Monday, December 11, 2006

Not a Get Rich Quick Scheme

Affiliate programs are a very easy first choice for newcomers to make money online. Just about everyone who is trying to make money online starts here simply because of how easy it is.

1. All you have to do is to join a merchant program as an affiliate and send visitors to the merchant site, free of charge of course. Why should you be paying anyone to sell their product for them? Anyone asking you for money upfront, I would stay away from.

2. Once your visitor has been sent to the affiliate site, all other work such as making a sale, delivering the product or service, receiving payment, handling the complaints or refunds, is all handled by the merchant site.

3. The merchant site also handles the payment of commissions that are to be paid to you when ever a sale is made because the visitor you sent to the merchant site has purchased a product from them.

4. You can also make commissions if a visitor you referred to the site joins the affiliate program, and they make a sale. This is known as a two tier system. You should investigate these systems closely, because there is a fine line between affiliate programs and multi-level marketing schemes or scams, you can choose the appropriate word.

Sound simple enough doesn’t it? But there is always a catch. I am willing to bet that almost all affiliates soon find that in spite of their best efforts they are making little or no money.

The reason behind this is simple. Affiliate earnings don’t depend on how many visitors that are sent to the merchant site, but how many of those visitors buy the product or service that the merchant is offering.

So just sending visitors to the merchant site is definitely not enough, because sending visitors to a site is very easy. Link exchanges, text links, or random posting to forums.
Your merchant site that you’re linking to will be seen hundreds of times but it will not make a sale. And the reason is very simple. These visitors are not qualified visitors. They don’t care what product you are trying to sell. They are looking at it to earn credits so they can show their site to others. If you want to make money, you need to qualify your visitors, get them primed for the product, use sizzle words, create some excitement, bait the hook so to speak, so the merchant account can close the deal.

So if you want to make serious income from affiliate programs, the thing to do is to send qualified visitors to your merchant site.

Who is a qualified visitor?
This is the visitor who reached your site by themselves. They are looking for the product you are promoting. This is why they took the trouble of finding it from a search engine or from the particular kind of ads or forums. Chose where you put your advertising links or text ads carefully, putting them in the wrong place could be very expensive.

Ensuring good ad placement, good ad context and great copy will create excitement. Make the visitor red hot for a sale. They are already interested in your product. If they find what they want on your merchant site, he is very much likely to look at the product's features, mentally compare it with other similar products, and ask for more information by giving his email address. All this can lead to a sale and a commission for you.

How to target interested visitors

The best way to reach qualified visitors is promoting your products through search engines submissions, placing catchy ads using adwords, or other pay per click programs, posting in forums or through your very own website. It all depends on your budget. If your just starting out, you may want to use as many free methods as you can. If you have a budget to spend on some pay per click programs, it can be a solid investment if done right.

This may sound terrifying to newcomers at first. Most people think that they need to be a master of html, but all these are do-able with a little effort and knowledge. You can get any of the help for mastering all these skills from the resources freely available on the internet. I know some of the guru’s might be cringing because if it’s free, they aren’t making any money.

Joining the right affiliate programs can also help a good deal to gain affiliate mastery. While great many affiliate programs give you a few text ads and banners and be done with you, there are some programs that give valuable training to succeed. There is nothing wrong with putting a little more effort than just spending a few minutes putting together some text links, or ads. Be creative; research the product so you can stand behind what you’re trying to sell. Remember luck favor those who are prepared.

Remember to be positive. Most newcomers trying to make money on the internet fail because they expect to be rich in a week, if not overnight or sooner. They expect once they post their site, link or ad. When this doesn't happen as it rarely does in real life, they get discouraged. The result -- they give up, frustrated.

The reality is that nobody becomes rich overnight in internet marketing. You have to work at it consistently. It may take weeks, or months of hard work. 15-20 minutes a day, just doesn’t cut it, no matter what the experts say. Let's be serious.

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