7 Critical Tools To Get Started In Affiliate Marketing

What is Affiliate Marketing? Simply put, it is promoting another person’s products or services and in return you get commission for each sale that you make.

Is there money to be made in affiliate marketing? Definitely! Affiliate marketing is a billion dollar industry. Thousands of affiliate marketers are already quietly marketing affiliate products and receiving big commission checks monthly. They may not necessary be in the crowded Internet Marketing niche. Many of them are operating under the radar in markets like trading, diet, fitness, parenting, gaming, sports or insurance.

For any aspiring affiliate marketer, make sure these resources and tools are assembled before embarking on your affiliate marketing journey.

1. A Website and Domain for Each Niche or Market

You will usually get a replicated website from the merchant tagged with your affiliate ID. While you will eventually direct your prospects to that website, not sending them to your own website first is a mistake. It is better to have a website for each niche with its own domain name. For less than $10 a year, you can get domain names cheaply at Namecheap or Godaddy. To protect your privacy, you may choose to pay a small fee for the WHOIS protection service to prevent people from gaining access to your address, phone number and email. With a proper domain name, you can also set up an email account associated with your domain name. It is best not to use free email account like Yahoo and Hotmail to communicate with your prospects as this lacks professionalism.

2. A Hosting Account

For hosting services, there are many good service providers like Hostgator and Fatjackhosting starting from $5 a month. 24/7 technical support and reliable servers are very important considerations. Do not go for free web hosting services as you will not look professional with all the banners and advertising popups plastered on your website. I would also advise that you do not buy your domain and hosting services from the same company so that you will have more flexibility and negotiation power should you want to switch vendors.

3. An Autoresponder

An autoresponder sends out a series of follow up emails or group broadcast to your subscribers. This allows you to build relationship with your list and offering many selling opportunities. Never use free autoresponder as they usually come with sponsored ads and there may also be deliverability issues. AWeber, Get Response and Email Aces are good autoresponder service providers you can consider. Many of these service providers do not allow direct import of lists, unless the subscribers give permission to be mailed again. This may cause your database to drop off by 40% and so, sign up with the right company the first time carefully! One of the few companies that allow direct import is Auto Responder Plus.

The Relationship Between Marketing And Sales

When comparing marketing with sales and considering how they relate to one another I always think of the medium sized business where I had my first job. The marketing department people were serious and analytical, always busy with statistics and campaigns and meetings. The sales people were breathless, always on the go, always on the phone or going to meet customers, always on the cusp of some enormous deal, some magic sale that would catapult the company’s turnover way over the annual target. As a junior it seemed to me that the marketing people and the sales people were from two different planets. I now know that they were simply two parts of the same continuum.

Marketing can be described as the set of activities that are undertaken in order to generate leads, while selling is the act of turning a prospect a hot lead into a buyer and later a repeat customer. The marketing and sales functions of any organization are glued together by leads. If there are no leads, the two will fall foul of one another. I saw this in that business I was describing earlier. But leads work both ways. The marketing department has to deliver them and the sales department must act upon them to maximum advantage. But leads must first be generated and that is why marketing tends to overwhelm the sales function when the two are discussed.

The various forms that marketing takes are well known because they are so visible. They range from cold canvassing to brand or corporate advertising, through to the more targeted types of marketing such as direct response advertising and referrals, where the particular benefits of the product is explained to the customer. If this is done properly, then qualified prospects will actually approach the sales people for assistance. Sales people love those leads. It is in fact when the sales people take over the communication function that the lead ceases to be a lead and becomes a prospective customer, then a customer and finally a repeat customer.

Actually I have painted a somewhat idealistic picture of the lead relationship between the marketing function and the sales function. It is just not that simple because not all leads are equal. An extremely tiny percentage leads are customers who are ready to buy. Most of them are merely interested in possibly buying at a future date and some are just mildly interested, just browsing. That’s why it is important to have some sort of lead management system so that potential customers can be turned into buyers and buyers can become repeat customers.

All follow up communication should be friendly and informative, definitely not hard sell. The company representative should be regarded as a helpful expert rather than a rabid sales person. Fortunately many of the follow up functions can be automated to take the form of email, direct mail, voice broadcast and fax broadcast. Obviously the lead would be encouraged each time to call directly if they have questions or a ready to buy. The follow up effort is usually a function of the marketing and sales departments combined.

Basic Concepts Of MLM Marketing System

In the past two decades, we have seen that companies around the world have continuously prioritized product improvement and cost control. The goal is to provide high quality products while keeping production costs low. This business philosophy has ushered in new innovations in product distribution.

One of the growing distribution systems that have helped both the company offering the product and the independent distributor is MLM marketing system. Over 80 percent of direct selling companies now use the network marketing distribution scheme. This has surely made an impact in the way products are brought to end-users.

MLM marketing system is characteristically a direct selling method where distributors are compensated in both selling the company’s products and the business opportunity for customers becoming distributors as well. The distributors are independent contractors, so to speak, and not employees of the company; they function as the company’s customer base as well as sales and marketing arm for the products the company is offering.

This significantly cuts the distribution costs of a company. There is no more need for media advertising because word-of-mouth marketing is emphasized. Warehousing and handling costs for the products are also kept to a minimum because, more often than not, the independent distributors help in shouldering these costs.

As these fixed costs are minimized, the company is able to reallocate the budget to pay for commissions of multilevel marketing distributors; which are variable in nature. Overall, the company is able to cut down on logistical costs as a whole.

MLM marketing system revolves around three areas. Unlike in a basic direct selling system, these three factors are uniquely present in the many forms of MLM marketing systems. The following factors also make it hugely profitable for millions of independent MLM marketing distributors.

Firstly, this is a perfect model for leveraging. Distributors earn commissions not only from their personal sales but also from the sales of their downlines-distributors they have recruited. Upon reaching a qualifying level, rank or sales volume, a distributor earns a percentage from the sales of downlines.

Leveraging enables ordinary people to start on equal footing with everyone within the system. However, distributors have the opportunity to surpass the income of the same people they started with, or even those who started ahead of them, by retailing and sponsoring others into their organization. Therefore, distributors can be catapulted to star ranks in the organization by having more people who can sell within their immediate group.

Secondly, MLM marketing systems make geometric growth in income potential possible. Imagine a distributor being able to recruit five downline distributors; then those five downlines are able to recruit another five downlines for each of them. On just the third level, the upline or pioneering distributor will have thirty independent sales and marketing arms from whom a percentage of sales can be earned without additional work done.

To be able to maximize the benefits of a network marketing compensation system, a distributor must commit to stay in the company for at least a year and, aside from effective sales, do personal recruiting and help recruits sponsor new recruits.

Lastly, they provide a good source of residual income. MLM marketing distributors have the opportunity to earn residual income each time customers buy products and each time their downlines make sales as well. Maximizing repeat sales potential can make distributors wealthy, this time without even working.

3 Tactics For Getting Prospects To Open Your Letters In Your Direct Mail Campaign

Using a direct mail program to sell your Internet Marketing Services to local businesses would be a small, yet wise investment in your business. Direct mail allows you to reach a potential client for under $1.00 each and deliver a powerful and strong sales message. It also provides a continuous contact system with your potential clients to give you the best return on your investment. There are proven tactics to ensure direct mail campaing success. These tactics are, hand-addressed envelopes with live stamps, lumpy mail, and postcards.

1.) Hand addressed envelopes with live stamps- Using a hand addressed envelope and a live stamp takes away the ‘commercial’ feel associated with direct mail campaigns. Making it seem or look more like a personal letter increases the chances of getting it opened.

2.) Lumpy Mail- is no more than putting something with a ‘lump’ inside the envelope. This is usually some type of advertising specialty such as a pen or a keychain with your company name and logo on it. When the feel something inside the envelope, they are compelled to open it to see what’s inside. This is another tactic to getting your letter opened.

3.) Postcards- they don’t’ need to be opened. You can buy pre-stamped ones for the price of just the stamp at your local post office. This basically gives you the postcard free as well. Now you only pay for printing and since you are working on a local level, you could even use your home printer to print them.

Now that you have 3 ways to get your letters opened, you are ready to start your direct mail campaign. Start writing some great copy, get your list and get to mailing. Be sure to include a strong call to action on all your mail correspondence to get them to want to work with you.

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