Sneaky ClickBank Affilate Trick…

Here’s a very sneaky ClickBank trick that I’ve never seen anyone else use.  It’s not a get-rich-overnight type of trick… more like something useful to have in your toolbag for those times when it’s needed.

Here’s the Story…

On occasion I want / need to get an advance copy of a ClickBank product.  This came up to day when I started to get a flood of emails for Andrew Fox’s new Dominating ClickBank 2.  I may be able to get a preview copy from Andrew… but in this case I just didn’t have time.  It launches tomorrow and I want to preview the content to determine whether or not I can create a value-added offer for the launch.

I do this on occasion and it’s usually a quick way to make $4k – $10k.  In fact, I used this with a friend of mine recently and he made over $20,000 in the first week doing a launch product like this.

Here’s the Problem…

Affiliates are already promoting the heck out of the product.  Some of them have advance copies… most don’t.  I want a clear advantage on launch so I definitely want a copy of the product before-hand.  Waiting until launch before I see the product could cost me several thousand dollars.So how do I get an advance copy?  I could simply ask Andrew for a copy.  But that takes time and he’s probably up to his eyeballs with other launch stuff with just a day to go (even I admit I’m cutting this one close).

So I have the sneaky little ClickBank trick I use.  You see, even though his sales page isn’t even up yet his product is in the CickBank database.  And that means I can use a little bit of technical magic to go straight to the order page.

Solution, Please?

I created a nifty little software utility that finds all the possible shopping cart pages in ClickBank and lists them for me.  Then I can simply double-click on the product I want (there’s usually just 1 or 2) and order it.I’ve even had vendors sometimes email me wondering how I already bought their product.  It can be funny… one panicked because he thought he had a premature launch.  High comedy.

There’s a little risk that the vendor may not have downloads and content ready yet, but I haven’t had that problem yet.  Every time so far I’ve been able to get access to everything.  On occasion the content will be updated after I have it… but most people offer perpetual downloads these days.

Besides… worst case I just get a refund from ClickBank or I wait until the actual launch and get it then.

Anyway, this can be a very powerful (if infrequent) strategy to use to really take advantage of product launches.  You can have a gigantic edge over the poor schleps who don’t have access to the content pre-launch.

Click here to get my Sneaky ClickBank Cart Trick software.  It’s FREE.

Watch The Video…

I made a short video of the software in action so you can see what I’m talking about.  Click here to watch it.  Tricky, tricky, tricky.

Automating AdWords Campaigns…

Recently I’ve been playing around with the Commission Blueprint product that launched a couple weeks ago.  So far it appears to be working fairly well.  My first campaign is up and making about $120 / day.  Not bad… but I can make it better.

I feel like when they built the $6,000,000 Man (for those of you old enough to remember that series).  I can make it bigger, faster, stronger 😉

Without giving away any of the details, the first part of the process involves creating a *lot* of AdWords ad groups.  In the videos they advocate using SpeedPPC… the obvious downside being that it costs almost 500 bones.

Not a big deal for me since I own SpeedPPC.  But even after using SpeedPPC to create my ads there was a fair amount of additional work I had to do to get my ads ready to go.  I *HATE* work!  If I can automate it, I will.

So I searched around on the web and found a pretty slick little utility called AdGrenade.  It does most of what I used SpeedPPC for plus it automates the part I had to do manually for the Commission Blueprint process.  I got it for free.  Your mileage may vary.  I think the author is giving it away as a bonus.  You may be able to contact him and buy it standalone.  I don’t know.  (website: www.adgrenade.com).

What’s funny is his interface is a very obvious ripoff of my Laser Keyword Generator.  And before you ask… no, I didn’t write them both.  I’m pretty open about my tools and software development stuff when people ask, so I assume he asked and I told him how I developed LKG.  Because I’m such a nice guy, I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt 😉

Anyway, his software still didn’t completely automate things because I needed to interface with some Excel files.  I created my first project without any Excel integration.  AdGrenade created 630 ad groups in about 5 seconds (I’m not even kidding).

For my second go ‘round I decided I’d add the Excel integration myself.  I created the AdGrenade XLS Reader to make it an *almost* totally automated process.  I’m very pleased with my results when I combine the 2 programs.  It does pretty much exactly what I want it to do.

The only thing that would better is if it were just one program.  I’ll probably send my program to Chris, the AdGrenade author and offer him the source to integrate it.  We’ll see.  He already made one change for me to his program so I could make my XLS reader.  He had it done later on the same day I emailed him.  Pretty good for a free program… it’s like he’s trying to steal my gig, or something

If you’re familiar with Commission Blueprint then this is totally and ridiculously cool (would I do anything else?).  If you don’t know about Commission Blueprint then this won’t really matter to you (unless you’re looking to replace half of SpeedPPC without spending $500).

Anyway, here’s a quick video I made.  The video is about 6 minutes.  In real life I can do everything in the video in about 30 seconds.  Cool beans!

You can download my add-on to AdGrenade here.  It’s free.  The interface isn’t nearly as refined as most of my other freebies… but I only spent about an hour writing it.  I don’t suppose there’s much of a market for this… free or otherwise.  Enjoy!

Here’s the link to the video.  I wanted to show it live in the post… but I’m embarrassed to admit I don’t know how.  Yet!

Reinventing the Buying Process

Wow!  I mean… just WOW!  I just had a legitimately cool offline buying experience that I need to share.

I’ve been on vacation for just over a week and I still have 4 weeks to go.  I brought my new 17” MacBook Pro along as my computer.  Killer computer.  I love it.  Well, except when it comes to fitting it inside my old Targus computer backpack.  I’ve been trekking through California for 8 days with my $3,100+ computer poking out the top of my bag that I can’t even zip up.

I’m pretty loose with my stuff… but even I was feeling nervous about the security of my notebook.  So I took the opportunity to stop by the Apple store in downtown San Francisco to pick up a new bag.

First of all, if you’ve never been to an Apple store you need to go.  Soon.

It’s a completely different consumer experience from anything else out there.  Even if you don’t have a Mac it’s worth visiting the store just to see how it’s possible to re-invent the buying experience.  Everything from their Genius Bar to the look and feel of the store is completely different from anywhere else.  Plus you can see how they create true buzz in their stores.  It’s cool.

So I pick out my new bag while my kids are playing at the Mac stations for kids and begging me to buy stuff — very clever.  And when I go to check out I don’t see a checkout counter… there’s just Apple employees helping people everywhere.  So I ask where I go to checkout.  And the guy says “right here if you’re ready.”  Slick.

He pulls out a wireless PDA with a scanner and credit card swipe slot.  He scans my bag and the Speck Skin I picked out, swipes my card and asks if I need a printed receipt or if they can just email it to me.  Of course I select the email option.  Which means they get my email address (I don’t know if they’ll use that for anything else).  And they have a built-in excuse to contact me.  In fact, that email receipt is what prompted me to blog this.

Anyway… no lines, no waiting, nothing.  The employee who helped me is also the one who checked me out.  He puts a couple blue stickers on my stuff and I’m good to go.  I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a truly different buying experience.  Everybody does what everyone else does.  And then I have an experience like the Apple store and I’m reminded that you can make anything and everything better.  It’s okay to question even the most basic of operations.  And even something as ordinary as the checkout process can build customer loyalty.

Go check out your local Apple Store.  Pay attention.  You’ll learn something about marketing and product presentation.  Right down to the checkout process.

Count Something.

A few days ago I started a post about about the book “Better”.  Today I’m going to finish that post.  At the end of the book was a “cheat sheet” of sorts for how to improve performance.  It was a good list.  And one of the items absolutely jumped off the page at me.  It was titled very simply: Count Something.

A few years ago when I used to work as revenue enhancement consultant for small businesses I used to really harp on the importance of knowing your numbers.  How crucial it is to business success.  And here’s what I came to learn after looking at the numbers of diving deep into the business operations of dozens of companies.

Results Never Lie

The first truth I learned is that results never lie.  That may seem ridiculously simple to you, but it’s a profoundly deep truth to really get in touch with.  Because every business owner wants to tell (and believe) a story about his/her business is where they are.  They have great reasons and excuses why right now is an aberration and tomorrow will be different.  But the results say otherwise.  Does that make any sense?  You’re far better off facing and dealing with the reality of your results than excusing them away and hoping/expecting them to get better when circumstance changes.  That probably deserves a post of it own… how people get tricked into believing that their results aren’t real, but their expectations are.

Another truth I learned is about the numbers in your business (internet or otherwise).  Numbers in business are an interesting thing.  I can look at the numbers in a business and tell you almost immediately what that business needs to work on and improve.  Now that’s another thing that when stated so plainly there’s a tendency to say “well, duh”.

So why don’t more business owners take their numbers seriously?  It’s shocking to me how few business owners even know their core numbers.  They are the pulse of our business and you can’t tell me your gross profit margin?  You can’t tell me, in internet marketing, your cost-per-visitor?  Revenue per impression?  Those are basic numbers.  What about when we get into more advanced, and more powerful, ones?

But here’s the interesting thing about numbers.  It’s also why I’m so fascinated by them.  By themselves they never give you any answers.  But they do tell you exactly which questions to ask.  And that’s powerful to know.

I think a lot of business owners feel like they don’t have the time or resources to track the numbers precisely because there are no answers in the numbers.  They think they are just for the accountants and bankers.  How wrong they are.

Knowing your numbers gives you incredible flexibility and creativity in your business.  When you know exactly which questions to ask and focus on you have freed yourself up to be ridiculously creative in answering only the questions that matter.  Most business owners spend an inordinate amount of time wandering around answerign meaningless questions their business isn’t asking.  Why?  Because they don’t know how to focus on the real questions their business has.

For example, let’s look at a typical internet business advertising on Google.  Just with the basics you can look at several levels of numbers.  Impressions, clicks, leads, and conversions are probably the most basic.  If you really look at those numbers, even their most basic and raw form they will begin to expose the questions you should be asking in your business.  If your impressions are lagging then you should be asking questions about keywords, targets and demographics, for example.  Clicks are good but conversions low?  That tells you what questions to ask.

And the human brain is so amazingly cool and powerful.  It absolutely LOVES questions.  It loves to know what to focus on.  Without the distraction of confusion you may be astounded at the answers you get when you know just what to ask.

And that (in a roundabout sort of a way ;-)) brings me to “Count Something.”

Want to make your business better continually.  Here’s an idea.  Count something.  Anything.  Here are the rules… it must be something you can continue to count.  In other words, you can’t count something that is static and doesn’t change.  And that’s the only rule.

Count Something!

And here’s what will happen over time.  Your brain will begin to ask questions about that something.  And you will start to have creative flashes about how you might influence that something.  And over time that something transforms from a external something into a malleable, pliable, shapable something that is internal to your circle of influence.

For example, there is a great story in the book about a doctor named Ingaz Semmelweis.  He started to count something in his hospital and discovered some radical answers that led to some unbelievable stunning medical improvements.  Read his story on wikipedia.  Seriously… go read it.

If you’re not counting anything right now you can start with something basic… like impressions.  Or conversions.  Or whatever.

Live that number for a period of time and you will be impressed with how much influence you begin to have over it.  You’ll be surprised at the insights you have into it.  And you may be shocked (and at times frustrated) with how many other things it shows you to count.

And when you get enoiugh of those numbers within your sphere of influence and creativity then the floodgates begin to open.  When you learn, within your own business, how to grow, shrink, or maintain a number you are learning to be master at business.

Try This…

So here’s a challenge for you.  Pick something right now in your business that you can start counting today.  In my own business (Site Sniper Pro) I might pick something like “how many of my customers are using Site Sniper Pro to sell their own products?”  Over time I can track that number and maybe gain some interesting insights in how and why people buy and use my software.

The neat thing is I don’t have to start out with answers.  I don’t know what that number is or what it means yet.  But I do know that if I keep counting that number eventually my brain will have a question about it.  And as soon as my brian starts asking questions it simultaneously starts answering them.  And just in the process of counting I can open up new avenues of business or improve my existing one.

What if I discover I have a high percentage of customer who are promoting their own products (as opposed to affiliates)?  Might that lead to changes in my sales copy?  What if it’s a low number?  Could I target them more?  Do I need to increase my affinity with that market?  You see, right now it’s a number that is entirely outside of my control because it is unknown and undiscovered.  Once I bring it into my consciousness I begin the process of influencing it and uncovering what it influences.  Makes sense?  There’s a web of intrugue there that I could follow for a long time… with constantly improving results in my business as the evidence left behind of me uncovering that web.

So count something today.  Then count it again tomorrow, or next week, or whenever it seems right.  And allow yourself to question that number.  And experiment with that number.  And learn from that number.  And your influence will be expanded.

Then count something new.

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Laser URL Tutorial Videos are Ready

Last week I privately posted some new free software that I wrote.  It started off as a small utility to help me target certain URLs for advertising.  Think of it as a different form of site targeting that doesn’t rely on AdSense placements.

Well, the software kind of took on a life of its own.  It became a far larger and far more detailed project than I originally anticipated.  For such a seemingly simple tool there are actually a lot of options and needs.

So I’ve created a 5–part video tutorial that explains most of the features (every one that I can remember).  If you don’t understand why anyone would ever need this software then that’s okay… just keep walking… this isn’t for you.  If you know what this software is used for then you’ll likely find it to be a very valuable part of your arsenal.

If you don’t already have the Laser URL Targeting software you can download it here.  It’s free.  These videos use Laser URL 1.0.4.8 so you may need to update to the latest version to have all these features.  To update your copy just download the setup and install it over your existing version.

The videos are broken into 5 parts according to the user interface of the software.

Video 1 covers building your URL targets through the search engines (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft).  Click here to watch Part 1 (opens in a new window).

Video 2 covers the URL target list and how to manipulate and work with your results.  Click here to watch Part 2 (opens in a new window).

Video 3 covers building your URL target list through Alexa and Quantcast.  Click here to watch Part 3 (opens in a new window).

Video 4 covers analyzing and exporting (using) your targeted URL list.  Click here to watch Part 4 (opens in a new window).

Video 5 covers filtering your results for the best results.  Click here to watch Part 5 (opens in a new window).

P.S.  I don’t usually pimp my free software much, but I’ll take this opportunity to do just that.  If you haven’t tried it yet you’re missing out 😉

All software runs on Windows computers (even though I’m making this post from my Mac).

Marketing Related:

Download Laser URL Targeting

Download Laser Keyword Targeting

Download Link Hopper (redirect tracer… click here for a better description)

Download Site Sniper Pro (Google placement targeting automation – trial version)

Other:

iTunes Library Mover

Amazon Grabber (desktop edition)