Affiliate Marketing Primer by Rosalind Gardner - HTML preview
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6 Steps to Quick-Start Your Affiliate Business
In this section I discuss the 6 steps you will take to quickly, easily and inexpensively get started in your affiliate marketing business.
The topic you choose should both interest you and have high consumer demand.
You already know what interests you, but how do you find out whether a topic has high demand?
Well, the first place I check is a free tool call the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool. It is located at:
At Overture Search Term Suggestion tool, you simply enter a term related to your site and it will show you:
- Related searches that include your term
- How many times that term was searched in the previous month
So, let’s assume for a moment that you are a mortgage and insurance broker who suspects that insurance might be a good service to sell online.
To find out how many people are looking for insurance online, I typed in the word ‘insurance’ and discovered that the keyword ‘insurance’ had been searched for 971,914 times at Overture and its search partners in just one month!
That’s almost a million people! Wow!
As I consider any term that receives 50,000 or more searches in a month a subject with good demand and potentially viable, insurance looks like it might just be a winning topic for an affiliate web site.
Once you’ve determined that your topic is in high demand, you need to find out now is whether there are merchants selling related products and services online, AND how much commission they pay.
For that, I go first to Commission Junction.
Commission Junction is an ‘affiliate network’ that puts merchants and affiliates together. They refer to merchants as ‘advertisers’ and the affiliates are called ‘publishers’.
To see all the merchants with products and services at Commission Junction, you’ll need to set up a free account.
To do that, go to Commission Junction, then click on ‘Solutions’ near the top right-hand portion of the page, then go to the left side of the Solutions page and click on ‘CJ Marketplace’.
At the very bottom of that page and you’ll find a link for the application process. Where it asks you to supply a URL, just enter yahoo.com or geocities.com if you don’t already have a web site.
Once your account is set up and you’ve logged into the Commission Junction interface, click on ‘Get Links’, and select ‘Advertisers’ in the drop-down box beside the word ‘Search’ near the top of the page. Next, type in the word ‘insurance’.
My search came up with 51 merchants. Your results may be more or less depending on whether merchants have been added to, or dropped from the network.
In choosing merchants, you want to select those with the highest EPC ratings and commissions.
What is an EPC Rating?
3-month EPC: 3-month EPC (earnings per 100 clicks) shows how well an advertiser converts Web site visitors into commissions, over a three-month period.
7-day EPC: 7-day EPC (earnings per 100 clicks) shows the average commissions paid to publishers for every 100 clicks, over the past seven days. Use this number to see the most recent EPC trend for advertisers.
So how well did our insurance merchants do?
Zurich insurance had a 7-day EPC rating of $250.88. That means that affiliates are earning an average 250.88 for every 100 visitors they send to Zurich Insurance.
Now what about those commission rates?
Well, at the Good Sam Club, if the customer completes a form and becomes a member, Good Sam will pay you $5.00. That’s JUST to fill out a form.
And if they purchase an Emergency Road Service package, you’ll get paid $15.00.
You can find even MORE merchants at the following affiliate networks:
Because we want to leave the selling job up to the merchant, an affiliate’s job is to ‘pre-sell’ their merchants’ products.
To pre-sell, you need site content.
Content consists of articles and endorsements that explains how your visitors problems can be solved by using the products you promote. In most cases, webmasters write their own endorsements for the products they promote.
However, if you aren’t inclined to write product endorsements, you can:
- Find Free Content
- Use Merchants’ Ad Copy
- Pay for Content
I like looking for free content first.
Staying with our ‘insurance’ topic, I searched Google for the terms “Free Articles” + “Insurance” and found the following articles listed at legalwhiz.com:
- “How to Save on Title Insurance Costs”
- “Understanding the Terms of Your New Loan”
- “Common Sense Mortgage Tips!”
In many cases, the author will allow you to use his work on your site if you include credit to the author and a link back to his site.
This is even MORE effective when the author has an affiliate program and you can make money from that link.
To get approval to use the article, you’d simply email the author a request, and they will usually be very happy to have you use their articles on your site.
Another way to get free content is to use what the merchant makes available to their affiliates.
For example, here is an email promotion that Corey Rudl gives his affiliates to promote his very popular ‘Insiders Secrets to Internet Marketing’ course.
This e-mail is extremely urgent so please read the entire thing... I would feel terrible if you missed out on this because you did not get my e-mail in time.
I just got an e-mail from Corey Rudl and he said there were only 150 copies left of the new version of his best-selling Internet marketing course, The Insider Secrets to Marketing Your Business on the Internet, that includes the $952 in FREE bonuses!
Chances are, as you read this, a lot of those 150 copies are already gone.
Just to recap my last e-mail, Corey Rudl is literally "the" guru of Internet marketing... he's grown his online businesses to over $7.6 million in online sales last year and he gets over 1.8 million visitors to his web sites every month!
And in the new version of his best selling course he is going to show everything from step-by-step instructions you can use to start your very own Internet business in as little as 48 hours to how to build a top-selling web site... for less than $100!
No matter how small your budget is, Corey shows you the cheapest ways to build a web site that sells!
He is going to show you where to find hot products (in 20 minutes or LESS!) that you can start selling TODAY! These in-demand products will sell like hot cakes, no matter what your experience!
Corey will even reveal his personal rolodex with 100s of FREE and cheap online tools, resources, and software that you can use to automate your web site (and save yourself at least 35 hours every week)!
And if that's not enough, he is going to even reveal, for the first time, some of his most advanced strategies like how to get #1 rankings in the search engines and get tons of free traffic from the "Big Guys" like Google... and his secret to writing sales copy that increases sales by 400% (or MORE)!
Like I said before, I know these strategies are going to make my business tons of extra money in 2004 and as my subscriber I want to make sure you experience the same rewards, so go to...
... if the page is still there, this means you made it in time and he still has some copies of his course with the additional $952 worth of FREE bonuses!
So please hurry! And if you have any questions, just let me know.
All the best...
YOUR NAME HERE
As you can see, that copy is written in the first-person, so it looks like it is coming directly from you. Use merchant copy judiciously however, as your credibility will take a beating if your subscribers and visitors have seen the exact same copy in other newsletters and on other affiliate sites.
Lastly, you can have articles written for you, sometimes very inexpensively.
To find ghost writers on the ‘net, check out some of these sites:
Once you have organized your content, it’s time to start putting you’re your site together.
There are 3 steps to quickly build your website. They are:
- Register a Domain
- Domain Hosting
- Buy Template
Domain registration is painless, and CHEAP. Go to Godaddy.com where it will cost you 8.95/year for each domain. You can get them even cheaper when you register for more than one year.
Here are two good, yet inexpensive, hosting services that I recommend.
The quickest way to build a website is to buy a template. Here is a list of some of the best template sites I’ve found to date:
My personal favorite is BoxedArt.com. You can download as many templates as you want from Boxed Art, all for only $49.96 for six months access.
Once you’ve placed your content in your template and sent it to your web host, it’s time to join affiliate programs.
Go back to Commission Junction or the site where you found products you want to promote and sign up for the merchants’ affiliate programs.
The reason you build your site before joining the programs, is to have a site to show the merchant. This demonstrates that you are indeed serious about selling their product, and will almost guarantee your acceptance into their program.
After placing merchant links on your site, it’s time to let the world know about your site.
Although I discuss ‘ 29 Ways to Market Your Site’ in the Super Affiliate Handbook, my favorite way to bring visitors to my sites is by using cheap PayPer-Click search engine advertising.
The primary benefit of PPC’s is that you can drive targeted traffic to your site quickly, instead of waiting months for the search engines to list your site… if they ever do.
Just a few of these include:
Pay-per-clicks allow you to bid on terms or keywords that are relevant to your site. In our insurance site example, the Overture Search Term Suggestion Tool produced a list that included terms like:
You should be able to find and bid on HUNDREDS, if not thousands, of terms in any category you choose. The more keywords you list your site under, the more exposure your site will get.
I HIGHLY recommend that you use PPC’s to advertise your site. I get returns of 2, 3, 4, and sometimes even FIVE dollars for every dollar I spend advertising my site.
So, let’s summarize again the steps that it takes to build an affiliate site…
- Find a HUGE Market
- Find Products & Services
- Collect/Create Web Content
- Build Site
- Market Site
- and… Enjoy the BIG Kachings!