Your Road Map to Super-Affiliate Status

Published by Refer-it.com

You’ve been trudging along spending a few hours a week adding and replacing links on your site. You’ve started to receive some pretty decent commissions – nothing to retire on just yet – but you feel pretty good about your chances of continued growth.

Let’s take a look at several key affiliate tips to make your continued growth a reality and to help maximize your traffic and achieve super-affiliate status.

Create Identity, Personality and Value: Your most important first step is to decide how you will separate your site from the crowd and provide targeted content to your visitors. Don’t try to be all things to all people. If your site is one of the thousands of scattered mega mall sites, then you’re not providing your customer with a clear reason to come back. Sure, you may feature some great deals, which keeps many coming back. But what happens when they find another site that offers targeted deals, PLUS feeds their need to belong to a community of like-minded consumers? Chances are, visitors will not feel any loyalty to your site and will ‘jump ship’ on a whim.

Consider the concept of select ‘bridge links’ as a way of not only expanding your site’s content – and giving it more of an identity and inherent value – but increasing conversions as well. A bridge link is a special review page (or box) that contains more detailed information about a specific product, service or site before being sent to the vendor’s site. This information creates a ‘bridge’ between your site and the vendor, and highly qualifies your customers. Yahoo Shopping and ConsumerSearch both do a great job of this with their product reviews.

Some may argue that a bridge link will decrease click-throughs, but chances are, the only visitors that won’t click-through are those that would not have purchased anyway. Bridge links give YOU the chance to sell YOUR customers before they leave YOUR site. Most importantly, you’re creating the opportunity to act as a trusted information resource, building value, and creating a bond.

Perform Spring Clean Up: It’s time to ‘clean out’ the programs and links that are not performing. Every square inch of your site is precious real estate. Don’t clutter up your site with an overwhelming number of choices. Your shoppers will appreciate that you’re directing them to sites of interest; and it gives you the opportunity to dedicate more space to those programs/products that perform (and pay) well.

MY spring-cleaning checklist:

1. Drop merchants with low clickthrough rates that don’t interest customers.

2. Create a merchant ‘scorecard’. Shop and evaluate current merchants.

a) Are customers provided with a valuable shopping experience?

b) Are products competitively priced?

c) Is there an easily accessible 800 number posted?

d) Is there a clear, easy to understand return policy?

e) Is the order form secure?

f) Would I shop here and would I return?

4. Post merchant/product reviews and recommendations in an effort to create more value and personality!

5. Do everything possible to promote remaining, core merchants… Refresh banners with new ones, delete old deals and post new ones.

Remember: It’s not only about commission percentages; it’s about sales volume – which directly relate to satisfying customers! Don’t cut or add merchants simply based on commission rates. If you give customers what THEY want, the commissions will begin to add up.

Stay Away from Summer Romances! To build loyalty among customers you need to ‘reach out and communicate’ – find out who they are and what they want. Use services like Zoomerang or SySurvey to solicit your customers’ opinions. Research like this will not only provide you with valuable insights, but will also build strong customer bonds . A solid relationship requires personal communication. Make your customers feel valued and they will reward you with loyalty. Post your contact information clearly and respond in a timely fashion (within 24 hours is an acceptable timeframe).

Building a customer list is important. Don’t simply post a sign-up box for your ‘newsletter’. Be a creative marketer and provide a list of benefits for ‘joining’ the preferred customer group. Benefits may include exclusive savings and deals, access to additional content, first notification of ‘events’, etc. One affordable service that will give you the functionality to collect contact information, and easily communicate with your customers is SparkLIST. ListChannel.com provides a variety of tools and resources that will help you to build, promote and manage your email publications. Of course, be sure to promote affiliate links in your newsletter (these links are, by far, the most effective), along with content geared toward your target audience.

Have You Built a Field of Dreams? As you know by now, just building it does not mean they will come! Utilizing search engines is a must. I recommend submitting affiliate pages into search engine directories. Each contains hundreds of search engines categorized by ranking and subject matter. Here are some of the best: Beaucoup, Directory Guide, Open Directory, Search IQ, and The1000.com. Be sure to include meta tags containing a title, description, and keywords.

Submitting is one thing, but getting positioned is a science. WebPosition Gold, WordTracker and Search Engine Watch are excellent resources that provide tips on how to submit your site right the first time. Here are some software and resources that can help increase your site’s positioning: Dynamic Submission 2000, Position Weaver Pro, Search Engine Watch, Site Promoter, and Top Dog Search Engine Analyzer.

A proven affiliate technique is to buy keywords on paid search engines. Chances are this targeted traffic will make a sale and the paid listing will in turn pay for itself. Payperclicksearchengines is a good resource.

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