A 29 year old high school dropout (slash academic failure) who sold his soul to make money from the Internet. This blog follows the successes, fuck-ups and ball gags of my career in affiliate marketing.All posts from Finch
How many affiliate marketers hit the snooze button in the morning? It’s easy to go back to sleep when you’re not gonna have your balls ripped off for no-showing the 9am office start, right?
Motivation is a rare commodity that comes and goes. You can be rolling in money and still feel the need to work that extra campaign with just one more split test before you call it a night. Likewise, you can be struggling badly and for some reason still find it impossible to break the pattern of procrastination.
Finding the necessary motivation to keep pushing forward is something that can’t be taught, and yet needs to be found. One of my friends asked me the other day why I was so hesitant to give myself a night off, and to be fair, it was a pretty logical question. One night off isn’t going to break a business. Unfortunately I’ve trained myself in to such a hyperactive mindset that even a night off is riddled with subconscious brainstorming for tomorrow morning’s project. I instinctively check my phone for new emails even though I know I can’t reply to them (my phone is a piece of shit).
I recently tweeted that anybody who works as an affiliate marketer for more than 10 years is a wild savage beast who needs to be put down. Judging by the responses, I’m not the only one who’s felt that strain.
Since September, my mind has gone to another place. When I broke up with my ex-girlfriend, I lost a lot of the immediate strength that was holding me together through a difficult time. We’ve exchanged about two text messages in the time that we’ve been apart and there’s a gaping hole in my life where something so sure used to be. I’ve seen my attitude towards work take on a completely different life of its own.
Here’s a true story. I didn’t give up my day job because I was ready for the challenge. I gave it up because I was in a distance relationship and I felt that the best way to make it work was to give myself the freedom of self-employment. How naive does that sound? I pretty much took the plunge in to full time affiliate marketing for reasons totally unrelated to work. Money has never been, and will never be, my motivation.
When that relationship disintegrated – very suddenly – in the space of 24 hours, I found myself staring in to the abyss somewhat. Work had taken a stranglehold over my life, friends had become mere faces, and I felt as if I was drifting out to sea on a raft I couldn’t steer.
I’ve always been very honest about my aspirations. I don’t love affiliate marketing. I’m passionate about running my own business but you won’t see me on Twitter swooning over how many dollars I’ve stacked or how many zeros are on my next pay cheque. Towering riches mean very little to me.
So where does the motivation come from for affiliate marketing? We all have to feel a sense of achievement to be successful in this business without growing depressed. A musician enjoys the thrill of producing art, an actor has the pride of re-watching a movie he’s starred in, a fireman has the joy of saving a life. What the fuck does an affiliate marketer have to justify the love for his profession?
I enjoy what I do, but I don’t love it. If there’s anything I love about my job, it’s the lifestyle that it’s supposed to afford me. And even then, I work longer hours than every single one of my friends. So isn’t that just a fantasy? I could be earning less money and living in more comfort. A slave to the system, maybe, but sleeping at night.
I think the ultimate motivation is the final destination in your head.
When I get out of bed every morning, I look at my to-do list and it reads like a fist up the arse.
Every affiliate marketer has a unique image for what being successful entails. My motivation used to be to break free of a 9-5 job that dictated how I would live my life. I wanted to spend time with my girlfriend, having already promised her that I’d find a way to make an awkward relationship work. I’m not for divulging my private life any more than I already have, but needless to say, I failed.
It was quite surreal how it all happened. I posted this outburst, took a couple of days away, and then went back to work with a completely different mindset. I realized that I was being a weak little bitch and that the only way I could possibly move forward was to set a new goal.
My goal was to work so hard that my original decision to quit my job wouldn’t have been in vain. I’ve said a number of times that affiliate marketing is an extremely lonely business when you’re doing it from home. I’m sure I have readers who open up their RSS at work and wish they could be sitting on the sofa with a laptop and a beer in one hand. But when that novelty wears off, reality sets in. The magnitude of responsibility weighs down and you realize that it’s time to sink or swim.
The shock of a broken down relationship was enough to get the sirens ringing in my head. I felt how vulnerable I’d allowed my life to become and I wanted to achieve something that was mine, and only mine. I’ve seen friends stumble out of university with less direction than they entered with. I’ve seen close family chained to the daily grinds of life in jobs they hate.
If ever I needed motivation for affiliate marketing, it’s that I can escape those realities. This is a unique industry where YOU are the master of your own destiny. Success is a question of how good at your job you’re determined to become. I’m not going to preach some guru bullshit that you can be earning $XX,XXX in 30 days. Hard work is the vital ingredient of every affiliate who’s ever made it and stayed made.
I’ve made up my mind recently that I want to move to America and face the challenge of setting up a business abroad. Coming from a sleepy town where nothing much happens, those are some tough targets to achieve. My motivation is that I want to break free of everything I’ve known so far. I don’t want to settle for the 14 hour working days or the very short sleepless nights.
One of those popular inspiration tips you hear mentioned is to surround yourself with visions of your future. Pin shit on the wall, change your desktop to a tropical island, remember to smile in the mirror four times a day. Whatever.
I work in the opposite way. On my wall, you’ll find pinned a collection of memories and photos that bring back pain and regret. I’m not a sadist, but for me personally, pain is a greater motivation than some nice sunset wallpaper which has an emotional attachment of precisely jackshit in my heart.
Having to stare at some of the biggest regrets of my life is the only way I know to move forward and work hard enough to slowly erase them from my mind. If I ever find my attention lapsing during the day, or my mind wandering, I focus hard on those memories and use them to kick on. It’s easy to find a reason to put in that extra hour if it takes you one step closer to escaping the skeletons in your own god damn closet.
Landing Pages and The Urgency of Time?
This sounds like some kind of fucked up marketing ebook slash Harry Potter novel hybrid. But rest assured it’s not. It’s just the first title that came to my head. And seeing how I’ve been writing a “Beginners Guide” ebook for most of the weekend, I thought I’d go all J.K Rowling on the world.
If you’re new to CPA marketing:
1. Why are you reading this blog?
2. Will you buy my ebook?
It’ll be out in early December and it’ll teach you absolutely everything you need to know to start turning a profit in CPA marketing. Well actually, it won’t. But I’m not gonna tell you that when I’m actually selling it. Expect a Warrior Forum sized circle jerk of paid testimonials, artificial coupon price reductions and quite possibly Finch on his hands and knees. PLEASE YOU MOTHERFUCKING RETARD JUST BUY MY GOD DAMN BOOK THERE’S ONLY 47 RETARDS LEFT TO SELL IT TO.
Anyway, I got some positive feedback from the last post. Seems like there’s a demand for more landing page tips, so I’m going to address a technique that will nearly always increase your conversion rates.
It’s all about how to fuck a customer’s mind in to believing that there’s no better time than now for busting out the plastic and adding a swish $35 to your stats.
And I’ve pretty much just given the game away right there. It’s all about creating a sense of urgency in time.
Have you ever read a bunch of offer descriptions claiming that Product X has been “optimized, tried, tested, passed around, fobbed off and maximized” for the best conversion rates? What this basically means is that some dude took a look at their design and added a few calls-to-action that practically scream out to the user to order now or forever hold your peace. If you’ve engaged in some serious split testing in the past, you’ll be aware that one of the ultimate factors between success and failure is a sense of urgency in the consumer’s mind.
If you’ve got your eyes open, you should be seeing examples like this all the time:
So if we can accept that creating an urgency of time is key to increasing final conversion rates, why do so few marketers implement the same techniques to increase their clickthrough rates? This is a question that has always confused me.
Practically every variety of banner, text ad or Facebook flier I use is underlined by some kind of urgency to act now. Particularly when you step in to the realms of PPV and “interruption marketing”, it becomes even more important to stress the need to click and click now. Click now or you’ll miss out.
One of my favourite marketing techniques (but obviously not so precious to me that I’m going to keep it secret) is the 24 hour window sell. You might wonder what the hell that is, and rightly so, because I made the term up just then. But what I’m referring to is a landing page that was created “today” and will become redundant “tomorrow”.
Through the power of PHP, it’s really quite easy to add some dynamic controls to your page that edit the dates and create a realistic aura of “hot off the press”. I’m sure many affiliates are using this already to alter aspects of their landing pages. I’ve seen examples varying from the dates of comments, to the date of a post being published. But you’re really going to start to see the benefits if the date becomes an integral piece of your actual story.
I’m not going to out my own methods of doing that because it’s quite custom. But it’s all about creating relevance and urgency in one hit. If you can pair this up with a geographical scripting element, you should be golden for some mean looking conversion rates.
While basic PHP hacks are effective, you really need to be looking a little deeper in to your marketing efforts to see how time can be leveraged in other positive ways.
Taking a dieting product as an example, how could we build an urgency of time? How can we make Product X scream in the consumer’s face that it needs to be snapped up now? For dieting, it depends on the season.
Given how it’s nearly fucking Christmas already, you could try something like this:
“The acai berry is the world’s most in-demand superfood. But as we approach the new year, thousands of Americans will be looking to lose weight as part of their new years resolutions. Unfortunately we have to raise our prices during the peak season time. That means, you only have until [PHP SCRIPT INSERT] to start our revolutionary diet for a bargain $X.XX”
“You’ll still be able to buy Product X after that time. But unfortunately we can only sell it at the peak season price of [How cruel are you?]. This is still a fantastic deal for the body you’ve always dreamed of having, right? If you want to take advantage of our limited free supply, you must act now.”
“Save $XX.XX By Ordering Today! ACT NOW”
This is just another example, following on from the last post, of how you can turn a negative (the cost) in to a positive (what the customer is saving).
It’s also completely unverified considering 1) I don’t promote acai, and 2) I write this shit in about 20 minutes. But what I do know for sure is that time has, and continues to be, one of the biggest defining factors in whether I make a sale or not.
It’s worth taking a look at how your pages could be given the dynamic spark that brings them to life. Get creative in how you build an urgency to the consumer. There are so many innovative ways of doing so, and they don’t only have to be restricted to a landing page. Your banners, Facebook ads, sponsored search listings…they’re all fair game for a little mindfuck time-to-act-now makeover.
PS. If you’re new and don’t understand what just happened, buy my ebook in December. It’ll stimulate your mind AND offend you in one cool hit. A bit like a donkey punch, but with marketing attached.
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