Getting Started

  1. When building product focused affiliate sites. Try making the main focus on consumables with bigger ticket items sprinkled throughout the site. You can benefit from frequent small ticket purchases and can build an email list to let your subscribers know about the new big ticket offers.
  2. An easy way to get started with a price comparison site is to use Price Tapestry, which will import any merchant feed.  The templates are easy to customize.
  3. Change product descriptions in feeds to use “your voice” this creates unique content and you will not have duplicate content issues.
  4. When deciding on an angle to promote a product ask what is it the merchant is not doing for their customers. What questions would you have as a customer that the merchant’s web site is not addressing? Use this to create content for your site.
  5. Create a video showing how to use a product and brand it with your domain. Upload to Blip.tv, Youtube.com
  6. Check OfferVault.com to compare merchants and their affiliate offers. Often you will find a single merchant is running a program on more than one network – For example: Jitterbug.com has an in-house program which pays a higher commission and a program in Commission Junction. It is important to know if a merchant has multiple programs, so you can get the best offer, tracking cookie length, and best creative.
  7. Use tools like Aweber or Mail Chimp (integrated with Google analytics) to build an email list. An email list can help build your revenue channels and because is it completely opt in you have people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Another advantage of the list is you give visitors to your web site another reason to come back.
  8. Problem oriented websites make excellent affiliate sites. An example would be Spyware or or maybe keeping a lawn green, dog training, Getting bad grades. There are tons of products out that solve these problems and you can build them into your problem-solving site.
  9. Use the code afsrc=1 to protect against theft of commissions from rebate software like Upromise or eBates. Software that follows the rules. If you use redirects the rebate software or third party software does not know it is an affiliate link so you may want to add it to the end of your url string even on internal redirects. The code of conduct for affiliates is not exactly enforced but you should at least know about this variable if you are running into problems with browser-based software over writing your cookies or links.

Examples of its use: Sample URLs with afsrc=1 parameter

http://www.affiliateideafactory.com/go.php?id=123&page=home&afsrc=1

http://www.affiliateideafactory.com/go-merch-123.html?afsrc=1

10. Use sub Ids in your links to track specific offers or locations of links on your web sites. This will help you make decisions on how each offer is converting and which position or offer is generating more clicks/sales. With most links you add &sub=yourtag  to the end of the url string.

11. Always use independent analytics  to track your traffic patterns. If you find you are driving a lot of traffic but not seeing sales you may be a victim of cookie over writing or a link problem. Look at our own data carefully before contacting the merchant or the affiliate manager so you can give as much information as possible to find the problem.

12. Keep up to date on what is happening with affiliate centric blogs, forums and legal areas.

13. Add your affiliate program name and or product to Google Alerts. You will know if they hit the news and be ready to take advantage of it.

14. Track chatter on Twitter regarding your affiliate programs or products. My Twitter page: http://twitter.com/Ginette  On your twitter screen enter track word  to stop tracking track off. So if you want to track a program like Dragon Door you would type in track “dragon door”  so you get the phrase exactly as you want it.

15. Take a look at related “concept” words  for instance if you are selling tickets to football games a related concept word would be ”tailgate” You could then get even more specific by location or venue which could be some nice “low hanging fruit” in organic or PPC search campaigns.

16. Tools like survey monkey can help you get more information about your users. Use surveys to find out what kinds of offers your visitors want to see or get suggestions on how you can improve your website.

17.  Don’t forget about offline advertising. Ads in small niche magazines( $100 or less ), church newsletters, newspaper classifieds, local football or school sports field billboards are inexpensive( less than $500) but effective if it reaches your target market. Be sure to direct visitors to your site as your offers may change in the future and magazines in particular have a very long life.

18. Look for magazines that are related to your niche. Get ideas for content, ad copy and more. This is another opportunity for offline advertising.

19.  Plan your affiliate business with a long-term strategy. Organic rankings come and go as the search engines evolve, merge or die off. Build and brand your sites while creating multiple traffic streams and return from your subscribers.

20. Most niches don’t actually have a large enough demand or traffic to support high end affiliate incomes. Keep this in mind when deciding what niche to focus your content on. This does not mean don’t bother it just means you may have to have several niches to make that house payment.  Research the traffic and competition, so you can be realistic about your earnings potential.

21. Knowing what the hot products are is possible. Check out http://pulse.ebay.com to see today’s hot products in any category.

22. Knowing how much a search terms is worth can help you earn dollars instead of pennies with AdSense or traditional programs. I typically will go to SpyFu and check out the top 1000 most expensive PPC keywords and PRINT it out. I circle those that interest me or that I probably have concept related domains in inventory for.

23. Protect your personal information. Incorporate and apply for an EIN number from the IRS. This way you can list that number and not your social security number. Most Affiliate program merchants have no idea how many account managers or staff have access to all of that private data and neither do you. In fact there is almost nothing in the agreements stating what they are doing with all that personal data or how it is shared. This small investment can save you from a huge headache later on.

24. If you download or buy a tool for your marketing efforts USE it, read it, put it to work that same day. If you are not going to use it that same day, chances are you don’t actually need it. Bookmark the page and save your money.

 

25. Google Alerts are perfect for keeping tabs on events, products, brand names .etc. I set up alerts on topics and companies of interest so I can blog about them or comment on the latest stories. An example would be I put in the name of a product i am promoting like the Wii anytime something new is indexed about the Wii I will get an alert sent to my gmail account which also goes to my phone. Since all news releases get sent to google I will have breaking news to blog about, or can set up a PPC campaign to take advantage of the queries I am betting will be coming as a result of the press release. Be sure and use quotes to keep your alerts specific.

 

26.  Blogs are an easy way to get started with affiliate marketing. Select a very specific focus for your blog. Speak to the audience that is passionate about your focus as if you were discussing it over your favorite beverage. Make it an open conversation, encouraging comments and feedback. Set a schedule to update your blog at least 2x a week.  Keep your design templates simple to start you can always add on modules and new design goodies as you get more comfortable. It is more important to get the blog going than it is to add in new  bells and whistles. Your content is what will keep visitors coming back not the tag cloud on the side.

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