Affiliate Marketing Tips: How I Beat the Gurus Selling the Secret Classroom

  • Comments: 9
  • Written on: December 13th, 2007

A lot of you supported me on the Next Internet Millionaire reality show, and even though I was the second runner up I had an awesome opportunity to learn from some amazing internet marketing gurus in the Secret Classroom.

And I was a VERY good student.  So good in fact that I am taking two of my former guru instructors, Marlon Sanders and Armand Morin to the woodshed in Joel Comm’s Secret Classroom Affiliate Program!

Here is what I learned and how I am beating some of the best internet marketers in the world.

Be a Marketing Ninja, not a Marketing Thug.

Marlon Sanders taught me the theory behind something I have instinctively known in the past.  He said that every strength has an accompanying weakness. If you are up against a superior competitor, you should not attack their strength. You want to attack the weakness that accompanies their strength.

For example, is you are going up against Best Buy trying to sell computers, don’t open a super store staffed with a moderately skilled sales and support staff and a massive selection of PCs.

Instead sell high quality computers that are custom designed for the user’s needs and provide an award-winning service and support plan to back it up. By attacking the weakness within their strength, you negate Best Buy’s competitive advantage.

The More Broke You are the Better Your Image Needs to Be

Sites like Amazon, or Google, or YouTube are multi-million dollar websites with logos that are recognized by visitors and people have come to trust them.

Armand Morin explained to me that there is no accident in the fact you can probably visualize the logos of each of the above companies in your mind right now.

Consequently when one of these websites wants you to take an action, whether it is buying a book or uploading a video, you are more likely to take that action because you trust you trust the name and the logo.

The greatest cost you incur in business is getting a customer for the first time.  Secondary sales to the same customer should be a cakewalk if you have branded properly and your customer recognizes you the next time you come knocking.

If a Picture is 1,000 Words, What’s a Video Worth?

Using a video to drive traffic to your website is an art form, and if you master it you will have an extremely effective tool that most people overlook.

Anyone can post a backlink in a couple seconds.  It’s no biggie to get into Google Search.  But making a video takes some time and some talent.  Most people don’t know how to drive traffic with videos, so they don’t mess with it at all.

Mike Koenigs Mike taught me how to produce a video, get it in front of eyeballs, and then get those eyeballs to a website. He taught me how to use videos to drive traffic just like a search engine does, and this was a huge component that propelled me above the other guru marketers.

He explained that people will tolerate bad video to a point, but if your audio is bad, you won’t get past the first 2 seconds. If you are going to spend money on equipment, buy a good microphone first, and then get a good camera.

Then there was the $30 must-have lighting rig you can make from stuff at Home Depot that will light up your whole video set.  More awesome knowledge that will make your videos look awesome and give you an edge over the few others who throw some videos online.

The Long Tail is a Blogger’s Best Traffic Friend

Dave Taylor explained that if you properly construct a post with content people want, you will reap a small amount of traffic on that post indefinitely into the future as people seek out what they want.
Eventually the long tail approach to blogging will generate lots of small traffic pulls that add up to one powerful web presence. 

You can search for just about anything online and find one of Dave Taylor’s pages somewhere in the results.

A Symphony of Guru Butt-Kicking

Rather than taking one guru’s system exclusively, I combined multiple methods from the Secret Classroom to make a marketing machine that was more powerful than any of my instructors by themselves.
I started with three websites all designed to promote the same product. More sites means more opportunities to claim spots in the top 10 search results and force other sites downward.

I moved fast to get my sites indexed before the pre-launch, and www.nextinternetmillionairedvd.com was my flagship website.

Following Marlon’s advice, I needed to attack a weakness in the Secret Classroom juggernaut. Rather than playing the same “I set a cookie on your PC” referral game, I attacked the Secret Classroom on price by offering a rebate.

Joel is offering a $200 affiliate commission for every Secret Classroom set I sell, so I offered a $100 rebate for anyone who buys through my websites. I mean seriously, if you were planning on buying the set anyway, why not save the $100, right?

As soon as I learned that the name of the DVD set would be the Secret Classroom, I used the basic SEO/SEM techniques to grab a #2 spot in Google for my nextinternetmillionairedvd.com website.

Next I hired a coder to make me an email submission form that allowed me to collect names and email addresses on the websites and store them in a database. I managed to collect over 170 leads of people who were interested in the discount offer.

I then produced 12 Secret Classroom sample videos (1 for each instructor) made from video screen captures and audio from Next Internet Millionaire episodes. I used Mike’s techniques to write titles, descriptions, URLs and bottom third messages that would perform. I uploaded those to every single video sharing site on planet earth.

I then held almost all of the top spots in Google, Yahoo, and YouTube video searches for the term secret classroom. Next, it was time to attack Blog Search.

I started posting on my blog multiple times a day using Dave Taylor’s long tail advice. While my competition was playing cookie wars driving traffic through their affiliate links, I was collecting email addresses and building relationships.

Then on December 5 Joel pulled the trigger. I email blasted my list, published a blog post, placed a Google AdWords ad, and uploaded my post-launch landing pages.

When the dust settled, I was Joel’s #1 affiliate after day 1, and I held that spot all the way to the end of his affiliate contest on day 7. I was way out ahead of Marlon Sanders as well as Armand Morin – the very gurus who educated me in the Secret Classroom.

So many people try internet marketing and fail because they are looking for a system that works 100% of the time in a turn-key style. The truth is that while all of the gurus that instructed me had AWESOME techniques, those techniques are simply tools. Like any tool, these tactics are suited for various environments and tasks. Mastering multiple tools and then selecting the right tool at the right time is what makes all the difference.

  1. Chet said on December 13th, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Great tips! I think “Be a Marketing Ninja, not a Marketing Thug” is the best advice you can give any business man or woman.

  2. browie said on December 14th, 2007 at 12:14 am

    You can’t tell us you won Joel’s contest without telling us what you won.

  3. Thor Schrock said on December 14th, 2007 at 5:09 pm

    You can’t tell us you won Joel’s contest without telling us what you won.

    LOL, sorry browie! There were 2 contests – one for all of the best affiliate overall and one for the best affiliate among the Next Internet Millioaire contestants.

    Since I was the #1 overall affiliate, I won both contests. The overall prize was a Mac Book (don’t know the specs yet, but how bad could it be?) and the prize for the NIM contestants was an Amazon Kindle – theuir new eBook reader device. Iam PUMPED to take a look at the Kindle since you can’t even buy one now if yu wanted to. Thanks Joel!

  4. Dan Wegner said on December 21st, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    You can’t tell us you won Joel’s contest without telling us what you won.

    LOL, sorry browie! There were 2 contests – one for all of the best affiliate overall and one for the best affiliate among the Next Internet Millioaire contestants.
    Since I was the #1 overall affiliate, I won both contests. The overall prize was a Mac Book (don’t know the specs yet, but how bad could it be?) and the prize for the NIM contestants was an Amazon Kindle – theuir new eBook reader device. Iam PUMPED to take a look at the Kindle since you can’t even buy one now if yu wanted to. Thanks Joel!

    How many did you sell?

  5. Johnny Jack Patterson said on December 25th, 2007 at 7:21 pm

    Marketing Thug. That was hilarious. Shorty wanna be a marketing thug? LOL. I myself have pondered the thought of figuring out how to get around those peskie cookies and affiliate links. I often wonder how many sales I have lost by cloaking my affiliate links. I for one thought that rebate you did was just genius. Ninja Master say, student become teacher. I knew way ahead of time that the NIM would end up in a DVD collection. I never even thought to register a domain for the affiliate program at the time though. That is the downside to not doing this full time… you always think “yeah i’ll get to it”, and then you never do.

    Johnny Jack Patterson
    http://www.jjpmarketing.com

  6. Jeff Paul Scam said on February 24th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

    When it comes down to defining internet marketing I don’t distinguish between traditional and internet marketing. To me, it’s simply all marketing. Everything has to be incorporated market a brand. There are no short-cuts.

  7. […] Read the rest of this great post here […]

  8. […] Bernie Sanders, TheNation.com wrote an interesting post today on Affiliate Marketing Tips: How I Beat the Gurus Selling the Secret …Here’s a quick […]

  9. […] in the affiliate contest, selling more than $30,000 in Secret Classroom DVD sets and add-ons.  I even bested some of the more established instructors on the show! I won a Macbook computer and an Amazon Kindle for finishing first, not to mention some cool cash […]

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