I won't go into much detail here as this is a large topic that others have already covered extensively. For general promotion help and many useful tools, visit the Website Promotion section. Remember that if you really want to make decent money from an affiliate program, you have to actively market your products or services.
Make full use of all the tools at your disposal - banners, text links, email ads, testimonials, classified ads, etc. and decide on a set number of hours every day in which you will do nothing else but promotion.
For specific guidance on promoting affiliate programs, I recommend the following sources:
- The Affiliate Manual
200+ pages of top quality advice and directions from Ken Evoy. Free when you join his affiliate program (free to join, great products, great support). His affiliate newsletter acts as an ongoing update, and when you add in the link tracking program he also gives free to affiliates, it's well worth joining just for the freebies (but don't tell Ken I said that!).
- Commission Junction University for affiliates
Another source of quality guidance comes from Commission Junction (affiliate program management specialists). In addition to the general information on their site they also conduct conferences that members can attend free of charge, notes from which are later put online. Membership is free.
- Anik Singal's Affiliate Classroom
Anik Singal has an affiliate training program unlike any I've ever seen. He uses a very "step by step" methodology to train students how to be affiliates, both in general and for any affiliate program you want. He also creates what he calls Niche Affiliate Program Profiles to help you locate profitable affiliate programs. Other stuff includes tutorials, case studies, expert interviews, conference calls and the affiliate marketing forum.
There are many other free sources that I have could have included. However, a lot of the information they provide is little more than sales copy for products and services in which they have an interest. As a result, it's not always reliable.
Using affiliate program referral URLs in Ezine and list ads
When you join any kind of affiliate program, you'll be given a unique referral URL. Usually this is in the form of:
This poses no problem on a web site. However if you're advertising in Ezines or Email lists, an URL like this can look messy and take up too much space (some are even longer than my example).
It also announces to the world that you're an affiliate; something you may wish to avoid in certain circumstances. Even worse, the reader may copy and paste the URL into their browser, and intentionally or not, omit your referral ID.
If you have a web site with your own domain name there's a very quick and easy workaround: set up a redirect page in the root directory of your own site using the meta "refresh" tag.
To do this, create a new page containing the following code:
<meta http-equiv=refresh content="0;URL=http://www.AffiliateCompany.com/BlahBlah?LongNumber">
Note: the bits you need to change are in red.
Place your unique referral URL immediately after "URL="
Save the page as something short and apt (like the program name for example), and upload it to the root directory of your site.
You now have a new URL to use in your ads in the form of:
Which is not only shorter and less obvious, it looks far more professional too. Even if someone uses copy/paste and misses off the "program.html" bit you'll still get a visit to your site.
A good second best!
To see this in action click on this URL:
As you do so, watch your browser's status window and navigation bar closely.
If you don't like that .html extension at the end of the URL, you can do away with it by creating a new directory containing your redirect page. In this case you want to name your page "index.html" which will make it the default page in your new directory.
Now your redirect will be in the format
However, since you don't need to specify the default page, the URL can be shortened to this for use in your ads:
To see this in action click on this URL:
If you don't have your own domain (you should have!) you can do the same, but your URL will be longer.
Here's an alternative you may prefer to use:
Go to one of the many URL forwarding services online - the ones you use to shorten long free web site addresses. I used to use www.cjb.net a lot years ago because the URLs are short, but there are many others the most popular at the moment being tinyurl.com. Just do a search for "url forwarding" or similar at your favorite Search Engine.
Instead of registering your home page, use it to link to your affiliate referral URL ...
Now you've got a short redirect URL too!
For an example click on the URL below and keep an eye on the status window and navigation bar of your browser:
A final point
Try and avoid joining programs just because they are the most popular.
Investigate each affiliate program yourself before making a decision. The most popular programs on sites offering indexes of affiliate programs may well turn out to be the best choices for you too, but this is not always the case. A lot of these sites rank programs according to how many people sign-up, or which programs they are earning the most from (usually closely related). See my list of top internet marketing affiliate programs for some help to start
To succeed... do what's right for YOU!