Getting Started with Affiliate Programs

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Affiliate Marketing is probably one of the most popular forms of Internet Marketing, since it doesn’t involve having to create, stock, or sell problems of your own. You simply earn commissions from referring customers to the affiliated product. It is pure marketing, in that you promote and advertise for a third party.

As I mentioned before whatever you do with Internet Marketing you are basically connecting customers and products. Therefore, finding the right customers, and the right products, is essential.

These days most large online retailers, such as Amazon and eBay, have affiliate programs. There are also vast networks of affiliate programs for almost every industry you can think of. Commissions will vary widely, from around 6% for a book or DVD from Amazon to 75% or more from selling digital products such as eBooks, Software or Memberships. Some affiliate programs will pay fixed fees, such as $50 per customer. Some will even pay recurring commissions, for services that are billed monthly or members for private sites. It’s easy to see why this form of marketing is attractive.

If you want to earn good money from affiliate programs it’s essential you aim for one that suits you. Some marketers will swear by targeting smaller, less overcrowded niches, so you can focus your efforts there and become a big fish in a small pond. Others will aim for higher payouts, so even though the amount of sales might be lower, the overall profits are good. It’s different for everyone.

One of the first things you do is decide what, and how, to promote. Traditionally paying directly for clicks has been proven to work, but getting it wrong can cost you dearly. Using a system such as Googles Adwords you bid on keywords, pay for every click from that keyword, and direct that visitor to a page where, hopefully, they’ll buy. As an example we’ll say you’re promoting a company that sells motorcycles. These are high value items, with considerable potential rewards. If an average sale of $10000 nets you $650 in commissions, and 1 in 1000 customers you send to the website buys, you know that you can afford to spend around $1.50 per customer. Spend less per customer, make more money. You’d therefore target keywords in Google with terms such as “Buy Motorcycle” – but that would be too vague, and cost dearly. So perhaps “2013 Suzuki GSX-R 750″ is a little more targeted. Perhaps you’d discover customers are unlikely to buy a motorcycle online at all, or it’s only 1 in 10000 who’d buy, but the beauty of Pay Per Click campaigns with Adwords and others is that you can quickly get a feel of how much traffic will cost, and how much you could potentially make. Another example is to target local sales, e.g. “Cable TV in Virginia” or “Broadband in Miami, Florida”. Still massive markets.

The other major way of getting traffic is through the search engines directly, so called Organic Search. These are the sites people visit when searching for information or even when looking to buy. To be successful here your site, or pages on your site, must rank highly, preferably on the first page, for terms people use to search. Getting ranked high is an industry in itself, but in short the keywords you use, the sites that link to you, the age of the site, and the content all contribute. It’s always best to aim your site at your human visitor first and worry about the search engines last, as good quality content, regularly produced, will always win out. Sites such as Blogs, Review Sites, and Forums are all easy to build content for in specific niches. Take for example Amazons affiliate program. You might decide to drill down through the categories (Amazons “Best Sellers” in niche categories are a good start) and start promoting their “Garmin Approach G3 Golf GPS Unit”. It’s a specific item in a popular but still less crowded niche (and as a bonus, golf players tend to have more disposable income). You could build a few pages around that product, and others, and start including articles on GPS systems in golf to build content. At around $160-$200 a pop the commissions could add up on this one item. WordPress is a great platform for building niche sites. A content site that grows over time could slowly target every variation of keyword, increasing your rankings as you do.

The great advantage of affiliate marketing is that once you’ve found that ideal product and that ideal audience you build from there, either tweaking your PPC campaigns, adding more products to your portfolio, adding content to your sites, or driving traffic from other sources such as social networks, youtube, or even offline (print ads, flyers, phone). Most of the effort involved in affiliate marketing is driving all this traffic. Some affiliate programs even increase commissions are you get more sales, and the top affiliates often benefit from one-to-one partnerships rather than fixed percentages.

Most marketers will start with affiliate marketing due to the ease of starting up. I won’t say it’s easy making a big income, but once you understand how it works there’s only really one way to go… up!

Finally, a popular affiliate site that sells digital products is Clickbank. You can often enjoy 50% commissions plus on products from here, since the seller has no real overheads other than providing their products digitally. Other websites even offer 100% commissions on digital products, usually direct from the site rather an affiliate network, since to the seller the value is not that initial sale, but rather the lifetime of the customer. All this is worth noting when you consider that affiliate marketing not only refers to you making sales as the affiliate, but the flip side – getting affiliates to sell for YOU…

 

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Finding Your Niche

Back To Basics Part 2: Finding Your Niche

The introduction to this series can be found here

A “niche” can be any specific category you aim to market. For example, model cars is one, so is fishing, holidays to tenerife, brain training, the bridges of London, and of course – Internet Marketing.

You can go ahead and start to build a web presence around anything you wish… but you should really take a moment to think about a few key points.

1. Experience and Interest

If the subject you are going to tackle is of no interest to you, why bother starting? You will soon stall due to a lack of interest on your part. It also helps if you have some experience in that subject but that is not necessarily a requirement.

If, for example, you are a plasterer, or a policeman, a traffic warden, or an accountant – you have experience in those and related subjects. If your hobby is fishing, or stamp collecting, or you’re an avid historian, or a big fan of 1960s art decor – then those are other niches you can tackle.

It helps if you have experience or an interest in any niche you decide to tackle, but I repeat – not a necessity. If you happen to discover a hot topic you can learn as you go.

2. Other Peoples Interest

This point is more important. If no-one else is interested in your chosen niche then there is no money to be made. It’s that simple. If you spend a long time researching and developing a site that is TOO niche you’re heading for a dead end. Sometimes you can go more general, and cover your interest as a sub-niche, but otherwise just don’t bother.

For example: If you have a burning desire to create a site about an obscure 1900’s silent-era movie star but most people have forgotten him, why not create a more general site about the silent movie era instead, covering that star on a sub page.

3. Competition

If the niche you chose has a wide interest, but there are hundreds of sites targetting the same niche, you will have a lot more work to do. It’s still possible to succeed by bettering these other sites, or offering something they don’t, but in general it’s worth thinking about first. Some niches are big enough to allow a LOT of competition (think Internet Marketing!).

The ideal niche has a big interest but a low competition. These are hard to come by, so sometimes it’s better to compromise and head for a side niche of some kind. You’re unlikely to make a dent in the Credit Card market – but you could possibly make a go of it in the “how to manage multiple credit cards” or “winning with credit card awards” niches.

4. Profitability

Finally, since you’re in this for the money, you need to think about how profitable the niche you chose could be.

Some niches are obvious. Taking Credit Card’s as an example again, it’s easy to see that affiliate programs and maybe ebooks would be profitable. As for that silent movie era site, then DVD sales, posters, books, etc could work. All these sites could support advertising too.

If you target Golf – another big market – then you know that the average golfer is affluent, likes to spend on their sport, and avidly seek to better their handicap.

It’s worth thinking about these various points before you go ahead with your new niche.

But what if you can’t think of an idea at all?

First, there’s the popular news stories of the day. Sometimes you can quickly get a time sensitive site up to catch a buzz, but the site by it’s very nature would be short lived. For example, here in the UK there’s an election – but by the time it’s over any site covering it is long gone. The same for the recent volcano that stopped flights over much of Europe’s airspace. Hot news at the time, but gone right after.

You can also get ideas by looking at the problems people have. Find a problem, provide an answer, and you’re on to a winner. Perennial human problems include how we look, how we feel, our worries about our families, and debt, and so on. More specific problems include those wannabe gardeners who can’t get anything to grow, that fisherman who can’t get a bite, and (again) that golfer who just can’t improve his score.

Provide an answer to a popular problem and you’re set.

Other good sources of niche ideas can be found in the world around you. If you put your marketer’s hat on you’ll seen tons of ideas in your everyday life. Say you cycle to work, and are sick of avoiding cars. Or you spot a billboard advertising some holiday destination, and you start daydreaming about being there. Or you are talking to a neighbour who’s grumbling about the state of his lawn.

Advertising, in all it’s forms, focuses on various niches by it’s very nature. And magazine articles, or even problem pages, cover very specific interests.

There are millions of niche ideas out there. Just keep an open mind and you’ll find one soon.

Note: I’ve specifically avoided Internet Marketing niches in this article because I didn’t want to dilute the message. But this is a good example of a general niche that quickly becomes ultra focused. People have trouble getting traffic, hence the Search Engine niches, sites about Article Marketing, etc. You might want to create more content, so there’s sites about articles, and creating products, and graphics. Or you may want a bigger subscriber list, so – you guessed it – there’s a proliferation of List Building sites…

The Specifics

The quickest way to research a potential niche is to use Google. Google’s Keyword Tool gives you approximate search counts for various terms.

Simply enter some keywords specific to your niche into the tool and you’ll see a list of keywords and their counts.

You can also use Google to find competition. Simply search for a keyword and see how many results are there. This can be deceiving, but it’s a good indication nonetheless.

Finally, Google’s Search Suggestions that pop up whenever you type a search at Google show some of the terms people have been looking for.

Example:

We are going to look into Disneyland as a potential niche. No particular reason, except I just – in passing – noticed an article about it. As I type it in, I notice search terms such as “Disneyland Paris” and “Disneyland Florida” come up. Also “Disneyland Paris Tickets” and “Disneyland Paris Packages”. I’m in the UK, so obviously these suggestions are location based.

At Google’s Keyword Tool I get these interesting results (chosen from the myriad provided):

Disneyland 9,140,000
Disneyland discount 90,500
Disneyland Package 49,500
Disneyland Information 5,400
About Disneyland 6,600
Disneyland Video 22,200
Disneyland Videos 9,900
Disneyland Jobs 18,100
Disneyland Discounts 22,200

And so on.

These give you some ideas on what people are looking for. Key amongst them are people want packages and holidays, discounts and information.

I also put in one or two other interesting results. People are looking for Disneyland Jobs, for example. And some search results double up – so About Disneyland and Disneyland Information are the same thing, as are the results for “Video” and “Videos”.

These immediately give me ideas for sites. How about a site showing the jobs available, how to get in, etc? I don’t know much about that – but I could research it, and even interview or work with someone who’s been employed there. I could also throw up a site packed with videos of Disneyland culled from Youtube and others.

In Google’s Keyword Tool you can also click on the magnifying glass icon to get a more detailed view of the results that make up that result in Google Insights. So “Disney Discounts” at 22,200 searches shows some interesting keyword terms such as Disneyland Coupons. Again, an instant idea for a site (where to get these coupons, maybe even provide them from an affiliated travel agent, etc). Insights also shows you “rising search terms”, or what’s hot at the moment.

Google’s Keyword Tool is a wealth of information. Use it well.

Now for the competition. As you can expect there will be a lot of competition for this niche. Clicking a result in the Keyword Tool will throw you right into the search results, but clicking a result in Insights will drill deeper through to even more specific terms.

Disneyland Coupons, for example, has 449,000 results. Many of these are sub pages in general travel sites or Disney sites, but there are some specific ones. There is quite a lot of competition here but I don’t see a *specific* Disney Coupons site. These other results can also, incidentally, give you ideas on how to approach your own site – or even information for your own research.

After this exhaustive look at Disneyland I hope you see how you can select a niche and quickly research it. Next time we will look at ideas for how to approach a site, and monetize it.

Pulling It All Together

Internet Marketing is all about pulling together a lot of strands to make them work as a whole.

I frequently provide offers of new software and guides, and you may or may not be tired of reading them. Like other marketers, I sell. It is, after all, the whole point of marketing.

However, unlike some others, I also provide ideas. I won’t just give or offer a product. I’ll explain how they can work for you, and give ideas on how you can re-sell or use them.

Depending on your level of experience, it may be obvious to you what to do with them. Or it may not. I try to cover all bases. There’s nothing worse than someone new to this who purchases a product then are at a loss with what to do with it.

I can’t, obviously, explain the in-depth steps to working with something for every item I see. I tend to look at the bigger picture, and may sometimes over-generalise. I’ll say things like “this would be an ideal upsell”, or “this product will help with backlinks” or “that product can increase site ranking” and “the PLR for this would make it an excellent list builder”…

To some, that kind of talk is straightforward. To others, no chance!

As marketers we can’t provide blueprints that would suit everyone. For one, it would mean a load of exact copycat sites using the exact same principles after the same markets. It just wouldn’t work.

But, by learning the basics, you’ll soon see the methods that can be used, and the principles to adhere to. Ideas that are flexible, and systems that can be tweaked to your liking.

So in part to help those clueless souls out there, I’m going to talk you through internet marketing from a newcomers point of view.

I’ll just give you direct links to the services you need, without leaving open recommendations that may just, in the end, confuse. And I’ll explain how to use those services.

Our goal is to create a site that makes money.

We’ll research a niche, build a site, sell products and advertising, build a list, and promote it.

All in easy to follow steps.

Stay tuned!

* This course will be free, but the products and services I use won’t be. It won’t cost much, but it will cost something.

Social Media Tactics and PaySpree and 100% Commissions

You probably know that most of the work involved in Internet Marketing is in promotion.

After the initial effort of creating a product, the only way to make money is to get people to see it. This can take many forms, from writing articles, through to getting affiliates (more on this later), paying for advertising, search engine optimisation, and much more.

However, lately one form of promotion that is increasingly taking center stage is using Social Networks to get your product before the masses.

Social Networks are the hot new websites of today. Sites and services like Facebook and Twitter are a hotbed of activity. Some people, for example, use Facebook more than they use Google. In fact, some reports claim Facebook could actually overtake Google!

Today I have an excelent report called Social Media Tactics, which details 77 ways you can use these social sites to send traffic to YOUR sites.

It includes tips on creating a Facebook “Fan Page”, on using Youtube, and LinkedIn, and Google Buzz. It’s ideal for those new to social marketing, and seasoned pros could also learn a valuable tip or two.

Social Media Tactics shows how to create your own Blog using WordPress, using Tumblr to save time, and much much more. It’s a concise and direct report – easy to read cover to cover and leaves you raring to go!

I have managed to secure Master Resell Rights to this exciting report, and so can offer it to you for just $7.

And – in an interesting twist – I’m using the new “instant commission” marketplace of Payspree.com to promote it!

That takes me to the second point of this post.

PaySpree is a new affiliate system that uses PayPal to create instant commission networks. Think of it as Clickbank without the fees, or PayDotCom without the hassle of paying your affiliates manually. You can set up any percentage sales, even 100%!

It’s in beta right now, but fully working. You can join up for free or grab the special offer to really hit the ground running.

I set up this whole offer / experiment this afternoon. This report – Social Media Tactics – powered by PaySpree.com. You can do the same.

Grab Social Media Tactics here

Join PaySpree.Com here

Remember – having affiliates to promote your producs means free traffic, and sales you would not have made yourself. Payspree makes it easy.

And – through the power of PaySpree – you can earn 100% instant commissions on Social Media Tactics!

White Hat Copycat … Freebies and Bonuses Revealed

Tim Bekker’s “White Hat Copycat” is taking the net by storm.

Like anything else, the basic premise isn’t brand new, but the system is. The idea is you can copycat top sites, in top niches, and drive traffic and sales to your OWN websites, affiliate links, and/or products.

It’s something I’ve come across before, mainly in keyword research. Unless you’ve found a brand new niche – and hit a goldmine – you can bet someone has been there before you. Why not take inspiration (or if you like “steal”) from the existing sites to build your own? If someone else has researched the keywords, designed the webpages, and is making sales why go through the effort and bother of doing it yourself?

This is a highly lucrative form of marketing.

The main site is via the banner below.White Hat Copycat

This system includes a lot of help. You’ll get Pre-Made Copycat Site Templates (so no work for you…), The Niche Blueprint (each proven to be worth over $100 a day, and various blueprints that flesh out the system.

These are The Copycat Site Blueprint, The Whitehat Copycat Blueprin, The Traffic Bueprint, The Download Platform Blueprint, and The Product Blueprint.

This is all well and good – but can this system make you money?

It’s billed itself as a lazy mans way to profit. I have a problem with this, since it implies little work. Like anything, you HAVE to put the work in – but copycatting has been around for a long time. I know it works. And “Whitehat” – as opposed to “Blackhat” – implies totally legal methods. Of course it is, since you are not actually stealing any content… only the R&D and ideas :-)

The salespitch for White Hat Copycat is a masterclass in design. But don’t let that put you off. Give it a try – it comes with a rock-steady guarantee (since it’s run by Clickbank Sales), so if you don’t like it you can easily get your money back.

The best part of this offer is twofold:

  1. It’s affordable. (Actually, currently on sale the last time I checked)
  2. It’s proven. The system works – plus this particular incarnation comes with fully researched niches and templates!

Special Bonuses:

White Hat Copycat has a download form on site for you to receive some extra special bonuses. I shouldn’t really tell you about it here – but you can get Tim’s earlier version… “The Stupid Simple System”… for $1 !!

Plus: You can get a copy of Tim’s Google Resurrection for free simply by clicking the exit button the salespage. It’s an exitsplash powered popup which can be irritating in the wrong hands but for a freebie like that – go grab it!

Free Google Resurrection

Click the Exit button to grab this!

White Hat Copycat – one of the most useful, affordable, and freebie loaded IM launches in recent years…

Membership Site Tactics 2.0 for $1 ($995 in Free Gifts)

Membership Site Tactics 2 $1 Trial - Build  your own Membership Site

Membership Tactics 2 is currently on offer for a $1 trial.

It’s crazy – the membership site “design software” alone
is worth over $197. Yours for $1. And that’s not even
including everything else.

Check it out here:

You’re going to get nearly 2.7 hours of video training
as well.

You’ll discover the secret for working 5 hours a month
and making nearly $20k from your membership site.

And the one traffic secret for filling up your fresh
continuity program with members.

Click the this link now

$1 for a limited time… Think of it as an early present for 2010.

We all know how a Members Site is the premier source of a recurring income. You owe it to yourself to try out this offer before it is pulled

WordPress Crusher (Discount)

WordPress Crusher is a unique package of pre-made plugins for Internet Marketers, as well as instructions on how to create your own.

You’ll get 9 ready made plugins that will help automate your WordPress blog(s) with 31 minutes of quick-start videos that will get you up and running right away.

  • Plugin features include:
  • Article Drip-Feed Importer
  • Twitter Button
  • RSS Drip Feeder
  • Video Importer
  • Comment Bribe Machine
  • Twitter Reposter, and More!

You might have seen similiar plugins before – but to own these all in one package enables you to have a blog that is fully automatic. You can easily embed videos, auto-create posts over time from articles you have, include content from RSS feeds, and even “bribe” your visitors to leave comments!

This ideal for any niche sites, adsense sites, or extra content to any kind of site.

But that is not all…

Because WordPress Crusher also teaches you how to create your own plugins!

You’ll get 7 videos lasting over 5 hours showing you how to edit the included fill-in-the-blank templates to write your own WordPress Plugins, sometimes in 60 seconds or less!

This is the shortcut to creating unique wordpress plugins, and blogs. It lets you build your own 100% unique features to your blog, something you can use to sell your blog, or even sell the plugin.

This is a unique package, available for $47 from this link.

BUT: Scroll to the bottom of the page, and click the light grey words “ALMOST HIDDEN DISCOUNT” and you can have the entire package for only $37 – an instant $10 discount.

WordPress Crusher – build unique automated blogs, and create your own plugins, today.

The Irresistable Offer

Amazing Conversion Rate

Amazing Conversion Rate

In the first of my “Back To Basics” posts yesterday I mentioned that half the battle in Internet Marketing is to find that mythical perfect customer, to whom you would supply the perfect product.

And guess what came across my desk later that day? This video course from Rob Howard and David Bullock entitled “The Irresistable Offer“.

This is all about converting traffic into buyers. After all, why spend all your time, energy and money driving traffic if that traffic is useless to you?

So if you want to discover what makes your perfect customer tick, and find out his buying patterns and keywords, or if you want to push your conversion rates to the heady heights of as much as 20% you need this.

And if you want to work less, and enjoy more, with your business running on autopilot (every marketers goal) get this.

The Irresistable Offer

There are three videos included, total running time of 53 minutes.

  1. How to find your perfect customer.
  2. How to write killer presell content.
  3. Raise Your Response.

Get this, it’s only $4.97, and start increasing your profits today.

PS. I love David Bullocks products (as I’ve stated many times before). He delivers. I like the way he thinks, with statements like “Nothing in Internet Marketing is Hard” and “Why Have I Failed To Make Money” sprinkled across his site. In any case, you have a full 100% money back guarantee stretching to 56 days if you’re not happy. And perhaps the fact that you’ve paid – and not got it for free – will spur you on to actually watch and benefit from these videos.

PPS. A note for Affiliates:  You can earn instant one hundred percent commissions paid directly to you via PayPal, and even grab 75% of the back end.

All Our Freebies

Over the years, we’ve given away a lot of e-books and software tools at this site. In addition, we’ve provided links to even more downloads from third-party sites.

Of course, you won’t need all of these. And I wouldn’t recommend you download everything even if you did.

It’s all too easy to drown in an avalanche of information, and end up not digesting any of it at all!

The best way to proceed is to download a few books or tools that interest you and read them, or at least skim through them. If you find the information useful, store it away in a “to be read” folder and act on it. If it’s useless to you, simply delete.

I used to download everything until I had hundreds of e-books that I never read at all. And I wasted a lot of time sifting through this and not acting on it at all. Even worse, I missed out on some truly useful guides that could have saved me a lot of time – and money!

You see, the best thing about this industry is that a lot of other folk have been before you and already made the mistakes. And a lot of other highly skilled people have tracked and tested beyond belief to find out what really works – and lived to tell the tale :-)

Here’s all the freebies we’ve offered — but with one caveat: as I’ve said, ensure you filter what’s useful to you, and act on it.

10 Free Marketing Gifts -  a carefully selected giveaway from ourselves.

Our Super Six Giftpack

Our free Members Siteyou’ll need to register here (just an e-mail subscribe)

Our Mega Bonuses Page – a BIG list of everything we’ve come across so far…

Every “Freebie” Post in this Blog

Take care when downloading, and in advance I’m sorry for out-of-date books and dead websites. This happens, but good information is never out fashion!

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