Friday, August 15, 2008

What New and Inexperienced Affiliates Should Know About Affiliate Programs

by Avril Harper

A lot of different claims have been made about affiliate marketing, some suggesting you just choose your programs, upload your site, register it with search engines, then wait for dozens of checks to pile through your letterbox or money to find its way into your bank account, month after month, year after year.

Most of the time all that is lies or exaggeration. The highest rewards invariably go to affiliates working hard to promote their products and sometimes paying for traffic to their sites. Yet people do exist who are making good money from affiliate programs from very little effort and zero financial outlay. However, by far the biggest profits go to people spending a few hours a day promoting their sites, targeting markets, giving visitors a reason to continue calling and, more than anything, giving regular customers good service in the hope they return time and time again, to discover new offers, and ultimately to buy!

A few points will ensure you earn handsomely from your efforts.

* Making money is rarely as easy as choosing programs, uploading your site and waiting for commission checks to appear in your mailbox. Work on the principle that anything worth doing is worth doing well and spend time marketing your site both on and off the Internet, registering with search engines, adding product and contact details to business stationery, joining online discussion groups to talk about your business, and so on.

* Most importantly, you may have heard about 'content' sites which search engines tend to rank high based on the number of pages and quality of information available to search engine browsers. So if someone keys 'magic trick' into Google, for example, Google will search for sites containing the most valuable information about magic as long as that information is also relevant and not just sales patter. The best part is, anyone can create a content-rich site by simply adding relevant pages as often as possible, containing articles or tips alongside affiliate links. Lots of relevant content allows sites to rank high with most major search engines who are, after all, only trying to provide quality results for their users, not just a mass of sales links. Remember always: CONTENT IS KING!

* Some programs set conditions. For example, you may have to purchase a product before being allowed to market it, as for many electronic books and marketing courses available online. Usually cost is small and buying and studying the product is a great way to familiarise yourself with questions potential customers might ask before deciding to buy.

* Some programs pay a fixed price per sale or introduction, regardless of how much income is generated for them. Others pay a percentage commission of sales on a one-off or continuing basis. In all cases, work out potential earnings for you before joining and always work on earning as much as possible for every ounce of energy, every minute of your time, every penny you spend on promoting other people's products.

* Some affiliate programs work one tier only, where affiliates receive commissions for products sold. Others offer multiple tiers where participants earn commissions from sales to customers as well as for introducing new affiliates. To complicate things just a little further, some programs also offer commissions on sales generated by affiliates introduced by you. Thankfully all will become clear as you start joining and promoting programs and ultimately adding more programs and products to your portfolio.

* Though most suppliers pay in cash, a minority offer discounts against their own goods and services. The difference is largely immaterial if you are a regular user of goods offered at discount prices but as a serious affiliate you might prefer cash payments over discounts. BIG TIP: Check with the income tax authorities as payment in kind is usually taxable.

About the Author

Avril Harper is the author of A COMPLETE NEWBIES' GUIDE TO MAKING MONEY WITH CLICKBANK which you can learn more about at http://www.avrilharper.com/clickbank.html