you’ve taken the plunge and joined several affiliate programs that you believe
will make you some decent money and create a nice residual income.
So how do you go about finding people to buy the products you represent
and sign up as affiliates under you? You
know the Internet is a terrific communications medium, but you don’t know how
to contact anyone other than your friends and business associates, and you’ve
decided, probably wisely, that they aren’t good prospects for your new
business. The affiliate programs
have each given you a website to promote, but how do you get people to visit?
They’ve been up and running for a week and you’ve had no visitors.
What gives? What happened to
“build it and they will come?”
you’re new to running a business on the Internet, you’ve run into the
realization that there are literally millions of web sites on the Internet and
getting people to see yours is going to take work.
We’ll take a look at some of your options for getting traffic and
generating interest in what you have to sell.
Realizing that some of you may not have a lot of capital to start with,
we’ll begin with free resources and work our way up to the paid ones. There are separate articles on each of the following sources
that go into more detail and also provide you with some places to start.
The discussions that follow in this article are presented to provide an
overview of the lead sources available.
Newsgroups and Opt-in Lists
are free, or most of them are, but you must be careful with newsgroups and
opt-in lists. You’ll need to join
the list and agree to receive advertising information from other members. If you join a newsgroup, log in and follow the posts to see
what people are talking about. Note
how promotion of products is done. It
will most likely be low key. Your
best approach is to attempt to be helpful where you can and wait for the
opportunity to mention your product to come along.
That’s why it’s important to select newsgroups that match your
interests and your product. You
want to be able to contribute something of value before you attempt to sell.
lists will most likely allow you to send a regular ad on a periodic basis. Find out what the rules are before posting an ad and follow
might overlook these at first, but that would be a mistake.
Granted, classified ads don’t get a lot of traffic, but they do get
some. The key is keeping your ad
near the top of the listings long enough to get exposure.
As ads are posted, existing ads scroll down the list so that after a very
short time, your ad will be so far down the list it won’t be seen by what few
people do visit the classified page. But
there are options. There are
submission services that allow you to create groups of ads that can be queued
and automatically submitted by the service one after the other.
So, as one of your ads is beginning to roll off the page, another will be
posted. This can keep your ads in
view for several hours at a time. Posting
ads is free, but be prepared to receive a lot of “junk” mail from the people
who own the page, so use a free email account to post and set up rules on your
email client to move these emails to a folder other than your main inbox.
forget the major classifieds like Yahoo. You
can sign up for free email addresses and post up to ten ads for each.
They will remain for 30 days. Of
course, they will be rolling down the page as others post just like with other
classified pages, so you will need to go in periodically and edit your ads to
refresh them and move them back up the list.
FFA (Free for All) Pages
will normally use a submission service, as described when discussing
classifieds, to submit to thousands of FFA pages.
Again, your ads will scroll off the page as others post and you’ll be
lucky to have your ad in sight for half an hour.
The same submission services you used to post your classifieds should be
used to post to FFA pages as well. Again,
by queuing your ads you can keep them visible for longer.
you post to an FFA page you are consenting to receive “confirmation” emails
from everyone who owns a page you post to.
Be prepared to receive thousands of these confirmations within a short
time of your posting. Again, use a
free or alternate email address and separate inbox to receive these.
Otherwise, you will have difficulty finding your regular mail.
expect a lot, if anything, from posting to FFA pages.
Human eyes will rarely see your ad.
Most experts agree posting is useless.
Our experience is that some people will see them, but certainly not many.
better idea is to get your own FFA page. You
can find one or more for free, but we recommend becoming a “pro” or
“executive” member, paying a small monthly fee, and availing yourself of the
hundreds to thousands of leads you’ll get every day to advertise your product
or program in your confirmation emails.
You should choose one that allows you to download the leads and mail them
yourself so you can control the “lag” in sending, or choose one that lets
you set the lag but mails them for you. The
“lag” we’re talking about is concerned with when you send your
confirmation emails. Most
confirmation emails go out the day after posting, so your email ad will get lost
among the thousands of others your prospects will be receiving. If you can delay
your mailing for three to five days, you stand a better chance of getting your
ad noticed. Don’t expect tons of
responses from these ads. Most of
them will be deleted without being read or will result in you receiving hundreds
of ads back from the people you mail confirmations to.
But if you have a properly crafted subject line and catchy ad, you will
get some response.
a high ranking in the search engines is something everyone aspires to, but
let’s be reasonable. With
thousands of pages jockeying for position using your same key words, your
chances of getting ranked in the top ten is small.
Anything below the top ten or 20 in the search results is useless.
The free web page you get with your affiliate program has virtually zero
chance of getting such a rating. The
search engine spiders know your page is merely a replica of a thousand other
pages that are identical to it. As
a result, your page probably won’t be ranked at all.
If you are running a small business rather than an affiliate or MLM
program, then you should consider search engine ranking but keep in mind that
not everyone can have a top ranking and you have a lot of competition.
Most of the search engines now charge for submissions.
You’ll have to decide if the possible exposure is worth the cost.
If you do decide to submit, do it manually or have it done by a
specialist who knows how to get you a higher ranking. Each engine is different, so optimizing your web pages for
one engine may hurt you with another. We
won’t spend more time on this subject because, in our opinion, if you decide
to submit, you’re going to need professional help, and that gets quite
Paid Email Lists
you don’t want to roll the dice and you have some capital to spend, buying or
renting a list can be your best alternative.
You can have the list tailored to your exact specifications so it is
targeted toward the audience you want to sell to.
Additionally, each member of the list has opted to receive your
advertising message so you don’t have to worry about accusations of spam.
Be prepared to pay somewhere between $.50 and $2.00 per lead.
I know this seems like a lot, but it will be cheaper than getting 5,000
leads for $19.95 that do nothing but fill your mailbox with notices of bad email
addresses and ads sent in response to your ad.
You might want to start with the free sources and, as you generate some
cash from your efforts, set aside some money to buy or rent a paid list when you
can afford it.
waste your time on the offers for CDs with 2,000,000 email addresses for $19.95.
These are not opt-in lists. These
people do not want to receive your message.
You will lose your ISP account and ruin your reputation at a minimum.
You will be spamming and breaking the law.
can pay for banner space on other well-trafficked web sites to drive visitors to
your site. You can also arrange for
banner exchanges, where you agree to put other site’s banners on your site in
exchange for their placing your banners on their site.
If you don’t have a lot of traffic, however, you probably won’t raise
much interest in this. Additionally,
you don’t want to have a lot of banners on your site that tend to divert
traffic away from your site. It’s
better to have your visitors stay at your site.
You worked hard to get them there, don’t give them an easy way to go
are many great “Ezines”, or email-based magazines, that have tremendous
numbers of subscribers. Ezines are
normally targeted at specific audiences, so if you find one that targets your
audience, it would be a good place for you to advertise your business.
There are several good resources on the web for finding the right ezine
at the right price.
Starting Your Own Newsletter
best of all worlds is starting your own newsletter.
This creates a wonderful opt-in list for you to use to build your
credibility and reputation in your industry.
Be careful of using it to advertise your products or services. If you do, do so sparingly and tastefully.
Strive to provide a product that provides your users with information
they can use and will want to receive for a long time to come.
Build your subscriber list enough and you can generate a nice income by
selling advertising in your ezine.
A Final Word About Spam
you choose to promote your business, do not send unsolicited commercial email (UCE)
or spam. There is no quicker way to
destroy your business and get yourself into hot water.
other articles in this series for a more specific and thorough investigations of
each of the above marketing resources.