Alright, so I told you there would be a lot of updates with this little challenge that I’ve been working on. Today I’m going to talk to you about what’s happened over the last couple days. I’ve had some hiccups and hit a couple road blocks already that have set me back some. It shouldn’t be too bad though. I’ve overcome them (for the most part) and should manage to stay on track with the challenge.
Just as a quick update so that you can follow along. My new mailing list that I’ve been building is at 33 subscribers as of this posting and I have made $0.00 from my efforts so far. My only monetization tactics up until now are my banner on my thank you page and some affiliate links in the report. With only 33 people opting-in, I haven’t seen any money from these tactics yet.
May 9, 2012
Right before I started sending traffic to my new landing page, I realized that I didn’t have any sort of tracking in place to know where each visitor came from before opting-in. How am I going to tell which sources are effective and which ones aren’t if I have no idea where each opt-in originated from?
Luckily, I purchased a piece of software a couple of years ago called AdTrackz Gold that actually gives you unique links for each traffic source and allows you to see exactly where each visitor that opted-in came from. I went ahead and installed this software on my new server and immediately ran in to my first roadblock… The links weren’t redirecting properly. Every time I tested one of these special tracking links that AdTrackz generated, I was sent to a “404 Page Not Found” page. ARG!!
I probably spent 2 hours playing with the software before finally giving up and going to a service that I’ve heard highly recommended called LinkTrackr. Now LinkTrackr is a $40 per month service that will also give you custom links and keep track of where all of your opt-ins came from…
Recommended read: 7 Crucial Tips In Guest Blogging Most Bloggers Don’t Pay Attention To
I purchased a membership to the LinkTrackr service and, literally, within 3 hours, their servers went down. All of the links that I had created stopped working for a good 20 minutes. This made me really nervous about their reliability. I figured this was a fluke and kept the service anyway. A few hours later, after I began generating traffic to the site, I went to check my stats in LinkTrackr… LinkTrackr was showing I had 3 opt-ins while my Aweber account clearly showed I’d had 7 opt-ins. The damn software wasn’t tracking properly! ARG!! (Refund request sent)
I went back to screwing around with AdTrackz for a little while and, as it turns out, I missed a step while installing it and it was totally my fault. The software was working fine now. Unfortunately, in the time all this happened, I’d had several opt-ins that I wasn’t able to track the source of… (Lame)
Here’s what the reports that AdTrackz generates… The blurred areas are the individual keywords I’m targeting.
Anyway, I was back on track now. I installed Google Analytics on to the site so I can watch how many total visitors I was getting and all was good.
Right after I purchased my doomed LinkTrackr account, I set up some paid traffic campaigns. I created a campaign in TrafficVance to send some Pay-Per-View traffic to the opt-in page and, as keywords, I used URLs of some websites that were related to my offer. With PPV traffic, you tend to want to target websites as opposed to keywords. When someone in the PPV network goes to a website that you are targeting, your opt-in page pops up. I set the budget of this campaign to $20 per day and bid my keywords anywhere from $0.01 per impression all the way through to $0.60 per impression depending on how relevant I thought the keyword was and how much competition the keyword had. I then watch which keywords get conversions and drop the ones that don’t seem to convert.
I then jumped in to 7Search to create a Pay-Per-Click campaign. Now, I don’t do much PPC, so I’m really flying blind with this experiment but I bid on some keywords that I thought were pretty relevant. I set my daily budget of this campaign to $20 as well and I bid anywhere from $0.25 per click up to about $0.60 per click depending on the competition. I shoot for the 2nd or 3rd spot in PPC. I don’t need to be in the number 1 spot to get clicks, I just need an attention grabbing ad.
I then went to this site and contacted five people who offer solo-ad mailings and made them offers. Of the five people, two responded. One of them was way too expensive. They want $200 to send 200 clicks. At $1.00 per click, my opt-in page would have to convert and 100% to hit my goal of $1 per opt-in. Not worth it. The other person that replied accepted my offer of $75 for 250 clicks (meaning for $75, they’ll guarantee that 250 people will see my opt-in page). My page needs to convert at only 30% to reach my goal of $1 per opt-in. This solo mailing is going out Saturday, May 12th so I should see a big spike in opt-ins after this.
May 10, 2012
A lot of the people I’d been contacting seemed to have accounts at a site called Safe-Swaps.com. Apparently, this is where people hangout to arrange adswaps as well as sell solo ads. It’s actually a pretty cool site because people swap with each other and purchase solo ads then immediately leave reviews of how things went. If someone doesn’t fulfill their promises, they receive negative reviews and no one swaps with them or purchases solo ads from them anymore. It sounded good to me so I created an account for $29 per month and began browsing the site.
For about 2 hours, I browsed Safe-Swaps and read reviews of solo-ad mailers. I ended up contacting and making deals with 6 more people for solo ads.
Since I’m paying people to mail their lists for me, I needed to write email “swipe” for them. This is basically where I write up the exact copy that they will be sending to their list. When it comes to solo-ads and adswaps, copy should be real short and real attention grabbing. The subject line for the email should really have a lot of thought in to it because, even though someone promises 200 clicks, if your subject line is really attention grabbing, you’ll probably get much more than you bargained for.
Total Opt-ins: 33
PPV Cost (TrafficVance): $32.27
PPC Cost (7Search): $34.95
Solo-Ads Cost: $572.06 (7 solo ads – 2,000 Clicks promised)
Total Cost: $639.28
Current cost per Opt-in: $19.37
Now I know that looks like really big numbers BUT keep in mind that I paid for a whole bunch of solo ads in advance. These solo ads will be fulfilled at all different times throughout the month. I’ve purchased over 2,000 clicks from people over all of these solo ads. Most people will only purchase one solo-ad at a time, wait for it to be fulfilled and then purchase another one. I’m just being really agressive with this challenge. As these people fulfill their mailings, you’ll see my total opt-ins climb and my cost per opt-in drop dramatically.
As of right now all 33 of my opt-ins have come from my TrafficVance campaign. I’ve received a lot of traffic from my 7Search campaign but no opt-ins. I’ve now paused the 7Search campaign to rethink my keywords and try different things. Seeing as all my traffic has come from TrafficVance, if I was to isolate that one source of traffic, I would have actually spent $0.98 per opt-in. Unfortunately, my failed 7Search campaign and my pending solo-ads have driven that cost-per-opt-in up.
I doubt I will purchase any more solo ads after the current ones are fulfilled. I’m not really sure yet. It will depend on the success of these ones. If my page converts at 50% (not unheard of), these solo-ads and my PPV campaign could get me to my 1,000 opt-in goal by themselves. I’ll just have to wait and see. If I purchase no more solo ads for the rest of this challenge, over 30 days, my daily spend on solo ads would only be $21.30.
If you’re keeping score, I’ve basically got a $20 per day budget for PPV, a $20 per day budget for PPC, and a $21.30 per day budget for solo-ads. That’s a total spend per day of approximately $61.30… And that’s assuming that I continue to run the PPV and PPC traffic campaigns every single day (which I won’t). So over the next couple of posts, you’ll see my expenses per day drop and my cost per opt-in skyrocket. I will make an ROI! I promise.
I’ll keep everyone posted in my next update.
I know a lot of what I said in this post was kind of technical. If you’ve got any questions or need any clarification, please make sure to leave a comment below.