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I've had mixed results with affiliate programs. I've been working hard for the past couple of years to learn how to promote them effectively and earn an income by preselling their products. When I started, there were just a few affiliate programs, but their numbers are mushrooming now. They've mostly abandoned the pay per click model which was rife with fraud and now most affiliate programs pay for performance -- from sales and/or referrals made from your link to the merchant's website.
Don't think you're going to put up a few banners and get rich overnight. If your site doesn't have at least a couple of thousand unique visitors each month, you probably won't make much income from affiliate programs -- unless those visitors are highly targeted and are motivated puchasers of the products and services you'll be promoting. You must work on building focused visitors to your site before you'll earn much from affiliate programs.
Basically, affiliate programs are advertising methods whereby the merchant pays you (the publisher) for advertising their products on your pages -- just like magazine and newspaper advertising. The big difference is that magazine and newspaper publishers get paid a set amount in advance and you get paid a set amount when each sale is made. You get paid for performance.
Some people complain that this isn't fair, but I just don't see it. In general, newspapers and magazines spend large amounts of money and effort to build their circulation and provide a targeted audience for the merchants' ads. You must do the same thing to build an audience for your website. You can choose to invest time or you can choose to invest money, or both. But, you must remember that you're competing with billions -- yes, billions with a 'b' -- of other web pages on the Internet, and many of them are much better financed than you are and they have an advantage when it comes to building their visitor flow to their websites. When a company like NBC or CBS runs a 10 second ad with their URL, they'll draw more visitors in a day than you will draw in several years. But, with work, you'll be able to draw a substantial number of visitors to your site and earn money from promoting affiliate programs on your site.
It has been my experience that many affiliate programs just take a shotgun approach and welcome just about anyone into their program. It's easy to sign up, but then you will probably get distracted by the other things that compete for your time and interest. If you'll sign up for a program and then spend a reasonable amount of time learning about it and determining how your visitors may benefit from their services or products, you may do well. However, you must take the additional step of selecting the appropriate links and then adding them to your website so you can effectively presell them to your visitors. It isn't your job to sell the products or services, it's your job to present the links to your visitors in a way so they'll click on the link. That's your MWR (most wanted response). You must presell the product, and then let the merchant close the sale after your visitor becomes their visitor.
Many of these affiliate programs offer little or no training and support for their affiliates. There is an exception that sets the standard for all other affiliate programs -- Ken Evoy's 5 Pillar Club -- and that's why I present them next. They stand much higher than any other affiliate program I've found for training and supporting their affiliates and they offer great products and lifetime commissions, as well. If you're interested in any affiliate program, I urge you to read the following section and take the steps necessary to become one of their affiliates and to learn from their excellent collection of training materials how to succeed with their affiliate program, and with just about any other affiliate program.
It will take work, but it is possible to earn an income from your website, if you can develop the correct mix of your own products and products you recommend through affiliate links. Ken Evoy is happy to show you how to do this in his free Affiliate Masters Course which I'll discuss in the next section.
But, first, I'd like to talk about the scourge of Internet promotions -- spam email. This is simple advice: don't do it. I get hundreds of spam messages every week, and I have a simple rule that I just won't violate. I don't do any business with someone who sends me unsolicited spam emails. It's just that simple. Don't ruin your reputation by adopting this approach. You will never gain respect or repeat customers. It just isn't worth it. Plus, most reputable affiliate programs will cancel your affiliation if you decide that spam is your vehicle for success. Sure, it may sound tempting to send free emails to hundreds or thousands of recipients at a very low cost, but please don't fall for that temptation. No spam.
Ken Evoy's Five Pillar Club
The Best Affiliate Program on the Planet - This is a two-tier program with lifetime commissions.
Not only do I like this affiliate program, I have learned more than I expected by purchasing his products which always have much more value for the price than any other competing products I've found in two years. I purchased Make Your Site Sell! and Make Your Net Auctions Sell! and I'm very pleased with each of them. I've also taken all of his free email courses, and I've learned more from him and his associates than I have from any other source. As soon as I get the time, I'm going to purchase a copy of Make Your Knowledge Sell! and work on that book I have brewing in the back of my mind. Highly recommended. Editor's Pick!
For a free, no obligation, five-day email course on choosing proper keywords, getting listed in search engines, building traffic to your site, and building a website that sells, just send a blank email message to firstname.lastname@example.org. You'll be subscribed to the Affiliate Masters course.
By the way, if your sales efforts are succeeding and you're doing a million dollars of online credit card transactions per year, or soon will be, you may want to look into the new joint venture between Surefire and Sitesell:
Surefire Premium Processing is the high-end, top quality service for merchants doing, or who soon will be doing, large volumes of sales on the Net. You want an online credit card transaction processor you can trust. Surefire's reputation for overdelivery on quality is well-established.
Or, if you join the 5 Pillar Club and refer someone doing lots of online credit card transactions each year, you can earn significant commissions. From a single referral, you may earn up to a $10,000 commission. Plus, since this is a two-tier affiliate program, you'll earn a portion of the commissions earned by any affiliates you sign up.
By clicking on this link, you can download free trial samples of the following:
Make Your Site Sell! 2002 - a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to earn an income selling high-quality products over the Internet. If you want to treat your customers with respect and sell products that consistenly overdeliver quality, then you're just the kind of person who will learn the most from this book. This sample has several chapters and a full Table of Contents.
Make Your Price Sell! - Pricing is the single most important marketing decision that any merchant or service provider must make. This sample is a free book that shows you how critical pricing is to your business. It provides a ton of critical pricing information. Pricing remains an amazingly ignored topic, but you can find lots of useful pricing information in this book.
Site Build It! Action Guide - Site Build It! is a fantastic tool for anyone who wants to earn income over the Internet. Do you have something you want to sell, but you don't know how to build websites? Do you love marketing but don't quite know which way to turn to get your business on the web? Site Build It! is designed for you, and for the experienced web marketer who wants to concentrate on marketing and not on building and maintaining your website. There is just no comparable product available anywhere. This SBI! Action Guide (a sample of which you can download for free) gives you a taste of SBI!'s capabilities and shows exactly how much easier traffic-building is with SBI! compared to traditional methods of web-site development.
The Getting Started Guide - As I've mentioned before, the 5 Pillar Club is a two-tier affiliate program with lifetime commissions. Previously, you had to apply to become an affiliate before you could access any of Ken's great affiliate-support products. Now, you can download the free sample of the comprehensive Getting Started Guide which is full of the cream-of-the-crop proven strategies that have made the 5 Pillar Club such a success. You'll learn about preselling and building your affiliate team. But, don't delay too long. At some point in the future, Ken is going to close the 5 Pillar Club to new applicants. Don't miss out on this great opportunity.
By the way, while the Getting Started Guide will help you earn income from any affiliate program, you'll learn about the quality and credibility of SiteSell's 5 Pillar Program and see the investment in time and care that they put into the information and tools they offer their affiliates. I've joined over 500 affiliate programs over the last two years, and there is just no comparison. No other affiliate program comes even close to offering the support and training that you can get for free from Ken's 5 Pillar Club. And the real beauty of it is that you're going to be promoting great products at great prices.
You can be a part of the team by making the decision to apply to the affiliate program, study the materials, and just get started. Don't delay.
Which of the following is most important to you?
The opportunity to presell established, highly-regarded, affordable products that OVERdeliver?
Lifetime high commission levels?
The online 5 Pillar Club, and its detailed accounting section and Marketing Toolbox?
The fast and superlative Customer Support dedicated to customer success?
Hands-on proven educational resources like the Getting Started Action Guide and the 5 Pillar Manual?
Ongoing communication through the Five Pillar Affiliate Report?
Whichever of these appeals to you the most, the way to get started is to download the free trial samples, or to subscribe to the Affiliate Masters course by sending a blank email to email@example.com.
For more information on Ken, his products, and why I recommend them so highly, you're invited to visit my "Does Your Site Sell?" page.
The Newbie Club
The Newbie Club Affiliate Program - This is a two-tier program with lifetime commissions.
One of the partners in the Newbie Club is also a co-author with Ken Evoy in the writing of Make Your Words Sell!, which is an excellent manual for learning to write persuasive ad copy.
ClickBank - the online billing and marketing solution used by thousands of web businesses that deliver unique products and services over the Internet itself (via web pages, files, or email). Their payment technology lets any web business (a seller) automatically pay sales commissions to any other web business (an affiliate) that links a paying customer to the seller. ClickBank bills the customer, pays the seller, and pays the affiliate. Click on the link to learn more about becoming a seller or an affiliate.
AssortedInternet.com is one of the hosting services that I'm seriously considering for hosting my domains next year. Click the link below to see what plans they offer. I'm willing to bet that you'll find one that suits your needs for much less than you would expect to pay.
AssortedInternet.com - Feature packed Web Hosting. Includes: PHP, MySQL, PostgreSQL, CGI-BIN, Shell Access, FTP Access, POP3 and SMTP Email, CPanel3 Control Panel, Mailing Lists, Web Based Email and more. Prices start as low as $2.99 per month. Editor's Pick!
Build your Income with a great two-tier web hosting affiliate program. Earn LIFETIME commisions on every new customer you refer. Timely monthly payouts with no minimums. Plenty of tools, tips and techniques to boost your sales. They even allow you to join their affiliate program and then click on your own link to open an account, thereby giving yourself a discount on their already low fees by paying you a commission on your own site hosting! This one is worth looking into. Click here for more information...
SelfPromotion.com - I used this site to do the original promotion for daviddilbeck.com and I'm very happy with the results. He bills his affiliate program as 'get rich slowly' and that's about the size of it. I mention it here because that site has been the single best way I've found to attract visitors to my site and the other sites I manage.
Do you love your Mac? Do you want to help promote them and earn a commission for every Mac product sold as a result of a link on your website that sends a customer to ClubMac? If you do, join the ClubMac affiliate program!