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Techniques and Resources

  • The footer or signature of your e-mail

    The footer or signature of your e-mail is a brilliant place to put your Affiliate code - especially when you want to bring astoundingsecrets to the attention of people in a mailing list or newsgroup you participate in. Nobody likes outright spamming (sending a "Hey people come check out this page!!!" message to tens of newsgroups, usually completely unrelated to the ongoing discussions there), but if you indeed participate in a discussion list or newsgroup, then nobody will object to a small ad at the end of whatever relevant e-mail you contribute.

  • Don't lose the plot

    Some web site owners sign up for dozens of programs and clutter their site with them so much that it's difficult to see the theme of the site. Affiliate programs consultant Declan Dunn calls this the flea market approach. Other webmasters try banner farms – - sites which are a sea of banners. Don't waste your time. If you want your visitors to keep coming back, your site needs to have an obvious, memorable reason for its existence.

  • Get your own domain name

    You can promote revenue sharing programs from a free site, but you create a much more professional image if you get your own domain name. You'll also receive more repeat traffic if you have a memorable name. Show people you're serious. Grab your domain name now before someone else does. It's getting harder and harder to find a good .com name. The cheapest place to get a domain name is GoDaddy.

  • Remote in your signature

    One way to promote an affiliate program is by giving it a brief, eye-catching, tempting mention in a signature at the end of an email. I joined The Amazing Ethobotanical program when I was tempted by an intriguing signature similar to this:

    Have you seen the Amazing Ethobotanical Program?

    You can create several different email signatures, each one promoting a different commission-earning product, and use which ever one is most appropriate for the email you're sending. You can use Eudora 5.1 email software, which makes it easy to set up a range of different signatures suitable for different occasions.

  • Try a friendly P.S.

    Some marketers use a signature written in the style of a friendly P.S.

    For example:

    All the best.
    Your name.

    P.S. Have you seen Shamanic Extracts?
    "The best online ethnobotanical shop"
    It's given me a lot of awesome information and products
    You can check it out here...

    WARNING: This technique may backfire on you if you use it unwisely. For example, we've been emailed by amateurs who dream up some thinly disguised excuse to approach me, and then zap me with a P.S. signature which promotes an affiliate program. Do I buy from them? No.

    Like all marketing, it needs to be aimed at the right target and needs to be offering something which the recipient wants. Think very carefully about who is seeing your message and what effect it will have.

  • The worst way to do it

    The dumbest way to promote a program is to use spam – bulk unsolicited email. You can wreck your reputation, lose your Internet connection, forfeit any commissions you've earned, and the company may even bill you for the time it has wasted dealing with complaints about you. Don't say you weren't warned! Selfish, inconsiderate oafs use spam.

  • The laziest way isn't the best

    Web site owners doing very well with associate programs usually don't just paste in a banner and wait hopefully for the money to roll in. They write endorsements, provide useful content, offer helpful advice . . . in all sorts of creative ways they weave the links and graphics into the content on their sites.

  • You'll need a newsletter

    If you don't have your own newsletter, you're severely handicapping yourself. Now is the time to get started. If you build up your circulation by providing mainly useful information, a newsletter is a superb promotional tool, and a superb money-generating tool.

  • You DON'T need a web site?

    It makes sense to aim for repeat customers and repeat sales – and if you want them, you need an interesting web site. It's much easier to sell to existing customers than always trying to find new ones. However, if you want to just dip your toe in the water and experiment a little, you can do it without having a web site. Some use Google Adwords to promote the program.

  • How to use message boards/forums

    Some newcomers to affiliate programs get sucked into believing that all they have to do to make money with affiliate programs is rush around the Web pasting blatant ads on to message boards. Don't fall into that trap. If you do, you'll quickly annoy a lot people, ruin your reputation, and get kicked out of programs by affiliate merchants who don't want to ruin THEIR reputation. You CAN make sales by visiting message boards if you do it intelligently.

    WARNING: Many message boards do not allow you to post affiliate links. Some allow affiliate links only in your signature. So make sure you read the forum's rules to find out what you're allowed to do.

  • Aim for repeat visitors

    Often people will buy on their THIRD visit to a site, not the first. So you'll miss out badly if your site is not interesting and useful enough to encourage people to return. Planning a banner farm? Don't even waste time thinking about it.

  • Lack of results

    More than a few affiliates have complained about lack of results from various affiliate merchants. It's difficult to know whether this is because these affiliates have unrealistic expectations or if there's a more serious reason. The most common reason for lack of sales seems to be sites which lack credibility.

  • More to come ....