Successful web site promotion for Small Business - 5
5. Affiliate Programs
What are affiliate, associate or partner programs? (If you've already read the 'Web Design' section of our web site, feel free to skip past the next paragraph.)
They're basically the same thing - affiliate programs are where a company pays a percentage of the retail price of a sale to a third party, for referring a visitor to their web site who makes a purchase. The most popular affiliate program (i.e. the one that has most 'affiliates') on the internet is Amazon.Com. You've probably seen links to Amazon on hundreds of web sites. They pay around 5% of retail (more in some circumstances) to their affiliates for referring a visitor who makes a purchase.
See the similarities here between this and 'Joint Ventures'? It's more or less the same thing with one very important difference. With JVs you target the companies that you want to work with, based on the criteria described on the previous page - with an affiliate program you advertise it in various places on the internet and anyone can join it. You can choose to 'vet' their web site first if this is the way they plan to promote your product, but this isn't the norm.
Some affiliate programs are very successful, but remember the 80/20 rule? Well, with affiliate programs, it's more like 95/5! Five percent of affiliates will more than likely generate 95% of total affiliate sales. The most successful affiliate programs are generally those that provide the best support to their affiliates e.g. banner ads, text ads and specific information to help them get started.
There are a number of companies that will operate an affiliate program for you (just search for 'affiliate programs' on your favourite search engine) for a fee (often quite a large fee!).
Personally I have concentrated on the JV route, and used 'AdMinder'
(see it here) to track visitors and sales generated, rather than having a general affiliate program for our first web site. Because of this, it would be wrong of me to claim to offer personal recommendations.
When I was planning this section of the web site, I thought I'd better include 'Others' as a catch-all for any miscellaneous points that didn't fit neatly into the first five major categories.
I'm only going to include one extra 'web site promotion for small business' strategy in this section - but it's a very important one that has the potential to generate more targeted traffic for you than any of the others!
Thousands of small businesses (...make that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions) have web sites and, almost without exception, they all lack one thing - traffic! Now there is a new way to generate this vital commodity for little more than $1 a day, and I doubt that you'll have even considered it!
What is it?
An additional web site.
You're probably thinking I'm mad, because if you've got problems getting traffic to your existing web site, what on earth's the point of giving yourself another headache?
Bear with me here...the web site I'm talking about isn't like the web site you've got now. For a start it generates traffic virtually automatically - in fact virtually everything about it happens automatically. OK, it doesn't write itself, you have to do that - but if you're interested in your business (passionate about it is even better), writing it with the vast array of tools it provides will be a snip!
If you read the web design section in any detail, you'll already know about it. It's called 'Site Build It!' ('SBI!').
Just look at what these people who use it have said to Ken Evoy (the founder of 'SBI!')...
"Not even Yahoo! can deliver your site enough traffic to survive. Jim Nelson, of jugglenow.com fame, has told me that his SBI! jugglenow.com site delivers his Yahoo Store more traffic than Yahoo! itself does!
Plus, I really hope you're enjoying reading the information on this web site - it was also created using 'Site Build It!'.
For these site owners, the best strategy would be to use SBI! as a volume-traffic-funneler, one that delivers high-value interested customers to their main site. Even if you have a great site, with good traffic, SBI! is a powerful, cost-effective, *Reinforcer*...
For example, Alan Lofft uses his wonderfully done SBI! site, audiolofftreport.com, to leverage AxiomAudio.com, a Canadian company that sells high end hi-fi equipment both online and off. I'll let Alan say it in his own words..."
"I'm an Audio/Video expert, not a web expert. But I have been able to create a professional web site that gets significant traffic that provides us with qualified leads that convert into Axiom Audio sales which have an average value of over $800 per sale.
Needless to say we are delighted with the results. We pay for the cost of our audiolofftreport.com site for nearly THREE years, just by driving one new incremental sale! And it has driven a lot more than that, already!
The SBI product costs less than the price we pay for ONE Bell business phone line (we pay approx. $60 per month per line) Ken, SBI costs less than $30 per month and the average value of ONE sale for us at Axiom is many times that. I am not sure if I should bring this to your attention -- maybe you will figure out that you are vastly under priced for what you deliver."
"Paul Crane, SBI! Product Manager, has noted several times that his SBI! site, diet-supplement-review.com, consistently remains one of his top referrers to his Yahoo! store, his e-book site, and his content site. At a fairly average rate of $0.10 to $0.15 per click, diet-supplement-review.com saves Paul from spending between $600-$900 per month at Overture...
And that figure takes into account any commissions he earns directly from the site, or any e-books or products he sells as a result of those referrals.
My daughter Nori's site, anguilla-breaches.com, drives more traffic to a favorite spot in Anguilla, the Arawak Inn, than the inn's own Web site does (which is beautifully done but gets zero traffic). She gets e-mails from the owner saying so. In fact, on a recent trip to Anguilla, Nori received a big fat commission envelope from a local realtor!
You should have seen her eyes bulge!...
"Daddy, I think we should be doing more pages on villas and real estate."
Music to my ears. :-)
Back to the Arawak Inn. They shouldn't scrap their site -- it's a beauty. Instead, they should be doing what Nori is doing. Build three Anguilla-related sites. Pump out fun, bright, Anguilla-related content. Link into the Arawak Inn sales site. They'd be overbooked all year long."
And what Ken says himself...
"I could start 10 online businesses with SBI! tomorrow, and make them all work... and it would be easier than anything I've ever done. Or, if I had a nicely designed Web site that was a good sales site, I'd build three SBI! sites to funnel traffic to it. This is certainly the way I would promote my first niche product, PennyGold, if I was just starting out today."
If you haven't already, click
here to check 'Site Build It!' out for yourself.
P.S. Please help me to help you - if you'd like to see anything different or would like to comment about the content of this 'web site promotion for small business' section of the web site, please email me here.
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