SBB Small Spark Contest 2010: Choose ONE Affiliate Program to Promote

Do You Have Just ONE Small Spark?

I’m inspired! Are you? Getting the word out about your business doesn’t have to be a big huge task… all you need is ONE spark to get it going and before you know it, it’s grown into something massive. This month we’re focusing on Affiliate Marketing.

April 2010

This month’s challenge is to pick ONE affiliate program to promote. I purposely only promote a small handful of affiliate programs because I’ll only review and promote those programs that I have used myself or highly recommend.

Plus, there’s something to be said about consistency. With anything in life, if you’re consistent with what you’re doing then the more you accomplish.

Also for me, I’m not entirely fond of affiliate marketing but it’s definitely growing on me. 🙂 The one thing I want to do for each program I promote is offer a bonus for those who purchase through my affiliate link. So far I’ve created a checklist for the Problogger Workbook and for the Blog Mastermind program.

For each of these programs the checklist provides a way for me to not only give people something when they purchase from me but it shows the owner of the program that the sale was from Vera Raposo since it’s unique to me. So.. if YOU purchase either of those programs through my affiliate link then please email me at veraATsmallbusinessbranding.com. I’ll send the checklist over to you right away.

The best part about these two programs that I’m promoting is the more I do, the more income I’ll make from it.  I’ll break down for you for each program what I’ve done and the income produced from it.

Blog Mastermind Affiliate Program

This was the first program I decided to promote when I decided on the ONE program method for myself. While I do promote other programs besides these two, this is the first one I promoted with intention of just promoting that one.

After taking the Blog Mastermind program I went through and created the checklist for myself, then I thought I’d give it as a bonus and I also contacted Yaro Starak and let him know that I created the checklist.  I also gave  him a copy for his members to follow because I figured if it helped me then it would help anyone else also.

I created a couple blog posts detailing the program along with a success blog post to show my readers that others were also having success with it as well.

Yaro’s program in particular only opens at certain times each year then he shuts the door.  It’s really great for promotions but for me as an affiliate it’s hard to focus on when the promotions take place because I’m usually pretty busy with other things.

I do prefer programs that stay open all year long but I also recognize that this idea of shutting the doors so he can handle a group not only makes sense for giving people the sense of urgency but I can also see that it’s easier on Yaro to focus just on ONE group at a time.

I think for programs like Yaro’s and the future ones I promote that follow this model it’s best that I create a promotions calendar and plunk it on when I get Yaro’s emails otherwise I usually just read his email to me and then forget about it.

Ok to recap, here’s what I did for the Blog Mastermind Program

1) About 4 blog posts

2) Emailed my subscribers once

3) Created a checklist

Total time invested: Approximately 3 Hours
Total commission earned: Just under $1000

Not a bad income for just a few hours of work. 🙂 What job can you do that makes that kind of money that’s over $300/hour!

The screen shot here shows only around $700 so I’m not sure where the other emails are, plus Yaro changed the way he runs his affiliate program over to Clickbank so I may have changed the email or something. Anyhow, each of the emails below (Vera you’ve just referred a sale!)  is worth $248.50 in commission.

Here’s one of the emails opened up

As you can tell I haven’t been promoting it all that well since so I’d like to focus on doing a better job there.

Problogger Affiliate Program

I love the Problogger Workbook and I really love Darren’s affiliate program, it’s easy to navigate as he has a simple page that shows everything I need for his program. I started promoting it in the fall of 2009 and while the income stats aren’t as impressive you’ll see it’s been more consistent than Yaro’s program.  Right now it’s mostly fun to see the emails that I’ve referred a sale because I literally do nothing for it but slapped up a banner on the site.

I know I could do SO much better with this program and plan to in the future. People are more likely to purchase if I create my own story behind success with this program.

Here’s what I’ve done for this program:

1) Created a checklist for people who purchase through my link

2) Put a banner or two up on the site

3) Add my affiliate link inside my broadcasts out to my mailing list

Total time invested: not even an hour
Total commission earned: Just under $191.52

Again, this isn’t crazy money or anything but it’s not bad for not even an hours worth of work.  Imagine how much I can increase it by just doing some more honest promotions.

Here’s a screen shot for you to view, like I said, not crazy or anything but at least it’s more consistent.

There’s certainly a ton more I could be doing to help increase the income so that’s the challenge for me as well as you for this month.

So let’s look into WHAT affiliate marketing is:

————

Definition Of An Affiliate: When you become an affiliate with a specific company, or affiliate program, you are awarded for every visitor, subscriber and/or customer that you provide to the company.

Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular forms of business on the web, and an effective way to promote businesses and products.

The basic set up, from the affiliate’s side, goes as follows:

You (the Affiliate) find a company or product that you would like to promote. You join the “affiliate program” of the company and receive the tools by which you can send customers to the company’s website. This most often includes a special URL link, which will let the company know that the customer has come from you. You will get credit when people visit the companies website.

Details can vary, but in most cases you receive a percentage of the revenue from sales that customers make from following your link.

———–

Here are a few tips for designing your website to make sales:

1.  Try to use a white background and black font.  Excessive use of fonts or colors will give your website an unprofessional look.  Keep the design clean and easy to read.

2.  Make the navigation friendly. Have a navigation menu with your main categories then underneath each of those categories you can have links to sub categories or articles.  Have an updated site map so that visitors can easily find what their looking for and make sure you give them a link back to the home page.

3.  Avoid flashing imagines and flash introductions.  These all take away from the purpose of your site and also affect your search engine rankings.  Keep it simple and avoid any flashing graphics, music or flash images in your design.

4.  Keep offer to a minimum. It’s tempting to sign up for a lot of different affiliate programs at once, but this could lead to over promoting of too many different things.  If you give your customers too many choices, they many get too confused and not buy anything at all.  Depending on the size of your website, keep your promotions to a few quality programs and always weave affiliate links into the content of your site.

5.  Warm up your customers. Don’t give visitors a sales pitch as soon as they land on your website.  Instead pre-sell them by offering information, advice and substance they can actually use, then and only then should you make an offer.

6.  Avoid overusing exclamation marks!
Or hypey language, this can be a turn off to a lot of people and may look unprofessional and like you’re just out to make a sale.  Again, think information first.

7.  Keep in touch. Don’t let visitors just leave your site.  Make sure you get their email address so that you have a way to follow-up with them later on.  Don’t abuse their information and send them product offer after product offer because they may just unsubscribe from your list.  Instead, send them useful information and content and then make subtle product recommendations that will help fill their needs.

8.  Provide your contact information.
People are weary of a lot of websites.  Clearly list your contact information on your website.  Of course, you may not want to give out your home address but a P.O. Box, email address and general information about you and your business helps build trust and credibility.

9.  Ask for feedback.
Place a poll or form on your website where visitors can send you feedback.  This is a great way to do market research and learn what your visitors would like to see or how you can improve your website.

Here is how to make your promotions successful:

1. Relevant – Make the affiliate programs that you select really relevant to your niche subject to keep the credibility of your site and entice your members into purchasing the products they need.  It goes without saying, but if you have a site about babies and parenting babies, it’s not a good idea to promote pet related products as these aren’t relevant to your target market.

2. Write honest product reviews. Write informative and honest product reviews.  This is a great way to give your unbiased opinion on a product and to build trust with your subscribers.  And if a product is faulty in some way you can add that as a note, your subscribers will trust you more if they know your recommendations are honest and sincere.

3. Find the correct placement for affiliate links. As mentioned above, affiliate banners and graphics don’t usually work as well as providing informative content and weaving affiliate links where appropriate throughout that content.  For example, you can write a quality article about helping your baby recover from colic and in that article you can link out to resources which will help the parents remedy this problem.

4. Set up your own domain or blog. You can’t do this for every affiliate program, but if you find a product which has really helped you and offers a generous commission, you can set up a blog and speak about your experience using this product.  Make regular posts and comments about how the product is helping you and your experiences with it and link to the product throughout your blog.  You can also set up your own domain name to promote a product.  This looks much more professional than an affiliate link and will be easier to remember too.  It’s great for using when writing articles and content as well.

5. Try to find affiliate programs that offer ‘lifetime cookies’. This means that when you send a member to the affiliate site your affiliate link is tracked in their system and even if the member doesn’t purchase the product right away, you’ll still get paid if the person returns and buys from that affiliate program at a later date.

6. Redirect your affiliate links.
There are many benefits to redirecting your affiliate links.  It’s easier to track and remember your links when you need them.  If a program changes their links it’s easy to go back and change your links.  You’ll also present a more professional image; many affiliate links are long and look like garbly goop; your visitors may be suspicious of these links.  Redirecting your affiliate links solves all these problems.

Here’s how to Redirect your affiliate links:

STEP 1: Create Redirect for Normal Text Link

* Open a blank page in an HTML editor

* Copy the following link and paste it in the blank page:

<html>

<head>

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0;url=AFFILIATELINKGOESHERE”>

</head>

<body>

</body>


STEP 2:
Add the Affiliate Link Where the Yellow Highlighted Text is

STEP 3: Save File Using a Descriptive Name

* For example, if the affiliate link is for Usborne books, then you could name the file ‘usborne.html’

* The resulting affiliate redirect link would be: http://www.domain.com/usborne.html

That’s it!  It’s pretty easy to do and you’ll get many benefits from doing this.

Here’s The Small Spark Challenge for April 2010

1) Pick ONE program you want to promote

2) Post a comment at the bottom of this post to let us know you’re in the contest for this month.

3) Ask ANY questions here so I can help you.

4) At the end of the month state what you did and how it helped your business.

I’ll pick a winner and post it here inside the comments — if you win you need to send me an email to veraATsmallbusinessbranding.com to claim your prize within 3 business days.

The Monthly Winner Will Receive:

  • Report & Checklist – You will get a free copy of the report & checklist so you have your plan in place
  • Articles – 2 Custom Written Articles for your website or blog from All Custom Content
  • Virtual Assistance – 30 Minutes Virtual Assistance – to get your articles listed in some directories and added to your site with Christina Lemmey from MultiMediaVA.com
  • Branding Session30 Minutes Branding Strategy for your Business with Ed Roach from The Branding Experts
  • A Monthly Product from Melissa Ingold
  • Graphics Professional Button for your site from Nola Cooper Classic Creations Design
  • PLRPrivate Label Rights Pack from Alice Seba & Mila Sidman All Private Label Content
  • Free Access to Membership Site Intensive by Kelly McCausey & Lynette Chandler
  • Bonus: Vera will donate $50 To The Monthly Charity
  • Bonus: 1 Month Direct Email Coaching from Vera

Good luck to you!

PS. Would you like to promote our Contest? Just grab these buttons and banners, link them to

http://www.smallbusinessbranding.com/spark & place them on your website.  🙂

smallspark_125x125 smallspark_125x125_challenger

smallspark_468x60

PPS. Would  you like to donate a prize? Just email veraATsmallbusinessbranding.com.

Vera Raposo

Vera Raposo has been an entrepreneur since age 22, owning 5 retail store locations.
In 2007, she closed and sold all locations to pursue her online business.Now she's living out an entrepreneurs dream having successfully turned business into a venture that's completely online.

You can reach her at veraATclickcreateshare.com.

Comments

  1. Gail Seymour says:

    OK Vera, I’m in.

  2. Hey Gail, Wonderful! Just post any questions you have here.