A list of affiliate networks I worked with

An affiliate network is like a short cut to find products to promote as described in the previous post. The reason I delayed this list is to assure on the concept of “the market comes first”. Always start with finding the market then find the product it needs. Never get emotionally attached to a product/offer. It’s a business. Find people who will buy from you then find them something to buy.

Below is a list of affiliate networks (some are also known as CPA, or Commission Per Action networks) that I worked with and currently am/used to be happy with my affiliate managers. I excluded from this list all of those that I had serious problems with.

As you already know, I am an affiliate marketer, and those are my affiliate links to the affiliate networks (yes, I get commission on your earnings from most of the following networks).

Click Bank of course: Only digital/downloadable products. Is a corporate-structured network and a very trusted name in the industry.

Paydotcom.com: Owned and operated by a marketer celebrity; Mike Filsaime. Is a good alternative to clickbank and has an efficient customer support in place.

Commission Junction: The highest Alexa rank among all affiliate networks.

Amazon.com: Physical products. You get a low commission but are very likely to make it up with volume. It is a trusted name, and you can capitalize on it.

The rest are not easy to join. There is a screening process, and interview, and some require referrals you worked with before. It doesn’t hurt to try, but it’s not the end of the world if you get rejected. Practice with the above two until you build a solid affiliate marketing history.

The reason it is hard to join CPA networks is that they deal with fraud more than any thing else. So … to stay in business and to protect their reputation and their clients they tend to reject applications to stay as clean as possible.

AsSeenOnPC: Mainly physical products, like those featured on infomercials.

Clickbooth: One of the oldest CPA networks, operated by IntegraClick.

COPEAC: One of the biggest CPA networks.

Neverblue: One of the biggest names in the CPA world.

ROI Rocket: The most friendly CPA network I ever worked with.

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Affiliate Marketing 101: Product Research

Now that you have the thirsty market that is ready to absorb your products, it’s time to find those products. And to do this there is nothing easier than going to Google and searching for the features of the product. On the site of the product if there is an affiliate program in place you’ll find an “Affiliates” link, mostly at the bottom of the home page. If you can’t find any, there are affiliate networks that list most of the affiliate programs out there. Join some of those networks and search their list of affiliate programs.

Take note of all of the products that you’ve found. This is your starting list. Now set down and open the landing pages of all of these products in internet browsers (or tabs) at the same time and look for the following:

The header: Does it communicate reasoning or emotions? Exclude all of those that communicate reasoning, because emotions sell more. Does it have benefits (not features) in the headline text? If yes short-list it for the next screening.

The theme: A successful web designer will make sure his design appeals to the target sector of the community. If, for example, you know your audience is women, then the theme of the landing page should appeal to women. How to know? Ask a woman.

What if you don’t know your audience?

That’s easy. Ask quantcast.com. Copy the url of the landing page and paste it in quantcast, hit enter and you’ll know the gender, age, education, and the level of income of the audience of this site. If the site returns no data it means it hasn’t been around long enough. In that case check the demographics of another authority site related to what you are trying to sell.

Check for bullets: Do they list features or benefits? Again, go for the benefits.

The call to action: Is the call to action clear and can not be missed? This is what you want. You don’t want to spend hours of your life and heard-earned money sending traffic to your affiliate link just to get confused and leave without taking action.

Is there an opt in form? Perfect, it means there will be a follow up with a fraction of the traffic that didn’t buy.

Are there any ads of any kind? Run away. It means it is not converting for them and advertising on the site is how they are trying to monetize their traffic. Not good for you.

You’ll need at least two products to start because you’ll send half of the traffic that you’ll generate to each one, compare their conversion, then send 90% of your traffic to the winning one. The other 10% will be for testing other products.

Now this step is optional, but it helps you live the culture of your audience: buy the product and try it yourself if possible, or have it reviewed by someone who belongs to the culture of your audience. (If it is about babies, for example, and you don’t have one, pass it to your friend who’s got a new born as a gift, then later ask about their experience with that gift).

In the next article I’ll write about the different methods of promotions, the pros and cons of each one, and my recommendation.

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Affiliate Marketing 101: What to Promote (Market Research)

Market research is the first task you should do as an affiliate marketer. Find a thirsty market, provide a product they want (not necessarily they need), bring it to them, and you are very likely to be in profit. This is way easier than finding a product and trying to find someone to buy it.

Note: If you think you’re stuck with a product and you need to sell it for any reason (proving it to yourself for example), please hang around. I’ll be posting about a method to market anything.

So .. back to market research. Let’s find a thirsty market first and make sure that someone is ready to pay money to fulfill their need.

What is a Thirsty Market?

First let’s define what is a thirsty market that will absorb your product like a sponge absorbs water.

A thirsty market is a group of people who have a really urgent issue that is affecting their quality of life in a way that they can not, or are not willing to, tolerate. Examples are: people who gained weight involuntarily and they are losing their jobs, love, or social gains because of it. Losing weight for such people is as important for them as getting hired after a year of unemployment for others.

And that’s another good example; people who lost their jobs and have been unemployed for quite long time that they are running out of savings.

How about women who want to have kids, everything is fine, but they don’t seem to be able to conceive.

These are examples of  markets that are thirsty for something to solve their problems, and if you can find that solution and bring it to them you are very likely to be making money in minutes.

One thing to consider though, some markets are not ready to buy your product no matter how much they want it. That could be due to some background issues like lack of fund or due to their location.

Now that sounds pretty easy, except that you’ll need to know where to start!

Where to Start Market Research?

You’ll need a start point and brain storm from there. That start point could be an idea that came to your mind, an infomercial, a TV commercial, a new trend in a talk show, or even something you saw on the news.

This is just the start point. The start point is sometimes all what you are looking for, but most of the time you’ll need to do a lot of research until you find a really thirsty market.

So .. the start point is not a big deal. Just do what you normally do every day but add to that a note pad and a pencil, and collect ideas. After doing this for just one day you’ll have more than more starting points than you can handle.

How to do the market research?

Now that you have a start point go to Google and search for broadest term related to the start point. Do you see any sponsored ads? If yes then there is a market. How many ads do you see? If you see a lot of ads then there is a huge market and the competition is fierce. Then start narrowing your search using Google suggestions at the bottom of the search results page. keep doing this and write down the search terms that you found sponsored ads showing with them.

IMPORTANT: Please note that the ads that you’ll find are all geographically targeted. The markets you’ll find this way are specific to your local area (country, state, or even city). If you want to see markets in other places you’ll need to use a proxy.

After you’ve built a list of potential markets keep an eye on them and make sure that the ads are still there for a week or so. Have a screen shot for your records and compare them at the end of the week.

One thing to keep in mind. You might need to keep starting market research projects every day in an overlapping fashion, and don’t stop until you find at least 3 markets.

After you find these markets you’ll need to a product or service. And this is what the next post will be about.

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Affiliate Marketing 101: Introduction

Introduction

Affiliate marketing is the process of bringing the buyers to the seller and getting paid a commission per sale or customer you bring in (lead). This is the simplest definition for the term affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing in the online world is to bring Internet traffic to your affiliate link to a product, service, or lead capture form and getting paid commission per action (sale, opt in, or just a click through).

Affiliate marketing is not a new invention or an Internet specific trend in business. It has been around for as long as I am aware of life (I am 40 at the time of writing this). When you buy a car from a dealership, you could get free services or even a discount on your next car purchase if you bring in customers to the dealership. The same for real estate agents, they broker a house sale without buying or selling. They sell the house for you and get a commission for facilitating the sale, and they get commission from the buyers for finding them the house. Even large stores like Sam’s club rewards you with coupons when you bring in new members.

I even did it one time when I owned a small publishing business, I had an affiliate program in place for those who bring in new customers. And that was my only method of advertising. It was working so well that I at one point I had to stop it in order to be able to fulfill my current customers ever growing orders.

So … affiliate marketing has been around for a long time, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Elements of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves a lot of factors and elements, but the basic 3 elements are:

1. The market (people who need to buy something)

2. A product/service that fulfills what the market needs and has an affiliate program

3. The affiliate (you), the person who will bring the product to the market and get paid a commission per each successful task.

Note that I mentioned the market first, before the product. Most of the time, especially for beginners, affiliates start with the product then they try to sell it. And most of the time that ends up with failure and new affiliates dropping the towel too early because they picked the wrong product and/or promoted it to the wrong people.

The right way to do affiliate marketing is to find a market first, then find a product that the market needs, sign up for its affiliate program, and bring the product to the market.

In the coming posts I’ll discuss how to do the market research, how to find a product with an affiliate program, and how to do the marketing itself: how to funnel traffic to buy from your affiliate link.

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