Affiliate Marketing Archive

Best Practices In Managing Affiliate Programs

Posted April 24, 2016 By Callie

You really need to understand the workings of affiliate marketing in order to successfully
manage such a system. If you don’t get it, you’ll hardly realize meaningful results. Managing
an affiliate program properly is the key to realizing its full potential. This marketing
segment constantly evolves and you’ll regularly need to make adjustments but here are
some best practices that can help you run a successful campaign.

1. Ensure that you update affiliates on a regular basis. This can be done through the timely
sending of newsletter with relevant information that will help them in the course of their
marketing efforts. Providing tips on how to sell products through different communication
channels like emails is also another way of having a successful program.

2. The best affiliate program managers find a way to create a balance between the needs of
the merchant and the affiliate needs. This balance ensures that both ends of the program
are working efficiently to push for sales and generate more revenue.

3. Always track results. This is very important because sometimes strategies don’t work and
the best way to find a working formula is by going back to the drawing board. Good
managers analyze performances and find corrective measures in order to realize better
results. Do not be afraid to change course if you are headed in the wrong direction.

4. Encourage honesty. Affiliate marketing really does thrive on honesty. Consumers need to
trust you and they can only do that when you are being truthful. The affiliate programs that
you are managing should only sell genuine products that customers will find useful.
Building relationships is everything in this type of marketing.

5. Managing affiliates requires quick solving of problems. An affiliate program manager
should be willing to tackle problems with honesty and desire to find solutions. Without the
affiliates, the program cannot really work and you therefore need to make them feel
wanted and respected so that they can deliver.

6. Be accessible. Affiliates should be able to communicate with you when they have issues.
Do not be a manager who cannot be accessed. That is one of the reasons why most
affiliates opt out of programs.

7. Initial agreements must be upheld. The merchant should pay commissions to affiliates
on timely manner as agreed. As an affiliate program manager, you kind of act as the
enforcer of the law. You paly a neutral role and therefore should not feel obliged to side
with either party. Everyone should get a fair treatment.

8. Update text links, datafeeds, coupons, banners and promotions on a regular basis. Keep
them fresh and relevant to the concerned parties.

9. You should push for growth accordingly. The affiliate has the responsibility of generating
many clicks while the merchant should play a role of creating more conversions. If one
party does not perform the whole system slacks.

10. Push for the rewarding of affiliates who perform exceptionally. Your success as an
affiliate program manager depends on the number of conversions made and that starts
with the affiliates. Rewarding those who exceed expectations ultimately translates to better
results because they’ll motivated to do even better.

Best Places To Have Affiliate Links

Posted April 23, 2016 By Callie

Strategy is always important in everything that you do. Let your actions be deliberate and
characterized by well thought out plans. It therefore begs the question, which is the best
place to have the affiliate links? Do not just throw the links at customers without a proper
plan. The trick is usually to have a build up to the specific links so that visitors arrive at
them “naturally” without being forced.

Naturally within blog posts

I use the term “naturally” because the links should fit well within the blog content to an
extent that the reader sees them as part and parcel of the post. When you force a link
within a post, it may portray you as someone who is trying too had to sell a product.
Because of psychology, most people assume that a good product does not need a lot of
selling, only inferior products do. Use the blog content to buy the trust of customers first. It
will then not be difficult to convince them to click on the links. The need to provide
information should be the key priority and customers should believe that even if deep
inside you just want to make some sales. You can make the links noticeable or very subtle
depending on what works best for you.

Within e-products

Electronic products such as e-books and programs are some of the best places to have
affiliate links. This is much simpler if you are able to create your own e-products. As you
make money by selling them, you also earn commission through the affiliate system. It’s
pretty much easy to convince customers to check out a link if the products that they had
already bought matched or exceeded their expectations.

Side banner ads

This is another ideal way to avail affiliate links to customers. They are hard to miss and the
best part is that you’ll be using your own site so you don’t have to pay for advertisement.
Serious merchants will even provide you with the necessary graphics to use. You however
need to carry out a test run first. If the ads are not getting meaningful clicks, you can always
take them down to reduce the amount of clutter on the site.

Resource page

Here you provide affiliate links of related products. The resource page can prove to be a
powerful tool for earning extra income. To put a little more weight, you can offer short
explanations so that a customer can have an idea of what he or she is getting into. These
products do not necessarily have to be your primary focus but because they are related to
whatever product that you are selling, customers can always find them relevant.

As time goes by, you’ll gather sufficient experience to know what works best for you.
Always keep tabs on your results because by evaluating your progress, you can find better
strategies to help you make more sales. Never be afraid to try something new if the
familiar is not working for you. It’s always a learning process until you find the best working
combination.

There are basically three different ways in which one can earn income through affiliate
marketing. They revolve around the association of a publisher with the product and the
merchant.

Involved affiliate marketing

This where you promote a product with a lot of authority because you’ve used it and have
enjoyed its benefits. When you post content on your blog, you speak to visitors on the
account of personal experience. This type of affiliate marketing is very effective because
most of the times, consumers find it more convincing. People will be willing to try out
something just because you as an influencer has used it and found it good. It is even more
effective when your blog or social media site has many followers. However this kind of
marketing comes with a lot of responsibility. You should only promote a product that you
are sure will provide some benefits to the consumers. It is very wrong to hype a brand only
for customers to be disappointed. They will hold you responsible and that is how your blog
and whatever else you decide to promote will go down the drain. Honesty is a very
important factor in affiliate marketing if you want to get repeat business and more
customers.

Related affiliate marketing

Any serious publisher must identify a niche and focus on it. Within that niche, there will be
products related to the ones that you are promoting. You can have links to such products
on your blog, social media sites, videos or podcasts. Visitors may come to your site because
of the products that you are promoting but they can also find additional products through
these links. You don’t have to have used the product in order to provide a link for it. That is
smart marketing because if a customer decides to click on the link and buy the product,
you’ll still earn your commission without much responsibility. You don’t hype the product
so if it turns out to be substandard, you will not bear much responsibility. This type of
affiliate marketing is good but it will not give you much income since the related products
are not your primary focus. Some visitors to your blog will not even notice the additional
links. It will still not cost you anything to earn a little extra money by having those links
displayed on your site.

Pay per click affiliate marketing

This is ideal for people who do not want to interact with end consumers at any level. In pay
per click affiliate marketing, you have no authority in the product niche that you are
promoting. All you do is ambush internet users with affiliate links via Facebook ads, Twitter
ads and Google Adwords among others in the hope that they’ll click on them and
eventually buy the products. This method of affiliate marketing is more of a gamble
because customers find it a lot more easy to buy products introduced to them by familiar
affiliates. Pay per click may sound easy but it really is not. Some people find success with it
and that is okay because at the end of the day you’ll have earned your income.

A blog is fairly easy to set up. The most important thing is usually the functionality. Will
visitors find it easy to access the content that they need? Will they find the content useful?
How easy is it to use the different icons available on the site? These are some basic
questions that one must ask before setting up a blog. It therefore calls for a user-friendly
interface that can appeal to the different types of people that access your blog on a regular
basis. Over the last five years, blogs have become very popular. Not only have they given
several aspiring content creators a platform to grow their talent, they are also a part of
social media that makes communication and reaching of a target audience easier. What are
some of the principles to observe when using your blog to run affiliate marketing
campaigns?

1. Create a good first impression

What sort of vibe will visitors receive when they first visit your blog? This is important
because it sets the entire tone for subsequent engagements. Good first impressions will
encourage visitors to read the blog content and even click on the affiliate links. You
therefore also have to focus on the design so that it’s attractive and user-friendly. Too
many cluttered advertisements send the wrong signals to visitors. The first thing that will
come to mind is that you are only after making money. Let the headlines and lists portray
the blog as a place where visitors can actually find useful information.

2. Content before affiliate link

It’s like building a relationship. It takes time and a little convincing. Create content that is
useful to the customer before guiding them to an affiliate link. The information provided
will be enough to build trust and convince them to take a look at what the blog is
promoting. You should also make sure that the content created is tied to the product being
promoted.

3. Promote genuine products

There is nothing more difficult to rebuild than trust once it’s lost. When customers click on
the affiliate links and then end up buying the products, they are in actual sense buying your
advice. You convinced them that the product was great and that’s why they made the
decision to purchase. If their expectations are not met, you will be viewed as a liar who is
only out to enrich himself or herself. Promote only genuine products on your blog, more so
those that you have already used. You can try and describe them well and at the same time
share your experience.

4. Focus on what brings you the most income

Do not fill your blog with adverts that will not bring you any meaningful income. Focus on
brands and products that will give you reasonable commission. After all, the reason why
you are carrying out affiliate marketing on your blog is so that you can make some cash.

5. Make use of a tools page

Such a page on your blog consists of useful links to products or websites that are related to
your area of specialization. Visitors can find these links helpful and discover products that
they were originally not looking for. It’s a win-win situation.

Misconceptions About Affiliate Marketing

Posted April 16, 2016 By Callie

It’s common to find several existing misconceptions about something that people do not
properly understand either because of knowledge gap or ignorance. As a business owner,
it is important that you debunk these misconceptions so that you make an informed
business decision. Those interested in signing up for an affiliate marketing program should
also be well prepared so that they get into it with the right attitude.

Whether you are running a company with huge turnovers or trying to get a startup off the
ground, affiliate marketing can be a very effective method of enhancing your brand
awareness and increasing the amount of sales. You can achieve so much while avoiding the
usual hustles associated with marketing campaigns. These are some of the misconceptions
about affiliate marketing that you need to correct as an entrepreneur or as someone that is
interested in earning money off of it.

1. Affiliate marketing systems are easy to manage and produce quick results

This is actually not true at all. Some people imagine that immediately you set up the
system, customers will start rolling in as the revenue grows. Affiliate systems require a lot
of work and dedication to succeed. You need to find the right team to work with, and that
includes affiliates and other partners that will be part of the system. You also need to have
relevant content that will appeal to customers and regularly keep the content updated. It
will eventually pick up but through time and effort.

2. You must work in a popular niche

Some companies cannot even dare attempt to use affiliate programs because they assume
that only businesses that operate in popular sectors can thrive with it. As much as it’s true
that popular niches find affiliate marketing more effective, being comfortable in your sector
and using your insights and skills can turn the program into a success for your business.
You just need to find the right team that actually understands the business and industry,
and can help you realize your goals and objectives.

3. It’s past its due date

Google made changes to its algorithms for SEO and somehow made link building outdated.
That may discourage affiliate systems that heavily relied on the old methods to increase
awareness. However, there are still several ways to make use of search engine optimization
to enhance brand awareness. Affiliate marketing is also very much relevant to Google
because it has provided alternative resources to users.

4. Several sites for higher sales numbers

Never compromise quality over quantity. Getting your links on several sites does not
automatically mean that you’ll get more conversions. Find a small but dedicated number of
affiliates that will do a proper job and generate higher sales numbers. The program only
makes sense when you have more conversions because that is what will actually translate
to more revenue and ultimately higher profits.

Even though research has shown that affiliate marketing is not easy, you can really use it
your advantage once you understand the basics. You just need to come up with a proper
strategy and ensure that it is implemented well.

When you sell a product, it is important to understand precisely what it is you’re selling. As an affiliate marketer this is even more crucial to consider as you might not necessarily have a complete understanding of something that you didn’t create yourself.

What this really means, is understanding the ‘value proposition’. And essentially, this means understanding how the product really benefits the person who is buying it. Understanding this is what will allow you to truly communicate the USP of your product in such a way that people actually want to buy it.

What is a Value Proposition

The best way to understand this is by recalling the old saying:

“You don’t sell hats, you sell warm heads”

In other words: people buy hats as a means to an end and that in this case, is a warm head.

You’re probably not selling a hat but rather a digital product such as an eBook. So what is that a means to an end for? If the eBook is about getting great abs, then that end is abs but it’s also probably confidence and maybe even a better love life. People want abs because they want to feel good and look attractive.

If you’re struggling to work out what your value proposition is, then you can try using the ‘five whys’. This means asking why people are buying something… five times. Why do they buy your eBook? And why do they want that?

Why? Why? Why?

By the end, you should have gotten to the ultimate motivation that makes your product attractive.

Selling the VP

Once you know this, you can now use this incentive as your main bargaining chip in all of your marketing talk. Recognize that people buy things based on their emotions – so use the value proposition as your emotional hook and you should get a lot more sales as a result.

Building a massive mailing list is one of the very best ways for an affiliate marketer to invest their time. If done well, this can create the opportunity to directly interact with a huge audience of potential buyers and to build up the anticipation and buzz surrounding a product.

But just having that mailing list is not enough. To really be successful, you need to know how to write e-mails that get read and that encourage buys. So how do you do that?

Don’t Promote

The first tip is to be wary of being too overtly promotional. Think about your own inbox: no doubt you’re absolutely sick of all the spam and marketing messages you get. You’re probably somewhat unlikely to open yet another promotional message then, even if you did sign up for it!

Instead, focus on the value that your message is going to offer. If you’ve built your mailing list well, then it should be filled with people who are interested in the niche that you’re talking about. As such, you should be able to market to them efficiently as long as you focus on the value proposition and the topic.

Think of useful tips, novel insights and fascinating discussions and then flaunt these in your subject headings. This is no different from the title of an article!

Be Personal

That said, messages that land in an inbox will feel innately more personal. Make sure then that you address this by making your e-mails sound more personal as well – for instance by using the recipients name or making it sound more conversational.

Keep it Brief

Keep in mind that most e-mail clients will show a maximum of 50 characters in their subject lines. If you write anything longer than this as your heading, then it won’t get seen and you may lose a click as a result.

Building a mailing list is one of the most important strategies for any affiliate marketer. This not only gives you direct access to a huge list of highly targeted leads but it also ensures that you’ll be able to have multiple interactions with your audience directly – thus giving you the opportunity to build up to a launch date, to raise anticipation and to create buzz.

One of the best strategies for growing a mailing list then is to create an incentive. This usually means something like a free eBook that you give away to people who sign up for your item. The idea here is that by offering something for free, you give people a reason to be wiling to part with their email address.

But there’s one problem – and that’s that your eBook will often attract the kinds of visitors who are interested in getting something for free and not in paying for digital products. They may well get their free item and then never check another of your e-mails!

So what works as a better incentive?

One is to make the e-mails themselves the products. This might mean that you describe the mailing list as a VIP members club, or that you send out ezines and newsletters instead of just simple messages. This way, the subscribers will be keen to read the e-mails you’re sending and as a result will be much more likely to engage with them.
Another option is to promote a discount rather than something free. How about promoting the fact that you’ll be giving away lots of discounted items in future? This way, you’re now attracting people who have expressed a willingness to spend money on the types of things you’ll be promoting! This is a much easier list to convert!

Choosing the right affiliate product to sell can be tough work and especially when you’re new at the affiliate marketing game. This decision is ultimately the one that will have the biggest impact on your success or lack thereof and it will influence everything about your business model from your target demographic to the type of content you create.

But once you’ve narrowed down your options and you understand the needs of your market, you might find that there are still multiple good candidates available. Maybe there are a few different eBooks aimed at a similar audience, for a similar price, and with similar performance. How do you choose between them?

One option is to look for extra additions that might set one product apart from another. These can be considered almost as ‘freebies’ that will help to make certain options more appealing. Read on to see what kinds of things might make all the difference…

Free Trial

One of the most important things to look for when choosing your affiliate product is a free trial. If you can’t try the product free or at a discounted rate, then how can you know what the key selling points are?

Marketing Materials

Some products will offer you marketing materials that you can use yourself – such as landing pages, email copy and ready-made adverts. If the seller has been having luck with those marketing materials themselves, then this means you can almost guarantee that your efforts will be successful as well. This streamlines your business model and potentially means you can make money by copying and pasting someone else’s entire business!

Discounts

Some affiliates will allow you to offer discounts to your buyers. This lets you further incentivize purchases, it makes you look good and it prevents people from bypassing your affiliate link.