I’m using Udimi for my solo ad buys

udimi tony shepherd

Been using Udimi for buying my solo ads for slightly over a month now and I’m impressed.

It’s much easier to track clicks than it is when buying solos direct from the seller…

…AND the solo seller is aware that you can see his or her stats so that keeps them on the straight and narrow.

Some clicks that come from less than solid sources are discounted by the Udimi system so you don’t pay for those.

There’s a time scale in which the clicks you’ve purchased must be supplied

And you can see the percentage of clicks that come from top-tier countries such as the US, UK, Canada etc

And the conversion rates I’m getting are good, although I don’t subscribe to the theory of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ lists like so may marketers do – I think it’s my job as a marketer to get any traffic source to resonate with me, subscriber and eventually become a buyer.

But I’d recommend grabbing a free account at Udimi if you buy solo ads



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Blackpool Illuminations

 

tony shepherd at blackpool illuminations

If you were born in the north of England into a working-class background as I was, and you have a children of a certain age, the chances are you’ll have been taken to ‘see Blackpool lights’ as a child.

One dark October or November night you’ll have been bundled into the car, possibly with warm blankets for when you fall asleep on the journey home and then driven to Blackpool to see the gaudiest, brightest display of bulb-work outside Bollywood.

The whole thing is very nostalgic for both my wife and I (she’s a northern girl too) and we’ve been taking our kids every year since they were old enough to walk. Actually since before they were able to walk, when we drove them through in the car or pushed them in the buggy.

We went last night.

It hasn’t changed much since I was there as a kid, except the street vendors are a little more pushy.

I got accosted by the same gypsy woman twice trying to sell me ‘lucky’ heather.

The second time was downright threatening as she warned me ‘not to cross a gypsy’ and seemed to basically curse me.

She told me she ‘was powerful and could influence events’

Not that bloody powerful or she’d be doing something warmer than trying to sell straggly bits of heather on a cold wet night I imagine.

Last time this happened to me years ago (a grumpy woman selling pegs I refused to buy called at my door) I cursed the gypsy back, including forking my fingers at her and spitting on the floor (actually I missed and spat on my own shirt but it added to the effect).

She looked more worried than I’d expected.

But going to see the lights is more than getting cursed, cold and buying all manner of crap – it’s like a pagan festival that marks the descent into winter. The kids are already saying that Halloween. bonfire night and Christmas are just around the corner.

We’re lighting a fire almost every night now and our food had turned from summery salads to more robust dishes – curries, casseroles and rich, wine-laden stews that are left to slowly cook all day and fill the house with aromas that make you want your dinner at 10am

It’s a great time of year as the days get shorter and colder, and a great time to work from home :)

I spoke to a vendor last night night – a local man who was selling battery-operated neon-looking swords, windmills, light-sabres and butterflies,

He says he can make enough money while the illuminations are on (29th August – 9th November this year) to last him for the rest of the year.

It’s mostly imported from China and he said the mark-up on each item (his profit) was something I wouldn’t believe.

He didn’t elaborate as to whether that was good or bad.

But obviously nostalgia sells. All these items were aimed at kids and bought by parents.

There were branded items- Minions, Spongebobs, Loom banding stuff, boy band stuff and lots more

No one seemed to worry about licensing or legality, and no one seemed to worry about pricing although to be fair every price I saw seemed to be perfectly pitched to just seem cheap enough to be a bargain.

The most crowded stalls / stands seemed to be the people who weren’t pushy and simply displayed their wares.

The gypsy, the hawkers and the pushy sellers were given wide berth.

I’d love to know the sales figures…

 

 

 

 

 



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What’s your elevator pitch?

You know what an elevator pitch is?

It’s supposed to be a short, 30 second to a minute pitch that you can blurt out to potential customers or big-shots when you’re travelling up in a lift with them.

It’s nonsense really although you still hear many marketers say you should have an elevator pitch that sums up your business in a few short sentences.

But WHY?

If someone will only give me a 30 second meeting I really don’t want them involved in my business regardless of HOW big a shot they are.

It can be handy at parties when people ask what you do I suppose but them again who wants pitching to at a party?

My elevator pitch doesn’t say anything about my business at all

It’s more about why I do what I do.

‘I run a business that allowed me to be around when my kids were growing up’

Not many people (especially men) actually ask what my business actually IS after that – they’re usually deep in thought.

And those that DO want to know then want to know the FULL story, not a 30 second potted pitch version.

Works for me…



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My ‘travelling light’ working away from home set up

tony shepherd working on the road

1. iPad

2. Apple Bluetooth full-size keyboard

3. Notepad and pen

 

Add an internet connection and that’s all I need to run my business from pretty much anywhere we want.



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Customers you really don’t want

Got an email from someone a few days ago who wanted to subscribe to my newsletter, but wanted to know if there was any other way to pay apart from Clickbank, because…

“Clickbank have banned me for buying then refunding too many times”

er, no – don’t think so mate …



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Cutting off a man’s finger

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My great uncle was an intelligence officer in India in WWII

I have a couple of his possessions he left to us when he died  – an old pair of binoculars, a lovely old mahogany folding ruler and a long ivory pen-knife which is really more like a stiletto blade when it’s unfolded – it must be ten inches long.

The kids have no real interest in any of these artefacts except the knife, and that’s because of the story attached.

One day he was in his office doing a briefing with some other men when a yell went up. A man just outside the office had been bitten by a venomous snake. I like to think it was a cobra but we don’t know for sure.

It had bitten him on the little finger as he’s put his hand up to try to defend himself.

Quickly my Uncle who was pretty quick-witted ordered the other men in the room to bring the man in and hold his hand down firmly on the desk.

He them proceeded to cut the man’s little finger off with his pen knife in order to stop the poison travelling into his bloodstream and killing him.

I like to show the kids the little ‘bloodstains’ left on the knife blade but it’s really just rust.

But they remember the story, and they always will.

The binoculars and the ruler look nicer, are probably worth more historically, and relate more to the actual job my Uncle did…

…but the knife…

THAT’S got the story.

That’s what gets remembered.

That’s why I use stories in my marketing.

 



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Toothache and third-rate article writers

Friday evening and I started with toothache.

Not just a twinge, but the sort of Thor’s Hammer pounding, red-hot needle jabbing pain that turns a 6’4” bloke into a whimpering blob.

I know I can’t get to see my dentist until Monday so it’s time to search for temporary relief

The Googling begins and once I’m past the horror stories (maybe it IS an alien implant gone wrong not toothache?) I start to narrow down my searches.

Which is when I start to seriously dislike internet marketers.

Because every time I find what I think might be a decent site about how to cure my woes, I realise with frustration that what I’ve really found is a content site with articles written by someone with English as possibly a fourth a fifth language and stuffed with Adsense and Clickbank ads to monetize the blood thing!

It’s EXACTLY the sort of thing I’ve done myself in the past (but with better quality content).

But now I hate that it’s affecting my search for pain relief.

How dare people try to profit from my needs?

Fully aware that I’m now a classic ‘desperate buyer’ I keep searching, steadfastly refusing to click on any ads…

…until the realisation hits home, worse than any toothache.

The irony is more solid than any filling…

It was owning sites like these that paid for my dental work in the first place…



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Serial killers among internet marketers

tonyclose

(Thanks for Roy Carter for the idea for this post)

Most serial killers are white males.

The majority of internet marketers are white males

So if you take into account the vast number of white male internet marketers out there, *statistically speaking there should be at least ONE serial killer amongst them.

Either actively or in the planning stage.

Think about that little gem next time yo go to a marketing event eh?

(*Based on my own totally made-up statistics)



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The law of success attraction…or just utter crap?

You know, I’m really not sure I believe in the ‘law of attraction’ view of success. You know the one where you can ‘draw’ money and success from the universe by the right kind of thinking?

It depends on my mood.

Sometimes I think it’s laughable crap.

Other times, like yesterday, I’m not so sure.

I almost packed up my laptop and cleaned out the shed yesterday because nothing on my ‘to do’ list was going right.

My email opens were WAY down on normal, and everything I tried to do was either blocked by something (probably the bloody universe) or caused another task to spring up in it’s place.

So I thought ‘bugger it’ – I’ll go and do something fun.

Which (sad lad here) for me was writing a few pages of something I’m currently working on. It felt positive and good to be doing it and my mood lifted quickly.

Within two hours I was over $1,100 in profit from a combination of email marketing and sales, a site that had been struggling with its page ranking jumped onto page 1 of Google and I also finished my ‘to do’ list without a hitch.

There just might be something in this positive law of attraction universe thingy after all

…or it might be total co-incidence

Hmmm…..



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The power of images on your sales message

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You ever wondered about the power of having your photo or an image on your sites?

(Not like the cheesy one of me above though – would you believe I was doing a Skype interview at the time??)

In South Africa in 2003, Harvard economist Sendhil Mullainathan conducted a study.

He studied a bank that sent out letters offering short-term loans.

Together they varied the interest rate offered but also tested a number of variables designed to trigger psychological responses, such as a smiling photo in a corner of the sales letter.

It turned out that having a picture of an attractive, happy-looking female in a corner of the letter had as much positive impact on the response rate as dropping the interest rate by four percentage points!

Time to split test your results with images?



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