Tag Archives: affiliate marketing

Let’s Learn Affiliate Marketing Together

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As many of you know, our buddy Yan wrote a post early in the new year called 2009 Is The Year Of Internet Marketing. As I read that article, I was thinking how, for me, last year was supposed to be my year of internet marketing, and I can’t say it turned out all that well. Sure, I made some money, probably my best year ever, and yet, when it’s all said and done, I don’t really think I learned much this year to push me to the next level.

And I’m not alone. Let’s face this fact; there’s a lot of us out here who are trying to learn this internet marketing thing better. We buy the books and manuals and CDs and videos, and, well, we probably don’t get to most of it. I know I got to just under half of it, and, oddly enough, the one thing I really worked at, that I read deeply, was Joel Comm’s Adsense Secrets, and my income did drastically increase from it, though not on the blog, but from my other sites.

This proves that sometimes this literature and stuff we decide to invest in does work. And yet, it doesn’t take care of everything, does it? Let’s take a look at this affiliate marketing thing. Last year, when I started this blog, I decided to add some affiliate banners and products to my blog. I put either a link or product at the end of every post; I didn’t make a single sale from any of that in 2008, so obviously it takes more than that. Well, I did more than that a few times; I actually wrote entire posts about some of the items I was advertising because they were things I was using and I liked, and the only one I know about that a few people actually clicked on and signed up for was Tweet My Blog, and yet I never earned a dime from them (maybe I don’t understand how they’re supposed to pay, but I know at least 3 people went ahead and downloaded the product based on my recommendation) through Clickbank; sigh,…

Enough of that. Time to stop whining, and time to start learning. Obviously I don’t know it all, but I’ve learned a bunch of things, and y’all have learned a bunch of things, but we’re still missing it. So, here’s the challenge. Let’s put together our list of questions, things we want to learn as it pertains to this thing called affiliate, or internet, marketing. I have met some big time internet gurus in the last year, and if we can put together a package of questions, I will contact one of them and ask them if they can answer our specific questions. How does that sound?

I’ll start with mine:

1. Is the list really the most important thing to making consistent sales, or any real sales?

2. With Clickbank, do we write our own squeeze page to then send someone to the squeeze page of the product, or is there a way to work around that?

3. What is the best way to sell our own products?

4. Going back to the list, is it really ethical to always gather email addresses when giving out free items, then bombarding people with sales offers?

5. How does one really go about asking for the sale, especially on a blog?

And there you go; my questions. What are yours? Or, if you can answer those above, what are those answers? Let’s all learn and grow together.


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Is Control A Facade?

Today I’m flying back home, after finding that, when I got back to Reno, the CFO of the hospital I was consulting for had hired another consultant to take over what I’d been doing. The odd things are that I didn’t report to him, but someone else, and that person had sent an email out last week saying he was appreciative of the good job I was doing. Anyway, as a consultant, it’s the type of thing one has to deal with, so I get to come home and reload.

Gun Control
HELEN M BUSHE via Compfight

These types of situations always lead to many questions, and one of those questions that also applies to internet marketing and affiliate marketing and our blogs and websites is just how much control we really have over all of it. It sounds strange when one considers what it is many of us are trying to do with our blogs and websites, which is to generate some kind of income, because we’re the ones who build the websites, and we’re the ones who write the content for our blogs, and we’re the ones who select the items we want to market on our blogs. It all gives us this facade of control, but just how much control do we really have?

Let’s look at affiliates first.

The main two that I belong to are Commission Junction (which I dropped in October 2016) and Google Performance Network (which went away in 2013). Overall, they’re not bad, though I’m not making nearly the income I thought I would.

Since May I have lost many affiliates because New York state decided that online affiliate companies have to collect taxes from sales made by New York state affiliate marketers. I ranted about the taxes a few days later when I lost a few more affiliates. And then last month I lost even more affiliates for the same reason, just when I thought that time period had passed. Both CJ and GPN know that I’m from New York, so you’d think they would automatically disqualify me from some programs where their advertisers have informed them that they don’t want to work with New York marketers.

That’s not the only issue with affiliates. Lately there have been a number of affiliates through Commission Junction that are changing their payout schedules, as well as changing the marketing rules for how you’re allowed to advertise for them, and you can bet that none of it is in our favor. Some other affiliate types are discontinuing signing bonuses for new marketers, citing cash issues, which to me is an incorrect tactic in a negative market because those companies that did offer it also had a goals level that one had to attain in sales before they could collect on it. Frankly, it might have made more sense to raise that level for new affiliate marketers than what they’ve done, but it’s still proof of one more thing that’s out of our control.

I also believe my December report, which Ajith had indicated wasn’t very good, shows that as much as most of us work to attain high visit numbers to help generate some sort of income for not only our blogs but our websites, sometimes it requires some extraordinary effort that, though itey might seem it’s within our control, really isn’t. My little research project showed that it’s really not all that easy to figure out just what’s going to impress visitors, search engines, and advertisers, but that still doesn’t apply to making more sales.

Does this mean we give up and let anarchy take over? Not at all. It does mean that all of us need to think more about these types of things and be ready to alter our processes for maximum effect without too much effort that brings low returns. Heck, y’all have seen my goals, and I realize that to reach these goals, and my personal financial goals, I have a lot of work to do and a lot of thought to put into it.

What do you think of my reasoning, and how would you decide to progress where your effort equals your input?
 

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Chitika

After months of my friend Sire beating me up about it, I’ve finally decided to sign up with Chitika. Chitika is another PPC (pay-per-click) advertising company along the lines of Adsense and Widget Bucks, but there’s a difference, which I’ll get to in a couple of minutes.

Signing up is fairly easy to do. You put in all of your demographic information, along with a preferred username and password, and make the determination of how you want to get paid. Then you hit the button, and you’ll get an email where you click the link to activate your account.

The next step is to pick the type of ad you want to display, and select the colors. Oddly enough, you’ll have two options, which I thought was odd until I read it a little bit better. I’ll start with option two, which gives you the opportunity to select an alternate link or product to advertise instead of their offering. They do that because of option one, which states that if you select it, the only people who will see the ad are people who come to your site via a search engine. Yup, that means if you’re a regular reader and therefore visit the site any other way, you’ll never see the regular Chitika ads, but anyone who might find you via a search engine will. The idea is that people who come to you via a search engine represents targeted traffic, and their advertisers will pay a higher rate for targeted traffic. At the same time, your normal visitors won’t have to be subjected to the ads. One other odd thing is that, as long as I’m considered as logged into my account, I’ll never see any of those ads either; weird, right?

Of course, that doesn’t mean one can’t represent them with affiliate tags, which I’ve done over there to the left. I didn’t read how much I could get if anyone signs up after clicking on the button; truthfully, I haven’t really paid much attention to any of the affiliate ads as far as how much I could get paid, which I now have to admit is a little strange for someone who’s usually as anal as I can be about these types of things. I guess I figure if any of them make money, I’ve done fairly wel.

So, we’ll see how it goes on the blog. Sire states that Chitika brings in more money on his blog than Adsense; I guess another test will tell the tale, but, since this blog brings in almost no Adsense money, it might not be a fair fight.

Let’s Talk About Commission Junction

As you’ve noticed easily enough, with most of my posts I have some sort of affiliate link or product at the end of each one of them. Most of them come from Commission Junction, and that’s who I’m going to talk about this evening.

Commission Junction is one of the largest big name affiliate programs out there. There may be affiliate programs that have more products, but Commission Junction deals with some of the biggest name companies and personalities. For instance, I’m an affiliate marketer for products from companies such as Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, GoDaddy,Kodak, and NBC/Universal. They have almost 2,200 different companies that people can do advertising for, including the one at the end of this post.

Here’s the thing I’ve noticed about affiliate marketing thus far; I haven’t quite figured out what to do with it. I know we’re not really supposed to talk about things we haven’t done well yet, but so be it; the fourth wall is down, and I’m now George Burns talking to the audience.

I haven’t made a lot of money through CJ, their nickname. I’ve made some, enough so that I even got a check once. Truthfully, you don’t have to sell a lot of product in order to make some money. However, you have to sell some, and it would seem to be much harder than just putting up a link of some kind that looks pretty, possibly flashes, and hoping people will click on it. I know this because I check the statistics, and I see very few clicks on these bad boys ever. As a matter of fact, almost all the money I’ve made has come through 1&1, which probably means someone who knows me needed hosting and decided to help me out a little bit; thanks friends!

For one of my sites, I’ve created pages that highlight some of the products, and tried to show a nice range of prices. On another site, I’ve put a couple of products on one side of each page, hoping the picture might entice someone to click on a product to see what else a site might have. And here, as well as on other sites, I’ve posted the affiliate links with the company name, figuring one of them might click with someone one day.

Of course, sometimes CJ, or their affiliates, don’t help me much. For instance, companies are known to move around their images, and of course sometimes they discontinue a product, or a link. It’s easy to always check the links on your own website, but I don’t go around testing the links to the products on a regular basis because I don’t want to skew the numbers that tell me how many people are checking stuff out; not like it’d be all that many anyway. And there are enough companies that keep dropping me as an affiliate because I live in New York, or some other stupid reason; hard doing internet affiliate marketing sometimes. 🙂

Still, I can’t say any of this is Commission Junction’s fault. I know there’s a formula somewhere, and I’m going to keep trying to figure it out. However, I will say that CJ has some wonderful companies it represents, and if you’re a true affiliate marketer, and know better than me what you’re doing, you should check them out.
 

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Blogging Step One; What To Write About

A blog is an online journal of either personal or business ideas that people want to share with other people online. Some people write to get things off their chest. Some people write to journal their day. Some people write to give their opinion on things such as politics or religion. Some people write to show off their expertise in a particular field. And some people blog to make money; nothing wrong with that.

blog topics

Before even starting a blog, you should take some time to decide what you want to write about. Many people come up with a quick idea, think it’s cool, and decide that’s where they want to go. But if you’re going to blog a long time, or if you have a purpose other than just ranting, you shouldn’t skip this step.

At the same time you’re thinking about what you want to write about, you also have to decide if you’re going to try to make any money off it by adding things such as Google’s Adsense, Clickbank, or any other affiliate or PPC (pay per click) types of ads. It’s an important decision because it helps you to determine whether you’re looking to write a fun blog, a business blog of some type, or a personal blog. If you’re going to use a blog more as a diary and you’re hoping to make money off it, the ads that come up probably won’t help you much.

So, say you want to write a business blog, and you’re a financial counselor; I’m going to use this one because I’ve seen this topic fail a lot. Think about how much you could write on a consistent basis on just that topic if it’s your business. Think about who you might be aiming your posts at. If you’re only looking to talk to people who might use your services and you’re trying to highlight your expertise, you might find yourself starting to struggle for something new to say pretty quickly.

However, let’s say that you want to do that, and talk about financial matters in general. If you’re ready to give your opinion on the status of the stock market, the price of oil, the trading of commodities, CEO compensation, or whatever the latest bit of news is that’s out there, now you’ve given yourself a chance to succeed for a long time because every day there’s something going on that’s fodder for your commentary. Broadening the area of the topic you want to focus on is a key to longevity.

I met a guy a few weeks ago who said he wanted to write a blog, but didn’t want to give opinions because he didn’t want to lead people one way or another. Blogs are either for opinions or dissemination of news; everything else ends up as articles, white papers or tech manuals.

If you want people to consistently come to your blog, you have to not only give them information, but there has to be a level of entertainment. You have to be interesting; think about which teachers were your favorite in school. In history class, did you want a teacher who just gave you what came straight out of the book, or the teacher who would intersperse stories that helped bring situations and people to life (having fun memories of one particular history teacher right now)?

So, in review, decide what you want to write about, pick a topic that’s broad enough to give you enough to talk about for a long time, and be interesting. Oh yeah, one more thing; have fun with it, and think of it as fun, because if you think of it as work or as a necessity, you’ll crash and burn quickly. Even with business blogs, you’re allowed to be irreverent every once in awhile; I know I certainly am.
 

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