How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

Really its quite easy you build up a website that you intend to use for the hub of the promotion and then apply to the affiliate networks that you wish to join. There will be some requirements on your side for each network byt that depends on your selection.

I would highly suggest having everything in order before joining a network. This means your bank that you intend to use for payments, your tax documents and business names and any LLC PTY type business setup documentation. I also suggest having at the very least a 5 page website setup with something about you your business or the niche that you are targeting.

This all helps the networks make a choice thats going to help them sell more. Be their best choice when applying. Do not half ass your application. This type of job can change your life and if you want to half ass around and not put in your best then you may struggle before the race begins.

amazon affiliates dissappointed at commission reduction

What qualifies you to be an Amazon affiliate?

You will need to be approved within the Amazon affiliate program called Amazon associates. They have some basic terms and conditions and you really should pay attention to the do’s and dont’s as Amazon is one of the most anal about the terms of service for the program and sadly they hold all the cards if you step out of line just once expect them to come down on you hard.

🔗 Does Amazon associates pay you for click to purchase?

Yes they do as long as the affiliate link was displayed within their terms of service for the associates program.

If your click to purchase referral is all good under the TOS then yes you get that sweet commission for the referral. The idea is to provide as much hype about the thing you promote that the reader clicks over and purchases the product.

Amazon does a really good job at converting visitors to customers. So as long as you can attract a large amount of visitors you will naturally start to make some clikc to purchases. You should work on creating solid page copy to really sell and hype up the product.

 

🔗 Can You Post Amazon Affiliate Links On Facebook?

No you can not. Facebook has started blocking most affiliate links and parameters.

You are best off creating what is called a bridge page or a squeeze page that collects the email address, provides a little overview and then sends people to the affiliate link.

🔗 Can you buy through your own Amazon afiliate link?

No you can not. You can buy through family members or friends links if you want to help them out. 

Amazon is super strict with the whole terms of service thing they really crack down on it.

🔗 How many affiliate programs should you join?

I would suggest a handful like 10 or so and in my opinion avoid Amazon or dont make Amazon your main source of affiliate revenue. They are too unprpedictable and have in the past made wild changes to the associates program and cut the payouts down again and again.

 

Build an empire with affiliate marketing

How do I start affiliate marketing as a beginner?

 

🌐 What is the best affiliate network for a beginner?

The best networks for beginners are the bigger ones. They wont be as strict with minimum requirements as the smaller more niched out networks.

My picks are beginners

  • CJ (Commission Junction)
  • Share A Sale
  • eBay affiliates
  • Amazon Associates (its easy to join)

These are the better networks to start on and then look at moving to more niche networks when you have some runs on the board. If you know someone who will vouch for you that is already making decent sales for a network the affiliate manager may be a little more relaxed on your application if you have any buddies who are in teh business.

I started out and had not very many people in my circle but the guy who got me into affiliate marketing is Jeff Lenney a very successful power affiliate.

 

🚧 How do I start affiliate marketing without a website?

If you do not have a website and plan to build one you will need to be clear about that in your applications to the networks.

You may be ok if you have a following on a social media platform like YouTube or Instagram Tik Tok etc. This will depend on each networks terms of service for websites verse social media.

But I highly recommend getting yourself a website. You need to capture the email addresses to send the backend promotions and its one of the ways that you can rank web pages for free and get even more commissions.

Get the A to Z of building an affiliate website right here.

💵 How do I get paid from affiliate links?

The process involves you have a unique ID tracking link of the product that you are promoting. This is your uinique ID that identifies all of your referral traffic.

Here is an example affiliate link:

https://www.gohighlevel.com/main-page?fp_ref=shane40

Here is anexample of a masked affiliate link:

https://bit.ly/leadgenCRM

As people click through your affiliate link they get tagged with an identifer that tells the network or merchant that you sent that visitor. The analytics then assist the network and merchant if that visitor you sent actually purchases.

Then your unique ID is tagged as making a successful referral and you are then assigned the commission for the sale. Most networks and merchants do not release the fund right then and there and they often have a holding cycle of 7 days, 14 days, 30 days or a money threshold like pay me when I make $100 in commissions.

 

Affiliate marketeing is not to complicated but for newbies it just means getting familiar with the technology involved. You can always fast track that and subscribe to my newsletter and ping me for help and guidance when you get stuck. I love business, creating wealth and helping people make their first online buck. 

Thanks for reading and I hope you take action and make something happen. Peace!

How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

We are going to be using our blog as A marketing tactic to grow our list and audience size. This allows us to create a following and platform for which we can then promote offers and services to said audience. Most online businesses work like this 1 Visitor ready to...

read more
How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer? Really its quite easy you build up a website that you intend to use for the hub of the promotion and then apply to the affiliate networks that you wish to join. There will be some requirements on your side for each network byt...

read more
Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

  How Go HighLevel Got My Attention I first came across the company known as Go HighLevel when I was looking at moving away from Salesforce back in early 2019. My focus task at hand was to be reviewing and creating a matrix of potential CRMs to replace Salesforce...

read more
Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

go high level crm saas

 

How Go HighLevel Got My Attention

I first came across the company known as Go HighLevel when I was looking at moving away from Salesforce back in early 2019. My focus task at hand was to be reviewing and creating a matrix of potential CRMs to replace Salesforce but I was only a quarter of the way through my task when I stumbled across GHL (Go HighLevel).

 My frustration was fumbling through 6 different softwares, trying to reconcile leads and connect integrations and zaps between softwares it was quite a clunky mess. I move fast and cover a lot of ground, when I need to use multiple software the term fast doesnt make sense. Using Ontraport was a painful experience for such a popular name brand in CRM software it was a clunky dinosaur in my opinion. 

The moment I picked up GHL I was impressed by the sheer ease of use and vast feature set that allowed me to do everything software like ClickFunnels and Ontraport did but for less of an expense and all in one.

 

Why You Should At Least Consider This SaaS Product

The features are a plenty and they cover so much ground you can cancel a lot of now redundent softwares. Thanks to Go High Level you can run a all in one marketing software that just gets sales. A lot of care and thought has gone into this software to make it a full funnel marketing platform.

Some Key Highlights:

  • Builds landing pages & websites
  • Builds connected integrated sales funnels
  • Email marketing at your finger tips
  • SMS two way messaging built in
  • Paid ad campaign reporting 
  • Local SEO reporting and linkbuilding options
  • Lead capture forms & quizzes
  • Intelligent tagging and triggers
  • Inbuilt automation to the likes of Zapier
  • CRM lead pipeline  board
  • Sales Funnel visulisation dashboard
  • Sub accounts for franchises or agencies

There are possibly another 40 features I could rattle off to impress you but these are the main ones that grabbed my attention. Having all this on one easy to use platform is nuts. An entire business can be managed from this software with ease and another win is that you can manage teams in here as well. I love this feature and how granular the controls are for permissions of access. 

 

Banner Best Funnel Builder deals

What Does Go HighLevel Cost?

The interesting thing about GHL that many competitors can not hold a candle in comparison is the limitations. For the price of subscription a lot of competitors put limits on plans, where Go High Level shines is the lack of limits placed on subscribers.

Monthly $99.00 USD or $297.00 USD

 

What Subscription Plans Does High Level Offer?

There are several plans available for subscribers to Go High Level.

Light Plan for $99.00 USD per month.

Full Plan for $297.00 USD per month.

Software SaaS Plan for $497.00 USD per month.

There are also some community marketplace subscriptions available as well that make the software even more powerful as if it was not the number 1 software already.

 

 

 How Go High Level Compares To The Other Tools

GHL pricing sheet

clickfunnels sales checkout

How Does The Price of Go HighLevel Compare To ClickFunnels?

To be fair ClickFunnels and GHL are on par with each other in terms of pricing per plan. The smaller plans for each are $99.00 USD per month with the next step up plan being a $297.00 USD per month subscription.

The difference comes in limitations. ClickFunnels limits custom domains and email, SMS features but Go High Level does not limit these.

 

How Does The Price of Go HighLevel Compare To Active Campaign?

The price of GHL compares quite well when you weigh up the limits that Active Campaign enforces on its plans. The more list size you have the more you pay and thats fair but Go High Level has said it does not matter how many list size you have its an unlimited number within all plans.

Active  Campaign hasnt budged on the limits. The only innovation on their behalf is they have finally released landing pages as a feature as of December 2020.

 

How Does The Price of Go HighLevel Compare To Ontraport?

I wont even bother comparing the two platforms. My experience with Ontraport is that its an elephant in the CRM jungle. I say elephant because I found it big, chunky also clunky and slow moving. Yes it has some powerful features but while you wait for them to load in just about any other software you could of done 2 to 3 more things while waiting for Ontraport to load.

Ive moved away from Ontraport and to be fair they were the main reason that I went all in on Go HighLevel. I was using Ontraport at the agency and it was a huge headache for all people involved.

After some testing with GHL I put the product pitch to my CEO who was all in and we started migrating away from Ontraport. We now get more done in less time with more options at a fraction of the price.

How Does The Price of Go HighLevel Compare To HubSpot?

You will be pleasantly suprised that Go HighLevel is more customer friendly on price points than HubSpot and it provides far more features. Funny that a smaller lesser known software like Go HighLevel can take the competition right to the big boys like HubSpot and do what they do just as well but put the customer at the forefront of their product.

 

The List of Softwares To Cancel If You Use Go HighLevel

with GHL you can stop these softwares

Go High Level Is Built For Lead Generation

 

The defining function of GHL is that it was built by lead generation marketers for business to master their own lead generation campaigns. With all the bells and whistles that it has the primary function is to make driving leads to an appointment form or calendar super simple.

The scheduling system is quite robust but retain ssimplicity for all levels of expereince to implement the form and calendar. Using a tried and tested process that looks like this:

  1. Traffic campaign
  2. Landing page
  3. Lead form
  4. Calendar schedule booking system
  5. Email follow up system to remind people to show up
  6. Followup emails post attending the appointment

Not rocket science but the number one growth factor for lead generation is this exact step by step approach. What I found really interesting is that the guys behind Go High Level Shaun Clark & Chase Buckner had a lead generation marketing agency and became frustrated with the CRMs and funnel builders on the market. This led them to develop their own platform that was purpose built to help people do lead generation better.

The most successful business are spawned from people who built the new company product or software to solve their own problems. This means that Go High Level was built to fill the gaps that the bigger softwares had. I really like the story behind GHL and from all my dealings with the company owners these are people who care about the future of this software and the community. A really refreshing sign. 

appointment setting and calendar

My Key Takeaway

This software is best for anyone who drives paid traffic, runs an appointment setting business or provides marketing services for clients. The ability to do everything in one platform is what most marketers dream of.

Saying that yes it is designed for marketers by marketers but that doesnt mean business owners can not make the most of this. For any business owner who depends on appointments and providing services this is the software that will grow your online business and referrals again and again.

I am still tinkering with the best way to use this for ecommerce businesses but no doubt it will be just as useful for a store as a service provider.

For the price you pay this is hands down a over delivery by the creators. I dont think its the peak either as new features are being developed and the community as it grows so does the integrations and endless feature set.

Im very happy with the software, the development team behind it and the future roadmap of where they want to take Go High level as an organisation. My final words are if you are serious about growing your online business give GHL a try at the very least and see if you can pay for one subscription software to do it all. Thanks for reading I value your feedback.

 

“The CRM and sales funnel industry is vast and very competitive. For a small lesser known software to gather as much momentum and positivity as Go High Level has means something special is being created here. I really went all in on this software moving everything over to GHL and Ive saved time, money and team resources because of how simple they make it. Thanks Shaun & Chase you guys have some real solid SaaS at High Level.”

ShenZu

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer? Really its quite easy you build up a website that you intend to use for the hub of the promotion and then apply to the affiliate networks that you wish to join. There will be some requirements on your side for each network byt...

read more
Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

  How Go HighLevel Got My Attention I first came across the company known as Go HighLevel when I was looking at moving away from Salesforce back in early 2019. My focus task at hand was to be reviewing and creating a matrix of potential CRMs to replace Salesforce...

read more
How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

We are going to be using our blog as A marketing tactic to grow our list and audience size. This allows us to create a following and platform for which we can then promote offers and services to said audience. Most online businesses work like this 1 Visitor ready to...

read more
How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

We are going to be using our blog as A marketing tactic to grow our list and audience size. This allows us to create a following and platform for which we can then promote offers and services to said audience.

Most online businesses work like this

1 Visitor ready to buy

2 Visitor reads your blog clicks your link buys thing

3 Completes purchase

4 Not much else happens

5 The customer fades away into the background

This Business Model is broken

-Cannot survive without more leads

-Is doomed leads stop coming in

-Cannot maximize leads

-Leads are “private” and short term

-Your leads are super limited, rarely maximized nor ever maximized, and they do not stick around

-Not good for your blogging businesses growth

The key step missing in the above business is the email capture. You need that email so you can remarket to the audience over and over again.

Just like what Im going to do right here.

Fun fact the above method works. There is no hidden games or agenda I told you what I was doing and then did it. No usual smoke and mirrors that you dont fully know what you just signed up for.

Some Bad Examples

-Sign up now ……….

-Join my newsletter……….

-Subscribe…………

Lets Build Your Blogging Business The Right Way

This is how we should be building our business through the blog site.

If you follow these steps you will see a shift to a positive cash generating email list. Thats one way that we make money blogging.

Trust, faith, and interaction

Grow in engagement

Start to see the trajectory of success.

Just engaged audience who helps you make sweet online money. 

There are some added bonus to building a blog business:

  • I like blogging, but I do it for the edge it gives me
  • When you get enough readers (easy to do in a years time) your brand fans do your selling for you
  • Business is ALWAYS growing

The more audience and email list you have the easier this online thing becomes. Its strength in numbers and letting the compound effect take action.

  • The easier it is to get massive attention and use that attention to build trust
  • Smart Passive Income, Search Engine Journal, Marketing Profs, Book deals etc
  • You will never get random sites to just send people to a sales page, its super easy to get them to go to a blog post though
Develop a business plan click bucks

Blogs Play The Long Game

They take time to build and get the momentum that you need to be successful online. Plus Google needs time to position your blog in the right category in its index. This all takes time but if you dont add content or dont improve your site as you go the momentum does not build.

At the start it will be a little slow. Once you get that first bit of momentum you will be able to build on that with more ease. Google starts giving you a few free passes and ranks your site for keywords that people actually search for. This provides an audience, the audience fuels the email list and the email list is your money maker.

Blogging as a business is a great revenue generator:

  • EVERYONE buys, they are just rarely have the desire too. Blogs capture them and give them the desire too
  • Buyers need something special to hit PEAK zero resistance buying state
  • Blogs make your business attractive beyond what your selling, and then create interest in what your selling 
  • They just plain work if done right

Build A Business Looking at 1-3 Years Ahead

One of the mistakes I see with students here is that the mindset is to build my blog for what I need today right now. This is wrong and Ill tell you why, I want you to think of your business in 1 to 3 years time and what that looks like for you.

The reality is you wont see much momentum for 6 months unless you haul ass and work relentlessly. This business should be a lifestyle business and not a working 16 hours on my blog type business.

Why I look at the 1-3 year plan:

  • Planting the base of what will be a huge SEO success
  • This is not blogging coaching (aka utter bullshit), it is coaching on how to leverage as many tools as possible for epic SEO success
  • Start from simple practices

This also paves the way for my niche selection and blog category.

  • Making SEO Services? Aim to make a blog for SEO’s, goal is high traffic and mass relevance
  • Aiming to sell to a certain niche? Make a blog with free training and information in that niche, goal is less traffic, but higher relevance
  • My 2 cents, make a hybrid so you can market to both kinds of people
Build an empire with affiliate marketing

How To Setup Your Blog

You will need a couple of things to start the blog. You will also need to have a vision in mind of what you will build and I mean the structure, the theme colours, logo and then the tone of the content and images.

My barebones goals with the ClickBucks blog is:

  • #1 Goal is to help people grow businesses online
  • Get people to subscribe to my email list
  • Build something thats fun to work on and a creative outlet
  • Create content that evokes thought and tackles peoples problems
  • Avoid the slimey lambo mansion marketer type look and feel at all costs

I think Ive done this with the time I allocate to this project and everyone reading this right now is like “yea dude we love this blog”. Thanks guys you rock.

To start your blog you will need the following Items:

The short list is above and each point could create its own novel so I made a quick start guide to starting a blog here.

Now your blog needs at least 3 main atrractions that will be where you focus your efforts and send people to. These could be a newsletter, a feature article or learning pages that have offers and deals.

Other Types can include:

-Case Studies of a particular thing you did or are doing

-If writing about web design, focus on the exact codebase, design principles, or anything you used to get web design success, give it all away freely

-If writing about a niche focus on simply teaching what web design for clients is and laying out all the benefits

-Want to aim for about 3 posts laying out step processes to helping your target audience

-The 10 reasons why most businesses fail, cut their income in half, etc because they miss online marketing

-The essential of do it yourself web design guide

-Do it yourself guide to setting up your own web design client hosting platform

These feature points are where you will focus your efforts. You will need to have lead capture on these pages and some form of monetized widgets or cals to action. This is how we start getting you paid.

The home page needs to have something that stops people scrolling and makes them read it. Your elevator pitch on a page.

-The most important thing when you start out

-Create an essential thing they need to continue learning, have a pop up opt in, have opts in on top right corner of site and at the end of posts. Links inside posts

-After opt in, video (or text) explaining how they are getting it, what it is, and what to expect

-Get even more if they like your brand

-(Big secret to how to build websites in 3 days or something like that)

 

Join People Who Are On The Same Journey

My list has reached 10k readers and I have seen several readers go on to create very successful businesses online. It all starts somewhere and this could be your somewhere. My emails are short, sweet and to the point and I’d like you to join me on my journey online.

Best Sources For Free Traffic

We need traffic to at least test our blog conversion. This is a great way to know if we are onto something amazing that will change the world or we just built a steaming ple of monkey crap.

The test traffic can be very insightful. We can learn about the visitors and their actions. 

You should have installed Google Analytics on your website to monitor user behaviour. There are plenty of guides on how to do that try google for a guide how to set it up.

Best Free Traffic Sources For Testing Blogs:

-Forums (Specifically for web designers)

-Niche forums

-Niche industry publications (super easy to do)

-Warrior forum buy/sell boards (more on this later)

-Niche fan pages (super sneaky) Large groups

The niche fan pages is a sneaky way to get traffic it works even better if you own the page(s). Think about that for a minute, should you invest time buildingniche relevant fan pages to attempt to control your traffic sources or is it easier to just pay the page owners for some publicity? thats a time vs reward questions for you to answer.

Once you have tested the traffic and understand that things need to change or things worked better than expected you can move to real traffic.

First:

Did you get any engagement with the test traffic?

Yes – move on to next paragraph.

No – look at the design of the blog, look at the structure or look at the content something needs to change for better engagement. Read the blog here for tips on creating better messaging, optimising conversions and building sick websites.

“When you pass the free traffic test you get to play with some real targeted traffic and build the blog. As you build the audience numbers the really cool stuff starts happening. People will email you for advice or sponsorship or feature publications. This is when you can start to actually see the impact that your blog has on people. I really enjoy building businesses that impact people, it provides such a positive feeling”.

Shenzu

Getting Your Blog Feature/Guest Posting

 

-Huge way to build authority

 

-99% of the time done wrong

 

-General media the way to go at first

There are specific ways to do this that get solid results. 

-Pay attention to what is hot in SEO and then just offer to right about it

 

-Pitch stories, not your blog, case studies, how you made money, etc etc

 

-Mail every few days (most of the time it is missed)

 

-Look at what someone wrote about and offer extra insight OR the offer for a follow up posts

Example outreach script for guest posts:

(If you can put in a subject : Did You Miss This, (First  Name), FWD: SEO Writer ETC

 

Hey _______

I happen to be an expert on X (Author, head of X niche, authority in this)

I noticed your readers on this post (link to post) were very interested

in  x, y, and z

and could possibly give you some high quality information.

Here are some writing samples/work samples below 

Looking to hear back from you!

Emails: What to send to your subscribers?

The first email is crucial to determine the relationship status of you and your list. If you oversell they unsubscribe, if you overdeliver you look desperate. There must be a middle ground.

Also this is quite important.

If your blog site is serious you must carry that across into your emails. You cant have a serious blog but then be sending gifs and emojis in your emails it doesnt relate to the audience. If you are in a fun niche yes send gifs memes and emojis.

The first email you send should connect the email with where the person gave their email info, for what and what is this email about, then once covered who are you or save that to the 2nd email.

A typical email after a subscribe will look like this.

-Here’s your stuff + just to let you know I will be sending you a bunch of free ways to improve your business

-Subject : (Name) Case Studies Shows How We Did This Wild Thing

-Link to blog – Using like lockers within posts

-The download is here 

-Thank you subscriber email

Thats all I have for you here Ill come back and update this post with better details for you and some more scripts to fully build out the blog site, the PR pitches and the overall blog content planning.

Its been fun I really enjoy writing about building businesses so if you have a specific niche category or style of blog you wnat to see me write about email me at [email protected] and Ill write it up for you. Thanks for reading. Peace!

How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

We are going to be using our blog as A marketing tactic to grow our list and audience size. This allows us to create a following and platform for which we can then promote offers and services to said audience. Most online businesses work like this 1 Visitor ready to...

read more
How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer? Really its quite easy you build up a website that you intend to use for the hub of the promotion and then apply to the affiliate networks that you wish to join. There will be some requirements on your side for each network byt...

read more
Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

  How Go HighLevel Got My Attention I first came across the company known as Go HighLevel when I was looking at moving away from Salesforce back in early 2019. My focus task at hand was to be reviewing and creating a matrix of potential CRMs to replace Salesforce...

read more
How To Start An Ecommerce Business

How To Start An Ecommerce Business

I have been consulting this guy who on the surface has it all planned out, he wanted to get my help in expanding his offline store into an online store and then building more sub niche stores to create a self refferring eco system. Great plan when its working.

My call started with so lets check in on where we are at , what is the status of your store and how much more do we have to do before you can launch. He gave me a very soft reply that he had not even started and was actually thinking of calling it off because it seemed like a lot of hard work.

ezgif.com-gif-maker

Bruh! You are basically sitting on a goldmine of opportunity and wnat to turn it down to go play xbox out the back of your store and expect people to just find you naturally with no work put in? yes he said. 

My motivator for this post was that damn guy. His lack of motivation was really flattening for my spirits and general enthusiasm for him. He had the plan, the investment money, the know how but not the drive.

His loss is your gain.

I am hoping at least one of you reading this can follow the walkthrough and find success. It is not at all as hard as it sounds, but it does take work to build an actual ecommerce store.

This is not some rinky dink dropship store this is the foundations of a eccommerce brand. You need to build the store first to grow a brand. When the brand comes along you will see the big returns.

Ecommerce is in my veins I love it and while its a challenge at times its one of the easiest ways to make money. Ive made a lot and given a lot with ecom. Today Ill show you how to build a ecommerce store that you can grow into a brand.

The 6 key things

  1. Understanding Finances
  2. Understanding the market, competition and optimisations
  3. Understanding Business Operations
  4. Understanding Where & What to sell
  5. Understanding the Sales Cycle
  6. Understanding Expansion

My stores have been my biggest failures and some of my biggest successes. The flipping of a couple of these stores that were well into the brand phase has set me up for life.

If you do not know where to start your ecommerce store I will help you. I want to make it super clear and actionable for those playing at home.

The sales cycle in a nutshell

  • You have the products and solutions to peoples problems.
  • The customers has a problem and needs a product to solve that problem. Desire is also a big problem to have and so is FOMO fear of missing out. Thanks to Instagram and all the filters FOMO makes me a lot of sales.
  • The search intent that connects buyers with sellers. 
  • The connection of buyer with your product and that understanding of if your product can solve their problem. Very powerful when you get this right.
  • Repeatable business and optimising sales and conversions.

I can not make it any easier to follow. If you get a couple of these steps right your sales will grow, if you get them all right you start to build a brand.

The feeling when you get new sales notifications on your phone is almost undescribable. But when the novelty wears off and it starts to drain your battery, so much so you start getting a second phone just for sales and store servicing it can loose some of the magic.

Do not get stale, stay hungry for success and push forward.

Winning at Ecommerce

Understanding The Sales Cycle

The most important part of ecommerce is the sales cycle. This is how you make your money and how you build the business. A lot of big brands use outdated tactics, or dont give enough attention to their entire inventory. This is your opportunity as a lean start up you can target the opportunity and build towards taking on bigger product markets.

People want to buy from trusted brands, people want to buy where other people are buying and they want to know they are buying quality products. Customers are smarter today they check reviews, they research the brand or the store, they look deeply into the product before they purchase.

To beat competitors you must know your audience.

Those silly notifications that pop up on stores the moment you visit it showing you recent sales do not work. They used to work and show people buying ABC product just now! and 1 mile from where you are. This tactic is cheesy, overused and complete bogus. 

Read these points below, write them down and heck even use them in your business. They work, they have made a lot of moiney and grown some crazy big brands.

This is the sales cycle simplified.

Problem and Solution Matching

You have the products and solutions to peoples problems. Every customer has a problem that they want to solve. Every customer was looking for the cure, the bandaid fix, the cheaper version of x, the best thing and they found you.

Every product you stock or promote should answer a problem. If you struggle to find a problem that the product solves dont promote it dont stock it. Replace that product with another more useful product.

Connect the gap between the problem and the solution. This is where millions of dollers are made every second of every day.

Solving Your Audiences Problems

The customers has a problem and needs a product to solve that problem. Desire is also a big problem to have and so is FOMO fear of missing out. Thanks to Instagram and all the filters FOMO makes me a lot of sales.

We are all on our phones looking at Insta and other people, and analysing everything about them. We look at what they are doing, what they are wearing, what brands, where they are and what they eat and drink. We are really weird like that if you think about it.

curry under armour shoes

My example:

I have 29 pairs of shoes. 17 of them are sneakers. 4 of them are in excellent condition and what I consider to be my “fancy” shoes. Now taking all this onboard, I will go to Instagram and check out the basketball players I follow in the NBA. if one of those guys has a sick looking shoe on Ill be on Google searching for it in seconds.

Ill research the size options.

Ill check out the price and colour options.

Ill be looking at the shipping cost and estimated delivery.

ThenI go on a rabbit hole of research to get more info and decide if I want this shoe. Ultimately I do but I want to be sure. These size 16 sneakers take up more space than you might think.

Thats a problem and solution example of me wanting something because it looks a certain way on a player I admire. I have to have it. You need this happening in your stores marketing.

Connect The Search Intent

The search intent that connects the buyer with the seller. The search can happen anywhere, Google, Bing, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram or even YouTube. 

My question to you is are you there on those channels when they need you? You should be. It might cost you some time to do it organically and it will cost you ad spend if you start running paid advertising but you need to be on these channels where the buyer is.

Blogging, Q&A sites and of course social media and search engines. Its the backbone of the sales cycle without buyers you wont be making sales. Be where they are and be saying all the right things.

Starting a store? start here learn how to build a store from A to Z.

Guides for Ecommerce stores.

 

Messaging Clearly Wins Sales

The connection of buyer with your product and that understanding of if your product can solve their problem. Very powerful when you get this right.

When you communicate effective problem solving messaging you will have the reader in your hands. Ready to buy they just need to know the price. This powerful connection to the story or the problem solving benefits list is what will drive sales. 

Cluttered messaging fails, clear short sharp messaging works wonders. The exception is story telling and on what platform you are using it to promote products. 

Keep the sales messaging simple, clear and speaking to the audience its meant for.

Repeating Sales Success

Repeatable business and optimising sales and conversions. When you start seeing traction from all these points combined you should be thinming how to do it for every product in your store. 

You may also start to think about a second or third store. This is where the repeatable business model comes in handy. You want to cut down the learning curve and testing phases by using what you know already works.

Document your processes. Create guides, templates and systems for your team.

Speaking of team build the team you want to work with and who you hired because they inspired you. Dont settle for average demand something more and inspire your people to react to your brands values. This is one really powerful growth element is the people behind the brand.

Now you have the winning formula you just need to find and build an audience. When you do build the audience put some focus on email marketing, list building and controlling your traffic sources.

“Making your first sale of your very first product is a magical feeling. You get the butterflies in your stomach and a tingle in the back of your throat confirming that you are doing it. You know what to do and you are a success. Until you see the sale amount and its like $9.20. For me that was a huge motivator to go hammer & tong on my sales process, the product copy and my pricing strategies to get consistent sales and of a much higher revenue target than $9. Anyone can do this, if you follow a plan.”

Shenzu

Add Value Make More Sales

One method I used when I was stuck for some products was adding sweeteners and deals. When I started doing this I didnt know it was called bundles, upselling and all that jazz. I wanted to make it more attractive for my customers to pay for products on my store. 

I would do buy 2 get 1 free promotions, buy 2 get 25% off next purchase and promotions where if you spent over $100 you got a extra mystery gift. These all worked really well. It was hard to keep track of all the deals and promotions until I simplified it.

The value add should be used on the bigger priced items only. I use it mainly on any product over $100 and it still works. The numbers are different and the offer is a little different but the concept works,

Knock yourself out with coupons and spinner wheels and what ever the cool kids are using today for this tactic. 

Power up your value add promotion with a tailored email campaign for abandon carts and then have one for new customers and the email newsletter (or what ever you use). This will be another revenue source.

I like a 2-3 email sequence for abandon carts. This reminds them we have the product, they can have a perk of some sort. The aim is to bring those slippery visitors back to your store. If you have to give away discounts and coupons then you can but know your margins.

My top picks for email marketing software to make this really easy for you.

Newsletters should be always on. What I mean by that is that you should be scheduling in a monthly newsletter. This is one very easy way to get people engaged with new products, ne wpromotions and coming back to your website.

Always on means this activity is always running. The abandon cart email sequence should be short 2 or 3 emails with an end date. This is the difference between a campaign and an always on activity.

New customer email welcome series. I like these because you can set the tone and expectations with the customer. You may be suprised but some customers expect a welcome series to learn more about the brand. If you win them over in this series you have just earned a loyal supporter.

My Example:

If you visit mens underwear brand Step 1 they do this so well I now own 30 pairs of Step 1 jocks. This is a great product doing something different. They use humor and the solid product quality to win over customers.

One word of advice is to not spam the crap out of your list. If you want to see this in action visit Anthony Morrison he is a Shopify guru and he will email you into submission. I emailed his team to ask if there was a reason behind the super active and aggressive email and they said yes. We email until we get the result we want. 

WOW! This is the wrong way to email your business promotions. This guy is a huge earning ecom guy I expected better from him but hey man do what works for you. 

 

stressed by no conversions

I wouldnt want to communicate more than once a week with my list. This allows me to stay relevant while keeping some breathing room between emails. I also want to have great content in my emails and that takes time to build out as you learn your audience.

You should consider the content you want to use in your emails. Will you go product and collection  focused meaning a very transactional focus. Or will you go down the informational and value add road where you engage, delight and entertain your audience with tips, guides, tactics and deals.

The mix is up to you. if you know your audience you will get results. This is a test and invest step where you learn how aggressive to be or how much value to add before the reader converts into a sale.

Track your emails, track all links you have in your email with UTM’s on the links so you can see the results of engagement.

Email marketing software guide that shows you the best tools, tactics and how to get more from emails.

brad pitt money ball money works

Understanding Business Operations

Lets not sugar coat this. Running any kind of business is hard work. You will have product issues, website problems, compliance with Google or manufacturers and then we havent even touched on selling or customers and building a team. It takes a lot of time, money, paitence and resources

At every step of the journey you will face new challenges. When you win at something and just settle in feeling really happy with how everything is going BAM! another business challenge hits you in the face. Especially as you get started, if this is your first business you will encounter a number of hurdles your business will need to jump over to suceed.

 

Running A Business is Hard Work

Stay focused and commit to the plan.

Many people shy away from starting an online store because of the initial start-up costs. But imagine if someone offered to pay your up-front inventory costs on thousands of items and manage all your shipping and fulfillment operations for you. It’d be much easier to get started, and you could run your business from anywhere in the world. Sound too good to be true? in most cases yes it is a fairy tale, but it does happen if you know where to find the investors.

This brings me to should you have a business partner? Maybe. This will be an answer that you should consider if it is your first business or you know that finances is your weakness. I have several JV partners where we have complimentary skillsets. This works for me and them and we are successful because we have experience, resources and processes in lace.

Systems and Process management

I dont build a business unless Ive mapped out the plan. I want to know what the first 12 months will look like and how much will be required to get traction.

Using a project manager tool helps me map out the roadmap at a high level and then the granular month by month to do list of tasks. If the calculations have been done, the forecasting is complete and I can weigh up time vs reward and see clearly the way forward then I am all in.

As I do something in the business I document it, record the steps and build a database or wiki of processes and SOP’s. I need my team to be able to do these steps at scale as we grow. My CEO hat tells me I will not be processing sales orders in 10 months time, so I build the task guide and process manual for this task. 

If you have this mindset you wont encounter as many issues as you grow the business. It will take a little more time to do the tasks but you will be in great shape when you hire and when you start growing. The aim here is to keep you as the business owner out of the weeds and sitting at the chess table moving the peices on the board.

Learn Ecommerce Business.

somehow i manage by michael scott

Somehow I Manage (By Michael Scott)

One thing I do that helps me split my focuses on the business and know where to be at what time is a bucket list. Before I built a framework to manage my time I would get stuck on low value low impact tasks becuase it had to done. When you know the big picture as show here you understand where to spend time. Lets look at the list.

Here is how I break down an Ecommerce Business:

  1. Research
  2. Planning
  3. Building
  4. Soft Launch Quality Review
  5. Go Live Launch
  6. Sales & Marketing
  7. Assessment and Optimise
  8. Research Phase 2
  9. Expansion

From our list above where would I as business owner spend my time assuming I had myself and a assistant working on the store. I would focus on the buckets highlighted in red. The rest can be done by the assistant or a specialist freelancer or contractor.

If Im working with a 2 person team I only want the high value and high impact buckets in red. We should as a business be able to brief out the low impact work to someone who is much better at doing that thing.

Each bucket here can have up to 10-20 sub buckets to create the bigger bucket. Like a book using headings and sub headings the buckets are jam packed with to do lists, tools and technology as well as people within teh business needing tasks to move the business forward.

This can take you from forever planning and researching to we are live and just made our first sale. 

Most Common Question When Starting Off With Ecommerce 

How much does it cost to start an ecommerce business?

Resources and equipment needed for an eCommerce startup

As a bare minimum, you will need a domain $10, Hosting $10 or a Shopify plan at $29 monthly and then the website store that you will use to sell from. If you can build it then you might get away with costs as low as $800 but if you are not a coder then you may be up for anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 for starter store builds.

Then you need to factor in inventory, advertising, apps if using Shopify and any other knick knacks to run your store.

Is ecommerce business stress worth it?

For those who like challenge and putting in effort each week yes it can be very rewarding. For those who shy away from hard work you may want to partner up with someone or choose another business option. Ecommerce takes work.

How can I start an ecommerce store?

The first thing you should do is start here.

Then you can head over to this page for more guidance on building an ecommerce store.

Ecommerce is Easy Money

I love ecommerce because you can make money very quickly. You can build a brand in 12-24 months that has stable consistent sales. The work is tough its not easy because ecommerce requires some involvement so for our affiliate and dropship readers this is nothing like what you are doing.

I say its easy because I pay attention, I push the pedal to the metal and try new things. You can see some store results from just one store in month 18 pulling in some amazing results.

My aim early on is to get approval from as many big brands as spossible to have them listed and advertised on my store. I can piggy back on their brand name and bring in traffic, much easier than not having the big name brand.

You must set up the collection pages so that your highest revenue generating products are first and your most popular products are on the 2nd line of products shown. These should all be on the same page.

This is simple sales techniques. You want to make it easy to make money and easy for customers to find the products they want.

Use Paid Advertising

The next thing to do is to start a paid ad camapign with either search engine or platform. Where can you run product advertising campaigns?

  • Google shopping ads
  • Microsoft Bing shopping ads
  • Pinterest catalohue ads
  • Facebook cataloue ads
  • Instagram Shopping ads

The campaign will cost you money there is no avoiding it, but think big here with me and understand if something costs you $2 for a click and you got 10 clicks thats only $20 cost to you. Now 20 people landed on your website and roughly 2-4 will convert as an average. If your advertised product is $60 then we can use the model that 2 people purchased your $60 product making a combined sale of $120. Its only cost you $20 so far. Now you will prob be having a 30 or 40% margin on your products so lets go the lowest at 30% profit

Lets run a scenario:

  • You advertise a $60 product with ads
  • You are being charged $2 per click
  • You get 20 clicks = $20 expense
  • You now have 20 people on your website
  • You can expect 2 to 4 people to convert on average. lets say 3 people converted = $180 in sales
  • You now have $180 sales from a $20 ad spend thats a win
  • You just earned some positive ROAS return on ad spend

Thats your front end costs and revenue. Now lets look a the backend finances and what the end of day total is.

  • You made $180 from your sales
  • You should have 30-40% profit margin per product. We will use 30% for this
  • Your expense to buy the products is $126
  • Your profit is $54
  • You now have positive ROAS on the back end as well

If you know that you know that you can put more ads out and make more on the backend. The front end sale matters but not as much as the backend where you make that clean profit.

What you do next after you have the numbers is to use the compounding effect. The more ad campaigns you have the better as long as your finances permit. Then you run ads for your higher profit margin products. This is the starting point. Then you add more products as you have the finances in place. The ad cost may fluctuate and you will need to pay attention or hire a marketer to help you keep this running like a well oiled machine.

Paying for customers is fine and it works. In some niches this is a must to pay to play.

You Must Do Free Organic SEO

I say this because nothing beats free traffic and free conversions. Instead of paying Google and Facebook for customers with SEO you just do it yourself or hire an SEO Specialist to help set this up. 

SEO is an ongoing activity. This helps push your product and collection pages higher in the search engines. Really really powerful for growing an online store. The competition is less competitive and you can get results in 3-9 months. When I say results I mean really highly visible pages in Google search where people can search and see your website. 

Im keeping this one super simple but I do urge everyone to invest time or resources in SEO its such a powerful marketing activity. 

 

CRO ecommerce store
CRO for ecommerce prod
Pay attention and maximise results

Understanding Where & What to sell

When Im wearing my operations hat I want to know what products will make my store money and what products are taking up primary screen space. I only want products that have sales history, when starting out that is harder to expect but I want products that have peoiple actively searching for them. There should be only products that people are interested in being promoted in my stores.

It is not uncommon for me to cycle products in and out of the store depending on the performance. I do not expect you to do this as its more manual. But at least know your product performance. This helps to know where to showcase products and what will convert vs what wastes space.

Shopify Is The Better Ecommerce Platform

Get a Free Shopify Store

The number 1 ecommewrce platform is Shopify hands down and its only going to get better. I am a WordPress man but Im moving all ecom to Shopify everything. Ithelps me simplify the selling process and it has very robust security. I want a slick platform that can grow as I grow and this describes Shopify.

Additionally, if you’re using Shopify you can access a variety of apps in the app store that will connect you directly with reputable affiliates or manufacturers saving you time.

They have free and paid plans available.

How To Find Products To Sell

How to use Google to find wholesalers. Google can also be an effective tool for finding brands to promote, but you need to keep a few things in mind.

Here are some tips you can use to find a wholesaler through google. The first thing you’ll want to do is Search Extensively. Wholesalers and manufacturers are notoriously bad at SEO and marketing, and usually aren’t going to pop up on the first page of Google for a term like “handbag wholesaler.” Instead, you’ll need to dig deep into the search results, often going through 10 or 20 pages of listings.

Additionally, you should use lots of modifiers: As you hunt for suppliers, don’t stop with a search for “wholesale” – make sure to use other terms, including

  • “distributor” 
  • “reseller” 
  • “bulk” 
  • “warehouse” 
  • “supplier”

It’s also important to note that suppliers also tend to have outdated, late ‘90s-era websites. So don’t be scared away by abysmal design and layout. While a sleek, modern site could signal a great supplier, a low-quality one doesn’t necessarily indicate a bad one.

Now, despite my glowing recommendation, this method isn’t ecommerce nirvana. Like all models, it has its challenges and downsides, which I will quickly go over now.

One – There will be loads of competition and weaker margins. It’s true. Products that can be drop shipped will spawn a lot of competition. Usually this will lead to cutthroat pricing and diminishing profit margins, making it hard to build a viable business.

Two – syncing inventory is difficult and leads to out-of-stock items. The best way to mitigate this problem is to work with multiple suppliers with overlapping product lines. It’s inherently dangerous to rely on a single supplier. Having two suppliers doubles the likelihood that an item will be in stock and available for shipment.

Understanding Finances

Make Money Money

To be successful, you typically can’t compete on price. Instead, you’ll need to offer value in a different way, usually through top-notch product education, service or selection.

You want to find those hidden gems most big stores have overlooked but you can easily sell them. The product matches your focus audience and its affordable, great quality and best of all going to make you a metric tonne of money.

You can Use AliExpress for product Research and finding Manufacturers.

Many sophisticated suppliers offer a real-time product feed, and you can use a service like eCommHub to easily sync your Shopify website with the warehouse. Eventually, you’ll sell a customer an out-of-stock item. Instead of canceling the order, offer the customer an upgraded product or discount. You might not make much – if any – money on the order, but you’ll likely build a loyal brand advocate.

Three – It’s hard to sell products that you never see, however In today’s world, it’s possible to become an expert in just about everything through information online. Selling products from manufacturers with detailed websites will allow you to become intimately familiar with a product line without ever having touched a physical item. And when you do need to answer specific question about a product, a quick call to your supplier or manufacturer will give you the answer you need. You can also buy your most popular items to get acquainted with them, and then resell them as “used” or “refurbished,” often recouping most of your investment.

Four Third party errors. Involving a third party will result in more fulfillment errors, mistakes, and logistical problems. Even the best dropshippers make occasional mistakes, and mediocre ones make a lot of them. Suppliers are fairly good about paying to remedy problems, but when they’re not, you need to be willing to spend what’s necessary to resolve the issue for your customer.

If you try to blame your supplier for a fulfillment problem, you’re going to come off as amateurish and unprofessional. Similarly, if you’re unwilling to ship out a cheap replacement part to a customer because your supplier won’t cover the cost, your reputation is going to suffer. One of the costs of drop shipping convenience is the expense of remedying logistical problems.

If you accept it as cost of doing business – and always make sure to put your customer first – it shouldn’t be a long-term issue. Is drop shipping the path to overnight ecommerce success? Of course not. As with any successful online store, you’ll need to invest over time in a quality website, marketing, and customer service. But drop shipping does provide an easy way to get started and the ability to leverage other people’s capital without having to invest thousands of your own.

build a market analysis plan and stick to it

Understanding the market, competition and optimisations

You’re looking at data, you’re looking at your pages. You have to know exactly what is going on with trends, best sellers and any promotions that you have running. You also need to have some idea on what the competition is doing and what they are running so you can compete or avoid any crossover with their promotions.

It is not just about the product. It’s about your customers, visitors behavior and spend trends, right. And when you have got some products that are selling well, you need to have the insight to feature them in a more prominent position on your website to further increase their conversion.

That’s Key Insight #1.

Key Insight #2, you need to have a content strategy ongoing all year round. This along with a solid paid advertising strategy will grow your store like it was pumping iron and taking steroids.

When my content is developing Ill be spending money on pay per click ads to get traffic to the website. This comes in from Google search ads, display banner ads, Google shopping ads, Bing ads and Pinterest advertising. 

Once Im seeing some signs of life in the content so it is ranking and attracting traffic I can cut startegically lower my paid ad spend on different platforms. I dont ever completely cut it off thats not smart but I keep a toe in the paid advertising waters just in case something happens with Google.

I spent a lot of brand awareness advertising just to pump up the hype for the store.  So many marketers discredit brand awareness campaigns, but they work and they work really well with a hot content campaign where you have new content daily.

Key Insight #3 The Optimisation Phase

My entire focus once the content and paid advertising campaigns are running and driving traffic to my stores is to focus on user expereince and sales conversions.

Just to keep it simple its two parts

  1. Optimise the customer experience
  2. Optimise every conversion element on the page

My go to is to make the search to advert click through as customer centric as possible. I lower my page load speed as much as possible so the poages load super fast. Ill remove any other advertising from my pages so its just the page with the core message and the visitor.

This is the customer experience phase 1. The next step here is the add to cart, abandon cart and shopping cart experience that all ties into the customer experience.

If I can win this I can have a repeat customer and possibly a customer that keeps coming back again and again.

Page by page CRO 

CRO conversion rate optimisation is critical to all stores doing over $500 a day in sales. To grow them to be making even more you will need to invest in conversion adjustments. This might sound a bit wanky but when you see the statistics before and after a proper CRO audit and optimisation you may have a changed opinion on the importance of this tactic.

ecommerce shipping meme

How To Run A Relevant Store

  1. Know your market
  2. Know your audience
  3. Know your competiton
  4. Know your optimisations

So, in the beginning what’s interesting is 90-somewhat percent of the sales were coming from paid. Pay-Per-Click, we were spending a ton of money, right, To get some traction. But later on, my entire focus shifts to organic growth.

All the revenue increases coming from SEO efforts get the focus for at least 4 weeks for maximum growth potential.  The surge in new sales will come in from your organic search traffic, free traffic. Well, I wouldn’t say they’re entirely free because I invest time and money creating media, creating content and reaching out for promotion of my content for them. But, only 48% comes from paid.

The paid advertising requires a constant review to make sure i am not overspending or wasting budget on extremely high CPC keywords and to make sure competitors have not screwed up the bidding on my target keywords.

I dont over bid, over spend or get eaten alive in ad position. I set up my campaigns myself and then hand over to my paid ads team member. You may not have this option to start out so try learn the basics of PPC and how to setup ad campaigns. When you master this you make sales a lot of sales. 

Inventory kills. What would kill you the most is you have way too much inventory of products that you don’t sell. Depends on what kinda products you sell, do they expire? Assuming your products don’t expire you’re gonna sit on a lot of products that don’t sell. And, you’re sitting in a lot of cash, right? So, you’ve gotta be very, very careful when it comes to inventory management.

So, to do E-commerce I believe if you have your own store, meaning you’re not selling through Amazon ’cause Amazon already has all the traffic. But let’s say you’re not selling through Amazon, you have your own E-commerce store. I believe you need to have a very good organic strategy as well as a paid strategy. And, last lesson I wanna share with you when it comes to E-commerce is, inventory kills.

Number one, when it comes to E-commerce conversion matters a lot. Conversion matters a lot. So, you should be constantly measuring your conversion rate on different pages.

Your bounce rate, meaning people hit your homepage.

Where are you seeing people exiting from your site?

Where are you losing people?

Now, one of the things that we notice when I was running an E-commerce business that we were losing a big chunk of the customers at the checkout, right? At the checkout page, we’re losing a big, so they like the product, they click the product, they add to cart by the time they get to buy, we lose a whole lot of people.

There is a lot involved just to stay competitive.

So, I was saying to myself, okay, this is not good. What could we do better? So, then the team sat and reviewed our entire process added a lot of different things.

Example:

  • We added actual testimonials during the checkout process.
  • We streamlined it and simplified the checkout process.
  • We changed the look of the collection pages
  • We made big visual changes to the products and content on those pages.

So, in the beginning, back then I didn’t know the inner workings of CRO when I started. Now I feel like a gun at it, Ive also shared this knowledge with my lead developer so we can brainstorm best converting page template designs and using the best converting elements in the right place.

My checkout was clunky it used multi step  and not everyone made it through. This hurt sales so we fixed it to a two step form hats condensed and fun to use. The output is a direct increase in cart process completion goals. BooYa!

So, conversion matters. You have to measure everything.

running an ecommerce business

Understanding Brand Expansion

Now, before I really understood how the nuts and bolts of the sales cycle worked I was a HUGE risk for my brand. I would be sitting on hundreds of thousands of dollers of product and product that was not being sold just being held.

Holding inventory I didnt need to be holding cost me more than I am willing to admit. Yes I could sell it all. At the time I didnt have the orders coming in to back the amount of inventory I had in stock.

Actually Running an Ecommerce Business

Test before you invest. My rule of thumb is to know the audience, how often they purchase, niche events that may soike sales, hot products, stale products and invest when you know the results of the test.

My advice is know your sales numbers, know your hot selling products and frequency of sales. This helps you know how to run the inventory ordering much better.

If you suck at inventory try dropshipping its much easier and less work involved. The money is not the same and its even more competitive because the barrier to entry is so low.

Consider buying smaller businesses to merge their audiences, assets and market share into one bigger brand. This works time and time again. If you plan it to perfection you will see a snowball of momentum in your revenue from online.

Review your finances weekly. Schedule at least one session where you just review the incoming revenue and outgoing expenses. Give yourself a clear picture of business financial health.

Key takeaway: Have the document or software you use to review the finances easily to access in 2 clicks or so. The harder it is to access the more forgotten it becomes speaking from personal experience.

The next item is teams. Build your team around 2 or 3 A players and then hire B players until you are at a level you need all A players on your business. This will make or break your momentum.

From teams comes processes and systems. Building a solid set of SOP’s standard operting procedures or a wiki for team members to perform processes in the business empowers many people to do the work. Then freeing up the high value on the business thinking.

It takes many hats to be the person behind the ecommerce business and it doesnt just happen overnight. Ive failed fast and learned from each mistake. At every intersection of failure record the reason why and the solution to move forward. Now you dont need to fail at that again because you have the process.

I love talking about business and ecom this has been real fun. If you like this type of content let me know and Ill focus more on some operational techniques and tactics. Hope you found this useful. Put in the work, Peace.

How To Make Money Blogging

How To Make Money Blogging

We are going to be using our blog as A marketing tactic to grow our list and audience size. This allows us to create a following and platform for which we can then promote offers and services to said audience. Most online businesses work like this 1 Visitor ready to...

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How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer?

How Do You Become An Affiliate Marketer? Really its quite easy you build up a website that you intend to use for the hub of the promotion and then apply to the affiliate networks that you wish to join. There will be some requirements on your side for each network byt...

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Go High Level Marketing Software Changing The Game

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  How Go HighLevel Got My Attention I first came across the company known as Go HighLevel when I was looking at moving away from Salesforce back in early 2019. My focus task at hand was to be reviewing and creating a matrix of potential CRMs to replace Salesforce...

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Blogging Guide: How To Make Money With a Blog

Blogging Guide: How To Make Money With a Blog

Blogging started as a simple hobby, but has transformed into a powerful way to capture search traffic and monetize an audience.

While many successful bloggers started years ago, it’s still possible to start a successful blog today. You just need to update your tactics.

I’m Shenzu and I launched this blog in late 2019 to prove that it’s possible. With startup growth tactics Ive got steady traffic and regular commissions coming in exceeding $2k month with around 1-2 hours work a week.

The Riches are in the Niches (So Choose Wisely)

Ultimately, launching a blog starts with planning. And that includes choosing your niche carefully, or your unique target audience to focus on.

So how do you choose a blogging niche that you can easily monetize?

You need to find a niche that is highly monetizable and has affiliate revenue potential.

One of the most common pieces of advice that pro bloggers provide is to write about your passions.

While this advice may work for a few whose passions lie in a profitable niche, it won’t work for most bloggers. They’ll start with a passion in mind, write content for years without a monetisation strategy, get burned out when the money isn’t rolling in, and quit.

That’s why you must choose your niche based on market factors, not passion

First, your blog needs affiliate revenue potential. This is a term I coined that basically means that the keywords that you target need to be monetizable with an affiliate program.

So how do you do this? First, use an SEO tool and find keywords that include the word “best” in them.

“Best” keywords are searches that people do when they’re looking for product reviews. For example, “best credit cards”, “best laptops of 2021”, and “best travel insurance” are all highly-monetizable searches.

Remember, to make money from a blog, you must treat it like the real business that it is.

And for that business to succeed, it must offer something that your target audience is willing to pay for.

To take it a step further, choose a niche that has audience revenue potential.

For example, while college students include a large subset of people, they may not be the most lucrative to target. But working professionals might be.

You need both revenue potential with high-value products AND an audience willing to put up the money. We monetize the blog with a variety of options like:

  • Affiliate offers
  • Display advertising earn per click
  • Dropship products 
  • Actual brand ecommerce products
  • Sponsorship
  • Paid placements

Think about it this way.

Instead of writing about interior design for stay-at-home moms, write about commercial design for hotel and resort managers.

1. Leverage Your Professional Experience

Once you’ve identified some great niche opportunities, narrow it down to ones where you can use leverage.

Your professional leverage will help you tremendously when starting a blogging business.

This is what gives you a unique advantage over other bloggers in your niche.

How do you discover relevant experience to leverage?

Ask yourself:

  • What valuable experience do I have academically and professionally?
  • How can I leverage the connections I have in my industry?
  • How can I leverage this experience into a profitable blog?

The answers to these questions will help you zero in on a niche that will fasttrack your path to success. For example, when you’re first starting your blog, you need to build influence (and Domain Authority) with backlinks and guest posts. If you have no leverage, it’s hard to get noticed.

But if you already have leverage in an industry, it makes it much easier to build blogging relationships and get more guest posts published.

They’ll also help you blog about topics you’re already familiar with, thereby saving you time on content creation.

It can also help you avoid burnout, which is another common problem that bloggers face.

The number one ingredient to running a successful blog is influence. And leveraging your professional experience and connections is a great way to build it faster.

make money online with laptop

Before You Start Making Money with Your Blog…

One of the biggest mistakes aspiring bloggers make is to think that blogging is the lazy person’s path to financial freedom.

It is a path to financial independence, but it requires a lot of hard work – especially in the initial stages.

Here are a few things you must get right if you’re to make money from your blog…

2. Get the Right Web Hosting, Domain Name, and CMS

While this may seem obvious, many aspiring bloggers make a business sinking mistake here. They go for the cheapest web hosting.

Web hosting is an essential element of your blogging business as it determines the reliability of your blog.

It also impacts the speed of your website. Poor web hosting can result in your blog occasionally going offline and loading slowly. Both factors can cause you to lose valuable readers.

See my blogging recommendations on what setup platforms you need.

To get the right web hosting, focus on:

  • Speed
  • Uptime
  • Customer service
  • Budget

And if you’re going to rely on a lot of media like images and video, you should also consider storage space.

Aside from choosing great web hosting, you also need to get a domain name. This is your blog’s name, as well as it’s address (URL).

Most web hosting platforms offer a free domain for a year, but after that, this should cost you roughly $10/year.

If you can’t get a domain name with your main keyword (as is the case with most keywords these days), you can always consider using your name as the domain name. This is great for coaching businesses and allows you to pivot your content if a sub-niche doesn’t work perfectly.

Third, get a reliable content management system (CMS) to publish your blog on. WordPress comes highly recommended here as it’s very flexible and 100% free. With WordPress, see my recommendations on the tools and themes you can use for blogging.

3. Create a Content Strategy

Content is the lifeblood of your blog. Get it right, and you’ll be in the right direction to make money from your blog.

But how do you ensure that your content achieves its goals of attracting visitors and converting them into subscribers and customers?

It all starts with a rock-solid content strategy, which involves (among other things):

  • Conduct keyword research. The number 1 skill you need to suceed is keyword research mastery your target audience use in their Google search queries.
  • Understand searcher intent. Understand what your audience is really looking for when they perform a search query. It’s an indicator of their pain points and, thus the problems you can help them solve. Google is looking for answers that end a user’s search journey, meaning they visit your blog and then stop going to others.
  • Semantic keywords. Make sure to use a tool like UberSuggest or SurferSEO to make sure that your blog posts have the best possible keywords and different variations that Google is looking for.
  • Create a content calendar. Create a schedule of blog posts to be published (based on your keyword research and user intent). For this, you can use a project management tool like ClickUp
  • Update posts regularly. Keep updating and adding new content to your old posts to keep them fresh and relevant.

With a solid content strategy, you’re bound to create compelling content that your audience will love.

The goal should be to create content that helps foster meaningful relationships with your audience.

Treat Your Blog Like a Startup, and Scale It Like One

Since most of my readers work full-time, to make money with a blog you need to use your time in the most meaningful ways possible. I write a lot of content early mornings or late late at night hovered over my keyboard in a dark room haha it might not be glamouros but it gets the job done.

You need to treat your blog like a startup, rather than a passion project. I hustle my butt off to get things moving at the end of the day no one else will hustle like me. I want to be the hardest worker in the room, but also the smartest worker in teh room. Outsource the low value work and focus on the high value  work for yourself and your time.

The reason many blogs fail is not from a lack of creativity or passion, but because they struggle to transition from blogger to business owner.

And here are a few areas you have to focus on as you treat your blog as a startup and scale it:

building your affiliate website

4. Have a Blog Business Plan

Like any business, start with a business plan.

This is a blueprint that will guide your decision-making, tell you what to invest your time in, and steer you on the path to monetizing your blog.

 

Blog Business PlanIt doesn’t have to be overcomplicated — a simple Google Doc will do. Elements to include in your blog business plan can include:

  • Goal setting
  • Market research
  • Competitor analysis
  • Blog monetization strategy
  • Your unique value propositions, heading, and taglines
  • Tasks to complete

Set SMART goals and make sure to keep track of everything in one place.

5. Scale Your Blog by Boosting Your Blog’s Ranking

To scale your blog’s traffic, you need to both create high-quality content and get links pointing to that content. It’s really that simple.

To do this, you must work on your search engine optimization (SEO). So how can you boost your blog’s ranking through SEO?

Build Quality Backlinks

Backlinks are one of the most important ranking factors search engines consider. They are like the currency of the Internet.

Not only do they improve your Domain Authority (DA), but they also help drive traffic to your blog. You must invest time and resources to build quality backlinks to your blog.

And here’s the key many bloggers have missed — build relationships, not just backlinks.

In blogging, it’s impossible to scale your blog single-handedly. You must build relationships with other bloggers and webmasters if you’re to scale fast.

Once you understand this, you’ll base everything you do to scale your blog on the value you offer, not just what you can get from others.

This will increase the chances of you getting the valuable backlinks others struggle to get.

To scale, consider hiring a VA or outreach assistant to make more connections and build more backlinks.

Audiences

Guest Posting

One of the most effective strategies I’ve used to grow my blog, both in traffic and Domain Authority, is guest posting on sites in my niche.

This simply means creating high-quality content that you publish on other blogs. Reach out to your network, prospect with some link tools and find people and blogs that alow guest posts, this will be a easy way to start getting sweet links.

The reasons this is very effective are it:

  • Drives relevant traffic to your blog
  • Is an easy way to get backlinks
  • Helps you build brand authority

In 2019, I conducted an experiment to try and prove the efficacy of guest posting. The results spoke for themselves.

After eight guest posts on websites with DAs from 60-94, here are the results I got in 15 days:

  • 32 new referring domains
  • 247 new backlinks
  • 268 new organic keywords ranked in the top 100
  • 372% increase in organic traffic
  • +12 to Ahrefs Domain Authority
  • Alexa Rank improved by 600,000

To succeed with your guest post pitches, make sure your content is relevant to your host’s audience, doesn’t exist yet on their site, and focused on a specific keyword.

To sum it up, a guest posting strategy is a surefire way to scale your blog’s traffic and quicken your path to monetization

Create SEO-Optimized Content 

Of course, we can’t talk about SEO without talking about your on-page content.

After all, content is what attracts visitors, helps you build relationships with them, and converts them into your customers.

For your content to achieve all this, you must optimize it for SEO.

This is where your keyword research comes in. Each blog post should focus on one keyword and be included in:

  • Your headline (preferably as close to the beginning as possible)
  • The first few paragraphs of your blog post
  • In your subheadings (H2s and H3s)
  • Naturally within your content

Apart from this, your content must also be easy to read and have high readability scores. To do this, use short sentences and paragraphs and format it properly with subheadings and bullet points.

 

Implement Solid Technical SEO

Technical SEO refers to optimizing your website’s technical aspects that impact how search engines rank your website.

It mainly boils down to ensuring that your blog offers visitors a positive experience. This is critical as Google announced that  they rate page experience much higher now and it should be on every bloggers radar as an important signal for rankings and page visibility.

I like to think I can dive into the tools and get my hands dirty with the technical SEO work and really clean up my sites. The downside is I dont always have the time to be doing it hands on myself. Wearing my Operations hat I would say outsource the technical SEO work if you can afford it and have someone reliable to do it. Time vs reward.

 

Some technical aspects of your website to work on include:

  • Page load speed. Make sure your website loads fast by optimizing it for speed. This is technical and border line developer work.
  • URLs. Use descriptive URLs that contain your keyword. To do this, change your blog’s permalink settings.
  • Internal links. Building internal links helps search engines understand and navigate your website better, making it easier for them to crawl your site.

No matter how great your blog is it will not won’t rank well if your technical SEO is lacking. This will lead to you losing valuable traffic and, ultimately, revenue.

Nailing your SEO will result in your blog’s DA increasing, resulting in it being more visible to your target audience.

Remember, to make money with a blog, you must drive traffic to it. And that’s the main purpose of search engine optimization.

silos explained

Image: The technical structure and architecture of a website makes all the difference.

 

Build Relationships with Your Audience (and Monetize Your Blog)

With a regular business, email marketing plays a vital role in driving sales and increasing customer retention.

The same applies to your blog.

If you want to make money with a blog, you will want to put effort into growing your email list and using the best email marketing tools that simplify the communication between reader and you.

Your email list forms the core audience that you’ll market to. But to successfully sell to them, you have to build a trusting relationship with them first.

Let’s go back to basics and see how you can build a list of engaged subscribers.

6. Grow a Profitable Email List

To build a list of engaged subscribers, you need two main things:

  • A reliable email marketing tool.  Here are email tool suggestions that will help you create and manage your database of email subscribers. It will also help you strategically automate your email messages.
  • A good offer. To get your target audience’s contact details, offer them a valuable resource they’d be willing to something of value. This has to be a resource only people interested in your topic will sign up for. For example, a high-quality lead magnet.
  • A well-designed signup form. This is where your readers input their details to gain access to your offer.

Make sure to promote your offer on your blog and social media to encourage as many people as possible to sign up.

First, you can promote your blog posts to your subscribers, helping drive traffic to them.

Secondly, you can promote your products/services to your email list. You can also add affiliate links to your emails and recommend products.

In addition to email marketing, here are the most common ways to make money with your blog.

7. Pick Your Monetization Strategy

Here are the top seven ways to monetize your blog after you gain sufficient traffic.

Affiliate Marketing

This is a traffic dependent monetization strategy in which you promote services or products on your blog via affiliate links. If a visitor purchases through your link, you get paid a commission for that sale.

First, you need to join affiliate networks and then jam pack your offers with value and the messaging that works. Then you add them to your content and track reporting to see how many clicks and conversions you get.

 

Display Ads

Another way to make money from a blog is by joining an ad network and displaying ads. Granted, this isn’t as easy as it used to be.

The main problem with this blog monetization strategy is that you need a good amount of traffic to make real money from ads.

However, if you’ve already got a decent following and your blog receives a good number of visitors, you can consider signing up for Google Adsense or

other ad networks that pay well like MediaVine and AdThrive.

Sponsored Content

Sponsored content refers to content brands pay you to create and publish on your blog.

Of course, the content is usually about them or a topic related to their business.

Again, brands will only partner with you if:

  • Your blog receives a lot of traffic
  • Your audience is mostly made up of people in their target audience.

The advantage with sponsored content is that you can charge a flat fee – it doesn’t depend on the number of impressions or clicks, as is the case with ads.

Online Courses

Learning online with courses are one of the best high-ticket ways to make money with a blog.

The reason for that is that you don’t need a ton of traffic to monetize your blog this way.

You can start by creating a short course on a niche topic to gauge if demand for the course warrants you to invest time, effort, and resources into creating a full-fledged course.

By pricing a course at either $199, $499, or $999, you can generate significant revenue from a limited number of sales.

Create and Sell eBooks

Ebooks are another great way of generating revenue from your blog.

Thankfully, creating an eBook is as simple as compiling your best content and repurposing it into a book format.

The good part is that selling your eBooks (or photos if you run a photography blog) directly from your blog means you get to keep most of the revenue the eBooks generate.

Digital Products

Another great way to make money with a blog is to sell digital products. This could be anything from a handy spreadsheet to a simple tool. I have a few simple digital products on my blog that help users scale their backlinks and affiliate revenue.

Sell Physical Products

There’s no reason that bloggers can’t become ecommerce merchants too.

By using a simple WordPress plugin like WooCommerce or BigCommerce for WordPress, bloggers can add a fully-functional ecommerce store to their website.

Bonus: How to Plan Your Blog’s First 180 Days

Here’s my blog monetization formula, broken down into fours stages based on your blog’s age and traffic:

  • 1-90 days: High-end consulting (0-1,000 monthly site visitors)
  • 90-180 days: Affiliate marketing (1,000-2,500 monthly site visitors)
  • 180-365 days: Create and sell an online course (5,000+ monthly site visitors)
  • 365 days and beyond: Course memberships (10,000+ monthly site visitors)

One of the biggest mistakes most new bloggers make is to launch a blog and start adding affiliate links and ads right away. It simply doesn’t make sense to do that when you don’t have much traffic.

This is a numbers game.

When you’re first starting and have little traffic, if you can monetize with consulting and land one or two high-end clients, you’ll make money from your blog much faster than if you’re trying to earn commissions from affiliate sales.

How to Land Your First High-End Client… Fast

Remember, your blog is a business. To make money from it, you have to do what conventional businesses do — create a sales funnel.

For a brand new blog, all you need are your first five blog posts, a one-page opt-in “freebie,” an email platform and list, and a consulting page.

Once you have these in place, you can use them to strategically lead prospects down your funnel – in five simple steps.

  1. A visitor reads your high-quality blog content.
  2. They opt-in for your email list (thanks to your brilliant offer).
  3. Optional: You can add a lower-priced offer around $50-200 to build trust.
  4. Send an automated welcome email series that tells a story and leads your prospect to set a meeting with you.
  5. Lastly, your ideal B2B client sets an appointment with you, leading to them paying for your high-end consulting offer.

Of course, for this to work, your blog must offer a highly-sought-after service. The key is to master your high-end offer and sell yourself exceptionally well.

Does this mean you should do away with the other ways of making money from your blog?

Definitely not.

And as your traffic increases, you can then start implementing the other monetization strategies outlined above.

 

I love starting and growing blogs. I sadly do not have the time available as I used to focus solely on this part of my business. I do have people I work with and employ now that help me do the heavy lifting with my clients and JV partner sites. Time vs reward is a big takeaway and I want you to be comfortable outsourcing or hiring the small stuff out.

Keeping yourself free to gorw the business or the blog is your number 1 focus. This will take trial and error and finding that special assistant and support that allows you to step back, have faith in them and trust in their abilities. I found this part really tough, my standards were so high when they didnt need to be. 

The key takeaway is to start today even if its a section of the guide. Just do that one thing today with the plan to come back on the weekend and do the second thing. Thats all I can ask and its a great way to at least move one step forward. I want you to be as excited by this as I am and to make money doing what you love.

Enjoy the guide make it work for you and take action. Peace!

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