My First Ever Mac

I purchased my first ever Mac 2 weeks ago.

As a veteran Windows OS user, I was a bit concerned about this move.

The main reason for my Mac purchase is that I wanted a light laptop and the MacBook Air, 11’ beats most of its competitors in both performance and price.

So, I decided to give it a try and purchased the MacBook Air 11’ with 4GB RAM and 128GB SSD.

The bottom line is that I am very pleased with the results.

The MacBook air can fulfil all your needs when you are out of the office so you can afford a powerful desktop machine for your day to day office work.

Previously, I have purchased a high performing laptop to use in both day to day tasks and to carry with me when I am out of the office. Since I don’t like to carry a heavy laptop with me, finding a laptop that was light, with good performance and that could run Windows 7 was a priority. However, this was difficult to achieve when comparing laptops to the MacBook air alternative.

Taking into consideration that these days, cloud services allow you to synchronize your data with many devices, I came to the conclusion that the combination of a powerful Windows 7 desktop along with the MacBook Air could be a very cost effective solution.

So, I started with the MacBook Air as my first purchase and I am very pleased with the results. The MacBook Air has proved to be very powerful, very light and very easy to use. The Lion OSX is a great operating system, which took me less than a few minutes to adopt.

As with the iPhone, once you enter your Exchange username and password, all your data will be in place: the emails, contacts and calendar.

I have installed Firefox but I have hardly used it due to the fact that the combination of Safari and MacBook Air touchpad makes your browsing experience into something much more fun. Functions like “Go back” and “Go forward” can be performed easily with only the touchpad. It might sound a bit silly, but once you get used to it, you will not want to use anything else!

The MacBook Air screen is great. I have found that it is very sharp and that the glossy look of it is not an issue at all.

I am still getting used to it, but so far, it looks like this is one of the best purchases I have made this year.


Affiliate Summit East 2011 Summary

The Affiliate Summary East 2011 took place in New York again this year, at the Hilton Hotel. Whether it was due to chance or on purpose, two other conventions were held close by. The Clickbank Exchange was 2 days before the beginning of the Affiliate Summit and LeadsCon started the day after the Affiliate Summit.

If you attended all of them, you will have got very tired!

I was not able to attend the ClickBank Exchange to other commitments. However, I heard from people who attended that it was a motivating and intimate convention.

As always, the Affiliate Summit Convention managed to gather most of the biggest players in this industry in one place for a few days. From vendors, affiliate networks and affiliates, they all attended.

I must admit that because I was so busy, going from one meeting to another that I didn’t have the chance to go to any of the sessions, not even the keynote address. This is why I purchased the Gold Pass (and I highly recommend that you do as well). This pass gives you free access to the videos of all the Affiliate Summit sessions and keynotes.

The ShareASale party took place the first night and in the last few years has become the unofficial main Affiliate Summit party. This year, the party was “Barn Dance” themed and was held at the Trianon Complex in the Hilton. Good food, an open bar, live music and a photo booth made for an excellent evening and the line dancing and the mechanical bull topped it off! The mechanical bull looked very easy to handle from the stable floor but once I was on it, I was kicked off after only 4 seconds!

The next evening, I was invited to a cocktail party held on a huge boat with 3 levels. During the party, the boat cruised around the island of Manhattan. The event was organized by MediaWhiz, which is one of the finest affiliate networks you can find. The cruise lasted almost 4 hours and during the evening, there was very good canapés and free drinks available as well as a disco on the top level. From the top level, you could enjoy the beautiful view of Manhattan. The boat left the dock before nightfall and returned after dark so we were able to enjoy the view both at sunset and afterwards. Both views were spectacular!

The exhibition floors seemed to be emptier than ever this year. It seems that more and more affiliates are finding less interest in walking around the exhibition hall and instead prefer to mingle at the hotel bars and at restaurants nearby. I assume that the dropping number of new affiliates can also explain this development. I walked the exhibition for less than an hour. I had seen most of the presenters the previous years and there were very few new ones.

Assuming that the Affiliate Summit continues to attract the major players in this industry then there will always be a reason for a guy like me to attend. However, I hear from more and more people that they will not be coming to the next event due to a lack of networking opportunities. Frankly, I have heard this kind of comments many times before and, more often than not, I see those people there next year! However, I do agree with their feelings and have a good understanding of where they are coming from.

As time goes on, I find that there are more internet marketing events being held each year. These new events try to bring something fresh to the Affiliate Summit. LeadsCon is a good example of this new event. As the name suggests, LeadsCon tries to focus on the lead generation industry. You will find fewer newbies at LeadsCon. Instead, LeadsCon is a good place to meet the network managers at the top of the industry and some of the guys that can blow the internet with the amount of traffic they are managing.

The LeadsCon cocktail party was a very crowded and popular event. It took place at the Stone Rose Lounge and most of the people there were dressed pretty smartly. There were fewer jeans and T-shirts on display and more suits and high heels! I wasn’t able to attend LeadsCon sessions but I heard from those who did that it was pretty good.

The main thing is that these last few days in NY have gone very well. You can’t get your business to grow by hiding behind your computer. Instead, you have to get out every couple of months to attend these kinds of events. You have to show yourself in person and meet the right guys that will help you get your business onto the next level. Now, all that’s left to do is to follow up the leads and convert meetings and ideas into actions!

Still, after all the busyness of the past week, it is good to be back home!


Guidelines to Grow Your Business

So many people trying to work in Internet marketing are excited to get easy money. If they’re earning $200 a day, they’re sure that success will keep coming and that they can’t be far away from their first $1 million. However, easy money goes as quickly as it comes and making money out of Internet marketing certainly isn’t easy.

You need to be shrewd and well organized from the beginning. Work according to a business plan, within both short and long-term goals. I recommend that a long-term plan should be about 12 months. Your short-term goals should cover a wide range, from what you want to achieve in one day to a month from now. Keep yourself accountable and make sure that you are always working to achieve your goals.

Your business model needs to be solid. Make sure your weaknesses are limited and as small as possible. I prefer a business model that can be duplicated in many Internet marketing niches as it allows plenty of room for growth.

Think big. You should define a budget for research and development and marketing. You should also think about your salary. It may not be possible to pay yourself a salary initially if you intend to put money back into the business.

In line with thinking big, make sure that everything you do is professional. Make sure that your website looks professional and that correspondence is well written. These may seem like superficial things but to the customer, they reflect the standard of your services. It might cost money initially to hire designers but you will reap the rewards by getting more customers in the long term.

Keep your website up to date and have relevant contact information on it. Make sure that you clearly display exactly what services you offer and the benefits of them over rival’s services. Customers searching online will have short attention spans and so you need to make sure that they can decide whether or not they need your services within the first few seconds of visiting your website.

Contact professionals on aspects you are uncertain of, such as finances. You can’t afford to slip on the small things because small problems can often escalate if you don’t address them properly.

You also need to have several sources of income. The proverb, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” should always be obeyed and this case is no exception. Always make sure that you have a back up so that there is always some stability within your business.

Ask yourself what your assets are and what sets you apart from competitors. Your asset could be a product, a unique sale approach or a client base. These assets will keep your income solid and growing in the long term. Don’t neglect these assets and always work to improve them.

Make sure that you’re goals are realistic but still aspirational. You should always be pushing your business to be bigger and better so you need something to aim for. However, your goals should not be so unattainable that you simply give up.

Don’t become complacent. Yes, your goals will help with this but you should also make sure that you treat this like a full time job. You can’t expect to work 4 hours a day and earn big money from the beginning. Equally, though, don’t work too many hours. You don’t want to burn out or get too bored. Be strict about your working day and set specific goals to make sure that you remain focused.

Remember that, even when you experience setbacks, to keep working and moving forward, the road to success is not always a smooth one.


How to Take the Most of Affiliate Summit Event

The Affiliate Summit Events are full of opportunities to grow your business and expand your knowledge of Internet marketing. You can gain invaluable contacts and secrets from some of the best players in the Internet marketing industry. However, before you get too excited and rush on in, make sure that you follow a few guidelines to ensure that you get the most out of the event and come away with no regrets.

Before you go:

1. Decide what level of pass you want. It will be possible to watch videos of the other sessions afterwards but these are not the same as being there in person. This is especially true if it is your first time going to the Affiliate Summit Event. If you decide to purchase the Platinum pass, do it during the early bird period as then is when rates are cheapest.

2. Try to find out who is going and contact them before your arrival. Become familiar with their faces and try to find out a bit about them. Maybe even think of a few original questions you could ask. Then, when you talk to them, you will make a good impression and will also have something to talk about. This will make you memorable for all the right reasons and so get you one step ahead of your competitors. The Affiliate Summit private social network is a fantastic place to start looking for new connections if you’re unsure where to start.

3. Make sure you pack a small notebook or something you can use to jot down information if you need to. You will hear loads of ideas during the event and even if you’re sure that you won’t forget that one amazing idea at the time, you will probable forget the vast majority of what you hear. Also make sure that notes you make are legible and well written – it is useless making notes that you can’t get anything out of later.

4. Plan which sessions and presentations you definitely want to see. It is easy to think that you’ll be able to decide when you get there but planning is essential if you intend to make the most out of the event.

During the event:

5. Don’t go crazy as soon as you arrive. There will be lots of free alcohol and it is easy to get caught up in all the fun but you will end up not sleeping. The Affiliate Summit Event is very intensive and if you intend to make the most out of it, you must be well rested and clear headed. Most of the newbies forget the time and party all night but then wake up at noon the next day, having missed sessions they had planned to go to.

6. As charming as the people you meet may be, they will not tell you exactly what they are doing and how they are making their money. You don’t get anything for free and people certainly won’t be handing out treasure maps to the new kid in town. However, do pay close attention to how they phrase their sentences and any throwaway comments they make. Even if they don’t intend to, people often reveal very useful information during these events. Also make sure that you don’t reveal too much yourself – you should protect your interests too!

7. Don’t become fixated on swapping business cards. Most of them time, people will forget you very quickly. (This is also why it is so essential that you follow tip number 2). It is better to make a few very useful contacts rather than hundreds of useless ones. When you do swap business cards, make sure you write a few notes on the other person’s business card about your conversation and what you would like to get from them.

8. Don’t miss the keynotes session or other sessions you thought you wanted to see, even if you think they will be boring. I highly recommend that newbies watch as many sessions as they can live – they are amazing opportunities to meet some of the great faces of the Internet marketing industry.

9. Have fun! However, only do this in moderation or on the last day, when you have time to recover. That way you will have no regrets about how you spent your time at the event.

After the event:

10. As soon as it is possible, write up and expand on all the notes that you made during the event. The event will be fresh in your mind and so you can easily add to your notes that you made.

11. Get in contact with your new connections. Even if it’s just a few words saying how much you enjoyed meeting them, a polite note will add to the good impression and make sure that they remember you.

12. Watch the videos of the sessions you missed. Don’t think that you’ll do it in a few weeks because you never will. Also, they could well be connected to other sessions that you have already seen and so you’ll be able to get more out of them

If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to find the perfect balance of work and play and ensure that you make the most out of the Affiliate Summit Event.


Avoid Getting Burned by Online Advertising

For small companies, one of the greatest advantages that online advertising has over offline advertising is the relative amount of capital your need to invest to start your advertising campaign. Television adverts and newspaper and magazine features are costly if you intend to reach a wide audience. However, you can start an online advertising campaign with a relatively small budget, say of just $50 a day.

Online advertising also has the benefit of it being easier to reach your target audience. Whilst you can try to ensure that your television adverts are placed during the correct programmes and magazine features are in appropriate publications and facing relevant articles, the chances that you are missing out on potential customers. However, by advertising your products at the point where people are looking to purchase a similar product, i.e. when they search for one online, you are far more likely to have a higher proportion of sales per advert.

Another key advantage that online advertising has over other forms of advertising is that an individual campaign’s success can be very accurately measured.

The success of other forms of advertising, such as television adverts and newspaper pieces, is very difficult to measure. The companies paying for these campaigns have to rely on statistical information gained by surveys or users using a special phone number or coupon code. Then, the companies have to extrapolate information obtained by these means and apply it on a wider scale to try and estimate how successful the campaign is.

However, with online advertising, using text adverts, banners and adverts on social networks, it is much easier to track the return on your investment. This is especially true if you use an online advertising service.

Monitoring the success of any advertising campaign is essential. Accurately knowing the weaknesses of your advertising campaign allows you to fix them and ensure that you continue to increase the return on your investment.

However, these advantages don’t always mean that the online advertiser is better off. If you only rely on conventional tracking methods to tell you the effectiveness of an online campaign, you could miscalculate the benefits of your adverts. This will happen if you do not consider the weaknesses of online advertising tracking.

The first weakness of online advertising tracking is that sales tracking relies on a pixel being triggered in the event of a sale. However, sometimes, the pixel will not be fired. This is most common when a buyer is using several different browsers or browser windows at once. If the buyer clicks on the advert in one browser and buys the product on another, the pixel will not be fired.

The second weakness of tracking is that sometimes adverts are successful indirectly. A user will see your advert many times and so be aware of your product but never click directly on the advert. However, when the user needs your product, they will search for it directly and so purchase it without clicking on your advert. Methods of tracking the success of offline advertising take this “awareness” into account as a key factor in the monitoring process.

On the other hand, online advertising measuring services often ignore this characteristic of online advertising. Most online marketing monitoring services do include brand and product awareness in their tracking system. They observe direct search engine entries and similar searches to see if searches suggest increased brand awareness as a result of your campaign. However, the focus of the monitoring tends to be on conventional methods such as number of clicks etc. Meanwhile, many people are wary of clicking directly on adverts they see on websites for fear of inadvertently downloading harmful files and so this skews the results of the monitoring services. Therefore, you should make sure that you don’t ignore this crucial aspect of your advertising campaign.

By combining all these tips, you can ensure that you make the most out of your online advertising campaign.