Affiliate Marketing Defined-And Why Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing as used is simply a product owner offering a product for sale, and then paying you (the affiliate) a commission on the direct, and sometimes 2nd-tier, sales that you make. My definition only goes up to-tier because beyond that we get more into the realm of multi-level marketing where different regulatory rules apply.
Merchants like the model because it costs them nothing. They only pay for performance, so until an affiliate makes a sale, they have no costs! At the same time, it’s assumed that the sales that the affiliate are making are sales in addition to the ones that the merchant would otherwise be making. The merchant hopes that the affiliate will be reaching customers that he wouldn’t otherwise be reaching. therefore using affiliate can only add to the merchant’s bottom live.
You, as an affiliate, can simply register for an affiliate program, retrieve your referral link, and start earning money by driving traffic to a sales page. I know, that last part is what seems like the hard part to you. That’s what we’ll actually focus on in this report.
Most affiliate programs pay monthly, with some paying bi-monthly, but some even pay daily… or instantly. Several systems, developed over the past year or so, were designed specifically to facilitate instant payments to an affiliate’s PayPal account. Cash-strapped affiliates LOVE these, and merchants love them because they make recruiting affiliates so easy.
To get started in affiliate marketing, you can be a complete ‘newbie’ with no customer list, and even no website. Having a list and your own website certainly can improve your affiliate marketing results, but you don’t need to wait until you have these to get started.
Affiliate Marketing-Getting Started
To get started you need identify who you are going to market to. You can market a variety of products in numerous niches, but if you focus on just one (or a few niches) you can really study the dynamic of that market and in the process become a much better marketer. By focusing upon one group, you can eventually understand their hopes, desires, fears, pains, dreams, joys, and wants. You need to actually know your niche this well because that is how know what really want. Knowing what they really want tells you what products or services to market to them because…
When You Offer Them What They Want, Selling is Not A Strugle
That’s a point that far too many people seem to miss. They fall in love with a product or idea and then exert tremendous effort trying to convince others that they really want that product. At the same time, those that they are trying to convince that they want the product are already convince that they DON’T want the product.
Several very successful Internet marketing frequently use expression, ‘Whatever they’re buying- I’m Selling.’ They don’t mean that they’ll market anything. They do mean that they acknowledge that they their market already knows what it wants, and when you provide that, selling is easy.
So the place to being is with identifying who your customers are, and then really finding out what they want.
Let me give you a quick example from my own experience. From my very first day online, I noticed that unless you had visitors to your webpage ( your sales letter) you can’t make sales. Since, I started out marketing to other marketers but shortly afterwards expanding into the cooking niche, I almost instantly saw the perfect product. That product was teaching them how to get more eyeballs on their sales page.
Look around the internet marketing landscape today and you’ll see that the hottest sellers cater to the most painful and obvious need of online marketers.. the need for more traffic and a larger list so that they can stay in touch with those visitors that they do manage at attract. That explains why john Reese’s traffic Secrets Course was one of the first products in his niche to sell $1,000,000 worth of product in a DAY.
Super Affiliate Marketing Tips
Now that you understand the basics, lets’ finish up with 19 tips that share how I actually market affiliate products and do extremely well..
Tip #1- Focus On One Product Or Promotion At A Time
There are thousands of potential products that you as an affiliate can promote. You can only effectively promote a few because it does require concentrated and orchestrated effort.
When you promote too many different products you don’t put the necessary creativity and repetition into promoting any of the products, and as a result you never generate the necessary momentum. You also appear to be a butterfly, flitting from flower to flower, not really committed to any product, and willing to promote anything.
Select only high quality products that are a prefect match for your market. Look at the life-cycle of that product, and then flow your promotions out on a promotional calendar.
Even on very short-time promotions, you should plan on doing at least three mailings. It’s been proven that sending three emails promoting the same product often produces exponentially better results than sending one email promoting three different products.
Get over the idea that you might miss out on something if you don’t promote a particular product.
I have clients who will often see a promotion for a given product that I’m not promoting and they’ll email me to ask if they can buy it through me. At that point I may investigate the product, become an affiliate, and encourage them to purchase through my link. More often than not though, I’ll simply tell that I’m not an affiliate fro that product… and maybe offer my opinion based upon the copy I read on the webpage.
Tip #2- Use Camtasia Videos To Promote Affiliate Products
Camtasia is a screen capture video software program. You can turn it on, hook up a microphone to your computer and as you surf from page to page, it will record what’s on your computer screen as well as what you are saying.
Camtasia allows you to edit the audio or video tracks afterwards. It also allows you to specify what webpage to send the viewer to at the end of the video. This is my favorite feature of Camtasia because it means that you don’t need to depend upon the viewer to click through to a recommended webpage. Instead you can redirect them right to the page that you want them to vies.
Camtasia is not the only screen capture program out there. It’s just the one that I’m most familiar with. There are similar pieces of open-source software that you can try. Camtasia is admittedly a little expensive.
The beauty of using Camtasia, or video in general, is that some people would prefer being shown rather than having to read about something. In a world where television is practically everywhere, we are conditioned to sit and watch videos.
Tip #3- Use PROOF In Your Affiliate Promotions
Of all the things that you can do to improve all aspects of your marketing, this may be the biggest one! People are naturally skeptical, and that’s a good thing! However, that means that you need to not just make assertions.. you need to prove what you say them.
Proof can come in many different forms. One of the most powerful ones is social proof. That’s where others prove your point. That’s what testimonials and even using quotes from recognized experts brings to the picture.
Tip #4- Use Audio That Redirects In Your Affiliate Promotions
Like watching video, listening to audio is easier than reading for many people.
Until recently, the problem with using audio is that you still had to depend upon the listener to click through to a webpage, Now, if you stream the audio… or put it on a CD that requires being connected to the Internet for optimal performance, you can redirect the listener right to your sales page or order form at the end of an audio.
My favorite program for redirecting a listener to a target product is website Jukebox. This is a part of the total web audio suite. You can find http:/totalwebaudio.com
Tip #5- Make Absolutely Certain That It’s Great Deal For Your Customers
This should go without saying but I acknowledge that there can be a lot of temptation to market a substandard product for a quick buck. If you take care of your customers, offering them ONLY products that will substantially improve their lives, at a great price, they will grow to trust your recommendations, and they will buy from you over and over again.
Tip #6- Use a “Sig File When Promoting On Discussion Lists And Forums
Some people will advice you to keep away from online forums and not to spend too much time reading email discussion lists. I agree with that, but it is a great place to learn, network, and even make direct sales. I’ve made more money from posting to online forums this year alone than most of my immediate family members combined earn in a entire year.
If your sig file short and include a call to action. Actually tell..or at least encourage them to do something!
Online communities work best when you contribute something of real value. The means don’t just post,’ I agree’ in order to be able to leave your sig file. Moderators and other community members see right though that.
Some online forums don’t allow you to post sig files. So on those you can’t blatantly promote your products in sig file, but you can point out useful resources..when appropriate.
Tip #7- Use a promotional domain- Affiliate marketing
This sort of piggy-backs on #6, but if a product is worth promoting, it’s usually worth setting up a special domain to use promoting the product.
One BIG reason that you want to do this is to ensure more of your messages get through when promoting a heavily promoted product. Affiliates sometimes do stupid things in a desperate effort to make more sales. These things often lead to spam complaints and to the primary domain for a given product begin blacklisted. That means that when you use the URLs provide by the affiliate program, which contains the blacklisted domain name, spam filters often block your email from delivery. You can completely avoid that problem by simple investing a few dollars in a promotional domain
As you use the promotional domain in ads, articles, etc. You actually start building page rank for your domain rather than for the affiliate program.
Tip #8- Write articles to promote the product
Writing articles to promotes specific products is perhaps my most powerful free promotional tool. In the article you provide that you are promoting.
My favorite formula for doing this called ‘ problem. agitate, solution.’ First you explain a problem that your product will solve. The focus of the article must be on the problem. You go on to emphasize why this really is a powerful problem that reader really wants to solve. Point out some of the consequences of not solving this problem. Finally, you reveal how your product is the perfect solution to the problem.
This is a very effective technique. You write these article, distribute them to hundreds of sites and e zine publishers, and before you know it you and your product.
Tip #9- Create E-books to promote the product
This technique is very similar to tip #8. If you can write an article, you can expand upon that article and create an eBook. The eBook will have a higher perceived value, and a longer shelf-life.
You can eBook that tools at total web audio to actually turn your eBook into audio or video eBook
With any eBook that you create you should build back-end sales in. So… you can recommend your primary product, but also mention additional product that make the primary product more useful.
If you make the links in your eBook re-brand-able, now you can reward other for passing the eBook along . If you have links to two-tier affiliate programs you can build a second-tier residual income stream as your eBook goes viral.
Tip #10- Create unique bonuses to offer when they purchase from you
In certain niches, such as Internet marketing, when a new product is released your list members can hear about it from dozens of different sources. The natural question that they should have at that point is, Which of these people should I buy from.’ Your job at that point is to figure out what a large percentage of your list members want and offer that to them as an inducement to buy from you.
Ideally, you’d want to offer them some types of a bonus that costs you a lot less than its worth to your customers.
As an affiliate marketing, one of the easiest bonuses you can create is an audio recording. Ideally this recording would be on a topic that compliments the basic product. Maybe you could get the product creator or owner to share ideas and ways to get more use out of the product or do an interview on how to generate more traffic, higher conversions, or other ways of generating more business. The key with a bonus like this is that it should be unique and potential customers have to view it as valuable/describable.
Tip #11- Blog about the product or promotion
Done properly, you can blog about a product or service and it comes across more as you sharing news, or discussing a product, rather that as a sales pitch. You don’t need to hide fact that you’re selling an item, but you do often need to deliver more than the sales pitch…and that can often be in the form of entertainment.
Search engines love blogs, so blogging about a product, on a properly configured blog, will generate lots of links pointing to the product.. links leading to your URL. The key here is to use the right keywords in your blog post- in the title, in the body, and in the anchor text used within the post.
Tip #12- Promote the product or launch on MySpace
MySpace is a fairly new social community, and one that is getting a HUGE percentage of all Internet traffic. You can set up a free page, get people to signup as your ‘friend’ and then their friends to join your network. Before you know it, you’ll have this network of hundreds… even thousands of contacts. At that point, you can send broadcasts to your entire friends database right from within MySpace. This is very powerful.
There are a lot of eBooks being written on the topic. There is also a lot of new software being created to allow you to benefit from marketing via MySpace. I won’t recommend any specific piece of software since it is constantly changing. I will caution you to do something that could get your MySpace account deleted.
Tip #13- Affiliate Marketing-Do Product Reviews
When you become recognized as an expert within a niche, people will turn to you for your expert ‘opinion’. They don’t have time to review every product or service, so you can help to filter the barrage of information that they are hit every day.
Do a review of a given affiliate marketing product where you mention the product’s good and bad points. Your readers will appreciate your honesty, and if the product is the best solution available for a problem…given your market’s constraints, then it’s natural for them to buy from you.
You cloud also do a review where you compare two, or several, similar products. Given the pros and cons of each. There’s nothing saying that you can’t actually be an affiliate for each the products, although if one is really should, you’d definitely not to be associated with it.
Tip #14- Instruct your audience to buy the product
Top behavioral scientists and sale trainers tell you that people are begging to be led. They want to be shown solutions to their problems, and then told specifically what to do. So your call to action should instruct them in exactly how to buy and benefit from your product,
Don’t make half-hearted recommendations though. If you have reservations about a don’t recommend it. However, if you’re going to recommend it, be decisive and committed.
Tip #15- Create your own sales or Pre-sale page
The websites designed for many affiliate programs just don’t close sales! Some have too many distractions, some have too many graphics, and other just have terrible copy.
If the product is worth promoting, and yet the sales page that you’re asked to refer customers to stinks, then consider writing your own. Host that webpage on your own domain, and set your order links up so that when the customer clicks on a lick then they are taken to a properly configured link where the merchant credits you with the sale.
There are several software titles that allow you to do this easier. One that I have used and can recommend is called affiliate Cloner. Since some Affiliate programs have restrictions on how you are allowed to promote their products, or link to them, you do need to read the terms of service and affiliate agreements carefully. However. using their own sales letter has provided better conversions for many top affiliates.
Tip #16- Use stories in your promotions
Top copywriters all seem to agree, and testing proves, that stories sell.
Stories break up boring sales copy and engage the readers’ imagination. If it’s the right kind of story it allows the reader to peer into others lives.
Everybody loves a success story. or to hear about the underdog turning things around. Using those stories make your prospect feel good, and also makes it easier for them to remember things about your product.
So, don’t just send out ads, send out promotions tied to an event or an story!
Tip #17- Affiliate marketing Promote Early
For many promotions the prospect will visit a site when they first hear about a product or service. Then they may get several emails mentioning it- hopefully from an auto-res-ponder series tied to your URL. Then they finally decide to go take another look and buy. This process is what makes it absolutely critical that you are the one who drives prospects to early notification lists, etc. During promotions.
Tip #18- Promote fewer products and promote these longer
In niches such as Internet marketing, many people often promote a new product only for a few days or weeks before they are off to promote something else. When you find a great product you should continue promoting it until it is no longer the best product for your clients or until it no longer sells.
Often your competitors will be off promoting something new that doesn’t sell well while you’re sticking with the winners. Even when you think that most of your marketing has heard of a product, realize that new customers are coming online and into your niche everyday.