Affiliate Marketing 2011 – Affiliate Marketing Predictions For 2011

© 2010 Doug Champigny, http://captain-affiliate.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

Affiliate marketing in 2011 will require more effort but should lead to higher residual affiliate commissions for those who put in the effort to start affiliate marketing correctly.

Earlier today I posted my Internet marketing predictions for 2011 – if you haven’t read that post, please do before carrying on reading here. Not only does it give a lot of background on the basis for those (and these) predictions for 2011, but there’s also an important case study on blogging for affiliate marketing and Internet marketing in general.

Let me preface the following Affiliate Marketing Predictions for 2011 by separating affiliate marketers into two groups – the wannabes who have bought into the push-the-button-and-make-millions-with-no-effort-or-experience myth and serious affiliates intent on building a stable online income, either to become self-employed entrepreneurs or simply to create an affiliate marketing income stream as a supplement to their current offline earnings.

In 2011 the former group will find reduced returns that continue to drop throughout 2011, and we’ll ignore them in this post. If you believe you can make a good income or reach super-affiliate status with little or no effort, stop reading now – you’re just wasting YOUR time and MY bandwidth. But if you’re less gullible and realize there’s great money to be made online but that it requires time, effort and a reasonable investment in your own future, read on – this post is for you!

2010 Was a brutal year for most affiliate marketers, as response to mailings dropped and people dropped out of membership sites in droves. Not those who were using and making money from the memberships, but the 50% or so who sign up, seldom or never use the sites, but also don’t bother to cancel – this year they did.

Not everyone saw major problems with affiliate marketing in 2010 – and those who did well point to the solutions for affiliate marketing in 2011. Those who combined effective pre-selling with a diversified marketing mix set up affiliate marketing funnels that led to, and will continue to lead to residual commissions that continue long after the affiliate has moved on to other projects.

Forget about the ‘wild west’ days of affiliate marketing in the 1990’s and most of the first decade of 2000 – 2009 when you could just choose any product at random from ClickBank, send out your e-zine promoting it and be finished for the day, knowing the commissions would come pouring in. Same for jumping from big JV launch to big JV launch, simply sending out the same canned pitch as 50 or 100 other marketers. Successful affiliate marketing in 2011 will require more planning, research and effort than that.

Don’t misunderstand – affiliate marketing will remain the easiest way for someone to start a business online, and the sky’s still the limit for what you can earn in affiliate commissions. But to achieve those lofty super-affiliate incomes you’ll have to convert your affiliate marketing efforts into a professional and polished business, not just a haphazard collection of promotions. And you’ll need to pay more attention to testing & tracking in 2011, to be sure you’re using your time and energy in the most effective way possible.

If you’re already groaning at the idea of the extra work, re-examine your goals to be sure you’re not really in the first of the two groups mentioned above. If it hasn’t already become obvious to you, 2011 will hammer home that affiliate marketing part-time or full-time is a BUSINESS, and you’ll need to make sure you operate your online business that way. Salespeople focus on getting THIS sale – marketers focus on building sales volume in a sustainable fashion over the long term. Yes, anyone can be an affiliate – but only those willing to invest the time, sweat-equity and at least some capital will be able to build a solid affiliate marketing business that can sustain them long-term.

Credibility in Affiliate Marketing

Forget the days of sending out just anything or promoting a product just because it pays a high commission. In fact, when you get an invite to a JV launch that focuses on how much you make per sale or the prize you can win, simply delete the invite without wasting your time clicking through. If the product is truly useful and of benefit to your target market, they’ll focus on how good the product is instead – telling you how much you’ll make because it’ll be an easy sell since it delivers so much value for the price.

Too many people are starting to see affiliate marketers in the same light as the offline world views used car salespeople, but acting professionally can keep you from being tarred by that same brush. For proof, look at the reputations of super-affiliates like Rosalind Gardner and Willie Crawford – both have huge followings that love, trust and respect them – and trust their product recommendations completely.

So how did they get, and continue to earn, that respect and credibility? First, they check out any product before they promote it – both to ensure it’s high quality and that it over-delivers value for the price and, more importantly, that it will help their people in their online pursuits. Recommend just one or two poor products and your credibility plunges – recommend good products that aren’t of help to your followers and your affiliate commissions plummet.

So rule #1 for affiliate marketing in 2011 is to never recommend a product you haven’t checked out first. Yes, this means investing a bit to get the product yourself first. But if it’s the right product you’ll make that back many times over when you promote it, and if it isn’t then it was a cheap price for protecting your reputation and credibility and keeping the trust of your hard-won audience.

Residual Affiliate Marketing Commissions

Historically, the way to residual commissions has been to promote great services or memberships that continue to pay you as long as your referral stays a part of the site. For example, in 2010 we received ClickBank cheques every month from promoting ClickBank Pirate and Affiliate Silver Bullets, a cheque every month from Socrates Socratous at Resell Rights Fortunes, and affiliate commissions via PayPal from Viral E-Book Explosion, Hosting4Marketers and Expert WordPress.

But 2010 saw the trend to people being more leery of joining membership sites, or joining and then leaving sooner. In tough economic times caused by the global recession, your target audience will be less likely to commit to ongoing payments than they will to paying a one-time price for a product, except for necessary services like hosting and autoresponders. So what you need to do is create your own recurring commissions from products and services that only charge, and pay out, once.

How do you do that? By creating resources online that presell the product and sending traffic to that page using your long-term traffic tools like your blog, social bookmarking, article marketing, podcasts and videos, etc. For examples, see my Advanced Twitter Marketing Blog and Road To Twitter Success website, both of which exist to promote my Advanced Marketing on Twitter e-book and various Twitter-related affiliate opportunities. Another example is my Simple ClickBank Profits Blog. Even if I never touch those sites again, they’ll still get traffic, will still be in the search engines and will continue to generate recurring affiliate marketing income streams for us.

Affiliate Marketing Pre-Selling

As stated above, pre-selling is becoming more and more a part of affiliate marketing success. Lets look at the two reasons for this…

As an affiliate, your job isn’t to sell the product or service – that’s the merchant’s job. Yours is to deliver targeted traffic to the site, traffic that is liable to buy the product. But what if a great product has a salespage that sucks? You’re not making any commissions. Even a great salespage may not convey all the benefit of a product, or may go over the top in it’s description of the benefits and ease of use and make the prospects cynical of it’s claims.

By putting up a few blog posts on the product and it’s benefits, or building a small site outlining the problems prospects face and the solutions the product provides, you’ve ‘warmed your audience up’ to the product, and can now send them through to it via your affiliate link in a much more receptive mood. Trying to do all that in your e-zine is sure to run afoul of the junk mail filters, and even if it got through it’s often buried under dozens of other marketers’ e-mails. Plus, your audience either takes action right then or forgets about it quickly, stopping it from being viral or producing recurring commissions.

And that brings us to the second reason for effective affiliate marketing pre-selling – your ongoing and growing sphere of influence. People signing up to your optin list don’t know what you sent yesterday, last week or 6 months ago. But your blog visitors can look over your posts on any topic, and visitors to your pre-selling sites will always see the information since that’s all that’s there.

Another powerful pre-selling strategy is to write short 5 – 10 page reports that provide useful and helpful info to your target market (NOT salespitches) and end them with a recommendation and your affiliate link. You can offer the free report through a squeeze page to build your opt-in lists or just give it away to achieve even wider distribution. Be sure to include a squeeze page in the download so others can distribute it to build their own lists – without that added incentive they probably won’t pass it along. Most won’t pass it along anyway, but those who do will be spreading your branding and your affiliate link in the report.

Driving Targeted Traffic For Affiliate Marketing In 2011

The bulk of the targeted traffic you send to your affiliate links should come from your e-zine and your blog. That hasn’t changed – but what has changed is the strategies and techniques you use to drive that traffic to your blogs, pre-selling sites and squeeze pages.

Your blog can attract a lot of traffic all on it’s own if it’s done right. Be sure you’re using a good SEO plugin, keep your blog tightly focused to one niche only, and use the standard keyword strategies in deciding what to blog about, what to title your posts and the actual content as well, aiming for search-engine-friendly posts that still read properly and deliver true value to your blog readers.

After each posting be sure to bookmark your post to the social media. Plugins will tie your blog post to your Twitter account, FaceBook Account, LinkedIn, MyBlogLog, etc, giving you much wider exposure with no additional work on your part – and those links can also be backlinks that help the search engines find and spider your post that much more quickly! Also use plugins to make it easy for your readers top promote posts they find helpful – like the ones on this page for FaceBook, Twitter, Google Buzz, LinkedIn, etc.

Long-Term Traffic Resources
Use a variety of methods to drive targeted traffic to your blogs. Submit articles to the directories, podcasts to iTunes, Podcast Alley, Podcast Ready, etc, and videos to YouTube, Viddler, etc. Do teleseminars and webinars on your own and/or with niche experts you’re interviewing – then use the recording as a giveaway to drive that audience as well. From time to time build a Squidoo lens, a HubPages hub, a Google knol or a WetPaint site, again pointing them to your blog.

“Sure – But where do I find time for all that???”

I heard that… And the answer is one of the things that’s changing for Affiliate marketing 2011. The online marketing case study I wrote about earlier shows that you’re further ahead doing SOME of each of these methods than you are focusing on just one or two. Instead of blogging 7 days a week, blog two days a week and use the other days for the other traffic-generating activities. Instead of writing 5 articles today, write one, then record it as a podcast & use both to make a video version of it.

While each activity gets less attention than it would if you focused just on it, the overall effect is you build up an empirical body of work in all different markets, all linking back to your blog. As I write this, when I Google “Doug Champigny” I get over 75,000 results in Google – think that brings me a bit of traffic on a residual basis? 😉

A Word On Blog Commenting…

As a final note, a quick spotlight on blog commenting. Not the spam blog commenting by those nonsensical ‘auto-comment-posters’, but true blog commenting where you go to the site, read the blog and leave a legitimate comment that directly relates to the post in question. I’ve been truly surprised by the traffic those have started to generate for me, especially those using the CommentLuv plugin. Plus the volume of Google Alerts I get on those makes me wonder if Google is now ignoring the black-hearted ‘no-follow’ tag that WP uses as standard coding on WordPress blogs. (If you haven’t installed the DoFollow tag on your blogs, do it right now!) So be sure to add blog commenting on blogs related to your niche as of of your regular promotional activities for Affiliate Marketing in 2011!

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Advanced affiliate marketing involves using a lot of strategies and techniques not utilized by average affiliates – but then if you’re looking to make super-affiliate levels of commissions, you already know you have to work harder and smarter than the bulk of those who start affiliate marketing businesses online.

And one of those advanced affiliate marketing strategies seldom seen in average efforts is joint ventures. While the big joint venture launches and joint venture sites are common throughout the Internet marketing and niche marketing worlds, most affiliates have never caught on to using them in their marketing mix.

So just how do you, as an affiliate, use joint ventures when you don’t own the product or site? Let’s look at a prime example: You’re involved in a week-long affiliate contest for a big launch and naturally you want to come out on top – or at least make as many affiliate sales as you can. You’ve blogged about it, podcasted about it, submitted a couple of videos and done your social bookmarking and social networking efforts to support it. And, most importantly, you’ve e-mailed your opt-in list about it the first 3 days of that week and have two more followups planned for the last 2 days of the contest. Pretty standard routine for your advanced affiliate marketing pushes, right?

But what about those other two days – the two days you haven’t planned to mail it out to your list? You know they’d get tired and your opt-outs would skyrocket if you sent them that same offer 7 days straight, so how can you use your list on those two remaining days to boost your sales even higher?

This is where you set up a joint venture with another marketer or affiliate. In your marketing network you’ll know a variety of other marketers and affiliates who aren’t involved in the promotion you’re currently promoting. Contact them and find one or two with lists similar in size to your own who are willing to swap e-mails with you those two days.

Then you either send out each of those two days for the other partner’s offer while they do the same for you, or you line up two partners and send once for each of them, with them each sending one day for you. Either way, you’ve used your mailings those two days to get more promos out with your affiliate links, this time to prospects who most likely aren’t even on your list, giving you access to virgin territory for this offer. Not only can this result in more affiliate sales for you, but might even bring in higher results than if you had been able to resend to your own lists those 2 days.

Now that you have the concept, use your imagination and business acumen to refine and improve the idea too. For example, if the contest means a lot to you for the potential commissions or the branding from being atop the leaderboard, start your strategy the week before – use joint ventures to send out 3 or 4 days that week for other affiliates or marketers who can then send for you the following week while the contest is on. That way you’ve got your 7 mailings that week PLUS 3 or 4 additional mailings from those e-zine swap partners.

Not hard to see how you could extend it yet another week and really hit the leaderboard with a big splash, is it? So don’t forget to use joint ventures as part of your advanced affiliate marketing strategies whenever you have an affiliate opportunity you really want to dominate!

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Super-affiliate marketing mentor Doug Champigny has plenty of free advanced affiliate marketing information for you on his Affiliate Marketing Training blog, or you can learn the processes directly under his tutelage through his PowerStart Affiliate Marketing Coaching Program. And be sure to introduce yourself to Doug Champigny when he makes one of his many live appearances onstage at a marketing seminar, conference, convention or workshop near you!

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Using Your Affiliate Program To Drive Targeted Traffic and Build Opt-In Lists

©2010 Doug Champigny, http://captain-affiliate.com. All Rights Reserved.

When first starting an online work-at-home business, most Internet marketers make two common mistakes with regards to setting up and running their own affiliate program – first, they wait too long to set one up and second, they don’t maximize it’s capability to build targeted traffic and build opt-in lists simultaneously.

To listen to an Audio Version of this affiliate marketing article, click this arrow:

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So just when should an Internet marketing newbie start their affiliate program? As soon as they put their first product online, whether it be a master resell rights product or one of their own creation. There won’t be a stampede of traffic from affiliates looking to promote your product, but at least you should be able to attract a few and get the affiliate program running.

Using your affiliate program to build opt-in lists is another matter – this takes a bit more work, but also should up your conversion rate noticeably and help those in your affiliate program to make more money from your products.

Normally an affiliate program offers the affiliates banners, buttons, sample e-mail copy, tweets, etc. to promote the products. The latest development in affiliate marketing is to now include funnels that begin with a free gift of considerable value. Upload a free report, e-book, audio, video, etc, and put it behind a squeeze page so people have to opt-in to see it or download it.

That signup puts them into an autoresponder-based e-course that provides more useful information over 10-15 e-mails, along with pitches for the product. Do not use affiliate links in this e-course but just direct links to the salespage, since you don’t want to overwrite the affiliate cookie of the referring affiliate.

This arrangement gives more value to the prospect while giving the merchant more chances to sell the product, and can increase the affiliates’ chances of making the sale and earning more affiliate commissions. And have no doubt – the more money affiliates make from your program, the more ways they’ll find to send more targeted traffic to your sites.

These new affiliate funnels are not hard to set up for each of your products, but it’s easy to see how they’d really turbo-charge your efforts to build targeted traffic and build opt-in lists quickly, since each person who downloads your gift or watches your video is added to your opt-in list right from the start. And getting other to help you build opt-in lists is always a good thing!

About The Author…

Internet Marketing Mentor and Speaker Doug Champigny

 

Doug Champigny, a.k.a. Captain Affiliate, is a world-famous Internet marketing coach, mentor, speaker and the creator of the PowerStart Marketing 4-week Internet Marketing Crash Course. To learn more about Doug or to book him to speak at your next event, contact him through his blog at http://DougChampigny.com.

 

 

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Affiliate Marketing Strategy: Choosing The Right Traffic Tools

©2009 Doug Champigny. All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate marketing is one of the fastest ways to make money online, and the usual starting point for most work-at-home online businesses. Since the product, web site, sales copy and often even sample e-mails are already created by the merchant, affiliate marketing success simply involves sending enough targeted traffic through your affiliate link to the merchant’s site.

There are paid options to drive targeted traffic, such as the Pay-Per-Click ads you see in the major search engines, ads on web sites and blogs, and solo ads and sponsor ads in e-zines in the niche. But most people starting out with any work-at-home business need to conserve what little investment capital they have, and as such should focus on the myriad of free methods of generating targeted traffic.

The first concern is to decide which traffic tools are right for each affiliate promotion you’re doing. Look over the salespage and decide whether this product or service is short-lived, like a 7-day sale, or liable to be around a long time, like say a dog training guide. Is it a one-time sale, or can you earn recurring commissions as when promoting a monthly membership site or ongoing service?

If it’s short term, focus on the fast traffic generators like Twitter, your e-zine, your blog and social bookmarking sites like StumbleUpon or Digg. You want targeted traffic that hits almost instantly, and don’t need to waste time using long-term traffic methods.

If it’s going to be around a while, start by using those same short-term methods to get sales started quickly, then hop over and do some articles, a Squidoo lens and a Google Knol. That gets you the quick traffic from the former, and then keeps some residual targeted traffic going to the page from the latter. If the conversions are good, keep up the short-term til results start to taper off, all the while adding to your long-term efforts. If results aren’t great, let your long-term efforts to date suffice and move on to the next product.

If you’re promoting an affiliate marketing opportunity that pays residual commissions, pull out all stops. Do all of the above, plus record & submit some podcasts, videos and press releases, do either a recorded interview with the site owner or a live teleseminar, use the recording in giveaways, do a few e-zine swaps and maybe even create some viral e-books on the topic to help promote your affiliate links.

In short, there are a lot of ways to drive targeted traffic to your affiliate marketing links for free – just be sure to use the right tools to match the potential returns, start off slow and if you see your affiliate commissions mounting, turn on the afterburners and maximize your return before moving on to your next affiliate marketing opportunity.

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About The Author

Doug Champigny is a well-known Internet marketing mentor, speaker and super-affiliate. For more on affiliate marketing read his Captain Affiliate Affiliate Marketing Training Blog. For more detailed information on 14 ways to drive free targeted traffic to your links, see Doug’s Top Traffic Tips Training.

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The Affiliate Marketing Formula That Works Best Right Now

©2009 Doug Champigny. All Rights Reserved.

Affiliate marketing, and in fact the Internet itself, is evolving daily – leaving it in a state of constant flux. So just how is an affiliate, especially one new to affiliate marketing who may still be working at a full-time job as well, supposed to keep up with it all?

First, of course, you should be re-investing in your online business, watching for new training resources from Super Affiliates that you’ve come to trust as providing good solid up-to-date affiliate marketing training materials. And in between, you should be subscribed to their e-zines (e-mail newsletters), visiting their blogs regularly, and following them at sites like MyBlogLog, Technorati and Twitter – especially Twitter since it’s always real-time.

How drastically does the affiliate marketing game change? Just a few years ago it was all safelists, free-for-all pages and traffic exchanges – now Web 2.0 techniques, like blogging and social networking are leaving the earlier strategies in the dust.

Let’s look at the components of recent successful strategies that have made affiliates the most in commissions and prizes and continue to be ultra-effective right now, shall we?

First, almost without exception Super-Affiliates have their own opt-in lists they e-mail offers to; lists tightly targeted to whatever niche they’re operating in. If, for example, they operate in the Internet marketing, travel and Forex niches, they’ll have separate lists targeted to each of those three niches.

And that’s a win-win for the super-affiliate – their lists drive traffic to each new affiliate promotion they attack, and each new promotion is used as another opportunity to build those lists even further. They’ll offer a free download or a free video as an incentive to get targeted people to join their list – that download or video is packed with value, but still functions mostly as a pre-sell vehicle for their current promotion.

So they’ve now gotten the new targeted prospects onto their list, and warmed them up to the subject, service, niche or person they’re currently promoting. A few e-mails later those new prospects will most likely follow an affiliate link to the site being promoted, thus raising sales even higher. The super-affiliate has added more targeted prospects to their opt-in lists by providing great free content upfront, and made more money on the promotion because of it.

On the biggest launches, especially launches for high-ticket items, competition among affiliates is much more excited – and while the tactic above is still employed very successfully, something more is needed to get onto the leaderboard and end up at or near the top of the heap. Once again the answer is providing additional value-added content of good use to your prospective buyers.

If you’re on the mailing list of many top Internet marketers, you’ve recently been deluged with e-mails every time a big new high-ticket launch is announced, especially if there’s a contest for the affiliates. Notice how many of them offer bigger and bigger bonuses if you buy the item through their link? They wouldn’t keep doing that if it didn’t work, but it does – big time!

Why is it so successful when it’s so transparent a ploy? Because the customer doesn’t care WHY the bonus is being offered, they just care that they’re getting the product they want to buy and a lot more helpful resources to go with it for no extra cost. This makes the purchase more valuable to them because it provides them with more of what they want and need – they could care less about your affiliate marketing commissions.

So when we boil it all down to basics, what’s working best in affiliate marketing right now is delivering value added reasons to buy through your link while using that extra content to build your targeted lists for future promotions. Since the business never stands still, not too far down the road that will be replaced by the next system, but for now this is where you want to focus your affiliate marketing efforts!

That’s why I love the new MRR and PLR membership site from Socrates Socratous that launched this week at http://www.Resell-Rights-Fortunes.com – the first membership site that’s searchable by both keywords AND the products rights at the same time. For the first tactic above, a keyword-targeted search just for resources you can give away gives you the free report or videos to offer as an incentive for prospects to sign up – and by using one that’s based around the same keywords as the products you promote, you ensure that signups are from your target market audience.

Similarly, now you can do a search for keyword-targeted resources that both can be bundled together and can be used as a bonus for paid products, and compile your big bonuses to give away to those buying through your affiliate links, providing you with the necessary bonus package to offer for that big launch.

At this point in time, Resell Rights Fortunes is one of the most powerful resources for anyone even THINKING of getting into affiliate marketing, and a must-have tool for the arsenal of anyone targeting super-affiliate status. And if you’re already making money as an affiliate, take the OTO at the site and take the lifetime membership – you’ll have access to the site for as long as it’s online without ever paying another cent, a very valuable bonus should cashflow get a bit tight at any point down the road.

Oh yeah – and they have a killer affiliate program themselves, so take the lifetime membership or the monthly plan, and use the affiliate commissions to repay yourself for the outlay! All I ask is that you buy Teri & I a drink the next time you see us at a live seminar or convention for pointing out so valuable a resource and showing you how to use it! 😉

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