I was meeting with a new client today and we discussed how they were implementing affiliate marketing. They had done the traditional banner implementation; nothing wrong, but it wasn’t producing any income for them. I asked if they were capturing their affiliate prospects information and they said “it’s not allowed.” I probed more to find out what they meant by that and they were referring to using some sort of sketchy technology in an attempt to capture peoples information. I certainly wasn’t talking about that.
I explained to them how they could simply link to a page on their website that pre-sold the offer, but put an email capture between the visitor and the offer, where the visitor had to give their name and email address to go further. Is that allowed? ABSOLUTELY. In fact, if you implement this strategy you will sell more as an affiliate because not only will you be able to promote your original offer, but you will be building niche lists to promote to.
Will some people choose to not give their info? Yes, and they are the same people who currently aren’t buying, so it’s not a loss. The people you register will be specifically interested in your offer. Your job is to be professional and not spam them by sending them crap, or anything not related to what they signed up for. That’s what gives affiliate marketers a bad name, and in fact what gives legitimate email marketing a bad rap.
What Should You Do?
1. Identify your best affiliate offer (start with one) and ideally in a niche / industry that you really enjoy.
2. Come up with 5 bullet points of features or benefits you can give the prospect in relation to the product or service. For example, if you are selling a travel ebook, your bullets might look like this:
- Would you like to learn how to pay less for your travel?
- Would you like to learn travel secrets used by thousands of people worldwide to get FREE travel?
- Find out how a travel agent can still be your best friend even in light of Internet travel deal.
- Much, Much, more!
Close it by asking them to leave their name and email address and have the landing page go right to your offer. Don’t make them verify their email before they see the offer; you will lose them.
3. I recommend using Aweber as your email marketing provider. If you have another one you like, that’s fine, I just prefer Aweber for affiliate marketing.
So there you have it. Three simple steps to improving your affiliate marketing conversion rates. If you need assistance in integrating this into your website, please contact me and I will be happy to assist you.
I heard someone recently state that they would “steer clear of any merchant that required someone to buy before becoming an affiliate” and I took issue with the sentiment. One one hand, affiliate marketing has been promoted as one of those businesses you can get into without spending money, but the reality is that most of the people who are successful at selling a product or service have used the product or service and can speak intelligently about it.
In my early days, I used to wonder if all of the folks who wrote product reviews actually tried to products. I wanted to have integrity, so I typically promoted the stuff I had used or reviewed. I recall one of the few times I wrote a product review for a product I had not purchased and I was blessed to have someone send me an email saying “if you care about your reputation, you need to not promote this… it’s crap.”
Some may ask “wouldn’t that get expensive to buy all of the products and services you want to promote?”Well, if you had to buy them all, then I guess it could. But if the products were good and you were promoting them, you would always get your money back, and then some. Also, successful affiliates work in a niche market, so it’s not like they are going out and buying every product under the sun, just those that serve their niche market, so if you have to pay for a few products, it should not be a big deal.
In the end, there are plenty of product that you can promote without having to purchase. I just don’t want people thrown for a loop or listening to bad advice about whether or not a merchant should only allow their customers to sell their products as affiliates. The merchants know that only those who are professionals or those who truly have a passion and understanding of their products will sell them anyway.
One way to naturally sell products as an affiliate is to market products or services that you use and love. All you need to do is find out if the company offers an affiliate program and sign up, If they don’t, you might be able to negotiate your own private affiliate deal to get paid for your referrals. In the end, you may find that you earn more money for selling that product or service than you do paying for it.
Some great examples that I have done this with are:
- Autoresponder system. I have been a customer of Aweber for years and I am also an active affiliate. The fact that they pay residuals is a bonus and helps me to earn much more than I spend on my service.
- Web Hosting. We use multiple web hosting providers, but all of our hosting is paid or by our web hosting affiliate sales.
- Web Tools. I don’t want to mention the company, but I was an affiliate of a company whose service I used and for a time my affiliate commissions paid covered the cost of my service.
- Ebooks. It’s easy to sell a few ebooks to cover the cost of an ebook or eCourse. In one case, I had an ebook review that sold about 30 copies of the ebook per month.
Most of my affiliate income has come from companies whose services I do not use (my biggest producers have been in the financial services industry), but rather they were products of services that I believed in offered by companies I trusted.
What about you? Are there any products or services you have paid for with your affiliate earnings?
When I first got started in the affiliate marketing business, I was a network engineer and becoming an MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer) was what everyone talked about. According to the TV & radio commercials, that’s where everyone was making money… and they were right for the most part. I saw the value in bringing this information to those who wanted to learn how to get in the business, so I set out on a mission to bring it to the people and get paid for it.
What you do for a living is likely something you have more knowledge about than the average person. This means you are could have some expert information to share with those seeking to learn more about your line of work. Assuming it does not create any conflict, one way to get started is to build an online community around your field of expertise. This could be a blog, a Facebook group, LinkedIn group, or a member site. As you begin to spearhead these efforts, you will be seen as the expert in your industry. Of course, your employer might respond with fear if they see what you are doing, so I don’t recommend talking it up at the office. On the other hand, you could also use this new community as a lead generation tool for your current job and look like a rock star.
I really didn’t know I was embarking on a lifelong career in affiliate marketing, so you could say that I fell into the business. In fact, I thought I was just building a website to sell products for another company and cashing in on a trend. I had no prior web or online marketing knowledge, so I actually got a book called Learn HTML in 24 Hours, pulled an all-nighter, and by morning I was in business.
Like many businesses, I was launched, but no one knew of my existence online. That’s when my journey of learning how to market websites began. And trust me, my journey was much more difficult than yours will be. I didn’t have blogs, WordPress, YouTube, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, or most of the tools that we have today; they had not yet been created. I built online community via email, forums, and my website (getting people to bookmark it.) Talk about OldSchool SEO!
Anyhow, before you get down in the dumps about being stuck in your dead end job, take the high road and learn how it can help you build a new income and possibly a new career.
Do you know what mailbox money is? My definition is money that I get in the mail that I was not expecting. Today, I got an unexpected check from one of the affiliate companies that I represent. I have not actively run an ad for – or mentioned – this company in months, yet I still get checks from them every now and again for referring people to their service. Now, I do have a few websites that reference them as well as a few ebooks, but that is the power of setting yourself up as an affiliate marketer. You can have dozens of these if you choose to.
Ideally, you will be proactive and intentional with your affiliate marketing efforts, but when you decide to stop promoting a product, the links that you have put out there should still serve you well. One such company that I promoted over 8 years ago still sends me money from time to time. I would almost swear that they just share the leads that don’t have affiliates with their affiliates, because I cannot imagine that these links are still up, but of course, I don’t want to ask and stop the money from coming in.
Mailbox money does not have to physically come in the mail, although its cool when it does. I also have affiliate products & services that I get paid for via direct deposit, such as one travel offer that I stop promoting back in 2009. It’s not much, but it all adds up.
If you want to build some mailbox income for 2012, here is my recommendation. I recommend that you use sell Amazon products as an affiliate. Why? First, because people trust Amazon and secondly, because people often buy more than one item and you will get a commission on all of the products they buy within 24 hours of visiting through your affiliate link. There are lots of cool resources to help you sell as an Amazon affiliate. I will be sharing more in the future, but one I wanted to share with you is called EasyAzon. It is a WordPress plugin that makes creating affiliate links very simple. If you are not already an Amazon affiliate, I recommend registering (it’s free) and getting yourself on the road to lots of mailbox money in 2012!
In my book, Clickbank Profit Secrets, I talk about preventing affiliate theft. This can happen intentionally or accidentally, where your prospective purchaser gets to a website that you recommended without going through your affiliate link.
I found a great WordPress plugin built for affiliate marketers that not only cloaks your affiliate URL’s, but converts your keywords automatically to affiliate links, which increases the number of links you can leverage in your blog posts.
The power of this plugin is that it looks at all of the posts on your blog, so you aren’t just limited to using affiliate links in a specific blog post. It will actually search out the keywords through your blog and convert them wherever the words are used. That is POWERFUL!
The plugin (called Ninja Affiliate) saves you lots of valuable time and energy. This will allow you to focus on generating new content and promoting your blog, to get more eyeballs to your offers.
Don’t let the learning curve stop you. It’s like anything else related to your business, you have to invest a little time and money up front, but in the end, the payoff is well worth it. It probably won’t take you more than a few hours to figure it out.
If you are serious about making money blogging, you really need to check this out. It can be the difference in making money or not making money with your blog. It also give you more options for affiliate programs other than those related to your niche.
The developer is currently offering FREE upgrades for those who purchase the plugin and best of all it is backed by Clickbank’s 60 Day (no hassle) Money Back Guarantee.
If you are not familiar with PLR Content, you need to be. PLR stands for Private Label Rights and this is the kind of web content that you can purchase to resell. Reselling PLR content is one of the oldest ways of making money online, dating back to my early days on the web. What I am writing to tell you about is how this content can help you in your affiliate marketing business.
Over the weekend, I launched a new PLR Site called MassivePLArticles.com. I realized that I had a reseller program that I never actually put to use and it contained over 14,000 articles. Do you know how many niche websites you could launch with 14,000 articles? Well, let’s just say you launched 100 and each earned $1 per day; you now have an automated $3,000 per month income.
I wrote a report called “Making Money with Private Label Rights Content” that I am including in the reseller package, that gives a bit more insight on the 7 ways to use PLR content to build an affiliate business or any online business. Here are the 7 strategies in short:
2. Article Marketing (and not submitting to the article sites either)
3. Link Building.
4. Creating Niche Websites.
5 .Email Marketing
6. Creating Niche Ebooks
7. Being a PLR Reseller
I saved reselling for last because so many online businesses focus on selling the business as the business, so I would not want to be guilty of that. Best os all, this is not hype or theory; I recently launched a niche site based on PLR content and it is growing well, and I expect it to be a decent income earner over time (or I might even sell the site down the road).
If you want to learn more, check out my new PLR Reseller Site and learn how you can get this same MASSIVE PLR Bundle for just $49.99 (limited to the first 100 purchasers). You will also get the full version of “Making Money with Private Label Rights Content” and be on your way to earning the online income you desire and deserve.
Over the past 12 years, I have built affiliate income in several niche markets. With that, I have done lots of intentional marketing for which I can track results. One thing that still continues to happen however is “random” affiliate income. Those checks and deposits are nice little bonuses to get no matter how small they are. There is one company in particular (and I won’t name them – sorry) that I probably get $75 per year from coming from new sales. As I told my wife, I could not find those referral sources if someone paid me. In fact, I have not actively promoted that company since 2003!
On the other hand, it makes perfect sense. There is a universal law of sowing and reaping. It’s based on the principle of farming. A farmer sows seed, and gets a harvest. Building an affiliate marketing business (like farming) takes time, but as you sow in good ground (meaning doing the right things to build your affiliate marketing business), it will reap a harvest.
Getting random affiliate income really isn’t what I love the most about affiliate marketing, it’s the icing on the cake. What I love the most about affiliate marketing is the ability to build multiple income streams in multiple niche markets. That is exciting.
The key to getting paid in affiliate marketing is making sure your sales are tracked. Most companies use a cookie based system that detects your affiliate ID and credits your account for a sale. The sad reality is that there are instances where you might be losing sales and I want to share two common ways affiliate lose commissions.
1. Someone replaces your affiliate ID with their own. This happens more in the world of selling affiliate products, but it can happen anytime your purchaser happens to understand how affiliate marketing works. Many companies will prohibit affiliates from purchasing products using their own affiliate URL, but others (like Clickbank) aren’t as strict. When in doubt, I would just ask because this is not a case where you want to break the rule and beg forgiveness afterwards. In the online world, you often do not get second chances.
Solution: Protect your affiliate URL by either:
- Using a domain to redirect to your affiliate URL.
- Using a URL cloaker such as TinyURL.com
- Using a 301 redirect to hide your affiliate link (you will need some web skills for this)
The first two methods are relatively simple, and the last one does require some knowledge of web coding, albeit minimal.
2. When the merchant takes phone orders. Many well established companies that understand affiliate marketing will try and determine who the referring affiliate is, but it is just a fact that some customers will want to place a phone order, and a percentage of those orders will be processed without an affiliate ID. If the customer does not know the ID, the company is not going to risk losing a customer because someone doesn’t have an affiliate ID; they are going to make the sale.
Solution: Here are some options for increasing conversions of phone orders.
- Make sure if the company you are representing takes phone orders that they have strict policy on getting the ID number. You may even want to have someone you know place an order to test the system.
- Offer something extra for those who place orders using your ID. Ideally this would something that doesn’t cost you money, like a downloadable report.
- Gather the customers information and place the order for them. This will create a lot of extra work however.
- Engage in offline affiliate marketing where you can track your leads and sales
If you are not cloaking your affiliate links, I am fairly confident that you are losing sales. At a minimum, I recommend looking into a URL cloaking solution as soon as possible.
I hope you found this helpful. For more affiliate insights and tips, please subscribe to this blog by entering your email address in the box to the right.
Many people might think that web design or SEO (search engine optimization) are the most important skills that you need to be successful in affiliate marketing, but that isn’t the case. While both of these skills are helpful, and SEO is a highly valuable skill, I want to share with you the one skill that can help you be successful in affiliate marketing or any business you want to promote online. That skill is effective writing.
Search engines are in the business of helping people find answers and solutions in the form on information which usually appear in written format. Having a great looking website with content that looks like it was written by a 5 year old just isn’t effective in terms of instilling confidence, so you will quickly lose that prospect. As well, most of the components of SEO and paid search involve writing such as:
- Writing effective web copy
- Writing blog posts
- Writing blog reviews and comments
- Writing articles
- Writing ads for paid search
- Writing press releases
Assuming you can learn the basics of search engine optimization such as finding the right keywords and getting them on your website, three of the most powerful methods of getting visitors to your website involve lots of writing.
1. Articles. Writing articles can bring you lots of website visitors, especially when the article is hosted on a trusted authority website. The problem is you can’t just write a single article; you need to be committed to writing at least an article per week to really get your message out if this a part of your marketing strategy. This will also require some creativity so that you aren’t just re-writing the same content.
2. Blogging. Blogging is also a great way to get content out. In my opinion and experience, blog content holds much more weight and can be used in many more fashions. For example, you can set up your own blog (always recommended) and then utilize RSS & Social Media sites to help promote your blog content. You could also write for other blogs (ideally those that are better known than yours) as a guest blogger and get in front a new audience.
3. Press Releases. Using press releases to get news out about your company can be powerful, but only if they are actually newsworthy stories and well written. Writing effective press releases is a unique writing skill and does require doing your homework to ensure that you are using the correct format.
So what is one to do if you need to develop writing skills? You could look into taking a writing course at a local library or community college. Another option is taking an online course at www.writingtrainers.com which offers a great variety of grammar and writing courses.
I hope you found this helpful.