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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Affiliate Marketing Programs: Target Your Niche Audiences to Increase Income

Since joining Wealthy Affiliate nearly a year ago, I've put much more of an emphasis on affiliate marketing across my niche sites and have seen my income rise.  Instead of just relying on ads or a few obscure Amazon affiliate links, I now search for and link to specific products people reading my sites need in order to solve their problems or improve their lives. it not only improves the reader's experience, but affiliate sales are typically much better for the bottom line than ad clicks.

Sometimes, the right solution is obvious: on a recipe/ menu planning site I own, I market both a Clickbank ebook on menu planning and hard copy cookbooks from Amazon. But sometimes the it's not that simple to find the right product. My pets niche site caters to a budget-conscious audience that buys most of their pet supplies form farm and garden stores. I do suggest an ebook that will meet some of my visitors' needs, but most are already past the stage in which that book is helpful.

With my website on a home & family topic, I've had better luck. I found an excellent match with a vendor through cj.com, and have earned thousands of dollars in commissions from that one niche.  My most recent payment from them was over $1,000. Without a perfect match, there's not much I could have sold that particular audience.

For your websites and blogs, make sure the products you link to are quality items or resources that are precisely targeted to your visitors. To find the right items, look across a variety of affiliate marketing programs. These are single-stop sites that support a great variety of individual companies, or vendors, whose products you can promote once approved for the network and for each site individually where required. Here are the ones I use and suggest that you explore:
Sometimes, searching the available vendors through these programs doesn't reveal exactly what you're looking for to promote. Their search tools are often inadequate and even when they have the vendor you need you may not be able to find it through their site. One work-around that I use fairly often is to first find the vendor (often it's one I've used myself and thus can recommend from personal experiences)  and then explore their site, or contact customer service, to find out if they have an affiliate program and how it's run.

Sometimes, the company doesn't belong to one of the large networks, but manages its own private affiliate program. I actively promote about four vendors through their own designated affiliate programs. For example, Wealthy Affiliate University has its own on-site affiliate program in which members can build links and track their sales.

When looking for products to link to from your site, put yourself in your visitor's place. Ask yourself these three questions about your reader, for each article or page you publish:
  1. Why is he reading your article? 
  2. What information is he looking for? 
  3. What does he need?
  4. What products, either physical goods or electronic information products, will provide a solution?
Once you place yourself in your own audience, you'll be thinking like a successful marketer.

Are affiliate sales commissions part of your business model? Which affiliate marketing programs do you use?

6 comments:

Jessica McCarty said...

Thank you so much for sharing! I would love to start building niche websites but do not have the time right now. I am currently focusing on affiliate marketing and promote a few of those on my website. My focus is mainly on those who want to make money from home on the internet right now. When I have more time or am more efficient about what I am currently doing I would like to focus more on work at home moms because I have a passion for helping moms stay at home with their kids and realize that many think that they cannot afford to. I am so blessed because my husband works 2 jobs but I would like him to quit his second job which is why I am trying to work from home! Thanks for your blog! It is really inspiring to read!

WAHM Solution said...

I also really like Linkshare as an affiliate site just like Commission Junction. I've had great success with Linkshare in the past. ~Cheryl :)

Joey Brown said...

Thanks for the timely info, Maria. I am looking at different web hosting companies right now and was wondering of you know anything about ipages? It seems to be ranked the highest and is only $4.50 a month. I also read that word press thesis is the best, but that is $84 for set one of one domain. You seem to do good with word press blog. I have a good niche and I'm hoping to get it going as soon as I know the best host site to go with. I could use your advice, thanks! :)

Maria said...

Joey Brown (like the pen name!) -- I don't know anything about iPages. I use and have been very happy with Hostgator and they have been around for quite some time. I just haven't researched iPages, but if it has a solid history of service and reliability that's all you need.

As for Thesis, I've considered buying the devloper version to use on all my Wordpress sites, but don't have time at the moment to switch them all over and customize the theme for each one.

Eventually, though, I may do just that. If you're just getting started and don't have the money for a premium theme, don't sweat it -- just get started building your site and writing content!

Gary Roberts said...

The advice you give about the affiliate networks is indeed outstanding. I am presently in the process of setting up a wordpress blog and I plan to utilize all of the networks mentioned in the article. This would appear to be a very efficient way of marketing products in a cost effective method. By just reading your blog reinforces my overall business plan. Thank You Very Much

Ron said...

Thanks for the article..i currently use Adsense and Clickbank to generate revenue from a few of my sites, but on products that i market myself, i have been tossing the idea around of adding an affiliate tracking software to the site to pay people for promoting the product. I was wondering if yourself or anybody recommends any good software? With so many choices in that category, i could use a little guidance picking one. Post Affiliate Pro and iDev have caught my eye the most but any input on these or other softwares are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!