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7 Rules To Success Through Affiliate Programs
Copyright 2005 Chris Stirling
Thousands of people have quit their JOBS and started earning money exclusively online. There are a lot of ways you can do it on the Internet... such as creating your own products, offering a service, licensing products, etc.
Many people have done it without having ANY products of their own. This is done through affiliate income or selling other people's products for a commission.
Here's how it can be done.
1. Don't sell anything you don't own.
This rule is listed first for a good reason. You should never sell anything that you don't own yourself. If you don't have enough faith in it's results to buy it yourself, then you have no reason to sell it to others.
Think about this for a moment - if you don't own it and are unwilling to purchase it how can you endorse the product? How can you honestly answer questions about the product? The answer is you can't.
Too often people are willing to jump on the bandwagon and promote whatever the hyped product of the week is... without stopping to think of the value of the product itself. No matter how many other people are recommending it, you shouldn't if you haven't bought it yourself.
2. Only offer complementary products and services.
If your web site is about sports products, then you definitely shouldn't be offering cigarettes in another program. It doesn't make any sense at all, and these products defiantly do not compliment each other. You are unlikely to sell both products to the same customer.
A good example of selling complementary products would be, if you sell golf products, then you could sell golf vacations, golf clubs, golf subscriptions, golf training products, etc. All these products would entice the same consumer. Meaning once you get the person interested in golf to your site you increase your chances of selling them more than one item. This would not be the case if you sold golf clubs and gardening books.
Make sure everything you offer goes together. You should earn multiple streams of income, but they must all be related on the same subject.
3. Build an opt-in email list.
I can not stress enough how vital this is to your online success.
Ask any top business person what their most valuable asset. It isn't their products. It isn't their location. It isn't even their employees.
The most valuable asset to any business is their customer list. The most valuable asset to any Internet business is the opt-in email list. Your email list IS your Internet business.
If you don't have an email list, you don't have an Internet business.
Offer an affiliate product...and you earn money once. Offer a subscription to your opt-in email list and you earn money forever (from hundreds of offers you can make to that list).
4. Concentrate on your brand.
Use your opt-in email list to build a relationship with your subscribers. When they first subscribe, they may not know you from Peter. So tell them about yourself. Express your opinions.
On your first 2-3 contacts do not sell them anything. Tell them about yourself, your experiences, stick your neck out and tell them what you think. Let your customers get to know you. You have to give people a reason to know, like, and trust you.
You don't have to be the best writer on the planet. You don't have to be just like your favorite guru. Just write some things that are exclusively you in your emails.
Sure, some of them will get mad. Some will ask to be removed. Some will cuss you out. Deal with it. The way I see these people are by removing themselves from my list I do not have to waist time on trying to sell to them. I just move on to the people who are interested and I have a greater chance of making money off.
If you're just like everyone else, then why should anyone choose to buy from you?
5. Write your own endorsements and reviews.
Every affiliate program has solo ads, endorsement ads, and classified ads available. You can use them sometimes, but they should never become your only marketing pieces.
But on top of every ad you should have your OWN opinion of the product. You should tell your customers in your own words why they should buy this or that. Then use the ad copy you were given UNDER your own statements.
The same thing goes for online newsletters. You can use content and articles from other people, but every single email you ever send out should have something written from you...in your own words...at the top of it if nowhere else. It could be just a short 'what's going on' section or an editorial.
You don't have to be professional writer. You just have to have opinions and be willing to stick your neck out giving them.
6. Offer extra specials.
You don't have to do this every single time, but you should be making special offers for your list. Why should they buy a product from you instead of one of 1,000 other affiliates offering it?
Give them something extra they can't get from other affiliates!
You can tell them that if they buy affiliate product A from you...you'll give them this special report.
All they have to do is buy the product and then email you the receipt. You'll send them their extra bonus report right over.
It could also be an eBook, an email consultation, a phone consultation, an ad in your newsletter, a link on your special links page, etc. Give them something extra special with some of your offers and watch your checks soar. Make sure the items you give for free are related to your product.
7. Ask for the sale.
You have to ask for the sale. If you don't ask you will never get. The worst they can say is "no" and all that means is you are no worse off than you are right now. But if you ask and they say yes you are in a much better place.
You can't be wimpy or shy. You can't just give away a lot of content hoping someone will click on your little link somewhere and magically decide to buy your product. You have to tell your prospects and customers why they want and need your product. You have to tell them what they get when they buy.
If some subscribers get mad when you send them an offer, help them remove themselves from your list. It's funny, but most profitable promotions have also get the most complaints and removes.
I've had people email me saying, "If you're just trying to sell something online, then I don't even want your newsletter." Guess what? Remove them. That is the end purpose of your newsletter, any content you provide, or anything you do online.
Remember why you started on online business - to make money not to give out free gifts and content.
About the author:
Chris Stirling is the owner of Stirls.com and His Internet Marketing website is designed to help other people achieve their goal of having their own work at home business.