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What Is Affiliate Marketing And How Do You Choose Products?


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#1 cre8pc

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:13 PM

One type of marketing online has continued to survive all the ups and downs of the web and with tablets and mobile, could even make affiliate marketers happier with more revenue channels.

It used to be that you signed up with an affiliate company, pick your products and slap their ads on your site. Today, it's much more.

How do you affiliate marketers make a go of this type of income stream?

What is today's affiliate marketing strategy like?

How do you choose whom to represent?

#2 EGOL

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Posted 04 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

I tried my first affiliate program about ten years ago. I didn't go seeking them out, instead they sent me an email offering me 15% of sales. (Most messages that I receive like that today are absolute spam. :) )

That program perfectly matched the topic of my site, in fact my site was an ecommerce site and I listed the affiliate products just like the other products that I stocked and shipped myself. They were a sole source seller.

When a visitor clicked the link they went to a presell page on my site that had lots of images and details about the affiliate product.... then they clicked to the affiliate program site where the transaction took place.

I still promote the products of this company and now they pay me more than the 15%.



I have tried lots of other affiliate programs but only one has been as good - it was the Google Pack. They used to pay a small bounty on each download but the payments were discontinued a couple of years ago. I still send that traffic to google even though they don't pay me. This one paid so well and I still give them the traffic because the product matched my visitors' interests perfectly (and I still think that Google are pretty good guys :) ).



I have learned two important things.....

1) the best affiliate programs for me have been the ones that most closely match the reasons that bring people to my website.

2) if you have a site with a lot of traffic a few people per month are going to approach you about offering their products on your site. If their products are not a perfect match for your traffic it is probably going to be a waste of your time to test their product. I have wasted tons of employee time on these -- far far more than I have made money. I conclude that lots of these people are weasels who simply want to get some free space in front of your visitors until you figure out that their crap does not sell. So, now when they contact me I either delete their message or tell them how much the space is going to cost and that I want paid up front for a minimum of at least $x,xxx/month (which is an amount over what I can make from that same space with adsense or adblade). I tell them that I don't haggle because some of them are professional hagglers. (A good haggler can waste more of your time than a weasel. :) (which is probably the third important thing I have learned.) If they don't have the faith to pay that up front I am not going to give them a free trial. So far nobody has paid me - which attests to how good adsense pays. I consider adsense to be an affiliate program and highly recommend it. Adblade is good to for below-the-fold space but their ads have more odor. :lol:

Edited by EGOL, 04 January 2013 - 04:00 PM.


#3 tam

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:50 PM

I've never had much luck with affiliate programs, a few pounds here and there but that's it, google adsense has been much much better source of revenue. I don't know if that's because I'm too niche/fussy or just not got the hang of it.

#4 jonbey

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 02:01 AM

I do well with a few affiliate programs, but not many. For the ones that I promote I get 75% commission, so it is well worth it. Combined with adsense they work well as banner advertising.

As for what works, it is really the one with the best sales page. I have reviewed a fair number of products (I sell a lot of ebooks and like to read them first) and sometimes the best products make hopeless partners because their websites do not convert. A simple (but still good) product that is owned by someone who is constantly improving the sales flow is better than an excellent product with no thought about how to convert people.

I know of some good affiliate that make their cash through email sign ups, or at least they were before Penguin hammered their sites.

The problem with much of the affiliate advertisers is that the commissions are low and the conversions lower, which mean that you are often giving them free brand advertising.

#5 EGOL

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:26 AM

The problem with much of the affiliate advertisers is that the commissions are low and the conversions lower, which mean that you are often giving them free brand advertising.

These are the people who contact me by email. They spam webmasters hoping to find a sucker who will post their ads and give up income from that space to promote their products.

Lots of them approach with a "partnership" offer which is really.... "we want free advertising on your site and will pay you a tiny commission on a product that is hard to sell". Their websites often have enticing links to sites that sell related products from which you will not receive commissions. When you decline they will say... "I can't believe that you are going to leave all of this money on the table".

I think that you can make a lot of nice money from affiliate programs but there are a lot of people out there who are professionals at taking advantage of webmasters.

Edited by EGOL, 06 January 2013 - 10:28 AM.


#6 jonbey

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:53 AM

I think a lot of these people, especially the ebook sellers, have bought in to some system or other. Or, it simply works on a large scale, but involves spamming. It is this sort of stuff that gives the whole "working on the web" a bad name. I recall a BBC radio program about it a while back, they spoke to a chap who was selling "win your girlfriend back" products online. Weird market!

#7 Walter

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:28 AM

How do you choose whom to represent?


What about something like Amazon? If there is a book that matches your niche, you could advertise that. I've heard some people griping about the fact that its cookie based, and so they think they loose out on some commissions, but as I recall you also get commissions on everything they buy, not just the book/item you advertise. Seems like if you choose the book to fit your niche you wouldn't be running the risk of coming off as spammy at least.

Its been awhile since I looked at Clickbank, I think you'd have to be careful which items you choose, but the affiliate payouts and such are handled by them, as I recall the commissions were decent, a lot of them in the 25 percent and up range. Certainly something to consider if you can find something there you can feel good about. Also something to consider if you're going to be actively seeking out affiliates for certain types of products. There are probably other decent affiliate networks out there.

Lynda.com has an affiliate program, I've always been a little puzzled why Cre8te a site hasn't taken advantage of it. I don't consider the payouts to be great, but they're not horrible. The product is definitely top notch as far as I'm concerned. I'd see letting people on a site like this know about it as a service to them. I'm also guessing the founder of that site and Kim would have more than a little in common.

My guess is that if you want to represent quality products as an affiliate you're going to have to seek them out in most cases.

Walter

Edited by Walter, 08 January 2013 - 08:29 AM.


#8 Pete

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:33 PM

I noticed that my site was doing reasonably OK for adsense in a niche market (saxophones) so I contacted an online importer/seller of saxophones, whose instruments I think are good enough for me to recommend on my site. I suggested that I could sell his saxophones, but didn't want to get into buying stock and selling or drop shipping as I'm not really a retailer: my site is information basically.

Anyway I suggested he join an affiliate scheme as a merchant so i could then recommend and advertise links to his site as an affiliate. In other words this scheme is totally targeted and I put links/banners on a few appropriate pages and to date I have earned £210 (since beginning of December) which is not bad, way better than Adsense for 5 pages plus I still have the adsense anyway.

It is also more than he would have paid for banner ads or links, though maybe over a year he would see the value and we might then negotiate a rate for banners and cut out the affiliate company.

Conversion rate is 1.6% So I think this is working well as it's a sideline not my main business, but I don't think I'd bother if it was not so targeted to my niche market.

#9 EGOL

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

Nice work, Pete!

You found a perfect match!

#10 jonbey

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 04:38 AM

Actually I got into Clickbank after a marketing guy contacted me. Some of their products are really good. I do insist on reviewing each though, so there are some popular products that I do not promote because the owner never replied to my request for a review copy. But adding Clickbank products has made a huge difference to my earnings. A lot are total garbage though! Although Clickbank have started a new scheme to reward websites and products which have lower refund rates.

Amazon - I think you need a lot of very targeted traffic to make it work. Commissions are so low. If you have a review site it can work, but lots of competition and spending your days writing reviews can be a chore.

#11 Walter

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:13 AM

I think you need a lot of very targeted traffic to make it work

I'm guessing you need a lot of traffic to make anything really "work" at least in the sense of generating appreciable profits. Certainly that's the case with adsense?

Commissions are so low.


Yes as I recall commissions didn't seem very generous at first glance, 5 percent I believe to start with tiering up to around 8% if you could really deliver a lot conversions. However, it is 5 percent of whatever they spend, not just the product you advertise and amazon does a pretty good of letting people know about related items. So, if I send them to Amazon to get a 10.00 book and they end up spending 30.00 I get the commission on the 30.00 not the 10.00.

If you have a review site it can work, but lots of competition and spending your days writing reviews can be a chore.


Yeah, lots of competition among book review sites, lots of work to read and write a review, but I think there are other scenarios where it might work. Take Pete's case above. Its a narrowly focused niche, if there are some books on Amazon he likes and thinks might be valuable to his visitors about saxophones, I don't think putting an ad up on his site about them would be too much work. The benefit is he has complete control over what ads appear on his site and I think Amazon is a relatively trusted brand. I'm also not sure, but I don't think the Amazon affiliate program is limited to books, which would be something to check into.

I think it would be interesting to see how Amazon Ads compared with adsense over time in certain situations. Might just be the right tool at certain times.

Walter

#12 Pete

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:35 AM

I'm guessing you need a lot of traffic to make anything really "work" at least in the sense of generating appreciable profits. Certainly that's the case with adsense?


Funny, I've noticed a lot of Adsense ads on my site that don't seem relevant, even on pages that are getting very good SERPs.

But then it occurred to me that supposing somebody gets to a page and it's very useful. What do they do? Read the page. But if it isn't quite what they want, there is a chance they will spot an ad that interests them and click on it.

It seems ironic then that I could be making more money from traffic that isn't so interested in my content.

#13 jonbey

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 01:32 PM

I guess the adsense ads tie in with personalisation - maybe people arriving for the first time by search are far more likely to see an advert related to the products being discussed on the page rather than something that you may be interested in.

#14 TheAlex

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Posted 11 January 2013 - 06:51 PM

I'm also not sure, but I don't think the Amazon affiliate program is limited to books, which would be something to check into.

I signed up a few weeks ago and as far as I can tell it's for anything.

I've bookmarked this topic - I'm hoping to make about £50 a year from my site, to cover the hosting and domain costs. That's unless there's the unlikely event that it gets so popular it costs more... :S

#15 iamlost

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Posted 12 January 2013 - 05:09 PM

I have three main revenue streams: AdSense (now the smallest), affiliate, and direct ad sales (now the largest). The critical parts of affiliate selling are:
* where possible have more than one supplier per category, i.e. not just Amazon but also B&N for books and eReaders.
* matching product/service with niche/site/page content.
* targeting high value or unique products/services not commodities.
* honest brokers (many knowingly or not miscount sales/leads).
Note: I prefer to deal direct with retailler/manufacturer and bypass third party affiliate networks. In a sense it makes af sales more like direct ad sales (as opposed to being more like AdSense sales).
* presell pages.
Note: simply having an af link from content on a site page is about as UNoptimised as one can possibly get. My presell pages are both blocked in robots.txt and via meta noindex and by bouncing all bots including SE bots requesting the URLs.
* whenever possible pre-filling the sales form on my site that the visitor will encounter on the merchant site.
Note: the visitor views my site as the provider and not the merchant, as 'we' already have a relationship conversions are higher.
Note: this method also minimises opportunity for sale/lead credit to be 'lost' by the merchant.
Note: does NOT includerequesting payment information. That is done only via merchant on merchant site.
* always have known specific person(s) at merchant for contact and problem resolution.

Always remember that whatever you are offering is likely available elsewhere, possibly at a lower price point. Thus it is crucial to
* engage the visitor with your site, positioning yourself as a person/place of influence and trust
* take the interested visitor to a presell area to further focus their interest and position the proffered sale/service as a necessary/desirable high value item. This requires very high value content and copy.
* filter (where possible) via pre-filling merchant form so that the 'cart' drop off is mainly on your site significantly raising the conversion percentage referred from your site to the merchant.
Note: this does NOT include payment information. I absolutely do not want to handle such.
* build in other conversion filters/opportunities as well as asking for the main sale.
* track your referred visitors carefully looking for conversion changes that may indicate problems.
* drop merchants who can not be relied upon.
* followup with customers (you do keep a copy of the pre-filled form, right?)
***make the value proposition.

#16 jonrhodesuk

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:50 AM

You should ideally only promote products that you have used yourself and that have been worth the cost. If you would genuinly recommend the product for your best friend (without any cash reward) then it should be good for your visitors.



#17 serjeant

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 03:00 AM

i worked with ad sense with different blog and site , unfortunately i earned now too much , i have affiliates account with one famous hots provider i earned almost 700 $ till now . 


Edited by serjeant, 22 February 2013 - 03:01 AM.


#18 bobbb

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

unfortunately i earned now too much

I've never heard any say they earn too much. Not even Bill Gates. Are you sure that is not a typo?

 

And if it is not a typo then I'm sure there are plenty of relief funds (or politicians) that would gladly lighten your burden. :)


Edited by bobbb, 22 February 2013 - 11:27 AM.


#19 LorraineP

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 08:49 PM

As a .com owner, I can say that I paid one of my affiiates over 6k last year. I have a makeup site, and she's a well known blogger in a Non-U.S. country. Very niche. But...I also pay out quite a bit via shareasale, mainly to the coupon sites, cuz I post a monthly coupon code to my merchant shareasale account. 

 

Maybe that will give you some insight into the other side of things. 

 

And btw, after paying one affiliate that much last year I had a lightbulb moment myself! I thought "hey...that would be really cool to make money off of promoting other peoples products!" 

 

So...I'm delving into learning all about affiliate marketing now. 



#20 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 11:46 AM

Welcome to cre8asite forums, Lorraine! Sounds like you'd have some very interesting insights to share with us here. Hope you stick around, because we'd love to hear more from you.





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