It's no secret that Traffic Generation Cafe, as awesome and popular as it is, doesn't make much money.
For some reason, cracking that whole “make money blogging” nut has been a bit too tough for my teeth.
And then I had a brilliant idea.
I think I might've found the hammer to crack that nut after all.
Here's my new business plan:
I'll sell you a sub-page at TrafficGenerationCafe.com.
I'll make it very easy for you:
- you won't have to worry about setting up a new blog (since you are buying a blog within a blog);
- you won't have to worry about what your blog looks like (I won't really give you any choices – there will be only one theme available);
- you won't have to worry about any plugins (I'll make it easy for you – you won't have any);
- and I'll let you customize your new blog with your picture and bio (of course, my picture will remain at the top of YOUR blog, and I am even thinking of taking my shirt off for that one).
I'll even make you a deal: you'll get all of the above for the rock-bottom price of $25/month.
OK, fine; I'll sweetened the deal – you can resell this awesome opportunity to have a subpage on my blog to your family, friends, and even total strangers.
Sounds like a win-win, don't you think?
Empower Network Fundamentals
The following quotes come directly from various pages of Empower Network site.
What is Empower Network?
“Empower Network is a direct response company, that handles front and back end sales conversions – and teaches people how to narrow their focus down to one skill: Getting Traffic.
“The fact? Getting Traffic is easy to teach if you take out the technical and management complications that drive the rest of the marketing niche . . . we’ve now existed for 140 days, and have more than 20,109 customers who have bought our blogging system.”
With Empower Network You Will…
- have a chance to achieve what you couldn't before (i.e. have a successful business)
“Say goodbye to the complicated barriers that stand in the way of you and a thriving business …and hello to Automation, Viral Marketing and 100% Commissions.”
- with ease:
“No rules. No hassles. We’ll help you build your business bigger and better so you can do more of things you want, with the people you want to do them with.”
“You can now leverage our ‘point and click‘ marketing system and leverage our ability to market, convert traffic to leads …and convert those leads to sales. This way, you can stay focused on one thing, and one thing only – getting traffic.”
“We’ve solved every problem marketers and online entrepreneurs face.”
“We’ve built our entire marketing system around a ‘plug and play’ process that members can use to generate 100% commissions into their bank account, instantly.”
“…you have a ‘done for you’ marketing system that pays you 100% commissions, directly deposited into your bank account.”
- making more money you've ever made before:
“From this point on, as a member of Empower Network – you’ll never have to wait for another less than worthy commission check in the mail again, because you can now get paid instant and automatically, directly into your bank account.”
“… just blog daily, tell others …and learn to get more money in your business, faster.“
“Essentially, you can make ‘guru’ money …without being a ‘guru’.“
(all the quotes come from various pages of EmpowerNetwork.com site)
Turns out silver bullets do exist.
Silly me… choosing the “hard” way to build a business.
Who's behind it?
1. David Wood | Co-Founder and CEO
From his personal Empower Network bio (reducted):
“…impact the world …transparent …strait forward …message of clarity, honesty and hope …#1 producer in almost every business he built …impact and influence lives all over the world …breakthrough business success.”
Side note: notice ” ‘strait forward’ ” spelling.
Either 1. those boys need to proof-read their copy, or 2. they meant to say what they said, in which case the only definition I could find was in the Urban Dictionary and it's peculiar.
2. David Sharpe | Co-Founder and President
From his personal bio (reducted):
“…struggle and hardship …homelessness, addiction and personal defeat …he rose from the ashes to change his life, change the way he viewed the world …and change the way the world viewed him …earning more money than ever …traveling the world and living the life of his dreams.”
Two Cinderella stories indeed.
Good for them, right?
Note to self:
If I ever want to create a fanatic following that blindly buys my “simple easy solutions to every problem in life“, I need to make sure to tell my rags to riches story about alcoholic parents, no means to exist, and working for everything I ever needed/wanted.
It's good for business.
Empower Network Products
1. Blogging platform – $25/month
“For only $25 per month, you get the full monty – a customizable blog built into the wordpress platform, complete with hosting, sales videos, capture pages – and if you want, you can even capture the leads into your own auto-responders.”
Just to sum up: for $25/month, you get a blog on Empower Network (which really is a WordPress blog that's free everywhere else), plus:
- one theme everyone else has;
- no additional functionalities to add (like plugins);
- 8 “Core Commitments” videos that will try to upsell you on everything.
You do get a few lead capture templates you can drive traffic to – the same pages used by thousands of other EN members.
2. E-Wallet – $20/month
EN doesn't accept PayPal, so unless you have your own payment processor (most marketers don't), this is your only option if you want to be an affiliate.
3. The Inner Circle Mastermind Membership – $100/month
“For only $100 per month, you’re going to get the best ongoing audio training you’ve ever heard in your life. We’re interviewing industry Phenom’s who want nothing more than to help you make more money, have a better life, and build your marketing automation machine…
…on complete auto pilot.“
$100/month is on top of $25/month, of course.
4. The Costa Rica Mastermind Intensive – $500 one time
“…which is a eleven-hour online video course shot in HD video quality – which documents in extensive detail, a live marketing seminar co-founder David Wood hosted for approximately 10 high-level entrepreneurs in mid 2011 which sold for $2,997 when it was offered as a live event to the public, and sold out quickly.”
I wonder what “approximately 10 high-level entrepreneurs” means…
Did someone not have enough fingers to count to 10?
If they are that high-level and they paid you $3K for your training, the least you could do for them is to remember they were there.
5. 15k per Month Formula – $1000 one time
See the training section below for a few notes I made on the kind of training $1,000 will buy you.
6. The “all in” option – $1625 one time
This option is consistently referred to and encourage throughout ALL the training, videos, splash pages, etc.
To Sum Up…
Empower Network has two objectives:
1. To make you “guru” money.
2. To teach you how to GET TRAFFIC.
Let's talk about that.
But before we move on, please:
Show Me the Money
On to the fun stuff:
Making “guru” money without being a guru.
Empower Network Review: Compensation Plan
Empower Network compensation plan is very easy.
Deposited straight to your bank.
Just like this:
John earns commission payment of $25 when Stan purchases a product, and another $25 when Kim purchases a product.
The commission payment, generated by Mary's purchase, will go to someone else; that will be a person in John's upline.
Stan will earn a commission of $25 when Tim and David purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
John will earn a commission of $25 when Martin and Lara purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
Tim will earn a commission of $25 when M1 and M3 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
Stan will earn a commission of $25 when M2 and M4 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
Martin will earn a commission of $25 when P1 and P3 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
John will earn a commission of $25 when P2 and P4 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
Lara will earn a commission of $25 when K1 and K3 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
John will earn a commission of $25 when K2 and K4 purchase a product ($25 for each purchase).
Please also note that:
Although Stan was referred to as a “direct sponsor” for Martin, Martin's powerline sponsor will be John.
The “powerline sponsor” is the one that the members are sending their affiliate commission payments to.
Member M3 – his direct sponsor and powerline sponsor will be one and the same, Tim.
K2 will have a direct sponsor Lara, and powerline sponsor John.
And so on.
Minus the fees, of course.
On all sales.
But not your 2nd, 4th, 6th, and every fifth one after that.
Of course, that kind of makes it sound like it's 50% commission structure in the beginning. Minus the fees, of course.
On the bright side though, when you make it to <1% of “distributors”, you'll be raking in $30K+ per month.
And work only 20 hours. Per month.
Just like this:
Would love to know how they track the hours EN members put into developing their downline…
Empower Network Review: Refund Policy
Important to remember:
And Keep in Mind…
“If you cancel your monthly subscription you will lose your team and all benefits and services of Empower Network.
This also includes all future services and upgrades.”
Empower Network Review: Affiliate Cookies
Another thing I noticed while doing research for this post was the fact that Empower Network might have a cookie problem.
Generally, when anyone arrives to a product sales page via your affiliate link, their information is collected and stored as a cookie tagging them as YOUR referral.
Those cookies can last for as long or as short as the affiliate marketing program allows it.
Now I didn't see any information on how long Empower Network cookies last, but in a week that it took me to write this post while bouncing through various pages within EN domain, I noticed that the referral ID in my URL changed 3-4 times.
Here's what I mean:
The last part “davidwood” is the referrer's ID.
That's what the system uses to tag me as someone's referral.
Since that ID changed several times during my research, my question is this:
If I were to sign up for EN right now, who'll get the credit?
The first person? The last one? Someone in the middle?
This tidbit of information might greatly affect your earning potential and you might not even know it.
Learn more about choosing the best affiliate marketing platform in this post.
Have you shared it with your friends yet?
Empower Network “Get Traffic” Training
Side note: I was told that Empower Network has finally updated their training – hopefully, for the better.
I still highly doubt it that it it's worth the kind of money they are asking for it, but I haven't taken a look at it myself.
That's where it gets interesting.
I don't care how much hype there is around any given biz opportunity, program, system, etc.
If there's VALUE behind the hype, then it might still be worth the money.
Empower Network claims to offer the best and the most exclusive marketing training to succeed in ANY online business.
As a matter of fact, as per one of the numerous videos I watched in the EN back office, David Wood actually “invented” (his word) most of these strategies.
Fine, let's take a closer look.
Fast Start – 25/month
This is the “training” you get at $25/month level.
There's actually not much training here at all.
You'll see 8 videos called “Core Commitments”, like “sign up for e-wallet” ($20/month), “blog daily”, “market daily”, etc.
The main message:
This is what you should do.
If you want to learn HOW to do it, buy the whole package.
15K Formula – $1,000
This training is compiled of 6 lessons, plus 3 bonus lessons.
The average lessons length is 1-3 hours.
I took notes for 3 out of 9 lessons just to give you an idea of what kind of training $1,000 will buy you.
This is a 3 hour webinar, and here's what your time and money will get you teach you about:
- Email your team.
You can also write blog posts in such a way that only EN members at a certain paid level can see it.
So when you send it out to members who are below that paid level, you are giving them yet another “incentive” to upgrade, i.e. make more money for you.
- If you don't have a list yet, it's OK; email it to your friends and family.
When you create good content, your friends and family don't feel like you are pitching it to them.
They will bring their warm market to you by sharing your content.
5 Key Elements of Good Content
1. Write entertaining content.
2…. (the guy who was doing this section was so monotone and boring, I had to drink lots of coffee just to pay enough attention to get some key points out of it – he lost me at “Write entertaining content”.)
How to write
1. Be authentic; write like you talk.
2. Be bold; be real.
3. Format your content well (lots of white space, short sentences, etc).
4. Use images.
5. Add call to action.
How to actually write a post in WP
- Heading tags (H1, H2, etc) – the lower the number, the bigger the text. Revelation.
- Have your keywords throughout your heading tags in EACH post.
- Have an image.
- Sprinkle your keywords throughout the content.
- Write over 500 words per post.
- Keywords in the title.
- Have nofollow links within your content.
Create Facebook group
- Add your name/brand and pic to it.
- Don't allow spam.
- blah, blah, blah (sorry, don't have patience for rudimentary stuff).
- Create conversations.
- Comment frequently.
- Demand participation.
Side note: yes, Empower Network is huge on using Facebook to promote their content.
Too bad they were banned from FB for posting too much spam…
This is what you see if you try to link to their EN site:
Social Media Syndication
Find a way to automate everything.
The more social media shares you get, the more links you get, the more likely you are to rank batter.
(She was reading this segment of the webinar, so it was really hard to follow.)
Lot's of blah-blah on why you need to get more shares.
Ping.fm: add a social plugin to your blog and encourage shares.
Yahoo pipes: too technical and just a brief mention of it.
A more automated social solution – social media on steroids.
They use OnlyWire.com.
In a nutshell, this is what TribePro does:
So you get more shares because of other people in your tribe auto-posting your content to their social accounts and vice versa.
You'll pay for submissions with OnlyWire between $15 and $100/month, depending on how much syndication you want done.
Plus, TribePro membership prices vary from free to $80/month.
More blah-blah about all the “sneaky” ways to use Facebook
How to build brand through social media syndication:
- Remove the desperation.
- Have a game plan.
- Find your voice.
- Be consistent.
- Promote benefits, not the business.
How to embed a YouTube video in your blog
Basic instruction on how to literally add a video to a new post, i.e. add a link and click “Publish”.
Email your team every day
(I'd hate to be on that email list).
Bring more traffic to your EN blog = the whole EN community wins (not quite sure how).
- How to spin articles and submit them to article directories;
- How to use Article Marketing Robot;
- How to mass-submit spun content with SEO Link Robot;
- Automatically submit your RSS from the various Web 2.0 properties you create to RSS directories.
They did however say at the end that you'll get the most benefit out of blogging more and worrying about syndicating less.
These are the ADVANCED SEO tactics…
Spam article directories with spun content, send a bunch of useless links back to your EN blog, hope that Google won't penalize you in any way like it has been doing with thousands of other sites employing these kinds of “link building” methods, and watch your rankings, traffic, and income soar.
Yep, that makes a lot of sense…
So What Do You Think?
Would you pay $1,000 for the training above?
Apparently, many people would and did.
And that's while I am having hard time selling a few online tools that will cost you a whole lot less, yet will have a true impact on your business.
Marketing Training Alternatives
There are usually two considerations we keep in mind when looking for credible marketing training:
- time investment
- money investment
Usually, it has to be one or the other.
If you are on a string budget, then you can find plenty of FREE training out there, like reading blogs, but it will take some time investment.
It's OK though; that's how I started as well.
If you have a budget (even a small one) to spend on your marketing education and it's more important for you to get off the ground quickly, then investing into a solid blogging course would be your best bet.
Either option won't cost you anywhere close to $1K though.
1. Traffic Generation Café archives – FREE
Take a couple of hours and browse Traffic Generation Café archives to learn how to REALLY get traffic.
It's completely free, but there's a con doing it this way:
Silver bullet is NOT included.
Here's the link: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/archives/
Other great blogs I personally learn from:
Of course, there are more, but this is a good start.
2. Stay in touch via email – FREE
Being a part of Traffic Generation Café email list is your “continued education”.
I send my subscribers emails with various traffic generation ideas I come up with, alerts, exclusive blogging tips, and no fluff.
You'll also have a direct line to me.
3. Facebook Marketing
Empower Network is heave on Facebook marketing and for a good reason: Facebook is a great traffic-driving engine if you can figure out how to stand out.
Of course, whatever EN teaches you about Facebook traffic is exactly what got them banned from Facebook to begin with.
If you really want to learn how to be banned by Facebook, I can throw in a few ideas for free or you can spend $1K to learn it from EN.
Another way to learn FB traffic generation strategies is from this excellent to-the-point infographic from AllFacebook.com:
There's truly nothing much to it.
Engage, help, post incredible content, and they will come.
4. Internet Marketing Courses
Most blogging courses don’t work.
Very few do.
This one DEFINITELY does.
Originally created by Yaro Starak (Entrepreneurs-Journey.com) and Gideon Shalwick (GideonShalwick.com) and now ran by Leslie Samuel (BecomeABlogger.com), Become a Blogger 2.0 is a blogging course with the mission of helping as many people as possible to set up Authority Blogs, and build successful businesses around those blogs.
Hundreds of millions of blogs are online today. Thousands more are started every day.
Anyone can start a blog in 5 minutes, but very few people will start blogs that matter.
If you think you have the creativity and dedication it takes to create a blog that matters, you should consider joining Corbett Barr in this course.
by Kristi Hines – this is an ebook that is packed with actionable advice on how to promote your blog.
Kristi Hines of Kikolani.com is certainly the best expert in the field and she doesn’t hold anything back as she shares how she promotes her blog, contest entries, etc.
For more recommended tools that WILL make a difference in your business and won't cost you an arm and a leg, like Empower Network, visit my online marketing tools page.
Why I Admire Empower Network
Yes, I truly do admire certain aspects of Empower Network or how it was built up, I should say.
Building a huge organization by selling a product you can get everywhere else for free requires creativity, a certain degree of brilliance, and great cheerleading skills.
Empower Network spread like wild fire within months.
And the fire is till burning.
And taking down many dreams with it…
Yet another thing to learn from it is this:
Great List Building
Empower Network shows some of the best list building strategies I've ever seen.
You basically can't go anywhere without hitting an incentive to sign up for their list.
It's virtually the perfect sales funnel:
- Get on our list to discover our secrets.
- Now sign up for the program to use those secrets to realize your dreams.
I only wish my readers implemented this kind of clear call to action on their blogs!
That's it, this is your call to action:
If there's only one thing you'll take away from this post (keep your money goes without saying, of course), I hope it's this:
Design your site to guide your readers to your conversion goal.
How Did Empower Network Affected My Income?
No, I haven't forgotten about my post headline and here's a quick explanation of how Empower Network cut into my profits.
Though affiliate marketing is my main income generator at Traffic Generation Café, I also make money from paid banner advertising and occasional sponsored reviews and emails.
Just last month alone, I had to turn down several advertising offers from various members of Empower Network, which cost me several hundred dollars.
I don't mean to blow my horn here – this was not an easy decision on my part.
Like most people, my family could definitely use the money.
However, I've seen enough of my readers join Empower Network as is and didn't want to be responsible for getting any more of you buried at the bottom of a pyramid.
Empower Network Review: Bottom Line
Now, a week of daily research and writing and close to 4,000 words later, I hope you got my point.
For some of my readers, it's unfortunately too late.
I saw many familiar names in Empower Network.
It might've been an expensive mistake to learn from, but it's all a part of the growing pains.
Personally, I hoped to write an unbiased review of Empower Network.
However, the endless emails from people who I've know online for a while now keep pouring in.
They all say something like:
“You've always been such an incredible help in my business, Ana…
I truly appreciated everything you've done…
Now I'd love to give something back to you…
This opportunity has done wonders for my life…”
Telling family and friends is truly a no way to build a business.
I hope you get that by now.
There's no way to build a solid business with “No rules. No hassles.”
There's no such a thing as a marketing system that churns out money on demand.
PS I'd love to see this post on the first page of Google for any Empower Network related searches and for it to become the lonely voice of reason and common sense among all the glorious reviews stuffed with affiliate links.
Share this post, link to it, tell anyone who's thinking about jumping on the bandwagon to read it first – help me to spread the word.