Promoting someone else s product as an affiliate is one of the best ways to get your feet wet in online marketing. But you have to do it the right way or else you ll start wondering why you are not seeing success.
So, here goes:
Treat your affiliate business like YOUR business. Because someone else fulfils the product, this doesn t mean that he is the be all and end all in this process. If you are the one who refers and presells the customer, you are at least 50% responsible for the success of this process and you should be rewarded for this! (No not by being promised 50% of each sale you make).
Let's say that a new information product has just launched and it has a link to "Join Our Affiliate Program" at the bottom. Naturally, many affiliates will be interested in promoting it. Now, I will tell you the right way and the wrong way to go about this:
The wrong way: (this does work but not as well as what I ll share with you next): Grab your affiliate link, maybe set up a redirect page on your site like yoursite.com/AffiliateProduct.html and then promote that page. The job of a redirect page is to look like it s a page on your site (and it is) which will then immediately redirect your visitors to your affiliate link for the product you promote. Using redirects helps make your links prettier instead of them looking like ugly affiliate links.
So, instead of your link looking like this: http://merchantsite.com/affiliateid=12345 It would look like this: http://yoursite.com/AffiliateProduct.html This will look more professional and can earn you more commissions. But it s far from perfect.
The right way:
- Register a domain that is very similar to the merchant's and that includes the product name. For example, if you wanted to promote a site called TheSuperEbook.com, you could register domains like:
- Visit the merchant's salesletter, and save the page to your hard drive.
- Open the page with your favorite HTML editor like Dreamweaver or Frontpage
- Delete the "join our affiliate program" link at the bottom. That way, people will not be able to click it, sign up for the merchant s affiliate program, get their affiliate link, click on it, buy through that link and then get commissions on their own purchase (while you get nothing).
- If there's an optin form on the page, subscribe so you start getting the messages. Then, replace the merchant's form with one that points to YOUR autoresponder. An autoresponder is simply a piece of software that sends email messages at predetermined intervals. Some good autoresponders are http://www.aweber.com and http://www.autoresponseplus.com
- In your autoresponder, include the first messages of the merchant in your
follow up sequence - or modify them, if needed. Then, add messages that promote OTHER RELATED affiliate programs you want to promote. - If the merchant uses a processor that can be hijacked (ie: people can create their own affiliate link and buy through that instead) quite easily (like Clickbank) and he points to the order form like so: http://www.clickbank.net/sell.cgi?merchant/1/The_Super_Ebook, change the link to point instead to a page called order.php. Then, create a PHP page with this code:
<? header("Location: $URL")
Click here to order The Super Ebook
And please, don't freak out when you hear the term PHP. Here's what you need to know about it in a paragraph:
PHP stands for Hypertext Pre Processor. It's just a way for the server to show some dynamic elements on a page - don't worry about it now. To create a
.php page, just give it the extension .php (instead of .html).
I prefer using php redirects because they make redirections more "invisible." Again, don't worry about it. Just do it.
This will make it even harder for people to figure out how to steal your commissions. This page will secretly redirect to the Clickbank order form without exposing the merchant s Clickbank nickname. If for some reason the visitor isn t redirected automatically, she will just see the message Click here to order The Super Ebook .
- Hardcode your affiliate id on the page by putting this at the bottom of your page (just before the tag):
. For example:
That way, everybody who visits this page will be tagged with your affiliate id even though it will not be so obvious (which is a good thing for you).
If you think that the merchant's site could be improved, make the modifications you should.
For example, if the salesletter headline says something like: "Use This SEO Software To Rank High on The Search Engines", you could replace that with something more compelling like: "How I Consistently Average Over 4,700 Unique, Free Visitors A Day To My Site And How You Can Do It Too - Just By Clicking a Button!" I think you get the point.
If you are not a copywriter, don't worry about it too much. You don't have to rewrite the entire salesletter (heck, if the salesletter is good, you don't need to touch it). But, a great headline can pull a good number of sales - so it's worth looking into it.
If you want to really be hard-core about it, you can even start split-testing two different headlines. You can use a service like http://www.Hypertracker.com . Read their website for more info.
Now we are talking. This set up will give you much higher chances of success!
Most of the times, the merchants will be ok with you doing this since you are bringing them business that they otherwise wouldn't have.
Unless the merchant is an idiot like the one I came across the other day...
I had done something similar with his site and had started promoting it. Next thing you know, I receive an email from my host saying that they had made my page unavailable to the public because I had "stolen" someone else's
design. Apparently, the merchant saw the salesletter and thought I was selling his product through my site (and keeping all the money). He didn't even bother to hover his cursor over the order link. He would have seen that the order link was HIS Clickbank order link with HIS nickname.
I admit that this annoyed me.
That's why I redirected my traffic to his biggest competitor and started making sales for THEM.
I cannot forgive stupidity. I was sending this guy business and he shut me down! Hope he buys and reads this manual.
Ok, ok, I don t want to be harsh. I know we need to be tender and understanding with the uninformed, weak, young and old because at some point in our life we will have been all these but I m human and I got angry at the time.
I didn t even bother emailing that merchant because I was so pissed off at the time. If this happens to you, email the merchant and tell them what you are doing. This should make them get it.
Registering a very similar domain to the one of the merchant, is a good way to make money for less than $10 (the cost of the domain).
For example, I did this with the Adwords site AdwordsMiracle.com. The site said "Adwords Miracles" on it and yet the domain "AdwordsMiracles.com" wasn't even registered.
Is it my fault that I registered the domain AdwordsMiracles.com? And that I copied the salesletter and hosted it on my site? And that I deleted the "Affiliates" link at the bottom of the site? And that I then hardcoded my affiliate
link on the page? Is it also my fault that IMNewswatch.com picked up my site and said that "AdwordsMiracles.com just launched" and I made 15-20 sales that I wouldn't have made?
Tell me, is it my fault?
Chris (the owner of AdwordsMiracle.com) later mentioned my site in his product Affiliate Project X as a case study. See, he was a little annoyed by what I did but he recognises that creativity needs to be compensated . Chris has excellent products so definitely check them out
I did something similar with Affilorama.com. When the site launched, I received a special report that talked about this new site called "Affiliorama" (note the extra "i"). I went to the site and the domain was Affilorama.com. So, again, I ask you: Is it my fault that I registered the domain Affiliorama.com and hosted the page on my site? I started making sales (for which I still get commissions) - and I never even promoted the damn thing!
For those worrying about lawsuits from merchants: I live in Greece and people generally don't sue each other. I hear that this ain't the case in USA. Some people have no other hobbies and so they just want to sue their fellow Americans. I'm obviously no lawyer and I can't give legal advice. But I would be surprised if a merchant sued you over doing this. They would email you before they move legally. Besides, YOU ARE MAKING THEM MONEY.
Still, if you are paranoid about it, you can email the merchant and let them know.
If the merchant uses a name squeeze page (a very short landing page asking for name and email before someone is even able to see the salesletter) and you don't like it, "no problemo."
Just clone the squeeze page (or create a better one) and tie it to YOUR autoresponder. Then, redirect to the salesletter of the site you promote. In order to get affiliate credit for the sales, just use the image trick I mentioned
earlier and hard code your affiliate id on the squeeze page you created. Here are some good squeeze pages from different industries that you can get ideas from:
http://www.doubleyourdating.com http://www.adwords-revealed.com http://www.FattyFatty-BumBum.com http://www.marketingmakeovergenerator.com http://www.superaffiliatecoachingclub.com http://www.marketingwithpostcards.com
Or, if you don't want to create a squeeze page at all, just hardcode your affiliate id to your landing page (whatever type of landing page you have) and then link directly to the salesletter of the merchant. (MerchantSite.com/Salesletter.html)
If you don't want to set up a landing page, or a squeeze page, or clone the merchant's salesletter - but you want to send your traffic to the merchant s salesletter bypassing his squeeze page, just create a redirect page and hardcode your affiliate id on that redirect page.
Here's an example of the code you could use to do this:
If you are not redirected automatically within one second, please click here to go to our site... body> html>