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How To Do Affiliate Marketing For Any Website


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Affiliate Marketing - Methods, Tactics, Services and Rewards

As part of our business we run an online affiliate shopping website that fills a number of business needs as well as generating additional monthly income through affiliate marketing. Tackling all four of the topics in the above title of this article would be a huge task in the world of affiliate marketing; but what we plan to do here is outline some helpful tips and give a list of resources on these topics with some examples.

Some Base Methods of Presenting Your Affiliate Marketing Programs


Make a Website:

This is probably the most common method of presenting whatever affiliate program you are a part of. Either you already have a website or you can make a website and then post affiliate ads that match that website's content, focus and target audience. For example if you own a bike shop and you have a website for your bike shop location you might find choosing and promoting some bike related products can become an added revenue stream to your business.

Maybe you just love biking and you are part of a bike group that maintains a website for members. If you add a well-focused affiliate program to that website it could generate revenue for group events or to support the maintenance of the website.

For many general business websites you can usually find an affiliate program that allows you to add additional product offerings to your website for your visitors without having to keep an inventory of said products. Or you could offer how to books and videos to visitors that allow you to present expertise about your business without having to actually write the book or shoot the videos. All the time you're making residual income off the sales of these products from your website.

Create or Use Blogs, Groups or Topical Websites:

Many people maintain or take part in blogs, online groups or topic related websites that they use to learn and talk about their favorite subjects. These can be great methods to use for certain types of affiliate marketing and a great alternative many times to paying for the design and hosting of your own website.

Blogs and online groups are usually about one subject or a group of related subjects so they lend themselves easily to affiliate marketing that is related to that subject. Maybe you blog about fashion and the latest trends; well clothing affiliate programs are plentiful and easy to match to whatever fashion topic you write about.

Topical websites are usually community driven sites that you become a member of and write about, discuss and share about your favorite topics. These types of websites can a powerful way for you to get involved in and share about your passion. While your at it why not incorporate some affiliate marketing elements and make some money while you rant about the latest fall shoe line that everyone should be wearing.

Email or Newsletters:

So we are fairly sure that if you're reading this article you have sent a few emails over the past week or so… or maybe 100's of emails. What if you had an email signature that included an affiliate link to the coolest new digital camera on the market, or the Everything Italy Cook Book that you just got? If you share this in an email with everyone you know this could turn into income for you just for including it in your email signature.

Do you write or contribute to a monthly newsletter? Many newsletter email systems today offer templates that you can easily drop in affiliate text links, banners and pictures of products or books that relate directly to the newsletter topic or topics. Drop in one or two affiliate links to each newsletter and the extra income could pay for your newsletter services.


So let's check out some Affiliate Marketing Tactics

There are many different tactics that affiliate programs offer for delivering their affiliate links and content. So for example when you see a banner ad on a website that says "click here to purchase" or some other type of promotional hook, this is a tactic that is set up by an affiliate program, offered to their affiliates and then placed onto websites by those affiliates to get you to click and buy in most cases.

Static Content:

This tactic usually utilizes a text link or banner image link that has a special affiliate generated link attached to the link code and doesn't change or stays static. So once this is set up on a web page it will always show the same linked image or the same linked text.

Adding static links to your website, blog content or emails is probably the easiest and most common affiliate marketing tactic, but should be maintained in some fashion over time. For example if you chose a banner image from Amazon is around iPods and accessories. Over time Apple comes out with new versions and looks for the iPod and soon maybe the banner or graphic you chose starts to look dated to your visitor, well then you will need to manually change it. Same with text links that are maybe product specific and that product goes off the market, and then your link is no longer good and not generating revenue. When you are using static affiliate links this way you should set up some type of review method so you assure all your links are active, relevant and generating revenue for you.

Dynamic Content:

This affiliate tactic is becoming more and more available from all types of affiliate programs. It is one of the best ways large scale affiliate marketers can easily maintain a multi-channel affiliate system with little maintenance. It can be a real set it and forget tactic and what can be better than that?

So following along the line of the example above with the Amazon iPods and Accessories banner we trade that static banner out for a dynamic banner. (Within your affiliate program these will usually be called dynamic banners, easy update, or provided by affiliate banner so you know the difference between their offerings.) You place that banner code into your web page and it shows a set image and link for a few months. Then Apple puts out some new accessories or their next generation iPod and all of a sudden you notice the graphic has changed and it may link to a new landing page. This banner was just dynamically updated by the affiliate. No need to change the code, very easy, and a perfect way to keep your content fresh.

Product Feeds:

This affiliate marketing tactic is usually a little more complicated to properly fit into your web page template or format than the other tactics. A product feed is a dynamic list of products provided from the affiliate sent out in a set of product parameters usually. So the affiliate provides the feed and the affiliate can set up that feed into their page and show what product parameters they want, like size, color, price, discount and buy now links. This will usually display in a line list of some type depending on the parameters chosen.

Not all feeds are created equally. Some can be full of unwanted information, blank fields, or won't contain some fields that you want to include. Constantly displaying multiple affiliate programs' product feeds on your website or blog can be a challenge at best to the novice user. Most affiliate programs have recommended methods to help website owners display the feeds correctly. For example Amazon has programming and help forums, as well as their AStore product that takes the categories you choose and puts them into a mini store, very cool stuff and no programming required.

One service we have found that really can take the guess work out of using product feeds is GoldenCan Affiliate Data Feed Solutions. They utilize different code methods that their members can plug and play into their web pages to display huge product feeds from top merchants like Overstock.com and Amazon.

Once you figure out product feeds and have multiple channels set up with them running on a properly promoted website this can easily become your top revenue generating tactic.

Ad Feeds:

Anyone that travels around the internet has seen this type of advertising; there are even some on this page. Most notable and widely used is probably Google AdSense. Yahoo and Bing have their own as well as many other smaller ad programs can be found around the internet.

If you choose to use this tactic you will join the AdSense program for example, set up your account information and then go to their ad planner. There they will usually provide you with a wizard that lets you choose the look and size of the ads you want to display so they look good in your web page. Then you place this code into your web page and sit back and collect revenue from each click from the ads. The best thing is about most of these ad feeds is that they have intelligence that will generate the ad based on your web page content so the ads are targeted generating higher click rates and better revenue. The perfect set it and forget dynamic affiliate tactic.


So let's check out some Affiliate Marketing Services

We will now review some of the main affiliate marketing services you can use out there to increase revenue on just about any type of website. An affiliate marketing service as defined for this article is a company that provides a portal for website operators to join, promote and collect revenue from online retailers that provide affiliate programs.

Amazon Affiliate Program
This is a versatile, long standing and flexible affiliate program and any website owner can find something that matches their content to promote from this program. The Amazon program has been around for a long time and is one of the contributing reasons to Amazon's online success. By making it so easy for small business websites to promote the products on Amazon the program provides a vital income to the company that has grown over years. This program also provides unique things you won't find in the others, like dynamic product widgets and inline stores that are all dynamically fed with products based on criteria's you set in your administration area.

LinkShare
LinkShare affiliate program provides many of the tools that other programs provide all in an easy to use administration area. Log into your admin and join programs like iTunes, Avon, Office Depot, Champions and many more. They all offer text link builders and large selections of marketing banners to choose from all with great compensation levels for each sale.

Commission Junction
With the CJ affiliate program your website can maximize revenue opportunities by developing relationships with your visitors by providing them top quality text and graphic marketing content. Perform and get paid for every sale your website generates. Commission Junction has some of the top online retailers to choose from like Overstock.com, Expedia, QVC, Marriott, Best Buy and many more.

GoldenCan Affiliate Feed Solution
GoldenCan integrated feed solution actually allows you to take advantage of something all the above programs provide from their online retailers, that is a product feed. This is a very easy plug and play solution that almost any website owner can use affectively without having to be a programmer and deal with the raw data feed that is provided by most retailers. We'll get into more of that in a whole other article since there is lots of good stuff to cover there.

The above programs are just a few of the heavy hitters out there to use. You can find examples of how easy and professional looking these affiliate text links, banner links and dynamic widgets can look at First Stop Shops Online Shopping Mall. Not all programs are created equal, some are more time intensive, some have a great selection of retailers others are full of no-name retailers that have limited product lines. All these programs can help you build website popularity through content and put money in your pocket at the same time.


So let's look at Rewards from an Affiliate Marketing Program

A well-managed affiliate marketing program that uses best practice will become more successful over time. Many website owners will decide to set up some type of small affiliate marketing program on their website, try it for a bit, see little to no results and then abandon the effort. As with anything the more effort you put into your program the bigger the rewards and the rewards can grow substantially over time.

Rewards? - Money of Course!

That is the main driver of participating in any marketing program for another retailer. The ability to gain a monetary percentage from each sale you help obtain for a particular retailer. But first let's see how that actually happens to make sure you have a clear understanding of the process of getting that reward.

First the website owner, you, joins a retailer's affiliate program by signing up for an account. This may be done directly from the retailer's website or through a third party Affiliate Marketing Service. Once you join and give some needed personal account information your website may then be subject to a review by the retailer before being accepted to the program. Once accepted you should be able to log into that retailers affiliate program and start selecting or making affiliate tracking links to place into your website.

So second you need to decide how, where and how much website space you will a lot to any particular affiliate program. A popular Affiliate Marketing Method is placing top of page or bottom of page large banner graphics. These banners are usually provided by the retailer in their administration area. You just copy and paste the code into a section of your website and presto, instant banner. Another easy and popular method is to use text links. Many retailer programs will let you design your own so you can customize the text link to appeal to your visitor, garnering more clicks and hopefully sell more products.

Last you will want to check the link and test it. For both of these methods or any others you use, always be sure you have the correct affiliate tracking ID in the link your using and test them once they are live on your website. Test them by clicking on the link to be sure it goes to the expected place and then later you should see that a click registered in you administration area for that link. The last thing you want is to go to the trouble of marketing a retailer and not be awarded the proper sales commission because of a missing tracking code.

Show Me The Money!

All affiliate programs pay out differently so be sure to check the small print when you sign up. Many pay out in 15 or 30 day chunks. All are based on a percentage of the sale, or what is your commission. These rates can vary a lot so those with the higher percentage and faster payouts are the ones we recommend you pay special attention to when deciding what retailers to market on your website.

The way these programs pay you is probably the most important thing because many programs offer a few different methods of payment. Some of those they may actually charge you for, like mailing you the payment. So we strongly recommend you take advantage of the no fee direct deposit to a bank account that most affiliates offer. You may want to set up a business checking account to exclusively use for affiliate deposits. Setting up your payments this way will require you to list your bank information with each affiliate but it will make the whole process seamless so you can concentrate on your website.

You can also review these resources:

Go Daddy Hosting and Domains - Start a Website

Constant Contact Email Newsletter Services

Top 10 Tips for Affiliate Marketing






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