Affiliate Marketing Part 1 – Choose A Profitable Niche

Parcel - Present

Choosing a profitable niche is probably the most important decision you make when setting up an affiliate marketing business. There are two ways you can go. ….you can either select a product sector which you are interested in (the long term option) or you can choose a niche product which is flying off the shelves at the moment (the short term option).

Look for a product which is already selling well with a good Return On Investment (ROI). It certainly helps if you are conversant with and enthusiastic about the product, which at the end of the day has to sell and make a profit.

An excellent guide to the popularity of a product can be found on sites like Amazon, eBay and Argos. Look for ‘Today’s Deals‘ on Amazon, ‘Today’s featured collections‘ on eBay and ‘Featured Products’ on Argos. Don’t try to sell products where you are likely to encounter huge competition.

You might also consider promoting products which are popular at certain times of year, like Christmas, Easter and Halloween. …..or concentrating on special occasions.

A site called DMOZ lists a huge number of internet based topics. You can drill down into a specific market area and discover much smaller niches.

Don’t procrastinate over which niche market place you are going to enter….just do it! Your first campaign will teach you a huge amount, which will stand you in good stead when launching subsequent campaigns.

clickbankThere are a number of affiliate marketing program providers who act as middlemen between the supplier of the product or service and the affiliate marketeer. Here is a list of leading facilitators….

CJ Affiliate (formerly Commission Junction)

Clickbank

Share-A-Sale

So after some research you have found a group of products, within a marketing niche, which you wish to promote. Now you have to find a business which licenses affiliates to market their products within your niche. You must also determine whether the commission they are offering is sufficient recompense for all of your hard work.

A Company who can provide answers to both of these questions is Clickbank. Once you have signed up as an affiliate (not as a vendor) click on ‘Marketplace’ in the toolbar. You will see that Clickbank has an extensive ‘Knowledge Base’ and a guide on ‘How to Find Products To Promote’.

YogaAs a example, say you were interested in promoting Yoga. Click on the ‘Health and Fitness’ category in the left hand sidebar and a range of subjects will appear including Yoga. Having clicked on ‘Yoga’ you will see a list of subjects on yoga. Say we look at ‘Yoga For Healing’ by clicking on the title. You can see it has sample videos, excellent testimonials and even a free ebook. The product itself is selling for $97. The average amount an affiliate earns is currently $26-65.

Clicking on ‘Stats’ gives you a lot more information about the performance of this product in the marketplace. By clicking on ‘Promote’ you will generate a unique affiliate link (Clickbank call it a ‘Hoplink’)  which enables you to promote the product wherever you wish.

Wealthy Affiliate covers this subject in much greater detail so I recommend that you take up their offer of a free account.

There are two further parts to this series on Affiliate Marketing which you can open by clicking on the following links

Part 2 – Create A WordPress site

Part 3 – Promote Your Site

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Part 2 – Create A WordPress Site

WordPress LogoThere is no better way of building an online presence than through creating a WordPress blog.

 

So where do you start?

The best site to use to create your blog is WordPress.

A guy called Quentin Watt has recorded three You Tube videos which show you how to install WordPress.

Once you have decided on the product or service you are going to promote, you have to choose a domain name, which should include words which are relevant to your niche.

The most searched keywords relating to your niche can be found using keyword research tools. For Google Adwords you will have to create a Google account if you haven’t already got one.

 

Google Adwords

and

 

 Jaxxy logo

 

The next step is to register your domain and to arrange for your site to be hosted. There are countless companies offering these services, so the marketplace has become very competitive. As there is nothing to choose between the leading companies on price, it comes down to comparing the amount of support each offers. On this basis I have no hesitation in recommending…..

Hostgator logo 2

They provide a video tutorial on installing a WordPress blog and also a Live Chat support service.

  • Once you have registered with HostGator, click on the ‘register domains’ tab. Enter your proposed domain name in the ‘Find a Domain’ field. It will search to find out whether you have chosen a unique domain name and give you alternative suggestions. Register your domain.

  • Now click on ‘Hosting’  —> ‘Choose A Plan’

  • If you are just starting out and have a single domain, choose the ‘Hatchling Plan’

  • Whilst on this page scroll down to ‘WordPress Hosting’. The short video tutorial shows you how to use ‘Quick Install’ to install your domain on WordPress.

  • Click on ‘Sign Up Now’ to purchase your Hatchling Plan.

  • Return to the video tutorial mentioned above and follow the instructions to set up your WordPress blog

One of the great features of WordPress is the huge number of plugins, which greatly enhance and extend the functionality of your blog. You will find the best plugins here….

Best WordPress plugins

If you Google ‘Best WordPress Logins’ you will find loads more.

Now that you have got your WordPress site set up, you should work through the headings on your dashboard, which are self-explanatory.

For more information and support I recommend you open a free account with Wealthy Affiliate.

You may wish to move on to the last article in this series Part 3 – Promote Your Site 

 

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Increase Your Conversion Rates

Converting at rugby

You can have the best looking website in the world but if it does not convert visitors into customers it is a waste of time and money. To ensure you achieve the optimum conversion rates from your digital marketing strategy, you may like to consider the following five crucial factors.

1. Optimize Your Landing Page

Many people drive all of their traffic to the home page…..this is a big mistake. Instead you should drive visitors to the page which is most relevant to their online search. These landing pages should link to the visitor’s online search query.

If you are creating your site using WordPress you can take a number of steps to ensure your visitor lands on the page best suited to the search they are carrying out. Firstly you should install a plugin called Yoast SEO. Now open one of your posts in WP Editor and scroll down to Yoast.

Take a look at the ‘Snippet Preview’ which shows you the text seen by a visitor when they search on Google using keywords you have written into your script. If you don’t change this text, or meta description as it is called, Google will grab the first couple of lines from your post trailing off after the first 160 characters. You have the opportunity of changing this text into a succinct summary of your post, whilst also encouraging the visitor to open it.

Now enter your most important keyword in the ‘Focus Keyword’ field. Yoast analyses how this word appears in your post and makes suggestions on where it should appear. SEO is a huge subject, which warrants several posts in its own right. However you may like to take a look at Search Engine Watch, which covers the subject in some detail.

Don’t forget to complete the tags for your post in the right hand sidebar.

To help improve landing page conversion rates, you should consider the following elements.

  • Highlight how you can resolve your customer’s problems.

  • Explain how you reduce buying risk…..how do you overcome the customer’s concerns regarding quality, cost, service…..

  • Communicate a clear online value proposition. Why should they buy from you rather than a competitor?

  • Have a clear call to action. Highlight what you want them to do next, such as going to a particular page or signing up for a newsletter.

  • Improve the layout. Improving the area ‘above the fold’ will always increase conversion rates.

Most people think about the design of their page before lead generation and conversion……actually the reverse should be the case. It is believed that half of conversion rate optimisation is about testing the design and layout of your site and making adjustments accordingly. The other half is about the message and words on the page.

2. Make Your Site Mobile Friendly

More and more people are browsing on mobile devices such as mobile phones and iPads, instead of using traditional desktop computers. The majority of sites have not been mobile optimised, which means that navigating around a site on a mobile device is difficult and some content may disappear from the screen.

To check how your website appears on different screens, I highly recommend the free testing tool at http://mattkersley.com/responsive

Before you think about changing your website into one with a responsive design, it’s important to check what your visitors are using. The free software tool Google Analytics    www.google.com/analytics will show you the devices visitors are using to access your site. If you do have a mobile optimised website, think about using ‘click-to-call’ buttons instead of asking visitors to complete data fields for email addresses etc.., which can be awkward on a small hand-held device.

3. Nuture Your Leads By email

Email is a great way of keeping in touch with your contact list and selling follow up products. There are a lot of inexpensive and easy to use email systems such as

www.constantcontact.com/uk
 
and www.mailchimp.com

If time is an issue then a marketing automation system may be the answer. The dispatch of emails can be triggered by a certain action, or, if an email remains unopened for a given length of time, a new email is sent automatically with a different subject line.

Emails can also be set up to go out at key buying periods, which is ideal for a product that is used within a particular period of time. A reminder can be sent out with a discounted offer to try and clinch a deal. Critical success factors for this type of conversion tool are…….

  • Having enough opt-in email addresses to start with

  • Making sure customer journeys are carefully mapped

  • Finding the right software provider with a scalable system

  • Allocating a long term budget to sophisticated email marketing

Recommended providers you may wish to consider are Act-On, Hubspot, Pardot, Marketo and Eloqua.

4. The Importance of Ratings, Reviews and Testimonials

Ratings, reviews and testimonials increase conversion rates substantially. Research has shown that using reviews achieved 60% higher conversions and 82% more page views per visitor.

What is more products with recommendations generate 20% more sales than items without them. Google says that adverts with ‘seller ratings’ get a 17% higher click through rate (CTR) than the same advert without ratings. However, a website needs at least 30 reviews from the past 12 months to add Seller Ratings.

5. Test, Test and Test Again

Every website is different and to find the most effective approach you can use a tool like Google Analytics. They will identify the most important parts of the site and then A/B testing can be used to identify which layout and content generates the most conversions.

A/B testing involves creating two versions of the same page and then 50% of the visitors are taken to one page with the remainder visiting the other. Conversion rates can then be analysed to find out which page generates the most conversions.

Best of luck improving your conversion rates.

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