Affiliate Marketing

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

super affiliates handbook

Affiliate marketing is an Internet-based marketing system in which merchants reward affiliates for each visitor or customer that comes to the merchant website as a result of the affiliate’s marketing efforts.

Affiliate marketing is considered one the best ways to make money online (read an amazing success story here), and affiliates can be rewarded in a number of different ways: cash, gifts, coupons and discounted merchandise are just a few of them. Of course, most prefer cash, but other incentives are nice too.

There are many different types of affiliate programs from which to choose. Some of these include:

Pay Per Sale – Every time a sale is made as a result of advertising on the affiliate’s website, a percentage or commission is deposited into the affiliate’s account or paid directly to them through online payment methods such as PayPal®.

Pay Per Click – Every time a potential customer leaves the affiliate website by clicking on a banner or text link that leads to the merchant’s website, a certain amount of money is deposited in the affiliate’s account.

Pay Per Lead – Every time a potential customer registers at the merchant’s website as a result of an advertisement on the affiliate’s account, the merchant deposits a set amount into the affiliate’s account.

For many website owners this is a great way to earn some extra money without actually having their own product.

This type of marketing is also beneficial to the merchant. By placing affiliate marketing advertising on websites all over the Internet, the merchant gets free advertising and does not need to do as much marketing. The more websites with which a merchant is affiliated, the more exposure products get.

All affiliates should do thorough research on the merchant before applying to the program. Not doing so can mean ending up with a merchant who refuses to pay commission fees, merchants with very restrictive terms, and even merchants who couldn’t care less for the affilaite

Of course, most merchants and affiliates have a pleasant and profitable business arrangement, but research is an important first step.

Another important aspect that an affiliate should consider is the placement of the affiliate links, and /or banners. It’s important to choose placement wisely: just slapping a banner on your page will not help you in most cases, but weaving links to affiliate offers in your content usually works well.

One of the best guides I’ve come around that teaches affiliate marketing is the Super Affiliate Handbook by Rosalind Gardner. Have you read it? Implemented it? What kind of success did you have with it? I’d love to hear about your affilaite marketing success.

Winning Web Design Tips for Newbie Webmasters

Good web design is an art form.  A web page that is easily accessible, easily navigated and creative will attract more customers than one that is complicated and cumbersome.  Most people assume that to create decent web pages, they must use the most advanced graphics, flash techniques and other sometimes “expensive” tools.

In reality, good web design relies more on simplicity.  Best web design practices actually are simple to master.  First and foremost, a web designer should look at color.  Color is one of the simplest tools that a designer can use to attract surfers to their website.  Good web design uses just two or three complementary colors that are bold enough to send a message, but not so bold as to send the image “cheesy” to customers.

Good web design also requires appropriate utilization of text.  One of the biggest errors failed web sites have in common is inappropriate use of text.  Text for example, should be uniform.  Try using the same font if at all possible throughout a web page.  Additionally, ensure that text is big enough for a surfer to read, but not so big that it detracts from the message of the main web page.

The best web designs also take into consideration the ease of navigability. A web page that is difficult to navigate will cause surfers to flee before they have had enough time to decipher the message you are trying to sell.  Far too often, novice web designers attempt to design complicated and flashy websites.  While visually appealing, these websites can sometimes be difficult to navigate.

Make certain that when designing web pages you select navigation buttons that are easily understood and readily available.  Navigation should also be uniform throughout the website: that way a surfer once they ascertain the navigation method used does not have to guess how to go from one page to the next.

Large web sites should ALWAYS provide surfers with a search engine or site map, so that visitors can easily navigate through the many pages.  Also helpful to surfers would be buttons that would provide customers with information related to where they currently are.

Perhaps the most critical web design practice is ease of download.  Pages that are large and cumbersome or those that download too slowly will cause surfers to turn away before they ever have the opportunity to see what you have to offer. You want to ensure that all surfers have easy access to the information you are providing.

How does your website design stand up to these guidelines? If you have trouble designing your own site, why not outsource it to someone who does this every day?

Learn Affiliate Marketing: Top 10 Free Resources for New Marketers

There is a lot of information on the Internet to help newbies learn affiliate marketing. Nearly everyone who’s ever earned a dollar online has something to say about it, but if you’re new to the field, how can you know what’s good advice and what’s not worth the pixels it’s written with? Here’s my pick of the top 10 free resources for new marketers to get you started.

1. WordPress. If you’re going to work online, you’re going to need a website, and WordPress is the easiest to use content management system available. Most web hosts offer one-click installs, which means you can have a professional site up and running in just a few minutes. Since WordPress is open source, there are thousands of developers busy building plugins to extend the functionality and make it even easier to use. No matter what your niche, you’re sure to find a free theme to fit. But if you want something custom designed, there are lots of talented designers out there who can help.

2. Google. Yes, Google. Not just the search portal, though that’s important. Google also provides analytics tools for webmasters and the best free keyword research tool online. They also have extensive help files and tutorials to teach you how to use the tools they provide.

3. Twitter. Twitter is not just for selling. It’s also a great research tool. If you use TweetDeck you can set up searches on your keywords, use the results to find new people to follow, new products to promote, and new topics to write about.

4. Ed Dale’s 30 Day Challenge.
If you are starting at the very beginning and need some hand holding, you can’t do better than Ed’s 30 Day Challenge. Much like the Problogger program, Ed gives you daily tasks to complete beginning on day one with choosing a niche. He provides videos, software (free for 30 days), a forum, and lots of encouragement. He says his goal is for you to earn your first buck on line, but a lot of 30 Day Challenge graduates do much better than that.

5. Problogger.net.
Darren Rowse blogs for a living, but don’t make the mistake of thinking all he does is sell ad spots on a high traffic blog. He is also an affiliate marketer. He promotes products directly on his blog and via email to his list, all while teaching new bloggers how to build a better blog. His 31 Days to a Better Blog program will give you step by step directions for an entire month of blogging. Finish the program and at the end you’ll have a great start on a sustainable blog, and 30 days of blogging momentum to keep you going.

6. Nicole Dean. As it says on her site, “Nicole Dean jumps out of bed every morning, excited about teaching others how to make money online.” Listen to her podcasts and you’ll know it’s true. Nicole is truly excited about what she does and is thrilled to share. She talks about service businesses, information products, affiliate marketing, blogging and just about every other business model out there.

7. Lynn Terry is one of the most down to earth, girl next door affiliates out there. She spells it out for newbies and veterans alike on her blog, and is always available in her forum, Self Starters Weekly Tips, to provide good solid advice. She also hosts a weekly webinar each Tuesday at noon Eastern.

8. Copyblogger.com. Copyblogger won’t teach you how to blog or how to be an affiliate marketer, but it will teach you how to write compelling copy that sells. Nearly all affiliate marketing models – blogging, email marketing, even selling via Twitter – require some form of copywriting to make it work. Brian Clark of Copyblogger is the master of online copy, and he and his writers freely share their knowledge with the world.

9. Warrior Forum. The Warrior Forum claims to be the oldest community of Internet marketers online today, and one look will tell you why. Most any time of the day or night you will find more than 2000 users online reading and posting and helping each other learn about all aspects of online work. Warrior Forum has a paid membership option as well as free. A warning, though: you could waste a lot of time in there, so be careful to only spend the time you need to learn.

10. SEO Fast Start. If you’re not sure what keywords are or how to use them, SEO Fast Start by Dan Theis will give you all the information you need. Dan has developed a system that will not only help you determine your keywords, but teaches you how to use them to drive targeted traffic to every page of your site.

There are thousands of sites online that promise to help you learn affiliate marketing. It pays to do your homework, and only take advice from those who are affiliate marketers first, and instructors second.

Affiliate Marketing Strategy: 5 Tips for Long Term Success

Seems like everyone these days is talking about affiliate marketing. There are some marketers out there making big promises of nearly instant wealth while working twenty minutes a day from your beach house, and while that’s what we all want to believe, the truth is somewhat different.

1. Be prepared to work. Thomas Jefferson said “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” This is as true in modern affiliate marketing as it was of politics in the 18th century. Affiliate marketers who today spend a few hours on their business each week and earn money while on vacation are the same marketers who put in many long hours for months or years before achieving the successes they enjoy today.

2. Don’t expect instant riches. Along with needing to actually work at your business, you need to be realistic in your goals as well. Affiliate marketing is not a get rich quick scheme. Building a sustainable affiliate income takes time. Among other things, you need to publish content on your affiliate sites, grow your mailing lists, and build a network of links to and from your site to increase traffic. None of these things can be done overnight, but once you start the process you’ll begin to see it snowball.

3. Treat it like a business. A lot of people play at affiliate marketing. They dabble. They flit from one shiny object to the next, never really devoting the time and energy required to make their business work. Affiliate marketing is a business. Just because you do it from your laptop while you watch the Biggest Loser doesn’t mean you should treat it as a hobby. Consider writing a business plan, setting goals, and developing a step by step plan to help you achieve your goals.

4. Don’t be afraid to invest in your business. One of the biggest mistakes new affiliate marketers make is in wanting to do everything for free. While Internet marketing does indeed have one of the lowest start up costs of any business model, you will need to make some small investments. Don’t try to get by with free web hosting, for example, thinking you’ll move your site when it’s making some money. Set your business up with a solid foundation and you’ll have far fewer headaches in the future.

5. Learn from people you trust. There are thousands of products out there that proclaim to teach affiliate marketing, so how do you choose the one to follow? Simple. Find someone you trust, and follow them. Find someone who is demonstrably successful, is approachable, and who is not surrounded by hype, and listen to what they say.

Affiliate marketing can be a lucrative career. If you take the time to learn the strategies that work, put in the effort to build your business, and have the right attitude, you might just find yourself with the title of “super affiliate” one day.

How to Select a Profitable Affiliate Program

super affiliates handbook

Affiliate marketing has been and still is a profitable business model. Whether you’re pursuing affiliate marketing as a business or are looking to add a few affiliate products to your current business model, there are some secrets to selecting a profitable affiliate program.

1. Check out their reputation in the industry. There are literally thousands of companies around the world with affiliate programs and chances are you’ll have plenty to choose from in your business niche. However, not all of them are created equal and it pays to be selective.

One key way to make sure you’re signing on with a profitable affiliate program is to research their reputation in the industry. Do they have a reputation for quality products? Do they have a reputation for good customer service? Are they respected? Is the company growing or is it on a downward turn?

2. Are payment terms acceptable? Does the company pay you whenever you make a sale or only when you reach a certain level of sales? This is important because if you have to wait until you make ten sales or reach $500, this affects your cash flow. Cash flow is important not only in staying afloat as a business owner but also in staying profitable. Make sure the payment terms of your chosen affiliate program meet your cash flow needs.

3. How are their sales pages? If you’re being paid per sale, rather than pay per view, there’s no profit in sending 1000 customers to an affiliate sales page if the sales page doesn’t convert visitors into customers. Make sure the sales pages of your affiliate product or service convert traffic into sales. Also make sure there are no leaks, such as AdSense, or other types of advertising.

4. What materials do they provide you to promote? Some affiliate programs give you an affiliate link and send you on your way. Other affiliate programs offer you a wealth of content, advertisements, promotional materials, buttons, and more to promote their products. The more materials a company provides, assuming its quality marketing material, the easier it will be for you to make money.

5. How do they treat their affiliates?
This is important. When issues arise or when you need to speak to an affiliate manager about anything, is there someone available to help you? Look for companies that have a good reputation for treating their affiliates like the valuable assets they are. If you have questions about whether an affiliate program is the right choice for you, contact them.

6. Do you feel good about their products or services? Instincts and intuition are important, and so is your ability to sell or promote products and services. If you’re unable to promote them with enthusiasm then you’re probably not going to make much money from them.

7. Does the program compliment your other affiliate offers?
This may seem obvious; however, the best way to make an affiliate program profitable is to make sure it fits into the needs of your audience and that it compliments your other affiliate programs. If you’re seeking your first affiliate program, then make sure it fits your business vision.

Finally, ask around if you have questions about an affiliate program’s potential profitability. If you cannot find anyone who represents the products, which you should be able to do with a quick search online, then contact the program manager and ask for a few references or the contact information of a few affiliates. Talking to these affiliates will likely answer any questions you may have.

If you want to learn more about making money with affiliate programs, check out Rosalind Gardner’s Super Affiliate Handbook. If you’d like to see how it benefited others, read this excellent Super Affiliate Handbook Review by none other than Lynn Terry.

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