Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Working With Affiliate Programs

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by : Jude Wright

Everywhere you look you see affiliate program offers for every product or service that you can think of. Some have fully automated systems that sell high volumes of hard products all over the world. In case you don't know, "hard" products are those that you can touch...unlike an ebook or
downloadable web template. Many affiliate programs have several thousand affiliates and one or two of the bigger companies have over one million affiliates.

What are the advantages of joining an affiliate program?

They provide a ready-made business. This is a very big plus for those people who want to earn some kind of living off the Internet but lack the knowledge or inclination to set up a business by themselves.
Commissions and rewards are generally good, and the more established programs offer a real chance of advancement to higher and better-paid levels.
Other affiliates are usually on hand to offer practical support.

What are the limitations?

You are restricted in your promotional activities due to the fact that you do not actually own the affiliate site they give you. You won't be able to put such things as banners, images, links, meta tags, etc. onto your page.
The URL of your affiliate page is often either too long or contains such awkward things as question marks, which many Search Engines will not index.
Any promotional ads or articles have probably already been used by thousands of other people and consequently may have lost its impact, making it more difficult to achieve sales or referrals.

Affiliate ProgramsIf the program you have joined has not yet established itself (or in some cases even if it has), then you may encounter problems with payments owed to you not being honored. You also run the risk of low quality products or sub-standard statistics that do not accurately record how many referrals or sales you have made.

You may be required to purchase a minimum quantity of the product on a regular basis before you start to qualify for commissions or even before you can become an affiliate.
You may not get the technical or affiliate support you might expect from the company. This may be due to inadequate staffing, or the company's negligence.

Other people in your downline do nothing to promote the program.

At least four of the above limitations can be overcome with a little time and effort. You could, for example, come up with fresher ads to promote the program (provided this is allowed).

If the company supplies the email addresses of people in your downline, then you could offer to help the less active members. Very often these people are passive not because they are lazy or apathetic but merely because they don't know HOW to promote effectively! your guidance could mean the difference between no sales or referrals and healthy downlines and residual incomes.

As regards promoting your actual page, here are a couple of little tricks that should overcome a number of restrictions:
Cloak your Affiliate URL to stop hijackers Affiliate Masker While this will not help you to get listed on the major Search Engines, it will make your web page easier for prospects to remember and type into their browser's address bar.

Go to your affiliate page. Place your mouse pointer anywhere on the page and right click once. In the drop-down box choose "View Source". This will display the HTML for the page. Save this to your hard drive as a HTML document using the "Save As" function. Upload the page to your web site.
If you don't have a web site then get some free web space from one of these:

Submit your 'new' page to the Search Engines. You are also now able to place banner codes, links, images, testimonials, in fact anything you want onto these pages, because you are in control of the HTML. A word of caution, though. Don't change the actual HTML of your original affiliate page. Just put the other stuff, like banners etc, around it.
Making this "mirror page" of your affiliate page will
dramatically improve your advertising options.

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