Affiliate Marketing is plain and simply a method of marketing where you can earn a commission or fee for promoting other people’s products or services.
You, the Affiliate agree to promote those products and or services via your webpage, your blog, your email campaigns, or whatever method is allowed, and any sales you make will earn you the Affiliate a set fee/commission or an agreed percentage payment.
If Affiliate Marketing is done right, it can be very lucrative. many people earn a good living just by promoting other peoples products.
As an Affiliate Marketer, you don’t have to worry about creating your own product and you won’t have to deal with customers or customer support issues.
Your main skill set needed to become an Affiliate Marketer is some basic internet marketing knowledge and more importantly “the desire to succeed”
There are lots of different ways to become successful at Affiliate Marketing and there are lots of different programs, merchants, and vendors out there who are more than willing to pay their Affiliates a decent percentage of commission for promoting their products.
With most affiliate programs the typical commission you can earn is between 30% and in some cases 100% although averaged out, 50% is a more realistic baseline. There are lots of affiliate programs out there, and the majority of them are absolutely free of charge to join.
Affiliate Marketing can, when done right, be very worthwhile.
How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?
When you join an affiliate marketing program, you are either given a unique identifying number or name or you choose your own unique identifier. No two people in the same program have the same number or name. Your link is specific to you and you alone.
The program operator then uses this unique identifier to track all the leads/visitors you send to their website. When one of these leads/visitors purchases “You” are credited with the sale and allocated the percentage commission for that sale. 95% of affiliate programs have reliable tracking systems in place.
When you send a visitor to the program owners’ website, that visitor is “logged” as having been sent to the site via your unique affiliate link, even if they don’t purchase on the first visit, there is a chance that when they return at a later date to purchase, you can still get credited for the sale, this is because most programs use “cookies” to store information about their visitors, as long the visitor you originally sent hasn’t picked another cookie up or deleted/cleared their cookies on their computer you are still credited with the sale for that visitor.
In case you’ve ever wondered, that’s the reason why these big-name marketers always tell you how to delete your cookies before you go to order something that they are promoting. They do this for two reasons. One they want to ensure that they get credited for the sale and two, that you get their bonuses they are offering.
All programs work differently and it’s a good idea to try and find out what system your program owner is using. For example, with Clickbank® it is always the last cookie that gets the sale allocated to their account. With others, it can be the first cookie or a cookie that is for a set period of time.
Understanding Your Chosen Affiliate Program
All vendors will have guidelines that you must adhere to, make sure you read and understand them. It is no use further down the line saying you weren’t aware of their terms and conditions, most affiliate programs have a box that you tick to say you have read understood, etc, all vendors will refuse to pay and will not pay affiliates who do not adhere to their terms.
What are the program vendor’s terms and conditions for payment? Is there a minimum amount you have to earn in commission before they will pay you out? Is this amount achievable?
Is there a minimum criterion you have to meet in order to get paid? For example, Clickbank® has a strict Customer Distribution Requirement that you must meet before you get your first payout.
Is there a need for you to have your own PayPal account? Any vendor using the Rapid Action Profits scripts will not be able to pay you your 100% commission if you do not have a Premier or Business account verified at PayPal.
How will your vendor pay you? Do you need a bank account? Do you need a PayPal Account? Will they direct debit payment to you? How much are they going to charge you to receive your commission? Yes, that’s right! They charge YOU to receive Your Money.
There is not one that is perfect, but there are some that really are better than others
Affiliate Program Network
There are several affiliate program networks on the Internet where you can find a wide range of merchants in different categories. Remember that although these programs are all on the same site, they are independently owned and operated by each merchant; the network just brings the merchants together in one place for the affiliate to find.
The affiliate signs up to the network, the merchant signs up to the network and the network manage both the affiliates and the merchants. Examples of networks are:
Commission Junction: http://www.cj.com.
Commission Junction is one of the leading affiliate program networks with over 2,000 merchant programs to choose from.
If you decide to join one of the networks, always make sure to read their terms and conditions. Comply with their rules and all should be fine.
As with other types of affiliate programs, your commission is not paid by the network, but by the individual merchants/advertisers signed up to the network.
For example, MaxBounty states this in their terms and conditions. “Commissions will only be earned on Actions reported by the advertiser, and only after MaxBounty receives full payment from the Advertiser.
MaxBounty is under no obligation to pay Affiliates for Actions which are not paid by the Advertiser” CPA stands for “Cost Per Action“, and compared to standard affiliate marketing, when you promote CPA offers, you can actually make money without having to generate a single sale.
This is the most appealing part of CPA because it gives even the newest of marketers the opportunity to generate an income. When you send the visitor to the client’s page and they complete the required action, you get paid for the visitor having done whatever was required of them, be it simply submitting their email address or telephone number into a form, or filling out a simple short survey online. If you were responsible for sending the visitor, you get rewarded for it.
CPA networks operate as a “middleman” connecting publishers and advertisers together, they co-ordinate the placement of offers from these publishers and advertisers with you the affiliate marketer. The CPA network takes a fee; or percentage of the offered price and passes the remainder of the fee onto you the affiliate marketer.
Once you have been accepted into their network you are given a unique affiliate link to promote the offer.
Unless you have a high volume of traffic to your site or are willing to pay to send traffic to your site, it may take you a long time to get paid by a CPA network.
The minimum payout threshold on most CPA networks is generally $50.00, so if you are receiving $0.50 per email address submitted and only have 5 visitors a week, it could take you a long while to hit that minimum payout threshold.
There are other networks that will pay per view of their banner ads etc; again you need a high traffic site to earn money from these methods.
Different Paths to Make Money With Affiliate marketing
When people talk about making money with affiliate marketing, they think about signing up as a publisher and trying to get people to pay them for advertising on their sites.
That’s definitely one way to make money with affiliate marketing, but it’s not the only way! You can make money with affiliate marketing as a publisher, an advertiser, or as an owner of an affiliate marketing network. You don’t even have to limit the paths you take. You can try all three!
Making Money With Affiliate marketing as a Publisher
This path is the most downtrodden, but very few people explore all the potential to make money, even here. That’s because most people are creatures of habit. They find one way to do something, and they never venture from that path, even when they find that the income isn’t what they had hoped it would be.
The fact is that if you limit yourself to just one advertiser, like Google, you won’t be able to really explore the potential for affiliate marketing models that might work better with your niche audience.
So, while we are going to tell you that you can make money using Google Adsense, it’s not the only advertising network out there. You can spend a lot of time trying to publish content that gets search engines to serve up high-prized ads on your website and researching keywords to make campaigns that target high-paying ones. Or you can explore a few other places like Adbrite.com or independent affiliates at different affiliate banks who might give you a bigger return on your investment of time.
The key is not to join the biggest network out there, it’s to understand your niche and your audience. To make money as a publisher of other people’s affiliate offerings, your job is to match up your audience’s wants and needs to the offerings that best meet them.
So, let’s assume you have a website about winter sports. You can sign up for different affiliate programs that offer everything from winter sports equipment to exciting vacations at mountain resorts.
All you have to do is locate those offers and publish them on your website and collect a commission. For that, you’ll have to probably join an affiliate bank so that you can find offers within your category and get started fairly quickly.
We’ll go over those a little later in this report.
Making Money With Affiliate Marketing as an Advertiser
Okay, now why would advertisers pay you to publish, if there wasn’t money in it for themselves? Obviously, the returns can be a whole lot higher for the advertiser than the publisher, but most people don’t figure that out when they think about making money with affiliate advertising.
They think that affiliate advertising means they are the publishing affiliate partner, not the advertising partner.
Well, it can pay very well to be an affiliate advertiser who has created an affiliate program for their products and services. For one, you aren’t paying a team of sales people to market your products without getting some results, whether it is more online exposure, a lead, or a sale.
The best way right now to make money for advertisers is to use a “cost-per-action” affiliate program that only pays publishers if a lead or a sale is completed. That way, you can measure the return on your investment in a quantifiable way.
For that, you will have to have enough credibility to be accepted into a CPA network and also enough upfront cash to pay for any fees associated with the program. While the returns for setting up an affiliate program as an advertiser are more than as a publisher, it also takes more money to start.
So, that’s why many people don’t realize that there is money in advertising, otherwise, people wouldn’t be doing it, but it does cost more to get off the ground.
Making Money With Affiliate Marketing as a Network Owner
Let’s say you are very technically savvy, have quite a bit of money to invest, and want to make some good money? Why not develop your own affiliate network.
You will have to get a site up and running, and hire people to maintain it and do customer service, but you will also get to charge advertisers a 20 to 30% transaction fee in some cases. Or, you can use a model that has them pay a setup and transaction fee.
As long as you have the pull to bring in both advertisers and publishers, you can set up your own profitable network and just enroll people into your program. Set up tools to track the affiliates and reports to help optimize programs.
Hire affiliate managers who can manage the accounts too. As long as your advertisers are making money, you’ll make money from their enrollments too.
What You Need to Make Money With Affiliate Marketing
There are really only three things that are important, whether you are a publisher, an advertiser, or a network owner. The issue is how to successfully market some product or service online and for that you need to get the three following things to happen:
High Level of Traffic
As a publisher, you will want high levels of traffic coming to your offerings and doing the action necessary to collect a commission. As an advertiser, you want high levels of traffic too, so that you can make leads and sales.
As a network owner, the more traffic your members get, the better odds that they will succeed and you can keep charging enrollment fees.
It doesn’t matter how much traffic you get if what you are selling isn’t interesting to a large number of people. You want to exploit the hot niches that interest a wide number of people and are profitable for you.
It makes no difference whether you are an advertiser, a publisher, or a network owner. You have to start with a large amount of demand in the market to make it worthwhile to invest the time and effort to advertise products and services in that niche.
So, now you know, you can’t make money without traffic or market demand. What if you have great traffic, a hot niche of products and services, and the people aren’t buying? It’s because the demographics of the traffic have to match the niche.
Once you have a match, the formula of traffic plus demand plus interested buyer yields you a nice profit.
Exploiting Hot Niche
Start brainstorming, even before you’ve chosen an affiliate offer. You have to make sure you are targeting an area with high demand, regardless of whether you are a publisher or an advertiser. If you get this step right, the likelihood of making money increases exponentially. To help you out, here are some great tools and services to get you off to a good start.
GOOGLE ADWORDS KEYWORD TOOL
This tool is so useful, it gets mentioned a lot. Google Adwords is the advertiser’s part of the Google affiliate program. But, even publishers can use this tool to figure out what keywords are being searched more on the Internet, which have better payouts, and which have too stiff a competition to be worth targeting.
Even if you aren’t going to publish Google Adsense offerings, it’s still a valuable way to do a little research, prior to devoting an enormous amount of time to an advertising campaign that is doomed to failure. It may take a bit of time to learn
the ins and outs of this tool, but it’s worth it and can be used as a publisher or an advertiser to develop a strategy that makes money from the start.
WHAT ARE PEOPLE TALKING ABOUT?
Another way to identify good niches is to figure out what people are talking about and then research whether it is something that has lasting power or just a passing fad. If it is a controversial topic, it may be good for generating traffic in the short-term, but it can also fade out of the public consciousness fairly quickly.
There are so many great places to peek in online to see what is generating discussion all over the web. You can see what is capturing the attention of bloggers around the world by visiting buzz is at Yahoo! Buzz. Digg.com is a social networking site that lets you see news topics and stories that are voted on by the users of the site.
The more thumbs up a story get, the more it is rated as a favorite and lands on the front page. Those are the topics being discussed the most.
CLASSIC HOT NICHES
Some niches never go out style, even if the topics themselves may change within them. For instance, a few years back, finance and making the most amount of money on your investments was HOT, HOT, HOT.
Now, the recession has taken a toll on the finance niche, but not for those who are focusing on foreclosures, debt relief, and other services that can be helpful to people who are experiencing financial difficulties at this time.
So, keep that in mind if you choose any of the following classic niches, and try to keep it tailored to the social environment around you at the time. Here are some great niches to explore:
- Health care,
- Debt services,
- Green products,
- Social media,
Finding Matching Demographics
So, once you’ve decided on a niche, you want to make sure that the copy that you write for ads, for web content, or anything at all, is geared towards attracting the right demographics. For demographics, you will want to consider who is most interested in buying your products or those of your affiliates.
If you don’t know, then just check out some of your competitors online via a search engine called Quantacast.com. There you will find out who their main customers are and who you can expect to be catering to.
This is very important information, not only as an advertiser but also as a publisher. The demographic characteristics won’t just tell you the age, and gender, of a potential customer, but also the income level. That way, when you are debating which offers to place on your sites, you will know when something is way over-priced for your demographic, or whether you can get away with adding some really high-value affiliate offers because that’s the right demographic.
The key is to spend as little time inserting ads into your website that are not going to yield good results. For that, you need to know what your customer wants, who they are, and what they have to spend.
Generate Traffic to Your Offers
This is where most of the work comes in because odds are, you don’t have the traffic you need to get the sales. You know you don’t have it if you’re the advertiser, because they wouldn’t be paying someone else a commission to sell their products if they had an exclusive lock on the market.
And, we know the publisher doesn’t have it for a specific niche unless it’s developed. That’s part of the work a publisher has to do. As for a network owner, they’re just hoping that by giving a nudge here and there, through training from their affiliate managers, that the publishers and advertisers optimize things so that everyone’s happy.
So, where is all that traffic going to come from if not from you? It’s got to come from somewhere else. And, that’s why this can be the hardest part to get going because people spend too much time trying to generate traffic in ways that just don’t work.
The key is to try to harvest as much traffic as you can from other well-known websites and to automate the process if you can!
Before we get into that, however, let’s check out one more Google tool that is going to give you a good idea of whether the market niche you chose is going to work out for you in terms of the potential traffic that is out there for it.
For that, you need to go and check out Google Traffic at Keyword planner
Here, you can add the niche keywords and find out how much traffic you can reasonably expect per day from these targeted keywords. If you find that the traffic is too low to generate sufficient income, either as a publisher or an advertiser, you might want to try to get different keywords or niches that provide a better return on your investment.
What you are going to have to do to get traffic, as we said earlier, is learn how to harvest as much traffic as you can from other sites with a large number of eyeballs and direct them to your advertisements, sales pages, landing pages, or affiliate offers.
The way to do that is to use the following techniques to get people from one area of the web to another:
Submit to search engines
Use tools to help you submit to web search engines so that your pages get indexed and ranked quickly. A good tool for that is WebCEO, as it will also help you figure out keywords to use to get the targeted demographic you are looking for. Don’t just assume submitting to Google is enough, you want a tool that automates multiple submissions, like WebCEO.
Go to article directories, like www.ezinearticles.com, and submit free articles for acceptance. They are not the only free article directory, but they are a good start. Create articles that capture people’s attention and use some good keyword methodology to capture search engine attention.
Then, use the resource box to put links back to areas where your affiliate marketing offers can be accessed. You can’t go directly to a sales page from your affiliate, in most cases, as it is against the terms of the agreement. But, there are ways for you to add these offers to a blog and link back to your blog, or something similar.
To automate, sign up for article submission sites that will submit articles to multiple directories for a wider exposure in half the time. It does cost a little, but the extra bang for your buck can bring more people to your affiliate offers.
Set up press releases
This is a similar strategy to the article submission, but instead of articles, you are submitting press releases. With press releases, you can be more commercial and no one is going to get bent out of shape.
Press releases are for advertising new offerings, new companies, news about your business, so they can hardly be expected to take a soft sell approach. Just remember to put links back into the areas that will provide some revenue too.
There are also services that will allow you to submit to multiple press release sites too.
Promote on social networks
If you haven’t joined Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & MySpace you should do so right now. Get an account set up and find ways to promote links back to your affiliates.
This can take a bit of time to get used to the networks and their rules, but once you figure out ways to do this, through status updates, cleverly embedded links, and applications, you will start to really start getting the hang of this.
Use social network tools for automation
For instance, Twitter has Tweetlater and Tweetdeck tools that can be used to automate tweets, replies, and even some direct messages. Network your tools so that when you post on one site, it gets broadcasted to multiple sites at once.
Write free reports or ebooks
Get promotional topics out there and embed links to your affiliate offers within them. If you use the reports or ebooks as freebies to get people to enroll in your own marketing programs, you can both create income from affiliate offers and have a residual income from subscribers.
Get others to promote your offers
Set up affiliate programs for your own ads or make partnerships where you each sell each other’s products. Include high commissions, quick payouts, and anything that will make your offer more appealing than the next one.
Give incentives to buy
Offer to bribe someone for clicking on a link, signing up for a lead-based affiliate offer, or buying a product that you’ve advertised. You can even use info products with more embedded affiliate offers to get people excited about buying a product or service.
This way, if you can have repeat sales. Even if it’s not your own product you are trying to sell, remember that you can give an incentive to buy that costs you little to deliver.
Set up email campaigns
If you have numerous subscribers and/or members in a site, fans, or friends, you have the potential for creating email campaigns with affiliate offers in them. Remember to respect people’s privacy as you can easily be labeled a spammer this way.
Instead, always make sure they opt-in to such a list, and then be careful to include relevant information in your emails. Just sending out affiliate ads is considered tacky and basically ignored, if not outright deleted.
These are just a few ways to start generating huge traffic to your site by getting links out to people within your market niche. There are so many different ways to do this, that you need to keep a fresh eye out for new and innovative techniques that can be implemented before the public becomes jaded about them. This has the best effect to generated traffic.
Also Read: SEO Content Writer
Making Money Off Referrals
Another great way to make money off affiliate programs is to carefully select networks that have referral bonuses or tiered programs. A two-tier program is when you make money off the people that you refer, at a lower commission than your own.
But, every little bit helps. The beauty of a multi-tiered program is that you don’t do the work, other than making a referral. Once the referral is made, the affiliate network keeps track of the earnings and sends them to you.
Some limit the timeframe in which you can collect commissions from your sub-affiliates. So, keep in mind that you will want to replenish people on your rolls if that’s one way you want to make some income. And, not everyone you refer will be a top earner, so the more people you refer, the better the likelihood that you will make some money.
However, if the network also offers a bonus for signups (about $10 or $15 per sign up), then you can at least count on that money to sweeten the pot.
This is also a great way for network owners to expand their network and create a better business. They may be paying out some money for each sign-up, but the value that person adds to their network is much higher than what they are paying out. And, many of the network owners also keep payouts at a basic level to encourage participation.
The most levels that are used are three. You can sign up sub-affiliates and earn and they can sign up sub-affiliates and you continue to earn. These types of programs are much rarer but can offer a further opportunity to increase your income.
So, when looking to create income through referral bonuses, check the following:
Time period for sub-affiliate commissions
If it’s less than a year, and they offer no sign-up bonus, don’t exert too much time promoting something that isn’t going to generate much income.
Sign up bonus
This is a very good indicator that you can make some serious money. However, check to make sure that the payout limit on the accounts is less than or close to a single sign-up bonus, so that you get that money in your hand, and not just merely as dollar signs on your screen.
Number of tiers
Three-tiered programs are the best, but you have to make sure that the rest of the factors, like time period, and sign-up bonus are good too. You don’t want to join a three-tiered program that limits it to a one-month sub-affiliates commission and offers no sign-up bonus. It’s just a waste of time then.
Different Affiliate Marketing Commission Structure
Pay Per Sale:
One of the most common forms of affiliate marketing incentive is called Pay Per Sale (PPS). This is where the visitor clicks a link and makes a purchase. Your reward is a percentage commission for that sale.
You can make the most money from this type of affiliate marketing program on items that are considered “high ticket” items, i.e., sophisticated software like Adobe (Macromedia) Dreamweaver that retails for $899, a 10% commission of this sale is $89, a 25% commission of this sale is $224.75.
It is important it is to pay attention to the amount of the commission percentage being offered.
If they were only offering a 2% commission on this same $899 item you would only earn $17.98. If there is a guarantee period offered with the product sold, you will lose your commission altogether if the purchaser returns the product and requests a refund.
Pay Per Lead:
(PPL) These types of programs are extremely popular. With this type of program, you are paid for every inquiry that comes from your site to the advertiser’s site, provided the visitor meets the criteria required by the advertiser. For example, the visitor may have to be within a certain age group or have a certain income level.
Because no purchase is involved, the chances are higher that the visitor will be “converted” from being a website visitor to a prospective customer when they complete the required action of entering their contact information on the lead form on the advertiser’s site. Commissions for these kinds of programs are not as generous as pay-per-sale affiliate programs.
Pay Per Action:
(PPA) In this type of affiliate marketing program, the advertiser pays you when your referred visitor decides to download a trial version of their software or report.
Companies that offer electronic goods and services, such as publishers, computer and software companies dominate this particular market. Sometimes, campaigns for pay per action are often used in combination with pay per sale.
The “try before you buy” option entices the visitor to download the product for a set trial period. You are not guaranteed with this method of promotion that the visitor will eventually purchase the product, as having tried it, they might not like it, or they may just be content with using the trial version without upgrading to the Pro version.
Pay Per Click:
(PPC) This method is commonly used by “contextual Ad” companies, Konteratm being the most widely known one. When a visitor hovers over a word their advert box pops up with a link to a relevant product.
This is one of the easiest affiliate marketing programs to promote, as the content is already there on your website or blog.
Commissions for this type of program can be very small, some as little as $0.02c per click, payouts can take a long time to achieve when using this kind of advertising/affiliate method of promotion.
The busier your site, the more chance you have of making money with this kind of affiliate promotion. Most of the methods mentioned above require you to have a fully functioning and already indexed website or blog.
How to Promote Your Affiliate Products
It is important that you have your own domain name and hosted site, whether this is a blog or an HTML site doesn’t really matter, you will not be considered a viable affiliate to any network if you do not have and own your own web presence.
Do not be tempted to cut corners and use a free blogger account or free hosted space, most of these companies, do not allow any kind of affiliate promotion to be run from these kinds of sites.
If you are serious about earning money as an affiliate marketer you really need to invest the few dollars required to have your own domain name and hosting account.
Imagine the heartbreak of waking up one morning and finding that your free host has deleted all your hard work, just simply do not let yourself be at the mercy of others.
With the plethora of templates available to work with, hosting your own wordpress blog is the quickest and easiest way to set up a web presence. If you have no idea how to set a blog up, contact us and our team will help you create a blog.
The products you choose to promote should compliment your sites Niche
Building your website into an authority site takes time and a lot of dedicated hard work. Try to discipline yourself to add at least one article / post per day or every other day, use as many targeted keywords in your articles / posts as you can, but don’t be tempted here to use too many.
Keep your content fresh and up to date and on topic for your niche. If you have used a product you are promoting, write an in-depth review of it. Say why you like it or don’t like it, list its positive and negatives etc. by doing this, you are pre-qualifying for visitor and when they leave your site for more information, they’ll spend their time looking for the buy button, not reading the sales page in great depth.
Do’s and Don’ ts of Affiliate Marketing
- Do make sure you save your affiliate links to a text file on your computer.
- Do make sure you save any graphics to your computer and upload them to your Webhosting space.
- Do make sure that your images show up on your website.
- Do make sure that the images are clickable and go to the right site when they are clicked on.
- Do check that your affiliate link goes to your affiliate account use the tracking statistics provided by the program you are using.
- Do make sure you can accept payments in the currency offered by the Vendor/Network.
- Do check that any CPA offers you are promoting are still current; sometimes campaigns are halted or replaced by newer ones.
- Do join affiliate marketing forums, ask questions, interact and learn from other affiliate marketers.
- Do make sure that you understand any terms and conditions placed upon you the affiliate by the network you are promoting. Don’t mix programs if you are not allowed to.
- Do keep your website current, and up to date with fresh content.
- Do periodically test your order links to ensure that any vendors’ product you are promoting through Clickbank is still using Clickbank as their affiliate program.
- Do periodically test your links to products you are promoting and are listed on PayDotCom, PaySpree, or RapBank to ensure they are still alive and in business.
- Do work hard to drive traffic to your site. If you have time, write articles on your chosen Niche/topic and submit these to the popular article directories.
- Do join in discussion forums related to your niche/site theme, use the signature file to link back to your site.
- Don’t expect to earn a fortune overnight, it just doesn’t happen. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.
- Don’t break the rules of any agreements you have signed with the networks or other affiliate program managers.
- Don’t spam anyone with unsolicited email messages.
- Don’t forget to place a notice on your website and a warning in your email communications so you comply with the FTC guidelines.
- Don’t keep promoting a product or service if you are not making commissions/sales, or if the vendor has made changes to the program.
- Don’t forget to make use of any marketing materials the program vendor may have provided. Banners, Graphics, email messages, or text ads. Remember though to stay away from any duplicate content, rewrite the emails, reword the adverts so they are unique to you and your site.
- Don’t load your website with lots of flashing, rotating, blinking banners that make it look like a firework display!
- Don’t give up, if you are rejected by one network, try another.
Also Read: How To Make Money Dropshipping
Do You Know Your Affiliate’s Reputation
One word of caution here about affiliate programs. You have to carefully check out the network’s reputation and the affiliate offers that you use. They are going to impact your online image and if they are fraudulent, you not only lose the money you made, but you can lose future opportunities for making money because your online reputation is shot via association too.
So, before you sign up for a network program, try to find out how long they have been in business and how carefully they vet their members.
You may get some flash-in-the-pan startups that offer outrageously good terms, incredible signup bonuses, three-tiered programs that last a lifetime, and then when you get on and work your butt off, they disappear off the Internet the next day. That is not the position you want to be in, either as an advertiser or a publisher.
So, go to different marketing and webmaster forums and check out the reputation of different offers and networks. You will find people are very helpful and will answer your questions or any misgivings you might have.
Be careful to take these with a grain of salt too, however, as people do get paid to promote different affiliate programs. However, it’s better than not doing a little background check on your own.
Common Mistakes People Make With Affiliate Marketing
it’s important to mention that affiliate marketing is no walk in the park, either. It’s certainly easier than pulling off a Jeff Walker-style massive product launch, but, like anything else, there are plenty of pitfalls just waiting to consume you and your money. Do yourself a favor: heed what I say and avoid those pitfalls.
Choosing a Bad Product to Promote
Not all products are created equal. In fact, that is probably the driving motivation behind your decision to sell affiliate products: for the most part, you have accepted that there are plenty of high-quality products already on the market; and, if you create your own, it might not compare favorably.
If you decide to pick your product off of a list on Clickbank, select it very carefully. Rather than haphazardly selecting the product with the highest commission, look for the ones that have the highest popularity and gravity ratings. If a lot of people are buying them often, they must be better than other products for sale within that niche.
In addition to picking good products within niches, you will also want to look for good niches. Here’s a stupid tip that will illustrate my point nonetheless: don’t sell garden hoses in the winter. No one will buy. Focus on products that a lot of people want; and if their popularity just surged, now is the best time to get in the market.
Picking a Low Converter
As an affiliate marketer, your goal is to profit from the hard worker others have done; and from the money, they have spent on copywriters, product developers, and software. If you select a product that underutilizes these advantages, you are likely to benefit less.
Take, for instance, conversion rates. Not all product creators hire a top-notch copywriter. In fact, many of them just write their own copy. Many also don’t hire someone to do graphs for the sales page. Instead, they try to do their own. The end result? The page looks hideous, the copy contains major errors, and the product converts poorly.
Before you start promoting any particular product, read the sales page carefully and compare it with others. Do you feel compelled to buy? Did the graphics throw you off? Did the copy fail to reel you in for the catch? These can all amount to fatal errors for both the seller and you. You cannot help the seller at this point, but you can avoid his product and find a better one. Do yourself a favor: choose your products carefully.
Selling Snake Oil for a Snake Oil Salesman
This pitfall is especially important to avoid if you have a list. All it takes is one erroneous product promotion and you could end up with a mass exodus from your list. Again, don’t make this error.
Even though you may be tempted to promote the next “biggest launch,” make sure you don’t buy into just anything. Several marketers have lamented their choices to promote the Rich Jerk’s latest offering after list members complained that his sales page was loaded with profanity and sexist comments.
Don’t be one of these guys. Make sure you carefully inspect anything before you promote it to your list. Unless you happen to be the Rich Jerk, you probably don’t want people to think you’re just that. a rich jerk.
Additionally, avoid jumping on the affiliate product bandwagon for major promotions. Instead, wait until the buzz dies down slightly; and then release a comprehensive review (something most affiliate marketers do not provide) of the product. This has a much better chance of getting sales for you. and it will also help you to maintain credibility.
Last, avoid promoting products that make outrageous and fallacious claims. As Carl Sagan once said, “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” In most cases, these snake oil peddlers cannot provide you with any extraordinary evidence, but they do make the claims. Avoid promoting them and becoming associated with them.
Picking Products that Offer Meager Commissions
If you’re marketing to a list of people, they’re only going to consider so many products offers in a given period of time, so select the ones you promote wisely.
If you promote something that only generates a 25% commission for you, then you’re leaving a lot on the time. In reality, you could probably find a similar product that offers a 50% or 75% commission.
In terms of the actual dollar value of the commission – don’t sweat that as much. While many top-name Internet marketers now say that they concentrate on promoting high-ticket items (since only a few sales will generate a lot of money), you can still make a killing selling relatively cheap reports. The rising popularity of the $7 report is a testament to this fact.
So avoid the cheap sellers, but don’t worry as much about the price.
Failing to Collect Leads
Always, always, always capture leads. Rather than generating traffic through pay per click, search engine optimization, and other methods and then sending that traffic to your affiliate link, you should make an effort to convert them into list members first. Why? Two reasons: simple mathematical reasoning and the collective experience of many marketers.
The simple mathematical reasoning goes something like this: virtually everyone who would have purchased the product will opt into your mailing list. And many who definitely would not have purchased the product will opt into your mailing list. Instead of converting at a rate of around 1-3% (in affiliate sales), you will convert between 15 and 40% of visitors (to your mailing list). From there, you will get the chance to contact the willing buyers and the more reluctant.
Additionally, once they’re on a list, this is no longer a one-off effort. You get the chance to market to them again and again for months or even years.
As a marketer, one of the best tools you have available is your list. Always, always, always use your list over the one-off sale.
Ignoring the Importance of Timeliness
In business in general, the quick often outcompete those endowed with greater resources. Today, Google is no longer a small company with meager revenues, but in the past, it emerged from nowhere to outcompete massively well-endowed rivals; and it did so with cunning.
How does this apply to you? Successful affiliate product promotion requires you to do more than simply slap an affiliate link in an email and send it out to a couple of thousand people. If you expect them to actually buy, your email should be newsworthy – not promotional.
If you can genuinely write your email as if it were a news announcement, you are far more likely to draw interest than if you send a link to an Internet marketing ebook that was written in 1998 and wasn’t particularly popular then.
You need to find product launches that qualify as an “event.” Find something so big that people follow the event and comment on it. If you can find such a product (say, the iPhone of Internet marketing products), it is critical that you engineer your own build-up and release, centered on the build-up and release of the product. You will want to make sure that your list members purchase from you, rather than from another list owner.
To make it short and sweet: pay attention to the clock and the calendar. If there’s a big launch coming up, you need to capitalize on it quickly. There may not be a second window for opportunity. So take it when you have it.
Ignore Important Numbers
Many affiliate marketers fail to make many of the small. yet important calculations needed in order to run a business and ensure you are in profit. For instance, many affiliate marketers will completely ignore the portion Clickbank extracts from each sale. Instead, they’ll simply look at the price and the commission.
Additionally, many will ignore conversion rates, pay-per-click bids, and the amount of time they put into projects. They’ll also fail to make realistic estimates of how much promotional efforts will cost; and how much of a risk they’ll be. They’ll glaze over all of these minor details and devote the majority of their time to daydreaming about the riches they will rake in.
Unfortunately, affiliate marketing doesn’t work like that. If you’re paying too much for traffic; if your conversion rates are too low; if you put too much time into projects that don’t have high yields – the outcome is bad. Your numbers won’t add up.
At the end of the day, month, or year, you may end up in debt, rather than profit. And since you’re a sole proprietor, not a CEO of a corporation, that means you don’t get paid at all. Even worse, you might lose some of your own money that you worked hard to get.
So how can you avoid these traps, make better decisions, and ultimately become wealthy via affiliate marketing? First, start by selecting products that are actually good. As I mentioned previously, a low-demand product will make few sales, no matter how hard you try to promote it. If the demand isn’t there, you can’t create it. Don’t try.
Next, within the niches that are in high demand, look for a product that is actually a winner. Find something that converts very well. You can do this by looking for high-popularity, high-gravity products on Clickbank. You can also do this by scanning sales pages to find ones with extraordinarily compelling copy, good bonuses, and reasonable prices.
In addition to choosing a product that is likely to convert well, you will also want to make sure that the claims are reasonable and that the seller is credible.
One bad product could seriously knock you down a few pegs with your list members. Making a single sale and losing an otherwise repeat-buyer is rarely worth it.
Once you start generating traffic for your affiliate marketing campaigns, remember to drive it to an opt-in form – NOT to your affiliate link. If you send the person directly to an affiliate link, you are likely to never hear from that person again, whether or not it results in a sale. Collecting leads is critically important. If you fail to do so—as many affiliate marketers do—you are leaving a lot of money on the table relative to the amount you are spending.
Last, do yourself a favor and keep track of conversion rates, bid prices, commission rates, product broker fees, and all the other little numbers that affiliate marketers prefer to ignore. Knowing, understanding, and tweaking these numbers could be the difference between profit and debt. You can ignore them if you want, but doing so will not improve your business.
With all of that said, you’re now ready to take a crack at affiliate marketing. There are a lot of risks involved, but you already know the big seven; avoid these, and you’ll sail through into profit, following the trail of past super affiliates.
The Most Valuable Advice to Any Beginning Affiliate Marketer
If I could give only one piece of advice to a beginning affiliate marketer, it would be this: stop the cash bleeding. Almost without fail, new Internet marketers and affiliate product marketers gobble up products and software packages left and right.
Whenever they see anything for sale – especially if it’s the next big ticket product – they’ll buy it. They’ll get seduced by the copy; and they’ll whip out their credit cards, buying when they really shouldn’t. So, my advice to you is to stop doing that.
Now, you might protest. You might say that you need the information. You might grumble stuff about needing to be willing to spend money in order to make money. But ask yourself where you read line like that.
Did you read them on a sales page? Did you hear them coming from someone who sells products you’ve purchased?
If so, that person was almost definitely saying it to loosen up your wallet. So tighten up your wallet again. Build up some resistance to buying.
Now, many people do not realize this, but the Internet is just brimming over with free information. Much of it is comparable to what you will find in products you might pay $30, $50, or even $100 for. While you might expect to get more from those products or at least some guarantee to their quality – purchasing them is usually completely unnecessary.
In most cases, 90% of people who purchase these Ebooks skim them, consider incorporating a few new interesting ideas into their business models – but, for the most part, ignore the bulk of the text and go on their merry way.
If this is what you do with these Ebooks, too, (and it probably is), then your wallet would be better served by saving all that cash.
Instead of purchasing Ebooks you can’t and won’t use, save your money and spend your time getting a first class education from completely free information. If you’re an Internet marketer or affiliate marketer, spend some time on sites such as the Warrior Forum
And rather than focusing on all sorts of wily tricks – which probably have never worked once for you, anyway – spend your time sincerely attempting to improve your current business model, which is probably highly flawed, but contains many functional elements.
Ask yourself whether there are considerable leakages to your current model that could be improved. For instance, are you tracking all of your advertising efforts? If not, how can you expect to know which ones are successful and which ones are not? Also, are you advertising in every possible place where you could get a decent return? If not, you’re leaving money on the table!
So, rather than consistently shooting for the moon – and spending hundreds of dollars to figure out how to do it – keep that cash in your wallet. Instead, work on slight, but continuous, improvements to your current business model.
This un-sexy approach – slight, but continuous improvements – is precisely what major companies, such as Toyota, have used to continually get better and better, capture a larger market share, and out-compete competitors who are stagnant or are risking too much.
And there you have it: my single suggestion to any new affiliate marketer is not a “tactic” at all. Instead, I want you to avoid the gimmicks, cut back on unnecessary spending, and focus on your own business model. After all, you know far more about your own business model than any guru does.
So focus on continuous improvement; focus on making more and more affiliate product sales each day; and try to avoid all of the “must-have” products. In no time, you’ll be earning what you want.
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