Fisrt of all, let’s examine the difference between two different affiliate strategies. What is the difference between a short term and long term affiliate strategy? While you are making money, are you building YOUR online assets or someone else’s?
Short term affiliate marketing
If you follow the traditional path of affiliate marketing and simply use article marketing or PPC, you may only be building up a short term path to profits. Each time your campaign dries up, you will have start over from scratch. This means you must perpetually write articles and promote PPC campaigns.
Who is benefiting the most from your work? Think about all of the articles you submitted to ezinearticles.com, or all the lenses you created at squidoo.com. These sites are benefiting from the content that you created for them. These large sites also benefit from the free traffic that you provide. As you go on an article marketing campaign, you also provide them with more backlinks.
This is why when your campaign ends for some reason and you have to pick a new product or keyword, you need to start over. Meanwhile, these large sites can redirect traffic as they see fit and continue to profit.
Long term affiliate marketing
Although using fast or free methods to make money now is not a bad thing, you should also consider developing long term affiliate marketing goals. If you buy your own domain and hosting, you can start adding permanent backlinks and traffic to YOUR site. The process may be slow, but in the long run, you will have a stable source of traffic. You can then redirect it to whatever affiliate offer you wish to currently promote. Your hard work at creating quality content and backlinks will benefit YOU.
How to transition from short term to long term strategies
Making money is often faster with short term strategies. However, you should think about taking some of the profits from these temporary methods and investing them into your long term strategies. Take some of your PPC or Craigslist profits and devote them to building your own website or even your own products. This way, you can enjoy immediate profits, but you also build a long term money-making foundation. What you really want is a permanent online business that provides you with money 24/7 automatically. Think about the end goal while you continue on your affiliate journeys.
Now let’s take a look at what kind of affiliate programs exist and which is better for you. Although many affiliate marketers start with selling e-books through Clickbank, there are many other ways to make money through affiliate programs. Let’s look at the different kinds of affiliate programs, and how you can make money with each one.
Affiliate sales programs
Affiliate sales programs are the common type of affiliate marketing. Clickbank, one of the most popular affiliate programs, is a prototypical example. You, as an affiliate marketer, try to convince someone to buy a certain ebook. In turn, you receive a portion of the sales price. Informational products are popular with affiliate sales programs because they are easy to purchase online, with immediate delivery following sales.
Other affiliate programs for physical programs include ShareASale and Commission Junction, which serve as umbrella organizations for many different companies. Other companies, like Amazon, have their own affiliate program. Physical products you usually provide a smaller commission than informational products, because the high production costs decrease the profit margins. However, more people are willing to buy physical products, such as those you would see in an ordinary store.
Cost per action affiliate programs
Unlike sales programs, cost per action (CPA) affiliate programs pay you whenever a customer performs a specific action. These actions can vary from simple clicks to complicated survey answers. Google Adsense is the most popular example of a program that pays whenever a user clicks on an ad. For such programs, you are usually not allowed to promote the ad directly, in order to prevent the advertiser from losing money on artificial clicks.
Other CPA programs pay per sign up, which can be free for the customer. Some CPAs will pay you each time a customer supplies a zip code or email address. Other require the customer to fill out a survey, or other more detailed information about himself. Sometimes there is a cost to the customer, such as payment of shipping and handling to receive an otherwise free product. In any case, the payout for CPAs is usually lower than for direct sales commissions. However, CPAs are often easier to obtain, since it is easier to convince a customer to fill out a form than to part with his money.
Which kind of affiliate program is best?
The type of affiliate program you choose will depend on the your campaign’s niche, as well as the source of traffic. If you are receiving targeted traffic for a niche where people purchase many products, you would be better off with an affiliate sales program. If, on the other hand, you receive general traffic, where people are still looking for information rather than products, you might be better off with a CPA that connects visitors with product information. It is usually best to diversify your options by joining and promoting multiple types of affiliate programs.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel to become a successful affiliate marketer. You don’t need to pay exorbitant fees, either. Just study and implement the strategies you used by successful affiliate marketers who are trying to sell YOU stuff.
Example: Learn how to run an email campaign
Let’s say that you want to run an email campaign promoting affiliate offers. If you browse affiliate product pages, you will often notice opt-in forms. Submit your email address here (just create a new one from yahoo or gmail if you hate spam). Don’t buy anything they market to you! Just collect the emails and study how they are running their campaign. How frequently are emails sent? How long are emails? How much content vs marketing?
Search for affiliate codes with Google
If an affiliate does not cloak his affiliate links, you may be able to see the unique identifier in the affiliate URL. Try searching for this on Google. Now you see what offers that affiliate is promoting, and even how he is promoting them. If you find a squidoo lens, try searching for the URL of the lens. Now you see how that affiliate is promoting squidoo lense. You can learn a lot by researching your potential competitors.
Reverse engineering: a free affiliate education
Internet marketing gurus will tell you all sorts of things about how to make money online. However, often there is a big difference between what they say and what they do. Forget the theory and market-speak. Look at what they do. This is how to make money, and you can see how they are doing it for free!