~ Marketing On The Internet - (A Beginner's Expert Guide); Original Article by Fatherspirit. ~
Affiliate marketing is a great opportunity for any aspiring Internet businessperson to make some serious cash, however, there is a bit of an art to it and many walk away disappointed after setting up elaborate websites, with a large range of affiliate products on sale, and not being able to make a go of it!
When I fisrt started with affiliate marketing, I made sure to do an online course that explained all the steps and methods involved with this type of selling. Profit Lance and Wealthy Affiliate are two very detailed, affordable, and user-friendly programs that I would highly recommend to anyone starting off in the world of affiliate marketing.
I was thoroughly taught about the intracacies of Clickbank.net and had a great head-start with this invaluable knowledge! For any 'Newbie' affiliate marketer who may be reading this, one sage piece of advice for You: visit Clickbank.net First before going anywhere else! This site really is the Marketing 'Bible' for any aspiring web master and has an enormous range of electronic products (ebooks) on all topics to sell, with many having high commissions paid on them!
Commission Junction, Linkshare, and Performics are three other companies that I would highly recommend that You set an account up at. You can also do a search for any type of affiliate company by typing "'search term' + affiliate" into Google; there are literally thousands of companies out there who would like You to advertise for them!
Take the marketing process one step at a time; set up the best, premium looking website that You can; have simple, clean navigation and several ways for the customer to be able to pay for any of Your listed products, including PayPal, AlertPay, Visa, Mastercard, American Express ... and others.
Make sure to install an autoresponder on the site (try Aweber) and collect a list of people's names and email addresses in order to sell them affiliate products at a later date. Offer Free giveaways and courses/bonuses to entice them to sign up!
Check out Amazon affiliates and a multitude of other companies, to promote diversity on Your site/s. I recommend clixGalore to any aspiring marketer, for the sole fact that this company has some very attractive affiliate banners and buttons that can be incorporated on just about any niche site that You can think of.
Then go get some traffic, and Lots of it; the more that You can gather, the better! Write articles for EzineArticles.com and leave a URL link to Your website in the bio box (Never in the article's body however!) When people read these articles, if they are well written, informative, and entertaining, they may click on Your URL and visit Your site, and maybe even make a purchase or two!? The other marketing advantage of having Ezine articles is that they may be used by other people on their websites, in newsletters and mail-outs; Your URL link will be attached to each article and may prove to be a very lucrative source of traffic for Your site!
Familiarize Yourself with Social Bookmarking sites, such as Digg.com, Technorati, StumbleUpon, Propellor, Reddit, Mixx, Lipstick .. and many others. All these sites can be a goldmine for free traffic numbers!
Personally, although some may not agree with me, I would recommend that You also set up a few upgraded accounts on some of the best known Traffic Exchanges on the Net. If You really don't like to surf, then invest in some traffic on the sites and load up credit allocations for each of Your listed affliliate URL's!
The T.E.'s that I would recommend that You use include: #1 rated - Traffic Swarm, Trafficera.com (fastest growing social/marketing site ~ I am on the #1 team in the world here and highly recommend Trafficera for large traffic numbers for Your websites!), Traffic Splash (another highly-rated exchange), Top ranking and current #1 listed Exchange Easy Hits 4 U, Traffic Pods, and ts25 and Traffic Roundup (for all those cowboys and cowgirls out there!). There are many others but this list is a Great one to start with! Also, if You really cannot stand 'clicking' for credits, then the alternative is 'hover surfing'; the best site with this function is Lords-of-Traffic, in my opinion.
Some people buy traffic for their sites and have great success with elevated sale's numbers and an improved Alexa ranking, however, You need to be careful about the quality of the bought traffic and resist the temptation to buy large bulk number 'specials', which are frequently nothing more than 'pop-under' traffic and garbage in quality!
Visit popular forums and set up a URL link to Your site in the signature, be sure to use the Your message here (don't click) function in order to get a 'clean' look to Your sig., then post quality entries and replies; each posting will have Your personalized link contained within - a Great source of free traffic! Forums that I would recommend that You visit are the ones with the highest Alexa rankings (number of visitors to the site). These 'elite' choices include: Digital Point Forum, Site Point, Warrior Forum, Off-topic Forum, and many others .... You can get a complete list on Big boards.
Be sure to include a signature link in Your emails too! It is surprising how many emails one writes in the space of a week, and so much free advertising can come about from this method!
Another program I have had some success with is 'Entrecard'. This has been a source of quite a bit of traffic to my site and is simple to set up.
Starting a Squidoo lens can be an excellent idea in order to market Your wares and draw attention to Your websites. Investigate Hubpages too if You have some spare time!
Blogs are also good value and Wordpress and Blogger are two sites that offer quality blogging tools and great customer service! Blogs are an easy platform to affiliate market off and can draw You a lot of attention as Google tends to favor blog posts in its organic listings! Personally, I'm a huge fan of blogging and I can say from experience, being the former world #1 ranked blogger on the famous site Icon (Madonna.com), that blogs can win You a large cashed-up audience, who log in to read every post that You write! Always be sure to 'ping' each new blogpost at sites like Pingoat or Ping-O-Matic; this will inform the web of Your new listings quickly! (Note: Wordpress blogs often 'ping' entries automatically).
Many bloggers set up Adsense ads on their sites and make a small fortune on the side, beside their affiliate marketing profits! (One word of Warning: Never list websites that have Adsense ads in Traffic Exchanges; this goes against Google's T.O.S. ~ Terms Of Service!) If You have no luck with Adsense then try Chitika or Blogsvertise or Adbrite; three premium choices and great to augment Your affiliate profits!
On the subject of blogs, make sure that You regularly visit some of the really large and well-known weblogs in order to leave comments and links back to Your site. Blogs that I would recommend that You pay attention to are: 'The Huffington Post' - (#1 world ranked), Boing Boing (quirky news served with panache!), Techcrunch, Engadget, Gawker (Manhattan madness and glossy gossip), Perez Hilton's blog (same area as Gawker), and several others too! (You can get complete listings by doing a
P.P.C. (Pay Per Click) advertising is another great way to improve Your affiliate sales and it is well worth checking out sites such as Google Adwords or Yahoo! Search Marketing; even MSN has quite a good portal for PPC ads! Learn before You earn with PPC (wise advice), it is easy to lose a lot of money here so Take Care! Never try to get the number one postioned ad as it often loses money, and keep all Your Adwords campaigns 'tight', with higly relevant common keyword groups that match up with the adcopy on Your destination/affiliate product pages!
Investigate some of the large social networking websites, such as Facebook, MySpace, hi5, Orkut, and several others. You can set up links from Your personalized profiles that lead directly to Your affiliate products! A Great way to make sales!
Visit Yahoo Answers on a frequent basis and answer the questions pertaining to Your affiliate niche! If You give quality, well thought-out information, then You should be able to link Your answers to Your website/s where Your affiliate campaigns are located! If You achieve in getting a 'Best Answer' accolade, then Your site should be visited even more frequently!
One other method for obtaining traffic to Your affiliate sites is through offline advertising. Personalised business cards can be purchased for about a cent each from an excellent site called Vista Print; I highly recommend them for the Best printing deals on the Net! You can also have t-shirts, pens, caps, stickers, and magnets printed with Your site's URL - to be distributed in mass number ~ Great viral advertising there!
Consider putting up handwritten ads on Your local supermarket's noticeboard; write Your site's URL 10 - 11 times, sideways along the bottom of the poster ad, and make cuts between each URL so that people can rip them off (like phone number tabs) and take them home for future reference!
One final, 'crazy' idea that I have sometimes employed to advertise my website, is to write the URL clearly in the sand when next You visit the beach; make a new 'sand ad' every 100 metres or so and be sure to return the next day (or so) to write new ads - after the tide has been. If You write Your URL's above the tide line, You should have an ad that lasts longer!
Good luck with Your affiliate marketing!