Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken

Serves: 5 – 6
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Ingredients
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup dried apricots, halves
Instructions
  1. Put the diced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker and place the chicken on top.
  2. Mix together the cumin, coriander, cinnamon, salt, and pepper and sprinkle on top of the chicken.
  3. Sprinkle the garlic and ginger on top and pour in the chickpeas all around the chicken.
  4. Add the broth to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  5. Ten minutes before serving, stir in the dried apricots until heated all the way through. Serve over whole-wheat couscous with veggies on the side.

Overnight Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot

Ingredients
  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.
Instructions
  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about ½” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc.
  5. Either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use. I usually freeze some in both 1 and 2-cup portions, and I also sometimes freeze stock in ice cube trays just in case I just “need a little” for making sauce or rice. This stock is great in soups like chicken noodle soup and also in rice like risotto.
    Enjoy!

Recipe: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot

Ingredients 2 teaspoons paprika 1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon garlic powder

¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 onion

1 large chicken
Instructions Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.

1. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.

2. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.

3. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.

4. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone.

Don’t forget to make your homemade stock with the leftover bones!

What is Lead Quality

Affiliates should understand that advertisers need to make money as well. They have numbers that they need to hit in order to stay profitable. If you keep sending them bad leads then why would they keep doing business with you?

The ultimate campaign would one where everyone benefits: You make money, the advertiser makes money, the traffic source is fine with what you’re running, and even the customer comes out a winner!

Let me explain lead quality by giving you an example using the dating niche (most of dating is done through lead generation)

  • John fills in his information
  • He confirms the registration through his email (also called a double opt-in)
  • The affiliate gets paid $5 or whatever the agreed upon price is

At this point the advertiser has invested $5 into the lead you sent. Their goal now is for John to browse their website and to upgrade his membership from a free one, into a monthly paid membership. If John upgrades, then the advertiser’s happy because the lead they paid for has matured into a sale.

What happens if the advertiser pays you for $2,000 worth of leads and no one upgrades? They’re down -$2,000 and will tell the affiliate network to pause your campaign. At this point they’re going to wait it out and hope some of the leads convert.

What if they spend $2,000 and made much more money back? They’re gonna love you! They’ll increase your cap and they’ll increase your payout. With a higher cap and payout you can afford to outbid your competition and get a bigger piece of the pie.

That’s why most lead offers have a “cap” of how much you can send per day initially because they don’t to pay for $10,000 worth of crap traffic.

There might be other reasons for that go into offer quality such as chargebacks, cancellations, and complaints.

Paying attention to your offer quality will give you a significant advantage over your competition. You don’t want to be just another copy & paste affiliate that has no competitive moats.

Here are some of my favorite ways to improve my quality.

1) Don’t Mislead People (too much)

misleading
Being an affiliate means that we’re operating on smaller margins so we have to squeeze every cent we can. Because of that some of our marketing material may be a little bit misleading. (No, there are not 574 girls near you that want to sleep with you).

One common example that affects bad quality is when people say an offer’s “free” when it really isn’t.

If John sees a banner for a dating website that claims it’s free. He clicks on the landing page where again, the affiliate claims it’s free.

John’s going to be a little pissed off when he sees he has to upgrade his membership to use the website. He was led to believe the website was 100% free.

By advertising the word free, you’re also attracting lower quality leads. You get the cheapskates who aren’t likely to upgrade.

My friend asked me once, “why are there so many high volume affiliates using the word free then?”

There’s a lot behind the scenes you don’t know about.

  • Maybe they drive so much volume that the advertiser gives them more slack.
  • Maybe they have a really good relationship with the advertiser.
  • Maybe they’re taking a tiny payout and make their money through volume
  • Maybe they have other high quality traffic sources you’re not seeing to compensate.

The more honest you are with your ads, then the higher quality the traffic is.

2) Improve Your Targeting

Make sure the offer is relevant to your customer.

If John is 45, he probably doesn’t have a lot of confidence in his online dating skills. He might sign up for free to check it out, but he might not be convinced enough to upgrade his membership.

Perhaps you could have frame it properly with the ad and landing page text.

Have pics of younger women with older men. Put in some testimonials. You need to make John believe that young ladies want to date him. The more he believes this, the most likely he’ll sign up and upgrade his membership.

If you’re doing mobile then think about your targeting. Different carriers will vary in quality.

That’s why Facebook was amazing for dating before they banned it. The guys there could target only the older men because they’re more likely to convert. 19 year old kids aren’t likely to pay $30 a month for a dating site.

Some factors for targeting: demographics, site / placements, mobile factors (carriers, phone o/s)

3) Track the Quality of the Traffic Sources

Traffic sources have different quality.

Why? In general it’s because of targeting capabilities and demographics.

Facebook traffic tends to have amazing quality because you can target your demographic by age and keywords.

Popunder traffic tends to have much lower quality traffic.

Newbie explanation: Popunder traffic is when you’re visiting a website, and a window popsunder your browsing window. The person could see the dating site a few hours later when they close their main browser. Why does this quality tend to be lower? Because the person didn’t click on it.

How do you know which traffic source produces high quality leads? The easiest way to do this is to pass on SUBID’s to the advertiser.

Lets say I have two traffic sources, a & b. In your tracking link just use &s1=[trafficsourcename]

Important: Don’t use the real name of the traffic source in case the advertiser / affiliate network has an internal buying team. Don’t invite competition. Use a code name instead. Example: Instead of Facebook, use a code like x82sh that only you understand.

After a few weeks of data, the advertiser can see which traffic sources are better for them. They could tell you a is amazing, and b is horrible.

You can focus on traffic source b and get a higher payout. Traffic source a you could either cut that traffic source complete, or try it out with a different offer.

4) Balance Out Your Quality with Ratios

So now you know the advertisers will prefer some traffic sources over others. But at the end of the day, YOU have to be making money from this as well. Now it becomes a game of balance.

Some of the lower quality can be profitable for you, but not for the advertiser. Yet some of the higher quality traffic could be lower ROI for you due to higher competition. What’s the solution?

Experiment with different ratios and find your perfect blend.

You want the sweet spot where the advertiser’s happy and you have maximum profits.

Example: 70% high quality traffic, 30% lower quality traffic.

5) Redirect Low Quality Traffic

If the traffic source can’t segment your traffic for you, then maybe you can do it yourself.

Suppose we have an offer that only wants “high net worth individuals” (aka rich guys). How could we segment the guys with money from the ones that don’t? W

Perhaps you could do a quick survey on the landing page and redirect them based on their answer. People that earn < $75,000 a year go to one offer, while others than earn >$75,000 a year go to another.

You could do this with age, race, home city, or whatever. This is not just about redirecting low quality traffic but rather directing them to offers more appropriate to them.

6) Go for Sales instead of Leads

One more idea is to skip lead generation and go for cost per sale instead. Instead of getting paid per lead, you can negotiate and get up to $100 each time someone upgrades their membership to the dating site.

The pros? No quality issues and you can do much, much more volume.

The cons? It takes much longer to get statistically significant data. CPS campaigns puts the risk more on the affiliate side, than advertisers.

5 Ways to Come Up With a Million Dollar Business

How many of you guys want to start a business, but you’re waiting for that one great idea?

I used to think that way. I thought me starting a business would require:

1. A genius business idea that no one’s ever thought about before. (And when I see someone else with a great business I think, “Why didn’t I think about that?”)
2. Me having to raise money or borrow a huge loan from the bank

The main issue I hear from people who want to start in business is:

“I don’t have a good business idea”.

I have good news: coming up with a business idea is easier than you think. And it’s also cheaper and faster than ever to start a business due to the internet / globalization.

I LOVE studying and reading about businesses. Even though I’m focused on the affiliate marketing industry, I’m coming up with great ideas all the time.

The theory that you need “one big idea” is a major cop out. There’s a quote I like: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”. This quote means that the best ideas are ones that you straight up jack from one place, and then use them in a slightly different way as your own.

Most of the millionaires I know didn’t make their fortunes from some crazy new idea, they used one of the 5 models I describe in this post to create a business.

There are other business models out there, but these are a good start.

Model 1. Bring an Existing Business into a New Location

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It seems like every street in major cities has a frozen yogurt shop. Either Pinkberry or Red Mango innovated the concept. The first movers must’ve made a lot of money.

But you know who else made a lot of money? The guys who saw the idea working well, and brought it to new markets and new countries / cities.

That’s why people who travel a lot tend to be great entrepreneurs – they are exposed to new business ideas constantly. When I’m overseas I crave things like Amazon Prime and Whole Foods. I always see massive opportunity for expansion of US businesses and their models overseas.

Here’s another concept: Some of the TOP iPhone games have actually been RIP OFFS of popular games from 20+ years ago. The developers just ported them to a NEW market (and a different time).

How many of you have parents or grandparents that play Scrabble on their mobile?. We’re seeing this in movies too, pretty much every 6 months a “new” Marvel movie comes out.

Scaling a campaign that’s profitable to a new GEO that’s just been released would be an affiliate example of this business model.

The Blue Ocean Strategy

blue-ocean-strategy

This first business model is linked with the idea of a Blue Ocean Strategy (BOS). If you’ve heard of Porter’s Five Forces, BOS is kinda the opposite. BOS focuses on low cost, and high product differentiation so it’s almost impossible for anyone to compete with you.

One example of a business that has executed BOS is Southwest Airlines. They discovered that a lot of people will drive long distances instead of fly just due to the cost. These people would fly if it were more convenient, but it was too expensive.

Southwest Airlines decided to target these people by making flights dirt cheap, having more frequent flights on the routes people would traditionally drive, and shorter check-in times to make it faster than driving all up.

Questions to ask yourself: What have you seen in another city/country that might work in your city? Can you test it cheaply and easily? Have you seen something that should be a lot cheaper, and there isn’t really much competition?

Model 2. Take an Existing Business MODEL and Apply it to a New Market

dollar-shave-club-dubin-blades-ad-01

Subscription boxes are all the rage.

I can’t believe some of the crazy shit people are making into subscription-based products. (You’ve gotta check out that link lol).  I saw them first in beauty. You spend $20 a month, and they send you makeup samples in the mail each month. Then other people took the MODEL and expanded it into beef jerky, shaving, perfume, etc.

Something I subscribe to is TrunkClub. I feel like I’m their perfect target customer because I love having new clothes, but I hate waiting in lines and trying things on in-store. They’ve kinda revolutionized shopping, here’s how it works:

You fill out a form with your measurements, then a stylist hand picks items for you. You can then approve them, and the ones you approve are sent to you. You can send back ones you don’t like for free.

The basic idea is that you don’t have to invent a business model from scratch.

Look at the DollarShaveClub business model. These guys killed it with their razor delivery service, but what’s to stop you doing the same thing with another industry? There are tens of thousands of items you could specialize in to replicate a service like this. Sites like Alibaba or AliExpress give you access to millions of products around the world you can import.

In affiliate marketing an example of this strategy could be being the first to try PIN submits in a vertical.

Model 3. Sell Valuable Information

ebook

Are you an expert at anything? Package it up into an ebook, online course, workshop, etc.

Don’t think you have to be THE BEST in the field. You just have to be BETTER THAN the audience.

Example: Lately I’m trying to improve my posture more. I don’t need to learn from the world’s best posture instructor. I could give money to a broke college student who had the same issues as me, but solved it.

Remember that there are levels to this, and you don’t have to start at the top. A posture coach could charge anywhere from $20 per hour up to $500+ if you’re one of the best in the industry. Same goes with information you sell. I always try to overdeliver on content, and undercharge, and then increase price when there there’s too much demand for me to satisfy.

For the first four years of my blog, I didn’t sell anything.

Don’t under rate your skills either. You don’t need to have a degree or industry certification for whatever you are an expert at. Your customers don’t about your qualifications, they just want THEIR problem solved. People only care about what you can do for them.

Do you think anybody ever asks me about my degree in marketing before they join my coaching Academy? All they wanna know is that I’ve made a lot of money in affiliate marketing and I can teach them to do the same. Nobody cares about my degree, or any other training I’ve done.

If you’re interested in this business model, here’s an interesting article: A guy wrote about starting a hotdog cart and made a million dollars in book sales.

Model 4. Solve Your Own Itch

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This is probably my favorite business model. A lot of businesspeople will tell you the same thing – if something is bugging you, there might be a business opportunity there.

Keep a notebook and write down any problems you experience in a day. I’ve started carrying an actual moleskin notebook and pen lately for these kinda ideas and thoughts. So many things go wrong every day, so try to see if there’s a way you could profit from these shortcomings of other businesses/software etc.

Challenge: Try this just for today: every time you catch yourself complaining, ask yourself “Can I make some money if I solve this problem?”.

  • Does a certain app always crash?
  • Are you struggling to find a certain type of person?
  • Is it impossible to find simple, easy-to-follow info on a certain topic?
  • Have you cracked the code to anything (getting A+ grades in college, nailing every job interview, becoming fluent in German in under 6 months)?
  • Is your city lacking a certain food, skill, or event?
  • Are people in your area always complaining about the same thing?

Most of us use the same things every day (chairs, desks, phones, laptops, food, beds, software, cutlery etc), and there are still new products being marketed every day that go on to make millions.

I see so many problems in software/apps that I use every day.

5. Out-Execute The Competition

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Ever thought of a great idea, but then you discover someone else did it first? You think, “Ah well, guess I’m too late”.

There were plenty of cellphones around before iPhone came onto the scene.

Yahoo / Alta Vista existed for years before Google entered.

There are plenty of great songs on iTunes, but every single year, thousands of new musicians make millions of dollars writing new songs.

There’s always a market for someone who can DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY. I’m a fan of 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly (it’s free). He goes deeper into the idea that people are always trying to find new things to love.

What about something as simple as board games?

Cards Against Humanity came in and crushed it in a market that was flatlining, and they’ve made $12 million + in sales. Why wasn’t this a thing before? Who knows, but it’s a crazy idea that was executed well by a bunch of guys who’d just graduated college.

There are a lot of guys out there trying to make millions from apps, but I’m guessing there weren’t too many guys trying to make money from board games or playing cards.

Out-executing DOESN’T mean you have to make a better product.

Sometimes the competition has a better product than you could hope to create, but their marketing is terrible. When a company has bad marketing, they aren’t selling much. After reading this blog, you probably know a LOT more about marketing and driving sales than most business owners… You could use your knowledge of marketing to get more sales than your competition, even though they technically have a superior product.

I’ve also seen guys with marketing skills consult to companies that are on the brink of financial collapse, in exchange for a small piece of their business if they can turn them around. Consulting is one way to make a lot of money in a short time.

How To Find These Business Opportunities

U.S. Army Sgt. Eddie Wilkins, Avenger Battery Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge, 263rd Anti-Air Missile Defense Command, South Carolina National Guard, visually searches for a opposing forces aircraft during Exercise Amalgam Dart, Camp Rilea, Oregon, June 15, 2009. (U.S. Air Force photo by Technical Sgt. Sean M. Worrell)

The main reason most people don’t find these opportunities is because they’re too busy. To think up, or recognize a business idea is one thing, but to go back home and research, plan and execute it is another thing.

The hardest thing about a business is taking that first leap of faith AFTER you get an idea. Whether it’s purchasing your first item for resale, launching your first affiliate campaign, sending your first email to your list, landing your first client or whatever.

Once you take that first step, your mind starts solving problems automatically, and it knows what steps to take next.

Common Mistakes After Having A Business Idea

Coming up with an idea is kinda fun, everything after that people label as “work”.

The biggest mistake I’ve seen people do is that they wait. They wait for the perfect business idea, or they want to wait until everything’s “in place”.

Let me tell you from my experience: the time is NEVER perfect.

When I started my business 8 years ago, I had every excuse in the world. I didn’t have money for a business, I didn’t have the time, I didn’t have connections or a network, and I didn’t have any experience.

There’s a quote I love:

“Entrepreneurs jump off a cliff, and build a parachute on the way down.”

The longer you wait, the more the odds stack against you.

You get the promotion that takes more time. You get married / have kids so now it’s HARDER for you to take risks. You have a nice car, a mortgage, so it’s harder to risk it all.

There’s a great article by Derek Sivers that talks about execution vs ideas. His theory is that ideas are a multiplier of execution, so even a weak idea executed well can make you a lot of money.

How to Master & Dominate Traffic Sources P3

Part 1 – Introduction
Part 2 – The Different Traffic Sources
Part 3 – The Bidding Process

Introductions are out the way and it’s time to dig into the good stuff.

I’ve tried to make the concepts as simple as possible, but it may still be confusing if you’ve never run paid traffic before. Take some action and re-read the posts later once you have some experience. I’m here to teach how to dominate paid traffic, not how to make $10 a day with adsense blogs.

Bids

Every network has their own algorithm for how they deliver traffic. The right bid price so that you’re profitable, getting the high quality traffic, and still getting volume. Bid too low and you won’t get any volume. Bid too high and it eats into your profit margins. It’s a balancing act.

The Relationship Between Bids, Click-through Rate, & Volume

Lets do some simple math to understand how some places work. Remember there are 1000+ places to buy traffic from and each one does things a little different; I’m trying to show you the fundamentals of how it should work.

eCPM

The ad world is rule by a metric called eCPM which stands for “effective cost per thousand impressions.” It’s a fancy way of saying how much the website makes for every 1000 times the ad is shown.

eCPM = (Total Earnings / Impressions ) * 1000

Imagine a real world scenario.

You have a small blog about how to make money online. It gets about 30,000 views a month (impressions). An advertiser offers to pay you $500 for a square ad on your size bar.

eCPM = ($500 total earnings / 30,000 impressions) *1000 = $16.67

Larger traffic sources and websites work off of an auction model which maximizes their eCPM. 

There’s typically 3 ways to buy traffic: CPM vs. CPC vs Flat Rate.

CPM

Some places that work off a CPM model include media buying & a lot of adult-oriented traffic sources,

When we bid on a CPM basis, it means we’re paying for 1,000 impressions. With CPM, we take all the risk. What does that mean? It means if I pay for 10,000 impressions and no one clicks the ads, I still have to pay for it.

That’s why with CPM it’s important that you have ads with a very high click-through rate.

How do traffic sources allocate their volume? Whichever advertisers they can make the most money from. It’s pretty simple, usually whoever bids the most will get the most traffic.

Mr A bids .45cpm
Mr B bids .35cpm
Mr C bids .65cpm

Mr C will get most of your traffic because he’s bidding the most. If you’re selling a car, you’re going to sell it to the highest bidder right?

One X factor is some places will give you a “bonus” for a higher daily budget.

Mr A bids .45cpm and has a budget of $3,000
Mr B bids .40cpm and has a budget of $5,000

Even though Mr A has a higher bid, Mr B might get more traffic because he’s more valuable to them with his higher spend limit.

To get more traffic with a CPM bidding model, just increase your bids and up that daily spend limit.

Cost Per Click Bidding 

Things are a little more complicated with CPC bidding because they factor in your click-through rate in their formula.

It’s not as simple as whoever bids the most, gets the most traffic. Lets illustrate with some simple math. Imagine 3 advertisers are competing for the same placement.

Mr A is bidding $0.75 a click. His ad is shown 140000 times, but it only clicked by people 600 times. His click-through rate (CTR %) is .43. The website earnings is $450 from Mr A. 

Mr A eCPM = ( $450 / 130000) / *1000 =  $3.21

Mr B is bidding $0.50 a click. His ad is shown 100000 times, but it is clicked 700 times. His click-through rate (CTR %) is .7%. The website earnings is $350 from Mr B.

Mr B eCPM = ($350 / 100000) *1000 = $3.50

Mr C is bidding $0.45 a click. His ad is shown 100000 times, but it is clicked 900 times. His click-through rate (CTR%) is .9%. The website earnings is $405 from Mr C.

Mr C eCPM = ($405 / 100000) *1000 = $4.05

What’s the point of all the numbers and nerdy formulas?

You can see that Mr C was actually bidding the lowest, but because of his amazing click-through rate, the website actually makes the most money from him (he has the highest eCPM). They are going to give him more traffic even though the other guys are bidding more.

On a CPC bidding model, the high bids doesn’t matter if not many people are clicking the ads.

As a reward for his high CTR, the traffic source will give him a discount. Even Mr C though he’s paying .45 now, he might be able to lower his bids to $.37 cpc and still get traffic. This is their incentive for Mr C to keep split testing and aiming for a higher click-through rate. Everyone wins because more people click the ads and Mr C gets cheaper clicks.

This is a major part of dominating a traffic source. Learn how to be a better create better ads and get high click-through rates.

Flat Rate

Flat rate just means you buy all the impressions at a set rate. Website A has 10,000,000 impressions a month. You do a small test and see that it’s profitable. You could buy out the website or a certain placement for the entire week or month. When you do this, you can get a big discount.

There was one traffic placement that was insanely profitable for me a while back. How did I dominate? I bought every single ad on there by pre-paying for it a few months in advance.

If you’re using Traffic Source A and you see that a certain website is very profitable, is there a way to cut the middle man and go direct? You can get a significant discount.

Of course there are risks. One is you’re wiring a significant amount of cash. Another is what if your offer goes down or gets capped? Make sure you have backups ready. Also it’s always good to start small and build your way up.

Bidding Strategies

For bidding strategies it’s all about experimentation. There are no golden rules; what works at one place could be the exact opposite strategy at another.

  • Bid low first,  then raise your bids
  • Bid high first, then lower your bids
  • Bid exactly what their suggested bid is
  • How fast do you adjust bids?
  • Different traffic sources calculate your new bids at different times.
  • Bidding Cost Per Click vs CPM.
  • Run of network traffic vs direct placements
  • Some places give you a bonus if you have a high campaign limit. (Warning: Be careful. If you are going to create a super high spending limit on your account, watch it closely and make sure everything backs out).
  • Some places give you a bonus if you have a lot of $ in your prepaid balance.
  • Sometimes bidding higher can be more profitable because you get access to better placements. Think about it, it’s classic supply & demand.

Start small. Become profitable first before you try to get more traffic. Don’t set a higher spend limit than what you can afford.

Test. Experiment.

Going to War

I love this shit.

This is where you and another guy are the #1 and #2 guys and you’re fighting for the top spot.

My best advice is to really focus on increasing your profit margins. Higher CTR ads, better landing page, better offer, higher payout on the offer, better lead quality, etc. The higher your profit margin, the higher you can afford to bid.

There’s also some more advanced concepts to bidding like game theory. Lets say I am #2 with a $.35CPM bid. The top guy is at #1 with a $.40 CPM. If I try to outbid him with $.43, he might outbid me again to $.45. The higher the bid goes, we both lose. 

Another concept is what I call reverse engineering. I can see his landing pages, offers, get an idea of his payouts, ads, etc. and roughly calculate his profit margins. I can get an idea if my margins are higher than his and bid accordingly.

Also a lot of other strategies, but I’m going to keep those to myself.

Conclusion

Pick a traffic source and try to figure out what their algorithm is for the bidding process and find the sweet spot. Do you want massive volume or would you rather have a lower volume but more profitable?

Are there any tricks you can find to get the most traffic with the lowest bids?

This article took a lot of time and experience to write so sharing it is much appreciated.

How to Master & Dominate Traffic Sources P2

CHOOSE YOUR DESTINY! 

Part 1 – Introduction

Welcome to part 2 of my series. Hopefully I’ve convinced you it’s better to specialize in a type of traffic source instead of bouncing around. Before I get too deep into this, I want to talk more about the traffic sources themselves and get familiar with them.

The main differences in traffic sources depends on where the traffic’s fromoptimization variables. and offer matches.

Where the traffic’s from – Pretty simple. Is it from cell phones, social media websites, ads on Google. Different places have different audiences. 

Optimization variables –  Every single campaign has the same basic principles. Find the best offer, obtain higher payouts, test direct linking vs. landing pages, test which landing pages work best, etc. Optimization variables are the extra things to test which are specific to the traffic source. With mobile you have to see which carrier converts better. In Facebook you can test age and gender. Adwords brings something called quality score.

Offer Matches – Some traffic sources “fit” with certain offers better than others. Imagine you’re buying traffic from porn site. A large majority of the audience are guys so it wouldn’t make sense to try to send them anti-aging wrinkle cream. If there’s a gaming website with a large kid audience, advertising online casinos would be a very bad idea.

I can categorize most of the traffic sources into 7 different types and here’s a brief look at each of them and some of my experiences.

Traffic Sources

PPV

Introduction: PPV networks install toolbars on people’s computers (with their permission), and in exchange the PPV network advertises to their computer via pop-unders. Why would people allow these advertisements? Well the toolbars are things like wallpapers, weather, and other novelty things people install.

What happens is if Bob visits a site like bankrate.com, it could trigger a “pop under” from the traffic source. He won’t see it until he minimizes his browser. Another interesting thing to note is bankrate.com doesn’t receive any $, it all goes to the PPV network.

The beauty of PPV is the targeting. Advertising on a site like ESPN.com is very expensive, PPV allows you to target that demographic at a fraction of the cost.

Affiliate Marketing Example: An affiliate could have an offer for a free credit report. What kind of websites would people visit if they needed a credit report? Buying a home, buying a car, visiting personal finance websites, etc. Run traffic to those sites, eliminate the placements that don’t make money.
Traffic Sources: Traffic Vance, LeadImpact
Optimization Variables: Placements
Offer Matches: Credit Reports, Financial, Software downloads, etc. This type of traffic is very flexible and just depends on the placements you target.
Pro tips: You need a very strong server due to the amount of traffic you’re sending.

Mobile

Introduction: Advertising on cell phones. Super high growth, especially in Asian and Latin American countries. The downside is that the optimization process involves a lot more work than what most marketers are use to.
Affiliate Marketing Example: Promote a debit card offer. What kind of guys are most likely to convert for this offer? Young broke people. What kind of carriers does this demographic use? They’re probably not using iPhones /w a $100 a month contact – more than likely they are using a feature phone and pre-paid phone carriers.  
Traffic Sources:
 Mmedia, Airpush, Leadbolt, Tapit!, InMobi, Adfonic, admob
Optimization Variables: Types of ads (push vs banners), Carriers, Handsets, Operating System
Offer Matches: Sweepstakes offers (win an iPhone), mobile dating, mobile gaming, app installs, lead gens
Pro Tips: Proper Mobile tracking is a must. Mobaff & ImobiTrax are what the top guys use. Also for mobile, test all the ad sizes.


A great map of mobile traffic sources put together by the guys at IMGrind

Social

Introduction: The benefits of advertising here is we have never had so much specific information on people. While most places you target by a website someone visits, social sources allow you to narrow in on who they are. The users voluntarily fill in their real age, gender, what college they went, what are their favorite shows, etc.
Affiliate Marketing Example: Gaming is always a solid niche on Facebook that you can direct link. Get really aggressive with testing the images to get a CTR as high as possible so that your clicks are cheaper. Be careful targeting kids under 18 as it could be hard for the advertiser to monetize causing you to get kicked off the offer.
Traffic Sources: Facebook, PlentyofFish
Optimization Variables: Age, gender, interests. POF has a lot of unique targeting options such as login count
Offers that work: Dating dominates PlentyofFish. For Facebook gaming / dating are quite popular. They actually don’t allow a lot of offers on the platform to provide a better user experience, however with properly cloaking you can get a lot of things through.
Pro tips: It’s all about CTR. I would say for a social ad Image > headline > ad text > call to action text. Don’t forget to mess with effects in the images – make them sharper, add a border, photoshop some effects, etc.

pof
Plenty of Fish provides a lot of room for creativity due to their targeting options

Adult Traffic

Introduction: Some people estimate that 30% of all internet traffic is porn related. Things have exploded the past few years due to youtube-style sites that offer free porn. With this large amount of traffic, advertisers and affiliates have been able to figure out ways to monetize it.
Affiliate Marketing Example: Casual dating offer + tube site traffic.
Optimization Variables: Placements, Ad Format (Banner, In-Video, text, etc.), Site Targeting (Choosing specific websites vs. every site on the network)
Traffic Sources: TrafficJunky, Exoclick, JuicyAds, Adxpansion, Plugrush, etc.
Offer Matches: Casual Dating, Male Enhancement Products
Pro Tips: If you’re doing casual dating then focus on lead quality. If things are too competitive and expensive on the popular traffic sources, explore some less saturated ones. Also, go international.

PPC

Introduction: This is where Google makes all their money. If someone searches for “car insurance” then they have a buyers intent and more likely to convert if they click on car insurance ads in the search results.
Affiliate Marketing Example: Lets say you wanna go with my car insurance example. Most of the top car insurance keywords are wayyy out of your budget due to competition with Geico, Progressive, Allstate, and the rest of the guys with large war chests. You’re more likely to be profitable by focusing on long tail keywords such as “Car insurance in Atlanta” or “Honda Civic Insurance” that have less competition and cheaper bids.
Traffic Sources: Adwords, BingAds
Optimization Variables: Quality Score, bids / position
Offer Matches: Pretty much anything works here due keyword targeting.
Pro Tip: Google Content Network is amazing. Lots of traffic and you don’t have to deal with quality score. Bing has a lot of traffic and are more affiliate friendly compared to Google.

CPC Networks

Introduction: A combination of media buys / ppc. They feature either text ads or a image / text ad hybrid and you pay on a CPC basis. The main benefit of these networks is they have a lot of volume due to some of their placements.  
Optimization Variables:
Site placements, Ad CTR
Traffic Sources: Pulse360, Adsonar, Adblade
Offer Matches: Health & Beauty
Pro Tip: Not for the newbies due to higher CPC costs

Media Buys

Introduction: Purchasing display banners on websites. You can either do this through an ad network, or buy directly from a website for a flat fee. They always run on a CPM basis, and can have pretty high minimum deposits required. 
Optimization Variables:
Site Placements 
Traffic Sources: Sitescout, Valueclick, TribalFusion, etc.
Offer Matches: Health & Beauty, Dating
Pro Tip: Get brutal with split testing your creatives and removing non-performing placements.

What to Choose?

Each one of these places there are guys making thousands of dollars a day in profit. There’s no “best” traffic source.

If you’re brand new then I’d suggest: Mobile, Social, and Adult. I mentor a lot of people and those are the places I’ve seen newbies succeed a little easier in. Another consideration is they’re relatively friendly if you have a small budget.

Stayed tuned for part 3 next week! Don’t forget to comment and share this article if you like it

How to Master & Dominate Traffic Sources P1

What’s Your Target?

When I first read about internet marketing 6 years ago, it took me nearly a year before I saw my first profit. One of the biggest reasons was that I was kind of all over the place: I’d launch a campaign on Adwords, another one on Facebook, & then I’d work on my SEO sites. I was taking action, but it was spread out.

I wasn’t able to make a quantum leap until I forced myself to focus. By that point I had $3,000 in savings and told myself 100% of that money was going into Facebook ads. No chasing bright shiny objects, and no switching focus because of some blogger’s case study.

By focusing only on Facebook, I learned something new each day.

  • The best way to optimize bids at the time
  • The tricks and best time zones to get ads approved easier
  • Which niches Facebook allowed, and what made money
  • The most profitable countries

All the little “a-ha” moments started adding up. Within 3 months of this decision, I went from -$xxx days to +$xxxx days and was able to quit my job. I wouldn’t have been able to do this if I was fucking around on so many places.

Mastering a Niche vs a Traffic Source

A common question I see is if it’s better to focus on a niche or to focus on a traffic source. There’s no right answer because either way makes money. I’ve always preferred focusing on the traffic sources because a lot of the knowledge is invisible to competitors. People can easily take your landing pages, offers, & creatives. However, they can’t see your bidding strategies, optimization process, your understanding of the algorithm to deliver bids, & your relationships with the ad reps.

But what about diversifying? Keep in mind just because you’ve mastered Airpush doesn’t mean you’re stuck there forever. What works there probably works on Leadbolt or Sendroid, which are similar places. You can also test offers initially on Airpush, and then scale to other mobile traffic sources.

Once you felt you’ve “mastered” a traffic source, feel free to spend around 20% of your time trying out other places.

Picking a Traffic Source

I need to make something very clear: there’s no magic traffic source. There’s a thousand+ places to buy traffic from and people are making money on every single one of them. If you’re new, then I recommend sticking with the places that everyone else is advertising on. Once you get the basics down and start having a solid cashflow, you can start exploring the more obscure places.

Imagine it’s the 1800’s and you’ve arrived in California for the gold rush. You have no clue where to start digging. What I’d do is start digging where everyone else is because you know there’s gold there. Even though it’s competitive, I’m focused on improving my skills. I can also observe and learn from watching my competitors. You could go off and start digging randomly in other places, but that’s completely based on luck. A lot of motivation is due to making steady, incremental improvements. 

Some Things I Like in a Traffic Source:

  • Volume – The most important. I’m not really looking to master a traffic source if the potential spend limit’s only $500 a day. What I’ve learned it sometimes a $500/day campaign and a $10,000 could take the same amount of work, the difference is how much traffic’s available.
  • They like affiliate marketers – This is probably why I haven’t worked with Adwords in years. The amount of traffic is amazing, but I don’t want to deal with the headaches of getting my accounts banned.
  • Good interface – Can I bulk upload ads? Is the interface clean and easy to navigate around?
  • Tracking tokens – Definitely useful if they offer dynamic tokens and conversion pixels to help me optimize.
  • Responsive ad reps – Are they knowledgable about the platform and can help me?
  • Payment Options – Not really a deal breaker, but the more options the better. Also I hate places that only take Paypal and pass on that 4% fee to me.
  • The Moats – The barriers to entry for new competitors. An example is some places require a referral or a large $ deposit to start advertising.
  • Accurate Traffic – This means if I want to buy traffic from Canada, I want 100% of the traffic to be Canadian. If my tracker shows 15% of the traffic’s coming from India, that means I’m already at a -15% ROI loss.

Newbie Recommendations

There’s literally 1,000+ traffic sources to choose from. I’ve highlighted these because they’ve been proven to be profitable over the years and are easy to start.

A large majority of guys start out with either Facebook or PlentyofFish. It’s probably because the optimization process is easier to understand: you’re focused mainly on creatives and demographics. Something like mobile might be slightly harder because you add in extra variables such as carriers, operating system, handsets, & requires a top of the line tracking system.

Also if you noticed all the places I recommend are self-serve (which means you upload the creatives and pretty much do everything yourself). Managed buys (where the ad representative handles everything ) can be very, very profitable. If you’re starting out though, you should have a solid base with self-serve platforms. They get you comfortable with the optimization process instead of relying on someone else. Also managed buys tend to require a large deposit.

But….There’s Too Much Competition

If there’s money in something, there will be competition. It’s the nature of the beast, get use to it. Don’t wish things were different, work on becoming better.

How can you compete as a newbie? You can always attack where they aren’t. If everyone’s advertising in USA, why not advertise in a smaller country? $200 a day profit in a small country is better than losing money going after a bigger country (if you’re on a low budget). If everyone’s going broad, then tighten your demographic and make your creatives more targeted.

Let the lions fight over the the buffalos. You can either be trampled by the lions hunting in the same area, or be somewhere else eating rabbits.

Going Forward

At the end of the day, keep in mind the fundamentals are always going to be the same everywhere. Lower your costs, find the best offers, find the best ads, find the best landing pages, & scale. My point is by focusing on mainly one traffic source, you shorten the learning curve and start building knowledge most of your competitors won’t have.

Keep a lookout on the next article where I’ll talk about the bidding process, analyzing the competition, building relationships, and much more.

Tips on Networking With More Successful People

A key part of growth is to improve your network.

Study the biography of any successful person and you can see how key relationships accelerated their growth.

Small problem though – Most of us aren’t born into great connections. You have to start from scratch and develop relationships with people you admire if you want them in your network.

That’s something I’m still doing to this day. There are people more successful than me in certain areas, and I want to learn from them.

On the other hand, I’ve had various people reach out and want to meet me in person. Most of these meetings I’ve had have turned out pretty bad from my perspective.

I’m not scolding anyone I’ve met in the past. I’m writing this article because I really want you to succeed. Being a good networker requires social intuition and that can only come from experience and time. I hope I can speed up your journey with some of the big learnings I’ve had over the past decade.

Lets say you’ve secured a meeting with someone. These tips could be the difference between a one-time meeting and a real friendship developing.

1. Respect The Person’s Time

Acknowledge that they are busy and thank them for their time. For example, “I know you’re busy, and I really appreciate your time today. I wanted to meet you because I really respect you and you’re definitely someone worth knowing.” Be humble and flatter them.

Keep the meeting short and concise. If it’s just coffee then 30 minutes is good.

DO NOT under any circumstances be late.

Also you want to make it as CONVENIENT as possible for the person. Schedule the meeting at THEIR convenience and at a location NEAR them. If you live an hour apart, then you’re commuting for 55 minutes to meet them.

Remember that they are doing you a favor by meeting with you.

2. You’re Paying

Having dinner or coffee? Pick up the bill.

It doesn’t matter that the guy is 100x richer than you are. The point is to show your appreciation for them taking their time out to meet with you.

If I find myself at a stripclub next to Zuckerberg, then you can bet he has unlimited access to my credit card.

Here what the god of Asia, Li Ka-Sheng has to say

Second set of funds: To make friends, expand your interpersonal circle. This will make you well off. Your phone bills can be budgeted at $100. You can buy your friends 2 lunches a month, each at $150. Who should you buy lunch for? Always remember to buy lunch for people who are more knowledgeable than you, richer than you or people who have helped you in your career. Make sure you do that every month. After one year, your circle of friends should have generated tremendous value for you. Your reputation, influence, added value will be clearly recognized. You’ll also enhance your image of being good and generous.

3. It’s NOT a Consultation Session

This is BIG.

I meet fans because I want to get to know them as a person, or I just want to hang out. The LAST thing I want to do is get grilled for an hour about affiliate marketing.

Put yourself in the person’s shoes. Lets say he’s a paid consultant whose time is worth $1,000 an hour. It’s rude to spend an hour ask non-stop questions as if you’re a client.

It’s ok to ask questions here and there, but be self-aware.

Also if you do ask questions, make them count. Don’t ask questions that the person has answered 100x on their blog already. When you ask really basic questions then it shows you haven’t really put the time in to learn.

4. DO NOT Make the Entire Conversation About Yourself

This is a rule from the book INFLUENCE by Dale Carnegie.

People love talking about themselves.

Don’t make the conversation about you. It should be 80% asking about them, and 20% about you. Make sure you really LISTEN to what they’re saying.

Show them you’ve done your homework. I like to ask questions that show I’m a huge fan.

Example: I met up with a reader and he just talked to me like an old friend. We talked about traveling, girls, bodybuilding, and philosophy.

He didn’t ask me anything about business or affiliate marketing. It showed me he valued me as a person, rather than just “extract as much value out of him as possible.”

We became good friends. When he finally did ask for help in the industry, I bent over backwards to help him out. The guys who spend an hour asking me for affiliate marketing help? I don’t really see a point of keeping in touch.

5. Ask What’s the Best Way to Stay in Touch.

The conversation’s about to be over and you probably want to keep in touch with this guy. Remember that you want to do it at their convenience.

Example: “Hey man this was an amazing 30 minutes and I learned a lot from you. Thank you. Is there anyway we could keep in touch? I’m not going to be those guys that messages you 10 times a day with stupid questions.”

6. Offer Value

This guy has just helped you. Is there anyway you can help them?

I have different skills I can offer people: optimize their landing pages, help them out with their paid campaigns, or even just promote their brand / product to my audience.

I offer my services to let them know I’m not a leech, and that I’m someone worth getting to know.

Is there anything you can offer the person? I know it can be tough if you’re a newbie and the guy doesn’t seem like he needs much.

That’s why it’s important to LISTEN.

Hey man if there’s anything you ever need just let me know. If there’s anyone way I could be of help to you don’t hesitate to ask me”

Zero Based Thinking

Make Better Decisions Using Zero Based Thinking

I learned an amazing thinking technique a few years ago thanks to Brian Tracy.

It’s called Zero Based Thinking.

Most of your decisions in life will be wrong. That’s how life works. We take action, we make mistakes, and we keep moving forward.

The question is, how do we know we’ve made a mistake? Unfortunately we have these things called “emotions” that can cloud our judgements.

You won’t recognize mistakes until much, much later. Even if you do recognize a mistake, emotions can make everything so much more difficult to. That’s why you’re probably amazing at giving advice to your friends, but aren’t that great at making decisions.

That’s where zero based thinking comes in.

It means “Knowing what I do now, would I still make the same decision?”

If the answer’s no, then it’s time to get out asap.

The easiest way to explain this would be by using a few examples.

Relationships

Many of my friends are at that stage of their relationships.

They’re in their late 20’s, and have been with their girlfriend for 2+ years. On one hand, their significant other is pressuring them for possibly marriage, but they’re not sure if they’re ready to settle down.

If they asked me for advice, I tell them about zero based thinking. “If she wasn’t your girlfriend, would you get into a relationship with her again?”

I’m not encouraging people to end relationships. I’m just telling you to think deeper.

Employees

If you’re a boss, then sooner or later you’re going to make a bad hire. No one bats 100%.

How do you know if you should let someone go?

Well imagine if this person wasn’t working for you. Think about how they fit into your company and all the work they’ve done in the past. Would you hire them again?

If the answer’s no, then you should let them go.

It happens. Maybe they were a GREAT employee in the past, but they can’t keep up with the company’s growth. Or maybe they’ve gotten lazy the past few months.

I’ve let go of employees before and it wasn’t easy. To tell you the truth, it doesn’t get easier the more you do it.

Minimalism

The New Year is coming up and I have too much “stuff.” (I blame it on Amazon prime). It’s so hard to be a minimalist when you love gadgets and technology.

It’s hard to throw things out because we spent money on it, or because we have memories associated.

I’m going to ask myself, “Would I buy this again?” Go through your closet and ask this question for each pair of clothing you bought. Whatever you wouldn’t buy again, give it to charity.

You’ll be more organized, cleaner, and the Salvation army will have a bunch of shitty t-shirts that affiliate networks give away at conferences.

Business

A friend of mine developed an iPhone app.

He poured tons of money into it, and spend over half a year developing it. It never took off.

A tremendous job opportunity came in and he had to make the decision, should he keep focusing on the app or take the job?

Deep down he knew it was time to call it quits but he couldn’t do it. He put in too much time into the project – it was his baby. Also how would he feel if he quit?

I taught him zero based thinking. “You pursued the app and gave it your all. If we could go back in time, would you start the app again?”

He said no. He killed the app and took the job offer.

Is he a quitter? Hell no. Sometimes quitting is the best decision you can make. Now he has cash coming in, and is working on another app in his spare time.

You’re not a quitter because you stopped a failing project. You’re a quitter when you stop pursuing your dreams.

Sunk Cost Bias

If you study psychology, you can see that Zero Based Thinking is similar to sunk cost bias.

A sunk cost is a cost that you’ve paid already, and you can’t recover it. You now shouldn’t let the cost affect future decisions.

I was in Vietnam last year and I bought non-refundable tickets / hotels to Bangkok. I was ready to go, but I got sick the night before. I wanted to force myself to go because I already spent $600 on the hotels / tickets. If I didn’t go then I would “waste” my money.

That $600 is gone. I can’t get it back no matter what. I realize that it’s a sunk cost.

Now I had to make the best decision now. I’m sick, should I go to Bangkok? I didn’t go. I didn’t feel like it, and I’d lose way more than $600 if I traveled and made my sickness worse.

This is why some people are such horrible gamblers. They’ll be down some money, and insist to keep playing in order to “get their money back.” The money’s gone.

Using Zero Based Thinking to Improve Your Decisions

Don’t be tied down to decisions you made before. Life changes. You become smarter. You gain more wisdom. And sometimes that wisdom will tell you that you made a mistake.

We can’t change the past, but we can make better decisions for our future.