Affiliate programs have proven to be an important additional stream of income for many small Internet business owners.
It is not a “cure all” for lack of sales at your own web site as some self-proclaimed gurus have stated.
You must first determine if adding affiliate sales to your overall marketing strategy is a positive step or one that will detract from your web site’s mission.
There are some types of business, and certain niches, where selling others’ goods will not help your own cause.
This may seem obvious, but I see this mistake being made all over the Internet – unless there is a compelling reason to do it, don’t sell competing products or unrelated (to your niche) products in your affiliate program.
If you do that, you may as well announce to the world that you have little confidence in the value of your own product.
Contrary to the outrageous advertising claims you’ll see for the lucrative affiliate sales of some products, you should not expect to make more than $500/month on any program unless you very aggressively market that product. Of course, that is just a figure off the top of my head. But I see so many stupid and exaggerated claims about thousands and thousands of dollars potential commissions for beginning affiliates … it’s ridiculous!
Forget the “five figure monthly” hype that you’ll see.
Here are six easy steps that you can start today to get your feet wet in the affiliate marketing ballgame.
Once you’ve tested the water, there are many, many additional strategies and plans that will multiply your efforts greatly.
1. Concentrate on finding complementary products to those you sell on your web site. Don’t offer competing products. Don’t offer too many different products.
Don’t confuse your customer with too many choices – or competing choices.
Guide her/him to his best choice which you can thoroughly recommend because you are very familiar with the product.
2. Find affiliate seller programs that are professional, legitimate, and run by honest business people. Some aren’t and they should be avoided lest you do a lot of work and promotion and never get paid.
Often third party enablers will be the answer since they handle all aspects of sales tracking and payment.
Just be careful that you trust your host because there have been more than a few occasions where affiliates have made thousands in sales only to be cut off for various reasons, sometimes before receiving their commissions due.
3. Don’t directly sell affiliate products. Add content to your site that will be of value to the viewer in helping him/her solve a problem.
Develop a natural recommendation for the affiliate product in your content by saying something like – “I had that same problem and this is how I solved it.” It’s as if you’re talking to a trusted friend and mentioning a great product in a casual way.
4. In your marketing content related to the affiliate product, put a simple but inviting 2-line marketing message in your signature file that will direct anyone interested to your web site where they can see what you’re recommending about the product.
I would suggest saving your main sig file, the one you use for everyday business purposes, for the main product or service at your web site.
5. One of the most effective ways to make affiliate sales is to write articles or content for ezines and newsletters that are related to the niche of your affiliate product and include text links back to your affiliate sales page.
This strategy works because the readers of the newsletter are already targeted customers of the niche and may be looking for the type of products that you offer.
6. Write content that is related to the affiliate product and distribute it through the many free article sites on the Internet.
In the content, make mention of how the product is used to help the customer solve his problem, how it saves him time or money, how it fulfills his greatest desire, etc.
Place contextual links in the content if that is allowed (you have to see the “selling” policies of the content site to know if this is permitted.)
Most article sites do allow an author signature file where you can place your link.
These six easy steps will help you get started in affiliate marketing today.
Once you get your feet wet, you can branch out with more complex marketing strategies that will broaden your sales effort.
To your online business success!