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Affiliate Marketing: A Simple & Highly Effective Way of Earning Money From Your Computer

Aug 17, 2007
Imagine, if you will, a trendy cocktail party; the drinks are flowing, the guests are mingling and the air is filled with light chatter and friendly laughter. A young woman is shyly explaining to a young man how she would love to sell books on her website. However, this man is not just any Tom, Dick or Harry; he is Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com . This young woman set Bezos's brain buzzing... why not have her link her website up to Amazon.com and receive a commission for every book she sold? It was a simple but very effective idea and not long afterwards the Amazon Associates Programme was born. Amazon associates would simply place an Amazon banner, text link or product link on their website and earn a commission each time someone clicked on the link and made a purchase.

Now I am sure there are not many of us reading this that are in the Amazon league... well, not quite yet... but there is no reason why we cannot put these principals to work ourselves. Nearly everyone who is anyone runs one type of affiliate programme or another nowadays and with all the money flying backwards and forwards across the ether I want to help you get a piece of the action!

If you are:

A Website owner (webmaster, publisher)

i) Ensure that your ads are relevant or in some way related to the content of your website or webpage to attract more clicks e.g. there is not much point in having a link/banner for dog food on a baby website

ii) Try to make your ads fit seamlessly into your webpages as if they are part of the general content. It's also a nice idea to try to integrate them with the colour scheme and general design of your site.

iii) It is generally thought that text links to products have a much higher click-through rate (i.e. attraction to visitors) than banners. Try to write a short summary of a product (or borrow from the actual sales page of the product) with perhaps a relevant picture and then add something like read more... for your visitor to click on for more information. The read more... link will obviously be your affiliate link to the product.

iv) Try to make sure the ads are updated fairly regularly so that repeat visitors have new products to look at and something to look forward to each time they visit. You will soon get a feel for what sort of products attract your visitors and what they like buying.

v) It is not essential but I would personally recommend that you try to promote and associate yourself with good quality products and/or products that you have tried yourself. If you recommend rubbish your visitors will not be happy and will not return to your site. You will also feel this in your `pocket' when your buyers start asking for refunds and your affiliate earnings diminish. If your visitors feel that your recommendations and opinions of a product are trustworthy then they will return again and again because they trust you. It is very tempting to pick a product to promote that pays a lot in affiliate earnings but remember that these are not necessarily always the best products to promote for your website.

An eBay Trader and/or you do not have a website

i) If you are a reseller of other peoples' products on eBay i.e. eBooks or software, you can still add your own affiliate products to these items. Why not add an extra file to the zip file that you send your customers containing a) a page showing a link to your website and b) a page with, say a small paragraph each for, say, two relevant or similar products to the item your buyer has just purchased with links for your customers to `click here to read more". If your buyer has just purchased an eBook on astrology from you then they may well be interested in other similar items about astrology that you are affiliated with.

ii) If you do not sell digital items on eBay but sell, say, curtains or drapes, why not look for products on home decor, home improvement, or say, how to make your own drapes, perhaps relevant books on Amazon or indeed products from one of the other major affiliate websites (see details below). When you mail your product to your buyer, send them a short email letting them know that their item has been dispatched and sign the email something like this:

Best wishes

Joe Bloggs
Your eBay user ID or eBay Shop URL
* For Beautiful Home Decor Ideas Check Out
youraffiliatelinkhere.com *

This is known as your `sig' or `signature'. Always add your `sig' to every single email you send. It might not be an affiliate link that you wish to add to your sig, you might want to add your eBay store URL (make it an affiliate link, though, become an affiliate of eBay!!). There are several emails that you can send through eBay and you can edit all the standard emails in your `My eBay'.

* Send your buyer a `Winning Buyer Notification' - add your sig

* Send your buyer an invoice - add your sig;

* Send your buyer a `your payment has been received' email - add your sig

* Send your buyer a `your item has been dispatched' email - add your sig

* Send your buyer a `feedback reminder' email - add your sig

* Keep a list of different affiliate links so that you can access them quickly and easily and cut and paste them to your sig in each email you send out.

You will see, there is an opportunity to email your customer five times in the above scenario and to each of these emails you can promote a relevant item or your website URL in your sig. I have never known a buyer that has complained about these emails, on the contrary, they are usually very impressed that you are being so solicitous to their needs and are grateful to be kept well informed of the buying process.
About the Author
Paula Brett is an internet marketer and eBook author. You can sign up to her free monthly newsletter of I.M tips at http://www.ebooksexpo.com. You can also check out her other articles at www.article-exposure.com
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