Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Top 10 Affiliate Marketing Tips

Here are my top 10 affiliate marketing tips to help you figure out how to identify profitable affiliate marketing opportunities and avoid the ones that are a total waste of time and money.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #1: Choose Quality Products

You must remember that when you promote affiliate products on your website, every recommendation you make reflects directly on you. If you recommend a good-quality affiliate product or service that is reasonably priced, your customers and subscribers will trust you and be interested in future recommendations that you make.

… But if you recommend something that fails to live up to its claims, then your visitors are going to assume you're just another marketer who’s only trying to sell to them and your credibility will take a major hit.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #2: Try the Product First

Have you found an affiliate product you're interested in promoting? Then we strongly urge you to try it yourself first. It’s hard to offer an honest recommendation of a product or service you have no experience with. If you are really serious about joining a particular affiliate marketing program, we recommend that you do your homework first.

Try the product or service yourself. Talk to other people who have purchased it. Make sure that you are recommending a high-quality product that comes from a company that offers great customer service and is reputable enough to back up what they sell with a strong guarantee.

That’s the best way to ensure your visitors value your recommendations and come back for more.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #3: Hold Out for Generous Commissions

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to expect to be paid 20% to 50% of the profits on each product sold. If the company only offers 5% to 10%, we suggest you keep on looking. You should only do business with affiliate companies that understand the "lifetime value" of new customers you refer, and appreciate your efforts enough to offer the commissions you deserve.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #4: Look for a High Sales Conversion Ratio

Before you join a company's affiliate program, make sure the company's website is turning a reasonable number of visitors into sales. If their website doesn't have a decent conversion rate, then all the effort you put into directing traffic to their site will be wasted.

Look for sites that have at least a 1% conversion ratio (in other words, 1 out of every 100 visitors makes a purchase). Check out their website and their salescopy to see if it makes YOU want to buy. After all, it’s your job to send them targeted traffic — but it’s their job to turn these prospects into paying customers.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #5: Make Sure You’ll Get Credit for Every Sale

Before you join a company's affiliate program, find out what kind of tracking software they use. Look for a program that uses reliable affiliate tracking software that tracks all of your sales.

We emphasise "all" because you want to make sure that they track phone, fax, and snail-mail orders, as well as any that are made directly on the website. Many companies only track online orders — which means their affiliates don't get credit for anywhere from 5% – 10% of the sales they help the company make!

Also, make sure the affiliate program you join uses "cookie tracking". This ensures that you’ll be credited for the purchase made by people who don't buy on their first time to the site, but return to buy something on a future visit.

With cookie tracking, you can be sure that you are being credited for all of your affiliate sales… including online orders, mail orders, faxed orders, phone orders, and orders from customers who come back weeks or even months later.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #6: Make Sure They Offer Sales Statistics in Real Time

When you join an affiliate program, the company should give you a special username and password that you can use to access your own personal affiliate sales information on their website whenever you want. These should be real-time statistics that allow you to see exactly how many sales you have made.

This is important because real-time statistics allow you to see how well your promotions are doing. You can see…

  • How many visitors have clicked through from your site to theirs
  • How many of those visitors made a purchase
  • How many sub-affiliates you have
  • Your sales totals for that month and previous months

… plus a whole lot more!

With real-time statistics, you can discover exactly how well different banners, text links, and recommendations are doing. For example, you might discover after some testing that a banner on your resource page doesn't pull nearly as well as a personal recommendation under your newsletter subscription box.

That’s the kind of information you need to ensure that your affiliate marketing efforts are yielding maximum results.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #7: Make Sure They Offer Resources to Help You Generate Sales

A good affiliate program will provide you with everything you need to be successful. They'll provide you with traffic-generating banners, text links, and recommendation letter templates. They'll tell you which techniques work well in which circumstances.

Because their success is linked with yours, the affiliate program you join should be ready, willing, and able to teach you everything you need to know to start earning excellent commissions.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #8: Make Sure the Company Has a Good Reputation

This might seem obvious, but we can't help but stress the importance of doing business with a reputable company. We know many people who have worked really hard, made a lot of sales for a company, and then have never been paid (or have been forced to wait months and months to get their money).

If you have any questions or concerns about an affiliate marketing company, ask for references and do some checks on them. You want to make sure they are very professional before you join their program.

For example, if you phone them and they're rude to you, they put you on hold forever, or you get an answering machine, then you should be concerned that customers you refer to them will have similar experiences.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #9: Do NOT Sign An Exclusivity Clause

Before you join any affiliate program, read all contracts and agreements very carefully. Pay very close attention to exclusivity clauses in the agreement.

Some companies will stipulate that you only sell "their" affiliate products on your website and won't let you join other affiliate programs. For example, if you joined a book-selling program, they might state in their contract that you can only sell "their" books.

We strongly urge you NOT to sign any affiliate agreement or contract that restricts you like this. Otherwise you will be missing out new opportunities to make money on your affiliate site — and any company that denies your right to make more money doesn’t have your best interests at heart.


Affiliate Marketing Tips #10: Only Promote What's Relevant to Your Market

And here’s the big one – make sure the products you're recommending are products your niche market would want to buy! You could recommend Internet marketing materials on your fly-fishing site until you're blue in the face, but you’re not going to make any money, and you could even drive visitors away.

To be successful as an affiliate you should zero in on a niche market and give them valuable information that makes them trust you. Then you can recommend affiliate products that they would be interested in… and they'll respond.

To Your Success!

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