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Affiliate Programs... A Not THAT Easy Start To Your Own Online Business



AliExpress by Alibaba.com


"Where is all the help I'm supposed to get. I have been buying ezine and classified ad builders and signing up for Echecks and Virtual credit cards. In the meantime I have no business and no ads set up. When does all this happen? Let's go here. I spent all day on this. I'm running out of time."

I kid you not, this is the sum total of an actual email that hit my inbox this week. Not only did I not know this person from Adam, this was the first and only email I had ever received from her and to this day, I have no idea what she's talking about. Presumably, she signed up for one of the affiliate programs I promote from my site and was asking, in her own inimitable style, for my help. Although I am always ready and willing to help anyone I can, this is most definitely NOT the way to go about asking for it. Needless to say, I let her know what I thought of her approach in NO uncertain terms.

The attitude displayed in this person's email to me (and she is by no means an isolated example) exemplifies why so many people fail to make a success of their online businesses. Leaving aside the utter rudeness of the approach, notice the impatience, the expectation to be up and running in a day, the HURRY, the apparent belief that real world principles such as courtesy and good manners don't apply online (they do). Think this person is going to last the distance? What kinds of tactics do you think she is capable of resorting to in pursuit of the almighty dollar?

So, let's take a realistic look at affiliate programs, what they can and can't do for your business and how to maximize your chances of creating a successful, long-term business with them.

WHAT IS AN AFFILIATE PROGRAM?

An affiliate program (also known as a reseller, associate, referral or partnership program) is essentially a revenue-sharing arrangement whereby you, the affiliate, receive payment from the owner of a product or service that you promote on their behalf.

Affiliate programs are an excellent way for the new internet entrepreneur to start an online business.

TYPES OF AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

There are various types of affiliate programs.

The most simple involves you, the affiliate, placing a banner ad, graphic or text link at your site which is linked to the site of the business you are promoting. This link is coded with your unique affiliate ID so that the site visitor is recorded at the target site as having originated from your site, thereby allowing you to be credited with the sale.

Payment is generally a fixed percentage of the sale value (commission) or "pay per click", where the affiliate is paid a certain amount for every time a site visitor clicks on the link at the affiliate's site, whether or not a sale is made.

The more sophisticated affiliate programs are multi-tier and allow the affiliate to earn commissions not only on the traffic they directly refer to the target site but also a proportion of sales generated by their sub-affiliates.

BENEFITS OF AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

The greatest benefit of affiliate programs is that when you are just starting out in your own online business you don't have to worry about creating your own product or service. You just promote someone else's and get a share of the revenue pie for your efforts.

You also don't have to concern yourself with warehousing, transport or logistics headaches. All of this is handled by the business whose products/services you are promoting. All you need concentrate on is driving traffic to that business's website. This means that a high proportion of your revenue is profit.

The owner of the product/service is also responsible for collecting payment, customer service and the myriad other details that come up on a day to day basis in running the business.

DISADVANTAGES OF AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

The main and obvious disadvantage of affiliate programs is that it is the owner of the product/service who earns the lion's share of the profit on the sale.

You're working on commission. You will NEVER earn by way of affiliate program commissions as much as you can earn by way of profits from producing and selling your own product/service.

As a result, affiliate programs represent a high opportunity cost when you consider what you could earn if you instead channeled the time and energy you spend on promoting affiliate programs into creating and promoting your own product/service.

For this reason, it does not make sound business sense to rely solely on affiliate program income for the longer term growth of your business.

Instead, think of them as a way of dipping your toe in the water when you're first getting started, and a nice little sideline once you've created your own product/service. Do NOT build your business around affiliate programs with the intention this will always be the backbone of your business. You'll be stunting your own growth if you do.

CHOOSING THE RIGHT AFFILIATE PROGRAMS FOR YOUR BUSINESS

So, keeping in mind what affiliate programs can and can't do for your business, let's turn to what you should look for when choosing an affiliate program or programs to promote in your business.

=> Synergistic Products/Services

First off, and this is a cardinal rule, only promote those programs which will allow you to create synergies with your site. This means selecting programs that naturally complement the subject matter of your site and that will therefore be of interest and relevance to your site visitors. This will ensure your prospects (ie your site visitors) are pre-qualified which will result in a relatively higher conversion ratio (the ratio of visitors to purchases) than would be the case if your traffic is untargeted (which will be the case if you promote unrelated products and services from your site.)

=> Quality In All Things

Keeping the need for synergy uppermost in mind, look for quality programs first and foremost. The last thing you want to waste your time, money and reputation on is a shoddy product or service. There are just too many quality programs out there to settle for anything less.

=< Stability of Company

Look for a company that's been around for a while and that's reputable and stable (both financially and in its management). Any reputable company will have full contact details readily available so do your research.

=> References

Look for testimonials and references from other affiliates. If the company you're interested is not forthcoming when it comes to putting you in touch with other affiliates, move on.

=> Affiliate Agreement

Look for a professional, considered and detailed affiliate agreement (contract). This shows that the company is serious about its business.

Watch out for exclusivity clauses and other restraints. Some affiliate agreements will require that you not promote competing businesses' products and services. This is not to say you should avoid such agreements. As a general rule, it is your interests not to promote competing programs anyway. Just be aware of what the agreement says on the subject to avoid getting yourself into hot water.

Look also for an agreement that treats spammers harshly. This protects not only the company but other affiliates as well. The last thing you or any other reputable affiliate needs is to have your reputation and the reputation of the product/service you are promoting besmirched by these sorts of tactics.

=> High Commissions

Promoting someone else's affiliate program necessarily requires that you divert traffic away from your site and towards someone else's. Make sure you're properly compensated with a high commission structure. And be sure to set up your link so that when the visitor clicks on it, a new browser window is opened for the target site. This at least keeps your site in front of the visitor so they can go back to your site once they've finished at the site your link has taken them to.

=> Lifetime Commissions

Look for affiliate programs that will credit you with not only THIS sale but all other sales the customer may make in the future. Many programs are set up so that the customer is identified as "yours" so that when the customer returns to the target site in three months time, the sale is recorded as having been generated by you.

=> Residual Commissions

Include programs that offer residual commissions in your portfolio. Good examples are webhosting services, autoresponder services and the like where customers sign up for a continuous service that requires periodic, regular payments. You receive periodic, regular commissions as a result.

=> Tracking of Commissions

Look for programs that allow you real-time access to your stats so you can keep easy track of your commissions.

=> Reliability of Payment

When checking with affiliate references, find out what the business's record is on paying out commissions. If they're slow or there appears to be a pattern of problems, keep looking.

=> Frequency of Payment

Make a note of payment schedules too. Some programs pay weekly, some monthly, some quarterly. Some only pay once you accumulate commissions of a certain amount. None of these arrangements are necessarily good or bad in and of themselves. Just be sure you know what to expect.

=> Programs that Require Payment Up Front

Two words: MOVE ON!

=> Affiliate Support

Finally, take a look at what support the business offers its affiliates to make sales. Do they provide resources such as sample ads, banners, logos and the like? Do they provide useful advice about maximizing your sales? A good affiliate program provides affiliates with a LOT of support in these areas.

MAKING MONEY FROM AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

OK, now you know what to look for in an affiliate program. Here's how to maximize your sales of those products and services and, therefore, your commissions:

=> Get Your Own Website

No ifs, no buts. DON'T rely on the you-beaut self-replicated job the company provides all its affiliates. Link to that site from your main site.

=> Get Your Own Domain Name

This presents a much more professional image. Many people won't give the time of day to a business that thinks so little of its prospects that the owner won't shell out 70 bucks for a domain name. So mean business and look like it.

=> Get Traffic To Your Site (Duh!)

As a rough guide, you will need at least 500 targeted unique visitors a day to your site to make reasonable money from affiliate programs.

=> You Must Have A Site That Will Attract Repeat Visitors

If your website is nothing more than a splash page consisting of little else other than banners for umpteen different affiliate programs, forget it. Your site must be worthy of your visitor's time and interest before you can even begin to think about converting that visitor into a paying customer. So create a real site with real content that will keep them coming back for more.

=> Personal Testimonials

A personal testimonial will result in more sales than a mere link or advertisement. So take the time and trouble to write a personal endorsement of the product or service you are promoting. And, of course, it goes without saying that in order to write a personal endorsement, you must know that of which you speak. NEVER promote a program you haven't first purchased yourself. If you don't think enough of your program to invest in it, how do you expect to persuade others to?

=> Promote With Your Sig File

Include a link to your site in the signature of every email you send.

=> Promote In Your Own Ezine

Finally, if you're not already publishing your own ezine or newsletter to stay in touch with your site visitors, start. It's a great way to promote not only your site but also the affiliate programs you promote from your site.

MAKING SERIOUS MONEY FROM AFFILIATE PROGRAMS

The only way of making SERIOUS money from affiliate programs is by creating your own product or service and recruiting affiliates to sell for YOU.

The affiliate program phenomenon is one of the Internet's true success stories. It provides a toe-hold for the would-be internet entrepreneur to begin a real, live business of his or her very own. But the real beauty of affiliate programs lies not in what they can do for you, as an affiliate, but what they can do for you, as a recruiter of affiliates for your own program. By all means jump on the bandwagon and start promoting other people's products to get your start. But don't wait too long to start developing your own product line. There is a ready-made salesforce numbering in the millions ready and waiting to sell it for you.

About The Author

Elena Fawkner is editor of the award-winning A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas, resources and strategies for the work-from-home entrepreneur.

http://www.fawkner.com/subscribe.html

AliExpress by Alibaba.com


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‘Haze’ abounds as Michigan struggles to regulate recreational marijuana  Green Bay Press Gazette

These are some of the stories of Michigan's pot prohibition era.


Management reshuffle at Alibaba amid slowing growth, Companies & Markets News & Top Stories - The Straits Times
Management reshuffle at Alibaba amid slowing growth, Companies & Markets News & Top Stories  The Straits Times

BEIJING • China's Alibaba Group Holding yesterday unveiled its most significant business reshuffle since co-founder Jack Ma announced his impending ...


e-Spirit Receives New Certified Integration Designed to Boost B2B and B2C Digital Commerce Revenue for SAP Commerce Cloud Customers - PR Web
e-Spirit Receives New Certified Integration Designed to Boost B2B and B2C Digital Commerce Revenue for SAP Commerce Cloud Customers  PR Web

e-Spirit's hybrid *content* management system integrates with SAP Commerce Cloud to empower e-commerce and marketing teams to easily deliver ...


FOX Q3 Earnings Up Y/Y, Strong Television Aids Revenue Growth - Yahoo Finance
FOX Q3 Earnings Up Y/Y, Strong Television Aids Revenue Growth  Yahoo Finance

Fox Corporation FOX reported third-quarter fiscal 2019 adjusted earnings of 76 cents per share that increased 2.7% year over year. Revenues were up 11.7% ...


Fox Profit, Revenue Rise in First Quarter Since Spinoff - The Wall Street Journal
Fox Profit, Revenue Rise in First Quarter Since Spinoff  The Wall Street Journal

Fox Corp. said its profit rose in its first quarterly earnings since the company's spinoff from 21st Century Fox, driven by stronger performances in its cable network ...


Amazon just provided a nice little reminder of why it's risky to build a journalism business on affiliate fees - Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard
Amazon just provided a nice little reminder of why it's risky to build a journalism business on affiliate fees  Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard

Amazon is a powerful partner, but as book publishers have learned, it can also be a fickle one.


CBS says streaming services & Super Bowl helped it achieve record revenues in Q1 - TechCrunch
CBS says streaming services & Super Bowl helped it achieve record revenues in Q1  TechCrunch

CBS credited its direct-to-consumer streaming services in helping it achieve double-digit revenue growth and record quarterly revenues in Q1, along with the ...


Skimlinks launches automated affiliate links for AMP - MarTech Today
Skimlinks launches automated affiliate links for AMP  MarTech Today

London-based affiliate marketing network Skimlinks is out with what it says is the first automated affiliate link platform for AMP. AMP, or Accelerated Mobile ...


Sinclair Broadcast boosts revenue in first quarter but misses earnings estimates - Baltimore Sun
Sinclair Broadcast boosts revenue in first quarter but misses earnings estimates  Baltimore Sun

Sinclair Broadcast Group boosted revenue in the first quarter of 2019 thanks to strength in its digital and distribution businesses, but missed Wall Street's ...


Not Measuring Mobile In Affiliate Marketing? It's Time To Start - Forbes
Not Measuring Mobile In Affiliate Marketing? It's Time To Start  Forbes

Mobile advertising is measured as aggressively as desktop inventory. Except in affiliate marketing, where many brands are likely missing out on millions in ...


Viacom Earnings Beat Estimates, Film Unit Loss Narrows - Hollywood Reporter
Viacom Earnings Beat Estimates, Film Unit Loss Narrows  Hollywood Reporter

Viacom on Tuesday posted better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter earnings, but revenue fell shy of Wall Street estimates.


Apple kills app affiliate commissions, imperiling small publishers - VentureBeat
Apple kills app affiliate commissions, imperiling small publishers  VentureBeat

Effective October 1, Apple will stop paying publishers affiliate commissions for both apps and in-app purchases from its App Stores, a move that independent ...


Here's How to Safely Remove Acrylic Nails at Home, According to a Pro - POPSUGAR
Here's How to Safely Remove Acrylic Nails at Home, According to a Pro  POPSUGAR

By day 11 of having acrylic nails, your fingertips might feel uncomfortable — borderline painful — from having the heavy material sitting on top of.


Gambling.com Group Q1 revenues leap on US growth - EGR Global
Gambling.com Group Q1 revenues leap on US growth  EGR Global

Gambling.com Group today reported a revenue increase of 52% to €5.2m for the first quarter of 2019. The US-focused affiliate firm's organic growth rate hit 50%, ...


BuzzFeed Makes $50M In Ecommerce Revenues 11/20/2018 - MediaPost Communications
BuzzFeed Makes $50M In Ecommerce Revenues 11/20/2018  MediaPost Communications

BuzzFeed's Chief Commerce Officer Ben Kaufman and his 65-person team generated $50 million in revenue this year by successfully combining commerce and ...


I Never Thought I'd Be Gushing About Mom Shorts, but Here We Are - POPSUGAR
I Never Thought I'd Be Gushing About Mom Shorts, but Here We Are  POPSUGAR

The first thing I reach for every single morning are my sweatpants. They take all of two seconds to pull on, have pockets to store my cell phone and the baby.


How The Knot uses content to grow consumer revenue three ways - Digiday
How The Knot uses content to grow consumer revenue three ways  Digiday

Couples' wedding needs haven't changed much over the years. But as digital advertising has become harder to come by, wedding-focused publisher The Knot ...


Viacom-DirecTV Fallout: Viacom Could Lose $2 Billion In Affiliate, Ad Revenue Declines 03/22/2019 - MediaPost Communications
Viacom-DirecTV Fallout: Viacom Could Lose $2 Billion In Affiliate, Ad Revenue Declines 03/22/2019  MediaPost Communications

Potential Viacom channels being dropped from DirecTV could have a major multibillion-dollar effect on the network group in terms of advertising and afffiliate ...


How Affiliate Marketing Manager Acceleration Partners Succeeded By Cutting Back Its Offerings - Forbes
How Affiliate Marketing Manager Acceleration Partners Succeeded By Cutting Back Its Offerings  Forbes

Three years ago Acceleration Partners found that it was being pulled in too many directions. But cutting back the services it offered and focusing on its core ...


CBS 3Q Profit Rises on Digital Subscriptions, Affiliate Fees - Variety
CBS 3Q Profit Rises on Digital Subscriptions, Affiliate Fees  Variety

CBS said third-quarter profit rose largely on strength in revenue from affiliate and subscription fees, a testament to the company's ongoing efforts to find sources ...


How to Kick-Start Your Affiliate Strategy in 2019 - PerformanceIN
How to Kick-Start Your Affiliate Strategy in 2019  PerformanceIN

All Inclusive Marketing CEO Sarah Bundy shares her top tips to kick start your affiliate marketing strategy in 2019.


Publishers say affiliates generate more revenue than other types of marketing - ZDNet
Publishers say affiliates generate more revenue than other types of marketing  ZDNet

A recent survey points to a bright future for affiliate marketing and social engagement.


IAC-owned publishing company Dotdash grew revenue by 44 percent last year - TechCrunch
IAC-owned publishing company Dotdash grew revenue by 44 percent last year  TechCrunch

Holding company IAC just released its fourth quarter earnings report, which includes positive numbers for Dotdash, the rebranded company formerly known as ...


Cars.com Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results | News - Cars.com News
Cars.com Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results | News  Cars.com News

Cars.com Inc. (NYSE: CARS) (“Cars.com” or the “Company”), a leading digital automotive marketplace, today released its financial results for the fourth quarter ...


4 tips for combating link rot in affiliate marketing - DigitalCommerce360
4 tips for combating link rot in affiliate marketing  DigitalCommerce360

Affiliate marketing faces a rarely discussed, but very real, challenge: outdated links. The most common form of link rot leads to the page no longer being found by ...


Domestic Advertising and Distribution Gains Drive Discovery Q1 Earnings - Variety
Domestic Advertising and Distribution Gains Drive Discovery Q1 Earnings  Variety

Discovery Inc. delivered domestic advertising and distribution growth in the first quarter even as international revenue dropped.


Affiliate Marketing 101 - Business 2 Community
Affiliate Marketing 101  Business 2 Community

Affiliate marketing can be described as outsourced marketing. It's a process that involves you hiring a third party who is compensated for bringing business to ...


Disney earnings decrease in second quarter but top Wall Street estimates - Los Angeles Times
Disney earnings decrease in second quarter but top Wall Street estimates  Los Angeles Times

Walt Disney Co.'s earnings topped Wall Street estimates for the fiscal second quarter, according to numbers released Wednesday, despite a 13% dip in profit ...


Marie Claire wants its fashion editors to drive e-commerce revenue - Digiday
Marie Claire wants its fashion editors to drive e-commerce revenue  Digiday

Marie Claire has launched Marie Claire Edit, an aggregator site where readers can shop from retail partners like Selfridges, Gucci, Prada, Net-a-Porter and ...


eBay Cuts Back on Affiliate Marketing - EcommerceBytes
eBay Cuts Back on Affiliate Marketing  EcommerceBytes

eBay is cutting compensation up to 70% for certain affiliates who drive traffic to its site effective today, January 19, 2019, a further sign the company is engaged ...


Viacom's Q3 2018 Earnings Demonstrate Turnaround, Evolution Into Global Multi-Platform Entertainment Company - Viacom Corporate
Viacom's Q3 2018 Earnings Demonstrate Turnaround, Evolution Into Global Multi-Platform Entertainment Company  Viacom Corporate

Viacom released its third quarter 2018 financial results today, articulating progress on its turnaround and detailing Viacom's evolution beyond its linear roots and ...


Dotdash Revenue Increases 32% In Q4, Ad And Affiliate Businesses Show Growth 02/11/2019 - MediaPost Communications
Dotdash Revenue Increases 32% In Q4, Ad And Affiliate Businesses Show Growth 02/11/2019  MediaPost Communications

Dotdash revenue increased 32% in the 2018 fourth quarter year-over-year to $40.2 million, “due to strong advertising growth across several verticals… as well ...


Twitch Adds New Affiliate Link, Merch Integrations To Help Creators Earn More Money - Tubefilter
Twitch Adds New Affiliate Link, Merch Integrations To Help Creators Earn More Money  Tubefilter

Twitch streamers now have several added tools to help them boost monetization, the platform unveiled this weekend at its annual TwitchCon gathering.


What’s Wealthy affiliate - Thrive Global
What’s Wealthy affiliate  Thrive Global

Wealthy Affiliate is an online education program established in 2005 by Carson andKyle and has since become an industry influencing the educational system.


Why the New York Times, BuzzFeed, and more help you find the best - Vox.com
Why the New York Times, BuzzFeed, and more help you find the best  Vox.com

The past decade has seen a flurry of growth in the product review space, with the launch of publications like Wirecutter, Best Products, New York magazine's the ...


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