole other level.

Trust me…  get your free now while it is free.

Go here now => http://bit.ly/2ppaOJs




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The Iconic Google AdSense Check and My 10 Year Journey After


This is the backstory to one of the most epic and iconic pictures in internet marketing.  When I cashed this check it was accompanied by a $350 unemployment check.  My story isn’t rags to riches but I was 50k in credit card debt, 420 lbs, smoked 2 packs of cigarettes a day and was on unemployment.  Then over night started cranking in money with Google Adsense.  This was the start of my journey making money online.

First let me start with just that and then I will go on about what I learned and from there talk about all I learned from that site and applied it to where I am today.

Giving credit where credit is do – throughout this post I refer to everything as I.  Obviously everything wasn’t all done by me.  I coded out the first couple years of NextPimp myself but when it became huge I brought in David Dellanave who was a huge part of it’s and future company successes.

But lets start with what started it all.

Over the years people have tried to use it for acting like its them and they are going to show you the secrets on how to make money.  Or say that I used their system and produced this.  Yes I go after them and I don’t mess around.

Feel free to use it for non commercial purposes (blog posts, etc).  Just I ask you link back to this post (follow or no follow link whichever).

If you would like to use it for commercial user, I.E, a your product – Please contact me and we can figure something out.


Google adsense check
About once every other day I get a question about the AdSense from 10 years ago.  I originally posted the check in this thread. Its most visited page on shoemoney.com (behind the main page course) with 1-2k unique visits per day.

So just going through the 120 emails or so in the last year on the subject I will answer questions-

  • What site was that for? NextPimp.com (Sold in 2011 for 1.5M. You will see below why so little).
  • What did the site do?  It allowed you to upload any audio format and would spit you out a ringtone formatted correctly for your phone.  It started with Nextel and overtime grew to work with all models of cell phones and carriers.
  • How much traffic did the website get?  At its height in the site was averaging about 20 million visitors a month.  About 5 million were unique.  The site had a very loyal audience that came back a lot.
  • How many servers did you have to run the website?  I had 1 front end web server and 2 backend mysql databases that would round robin the sql requests.  I offloaded all css and javascript assets and images. The site was actually pretty light weight because I would cache the results infinitely unless a new ringtone was uploaded for a specific result.  So the site was pretty much static content for 99.9% of the page loads.  One issue we ran into was that the main web server would randomly reboot.  This was an issue with the version of linux I was using at the time.
  • Did you ever get into legal trouble being the site looked like Nextel’s and a lot of the ringtone’s were copyrighted?  Yes In 2007 I was sued by Nextel in federal court.  The judge threw the case out when we produced over 8000 pages of Nextel stores visiting the site and affidavits from Nextel employees saying the site was a great tool to make sales of their phones.  I also received about 1500 DMCA takedown requests per month from recording labels for copyrighted content which I promptly complied.  I actually built out a control panel that would allow me to quickly remove them.
  • How much of the check was profit? At the time my expenses were 1 server @ 299$ per month for hosting. I would say at least 130k was profit.
  • How much of the traffic was pay per click? None of it was pay per click. Back then I did not know anything at all about pay per click.
  • Where did all your traffic come from? About 70% of the traffic was direct 15% from search engines and 15% from referrals.
  • Why did you get a paper check and not wire? Back then Google did not do wire transfers for amounts of $10,000.00
  • Do you think its possible to still earn that kind of revenue? (most often asked question) Yes.
  • How long did it take to make revenue? I never tried to make any money the first 1.5 years it was running. I just concentrated on providing a good service. About 2 years after I started the site It started to do good revenue from AdSense
  • Can you show the full month report from AdSense for that month?  Sure See Below.

and here is the full month report: (I have permission from Google to display this in my blog and in my presentations. Please check with Google before you disclose any of your reporting)

adsense-august copy

 

About 3 months,  and discovering this wasn’t just a fluke, I decided to chase the money a bit.  If people could afford to pay me that much per click + Googles 25% or whatever it is advertising fee then what if I promoted directly to the advertiser who was advertising through Adsense.

Enter Affiliate Marketing

So this began my journey with Affiliate revenue.  Even though I went on a world wind tour speaking about my story and how Google Adsense changed my life I was no longer using it.  I was now going direct to the advertiser either charging them to advertise or using their affiliate program.

Some big brands advertised (Sprint, Nextel), but I made more revenue with Affiliate Marketing.

With affiliate marketing I promoted directly what people were advertising through Google AdSense.  Since the affiliate network is no existing (Azoogle) I only had this screen shot from my archives for 1 month of affiliate revenue from NextPimp in 2006:

AzoogleAds May 2007 Income Report

Enter Subscription Revenue

With NextPimp I also had “Premium Forums” which charged a monthly subscription.  These forums would contain walk through guides and support from other users.   I compensated the users by letting them run their own AdSense code on the forums part of the site and balanced it between them (stole that idea from Shawn Hogan).  They all made thousands a month  ( $3000-$5000 per person).  It was awesome though because I was 100% hands off.

However I kept the subscription revenue from users to access the forums.  This was my introduction to subscription revenue. at first I charged a flat $20 per year via PayPal.  But after reading some article about price points and psychology I gave options to users offering them different prices based on how they wanted to be billed.

  • Monthly subscription was $5.
  • 6 Months subscription was was $10.
  • 12 Months subscription was $25.

Conversions to subscriptions tripped when I offered these options and 75% of the people took the monthly plan.   At first I thought a lot would just stick for 1 month but on average it was years.   If I told you the exact number per user that paid $5 per month you would not believe me on how much that worked out to.

Between us people keep paying the subscription through Paypal for years after the site wasn’t even available.   Unreal.

Enter Product Sales

Now you have to keep in mind that when this site was at its peak it was at a time when you had to load these ringtones via a serial data cable.  Most people had no idea where to buy these.

So I bought them in bulk from China for .50 and tested various price points ($9.95, $15.95, $29.95).  Conversion wise I forget how the exact numbers broke down but at the price point of $29.95 I was making double the others after it washed out.  Yes .50 sold for 29.95 (I included free shipping o; ).

I hired a local kid to package and ship them for $8 per hour.  Good margins on that.

Revenue from this was not huge compared to the others.  The kid that shipped them only worked about an hour every 2 days so I would say maybe 10-15 per day so just for numbers sake on the low end about 100k extra in profit.

Enter Pay Per Click.

So, as illustrated above,  I had made good money figuring out what people were advertising through Google AdSense via Adwords.  So I started playing with that bidding on keywords driving them to the same affiliate programs that I was making money with.

At first I lost my ass.  I remember losing 1k in my first 30 minutes.  Oups I forgot to set a budget.  I would go on to lose money for the first month or so as I tested the “suggested” keywords Adwords brought up.

I also bought keyword lists that had all the best keywords for the mobile vertical….  still losing my ass.

But then one day it hit me.  WHAT AM I DOING.

Because I had a search button and was getting tens of thousands of searches a day I had my own keyword list on what people were searching for.

But I not only had a keyword list I had THE keyword list.  I had realtime searches and typos of searches.

Now I was cooking with butter.  Between the various search engines (Google Adwords, Microsoft Adcenter, Yahoo) I was tripling my money.  With the Adwords API I could actually real-time bid on the searches going on.  I also could pull keywords that were not working out dollar wise.  It was awesome.

Other Misc Stuff

This post has mostly focused on my monetization experiences & education.

I learned so much more than what is mentioned in this post.  optimization, conversion, general business stuff (The first year I made over a million dollars H&R Block did my taxes LOL).

The Fall of NextPimp.

In 2007 I got greedy and board with NextPimp.  I was doing a lot more with pay per click and started my own advertising network called AuctionAds.  NextPimp became whats called a “thin affiliate site”.   Over a long period of time the site lost its rankings with Google for some heavy keywords and I sold the site in 2010 after revenue had dropped significantly.

A small part of me regrets letting it die.  But I was on to much bigger things.

The Rise of a Career

In order to make this less of a TL;DR than it already is,  I took the skills NextPimp taught me and went on to do some cool stuff.

The ShoeMoney Brand & Blog – I started ShoeMoney.com in 2002 but nobody really read it until 2005 when I started about what I was learning in the world of making money on the internet.  I never posted the AdSense check publicly until 2007 which of course made the blog explode.  It was only in 2010 that I actually publicly revealed that it was Nextpimp.com that was giving me all this experience that I was sharing.

The AuctionAds Advertising Network – This started as a service called ShoeMoney Ads.  Basically a network that allowed people to make AdSense like ads on their site but use their own links to Affiliate Programs.  I never charged anyone to use it.  Then we decided to build the network around eBay and collectively leverage a high affiliate payout and pass that on to publishers.  I never took a cut from that.  Paid out 100%.  From that AuctionAds grew and when I say grew it went like a rocket.  By the 2nd month we were doing over 2m in revenue.  This was springboarded from the blog and other connections I had made.  I sold the company 4 months after I started it.  I can’t publicly disclose the exact price.  There are rumors on the internet anywhere from 5 to 20 million.  But again I can’t confirm or deny those.  I will say that when the sale happen every employee that worked for me I gave a million dollars to or more depending on their contribution.  Some got significantly more.

I feel like this would be a never ending huge list.  I have had over 14 registered corporations in the last decade each with its own thing and some of them with many things.

I have sold internet marketing tools, products about how to make money online, a mixed martial arts site, and about 20 other things.

Most recently I sold my email marketing company for 12 million.

So ya its been a crazy 10 years.



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Embracing Failure – ShoeMoney


When I meet a lot of people at conferences or correspond via email / Facebook / whatever people always tell me about their big idea and what I think of it.

My first question is always,  “so where are you at with it ?”

Generally:

  • 60% have done absolutely nothing but think they have the next big thing..  I call this the “excited about thinking about it” phase.
  • 30% have done market research,  probably have estimates on what the costs will be, some even go balls out on an excel pivot table.  But haven’t started actually doing anything.
  • The last 10% have the site / app ready to go,  its doing some revenue,  but they just want to grow it.

My next question is,  “So why are you not doing it?”.

Usually always the answer is that they are want to team up with a guru to guide them.  This is the most disappointing.  In reality any guru that can walk into any business model and make it work… are doing their own thing.  Sometimes people are so desperate they will give up half the company just to get a “guru” on board.  Sure there are some gurus that can help them in certain areas but most likely they will die off and still maintain equity.

A.D.D. sidenote: I hate the word guru id rather use expert but it is what it is.

But some just want advice.  I never tell people what to do but I will share with them what I have done in a similar situation.  It’s up to them to act on that or not.

No matter what phase people are in the biggest commonality is fear of failure.

I can tell you first hand failure often times helps you so much more than success.  In fact I dunno any of the stuff I have ever done stayed on course with the initial plan because I ran into failures along the way that had me pivot the business model.

But that is not really failure in my book…  its education.

I always get asked what my college degree is in.  I don’t have one.  All of my education comes from just doing stuff and a big part of that is failing along the way.

I love the phrase adversity is opportunity.  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to implement a major change I thought would work but I didn’t want to mess up what was currently working.  However due to unforeseen issues (legal, deprecated 3rd partys, etc) what was working became dead in the water and that gave me an opportunity to change to what I was scared of before… and most of the time it worked… very well.

There are failures you know will happen but trust me, there are many that you will never see coming.  Some could end you up dead in the water but all will give you an amazing amount of experience and education.

I can’t tell you how many things I have built that used the IP (code) from things I did that did not work out.

In the next few weeks I will be launching a new service called Spamchecka and I already have this on my mind:

  • Is my price point right?
  • Is my affiliate program too much or not enough payout?
  • Are 3rd party services going to sink us if they go down?
  • Will it scale properly?

I believe based on my experience I have a good plan and things correct but who knows?  I will tell you who knows…  Its also not the things you have thought of but the ones you haven’t.

So get after it.  Failure is not only an option but its one that could actually turn your business into something great.

 

 



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The Wise Advice From a Very Successful Internet Marketer


This is an amazingly awesome and wise post that my friend Justin Goff of Gym Junkies put on FaceBook.  I have posted it with his permission.

If I could sit down with all the recent high school and college graduates and impart some wisdom on them, this is what I’d tell them…

  1. School doesn’t teach you shit about how to manage, save and invest money. The amount of money you KEEP will have a major impact on your quality of life until the day you die. So it’s worth learning the basics. Simply sticking money into your 401k or an index fund from the day of your first job will put you far ahead of everyone else. Money compounds over time, and you can’t make up for missed years. The smartest thing to do is to start saving and investing NOW. Starting at 22 is much better than starting at 32. If you want a simple roadmap, read the Bogleheads Guide to Investing. It’s easy to understand and you’ll be ahead of 90% of investors by simply reading this book.
  2.  I’ve been both broke and rich. If you think you’ll be happier or more fulfilled with a lot of money, I can tell you that you won’t. Having money is certainly better than not having money. A flat tire when you’re rich is an annoyance.
    A flat tire when you’re broke is a catastrophic event. I encourage everyone to be as wealthy as they want to be, but don’t count on money to fill some type of void in your life, because it never will.
  3.  Your job will take up the majority of your day. Make sure you you put REAL thought into what you want to do and how you want your life to run. The best job you can have is something that you enjoy, that you find fulfilling, and that you can make good money doing. If you’re lucky enough to find that, then hold onto it.
  4.  The secret to making a lot of money is to find one highly-paid skill and become a master at it. Being a jack-of-all-trades is not as profitable as being GREAT at one thing. If you had no other skills other than the ability to write hit pop songs, you’d be very, very wealthy. Nobody in the real world cares if you’re well rounded. I can’t tell you one thing I learned in algebra, biology or latin class. But I’m damn good at writing sales copy, and creating sales funnels for online businesses – and I made a lot of money by simply being very good at that one skill.
  5. The best time to take a risk is when you’re young. If you want to start your own business, or change jobs or freelance, then do it while you’re young and have no responsibilities. If everything falls apart, so what…Go get a bartending job at night if you have to to make ends meet. If you think it will be easier to take a risk down the road, you’re dead wrong. Once you have bills, kids, a mortgage and a good paying job, the chances of you leaving your job and doing something else is 0%. You have too much responsibility at that point. So if you have a passion for something, or if you want to start something on your own, do it while you’re young.

I’m sure there’s more I can add to this, but these were a few of the “big ideas” that I wish I would have known when I was younger.

What would you add to this? What’s something you wish you knew when you were graduating high school or college that you know now?




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