Encyclopedia of Free Online Advertising - 2nd Edition by Jeff Dedrick - HTML preview

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Affiliate Programs

If you have a website that sells a product online, and you’ve built in a fair amount of room into your price for it, then you have an opportunity here to use a GREAT free traffic source.


In fact, running your own Affiliate Program helps you in more ways than one. By signing up affiliates to go out and sell your product for you, you’ll not only build a huge salesforce, (assuming you make your offer tempting for them) but you will also be building hordes of one-way, targeted links back to your website as they advertise in the various places.

You must be very persuasive to get an interested following to do serious selling for your product.

To overcome this issue, simply build more room into your price so that the monetary gain for your affiliates is too tempting for them to refuse. 50% commissions are quite standard these days on informational products, with some products go all the way up to 100% commission structure, so that the seller can build up a newsletter list.

I would have to say that, especially when dealing with Clickbank (the #1 infoproduct marketplace for affiliates) 75% commissions to your affiliates is the way to go. That’s just because there are so many products out there competing for an affiliate’s attention… So since 75% is the maximum that clickbank allows, you’ll soon learn that affiliates will swarm to these products first and you’ll build up a sales force (and incoming links) quickly. –And you can always turn down the commission later.

Naturally, if your product is not available for online delivery (i.e. software only) then the ability to attract affiliates will be much more difficult for you… Not impossible though, because some affiliates understand the importance of offering their readers a full range of products built around a central niche theme.

Having an affiliate program that offers multiple tiers helps as well. There isn’t an affiliate marketer alive who wouldn’t like to earn residual income from the work of others.

There are two different ways to get started with your own affiliate program. Both can be free, and of course you pay your affiliates out of sales afterwards. The most common form of affiliate program is when a webmaster loads software, usually some form of PHP or Perl script onto the server, integrating it with the website. These have been sold for years to webmasters and lately have even been offered for free.

The second type is a service run off-site, through providers such as ClickBank.com, Commission Junction, or PayDotCom. (There are many other, non-free ones too.) They do the added work for you of helping your products get found by more affiliates, and they even feature your product in an online marketplace of theirs. Naturally, they want their cut of the product’s sale too, usually in the range of 4% to 8%. (Some let you even split that fee with your affiliates.)

These services may be more effective in the long run for the average infoproduct seller, but quite often they do not offer the flexibility that many webmasters need to best promote their own product line. In those cases, using server-side software scripts is the only way to go.

Finding a free copy of your own Affiliate program software to load onto your web server is quite painless, as there are now several different scripts to choose from. To find your own script, simply google the phrases “free affiliate program software” or “free affiliate management software.” They should both return helpful results for you.

Naturally, you’ll have to investigate each one in depth to see if it runs on your particular server in your software environment. No matter which way you go, there will be plenty of research involved; this is not something you can start up in the next 20 minutes. (More like 2-7 days.) Once it starts though, assuming you make your offer attractive enough, this could really bring in hordes of traffic immediately.

Article Marketing (A Subset of Link Building)

Writing articles about your topic of interest and sending them out to article directories, other websites, and eZines to publish is an almost ideal way to gain free advertising. I really can’t recommend it enough for long-term link building campaigns. All you need is time & writing skills for this self-compounding method to make your website one of the most respected and authoritative sites on the net.


I realize that this method has been out in the open and even done to death over the last couple of years, especially with the popular trend called “Bum Marketing,” however I find that a lot of people who have tried Article Marketing quickly give it up before seeing any success.

It seems that everyone sets out writing articles, no matter if they do it themselves or pay someone to do it for them, by submitting one or two articles to the main article directories found in the more popular article submission software suites, such as Brad Callen’s great, free Article Submitter software.

Some sort of article submission software is pretty much necessary because it can take a long time to submit an article to even a handful of websites… The automation that all of these softwares offer are not just ‘set-it and forget it,’ and you Don’t want them to be! The way that the Article directories are set up, you will most definitely still have to go to each site and make sure it populates all the right fields properly. (But the software makes that much faster.)

The main problem that people have with any article submission software is that when most people first try them, (I am certainly guilty of this myself) they want to ‘test the waters’ to see if the technique works or not before they commit to it fully.

With most purchases you make in your life, this is a fair strategy - but not when it comes to an article submission campaign. The real benefit in sending out your articles is by doing it in bulk, over time.

What proponents of Article Marketing have so far failed to tell me (but I learned for myself the hard way) is that one or two articles out there pointing back to my website, no matter how many directories I send it to, is only going to help an itsybitsy, teeny weenie bit, and then slowly fizzle away.

More than likely it won’t even send a single visitor to my site… It will only help my PageRank a bit, for a while.

This of course assumes that I haven’t gotten it published by an eZine owner who has a really big list… Since there is no way to be sure that you can get it published by an eZine owner with lots of influence, we won’t depend on it for this example. Think of that as a surprise bonus you can sometime get with this system, if it happens at all.

The way to surely succeed with articles is to have an article submitted to all the directories EVERY WEEK, all linking back to the same website. This of course takes time and patience, which is the only reason that so many people fail at this strategy.

I don’t feel it’s worth my time every single week to write and submit an article, I’ve got more important things to do with my life. Worse yet, I’ve so far made a living from informational AdSense publishing (VRE) sites, so running an article campaign for each of these 250+ small websites is simply impossible. However, over the last year I’ve tested 10 different campaigns of article submission for 10 of those sites, and the one result they all had in common was that bulk, regular submissions are the key.

I hired someone on rent-a-coder to submit my articles for me once a week for 3 months, and right now (4 months later) a few of those sites are #1 in Google with no other promotion except for link directory submissions.

It’s a prime example of the tortoise and the hair… But in the first and second months of the campaign, I was sure my turtle was asleep!


For more advanced instruction on Article Marketing specifics, I even made a film walking you through the process. You can check that out here:


How to Generate Serious Website Traffic with Article Marketing Enjoy!

AutoSurfing A great method to bring in tons of completely

uninterested traffic. See “Traffic Exchanges