Outsourcing and Delegation
If you ask any one successful marketer in the world what got them where they are today, they will tell you one thing – time management and outsourcing. You just can’t get anything done if you try to take it on yourself. Yet, it seems like every time I turn around, I see someone stumbling through the motions, trying to make money while doing everything on their own.
And they don’t fail outright. They can get one or two websites up every month or so. They can tweak a few links and write a few articles a day, and if they’re lucky they will have a bit of time left over at the end of the week to spend with their families. But they don’t get to quit their jobs and they definitely don’t become super affiliates, and here’s why.
Affiliate Marketing Takes Time
It takes a lot of time. It’s why we always say there is no such thing as a “get rich quick” scheme. The quick part sinks you every time. It takes time and it takes investment. When you get started, the formula will be almost entirely about time. You won’t have much money so you’ll do as much as you can by yourself. You’ll start your first website, hopefully make a few dollars and then make another one. It could take two or three weeks, but at least you’ll be started. But, it’s after that first website or two that many people make the mistakes. They see the paychecks start to come in and they want to know what they can do to keep all that money. Why set aside 40-50% of it to reinvest when you could just as easily buy that big screen TV and just do the work yourself? I asked the same question when I got started and so have millions of others. The key is to overcome the urge to spend the money and learn to reinvest it. Do less work yourself and start delegating to outsourcers on sites like Elance.
You can outsource just about everything you do for your affiliate marketing campaigns. Personally, I believe a marketer shouldn’t do much of anything beyond the big picture thinking. It might take some time to get there, but eventually you should check emails, generate ideas, and check progress. The rest of the time is spent outsourcing article writing, website design, link building, and graphic development for your sites. Elance is the primary tool for many marketers in this regard. It’s easy and free to sign up for clients and it takes all of five minutes to post a job asking for help. Here are some tips when you outsource to someone on Elance:
• Be as Detailed as Possible – When writing up a project description; know exactly what you want beforehand. If you don’t tell the writer or designer what you need, they will be forced to take license with the project and make decisions you may not agree with. If you have a timeline you need to meet, provide it. If you have SEO guidelines you require, provide them.
• Be Realistic About the Budget – The budget of your project should be realistic. Don’t expect any level of quality if you pay $3 for articles. Someone will always do the work at that rate, but the quality will suffer. For any content writing, I recommend hiring only native English speakers with good feedback. If you can get a good rate for that, go for it.
• Interview Prospects – Don’t just hire someone. Ask them questions you may have and make sure they are very clear on what you need. There is a message board on Elance, and you can often find most providers on services like AIM or Skype as well.
• Check for Samples – Ever provider should have a portfolio with their past work. Ask to see additional samples if they don’t have anything relevant to the topics you’re requesting.
• Regular Communication – Communication is important, especially with big projects. Make it clear up front that you need regular updates throughout the project. You can back this up with escrow milestones. Split the project into 2-3 parts and the provider will have to contact you between parts to get paid.
When using Elance, your goal is to get high quality content for the price you pay and ultimately to do less work. If you have to edit the content, get a website redone, or throw it all away, you’re wasting potential time and a lot of money. That’s why I recommend you always have realistic budgets and expectations. This can be a tremendously powerful tool that will flip your investment into a massively profitable affiliate marketing process, but it needs to be used wisely and realistically.
Blue Ocean Marketing
What’s a blue ocean? It’s a clean, open space without any predators circling you’re your blood. Simply put, when talking about affiliate marketing, it is the process of going out and finding exciting new ways to market your affiliate products that will circumvent the usual press of people that try the same old tactics every time a new product is launched.
Luckily for you, I have a few of those strategies laid out below that will help you not only start thinking about how to get outside the proverbial box, but how to develop your own blue ocean strategies for marketing. In reality, if you do everything in this guide and don’t take shortcuts while staying persistent, you can be very successful.
But, in some niches, you need an edge and when it comes to an edge, blue ocean thinking will almost always get you ahead.
The US Market and Beyond
First up, there’s the US market. Everyone and their mother tries to get in on the US market – whether you’re marketing in the US, Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, or a dozen other countries from around the globe. It’s the granddaddy of big affiliate profits. But, for those that are tired finding their pages on page 12 after three months of hard work, consider the option of moving your sites to UK, CA, or AU search engines instead. If you do a quick search for any major niche in the US market, you’ll usually find a good chunk of high ranking sites that sit atop the listings. But, if you go to another Google site, like Google.co.uk, you’ll find far fewer sites from that region on the list. Google likes to place sites from the region the search engine is serving, but if not enough sites are available, it will start going down the list to the .coms and other options. So, if you find that optimization for “get rid of acne” in the United States is very competitive but rather lax in the UK market, you can buy a site like www.getridofacnenow.co.uk and market that site instead. The actual market of buyers in the UK is about 25% of the US market, but if you’re on the front page and it takes less time to get there, the profitability from that niche spikes considerably. The same can be said for all non-US English markets, including .CA, .AU, and .NZ.
Alternate PPC Marketing Platforms
Since it was launched in 2002, Google AdWords has been the king of all Internet advertising, grossing more than $6 billion a year in revenue for the big ‘G’. But, while Google has 65% of the search traffic in the world, there are other search engines out there that can offer quality paid traffic for a fraction of the cost and a lot less headaches trying to decipher complicated quality scoring. There is Yahoo!, Bing, and even YouTube, where PPC advertising is much less expensive than it is for Google. The bids are usually less, because of less competition, the interface is simpler and while you’ll always get less impressions and clicks, you very well may make more of a profit from those sites based solely on the smaller upfront investment required to get going.
In addition to using alternate PPC engines, you should also consider using Image Matching in the Google Content network. This will allow you to submit a banner ad to AdWords that will appear on content sites alongside related information. Banner ads can take as little as 5 minutes to create and they are infinitely more attractive and effective than standard text ads.
Getting Around the Clickbank Conundrum
The majority of Internet marketers attempt to make money with Clickbank. It is the service everyone has heard of, and admittedly, it is the best option in terms of getting paid immediately and without having to sign up for approval. However, there are hundreds of other affiliate networks out there with products that might make a fortune but that you’ve never heard of.
Especially when it comes to big budget items, you’ll never find massive single options profits on sites like Clickbank. The biggest, standalone products with the massive profit levels are often on private networks or CPAs, as discussed in the previous chapters. If you’re serious about hitting all the possible profit opportunities, make sure you focus on the ways in which you can target the other affiliate networks out there.