This article is guest posted by Adarsh.
What is affiliate marketing?
Simply put, affiliate marketing is selling for others while you get a commission for that sale. Got the point? No? Let me explain further with a case study so that you get a better understanding.
Suppose Mr. X has a product to sell. Say he sells baby lotion. What normally Mr. X would do is go around promoting the product himself or at best pay companies to promote the products for him. This would incur huge amount of start up and promotional cost, which maybe beyond the reach of common man. So what has the common man to do? Take to the internet.
In the internet what he does is go to some common affiliate websites and list his product for sale. He would announce a percentage of the sale to people who promote it for him. This way the seller and the broker (the one who sells for him or more polished name I would use will be “Affiliate marketer”) would benefit. The seller needs to pay only for sold products and the affiliate marketer gets a share of the sale.
So, why do you need to provide commission to someone else? Why not do everything alone? Keep all the profits for myself if I sell a product? The answer is pretty simple. It is all about mathematics.
- The more the number of ads you see about a particular product, the more inclined one will be to buy that.
- The affiliate marketers generally boost up the product even if your product holds very little value, in the hope of earning some cash. This may result in sales which you never would have got otherwise.
- People depend more on other people’s opinion about a product rather than the hype created by you. So the more people tell your product is good, the more sales you make.
The commission amount ranges from 5% to 75% of the sale amount. When considering selling something, as a seller, you must look at your ROI (Return Of Investment). If it is an eBook you sell, then you can afford to give even 90% as affiliate fee. But if you are selling a service, say an SEO service which costs you 100$ per hour. You charge 150$ for it. You can give 50% affiliate fee that would make you run on a loss. Most affiliate marketers prefer a commission of over 25%. So I suggest 25% as the most optimal affiliate commission.
Tips for making money as an affiliate marketer
If you are going the professional way to earning your bread and butter online and is taking affiliate marketing seriously, then I would suggest you have the following
Personal domain name and hosting
This is an absolute necessity. If you own a personal domain name and hosting, then you are free to make changes in whatever way you want them to be. No restrictions. Besides it will look more professional and people would go with your opinion thus earning you more money through increased chance of referral commission.
You can check these guys out for hosting
Bluehost- Great support a nice feature set. Although unlimited bandwidth and storage are just marketing techniques, I wouldn’t say they are bad. Bluehost is one of the most reputed companies around. Reliable and fast bluehost is. A free domain name is included and you can host multiple sites with them on a single account.
Hostgator- Another very reliable web hosting company hostgator is. Smaller than bluehost I must say, yet excellent service and uptimes. A bit more pricy but hey quality comes with a price.
Ewebguru- A small hosting company and ewebguru lives up to its reputation for being a cheap web host. I would recommend them for your static websites with low traffic. If you need reliable fast hosting which includes blogs, scripting etc I would stay away. This is a budget hosting company.
There are so many other hosting companies. I am not going to waste my time on everyone. These are my picks as I have personal experience hosting with these people.
Unique and good web design
Don’t forget to get a good and unique web design. It may cost you 100-500$ using freelancing sites. But it will be really worth it. I wouldn’t buy from a site which is a replica of 1000 other sites. I just think they are plain scams (Maybe I am wrong but that is how the mind of a surfer works). I wouldn’t say design is everything, but design is something.
The right mindset
You need to be really focused and dedicated when trying to be a successful affiliate marketer. Be ready to gain maximum knowledge and implement them as soon as possible. Do not start off with much enthusiasm and don’t let the enthusiasm die out. Be prepared to shell out some money, but never too much. You must be able to follow up with your leads once you get a hang of it. Find time for this. Affiliate marketing or any other internet business is just like a real business only with decreased costs. If you do not keep ahead of the race, then you will fall out eventually.
Time frame setting and goal identification
Set a particular amount of time frame for your website business and reap the rewards. Don’t expect everything to turn out positive every time. Realize what you want to achieve and move forward accordingly. When you achieve your target goal, aim for something higher.
You may encounter a lot of distractions in your day to day life. But never let it interfere in your marketing goals. Don’t give up because you were not successful in the initial months. Just try, try and try until you succeed. Online business can be a bit tricky so be up-to-date in the latest buzz.
Affiliate marketing mistakes to avoid.
Not targeting a niche
First of all you need to locate a profitable market from which you can tap money. Never go too broad if you cannot afford to spend thousands of dollars each month for seo, promotion etc. Say for example you target a niche, SEO. Do you know how many people are targeting that niche? Both professionals and amateurs alike in huge amounts are into this niche. What chances do you see beating them? Very small or nil will be the answer. So go for something more specific. How about targeting, Seo for India or maybe seo for Delhi in India. This would be much more achievable.
Ok now you know how to focus small. Now is all that glitters gold? Never make such an assumption. Choose a niche from which you can make money. Suppose you are an expert in some sport played locally in your province. You decide to start a website/blog to market that. How would you earn money, Adsense or affiliate marketing or some other monetizing methods? Well, how do you suppose to earn money if there are no sellers for the market? So choose wisely. If you choose a niche that has a large number of sellers, then expect tough competition since there will be 1000X the number of affiliate marketers for that niche.
Not having a list of contacts (downlinks as in MLMs)
Even though you may not be selling you own products you still need to be in contact with people. The best way to earn quick money is through your down lines. Even if you don’t have a massive amount of people under you, it would be great to have at least a few responsive people under you. Connect with people and they will be your number one destination for quick sales without much marketing. Find time to socialize with them. Don’t just contact them only for business purposes. Most successful affiliate marketers spend time in building a list of loyal followers rather than just direct marketing of the products.
Choosing a product which by itself is very shady
Choosing a product to promote is very crucial. Don’t try to sell products which looks very shady or as a scam. You may sell quickly but in the long run people won’t trust you and will stop believing in your reviews however truthfully you promote them. If you own a website on say affiliate marketing, then choose products to sell through your site to match the theme. Don’t try to promote a fitness product. It will not only annoy your readers but may prevent them from becoming your readers ever again. One more thing to note is, when applying for affiliates through non standard affiliate scheme sites such as commission junction or click bank (Normally when you apply for being an affiliate directly though the product site itself), stick with those which have a track record of paying their affiliate marketers. Search reviews for the product before finalizing a product for promotion. Find too many negative reviews? Then stay away from them.
Targeting too much with too little resources
I know many people get tempted seeing all the products to promote. But it is highly recommended you promote not more than 2 or 3 products at a time. When starting out just promote 1 product. The limited amount of resources (money, time, human resource, inexperience) you have at start is your biggest enemy. So unless you are very prolific in your ways, I would suggest that you understand your limitations. One you get the hang of it increase your product line by all means.
Avoiding online exposure
Most people do not want to expose their identity online. But the internet audience needs to recognize a brand image. If you are well established in your niche (like Darren of problogger), then people would more likely buy the products on offer even if you just put them up with minimum marketing. It is like people trusting google with their results. I would suggest you spend some time branding yourself or your company to get the credibility level.
Following the “build and they will come” rule
Unless you have an already established website or identity in the online market, then this rule will never apply to you. Even established bloggers resort to some form of marketing to attract new readers. What use will it be to have a highly useful piece of article or software if no one ever knows about it? You can tray marketing through
- Social media
- Article syndication
- Seo and so on
Affiliate sales promotion tactics
Of course owning a website is only the first part in your affiliate marketing career. To make sales you must have a target audience. If no one comes then how will you make money? So you must do some marketing for your site/blog
Create a good write up on the product you are selling or trying to promote. Try to include facts, screenshots, your experience using them, any proof to substantiate your claim and so on. Never try to fake any of these for your reputation dose matter a lot.
You can use google Adwords or yahoo search marketing or related PPC programs to get some quick visitors to your site.
Affiliate marketing through PPC campaigns
- PPC campaigns can prove costly but when you see the ROI, it does seem pretty much simple and efficient way to make sales quickly (Considering the fact that SEO can take close to 6 months or so minimum to show results).
- Make the campaign ad as attractive as possible. Do not include fake or irrelevant information, but suiting your product description and its use.
- Think of some catchy title. If you sell a product on milking a cow then include it in your heading with a twist like “Milking a cow is no difficult” or other such titles. If you are selling a specific ice cream company, say amul. If you want you can search for a competition and spot a tough competitor, say kwality walls. Then include the heading like “Kwality walls is history. Or are they?” or any other catchy description you can think of. Try to be as innovative as possible. Don’t make the same headline as another person made in his example.
- Target the right keywords. Do not overdo it. Find some 10-20 related keywords and stick to them.
- Do not spend more than what you can get back.
Affiliate marketing conclusion
I guess you enjoyed reading the article and that you benefited from it. Try implementing the techniques mentioned in a step by step banner. Try experimenting in your own ways as well. Act now and start earning. Good luck.
Learn to make more than $500+ each morning with day trading robot. Read the day trading robot review here. Adarsh Thampy is an independent marketing consultant for small business who blogs at Conversion Blog and helps small business get more customers and improve their conversion rates.