Affiliate Marketing Finding the Right Products

One of your most important jobs as an affiliate marketer is to find the right products for your target market. In order to find the right products for your target market you need to study who your target market is. You should figure out their demographics, their needs, wants, desires, and fears. Once you know these things you can find products that fill the needs that they have in the price point that fits your demographics income level, as well as a good profit for you.

It’s also important that you that you trust the person who creates the products that you promote because you want to only promote products that are what they say they are. Plus, you want to ensure that you are paid as well. If you don’t make sure that you can trust the person creating the products you’re going to promote you could ruin your entire reputation and on the Internet reputation can be everything.

The way to figure out if you can trust the product creator is to take your time and look through their sales pages, content, and also purchase the product for yourself. If the product is a “How to guide” of some kind make sure that you try it out for yourself to see if it works. If it works then you’ll feel good about promoting it, and you’ll have a good success story to share with your potential customers and clients with the content you develop to promote the product. If the product does not live up to the hype you can get your money back especially if they take PayPal payments, or are promoting via ClickBank. So really, you’re not out anything by trying something to see if it works enough for you to be happy promoting it.

By choosing products you’re proud to promote and that really work you will create an excellent reputation among people who have bought from you. They will likely become your cheer leaders, and respond to your blog posts and join you in social media and they’re more likely to buy from you again when you find another product to promote. They will know that your products work as you say they will and they will buy from you again. In fact, your best clients will be those who have bought from you already. This is why it’s very important to capture your client’s information in an email list and remember to segment.

If you have trouble finding the right products for your niche market and you know your market well you can create products yourself and get your own affiliates to promote the products for you. This might take a little bit longer to accomplish, and cost a bit more to get started, but it is an alternative or a good addition to promoting other people’s products. Today there is a lot of good software that makes being having an affiliate program easier than ever before. You can promote products via ClickBank, or you can invest in a shopping cart with an affiliate component. Most are not that hard to set up, so once your product is created you’d be ready to promote.

Forum Marketing – Can it Really Be Outsourced?

Forum marketing is one of the world’s easiest traffic strategies. It involves joining a forum related to your target market and then posting content and interacting with other readers.

In many forums, you are able to create a signature with a link to your site. Every time you participate in a discussion, your “sig” with your link appears at the bottom of your post. When people are interested in you or what you say, they click the link and you get traffic.

In order to get traffic from forum posting, you have to do it regularly. It involves logging into the forum for a set amount of time each day to interact. The more you do this, the more you’ll see traffic. It could be only as much as ten minutes, but that’s ten more minutes most of us don’t have to spare.

One way around this is to outsource your forum posting, but this is risky. Exactly how risky this is depends on your specific purpose in posting on forums.

Two Reasons to Post in Forums

There are two main reasons you may want to post in forums. One is just to build backlinks. The other is to drive traffic to your site and build authority, the two of which are closely related.

The link-building approach involves posting in forums to show Google and other search engines that you’re worth ranking. Their spiders will crawl your backlinks and if the forum is a high-traffic authority site, the links will add SEO juice to your site.

If you’re trying to drive traffic and build authority, you’re aiming for human eyes. This more personal approach can be extremely effective in building traffic in the long run, but it won’t work if your posts don’t provide enough value that people want to learn more about you.

Outsourcing Forum Posting for Backlinks

If you’re posting for backlinks, what you say in your posts isn’t as important as making sure you are able to put a link in your signature file. It’s the backlink you’re going for. The worst that could happen is that your posts get deleted. If backlinking is your purpose, you can hire someone to post for you without worrying about it (although keep in mind that this goes against most forums’ terms of service).

Driving Traffic and Building Authority

If you’re posting for human beings, it’s a different story. Think of it from the other forum members’ point of view. If you leave a comment that says something like, ‘Good point, thanks,’ why would anyone click on your link? People will only get curious about you if you’re saying something of value that adds to the discussion. You’re building your authority right there in the forum with your posts.

In other words, if you’re posting for traffic and authority, you need to give them your best. Part of what you’re doing is networking and building relationships. When you outsource, you may or may not get this. In the end it could be a complete waste of money and effort. At the worst, your reputation can be damaged.

This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to outsource forum posting for traffic and authority. But if you do, your staff or VA needs to be a great writer who is knowledgeable about your subject and can write naturally with your voice. They need to be able to build relationships with other forum members and you need to know what they’re doing on the forum. In the end if it’s quality you’re going for, it’s probably worth it to just spend the ten minutes necessary each day to do it yourself.

The First Step to Choosing a Profitable Sales Funnel Niche

In the world of internet marketing, the term “sales funnel niches” is heard often. It’s a technique used in affiliate marketing as a means to seek out smaller sections or sub-groups of a larger market. This permits you as an internet or affiliate marketer to develop and promote these smaller sections to better suit the needs of your potential customers or prospects. There are several steps to choosing a profitable niche. Let’s take a look at the first steps.

An Interesting Niche – It’s much easier if you choose a niche to work in which will provide you with some satisfaction. An advanced interest in the topic makes it that much easier for you to continue being able to supply your customers with valuable information on a regular basis. This is the key to getting your successful sales funnel started on the right path. If you can’t come up with enough information to keep your prospects coming back for more, you may need to reconsider your niche choice.

Demand for Your Chosen Niche – If you’re concerned whether your chosen niche is one that will be popular enough to keep your online business going strong, take it for a little test drive. Perform keyword research to guide you towards stats about your niche idea and how many searches have been done on your potential niche.

For example, if your chosen niche were cotton balls you would do keyword research based on that. Let’s say cotton balls returns a result of 152 searches per month. This is not a very in demand topic and it could be a difficult niche to profit from.

Now let’s change that keyword research to your second choice, homemade beauty products. It returns a result of over and above 30,000 searches per month and is definitely worth looking into. The higher the search result, the more popular the niche – the more demand for information on your chosen topic. The more popular the niche, the better chance you have of succeeding with your sales funnel using this niche as your starting point.

Making sure your topic is interesting to you and researching demand is just the beginning to a profitable niche and sales funnel. There is a method to success with niches and sales funnels. The best way to succeed is to take it one-step at a time.

What is Membership Marketing?

You’re an internet marketer, so of course you already market your business. You probably even think you have all of your bases covered. But you don’t. There is another untapped resource out there that can increase your sales and is guaranteed to convert one-time buyers into loyal customers.

So what is it?

Membership marketing. Membership marketing allows you to offer exclusive deals, offers and products to your customers while allowing them to take advantage of membership benefits. It’s a win-win situation for all involved!

It’s the same idea as frequent flyer miles, book store rewards clubs programs or coffee shop clubs. Customers become “members”, often for a small fee, in order to reap the rewards associated with the program. They win because they think they are getting a deal and the business wins because they are securing revenue.

In a nutshell, membership marketing is like job security. You are securing your customer base for a pre-determined amount of time and in return, they are pledging their loyalty via “membership” to your site. And if you are smart, you will secure them again and again… and again!

We’ve all heard about customer acquisition. But what about customer retention? Sure you are familiar with the term, but what does it really mean? How do you “retain” your customers without forcing your products down their throats? Is there really a way to ensure they will continue to do business with you even after their initial purchase? The short answer is, yes! The key is to make them feel like they are a part of something. Assure them that they are receiving quality care, special attention and most of all… that they are saving money.

Everyone likes to save money. Even you! So let your customers know that as exclusive “members” they will benefit from discounted rates, free materials and special offers on some of your most in-demand products and best kept industry secrets.

So how do you implement membership marketing into your already flourishing business? Create a membership site! There are multiple software programs available to help you do this. You will just have to spend some time researching the right program for you and your industry. It also depends on how deep you want to delve into your membership marketing program. However, no matter how in-depth, the process should be relatively easy and once you get started, will become easy to maintain.

By creating a membership site and implementing key membership marketing principles, you can and will see results. However, it is important to remember that while membership sites can prove to be extremely beneficial, they do take some work. You will have to create, manage and maintain your membership site in order to make it beneficial to both your customers and to your business.

Offer benefits that are exclusively available to members in order to make membership attractive. Coordinate and deliver regular, reliable material in large quantities. Send and receive constant communication with your members. And always be sure to meet contractual requirements you set with your members for their protection and yours.

Affiliate Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

If you want to succeed in affiliate marketing there are things you should do and things you should avoid. Like any endeavor that you embark upon on your own you will need to have a self-starting attitude, the ability to make a commitment, and perseverance. Since you’ve endeavored to start a business I am pretty sure that you’re a self-starter, but are you able to make a commitment persevere and avoid making these mistakes?

Don’t reinvent the wheel – You’ve probably heard that one before, but you’d be surprised at how many people believe they can succeed in affiliate marketing by not doing what successful people before them are doing. Instead, they insist on making the same mistakes the people who have succeed made and failed at before they succeeded. Winning strategies and tactics already exist in affiliate marketing, follow them and you too will succeed.

Don’t invest in content – Aside from products, content is your next most important aspect of marketing your affiliate products. Without investing in content via your time to write the content, or via dollars to buy original, unique and well written content, then you may as well not even bother trying to be an affiliate marketer. Content is and will always be king, whether it is written, audio or video or a combination of the three.

Don’t promote products you’ve used – This is one of the hardest aspects of affiliate marketing but you should have used the products in order to honestly promote them. If you haven’t seen a free preview copy, or you haven’t used it, then you shouldn’t promote it. How can you know the product is good if you’ve never seen it? If you promote a line of products such as children’s clothing it is okay to purchase or get some free samples and then promote the entire line, but if you’re promoting a specific program and you’ve not bought it, you really can’t expect others to spend money you’re not willing to spend.

Don’t understand SEO – Search engine optimization is your friend and it encompasses, all content on all your sites, sales pages, and article marketing articles, as well a the code on your site such as the meta tags, title tags, and alt tags on photographs. Every aspect of your marketing efforts should consider SEO which also involves keyword research and even social media marketing.

Don’t stick to a niche – If you try to work in too many areas you’ll get lost. Pick a narrow niche, and a few products that fill needs of your targeted niche and you’ll do a lot better in affiliate marketing. Casting a wide marketing net does not work in Internet marketing or any type of marketing. In a university marketing class one of the first things learned is about getting to know the target market intimately to the point you know exactly what they need, what they want, and how you can give it to them.

Don’t stay the course – Many people who get involved in affiliate marketing get distracted easily by new programs, new products, and new information. Instead, it is important that you stay the course and stick to one product at a time within your niche until you are making money, then move on to the next and at the most promote about four or five products or product lines at a time.

5 Steps to Launching Your Own Affiliate Program

You have heard that an affiliate program can help grow your business, how beneficial it
can be and why it is a good investment. So you are convinced, but how do you get
started? Launching an affiliate program can take your business to new heights and these
five steps will help you get there.

Step 1: Choose your software.
Before you begin creating your affiliate program, you will need to decide which affiliate
management software is right for you. Take the time to research the different programs
available to you. You will need to take a look at product reviews, user recommendations,
and if possible, reach out to other business owners who have used programs you are
considering in order to get the most accurate feedback. The affiliate management
software you choose will be an extremely important investment as you begin your
program and later, manage it in the most effective and efficient way possible.

Step 2: Create your program.
Once you have selected your affiliate management software, you will need to make some
basic decisions about what it will look like. Begin by writing the terms and conditions of
your affiliate program. Decide whether you will offer a two-tiered or multi-tiered
structure. In addition, you will also need to write your affiliate agreement, which will
outline what is expected of your affiliates and what they can expect from you. While it is
not always necessary, you may want to consider hiring an attorney to review your terms
and conditions and affiliate agreement to ensure you have covered all of your bases.

Step 3: Build your team.
The only way to grow your affiliate program and build a team of affiliate marketers is to
let them know you are out there. The best way to do that is to list your new program on
various affiliate directories online where affiliate marketers can find you. And having
already selected a robust affiliate management software program, you can rest assured
that once they find you and are directed to your site, they can easily sign up and
automatically receive the tools they need to get started.

Step 4: Offer incentives.
Not only are you competing within your niche to make your business succeed, but you
will now have to focus on offering an attractive affiliate marketing program with plenty
of incentives in order to build a team of dedicated, profit-producing affiliate marketers.
With competitive commissions, potential for growth and the occasional opportunity for
bonuses, you can attract affiliate marketers who know how to work hard and produce
results. And while not every member of your team will turn out to be so motivated, you
will want to do all that you can to attract those who are.

Step 5: Equip your team for success.
Make sure that your affiliate marketers have the tools they need to properly market your
business. Provide them with materials such as banner ads, ebooks, articles and sales
letters. In addition, offer to share educational materials with them and make sure they are
on top of the latest industry trends, marketing strategies and affiliate marketing tactics.
When they succeed, you succeed, so you will want to stay on top of their efforts

Strategies for Making More Money with Membership Sites

The whole point behind setting up a membership website is to make money through recurring payments sent in each month by members. But, there’s more to making a decent income from membership sites beyond just the member payments. Here are a few ways to make money with a membership site once your members are in.

Information Strategy

If you have information about a certain subject there are a couple of ways you can go about setting up a membership website and making money from that knowledge. You can set up a blog type of website where people can subscribe, for a fee, to receive regular information updates from your website.

You can also set up an informative website where members have a clear way of participating with your as well as the other members on the chosen subject. This is useful as it makes them feel as if they are getting special information from you directly. You don’t have to be a constant presence either. Simply state that you will be available X amount of times a month or week from say 12pm to 2 pm to answer questions. Another option that won’t require a set time commitment of you is to create a forum where you can pop in and out to help members as you can.

Member’s Only Benefits

Offer more information or your services to members at a reduced rate. For instance, if you have a fellow business owner who sells a product your members would find useful, see if you can set up a special discount for your members only.

Do you offer a service or know someone who does? Again offer your members a discount created specifically for them.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are another way to generate income from membership websites. If you promote products as an affiliate, be sure to include those promotions in emails and posts to your members. As with the previous money-making option, you might even be able to set up a discount just for being a member or give them an added bonus of your own when they purchase through your affiliate link.

However you go about adding to your membership website profits, one thing is essential; Make certain the information or discounts you’re offering is relevant to your membership and valuable to its members.

A Dead Simple Follow-Up Idea!

I just thought about something concerning my last post.

I’m going to give you a ‘nudge’ in the right direction that could easily bring in an extra $500 to $5000 per month, if you don’t mind some old fashioned hustling.

Let’s say you purchase the “Developers” license (available as an upsell) for something like this software I mentioned.

Here’s a quick way to make that investment pay for itself in spades…

Pick a popular offline niche. let’s say something like “dentists” or even “realtors”.

Now you setup a WordPress blog, install the plugin and add some related content.

You don’t even need to write it yourself. This is where you just pick up some PLR or special reports with resale rights to use as content & incentives.

Then you turn around and call on 10 businesses in the phone book or just take a walk around your local business district and show them what you’ve got.

It’s easy, you don’t have to explain the whole thing…

Just get them to visit the site, enter their name and email address and click the “submit” button that will give them the free referral link.

On that same page, you’ll see a couple of social media buttons.

Just tell the guy with the credit card/check book to share it to his Facebook page or Twitter/LinkedIn account and let him watch how the message spread virally when he checks his stats the next day**.

(**This gives you an excuse to follow-up)

Then offer to turn the site over to him for “$xxx,xx”.

(Don’t forget to offer upsells like personalizing the site, signing them up for an autoresponder account or whatever else they might need to get the most out of their new viral referral system.)

How much do you think you could make by setting up viral lead-generation sites like these for offline niche businesses?

Businesses in the offline world live or die by referrals.  You can be their hero and make some stress-free cash with just a couple of hours setting this up.

PS — Don’t forget about the power of simply hiring some college kids to actually run this thing for you like a business.  It’s ridiculously simple to setup these sites and kids are more than willing to go calling door to door for some spending cash.

Six Myths of Self-Publishing

Myths regarding self publishing vs. traditional publishing abound. The thing is, people don’t like change. Especially those who are in charge. Traditional publishers do not like losing out to print on demand, self-publishing services, and digital downloads. After all, their bread and butter is made by selling other people’s writing and to miss out on the next great writer scares them. Usually a handful of writers make a profit for a traditional publisher, and those are the writers that the traditional publishers want to work with.

Let’s go over a few of the myths going around today.

1. Only bad writers self-publish — I’ve seen people in discussion groups jump on and hurt someone who was excited that her book was published. They didn’t want to give her any credit since her book was self-published. They had the view that only bad writers self-publish. But, nothing could be further from the truth. A terrific list was created on a blog here. Take a look.

2. People won’t read self-published information — This is also completely false. People are making a lot of money self-publishing in all areas from information products, to novels in every genre, as well as how to books and more. The type of information that is self-published is not limited. The type of self-published works that are earning substantial money crosses all types.

3. Self-Published books are substandard — Yes, there are some sub standard self-published books. I won’t lie, but the quality of the book has nothing to do with the method of publishing. Most people cannot tell the difference between a self-published print on demand book, and a traditionally published book. It has to do with the standards of the person doing the publishing. If you’re going to use your time, efforts and money to self-publish, by all means publish your best work. Don’t skimp on editing, formatting, or book cover design. Take it seriously, and produce your best work.

4. It’s hard to get reviews of self-published information — It’s no harder to get reviews of self-published works than traditionally published works. Did you know that many publishers pay for reviews? You don’t have to do that if you write letters and include a free copy of your book to people you’d like to do the review. Ensure that you’ve studied the people who you want to do your reviews and make sure that they’ll be honest, thorough, and that their review matters to your target audience.

5. Self-publishing is expensive — It can be practically free, depending on the method. The only cost will be your time. But, like anything there are various levels of services that you can outsource to others. How much it cost will depend on your budget. You can publish tonight for free on Kindle, or you can take your time and spend a little money making sure you promote the very best product you can produce. Besides, why should a traditional publisher invest in you, if you won’t invest in you?

6. Self-publishers have to do all their own marketing — I have news for you, most of the time you have to do your own marketing with a traditional publisher too. By practicing your Internet marketing knowledge you’ll do better than any traditional publisher. Plus, remember, if you do well enough, if you really want it, a traditional publisher will come knocking. The days are gone where self-publishing relegates authors to never getting a traditional publisher. The fact is, you’ll probably not actually want to use a traditional publisher after you experience the joy and profits of self-publishing.

Developing An Effective Keyword List

When considering the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the success of your website often depends on it. That is why it takes crucial planning and careful execution of the best, most appropriate keywords in order to improve your ranking and effectively capture the attention of your target market.

Coming up with a list of the perfect keywords, or combination of words, takes time. Some website owners often think this is the easiest step in the SEO process. However, they couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, this step should be the most difficult. Why? Because, sure anyone can come up with a list of keywords related to your business. But not everyone knows exactly what your customers are looking for.

When creating your list of keywords, you have to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and actually think like them, rather than try to sell to them. In other words, as a business owner, you may have a tendency to use buzzwords (like “niche” or “conversion”). But your customers may not be as familiar with those terms, or simply apply more commonly used words to the same concepts (like “group” or “sales”).

The trick is to come up with a list of keywords that not only apply to your business, but actually work. You may start with a list of 100 words, but in order to drive customers to your site, you will have to cut it down. A great tip is to take a look at some competitors’ sites. Try to get a feel for what keywords they are focusing on and how you might be able to improve upon and top them.

And don’t limit yourself to single keywords. SEO is about the recognition of single and mutli-word phrases. For example, if you are in the telecommunications business, you wouldn’t only optimize for words like “calling”, “telephone” or “wireless”. Instead, you might focus on keyword phrases like “call centers”, “wireless communication” or “home telephone services”.

The good news is, you won’t be alone in your SEO efforts. There are many useful tools available to help you develop the best, most effective and easy to rank keywords possible. Google, in particular, provides a tool that allows you to research how often keywords are searched. What you want to avoid are keywords that impossible to top.

For example, a very broad word like “cellphone” is searched over 2.2 Million times a month (according to Google AdWords keyword tool). This makes it nearly impossible for your site to come up within the first few pages of a search engine because the competition is so fierce. But a phrase like “cellphone service” is searched 14,800 times a month, making it easier to compete for a high ranking spot. Therefore, if you are in the cellphone industry, be it sales, service, accessories or otherwise, you will want to optimize for phrases and keywords that are searched often but not so often you lose your ability to be found.