Making Your Affiliate Marketing Business Legit

Nov. 20

Since today’s Sunday, I’m going to blog about affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is what I do on weekends and my limited spare time (via IJL Productions LLC) when I’m not enjoying the corporate world of online marketing. Today, I’m thrilled to share three tips on making your affiliate marketing business legit. I’m talking about getting a private mail box, setting up a toll free number, and forming a corporate entity. Once you have reached a little bit of scale (you’re making a few thousand dollars per year in profit), I would highly recommend making your business legit via these tips.

Affiliate Marketing Business Tip 1: Get A Private Mail Box

Strategy Crossword

One of the best moves I made for my business is setting up a private mail box at my local UPS store. For only $275 per year (fees are different per UPS Store location), I get my own physical business address. You heard me right! Private mail boxes, unlike PO Boxes, are considered legitimate business addresses. While it’s just a mail box, it’s considered a physical street address. This is super important as every real business needs a physical location (especially if you want to share your address with customers and also set up a corporate entity). PO Boxes (while useful in their own right) just don’t cut it. Your home address won’t cut it because you want to separate your personal life from your business 100%. Private mail boxes are the affordable solution of choice in my opinion (although you may also want to look into renting co-worker space that offers a physical mail address, as that’s getting popular these days too).

In addition to being a real address for your business (separate from your residence), private mail boxes provide a number of other benefits. For starters, you can list it as your business address when you purchase domain names. I used to register my domain names privately because I did not want to use my home address. When you own hundreds of domain names, private registration can become quite expensive. I’m saving hundreds per year now that I can list my private mail box as my address.

Another major benefit: You can list your private mail box as your business address on your website, especially on your privacy policy, terms and conditions, and contact us. The rules around privacy policies and transparency are getting stricter over time. Personally, I think this is good because it’s making the Internet a better place and raising the bar. Why not stay ahead of the curve and offer your business address? In my opinion, this is a move that can also make you look more legit in the eyes of search engines (meaning better SEO ranking).

Also, the guys at the UPS store are awesome. They’re open long hours and 6 days/week. They will sign for packages that come in and then hold them for me. I even get an email when a package has arrived. It’s like having my own staff.

Affiliate Marketing Business Tip 2: Get A Toll Free Phone Number

This tip really goes together with the first one. These days, it’s super affordable to get your own toll free phone number. I’m paying $10 per month for my toll free phone number. There’s a lot of flexibility in how you set it up, but I’ve decided to just have my calls go to voicemail. Then, I have the voicemails delivered to me via email. A lot of the calls that come thru are junk, but some are not. Now, I have a great way for people to contact my business without giving away my personal cell phone or home phone. Of course, you get all of the benefits just mentioned above with the private mail box: separation from your personal life, a number you can list publicly in your domain name registration and on your website, and of course convenience.

Affiliate Marketing Business Tip 3: Create a Corporate Entity

Tip three is really a continuation of the first two. Now that you have a physical business location and dedicated phone number, you’re ready to completely separate your affiliate marketing business from yourself. Now, it’s time to form a corporate entity. There are many options, but I personally decided to go the LLC route. LLCs are great. They separate my business operations from my personal self. They are relatively affordable (only $800/year fee to own a California LLC and another $100 year to pay for a registered agent service). They are easy when it comes time for taxes (a single member LLC is disregarded as a corporate entity for tax purposes so income flows through to your individual tax return). If my business grows and I hire employees, I’ll need to rethink my strategy. However, from my current vantage point the LLC provides the perfect corporate entity for my situation.

After setting up your private mail box, toll free number, and LLC, you’re not quite done. At this time, don’t forget to open a business checking account and credit card in the name of your LLC. Use the tax id of your LLC when opening the accounts up. Leverage your private mail box and your toll free number as your contact info. The key thing to remember: Your business is no longer part of your self. It’s separate entity so it’s time to make it legit and go all out with this process. Once your business is fully separate from yourself, you have opened up an exciting world of possibilities. You’re now ready to embark on your next round of growth and hit the big leagues of super affiliates!

Disclaimer: I’m not a lawyer nor tax advisor, before forming a corporate entity always make sure to consult with your own legal/tax counsel. The information I provide here is just my personal experience and is not legal nor tax advice.

Image of strategy crossword © iStockPhoto – 3DStock

PPC Ian’s Personal Website Portfolio

Nov. 12

IJL Productions LLCFor the vast majority of my time, I’m a corporate online marketing executive. It’s a demanding (and rewarding) full time job. I love it! You can read about my corporate aspirations in my 2011 goals.

However, in my online marketing journey, I quickly learned that my corporate edge would come from strategic side endeavors. In short, I decided to teach myself SEO, social media, blogging, email marketing, and other online marketing channels from an affiliate’s perspective. After all, if you can make it big as an affiliate, you truly know your stuff. Not only would this journey make me a better corporate online marketer (I could leverage my affiliate insights in my corporate job) but I would build up a nice side business, one that truly helped others and threw off passive affiliate income. (You can learn more about my thoughts on passive income from my Internet Marketing Money Map.) That was 4 years ago in October, 2007.

Today, I’m thrilled to share with you my brand new IJL Productions LLC website. I just launched this website last night to represent IJL Productions LLC, my company and home to 120+ amazing online brands that dazzle users. I highly encourage checking it out!

I get a lot of questions about my side business, how I make money online, and what I do. I first acquired IJL.net (I bought it on Sedo) a while back and threw up a quick website. Now, I’m thrilled to relaunch with a slick website that really represents my brand quite well, making it crystal clear what I do. Learn all about what I do when I’m not working in the corporate world or blogging.

I also want to take this moment to sincerely thank my strategic partners and of course visitors. I have very little time to invest in IJL Productions but have built some amazing momentum (I now own over 120 active web properties that drive 200,000 page views per month). How? It’s all about leverage, focus, prioritization, and choosing my partners wisely. I sincerely thank my amazing wife, Nicole, the Unique Blog Designs team, my buddy Morgan Linton from Linton Investments, the entire Epik team (especially CEO Rob Monster), and everyone else who was involved. You have made all the difference. More than anything, I want to thank everyone who has visited my websites, especially PPC Ian. You rock! Check out my new IJL Productions website today.

Affiliate Marketing That Works

Sep. 27

Many affiliate marketers are facing headwinds in 2011. Strategies that once worked in prior years, especially the hard sale, are not working as well anymore. However, I’m here to say that affiliate marketing works, perhaps better than ever. Case in point: I earned nearly five grand on EPN in 3 months in my limited spare time above and beyond the income from my demanding full time job. Since I wrote that post, my overall EPN and affiliate marketing earnings in general continue to thrive and grow.

My 4 Hour Workweek

I’m not the only one. There’s a new class of affiliates and today I want to share an affiliate marketing strategy that works in 2011, via case study. In particular, I’m going to highlight a personal experience I had with my friend Eric’s blog, My 4 Hour Workweek. After reading this post, I encourage you to sign up for a leading affiliate network such as EWA Private Network (they’re accepting 10 new affiliates right now) and then get out there and employ this strategy!

So What’s This Affiliate Strategy?

The strategy is quite simple in theory, but difficult in execution. It’s all about establishing an honest voice with your readers, making it very clear that you earn an affiliate commission when they purchase via one of your links, but offing such an overwhelming amount of value that users make a conscious effort to buy via your link. How do you do this? Very, very hard work and an amazing level of transparency with your readers. You can’t leave an ounce of doubt in anyone’s mind. You need to exclusively recommend products you personally use and prove over and over why the product is working for you. You need to go well above and beyond to provide tremendous free value. You need to avoid mistakes (such as the hard sale) at all costs. Once you’ve done that, your readers will feel an emotional tie to purchase via your link. They’ll owe it to you!

Let’s take an example. My friend Eric from My 4 Hour Workweek promotes this awesome peer to peer lending network called Lending Club. Each month, Eric publishes an income report that highlights his sources of online income and passive income, including Lending Club (check out his August report for an example). I’m honestly addicted to Eric’s blog because of his level of transparency, honesty, and value. My favorite posts are his income updates. As a reader, Eric has established a personal connection with me.

So, I had been meaning to sign up for Lending Club for quite some time. Not only because of Eric’s blog, but also because my former boss is the CMO there and I’ve read an amazing amount of good stuff about the network as a source of diversification and passive income. I’m a busy guy (it’s hard to find even a half hour to sign up for something like this) and I’m all about efficiency. As such, when I finally had some free time to sign up for Lending Club, I could have just gone directly to their site. Or, I could have searched the Internet for special offers and coupon codes in an attempt to get some kind of freebie. However, none of this even crossed my mind. I quickly remembered how much value Eric’s blog provides and my decision was simple: Sign up via Eric’s affiliate link! I even went as far as commentating on Eric’s blog to let him know I used his affiliate link. Now, that’s an affiliate marketing strategy that works. If you’re trying to make money online in 2011, I highly recommend a similar approach. It truly works and it’s also how I make money online.

Image In This Post © My4HrWorkweek.com

How To Make Thousands Buying and Selling Websites

Jul. 21

While I first started developing my own websites for profit in 2007, I got my first taste of buying existing websites in June of 2008. Back in those days, before Flippa existed, BuySellWebsite.com was the place to buy and sell established websites. In June of 2008, I ended up buying a nice little AdSense website for $2,500 (plus a $20 wire fee and a $81.25 Escrow.com fee) for a total of $2,601.25. Just a few years later, that website has yielded $3,825.40 in AdSense earnings alone (I also received extra earnings from direct advertisements). On AdSense alone, that’s a yield of 147%. Since then, I’ve made building websites and also buying established websites a huge part of my passive income plan. I’m here to say first hand that buying established websites is a great way to make money online! Of course, selling websites (for more than you paid) is also a great way to make money, but I’m more of a cash flow kind of guy so I’m holding my websites for the long haul.

Flippa Makes It Easy To Buy and Sell Websites

Thankfully, these days it’s a lot easier to buy and sell websites for profit. There’s a new marketplace called Flippa that makes the process far easier than when I started back in 2008. It’s my firm belief that anyone reading my blog can make thousands, like I have, buying and selling websites. That said, the marketplace is also more competitive now so you really need to know what you’re doing. Don’t worry! There’s a brand new 147 page eBook that guides you through the process step-by-step. I’m talking about Zac Johnson’s Flip This Website.

Zac Johnson Flippa Guide

I Bought Zac Johnson’s Guide and It Rocks

Have you heard of Zac Johnson? He’s a super affiliate and owns one of the top affiliate marketing blogs on the Internet. Over the years, Zac has literally earned a fortune with affiliate marketing. I regularly frequent his blog and have a ton of respect for Zac. It’s for this reason that I knew Zac’s eBook would totally rock. I personally purchased Zac’s eBook (screenshot at the end of this post showing my ClickBank receipt) and couldn’t be more pleased with my purchase. For only $33.49 (temporarily on sale from $67), I’m armed with 147 pages of amazing information, from the king of Flippa. Moreover, I’ve got 6 bonus videos at my fingertips too.

After reading Zac’s book, I’m now ready to buy more websites in 2011-2012 than ever before. Web development takes a ton of work, I’m ready to scale my SEO affiliate earnings quicker than ever before with my new Flippa tips and strategies.

Buy Zac’s Guide From PPC Ian and I’ll Reward You

If you’re serious about Internet marketing (whether you have a corporate job like me or are a full time affiliate marketer), Zac Johnson’s Flippa Guide is a true must have. At only $33.49, you are getting an invaluable education for next to nothing (I’m surprised it’s on sale for this price). Now, here’s where things get interesting! This just wouldn’t be PPC Ian if I didn’t reward you guys. Remember when I promoted Keyword Winner and ran a Keyword Winner Contest where I reviewed the blogs of PPC Ian readers who purchased via my link? (By the way, you can see here the Keyword Winner Contest Winners.) Well, I’m at it again!

Buy Flip This Web Site via my affiliate link and I will feature your website or blog right here on PPC Ian. I will write a few sentences about your blog or website and also provide a link to you as well. All you have to do is purchase Zac’s guide via my link before July 31st! I’ll be featuring the winners in early August. In my opinion, the $33.49 is worth it just to get featured here on PPC Ian, a leading online marketing blog that gets over 1,000 visitors/day. It’s just my way of rewarding PPC Ian readers (I truly can’t thank you all enough) while spreading the word about a product I truly believe in. After you purchase Zac’s eBook via my link, simply email me your ClickBank order number and website or blog you’d like reviewed (family friendly sites only).

Want to learn a bit more before buying? You can see the table of contents from Flip This Website below:

  • Introduction
  • My Story
  • Overview: The Three Business Models
  • Flippa: The eBay of Web Properties That You Can Trust
  • Chapter 1: What You Should Watch Out For When Buying Domains and Websites
  • Chapter 2: Introduction to Flippa
  • Chapter 3: Buying and Selling Web Sites with Flippa
  • Chapter 4: How to Build Your First Site to Eventually Sell on Flippa
  • Chapter 5: Promoting and Outsourcing Your Web Sites
  • Chapter 6: Next Steps – 3 Action Plans for Your Business Model
  • Blogging Tips: The Before, During & After Process of Buying a Web Site
  • Flippa Case Studies
  • Interview with Matt Mickiewicz
  • Your Gift: Free Flippa Credits to Get Started
  • 20 Memorable Flippa Sales
  • Web Site Flipping Resources
  • A Final Word on Web Property Flipping
  • BONUS: The Mini Niche Web Site Guide

Flip This Web Site

Ad for Flip This Web Site © ZacJohnson.com
Screenshot of ClickBank order © PPCIan.com

Surpassing 3,000 Fans on Facebook Via Paid Traffic

Jul. 03

Just a few weeks back, I wrote a post about how I Got 1,242 Facebook Fans for Only $347.70. The post became really popular, got some great comments (thank you to all who commented), and inspired me to push my campaign even further, much further!

Facebook Activity

Today, I’m thrilled to announce that I drove a total of 3,156 likes! (This is not the PPC Ian Facebook Fan Page, but is a Fan Page for another one of my authority sites.) Out of my 3,156 likes, 2,938 are from my paid campaign. Since I paid $965.42, but got a $50 coupon thanks to my wife, I ended paying $915.42 or $0.31 per paid like. Not bad, and very consistent with my results last time. Today, I wanted to close out my test by sharing a few thoughts (while hopefully inspiring you to run your own Facebook paid like campaign)!

75 Wall Posts or Comments Within 1 Week

Paid likes are some of the highest quality Facebook Fans around! Just check out the image above. Over the past week, there have been 75 wall posts or comments. The majority of these have been fans commenting on my wall posts, fans posting their own questions, or fans liking wall posts. For only $915.42, I created a vibrant community that is sharing my content and driving traffic to my site. Paid likes are of really high quality (just like paid search traffic from search engines).

Facebook Fan Page = PPC (Except You Pay 1st)

I’m viewing social media, especially Facebook, in a new light. I’m a paid search guy and am used to paying per click as I go. Facebook is the same thing, but you pay first! Think of it this way: You pay/invest a lot of money, drive paid likes, leverage those likes to drive interaction on your page, and then get visits from your fans over time.

It’s estimated that Each Facebook Fan Will Drive 20 Visits To Your Website. $0.31 (my price per fan) for 20 visits is really great, that’s only $0.016 per visit (certainly cheaper than AdWords or adCenter). Even better, this doesn’t even take into account the branding and SEO advantages of having a vibrant social media program. Looking at things in this light puts a whole new spin on Facebook and is a great way to pitch the idea of increased social media budget to your organization.

Watch Out For New Account Limits

When you open a new Facebook Ads account, Facebook will throttle you. In my last post, I mentioned how my impressions were throttled and then I got a surge of traffic all of the sudden at the end of the test. I originally thought this was due to Facebook fighting ad fatigue and evening the impressions over time. I was wrong. It’s because Facebook put a $50/day budget limit on my account but then lifted the limit to $200 once a number of successful credit card charges went through. Just something to be aware of when you open a new account.

My Self-Sustaining Community

If you drive enough likes, you can create a self-sustaining community on Facebook. My interaction with my Fan Page in this case study has not been very extensive at all. Fans have actually been asking other fans questions. The community is vibrant and self-sustaining to a degree which is super cool! I just need to keep an eye out for community members posting their own links. I’ve had to remove a few, but other than that the comments and interaction has been super genuine. Of course, I do expect this interaction to decline over time as the hype and freshness of my page wears off. It will be at that point that I jump in with some clever ideas and/or run another like campaign.

So there you have it! Now, my campaign is paused as I didn’t want to go over $1,000 total media spend for this initial test. What are your thoughts on paid Facebook like campaigns? At $0.31/fan, should I keep running this program until the price per fan starts going up? I’m certainly tempted!

Facebook 3000 Fans

All Images In This Post © PPCIan.com