Back To Basics With Facebook Ads
Mastering The Art Of Getting Shit Done
Laser Targeting Your PPV Campaigns

Mastering The Art Of Getting Shit Done

The summer is coming in London Town. And that spells major trouble for my work productivity levels should I decide that airing my balls to some rays is time well spent.

One of the questions I get asked by my non-affiliate friends is how I manage to not waste my life playing videogames and watching TV. It would be very easy to hit cruise control and let business take care of business while I watch four back to back seasons of Prison Break. Obviously I’m not talking from experience. Anybody who has enough time to watch 3418 minutes of espionage during working hours should probably stop blogging about productivity tips.

Err, not mine

It would be rude not to finish what I started so fuck you.

I’ve been experimenting with various time management techniques, Firefox extensions, and god knows what else in my pursuit of a productive working day.

One of the most talked about productivity tips is simply to make a to-do list.

Now, I’m not knocking anybody who manages to stay on top of business with a simple notepad. In fact, I envy you. But personally speaking, if I’m having a lazy day, I’ll just give myself less to do on my to-do list. Which defeats the purpose of making a list altogether.

There will be some guys and girls out there who shake their heads in disgust.

“Productivity tools? Do you need Antony Robbins to inspire you to brush your teeth too? Just get it done and stop fart arsing around, you emo blogging prick”.

Yes, some people are capable of sitting at a desk, plowing through their tasks and not so much as batting an eyelid at a fresh new post on FinchSells.com. Others, thank God, are easily distracted.

I was sitting in a library musing through various self-help books the other week (don’t ask). I stumbled across a method in a book called Stress Proof Your Life, which is a really dull read except for this one particular method. So don’t go canvasing Amazon for a new bedtime story just yet.

It basically outlined the power of momentum in your working day. I’m sure many affiliate marketers are in the same boat when I say that momentum is probably the deciding factor in how much we get done on any given day.

I find it very easy to sit at my desk and tear through hours and hours of work. But only if I have the momentum where I feel like I’m getting somewhere. Otherwise I’ll bitch and moan and find the most fiendish of ways to waste my own time until somebody invites me to a pub where I can pretend that I’ve been at it hammer and tongs all day over a pint of the good stuff.

Momentum is everything.

If you set yourself a simple to-do list, it becomes very easy to switch off after you’ve completed a task. How often have you found yourself scratching your head at 5pm having spent the morning whacking off and telling yourself that it’s all okay because you don’t have plans tonight and those tasks will get done eventually?

I’ve started breaking down my tasks in to three different categories:

6 x 10 minute tasks
6 x 20 minute tasks
6 x 30 minute tasks

The idea is that you set a recurring timer to run through the time allocations with no gap in between. For example, the first hour of my morning may look like this:

10 minutes – Reply to emails from night before.
10 minutes – Analyze stats for yesterday’s campaigns.
10 minutes – Update PPC ad groups with new A-B split test.
10 minutes – Update Facebook campaigns with fresh images.
10 minutes – Add another 100 test URLs for PPV campaign.
10 minutes – Set and forget my automated scripts for the day.

These are all tasks that I could quite easily stretch to take an hour out of my day each if I was working from a simple to-do list with no time constraint. By setting the recurring ten minute alarm, you’re concentrating on one task for a very short window. It encourages you to keep moving, quit Twittering and start building the all important momentum that gets shit done.

After all my ten minute chores are done, I go straight in to the next set of activities. It might read like this:

20 minutes – Research demographics for Offer X. Decide on test groups.
20 minutes – Find and buy suitable imagery for the landing page.
20 minutes – Plan out important points to be conveyed in landing page copy.
20 minutes – Set up hosting, tracking & domain.
20 minutes – Sort out laundry, put on some clothes and apologize to the neighbours.
20 minutes – Carry out keyword research and assess prices across different platforms.

Why would I distract myself with laundry when I’m in the middle of setting up a campaign? It may sound like a really bad idea, but as long as you stick religiously to the timings, you begin to develop the momentum where it doesn’t matter what you need to do – you just do it. And that is the ultimate mindset you’re looking to achieve. To be able to get the ugly crap done.

I leave myself an hour at the end of the day to deal with the inevitable bullshit that arises while I work. Dropped offers, phone calls, email correspondence…the necessities of running a business that can be ballbreakingly annoying if you allow them to dictate your working day.

Everybody has their own way of staying productive. Some people are just natural troopers who’ll rip up the earth to get their latest project online. If that’s you, congratulations, come back when I have something worth reading.

An excellent tool I was pointed towards not too long ago is Leechblock. This is a Firefox Extension that you can set and forget in your browser. It will display an ugly red “THIS SITE IS BLOCKED” message when you try to access your usual time wasting sites. Twitter, Facebook, Statcounter…whatever you find yourself clicking back to, get it blocked and get on with your work.

Staying productive is one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced since becoming a full-time affiliate. Dragging myself out of bed when the body says no, fighting the urge to slack off over a bacon sarnie when I’ve drunk too much the night before. It’s not easy and it requires self-discipline. I can’t remember who I’m stealing this from but it’s the gospel truth: Procrastination is masturbation…you’re only ever fucking yourself.

It doesn’t really matter if there’s a method to your madness. Being static as an affiliate is the ultimate recipe for disaster. Do what you have to do and then reward yourself when it’s done. Even if the reward lasts 3418 minutes.

EDIT: Most people who’ve added me on AIM are pretty much aware that I don’t actually use AIM unless it’s a full moon or something. I’ve created a Formspring account for people to ask their questions somewhere I can answer them in my own time. And of course, for the odd smart arse to post something witty. You can post questions here: http://www.formspring.me/FinchSells. If it’s a question that you don’t want other people reading, forward it to my email and I will reply on a rainy day.

Laser Targeting Your PPV Campaigns

Christ, I almost forgot about this place. About two weeks ago, I had a fetching list of topics to post about. So what happened?

Amsterdam happened.

An extended break in Holland has helped to relax my senses. Unfortunately to the point where I can’t remember much of what I wanted to say. Whenever I tell people that I’ve been to Amsterdam, I always feel the need to make it perfectly clear that “No, I didn’t.”

And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t remember, okay? Perhaps my single most striking memory of The Dam was being perched in a toilet, space caked out of my face, wondering what would happen if you whipped a pigeon. I swear to God, it seemed philosophical at the time.

Anyway, I believe the last post was about shock marketing tactics and how you could stun somebody in to clicking a creative if you pressed the right buttons.

This post swings to the other end of the scale. I want to look at how you could go about laser targeting – a favourite term of mine – with a traffic source as anonymous and faceless as PPV. It’s incredibly easy, but to do so, you will invariably need to sacrifice the one thing that keeps a super affiliate’s bed wet at night…volume.

Since I decided to start rambling about PPV again, I’ve been bombarded by contextual marketing virgins who would like to get a piece of the pie but just don’t know where to start. So I will say that this road is generally much easier and much cheaper than the methods outlined in my last post.

The best way to take a vice like grip over your PPV targeting is to only actually target one site. In some cases, even one page.

While providing a visual shock like the car crash scenario is often good for general targeting, you may find more success by designing your PPV creatives to be a working extension of the site that you’re targeting. You can’t go ripping the brand name and providing false endorsements, but you can use the user’s web location to your advantage.

One option may be to target the sport section of a national newspaper to crowbar in a PPV campaign along the lines of…

“Hey [Newspaper Title] Readers,

We’re offering online readers of […] an EXCLUSIVE free ticket to [Whatever sports event]. Just click here and enter your zipcode to continue…

…And don’t forget to buy tomorrow’s edition of […]”

Yes, it sounds pretty much identical to the recent banned Facebook ads citing the user’s age as a barrier to entry. And that’s true. But the secret is to make the reader feel as if they’ve stumbled across a mystery freebie while carefully avoiding any suggestion that you’re the actual owner of the target site. Sound a little shady? Yep, so is a large segment of the shit that actually works for affiliates in the CPA space.

Another favourite tactic of mine is to hijack the inferiority complex to make the user click-through to where I want them to be.

I’ll use Runescape as an example. Here is a game where you can register a character and engage with thousands of other users in a sprawling virtual world. I’m no market research wizard, but what can I say for sure about a lot of Runescape players? They’re a bunch of pansy dicks who don’t like to be made to feel inferior.

That said, I thought it’d be a good idea to design a PPV creative that would be specifically catered for Runescape users persuading them to register on the closest matching gaming offer I could find.

The general gist of the headline was…

“There’s A Reason The Top Runescape Players Are Flocking To [My Offer Name Here]”

…But I can’t tell you until you click through and see it for yourself”

I was hoping to spark an immediate reaction where firstly, the player doesn’t like being left in the dark or having it implied that he’s not good at Runescape. And secondly, there’s the inquisitive nature of wanting to know more about a new game that ranks well with the same crowd.

Given that so many of the Runescape crowd are young, retarded, and living in cloud cuckoo land, you can have a field day with your creatives until you’re driving a decent amount of clicks and conversions.

I’m using Runescape and the gaming niche as a convenient example – because I know it won’t make you much money if you rip it like several people did with the last post. But the real trick is to start thinking outside the box. Look at how you could apply the same logic to offers with higher payouts and higher traffic.

If you’re new to PPV, I would strongly recommend you learn to walk before you try to run. Just choose one target site. Maybe even one page within it.

Search for a suitable offer that can be wedged on to the back of your target for maximum relevancy. Nothing grabs the user’s attention like a creative that asks them whether they really want to do what they’re about to do, but maybe that’s a method for a whole new post…

As I’ve said all along, when you’re advertising with PPV, you need to understand the way that interruption marketing works. While the last post detailed a method of interrupting the user with something visually extravagant and attention catching, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sometimes you can exploit interruption marketing by making sure the user doesn’t even know that there’s been an interruption. Blend in with your target source and produce creatives that sit well with the user’s natural navigation through the target site. I’m not going to go in to specifics, but when I’m planning my PPV campaigns, I like to ask myself three questions about the targets I’m adding.

1. Why is the user on this page?
2. Where is the user most likely to click next?
3. Where did the user come from?

If you can begin to paint a picture of the user’s browsing habits, you can design a creative that captures their attention so much more readily. Headline phrases like “Before you…” and “Now that you’ve…” play a key role in my PPV creatives and if you plug your brain in, you can probably put two and two together to see why. Happy hunting.

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