Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

#688: How To Break Free From The Fear You Have Around Money with Mel Abraham

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:#688: How To Break Free From The Fear You Have Around Money with Mel Abraham

AMY PORTERFIELD: “If you're multitasking, come back to me; I want you to hear this. Number one, is this a tool that I actually use in my business or a resource that I use or a program or whatever? Am I using this in my business or my personal life? Many of you are more lifestyle brand than me, so maybe it's not your business. Maybe you're using it in your personal life, and your audience cares, unlike my beef sticks. Is it something that my audience might use? So it's one thing if you use, but would your audience really find this valuable?”  

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY: I need to tell you about a podcast that I love. It's called Imperfect Action, it's hosted by Steph Taylor, and it's brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. And it's a bite-sized online-marketing podcast for business owners. So Steph is going to answer all of your business-marketing questions and deep dives into all things online marketing, content marketing, social-media marketing, and marketing strategy for business owners. So if you love Online Marketing Made Easy, I think you're going to love Imperfect Action as well. I loved her recent episode about how to turn your audience into paying clients. Uh, yes, please. And she talks about how to use better call to actions, streamline your sales funnel, and so much more. You can listen to Imperfect Action wherever you get your podcasts. 

Hey, there, friend. Welcome to another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy. 

Oh man, I'm so excited for today's episode. It's all about how you can make money while you sleep through affiliate marketing. I know, I know, the whole “make money while you sleep” thing sounds so bro marketing, but stick with me here, because I'll be honest: affiliate revenue is a pretty substantial and consistent part of how my company makes money. In fact, we bring in over three hundred thousand dollars in commissions every single quarter. And I don't say that to brag. I say it to get you really excited, because I'm going to tell you how you can start earning affiliate revenue in your business now. And that means I'm spilling the beans on how we do it in my company.  

So if you aren’t familiar with what affiliate marketing is, it's when content creators earn a commission by promoting a product or a service from another company, using what's called an affiliate link. When someone clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you'll receive a payout. Now, how much money you make from each purchase depends on the particular arrangement that you have with that company.  

Now, affiliate marketing can be a great way to earn a passive income. But here's the thing: you've got to do it the right way. Unfortunately, affiliate marketing has earned a little bit of a reputation over the years, and not such a great one, because with some affiliates misrepresenting the products they promote in order to ramp up their commissions, it makes it all look bad. I’m sure you’ve seen, like, the blog post or articles that are packed with a million different links and that sort of approach that just makes the reader question if they should be trusting that source in the first place. That's not the kind of affiliate marketing I'm talking about.  

In order to be a successful affiliate marketer, one who your audience genuinely trusts, there has to be intentionality behind your efforts. You can't just throw out random links everywhere, because the last thing you want to do is to come off as scammy. That, my friend, is a recipe for doing some serious damage to your brand.  

But the good news is that I'm about to break down how you can get started with affiliate marketing and do it the right way. It's the strategy that I've used to make over one million dollars in a year in commissions. I'm also giving away a pitch-email template that you can use when you start to reach out to potential affiliate partners. And there will be more on that as we get going. But for now, you can go ahead and snag it at amyporterfield.com/568. That's amyporterfield.com/568. All right. So let's go ahead and dive in.  

Okay. So the first thing you need to do is identify the brands and companies that you could potentially partner with. And to do that, make a list of all the software and tools you use in your business. Do you have a website platform you love? What about a project-management tool, the site that houses your digital courses? Is there a design platform you love working with? Are there industry-related brands or companies that you adore?  

So for example, if you are a health-and-fitness entrepreneur, it would probably make sense for you to promote a health-related product or item. Or maybe you teach people how to groom pets, and it might make sense for you to be an affiliate of your favorite pet shampoo or pet gut-health company or something like that.  

So it's not only the things that you use in your company, because many of you don't teach business like I do, right? So I love Searchie, which is a great platform for your digital course or for your membership, but I teach other people how to create courses and encourage them to create memberships, so, of course, it would make sense to share my favorite tool for that. But some of you do not teach business, and the audience you have does not care what your website platform is, right?  

So that's when you have to start to think, “What does my audience care about that I care about as well?” because it needs to be mutual. And what I'm saying here is I don't want you promoting something you don't use or something you wouldn't actively use in your own life or own business or whatever situation is around your business. You get what I'm saying? I feel like I'm talking in circles, but I think you get the point.  

So I want you to write out everything you can think of in a spreadsheet, even if you're not totally sure if you want to promote them. And then, you're going to lean into the products and services that you think your audience would be most into, the things that they'd really trust your opinion on. And think about the products or services that you would naturally talk about. After all, again, you never want your promotion to feel forced. You want it to be in full alignment with who you are, what you stand for, what you believe. 

So, I got to be honest. For me, sharing lifestyle-type products does not work. I've tried it. So for three or four years I tested out promoting something from a company that has my favorite beef sticks. I know that sounds weird, right? Totally flopped. Did not work. People don't care what beef sticks I like to eat as a snack. Now, they genuinely care what tool I recommend for email marketing. It makes sense, right?  

So when you write that list, then you need to go through and say, like, “What do my clients genuinely care about in terms of my recommendations?” I think that's, like, a really great question.  

Now, when I was sharing those beef sticks—that sounds so ridiculous—I wasn't being ingenuine. Like, I love them. I literally just had one today. And this was years ago, when I shared those, but I, ironically, had one today. But my audience isn't here to learn about my favorite on-the-go organic snacks. And I don't talk about my personal stuff that much, so I haven't even developed an audience that would care about stuff like that. So my audience, again, wants the tools and resources I use to grow, maintain, scale, and simplify my business. So that works best for me. So you've got to know your audience and what they want and what they care about in terms of your recommendations. And making affiliate revenue is going to be so much easier when you do it that way.  

So first things first, you'll want to create a spreadsheet listing everything out, all the tools, all the resources, all the products, all the companies that you want to be an affiliate for. This spreadsheet is going to become your organization key as you build out your affiliates and start generating revenue. 

Now, from there, it's time to do your research. So go to each website and look for an affiliate link. Some have a place right there on their website where you can easily apply, and, honestly, it’s very, very easy. Or if you're not finding an affiliate-application section, look for a contact to reach out to and send them a pitch email.  

Now, in your pitch, you'll want to include what it is that you're looking for in the partnership. For instance, do you want a commission on sales? or if it's a tool you use regularly, maybe you're simply interested in a discount for you in exchange for your promotion. Now, this doesn't necessarily bring money in, but it will help you save a lot of money, which is always excellent, too.  

Now, you also want to include why the partnership would be a win-win for both parties. So if you're sending a pitch email, why is it a win-win for both parties? and what you're going to do to promote it, which, don't worry, we're going to go over that in a couple of minutes.  

Another thing I highly recommend that you do is attach a media kit or even just a one sheeter with an overview of what you do, who you serve, along with some compelling stats about your business. You want to look very attractive to the people that you want to get an affiliate link from. Now, you might share how many people are on your email list or how many social-media followers you have or the number of people that subscribe to your podcast. Again, who your audience is, things like that. Basically, it's a time to brag.  

You can even tailor media kits for all the properties that you have, like your website or your podcast. Like, for instance, I have a media kit specifically for Online Marketing Made Easy that I send to potential podcast sponsors. In it, I have an overview of what I do, what my podcast is all about, how many weekly downloads I have, testimonials from my listeners, where I've been featured, where I promote my podcast, and how much traffic goes to each of those places.  

And then, finally, at the end of your pitch email, you can suggest setting up a phone call or a Zoom meeting. You always want to try to get on a call with someone versus emailing back and forth, right? So not only does connecting face to face help both parties determine whether or not it's a good fit, but it sets the tone that you want this to be a relationship, not just something that's totally transactional.  

And guess what. I'm giving you your very own template that you can use as a foundation to craft your pitch emails and get started creating those oh-so-important affiliate relationships. So just go to amyporterfield.com/568 to grab it now.  

Now, speaking of relationships, I want to emphasize just how important they are when it comes to affiliate marketing. In fact, I have some really lucrative affiliate partnerships that have all stemmed from having great relationships with other entrepreneurs, people like Jenna Kutcher, Stu McLaren, and Michael Hyatt, just to name a few. While we all do different things, our audiences are aligned. So when Jenna is going to live launch a new course or Michael’s about to publish a new book, I can go to them and say, “Hey, I'd love to help you promote this,” and then, they do the same for me. Then, we can set something up that works for both of us. It helps me, it helps them, and it also helps my audience.  

Now, if you're thinking, “But Amy, I don't have anyone like that,” or “Amy, you know, you've been around for a while. You're a big name now, so people are going to say yes to you. But they don't know me,” I want you to hold your horses and think about all the courses you've taken, all the people you've learned from along the way. It doesn't matter if they are a recognizable name or not. The question is, who are they? Do you have any relational equity with them? And if not, what are some ways that you could build it? You really want to start strategically thinking about how you could establish and grow these sorts of relationships, and then, take action. Like I said in the very beginning, this is definitely a marathon, not a sprint, so it's totally normal for this to take some time.  

Now, one important note is that most course creators don't let non-students be affiliates. So, for example, I have some students who are affiliates for Digital Course Academy. However, in order to be considered an affiliate, you have to have gone through my program. To me, that's really important. So some of the programs that you might want to be an affiliate for, you might need to go through the program. Plus, it just makes you a way better affiliate. It's really hard to sell something through affiliate links if you've never been a part of it or you don't have your own success story. So something to think about.  

Also, I just want to put it out there that it doesn't always have to be reciprocated. So I mentioned Jenna and Stu and Michael, and yes, all three of us, we have reciprocal relationships, meaning I promote for them; they promote for me. But there’s other people I’ve promoted for many, many years that have never promoted for me, and that's just the relationship. I get a huge benefit from it. I'm well aware, like, I get commission, and so it's more one sided, but that's okay. I have to tell myself nobody owes me anything, and just because I love promoting for them doesn't mean they always love promoting for me. And some of the big affiliates I promote for, they don't promote for anybody. That's just how they run their business.  

So you have to ask yourself, “Are you okay with a one-sided relationship if you benefit from it, and so do they? Or are you only looking for affiliate deals that if you promote for them, they promote for you?” It's your decision. I just think when you set those kinds of expectations, you're going to be disappointed too much. So let's not always look for “You scratch my back; I scratch yours,” but instead, just look for great opportunities where, number one, you can add great value to your audience if you recommend another course or another person or company, but also, that you can benefit in your business monetarily. So anyway, just something to think about.  

Okay. So the next thing you need to do is identify where you're going to promote your affiliate links. Now, there are lots of strategies out there, but I'm going to run through two that have worked really well for me. The first is to create a dedicated page where you talk about the tool or the resource that you use. So if you're a yoga instructor, list out your favorite equipment on a web page, like, a standalone web page. If you're a chef, list out your favorite knives, your favorite pots and pans, things like that.  

Now, you can even organize your tools based on the specific stage your audience might be in. So for instance, on my website, there's a place called Tools of the Trade. And if you go there, it’s, like, in the main navigation of my website. If you go there, I have resources organized by stages. Stage one is “You’re new to the online-marketing game;” stage two is “You’re starting to see some momentum;” and stage three is for when “You’re starting to scale fast.” So you’ll see this on my website. If you go there right now, right along the top, Tools of the Trade, and you'll see the different stages. I find that doing this really helps point people in the right direction, which, of course, leads to a better conversion rate for those products that I'm promoting.  

And in addition to the Tools of the Trade page on my website, I also have a resource page for each of my courses, now one for my new book as well, Two Weeks Notice, and you guessed it: I also have a resource page for my podcast.  

Now, is there a product overlap on some of these? Yes. So if I have a resource page for Digital Course Academy, all the resources I suggest, some of those resources might be very similar to the resources I recommend with my other digital course, List Builders Society. So there's overlap on my resources pages, but it doesn't matter. What I'm doing is meeting my audience where they're at, and that, my sweet friend, is the name of the game.  

Oh, and by the way, if you have a podcast, you should definitely include a list of resources you mentioned in the episode at the bottom of your show notes. It’s just something that's really easy to do. You're probably already doing it, but just in case. So, like, if I mention a great resource I love in one of my podcast episodes, you can bet you'll find a link, an affiliate link, to that resource in my podcast show notes for that specific episode.  

Okay. So the other strategy that's worked really well for me is to do specific promotions for my affiliates. Like, for instance, I'll spend a week focusing on promoting ConvertKit. I'll spend more than a week promoting Stu MacLaren's program, the Membership Experience. I'll spend a week promoting Jenna Kutcher's podcast program; and I'll spend another week promoting Stu McLaren’s software, Searchie, which is for digital courses and memberships to house all your content and so much more. 

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Now I want to point out that these promotions vary. Some can include just a dedicated email or an email campaign, or they might include an ad on my podcast, or I might run paid advertising. So not all affiliate promotions are created the same, and I don't go all in for all of them. Some of them are light promotions; some of them are bigger promotions.  

So by giving, though, a little extra love to my affiliate partners at Strategic Times that I plan out the year before, so every October and November, I'm planning out my promotional schedules, I'm planning these out in advance. And this not only boosts traffic and conversion, but it also helps to build that relationship even further. So I believe if you have a list of affiliate partners that you would like to promote, planning well in advance helps immensely.  

And, also, deciding how much you're going to go all in or not is really important. Like, there are some affiliate promotions that don't even include me. Like, my team is able to run with them without me. And those are, like, my favorite. So, you know, I can't always show up everywhere and do all the webinars, all the live videos, all the interviews. So when my team can figure out how to do a week of promoting that does not include me going live or interviewing, I’m, like, “Bring it on.” So there's also different levels of promotion.  

Okay. So now that you know how to identify potential affiliate partners and how you can promote your affiliate links, it's time to explore how you can keep track of incoming affiliate requests and determine what partnerships you should consider adding to your roster, because after all, you will get to a point where people are reaching out to you to promote their products and services. So if you're just getting started in your business, this might not come right away. Like, you're actually looking for people to promote. Like, can I promote your digital course? Can I promote your software? But if you're in a more-advanced stage of your business, you might find that you're already fielding lots of requests. 

I get anywhere between five and fifteen affiliate-partnership requests per week, and while not every one of them is a good fit, I still make sure I document it in a spreadsheet in case I ever want to come back to it. And the general guidelines I use to determine whether something is going to be a good fit is to ask myself these questions. Are you ready? If you're multitasking, come back to me; I want you to hear this. Number one, is this a tool that I actually use in my business or a resource that I use or a program or whatever? Am I using this in my business or my personal life? Many of you are more lifestyle brand than me, so maybe it's not your business. Maybe you're using it in your personal life, and your audience cares, unlike my beef sticks. Is it something that my audience might use? So it's one thing if you use, but would your audience really find this valuable? 

Now, here's something that I don't know how to make a judgment on this, but be aware, price points matter. So I've got this really expensive, like, ion mat in my office. It's this mat that I got from HigherDOSE, and you lay on it, and I swear to God, it makes you feel less stressed and more grounded. And I try to lay on it for fifteen to twenty minutes a day. But it's really expensive. And so I'd have to ask myself, like, is this something that if—I'm marketing to my beginners. You're just getting your business set up, every penny counts, and then I'm throwing out something that it's, like, “Yeah, must be nice, Amy, that you have that.” But I didn't buy it until I was fourteen years into my business. And so I think price point should also, like, does this price point fit my audience? Maybe it's higher and it won't fit everybody, but some people will find it valuable. But you got to ask yourself that one. So that's another question I would think about.  

Also, do I have the space to promote it? So I mentioned all those different promotions I'm doing, but it gets to the point that I don't have any more room to promote somebody’s pro—why am I having a hard time saying that?—product, program, or service? So sometimes I struggle with even finding the space to do so. That's why not all promotions are built the same.  

And also, another question, would this fit into one of my course libraries? So if you have a digital course, maybe those affiliate links can be used in some of your digital courses that you mentioned. Could it fit there?  

And then, also, where would it fit into my overall content-marketing strategy? Because one thing—I think Jenna Kutcher does this really well. She organically talks about her affiliate partnerships. She'll make it known that she's an affiliate—she's not hiding that—but she finds a really cool way of talking about her personal life—she's way more lifestyle than I am—but she talks about her personal life and weaves in “And by the way, I use this product because it does x, y, z.”  

And so I guess coming back to, like, how does it fit into the content you're already creating online? that's an important question.  

Of course, there are things that come up from time to time that I’ll make space for or get creative with promotions, especially if it's a relationship where we see a bigger ROI on the back end. But, again, these are all just questions that you need to ask yourself. And to be clear, I don't have any hard-and-fast rules on this or criteria that are really set in stone. I kind of just have to take an individual look at each request and make a determination of whether or not it feels right for me and my audience. But I'm also very, very careful that I don't want to do too many. And so if I have, like, way too many links lying here or there, one, I think you all would stop trusting me as much because now all I'm doing is just promoting every single day. And number two, I have this philosophy that I like to do less but make more, a bigger impact and more money.  

And so I do better if, let's say, I just have a few tools. Like, I really only recommend one email-marketing software, so I recommend ConvertKit. So I know that Kajabi has an email service embedded in what they do, and so my students who are already using Kajabi, I'll say, like, “If you love their email-service provider, by all means take advantage of that so it's an all-in-one solution.” But if someone were to ask me, “What email-service provider should I use?” ConvertKit. I think it's fantastic, and I think you can grow with it. You can start for free. They have great customer support. They have great diversity in their business. I love everything about them.  

Now, here's a little bit something that's interesting. Well, before I tell you the interesting part, so, I like just to have one tool that I recommend for that. There's other tools that I might have a few variations, but email marketing, it's always just ConvertKit. And so the thing that's interesting, though, is I have never used ConvertKit. So I just broke my golden rule that I tend not to promote anything unless I've used it or have a direct experience with it.  

Here's an example. I didn't go through Jenna's podcasting course before I created my podcast because it came after, but I'm such a believer in podcasts, and years and years ago I did take a podcast course to learn, and I'm a big stickler for if you're going to do something new and technical, like a podcast, learn from someone who's going to teach you. I learned from somebody, and I encourage my audience to learn from someone, and I think Jenna has a great course. That kind of thing. So that totally feels right.  

But why am I promoting ConvertKit if I've never used them? Well, I used a different tool when I first started out that I wouldn't necessarily recommend for people that are just starting out. And the tools have changed over the years, dramatically. So what I say is, “If I were starting from scratch and wanted to use a tool that I could grow into over the years, I'd absolutely choose ConvertKit. So if I was starting over, it's the tool that wasn't available when I was starting, but I'd absolutely use it if I was starting today.” And that feels right for me. I have a relationship with ConvertKit, and I know, I know it's a great tool.  

So these are the kind of rules or guidelines that you have to create for yourself and what feels right.  

Okay. So we've reached the homestretch of this episode, and now I want to share with you some of the documents I have on hand to stay organized—of course I do, right?—and to make this whole process as smooth as possible. So you've heard about a couple of them already, but there are some new ones, too, so listen closely.  

The first one is an affiliate master spreadsheet. I suggest you have this spreadsheet in three different tabs. So tab one is where you list out your potential affiliate partners, so a list of the tools and resources that you use in your business and the research that you're going to do for each of them. So it's just your running brainstorm list is tab one. So it includes a link where you can apply for their partnership or an email address for the contact person you're going to pitch to. So it's the information on how to get in touch with these people if you want to promote them. It also can include any specific notes you have about each of them. So that's the first tab.  

The second tab is going to have a list of the companies which you've established an affiliate partnership with, including the details like the actual commission percentage to the contact information for their team. Like, all those kinds of important details. It should also have the actual affiliate link. I've heard horror stories of people using the wrong affiliate link in promotions and not getting any credit for their sales. So include the actual affiliate link that you'll be promoting in your content. And as a side note, I usually like to create pretty links because they're usually pretty long if you don't. So something as simple as “amyporterfield.com/convertkit,” like, something like that makes it way easier because an affiliate link is going to look really long, and it's one of those goobly goop, like, t1531, you know those. We don’t want that. So I think creating pretty links is essential. And it’s easy for me to remember when I want to talk about it on a podcast or on a live video or anything like that. 

And then the third tab would be where you track your incoming requests. So if anyone's asking you to be an affiliate, that's where you can put those requests in there.  

Okay. So the next spreadsheet you'll want is an affiliate-revenue spreadsheet, which, you guessed it, tracks all the money that's coming in from your partnerships. And this is a fun doc, for the record. Now, you may have different preferences than I do, but I like to calculate the total that each partnership brings in for the month, for the quarter, and then the year. I can, then, compare that against the goals that I've set for each of those time periods.  

So I have one tab tracking all of the incoming money, and then another that shows our percentage to goal. This also helps my team and I when we our revenue projecting for the upcoming year.  

And I actually want to take a minute to point something out that I don't think most people do. We have a goal. Did you catch that? We haven't always. This is something we started doing, I think, two or three years ago. But you know, without a goal, you don't really know what you're striving for. So we actually made a goal to generate 300K each quarter. And then we backed out—before we were making that, we backed out how that could be possible. So setting goals for your affiliate revenue—if you take nothing but this one tip away from this episode, this is what I would do: set a goal. How much each quarter or how much each year do you want to make from your affiliate-marketing deals? And then, re-engineer how you would even do that. Again, it helps me and my team really keep our eye on the prize. Very helpful.  

Okay. Then, lastly, when we're talking about these documents, I have media kits, which you heard about earlier in this episode, and I also have a pitch-email template. Now, to be clear, it's really important that you personalize any pitch emails that you send out for specific companies, but it can be really helpful and save you tons of time if you have a template in a Google Doc that includes some of the things that won't change very frequently, like an overview of who you are, what you do, and some of those big wins that you've had. You can copy and paste that into any pitch email. So I like just to have that prepared so I don't have to always come back to it.  

And like I mentioned, I'm giving away a free pitch-email template that you can use and make your own and make it part of your process for securing really great affiliate deals. So again, you can get it at amyporterfield.com/568. 

Okay. So we've made it to the end, and, hopefully, this crash course to affiliate marketing has you really excited to start earning passive income and establishing partnerships that will serve you and your audience for the long term. And I'm going to give you a little hint into your future. So imagine if you decided to become affiliate for a few different tools and resources that people tend to use over and over again. Like, some of the best affiliate partnerships you can do is with software that as long as people are using it, every single month, you're getting a cut of it. So that recurring revenue is really valuable.  

And imagine, I'm just making up a scenario, ten years down the road, you want to retire. You don't want to be building your business anymore. It's not something we all talk about in internet marketing, right? or building businesses online. But one day you might want to retire. What a concept, right? The beautiful thing, and I know this is many, many years from now, but even if you don't make money in your business anymore—let's say you're like me and you sell digital courses, and you don't want to launch anymore. You're not selling any more courses—you could literally be retired but still making thousands of dollars a month from work you did five, ten years ago.  

There's a tool—I won't mention any names, but I used to recommend it. But now technology has changed a lot, and I do different things now, and I support different people and different tools—but there's this one tool that I used to promote for years before I found a tool that fits my audience’s needs better, is essentially what happened. No weirdness; that's just what happened. But every month, I still make thousands of dollars from that tool because people still love it and still use it even though I don't actively promote it. I will make thousands of dollars, probably even ten years from now, from that tool. That's powerful, right? That's legacy stuff. So I just wanted to put that out there that this isn't a quick-hit kind of thing. This is definitely around the longevity of you making money from your business.  

Okay. So as you know, the only way to make progress in anything is to take action, so I have some homework for you. Open up a Google spreadsheet, or even the Notes app on your phone if you're not near a computer, and start brainstorming a list of tools and resources that you've used to either grow your business or to enhance your personal life. If you're more of a lifestyle brand, then that absolutely counts as well. The sooner you get started, the closer you'll be to start earning money while you sleep or catch up on the latest episode of Yellowstone or Emily in Paris, or my very favorite right now is Daisy Jones & the Six. Oh my gosh, it's so good. It's on Prime. Highly recommend it. It's a book as well. Read the book, watch the show; it's good. Anyway, you'll have more time to do those kinds of fun things.  

Thanks so much for another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now.