AFP 23: Niche Site Newsletters With Matt Paulson

Justin Cooke

May 30, 2012

While we’re happy we chose AdSense as our monetization for our sites, we are aware there are many other (potentially more profitable) options.  Discussing one of those options with us today is Matt Paulson, a really interesting guy that has used niche sites to build an email newsletter list and then monetizing that list by offering premium content.  I’d first heard of Matt’s newsletter in action when he was a guest on the Foolish Adventure Podcast and we wanted to delve a bit more into the newsletter idea as it specifically relates to our types of sites.

Introducing Matt Paulson from the Foolish Adventure

In this episode we find out a bit more about Matt’s backstory before delving into exactly how he drives traffic and converts visitors to paying customers on his sites.  We got Matt to open up about his business and there are several tips and takeaways in this episode that you’ll find useful.

Direct Download – Right Click And Save As

Podcast Transcripts (Please click Show to View)

Show More

Justin:
Welcome to Episode 23 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. I’m your host Justin Cooke and I’m here with the champ Joe Magnotti. What’s going on, Hot Money?

Joe:
Oh yeah, buddy.

Justin:
Dude, we had a fantastic weekend. I would say this event was one of those like things I will remember for the rest of my life. It was awesome.

Joe:
Yeah. I was a little bit worried about how it was going to come together but the crew really picked it up at the last minute, got everything done and hey, I won the fight.

Justin:
The KaPow in Davao, buddy. Yeah. We probably had – I don’t know – 1200 people there from the main event or something?

Joe:
Yeah. I got a little bit of a shiner too going on today but other than that, I feel pretty good.

Justin:
FHM girl for one of the ring girls. Dude, that was awesome, man. It was really exciting. We had our sponsors. We had Premiere. We had a condom sponsor here in the Philippines. That’s pretty insane.

Joe:
Yeah, it is because condoms are not looked on too highly in a Catholic country like the Philippines.

Justin:
Yeah, they’re not so great on birth control here but yeah, we had a condom company sponsoring. It was pretty cool. We raised the money for charity. That was really sweet. So we’re going to be doing an awarding here in about a week, I think. We’re going to get you and the other boxer Daniel. We’re going to get you guys to go in gloves and shorts and go say hi to the kids. Give them some high fives and punching in the air, that kind of thing.

Joe:
Yeah, it will be fun and a lot of amateur fighters got to showcase their skills in front of a crowd so I think that was cool. I mean all the way from 10 years, all the way up to 18 years old. So that was kind of cool. I mean it was a legitimate boxing event and it was a great thing to be a part of.

Justin:
Dude it was a full-on event. Big thanks to Yna, Gay and Aiza for putting it on. It was fantastic.

Joe:
Yeah. You girls did a great job. Thanks again.

Justin:
So let’s get right into this and we were talking about niche site premium newsletters in the heart of this week’s episode. Before we even do that, let’s do some other updates, news and info. First thing is we have an iTunes review giveaway going on right now. Basically here’s the deal. Log into iTunes. Give us a review. If you do that before June 30th, all the way to June 30th 2012, we’re going to give away a free niche site to one of the people that give us reviews.

So don’t miss out on that. We’ve already got a ton of reviews out of it, man.

Joe:
Yeah. It has got to be from what? The USA, England or Australia, right?

Justin:
Yeah or Canada as well, so any of those would work.

Joe:
I guess that’s because we can always speak English so that’s the only way we know if it’s a good review.

Justin:
Yeah. Hard to really know. So basically we’ve been bribing people to give us reviews but man, it has worked, buddy. So we’ve got someone – actually, that’s badass.com told us, “Listen, learn, practice and share.” We’ve got Stevens. It’s so helpful and honest. Great job by Jaddy Music. We’ve got Web for Food, five stars, baby. We’ve got a ton of reviews, man. Mary Kate said, “The only niche site podcast you need out of films that is this legal. The amount of quality information that Justin and Joe are giving away for free should be illegal.”

Definitely not illegal. I wish more people would do it. I’m really excited. Continue to do so. I love the podcast and we will be continuing as is.

Joe:
Yeah and I love hearing from people all around the world listening to our podcast.

Justin:
Yeah. We’ve got more reviews. We will get into it more later but yeah, leave us a review. You got a chance to win a free niche site from us after the end of June. Next update, buddy. What you got?

Joe:
I’m working on a first page evaluation tool. So you and I have tons of data and tons of experience with this. But we always say it’s kind of subjective, right? We look at these objective parameters, the number of links, title match, URL match. Are there top level domains? And we put that all together in some algorithm in our head and we come up whether it’s going to be easy to rank on the first page or difficult and I think if we approach it more scientifically and we actually use a tool to organize this stuff and we show other people what we’re doing, it will make more sense.

Justin:
Well here’s the deal. It’s such a subjective process, right? The way I analyze the first page is different from the way you analyze the first page. So the idea is we have a tool. We have over 12,000 keywords we’ve researched overall. So what we can do is we can apply the different parameters. We can kind of like work our way through it and then backdate that to all the keywords researched before and see how effectively it pulls out the winners.

So if it was able to find our sites that performed well 70 percent of the time, 80 percent of the time, and it doesn’t pick a lot of losers, that’s fantastic. We can then kind of like tweak it until it gets to the highest percentage possible and then apply that tool on any new sites we’ve built. So we now have an objective task we can use to pick out new niche sites.

Joe:
Yeah. We’re really early on in the development stages here but I do have a good guy I’m working with on oDesk. The UI looks promising. It’s very rough right now but we’re moving along quickly and I think we could have something up in just a few months.

Justin:
Yeah, it’s ugly right now. But it’s getting us the data, right? I mean that’s the most important part. Make sure it’s working. Make sure it’s tweakable. We can make it pretty later.

Joe:
So I was still working on the theme too, good old Intelli Theme. That’s what it’s going to be called and we’re working on the logo right now so that’s going to be kind of cool. This auto adjusting theme that will adapt based on clicks, be able to measure these kinds of things and see what’s the best preset, what’s the best layout for your site. It’s something we’re using internally. So we’re in the first round of alpha testing right now. I would expect in a couple of months that would be available for at least the public beta and with the release before the end of the year.

Justin:
Yeah. Had a lot of people asking about it. The name is in Intelli Theme so yeah, it’s looking pretty good, man. The functionality is in place and we’re starting to track some of the data on a few of our sites and we should have a bit more in about a week and have an idea on kind of like what it looks like and I don’t know, man. It’s pretty exciting. It’s really starting to come together. That’s pretty sweet.

Joe:
Again, another development project and I like getting involved in these projects because this is more my style, you know. I like engineering. I’m a nerdy kind of guy and it’s fun to work with programmers, encoders and really design stuff the way we want it designed.

Justin:
Well, here’s the cool thing about Intelli Theme, I think. It’s the only smart theme I’ve seen, right? I mean no one else is doing that, seriously. So a theme that will automatically adapt and adjust and not just track which layout or preset is doing better but start heading toward that layout or preset depending on how well the clickthrough rate is and that type of thing. I mean if one particular niche, this preset is better, it will lean toward that one. It will make you more money. If there’s a different niche and it has a totally different preset that makes more money, it will lean toward that one. So you earn the maximum amount per niche. That is awesome.

Joe:
Yeah, and John the intern is doing a super job heading this project up. We couldn’t do it without him because honestly, a lot of the HTML, a lot of the coding, a lot of the PHP work would be totally over my head.

Justin:
Yeah. I love how it’s going. I can’t wait to release that at least public beta. I know we’ve had a lot of requests for it, a lot of questions about it. So it would be cool to get that out there and really get some feedback from users. I mean we’re kind of dorked out in our little bubble so it would be nice to see what other people think, buddy. We’ll have that out soon.

Last update. We’ve got NicheSiteGold.com. So we sent out our second newsletter and it was a hit, man. We finally figured out how to set inventory in PayPal and we were selling a couple of the keywords. So we had newly-researched keywords. We give the reasons on why we would pick them. Another one on why we wouldn’t because it was like poorly-worded but if you’re at all interested in like how we determine which keywords we go after and which ones we wouldn’t, make sure to sign up for the newsletter at NicheSiteGold.com. We’re really using that. I really like it. I think it’s working out pretty well.

Joe:
Yeah, and we don’t have to worry about the buying domains twice kind of thing. Just like you said, we got the inventory control thing under control using PayPal. So that all works out now and if it’s available – if you click on the link and the domain is available, PayPal will allow you to buy it.

Justin:
Here are our thoughts there guys too on why we did it. I mean partially we did it because we wanted to make a little bit of money. We figured, “Oh, we can sell the domains for like 50 bucks, right?” which we bought them for eight or nine or whatever and we did the research. You can buy them from us for 50 bucks. So anyone who wants to do that can do that.

We also thought we come across some domains that are like really good for authority sites. Get a ton of searches but they’re just too hard for our niche sites to get ranked. We figured we could sell those for maybe 100 bucks, 150 bucks, 200 bucks or something on the list and just have them available if people are interested in them.

I don’t know how successful that will be but the real thing is we were planning on setting that up as kind of a siphoning for our first page evaluation tool, right? The people that are interested in that would be the people that would be most likely in checking out the evaluation tool when that comes out in a couple of months. So it’s really good for I think sectioning off to our audience that’s interested in our first page evaluation and then having a great team to beta it with and get an idea on their feedback based on what we’ve done over the last couple of months.

Joe:
Exactly.

Justin:
All right buddy. Well let’s get right into the heart of this week’s episode. It’s with Matt Paulson from MattPaulson.com. He has done something that’s really interesting. He was on the Foolish Adventure Podcast and I heard him talking about niche sites and like premium newsletters, how he was able to charge a monthly fee with the newsletters. I really want to talk to him a little bit about niche sites, authority sites and kind of get a feel for the newsletter process. I mean we’re doing that with Niche Site Gold as a free newsletter but I like the newsletter idea and the subscription model. So I really want to find out a little bit more about that. Let’s have at it.

****The AdSense Flippers Podcast****

Justin:
We’ve got a really exciting interview for you today with Matt Paulson. Matt is a newsletter guy. He has been killing it with newsletters, doing a lot of other podcasts here over the last couple of months. We wanted to have him on the show specifically to talk about newsletters and how it relates to niche sites. So welcome to the AdSense Flippers Podcast, man. How are you doing, buddy?

Matt:
Good. How are you guys?

Justin:
Good. Let’s get started by just telling us a little bit about yourself, kind of how you got into internet marketing and your journey to today.

Matt:
Sure. So I’ve started my company in 2006. I started out writing a couple of blogs that were on personal finance so I see it’s okay I sold some advertisements. I made a little bit of money through AdSense. I had a little bit of affiliate money coming in. It was a couple of grand a month and I just came to realize that I really didn’t want to spend my days writing blog posts so I hired some writers to come in and take care of these websites and I expanded in some other areas.

I started some news websites. I started doing some more affiliate stuff. About a year and a half ago, I started a newsletter. I’m doing some smart and fun apps now and I do some work in the sides. So got a lot going on. I’ve had some pretty good success, you know, making a couple of hundred grand a year doing this and I’m having fun and hope to stop anytime soon.

Joe:
That’s awesome, Matt. Well, welcome on the show and it’s good to hear that you have a history of making money online but tell us. Is this the only thing you’re doing to make money right now or have you done other stuff? Have you tried and failed? Give us a little background.

Matt:
Sure. So my main moneymaker right now is some of my content websites that get traffic from the news search engines and I’m kind of in the finance niche. I get some traffic from like the Yahoo! Finance message board to like Bing News and Google News and Topix and even Ask.com news search engines. So that was indexes sends traffics to my news websites and make money from AdSense and then kind of vibrant media as the second way around.

My number two moneymaker right now is my newsletter, maybe three grand a month from that. So we will talk about that more in a bit. I actually make some pretty good money licensing the content that my writers write on my news website. they accomodate news tax and apparently that gets into laxes and some other things so I made a grand or two a month doing that.

I have some old personal finance sites for you out there. I still sell direct ads and then to SEO people that want to buy links and I make a grand or two a month doing that. I have a couple of web development clients from way back in the day that I do work for. I don’t do any new stuff but there are a couple of people I like that I take care of their website and they pay me pretty well for that and then …

Justin:
What kills me with this, Matt, is that you’re doing all this and you have a fulltime job and you’re taking classes right now. Is that right?

Matt:
It’s true.

Justin:
That’s crazy, man. So I mean really exciting though that you’re able to diversify your income through all these different revenue streams. It seems like with your newsletters, with your sites, you’re pretty heavily invested in the finance niche. Why did you get into that? I mean do you have any experience in finance? Was it like a personal passion of yours or did you see the financial opportunity and go for it?

Matt:
Sure. I think it was the perfect mix of passion and opportunity. I mean I have an interest in finance but I don’t think I would have ever pursued it if the money weren’t there. Finance is one of the consistently one of the highest-paid niches on the ad network just because there’s a strong interest from people that are selling. It’s the investment products and finance, you know, debt products. I get an email with this about every week from companies that want to advertise in my site one way or another. So there’s definitely the money there and I’m interested in it so it’s good both ways.

Justin:
Let’s back up just a second. You have a site AnalystRatings.net. Now you have a free newsletter there that goes out to people that are looking at stock picks and that type of thing and you get them to sign up for the free newsletter first, right?

Matt:
Yeah. That’s how it goes.

Justin:
And then there’s a premium section where they can pay you a monthly fee or they can cut off a couple of months and pay you annually. And they will get that information earlier in the day and they will get it also at the end of the day, right?

Matt:
Yeah, and they get some more information. It’s not in a free newsletter.

Justin:
OK. So it’s better information, more premium information and then they get it more often. Now this is data that’s compiled from multiple sources and sent out to them. Do you have any actual content writing for that? Do you have content writers?

Matt:
I do have content writers but not for the newsletter. Everything that happens with the newsletter is kind of brought together from different data providers and sent out automatically.

Justin:
Cool. OK. Then you work on converting those free newsletter subscribers to the premium newsletter. Do you know approximately what percentage of those have converted to premium?

Matt:
Yeah. It’s a little bit over two percent.

Joe:
Well, that’s a good stat to know. I mean once you have that, then it’s all about gaining the traffic. Was this your first attempt at premium newsletters or did you have any failures before? You tried other niches, that kind of thing?

Matt:
No. This is the only attempt and I think I did it in such a way that it was going to work regardless because I started the free newsletter first and then once I had a few thousand people on it, I said, “Hey, I’m thinking about making a premium version of this. What would you want to see in it?” Because I built the product that people wanted. They bought right away.

Joe:
Right.

Justin:
Did you do the free newsletter knowing that you were eventually going to take it to a premium? Were you thinking let me get the users first then I will figure out how to monetize later?

Matt:
I always thought the premium newsletter was the way to go. I think when I started, that was right when Jason Calacanis was starting to talk about like Letter.ly and some of those services and TinyLetter that it doesn’t do paid newsletters anymore but kind of a no services came out. I got the idea to give it a try.

Justin:
Cool. You’re all about the finance niche right now. But do you have any premium newsletters in some other niches or do you think it would work for other industries outside of finance?

Matt:
I don’t have any others. I have a free newsletter on peer-to-peer lending but that’s just not big enough of a niche to do. What I’m doing with my AOR daily one. I think it would work outside other industries. I think people are just willing to pay for information that solves their problems or makes them money, whether it’s a membership site or an email newsletter. The delivery mechanism matters less than whether or not there’s a value proposition there.

Justin:
It’s interesting because they could be even outside of business. I mean you could have it on poker, right? You could have it on the horse races. You could have it on any number of things that people have an interest in. So what’s interesting about this is it’s appealing or it’s potentially appealing to people that – maybe they’re not business people yet but they do have passions that they can apply this to. I think that’s pretty cool.

Joe:
The actual collection of the data from various sources, is that code that you wrote yourself? Do you want to license that? I mean that seems to be an interesting technology.

Matt:
Yeah. It’s all ASP.NET code that I wrote. Basically we pull it from our data providers or I do into my – it’s a SQL database and from that, I generate the newsletter. There’s nothing too fancy about it. It’s just pulling XLM one, sticking it in the database and doing some writing out of that. Kind of follow the same format everyday so it’s not as complicated as you think it might be.

Joe:
Well, it’s something that I couldn’t do, just coding in my free time for sure.

Matt:
Sure.

Joe:
So tell me, how do you get the traffic for these signups? I know you have some sites feeding into your newsletter. But where is this coming from? Is this organic, paid traffic, word of mouth?

Matt:
Sure. So there are several kinds of sources that I get. I get traffic. People sign up for my news websites. I’ve done some SEO for AnalystRatings.net. So when people type in and say analyst upgrades or downgrades, I will get that traffic. I’ve done a few joint ventures. I did one last week and I got 400 new signups from that. So basically we traded our list with each other and just sent out a marketing email to each other’s lists. I got 400 people from that. I had a VA come up with kind of a list of newsletters and I got all those people and I found a few. I probably got maybe a thousand subscribers from three of those.

So that worked out pretty well. I did some AdWords stuff a few months ago but I’m finding that the people that were signing up were mostly from strange countries that probably won’t be customers from. So I stopped that for now. I’m trying to figure out how to do that better

Justin:
All right. Well let me ask you this. I mean everyone should definitely take a look at AnalystRatings.net. It’s an interesting site. But there’s not much to it. So my question is, “Do you think people sign up for the newsletter based on your funnel?” Is it based on the authority of the site?

Matt:
So the website AnalystRatings.net is not the key to the signups. Most of the people that sign up never even make it to that website. A lot of that happens in other places so they go on the list and then kind of that website is just kind of a landing place for people that are already on your newsletter to get more information or to sign up for the premium newsletter or download the app that I made.

Justin:
Great. OK. You have some sites that are listed in Google News and you get a good portion of your traffic from there, right?

Matt:
Yeah. I mean it’s Google News. It’s Bing News. It’s Topix. It’s even Ask.com news search. It’s not just Google News but there are news search engines. In general, it can be a great way to get traffic.

Joe:
Interesting, interesting. Relating this kind of back to what Justin and I had, obviously we have this army of micro niche sites and Justin and I were talking about building some sort of newsletter and premium newsletter around some related sites. Do you think that’s possible with a group of related micro niche five-page kind of websites?

Matt:
The key with getting the other signups is traffic. For every 100 people that you get to your website, about three of them will sign up for the newsletter and out of those – two percent of those might actually pay you. So it’s really a numbers game. You need to get a lot of traffic and I’m not sure that niche sites are the way to go. I think you guys should have say more success in taking your existing kind of brand with AdSense Flippers and Niche Site Gold and say hey, here’s my newsletter.We’ll say 10 premium keywords that people that are not paying don’t get.

Justin:
Yeah, that’s interesting. Matt, that’s one of the things we’re thinking about doing with Niche Site Gold. It’s a free newsletter and we’re thinking about adding a premium piece to it where we give a lot more keywords and a whole selection that people can choose from and buy on their own. So that’s something we wanted to try. I actually got that from your interview on the Foolish Adventure Podcast. I was listening to you and I was going, “Wow, the newsletter idea is pretty slick. I like that.” So that’s definitely something we’re going to be exploring here soon.

Matt:
So can you guys share how many people you have got signed up for Niche Site Gold so far?

Justin:
Yeah. We have got just over 600, just over 600 for Niche Site Gold. So actually the email I just sent out, the first email to Niche Site Gold, I also sent it to the AdSense Flippers’ email list which has like, I don’t know, 4200, 4300 email subscribers. We got some complaints as our AWeber notice go out there and we got a little yellow there. So apparently I probably should just stick to – I stuck with the Niche Site Gold email only but I want to give it out once to the AdSense Flippers list account and show people an idea on like what it is we’re going to be sharing. You know what I mean?

Matt:
Sure. Yeah, that’s definitely a big enough community to do something that’s paid especially with a podcast and a website. You guys I think are probably at the point of critical mass when you could get away with doing something. Have a good number of people sign up for it.

Justin:
Cool, man. Yeah. We’re definitely working on that. We’ve got some tools and some stuff planned that’s coming out in the future that I think will be really cool. We want to test it out on what we have right now. We have a great testing platform with all these sties so we can test improvements. These tools work for us. If they can work for others, then we can offer that and know that we’re offering something really valuable.

Matt:
Absolutely.

Justin:
With your list now, you said you get about a two percent conversion from free to premium on the newsletter. Have you tested out any other monetization with your free newsletter? I mean have you done any affiliate offers to that list? It must be a pretty large list if you’re only converting two percent and those two percent are paying you thousands of dollars every month.

Matt:
Yeah. The list is about 15,000 people right now and then the paid list is maybe 330 I think. So with the free list, I tried placing some affiliate ads in it, those that haven’t really done anything. I’ve done some direct ads, kind of email pitches to the list. Force it was like affiliate products and those worked a little bit well but none of it plenty about. So, I’m not sure how to do that successfully yet, if it can be done.

Justin:
So you’re still working on that. Do you think there would be any value for you in setting up a membership site for this kind of thing?

Matt:
I thought about it but there are a lot of them out there already. I think one of the key values was – what I do is – on the premium list is people can basically enter in all their stocks and I send theme everything they kind of need to know about their stock in a given day and it’s kind of a convenience thing so people don’t have to go out to five or six different websites. They just get it all in their inbox.

Joe:
Yeah, I like the idea a lot. That’s kind of  like what we’re trying to do at AdSense Flippers is sell people tools to help them with their passion which is making money online and in your case which is finance and research and stocks. So if you could sell them a tool to help them do that better, then yeah, they’re obviously going to buy that from you.

Justin:
We had a client we worked for with Try BPO at one point where their goal was to consolidate a bunch of foreclosure data. That’s all free. That’s all handed out for free county by county. The problem is, it’s really hard to search, right? You have to go to the specific county and look up the information and so they were using backend agents to kind of consolidate that and push that to their list.

So yeah, there are lots of other niches this could be used in for sure. Anytime where you’re consolidating data that’s kind of hard to get and providing it easily for your end users, that’s a fantastic model.

Matt:
Absolutely.

Justin:
So let me ask you really quick. If you had to do this over, if you’re starting your newsletter from scratch, we’re talking day one, what would you do differently with regard to your free and premium newsletters?

Matt:
So probably two things. One, I started the newsletter off as kind of a – not as a separate brand but it’s part of my websites and I definitely would have started off as a separate brand because I use and the other thing was everything I have on the technical basis is the phisher code that I wrote from scratch. And I think that if I were to do it again, if I were starting again, I probably wouldn’t have put in all of that work. I might use like MailChimp or something like that for the free newsletter and then for the paid newsletter, I might use my custom stuff. So I don’t think that the right way to go is necessarily do what I did and do everything the hard way.

Justin:
I like the idea of using systems that are already in place. Why not use MailChimp? Why not use an AWeber? Something that’s – why try to recreate the wheel there, right? The uses that are already in place, I think that’s a good bit of advice. If someone had an idea – they already had some subscribers. I mean we’re building an email list. What advice could you give them to like grow it? How did you get traffic initially, get new signups initially to get to that point where it started to become valuable? How do you get from zero premium subscribers to your first?

Matt:
So I think the key is you start with a decent-sized audience. About 5000 people is the right number in your free list to thinking about giving something premium unless you have like a super engaged list and maybe it’s smaller. But really the key is to ask people what they want and say, “I’m thinking about making a premium version of this list that would have some stuff that’s not in the free list here, some things that I’m thinking about including. Is this interesting to you? What do you think could be interesting in a premium version of the newsletter?” and really getting that feedback ahead of time. It’s probably one of the keys.

Joe:
Interesting because we want to take some of that advice ourselves. We’re just getting into like the newsletter business with Niche Site Gold. So thanks for that. What would you say though are some warning signs that the newsletter is not working and you need to either pivot and change direction or maybe change the content, build more audience? What are some signs of that?

Matt:
Sure. I think if – for you guys, I would say that if you’re not getting a ton of signups realatively size of your audience, that would be a red flag. If people are unsubscribing after a week or two, that’s also a red flag. Once you make your product and nobody is giving you money, obviously that’s a problem. I don’t know if it’s any worthy obvious a red flag. I would guess that if you guys sent out an email to your Niche Site Gold list and ask for some feedback and nobody at all got back to you, that would be a sign.

Joe:
Yeah.

Justin:
That would be kind of a bad sign. When did you first realize that, “OK, I’ve got these free newsletter subscribers. I’ve got several thousand of them. I’m going to convert some of them to premium”? When did you know that this is going to be something that you would continue to roll out?

Matt:
Well, As for me when I launched the newsletter, I did a series of emails and I got 30 people who signed up for the first month at about 100 bucks each for the year. That was a pretty good sign. In the summer, people pay and that kind of thing so that was kind of dry but it picked it up again in the fall and had some really good success this spring. So now, yeah, I’m consistently making three grand a month from that site. I’m pretty happy with that.

Justin:
Do you ever get emails where people feel like they are getting to know you a bit? Is that a more personal kind of thing or is it just give me the numbers, give me the numbers?

Matt:
With some people, it is. People have customer service issues. They’re not getting their email or whatever and I fixed it for them. It makes them pretty happy. There are a couple of people I talk back and forth with. That’s probably 10 percent of people on the worse of that.

Joe:
Interesting. One quick question here, Matt. Did you see any of your sites get affected negatively or even positively from the Panda-Penguin fiasco going out there right now?

Matt:
Last spring when Panda first took their run, it might have been January or February, whatever it was. I had an affiliate theme going on and I took a big hit with that. But other than that, the Penguin update, not so much but the Panda thing was like almost 18 months ago now. So that’s ancient history in the internet world.

Justin:
Funny how time flies, Matt. Well, I just want to thank you for being on the AdSense Flippers Podcast. It has been fantastic. If any of our readers, listeners want to get in touch with you, where should they go?

Matt:
OK. My blog is MattPaulson.com. Paulson is P-A-U-L-S-O-N and my email is [email protected] and my Twitter is MatthewDP.

Justin:
Nice plug, buddy. Well, hey, it has been great having you on the show. Anything else you want to say?

Matt:
Nope.

Justin:
All right buddy. Well thanks for being on the AdSense Flippers Podcast. We appreciate it.

Matt:
All right. I will see you guys later.

Joe:
All right, Matt. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.

****The AdSense Flippers Podcast continues****

Justin:
So Joe, I got to say, man. I really like this interview with Matt Paulson. What do you think?

Joe:
Yeah. I think he’s cool and he has done a lot of statistical analysis too so that’s kind of the nice thing. He’s a numbers guy like me. He puts it all on his spreadsheet, gets it all arranged. He has that stuff down to a science.

Justin:
I’m interested in the premium newsletter idea. I mean you know me. I love recurring models, right? However you can get paid on a monthly basis for a low dollar amount and get that for a longer period of time. I think that’s fantastic. If you’re able to do that with niche sites like if you’re targeting annuities, you’re targeting something else, whatever, right? And you’re able to build up a nice little email list and then convert those to premium, I think that’s fantastic.

I don’t think we have it on our plate right now. I don’t think we can fit that in but it’s kind of exciting. I would like to know if anyone else does decide to follow up on this idea and they do get some ideas, please let us know. We would love to hear from you and make sure to check out MattPaulson.com. Get in contact with him if you have any questions. He’s a great guy. He would be more than willing to help but I would really like to hear how that kind of works out.

Joe:
Yeah, and also I would say you probably need some – especially if you have really micro niche sites. You need some around the same subject matter but if you have that and you have even a little bit of traffic, this kind of method might really get you some more money than over just a normal AdSense kind of approach.

Justin:
Yeah. I don’t know if he’s listening but Mike from Maine, he has like 400 niche sites. I mean if he has any of that around a particular niche that this would be good for, it might be worth for him checking out or somebody else. But anyway, if you do end up checking it out, let us know. We would love to hear from you because I’m intrigued by the model. I think it could be good. Well let’s get right into the ninja marketing tips, tricks and our plans for the future.

Joe:
So the first one I got here is a little bit of a training exercise tip. If you want to buy something for me for Christmas, as you know, I’m really into fitness especially last like year and a half, two years. There’s this new thing called the Fitbit Aria which is a wireless scale that actually connects to the cloud and every time you weigh yourself, it sends an electronic pulse through your body and measures your BMI and logs it all at the Fitbit website.

Really cool interactive piece of technology. I mean more about the connected home kind of thing where all your toys around the home connect to the internet and this can just be another one of those things.

Justin:
That’s cool. So it will track it over time and you can kind of see like where you’re – if you’re getting bigger, you’re getting smaller, it will let you know, right?

Joe:
Right, and they have another …

Justin:
Can you graph it out …

Joe:
Yeah, they …

Justin:
It’s perfect for fitness and dorks, right? Put fitness and dorks together, they’re all over it. Yeah, yeah.

Joe:
Right, right, right. And they have another product too that also measures your like – how much exercise you do, what’s your sleep schedule like and all that kind of thing. It’s a little thing you wear on your waistband and it can measure how far you’ve walked, that kind of thing.

Justin:
Is it an app, like an Android app or iPhone app or something?

Joe:
Yeah, it goes along with an Android app or an iPhone app but it’s a little device that you wear on yourself.

Justin:
That’s cool. I mean I think the problem though is well, of course sticking with it but that’s the same thing with diet or exercise or anything. But adoption, right? Like you might try it out a couple of times and maybe continue working out but you just feel like, “You know what? I don’t know.” Are you thinking about trying it out buddy?

Joe:
Yeah, it’s not cheap. I mean the scale is like 130 bucks. So that’s what I’m saying. Anybody wants to buy me a nice summer gift, that would be one nice summer gift.

Justin:
Hint, hint, hint.

Joe:
But yeah, I think it would be cooler if they could make that stuff just directly in your phone. Like I don’t know if the phone has the right parts to be able to do something like that, measure that kind of stuff, that it has the right technology; but it would be cool if your phone just had that built in.

Justin:
Yeah, buddy. That would be cool. Next one we got is the Ad Alert AdSense iPhone app from Spencer of Niche Pursuits. I should say I haven’t tried this because I don’t have an iPhone so I’m not a big Apple guy. But I know that he just created this app for the iPhone.

If you’re looking for something with AdSense, I think it is a paid app. I don’t know, a couple of bucks or whatever the apps are but it’s available and it’s out. It has a little ka-ching when you hit a certain dollar amount. So if your goal is to make it 80 bucks a day or something, it’s there for you and you should definitely check it out. I will link to it in the show notes. What do you think, buddy?

Joe:
Yeah, I think it has a lot of potential and I definitely see the ability for him to expand it and support it in the future. So if you have an iPhone, download it. And tell them to get an Android app, huh?

Justin:
I know, man. Everyone leaves us out. I’m an Android guy, man. Come on, buddy. Spencer, give me some love, man. I was emailing or Skype-ing with him about it too, man. Come on, dude. What are you doing? Give me some Android love.

Joe:
Yeah. Maybe he will pour it over but yeah, I think that’s one of the best things about going with something that Spencer is making is you know he’s going to support it long term. You know that this is just version 1.0. He’s only going to add more features, more stuff, more tidbits, more easy ways to manage your AdSense account and look at the numbers from your phone.

Justin:
I will tell you, man. The app market scares the crap out of me. I don’t like it. I mean there are so many losers, right? I mean the iFart app that Joel Comm made made millions of dollars or whatever but for every one of those, there’s a bunch of donkey apps that no one ever downloaded, paid any money for, got any money from advertising. I don’t know.

We’re talking about doing one for AdSense Flippers, doing like kind of a vanity app, an AdSense Flippers app where all of our content is in one nice, neat place and maybe some kind of alert on our Buy Our Sites page when we have sites up for sale.

I know someone built a script. They built a script for themselves so they could automatically get an alert when we put new sites on there. Something like that in an app I think would be cool but I mean we might sell it or something. But I think it would be better free to kind of like get through our content and stuff.

Joe:
Yeah, I definitely think it would be a free app then. Honestly, it’s so low down the totem pole of priorities right now, that we just got to focus on other stuff.

Justin:
It’s vanity. I mean Pat did his for Smart Passive Income and from what I hear, it’s pretty cool. It’s just a great way to get his content. Another way to go through it which is cool but it’s not like – I don’t know. I don’t want to get into the app-making business for a living, man …

Joe:
Yeah. We know some people that are in the app-making business and it’s a tough market. It’s a tough way to make a buck. So last reminder here, don’t forget we get a free niche site drawing for any iTunes reviewers from now until June 30th.

Justin:
Yeah, buddy. So someone is going to win. We’re going to be handing over that site. Probably the more reviews we get, the nicer the site we will put up there available. So love to see reviews. Remember, Australia, UK, Canada and the US are eligible. Go ahead and put your reviews and we will have a winner in the very near future.

Well that’s it for Episode 23 of the AdSense Flippers Podcast. Thanks for being with us. If you want to check us out on Twitter, you can check us out, @AdSenseFlippers. We would love to hear from you.

Joe:
Bye-bye, everybody.

 

Topics Discussed This Week Include:

  • Our niche site giveaway to podcast listeners, updates on our tools and themes, and our boxing event, the “Ka-Pow In Davao”
  • Examples of niches that are wide open for premium content providers
  • Actual conversion metrics and best practices for converting free users to paid users
  • Effectiveness in using niche sites to build newsletter subscribers
  • How to get started and some warning signs that it’s not “working”

Mentions:

  • MattPaulson.com  Our guest for the week.
  • Ka-Pow In Davao – Here’s a link to some of our photos from the event.  We’ll get a video of the fight out shortly!
  • AnalystRatings.net – Matt’s premium newsletter site
  • Mike From Maine – Mike’s blog where he documents his own journey with niche AdSense sites
  • SPI app – Pat Flynn’s SmartPassiveIncome app
  • Fit Bit Aria – A “smart” scale that helps you track your BMI
  • AdAlert AdSense App – Spencer’s new iphone app for AdSense…check it out!

Credit goes to Rudoph for the amazing edited photos from the fight!  You can check out his post-fight interview with Joe here.

Did you like this week’s episode?  Make sure to say hi and leave a comment below or reach out on Twitter!


Make a living buying and selling websites
Sign up now to get our best tips, strategies, and case studies
Discussion
Leave a comment
  1. stevewyman says:

    Hi

    Be very interested in Beta testing the 1st page evaluation tool. sign me up! reducing the time that takes and having another insight would be great.

    great interview with Matt also.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Sweet, Steve!

      We’ll definitely need some help testing through it. The plan is to get it tweaked down the best we can before we release…to the point at which we can confidently trust the tool to pick our niches for us.

      Ultimately, I think it will be there to ASSIST us rather than replace us, but if it can weed through some of the stuff we wouldn’t have picked anyway that will be quite helpful and save us a bunch of time.

  2. Giladp89 says:

    Hi guys,

    First of all, I wanted to tell you your Ebook is absolutely amazing.
    I stated working by your guide lines, and the first 20 sites are in production
    as we speak.

    I did want to ask though, what do you do with key words that contain
    phrases such as “calculator”, “online games” and other online service
    or apps related keywords?

    • JustinWCooke says:

      When starting off we did target some of those types of keywords. In fact, I remember one site in particular that did quite well with one of those words.

      Looking at it now, we generally would avoid those. Not that they wouldn’t necessarily work…it’s just that the types of sites we build wouldn’t provide a good user experience and ultimately get the searcher to what they’re looking for. We DO target “buying” keywords, of course…because the advertisements will typically do the job and get them where they need to go.

      That being said, I’ve spoken with a guy who’s had great success at actually building out sites that match those types of queries. He’s asked me to keep the specifics a secret so I won’t get into them, but he’s doing quite well with those types of keywords.

  3. This has to be one of the weakest interviews in AF history! Get on some real entrepreneurs! :-)

  4. Spencer Haws says:

    Another great podcast guys! Love Matts advice on paid newsletters, etc. And of course, thanks for the AdAlert iPhone app mention…I was cracking up when you were calling me out for not having an Android version! All in good time my friends…things are looking good with the iPhone version, so an Android version may be in the future…we’ll see!

    • You don’t want to build an Android app. Android Users just don’t buy apps at the rate that iPhone users do. I released the iPhone and Android version of my app (http://www.analystratings.net/stock-app/) on the same day. iPhone version sells 10-1 more than the Android version.

      • Spencer Haws says:

        Thanks for the heads up Matt, good to know. I’ll have to consider development costs vs potential return based on how well the iPhone version does. I’ll give it 2 or 3 months of data before I decide anything…(sorry Justin and Joe!)

      • JustinWCooke says:

        Shhh…Matt…what are you doing to us! I don’t CARE how many he’d sell…just trying to be selfish here! :-)

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks man! Hmmm…you’re a pretty good candidate for trying out newsletters, but I don’t know if you have any sites in niches that would work out well for. Have you thought about putting up a ton of opt-ins on your niche sites?

  5. Love the podcast!
    Always excited when the new one comes out.
    Very interesting way to leverage niche sites, I think it’s a wise idea to start putting email optin forms on your bigger niche sites. You never know.

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks, Kris!

      We’ve definitely thought about opt-in forms on our sites. (We did this with our authority sites, actually) We got very few from the two sites we used, but if we grouped/bunched all of our niches sites into categories/industries I’m sure it would stack up fast. The problem, though, is that would definitely detract from earnings. Still…a good consideration for those sites that have high pageviews and aren’t earning that much anyway…

    • Key with that method is traffic and volume.

      It really is a conversion funnel and a numbers game..

      5,000 visitors = ~150 email-signups = ~3 paying customers

      If you can get $100 out of each customer, that nets out to a $20.00 CPM (cha-ching)

  6. Very interesting! Never thought about using niche sites for anything other than in-content ads before…definitely going to look into using newsletters some more – sounds like it has major potential!

    Thomas

    • JustinWCooke says:

      I thought it was interesting that Matt was willing to lay out his free-premium conversions. Those are going to vary across niches, how well you test through it, etc…but useful information all the same.

  7. Thanks for interviewing me.

    You can read a follow-up post I did about running paid newsletters here:

    http://www.mattpaulson.com/2012/03/tips-for-running-a-successful-paid-newsletter/

    • JustinWCooke says:

      Thanks for joining us, Matt! I really like the paid newsletter niche and it was interesting digging into that a bit more…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a site to sell?
Sell Your Site

Click here to find out how much your website is worth