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My current best selling program earns me $90 a sale. I don't do anything different to promote that than I do program that makes me $20 a sale. If it takes same amount of time and effort to make a sale from each program, why wouldn't I focus my energies on $90 commission product?
Contrary to what many believe, it is no harder to sell a $247 product than it is to sell a $50 product. Don't prejudge your audience. Make sure you offer programs that are relevant to their interests (and which you're proud to promote - that should go without saying but just in case ...) and mere fact that you're bringing targeted buyers and highly relevant products together will do rest, statistically speaking. Never, never forget - making money in an online business is a numbers game, pure and simple. Generate enough traffic and you'll generate sales. But if you generate traffic that doesn't match your product line, forget about it.
To finish off, here's a few miscellaneous considerations to take into account when selecting your affiliate programs.
=> How Long Do Cookies Last?
Always go for programs that will credit you with sale even if customer doesn't buy on first visit. That high paying program I mentioned above? 90% of sales come from follow-up messages sent by owner of program once I give him lead.
That's pretty typical of all affiliate programs. You've heard that it takes an average of seven exposures to a message before a prospect will buy, right? Well, what happens to your commissions if you only get paid for direct sales (i.e. where customer buys on first visit following a direct link from your site)? Right. You get maybe 10% of commissions you would have earned from program if customer was tagged as yours for a period of time (and preferably for life).
Always read terms and conditions of affiliate program carefully before investing your time and effort. If it says anything like "if customer later makes a purchase on a repeat visit that does not originate from your link, you will not qualify for a commission on such sale" keep looking.
Some programs will place a cookie on customer's hard disk for 45 days or so which means that if that customer returns in three weeks to eventually make a purchase, that customer will be identified as "yours" and you will get commission. Some programs even offer "lifetime customers", that is, customer is yours for life even if they come back in three years time and buy a completely different product.
=> Stats Reporting
Look for real-time reporting of statistics including hits and sales. Then check to make sure that hits affiliate program records are in line with your own stats tracking. This is easy to do. I use Roibot to track all clicks I'm interested in monitoring whether it's a program I'm promoting or whether I'm just interested in how many people click on a particular link to an article, for example. (To check out Roibot suite of marketing tools, click this (Roibot) link: http://www.roibot.com/w.cgi?R5469_roibot ).
=> Frequency (and Amount) of Payments
Some programs will only pay once you accumulate a certain amount of commission dollars. That's OK ... it keeps admin costs down and therefore makes more of profit available for payment of generous commissions ... but if it's disproportionately high compared to amount of base commission, consider another program.
If it takes you a year to accumulate $50 in commissions, ask yourself how likely is it that this particular company will still be around in one years? Even if you have no concerns on that score, if it's taking you a year to accumulate $50 worth of commissions, this is not a program that's giving a particularly good return on your investment of time and effort. Look for something more productive.
=> How Long Established?
Related to previous discussion, think twice before investing too much time and effort on newly established programs. Add these to your portfolio by all means, but make your staple programs tried and trues.
=> What is Their Policy on Spam?
Nothing irritates me more than to receive spam from someone promoting one of programs that I promote (well, OK, other things do irritate me more but you get my point). Not because I get into a tizz about spam per se (unlike apparently 90% of internet population I have more important things to worry about), but such tactics bring program into disrepute because it suggests that owner of program condones spam and if owner of program condones it, how much value does he or she place on program? Not much.
So look for programs with strict anti-spam policies.
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE
Finally, a word about patience. This is a slow and steady wins race game as well as a numbers game. Don't spit dummy, throw in towel, chuck Glomesh onto shagpile (or whatever your vernacular equivalent of a dummy spit is) because you don't make a single sale in your first month with a new program.
By all means take a closer look at how well product fits in with demographics of your audience (website and ezine) but if it's a good fit, don't throw baby out with bathwater (enough with metaphors already, OK). Instead, refine your marketing approach, tweak your ads, brainstorm for more creative ways of promoting program.
Don't just write program off as bad until you're sure it's not going to work for you. There may be some peculiar demographic factor common to your group that you're not aware of but until you've given it a good try, don't assume that's case.
As a general rule, so long as you're sure that product is a good fit, work with it for a year to give it a real chance of performing for you. The internet landscape is strewn with carcasses of would-be successful entrepreneurs whose only mistake was giving up too soon. Don't be one of them.
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online ... practical home business ideas, resources and strategies for the work- from home entrepreneur. http://www.ahbbo.com