If you want to market like a pro, you have to leverage your time, your audience, and your sales force like a pro. Leverage is your ultimate friend!
When it comes to distributing offers for your products, the best way to do that is to recruit and engage affiliates into your sales force. They will effectively leverage your marketing reach.
Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, was probably the first to really ramp up the idea of associates or affiliates selling Amazon books back in 1996, nearly 20 years ago! Amazon affiliates post links on their web sites, blogs and to their subscriber lists promoting Amazon products and are paid a commission whenever someone clicks their link, is taken to the Amazon product site, and makes a purchase. The affiliate simply promotes . . . Amazon does all the rest including setting up the sales copy and marketing on the Amazon site, inventorying and shipping the product once purchased, handling the financial transaction, and taking care of customer service if the need arises.
You can always position your product in third party marketplaces like JVZoo, ClickBank, PayDotCom, e-Junkie, and others. They’re some of the most well-known markets for selling your digital products, but you also want to secure affiliate relationships and joint ventures directly with marketers who are already successful in promoting your niche topic, not wait for them to find your item on a third party web site.
Here’s an online marketing industry secret: even though you may have 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 affiliates sign up to sell your product, a very small proportion will make the vast bulk of your sales . . . and many affiliates will never make one sale! It’s the nature of the industry. The very best you can do is to recruit affiliates that are already entrenched and successful in your particular niche market.
Why? It’s because these successful sellers are already trusted and supplying valuable information and products or services to the same audience that will be a good fit for your business and want your products.
Here are three slightly different variations for affiliate sellers: (1) PPC (pay-per-click) where the vendor pays the affiliate marketer based on the number of visitors who click on the affiliate link in order to be taken to the vendor’s web site. The affiliate is paid for the traffic that he/she sends to the vendor even if the prospect buys nothing. (2) PPL or pay-per-lead where the affiliate sends interested prospects to fill out a form at the vendor site which allows the vendor to then market to the prospect. The affiliate is paid when the lead is verified and subscribed. (3) PPS (pay-per-sale) where the vendor or merchant pays either a flat rate or a percentage commission of the profit to the affiliate who refers the purchaser. This is Amazon’s model and the method most affiliates employ when selling digital products online.
Amazon handles it’s own affiliate platform which is quite complex and involved. Many small business owners, rather than messing with all the transactional and tracking details like Amazon, employ affiliate networks or brokers to provide and handle the affiliate selling platform. Examples include ClickBank, Commission Junction, Share-A-Sale, and JVZoo. The broker steps in on behalf of the vendor (for a percentage of the sale) to handle all the details of tracking, purchasing, arranging the delivery of the product, paying the vendor or merchant, and customer service if the need arises.
If you have a product for sale, actively start this process by listing as many sites as you can where there’s strong interest in your niche topic. Included would be discussion forums, chat groups, membership sites, Google groups, etc. Don’t forget the social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter, just to name a few very popular sites.
Listen to the social conversation going on. Ask relevant questions and pay attention to the answers. Do you get comments and ideas or recommendations for an information product and website with more details? That should be one of your goals.
From that information, go to the suggested sites. These are potential affiliate partners. Even if you don’t see any affiliate products on their sites, contact them and propose an affiliate relationship. It may be that the site owner is so focused on his or her own niche business that product affiliation hasn’t even been considered. You may need to educate your potential partner on the benefits and ease of offering your products to his audience.
Potential affiliates may not know how such a partnership might work to their advantage for increased income, gathering of new prospects, and the offering of niche value to current customers. It shouldn’t take much “convincing” to get niche affiliates on board if you have a high quality product, a sound affiliate tracking and payment platform, and you pay a decent commission (standard commission percentages will vary by niche – typically something like 50% of the sale amount).
You never know who will become your affiliate until you ask. When you discover another start-up site related to your niche, propose an affiliate JV opportunity. New sites in the same niche may not have much traffic in the beginning, but you’ll grow together.
You can also propose a shared or reciprocal email campaign – agree to recommend their site to your list if they do the same for you with their list.
Now, here’s one source that new marketers tend to avoid: highly successful niche sites.
As soon as you see the big site with powerful affiliate partners, don’t assume there’s no room for you. An established site has a large following and repeat visitors and the owner is always looking for ways to make additional income and provide value and insight to his or her community. You can offer a special bonus or discount for the site owner in order to increase the likelihood that an affiliate partnership might be seriously considered.
Identify the top 10 most influential people in your niche and study their websites. Look at their products and promotion methods. After a thorough analysis, contact their centers of influence and propose your product for an affiliate sales campaign.
Send your product to these large site owners for a review. Most new Internet marketers avoid the big guys thinking that people so well established in the niche wouldn’t bother with a newcomer. You might be surprised at the results you can get by simply asking and then sharing your product so that its value can be experienced.
Some of the biggest names in Internet marketing are great people who believe strongly in the “pay it forward” philosophy.
Don’t hype yourself, be honest and straight forward and ask for an opportunity. When you get the open door, you need to present your best quality product with excellent customer service so your partner will feel comfortable sending his traffic to your site.
Don’t forget to reciprocate where you can.
One last profitable tip: if you are a business owner, also consider the fact that you are in prime position to become an affiliate for other vendors in your niche. You’ll want to offer your subscribers top value products from non-direct competitors in the niche . . . your audience will be paying you for your recommendations that make sense for their niche interest!
To your online business success!