How I Failed in 2011

Alright so in IM most people are like check out how I made “insert X number of $ here” in “insert X number of days” and so on.. But really for every success story that we might come across there must be at least 10 failures behind it.

I am constantly taking MASSIVE action and trying out new things, some of them blow and work real good while others are utter failures. I usually dont talk about these a lot (not my proudest achievements) but well I hope that by learning about these you’ll avoid doing the same mistakes I did.

So here are my top 3 IM failures of 2011:

1 – Handing 40 Bucks to the Sitepoint Market owners

The Campaign:

On Boxing Day last week (one day after Xmas) I tried my hands at driving traffic to a squeeze page using the SitePoint Market place. I created a listing for a free offer (see the 3rd listing on the screenshot below) and paid a hefty $39 fee to get featured on the front page!

The Results? 

I got a grand total of 1 (yes ONE!) subscriber from this campaign. So does spending 40 bucks to get 1 sub qualify as an utter fail? I think so.

Let’s move on to the next one…

2. Making $120 Richer

The Campaign:

A friend of mine who is a pro at PPC (he’s making $5000/month) advised me to get into it… I had some experience with Buysellads (I actually made a profit from it in 2010) so I thought Ill give it another try with his help.

What we did was to set up a campaign on Buysellads promoting a iPad give-away CPA offer via Peerfly (a CPA network). We created a number of creatives (some animated, some static with various layouts) in order to improve our CTR and get a decent number of clicks (see some of the creatives below).

The campaign started around November 1st and it has now run for exactly 60 days. To be honest I already kind of lost hope on that one about 30 days ago.

The Results?

The best CTR I managed to get with this campaign was a VERY poor 0.03%CTR. In total we received about 400,000 page impressions and only 136 clicks (since the CTR was low). Here are the exact traffic and click statistics taken from my BuySellAds dashboard:

So how many of these 136 clicks converted into dollars on our CPA offers?

The grand total is 1 (yes that magic number!).

We spent about $120 over two months and made $1. Can ANYONE beat that kind of ROI?

3. Contributing $177.69 to the bottom line of my Ex-employer 

Admob is a mobile advertising platform own and operated by Google. A few months ago I got myself a WSO which claimed that you could get INSANE amount of traffic for dirt cheap from Admob, so I thought I would give it a try.

The Campaign:

The idea was to create a squeeze page, then buy traffic from Admob to drive to that squeeze. This seemed like such a good technique that I poured in over $170 in Admob in the space of a week and got quite a few page impressions.

Now if you know about PPC, having a CPC of $0.01 is extremely good! And I was chuffed to bits by the number of subs I was getting for such a low investment, see the screenshot of the two lists I grew using Admob below:

So for $177.69 I got about 657 subs. So that’s a subscriber acquisition cost of $0.28, which is amazingly good in my books.

Anyway it was going very well… Until I looked deeper into the stats.

The Results?

Ready for it? I sent a few promo emails to that list and noticed that I made NO sales every time and got a whole lot of replies from Nigeria and India (?). I went into my Aweber stats and analyzed where do these subs came from:

More than 80% of the list came from either an ‘Unknow’ country (not a good sign), Nigeria or other developing countries.

Now the problem with marketing to developing countries is that most people do not have Paypal and can’t pay online, plus Nigerian subscribers are very high maintenance (they kept on harassing me with dozens of questions or asking me for financial help for every mail I sent).

The only way to monetize this kind of list in my opinion would be to use some kind of low paying CPA ads, but I haven’t got my head around it yet as I am sure this won’t generate much revenues.

So this 630+ list is now dormant, I should delete it really but I haven’t had the courage to do so yet (it would be like admitting I have wasted $177 for nothing!).

Conclusion: Failing is GREAT!

The great thing about these failures is that now I have learnt a great deal from each of these tests. And among the failures some of my experiments worked very well and are now bringing me revenues systematically, since I have perfected some of these processes.

I think that if you are starting out in IM or not making a full-time income online it is best to have a day job, so that you can invest some of your day-job money into your IM career. This way you’ll be able to test systems until you find a way to make money out of paid traffic. Then you’ll be set for life.

While there are plenty of ways to make money out of thin air online, the good old saying “money makes money” still applies in IM. It’s far easier to make money by investing money online than to do everything without spending a dime, but that you probably already know.

I will end this post with a quote I often come back to when I feel like I am not taking enough risks and I am not ‘failing enough’ : )

‘An expert is a man who has made all the mistakes which can be made, in a very narrow field.’ — Niels Bohr

Have an awesome New Year’s Eve,

P.S. Feel free to leave a comment about some of your own unsuccessful IM experiments of 2011 below if u had any!

6 thoughts on “How I Failed in 2011”

  1. Hey Man,

    Great to read this and the quote really caught my attention. If you don’t mind, can you write a post on how you succeed. What you spent and how you spent it as well 🙂 Be good and have a blessed 2012


  2. hi bertranddo,

    thanks for your openness, but can you share some of your successful story as well, plus i’m inm dublin right now can i see you.

  3. The biggest disaster for me this year was offering a free ebook through a solo ad. Got 2,000 subscribers but not one sale over a twelve month period of sending high value emails with good free resources and only once a week sending a sales message.

    However when I repeated the solo ad with the same ebook for $7 got 271 subscribers of which my average sale per subscriber since is £5.60 per month.

    It doesn’t always pay to offer something free up front but it certainly pays to offer free resources to maintain subscriber loyalty after their first purchase.

  4. I tried some Admob and Peerfly CPA offers in the iPad, iPhone niche as well. They failed too. I have had better success with CPA offers when I place them on my websites where the niche matches up with the visitors.

    I tried mobile phone ads too. I don’t risk too much money on CPA but I have to say that with the big hype on mobile phone ads I never saw a profit.

    I think it’s seriously profitable via mobile phones, but I do think that not every offer is good for every person. I do like CPA, I just don’t like ppc as a traffic funnel.

    Thanks for your post, good stuff,

  5. Hey Sheyi, Ken,

    Yes ill be sure to share some success story soon. Ive been a bit slow on the blog these days but ill make sure to start posting again next week!

    Btw Ken ive left Dublin actually i now live in Montreal! I might be back in May though!

    @Martin ur results are very interesting.. and surprising at the same time.. so u got more value by selling something rather than giving it away? Awesome!

    @Chrisi yea i think u must b right, having the ads on site seems like it works better… i was sending people directly from PPC to the offer and I had the worst conversions ever.. well that s something to work on in 2012.. all the best to u and thanks for the comment!

  6. I would list some of my failures but I don’t want to crash the server. However the failures have nothing to do with you. I am learning from you and appreciate it.



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