For Gold, Peace, and Freedom


Travis Sago Explains “Bum Marketing” Techniques

September 5th, 2007

Over the past two weeks, I have been reading some interesting emails and articles about a technique called “bum marketing”. Travis Sago has been building up his subscriber list by offering some good advice along with some mini e-courses in this particular genre, which is something that I am considering doing eventually as soon as I get some opt-in forms and autoresponders set up. For those of you who do not want to read through a long post, I will summarize the steps needed to get started and make money with this strategy below and then reprint some of Travis’s recent emails that will more throughly explain the details.

What Is Bum Marketing?

Bum marketing is a niche within the Internet marketing field that uses techniques designed to allow a novice who has no money to start (hence the word “bum”) achieve a modicum of success and eventually build up a significant stream of passive income. It is similar to article marketing, except instead of trying to sell the articles yourself, you can leverage the favorable SEO positioning of article directory sites to bring traffic to your links, and then make money through affiliate sales. Here are the basic steps involved in executing this type of plan:

1. Select a keyword phrase that does not have too much competition but still relates to a fairly popular product that can be sold through your affiliate link. Suitable keywords can be found by using Overture or Wordtracker and then doing an exact match search (that is, place quotation marks around the whole phrase) at Google while paying attention to the total number of results. If this number is below 5,000 or so, then you probably have a good keyword. As for the products themselves, the easiest place to start with is Clickbank, although you can also include products from other networks such as Commission Junction or PayDotCom.

2. After you have a keyword phrase and a product to link it with, write an article around the chosen keyword, making sure to include the phrase once in the title of the article and a few times throughout the text of the body.

3. When the article is finished, submit it to one of the main article directories such as GoArticles.com, USFreeAds, or Ezinearticles.com. When you get to the author’s resource box or “bio box” part of the submission, you can include your affiliate link here. Most sites will allow you to link directly to the merchant’s site, but a few of them such as Ezinearticles.com will require you to link to some type of landing page from which you can then redirect visitors to your affiliate link. If you have no money to start, you can set up a free Blogger or Wordpress site for this. Otherwise, if you have at least a small amount of money, you can set up your own domain name and hosting. Then you can just upload the landing pages to your server.

4. After a few days to two weeks, your article should appear in the search engine results, hopefully ranking somewhere in the top 10 for your chosen keyword phrase. If you manage to get a good ranking, some visitors will click through to your article and affiliate links at the bottom. Eventually, a few of these people will convert into sales, thus giving you a small amount of passive income.

5. In order to increase your income, simply repeat the process with other products and low competition keyword phrases. For the fastest results, many marketers recommend writing at least one article per day, but there is really no set rule for this. Like all types of Internet marketing, this technique allows you to work at your own pace without the stress of deadlines, bosses, or other annoyances that are commonly encountered in the traditional corporate world.

For some additional tips on how to succeed with bum marketing, here is some more information from one of Travis Sago’s recent emails:

Hi There,

I am so proud of all you “bums”. I have had a literal storm of success story emails!

Here is a snippet of one:

“You have NO idea how your little free manual has changed my family’s life and I thank you!” -Justin

MAN!…I love those emails! I get “goose bumps” and jump up and down…my wife thinks I am crazy.

I have also looked over dozens of articles for some of you…and am posting some tips here based on some of the main things that could use a wee bit of improvement.

1. Break your words into paragraphs! Try to keep them 5 or 6 lines at the most. (Like I do here.)

…If your article looks hard to read…it won’t be read! Even if your content will solve world hunger.

Plus, an article not read…will make you ZERO moolah.

2. THIS ONE IS A BIGEE - Remember from a “Bum Marketers” stand point what the most important part of the article is??

Answer: The authors bio box! You need to make an enticing bio box.

How you do ‘dat?

Here’s a couple ways:

Look at the merchant sales page…many times they give away a free course or free bonus or SOMETHING FREE.

Folks love that!


Let’s say your article targets a first-time pregnancy and the merchant is selling a pregnancy exercise video and is giving away a free video on the stages of pregnancy…

Your bio could simply be:

Discover how you and baby can stay healthy, fit and trim…and get your free no obligation video: “Pregnancy Week By Week”. Yours free for visiting [your link here].

Another very good way is to get inside your readers head…and think about what and/or why he is reading your article to begin with.

For example:

Let’s say you are trying to sell a book about improving job interview skills.

What are a couple reasons that brought your reader to your article in the first place?

He may be out of a job.

He may hate the job he is in.

What are some things that may be going through his mind?

“Please, don’t let it take long for my to find a new job.”

“I hope I don’t have to settle for a job I hate to pay the bills.”


So…In your bio…address what is going on in his mind.


Did you know it takes the average person 120 days to find a new job? Can you afford to wait that long? Discover how you can slash that time in half…without settling for a position you will hate.

[Place your link here]

See what I am doing?

Remember…every product on the market…solves a problem…or fills a want or need…address those in your bio!

Your bank account will love you for it.

3. Think about the profitability of your topic.

There is a world of difference between:

How to lose fat on thighs.


How to scramble an egg.

One is going to require something more than one article can give…the other is just a quick search for information, which once found is very unlikely to lead anywhere.

Make sense?


And my last tip:

I want you to get to know a phenomenal Bum Marketer…she has been “Bumming” way longer than I have…

Allow me to introduce:

Sara Brown…

She is AMAZING…on how simple she thinks…and how much money she has made me with her “bum marketing” methods…

Her stuff is a perfect fit for you “bums”…this fits right in with what you are doing now.

And she NEVER charges an arm and a leg…

Go to her website …and you can learn how she makes a living from…

A dirty…old…worn piece of paper:

The “Worn Paper” System

Tis…all for now!

Keep On Bummin’

A few days later, Travis sent another email with a clarification about using the quotation marks for testing out your possible keywords:


Hope all is well and you are Bum Marketing like mad men or women.

Wanted to chat about quotes…I get lots of questions from fellow “bums” confused on the quotes (”")

Here’s the haps…

When you go to Google and you put a phrase in quotes…you are asking Google (or any other search engine) How many pages do you have in your database that have that exact phrase?…

You are finding out your competition for that phrase.

So let’s look at an example:

Let’s say your phrase is…

“how to burp a baby”

So you go to Google and you type in “how to burp a baby”

And Google comes back and tells you

1-10 of about 195

So then you look at that and determine if you can “bum market” and ad or an article…and get on the first page…

Remember as a general overall rule we can dominate phrases that have less than 1000 results as our competition…and there are millions of juicy…profitable phrases we can do that with…

Does that make sense?

It does not…I repeat…it does not have anything to do with how the searcher types in the phrase…

I had one gentleman basically call me an idiot because he said “nobody is going to search with quotes”…and he is right…nobody is going to search with quotes…

But…that is irrelevant…

I still may be an idiot…hee hee…but I have hundreds of listings on the first pages of Google…because I find phrases with low competition that I can dominate easily using Bum Marketing Methods.

While we are chatting about this topic…let me also review my suggestions for handling the results…
If you have no website, no cash, and want to link directly to your merchant

Use GoArticles www.goarticles.com or Searchwarp www.searchwarp.com

Beats out 1000 to 5000 (keep it closer to the 1000)
If you have a small amount of cash ($9 a month for unlimited ads), but no website, want to link directly to your merchant and want to do short simple ads very quickly (articles are great too)

Use UsFreeAds

Keep it to 1000 or less. You can also put in photos…audio…video…opt-in forms…
If you have a website, have a tiny bit of writing talent, use Ezinearticles.com.

REMEMBER: They do not allow affiliate links…so you have to have a website to send them to…or you could send them to a usfreeads page…

You can get first page listings easy for 5000 or less…and I have been able to get first page for phrases that have 10,000 competition

You are not limited to these…you will more than likely stumble across some of your own…that’s cool…I am just giving you the ones that I know work…

Well…that’s all for now!

Take Care,

PS. Hey…It is super important you understand the quotes…If I did a bad job and you are still confused, please email me and we can straighten it out together…I want you to kick bootie!

Well, if you have read all the way down this far, hopefully you now have some idea of how this “bum marketing” technique works. This is something that I have been interested in doing for a good while now; in fact, this system is very similar to the “workhorse method” that I read about a few months ago in an ebook called Affilate Project X. Now I just need to find some time away from this blog so that I can start writing some good articles!

UPDATE 9/30/07: Travis Sago just sent out another mail, this time informing us about some of the most common bum marketing mistakes he’s seen:

Hi Fellow Bum Marketer,

Are your articles or ads on Google’s first page? If so then you should be cranking out some sales from your articles. On average one sale a month per article. Now that’s on average…I have some articles that just don’t do squat, the niche that I wrote those articles in just aren’t very hungry. And then I write some articles that get 5 or 10 sales a month.


What I am sayin’ is you should average a sale a month per article or so.

Now…let me let you in on a lil’ secret, I get tons of emails from fellow Bum Marketers that are doing just this and making the first money on the net that they have ever made!…and I jump up and down and want to do a jig when I get these notes.

But…I am here to tell ya’ something…I have many emails from folks that have written a few articles AND they are listed in Google…but…bzzzzt…NO SALES.

Usually I will email them and have them send me a link to their article. And since I have done so many…and have been involved in marketing…I can usually spot the reason why.


Here’s the two biggest “mistakes” I find:

1. They do not really write about the topic that the phrase is about. For example, say the phrase is “resume writing tips”, they optimize the article for “resume writing tips”…but they DON’T INCLUDE A SINGLE TIP! IMPORTANT: Remember every phrase you write about is because there is a REAL LIVE human being searching for it. Human Beings have questions they want answered.

So, don’t launch into a sales pitch without giving the reader what they are looking for!

It is super easy to find a few resume writing tips on the internet and include those in your article.

2. THIS IS THE BIGGEST…and kills more profit than any other…but there is GREAT NEWS! It is so easy to fix.

Let’s take our example above…many…many…times I see wonderful, well written articles, but you get to the author’s box or bio box (which is the WHOLE REASON you write an article anyway)…and it BLOWS CHUNKS!

Example: Imagine a really well written article on “Resume Writing Tips”…it’s informative…well written…and witty…then you get to the Author’s Box and it says ….for more Resume Tips Click Here….UUUUUUGGGGGHHHHH! BLUCK! PATOOEY! (Now lest you think I am a “know it all”…I am not…I have written many sucky Author’s boxes…I learned the hard way.)

Well…how do you fix this? There are a number of ways to write a good Author’s box, but here are the two “tools” that have worked best for me:


If I could use only one…it would be curiosity…but if you can weave both in…your Author’s box will pack a double wallop!

Let’s take a look at an example…and I am just going to throw out a few off the top of my noggin’.

Wait! Don’t take that job at McDonald’s. A well crafted resume and a plan can land you the job of your dreams. Find out how to get both…click here!
I just threw your resume in the garbage! Boring! I guarantee this won’t happen to you if you write your next resume following this guide…click here! Saves trees too!
7 Reasons why 90% of resumes end up in the garbage. Do you make these mistakes with your resume? Find out now…click here!

Ok? Does that make sense? Those may not be the greatest in the world…but they were off the top of my head…and are waaaaaay better than “click here for more information”

If you fix these “boo boos” in your article writing, you should easily make a sale a month per article.

I hope this helps :)

Take care,


Update 10/11/07: Another informative email arrived from Travis Sago today. This one explains the art of pre-selling (as opposed to using a full-on sales pitch) in your article and bio piece. In order to do a good presell and effectively “bum market” something, we can use curiosity as a powerful motivator and avoid the need to lie about or over-hype a product.


Travis the “Bum” here:

A very honest fellow “bum” asked…

“How do you write articles and sell something you haven’t bought?”

And that is a really good question!

First…your “job” as an affiliate is NOT to sell!


That’s right…See your job is actually to presell.

Here’s an example, say you are researching and writing an article on…

Tips on removing acne fast…

A searcher typing this in would be very grateful for some great tips…with research being so easy online it wouldn’t take much to write a fantastic article saving your reader time…and hassle.

Think of yourself as a researcher and time saver.

THEN you put a link to an ebook or acne remedy that they may be interested in as well.

Remember your “job” as an affiliate is to “presell” not sell…

So in your bio you could say…

Did you know 90% of acne is caused by 3 major factors? Find out exactly what
they are and how easily it is to solve them here www.yourlink.com

Curiosity…is one of the most powerful motivators…and you don’t have to lie, cheat, or hype!

Your article + a curiosity creating bio = a great presell

Isn’t that great news?

You can feel GOOD about the articles you write…because you are helping readers save time, hassle and providing quality information. PLUS you can “presell” and make money at the same time.

This is true of all types of affiliate promotions. Whether you are using blogs, PPC, email or SEO.

All you have to do is answer the “question” your readers have on their mind and “presell” a solution that would benefit them as well.

Now you can do reviews…and reviews CAN be very powerful, but they are NOT the only way! Especially, if you are not at a point where you can afford to buy the product.

I would be happy to cover reviews at a later date, if you would be interested. Just get in touch and let me know!

Keep On Bummin’,

UPDATE 1/6/08: Although Travis seemed to take somewhat of a break during November and December, he has started to become more active again with making videos and emails since the new year started. Today I received this email from him where he uses the old metaphor of eating an elephant one bite at a time to introduce us to an interesting type of money making model. It is a system in which we can set up several mini-projects, each of which have a goal of making at least five dollars per day. After setting up several of these over time, we will have a substantial income that is mostly passive.

Hey Karl Erfurt,

Whazzup?…and Happy Sunday!

Wanted to ask you?

Do you know how to eat an elephant?

…and the “elephant” is “metaphorical”…for any big goal…dream…or accomplishment that you put into your cross hairs.

-How do you los.e 27lbs?
-How do you run 5 miles?
-How do you build a house?

and…How do you go from cubicle slave to independence?

Those are some BIG OLE ELEPHANTS…aren’t they?

How do you eat em?

As the story goes…

One BITE at a time! Right?…and maybe you have heard that…maybe not?

Frustrating thing though…is as great as that advice is when your staring that meaty elephant in the eyes…

It’s darn scary!…for the elephant too : )

Now, you being the brave “bum” that you are have probably already taken a few bites out of the “financial freedom elephant”…

And…you should be proud because you have done what most people won’t when getting eyeball to eyeball with that elephant. You gnawed you off a good hunk.

Now listen…maybe you have half of him eaten already and have a great plan to devour the rest of him.

If so…

Then you won’t need this help. Okay?

But…if you’re still standing at the knees of the “financial freedom elephant” and don’t have a solid plan to have him for dinner…

Then I would like to introduce you to who I call the “Elephant Eater”…

He’s a normal dude just like you and I who has came up with a brilliant plan to “eat the financial freedom” elephant.

And you can find out about his fascinating adventure here:


I discovered Dennis a little over a year ago…and even though I had already started eating my 2nd elephant…his simple little “one bite at a time” plan help me polish off my 2nd elephant like it was a yummy dessert.

He’s helped a ton of other folks too, but what amazes me is that I have never seen even ONE negative comment about Dennis or his “elephant eating” plan.


Dennis’s brilliance is in the simplicity of the plan which he calls 5 Bucks a Day…and how he uses simple $5 a day projects to catapult him to earning over $1000 a day.

Cool huh? The power of “one bite at a time”…

Now…if you decide to eat at Dennis’s Elephant Buffet through any of the links in this letter…


I have a really special bonus for you:

You’ll also get…a free membership to an EXCLUSIVE list where every week I will spoon feed you a $5 a day project…for a full 3 months!

…sound good?

These will be super simple $5 a day projects that shouldn’t take you more than a week to set up…and will earn you residual income everyday!

and listen…I would love to give this bonus to everyone, but some of the $5 a day projects will get a little “pooped out” if I let everybody in on it.


So…I am limiting this to the first 500 Bums that take me up on my offer.


I’d love to have you!…after you order you don’t have to do anything. I
will have Eric send you the details. (Be patient because he will send
them in groups)

Thanks For Listening,

PS Following the “one bite at a time” elephant eating plan that
Dennis lays out would earn $260 a day by this time next year.

UPDATE 7/14/08: Today Travis sent out another interesting email that addressed a reader’s question regarding traffic from EzineArticles.com and other article directories. He explains that sometimes the number of views on an article may be lower than expected depending on the amount of time it stays in the “new articles” category that is linked to from the home page of the directory. However, he reminds us about something that I have already noticed myself — in most cases, the actual sales made from bum marketing do not come from the views at the article directories themselves. The real money is made from the targeted search engine traffic obtained from doing good SEO work and keyword research beforehand.

Howdy! Howdy!

I got a question from Steven, one of my new affiliates and I thought just maybe you might have had the question too.


Here’s the brunt of what Steven asks:

“My first 5 or 6 articles written and submitted to EZA (EzineArticles) got massive views, usually between 300 and 600 and about a 10% click through. However, the last 4 or 5 I’ve written have been getting about 30 views. I don’t understand the huge dropoff. I have been doing article writing and marketing even before you coined there phrase Bum Marketing (pure genius) and I have never seen anything like this. I have my theories that I’d like to run by you and hopefully you can give me some feedback, or if you know the answer, please fill me in.”

He then goes on to give a couple ideas about why he thinks this has happened…which I don’t think is the case…

Here’s, in my opinion and experience, what is going on.

When you first submit an article in a category, it ALSO gets listed in the NEW ARTICLES category. Which gives that article 10X more distribution because it has a link on 10 other pages.


Only when it is in the NEW ARTICLES category.

Here’s the problem.

When you submit to say Relationship/Conflict it will only be a NEW article until other people have submitted 10 more articles and bump your article off.

With me?

So here’s the dealio Steven, Bum Marketing is MORE than just writing articles and getting traffic from the article directory itself.

The way I and other Bums get thousands and ten thousands of views is by finding LOW COMPETITION phrases that get a decent amount of traffic and optimizing the article so it gets listed in Google, Yahoo and MSN.

For example, my article on “5 Ways to Get Your Ex Back” has got over 51,000 views.

Now that is NOT traffic just from the article directory.

It’s is because it is listed in Google when someone types in the phrase

how to get your ex back

and it is getting traffic on many other phrases and possibly bringing in traffic from Yahoo and MSN as well.

Ya see?

That’s the way you do it!!

That ONE article has more than likely brought in hundreds if not thousands of commission dollars.

I have a few that have brought in over $10,000. One article!

That is Bum Marketing. And hope that answers your question and gives you a good plan on how to fix your problem.

Steven I know you are a prolific article marketer, but if you stop relying on just directory traffic, your views will go up a hundred fold, you can actually write less articles and earn a lot more commissions.


P.S. Let me end this on a happy tune. I also got a note today from Matt who says:

“Thanks for putting together such an outstanding program… I just started submitting articles a few days ago (5 articles so far) and made 3 sales already. I’m gonna ramp it up now!…”


Here’s your affiliate link again if you need it:
Making Up With Your Ex

UPDATE 03/16/09: Today Travis sent out an interesting email where he endorses a product called “Instant Payday Formula” by Kim Roach. It’s supposed to be good because it provides a series of informative how-to videos covering various aspects of how to do bum marketing and puts them all in one convenient place where people can learn this material at their own pace and access it anytime they want. There is also an ebook of significant length (about 180 pages) included:

What’s da haps?

Wanted to give a quick tip of the hat to southern belle…Kim Roach!

She’s a bum at heart and has been poppin’ up everywhere it seems…and I want to show my support for her new project:


Here’s the thingy though…

Kim’s a Kentucky girl and has really been workin’ hard, and throwing down some seriously SMOKIN’ daily numbers…

…but I HATE the name she came up with for her course.

She…calls it Instant Payday Formula…thing is…

…and I ain’t talkin’ behind her back…I was on the phone with her and told her this…

I think it should be called the COMPLETE Payday Formula because it includes 30 videos and an instructional manual that is 182 pages of serious traffic strategies. (I just think COMPLETE is a way better description than INSTANT.)

…and I am recommending it to you…

If you’ve ever wanted a COMPLETE video series that walks you thru start to finish on how to get going online…


Have it all in one convenient place…Kim is the Kentucky girl for you :-)


Take just one or two of her easy, new traffic strategies she teaches and you’ll be in profit p-u-u-u-u-r-t-y darn quick.

Cheering For Ya,

13 Responses to “Travis Sago Explains “Bum Marketing” Techniques”

  1. comment number 1 by: Tom L

    I am finding more and more that once I have found a product in Clickbank and a search word for it that it is already near the top of the google page as an advertisement. Therefore, my spending time to write an article on this topic will be redundant. How can I avoid this? It seems that the advertisers on Clickbank are already pretty well represented with Google Ads, etc.


  2. comment number 2 by: Karlonia


    Remember that the main objective of this whole bum marketing thing is to get your article or website into the organic results for your targeted search term.

    Yes, it is true that there will be Google ads on the page for many of the Clickbank products. However, statistically speaking, when people search for something MOST of them will click on one or more of the organic results, and that is where you want to be so that you can capture the interest of the reader and make the sale.

    Also, the presence of Google ads is not necessarily a bad thing- in fact, you can actually use them to do a little bit of market research. For example, if you click on a Google ad and note the name of the product and the username of the affiliate who is promoting it, then return to the same results page a few days later and see that the same affiliate is still promoting the same thing, chances are that you have just found a product that is actually converting (unless you were unlucky enough to find one of those incredibly foolish affiliates that really, really likes to lose money on AdWords).

    Once you have found a successfully converting product, you can then “bum market” it by writing your article and getting it placed somewhere near the top of the organic search results. Based on analysis of my own searching behavior and my site’s search query logs from the Firestats plugin that I’m running, I have found that the “sweet spot” for ranking in the search engines is usually between the #2 and #5 position because these results are displayed closest to eye level and will tend to get clicked on frequently. However, I have noticed that a surprising number of people have been searching further down into the #11 through #20 results and clicking on these, so if your targeted search phrase draws enough traffic, it is still possible to have some success here if your content looks good.

    And of course, don’t forget that placement in the organic results does not need to cost you any money, which is not the case with AdWords. Once you have your article written and have it placed in the search rankings, you really haven’t lost anything more than the time that it took to do the writing and research.

  3. comment number 3 by: Fred | make more money, Search engine optimization made easy

    Hey Travis, I am currently trying the Blog deal and not making much headway. I received an email about you and the Bum marketing ideas. I decided to look into that and see who you are. I found this post and others by you. Sounds like a plan. I will give it a try. Thanks, Fred

  4. comment number 4 by: Bryan


    Bum Marketing really does work, however you have to take it seriously. You cannot expect to write a few articles and make $100.

    What you need to do is start out and pick about 3 different products to promote. This way in case one of them is a flop you will not be discouraged. Follow what Travis says because he really knows what he is doing. Stay organized and you will get there!

  5. comment number 5 by: jen

    Travis is awesome thanks Travis
    Thanks for the great tips:). I am not all that great at writing. But This is my 2nd month bumming. And I already made 360 dollars. Thank you for sharing this mehod. I am planning on gettine better everyday. :) I now make enough money to pay some of my bills. Thanks again.

  6. comment number 6 by: Amit Ganguly

    Great post! I am new to blogging.I am not good at writing blog. But, I have learned something from this post.

  7. comment number 7 by: Commission report

    What a refreshing article. Thank you!
    Nice piece of advice. Thanks a lot for the article.

  8. comment number 8 by: kenneth young

    I have read aritles on seo and one of the things they say you should not use links with words like Click here do direct the reader to your website,could you please comment on this.


  9. comment number 9 by: Jason

    Hello there. All the info has been incredibly helpful but I was wondering how exactly can I sign up for Mr. Sago’s newsletter/guide?

  10. comment number 10 by: Karlonia


    Go to BumMarketingMethod.com, fill in your name and email address in the little form, and click the button that says “Give Me Bum Marketing Ecourse!”. That should get you on his list.


    What you were reading was probably discussing anchor text, and yes, this is generally correct. If you are trying to get a link back to your site, it is much better for SEO if the link text actually says something relevant to your page instead of just “Click here” or similar. Meanwhile, if you’re linking to someone else’s site, you are helping them much more by using relevant anchor text that you would be otherwise. Adopting this practice will also set a good example for other webmasters who may read your content and eventually follow along with what you’re doing on your site.

  11. comment number 11 by: dave

    travis, i have over 81 usfreeads articles and followed your advice to a ” T ” and have not made one sale?

  12. comment number 12 by: Vin

    Travis, I have 300 ads & not a single sale… Seems like you’re just giving out bum information…

  13. comment number 13 by: Anita

    It’s good to know the steps of bum marketing, but how do you learn to write marketing copy? I think that’s a key skill that hasn’t been adequately addressed. Writing lots of articles may not be effective if the author doesn’t know how to write marketing copy.

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