Sunday, May 6, 2012

Friday, May 4, 2012

How To Work With Merchants

Contacting the merchant of your interested program is an ideal way to increase your sales, which can save you a lot of time and heartache.  Once you contact the merchant, be sure to let them know what you are doing to promote their products, and ask for their advice when it comes to marketing.

The merchant will know the product the best, and they will have a good idea of the strategies that are being used by other affiliates to make sales. By contacting the merchant, you'll also show them that you are dedicated to succeeding with affiliate marketing.

Contacting the merchant also shows your enthusiasm for marketing their products and services. Any merchant who knows affiliate marketing also knows that over 90% of sales are generated by less than 5% of the affiliates.  Good merchants recognize your efforts and provide you with information and resources and may even boost your commission rates!

Dealing with merchants
If you email a merchant and they don't respond, try again.  If they still aren't responding, you should think again about continuing the partnership, as a lack of communication can indicate other problems as well - such as payment. 

Keep in mind that many merchants make big promises, and set a high payout rate knowing that very few affiliates will actually meet it.  This isn't a good way to do business, and you should avoid working with these types of merchants.

When you communicate with merchants, you should ensure that you use a professional tone. If you have suggestions of how a merchant can improve their offers, you should let them know.  Many merchants appreciate feedback, and know that any feedback they receive can improve their programs.

Wise merchants always understand that good affiliates are hard to find and will treat them with respect, assist with resources, and be prompt with payments. Wise affiliates are the same way, and understand that merchants want quality promotion and sales performance. 

To get the most out of your partnership, you should always be professional and understanding with your merchant.  Good merchants are always busy, which may make them seem like they aren't that good.  They will answer your questions and emails, although it may take them a little bit of time. 

The longer you work with a merchant, the more you'll understand how they do things. If you are just starting out in affiliate marketing, a merchant can help you understand how things work.  If you listen to them and show initiative, you'll be well on your way to making it to the top.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Why You Should Promote Residual Affiliate Programs

Are you a webmaster in need of additional income?  Or are you planning to set up an online business but you still don't have any product to sell?  If so, affiliate marketing may be the best solution for your problems.  With affiliate marketing, you won't need to worry about the products you have to sell.  All you need to have is a website with sufficient contents that are related to the products of a certain online company offering affiliate programs.  By becoming a member of the program, or by becoming an affiliate, you can start earning a certain amount of money right away!

Affiliate marketing is some sort of business relationship established between a merchant and his affiliates.  In affiliate marketing, an affiliate agrees to direct some traffic to a merchant's website.  If that traffic is converted into some kind of action, like a visitor purchasing a product on the merchant's website or a visitor becoming a lead for the company, the affiliate who directed the traffic will be compensated.  Compensation may take the form of either a percentage sales commission for the sales generated or a fixed fee predetermined upon the application of the affiliate on the merchant's affiliate program.

Promising a lot of benefits both for the merchants and the affiliates, affiliate marketing has become one of the most popular online marketing methods today.  In fact, almost every merchant or retailer site today offers an affiliate program that any one can join into.  Most retailers would entice people to become affiliates or members of their program by promising great benefits like large commissions, lifetime commissions, click through incomes and a lot of other benefits.  But would all these affiliate programs bring off the same benefits?

Most affiliate programs would pay you, as an affiliate, a one-time commission for every sale or lead you brought to the merchant's website.  Commissions for this kind of affiliate programs are usually large, ranging from 15% to a high of about 60%.  Other affiliate programs would pay you a fixed fee for every click through or traffic you send to the merchant's site.  Programs like this often pay a smaller fee for every click through, usually not getting any larger than half a dollar.  The good thing about this kind of program, however, is that the visitor won't have to purchase anything in order for the affiliate to get compensated.

Another type of affiliate program is the residual income affiliate program.  Residual affiliate programs usually pay only a small percentage of sales commission for every sale directed by the affiliate to the merchant's site.  This commission often comes only in the range of 10% to 20% sales commission.  Because of this, many people ignore residual affiliate program and would rather opt for the high paying one-time commission affiliate program.  Are these people making a mistake, or are they making the right decision?

We can't tell, for sure, if people are making a mistake by choosing a high paying one-time commission affiliate program.  But we can definitely say that they are making a large mistake if they ignore residual affiliate programs.  Residual affiliate programs would indeed pay at a lower rate, but merchants offering such kind of programs would generally pay you regular and ongoing commissions for a single affiliate initiated sale!  That means, for the same effort you made in promoting a particular affiliate program, you get paid only once in a one-time commission program, and a regular and ongoing commission for a residual program!

So, are the benefits of promoting residual affiliate programs clearer to you now?  Or are they still vague?  If they are still vague, then let's make them a bit clearer with this example.

Suppose there are two online merchants both offering web hosting services on their sites.  The first merchant offers a one-time commission type of affiliate program that pays $80 for every single affiliate initiated sale.  The second merchant also offers an affiliate program, but this time a residual affiliate program that pays only $10 for every single affiliate initiated sale.  As an affiliate, we may get attracted at once at what the first merchant is offering, as $80 is definitely a lot larger than $10.  But by thinking things over before actually getting into them, one may be able to see that the second merchant is offering us more opportunity to earn a larger amount of money.

Supposed you have directed traffic to the merchant and it converted into a sale, you'll get paid once by the first merchant for the sale you have initiated.  But with the second merchant, you'll get paid monthly for as long as the customer you have referred to the merchant continues to avail of the web hosting service.  That means that for the same effort of getting one customer to avail of the merchant's service, you get paid monthly in residual affiliate programs while you only get paid once in a one-time commission type of affiliate programs.

So, are residual affiliate programs worth promoting?  Definitely yes, because you virtually get more money from these types of affiliate programs in the long run!  And would residual affiliate programs work best for you?  Probably not, probably yes.  It is not really for me to tell.  But with the benefits that residual affiliate marketing can provide, it would really be unwise to ignore such programs.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Why So Many People Fail In Affiliate Marketing

More and More people are lured into affiliate marketing and you might be one of them. Indeed, affiliate marketing is one of the most effective means of generating a full-time income through the Internet. It’s a fair deal between the merchandiser and his affiliates as both benefit from each sale materialized. Like in other kinds of business, a great deal of the profits in affiliate marketing depends on the affiliate’s advertising, promoting and selling strategies. Everyday, as affiliate marketing industry expands, competition heightens as well so an affiliate marketer must be creative enough to employ unique and effective ways to convince potential buyers to purchase or avail of the products and services offered.  

Compared to traditional advertising practices, affiliate programs are more effective, risk-free and cost-efficient. But why do many people still fail in affiliate marketing? There are a lot of reasons and a lot of areas in the program to look into. The most critical aspect in the affiliate program is advertising. Many affiliate marketers fail in this aspect because they lack hard work, which is the most important thing in affiliate marketing and in all other kinds of business as well. Although it pays to be lucky, you cannot merely rely on it. Affiliate marketing isn’t as simple as directing customers to the business site. If you want to earn big, of course, you have to invest time and great amount of hard work in promoting the products. As earlier mentioned, the competition is very high and customers nowadays are very wise, too. After all, who doesn’t want to get the best purchase—that is, to pay less and get more in terms of quantity and quality. 

Lack of preparation is also a reason why one fails in affiliate marketing, whether he is a merchandiser or an affiliate. Part of the preparation is researching. On the part of the merchant, he has to be highly selective in choosing the right affiliate websites for his affiliate program. In order to be sure he has the best choices, he must have exhausted his means in looking for highly interested affiliates whose sites are sure fit to his products and services. The affiliate site’s visitors must match his targeted customers. On the other hand, the affiliate marketer must likewise research on the good-paying merchandisers before he signs up for an affiliate program. He must ensure that the merchants’ products and services match his interests so he can give his full attention and dedication to the program. He can get valuable information by joining affiliate forums, comparing different affiliate programs and reading articles on affiliate marketing where he can get tips from experienced affiliate marketers on how to choose the best merchants and products with high conversion rate.

The website is a very important tool in the whole affiliate program. As an affiliate marketer, you should plan how your site is going to be, from domain name to the design, the lay-out, the content, and ads. Some users are particular about what they see at first glance and thus when they find your site ugly, they won’t read through the content even if your site has many things to say and offer. On the other hand, there those who want information more than anything else. Affiliate marketers with “rich-content” web sites are usually the ones who prosper in this business because the content improves traffic to the site. Websites with high quality contents—with relevant keywords and more importantly, right information about the product and not empty hyped-up advertisements—allow you to earn big in affiliate marketing even when you’re asleep. If you won’t be able to sustain the interest of your site visitor, you won’t be able to lead him to the merchants’ site. No click-through means no sale and thus, no income on your part.

Selecting a top level domain name is also crucial to the success of the affiliate program. Lots of affiliate sites don’t appear in the search engine results because they are deemed by affiliate managers as personal sites. Major search engines and directories would think of your site as transient ones and thus, they won’t list it in the directory. Before you decide on the domain name, know first what you are going to promote. Many fail because their sites are not appropriately named, so even when they feature the exact products the customer is looking for, the customer might think the site is not relevant and thus, won’t enter the site.

Above all, an affiliate marketer must be willing to learn more. Certainly, there are still a lot of things to learn and so an affiliate marketer must continue to educate himself so he can improve his marketing strategies. Many fail because they don’t grow in the business and they are merely concerned about earning big quickly. If you want long-term and highly satisfactory results, take time to learn the ins and outs of the business. Continue to improve your knowledge especially with the basics in affiliate marketing ranging from advertising to programming, web page development, and search engine optimization techniques. Likewise, study the needs and wants of your site users and how different merchandisers compete with each other.

Keep on trying; don’t get disappointed if your first attempts did not pay off. Thousands are attracted by the possibility of generating skyrocketing incomes through affiliate marketing and so they sign up in any affiliate program without carefully understanding every aspect of the business. When they don’t get instant results, they quit and sign up for another program and repeat the process of just copying links and referring them to others. When you sign up for an affiliate program, don’t expect to get rich in an instant. Work on your advertising strategies and be patient. You’ll never know how much you can get if you don’t persevere.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Which Affiliate Networks To Look Out For When Promoting

There are many horror stories about affiliate programs and networks. People have heard them over and over again, that some are even wary of joining one. The stories they may have heard are those related to illegal programs or pyramid schemes. Basically, this kind of market does not have real, worthy product.

You do not want to be associated with these schemes. It is obvious you want to be with a program that offers high quality product that you will readily endorse. The growing number of those who have joined already and are succeeding immensely is proof enough that there are reliable and quality affiliate programs out there.

Why participate in an affiliate program?
It allows you to work part-time. It gives you the opportunity to build a generous residual income. And it makes you an owner of a small business. Affiliate programs have already created lots of millionaires. They are the living testimony of how hard work; continuous prospecting, motivating and training others pay off.

If ever you are deciding to join one, you must take note that you are getting into something that is patterned to what you are capable of. This will be an assurance that you are capable of doing anything to come out successful.

How do you choose a good affiliate program to promote? Here are some tips you may want to look over before choosing one:

1. A program that you like and have interest in. One of the best ways of knowing if that is the kind of program you wish to promote is if you are interested in purchasing the product yourself. If that is the case, chances are, there are many others who are also interested in the same program and products.

2. Look for a program that is of high quality. For instance, look for one that is associated with many experts in that particular industry. This way, you are assured that of the standard of the program you will be joining into.

3. Join in the ones that offer real and viable products. How do you know this? Do some initial research. If possible, track down some of the members and customers to give you testimonial on the credibility of the program.

4. The program that is catering to a growing target market. This will ensure you that there will be more and continuous demands for your referrals. Make inquiries. There are forums and discussions you can participate in to get good and reliable feedbacks.

5. A program with a compensation plan that pays out a residual income and a payout of 30% or more would be a great choice. There are some programs offering this kind of compensation. Look closely for one. Do not waste your time with programs that do not reward substantially for your efforts.

6. Be aware of the minimum quotas that you must fulfill or sales target that is too hard to achieve. Some affiliate programs imposes pre-requisites before you get your commissions. Just be sure that you are capable of attaining their requirements.

7. Select one that has plenty of tools and resources that can help you grow the business in the shortest possible time. Not all affiliate programs have these capacities. Make use you decide on one with lots of helpful tools you can use.

8. Check out if the program has a proven system that can allow you to check your networks and compensation. Also check if they have it available online for you to check anytime and anywhere.

9. The program that is offering strong incentives for members to renew their membership each time. The affiliate program that provides continuous help and upgrades for its products have the tendency to retain its members. These things can assure the growth of your networks.

10.  Be aware of the things that members are not happy about in a program. Like with the ones mentioned above, you can do your checking at discussion forums. If you know someone in that same program, there is ho harm asking if there are many downsides involved.

Have a thorough and intensive knowledge about the affiliate program and network you will be promoting on.

Knowing the kind of program you are getting yourself into will make you anticipate and prevent any future problems you may encounter.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Which Affiliate Programs Do I Choose

Ask questions first before you join an affiliate program. Do a little research about the choices of program that you intend to join into. Get some answers because they will be the deciding point of what you will be achieving later on.

Will it cost you anything to join? Most affiliate programs being offered today are absolutely free of charge. So why settle for those that charge you some dollars before joining.

When do they issue the commission checks? Every program is different. Some issue their checks once a month, every quarter, etc. Select the one that is suited to your payment time choice. Many affiliate programs are setting a minimum earned commission amount that an affiliate must meet or exceed in order for their checks to be issued.

What is the hit per sale ratio? This is the average number of hits to a banner or text link it takes to generate a sale based on all affiliate statistics. This factor is extremely important because this will tell you how much traffic you must generate before you can earn a commission from the sale.

How are referrals from an affiliate’s site tracked and for how long do they remain in the system? You need to be confident on the program enough to track those people you refer from your site. This is the only way that you can credit for a sale. The period of time that those people stay in the system is also important. This is because some visitors do not buy initially but may want to return later to make the purchase. Know if you will still get credit for the sale if it is done some months from a certain day.

What are the kinds of affiliate stats available? Your choice of affiliate program should be capable of offering detailed stats. They should be available online anytime you decide to check them out. Constantly checking your individual stats is important to know how many impressions, hits and sales are already generated from your site. Impressions are the number of times the banner or text link was viewed by a visitor of your site. A hit is the one clicking on the banner or text links.

Does the affiliate program also pay for the hits and impressions besides the commissions on sales? It is important that impressions and hits are also paid, as this will add to the earnings you get from the sales commission. This is especially important if the program you are in offers low sales to be able to hit ratio.

Who is the online retailer? Find out whom you are doing business with to know if it is really a solid company. Know the products they are selling and the average amount they are achieving. The more you know about the retailer offering you the affiliate program, the easier it will be for you to know if that program is really for you and your site.

Is the affiliate a one tier or two tier program? A single tier program pays you only for the business you yourself have generated. A two tier program pays you for the business, plus it also pays you a commission on the on the sales generated by any affiliate you sponsor in your program. Some two-tier programs are even paying small fees on each new affiliate you sponsor. More like a recruitment fee.

Lastly, what is the amount of commission paid? 5% - 20% is the commission paid by most programs. 0.01% - 0.05% is the amount paid for each hit. If you find a program that also pays for impressions, the amount paid is not much at all. As you can see from the figures, you will now understand why the average sales amount and hit to sale ratio is important.

These are just some of the questions that needed answering first before you enter into an affiliate program. You should be familiar with the many important aspects that your chosen program should have before incorporating them into your website. Try to ask your affiliate program choices these questions. These can help you select the right program for you site from among the many available.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What is LinkShare, And Do I Need To Use It?

Online affiliate marketing is one of the most effective, cheapest and fastest ways to promote merchandise. With millions of people getting access to the Internet everyday, there’s a great chance for a merchant to introduce his products and services to a wider market, thereby, maximizing his revenue.

Likewise, affiliate marketing is an excellent way to generate full-time income for a home-based affiliate marketer. For someone who is jaded of going through a grueling eight-hour work routine, affiliate marketing offers a great opportunity to earn big without wearing himself out—physically, mentally and emotionally.

In affiliate marketing, both parties are benefited since as the merchant earns from each item sold, the marketer likewise earns a commission.

If you are interested in affiliate marketing but are finding it hard to look for affiliate programs, affiliates or merchants, you can start by checking sites of various affiliate networks. Many affiliate programs in the Internet are being offered through an affiliate program network, which acts as a link between the merchants and individual affiliates.

Among the most popular is LinkShare, it is through it that merchants and affiliates meet. LinkShare maintains and manages affiliate marketing programs for a great number of merchants with various kinds of businesses, products and services. It also has over 6,000 affiliate site members in its network. It gains profit from the set-up fees, monthly account maintenance fees and commissions.

Joining networks like LinkShare can be of great help in establishing your online marketing business. Whether you are a merchant or an affiliate marketer, you need to research well on your partners in order to choose the best for you.

LinkShare provides the facility of acquiring access to a large network of advertisers (merchants) who offer their affiliate programs to publishers (affiliates) who are willing to promote their products. In the same manner, it gives the merchants access to a large network of affiliates who are searching for affiliate marketing opportunities.

LinkShare is especially beneficial for an affiliate in choosing his partners since he can find his options all in one location. It would be easier for him to compare products, commission rates and other benefits given by the merchant. The merchant usually just waits for interested affiliates to sign up in his affiliate marketing program but being in the network increases his chance to promote his products to a larger market, thus, maximizing his potential to gain huge profit.

To help you decide whether to use large affiliate networks such as LinkShare or not, let us try to look deeper into its positive and negative sides. The primary advantage of LinkShare to you as an affiliate is convenience.

As earlier mentioned, you find different pieces of information about your choices simultaneously all in a single location, so you save time and effort looking for affiliate programs or merchants.

It’s also easier to track your business partner’s performance through monthly reports and statements, as well as its sales and commission rates, so you know whether the affiliate program is still worth continuing. If you have signed up for several affiliate programs, you can check all your statistics for each merchandiser you are affiliated with by logging in just once.

LinkShare helps you manage and maintain all records of your visitors’ click-throughs and sales transaction. It takes care of your commissions and gives it to you monthly in lump sum. Especially when you have more than one merchant partner, it would be easier for you to manage your accounts and track your earnings when you are affiliated through a marketing program network.
Furthermore, every information you get is accurate and secured, so you are protected from all the risk you might encounter. Above all, you can enjoy LinkShare’s benefits for free. You just have to go to their site and register your website. Instantly, you get access to a great variety of affiliate programs available for you.

So, what’s on the negative side? Although, it is indeed helpful to join affiliate marketing networks such as LinkShare, there are some disadvantages, too.

For one, merchants offer lower commissions to affiliates who partner with them through the third party program network. This because they still have to pay for the use of service and the technology provided by LinkShare.

Direct partnership with the merchant cuts costs of advertising through the network and so the affiliate has bigger potential to earn more. Moreover, it is possible that your payment may be delayed for a month or more since program networks would pay you only after the advertiser or the merchant has paid them.

Do you need to use LinkShare or other networks? It depends, actually. You can opt for direct partnership with the merchant, but this choice is not applicable all the time. There are a lot of merchandisers who offer their affiliate program only through affiliate program networks and thus, you have no choice other than joining the network to get into the affiliate marketing program.

So you are faced with “take it or leave it” situation. But LinkShare and other program networks are not that disadvantageous. After all, whether you join it or not, earning big would depend more on your promotional strategies and persistence.