Corn Sheller Site Update
The very first thing that I want to talk to you about today is something that blew my mind, so I think it might blow your mind too.
We looked at the statistics of the Corn Sheller site. For those of you that have been around for a long time, you know this whole story so I won’t tell the whole thing again. If this is your first show, it’s a demo site over at CornSheller.net that we use on the show as an example for demonstration purposes.
It doesn’t make a lot of money, which is one of the reasons that I can reveal it to you, because I don’t really care what happens to it. Over the last two years the site, without any work at all hardly, has made $700. That’s kind of cool, that’s enough money to talk about and mess around with.
I mentioned last week that the site had a broken plugin and I had asked my virtual assistant to fix the plugin. She immediately loaded the latest version of the PHPbay plugin – that’s what I use for eBay, the site is monetized with eBay. We got that all fixed up and running, so by the end of May we were up and running again.
As I mentioned, we had made $700 over the lifetime of the site, over approximately two years. So I was looking at my stats around mid-June and all of a sudden I see these two giant spikes in earnings for this site. I had a $100 day followed by a subsequent day that was $72, and a total earning in the month of June on this site of $205.
That’s actually amazing. It was on 650 or so clicks, it worked out to about $0.30 per click, which is a pretty good pay rate on a site that I have done almost no work on since I built it two years ago. That’s really cool.
What’s the reason for that? I haven’t quite figured it out yet. I haven’t had a lot of time to dig into it. Almost certainly it’s going to be one or two people making some really big purchases that paid out big commissions. That’s a really big day for a single site in eBay. I’ve had some eBay sites in the past and not very many $100 days for a single site, so that is really super cool.
That is absolutely not typical. It’s not typical for this website, it’s not typical for the eBay websites that I’ve done in the past. But it is pretty cool and it shows you an example of the goofy stuff that can happen when you stop messing around and just put stuff out there and see what sticks.
I’ve had examples of this kind of thing before where a single page would get picked up in the SERPs for a couple of days and maybe it had an Adsense ad on it and that would go crazy for a couple of days and generates tens or hundreds of dollars.
This stuff happens, but the only that it happens is you have sites out there to begin with, if you’ve done the work, if you’ve done stuff and you have opportunities. You have to plant these seeds and occasionally giant oak trees pop up.
Now, I absolutely do not think, not even for a second, that $200 is the new baseline for this site. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if this site made $10 only next month. I don’t really know yet where that traffic came from, I don’t know anything about that transaction, and I may never really know exactly what happened. I’m not saying that this is what we should expect from this site going forward. I am excited that it happened. That $200 gives me $200 that I can use to reinvest in the site.
We talked about this a little bit last week. I’ve ordered a video and I’ve already gotten the video back, I need to do a voiceover for it. I ordered one of these $5 videos from Fiverr and it’s basically a cartoon animation video where the guy is drawing and you can see his hand drawing on a whiteboard. It hits a couple of key points, I’m going to add a voiceover to that, and post that to YouTube and then build backlinks to it like we described last week, probably using something similar to Rank Crew, I may even use something a little more powerful than that.
We’ll see if we can get that video to rank for our corn sheller related keywords and see how we do. I think that will be a really good exciting proof of concept, something that you can actually see. I’ll give all that to you next week when I get everything released. So that’s the plan on the corn sheller video and site.
I also think we could choose to invest in some more backlinking to the site and see if we can increase the traffic level. I’m considering that. We’ll see if we decide to do that or not. I think that might be a pretty good idea for this site as well.
Really, we don’t have a lot to lose. That’s another great thing about experimenting with a site like this. If we mess things up, we’re only talking about a $30 per month on average site, so it’s not that big of a deal if we goof things up.
Be sure to take a look at the show notes and look at the graphs, you can see the massive spikes in the first half of the month where one day was over $100 and one day was over $70. It’s amazing. And there was no big surge in traffic, the traffic is flat throughout the month at around 20 or 30 clicks per day into eBay from the site, so I know it wasn’t any big surge in traffic, it was just a couple of really good transactions.
That’s the Corn Sheller site update. I hope you find that as cool as I do.
Lessons Learned from Beachbody Marketing & the P90X Affiliate Program
The next thing I wanted to talk about and break down a little bit this week is my personal experience in the weight loss niche.
On Easter Sunday we went to church and my wife is a shutterbug, she took 50,000 pictures last year and is on pace in 2014 for even more than that. She is the kind of photographer that will probably end up replacing her digital SLR camera because she’ll wear out the shutter, literally wear out the mechanical shutter in the camera. So we take a lot of pictures. She’s really good not only at taking pictures, but she is also really good at post-processing those pictures in light room and making them look really cool.
Easter Sunday she had taken these pictures just before church and we had taken some shots out in the backyard. I was looking at this picture and saying, “Man, I really have to lose some weight.” I get on the scale and sure enough I weighed 246 or 247 pounds. I thought, “It’s Easter Sunday. Tomorrow, the day after Easter is the day I’m starting to really work on losing some weight.”
I did a ton of research and I had done some low carb stuff in the past. My friend Lynn Terry over at Clicknewz is a low-carber. So I started doing some scientific research about low carb and I ended up really adopting not a crazy low carb diet, but just a diet where I’m going to try to eliminate things like sugar and wheat flour, just very simply, because I know those things metabolize very quickly to glucose and I know that spikes insulin.
This is really quickly sounding like a medical podcast, but the bottom line is I know sugar is bad for you, or at least that’s what I feel based on a relatively extensive amount of reading that I’ve been doing about metabolism.
I cut out sugar and sure enough my weight started coming down. After I had lost about 20 pounds, which was really cool, I decided I wanted to add in some exercise to accelerate the process. For a long time I have been curious about this thing that you see on late night TV called P90X.
P90X is something I’ve known about for a long time, it’s been around for awhile. Pat Flynn did this and got some amazing results, but he’s a young guy and I’m a 40-something guy. At the time he did that I’m not even sure he was 30 yet, so I’m thinking I don’t know if I’m too old for this. A friend of mine at work was doing it and I thought, “I’m going to do this.” I went out on the internet and went to Amazon and I bought P90X.
I didn’t think anything of it, because I bought it on Amazon. It turned out looking through these DVDs and going through this program, this is an incredibly solid program, really good product. So that’s marketing lesson number one from our friends at Beachbody; you need to have an absolutely solid product.
That means to me if you’re building an affiliate website you really need to go the extra mile to put really good content out there, you need to have a good product. If you’re promoting a product, you need to make sure that product really is a good product. Don’t just promote junk.
If you are building your own product, by all means spend the extra time to make the thing really good. Over-deliver. I’m not saying that you should be paralyzed and never get your product out, because that’s another kind of problem that you can have because you’re shooting for perfection. You really want to create quality stuff wherever you create it.
That’s certainly what the Beachbody guys have done. In fact, I was a little surprised at how good it was, how high the production quality was, how well thought out the materials were. I was pretty impressed.
I get this thing and the first thing I notice, I thought this was really interesting, this product itself has ads built into it that cross-sell their other products. Particularly, as you might imagine, the P90X Beachbody guys sell not only the exercise programs (several of them) they also sell products like energy drink products that you would take just before a workout, recovery products that you can take just after a workout, and meal replacement drinks, they have a very famous one called Shakeology, which you can take as a meal replacement to help you with your diet.
Like most good exercise programs, one of the big things that the Beachbody guys talk about is the importance of nutrition. I can tell you, for those of you that need to lose weight, you can out-eat any exercise program that you choose to undertake. Let me say that again. You can easily out-eat any exercise program that you choose to undertake. The eating part is way more important than the exercise part. Just file that away for a minute.
These Beachbody guys before the workout, even sometimes during the workout, the exercise guy will mention one of the products in kind of casual conversation. Then after the workout there are ad placements that cross-sell their products.
One of the cool things about a product like P90X is no matter what happens, whether you get the results that they’re trying to sell you on or not, you’re going to get some benefit from this product. If you’re up off the couch and trying to do this, even if you fail, some amount of exercise is better than no exercise. This is a thing that benefits people.
Lesson two from the Beachbody folks is certainly to cross-sell and advertise your other products within your product.
Now, if you have a product and you don’t have any other products, maybe that means you’re selling affiliate products, you’re sending your customers to related things that they might need. You see this all the time in the internet marketing space where you’ll sign up for a course and then, “Oh by the way, you need hosting. Here’s my affiliate link for hosting. Oh by the way, you need a keyword research tool. Here’s my link to Keyword Canine.” That’s the same kind of thing that the Beachbody guys are doing.
When I went back and I looked at the marketing materials, the sales copy that the Beachbody guys are using to sell P90X, that’s where lesson number three really came in. Lesson three is very simply when you’re writing sales copy you need to focus on the benefits that people will receive from buying your product.
Of course, the benefits in the weight loss niche are well understood; avoiding the pain that you feel when you’re overweight, having the energy that you need to do the things that you want to do in life, feeling better, looking better, there’s the whole sex-in-marketing thing with the sex appeal of looking better. There are all these benefits that you get from successfully completing the P90X program.
Basically the implication is if you buy this product you will look like the model that’s on television and your life will be relatively perfect. They don’t actually say that, that would get them in trouble with FTC, but they’re really selling the benefit that if you complete this program your life will be better.
When you’re selling a product you need to be selling those benefits as well. If you’re an affiliate marketer and you’re talking about a product that you think people should buy, you need to make sure you’re talking about the benefits of this product and not just the features.
The features for the P90X program are things like “we teach you how to do pull-ups, we teach you how to do push-ups, and at the end of this program you’ll be able to do 37 push-ups in 60 seconds.” That’s a feature. The benefit of being able to do 37 push-ups in 60 seconds is that you’ll be able to take your shirt off at the beach and your shoulders will make you look like Hercules. The sit-ups that you’re going to be able to do are a feature, but the benefit is that you’re going to have abs that make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was 22.
Lesson number three is in your sales copy make sure you’re selling the benefits. Lesson number four also comes out of the sales copy of Beachbody, which is equally impressive; make sure in your sales copy you are overcoming the purchaser’s objections. This is the word that salespeople to list all the reasons that we don’t buy.
What’s the biggest objection that people have to exercise programs? The one you hear all the time is, “I don’t have time to exercise.” What the Beachbody guys have done with their recent version of P90X is P90X3, it’s the third generation of the program, and the interesting thing about it is that it’s a 30 minute program.
It turns out that the Beachbody guys found some university studies that suggest that the biggest benefit of a workout comes in the first 30 minutes. I’m sure there is still a lot of benefit if you workout for an hour that comes in the second 30 minutes, they don’t talk about that. What they talk about is the true conclusion based on the study that they cite that the most important part of the workout is the first 30 minutes.
Given that, they have a reason to bundle a 30 minute program and they can say things in the sales copy like, “This is only 30 minutes a day. Everybody has 30 minutes. Certainly you can find the time to do this exercise program.” What they’re doing there is they’re answering the objection that people are going to use to keep from buying the program.
Other examples of objections that they might choose to answer are that the program costs too much. “Well, you may feel like it costs too much, but we’re going to let you buy it in three easy payments.” They’re answering the objection, “I can’t afford this.” “Well, sure you can, it’s three easy payments, we’ll finance it for you.”
So that’s lesson number four from the Beachbody guys; make sure that you’re handling objections in your sales copy. And if you’re an affiliate marketer you can do the same thing. In fact, this can be really helpful to people because usually if they’re on your site they may be looking for information about a product and they have these objections in their head. If you can help them work through those and get them to a good buying decision that’s right for them, then that’s a value-add. Make sure you’re addressing those objections either in the form of frequently asked questions or directly in the sales copy.
The fifth thing that I learned from Beachbody is the importance of affiliates. For those of you that don’t realize this, the Beachbody company is a multi-level marketing company. I don’t actually know much about the details of Beachbody’s multi-level marketing program, except that they call their affiliates “coaches.”
What you have to do to be a “coach” is you have to pay money to get into the coaching program. This is very impressive. I actually did this so we could have this conversation. If you go to Beachbody and you want to learn how you can sell Beachbody, then what you do is go onto their website and you sign up to be a coach, and it costs something like $45.
As a result of you being a coach you can buy any products that you want from Beachbody at a 25% discount, which is great. In fact, I’m also using their Shakeology product right now, so now I can buy Shakeology, which is really expensive – that’s something we’ll talk about in lesson number six – for 25% off. So that’s an incentive for me to be a Beachbody coach.
Also, just like in regular affiliate marketing, I get paid if someone buys Beachbody products through my link, I get a commission on that. And if I recruit other coaches to sell Beachbody – this is the multi-level marketing part – then I get a percentage of the commissions that they get. All this really boils down to in this context is really just a version of affiliate marketing with a multi-layered affiliate marketing strategy.
That’s pretty cool. The lesson for you is if you have a product that you’re trying to sell, you need to make sure that you have an affiliate program to go with that so people can sell your product.
Lesson number six is on pricing. They have a fantastic, from what I know (I’m not a nutritionist, but I’ve done a lot of reading about nutrition) meal replacement drink called Shakeology, which actually tastes pretty decent as far as protein drinks go. It’s a protein drink like MuscleMilk or one of these other things that you can get at GNC or a nutrition shop near you, it’s a powder, and it probably has whey protein in it or something like that so you get the protein that you need, and then in addition to that it has a truckload of multivitamins.
They do a very interesting job of selling this where they show that the Shakeology costs you $4, but if you were to go buy everything that you need to make one in the grocery store and get all of the vitamins that are in the drink, you would need to buy like $30 worth of groceries to make one shake. That’s another nice marketing tactic that’s in their sales copy.
The bottom line is this Shakeology stuff is $127 per bag. To put that into context, if you were to walk into Sam’s Club, Costco, or your discount club near you, and buy an equivalent amount of MuscleMilk or some nutritional protein drink shake thing off the shelf there, it would cost you about $50. So they’re more than 2X the market price for that kind of product.
That just goes to show you really need to understand what your product is worth and not underestimate it. I guarantee you they are selling a ton of Shakeology. I know people that take Shakeology, they don’t care what it costs, they want the Shakeology. They’re charging what the market will bear for their products.
A lot of times I see people who have their own products under price them, under value them, they don’t try to understand what the market will bear for their product, they price their product without any testing and they end up trying to charge just what they think it’s worth. A lot of times they don’t have a strong enough opinion of their own work to get to the right price, so they end up selling an ebook or course for $27 that ought to be $77 in the marketplace.
So that’s lesson number six from the Beachbody guys; you absolutely need to pay attention and make sure you’re charging enough for your products. That’s six lessons from weight loss experience with Beachbody. I started out at 247 pounds, I am now down to 220. I’m hoping to get all the way down to 200.
One of the exciting things about getting to 220 – I don’t really consider myself a fat guy, whatever that means, but my BMI whenever I weigh more than 220 (I’m 6’ tall) I am technically “obese.” That’s the word that the U.S. government uses to describe my weight. I don’t like being obese, so when I get under 220, I move from obese to simply “overweight.” To get out of the overweight zone, I have to get all the way down to about 185. I don’t know that I want to go that low, but I definitely want to go to 200 and see how that feels.
That’s where I’m headed with a combination of eating right, Shakeology, and the Beachbody P90X program, and I’ve learned a lot of marketing along the way. Not learned a lot of marketing, but recognized a lot of marketing from the Beachbody guys, some excellent marketing.
If you want to learn about marketing, study some of these things around you. There is marketing in everything that you see everywhere you that you see it. You can recognize that and use that as on the job training in your own internet business.
I hope you enjoyed that. I’m off to go do a little workout right now.
Bonus lesson number seven. This was really great. I told you there were these Beachbody coaches. If you’re a Beachbody coach, hopefully your goal is to help people, but financially and from an affiliate marketing standpoint your goal is to either get your students to buy products using your link, in which case you get a commission, or to get your students to convert to coaches so that you get overrides on their commissions.
Quite frankly, I don’t know what the best thing to do is, I haven’t really thought through this at all because I’m not really interested in selling Beachbody stuff, unless you want some, in which case you can go to http://lnim.co/beachbody.
I bought my stuff through Amazon, so there was no coach, no commission, none of that stuff. Beachbody sells this stuff on Amazon, I don’t know how that works. I’m sure that frustrates their affiliates a little bit, because that’s kind of a leak in the commission system. In any case, I bought mine on Amazon, but after I bought it I was really excited about starting the program and I tweeted out that I was doing P90X.
A guy tweeted me back and said, “Hey Mark, congratulations on P90X. How are things going?” I didn’t know who it was, for all I knew it was one of you guys, so I just said, “It’s going great. Thanks for asking. I just started.” And the guy said, “I have a private Facebook group if you’re interested, I’ll sign you up. We support each other in that group, we’re all doing some Beachbody exercise program.” I said I’d check it out.
Of course, I immediately recognized what was going to happen next. He said, “By the way, I’m a Beachbody coach, do you have a coach yet?” I said, “No, I don’t.” He said, “If you’ll sign up under me, I’d really appreciate it. I’ll add you to the group.”
So basically this guy was offering me some value-add, being part of this Facebook support group, in exchange for me being in his affiliate marketing pyramid. Turns out this guy is a student at a university, I think maybe he’s at LSU, and this is how he’s paying his way through college, by working out himself and selling Beachbody. That’s pretty cool.
He has this value-added Facebook group, I signed up under him, then I became a coach under him, and when I buy products he gets the commission, and everybody is happy. The bonus lesson is to use social media to promote your stuff by trying to help people.
This guy clearly has multiple motives, but his approach is, “Can I help you by giving you access to this Facebook group?” Your approach might be, “I noticed you were talking about XYZ, maybe this free report would help you,” and in that free report you have whatever calls to action that you need, but it’s long sighted actual valuable information. That’s bonus lesson number seven from my Beachbody journey. I hope that helps you and I hope you have a fantastic day.