Excited About Affiliate Marketing?

As we approached the end of another work day, a conversation between myself and our Accounting contractor about entrepreneurship somehow turned into a discussion about Affiliate Marketing. In our country especially, so many youngsters in their 20′s or even teenagers have found extreme wealth through taking advantage of the Internet, which is truly a gold mine.

What is Affiliate Marketing

Here is Wikipedia’s definition of affiliate marketing:

Affiliate marketing is a type of performance-based marketing in which a business rewards one or more affiliates for each visitor or customer brought by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

affiliate marketingThere are many ways in which an affiliate marketer can and will promote a business or specific product.

Example of Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing websites like Mecanto posts reviews of Internet Marketing products. Their goal is to walk the fine line between providing unbiased information about a certain product and blatantly selling it, but since the ultimate goal is to sell the product, affiliate marketers need to take a very specific and strategic approach to writing their reviews.

How do they get paid?

When an Affiliate marketer sells a product through writing a product review, this is known as a “referral” or “conversion”. Each affiliate will receive their own affiliate link which is unique to them and allows sales to be traced back to the person promoting the product through their website, video, email, etc. The link’s destination is normally the official landing page for the product.

While an affiliate marketer has to be careful not to blatantly sell something, their goal is to send each visitor to the landing page, and in contrast, the landing page is indeed geared to finalize the sale.

Revenue sharing

If the sale is finalized and the visitor submits their payment, profits are split between the product owner and the affiliate. With Internet Marketing products, commissions are generally high and the average is between 50% to 60%.

But in some cases, an affiliate could even earn 100% commission per sale. Why would they want to give 100% of the revenue to their affiliates? Simple.

Nothing is more valuable than the possession of a Buyer’s email address. A large list of email addresses is not necessarily valuable by itself, but if you could filter the addresses associated with proven buyers, you have opened the door to recurring income because most people that have bought once will most likely buy again.

Going back to why someone would want to pay their affiliates 100% is because even though the product creator would forfeit the profits for the actual sales, their sales page would collect each buyer’s email address, and since they are giving their affiliates amazing incentive to promote the product, product creators that pay at 100% are likely to have more affiliates and therefore more buyer email addresses. This is a strategic approach with long term benefits.

Product Reviews

When an affiliate marketer promotes a product, the most effective method also happens to be the easiest and fastest method if you have the means to do it. Of course I’m referring to promoting a product via e-mail to your list of buyers. If you look at any affiliate leaderboard for any product, the leaders are always affiliate marketers that promoted through their lists.

So where does that leave affiliate marketers that might not have a buyer list yet?

With Internet Marketing product reviews, if the affiliate is not promoting through their lists, they are most likely going to create a review page on a website such as this WP Mega Pack review and they can also create a supplemental review on YouTube. Since YouTube is free and takes less time, some affiliates will focus all of their efforts in promoting the product through YouTube and bypass the Review site completely. This is not a bad idea especially since you could also think in terms of creating several YouTube videos for a single product, spread out through different YouTube accounts if you would like, and you may have an opportunity to reach a larger audience.

Summary

Regardless of an Affiliate Marketer’s approach, a good strategy will often be the difference between a successful affiliate marketer and someone that’s struggling. I would recommend that every newbie or aspiring affiliate marketer should invest some of their time into analysis of their competition and planning. This is where the strategy is developed. So grab a pencil and a notebook, research a few Internet Marketing forums, ask questions, look at existing websites, and take notes the entire time!

Hello world!

So I’ve decided to change my “Hello World!” post a little bit. All you WordPress buffs know what I’m referring to, but since I doubt anyone else does, I’ll briefly explain to you that whenever you create a blog through WordPress (like this one), it sets you up with a few samples to give newbies some kind of reference point which I must say was a real gift to me when I was getting started with WordPress.

Here is a screenshot of what the WordPress interface looks like as I write this:

wordpress

I guess that’s hard to see and even harder to read, but I think you can at least see how I’m creating a post entitled “Hello World!”

Well, that’s actually the default title for your first post, as I’ve mentioned. And I’m hoping you can also get a sense for how user-friendly and simple the blog interface truly is.

There was a period of time when webmasters liked to claim “making a website is as easy as writing a Word document”. At the time, that statement wasn’t necessarily true or at least not in my opinion, but today I believe there’s quite a bit of truth to this.

Most people are intimidated at the thought of creating their own blogs, but if you think about it, sometimes bloggers can be among the least tech savvy people you know. Surprised? Don’t be. Remember… it’s like using Microsoft Word!

And did you know currently 19% of all websites are WordPress based?

That statistic is absolutely staggering! But I’m telling you…

Once You Go WordPress, You Never Go Back!

And believe me when I say that everyone else I know building websites and blogs in 2014 have said the same thing. In addition to its unrivaled level of being User Friendly, WordPress is also becoming more sophisticated and the most creative and talented web developers and coding experts are creating more and more incredible templates to use for our websites. In fact, a lot of these templates (referred to as “themes”) are actually created with the intention of making lots of money. A prime example of this might be a theme that has an embedded Opt-In form strategically placed somewhere on the home page that would tend to catch each visitor’s attention.

What Did You Expect, First Timer?

I was actually severely confused the first time I installed WordPress on my website and that feeling didn’t sit well with me, especially since I was the resident techie among my colleagues. But at the same time, I simply didn’t know where to look for things, so I’m going to help you with this.

I’m not going to run through an entire setup of WordPress, but if you wanted to do that, I found an excellent tutorial here.

But I’ll still go through some of the more basic and fundamental features, including things that must be configured after your installation. Well – not technically a must – but if you neglect these things, you might be left confused like I was!

Getting Started

wp-installThe first thing you want to do after installation is navigate to your Settings which is accessible from the left sidebar. This is where you give your website a name and description. For the description, use descriptive words that represent what your website is actually about as opposed to filler words; this isn’t a description of your English class essay. You will also want to set up your time zone from the very beginning because if you don’t, WordPress might think you published a post at 2:00 AM when it was actually 11:00 PM.

The next thing you want to do is navigate to the Comments which is also accessible from the left sidebar (and I won’t mention that again because all settings are located on your left sidebar). WordPress gives you a sample comment with every installation and it’s always the same. I don’t need to tell you this comment really has no purpose on your blog, so delete it!

Finally, we have the Posts and Pages. For starters, I think it’s important to differentiate between the two.

Remembering this is a blog, your posts are basically going to be your blog entries, articles, and/or updates. Posts are what make blogs what they are. You definitely do not want to get your posts mixed up with pages.

Now Pages, are more like other sections of your blog or website. Examples of items that you would create a Page for includes your Contact page, About page, Terms and Conditions page, Privacy Policy page, and you get the picture.

WordPress gives you a Sample Post and Sample Page. As mentioned earlier, the Sample Post is the “Hello World!” post. I would advise that you do not delete the post in the same manner we did with the Comments because this time, our post does serve a purpose. Personally, I think you are better off opening the “Hello World!” post and editing that post as opposed to creating a new post. This is your first time, so it’s nice to have the framework already laid out. Go ahead and update the subject, body (content), set your options if you’d like (tags, category, etc) and then click “Update”.

Same thing goes for your Sample Page was is conveniently labeled “Sample Page”. Instead of deleting this page and creating another, I would recommend that you edit the Sample Page and convert it to one of the pages that are essentially required for any blog or website, such as the Contact page.

Creating the Contact Page

Now you have an option with the Contact page. You can either write a short blurb that ultimately points visitors to your e-mail address or you can do what I recommend and create a Contact Form.

“What’s this about a form? I thought you said I wouldn’t have to write code?!?”

Aha! Welcome to another wonderful thing about WordPress. With thousands and thousands of WordPress Plugins available for free, we can add advanced features and other cool elements to our website with the click of a button! This certainly applies to creating Contact forms too. In fact, the only thing that’s a little overwhelming about having the option to create Contact forms and other features with plugins is that sometimes you have too many options and won’t know which option to choose!

Well I’ll go ahead and help you this time. I use a plugin called Easy Contact Forms because it’s just that… easy! After you have downloaded this plugin, look to your sidebar and:

Click Plugins > Add New > Select the Easy Contact Forms zip file > Activate

After your plugin has activated, you will see a new option for “Contact Forms” at the bottom of your left sidebar. You can go there to customize the form and retrieve your shortcode which would start with [easy_contact_forms….. but I can’t write out the rest of this shortcode otherwise it would add my contact form right here!

Now, you want to go back to the Contact Page you created from the Sample Page, and if you have anything written in the body, remove all of it, and paste the shortcode that we found in the Contact Forms settings.

Click “Update” as you should always do after making a change to a Page or Post, and then in another tab in your browser, navigate to your blog, click the Contact link and… Voila!  You’ve just created a Contact Page with much less than one line of code!

Couldn’t find the Contact link on your blog? Don’t fret!

Since I’ve been around the block with this CMS more times than I can count, I’m able to anticipate certain problems that you will run into with WordPress, and we may have just run into one such problem when I showed you how to create a Contact Page by using a Plugin.

You might have to create a Menu before you can see links to your Pages…

And once again it’s easier than pie! Go to:

Appearance (towards the center of sidebar) > Menus > Enter a Menu Name i.e. “Main Menu” > Create Menu…

This will create the menu and reload the web page, so the next step is to “check” the Contact page that should be listed on the left had side of the active screen, and click the Add to Menu button.

Like anything else you do in WordPress, you’ve made a change, so it’s time to Save or Update (depending on your options)

Summary

I was able to accomplish a few things with this post:

1. Announced my return :)

2. Pimped WordPress

3. Introduced WordPress

4. Gave you a quick run down of basic features and functions

And if you were reading, you would have noticed before I started to explain WordPress basics, I gave you a link to a comprehensive tutorial for newbies and you should really check it out! If you missed it but really want it, I’m going to have to make you scroll up and find it because it’s really late in my neck of the woods, my eyes are closing, and my brain is calling it quits… so… Good night!