Copyright (c) 2008 Titus Hoskins
It always surprises me how much money you can make by selling other people’s stuff on the Internet. Eight years in and the numbers still shock me. Always.
More than the numbers, what really amazes me the most is the lifestyle one can achieve from online marketing. You can be your own boss, work your own hours, carry out your business from anywhere in the world you want to live. You can create automatic marketing systems that work 24/7/365 days of the year. Earn money even when you’re sleeping, vacationing or out enjoying a gourmet meal at your favorite restaurant. Total freedom.
So is it any wonder then why I am constantly analyzing my whole marketing structure to figure out what is working and what is not working? Finding out just what strategies are giving me the best returns on my efforts and time. And I am constantly trying to discover ways to increase my affiliate sales and online traffic.
It basically means breaking down your online marketing into its core elements and examining each one with close scrutiny. What can be improved? What can be eliminated? What needs to be redesigned? Any serious online marketer must be actively working on these core elements to stay competitive in the affiliate game.
With these thoughts in mind, here are some simple marketing strategies that can affect and contribute to your success for selling affiliate products on the web. Marketing factors that should always be at the back of your mind, influencing your every move.
People use the web to find quality content or information. Always remember this fact and apply it to each step of your marketing plan – give your visitors quality content and you will succeed online. There are no ironclad guarantees, but get this one step right and you will probably make money online.
Design your website and your webpages around quality content. Useful, relevant content will give people a reason to come to your site and also give them a reason to return. Provide good information first and let the sale or selling be secondary. People do not like a pushy salesperson, not in real life and not on the web. Develop a friendly, helpful relationship with your potential customer and you will succeed.
The Internet is keyword driven. These are words or phrases people type into search engines to find what they’re looking for on the web. They are also your keys to online success if you’re going the SEO route, picking the right keywords will be your main starting point.
Professional marketers use keyword software like Brad Callen’s Keyword Elite to research and find their profitable keywords, but there are many free tools/sites which you can find online to help you do your keyword research – Seobook.com is a good one. Daily monitoring of your major keywords is also important to keeping them in the top positions. Any movement downwards should spark more link and/or content building immediately.
Keep in mind, Google, which controls 60 percent of the web’s search traffic, is also a great source of information on your keywords. Use Google to search the sites in the top 10 spots for your keywords; also check Google for the Paid Ads related to your keywords and monitor these ads over a period of time to see which ones are profitable. Do your keyword homework and your affiliate marketing will be a lot easier.
If you’re into affiliate marketing, you must concentrate your efforts on small niche markets where the competition is not too stiff. Choosing the right niche markets is vital to your affiliate success. Demand should be high and/or you’re selling a high-ticket custom item.
Once you have chosen your particular niches, concentrate on dominating these in all the search engines. But don’t forget that the fastest and sometimes the most profitable way to tackle a niche is through PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising – especially if there is little or low bidding on your keywords. Google Adwords, Yahoo Marketing, MicroSoft AdCenter… should be explored and tried.
The power is always in the list. Make sure you collect the contact information of your site’s visitors. Offer free ebooks, guides, special deals or bonuses… to get your prospects to opt-in to your AR follow-up systems. Studies have shown that people usually don’t buy until the six or seventh follow-up.
I like building hundreds of micro-lists for all my major promoted affiliate products. These follow-ups with specialized information and special deals, coupons and bonuses will increase your sales.
Obviously, traffic is one of the key elements to earning money online mainly because without traffic you’re dead in the water. You must explore all avenues to generate targeted traffic to your affiliate links. These sources are always changing; blogging and social bookmark sites are very important now. So too are video and audio formats so make sure you use them in your marketing.
Article marketing has worked extremely well for me and it is, along with search traffic, the main reason I can earn income online. A simple marketing technique that still works because articles will bring targeted traffic to your site or sites.
Conversion Rates Are Crucial
In affiliate marketing or in any kind of marketing, your conversion rates are crucial to your success. You can get all the targeted traffic you want but if you can’t turn those visitors into a sale, it’s game over.
Your sales pages or content must convert into a sale in order for you to succeed. With affiliate marketing it is a little trickier because not only do your pages have to “pre-sell” the affiliate product but the landing page/site where you send that traffic must also convert into a sale.
However, I have discovered one of the keys to high conversion rates has nothing to do with landing pages, sales pitches, etc., but has to do mainly with which products that you decide to promote. You must thoroughly research your affiliate products and ONLY promote the top quality brands in your niche and you will have much better success. Also choosing products that are only available online will increase your conversion numbers; so too will promoting products that offer special discount coupons and deals.
Multiple Streams & Residual Income
Any serious online marketer will leverage their traffic and marketing by promoting many different products and services. They will develop different sources of income from their sites with affiliate links, Google Adsense, paid advertising, partnerships… are all used to develop multiple streams of income. It one should dry up, there are countless others still producing income.
I have found the major third-party affiliate networks like Commission Junction, LinkShare, Shareasale, Affiliate Window, Amazon are really good for finding and promoting products online. These sites will handle all the record keeping and sales stats for you. Plus, they send your monthly checks to you like clockwork. All you have to worry about is providing quality traffic to your affiliate links.
However, like any professional marketer, I save my special promotions and efforts to affiliate products or services that will give me a high return on my marketing efforts. Mainly, I only promote high-ticket items or products that will give me residual income. Make one sale; get paid time and time again. I also like forming partnerships with companies so that I get a percentage of the sales for the life of any client I refer. Those arrangements have special priority for the obvious reason they give me long-term residual income.
Testing Will Show You The Money
Perhaps, like in those multiple-choice exams, there is one sticking point. You can check-off “None of the above” if you don’t apply one thing for all of the “success strategies” listed above.
You Must TEST Everything.
You must constantly test and track what is working and what is not? Which traffic is converting? Which keywords are converting? Which products are converting? Which niches are profitable… you simply must TEST and KNOW which factors are working in your online marketing structure? Unless you test and track everything you will be marketing blind, and that’s no way to run an online business.
I have found Google Analytics to be extremely helpful for testing and improving your conversion rates. I am also a firm believer in the daily reading of your traffic logs and stats… these places will show you where the real money is hiding. Use this information to improve your traffic and sales.
Like any endeavor, the more knowledge you have, the more successful you will be in reaching your goals. This is especially true for affiliate marketing on the web. And always remember, affiliate marketing does take some work and time to set-up, but the rewards are extremely rewarding. I hope you will use some of the marketing tips I have given you so you can experience these rewards for yourself.