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        Another AHBBO Article
        The Truth About Affiliate Programs

        Affiliate programs are a brilliant idea.  For the owner of
        the product, they're a way of recruiting a veritable army
        of salespeople to promote your product without having to
        pay them a dime unless and until they generate a sale. 
        For the affiliate, they're a great way of earning extra
        cash from an existing, high-traffic website with virtually
        zero additional effort.

        Only problem is, most affiliates don't HAVE an existing,
        high-traffic website and they're suckered into thinking that
        it's a simple matter of signing up for an affiliate program
        and "driving traffic" to the product owner's site using a
        uniquely-coded URL.  Well, it IS that simple.  And it isn't.

        If you don't already have your own high-traffic website,
        how do you think you're going to drive traffic to the
        product owner's site in the hope of generating a sale?
        Well, there are a few ways, actually.  And all of them are
        going to cost you either time or money. 

        First off, you're going to have to spend money on
        advertising.  How much?  Well, consider this.  Estimates
        vary but, roughly, only 2-4% of people who see your ad
        will actually click on your link.  Of that 2-4%, only 1% or
        so of THEM will go on to buy.  In addition, it takes, on
        average, 7 or 8 exposures to your ad before people will
        click on it.  AND to achieve even these piddly numbers
        your market must be targeted in the first place.  This is,
        as you can see, nothing but a numbers game.  Pure and

        So what does all this mean to you, the advertiser without
        a website?  Well, to start with you're going to want to
        advertise where a LOT of people are going to see your ad. 
        But not just ANY people.  People interested in the product
        you're wanting to sell - your target market.  So this cuts
        out the free classifieds and FFAs.  And it means you're
        going to have to spend advertising dollars.

        Where do you go to advertise then?  The most effective
        form of advertising is in ezines.  Take mine, for example. 
        At the time of writing, my subscriber database is around
        14,000.  Each week I run an ad for my own opportunity (in
        addition to running ads from other paying advertisers).  I
        generally get about 500 click-throughs over the course of
        the 2 or 3 days following publication.  That's a click-through
        rate of about 3.6%, about in line with the average. 

        If you were to pay to advertise in my ezine, it would cost
        you $70 for a single classified based on my $5 CPM ($5 per
        every 1,000 subscribers) pricing formula.  This is not an
        uncommon formula for pricing ezine advertising.  You're
        therefore paying around 14 cents per click.  That's not bad.

        Other than that, what can you do?  Well, you can choose
        to spend time rather than money.  An obvious choice
        considering what I've just said is to start your OWN ezine. 
        Build your own list and over time you will have a large
        subscriber database to put your ad in front of too ...
        and it won't cost you a dime.  But this takes time and it
        takes work.  It's taken me two and a half years to build
        a list of 14,000 subscribers.  And it takes a few hours of
        work to put together the ezine itself including writing the
        feature article.  Every week, week in, week out.  Is it worth
        it?  Absolutely.

        And once you're publishing your own ezine, it's a simple
        enough matter to distribute your articles for other ezine
        publishers to run in their ezines.  That 4 or 5 liner at the
        end telling readers who you are with a link to your website
        (or, if you don't have one, the website of the owner of
        the product you're selling) is effectively free advertising
        for you.  Not all publishers accept article submissions
        though, so be sure to find out whether they do before
        submitting your articles to them.

        But think about this.  If you're doing all this work anyway,
        doesn't it make sense to create your OWN website (in
        addition to your ezine)?  Sure it takes time and it takes
        work and it takes money (but not a lot - hosting fees can
        be pretty cheap if you know where to go).  But once it's
        done and you're just in maintenance mode - adding fresh
        content every few days, uploading your latest ezine and
        maintaining your archives - your website does so much
        of the work for you.  Generate a few hundred unique
        visitors a day and you can be getting the same click-
        through rate to your affiliate site *for nothing* that you
        were paying someone else 14 cents a click for.  EVERY
        SINGLE DAY.  24/7/365.

        So, this is the truth about affiliate programs.  They're great
        if you're the product owner and they're great if you can
        link to your affiliate site from your own high-traffic site.

        But if you don't have your own site, you're going to have to
        buy traffic to your affiliate site - either with money, time or
        both.  How many sales are you going to have to generate
        to earn enough commission to more than cover your time and
        costs and leave you with a profit?

        Bottom line?  Setting out to make money with affiliate
        programs before you have your own site in place is putting
        the cart before the horse.  Yes, you want to make money
        and you want to do it quickly.  But it just doesn't work that
        way.  Not with affiliate programs, anyway.  So adjust
        your expectations and do first steps first.  It will be slow
        going to start.  It will take you weeks to create a worthwhile
        site and then MONTHS to generate the kind of traffic you
        need.  But if you take a long-term approach to your
        business and take the time now to lay the proper foundation,
        you'll reap the dividends for years to come.

        Read More About Affiliate Programs


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        Elena Fawkner is editor of Home-Based Business Online. Best business ideas and opportunities for your home-based or online business.

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