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Saturday, April 25, 2009

POPULAR AFFILIATE MISTAKES & HOW TO FIX THEM

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Affiliates who are struggling to earn $100 a month often find it hard to believe that other people could possibly earn as much as $10,000 or even $100,000 a month in commissions. You should believe it. Big commissions do happen and I know because I have seen and tried it myself.

According to Forrester Research, which predicts that affiliate programs and affiliate networks will represent 20%, or $53 billion, of e-commerce sales by 2005, in most programs, 5% of the affiliates generate the vast majority of the sales. If you're not in that 5% and want to be, you'll have to change what you're doing. Part of changing what you re doing, is to avoid doing the things that need changing in the first place.

Many new and old affiliates alike do not succeed because they make mistakes that hinder their revenue potential. Even if you are making these common mistakes, you can fix them. That is why this section had to be included. If you are making these mistakes, this section will show you how to fix them. If you are just starting, this section will show you what to avoid.

Here are 12 mistakes you could be making, and how to fix them.

1. Are you telling people how to make money on the Internet when you don't know how to do it yourself?

It is just possible that you can succeed at this, but it's the most obvious trap into which new affiliates fall….making false promises. Often this starts because; you just want to get sales. You can fix this by joining a few affiliate programs and set up a site offering Internet marketing tips, work-from-home tips, instant-business tips, or be-your-own-boss tips.

The advantages of doing this include having great products to promote, high commissions and lots of help from other Internet marketers. However, you should know that if you do this, you will face two massive challenges.

1. You'll have hundreds of thousands of web pages out there competing with yours.

2. You're competing with the planet's best marketing EXPERTS. Some of the brightest brains in Internet marketing are working full-time to grab the attention of your target audience.

I'm not saying you can't succeed in this field, but if you're new to affiliate programs, this is definitely NOT the best place to begin. If you're struggling, you have to find a less popular forum. You don't have to abandon your existing web site to do this. Just launch a new one based on a new theme. Later, when you've learned more and really have something to offer, it will be time to revamp your marketing tips web site.

If you want an idea for a product to promote, here's one. You could promote this book! Okay, you can just go find your own products to pitch, it was just a thought. Of course, you'll have some competition, but it's not TOO lively. Either way, you will have to choose a new theme. Try a new niche when you are having a problem with your site.

2. Are you promoting the PROGRAM instead of the PRODUCT?

Too many times, affiliates join a two-tier affiliate program and then create a page that is geared toward telling other people to join it. It is a common mistake that is made all to often. I've done this myself with my own efforts a few times. So many times new affiliates are so busy promoting their affiliate program, they actually forget to promote the products all together. That is just silly since it is the selling of the product that gives you your revenue. You should feel free to try that technique of promoting your program as well, but not solely and if you do but don't pin all your hopes on it. Unless you're really skilled at signing up key people in key places, or know how to sign up many thousands of affiliates, you're not likely to get rich on second-tier commissions.

When you promote the program over the site, the people that you sign up will tend to copy you and try to sign up more people! That sounds like the worst aspects of multi-level marketing. Who's going to actually SELL something and earn commissions?

Only a tiny percentage of the thousands of dollars I earn each month from my affiliates is from second-tier commissions. I succeed because I promote the PRODUCTS. They're incredibly good value, I believe in them, and I succeed by telling people so because of that fact. It’s that simple. If you want to succeed as an affiliate promote the product FIRST and promote the program second by signing on sub-affiliates on your website.

3. Are you using banners instead of endorsements?

It really does takes time, effort and money to buy and study the product you're trying to sell. However, personal, enthusiastic endorsements out-sell everything else by miles. If you are always just trying to pimp out banners instead of offering real testimonials etc. you will not sell as well. Banners do not tell real people what real people want and their experiences with a product. That comes from YOU.

If you put in the effort, you'll get the sales. You can probably quadruple your sales by endorsing the products you sell. You can also combine graphics, text, short descriptions and relevant articles. However, best of all are your own, original personal endorsements. The key to this is to write honest, enthusiastic endorsements.

4. Are you failing to capture email addresses?

If you don't collect addresses, your marketing effort is just not doing its job. You will have become the Rico Suave of marketing. Who is Rico Suave you may ask? That is my point exactly. He is a one hit wonder and you don’t want to be that.

If you can’t capture email addresses it usually means that you're making only one attempt per visitor to achieve a sale and then you are giving up. As branding expert Rob Frankel says, people like buying from people they know, like and trust. If you're not giving people a chance to get to know and trust you, don't be surprised if they don't buy.

If you're not collecting email addresses, you're seriously crippling your marketing capabilities. Remember how the big dot-coms poured in piles of money into banner advertising and TV advertising? Now they've finally realized that collecting email addresses is a much better value.

It's getting harder and harder to do now because we're all ransacked with spam and newsletters which don't provide the information we need. So get started now, before the competition becomes even stronger by scooping you on it.

You may not want to take on the commitment of publishing a weekly newsletter. Perhaps you don't believe you have the necessary skills. One option is to simply offer a monthly Update newsletter, telling people what's new on your site. The other one is to hire a ghost writer to do it for you. This way you get all of the expertise and you get to put your name on it.

Perhaps you don't like the thought of being tied to a weekly or monthly publishing schedule. You don't have to be. You can publish irregularly, only when you feel you have something worth saying or selling to the public. It might even help you to garner more interest that way. Of course, you can also add an opt-in e-mail list.

5.Do you have visitors but no sales?

Some affiliates complain that they receive thousands of visitors but can't turn those visitors into buyers. Chances are, it is because you are just not promoting it properly. That is why you need to know your market and sell to them specifically. If you aren’t getting any sales, you are probably not focusing on your targeted market. Once you do that, you should sell better.

6. Are you Repeating yourself?

If you are just regurgitating the same old thing? It's time to try something new. If you keep repeating actions which fail, you'll continue failing. It’s that simple. If what you're doing isn't working well, it's time to change it, to move out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Here's something you can do. You can syndicate your columns or tips all over the Net to other web sites. Imagine how that would boost your image, your traffic and your sales. In doing this, each web site that is publishing your column simply puts two lines of JavaScript code on its page at the location where your column is to appear.

All you have to really do is paste your column into a Syndicator form and click a button. That one button click automatically updates all syndicated web site pages. You don't even have to create the script. The key point here is to try new techniques.

7. Are you building a business without a foundation?

Are you promoting questionable products and services in the hope of earning high commissions? Or are you building something of VALUE? Are you creating a business you're proud of? These are important questions that you have to ask. Even if it's a small website that you are running, you have to build a USEFUL, strong web site, one which provides valuable information and helps people. Not only will this give you a great sense of achievement, it will do wonders for your marketing.

If you build a site or write a newsletter which helps people, your readers will do a lot of your marketing for you. “If you build it, they will come”. They really will. I love it when I see my sites mentioned on other web sites, in newsletters, in mailing lists and in books. I love it when web sites link to mine and so will you. Often times, when you do this for another websites, they will do it in return.

Such a website takes time to build but after a while momentum builds. If you're the expert in your particular field, you'll be interviewed for articles in newsletters and books – and those articles will attract more interviews for more articles. All of those links and favorable mentions don't just boost your reputation and sales, they help boost your ranking in search engines such as Google too because the more you are there, the more the spiders will find your content relevant during a search.

8. Are you selling ONLY other people's products?

It is possible to earn a living that way, but such successes are rare. To make the most money that you can, you should create your OWN product. Then you can use affiliate programs for back-end sales. That works well because someone who has just bought a product is often in the mood for buying a second, complementary product.

When you create your own product, you can control your destiny in a way that you can’t do when you are only selling for someone else. This way you get to control how it is marketed. You control how much profit you make. Create your own product.

9. Are you just SELLING instead of HELPING?

This question is asking if your web site or newsletter just selling, or is it helping people learn? The fact of the matter is that if you create a helpful, learning community you'll put people in the mood for buying. That is just the way it is.

10. Are you learning from mediocre sources?

Because the conditions are constantly changing so fast on the Net, you need to learn fast and grab the opportunities which exist now. One way to save much of your precious time is to learn from Internet experts. You won't make so many mistakes that way. Learn from people who are earning a very good living from Internet marketing. Check out as many resources as you can. It is just common sense, someone else may have something to say that I don’t already know in this book……hey, anything’s possible.

11. Have you forgotten to add a dash of personality?

I have said this too many times before. Too much of the Internet is cold and anonymous. Your web site visitors appreciate knowing that there's a real person running the site they're visiting. Inject your personality into your site because that shows that the site is not just a salesman talking to them, but a real person just like them.

12. Are you failing to PLAN properly?

First of all, you have to decide what you want to do. Here are three main options that are best for affiliates like us to use. Let me tell you that they all work.

Option 1:

Do research on what is popular and sell that. Do a survey, find out what people want and sell it to them. Isn’t that what I said in the beginning?

Option 2:

Follow your passion, what I mean by this is choosing a topic in which you are passionately interested and build a site around that theme. That way, you'll enjoy what you're doing and derive a great deal of satisfaction from it. It won't seem like work to you either.

If you are having trouble choosing a topic just do some brainstorming, you will come up with something sooner or later.

Option 3.

Become passionately interested and involved in something. You have to immerse yourself in all the little details about a topic and suddenly you'll become so absorbed that it's like a hobby, not a business. The point here is to plan and the react to your planning.


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