Affiliate programs tutorial

Associate Programs Newsletter #249

Our new bookkeeper got a bright gleam in his eyes when he saw how much we're earning in affiliate commissions.

Today's newsletter answers his questions.

This one's for you, Tony...


CONTENTS:

1. What I'm telling our bookkeeper
      Affiliate Program Tutorial
2. Introducing an affiliate winner
3. Five ways to outmaneuver the merchants
4. NEW: Keywords Analyzer 3.07, a superb research tool
      - perfect for your new AdWords campaign
5. Bold introduction to affiliate programs
6. Updated articles at AssociatePrograms.com
7. A research tool that keeps improving
8. Thought for today: What you need


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___________________________________________________________


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1. What I'm telling our bookkeeper
      Affiliate Program Tutorial
========================================

Joanna and I recently hired a bookkeeper who helps us for a few hours a month, entering checks and PayPal payments etc into QuickBooks, and generally keeping our "books" straight.

After taking a look at our books and seeing how much we're earning, Tony has - surprise, surprise! - suddenly become keenly interested in affiliate programs.

Now he wants to know how to get started.

With him in mind, I've written a one-page (it's a long page!) Affiliate Program Tutorial.

It sums up all I've learned in six years of doing affiliate marketing full-time.

It tells you the 18 steps you need to take to succeed.

It avoids all the hype and garbage - no gimmicks, no tricks. Just techniques that work beautifully for me.

I'd love to receive comments from both newcomers and veterans.

Is there anything in the article you don't understand? Anything that needs more clarification? Anything important I missed out?

You can read it here...

Affiliate Program Tutorial:
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/Affiliate-Program-Tutorial.html

What do you think of the tutorial?

Have your say on our affiliate forum:
http://AssociatePrograms.com/discus/ftopic7099.html


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[UPDATE: This site has changed .]

___________________________________________________________


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2. Introducing an affiliate winner
========================================

I'd like to introduce a new guest writer, Vinny Lingham - http://www.vinnylingham.com . Vinny is the Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer for incuBeta.com - http://www.incuBeta.com . In case you haven't met him at any of the major conferences, where he's either sitting on the panel or asking the panelists tough questions, he's the Indian guy with the South African accent.

Vinny has personally managed annual campaign budgets in the millions for paid and natural search. He's well known in the industry for his detailed knowledge of search marketing and management, notably with Google, Overture and FindWhat.

Clicks2Customers - http://www.Clicks2Customers.com , the US subsidiary of incuBeta, recently won the CJU Horizon Award for Innovation and is also a Top 100 Technology Award Finalist in South Africa.

Over to you, Vinny...


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3. Five ways to outmaneuver the merchants
========================================

By Vinny Lingham

Affiliate marketing through the major search engines is becoming a tough space to live in. Search arbitrage is in, which means more competitors and lower margins. More merchants are climbing into Google and Overture and buying up traffic at exorbitant rates.

You must remember that if a merchant is paying you $20, and the affiliate network is getting somewhere between 20% and 30% of that payout, there's a problem.

If you're getting less money than the merchant to market with, that simply means that the top affiliates (the ones on higher payouts) and the merchant can easily outbid you on the major engines, because they have more margin to play with.

It's simple maths - assuming everyone sends traffic to the same site from the same exact match keyword, conversion rate should be static (ignore ad copy), and therefore it's about who can pay the highest cost per click.

Lowest Bid = Lowest Traffic = What To Do???

Well, there are 5 ways to outmaneuver the merchants.

1. Focus on fewer Merchants and Drive Higher Volume to them.

If you can drive higher volume to a merchant, they can and will offer you more favorable terms, which means more margin for you to bid with. The idea is to become a super affiliate to a few merchants, drive a lot of volume and keep outbidding the other affiliates.

2. Calculate your Margins and Required Returns

Some affiliates want 50% returns on their money, others want 150%. The higher your returns, the lower your volumes - you need to calculate the break-point that you are comfortable with. Sometimes it makes sense to drive higher volumes on lower margins, initially, so that the merchants can offer you a higher percentage payout and that will improve your margin in the medium term.

3. Start Using More Affordable Search Engines

FindWhat, SearchFeed, GoClick, enHance and Kanoodle offer lower volumes of lower quality traffic, but at the right price, all traffic is worth paying for. As prices become out of whack on Google and Overture - definitely look to supplement your traffic with the other engines and drive down your marketing costs.

4. Find Offers on Alternative Networks

The big networks like Linkshare, CJ and Performics are very overcrowded with affiliates and the keywords which relate to any merchants on their networks are usually pretty overbought on Google AdWords especially.

Find other offers which are not usually lucrative enough for the big networks, but will work on a small scale in a particular niche and make you a tidy sum of money promoting.

Start looking at other networks like TrafficSynergy.com which have unique products that are not available on other networks.

You also get a higher commission because smaller networks charge the merchants less. Also, unless you're making more than $5,000 per month, don't expect any personal attention from the big networks. Smaller networks will usually give you an account manager from $2,000 per month or even less.

5. Don't Ignore Natural Search Traffic

Definitely set up your own landing pages and portals and drive traffic to the portals, in the short term, but in the long term - try to get these pages indexed and get free traffic from the search engines.

Optimize your site for the various search engines by creating a lot of readable good content and reviews for products and ensuring that the site is text rich and simple to navigate.

Avoid big graphics and large page sizes and try to update content to your site daily.

Build links to and from your site - DO NOT USE automated methods and avoid companies offering you 300,000 search engines submission for $19.95 - it's bound to get you banned from the engines, as these companies employ unscrupulous techniques to attempt to get your site indexed.

Building portals and mini-sites allows you to pre-sell the customer if the merchant is not doing a good enough job on their site.

Affiliate portals often have a higher conversion rate for the merchant than direct traffic - use this advantage to be able to outbid them in the search engine wars.

The points above are just highlights of what you should be doing to earn money while doing affiliate marketing through search engines.


-- incuBeta - http://www.incuBeta.com - is a group of award winning companies, such as http://www.Clicks2Customers.com and we are a professional online marketing company which focuses on driving position ROI and value to our clients. We also operate http://www.TrafficSynergy.com , an affiliate network where our clients can place offers. We focus on customer service and delivering results and have over 40 employees with offices in Cape Town, South Africa and Woodland Hills, Los Angeles.


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4. NEW: Keywords Analyzer 3.07, a superb research tool
      - perfect for your new AdWords campaign
========================================

If you're going to get deeply involved in AdWords advertising or building web pages, you need good keyword research tools.

Here's a very good one - Keywords Analyzer 3.07. This updated version was released yesterday and I've just been testing it.

It's similar to another keyword research tool on the market but has many more useful features.

It's capable of taking one single generic keyword and returning thousands of keyword possibilities. It doesn't artificially create them. It searches Overture and Google and returns actual keyword results.

It will search 30 levels deep if you want it to.

And that's just the first step.

I'm not keen on Overture search results, which can be distorted for a variety of reasons, so I was delighted to see that you can import Wordtracker search results - hundreds or thousands of them - into Keywords Analyzer and do advanced searches on those phrases.

For example, you can see at a glance the number of AdWords and Overture ad campaigns for each of those phrases.

If there are fewer than 8 AdWords campaigns, you can buy that keyword for only 5c per click.

So you can quickly identify cheap advertising opportunities.

(You'll find it easier to locate good niches if you look outside the Internet marketing arena.)

To save you time, you can automatically export keyword lists wrapped in "quotes" and [brackets]. If you use AdWords, you'll understand how much time that will save you.

Soon pay-per-click search engines such as Kanoodle, FindWhat and so on will be incorporated into the tracking.

There's a whole lot more that Keywords Analyzer can do to speed up and improve your keyword research and AdWords campaigns.

If you've been thinking about trying an AdWords ad campaign but haven't because of the research needed, this tool is the answer.

I know you'll find it really useful, so I've arranged a special $14 discount for AssociatePrograms.com newsletter subscribers.

Learn all the other ways Keywords Analyzer can help you...

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/keywords-special


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___________________________________________________________


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5. Bold introduction to affiliate programs
========================================

Andre Chaperon, the "Beer drinking, No B.S. Internet Marketer", has written a lively introduction to affiliate marketing.

Andre's approach is a bit different from mine.

In his report he tells you how to use pay-per-click advertising using Google AdWords and introduces basic search engine optimization.

Andre uses plain language, bold graphics and clear examples so you'll easily understand what he's talking about.

You can get the report here...

http://www.TheAffiliateMarketingPocketGuide.com/intro/

(You'll need to subscribe to Andre's newsletter to get it.)


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6. Updated articles at AssociatePrograms.com
========================================

Reciprocal links:

I've made major updates to my article on reciprocal links. It includes a link to a new directory of website owners willing to exchange reciprocal links.

Also, have you heard about Prog? It gives you Google search results PLUS PageRank. It's ideal for people who insist on linking only to high PageRank sites.
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/48/1/How-to-get-reciprocal-links

AdSense:

We've been having remarkable success with AdSense ads on web pages that have only one column. The article wraps around an AdSense skyscraper high up on the right-hand side. This is a non- Internet marketing site, created using Site Build It.

On our affiliate forum, someone claimed it was impossible to earn a living from AdSense. He's wrong. His remarks prompted me to update my "How to Boost Your AdSense Revenue" article with new tips:
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/How-to-boost-your-AdSense-revenue.html

That article needs to be read in conjunction with this one...

Affiliate Program Tutorial (includes AdSense)
18 steps to success
http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/articles/Affiliate-Program-Tutorial.html


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7. A research tool that keeps improving
========================================

Have you tried Searchit yet?

It's a nifty little desktop gadget. You don't have to download anything.

Searchit keeps getting better and better as Ken Evoy adds more search functions. The price stays the same - absolutely zero.

Searchit can sit unobtrusively in the upper left-hand corner of your screen, ready for when you want to use it for brainstorming, keyword research, competition research, local business research, and a lot more.

Try it:

http://www.AssociatePrograms.com/searchit

[UPDATE: Searchit is still an excellent tool, but it's no longer free. It's now included as a bonus for SBI users.]


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8. Thought for today: What you need
========================================

"I've only said about a hundred times that you must have a web site (and) a follow-up autoresponder series to really succeed online as an affiliate marketer."

- super affiliate Rosalind Gardner
http://AssociatePrograms.com/rosalind

 

All the best

Allan Gardyne

UPDATED: June 3, 2013
November 4, 2004

Comments (1)

Said this on November 21, 2008 At 01:36 am
This blog Is very informative , I am really pleased to post my comment on this blog . It helped me with ocean of knowledge so I really believe you will do much better in the future . Good job web master .

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