Choosing the Right Product for Affiliate Marketing Success
One of the most important things about a successful affiliate marketing campaign is the product that is promoted.
Let’s face it – no amount of sales copy in the world is going to do any good if the product isn’t worth a dime!
Anyone who can type on a keyboard can whip up a product in an afternoon (and there are many systems that suggest you do just that). The problem is that this means there are some really awful products out in the marketplace. You don’t want to risk your time or reputation on a product that isn’t worth promoting!
There are some things to consider when you are looking at a product to promote:
- Is there a demand for this product? Are there going to be enough people who want and need this product in order to make it worth your while to promote it? Believe it or not, there are people who create products on a whim, with no research done at all. There is no sense in promoting a product that no one wants.
- What is your commission going to be? Not only do you need to look at the percentage, but you also need to look at the amount. 25% of $100 is a lot better than 75% of $10. Is there a residual income? Monthly recurring income? Make sure you consider all of the possibilities before you decide.
- How good is the sales letter for the product? Sending traffic to a bad sales letter is like passing a football to a receiver that is all thumbs – they both fumble the ball, and you end up the loser.
- Will there be opportunities for additional sales? if so, you can be getting more commissions with the same amount of work as a campaign with no opportunities for additional sales.
- What kinds of tools does the product creator offer? There are some product creators that do not offer any tools at all, while others offer such things as banners, reviews, and other materials. The more tools provided, the better for you! Having tools pre-made makes your job as simple as plugging in your affiliate link into a banner or other sales tool.
It is also important to know where the best places are to find the best products. Some places are much better than others, and there are pros and cons to each site. Some places are to be avoided at all costs – the worst thing you want is to be sucked into promoting a scam.
Choosing a product that is a winner is the first step in creating a profitable affiliate campaign. Doing your research is well worth your time and will pay off many times over in the long run. Take your time and carefully consider your choice.
Learn more about Affiliate Marketing and Choosing the Right Product for Affiliate Marketing Success
Tips to Help Increase Affiliate Sales
When you first start with affiliate marketing, it’s common to think you’re going to make tons of money really fast. If however, you don’t really have a full plan in place to get things rolling quickly, the affiliate sales commissions can take longer to start coming in than you thought they might. There are ways to help increase affiliate sales though, and most of the best ways simply involve generating more targeted traffic to the affiliate programs you’ve chosen.
Did you catch the key phrase in that last sentence? Targeted traffic. Many affiliate marketers think they just have to send tons of traffic to an affiliate product page, and they will soon be flooded with sales commissions. This is simply not the case though. Getting ten thousand visitors to a website or sales page sounds great at first, until you look at the situation more closely. Where are those visitors coming from and what exactly are they looking for?
If you send ten thousand visitors to a website about exercise treadmills, but those people are looking for herbal remedies instead, you’re not likely going to see much success with sales… if you even see any at all. So always remember that targeted traffic is your number one goal.
Now, you might be wondering exactly how to get targeted traffic to affiliate websites, right? Well there are actually several ways to do this, so let’s look at a few of those.
1. Write articles on the right topic. If you’re promoting an affiliate product such as the treadmill mentioned above, then you’ll want to write articles about treadmills. Sometimes related topics such as exercise and fitness in general can work too, as can more broad topics such as home gyms. The more you write that’s focused tightly on your chosen affiliate topic though, the better your chances are of making sales.
2. Create websites with your articles. If you’re able to create your own website which focuses tightly on the affiliate topic you’ve chosen, you’ll be able to start getting links from other websites. This will help drive traffic to your website, which allows your affiliate links and advertisements to be seen by more people who are interested in that particular topic.
3. Create blogs with your articles. Creating a blog works very much the same way creating a website does, but this can often be started at no cost. Blogs are also more informal, so you can create shorter articles or even use daily tips which are tightly related to the affiliate products you’re promoting.
4. Give away some of your articles. Don’t give away articles you’re using on your own website or blog though. Either edit those articles a bit or write new ones, then give those away. Again, make sure the articles are tightly focused on your given affiliate topic. By giving these away at various internet websites, you’ll be gaining additional links to your website, your blog, or your affiliate sales pages. Over time these links add up to a lot of targeted traffic and that can lead to a lot of affiliate sales commissions.
Viral Affiliate Marketing
The topic of viral marketing comes up often in Internet marketing conversations. Most of the time though, viral marketing is discussed in the context of product owners and merchants themselves doing viral marketing. It’s not often to see discussions and advice which talk about doing viral affiliate marketing though, so we’ve decided to touch on that subject here.
Viral marketing is just marketing which has gained momentum by people talking about the product or service. Viral marketing can be word of mouth recommendations from one customer to another, or it can be people talking about the product on discussion boards and forums, or on blogs. Viral marketing can also happen through people complaining or bad mouthing products too though, so you need to be careful how you go about starting a viral affiliate marketing campaign.
The first step of course, is to make sure you’ve chosen an excellent product to promote, which is sold by a very reputable company. If you go out and try to promote an affiliate product that has a bad reputation, you’ll get a lot of talk going all right… but it won’t likely be very nice.
Viral marketing is not easy to start – whether you’re a merchant or an affiliate – but it gains a lot of momentum and power once it’s begun. There are some ways you can help try to make it start too, but not all of these will always work.
1. Create something funny. Make something funny on a blog, in a forum or discussion group, or in a give away report or ebook. If it’s funny enough, other people will link to it and pass it around. And of course if your affiliate link in included in what’s being passed around, you could get some visitors and sales.
Humor can be used in email too, as long as you’re not sending bulk unsolicited email – a.k.a. Spam – to people. Sending something funny to a group of friends or colleagues via email is usually ok though, and if your email signature has a small ad for the affiliate product you’re promoting, then you could get visits and sales.
2. Create something useful. This can take longer to go viral but it can also last much longer too. By creating something super useful such as a tutorial, help documents, research report and so on, you can get a lot of traffic and links to that resource. And if it’s really useful, many other websites will link to it, and many people will start recommending it in forums and in email. Put your affiliate links within the useful material somewhere, and as the visitors start to snowball you’ll get some of them visiting your affiliate product pages and buying.
3. Create a product review. By reviewing the very product you’re trying to sell – and especially reviewing it really well – you can stir up a lot of traffic and links from other places around the web where people are talking about the product or others like it. And when people come to read your review, if they like what they see, they’re very likely to click your affiliate links and buy the items.
Using Blogs for Affiliate Marketing
Many new affiliate marketers aren’t quite sure how to go about promoting the affiliate products or programs they’ve chosen. Thankfully there are many ways to promote affiliate programs though, and often some of them are very easy to use. Some are even completely free or inexpensive to get started with too.
Blogs are one of the easiest ways to get started promoting the affiliate programs you’ve chosen too. Blogs are quick and easy to set up, there are many places where you can get one for free even if you don’t have your own domain name and website, and blogs often start generating targeted traffic fairly quickly too.
Some popular places to get a blog at no cost include blogger.com and wordpress.com. Both systems are very easy to get started with and continue using over time.
Now, blog is a shorthand version of the words “web log”. Originally they were used to keep online journals and diaries, but in recent years they’ve become extremely powerful marketing tools. And they can be a godsend for new affiliate marketers.
All you need to do is set up a blog for the topic of your choice. If you’ve already chosen affiliate programs you plan to promote, then your blog should cover the topics that those products fit well with. Once your blog is set up, you’re ready to get started with your affiliate promotions. And that is simply a matter of writing.
Writing in a blog is usually done in an informal tone. You don’t have to write extensive essays or expert articles, but you can if you’d like. There are many other ways to make a blog popular though, and one great idea for use in affiliate product promotions is to create a tips blog.
Tips blogs contain regular brief posts with a tip or two in them. If you’re promoting an affiliate product which is about weight loss for instance, you could put one or more daily weight loss tips in your blog. These tips are easy because they tend to be very short, but useful and informative.
The more often you post content to your blog, the more traffic you can bring to it. It’s recommended to post at least two or three times each week, but if you can post at least once a day this will make your affiliate sales start happening faster. And of course anyone who posts more than once a day will definitely be ahead of the pack quickly.
Regardless of how long or short your blog posts are, try to tie them in thematically with the affiliate product you’re promoting. Don’t make every post an advertisement though. Make the posts informative, helpful, or even funny if you’d like. But make sure they’re on topic. The more posts you write which match the topic of your affiliate product, the more sales you’re likely to make.
In each theme based post, link a word, phrase or sentence to the affiliate product you’re promoting. Make sure the words you link make sense for what you’re linking to of course, and make sure your link contains your affiliate id as well. Linking words and phrases within your blog content will increase the chances of someone clicking the links, and visiting the affiliate product pages. And the more people who visit them of course, the more chances you have of making sales.
What is Pay Per Click Marketing?
Many new affiliates and internet marketers are unfamiliar with some of the terms used online, and one they happen across frequently is Pay Per Click, or PPC marketing. PPC marketing is an easy and fairly quick method to start marketing and making money online without a website. It costs money, and many new affiliate marketers lose a lot of money in the beginning because they haven’t learned the process well enough yet. But PPC marketing can also be quite lucrative once you get the hang of it.
Established affiliate and internet PPC marketers often make hundreds of dollars a day in profit, and they spend just an hour or two maintaining their marketing systems. The process of using PPC for affiliate marketing is quite easy, but there is a learning curve and it usually takes a bit of trial and error before you start being successful with it.
Pay Per Click is just how it sounds. You create one or more advertisements, then each time someone clicks your ad, you pay a certain amount of money for that click. The most popular PPC advertising service online is the Google AdWords system.
Using Google AdWords is fairly easy. You simply sign up for an advertising account, create your advertisement, decide the keywords your advertisement will show for, and choose how much per click you’re willing to pay. You can choose other things as well, such as which countries or regions your ad will run in, and what your daily spending budget is. Let’s look at each step in a little more detail.
1. Setup your AdWords account. This is free to do, and takes just a few moments. Once you have the account set up, you’ll be logged into the advertising area immediately.
2. Read through the instructions and FAQs. This is not a required step, but it will help you get your affiliate marketing campaigns started on the right foot. Google has rules about what you’re allowed to advertise, how long your ad can be and so on. Knowing those rules and guidelines will help reduce frustration and repeated work later.
3. Setup your advertisements. You can start with just one if you’d like, or make several. Setting up advertisements is done by first creating an ad group, then creating one or more ads to run in that group.
4. Select your keywords. The keywords you select for your ads is important, because these are what determines when your affiliate advertisements will show. You don’t want to have your affiliate ad for pet products show when someone is searching for fitness equipment. So select keywords and phrases that are directly related to the affiliate product you’ll be promoting.
5. Select your per click amount. How much you pay for each click on your ad can make a difference between profiting or losing your shirt. This number can be adjusted as needed, and it will change where your ad appears on the Google search engine too. If other advertisers are bidding $1 per click and you bid five cents, your ad may not be seen on the first 20 pages of the search engine results. So it may take a long time to get even a few clicks.
6. Set your daily limit. This is usually suggested by the AdWords system based on the keywords and per click amounts you’ve set. You can change it though, and you’re not usually charge the entire amount each day either. So setting your daily limit to $50 does not mean you’ll have to pay $50 every day for advertisements.
Twittering for Fast Affiliate Traffic
Twitter is a new type of social networking site. It was created by the guy who created Blogger, but it’s not your typical blog platform. You’re limited to a very short 140 characters per post, so you have to be careful about what you say.
But Twitter has some really great features that can really help make you more money if you use the site carefully. Each post is called a “Tweet.” People who want to receive all of your “Tweets” can sign up as one of your followers. They’ll be notified when you post a new message.
The beauty of Twitter is the fact that users who decide to follow you can get your messages sent instantly to their cell phone by text message. Although this isn’t great if you’re sending traffic mostly to affiliate links, it can be great to remind people that your affiliate site exists, and that you’re keeping it updated.
This can work especially well for review sites, for example. If a number of your visitors sign up to receive updates, you can send out a “Tweet” every time you add a new review.
For people who are especially fanatical about your niche, this could be very important to them, and they might look for your messages. If you are careful to offer very honest reviews, you could end up with a large and loyal following. And they’ll be notified by text message or email every time you add a new review.
This would also be very good for blogs and other sites that update often. This could apply to blogs about the latest tech gadgets, celebrity news sites and blogs, other types of news sites and blogs, and any other type of niche site that gets updated often.
You’ll probably want to use some sort of URL shortening method, since you don’t get a lot of text in each “Tweet.” You can use a service such as Tiny URL, or you can just use a short domain of your own with some sort of simple redirect script.
If you’re running a site that you want to give update notifications for, you shouldn’t use a redirect service, because you’ll probably want to remind people about the URL of your site.
This is especially important if you’re trying to build a brand. If you’re branding yourself or your site’s name, you need to keep it fresh in the minds of all of your followers. In this case, you should concentrate on keeping each post short, so you can offer your full URL in each “Tweet.”
Twitter can be a great tool for generating traffic straight to your affiliate offers, too. While many phone users aren’t going to be able to easily visit your affiliate offer, those who get Tweets online via email will flood your domain.
The cell phone messaging capability isn’t the most important part of Twitter for many people. In fact, many people don’t even use that feature, so keep that in mind. Although you might not have great results from those who do use the text messaging feature, you can still get very good traffic from those who use the site directly.
How to Use PPC Ads in Affiliate Marketing
One of the easiest ways to get started with affiliate marketing doesn’t involve even having a website of your own. Instead, you can simply open a Pay per Click advertising account at one or more popular locations online, place an ad or two, and send the clicks straight to your merchant sales page. Then when sales are made, you earn commissions.
If done well, your total commission earnings should be more than the total amount of money you’re spending for the advertisements. This can take a bit of trial and error, and some people never reach the point of positive returns from it. But there are some affiliates who make hundreds of dollars in profit each day by using this affiliate marketing method.
Now, there are a few ways to use Pay per Click advertising to make affiliate sales, so we’ll briefly review some of those here.
1. Send your click traffic directly to your affiliate merchant page. If you don’t want to bother with setting up your own website, or you don’t think you have anything extra to offer visitors, or you’re just plain lazy, the easiest way to get started with PPC affiliate marketing is to simply send visitors straight to the merchant page via your affiliate link. Setting up this way allows you to concentrate on improving your PPC advertisements and click through rates, and it can start making you money very quickly.
Almost all of the smaller Pay per Click search engines allow you to put an affiliate link in your ad. So all you have to do is set up the ad, link to your merchant page, and let it run. When someone clicks your advertisement, they’ll end up at the merchant’s sales page with your affiliate cookie intact. If they buy, you’ll get commissions. If they come back later and buy however, and your affiliate cookie is still valid, you’ll also make commissions.
Now, many people think you cannot do this anymore with the Google AdWords PPC program, but that is not true. It’s more difficult to do, but only because Google will not show multiple ads with the same URL in them at the same time. So if another affiliate is also using this technique to run ads on AdWords, you may have to share view time with them. If you’re the only affiliate doing it though, your ad displays won’t be reduced.
2. Create landing pages. This has become a more popular affiliate marketing technique using PPC advertising, because you don’t have to worry about Google’s URL restrictions. You can set up just one page if you’d like, which offers a review of the product, or a bit of information about it, then that page is linked to your affiliate merchant’s sales page.
The downside to using this method is that it requires more steps to get the sale. A visitor must first click your ad, and then they must also click the affiliate link on your landing page. It’s not uncommon to lose some traffic in the middle too. In other words, you’ll notice less people click through the affiliate link after having clicked on your advertisement.
How Affiliates Profit From Long Tail Keywords
Whether you’re new to Internet marketing or not, you have probably come across the term “long tail keywords”. And this method is often recommended as the best marketing approach affiliates can use to get sales online. Long tail marketing seems complicated at first, but it’s not really, and it can be quite lucrative for affiliate marketers who use the marketing technique consistently.
Long tail marketing is based on the concept of leverage. Instead of trying to compete against thousands of other people for larger, broader markets or keywords, the long tail approach focuses on tiny little micro sections of each niche instead. And since there is much less competition for these smaller niches, you can get yourself or your affiliate products noticed much more easily. So you repeat this process for hundreds of tiny little niches, instead of struggling to get yourself seen among thousands of others in larger niches.
Now let’s break this down into examples you can use. Take the weight loss niche for instance… it’s huge. There’s tons of competition, and any new marketer or affiliate who tried to enter the niche today might need to work hard for several years before they start actually making a dent in the noise.
A small section of the weight loss niche though, includes things like diet pills, or fitness equipment, fitness instructions, liposuction surgery, and any number of other branches. The point is: There are tons of sub topics within the general weight loss topic. So those sub topics is where affiliates need to concentrate their efforts. In this example though, even those sub topics are still too broad and busy.
So you pick one of the sub topics, and drill down further. Within the fitness equipment area for instance, there are treadmills, elliptical trainer machines, weight machines, resistance machines and so on. These are still too broad and competitive, so you’ll pick one and drill down again.
Eventually you get to the tiniest little pieces of each niche. If you chose Treadmills for instance, you might have then chosen the Nordic Track treadmill sub topic. Inside there are hundreds of different machine names, makes and models. And those are the long tail keywords.
If you have a hundred different exercise machines you’re promoting, and you’re focusing on just the machine’s name, make or model number for your promotions, you are much more likely to rank higher in search engines via natural search, and you’re going to pay much less money per click if you’re using PPC advertising methods.
Now each of these machine names may only get five or ten searches each day, but this is where the power of leverage comes in. Since you have very little competition for these long tail keywords, you’re more likely to get the most attention from interested buyers. And if you have 100 or 1000 long tail keywords each bringing in five or ten visitors a day, you’re getting 500 to 5000 laser targeted buying traffic every day.
Essentially: A whole lot of more obscure words and phrases can make much more money than one or two really large general niche words or topics can. And that is the power of long tail keyword marketing. Since the more obscure words and combinations are almost limitless, you could theoretically have millions of visitors coming to an affiliate website just by targeting words and phrases which only get a few searches each day.
Marketing Affiliate Programs with Articles
If you’re new to affiliate marketing online, you may not have much money to spare for marketing and advertising efforts. Thankfully there are some great alternatives that cost little to nothing, other than your time. One of the best is known as Article Marketing.
Article Marketing is the process of writing quality articles which are then given out free to various places around the web. These articles have your name and information on them, along with a link or two to your website. Your website should then have some kind of information available about the affiliate program or product you’re promoting.
When you give away your articles at no cost, more people will read them around the web. And each person that reads the article could potentially click your website links and visit your site. If you’ve done a great job of introducing your affiliate product on your website, they may then click the affiliate link and make a purchase. This of course earns you money.
Not all affiliate marketers promote a product on their website though. Instead, they use article marketing to get visitors to an email sign up page. When the visitors sign up for the information you’re offering, they’ll start getting regular email messages from you. And your email messages are the ones that will promote the affiliate products for you instead. This allows you, as an affiliate marketer, to build your own targeted prospect list around certain topics. And over time you’ll be able to promote additional affiliate products to that list which are related in topic, so you can make even more money from the same people.
Whichever way you decide to use it, article marketing can be one of the simplest, most inexpensive ways to start making money as an affiliate marketer. And there are just four simple steps:
1. Find a great topic. Sometimes this is called finding a niche, but the point is the same: Figure out what people are really interested in – or even desperate for – on any given topic. If they’re really itching for information about something, they’re more likely to buy without thinking twice about it.
2. Find a great affiliate product. The affiliate product you choose of course should be related to the topic you found in the previous step. Make sure the product has an excellent sales page, so the traffic you send to that page will be more likely to convert. Also of course, make sure that product is as great as it seems, so you don’t end up with lots of sales that end up being refunded.
3. Start writing articles. These don’t have to be perfect and they won’t be graded by your English teacher either. Just write the article about small pieces of the topic you chose in step one. Write as if you’re talking to just one person, and that will make it more conversational and engaging.
Your articles don’t have to be long essays either. Most good web based articles range in size from 300-500 words, but you can make it as long as 1000 words if you have that much to say. A better option though, would be to break a longer article into two parts because that will give you two articles to distribute instead of one.
4. Distribute your articles. This is the easy part. Once you’ve finished writing, be sure to create a signature style area at the end of your article which has your name, copyright, a bit of information about you or your website, and a link. Then simply submit the articles to various directories and distribution sites around the web.
How to Choose Good Affiliate Programs
Once you’re ready to start promoting other people’s products as an affiliate marketer, your first question might be how to choose a good affiliate program? And the answer usually is: It varies. There are many things to take into consideration in choosing an affiliate program, so we’ll look at several of the most important ones here.
1. What market are you promoting to? An affiliate program which sells shoes won’t be much good to you if you’re selling to people who want to learn how to train their new puppy. So the first step in choosing good affiliate programs is to only choose from those which fit your particular affiliate marketing niche.
2. What are the commissions? Knowing how much commission you’ll earn from one affiliate program to another can help you decide which one might be best for you. There are other things to consider besides commission levels of course, but most new affiliate marketers feel this is important. They’d rather earn 50% sales commissions instead of 35%.
3. How much actual cash do you earn? Most new affiliates don’t realize this, but sometimes a high paying commission rate is not as good at it might first look when choosing an affiliate program. If you choose to promote a $50 product for 50% commissions for instance, you’ll earn $25. If on the other hand, you promote a product which sells for $150… even though you’re earning 35% commissions, that ends up being a cool $52.50 for you. Twice as much as that “higher” paying affiliate program.
4. What are the program’s terms? It’s very important to read the rules, terms of service, and all fine print for any affiliate program before you join. Unfortunately there are some affiliate programs which aren’t overly kind to affiliates in their terms of service. If they only allow you to earn sales commissions when someone clicks your link for instance, but not if they come back an hour later, you might want to reconsider joining them.
5. What are the payment terms? Some affiliate programs require you to earn over $100 before they’ll send your earnings to you, and others will only pay you once every three months. Many new affiliates can’t afford to wait three to four months for a payment, and many also can’t earn $100 or more very quickly when they’re first starting out. So find out what their payment terms are before joining, and be honest with yourself about whether that payment plan will actually work for you or not.
6. How good is the sales page? This is a very important item that many new affiliate marketers are clueless about. If the sales page will not sell, then you’re not likely to make much – if any – money promoting that product. A good rule of thumb is to check out the sales page first, and gauge your own reaction to it. Does it make you want to whip out your credit card and buy? If so, then it’s worth at least a trial promotion period.
If the sales page makes you scratch your head, say “hmmm” or “huh?”, or you find yourself constantly trying to reread a section to understand it, you may want to pass this one up. If it’s not good enough to engage the reader and make them want to buy, it’s not likely going to help you make affiliate sales.