Affiliate Programs - How They Work
by Preston Reuther
An online affiliate program can be one of the most successful home businesses that anyone can start for peanuts! An affiliate program for any small business, either for the business or a seller of products for that business, can be a very successful win-win moneymaker. Let’s look at affiliate programs and affiliate marketing for any type of product that can be sold:
AFFILIATE PROGRAM ALSO CALLED AN ASSOCIATE PROGRAM
This is a business relationship whereby a business or merchant pays you (the affiliate or associate) for a link or links from your website, newsletter, email or blog to their site. And, when a customer goes from your link to theirs and buys something, you get a commission and that commission is automatically tracked in their software. The commission can go from 1% of the total sale to 50% but normally is 10%. This is what’s known as a PPA (pay per action) and usually no merchant wants to pay anything unless something is sold!
EVERYONE MAKES MONEY WITH A GOOD AFFILIATE PROGRAM!
I mean that’s what it is really about, isn’t it? A merchant reduces his advertising budget to almost 0 and only pays if something is sold. And the associate (you) can do just a bit of low cost to no cost marketing and make a little money, too! This truly is a great relationship where everyone wins -- both merchant and affiliate.
Website content rule -- The more targeted content your website or blog has to your affiliate, the more traffic you will get in this area and the more traffic you have, the more profitable your affiliate program will be.
Affiliated programs are world wide!!!
They can be operated from just about any country in the world. You can own and operate a U.S. website or blog or newsletter even if you live in Australia or India or Canada. Makes no difference where you are.
Beware of Bad Affiliate Programs
Now there are some programs that are not so good and that’s because of the countries that they are associated with. Why? Because that country has a bad reputation for bad internet behavior, fraud, theft you name it. It’s sad that so many have to suffer for the actions of a few but what company can take a chance with let’s say Nigeria where “scam letters account for about 50% of the nation’s economy.” But the good news is about 90% of the countries worldwide can sign up for most any free affiliate program.
LIST OF THE 10 WORST COUNTRIES FOR AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM
NOTE: If a country has a poor economy, is crime ridden and full of illegal activities, it just stands to reason that’s the last place to do business in, offline or online.
1. Sierra Leone: The poorest country in the world. It has very poor standards of living and is very dangerous and it doesn’t have much of anything to mention but poverty, crime and problems.
2. Somalia: An extremely poor country where anarchy rules and is extremely dangerous. Don’t even think about it.
3. Liberia: Poor, violent and unstable.
4. Swaziland: Like most African countries it is very poor and corrupt to the bone.
5. Nigeria: A very corrupt country where murder is a daily event with an extremely high crime rate and about 50% of the economy is based on the “NIGERIAN SCAM LETTER” usually perpetrated online these days.
6 Afghanistan: A country that has been in some type of war since its creation.
7. Colombia: Has the highest murder rate in the world and the highest kidnapping rate to go along with it. Not a place to do any kind of business.
8. Iraq: A country of chaos, death and destruction.
9. Algeria: Terrorism rules in every corner of this country.
10. Zimbabwe: The country is a dictatorship and anyone who goes there is subject to arrest, torture, and execution for any criticism of any government official.
BUYER BEWARE - Don’t let anyone tell you that you are going to make a million dollars from one affiliate program because it’s not going to happen. You usually only make a small amount of money from most affiliate programs and, yes, there are exceptions but normally you make a little here and a little there and, if you have enough affiliate programs with good traffic, then you can look to making a nice income online.
Up front fees -- Today in 2011 you should never have to pay an up front fee to sell someone else’s goods! Makes no sense to do that so forget about paying any type of fee to work for someone else. Affiliate programs that make money can do so in Canada, Australia, and the US or just about anywhere. AND today in 2011 there are many companies that will actually pay you to join up! YES, they will pay you just for signing up for their affiliate program! Is there a catch? Well, yes and no.
Yes, they will actually pay you whatever they say (We pay $10) but remember that affiliate programs usually have a certain amount they pay out at which is usually a minimum of $50 in commissions or $100 in commissions usually paid monthly. So, yes, you will get your $10 but you will have to do some extra work to collect your money. It is sort of an incentive to get you going.
To get started making money with an affiliate program all you need is an email, a blog, a newsletter or a website. And most good affiliate programs have html website pages ready to go for you to use at no cost! Free affiliate programs are simple to operate and easy to market.
All you need is a good affiliate program tutorial and a link or a banner and you are in business to start making money to sell someone else’s widgets! Just do a google search for “affiliate programs that pay” and you will get a few hundred online affiliate programs for websites.
Marketing Techniques -- There are many free ways to market someone else’s jewelry, shoes or whatever you might want to be a part of. Here are a few:
E- Mail Marketing - Copy and paste your affiliate code into your email and every time you email your friends and family, this is what they see:
P.S Just saw an old cameo I would love to have!! Do you have one? Here it is take a look: www.cameojewelry.com
You can tell them your message and put your affiliate link in the PS or just hot link the
HERE IT IS
This link will be automatically tracked by the affiliate software owned by the shoe company or the cameo company. And, if that person buys an old cameo for $1000 and your affiliate program pays 10%, you just made $100 and, if they pay 20%, you just made $200. Now most companies products are about $25 to $50 so your commission would be much lower but you can find lots of high end products that have great affiliate commissions.
You can send out a sales message each time you send an email. It’s free and it will produce some sales depending on your product. BUT!!! Most companies do not allow spam for all the obvious reasons, so keep your marketing in line with a good honest relationship or the company you are selling for can cancel your subscription and keep your commissions. And spamming is illegal in some states, so keep it legal.
AFFILIATE PROGRAM MARKETING TIPS FOR BLOGS and NEWSLETTERS
Here are 7 simple tips to promote any affiliate program thru your blog or newsletter:
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #1 – Who is your target audience?
Always start marketing, selling and talking with your audience in mind rather than the sales commission. If you do this, you will keep your blog on target, keep your readers informed as well as making a few bucks for almost 0 effort.
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #2 – A personal endorsement is powerful so use it.There are lots of products out there and you can plaster them all over your blog and loose credibility, loose sales, and finally give a firesale before you go out of business. So make sure you are on target when you speak about something and, no, you don’t have to be an expert. You can “review” a product or a book or a dvd and give the good, the bad and the beautiful about it. It is a win-win situation for all. Even people who don’t like it will love you for your honesty and people who disagree with you will buy the product sometime and “BAM” you have a sale!—(can I say bam? Is that legal)
NOTE: If I did a sneaky little hyperlink to one of Emerils great spice collections, wouldn’t that be interesting? Who don’t like good food or Emeril!!. So there are lots of ways to get your plug in.
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #3 - Leave the junk alone! There ain’t nothing worse then plugging a product that does not deserve the plug! Yes, I’m talking about junk products and people do plug them just to get paid! Might be good for the short term but doing this will kill your blog or website or newsletter and your reputation so don’t do it.
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #4 - The link (ad) must match the story or for the most part you’re just wasting your time. If you are selling jewelry thru an affiliate program, say one like mine at
http://www.cameojewelry.com/affiliate/ , then your blog or article really needs to be on jewelry or maybe cameo jewelry and it should not link to the home page it should go right to whatever you are talking about! If it’s an article on cleaning DIAMOND CAMEOS, then you want to go directly to:
By linking directly to the product in your written information people can go there in ¼th of a second and make an emotional decision as to whether they want it or not! Let’s face it no one actually needs a diamond cameo. They just want it and online people are in a hurry and usually that decision is made in less than ONE SECOND!
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #5 -- Remember the old real estate slogan Location, location, location? Well, it’s not much different in locating links inside your website or nesletter. In obvious places the people are more likely to press a link. Here are a few hot spots that might work for you.
*In the P.S
*Above or below a relative picture
*Top left or top right of a publication
*Imbedded inside the article in a very relative position
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #6 -- A great looking web page sometimes just won’t do it. You have to have traffic to it! How do you get traffic to your webpage or information? Any way you can!
Here are some effective cheap ones:
*A press release to your local paper or better yet a publication that specializes in what you are talking about.
*Do a search for cheap pay per click engines like Yahoo or Microsoft. They are much cheaper than Google but keep your bids low and monitor it very closely, like every day.
*Forums on your subject are a great way to get your message out there. Don’t spam the forum. Just leave a good signature file or make a relative post to your subject matter. It’s cheap and it works.
Affiliate Program Marketing Tip #7 - Keep your links to your affiliate program relative and you can keep them a long time in your newsletter, blog or web page. BUT, if you have links that are not relative or time sensitive they may become very unpopular after a while. So link stategy to your favorite affiliate program can be an art in itself. Much like painting a picture
WHINNING GRACEFULLY!! You can actually whine your way right to the bank! Remember that old saying: “The squeeky wheel gets the oil”? Well, that is true in many affiliate programs where commissions can go from 10% to 25%.
Let me give you an idea, ok? Now this is not a written rule and it does not work all the time but an extra 5% in these hard economic times can mean more money on your table, right? So here is what you need and here is what you do.
You must have a very good bargaining chip in simple language if you are going to ask for a higher commission on their affiliate program. EXAMPLE:
***You have a great website that has big time information about all kinds of jewelry and you just signed up for http://www.cameojewelry.com/affiliate/ program that pays 10% normally. BUT if your website, blog or newsletter gets tons of traffic you may be able to negotiate a higher commission, like 15% or maybe more.
BUT, normally owners are busy and webmasters that manage affiliate programs even more so. So when you ask for the extra $$$ you have to actually have that better mouse trap and you have to get right to the point and ask for it in a way that makes sense and is not confrontational.
The last thing any company wants is an “affiliate trouble maker” that is creating problems even before they sign up! So, be nice, be graceful, use logical details that all will understand and make it a win-win situation for everyone.
Affiliate programs and associate programs are taking over the internet and the world. You can be a part of associate selling or making money thru your affiliate program or you can let that extra cash slip right thru your fingers!
Preston Reuther is a jewelry designer by trade and has written several e books and over 34 dvds on jewelry creation and marketing. He offers an online affiliate program on gold and silver cameo jewelry with a $10 sign up bonus and commissions starting at 10%. His affiliate program can be found at www.cameojewelry.com or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org