Example

Online shopping is the fastest growing segment in retail shopping. More buyers are looking to the internet on a daily basis to pick up items they need by using the convenience of click and ship. However, there is one major problem most online buyers face when looking to capitalize on this convenience…the in store help and hands on experience. In previous shopping experiences, the consumer would see and use the product in the store while asking questions to an associate to aid in the purchasing decision. When you shop online…you get rid of that interaction…or do you?

Online shoppers are turning to blogs and websites for honest, online product reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. This is where you step in as the blogger and provide that personal experience they are missing through forgoing the in-store experience! Better yet…you let them know where they can purchase these items for the best price and receive a commission off of that sale. This is the new way of buying online and it equals massive blogging profits for your business.

There is a bonus at the end of this article…so keep on reading…

Where I Got My Reputation In Blogging

Most of you already know this…but I got my blogging rep by getting in free product to review for Bike198.com. In the first 9 months, I had already surpassed over $100k in product and that was just the beginning. Not only was I helping out riders in the industry by providing honest opinions on products they were looking to purchase, but I was also providing exposure for companies looking to get their product in front of potential customers. Through this…I was able to grow my blogging income to include a lot of affiliate revenue and bonus revenue through the facilitation of product in my industry for review purposes.

Talk about a cool way to live. The same products I used to pay thousands for a year…I was now getting for free and profiting from it! All I had to do was be honest!

BlogWorld Expo: Time To Share The Story

Next month (May 24-26), BlogWorld Expo comes to NYC. On May 26th at 11:15am, I will be delivering my presentation on The Role Bloggers Play In Retail Purchasing Decisions and How That Equals Blogging Profits. I am completely stoked about the opportunity and look forward to seeing you there if you are going to be at BlogWorld.

I will be sharing how I have generated over 6 figures of online income by positioning my blogs as that source for online buying research and how you can do it just like I did. I will also be presenting recent trends in online purchasing and showing you were I think things are headed for the future. We always have to be planning ahead right?!

Bonus: 50% Off!

To celebrate and get pumped up for next month, I want to offer you guys a 50% off coupon code that you can use on Ramped Blogging and Ramped Reviews. All you have to do is enter “BlogWorld” as the coupon code at checkout and you can watch the price cut in half! I truly believe that we learn from those that have been there before us to drastically decrease learning curve time periods. I want to help you get on the right foot to see success earlier and that is the main driving force behind delivering the presentation and why I have no secrets in how I run my business.

Click here and use coupon code “BlogWorld”: Ramped Blogging | Ramped Reviews

Example

I have this theory…if you are not moving forward…you are moving backwards. There is no standing still and just going through the motions with business building and blogging. You are either looking forward to the future and planning for those changes or you are letting others pass you by that are making the conscious decision to get that done.

On Bike198.com, I have been looking for a way to get even more reader interaction and do so by drastically increasing my site size with product heavy, SEO gold that contains affiliate links. I want to be able to provide the same quality I have with reviews into a user experience that allows riders to review their products as well. With that idea in mind, the database of products labeled “Rider Reviews” was born. Now…I just had to build it…

Building Out A Reader Review Section

Ironically enough, I tested about every single WordPress option I could find. Every single plugin seemed to be ok…but they lack a polished look or were too hard to get everything looking correctly. I started searching around for a stand alone php script to accomplish the same goal and just happened to fall upon Reviews For Joomla (not an affiliate). The layout, ease of use and basic design was exactly what I was looking for. Better yet…it installed over Joomla so I would have a very strong back-end content management system to aid with setup.

Rider Reviews at Bike198 Home

With this system, I can have the products loaded in and then my readers have an incredibly clean, easy to use layout to give ratings and reviews for products in the industry. There are even features to allow them to compare ratings and features which adds a ton of function into that portion of the site.

I installed Joomla 1.6 into a subfolder of Mountain.Bike198.com (this one will only have mountain bike products) and got to work…

Handling Of Affiliate Links

Now…a section of your blog like this is only really good if it is generating income. One of my biggest nightmares with this entire project was trying to figure out how I would actually handle the affiliate linking. The idea of searching for my specific affiliate link, getting it on the right product and then making sure it wasn’t broken 24/7 seemed like an incredibly daunting task just in itself.

Ironically, a friend of mine that owns MyGolfSpy.com recently came across VigLink and started testing on his forum. What VigLink basically does is takes your links to popular stores online (ex: Amazon) and automatically handles all affiliate revenue for you. Of course, they take their cut but it takes all of the management process out for you with a simple line of code. Now I was able to get the products loaded with a link to a store and not have to worry about whether or not I am getting credit for the sale. VigLink claims to get a higher percentage commissions on sales due to their larger audience, so the cut they take should drastically reduce the difference between using them and doing it on your own. The time management side was the real payoff for me though.

If you are only building out a section of your site like this that has 12 or so products (maybe even up to 50), managing it yourself might make sense. As of right now, I have 696 total mountain bike products and bikes listed, so you can see how that can get out of control quickly.

Getting The Products Loaded Into The System

A review system like this is worthless if you do not have an accurate representation of your industries products listed on the site. Let’s be honest, I do not have the time to load over 1,000 products into a website. That is a lot of busy work that I can’t even fathom doing and it is also the main reason this idea I have had for over a year is just now coming to fruition. To get some help, I enlisted the help of Chris Ducker over at Virtual Staff Finder to help me out in finding a virtual assistant. After interviewing 3 candidates, I found the perfect one for me.

Rider Reviews Product List

After sending over one training video, I started sending Lauren (my new VA) the list of products each day and the site started expanding rapidly. My industry is a little unique as we have a ton of parts and related gear.

Now…I don’t want you to look at my site and think this isn’t possible on your site just because of the magnitude of products. In other industries…you might not have this much of an extreme workload where you need to hire someone on to help. In my case, I did and it is working out perfectly.

How do you get people to actually use it?!

As you can see by visiting Rider Reviews, there are a couple of reviews already started on the site by my readers. However, like with any social interaction environment, there is going to have to be some incentive to get the ball rolling. I already have several contests lined up for my readers that are based around getting the review section populated and useful for new visitors. Once those go live, it should be great to see the new reviews come in on a platform that allows my readers to have a voice in the industry and basically runs on its own while also generating income.

Rider Reviews

As you can imagine, the SEO benefit of this section has already returned great results and it is just getting started. I am going to check back in on this project here to let you guys know how is it progressing. There are still more products to load and some design work to get completed before I start running the contests, but…from what I am already seeing, it is going to be my my largest asset on Bike198.

Check out: Rider Reviews at Bike198 | VigLink | Reviews For Joomla

Example

We all know the potential benefits of offering a free ebook or the classic “7 Part Email Course” to try and encourage our website visitors to complete an action such as subscribing to our RSS feed, signing up for our mailing list or liking us on Facebook. The reason this method of “ethical bribery” is so popular is quite simply because it works. But for everyone who reads about your free report and signs up, just as many people decide *not* to take the plunge and leave your site empty handed.

Assuming your free ebook really *does* offer your visitors significant value then you *both* just lost. Your reader missed out on some high-quality information that isn’t available anywhere else and you just lost a potential new subscriber.

Not good.

What’s even worse is that the hardest part of this whole equation is getting those visitors to see the message about your free ebook in the first place. So once they’re on your site we need to do everything possible to encourage your readers to take that desired action in exchange for your free ebook.

Fortunately there are a whole raft of ways we can do this and they’re all focused around one main concept – increasing the perceived value of your ebook. In other words we want your visitors to feel like they’re getting something of real value. We want them almost feel guilty about what a great deal they’re getting from you. Like they’re getting something worth paying for – but for free. That’s the key to maximizing downloads of your free report.

So how do we go about accomplishing that task?

1. Design An Ebook Image

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words and when it comes to free ebooks this may not be far off the mark. Over the years dozens of marketers have tested their signup rates for free ebooks both with and without an image. Almost without exception more people sign up when an ebook image is present.

Getting an ebook cover – a graphical representation of your ebook – is easier and cheaper than ever before so there really is no excuse whatsoever. I’ve recently been experimenting with Fiverr and have had a number of high quality ebook images for just $5 each. If that increases my signup rate by just a few percent I think that’s the bargain of the century.

2. Use Different Media

So many people offer a free ebook or free report that there is a risk that this method is starting to lose it’s effectiveness. Like banner advert blindness the more there is of something around the less attention we pay to it.

So another technique worth considering is offering the same information as your free ebook but in another format. The best examples are either audio formats (“download our free podcast”) or in video format.

Sure, it’ll take you a day or two to change your current ebook into a new format but if that boosts your results it may be a worthy investment – particularly when you can make video or audio for free these days and easily upload it to your website.

3. Use Social Proof

By nature humans are social creatures and we listen to and trust the opinions of others. Most of us want to be part of the gang rather than lonely outsiders. That’s why peer pressure works so well.

Social proof takes this concept into the 21st century and onto the internet. If you can enlist the help of other people in your niche to spread the word then this will often increase interest in your free ebook and also increase it’s perceived value.

A few ways to use social proof to boost your signups are to show testimonials on your website from people who have already read your ebook. Send copies to prominent bloggers and Twitterers in your niche, asking them to mention it to their tribe if they like it. And make it easy to “Like” your signup page on Facebook.

4. “Sell” Your Ebook

You need to help your readers to understand *why* your free ebook is valuable and what benefits they will receive from downloading it and this is where a degree of ethical salesmanship comes in.

Don’t just tell your visitors they *can* download your free report but explain why they *should* in exciting, attention-grabbing language.

5. Really Sell Your Ebook

Have you ever considered actually trying to sell your free ebook as a paid ebook? Assuming your free ebook really *does* offer significant value to readers then there’s no reason why someone shouldn’t be willing to pay to gain access to it.

Not only can this become an additional revenue stream for you but how much more valuable will your offer be on your website when you can explain to your readers that you’re currently selling copies of your ebook for x amount of dollars but if they subscribe to your RSS feed they can get it for free and save their money?

6. Publish It As A Hard-Copy Book

This is the idea I am personally most excited about at present and that I am putting into practice on a number of my sites. Image the power of actually having your ebook published as a paid-for print book. You know; the kind you’d buy off the shelf from Barnes And Noble.

Just imagine how much it could increase the perceived value of your free ebook if the paper version was actually for sale on Amazon and other people were actually payng money for it and leaving positive reviews.

I visited a website the other day that was doing just this. The owner of the website wrote a book on property investment which has sold incredibly well on Amazon and has numerous glowing reviews and five-star ratings. As soon as you see the book on Amazon it makes you want to buy a copy.

And yet there on the authors site he’ll give you a free PDF version of the book just for joining his mailing list. Did I sign up? You betcha – in an instant.

So how do you publish your free ebook as a proper paper book with as little expense and hassle as possible? Simple. Just sign up for a free account at CreateSpace.com and follow their simple instructions.

Now it’s your turn. What helps to increase the perceived value of a free ebook for you and what would increase the chances of you taking an action in order to receive an ebook as thanks? Please leave us a comment below with your thoughts…

This is a guest post by Richard Adams of Lifestyle Design Unleashed where he writes about building online businesses, quitting your job and living the internet lifestyle. Visit Richard today to download your free copy of his highly regarded traffic-generation ebook “WordPress Traffic Explosion”.

Example

This guest post was submitted by James Martell. Given the current state of “push button” income schemes…I thought it was highly relevant to post here.

Sadly the online “opportunity” training arena has become populated by hucksters and professional liars who’ll resort to ever trick in the book to market your a** off until they’ve drained you of not only your bank account (or credit cards) but your self esteem too.

I’ve been a full time “affiliate marketer” since a buddy showed me how back in 1999. And I’ve been teaching what I know since 2001. And I didn’t start teaching until my affiliate income was up to $10,000 a month.

I’ve witnessed hundred’s of success stories since then. So yes, there is most definitely “money” to be made, both with affiliate programs and with training.

Income Claims and Sleazy Tactics Have Muddied the Waters

Regrettably, consumers are a lot more wary these days; and with good reason. I, like you, am appalled at the ridiculous “overnight riches” (with little effort) claims I regularly receive in my inbox.

And I have come to loathe those confusing pop-ups that won’t let you get off their site unless you answer their sneaky trick question: press Cancel or Okay. Heck, the other day I found one that would not go away whether I hit Cancel, OK or hit the red X upper right.

Oh, they think they are so clever – so marketing savvy.

But I’ll say this: they are phony, slimy amateurs because “marketing”, whether online or off, are based on establishing trust. Would you ever do business with someone who came to your office or home and refused to leave when you said no thank you?

Not likely. Yet those tactics are commonplace online these days.

How I Made $200,604 in 36 Hours with This Simple Secret

Headlines like this are ridiculous on any level, but mainly because the big lie behind it is that even if someone did make that money, it is certainly not going to happen for you if you buy their BS “system” for $97 (before midnight because it’s so powerful they’ll be forced to take it off the market so it doesn’t get saturated. Yeah, right.)

Our rich friend above could have gotten access to a mailing list of 2 million. He might have spammed everyone on it and made a bunch. Big deal; I could rob a bank too.

For those who feel no compulsion to play by the rules, yes, they can make wads of cash fast. They can also find the FTC at their door, lose all their assets, be forced out of business and/or go to jail.

Are You Practiced In The Art Of Being Ethical?

I always made it a practice to rarely make income claims on my websites promoting my affiliate marketing training. Not that I did not have the stats to back it up. It was more of a strategic plan to gain the trust of my readers. It was also because I knew very well, as does every coach, mentor or trainer in any field, that most simply do not have what it takes.

I know this has cost me money in lost sales. Sadly, many prefer the “big lie”. They want to be sold by someone selling the dream. But I refused to do that.

You could say I’m practiced at it.

I’d prefer teaching students how to come up with a topic for their website, such as rocking chairs or keyboards, or any number of solid consumer products that are sure to stand the test of time and generate ongoing, steady revenue for site owners.

Maybe not as fast or as easy as some “opportunities”, but nevertheless it’s legal, ethical and bankable.

About the Author:

James Martell lives in White Rock, BC with his wife Arlene and their three children. James is a pioneer in the affiliate marketing industry and was successfully profiting with affiliate websites as early as 1999.