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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Collect Visitors Info First Before Sending Them To Affiliate

Honestly, I'm not a big affiliate fan because in the past I haven't gotten 90% of the money promised either because they disappear before they pay out or they have so many exceptions -- paying out once a quarter, has to be over X dollars first, etc. Another negative side is that some of them think that 10% commission or some low amount is worth the 20 hours it takes for us to sell it. Usually the 10% equal $10 and $10 isn't worth my reputation even $1000 actually.

Today’s article is not about the pros and cons of being an affiliate member. There are some good affiliate programs out there where you will get a check, their exceptions are small or nil, and the commission reasonable for the amount of time, risk, and reputation you place on the line for their product or program.

This article focuses on collecting their information before you give them the affiliate link so you can increase your mailing list numbers or residual income.

Almost all affiliate referrals are handled by providing someone with the affiliate link. The reader then goes from your place to their place. If this is what you have been doing, take the "L" (for loser) off your forehead, and read this to "get SMART quick."

Stop LOOSING a valuable marketing opportunity -- and stop it now!

Instead, set up a bridge page (also called a portal page or doorway page). Use the terms bridge and portal instead since the word doorway has a separate search engine meaning that can be confusing.

A bridge page works simply like this. You set up a bridge page on your web site. You send them to this page instead of to the affiliate site, collect their information, and THEN send them to the affiliate site.

The objective is to offer them something for fr*e*e that they must register for on that bridge page so you collect their information. In fact, you can offer several things.

You set up two pages actually. One that is the bridge page and the other a thank you page. After you collect their information THEN you send them to the thank you page. On the thank you page, you thank them for whatever it is they did and then give them an option to NOW access the affiliate site.

Here are a few ideas on items you can offer on the bridge page to collect their information:

* To subscribe to your ezine. If you have more than one, list these all. * To register for an ecourse. * To receive an ebook. * Offer your opinion or testimonials on using the affiliate’s product/program.

Now, one of the main things most people do not think about is offering them something to purchase. And this is something affiliate offerers lookout for when you sign up to be an affiliate (at least the good ones do). They don't want their competition becoming an affiliate and then snatching the customer on the way to their site. I am chuckling on this one -- I think it is great actually. Most affiliates don't even know this is happening to them.

Here is a duzie of a hint that I've only seen one affiliate program do. This will give you a head start and it’s kind of sneaky too.

You can offer something at a price on the bridge page that has to do with that topic (you have a focused buyer here). Example: The affiliate item is a software product. You can write an ebook on the same topic. Yes, will this piss off some affiliates. You bet, but guess what -- that’s business. And also guess what -- it’s going to take them a while to figure it out what you are doing too. They are so busy trying to obtain more affiliates they don't have the time to research each one.

Offering something for a price isn't as effective as something for fr*e*e. Then again, you have to decide what is your call to action for the bridge page. Is it to collect name and increase your mailing list or to make residual income. Don't get greedy and offer both. It will bite you in the "assets". Too many choices and it confuses the visitor and so they don't make any decision at all and leave without choosing anything -- no freebie, no affiliate link.

When you set up your doorway page, set up the metatags and searchable keywords that you wouldn't otherwise be able to place on your site. Make sure that these same words are in the content.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Generate More Sales in ANY Affiliate Program

It is my opinion that the best AFFILIATE PROGRAM ever…is still the AFFILIATE PROGRAM YOU own.

BUT…

For those who are content in promoting other peoples programs…I will share with you a few of my strategies for FREE!

But before I do that, let’s see why most affiliates FAIL in just about any given affiliate program.

Like food products, affiliates have a ‘use by date’ or ‘expiry date’. An average affiliate will expire 30 days after commencing …30 days or less to see if the program is any good and then they move on to the next affiliate program of the month.

If the affiliate doesn’t see a return on there investment in the first two weeks then they will not stay around.

DON’T BECOME A ‘30 DAY WONDER’.

It is time to make an informed decision (in choosing your affiliate program) and sticking with it. If you are one of those netpreneurs who changes affiliate programs often, and not making money from it, you now know why it isn’t working.

So before you go any further, make an informed decision (research) on the program you want to promote.

Now back to those STRATEGIES – TWO STRATEGIES TO BE EXACT.

Strategy One

Very simple and straight forward, KNOW YOUR PRODUCT!

To know your product you need to USE IT, and know EVERYTHING there is to know about it. It’s like going to watch a movie that you really, really enjoyed, you get this sense of excitement to share your great experience with others, well … you need to get that same excitement about your product that only comes about by KNOWING YOUR PRODUCT.

Strategy Two

The Golden Question for all affiliates is ‘How can I create an advantage for me?’

The Answer: Incentive Marketing

If you have never heard of Incentive Marketing, you are sure to have been a victim of it in your every day life.

Think about it… have you ever Up sized your meal at McDonald’s, have you ever brought anything because of the Free Gift or Discount.

Incentive Marketing, Incentive Marketing, Incentive Marketing…

It doesn’t matter that there are potentially thousands of other affiliates promoting the same program because from today onwards you are going to create an unfair advantage. Start thinking about what you could possibly use to create an unfair advantage and in PART TWO, I will give you the strategies you would need to become an SUPER INCENTIVE MARKETER.

To Your Online Success!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ClickBank Questions

It would seem that Clickbank would provide more for their customers. Obviously, when it comes to internet marketing and affiliate programs, you could put it in your top 10 links. No other database of affiliate programs offers such a possibility for profit on either the affiliate side or the product creation site. And you can't beat the fact that the commissions from over 10,000 products get consolidated into one check. But there are still a few lingering questions that may get you thinking.

What is up with the site? I mean, a site shouldn't be overly complex. In fact, complexity can be a turn off. Then again, I have found more complex site templates from free sites. And it's not just that. How many of you Clickbank affiliates have found news about Clickbank or FAQ's about Clickbank on a forum, clicked the link and the FAQ is on the Clickbank domain. But, if you go to the Clickbank homepage, there is no link to the page you just visited.

I don't know about you, but if I were running a business, I would make sure that customers and vendors could get all of the information possible and not have to find out news through third party sources.

But, on the other hand, I can't complain. The checks do come in. I have never had to search for a customer service link on the site, because there has been no reason to. You make sales and you get a check. It's that simple and I have never found anyone who says otherwise.

Then you've got to wonder about the search feature. There is none. But why? For one reason, if Clickbank itself had a search feature, any internet user who is familiar with Clickbank clicking on an affiliate's hoplink could recognize this. They could then go to Clickbank and buy the product under their own affiliate ID at up to 75% off, which wouldn't matter much to Clickbank or the product seller, at least in the beginning. They still collect their cash.

But eventually, the product seller would notice a drop in sales. Affiliates would become less than satisfied with the results of all their hard work and stop working as hard to make sales that weren't coming in anyway. Therefore, there would be less advertising of the product in total. You can't underestimate the value of an affiliate army who are rewarded accordingly.

There are plenty of third party products available that will essentially build a search engine on a Clickbank affiliate's site for them.

Even without this, there are some out there who know what a Clickbank Hoplink looks like and just where to put their own Clickbank ID in order to make a commission for themselves.

Should the affiliates themselves be responsible for protecting their sales. I don't think so. Of course there are products that can help you protect your links, but shouldn't the responsibility rest on the product developer. Our heroes, the third-party software developers, come to the rescue again by providing software to do this for you, but only a few of the product developers selling through Clickbank rely on these products. This leaves a lot of affiliate out in the cold, relying on link cloaking to protect their sales.

I love when I sign up for an affiliate program and click the link assigned to me to test it out and I am delivered to the main page of the site. There is no "?hop=" behind the URL, just "www.mysite.com." This lets me know that my only job is to get the word out on the product and not become an expert on encryption just to make a sale. Just to let you developers know out there, it is also great not to create a link for affiliates from any page designed for sales. You've just defeated any work we as affiliates or you as a responsible marketer have done to save our commissions. Send the link after the sales if you want to but don't treat your affiliates like dirt by telling their lead that they can get a 50% discount by signing up for your affiliate program.

Another reason for product developers to check out link cloaking software: link popularity. If you use the conventional hoplink, Clickbank gets a link back to their site. If the affiliate has to encrypt the link himself, no one gets the link credit. If you buy one of these scripts, your affiliates will advertise a link that points to your site. Just something to think about.

Then there is sales notices. There are none. There used to be a time when Clickbank would send you an e-mail each and every time you made a sale. Spam? Only if you consider a check from the IRS junk mail. Personally, Clickbank could fill my inbox to the limits with notices like this. But this service is no longer there.

I don't want to even start with Clickbank's sales reports functions. Lets just say that they could be improved, a lot.

This is even another area where third party vendors lend a helping hand. You can create affiliate sales reports, profit reports, send e-mails to your customers, and even graph sales trends with such software. Some are scripts that you run on your site. These will send out a thank you e-mail, add the customer to your database and even activate an autoreponder to send out e-mails to your customers in the future. Others allow to have multiple products, multiple sites, and only one Clickbank account.

So what am I trying to say? Just that with the money you would think Clickbank is making, it seems that they could create a more elaborate, user-friendly site. Despite this, you can't beat Clickbank for high commissions and consolidated payments. In fact, some of the holes in the Clickbank system has allowed some innovative software developers to step in and provide very useful tools. Those who use Clickbank to sell their products should take notice and guarantee an effective affiliate sales force by at least checking these solutions out. In turn, they will be rewarded with more sales and affiliates who trust them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Affiliates Need To Read Their Newspaper

Millions of people check the news everyday-- in the morning paper, online, and on the nightly news.But far too often affiliates do not find out what has occurred in affiliate marketing that day; this is important because affiliate marketing changes daily.There are many resources for affiliate marketers to learn about the day’s happenings. The best way to learn about the changes in affiliate marketing is by visiting forums often.

Forums provide a great resource by allowing new affiliates to learn from the experts.New affiliates hear and learn about the different opinions and techniques that are used in the industry.In turn, this information helps educate the affiliates and helps them decide whether they agree or disagree on the particular subject or technique.By visiting forums often you can learn timesaving tips as well as common mistakes that you can avoid.

Here are some of the most popular forums that are most useful for affiliates:

With over 14,000 members this is a vast pool of knowledge that you can draw from.

For all of your questions about anything having to do with Web design, this is the place to go.There are a lot of quality discussions that are segmented as well as moderated.

Here you can find discussions and questions that deal with all aspects of search engines.Some of the topics include: Questions on specific search engines and directories, specific discussions on search engine optimization and web marketing, general search issues, and current issues.

This site is a great location to find articles on various topics and learn about what is news worthy in the industry.

There are also forums strictly for affiliate managers.Here, managers can learn about those issues that are strictly pertinent for them, such as keeping an affiliate program in-house or outsourcing.You can visit http://www.10xmarketing.com/affiliate-program-management.asp to learn more about some of the options that are available to managers.These forums provide a great resource to learn about the technical details of running a program.

Forums teach valuable information about affiliate marketing that will make help make affiliate sites more successful.By visiting and posting often in these forums many people become experts on certain topics.Networking opportunities will also arise.Many of these forums help industry leaders form business relationships.Forums are an amazing resource; do not overlook them because they are vital to ones success. Since affiliate marketing changes everyday, one should visit them as often as you watch or read the daily news.

Alex Hachtman, of 10x Marketing, wrote this article.

10x Marketing provides companies with Internet marketing solutions that will increase consumer visits on a regular basis, thus increasing potential sales and revenue.

Contact 10x Marketing today for more information about your companies affiliate program. See http://www.10xmarketing.com/res/ecommerce-affiliate-program.asp for more information.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

How I Started My Own Work At Home Internet Business With Very Little Investment!

Have you always wanted to work at home? Have your own business? Didn’t think it was possible? No more commuting in traffic (plus gasoline prices right now are ridiculous). No more “business attire” (work in your jammies) and no more Corporate America breathing down your neck. I didn’t think it was possible. I had always been a pessimist. Didn’t think I could do it. Didn’t have the knowledge or skills required.

I had worked in the travel/customer service industry for 25 years. I was laid off over two years ago after 9/11. I submitted my resume to countless job postings with no response. Obviously after awhile I was feeling unwanted, useless, and depressed. No job prospects, no money, no direction. I not only needed an income, I needed a purpose, a reason to get up in the morning other than the cats and bird needed to be fed.

What was I going to do?

The light bulb finally came on in my head and I realized that I had some resources right at home. A computer and internet access. I normally surfed the net to shop (shopping mind you, couldn’t afford to buy) and playing computer games to pass the time.

I happened upon an opportunity to take surveys online. Sounded easy enough and for a $35.00 investment to access a database of survey sites I could start making some money. I registered with every survey site listed in that database. A tedious task! In two months time a made $102.50 and a $10.00 gift card. I wasn’t going to pay the bills with that kind of money. Back to the same dilemma!

What was I going to do?

I started searching the web for information about working from home. To my amazement there are countless opportunities. Now the question was not if I could have my own business but what kind of business did I want? I’m not a salesman! I didn’t want to have to worry about inventory, packaging, shipping, merchant accounts, etc. I had very little money to invest, so my out-of-pocket expenses would have to be low, really low.

What was I going to do?

I found a website which offered me the chance to start my own business with incredibly little cost. The following is what was provided:

1. A domain name registered for $30.00.

2. Hosting of my website at a low monthly fee of $24.95.

3. My website was created free of charge which included a free auto responder.

4. I had to join five affiliate programs (signup was free) which their links would be placed on my website. These were some of the top affiliate programs (paying good commissions with multiple income streams). I found many favorable recommendations for them at several different websites.

5. They immediately got me started on how to build a mailing list fast and how to generate traffic to my website.

6. I was provided a home business tips newsletter that goes out to my email list on a daily basis. I don’t have to do a thing, it’s automatic.

7. Plus, I am provided with more tools, tips, ideas and marketing strategies (from well known “Internet Marketing Gurus”) than I thought possible. All free of charge.

They’ve done the research and testing to know what works and what doesn’t. Just have to follow their lead. These people give you step by step instructions. Go to any internet marketing website and see how much information is given freely. I think you will be as amazed as I was and still am.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are some costs involved. But I’m talking a couple of hundred dollars not thousands! I have been overwhelmed with information, ideas, tools and resources!

No one is going to do it all for you. You will have to spend time learning and working to promote your business. Point is YOU too have the opportunity to become your own boss!

Take action now, don’t wait, and grab a piece of the internet boom for yourself. As I said before I was always the pessimist, but now I see a half full cup instead of a half empty one.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Internet Affiliate Marketing 101 - It's All About Relationships

So you've found the perfect affiliate program, you've signed up and they gave you a website....now what? "They" say that "all you have to do" is drive traffic to your site...but you don't have a clue where to begin...

Never fear, Affiliate 101 is here...here's a list of a few simple, free or inexpensive tasks you can accomplish today. Details follow, first just the list:

1. Send emails to friends and family;

2. Make new friends on the internet;

3. Print out and distribute posters, business cards, and/or postcards;

4. Write articles and post free ads.

First of all, don't panic. You don't have to do ALL of these, just whatever you feel comfortable with. But I do heartily suggest that you push the envelope a little on your comfort level...

Email Friends and Family: If you're uncomfortable with contacting family members (they CAN be your sharpest critics) first scan the options, maybe one of the less obtrusive ones would work.

Be sure to write ONLY to friends. Anything else will be considered spam; any worthy company will drop you like a hot potato when they receive legitimate spam complaints.

Consider the friends and family you might write to and decide the best approach for each:

1. The Second Opinion Approach: save this for the hard nuts to crack, flatter them with "I've signed up for this opportunity and would really like to hear your opinion..."

2. The Beating Around the Bush Approach: "I'm making some extra money doing this biz, do you know anyone who might need a few extra dollars?"

3. The Direct Approach: for those close friends that you KNOW could use some financial miracles in their lives... you can lead with the business opportunity or with the products. I think it's Avon that has a nice promo these days, "products you can buy and sell". Simple and to the point...

4. The Chummy Letter Approach: just write a letter to a friend as you usually would and casually mention what you are doing, that it's on "wait and see", or already is making you a little money, or whatever.

5. The No-Mention Approach: just add a signature to all your emails that includes your website's URL and your email address, maybe the name of your company. Subtle, let's them explore if they want.

Getting to Know You...

How do you currently meet people on the internet? Game chat rooms, forums, opt-in email lists, Yahoo groups, messenger services...these are only a few ways to meet people. Many sites such as Yahoo, AOL, or ICQ let you create a profile including favorite websites, etc. While direct advertising is often frowned upon or prohibited, usually signatures at the bottom of posts is allowed. Many friendships formed in forums and chat rooms lead to email and website exchanges.

Stuffing Envelopes...

Printed fliers can be distributed everywhere you go, posted on your car...be creative. Include a business card or flier in every piece of mail you send including bills, on tables in restaurants, in phone booths, stick them in business books in the library. Make it fun! If you have mailing addresses rather than email addresses of anyone who might be interested, send them a flier or postcard.

Become a Famous Author

Anyone can write an article, everyone is good at something or has an experience that would help someone else out. Article writing helpsbuild trust and over time will brand your name and drive traffic to your website. And it's free. Submit your articles to individual webmasters and editors as well as article directories.

Banner Swapping and Text Linking

Some say that banners are not very effective in getting traffic to your website, but hey, it's free and it doesn't hurt to try. It's best to spend some time finding a high traffic site or two and not fill your site with banners. Text links are still your best bet.

There you have it, lots of good ideas for beginning promotion of your website.

I'll leave you with one more thought, something to come back to and mull over as time goes on...Spend some time on this one...

Find an online entrepreneur that you truly admire. There are lots out there, but there will be someone that really rings true for YOU. Maybe it's this person's style, or background, but something makes him or her stand out in your mind. Think of something that you can do FOR this person, and pursue that thought. Joint ventures...more on this later.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Watch Out For Traffic Leaks

When promoting any affiliate program one thing that you, as an affiliate, has to watch out for is what is called traffic leaks. What is a traffic leak? A traffic leak is something on the merchants site that will cause the visitor, that you referred to their site, to get distracted and leave the merchant site, leaving you with no possibility of receiving any kind of commission.

Having traffic leaks does not mean the affiliate program is a scam or trying to cheat you. It is most likely that the merchant just doesn't realize what they are doing. If you are promoting an affiliate program that is not getting any sales for you, you may want to check for traffic leaks. If you find some then contact the merchant (in a professional manner) and ask if they would consider removing the traffic leaks from their site to increase conversion.

Here are a few examples of a traffic leak:

Advertisement Banners & Links
This is usually the most common traffic link. The merchant will put up a banner ad or two and some text links to "offset" their expenses. You do not want to promote an affiliate program that has this on their site. When you send a visitor to the site and they click the banner or text ad and go to the other site the merchant gets paid while you get zippo. Not to fair is it?

Order Phone Number
Another traffic leak is the toll free (or regular) phone number they put on their site to let customers call in their orders. But when customers do call in their orders you get stiffed on the commission. It is very easy to set up phone commission tracking. You should ask the merchant if they have any plans on setting up phone sale tracking. If they don't know how you can send them to me to show them how to do it.

Basically, you do not want anything on the merchants site that will drive your referred customer away to another site that you will not get a commission from.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Grow Your Business with Affiliate Marketing

To generate additional business income, consider
expanding your business through affiliate marketing.
Here are three ways of boosting your business income
with affiliate programs.

1. Earn Commissions

By joining and promoting suitable affiliate programs,
you can expand the number of related products and
services that you can offer your customers. The
company offering the affiliate program pays you
commissions on products and services they sell as a
result of your referrals.

Good affiliate programs will offer excellent products,
website, credit card processing, commissions, sales
aids and support. Your main function will be to direct
your existing customers and others to the company`s
website.

2. Earn Income from the Efforts of Others

In many affiliate programs, you can earn commissions
on the referrals of other people that you sign up as
affiliate marketers. So, now you are not only earning
income from your own sales but also from the effort
of others.

3. Start Your Own Affiliate Program

By starting and promoting your own affiliate program,
you can obtain a worldwide sales force for your own
products and services. The beauty of this arrangement
is that you only pay for performance. Your sales
agents are only paid a commission when they make a
sale of your products and services.

By applying these suggestions, you, too, can grow your
business through affiliate marketing.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Affiliate Programs... Who's Really Making The Money?

There will be a million and one affiliates out there who will tell you that the affiliate program they promote is going to be the best one for you.

But have you considered who is really making the money and who gains the most out of affiliate programs.

Let's take a step back and look at the AFFILIATE.

What exactly is the role of the affilate?

* The sole purpose of the affiliate is to PROMOTE the product and/or service

What are the benefits of being an affiliate?

* Get paid a minimal commission that is regulated by the owner of the product/service

In short, As an affiliate it is your responsibility to make someone else rich whilst doing all the hard work. You take on the expenses of advertising, you are the one who usually misses out on subscribers if you haven't first made them your client before they buy the product/service you are promoting.

And all this for what??? Maybe $20 per sale if you are really, really lucky.

You also need to remember that when you are an affiliate, YOU are not the only person promoting that very same product/service.

So what will make your offer any different to someone else who is promoting the exact same product, usually using the same sales technique, offering it at the same price.

To be in the top 5%, which is the amount of affiliates who make more than $100.00 per month, you need to first have a really good, clean, targeted subscribers list of more than 50,000 subscribers, know exactly how to gain targeted traffic, and have a huge advertising budget.

For the other 95%, the only way you are going to make alot of money from and affiliate program is to OWN YOUR OWN.

It really isn't as hard as you might think to set up.

So in conclusion, the best AFFILIATE PROGRAM, obviously is the one you OWN.

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