Suppose you could launch an online business in the next ten minutes? Suppose that this business did not require your own website, dealing with customers, refunds, product development or maintenance? This is the ideal world of affiliate marketing.
Made popular on the internet by Amazon.com, marketers can now earn a referral fee for directing visitors to countless merchants’ website. According to Forrester Research, affiliate program earnings will represent $53 BILLION of all e-commerce sales by 2005. How could you earn a sizeable piece of this pie? Here are some powerful tips that would get you rolling in those big commission checks and laughing all the way to the bank.
1. Know what programs and products to promote.
Of course you will want to promote those programs that will bring you the greatest profits in the shortest time. There are several factors that play into selecting such a program. Choose programs that have a generous commission structure, products that fit in with your target audience and a solid track record of paying their affiliates on time. If you cannot recoup your investment, then prune such programs and keep looking for better ones. There are tens of thousands of affiliate programs online so you can afford to be picky. This is a case where you will want to choose just the cream of the crop and so reduce the risk of losing your advertising dollars.
2. Write free reports or short ebooks to distribute from your website.
Most likely you will be competing with other affiliate marketers who are promoting the same program. If you write a short report on a related topic to the product that you are promoting, then you can distinguish yourself from all other affiliates. In this report you can provide valuable information for free with a “recommendation” of the product. This is often referred to as a ‘soft sell’.
The report or ebook allows you to develop credibility with your audience and your readers are more likely to follow your recommendation. There is less resistance to this type of selling because the prospect doesn’t feel ‘sold’, just informed. The next step is to make this ebook ‘viral’ by allowing those who bought the product through your link to ‘brand’ the ebook for their own promotional use.
3. Collect the email addresses of those who download your free ebook.
Research has shown that over 60% of the sales of any product are made after the fifth exposure to the sales message. In other words, most people do not make a purchase on the first solicitation. You may need to send your marketing message over six times before a sale is made. This is the reason why you should collect the contact information of those who download your report. You can then follow up on these contacts to gently remind them to make the purchase.
4. Never send prospect directly to a vendor’s website without collecting their contact info first.
Affiliate marketing is ideal but not perfect. You must keep in mind that you are providing free advertisement for the product owners. The merchants only pay you when you make the sale. If you send prospect directly to their website then these prospect are lost to you forever. If you collect these names instead, then you can always send other marketing messages to them and earn an ongoing commission instead of making a one-time sale.
5. Publish an online newsletter or Ezine.
It is always easier to recommend a product to a friend than to sell to a stranger. This is the philosophy behind publishing your own newsletter. A newsletter allows you to build a subscriber list and develop a relationship of trust with this list. Your subscribers will then trust you to recommend products that will benefit them.
This strategy requires a delicate balance of providing useful information along with a ‘sales pitch’. In other words, if you send out frequent advertisement to your list and little valuable information you are likely to lose credibility with your audience. But if you write informative editorials you will build a sense of reciprocity in your readers that will lead them to ‘support’ you by purchasing your affiliate products.
6. Ask merchants for a higher than normal commission.
If you are very successful with a particular promotion you should approach the merchant and negotiate a higher percentage commission for your sales. If the merchant is smart he or she will likely grant your request rather than lose you. Keep in mind again that you are a zero-risk investment to the merchant, so don’t be shy in your requests. Just be reasonable.
7. Learn to write strong Pay Per Click (PPC) ads. One of the most effective means of advertising online is through PPC search engines. As an affiliate, you can make a sizeable income by just managing PPC campaigns on services such as Google Adwords and Overture. Monitor your campaigns to see which ads are pulling their weight and trim those that are not.
You can use the ClickBank™ Market Place, for example, and just choose a hot-selling product and start promoting. Once you are earning a decent return on your investment then you are in profit! Just this strategy alone can make all the difference to your commission checks.
Affiliate marketing is an entrepreneur’s dream come true. Minimum investment, zero inventory, no employees, no product development—just BIG checks!
About the Author
Chris Coffman is the publisher of Net Marketing Daily. Visit http://www.netmarketingdaily.com for internet marketing news, tips, articles, and much more!