5 Marketing Lessons from Our Idiot Brother

When I watch a movie, it’s hard not to draw parallels between it and Internet marketing. Watching Our Idiot Brother, I caught a number of great lessons for all types of marketers. So, what does Paul Rudd, also known as Phoebe Buffay’s boyfriend, have to teach you about being an awesome affiliate?

1. You’re going to fail.

“I try to do good, but it doesn’t always work out.”

It’s important to realize that you’re going to fail at Internet marketing… a lot. You’re going to get it wrong, your first few campaigns won’t make as much as you had hoped, you’re going to build a bad landing page, etc. Failing is a big part of being successful, especially for affiliates. In fact, most affiliates have extremely low success rates with campaigns. So, if you’re going to fail (and you are), just remember to fail fast so that you can get to the success.

2. Have fun with it.

“I have to get back to work on the tomion.”

At the end of the day, if you’re not doing something you love, you’re wasting your time. Affiliate marketers are entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs need passion. Do you want to invest 50 or 60 hours a week working on something you think is “meh”? Of course not. Be sure this is something you love so that you never have to “work” again.

3. People are going to think you’re an idiot.

“I just figured that since you sold it to a uniformed police officer, you must be stupid.”

Everyone is going to think you’re an idiot. Your best friends, your family, the guy you carpool with on Tuesdays – everyone. Who works a 40 hour week and then voluntarily spends time doing work when they get home? Idiots. Conversely, who quits the security of a big company to venture out on their own? Who decides they want to work harder and longer just to be their own boss? Idiots, idiots.

Some of the brightest minds were considered idiots in their time too.

4. Find an unconditional support system.

“I can’t just kick him out… he’s family.”

Being an affiliate is awesome! You can work from your PJs, you can set your own hours, you can do things your own way – it rocks. Sometimes, however, it’s going to be tough. It’s going to be hard when your first big campaign slows to a halt and there are a few weeks where you don’t earn a penny. For this reason, you want to be sure you have an unconditional support system that always has your back. Think family, friends and industry experts.

5. Live in your own world.

“I love my brother, but still, he doesn’t live in the adult world.”

Remember when you were in high school and there was the guy that spent all his time playing World of Warcraft in his parents’ basement? Or when you met that girl who genuinely thought unicorns and leprechauns were real? They were living in their own little worlds and most affiliates do too. Once you get started, it’s hard to transition back from spending hours reading blogs, going to conferences, staying up until 3 a.m. researching keywords, etc.

Have you seen Our Idiot Brother? Do you think it had real value for Internet marketers?

9 CTA Copywriting Tips

The call to action (CTA) is the most important part of a website. It’s what turns visitors into cash. So, before you write the copy for your next so-so CTA, take a look at these 9 tips. Take advantage of them and you’ll be increasing conversions in no time at all.

1. Use active words.
You see active words all the time. Think of all the action words you see in ads: buy, subscribe, download, register, call, etc. Why are they there? Because they inspire people to act, just as their name suggests.

2. Keep it short.
Notice that all of my tips here are short. They are to the point and do not have any unnecessary words. Use this philosophy in all of your calls to action. If you want to capture attention, don’t write a novel.

3. Use simple words.
Resist the urge to use complex words and sentence structures. If there is a smaller, more simple word to use, use it. The average person doesn’t read at a high level. Simple words have high conversion rates.

4. Convey urgency.
Don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today, right? Wrong. Everyone puts things off until tomorrow. Your job is to ensure that your call to action isn’t one of them. Convey “now or never”!

5. Use buzzwords.
They might sound cheap and overused, but they work. Think of all the buzzwords you read each day: unique, innovative, award winning, exclusive, solution, leading, etc. Don’t count them out.

6. Avoid spam signals.
There’s a thin line that you need to learn to toe. Avoid any language or punctuation that will send up red spam flags. For example, avoid the use of “!!!” or “!?!”

7. Use numbers.
It seems like everyone is creating lists these days, right? Right. That’s because lists involve numbers, which are more appealing to the human eye than words. Notice the number in the title of this post.

8. Advertise the value.
You can sell anything to anyone when you know this trick: promote the value. It sounds simple, but it’s overlooked. Put yourself in their shoes and focus on what’s in it for them. Show them the value right away!

9. Be specific.
Did you know that you miss out on leads because your CTA isn’t specific enough? They want to know exactly what is going to happen when they click through. Explain the specifics of what you want them to do and what will happen after.

Are you already using some of these tips? Which tips have worked best for you?

2 Biggest Mistakes New Affiliates Make

Think back to when you first tried your hand at affiliate marketing. What was your first campaign? Was it a success? The fact of the matter is that new affiliates make tons of mistakes. Heck, even affiliates who have been in the game for years make mistakes. There are two very common, very dangerous affiliate mistakes that shine above the rest though.

It’s natural, especially when you’re new to the game, to want to move on and multiply. If things aren’t working out, you’ll want to try a different offer, a different niche. If things are going great, you’ll want to expand and build campaign after campaign.

The problem here is that most campaigns aren’t successful from the get-go. It usually takes quite a while to perfect a campaign and really make it work for you. While it’s important to fail fast to succeed fast, you want to make sure you’re not in too much of a rush. Like all things in life, it’s about balance.

Of course, there’s the opposite approach. That is, sticking to one or two campaigns for too long. Whether or not they’re profitable for you is irrelevant. Putting all of your eggs in one basket, regardless of the industry, is not a good idea. What if one of those campaigns takes a nosedive?

Remember, affiliate marketing is not a perfect science. It’s true that most affiliates have seen the majority of their success from approximately 10% of their campaigns, but that other 90% is important. You have to try new things and experiment if you want to reap the rewards.

Plus, this is not a predictable industry (for the most part). There are ups and downs, ups and downs, ups and downs. What happens if you’re only running two campaigns and they’re both going down at once?

The moral here is to find a happy medium between too many campaigns and too few campaigns. Leaning too far in one direction could mean the difference between affiliate success and affiliate failure. Often, it is hard for new affiliates to master this delicate balancing act, which is the real barrier to entry in Internet marketing.