April 30, 2006

George Bush - Presidency for Dummies...

Well, now we know his secret to success!

Personally, I dont' think he's even finished chapter one yet. Presidency for Dummies... my, how appropriate.

And Cheney, don't worry that you'll be left out at all... I just finished writing YOUR special guide as well!

Copyright © 2006 Aaron S. Cook

April 24, 2006

The Big Red Button...

The Big Red Button

Want to put the Big Red Button your blog or website? Here's how to do it in just 2 easy steps:

  • Copy & paste the entire HTML code from the box below.
  • Smile...and have yourself a good time!


NOTE: Blogger users - If you get a "HTML cannot be accepted: Tag is not closed" error, just ignore it of course. ;)

April 21, 2006

Get Conversions, Not Just Clicks!

A lot of people have asked the question, "How can I get a high conversion rate from my Pay-Per-Click advertisements?"

Well, first we need to understand exactly what a "conversion rate" is! And thankfully, that's a very simple thing to do...

A conversion rate is simply the percentage of website visitors who take a "desired action."

And a "desired action" can take on many forms, all of which will be different from website to website.

Examples of Desired Actions include:

Sales of products, membership registrations, software downloads, newsletter subscriptions, information requests and pretty much any activity beyond simple page browsing.

A high conversion rate will depend on these factors:

  • the interest level of the visitor
  • attractiveness of the offer to the visitor
  • how easy it is to complete the desired action

1. The interest level of the visitor is maximized by matching the right visitor, with the right offer, at the right time.

2. The attractiveness of an offer includes the proposed value, in addition to how well it's presented to the visitor.

3. The visitor's ease of completing the desired action is very much dependent on the website's usability (user-friendliness), which includes:

  • pages that load quickly
  • pages that are easy to navigate
  • content that's organized and easy to understand
  • easy-to-read font (Times New Roman, Ariel or Verdana)
  • easy-to-read font size (12-point or higher)

Marketing Secret: It's definitely worth pointing out that small, impulse items will generally have a higher conversion rate than large shopping items will!

Write your ads for sales conversions, NOT for clicks!

This is very important! Personally, I see way too many ads that actually try to trick people into entering a website. They say things like, "Free Ringtones Here!" Or, “Get Your Free Ringtones!”

Well, of course this can get you tons of clicks, but will it get you conversions??? Remember, you're paying PER CLICK with your advertising, so you definitely want to make certain those clicks count!

So with the Ringtones, for example, let's take a look at the facts of the offer:

  • People put in their phone number and get free Ringtones
  • People get 15 free Ringtones when they sign up
  • People are charged a monthly fee after they get their free Ringtones

Use these to write an ad that will convert at a higher percentage!

An example of a bad ad would be: "Get Free Ringtones - Just Click Here For Free Ringtones!

An example of a good ad would be: "Get 15 Free Ringtones – Just enter your phone number and receive your Free Ringtones!"

Another example of a good ad would be: "Free Ringtones – Get 15 Free Ringtones with each new subscription!"

Bottom line…

Don't ever attempt to trick or fool your customers! If you do, your ads will surely get the costly clicks, but they will not convert into sales. And your potential customers will leave your site the second they think you're trying to pull a fast one on them!

And the overall result? ...Many clicks, but very few sales. Being 100% straightforward will definitely generate many more sales for you! :)

April 15, 2006

April 15th... Did You File Your Tax Return?

Have You Filed Your Taxes?

April 15th is the 105th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (106th in leap years). There are now only 260 days remaining!

And as we all know, in the United States, April 15th is the official deadline for filing your tax return!

All tax return forms that are mailed to the IRS must be postmarked no later than this day... and many post offices stay open until midnight in order to accommodate procrastinators... or those who owe tax money and want to wait as long as humanly possible to pay. ;)

*If April 15th falls on the weekend, as it does this year, the following Monday becomes the deadline.

And additionally this year, Patriot's Day actually moved the tax deadline to April 18th for those in the 7 states and the District of Columbia who celebrate Patriot's Day.

Patriots' Grave in Old Burying Ground
Arlington, Massachusetts

Earnings and Income Representations...What's Legal?

Know What's Legal... and What's Not!

If you're telling your business prospects how much you make, how much they can make, how much your upline makes, etc., it could get you and your company in some hot water with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Let's face it - distributors are out there waiving checks and 1099s, telling prospects what they and others have made, and presenting hypothetical (i.e., astronomical) examples of the phenomenal incomes that can be earned with your company. Is this potentially problematic for distributors and the company? Absolutely.

Two states, Massachusetts and Wyoming, have statutes that expressly limit or even prohibit income claims. Moreover, the consumer protection acts of all states prohibit any type of promotional activity that is misleading, unfair, or unsubstantiated.

Finally, notwithstanding a company's substantial good faith compliance, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is gleefully snuffing direct sellers out of existence if it finds only a handful of distributors making improper income claims.

So let's address exactly what companies may legally do. The bottom line is that direct selling companies may publish flyers, articles, and other printed media, and produce audio and video presentations containing income claims, provided that they include the elements set forth below relative to the type of claim that is made.

A. Statements of Average or Median Earnings

(1) a true statement;
(2) of the average or median earnings;
(3) actually achieved;
(4) by ALL distributors; and
(5) during any stated recent time period.

1. Last year our distributors earned an average of $_____.
2. In 2002 our distributors earned an average of $_____.
3. For all of 2002 our distributors earned an average of $_____ per month.
4. In May, 2002, our distributors earned an average of $____.

B. Statements of Non-Average, Non-median Earnings Achieved by a Substantial Number of Distributors

(1) a true statement;
(2) of any particular amount of earnings;
(3) actually achieved or exceeded;
(4) by a substantial number of distributors;
(5) during any stated time period; and
(6) provided that it is accompanied by;

(a) a clear and conspicuous disclosure of the percentage of the total number of distributors who have achieved or exceeded such results; and
(b) is printed in a type size at least equal to that of the statement of sales, profits, or earnings of the percentage of the total number of distributors who have achieved such results.

As regards statements of non-average, non-median earnings achieved by a substantial number of distributors, the Commission provided the following:

1. Last year at least 585 of our distributors (___% of all our distributors) earned $____ or more.
2. In 2002, ___% of our distributors earned $____ or more.
3. In all of 2002, hundred of our distributors (____% of all distributors) earned an average of $____ or more per month.
4. In May, 2002, at least 600 of our distributors (____% of the total) earned $____ or more.

The FTC has not attempted to define the term "substantial" for the purpose of income claims within the context of direct selling.

C. Statements of Earnings Ranges

(1) an accurate representation;
(2) of a particular range or ranges of earnings;
(3) actually achieved;
(4) during any stated time period;
(5) provided that it is accompanied by;

(a) a clear and conspicuous disclosure of the percentage that such distributors achieving results within the range constitute of the entire number ALL distributors; or
(b) in the event that the company employs ranges beginning with $0 and proceeding continuously upward, it need only indicate either the number or the percentage of distributors within each range; and

(6) the disclosure [5(a) or 5(b) above] is printed in type size at least equal to that of the statement of ranges of the distributors who have achieved such results.

Examples of claims involving ranges that were provided by the FTC include:

1. In 2002, (number) of our distributors ((____%) of all our distributors) earned from $5,000 to %10,000.
2. In April, 2002, ____% of our distributors earned from $250 to $500.
3. In the first 9 months of 2002, (number) of our distributors (____% of the total) earned from $500 to $1,000 each month.

D. Income Testimonials

To make income testimonials, the company must ensure that any such testimonial includes or is accompanied by the following clear and conspicuous disclosures (if printed, in boldface type at least equal in size to that of any sales, profits, or earnings figure stated in the testimonial):

(1) an accurate statement of the average amount of time per day, week, or month required by the distributor to achieve the stated results;
(2) an accurate statement of the year or years during which, and the geographical area(s) in which, the stated results were achieved;
(3) if the results achieved by the distributor providing the testimonial have not been achieved by at least 10 percent of ALL distributors during the time period covered by the testimonial:

(i) a statement of the average or median sales (or profits or earnings, whichever is included in the testimonial) of ALL distributors during the time period covered by the testimonial; or

(4) if the results achieved by the distributor providing the testimonial have been achieved by 10 percent or more of all distributors during the time period covered by the testimonial, but are in excess of the average or median results achieved by all distributors:

(i) a statement of the percentage of all the company's distributors who, according to its records, have achieved equal or better results during the same time period; or
(ii) a statement of the average or median results achieved by all distributors during the same time period.

Examples of proper testimonials provided by the Commission include:

1. In 2002, Jane Doe earned $____in the New York metropolitan area, spending an average of _____ hours per week on the job. The average earnings for all our distributors during the same period were $_____.
2. In 2002, John Doe earned $____ in the Chicago metropolitan area, spending an average of ____ hours per week on the job. Fifteen percent of all our distributors did as well as or better than John that year.

Because direct selling distributors usually have no access to the numbers and averages required to make permissible income claims, they should be strongly discouraged or prohibited from doing so... unless the company provides the proper information and training to them, and the distributors provide that information to their prospects.

In light of the overwhelming likelihood that your distributors are making income claims, I emphatically encourage you to prepare an income disclosure statement that contains the information discussed in this article.

E. Lifestyle and Hypothetical Claims

In addition to express income claims, two popular marketing techniques for promoting a compensation plan are "lifestyle" and hypothetical income representations.

A lifestyle claim typically includes pictures or statements involving large homes, luxury cars, exotic vacations, or other items suggesting or implying wealth. Claims such as "My XXXX income exceed my salary after six months in the business," or "Our XXXX business has allowed my wife to come home and be a full-time mom" also fall with the purview of "lifestyle" claims.

"Lifestyle" claims were addressed in the Amway case, and defined as "claims which generally consist of vague references to the achievement of one's dreams, having everything one always wanted, etc. - are phrased in terms of 'opportunity'or 'possibility' or 'chance.'"

A hypothetical claim exists when a company or distributor attempts to explain the operation of the compensation plan through the use of a hypothetical example.

Certain assumptions are made regarding the: (1) number of distributors sponsored; (2) number of downline distributors; (3) average product volume per distributor; and (4) total organizational volume. Cranking these assumptions through the compensation plan yields an income figure.

Regulators have made abundantly clear that they take the position that lifestyle and hypothetical income statements are, at a minimum, implied claims. Thus, they constitute income claims. Accordingly, they trigger the same disclosure requirements as do express earnings representations.

To use a hypothetical income example in which the amount of stated profits, earnings, or sales in excess of the average profits, earnings, or sales of all distributors the company must clearly and conspicuously disclose (if printed, in boldface type at least equal in size to that of any sales, profits, or earnings figure stated in the example):

(1) the average profits, earnings, or sales for all distributors; or (b) the percent of all distachieved such actually achievedsuch stated profits, earnings, or sales.

F. Definition of "Average"

The computation of "average" earnings must not be based on less than all distributors as a whole, or all distributors in the stated category (i. e., a certain rank of distributor), unless the fact that some distributors are excluded and the basis for any such exclusion are clearly and prominently disclosed in close proximity to such representation.

In light of the FTC's recent enforcement activities, however, I strongly recommend that companies indicate the percentage that the "reported" distributors constitute relative to all distributors.

G. Record Keeping Requirements

Direct sellers must maintain records that substantiate that any representation made regarding past or present earnings are accurate. Such records must be sufficient to:

(1) substantiate the accuracy of any representations made regarding amounts earned;
(2) the number or percentage of distributors achieving such results;
(3) the time period during which such results were achieved; and
(4) the amount of time per day, week, or month required to achieve such results.


The issue of income claims and earnings representations is a "bet the farm" proposition. The life of a company can be jeopardized by improper claims.

It is imperative that corporate executives and distributors realize that income claims are first and foremost, a legal exercise. They are only secondarily, and a very distant second at that, a sales and marketing exercise.

When it comes to income claims, more disclosure is infinitely better than less. Do not play games. Do not spin or position the numbers. Do not try to be cute. Just tell it like it is -- all of it!

Source: MLM Lawyer, Grimes & Reese, P.L.L.C.

April 10, 2006

Best Internet Marketing Tips & Tricks - How to Get Your Website Ranked High in the Search Engines!

If there are two questions on the minds of ALL online marketers, they are:

1. How do I get my website ranked in the Search Engines?


2. How do I get my website ranked HIGH in the Search Engines?

The answer to these questions can be a bit involved, but let me give you a few good hints that'll definitely get you started in the right direction...

1. Pick keywords that no one else is targeting. There are literally millions of keyword combinations that you can choose from.

I strongly suggest using the new Google and Overture Keyword Suggestion Tools in order to find a great list of possibilities:



2. Make sure that your website is original and unlike anyone else's. Add your own articles, graphics, etc. Also, make sure that you host your website with a web hosting company that can offer you a UNIQUE IP ADDRESS. Do not share your IP address with any other website!

*If you have a replicated website from a company, then you'll definitely want to create your own site as well. Be sure to follow the above-mentioned principles just the same.

3. Create a mini-network of websites that "vote" for each other. They link your NETWORK of sites to other marketers with their own networks. And this, in turn, will surely increase your search engine ranking. :)

-What is a Network? A Network, in this case, is comprised of 4 or more websites, which can be: a personal site, a residential site, a business site, and a blog.

4. Be sure to register your domain name for 10 years. This investment alone will tell Google that you're not a "flash-in-the-pan" spammer, but someone who definitely plans to be around for a while!

5. Anonymize your domain names. Don't let the "whois" robots know that all of the domains in your Network are owned by the same person... YOU!

You can do this by registering your domain names as "private."

6. Bookmark exchange with your friends, family and other online marketers! But before you bookmark exchange, be sure that you and those with whom you're exchanging bookmarks have installed the Google Toolbar!

VERY important. Why? -Because this is the primary way in which Google learns which sites you've bookmarked. And in the end, it'll be a great benefit to you.

7. Find link exchange partners. This is also very important! Two programs that I have found to work extremely well for finding link exchange partners are: LinkMarket and LinkMetro.

Marketing Bonus: As your PageRank increases, more and more people will search for you and ask if they can exchange links with you. And this will mean an even higher search engine rank for your website. :)

*Just be sure that you exchange links only with those websites and blogs that have an equal or higher PR (PageRank)...

For example, if your current PageRank is 3, then you only want to exchange links with those websites and blogs whose Google PageRank is 3 or higher.

Exchanging links with sites that have a lower PageRank than you can actually LOWER your PageRank, so try to avoid it as much as possible.

April 6, 2006

Replicated MLM Websites... Do I Need Permission?

This important marketing subject came up recently regarding replicated websites (MLM websites), and whether or not one needs permission from their MLM or Network Marketing company in order to build their own website for selling the company's products and business opportunity.

So do you? And, if you build your own site, would that bring your MLM business more traffic, more sales and more signups???

Below are the answers... And since this is so important to know, I've included the entire exchange:

The Questions:

"This site is a wealth of info for a new MLMer like myself. Thanks. My company provided me with a really good replicated site but I still would like to build my own in order to host some movies, do link exchanges and possibly host other ads.

I really don't have the time or desire to reinvent the wheel, my replicated site is just fine for signing people up and starting training.

My questions are: How do you make it look professional without being overly redundant?And do I need approval from my company to use images of the product, testimonials, etc.?


The Answers:

Hi Ali,

Yes, most (if not all) MLM and Network Marketing companies DO require that you first get their approval in order to use/republish their images and content, etc., in any manner.

You'll definitely want to make sure to do so as it's their property and it's protected under copyright law. Not asking first might cause them to cancel your membership/distributorship. Not good!

All you'll need to do is check your MLM company's policy on the matter. Many times it's no problem at all and they'll let you use some images and content. They just like to know about it beforehand.

BUT, if they don't approve of you using their images/content, be completely sure that your site content is 100% original!

As for keeping your MLM site professional-looking and not overly redundant...

One simple and easy thing to do is to take a look at your company's main site (or your replicated MLM site) and sort of model yours off of that, using similar amounts of content and images, etc. Just use it as a guide and then go from there.

Keep things short and sweet and easy-to-understand. And of course, keep the site easy to navigate! When you're done building it, be sure to get a few people to look it over and give you some feedback.

If they find anything to be confusing then chances are other people will too! Just fix and adjust as necessary.

Best of luck!

"Thanks, Aaron. :)

So I'm thinking that it is necessary to reinvent the wheel a bit in order to be able to have links and blogs and other things to increase traffic.

I'll be sure to run it past my company before publishing.

Thanks again!"

"You bet Ali!

And you're right in your thinking as it is a proven fact that you'll get more traffic and have better conversions if you build your own site. With just a company-replicated site one is merely another drop in the ocean.


The Bottom Line:

You WILL benefit from setting up your own website for your MLM or Network Marketing business. By having your own site you should be able to draw more traffic to it... and thus, get more sales and more signups.

But please be 100% sure that you have your company's permission/approval FIRST. The last thing you want is for them canceling your membership, or worse, filing charges for copyright infringement. No no no, that wouldn't be good!