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  1. #1
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    What do Newbies need?
    I just wanted to get a sense of what kind of information a newbie might need. I think for many of us it's been so long since we were new at this that we have "curse of knowledge gap". We can't always put ourselves in your shoes.

    Newbies please enlighten us...

  2. #2
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    Do you mean in general, or are you talking specific?

    Here are a few things I thought of:

    Website: how to build a successful website, how to set up a blog, what type(s) of software can you use to build your site, why you need actual content on your site, resources for learning HTML, PHP, and JavaScript.

    Landing Page: what content should you have on your landing page to keep visitors on your site.

    Advertising: how and where to advertise your website, how to write/test ads.

    Analytics: why you need it, how to read reports, how to improve you site based on visitor stats.

    Affiliate 101: which programs to join, how to join programs, which programs/merchants to avoid, how to effectively layout the products on your website.

    That is all I can think of right now. I will add to the list if I think of anything else.

  3. #3
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    I'll take a stab at a few. I'm sure others can offer much more than I know. You can also use the Search function to find many answers too.

    Website: how to build a successful website, how to set up a blog, what type(s) of software can you use to build your site, why you need actual content on your site, resources for learning HTML, PHP, and JavaScript.

    The actual building of a Website can be done several ways. You can use simple "sitebuilders" that don't require knowing HTML (examples xSitePro, Site Build It!, SiteCube, and others. Hosting companies sometimes supply basic ones.

    You can use WYSIWYG software like Dreamweaver, Frontpage, and others. These will take a little knowledge if HTML to use effectively. And you'll have to build in your own features for Search Engine Optimization and navigation yourself.

    You can also buy a predesigned template that has some of the site and basic structure already done.

    But building a website and getting traffic to are two different things. The reason you build content is to attract the search engines. SE "spiders" search your website and index the content. When someone searches from the SE the indexed content is returned in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs). The quality/relevancy of your content (and other factors) determine your position in the SERPs.

    You can find all kinds of resources for learning HTML, PHP, and Javascript online. I'm a fan of Lynda.com. They have lots of online video training for all that you mention and more.

    Landing Page: what content should you have on your landing page to keep visitors on your site.

    Site and Landing page content in affiliate marketing serve one purpose... to create credibility for you and for your merchants. Credibility is what puts your visitors into an "open to buy" frame of mind. If you strive to provide valuable content for your visitors you will get them to trust you and your recommendations. They'll be much more open to clicking and buying after that.

    Advertising: how and where to advertise your website, how to write/test ads.

    You can promote your site many ways... articles, link exchanges, Pay Per Click, paid advertising. By far the most cost effective is the free "organic" listings in the SEs (see "content" above). The more useful content on your site the better chance you have of attracting visitors.

    Analytics: why you need it, how to read reports, how to improve you site based on visitor stats.

    The better you can understand your visitors the better you can provide the "content" they are most interested in. That creates more credibility for yourself and your merchants. Watching what they click on and where they go on your site will give you some hints. Google Analytics is great for that and is free. Solid niche research upfront will also help you know what information is "in demand" before you even build your site.

    Affiliate 101: which programs to join, how to join programs, which programs/merchants to avoid, how to effectively layout the products on your website.

    The programs for your site/niche depend on many factors. Ideally as part of your initial "brainstorming" (before you even build a site) you'll research in-demand keywords for your niche and also find out the best ways to monetize that niche. This can also be a matter of trial and error. ABW is a great place to meet good merchants and good Affiliate Managers.

    Affiliate Networks like ShareASale, LinkShare, and Commission Junction can help your find and analyze affiliate programs, but a lot of the process is trial and error. The programs that work on one site may not work as well on other sites.

    ---

    These are just quick, superficial answers. I'm sure others can add much more detail...

  4. #4
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    Rick - just an extension above (and related to another thread I started):

    1) How to research and identify your target market. What online/offline tools/websites/methods are favorable for this?

    2) Matching the target market to the right affiliate product

    Thanks! -Sweet Iowa

  5. #5
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    How about this?

    I've got a small, content niche website. The products I would really like to sell do not have affiliate programs.

    How do I approach potential companies for a affiliate partnership?

    Are there other alternatives approaches to this?

    Are there online services that would act as a 3rd party to honestly track purchases and pay out commissions? To we need a 3rd party, or is there a simpler way?

    -Sweet Iowa

  6. #6
    Outsourced Program Manager Rick - Bitcom's Avatar
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    Nice questions sweetiowa. Are you sure you a newbie?

    I think upfront research is critical. Why spend what will be hundreds of hours on a niche that doesn't have enough search demand, has too much affiliate competition, or that has no way to monetize it?

    IMHO understanding keywords is the key understanding online marketing. Once you understand how the Search Engines work you're half way home. The other half is doing it!

    There's lots of tools out there...

    Of course you can just use Google and search keywords and phrases in the niche you are considering. This is always a great place to start anyways. If you see millions of results for a search then it has demand. If you see lots of AdWords advertisers (the ads at the very top and along the right) then that means there's enough money in that niche for PPC marketers to invest in it.

    Google's Keyword Tool is a wealth of information. Spend a few days with this tool and you can learn how online marketing works. All will be revealed.

    The rest of the tools out there do basically the same functions as above but with a faster, more detailed process. Keyword Elite, Wordtracker, Brainstorm It! (part of SBI!) all work well. There's others. Of course they all cost money and Google's is free.

    As far as products/merchants, researching them is much the same process. As part of your niche research (above) you would have seen the advertisers that bought PPC. Many of those folks will have something to sell. Others may be affiliates. If you keep seeing the same merchants and products it probably means they are making money and could be good monetization partners.

    Check out their websites. Put yourself in your customers shoes and decide if the product is something you would use yourself and would support. The more you believe in a product the easier it will be for you to sell and write content/reviews about.

    Remember the most important thing people are searching for when they want to buy something is credibility. They want to know, like, and trust the company/person they will buy from. They will always trust a 3rd party testimonial more than they will ever trust anything the merchant says.

    This is the heart and soul if what affiliate marketing is all about (actually any marketing). If an affiliate/salesperson has created trust and credibility in themselves and can give a good, honest recommendation for a product, that customer is put into an "open to buy" frame of mind. They are then much more likely to click and buy and conversions go way up.

    If you can have this kind of faith in a product then it's a good product for you to sell. If the merchant doesn't have an affiliate program yet contact them and tell them to start one. Then put them in touch with one of the great Outsourced Program Managers here at ABW.

    But ideally you want to do ALL your research/brainstorming up front before you ever start your site or promotion. Don't waste your time. Plan your work and then work your plan as they say.

    As far as your question about a 3rd party to track commissions and sales that's what LinkShare, ShareASale, Commission Junction, AvantLink, and others do. But any good in-house program should have good tracking and reporting too. If they don't you'll find out quickly by searching Google.

  7. #7
    The slot machine that IS paid! Billy Kay's Avatar
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    Great topic Rick! Hope it grows legs.

  8. #8
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    Rick, I appreciate the time you spent on your response. I am putting all this good advice to work and revamping my marketing strategy. Hope to give a report to ABW members in a few months of what worked for me.

    -Sweet Iowa
    Last edited by sweetiowa; February 2nd, 2008 at 01:37 PM. Reason: spelling

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