The question was: is affiliate marketing misunderstood or disapproved of?


Hello, peops.

We’ve just been discussing the benefits of affiliate marketing – and consequently internet marketing and SEO – on one of the threads on LinkedIn.  It’s a private group, so I’ll not name names nor even the field that the group is in; neither are important.  But the question was raised by a gentleman in the group whether AM had lost its place in making money online within the niche, either because those within it didn’t understand or feel the need for it or whether it was a taboo subject and affiliate marketing had been pooh-poohed.

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My response to the first half of the question was:

In my experience, the key to AM is to build a following first before starting to try to sell anyone anything. People buy off people they trust – become an expert in your field first, then your followers will buy based on your recommendation.

Forget squeeze pages and banners – surfers have developed a way of ignoring them.

In this day and age when Content is King – with both the human audience and the Google page-ranking bots – having original, quality, engaging content is both AM & IM gold.

People spend hundreds of dollars on websites, themes, hosting, auto-responders, etc., and yet are not prepared to shell out on the one thing that matters the most about a blog – its content.

Can’t get my head around it, really can’t…

How much commission does an affiliate make?

Then there was the inevitable follow up question: what commission would you expect to make on a $50 dollar sale within the niche; my response was thus:

The commissions, in my experience, on affiliate sites like clickbank, are usually quite high. The emphasis there is on volume to make the product creators’ money and high commissions to entice the world’s biggest affiliate army to promote their wares – anything between 40%-75% in commission for the affiliate. Promo tools can be limited, depending upon how much work the creator of the product has put in.

Amazon, on the other hand, is totally opposite – small commissions whether the product is high value, or not – they play on their name and you pick your potato whether you want to promote their product, or not. Excellent widgets for you site, though and an a-store is a brilliant tool if you put the work in to build it after identifying your audience from your traffic sources.

Commission Junction is a mixture of the two and for many affiliate products on there, you have to apply to the manufacturer to be approved to promote their goods – but the promo tools on there are second to none. Likewise, the analytics tools are excellent.

So, in answer to your question, based on a $50 product, clickbank you could earn anything between $20-$35, Amazon little more than $5 and Commission Junction anything in between.

The key to your success, however, is applying a lot of YOU to the product. If you have a blog, that’s perfect for expressing your opinion (come back to that in a minute) and what you think of the product. If you’ve not had experience, someone on the web will have done – just put the product name followed by “review” after it and you can draw inspiration from others’ words.

You can no longer rely on Google alone to drive traffic – be active, use social media (see my infommercial at the end), find other blogs in your niche and see how they are promoting their goods.

And comment on them! Leave a backlink to your site in the comments form if the site you’re visiting is higher in the rankings than your own. Usually, the site owner will return the favour.

Sometimes, the social networking side doesn’t feel like work, but bringing visitors to your site is good for your business and good in the eyes of Google, especially if you can get those customers to interact with your site. Google measures clicks – a vote from a customer (an on-screen click) is a tick in Google’s box, too.

To the ‘back to that’ bit. Since the Penguin update at the end of Spring, social interaction – in my opinion – has become the new white-hat SEO (the good stuff that the search engines like!). Instead of webmasters paying writers for volumes of articles, guest posting is the current trend.

Different people taking time to write for others’ blogs seems to be very en vogue – I can tell you that fact in confidence from the way my incoming work has shifted focus this last four months.

Okay – that’s perhaps a little more than you wanted to know – sorry. Once I start, I can’t stop.

I’ll leave you with that little infommercial, made for my latest venture, which will eventually include some affiliate selling through the aforementioned channels, but not until I have done everything I’ve outlined in these last two updates on here, first.

My core strength is writing and I think concentrating on that and letting the affiliate product be a bonus is the way I intend to move forward,

I’ll split-test the results after a week or so of launching the affiliate products, but tests mean nothing until you encourage traffic – and plenty of it – to your website or blog.

Here’s a link to the pdf, then: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0BxGanztRXqklcjdhNENIaXF4ZHc/edit

Please, feel free to drop me a line if any of that lot – and there’s quite a bit to take in – needs clarification. Or you have evidence to the contrary – I like to think I keep on top of things, but there’s always another angle to look at AM/IM and both usually have degrees of credence. I hope this has helped.

So, there we have it – any thoughts?  I’m no guru, so would stand corrected if anyone disagrees and/or suggests other strategies for affiliate marketing.

Love to hear from you, Zebedeerox. xxx

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