Affiliate Marketing 101: How To Promote Just Any Product

Here is the post you´ve all been waiting for. I actually felt bad that I put it off so long that you guys started to remind me. I do apologize, and here goes.

Most of the time people get introduced to affiliate marketing by a product that they are told will make them a lot of money if they make just one sale a day! That goes to any affiliate product, and is particularly true in case of network marketing (where you are stuck with the product/company and you can only promote this thing that they have).

You are still going to do the market research because you need to find people who are interested in your product, where they hang out, and what do they search for. When you know this you´ll be able to target those people and increase your chances of making sales/sign ups (i.e.: conversion)

Here is how to do promote any product

1. If you don´t have the product it´s time to have it. Sometimes you can get a free copy/sample as an affiliate. Ask for it, if not … then buy it. A flexible refund policy is a good sign. It means they are confident about their product.

2. Ask yourself: Who might need this product? I´ll explain with an example, which is GDI (because most of the questions I get are ¨how to promote GDI¨). GDI provides domain registration and hosting (as a product) and a residual source of income (as a benefit).

Who might be interested in GDI´s domain registration and hosting?

First off, GDI hosting is one of the poorest in the industry. So you are not going to promote GDI to webmasters because GDI is out of the competition. Your target should be beginners who don´t know what is FTP, who in the world is HTML, or Fantas..who? As long as they only need an easy to build personal website, then they are a target.

Your target will be the group of people who are interested in building a website on their own domain, have their private email address on their own domain, and will definitely need a website builder in the hosting package.

Is this even a market? Let´s have a look.

Google keyword tool will tell us how many people are searching for terms that indicate they are beginners when it comes to virtual real estate (websites and alike).

keywrod research

That´s 74,000 searches every month for ¨how to build a website¨. Do you think you have a market? You bet you do.

So … here is your target audience. They search Google for ¨how to build a website¨. If you can explain to them how to build a website using GDI´s website builder (tutorials, pictures, and videos) you have a chance to get sign ups. Even better, you can pitch them to buy a one year of hosting because it´s cheaper than paying on a month-by-month basis.

You can also pitch them on the income opportunity, like this: ¨refer 10 people and your hosting is free¨.

The other direction is to approach people who are interested in the income opportunity. Definitely you need to stay away from affiliate marketers because GDI is a very weak offer for us. But for beginners it is the perfect income opportunity because it is very cheap compared to other network marketing ¨opportunities¨.

So .. your target is people who are looking for a cheap online business opportunity. Do you have a market? Let´s ask Google one more time.

keyword-research

2400 people world wide search for cheap online business each month. Do you have a market? I don´t think so. Not a big one at best.

So how to promote the income side of GDI?

Here are two suggestions:

1. Focus on the hosting side and pitch your subscribers into reffering others to reduce their hosting cost (or even get it for free). You´ll need to show them how from scratch because this audience have no idea how to promote anything.

2. Attract other network marketers who are still doing it offline. Introduce the power of Internet marketing and the importance of having a website for capturing fresh leads for their business. Then pitch them on GDI as a hosting company with a network marketing opportunity in place.

Even better, give them a solution, like a lead capture system (including the files to load to their hosting, the autoresponder, some email follow ups) and give it for free if they join your GDI business.

These are just suggestions to get your own marketing mindset started.

So to wrap up: find out who might need your product/service, and make it appeal to them.

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Affiliate Marketing 101: Tracking

There are two things that an affiliate marketer HAS to master in order to be successful:

1. Generating traffic

2. Tracking your money (from which source of traffic it comes)

In the last post I wrote briefly about generating traffic and why as a business person you need to focus your efforts on paid traffic, while considering organic traffic as a side project that helps your paid one and at the same time generates you money.

Today I’ll write a bit about tracking. And I want you to consider the importance of tracking for an affiliate marketer as equivalent to monitoring the subject of an open heart surgery. All the vital processes should be monitored all the time during the operation. If the monitoring system doesn’t work the operation can not be done. There is no such a thing as a “blind” open heart surgery.

As an affiliate, you need to monitor all of the vital processes of each campaign you are running all the time. As opposed to open heart surgery, there could be a test, semi-monitored campaign. Once you decide to scale it up you MUST track your vital affiliate processes.

The vital processes for an affiliate marketer are your ad copies/banners, the landing page copy, design, colors .. etc, and the source of traffic in response to that particular ad copy, keyword, and landing page.

Your tracking system has to show all of them. For example:

If you are going to promote a product from ClickBank, the destination link of any ad should look like this (this is a direct linking case):

http://YourClickBankID.VendorID.hop.clickbank.net/?tid=A01L01K01

where A01 is a code for the ad copy, L01 is a code for the landing page, and {keyword} is a keyword insert token that MSN will replace with the searched keyword that lead to clicking on your ad. (Please note that MSN Adcenter does not allow direct linking with affiliate IDs. To overcome this use your own tracking software installed on your server and use the tracking link given to you by this software. I use AdTrackz and PPVDominator and they both give me reasonable real time tracking).

If the source of traffic does not allow keyword insertion tokens, or if your keywords are too long to fit in the tracking ID, then you’ll have to manually give each keyword a code and place it instead of the keyword token (like, in case of PPC, giving your keywords serial numbers and adding those serial numbers after tid=, and using each link to track a single keyword in a separate ad group).

That doesn’t work if you are going to use landing pages of your own that you are going to be testing as well. And if you are going to do that manually it will take you forever to come up with one fully tracked campaign.

In case of clickbank and most offers where you can contact the advertiser or the affiliate manager, you can get a tracking code from your source of traffic (say MSN, Yahoo, or Google) and ask them to put it on their “thank you” page. In this case you can track the conversions down to the keyword from within your PPC account.

There are plenty of tracking software that you can buy (up to $250) and use, or even get a free version (like tracking 202).

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not writing all of the above to pitch you inot buying a relatively expensive software through my affiliate link. On the contrary, you can start with the free tracking 202 software and upgrade later when you have money to invest in it, or just buy one of the really expensive ones ($3000-$10,000), whatever works for you.

Whatever you do, use a tracking system that allows you to just keep an eye on the these four components of your campaign: keywords that convert  so that you focus your budget only on those and discontinue the other non converting or converting but losing keywords, your ad copy to get the highest click through rate and consequently more traffic, the landing page that converts the best, and the source of this traffic.

So basically what you are doing tracking your results is that you are weeding out what is not profitable and focusing on what is profitable.

For example, if a keyword is costing you $0.25 per click and is converting at 1%, then you must be making more than $25 per conversion if you want to be in profit. If yes, then keep it, if not pause it (or try to lower the bid) until further notice. Or if you have two ads, one is getting higher click through rate but with no conversion, while the other is getting a lower click through rate but is profitably convering, then you’ve got to pause the first and focus most of yout traffic on the converting ad. Always use a fraction of your traffic in testing new factors (new ad copy, keywords, landing page … etc).

That’s it for today, I hope I gave you a good picture for what tracking is and why you need it.

Good Luck

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Affiliate Marketing 101: Traffic: Organic Vs. Paid

Dragging traffic to your buffer pages, whether they are review pages, lead capture pages, or blogs, is the next component of the big picture. You know … the picture of a full time affiliate marketer who is making real money by choosing the right market, testing products, preparing good buffering pages, and sending as much targeted traffic to those pages as possible.

But where to get the traffic from?

Here is a list of the possible sources of traffic to any website:

  1. Direct traffic: where people type your url in their browser and hit enter, or chose it from their bookmarks. Most of the time people arrive to your site this way if they hear about it offline (TV, fliers, posts, word of month, in a book or magazine).
  2. Search engines: where people search for a keyword or phrase and your site shows up in the search results. A typical search results page includes two types of results: sponsored links (paid for showing up for this keyword or phrase), and organic results that the search engines picks from their indexed sites that contain these keywords. More on these later.
  3. Referred traffic: who click on a link or a banner on another site and follow it to your site.
  4. Contextual traffic: this one has variant definitions, but for affiliate marketers it is when your site shows up as a pop up or pop under when someone visits a related website or search for a relevant keyword. It is driven either by adware (not spyware) or pop up from the website they visited.

Out of the above sources you pay for sponsored search results, banners (sometimes) on other people´s sites, offline advertising, and contextual traffic. Organic search results, on the other hand, are free. Free as in: you can not buy them.

Now the debate whether you should go for free organic traffic or paid traffic first is like the chicken/egg one, because you need, and can get both but you don´t know which one to start with.

Here is my two cents:

You can only build a business on what you pay for. Free stuff might work for a while and even make you a lot of money, but you have no control over anything you get for free.

In this post what concerns us is the organic traffic from search engines. If you optimize your website to show on the first page of results when your keyword is searched you´ll get this kind of traffic for free (only if you consider that your time is worthless).

This search engine optimization process is time consuming and involves a lot of work, and you don´t get to see the results right away. It might take your site anywhere between 1 week and 2 years to show on the first page depending on the market you are in. One can not expect search engine algorithms to stay the same until you are done with your SEO work. They change all the time.

And when they change your site might move from the first position to the 30th or even 900th, and this unplugs your money machine immediately. Can you build a business on that? As a business you have expenses to cover and a growth plan that you want to achieve on time. You need to be in control of your traffic if you are serious about your affiliate marketing business.

Paid traffic on the other hand is an instant traffic. It means you could be making money from your sites in a matter of minutes. Besides, if you pay for traffic and don´t get it, you can call someone and have the problem fixed (money talks louder than anything today body).

It doesn´t mean that you shouldn´t work on SEO, you actually should (the process involves getting backlinks to your site, which in itself is a source of traffic). In fact SEO helps you get lower cost per click if you use Google Adwords for advertising. Just consider this kind of traffic as a bonus and don´t consider it as a source of income in your future plans for expansion.

One more thing, and it is very important. When you do the SEO you do it for a certain keyword or phrase per page. You want to spend your time optimizing for the keywords or phrases that make money. And what is the best way to know this? By tracking your Pay Per Click advertising.

More on the tracking process in the next post.

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