If you’ve ever read an article about eBay, you will have seen the kinds of incomes
people make – it isn’t unusual to hear of people making thousands of dollars per
month on eBay.
Next time you’re on eBay, take a look at how many PowerSellers there are: you’ll
find quite a few. Now consider that every single one of one of them must be
making at least $1,000 per month, as that’s eBay’s requirement for becoming a
• Silver PowerSellers make at least $3,000 each month,
• Gold PowerSellers make more than $10,000,
• Platinum Powersellers make more than $25,000, and
• Titanium PowerSellers make at least a whopping $150,000 in sales every
The fact that these people exist gives you come idea of the income possibilities
here. Most of them never set out to even set up a business on eBay – they simply
started selling a few things, and then kept going. There are plenty of people
whose full-time job is selling things on eBay, and some of them have been doing
it for years now.
Can you imagine that? Once they’ve bought the stock, everything else is pretty
much pure profit for these people – they don’t need to pay for any business
premises, staff, or anything else. There are multi-million pound businesses
making less in actual profit than eBay PowerSellers do.
Even if you don’t want to quit your job and really go for it, you can still use eBay
to make a significant second income. You can pack up orders during the week and
take them down to the post office for delivery each Saturday. There are few other
things you could be doing with your spare time that have anywhere near that kind
of earning potential.
What’s more, eBay doesn’t care who you are, where you live, or what you look
like: some PowerSellers are very old, or very young. Some live out in the middle
of nowhere where selling on eBay is one of the few alternatives to farming or
being very poor. eBay tears down the barriers to earning that the real world
constantly puts up. There’s no job interview and no commuting involved – if you
can post things, you can do it.
Put it this way: if you know where to get something reasonably cheaply that you
could sell, then you can sell it on eBay – and since you can always get discounts
for bulk at wholesale, that’s not exactly difficult. Buy a job lot of something indemand
cheaply, sell it on eBay, and you’re making money already, with no setup
If you want to dip your toe in the water before you commit to actually buying
anything, then you can just sell things that you’ve got lying around in the house.
Search through that cupboard of stuff you never use, and you’ll probably find
you’ve got a few hundred dollars’ worth of stuff lying around in there! This is the
power of eBay: there is always someone who wants what you’re selling, whatever
it might be, and since they’ve come looking for you, you don’t even need to do
anything to get them to buy it.
So you want to get started on eBay? Well, that’s great! There are only a few little
things you need to learn to get started. Read on!
What You Need to Know Before Getting Started
So you’ve decided that you want to get started as a seller on eBay. There are a few
things that you really need to know before you go and throw yourself in at the
What to Sell:
First off, you need to know what it is you’re going to sell: what’s your speciality?
You’ll do far better on eBay if you become a great source for certain kind of
products, as people who are interested in those products will come back to you
again and again. You won’t get any loyalty or real reputation if you just sell
rubbish at random.
When you think about what to sell, there are a few things to consider. The most
important of these is to always sell what you know. If you try to sell something
that you just don’t know anything about then you’ll never write a good
description and sell it for a good price.
You might think you’re not especially interested in anything, but if you think
about what kind of things you usually buy and which websites you go to most
often, I’m sure you’ll discover some kind of interest. If all else fails mention it to
your friends and family: they’ll almost certainly say “Oh, well why don’t you
sell…” and you’ll slap your forehead.
Out of the things you know enough about, you should then consider which things
you could actually get for a good enough price to resell, and how suitable they
would be for posting. If you can think of something of that you’re knowledgeable
about and it’s small and light enough for postage to be relatively cheap, then
Don’t worry if you think the thing you’re selling is too obscure – it isn’t. There’s a
market for almost everything on eBay, even things that wouldn’t sell once in a
year if you stocked them in a shop. You’ll probably do even better if you fill a
niche than if you sell something common.
Tax and Legal Matters
If you earn enough money, you should be aware that you’re going to have to start
paying tax – this won’t be done for you. If you decide to sell on eBay on a full-time
basis, you should probably register as a business.
There are going to be ups and downs when you sell on eBay. Don’t pack it in if
something goes a little wrong in your first few sales: the sellers who are successful
on eBay are the ones who enjoy it, and stick at it whatever happens.
Anyone can sell on eBay, if they believe in themselves – and if you do decide it’s
not for you, then the start-up costs are so low that you won’t really have lost
If you’re ready to start selling, then the next thing you need to know is the
different auction types, so you can decide which ones you will use to sell your
5 Easy Steps to Posting Your First eBay Auction
It’s surprisingly simple to get started posting your very first auction on eBay.
Here’s what you need to do.
Step 1: Open an eBay seller’s account.
If you’ve bought things on eBay, then you already have an account – just log in
with it and click ‘Sell’ in the toolbar at the top of the page, then click ‘Create a
seller’s account’. If you’ve never used eBay before, then you’ll need to open an
account first using the ‘register’ link underneath the toolbar, and then click ‘Sell’
and ‘Create a seller’s account’. The eBay site will then guide you through the
process. For security, this may involve giving card details and bank information.
Step 2: Decide what to sell.
For your first little experiment with eBay, it doesn’t really matter what you sell.
Take a look around the room you’re in – I’m sure there’s something in there that
you’re not all that attached to and could put in the post. Small books and CDs are
ideal first items.
Step 3: Submit your item.
Click ‘Sell’, and you’re on your way to listing your item.
The first thing you need to do is choose a category – it’s best to just type in what
the item is and let eBay choose for you. Next, write a title and description.
Include key words you think people will search for in the title box, and all the
information you have about the item in the description box.
Now set a starting price. $0.01 is the best starting price, as it draws people in to
bid who otherwise wouldn’t, and items will almost never finish at such a low
price. The next thing to set is the duration of the auction: 3, 5, 7 or 10 days. This
is up to you: longer sales will usually get more bids, but will also seem to drag on
forever. If you’ve taken a picture, add it now – items with pictures always sell for
more. Finally, tick the payment methods you will accept (just PayPal is best for
now), and where you will post to (limit yourself to your own country to begin
with). Submit and you’re done!
Step 4: Wait for it to sell.
This is just a matter of sitting back and letting eBay do its thing – buyers will find
your item and leave bids on it. Some bidders might email you with questions
about the item, and you should do your best to answer these questions as quickly
as you can.
** Remember that if your item doesn’t sell then you can list it again for free. **
Step 5: Collect payment and post it.
eBay will sent your buyer emails guiding them through the process of sending you
payment for the item. Make sure you have the money before you send anything.
Once you’ve got the payment, all you need to do is pack the item for posting
(make sure to use some bubble wrap), take the buyer’s address from the
confirmation email eBay sent you, and write it on the parcel. Put some stamps on,
post it, and you’re done!
An eBay Seller’s Checklist
Being a seller is a lot of responsibility, and sometimes you might feel like you’re
not doing everything you should be. This simple checklist will help you keep on
top of things.
Have you found out everything you possibly could about your items? Try typing
their names into a search engine – you might find out something you didn’t know.
If someone else is selling the same thing as you, then always try to provide more
information about it than they do.
Do you monitor the competition? Always keep an eye on how much other items
the same as or similar to yours are selling, and what prices they’re being offered
at. There’s usually little point in starting a fixed price auction for $100 when
someone else is selling the item for $90.
Have you got pictures of the items? It’s worth taking the time to photograph your
items, especially if you have a digital camera. If you get serious about eBay but
don’t have a camera, then you will probably want to invest in one at some point.
Are you emailing your sellers? It’s worth sending a brief email when transactions
go through: something like a simple “Thank you for buying my item, please let
me know when you have sent the payment”. Follow this up with “Thanks for your
payment, I have posted your [item name] today”. You will be surprised how many
problems you will avoid just by communicating this way.
Also, are you checking your emails? Remember that potential buyers can send
you email about anything at any time, and not answering these emails will just
make them go somewhere else instead of buying from you.
Do your item description pages have everything that buyers need to know? If
you’re planning to offer international delivery, then it’s good to make a list of the
charges to different counties and display it on each auction. If you have any
special terms and conditions (for example, if you will give a refund on any item as
long as it hasn’t been opened), then you should make sure these are displayed
Have you been wrapping your items correctly? Your wrapping should be
professional for the best impression: use appropriately sized envelopes or parcels,
wrap the item in bubble wrap to stop it from getting damaged, and print labels
instead of hand-writing addresses. Oh, and always use first class post – don’t be
Do you follow up? It is worth sending out an email a few days after you post an
item, saying “Is everything alright with your purchase? I hope you received it and
it was as you expected.” This might sound like giving the customer an
opportunity to complain, but you should be trying to help your customers, not
take their money and run.
Being a really good eBay seller, more than anything else, is about providing
genuinely good and honest customer service. That’s the only foolproof way to
protect your reputation.
What’s Your eBay Reputation Really Worth?
Your eBay reputation is everything you are on eBay – without it, you’re nothing.
Your reputation is worth as much as every sale you will ever make.
If you’ve ever bought anything on eBay (and the chances are you have), then
think about your own behavior. Buying from a seller with a low feedback rating
makes you feel a little nervous and insecure, while buying from a PowerSeller
with their reputation in the thousands doesn’t require any thought or fear – it
feels just like buying from a shop.
A Bad Reputation Will Lose You Sales.
In fact, a bad reputation will lose you almost all your sales. If someone leaves you
negative feedback, you will feel the pain straight away, as that rating will go right
at the top of your user page for everyone to see. Who’s going to want to do
business with you when they’ve just read that you “took a month to deliver the
item”, or that you had “bad communication and sent a damaged item”? The
answer is no-one.
Your next few items will need to be very cheap things, just to push that negative
down the page. You might have to spend days or even weeks selling cheap stuff to
get enough positive feedback to make anyone deal with you again.
It’s even worse if you consistently let buyers leave negative feedback – once you
get below 90% positive ratings, you might as well be invisible.
You Can’t Just Open a New Account.
Besides eBay’s rules about only having one account, there are far more downsides
than that to getting a new account. You literally have to start all over again from
You won’t be able to use all the different eBay features. Your existing customers
won’t be able to find you any more. Your auctions will finish at a lower price
because of your low feedback rating. Opening a new account is like moving to a
new town to get away from a few people who are spreading rumors about you: it’s
throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
A Good Reputation Will Get You Sales.
When a PowerSeller tells me something, I tend to believe them. They can be
selling a pretty unlikely item, but if they guarantee it is what they say it is, then I
trust them – they’re not going to risk their reputation, after all. This is the power
of a reputation: people know you want to keep it, and they know you’ll go to
almost any lengths to do so.
This is true even to the point that I would sooner buy something for $20 from a
seller I know I can trust than for $15 from someone with average feedback. It’s
worth the extra money to feel like the seller knows what they’re doing, has all
their systems in place and will get me the item quickly and efficiently.
10 Steps to Successful Selling on eBay
So you want to be a successful seller with your own eBay business, do you? Here’s
a simple, ten-step path to eBay enlightenment.
Step 1: Identify your market.
Take a while to sit and watch for what sells and what doesn’t out of the items
you’re interested in. Any market research data you can collect will be very useful
to you later on. You’ll probably see the ‘sweet spots’ quite quickly – those one or
two items that always seem to sell for a good price.
Step 2: Watch the competition.
Before you invest any money, see what the other sellers in your category are up
to, and what their strategies are. Pay special attention to any flaws their auctions
might have, because this is where you can move in and beat them at their own
Step 3: Find a product.
Get hold of a supplier for whatever it is you want to sell, and see what the best
rates you can get are – don’t be afraid to ring round quite a few to get the best
deal. If the eBay prices you’ve seen are higher than the supplier’s, then you’re set.
Step 4: Start small.
Don’t throw thousands at your idea straight away – get started slowly, see what
works and what doesn’t, and learn as you go. Remember that it’s very cheap to try
out even the craziest ideas on eBay, and who knows, they might just work!
Step 5: Test and repeat.
Keep trying different strategies until you find something that works, and then
don’t be ashamed to keep doing it, again and again. The chances are that you’ve
just found a good niche.
Step 6: Work out a business plan.
A business plan doesn’t need to be anything formal, just a few pages that outline
the market opportunity you’ve spotted, your strategy, strengths and weaknesses
of the plan and a brief budget. This is more for you than it is for anyone else.
Step 7: Invest and expand.
This is the time to throw money at the problem. Buy inventory, and start
spending more time on your business. Set a goal number of sales each week,
increasing it each time.
Step 8: Make it official.
Once you’ve made a few thousand dollars worth of sales, you should really
register yourself as a business. Don’t worry, it’s not expensive or hard to do – a
lawyer is the best person to help you through the process.
Step 9: Automate.
You’ll probably find that you’re writing the same things again and again in emails
or item descriptions. This is the time to give up on the manual method and turn
to automated software that can create listings for you, and respond to completed
auctions and payments with whatever message you provide.
Step 10: Never give up.
Even when it looks like it’s all going wrong, don’t stop trying until you succeed. If
you keep working at it then you’ll almost always find that you make a real
breakthrough just when things are starting to look desperate.
Once you get into the swing of things, you might start thinking that you should
quit your job and take up eBay selling part time. But it’s not always as easy as that
– there are all sorts of factors that you need to consider. The next email will weigh
up the case for and against taking up eBay full-time.
How to Think Like an eBay PowerSeller
As explained earlier in this guide, PowerSellers are the people on eBay who’ve
made it, recognizable by the little ‘PowerSeller’ badge next to their name. You’ve
probably seen these people around – and to succeed on eBay, you want to think
the way they do.
How to People Get the Right to Call Themselves PowerSellers?
eBay gets to decide who can be a PowerSeller and who can’t, and they have strict
requirements. To get in at the minimum PowerSeller level, you must have a
feedback rating of at least 100 (minimum 98% positive) and sell at least $1,000
worth of items every month for three months in a row. There are different levels
of PowerSeller membership as you sell items of greater value: $1,000 total is
bronze, $3,000 is silver, $10,000 is gold, $25,000 is platinum and $125,000 is
If PowerSellers ever fail to meet the required amount of sales, or their feedback
falls below 98% positive, then they lose their PowerSeller status. In short, the
only people who get to be PowerSellers on eBay are the people who have been
successful for a good while, and are on track to stay that way.
The Shop and the Marketplace
This is the most important part of understanding how PowerSellers think. They
don’t see what they’re doing as being some random bazaar, or a hobby – instead,
they see themselves as a business.
Put it like this. If you run a stall in a marketplace, the chances are that you have a
general area of business, but you mostly just sell whatever you can get your hands
on that week. If your dodgy buddy got his hands of a job lot of something at a
discount, then that’s what you’ll be selling. This might be fun – and when you
have a good week, you’ll have a really good week – but it’s no way to run a real
business in the long-term.
PowerSellers think far more like shops. They sell the same things again and
again, every week – regular stock for regular customers. They do ‘boring’ business
things like keep inventories and budgets. They know what they’re going to be
selling, how much they buy it for and how much they expect to sell for. Just like a
real shop, there can be hard times sometimes, but their income is stable and their
business can grow slowly.
The best advice I can give you on thinking like a PowerSeller is this:
don’t take long-term risks for short-term gain. Look after your reputation,
manage your selling properly, provide good customer service and the rewards will
come to you in due course. And you’ll get a little badge next to your name that
makes people trust you more!
One possibility that you might have realised so far is what eBay can do for any
other businesses you might have. Remember, millions of people visit eBay every
day – why keep everything separate when you’re starting to tap into that kind of
Choosing the Right eBay Product Category
Some people think it’s easy to choose the right eBay category, and often it is.
Sometimes, though, it might not be quite clear exactly what to go for.
Why is it Even Important?
Plenty of people use the category system to find items, when they’re not looking
for something specific. If your item is listed in the wrong category – or you’ve just
given up and listed it in ‘Everything Else’ – then these people aren’t going to find
Also, listing items in the wrong categories is against eBay’s rules, and eBay say
they will remove any auctions that are wrongly categorised. They don’t often
actually do this, but it’s not worth the risk – especially since breaking any rules
can cause them to penalise your account, including losing PowerSeller status if
you have it.
So What Can You Do?
eBay will suggest categories for you when you sell your item, if you type in a few
words to describe the item on the category selection page and click ‘search’. You
can make the best of this feature by typing in exactly what your item is, with
brand name and model number (if any), so that eBay can find the best category
If that doesn’t work for you, then search yourself for items like yours, and pay
attention to which category most of them seem to be in (you can see this near the
top of each item’s description page). Try different words and see which ones come
back with the most results. You can also browse through all the available
categories from eBay’s front page.
Remember that the more specific the category is, the better – use as many
subcategories as are appropriate. Don’t just list your HP laptop in the
‘Computers’ category, for example – list it in ‘Computers & Laptops & HP’. Don’t
worry: your item will still appear in the ‘Computers’ category, as well as
‘Computers & Laptops’, because items listed in subcategories are always listed in
every category above.
Take some time to look through all the categories and get familiar with the way
eBay as a whole is laid out. After all, that’s better than getting a few months down
the line and finding that you still think of eBay’s category system like it’s some
kind of scary jungle.
What if More Than One Category Fits?
Don’t worry, eBay have you covered. For a small extra fee, you can list your item
in an extra category, to increase the number of potential buyers who will see it.
This isn’t always worth it, though – some items only really fit properly in one
category, and listing them in extra categories is just a waste.
Once you know where to list your item, the next step is to write your auction’s
title. The title is the most important thing about your auction – the difference
between a good title and a bad title can be the difference between $10 and $100.
To learn why this is the case…
Tips on Writing Your eBay Title
Trying to be help your buyers find your auctions can be a truly daunting task.
Most people only search eBay by title, not by description, and that means that
you only have those 55 characters of the title to cover all the possible search
terms. That’s not easy. In this email, I’ll give you a few pointers.
Don’t bother with eBay clichés: There are plenty of eBay auction titles that
say things like “Super rare camera wow look low price”. These are stupid things
to put in your title, as no-one is going to search for them.
Think like a buyer: If you were looking for your item, then what exactly would
you type into that box? If you think it’d help, try searching yourself to find
someone else selling your item. What were the first things you thought of typing?
Think like other sellers: Keep an eye on which sellers are doing best with
items like yours, and try to copy their title styles – if it works for them, it can work
Be specific: You should be sure to write the item’s brand and specific model
number in the title, as people will often search only for this information. Make
sure that you also say exactly what the item is.
A few examples:
“Dell Latitude Laptop P3 500mhz Notebook PC Computer”
If you know about computers, you’ll know instantly what this auction is selling. It
has manufacturer (Dell) and product line (Latitude), followed by a few technical
specifications (P3 500mhz is the processor speed). Notice also that the title
includes the four words ‘laptop’, ‘notebook’, ‘PC’ and ‘computer’, as the seller
wants people looking for any of those words to see his auction.
“OASIS Don’t Believe the Truth CD Album (New)”
This auction for a CD is well formatted: it gives the artist name in capital letters,
followed by the album name. It then manages to include the two key words ‘CD’
and ‘album’, as well as the word ‘new’ – that means that anyone searching for ‘new
oasis cd’, ‘oasis new album’ and so on will find this auction.
“1840 Penny Black stamp, certificate, four margins”
Here’s a slightly more obscure one, from the exciting world of stamp collecting. A
penny black is one of the oldest and most famous stamps. It uses a few key words
that collectors will consider important: ‘four margins’ indicates that the stamp
has been cut out with some margins around it and so isn’t damaged, and
‘certificate’ tells you that the item has a certificate of authenticity – it’s a real
penny black. Remember to use every bit of space to squeeze in as much important
information as you can in the title.
So now that you’ve written a winning title, you need to start on a great
eBay Description Writing Tips
Once you’ve drawn the buyers in with your title, the next thing to do is to tell
them all about your item with the description. But just what should you write in
At its heart, your item description is an ad. Without making it too obvious, you
should be writing sales copy. You’re trying to get buyers excited about your
products, and that’s usually hard – but on eBay, if you have the right thing to sell
and give enough details, the buyers almost excite themselves.
Include every technical detail you know, including the item’s manufacturer, its
condition, how big it is, where and when it was made, its history, and anything
else special about it. Don’t be too boring, though: the best descriptions are
written in friendly, conversational language, and show a real knowledge of the
item. Whatever you do, make sure you tell the truth!
Remember that most of the people who’ll be buying your item will be just as
knowledgeable about it as you are, if not more – this is their hobby, and they’re
experts. Don’t feel like you need to explain the basics of the item: just go into as
much technical detail as you can. As a rule, don’t write anything in the
description if you don’t know what it means, as the chances are someone will, and
if you’ve got it slightly wrong then you’ll look like you don’t know what you’re
You might find that you enjoy writing a few things about how you got the item,
why you’re selling it, and who you think might like it. This isn’t strictly necessary,
but it gives your auctions some character and a personal touch, and can make
people more likely to trust you. People might wonder what you’re doing selling
500 CDs all at once, and if you tell them the reason, then they’ll feel reassured
that nothing dodgy is going on. If you’re selling them because you’re having a
baby and you need the space, just say so.
Write as Much as You Can
Leave nothing out of your description, even if that seems to you like it makes it
cumbersomely long. There is no way you can be too thorough: someone,
somewhere will appreciate that you took the time to write the extra information.
Don’t assume that anyone who wants extra information will email you to ask a
question: many buyers are shy and won’t do it. Think of questions that buyers
might have and add the answers to your description, as people generally tend to
ask the same questions over and over again.
Each time a buyer does email you with a question, you should both answer their
question and update your description so that it will include the answer next time.
If people ask questions that are answered in the description, try putting these
parts of the auction on a line alone, or in bold, to make them easier to notice.
10 Tips for Increasing Your eBay Response
So you’ve got the buyer in front of your auction, and they’ve read the description.
They’re must be interested, or they wouldn’t be looking… but just how can you
push them over that line and make them leave a bid? Read on for some tips.
Improve your picture: In all that description writing, you might have missed
the vital importance of your item’s picture. A picture with bad lighting or an
intrusive background looks amateurish and won’t make anyone want to buy from
Add an About Me page: You’ll be surprised how much you can reassure
bidders just by creating an About Me page and putting a little bit about yourself
on your business on there. You can also have a few special offers there for people
who bother to look at the page, and let people subscribe to your mailing list so
that you can email them updates.
Use SquareTrade: Signing up at SquareTrade and displaying their logo on your
auctions shows that you are committed to have them resolve any disputes that
arise. You always see this on PowerSellers auctions – it makes you look more
Write terms and conditions: Have the ‘small print’ clearly visible on all your
auctions, giving details of things like shipping times and prices, your refund
policy, and any other business practices you might have. This helps build
confidence with buyers.
Show off your feedback: Copy and paste a selection of the feedback comments
you’re most proud of to each item’s description page, instead of making bidders
go and look for it. If you have 100% positive feedback, be sure to write that on
every auction too.
Add NR to your titles: If you have extra space in a title, put ‘NR’ (no reserve)
on the end. Bidders prefer auctions that don’t have a reserve price, and doing this
lets them see that yours don’t.
Benefits not features: Make sure your description focuses on the benefits that
your item can give to the customer, not just its features. This is a classic sales
technique. If you have trouble with this, remember: ‘cheap’ is a feature, ‘save
money’ is a benefit.
List more items: If you want more people to respond to your items, then list
more items! You might find you have better like listing items at the same time,
instead of one-by-one. There’s no need to use a Dutch auction – you can just keep
two or three auctions going at once for an item you have more than one of in
Accept unusual payment methods: To reach those last few buyers, accept
payment methods that many sellers don’t, like checks.
Buy some upgrades: The best upgrade is the most expensive one, which makes
your item appear first in search results. In crowded categories, you might find
that this is worth the money.
Once you’ve got some buyers, you want to keep them coming back to you!
As this guide draws to a near end, we’ll conclude this awesome roller coaster
guide to eBay selling with a list of often-used terms and jargons in one of the
world’s highly trafficked auction site!
All the best and have fun! To becoming the next PowerSeller!
The eBay Glossary
Bid: telling eBay’s system the maximum price you are prepared to pay for
Dutch: an auction where more than one of an item is available.
Feedback: positive or negative comments left about other users on eBay.
Mint: in perfect condition.
Non-paying bidder: a bidder who wins an auction but does not then go
on to buy the item.
PayPal: an electronic payment method accepted by most sellers.
Rare: used and abused on eBay, now entirely meaningless.
Reserve: the minimum price the seller will accept for the item.
Shill bid: a fake bid placed by a seller trying to drive up their auction’s
Snail Mail: the post, which is obviously very slow compared to email.
Sniping: bidding at the last second to win the item before anyone else can
If you’ve ever read an article about Ebay, you will have seen the kinds of incomes people make – it isn’t unusual to hear of people making thousands of dollars per month on Ebay.
Next time you’re on Ebay, take a look at how many PowerSellers there are: you’ll find quite a few. Now consider that every single one of one of them must be making at least $1,000 per month, as that’s Ebay’s requirement for becoming a PowerSeller.
Silver PowerSellers make at least $3,000 each month,
Gold PowerSellers make more than $10,000,
Platinum Powersellers make more than $25,000 and
Titanium PowerSellers make at least a whopping $150,000 in sales every month!
The fact that these people exist gives you come idea of the income possibilities here. Most of them never set out to even set up a business on Ebay – they simply started selling a few things, and then kept going. There are plenty of people whose full-time job is selling things on Ebay, and some of them have been doing it for years now.
Can you imagine that? Once they’ve bought the stock, everything else is pretty much pure profit for these people – they don’t need to pay for any business premises, staff, or anything else. There are multimillion dollar businesses making less in actual profit than Ebay PowerSellers do.
Even if you don’t want to quit your job and really go for it, you can still use Ebay to make a significant second income. You can pack up orders during the week and take them down to the post office for delivery each Saturday. There are few other things you could be doing with your spare time that have anywhere near that kind of earning potential.
What’s more, Ebay doesn’t care who you are, where you live, or what you look like: Some PowerSellers are very old, or very young. Some live out in the middle of nowhere where selling on Ebay is one of the few alternatives to farming or being very poor. Ebay tears down the barriers to earning that the real world constantly puts up. There’s no job interview and no commuting involved – if you can post things, you can do it.
Put it this way: if you know where to get something reasonably cheaply that you could sell, then you can sell it on Ebay – and since you can always get discounts for bulk at wholesale, that’s not exactly difficult. Buy a job lot of something in-demand cheaply, sell it on Ebay, and you’re making money already, with no set-up costs.
If you want to dip your toe in the water before you commit to actually buying anything, then you can just sell things that you’ve got lying around in the house. Search through that cupboard of stuff you never use, and you’ll probably find you’ve got a few hundred dollars’ worth of stuff lying around in
there! This is the power of Ebay: there is always someone who wants what you’re selling, whatever it might be, and since they’ve come looking for you, you don’t even need to do anything to get them to buy it.
So you want to get started on Ebay? Well, that’s great! There are only a few little things you need to learn to get started.
Contests are nothing new in the online world. Many people have been using contests to get
free web traffic for years. However, there is a slightly new twist since the blog revolution that
has made running a contest much more effective and fun.
The concept is the same. You come up with a prize (or many prizes) that would be appealing
to your blog readers. Of course, offering your own product as the prize would be preferable
since you can mention it on your blog (so everyone who sees your contest will also see your
product link). But, if you don’t have your own product, you can easily ask around and find people
who will donate.
Once you have your prizes, the fun starts. You have several options for your contest.
- If your goal is to get people to interact, ask your readers to post a comment to win.
- If your goal is to get incoming links to your blog, and, if your readers are bloggers themselves, ask your readers to blog about your contest (on their blogs) and then commen to let you know they did it.
- If your goal is to get to know your readers, ask them to complete a survey to win.
- Or a combination of the items above.
Immediately after you post your contest, send a mailing to each of your ezine lists, letting
them know about the contest. You’ll want your loyal readers to have the opportunity to win.
Note: If you don’t have your own lists yet, you’re missing out on big profits.
Next, contact your circle of influence (your friends) and let them know about your contest. Offer
to do a blog post swap. If they’ll blog about your contest, you’ll owe them one the next
time they have something they want to spread the word about.
Then, go and submit your contest to all of the contest websites. Yes, there are sites that list
contests and free offers. This is obviously more effective in certain niches than in others, but it
is free exposure to your contest. (Search google for “submit contest” & “submit sweepstake”.)
Of course, if you really want good mileage for your contest, you can also post on message
boards in your niche with the signature pointing to your contest.
If your wheels are turning… you’re probably also thinking of the possibilities of offering your
product or service as a prize to a popular blog in your niche and asking them to run the
contest. 😉 Good thinking. It works both ways!
Imagine being a talk show host for a weekly podcast. What’s the one thing you need every
single week? Guests. Lots and lots of expert guests.
You think finding content for your website is hard? Try pinning down guests each week for
interviews. My good friend, Kelly McCausey, has been recording an online show since 2003 –
every single week at http://www.WAHMTalkRadio.com That’s a lot of guests.
I recently interviewed Kelly to ask the question “What makes a good guest and what makes
you want to invite someone back?”
Here are some pointers to increase your odds of getting on a show and being asked back:
1. Actually listen to the show a few times before even thinking of contacting the host as a
potential guest. Make sure your concept fits into the market that the show reaches. If the
show is about Health, then don’t pitch your candy-making cookbook on there.
2. Do something newsworthy or interesting. Are you having a special event for charity? Have
you recently won an award? If your idea is timely, you’ll stand out and the host may contact
you sooner rather than later.
3. Have something interesting to say. If you just plan to talk about your products, then don’t
ask to be a guest. Buy an ad instead.
4. If you have sample interviews or media exposure, tell the host about it in your inquiry
letter. Direct her to your media page where you link to past interviews, if you have them.
One Good Turn Deserves Another.
With the Host or Hostess giving so much to you, what are you expected to do in return?
- · Provide a list of questions in advance.
- · Send a sample of your product to the host before you appear on the show.
- · Tell your newsletter list about the interview and where to find it. Your host will be more likely to have you back if you are willing to publicize your interviews.
- · Blog about your interview.
- · Be a gracious guest and be sure to say “Thank you” when the interview is over. (A gift
- is also nice.)
Ride the coat tails of others.
Let’s say you are an expert in Raw Food Nutrition. One thing you can easily do is contact every
weight loss or fitness membership site you can find and offer to give them either an interview
or a report.
Each of these membership sites is looking for ongoing value for their members. If you come
through with a great interview or a quality report, you can bet they’ll add it to their members’
area, especially if it’s unique to their site.
Find one membership site each week and offer them great content. You’ll get your marketing
message in front of a lot of very targeted eyeballs who are interested in your topic.
Many membership sites archive their content. Be sure to check before you agree to do an exclusive
interview to make sure that it’ll be getting exposure for a long, long time.
You can make this offer even more appealing by allowing the membership site owners to use
their affiliate link for your program in the report or alongside the interview.
How do you find these hot membership sites? Easy.
Search google.com for the following terms:
- · “keyword club” (example “dog owners club”)
- · “keyword month” (example “diabetic month”)
- · “keyword join” (example “divorce join”)
Of course, don’t fret if you find ebooks instead of membership sites. That works, too. Find hot
ebooks in your niche that are just a little different than yours, but in the same field, and offer
them a bonus for their customers. I recommend you search directly in the clickbank.com marketplace
Once you set this up, each and every customer who buys the ebook of a competitor will receive
a copy of your audio or report. If you set this up properly, you’ll turn your traffic on autopilot.
More google research ideas:
- · “keyword report” (example “fitness report”)
- · “keyword ebook” (example “recipe ebook”)
- · “keyword affiliate” (example “dog affiliate”)
4. Jump into Social Networking.
Social Networking comes in many shapes and forms, but the good thing is that it’s easy to
dabble in and I’ve, personally, seen great results with little effort.
It’s free to try, so there are no excuses.
Here’s how it works. You sign up for one or more of the programs below (all are free).
(You can search google to find hundreds more. This is just for starters.)
Next, update your profile on each site you’ve joined, including your URL and photo.
Then, the next time you post something of interest on your blog (or see something on a
friend’s blog), you just submit it to the sites above.
Many of these Social Networking sites expect you to be an active participant. You’re expected
to rate and comment on other people’s contributions. Just jump in and play with it and watch
your stats to see what is and is not working. You’ll see the traffic start to trickle in if you play
by the rules and share quality information. (Don’t be afraid to have an opinion and stand out!)
Along the same lines (but slightly different) is a Social Networking tool called Twitter.com
Now, in the name of disclosure, I’m pretty new to Twitter, but I had to check it out after I realized
that I was already getting traffic from other people Twittering about me.
Basically, Twitter is like a group Instant Messenger Chat. You can add as many friends as
you’d like (which is called “following” people). Then, you just chat about what you’re up to.
For instance, when I’m done with this report, I’ll turn it into a pdf and load it on my site for my
readers to enjoy. Then, I’ll Twitter the link to let my followers know what I’ve been up to today.
Whenever I post on my blog, I quickly Twitter it. Not even a minute later, I get a nice little
spike in traffic (and some comments) on my blog.
Hot Tip! Of course, you can make this even more viral by talking about your affiliate program
on Twitter or on the Social Networking Sites above. That way, instead of getting one visitor to
your website, you’re getting a person who can send you additional traffic. You’re tapping into
their lists, their connections, and their traffic instead. Pretty smart, isn’t it?
This is a very fun way to get some buzz about your website.
Create something fun and buzz-worthy.
1. Example of Using Graphics Creatively:
http://www.MarketingComics.com – 15 hilarious comics about Internet Marketing – some
may hit a little close to home! 😉
2. Example of Using Video Creatively: http://www.DinnerTimeVideo.com – a video to promote a family menu planning service.
If you’re not a very creative person, then you can certainly hire someone on elance.com to
create an item for you. I’ve worked with illustrators on elance.com and I’ve had good luck so
far. Just communicate your requirements clearly so there are no misunderstandings. In fact,
after I write out my project requirements, I run the wording by two of my assistants and ask
them to tell me what it says in their own words before posting it just to make sure it’s clear.
Once your project is completed, then spread the word.
- · Blog about it.
- · Tell your lists.
- · If you’ve created a video, submit it to YouTube.com and Video.Google.com and all of the other video sites.
- · Also submit it to Digg.com, Reddit.com, StumbleUpon.com and all of the other hot social networking sites for exposure.
- Of course, if you have an affiliate program, set it up so your affiliates can link to your
- creation, as well!
I promised that I’d save the best for last, and I sure did. I even hinted (not so subtly)
throughout this report about my favorite method of traffic generation.
Let me lay it on the line here. I told you at the beginning of this report that I quickly came up
with 26 methods of generating traffic off the top of my head. I’m sure, if I sat and thought a
bit longer I could easily make that 100 or more.
Just a few ideas from my list…
- · Squidoo
- · Stumble Upon
- · Digg/Reddit/etc.
- · Article Marketing
- · Ezine Advertising
- · Google Adwords
- · Craigslist
- · Offering Resale Rights
- · Webinars
- · Teleseminars
- · Offline Marketing
- · Forums
- · Joint Ventures
- · Press Releases
- · Creating Viral Software & Tools
- · PayPerPost
- · Utterz
- · Viral Free Reports
- · Starting your Own Podcast
- · Search Engine Optimization
- · Blogging
Are you an expert in each of those things? No? Me, neither. I know quite a bit about each
(more about some than others), but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert in every single one
of those in any way, shape or form.
Do I have time to learn about and do each of those things on a regular basis? Not a chance. It
would be insane to even try to do each of these things each day – or even every week.
This is where an affiliate program comes in handy.
My affiliates are experts in these areas. Where there is only one ME with only 24 hours each
day, my affiliates are many.
- · My affiliates have created Squidoo lenses to promote my products.
- · They’ve StumbledUpon pages with links to me.
- · They’ve posted about my free reports on Craigslist.
- · They’ve set up Adwords campaigns.
- · They’re blogging about my products.
- · They’re posting on forums with signature links promoting my products.
- · They are making graphics for my free reports, before I can even do it!
Hell, I can’t keep up with everything they’re doing, but I know it’s a lot more than I could be
You can train your affiliates to do more in a day than you can do alone in a month’s time.
You’ll get more done, and you’ll stay a lot saner in the process.
With a little effort and guidance, any group of affiliates can be turned loose onto the world
with the tools to succeed.
The good new is that you don’t have to figure it out alone. My Friend Jimmy D. Brown created a free
ecourse that outlines the absolute BASICS that any affiliate program must have in order to
It’s called the “5 Practices of Wildly Profitable Affiliate Programs”. And, it’s free.
And, yes, I highly recommend it.
Click here to get the free ecourse right now.
The ecourse is an introduction to Jimmy’s full “S.A.L.E.S. A.R.M.Y. Secrets” course, which is
the best I’ve seen. (And as an affiliate manager, I’ve seen many.)
I don’t know about you, but I did not start a business to work around the clock, making myself
sick. I started it to have the FREEDOM to work when I wanted to. A successful affiliate
program can help you achieve that goal.
Wishing you much success,
Steelbrand. (AKA Erin J Carney)
© 2010 Erin J Carney – All Rights Reserved.
From the moment you begin researching ways to make money online, you hear WRITING, WRITING, and MORE WRITING, over and over again. There’s a reason for that and we’re going to discuss how the written word can make you money, but YOU don’t have to be the one doing all that writing. Save your paper and your wrists!
One of the hottest ways to make money online is through the power of blogging. But, what does blogging require? What do you think? What ONE thing must you do above all else in order to blog?
If you’re like the majority of people, your answer probably included…you guessed it…WRITING! After all, that’s what a blog is all about right? On your blog you are sharing your thoughts with others in the form of blog posts that you’ve written – constant writing.
While those blog posts are necessary in order for you to be a successful blogger, they do NOT all have to be written by you.
You need content to make your blog successful, but it does not have to be written by you. Let me explain by giving you some ways to make money and keep your blog fresh without wearing yourself out or giving yourself Carpal Tunnel Syndrome before you even get started bringing in the dough.
But, first, you need to know why content so important on the Internet and especially your blog.
Here are a few reasons…
First of all, people come to the web for one thing and one thing only – information. Whether they’re shopping for products to buy or looking for a natural remedy for their acne, they’re hitting the web for information, advice, and help.
If your readers find quality information from you they’re very likely to:
- Stick Around
- Sign Up for Your ezine or newsletter
- Twitter about your site
- Recommend your posts at places like StumbleUpon.com
- Sign up for your RSS feed
- Come back in the future
- Refer others to your site
Second, search engines LOVE content. The more pages you have on your website or blog filled with quality content, the better. Whether you offer product reviews, funny stories, or meaty training, quality content is rewarded by Google, MSN, and Yahoo, as well as the many other smaller search engines online.
Third, adding value to the Internet begins to establish you as an expert on your topic. By writing great information, your readers will begin to look at you as THE go-to person for information. You’ll begin attracting interview and JV requests as well.
As you can see content really is important if you want to build a successful blog or website on the Internet. Without it, your site is just another in the World Wide Web. How can people find you if they don’t know you exist? By establishing yourself and providing your readers with quality posts and other valuable information they need and want, you will see that you can easily become one of the big fish in the pond.
But, what if you don’t have time to write constantly? Or, what if you don’t like writing? You’re in luck, there are many ways to add quality information to your blog without having to write it all yourself.
Now that you know you need great content for your blog and why, it’s time to move on to the meat of this report. I promised I’d tell you how to get that content without wearing your fingers to the bone. So, here we go! Hang on it’s gonna be a fun ride!
- Hire a Writer
There are freelance writers who make it their business to write articles, blog posts and more for website owners as well as bloggers. Most of these writers, also known as ghostwriters, charge per written piece and base their charges on the word count of the content you need. For instance, you can have a 300 word blog post written for X amount of dollars on the desired topic of your choice.
Normally, you will send the writer either a broad topic or even an actual title and they will in turn write the content for you following your specifications. Finding a ghostwriter is not hard, especially with the field growing by leaps and bounds every single day. The hard part is finding a writer you can communicate well with, afford, and who can write in a way that captures your voice.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when hiring a ghostwriter.
- Finding a Writer
Ask for Recommendations – Ask around and see who comes recommended. You can easily get references from other bloggers, website owners, Internet marketers, and even on social media sites such as Twitter.
Search Engines – While this is an option, I would definitely ask people you know and trust for their suggestions for a writer first. Just because a person’s website makes it to the top of the search engine results and they “claim” to be an experienced writer, doesn’t mean they are.
Recommendation: Shelancers.com offers a variety of writers to choose from.
Just as every blog is different, so are writers. Don’t get discouraged if you try one (or sometimes more) writer and he or she is not what you had in mind. Some writers can take any blog owner’s writing style and implement it in their articles and blog posts with no problem what-so-ever. Others don’t find it as easy.
If you hire a writer and find you don’t like their writing style or approach to a topic, move to another. I can tell you from experience; sometimes it takes going through a few writers to find the one that “gets it” and will whip out superb content that fits your personality as if you wrote it yourself.
- Feedback is Crucial
When you hire a writer make sure you give them feedback once they’ve completed a writing project for you. If there was something you didn’t like about the article – the way they worded things wasn’t how you would have done it, etc. – let them know. A professional writer will be open to all types of feedback and offer to correct the issue with a re-write. By providing feedback, you are not only letting the writer know what you like and dislike about the content, but you are also building a relationship that will become very beneficial for both of you.
For instance, I know I can start writing something that’s in my head and when I get stuck, it’s nothing for me to whip it over to my writer and say “Help!” I have developed a relationship with her that allows me to feel comfortable throwing something her way without a second thought for improvement, additions, etc. I know that once she returns it to me I will not only be pleased, but it will read as if I’ve written it all myself because she and I have communicated and discussed my likes and dislikes so much that she could pass as me almost any day!
- Review & Edit
I know I just said that I can send something to my writer and it would be like I’ve written it myself, but that doesn’t mean I can get away with not looking at the finished product. Even the best of writers have their off days, mine included.
Therefore, it is critical that any piece of writing you have someone else put together for you, should be reviewed and edited as necessary. Whether you’re making changes to put more of your own thoughts and opinions to it or simply adding monetization items, you must, must, must review each and every piece of content you have created for you.
- Seek Guest Experts
You may have seen these on other blogs you, yourself frequent. Also commonly referred to as guest bloggers, guest experts are people who can provide relevant information to your readers in the form of guest posts. These are people who somehow tie in with your blog’s topic. For instance, if you own an Internet marketing blog you might consider approaching people from the following areas about submitting guest posts or becoming a regular guest expert on your blog.The list could go on and on, but I think you get the picture.
You invite them to be a guest blogger on your blog, set them up with their own login information or have them submit their posts directly to you so you can post them yourself.
Give them something in return for their efforts because most guest bloggers are not paid for their posts. Many times a link back to the guest experts’ site and possibly allowing them to promote their own products or affiliates products within their post is all that’s needed. But, with the growth in popularity of guest bloggers, it’s getting a bit harder to find people who will commit. If they’re good at what they do, they will be blogging on other sites as well as yours. Try to sweeten the pot a little to get them to stick around and continue posting.
Of course, you can pay them to submit information if you’d like. As a matter of fact, I myself have one site where I pay for submissions. I monitor the submissions and if we decide it is site worthy, we pay the author for the article once it’s been published. I’ve found this helps when it comes to having a steady flow of content.
One more thing about guest bloggers you may find helpful. If you know people who are just starting out they are more open to jumping on as a guest blogger than established bloggers or business owners. However, if you aren’t ranking extremely high in the search engines, your traffic numbers aren’t all that great or your blog isn’t quite as popular as you’d like it to be yet, don’t worry. It takes some time to get there, but with the help of adding all this great content and a few other essentials, you’ll be there before you know.
- Hit the Article Directories
Article directories are databases full of articles that authors have submitted in hopes that others will pick them up and publish them on their websites and blogs. You can find articles on just about every topic of the sun at these directories.
The catch is that you must include the author’s resource box, which normally contains information about the author and a link to their website, when you publish it on your own site. They are great sources of information, but read the articles very carefully to be sure you are getting the content you want for your website. You wouldn’t want to place incorrect information on your blog and mislead your readers after all.
Here are some of my most favorite article directories:
Audio and video are growing ever popular online, especially on blogs. You can publish your own audios and videos or you can link to ones that others have created.
Here are some ideas for creating your own audios and videos that you can publish on your blog:
- Interviews with experts in your field
- How-to videos
- Talk radio shows and podcasts
- And more
If you’re looking for audio help, have a glance at these sites:
- Add RSS News Feeds
As you probably already know, most blogs have what is known as an RSS feed. This is where, when set up by the blog owner, readers can subscribe to the feed and be notified of new posts to the blog via email or feed readers. If your blog doesn’t have one, I highly suggest you create one. It’s really easy with the help of a site like FeedBurner.com.
Just as blogs have feeds, so do news websites such as CNN, MSNBC, etc. You can have your blog set up to receive feeds from other blogs or websites automatically. When you do this, your blog will show the posts from the other sites. Your blog is updated automatically every time a post is added to that site.
What a great way to have constant content pertaining to your topic appear on your blog. Great for indexing in the search engines too.
- Ask Your Readers
Another great way to get content is to ask your readers to submit questions, suggestions, etc.
Their information can be turned into content for your blog in many ways:
Q & A Posts – Ask your readers to submit their questions and then answer them right on your blog.
Create a FAQ Page – As you receive questions, add them to a frequently asked questions page on your site. Each time you update the page, let your readers know.
Product Reviews – If you sell products or provide a service, ask your customers for their opinions about these things. Sometimes, they will submit full fledged reviews and you can publish those on your blog.
Testimonials – While these may not be full posts on their own, you can combine some of them and post on your blog.
Do you have an email list? When you send emails to your subscribers or send out your regular newsletter, do you stop at that? Start posting the updates you send to your subscribers and your newsletters or ezines to your blog as well.
Some of your subscribers may not get a chance to read your emails before they are shuffled down their inbox screen or worse yet, they may have filters that are blocking your emails altogether. This will allow them to still receive the valuable information you have to share AND give you more quality content for your blog.
Of course, if you have a list that has sensitive information that you don’t want the whole world to see, skip on posting those specific messages. One example of this would be a membership site where you send members a download link each month so they can access their member’s only information. You wouldn’t want just anybody to have the ability to get that information.
But, if you’re adding a new product to your business for instance, go ahead and post the email you send to your past customers on your blog. You’ll get more exposure for your product and added content for your blog. It’s a win-win.
One of my favorite ways to add quality, topic related content to a blog is with PLR. If you don’t know what PLR is, let me fill you in on this wonderful little thing.
PLR content is created specifically for those who don’t have the time, skills or desire to create their own content on a consistent basis. You can find articles, blog posts, reports, recipes, marketing materials, and even web design PLR on the Internet. Someone else writes it and sells it. You buy it and have the ability to use as you see fit – for the most part. Most PLR sites do have rules to what you can and can’t do with the PLR once you purchase it, so be sure you review those before buying.
Now, let’s see what some of the benefits of PLR include:
Inexpensive – PLR is normally cheaper than hiring a ghostwriter. You can normally buy a pack of PLR or sign up for a membership for very little. For instance, a ballpark average cost for a freelancer to write a 500 word article might run you around 10-15 dollars. With some PLR sites, you can buy 10-15 articles for that same price.
Variety – No matter what your topic, you can probably find PLR content for sale about it. The popularity of PLR has helped make it’s availability in a wide variety of markets bigger and broader than ever before.
Limited (some not all) availability – Although PLR is not exclusively yours like ghostwritten material, in most instances the number of times a particular package will be sold is limited. At least with a good PLR seller it is. This will limit the amount of times your content will be found on someone else’s site. (But, I’m going to tell you in a minute how to avoid that, even if the PLR you purchase isn’t limited to a certain amount of buyers.)
Time-Saving – As with the other ways to find content without writing it yourself, PLR saves you a TON of time. It’s already written for you, you just have to make it your own and it’s good to go.
Recyclable – One PLR article can be used over and over again. You can re-purpose the same piece of content in numerous ways:
- Post it to your blog.
- Send it to your list.
- Create your own products with it.
- Use it in your affiliate program.
- Use it in your membership program.
- And so much more.
The possibilities really are endless when it comes to using PLR. The more you use it, the more valuable that one piece of content becomes to you.
If you decide to use PLR on your blog (or anywhere else for that matter) rework it before posting it. You want to make the content your own in some way. There will be other people on the Internet that are using this same content and unfortunately some won’t see the need to make the content their own and put it up as is. You don’t want to be offering the EXACT same information as everyone else.
Make the PLR cater to your audience and target market. Add your own thoughts to it. Put a different spin on it, whatever you need to do to make it work for your needs without simply throwing it up on your blog in the same condition you received it in. This is what will set you apart from another blogger in your market. This is what will show your readers that you can be trusted and know your stuff.
I’ve now given you 8 ways to get content for your blog without having to write it all yourself. There are other ways, but these are some of my personal favorites and most popular ways. Pick one you really like or choose a combination of them.
Up next I’ll give you some ideas for making money with all this content!
Once you start compiling your content and adding it to your blog, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make money with your new found information. I’ve got a few ideas to help you get started, so let’s get to it – I know this is what you were waiting on wasn’t it?
- Promote Affiliate Programs
Finding products you can promote within your content is a great way to make money with your blog. One way to do this is to sign up for an affiliate program for the items you would like to promote. Once you’ve found them and signed up you’ll receive a link (your affiliate link) that you can use to send your blog readers to the product. When they make a purchase using your link, you’ll be rewarded with commissions.
When posting your content, think of items that will compliment the content and search for affiliate programs for those types of products. For instance, if you’re posting an article that discusses using video online, you could promote the software you use to create your own videos. Do you have a product or service you love and couldn’t live without? Put together a product review and use your affiliate link to send your reader to the company’s website. A word of caution with reviews – a reader can tell if you’re just pushing a product to make a sale so be honest. If there is something you don’t like about it, tell them.
You can find affiliate programs in many places, but here are a few I recommend:
The Company’s Website – More and more business owners are realizing just how much creating an affiliate program for their products and services can increase business. Check right on the company’s website for information on how to sign up for their affiliate program.
Affiliate Networks – You can find tons of products in every market you could dream of here. Just sign up for a free publisher account, locate products you’d like to promote. That’s all there is to it. www.ClickBank.com
Free Affiliate Articles – If you’re looking for content that is ready for affiliate links visit www.FreeAffiliateArticles.com and you’ll find a bunch.
Mom Affiliate Network – If you cater to the mom market, I highly recommend checking this site out for family friendly products. You’ll also find programs to help Internet marketers and those who want to work from home here. www.MomAffiliateNetwork.com
Search Engines – Many times you can put the type of product you’re looking to promote plus the words “affiliate program” into your browser’s search feature and you’ll find lots of options.
Do you see those blocks of ads on blogs and websites throughout the web that “Ads by Google” at the bottom? Those are ads published via Google’s Adsense program.
Google sends targeted ads based on the content that appears on your blog. You can sign up for an account with Google’s Adsense program for free. Once you sign up you’ll be able to set up the type of ads you’d like fed to your blog (text ads, block ads, banner ads, and more). As the content on your blog changes, Google changes the ads and you’re paid whenever someone clicks on the ads.
When done correctly, you can make very good money with Adsense, but it does take a bit of testing and tweaking to find the combination of ads that will work best for your individual blog. People are used to seeing these ads and although many people do ignore them, there are many more who will click the links and you’ll be compensated when they do.
- Resale Rights Content
Resale rights content is content you purchase similar to PLR with one exception. You usually don’t have the right to alter the content in anyway. You purchase the content for your use and are given the rights to resell it, which allows you to then turn around sell the product yourself.
Normally, you’ll receive not only the product, but also the sales page and other web copy to add to your own website. You simply change the payment link to have it paid to you and whenever someone buys the product you get all the profits.
Master Resale Rights Content
If resale rights content isn’t good enough, there is also content you can purchase that comes with what’s known as Master Resale Rights. The difference between master resale rights and regular resale rights is:
Resale Rights – You can sell the product but you can NOT pass those same rights on to your customers.
Master Resale Rights – You can not only sell the product and keep the profits, but you also have the ability to pass resale rights onto your customers. They can in turn sell the product as their own.
Each product has specific rules on how you can and cannot use the content no matter which type you are given. Due to this make certain you take the time to read the rules before just throwing the product up for sale or offering rights to others.
Here are some examples of products that offer resale rights you might want to try for your blog
- Small Reports Zone – Jimmy D. Brown
- Beginner Coach – Another Jimmy D. Brown product (this one has Master Resale Rights)
- Sweetie Reports – Alice Seba’s Monthly Report Club where members receive a new report each month and each one comes with Resale Rights
- FullTimeWahm – Comes with Resale Rights, although it isn’t mentioned on the sales page.
Ok, I know you’re probably shaking your head after reading number 4. You’re probably wondering how in the world you have the time to write your own information products when you’re trying to save time and energy by NOT writing all your own blog posts. Hear me out, I promise it’ll be worth it. ?
Just like your blog posts, you can create information products that you can sell to your readers without writing all of the content yourself. The absolute best (and easiest) way to do this is by purchasing PLR content that centers around the topic of the info product you’d like to create and rework it a bit and compile it to create an eBook or guide you can then put up for sale. Here’s an example of what I mean:
Let’s say you have a blog about Green Living. One thing your readers would love to know is how to live a greener life without paying tons of money on things like solar panels, costly home additions, etc. You’ve decided you’d like to create an eBook to help them go green by making small changes to their everyday lifestyles without breaking the bank. You’d also like to show them ways they can not only live a greener life, but even save money in the process. We’ll call the product: “Go Green without Breaking the Bank: Small Changes You Can Make to Live an Eco-Friendly Life while Saving Money.“
The first thing you’d do is start searching for private label rights content that fits your subject. Next, you’ll want to compile all the PLR you’ve purchased into a logical, valuable document. Now, it’s time to add your own advice, tips, knowledge, etc. on the subject and form your finished product.
You’ve now created an entire eBook without having to write the majority of it yourself. Save your brain power for marketing your newly created product. Just remember, make any PLR you purchase your own by reworking it to fit your needs and add to or take away information as necessary.
Go to EasyPLR.com/bestplr.htm for the best PLR on a huge variety of topics.
Bonus Tip: To add value to your information product, record an audio version of your eBook and package it with the written version. You can also interview others in your field and add that too.
Another great way to monetize your blog content is by adding free eCourses to your arsenal. You can put together eCourses that will give your readers further information about the topic of your blog.
For instance, if you run a blog about Labrador Retrievers, why not create a short 5 day eCourse that tells owners of Lab puppies the best tips and tricks for house training the newest member of their family. Or, create an eCourse that gives important information on raising Labs specifically.
You can use PLR content or take content you’ve previously posted on your blog to create your eCourses.
Grab pre-written PLR eCourses on Internet marketing topics at MostlySanePLR.com
This brings me to the next step in making money with your blog – bringing in visitors.
Ad networks are programs that serve ads onto your blog. Normally they pay per thousand impressions. (Usually described as CPM.) So, an ad network that pays $3 CPM would pay $3 for every 1000 times the ad was viewed. There are many sites like this online and you can find them by searching google.
Click here to view some of them: http://www.easyplr.com/sell-ads.htm
Then, Drive Traffic!
I’ll be straight and to the point – without readers your blog will never make money. You need new readers and faithful ones that will keep coming back and spread the word. How do you get people to come to your blog in the first place? And, once you get them there how do you keep them?
Search Engine Traffic – Pay attention to keywords and phrases when you publish your blog posts and other pages. These will help your blog rank higher in the search engines and bring targeted visitors (those really interested in what you have to say) to you.
Word of Mouth – Give some incentive for your readers to tell others about your blog. You can offer contests and giveaways where the winner has to link to the contest or post a Tweet on Twitter about the contest, etc. We’ll talk more about these things in a bit.
Comment on Other Blogs – Find blogs that fit with yours and visit them, read what the author posts and make comments on their posts. When you make comments on other blogs you are normally given the opportunity to link to your site – use it!
Article Marketing – We talked about article directories earlier, but this time you’ll be the one submitting the articles for others to pick up and post on their websites and blogs. Be sure you link to your blog in the resource box so people who read the article can visit your site to learn more.
Learn how to implement article marketing in a way that effectively drives tons of targeted visitors to your blog with this – Easy Article Marketing
Hold Contests & Giveaway Freebies – Contests and free items are hot! Everybody loves a good freebie and the chance to win something. There are tons of things you can giveaway on your blog – from reports to physical products. Some people have found success with using a weekly freebie (Freebie Friday) post. Don’t be afraid to create your own free content and give your readers the opportunity to pass those things on to others. Just don’t forget to include a link to your blog within the content so they’ll know where to find more of your great information.
Here’s a free report about holding a contest on your blog:
Add a Product Review Section – Create a section on your blog just for recommending products that your readers would be interested in. For instance, if your blog is for those wanting to work from home, include reviews of work at home job sites, products that help make the work at home office more efficient and things of that nature.
Everybody looks to others before making a purchase to get advice and opinions. They don’t want to spend their hard earned money on something they’ll never use or that doesn’t give them what they were hoping for. Be the one to share your opinions about products and services (don’t forget to add your affiliate links within the reviews) with your readers.
Add a Recipe Section – If it fits your market another item that is hot on the Internet is recipes. Add a recipe section to your blog and watch your visitor numbers rise. Recipes are a cinch to add to your blog and you don’t have to write them yourself. Check out YummyPLR.com to get your hands on PLR recipes you can add to your website each and every month.
The best way to keep your readers coming back is to offer them quality, valuable content on a consistent basis. That’s what they come for so give them what they want.
Another great way to keep your visitors coming back is to give them the opportunity to sign up to receive reminders about your blog. You can do this with an RSS feed and a newsletter or ezine. Keeping in touch with them on a regular basis, whether weekly, twice a month or monthly, will keep your blog and you fresh in their minds.
The Time is Now!
You are now equipped with more than enough information to create your own blog, or take your current blog to the next level, without typing the letters of your keyboard or spending hours of your precious time at the computer. The only thing left to do now is apply what you’ve learned.
You’ll find a list of resources I personally recommend below. You can check out the ones you think will help you and leave the ones you don’t need. Whatever you do, never, from this point on think you have to spend the rest of your life writing your own blog content. Heck no, life is too short for that, right?
Best of Luck! I hope to see your blog making you profits and hitting the top of the best blogs lists soon!
www.Shelancers.com – Find Writers who can make you look and sound even better than you already are!
www.OutsourceWeekly.com – Learn how to automate & outsource every area of your business that is keeping you from making the kind of money that you’d like to with your blog.
www.ReliableWebs.com – You’ll need a host for your blog, if you don’t already have one set up. Find affordable hosting, whether you’re a mom or not, with excellent customer support here.
www.WordPress.org – This is where it’s at when it comes to blogging platforms. WordPress makes setting up a blog and managing all your content super-easy.
www.EasyPLR.com/bestplr.htm – Affordable, quality PLR article packs, special reports & more on lots of topics.
www.WebTrafficBasics.com – Get targeted traffic to your website with this free course.
AudioAcrobat – record audio for your blog. Turn it into a podcast with this tool.
www.BrandableStuff.com – Videos, reports, and audios that you can post on your blog (all with affiliate programs that you can join to monetize the posts).
http://www.easyplr.com/dc/free-plr.htm – Free product reviews.
FREE Pdf Reports
1. Provide quality content, products, or service
Providing quality content, products, or service is by far the best way to build your reputation, and build repeat traffic to your site. Research has shown that on average, when someone has a positive experience they will tell two other people about that experience. On the other hand, if they have had a bad experience, they will tell seven other people. That act of telling others is how the viral traffic generation techniques start. If your customers never tell anyone else about you and your site, you are back to doing all of the marketing on your own.
To build returning customers to your site, you need to establish a reputation as an expert in your field, very entertaining, or someone who has unique insights. That does not happen if all you are offering is cheap, recycled drivel that you found on someone else’s website. Make sure that what you offer is your own work, and something that is different from what can be found on every other website.
As your reputation as an expert increases, other websites and bloggers will start to pay attention to your website. They will begin to talk about what you are doing, and will even give links from their website to yours. Suddenly every one of their readers becomes a potential customer. The higher the quality of material you produce, the more often your site will be linked to. Each link to your site is an avenue for new visitors to your business.
If you do not think you have the ability to create something that will touch people like it needs to, you may have to spend the money and hire someone else to do it for you. Fortunately for you, there are a lot of service that will put you in touch with freelance writers, site designers, and program designers. If you have an idea about what you want, chances are there is someone available to do it for you. If you are willing to take a chance on a freelancer who has not yet established themselves, you can often find one that will work for a low wage in exchange for the experience the job will give them. Be careful though; often times you get what you pay for. Make sure the work you get is up to the standards necessary to appeal to your audience.
2. Give Something Away
One of the best early examples of building a business by giving something away is Hotmail. Hotmail gave away free email services and email addresses free to anyone who signed up for one, and a lot of people did (and still do). Today millions of users have Hotmail addresses.
What made hotmail successful was one of the early successes of viral traffic building on the internet. At the bottom of every email that was sent through one of the free Hotmail accounts was a message telling others how they could get a free Hotmail account. Every time a Hotmail user sent a message, they were helping spread the name of Hotmail.
How did Hotmail make any money off of free accounts? They did it by offering premium services to their customers such as additional storage space, and the ability to send emails without any advertising attached. Hotmail became successful enough that in 1997, less than 2 years after it was created, it boasted over 8 million users and was purchased by Microsoft. It is still one of the top web based email services in the world.
While you may not be able to achieve the same amount of buzz that Hotmail was able to generate, it does demonstrate the power of getting your message out be attaching it to something that people are willing to share with their friends, family, and co-workers.
Do not discount the fact that people love to get things for free. If it looks interesting, and it is free, people are more than happy to give it a try. While it is easy to get them to try your offer initially, it is a different challenge to get them to continue using it once the novelty has worn off.
Repeated use is critical for your success because multiple exposures will cement your companies name in your customer’s minds. People are more likely to buy something from a company they have heard of than from one they have not heard of. They might not even know how or why they know the name, but that sense of familiarity will make them more susceptible to your message.
What ever you are offering has to be functional, easy to use, and add value to the user. You customers have to feel that it is worth their time and effort to pass the information along. Then, and only then, will they be willing to tell their friends and family what they have found.
3. Require a referral
An added twist to the idea of giving something away for free to your customers is to require them to refer someone to you in exchange for what you are giving away. Simply provide a space where they can enter the email address of one or more people that they have to fill out before receiving the item you are offering. This is especially effective when your free item is something the person can download instantly.
This technique not only puts your message in front of the eyes of potential customers, it also helps you build your own mailing list. You can send an email the people that were referred saying “Your friend (name) saw this, and would like to share it with you. By having the ability to use the friend’s name, it helps to establish your credibility. This will decrease the possibility of person receiving the invitation tagging your message as spam.
Like many of the techniques listed, this will only work if your visitor thinks what you are offering is of enough value to make it worth giving you information about a friend or family member. Friendships are built on trust, and most people will not be willing to risk that trust on a worthless gadget.
Do not expect in instant flood with this method. It usually starts as more of a trickle, but that trickle increases the longer it flows. Over time, the referrals will add up. If each person that takes advantage of your free offer refers two or more friends, it will not take long to have quite a list of potential customers, all at no additional cost.
4. Create a Viral Video Clip
Have you heard of YouTube? If you spend any time online, it is hard not to have heard of it. Millions of people every day view video clips that are stored in the YouTube library. YouTube and Google Videos take advantage of the fact that people are now spending more time in recreational internet surfing than in watching television. It is another example of not only how people want to be entertained, but also that people want choices. The public has gotten used to being able to choose the entertainment they want, and not be forced to take what is pushed at them.
If you are creative enough, or cutting edge, or wacky enough, you could quickly be the next hot video. The videos that have the most chance of going viral are ones that deal with current events, especially if you can beat the major news outlets, videos dealing with business issues, and humorous videos.
Steven Colbert was a great example of this when clips of his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, were released on YouTube. Despite the objections of the Comedy Central network, when the show was still new, Colbert allowed clips from his show to be posted on YouTube. Within a short period of time his clips went viral, and viewership of The Colbert Report soared.
If you decide this is a method you want to use, make sure you have a fresh idea, and not a rehash of something that has already made the rounds. You don’t need network quality equipment to produce a decent video. While you do want decent quality production, the biggest key is great content.
Make your video, and at the end of the clip place a 3 – 5 second promotional slide with the URL for your website so viewers can look for more useful information. Make sure the landing page you send them to matches the tone of the video. If the video you use is quirky and humorous, and the landing page is serious and all business, your visitors will only stay for a few seconds before leaving for more entertaining sites.
Once your video is produced, and looks the way you want it to, upload your video onto YouTube and Google Videos. These sites offer services that allow website owners and users of social network sites like MySpace to place video viewers on their site. If your video goes viral, not only will potential customers be able to see your video on the host site, but also on all of the personal sites that pick it up. The amount of traffic that could flood to your site is huge.
5. Create a Brandable E-Book
Have you noticed the number of sites that offer free e-books to subscribers? Give your email address, click the link and you have instant access to an ebook full of useful information. The reason so many sites use this method of advertising is because it works, and here is how you can make it work for you.
Write a short ebook on a topic that relates to your business. In that book you include a little information about your business, and at a couple of key places include a link that will drive traffic from the book to your website. Now post it on your website and let anyone interested download a free copy.
However, it does not stop there. Encourage anyone who likes your ebook to offer it as a free gift on their website as well. If the information is useful, and
the book is well written, the number of websites that are offering your book will begin to grow, Soon 50 or 100, or even 1,000 other sites will be helping you spread the word about your business. A successful campaign with timely information could keep driving traffic to your site for months or years to come.
Be careful not to overdo the information about yourself, or include too many links back to your site. The more about yourself you include, the less likely others will be willing to give your book away for you.
Another advantage of having your ebook before thousands of people’s eyes is it establishes your credibility. People give more credence to a published “expert” than they do to someone who has not written a book, even if the book is very short. You begin to build name recognition, and when people see your name associated with something in the future, they will be more likely to check it out.
Internet marketer David Meerman Scott used this successfully when he released an ebook titled The New Rules of PR. He posted a link to the book on his blog, and sent link by email to friends and colleagues. Within 3 days his ebook had been downloaded over 1,000 times. At that point it caught the attention of a couple of internet marketing gurus who talked about it on their own blogs. In the 3 days following those blogs Scott’s ebook had been downloaded over 15,000 times.
To date, the ebook has been downloaded over 60,000 times, and it has resulted in a continuing flow of traffic, and several speaking arrangements. He is now considered an expert in the field of internet marketing, largely because of his ebook.
Do a search for ebook compilers to find a program to create your ebook, or find a program that will allow you to save a document as a PDF. Whichever program you decide to use, make sure it allows you to include active, clickable links. If the person reading the ebook has to copy and paste the link into a browser, many of them will not. Make it as easy as possible for them to get to your site.
Also, make sure the program you use will not let anyone change the information in your ebook. There are less than honest people who will remove references to you and the links to your site, and include their own information into your ebook. Many programs will allow you to safeguard your information, so take advantage of them.
Of all the techniques I have listed, blogging is the most work to keep up with. It is also probably the slowest growing method on the list. In order for one of your blog posts to go viral, people have to know your blog exists. With so many quality blogs already in existence, it may take some time to get your blog noticed. It requires persistence.
Before you decide to begin blogging, make sure you are interested enough in the topic to write about it on an almost daily basis. For a blog to be effective, you need to post at least 3 – 5 articles a week. While the posts do not need to be long, they should at least contain the elements that any technique needs to go viral; a unique point of view on a subject, informational, entertaining, and fresh.
Not only do you need to be consistent in posting new information, you also need to work at marketing your blog. There are several easy ways to start getting other people to pay attention to your blog. Start by finding other popular blogs that cover a similar subject as you cover. Leave insightful comments on their blog. When you leave a comment, you can include a link back to your own site. If some reads your comment and like what you have to say, they may head over to your site to see what else you have to offer. If the blog you leave a comment on is very popular, this could drive a fair amount of traffic to your site.
Another method of getting your blog notice is to write a post on your blog commenting on something you read on someone else’s blog. You add a link in your post pointing back to the blog you mentioned. In blog language this is referred to as a “trackback”. When you put the URL of the other blog in the trackback section of your blogging program it sends a message to the blog you are linking to informing them that you mentioned them in your blog. They come and read what you said, and if they like it, they may write something on their blog about your post. Their viewers can also click the link, which will drive traffic to your blog.
It is very easy to get started blogging if that is an area you are interested in. There are several good online blog services that will allow you to set up a blog for free. Some of these services, like Blogger.com, even allow you to set up AdSense advertising on your blog, which will let you earn a little extra income with your blog. If you would rather have the blog located as part of your own website, programs like WordPress are very easy to set up and use. The best part is, it is free to use.
If you write good blog posts, and can effectively market your blog, your readership will grow. The more readers you have, the greater the chances of one of your posts going viral. The key to success is quality material that is fresh, and holds the readers attention. You can not get away with recycling what you read on someone else’s blog.
When visitors come to your blog, make sure you give them a compelling reason to go to the main part of your site to look around. If your blog becomes popular, this method could drive a flood of traffic to your site that will continue on an almost daily basis.
7. Use Social Bookmark Sites
Something that has really flourished in recent years is the popularity of social bookmark sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, and del.ico.us. These sites allow users to search, set bookmarks, organize, read, and rate anything on the internet. If something you have written is posted to one of these sites, other readers get a chance to vote on whether or not they like it. If someone thinks it is good, and worth sharing, they can vote for it.
The more people vote for it, the higher up in the rankings it moves. The higher it goes, more people see it. The more people see it, the more opportunities there are for someone else to vote on it, which helps it to rank even higher.
The good part for you is, even if a reader doesn’t vote on your article, they still might go to your site to see if there is anything else there that they might like.
One important thing to note is, these social bookmark sites do not like you to vote for your own articles. In fact, if you do vote for your own, it could cause it
to move lower in the rankings. You have to have something that other people find interesting enough that they feel compelled to vote for it.
These sites attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every day. If you are fortunate enough to have your message ranked toward the top on one or more of these sites for even one day, the flood of traffic to your site could be tremendous.
8. Use an RSS feed
Another way to build returning traffic to your site is to provide an RSS feed. In its current form, RSS stand for “Really Simple Syndication”. RSS allows someone to place a link on their homepage, website, or RSS reader that sends an update every time you update the information on your site.
This is especially popular with news sites and blogs. If you are posting to your blog every week day, your readers will get an update 5 times a week. That means 5 times a week they will be reminded of your name and your website. This can really work to your advantage because they are getting that reminder because they asked to be reminded, not because you are forcing yourself on them.
Every day they have a chance to read your message, and have the opportunity to visit the main part of your site. The more traffic that comes to your site on a regular basis, the more sales and advertising revenue you can generate.
Another way to use RSS feeds is to bring news or information about your niche that will add value to your site. By putting fresh, up to date information on your websites main page, you give visitors a reason to come back to your site on a continuing basis. If they are interested in your topic, the will return to your site to get updates.
Both uses of RSS are designed to keep your customers coming back. The more often they come back and get new, useful, or entertaining material, the more likely they are of spreading the word to their friends and family, and that is the first step of going viral.
9. Provide free content for other blogs/websites
Another great way to spread the word about your business is to provide free content to other websites and blogs. Everyone wants fresh, well written content for their website. Fortunately for you, not everyone has the time or the ability to do it themselves. With the ever increasing number of websites and blogs on the internet, there is an ongoing demand for article writers and guest bloggers. That’s where you come in.
By providing free content for someone else to use, they get useful information on their website, you get your name out, and they pay the marketing costs. It is a win-win situation for everyone.
Look around for blogs that cover your area of expertise and offer your services to them. They may want you to show them a sample of your writing before they are willing to take you up on your offer. After all, they have their own reputation for quality to consider. If you have a specific article in mind, you could show them the first couple of paragraphs. If you are extending an open offer, write a sample article that shows what you are capable of doing. Just make sure your sample displays the kind of quality they will be looking for.
After you write your article, you can place a short “About the Author” paragraph at the end. Included in that paragraph is information about your business, and more importantly, a link back to your website. Not only do you get a surge in traffic that comes from their website, but the more different places your material appears, the better the chances that one of your pieces will get picked up by one of the social bookmark sites or another blogger and starts to go viral.
The term “Linkbaiting” meets with mixed reaction among internet marketers. It refers to the practice of “baiting” viewers into linking back to your site from there site. You write something on your site that catches the interest of other website owners and bloggers, and they trackback to your site with comments about what you wrote.
The reason that linkbaiting is sometimes looked down on is that some marketers use somewhat controversial methods to get those links. While most of the methods are very legitimate, there are some that many feel cross the line, and are not appropriate to use.
There are several ways to get other site owners to link back to your site, many of which I’ve already discussed. The first is to provide useful information that is new, or a unique view of existing information.
The second way is to offer fresh, hot information. This is especially good if you are credited with breaking a story. When it works, this can generate a lot of traffic very quickly. The downside is, news stories have a very short life. The viral effect from a hot news story could be over within a day or two.
The third way is to use humor. People love jokes, cute or funny stories, and things that make you go, “hmm…” Everyone likes to be entertained. The trick is to get your message across, while being entertaining at the same time.
The fourth way to get links is to offer free tools or games that people can use from your site. Banks and insurance companies take advantage of this when they offer financial and loan calculators on their websites. While you are using the calculators, you are also being shown a message about other products and services that are offered. Even if you are not actively looking at the information, it is still planted in your brain, and builds brand recognition for the company.
The final method is the more controversial one. It relies on the power of controversy to get links. The way it works is for the site owner or blogger to take a contrary position on a popular subject, or to attack a popular person. Other blogs start to comment on what you said, either because they can not believe you had the nerve to post it, or they are coming to the defense of the person who was attacked.
The reason this is seen as somewhat controversial is that often times it is less than honest. The person making the post may not really feel that way at all, they only take that position for the passion, and links, that taking a contrary position it evokes.
The danger of this last method is the damage it could do to your reputation. If you are seen as a trouble maker or rabble-rouser, many of your regular viewers may leave your site and begin frequenting other sites that are a little more in line with their way of thinking.
So why would site owners risk damaging their reputations for links? The first reason is the immediate flood of traffic it can send to their site. Even though they may not agree with your opinion, some people will still check your site out to see if there is anything else controversial.
The second reason is that links represent popularity, and some search engines, most notably Google, use the number of sites that link to your site when they determine the ranking of each site. When other sites link to your site, it improves your ranking with Google. This is especially true with sites that are ranked higher than yours are. The more sites that link to you, the higher your site climbs.
For some site owners, the traffic generated by getting links outweighs the negative consequences that might come from a bruised reputation. For your business, you need to consider whether it is more important for you to have a quick burst of traffic to your site, or whether you would rather build a steady stream of regular customers that will continue to return to your site long into the future.
There are a number of sites that have effectively used gotten other sites to give them a link. Most notably are The Million Dollar Home Page, One Red Paper Clip, and All My Life For Sale. All three of these sites used unique ideas that made other site owners and bloggers want to write about what they were doing. The resulting surge of traffic made all three of these efforts overwhelmingly successful (and yes, the Million Dollar Home Page really did earn a million dollars).
11. Run Contests
People love to win things, and they love to be recognized for winning. Be creative in deciding what the prize should be, but consider how much your customers will think it is worth. While prize doesn’t have to be something of great value, it does have to be something that is useful or of some value to the winner. Make sure that it is something they want, not just a blatant advertisement for your business. A bumper sticker marketing your web address is not going to generate a great deal of interest. Your advertisement or web address should be plainly visible, but it should not be the focal point of the item you are giving away.
If you are running a business to business website, free advertising on your site for the winner is something that wouldn’t cost you anything, but if your site doesn’t attract very much traffic the prize may not be seen as being very valuable.
The great thing for you is that running contests is a great way to drive large amounts of traffic to your site. Other than the cost of the prize, there is not very much cost involved in this technique. There are websites and blogs that are in the business of telling others about contests that other people are running. They will do your marketing for you. All you have to do is contact these sites and let them know about your contest. If it’s worth mentioning they will tell their subscribers. If the contest is good enough or creative enough, it may catch the attention of a blogger who will spread the word to others. The better the prize package, the faster and farther it will spread.
A good way to take advantage of this technique is to have a repeating contest, or a series of contests. This method will keep customers returning to your site.
Not only will they return to sign up for the new contest, but they will also check back periodically to see what the next contest is, and when it begins.
12. Make it easy for visitors to refer others
Have you noticed the number of websites that include a button that lets you tell others about the site you are visiting? They are becoming more popular, because site owners have learned that if you want your visitors to do something for you, you have to make it as easy as possible. If you want viewers if your site to tell others, it does not get much simpler than giving them a button to click.
The nice thing is, if you design and set up your own site, it is quick and easy to add the button. The hardest part is deciding where you want the button located. If you do not do any site design, it is a small cost to have a designer do it for you.
The button runs a small bit of code called a “tell-a-friend” script. When your viewer clicks the button it opens up a small window that allows them to enter their friends email address and a short message so they can tell others about your site.
The power of this script goes back to what I discussed back at the beginning of this book; people will listen to what their friends and family say. There is a level of trust there that you can not come close to, at least not initially. That kind of trust is built over time.
Does a tell-a-friend button flood your site with traffic? Maybe not, but it will bring new traffic, and the traffic that comes is more likely to come back.
13. Make it easy for readers to email the page to a friend
Allowing your readers to send a link to your site through email is another way to encourage your visitors to tell their friends and family about your site. It is very similar to the tell-a-friend button in the way it works.
If someone likes your site, they have an option to click on a button that will open a window in their email program. The script the button activates will insert your web address in the message window of the email. They can then fill out the rest of the message and send your link to as many friends and family members as they like.
One reason this works so well is that the message come from someone they already know and trust, not from you. The email will not get stopped by the recipients spam filter, and there is a very good chance they will open it and read what it says.
Like the previous method, it may not send a flood of traffic your way, but the traffic that does come is there because someone they trusted told them to check it out. They come to your site in a much more receptive state of mind, and more open to considering your message. They are there for a purpose, not just someone who is wandering through.
14. Offer a digital game or tool that carries your message
Games are another thing that is very popular on the internet. I’m not talking about intensive multi-player games that take place in a virtual world, just simple games that people can play at their desk on a break at work.
If you or someone you know has any experience using Macromedia’s Flash, this can be an excellent way to get your businesses name in front of a lot of eyes. Like everything else, if you do not know how to do it yourself, all you have to do is look around and you will find someone who is willing to do it for you.
This is another area where being creative will serve you well. The game doe not have to be an entirely new idea, but the more unique it is, the more interest, and traffic, it will generate. Do a search for “flash games” and you will see thousands of games that people can play without any downloading or programs to install. You can also see that all of the games are not entirely unique. Some are simply a twist on an older classic game, but there has to be something different for it to work for you. The internet probably does not need another version of Tetris, but a Tetris like game with different shaped animals instead of blocks might get you some attention.
If your game catches on, there are quite a few sites that will advertise your game for you, and some that will even host a copy of your game on their site. When someone decides to play your game, you can put an advertisement about your business that they can see while they are waiting for the game to load.
One great example of using a free game for marketing is Peerflix. They created a game called “Paparazzi” that made fun of celebrities. The idea went viral and was quickly picked up by Entertainment Weekly, E Online, and most of the game sites. Within 90 days of the games launch, it had logged over 2 million unique visitors.
The great part for Peerflix is that nearly 5 percent of those visitors made there way over to the main part of the website, which was the reason they created the game in the first place.
Another option is to offer a free tool or resource that people will find useful. While some of these options might cost you a little more to develop and host, if they get exposure and become popular, they are an excellent way to get people visiting your site repeatedly. Calendars, organizers, and reminder services are all ways to get your businesses name in front of your potential customers. Quirky screensavers are another great program to offer. Every time the user’s computer sits idle for a few minutes, your message pops up on the screen. The trick is to put your message in a place where it can be seen, but it should not be the focal point. People are not interested in downloading your advertisement, but they will accept the advertisement as a small price to pay for something of greater value.
If your program works well and is seen as useful, users will tell other people about it, they will write about it on their blogs, and they will link to your program from their websites. That is what going viral is all about.
The great part about both of these options is it gives you repeated visibility. Marketing experts have determined that on average it takes being exposed to something at least 7 times before people will act on it. The more often people see your message, the more likely they are to do something about what they see. Advertisers and politicians put their message in as many places as possible so people will get exposed to it multiple times. That is what gets people attention.
15. Offer An E-Comment or E-Card Service
Social networks have become an extremely popular way for people to stay in touch with each other. If you have not been to MySpace or Facebook, it is worth a look around. While a lot of the publicity these sites have gotten is because of the teens and college students that use them, businesses have discovered they are a useful way to build their networks as well.
Some of the sites are very bare-bones, but some of them are quite elaborate. One thing most of them have in common is a place for visitors to leave comments. Many times these comments are text messages back and forth between friends, but some of the messages are small digital pictures and graphics with a prewritten message.
There are web sites that provide these e-comments free to their viewers. If you see one you like and want to share with a friend, you can copy and paste a small line of code into your friends comment box, and the e-comment will appear.
When you look at these e-comments you will notice that on every one there is a company name or web address at the bottom. Most of these graphics are clickable links that will take the viewer back to the web site of the person that created it. If your e-comment is attractive or quirky enough, social network users will start sharing it with their friends. When their friends (or their friend’s visitors) see the graphic, they will click on it to see what other e-comments you have to offer.
While many businesses are using these services to build their networks, the majority of users are teens, young adults, and women. If your business is aimed toward adult men, this method may have limited success, but if you are marketing to the younger generation, you can bring a flood of traffic to your site with this method.
A similar service you can offer is free e-cards. People are always searching for cards to send to friends, family members, acquaintances, and co-workers. They are easy to use, and have maintained their popularity over the years. These cards come in several different varieties; with or without music and static or animated. Some are very simple animations; others are very elaborate Flash animations.
Once the person finds the card they like, they can fill in the message box, add the email of the person they are sending it to, and press the send button. An email is sent telling the recipient that their friend has sent them a card, and it gives them a link to click that will allow them to view the card.
The person receiving the card gets a message from a friend to enjoy and a small line telling them who sponsored the card. Because you are hosting the card service, the viewer is already at your site. You just have to give them a good reason to click the links that will take them where you want them to go.
In early 2006 job listing service CareerBuilder.com launched a program called Monk-e-mail. With the click of a mouse you could choose which chimpanzee you wanted to use with your card, then personalize that chimp with different clothing, glasses, hats, and backgrounds. Users also had the option of writing or recording their own message, and even had a text to speech functions that allowed the chimp to deliver your message. As an extra bonus, when you move your mouse around the screen, the chimp follows your movement.
Within 3 months of launching, over 14 million monk-e-mails had been sent. The kicker is that CareerBuilder spent no money in marketing this service. In the first week CareerBuilder sent out 1,500 monk-e-mails to employees and agencies, and word of mouth did the rest. Monk-e-mail was so original and quirky that the buzz quickly spread across the internet, and even maid it to the main stream media outlets.
You do not need to create a program as elaborate as monk-e-cards, but it does need to be creative and unique. If you do digital photography or graphic art, this could be a very good way to use your talent to build traffic to your site, or you could hire a freelance designer to create your cards for you. Do a search for e-cards and you will get a good idea of the types of designs people are using. As always, quality and uniqueness are an advantage.
16. Build a community
One of the reasons for the ever increasing popularity of the internet is that it allows like minded people to get together from anywhere in the world. From sports to politics to gum wrapper collectors; if it is something you are interested in, chances are very good that you can find someone who shares your interests.
Take a look at Yahoo Groups. They host hundreds of thousands of different groups from around the world. A search for “viral marketing” groups brought a list of 360 different groups.
While I’m not suggesting you try to become the next Yahoo Groups, it does demonstrate the desire for internet users to get together with people who share the same interests. One method you could consider to take advantage of this is to host a forum on your website. Find an area of interest that is related to your business, and set up a forum on that topic.
Allow your users a way to leave messages in the forum, or contact each other using email or an instant messaging program, and maybe even set up chat rooms where they can engage in active discussions. As the host of the forum you could help answer any questions, which will help to further establish you as an expert in your field. You would also help moderate discussions, and share new and interesting information.
Encourage your users to participate. Give them the ability to share ideas and to establish themselves as experts. Make it a safe, friendly environment where they can share their opinions (within reason). If your community stays active, it will continue to grow, and some of the community members will become customers.
You can find some very good forum programs that are available for free. Download the program and upload it to your web host and you are up and running. Many of the web host companies have software as part of their hosting packages geared toward building communities on your site. They make it very easy to set up forums, chat rooms, guest books and more.
Building a community in this way will bring people that are interested in your line of business to your website. Once they are there, it is easy for them to look around at what you have to offer them. Because they are already interested, it is much more likely that they will take advantage of what your business offers.
17. Write articles for ezines and article publishers
I mentioned earlier that people are more likely to listen to someone that they consider to be an expert. Why can’t that expert be you? If you know enough
about a topic to build a business around it, you are an expert. All it takes is a little marketing to convince others that you are an expert.
One method of establishing yourself as an expert and gaining some exposure for yourself and your business is to write articles for ezines and article publishers. You write an article relating to your business, and then post it to one of the online publishing services. When people read your article, they see your name, and assume you know what you are talking about. The more different places you can get your name and the name of your business, the better that chances are that people will begin to remember you. Over time with multiple exposures you begin to build brand recognition.
There are two different ways online article publishers let you get your name out. Some sites, like ezinearticles.com, let you put a short 1-2 sentence “About the Author” section at the end of your article. You get the opportunity to put together a brief statement about yourself and your business, and a link back to your site.
Sites like Associated Content and Helium will have a content producer’s page that will allow you the room to write quite a bit more. You can talk about yourself, your business, and why the reader should believe what you say. You can also include multiple links that will lead the reader into your site.
When readers click on the link to come to your site they are what marketers refer to as “pre-qualified”. They chose to be there based on the information they read. They were not tricked into visiting your site, and they were not pressured to go there by spam emails. They are there by choice, and that makes them more receptive to your message, and increases the probability that they will purchase your products or services.
Beside the traffic that comes to your site directly from your article, if the article is really good it may end up on one of the social bookmark sites like Digg, Stumble Upon, or del.ico.us. If your article gets ranked in one of these sites, it can bring a lot of visitors to your site in a very short period of time. That burst of visitors might last for only a day or two, but it could also linger in the top rankings for days or weeks.
Another side benefit of writing articles is that they can provide a small amount of residual income to you. Many of these sites offer revenue sharing that will give you a small portion of the advertising that the article generates. The amount you get per article usually is not very much, but enough articles over time can add up.
18. Employee evangelism
The best advocates you have for your business are already on your payroll. Your employees already have a vested interest in getting the word out about your company. If you succeed, they get to keep their jobs, but if you fail, they may find themselves unemployed.
Your employees know your business like no one else does. They can discuss the ins and outs of your business, and tell others why your product or service is superior to the competition. Enthusiastic employees will spread the word to family, friends, and colleagues about your company, and you do not even have to pay them anything extra to do it. It is part of their normal conversation with people.
Back in the early days of the computer industry, IBM ruled the world of technology. A lot of computer companies were trying to get their legs under them, but IBM was the king. One of the reasons IBM was able to continually withstand the ever increasing competition was that they understood the power their employees had to market the company. They had a ready made marketing team made up of engineers, secretaries, accountants, and programmers. By harnessing that power they were able to build a stellar reputation in the computer industry.
From the day they were first hired, IBM employees were taught how to be advocates for the company. They were trained in the company’s values, and were shown the quality of the products they were helping to build. They bought into IBM’s corporate culture, and they, in turn, shared what they knew with anyone who would listen. The technology world heard the message so often, and from so many different people, that they never questioned the fact that IBM was the best.
The key to success is your ability to assemble a loyal dedicated workforce. If you can do that, then you have the potential to tap into some of that power as well. Turn your employees into a marketing team and let them spread the word about how great your company is. If they truly believe it, their enthusiasm will become infectious. People will believe what your employees say, because it is obvious that your employees believe it themselves.
19. Set up an affiliate program to let other people market your product or service.
If you have never thought about using an affiliate program to sell your products, you might want to consider it. There are thousands of people on the internet that want to be able to tap into the online sales, but they do not have a product to sell. If you allow them to sell your product, you can have an unlimited amount of sales people marketing your product on a commission only basis.
The easiest way to set it up is to use one of the affiliate marketing sites like ClickBank or Commission Junction. There are several programs around, so you will have to do a little bit of research to find one that is appropriate for your product. For instance, ClickBank specializes in digital products. If you are selling an e-book or a downloadable software program, this might be the program to use. Commission Junction specializes more in tangible products.
For a small fee, usually a percentage of the sale, these programs will do all of the work for you. They will list the site in their searchable database where people interested in selling online can find you. If they are interested in what you are selling they sign up and become and affiliate sales person for you. They are assigned an affiliate code, and when someone goes to your site using a link containing their code, and makes a purchase, that affiliate gets the credit for the sale. The affiliate program tracks all of your sales, processes the transaction, and makes sure the correct sales person gets their commission.
There are pros and cons to using an affiliate program to sell your products. On the plus side, you have a motivated sales force that actively markets your product on the internet. They do the work, and take on all the expense of getting your message out to your customers. With a sales force of a hundred or even a thousand people, it does not take very long to reach a very wide range of potential customers. Even if people do not click the link to go to your site, it still helps increase your name recognition.
On the negative side, while it does not cost you much in terms of out of pocket expenses, there is significant cost involved. In order to convince someone to bear all of the expenses of marketing your product, there has to be ample compensation for them. Commission rates of 50 percent of the sale price are not uncommon for digital products. The rates for tangible items are lower, but they are still high enough to make it worth your affiliate marketers time and effort. The high commission rates will significantly lower the amount of profit you make on each sale. You can make up for this decreased profit with increased volume, but you have to keep a close eye on your costs to make sure you do not lose money on the transaction.
20. Write Press Releases
Like many websites, newspapers need content. A lot of newspapers, especially smaller local newspapers, have a hard time coming up with enough fresh content to fill all of the space they have. With limited budgets, they do not have the staff needed to come up with fresh material every day. This creates a great opportunity for you.
While papers are not just going to give you free advertising, they will allow you to write an article about something that your businesses is doing, especially if it involves a service or a community event. The newspapers understand that they are allowing you to advertise in exchange for the free content, but it can not be blatant advertising.
All you have to do is write the article, making sure you mention your businesses name, and list your web address so they can get more information. You just have to make sure the piece is well written, and that your business is doing something worth telling people about.
Not only does this get the name of your business out to the community, but it also helps enhance your reputation. Even without knowing you, people will make a judgment on whether they like you, and can trust you. By building a positive reputation as someone who is active in the community, it makes it easier for them to like you, and by extension, your business.
21. Take Your Marketing Offline
Believe it or not, there are still people out there that do not get all of there information online. They use the internet for business or email, and occasionally will shop online, but if you want to reach them you will have to do it offline.
There are a lot of ways to make people aware of you offline. Some are better than others, depending on your business, but they all share a common purpose with the online techniques; get your businesses name front of as many people as you can, as often as you can. Sales people use the term, “It’s a numbers game.” If more people get exposed to your message, more people will go to your site. More people at your site will mean more sales.
From pens to calendars to neckties, company names, logos, and web sites appear everywhere. Some companies have built a strong enough brand that people will pay to wear their logo. Coke and M&M’s are just two of many corporate brands that people proudly display.
There is a small sporting goods store I know of that prints and gives away hundreds of shirts every year. Anyone even remotely involve in local sports has at least one shirt form this store. At any casual event in town at least one person will show up with a shirt bearing that stores name and logo. I have seen pictures from as far away as the Dominican Republic wearing one of those shirts. Anyone new in town or from any of the surrounding towns quickly learns where to go for their sporting goods.
A quick search online will give you a wide range of companies to chose from that specialize on providing promotional materials. There is a wide range of quality, price, and products to choose from, so depending on your budget, you should be able to find something that matches with what you want to accomplish.