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An Affiliate Marketing Situation

The hottest thing in Internet marketing today goes by the name, “affiliate marketing”. If a person has not heard of this term, then he has been away from the Internet for quite a long time. Affiliate marketing is not a new product promotion strategy but it has never faded nor buried under a thick layer of dust and oblivion. Affiliate marketing is considered a relatively effective promotional strategy and this is why it has survived for a long time. But with the evolution of e-commerce and Internet technology, affiliate marketing has flourished.

What exactly is affiliate marketing? Affiliate marketing is a symbiotic relationship between two online companies. One of the online companies is the Affiliate. This affiliate is sometimes referred to as the Publisher. The other online company is either the online Merchant or an Advertiser. The Merchant is the company which manufactures the products or provides the services. The Advertiser is most likely the hired marketing arm of an online company.

The relationship of the two companies is centered on the marketing and selling of the products using the Internet. The Merchant or Advertiser links up with the Affiliate so that there will be more sales. The Affiliate’s role is to provide traffic to the website of the Merchant. This is usually done when the Affiliate promotes the products of the Merchant. The Affiliate is paid each time he sends visitor traffic or each time a visitor makes the purchase. Of course, the Merchant is benefited when the visitor buys a product.

To illustrate, here is a specific example: Company A is a manufacturer of a special photo paper, but its main problem is that its website is not visited by enough Internet users. Then, there is Company B, which is a company that specializes in camera products. Company B is visited by lots of customers, but there is a need of its customers that they cannot respond to, and that is about photo paper.

A representative of Company A will then approach Company B and engage the latter company in an affiliate program. This affiliate program is like this: Company A will have a small advertisement in the website of Company B. And each time a visitor of Company B clicks on the link, Company A will pay Company B. Company A is the Merchant while Company B becomes the Affiliate.

The affiliate program benefits both because Company A will have an increase in traffic due to advertising in a niche market, and Company B will be paid, and at the same time, can better help their customers.

In the above example, both companies complement each other. If an online business wanted to have an affiliate program, then it must contact a marketing firm that can professionally match companies that have complementary products.

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An Affiliate Marketing Glossary

Affiliate Marketing is a concept with it’s own terms. To get started, you’ll have to know what the middlemen and affiliate program pitches mean when they use them, otherwise it will strike you as a bunch of gibberish. For those of you with some experience already in this matter, these terms are for the beginners.

Ad Copy: A written sales pitch, also known simply as ‘copy’. Most follow the AIDA form (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) and examples can be seen on any site that’s selling something.

Affiliate Link: This is how the company knows who to pay. These are the hypertext links given to you by the affiliate program that differentiates you from generic traffic at large. Unless you send someone through an affiliate link, you don’t get paid.

Affiliate Program: An agreement with a given company that has this sort of program to advertise and promote their products in exchange for payment, usually as a commission per sale. You do this at your own expense, although the programs themselves are free to join. I have heard of those that require payment to join, but I strongly recommend against them, as there are plenty of good programs you can join for free.

Commission: This is how you get paid by all affiliate marketing programs. It’s not a salary or a fee, and taxes are not deducted and thus your problem to track. Commissions are usually expressed in percent, although some are given in dollars per sale.

Conversion: The percentage of people you send to an affiliate site that buy. 1% is the industry average. Getting conversions is the name of the game in affiliate marketing.

Creative: The collective reference given by some programs to the sum total of all their advertising stuff, like ad gif’s, testimonials, product photos, and copy text.

Pay Per Click: You get paid anytime someone clicks on a link from your site. The biggest example of a program that does this is Google AdSense, which gives you Pay Per Click ads to put your site and pays you every time someone clicks on it. Miva ARX and Yahoo! also have ad programs that work this way.

Pay Per Lead: This one is not common but very handy. When you send someone to a site and they sign up for a free trial, e-mail list or sales call, it’s called a lead. Some companies pay you to give them leads, which is good for you, because you are getting paid to give a potential customer something for free.

Pay Per Sale: The most common ways to get paid in affiliate programs. When you send someone to a site and they buy a product, eBook, download, or membership, you get paid a percentage of the gross on it.

Super Affiliate: An affiliate marketer in the top 5% of all affilate marketers. These are the ones that make 80% of all the commissions in affiliate marketing and the aspiration of all affiliate marketers looking to get rich doing this.

Two-Tier Program: An affiliate program that pays you for your sales and those of anyone you recruit. For all intents and purposes, if you recruit and train your second tier, they will make you money.

Some programs are also multi-tier, which means you get paid on downline several tiers beneath you or more.

These will get you started with your affiliate marketing understanding.

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Affiliates Should Read About His Products

At the moment an entrepreneur decides to join the affiliate marketing business, he searches in an affiliate marketing directory and he is immediately presented with a very wide range of products and services, and with various affiliate programs. The affiliate marketing business is indeed a flourishing business as indicated by the numerous online merchants who are offering affiliate programs.

With so many options before him, an entrepreneur may opt to step back and research more about which products he should promote, which affiliate program he should sign-up, and which merchant he should affiliate with. He is buying himself time and he wanted to be more prepared before actually setting up his affiliate marketing business.

On the other hand, an entrepreneur will be so excited that he will sign-up with the first affiliate program that he finds interesting. There is nothing wrong with such eagerness and such action. The only thing that the new affiliate has to deal with is his lack of knowledge about the products he has chosen to promote. Should the affiliate step back and start all over again?

If the new affiliate will retrace his steps, he will only be putting off the day when he will be enjoying financial success. Therefore, he must forge ahead and continue with his chosen affiliate program and deal on his lack of knowledge along the way. Besides, dealing with such a lack of knowledge is not as difficult as obtaining a doctor’s degree. The new affiliate simply needs to read.

When the new affiliate has decided to read up on his products, he should first pose questions that he wanted to know about the products. These questions will be his guide in choosing his reading materials. For example, if the products are ceramic items, maybe he wanted to know first how the ceramic industry came about. Then he must know how ceramic items are created. And he must also know what makes ceramics different from all other craft items.

The answers to these questions will provide good content for the new affiliate’s website. The information that the affiliate has collected, in order to answer his questions will be the focus of the articles that will be posted in the website. The beauty of such informative articles is that they contain the facts that the target clients would like to know. Because, when the affiliate asked questions, he was placing himself in the shoes of his target clients.

Another perk to reading about the products is the acquired ability of the affiliate to authoritatively and immediately answer the questions that the visitors will post in the website. When the target client is satisfied with the quickness and completeness of the answers, he will most likely patronize and purchase the products that are recommended by the affiliate.

Another perk to reading about the products is the acquired ability of the affiliate to authoritatively and immediately answer the questions that the visitors will post in the website. When the target client is satisfied with the quickness and completeness of the answers, he will most likely patronize and purchase the products that are recommended by the affiliate.

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Affiliates Should Offer Something Extra

For one type of product, there are literally hundreds (or even thousands) of affiliates that are actively promoting it. Affiliate marketing, after all, is a competitive business. But the result of having too many affiliates can present a challenging problem to each affiliate. One problematic result is that one customer may have already heard of the product being promoted by one affiliate. And this customer may have already encountered the promotional material for the product.

With so many affiliates offering the same product, how can one affiliate stand out from the rest so that the customer will choose him and not the other affiliates? What makes one affiliate different and better from the other affiliates? This is the present challenge of many affiliates, especially the new ones.

One creative solution suggested by many affiliate marketing experts is the use of extra specials. An extra special is something valuable that is given to a customer if this customer purchases the product from the merchant through the affiliate’s website. The affiliate must also mention that such extra special cannot be obtained from other websites. This will warn the visitor that if he purchases the product from another link, he will not have that extra special. And if that extra special is also needed by the visitor, he will most likely stay in the affiliate’s website and discontinue his browsing.

Now that the affiliate has decided to provide the extra special, the next question in mind is what extra special will be attractive to the customer. The answer to this will depend on the type of customer that happens to purchase the product. And the type of product will give a big clue on the personality of the customers.

For example, if the affiliate’s website is all about rock climbing and other extreme sports, offering information about how tattoos are placed will not appeal to the majority of rock climbers, even when some of them may be wearing tattoos already.

On the other hand, if the affiliate will be offering information on various rock climbing places found in the country, the rock climber will definitely be interested and he may have no doubts at all in clicking that link that will take him to the merchant’s website.

Other extra specials can be a free email or phone consultation, an e-book, or links and ads in the newsletter. What the affiliate has to remember is that the extra special should be relevant to the main product being sold.

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Affiliates Should Ask For The Sale

All businessmen know the importance of that last stage of selling which is called the “closing”. Such stage of selling will clinch the whole session. The same is true among online businesses, such as the affiliate marketing business. The affiliate must conduct such a closing by asking the client for the sale.

Unfortunately, the asking for the sale in online businesses, such as affiliate marketing is more challenging than the asking for the sale in a brick-and-mortar business. In land-bound business marketing, the salesman can closely observe the target client’s movements of the body and the eyes so that he can gauge if it is time to close the sale or not. But in an online business, the closing of the sale will not be helped by the body language of the customer. Obviously, the affiliate cannot see the customer’s body posture.

And therein lies the problem for closing and asking for the sale. The affiliate has no means of knowing whether it is time to ask or not. The asking may be too early, when the customer is not convinced enough. Or the asking may be too late that the customer has already lost interest in the product.

In online businesses, such as affiliate marketing, the affiliate need not wait for signs. The affiliate should be gutsy enough to ask for the sale, whether it is time or not. And when the asking for the sale is too early, the target customer may decide to click on the back button and never come back. When the asking for the sale is too late, the target customer may already be exploring other websites.

Despite such a difficult situation, the affiliate must still ask for the sale. If he does not ask for the sale, some visitors will think that it is a government-sponsored website and all the information provided are free of charge. Perhaps the information is literally free in many articles. But such information is posted due to one single purpose – to make a sale.

Therefore, the affiliate should not just wait for the time when the visitor eventually realizes that he is expected to click on a link that will take him to the website of the merchant. The affiliate must indicate in his website and in his emails that what he has is a business and businesses involve selling. He should also state that the recipients of his emails are not obligated to buy immediately. These recipients can make their purchases later.

Affiliates Must Pre-Sell–Don’t Make the Mistake That Will Most Hurt Your Business

The Internet is bursting with Web sites created by affiliates to steer visitors to merchants’ sites. This is the simple elegance of affiliate marketing–create a Web site, sign up as an affiliate with companies that sell products you like, then sit back and watch the money pour in. At least that’s the theory. But many affiliates make the one mistake that most hurts their business. They fail to pre-sell their customers.

Creating a Web site that is one big sales letter is not going to lead to huge sales. Why?  Because visitors will resist your sales pitch no matter how enticing your Web site, and they will not likely click through to the merchant’s site. Even if they do click through, they will be faced with another sales pitch, possibly with some of the same wording.  By selling you are actually hurting your chance to make a profit.

If this doesn’t make sense, keep in mind why people in the millions everyday go on the Internet–content. They want to learn something, or they are looking for help with a problem, or they have some other need.

People don’t go online to be confronted by a sales pitch. That’s why your affiliate site to be successful must create a sense of credibility by offering lots of interesting and informative content–articles, headlines, news, blogs, forums, free newsletters and email courses, and links to more content that might be of interest. These things will keep your visitors interested and they will then click through with pleasure to the merchant’s site in a mood ready-to-buy.

This is the beauty of the pre-sell. It’s this pre-selling that puts your visitor in a positive  frame of mind, which leads to a sale. If you turn your visitor off in the beginning with an obvious sales pitch, it’s almost impossible to overcome that, and you’ve lost a potential customer.

There are two important things to remember to effectively pre-sell your visitors:

Carefully craft your site to the theme of your merchants’ products or services.

If you are signed up as affiliate with several dating sites, then your site should obviously be devoted to dating and getting people together, along with anything associated with relationships–flowers, candy, special holidays, jewelry, cards, or gifts. You name it. Be creative. Obviously a pitch for the greatest money-making opportunity won’t fit.

Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes.

Analyze your site with brutal honesty and try to understand how a stranger would feel navigating through. Is the site complicated and hard to figure out? Do all the links work? Does it have a central, specific theme? Does the site deliver valuable, appropriate content? Do you get a trusting feeling? Will it make the visitor more open to buy? If so, then you can safely recommend merchants to your visitor. People will usually only buy from someone they trust. And that should be you.

Pre-selling works because it’s a two step process. The first step is up to you by providing a content-rich, interesting site where visitors will feel comfortable. As you gain their trust, they will pass on to step two by clicking through to the merchant’s site. By now they are interested enough to buy, so they will not be turned off by the sales copy.  

Let the merchant do the selling. Your role is to educate and help your visitors by providing answers to their questions or solutions for their problems through quality content.

Affiliates Equals Free Time And Money

One reason many people get into Internet Marketing is so that they can have more free time. However, many people find themselves sinking more and more time into their online business before they realise that they have exchanged one job chained to a desk for another, chained to a computer.

Is it really possible that you can get more free time through Internet Marketing? All the big names tell us it is possible, but how can it happen?

Well firstly, you can pay someone else to do the web designing, search engine optimization and so on. However, for some of us, that may not be practical. Oftentimes people start an Internet business because they don’t have a lot of money and need a cheap and effective way to get their business up and running.

It is entirely possible to earn money whilst doing nothing with Internet marketing. Firstly, if you have automated your website and it is ranking high in the directories then it will run on auto-pilot.

However, you may not be high in the search engines yet and need other ways to put your business on auto-pilot.

One of the best methods I know of is to set up an affiliate program. This allows other people to promote your product and be paid a commission for each sale. If they don’t make any sales, they don’t get any commission. Obviously, you need to pay them enough commission to make it worth their while. A few dollars as the commission level is not going to motivate anyone for anything, so you may need to offer 40%, 50% of even higher depending on your business and product strategy.

This kind of percentage will get your potential affiliates much more excited about selling your product. Be wary though of raising the price of your product in order to make up the affiliate payment. You may end up pricing yourself out of the market and making no sales!

There are many different options for running an affiliate program. You can host the software on your web server and run if from there, or you can pay a monthly fee for someone else to host it for you. You could also join a program such as Paydotcom or Clickbank that handle everything for you, and all you need to do is sit back and enjoy the profits.

In fact, for many marketers, Clickbank is a real favourite because it truly allows you to automate your business! They handle everything for you – taking payment, paying the affiliate and paying you, allowing you to really put your business on auto-pilot and achieve the elusive dream of making money whilst you sleep.

Affiliates do equal more free time and more money. They will promote your product for you, earn you money, with minimal effort on your behalf. Investigate today how you can run your own affiliate program and benefit from this fantastic leverage on your time and resources.

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What is an Affiliate?

I don’t want to SELL anything. That said, how do I build my business?

That is the beauty of our program. YOU don’t sell anything, WE do all the selling for you. Just enter the names and email addresses of the people you know personally online, and we’ll send a personalized email to them, from YOU, which directs them to a fully personalized, dynamic flash presentation. If you prefer, you can alternatively send them directly to your free WebSite.ws Affiliate WebSite, which will be identical to the one you are looking at right now, but tracked to YOU, so you get the credit for all sign ups.

How can I see who signed up under me and how much commissions are owed to me?

You will have 24/7 access to REAL TIME REPORTING on all hits to your agent WebSite, all trials placed, and all active customers, as well as complete downline reporting, selectable by layer (1 through 5), and all current and past commissions due to you. You will also have contact information for your UPLINE SPONSORS, so you can email them and learn about their successes, as well as contact information for your DOWNLINE (network) members, so you may email them and tell them of your successful experiences.

As an Affiliate, do I need to send in any paperwork?

Yes. The required simple documentation can easily be accessed from within your account. However, you may begin building your business immediately.

What is the “Invite” section, and how do I use it?

The Invite section allows you to send customized emails to prospects, which must be people with whom you have had prior contact. You can also purchase opt-in email lists in the Leads section of your Members Area. Please note, we will not tolerate Spam of any kind from our affiliates. Violation of our Spam policy will result in immediate and permanent deactivation of your account without reimbursement.

What is an “Upline?”

Your upline is comprised of the people through which you were referred to our company. Your upline can be a valuable source of information for networking and brainstorming ways to increase your revenue.

What is a “Downline?”

Your downline is comprised of the people who were referred to our company through you. The people in your downline represent those for which you will earn commissions for purchases they make. Information in your downline is updated in real time so you always have the latest details available to you, 24/7.

How can I use the banners?

Banners allow you to place advertisements on your WebSites promoting our product offering. You will earn money whenever purchases are made with us by people who clicked on your banners.

How do I earn commissions?

It’s simple. You earn commissions for any sale referred through your affiliate link up to five layers deep.

How often will I receive commissions?

Commission payouts are sent on or before the 15th of every month provided your commission balance meets your selected minimum payout amount. The lowest minimum payout limit you can select is $10 USD. Commission totals less than your selected minimum payout amount will be carried over until such time as your balance meets your selected minimum.

What methods can I select from to receive commissions?

We currently offer commissions payments by mailed check, bank wire, or PayPal.

Where can I change how commissions are paid to me?

You may update your Preferred Commission Method and Minimum Payout Amount at any time from within your account. Simply click the Preferred Commission link along the left edge of our WebSite.

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3 Things You should Own though You don’t Own a Product

1. Your Own web site:

Most affiliates put a redirect link directly to their affiliate

product. It is not such a good practice.

*Register a domain that closely resembles your affiliate product

 website. For example, if you are an affiliate for affiliateproduct.com

 web site, try to register affiliate-product.com or affiliateproduct.net.

*Follow the lay-out of your affiliate product web site.

*Put content on your web site (minimum of 10 pages). Like articles

 and reviews related to your affiliate product. No need to say to put up

 links leading the visitor to your affiliate web site.

*If you have a multiple different affiliate products, don’t mix them up

 and put all of those links on same web site. Choose a multidomain host

 and host your different affiliate web sites for cheap.

2. Your Own opt-in list:

You need your own opt-in list **no matter** what you sell and your own

or your affiliate product.

Start giving free ecourse or an ezine related to your affiliate product

and collect email addresses.

You need a follow up autoresponder or a maling list manager to manage

this process of collecting emails, follow up, sending promotional emails

etc. etc.

Here is a PHP script that you can use as BOTH follow up autoresponders

and mailing list managers:

http://www.scripts4webmasters.com/follow-up-autoresponder-pro/index.shtml

3. Your Own Ezine articles:

Yep! You have to spread the word about your affiliate product. Don’t You?

Write articles related to your affiliae product and publish them on your

web site, send them to publishers, submit them to content sites.

Do a search on Google or Altavista like ‘submit+article’, you will get a

big list of sites. Keep your favorites on your Favorites folder and submit

to them on regular basis.

Few tips in writing ezine articles in the affiliates perspective:

=Don’t expose your affiliate link directly in your resourcebox.

=Usually affiliate links comes as long URLs. These tend to breakup.

 So use some kind of redirection.

=Only promote one product in one article.

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