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  1. #1
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    Advice for a very green affiliate marketer?
    I am sure this probably happens all the time, someone asking for advice about what to do or not to do to try and be successful at this - but here I am! I am not looking for answers, but if anyone can nudge me in the right direction to some online links that explain good practices that would be great. Books to read. Affiliate programs to join. Etc. I want to immerse myself in this since I have only experimented to date.

    Here are my details about what I do, and what I have done so far:

    1) This Feb will be the 3rd anniversary of my site being online. Its a very specific niche site, where comic art collectors can share their collections with others.

    2) The site gets 440,000 visitors a month, and more than 4 million pageviews. I am a web developer by trade, so I know these are fantastic figures, which is why I finally decided to try and monetize the site.

    3) In June I started trying to get Commission Junction EBAY auctions working on the site. Essentially allowing premium members to store their favorite keywords and I made it easy for them to return ebay searches in the comic art category. I experienced next to no success doing this.

    4) In Oct I started showing ebay Most Watched auctions on my homepage, and I have started seeing limited success with this. Maybe averaging about $40/day or so in commissions (although the last 4 days it has been a huge drop, I expect because of the holidays??). Today I see about 1,100 clicks on ebay auctions every day, but my CR is around 3% in January, down from 5% in December.

    5) In November I started picking up a few other banner ad programs through CJ that seemed related to comic art. I have yet to see a sale on those, but from what I have heard and read it seems like sales take 3-4 months to get reported??? I don't know. Considering I have probably sent 30 clicks per day on banner ads I find it hard to believe no one has bought anything after clicking the ads...

    So I would like to know what the other web companies are that I can sign up for other than CJ. I only signed up for them because of eBay. I signed up one that pursued me, but they really haven't done a thing for me. Anyway, with all this traffic I have to believe that I have a lot more potential than what I have been seeing.

    The only other thing to note is that I am a self employed web developer for the last 4+ years running a successful business. My wife is my lead programmer - life is good. We just want to start working more for ourselves, and less for "the man". We started this site because it seemed like a great way to get our foot in the door of a hobby, and it worked well.

    Anyway, that's about it! Looking forward to your replies. Thanks!

    -Bill

  2. #2
    Analytics Dude Kevin's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're saying you have 1100 click throughs to eBay REPORTED on CJ and you're not seeing action over $40/day?

    A couple of things I would say if my above statement is true...

    1.) Since these are collectors, a lot of them will already have eBay accounts, so your $12.00 commissions are going to be few.

    2.) You have some Frugal Visitors (when I'm offline I call them CHEAP ), that don't win many auctions

    Have you tried adSense?

    Maybe focus on comic book character replicas instead?

  3. #3
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Hi Bill, Welcome to ABW. Great site.. I emailed you through your contact form to make a few comments... Basically, I think with your SE exposure and niche content you could do well ranking for relevant products. In other words merchandise unique content pages around popular and worthwhile products or product groups.. with the intention of ranking favorably when people are searching. It's my experience that manually-built pages with your own content perform the best. These pages also become great doorways into other relevant merchandising areas of your site.

    Good Luck!

    Gary Marcoccia

  4. #4
    notary sojac Herb ԿԬ's Avatar
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    I haven't looked at your site, but ask: manga/anime? doing anything with that?

  5. #5
    ABW Ambassador Trying to Win's Avatar
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    He already has adSense on the site, but should read the G's rules before it's too late.
    Last time I checked they did not have a 728x64 ad.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for pointing that out. I have a couple login checks where I am actually hiding the google ads from people logged in as Admins - which I am. I thought we changed that a while ago.

    Anyway, to answer everyone's posts... Yes, I think the niche is somewhat "cheap" these guys tend to spend thousands on a single piece of art, yet I cannot convert them to premium members on my site for $50/year. On the ebay commissions, when I get $40/day I tend to have one winning commission in the $8-15 range, with the rest between .20 and 2.00. I just keep thinking that there has to be something I am missing. It seems like I should be doing better.

    I understand about the concept of building landing pages to better drive sales, and using adsense to help market that concept. I have not really worked at that, however.

    So, is there anything I can read online that would help me better understand how to monetize the site?

    I have a sense of frustration using these other ads to commerce sites because I have yet to see a single sale occur where I have a commission. CJ says it can take up to 4 months to see the commission on a sale. Is that common?

    Anyway, I am here because I am expecting to do the hard work to make this successful. Having been working in a vaccum for the past 6 months, I am looking for any advice from those of you who have been in the trenches for a while.

    Back to Google. I have tried them a bit but find that most people can tell the difference between their ads and copy. I get good click % on articles I post, but since almost no one comes to the site to read articles it didn't work well. Slipping Google ads into the image detail pages above where I allow people to comment on the artwork just upset the regulars... any way, you can see that this is tough for me. Obviously being an image driven site mean we consume a lot of bandwidth. If I wasn't a web developer and already had people hosted on our servers I probably could not afford to do it any more. I am the guy whose site has really outgrown their means.

    Thanks.

    -Bill

  7. #7
    Influencer Marketing GravityFed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by comicartfans
    5) In November I started picking up a few other banner ad programs through CJ that seemed related to comic art. I have yet to see a sale on those, but from what I have heard and read it seems like sales take 3-4 months to get reported??? I don't know. Considering I have probably sent 30 clicks per day on banner ads I find it hard to believe no one has bought anything after clicking the ads...
    Quote Originally Posted by comicartfans
    I have a sense of frustration using these other ads to commerce sites because I have yet to see a single sale occur where I have a commission. CJ says it can take up to 4 months to see the commission on a sale. Is that common?

    Bill, I just want to be sure you understood what I was saying above.. since you didn't comment on my post. With a site like yours that has the SE presence, banners aren't the way to go. Well in my opinion banners are never the way to go as compared to Aff links placed in relevant content pages that rank high in Google et al. That's a daunting task for many (to get an aff page to rank favorably in Google), but for you it's possible. This is because you've done all the important work already by building out your site.

    Build a few pages manually for specific products (or product groups like 'Comicart Posters') that relate to your site's focus, and if the pages are unique and compelling enough they'll win top 10 when people perform searches. You want to grab the eyes of the 'shoppers in shopping mode' out there searching. It is our opinion this traffic converts 10-12% of the time, as compared to banner ads that may (if your lucky) convert .5% of the time. It's just the nature of the traffic. Your site could have 25,000 unique visitors a day but unless those people are 'shoppers in shopping mode' it is difficult to convert them.

    Having the groundwork to rank favorably with unique content is the most challenging part..and you are ready to go with that! The manual pages I mention are just a suggestion to start out. I think integrated the correct way, a product feed would also work for you.. as long as the output pages were crawlable by the SEs... the best strategy I've found: manually built pages that link into relevant product groups of a datafeed (but it's key to not publish a datafeed exactly as it's packaged..but that's for another thread)..

    Oh and no Google Adsense on your product detail or product group pages. You want to give the user every possibility of clicking through to the merchant and setting your cookie...

    Summary: There's more to Affiliate Marketing than banner ads.. use your content and SE exposure to get in front of the eyes of people who are actually searching for the products they want to buy (shoppers in shopping mode).

    I hope it helps..

  8. #8
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Hi Bill, I saw your site this morning and while it is a very impressive site, I can imagine your frustration at not being able to monetize your high traffic from people that you know to have deep pockets for what they want.

    I'd approach it obliquely - sell to the demographic rather than to the interest. Set up a store with an "atmosphere" that they like browsing around and may be more inclined to buy from. You've got plenty of art to give an atmosphere!

    Now my guess is that these people will like stuff that is pretty competitive to sell already, dvd's, music, hi-tech equipment, but I'd give it a try, you have enough people passing through to get some buyers. As for banners, set up a store and then have banners to your own store. Seem too much like work for something that might not come off? Try GoldenCan, I haven't used it myself yet, but it seems a good tool to try merchants and niches without too much effort.

    There's also other things that your visitors might want. Everybody wears clothes - what kind do they prefer? Target the niche, not just t-shirts, but pants and shoes too. I imagine your visitors as being pretty grungey (sp.?) skate-gear, trainers, but also they are obviously people who like treating themselves for stuff they really like too. I'd try setting up some wide but not very deep product categories and then focus on where the traffic (and hopefully sales) go to.

  9. #9
    Affiliate Manager inflatemouse's Avatar
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    I would advise against trying to pigeon-hole your demographic. I looked through your site and signed-up for an account. Frankly I feel you are trying to monetize the wrong portion of your site.
    The Premium Membership is interesting, but you are basicly charging people to do what they already do on eBay. As for your e-mail notification -- part of the fun in the collectibles community is the search, the hunt for the art. Consider changing your classified set-up. Let anyone have a classified but charge them to post the classified, many of your users have many classified ads -- so they obviously see value in your site's audience.
    Break-out the componets of your gallery -- put limits on how much you can post/see for free and put a reasonble price for unlimited $5-10 per year and you will probably get a high percentage of participation.
    As a collector one thing that I am very interested in are local shops. Consider letting shops all over the world submit 250 words about there shop, location, and contact to be displayed on your site at a reasonable cost. This would greatly increase your value to the community and value to your visitors.

    I actually have quite a bit more to share, but don't want to rattle on and on. Feel free to e-mail me if you want more.

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