Lesson #15: Making Money For Every Sale
With our AdSense ads now in place, this lesson will guide you through the second part of our profit strategy: Affiliate Programs. You should remember that affiliate programs are the ones where the advertiser will pay you every time your site sends them a customer that actually makes a purchase. They will pay you either a pre-arranged flat fee or a percentage of the total order. The example we used earlier was Amazon.com, which has an affiliate program that pays about 8% of the total order amount.
The most obvious question is how do you setup these affiliate deals? It seems kind of complicated, doesnʼt it? Well, much like AdSense (which we discussed in the last lesson), there are networks that connect those who want to advertise their affiliate programs with publishers like you who want to display and profit from these ads.
Basically, you create accounts with these affiliate networks (just like you did with AdSense) and you will see a whole list (sometimes thousands) of different offers that you can promote and earn revenue from. They will all have different terms (i.e. some will pay $10 per lead, some will pay 5% per sale). Your job is to find one or two that are relevant to your siteʼs topic. Then you place a customized link on your site that will let the affiliate network know to track which visitors came from you (we wonʼt get into the full technical details here). Does this make at least some sense? For example: Letʼs say our site is about video games. We write video game reviews and at the bottom of the review we have a link that says: Purchase this game by clicking here. Then, they are directed to a video game store that will pay us $8 for every video game sold from customers that we sent them. During one month we help them sell 100 video games (not bad!) and at the end of the month the affiliate network will cut us a check for $800.
I hope you have at least a vague concept of how this works. It will become more clear as we progress….
Registering for Affiliate Networks
There are a handful of affiliate networks that I recommend using. Many specialize in different types of products and services (i.e. one specializes in downloadable info products, others in only physical products, etc.). I have compiled a list and description of my favorite networks and the ones that I use regularly. They are all, of course, free to join so I recommend you sign up for all of them to keep your options open. They are:
Note: Youʼll want to register as a “publisher” on these networks.
Similar with AdSense, before you can complete the final stages of this lesson, you will need to be accepted to these programs. Many do this automatically but some require a manual review which may take several days.
Advantages of Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate programs can be extremely powerful ways to make money from a website. They essentially allow us to sell other peopleʼs products and make money from them. This is why affiliate marketing is such an awesome deal for us.
The other guys have to create their order systems, store the product, deliver the product, handle customer service, deal with returns, etc. etc. All we do is refer thevisitor and make cash.
Weʼre profiting from someone elseʼs hard work. It could be a fortune 500 company that has spent billions on research and development. When we promote their product, we are taking full advantage of their resources to help our visitors find a great product with almost no work on our side.
I LOVE the business model behind affiliate marketing and once you see the checks from promoting affiliate products, I think you will too.
Choosing Relevant Programs
Once you have been accepted to the various affiliate programs that I mentioned, it would be good to login to their sites and become comfortable with how they work and what types of products they offer.
The next and most obvious thing we need to discuss is how to choose programs that match your audience. You would not want to promote gardening tools on your site about computer programming. Instead, you would want to promote programmingbooks, software and resources related to computers. This is crucial and it is one area that you cannot take lightly. Your success as an affiliate marketer will be directlyrelated to the product(s) that you promote. So take this task seriously.
Unfortunately, I do not have one right answer as to how you should go about picking products to promote, or which networks will match your audience. Personally, what I do is go to all of the networks and use their search feature to look for anything related to my topic. I would type in knitting, for example, and see what affiliate programs they had related to that subject. I would then make a list of what programs seem relevant and what they each offer.
Sometimes, you have to apply to actually promote a product even though you have applied for the network as a whole already (Commission Junction, for one, does this). To put it another way, once you are logged in to Commission Junction and you find a product that you want to promote, you must click the apply button and wait for that specific advertiser to approve you. This is somewhat annoying, I know.
I would recommend that you choose between 1-2 affiliate products that you will be promoting on your site.
Placing Affiliate Code on Your Site
After you have chosen your products, you will see links (each affiliate network does this differently). In order to be credited for any sales that you make, you MUST have the visitor click through that link, it is what will track the sale back to you. Got that? If you just tell them to visit TheirStore.com there will be no way of giving you credit.
If you know what you are doing, you can place these links on your site any which way you like. There is no problem with that. You can even change it up regularly to see which way works best. However I am going to give specific instructions on how I usually which way works best. However I am going to give specific instructions on how I usually setup my affiliate programs.
We are going to place two links on our site. One at the end of each article and one as a graphic in the sidebar. Letʼs go over each of those now.
End of the Article. The first place we are going to put our links is at the end of every article. This way, when our visitor is finished reading about our great video game review (for example) there will be a link where they can purchase the video game right there. If you are lazy, you can simply copy and paste a plain link under each article. But I suggest you write something that makes it sound like an awesome deal. Like: “If you want to purchase this incredible game for the lowest price online, click here”. And the click here would be linked to the affiliate program. Even make this font bold. It might take a minute of playing with the link to get it working right.
NOTE if you do not know how to make links when writing articles in WordPress, Iʼll tell you. You would go to the article, write your sentence as described above and use the mouse to highlight “click here” or whatever words you want to link. Then you click on that little chain link icon right under the title box. You paste the url for the affiliate program and you are done. Be sure to save this and check it out on your actual site to make sure it worked right.
Graphics in Sidebar. The second thing we will want to do is add a graphic in our sidebar. Almost all affiliate programs will give you free access to banner ads that link to their products. They will also give you a piece of code that you can copy and paste onto your site. Find a banner that will easily fit into your sidebar and copy that. Now, we will create a text widget for our site. Remember how to do that? Login to your WP Admin Area and go to Appearance > Widgets. Create a new text widget (drag it over to the side) and paste your code into that. Save, and go see how the banner looks. If it does not fit right, you can go back and choose another one that looks better.
Now, if you signed up for more than one program, feel free to put one program after the articles and the other as a graphic in the sidebar. Or even put them both after the articles and/or both as graphics in the sidebars. You can use your own judgement to decide which programs will be displayed where.
An Example of Profitability
Congratulations! Our site is officially ready to start making some money. Our AdSense and affiliate programs will give this site a fantastic start on itʼs way to our $200 per week goal. Let me show you how…
Letʼs assume that our site received a steady stream of visitors that clicked on 150 ads per week from AdSense, they each gave us $0.60, which is about average. Then, we sold just 10 products per week through our affiliate programs, they each earned us $11. This is our $200 per week already, from just 10 sales and 150 ad clicks. We are almost there…
This lesson should be good enough to get you started, but it certainly could not cover everything there is to know. There have been dozens of books written about affiliate marketing alone that are longer than this entire course. If you would like to learn more about the specifics of affiliate marketing please email me and I will point you in the right direction.
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