Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Merchant Selection for Maximum Affiliate Benefit

Copyright © 2006 Stephen Wright

Have your very own product to sell on the internet? Truth is, not many people do. Thousands of Internet Marketers are making millions selling the products of others. The most common term used for this is Affiliate Marketing. Affiliate Marketing has become so popular and profitable that it has become one of the fastest growing area of revenue generation on the internet.

Benefits, revenues and payback for affiliates are also at an all time high. It is typical to see ad pages extolling the expertise of any given affiliate, with documented revenues for amounts previously thought unheard of. And for the product owners, this is a win-win situation which has led to overall increases in sales for a multitude of internet marketing products. Paying a portion of those revenues to "eager beaver" and industrious marketers has become commonplace.

From the alliliates perspective, there are literally millions of products and potential companies to choose from. What then are the ideas, tips, and insider views to be considered when making the decisions in program and product selections? Below are a few of these.

Cut To The Chase! Show Me The Money! What Is The Commission Payout Amounts: As a starting place, forget about shyness. Cut straight to the bottom line. It is critical that from the outset you know how much you might reasonably expect from product sales. Why waste your value time promoting products, spending your hard earned advertising dollars on merchant products that pay low returns and revenues. Higher commission products are recommended, unless of course you have identified specific niche markets where the sales volumes can off set lower payouts per sale. In fact, some programs offer deeper revenues on high volume sales, as opposed to higher commissions on lower quantity sales.

Carefully Analyze the Traffic on the Merchant's Website: It is relatively easy these days to get information about the amount of traffic on any given website. If the website is highly ranked, the merchant is getting a good volume of traffic. In all likelihood, this merchant is already saturated with affiliates. Alternatively, if it is ranked low it is perhaps not a good product or it could be that opportunity you are looking for that is ripe for serious revenues. Always research a merchant's product if their website has a low traffic ranking. Whenever possible, buy the product yourself. Personal experience with a product is powerful in advertising and sales campaigns. This sincerity comes out in the advertisement over and over. Otherwise you could do a search to find out if there are any adverse comments about the products available. If it is a bad product, you can bet someone has written about it!

Understand the Frequency of Distribution of Commission Checks: Some merchants pay commissions weekly; some monthly, and some on a quarterly basis. It is important you determine how frequent you can expect a pay check if you are going to have financial control over your business. Many marketers do not have the financial resources to continue to market a product if they have to wait a long time before getting paid. Be careful about the fine print on this. Some merchant's policies stipulate that a minimum commission amount be accrued before issuing payments. Again, your personal financial situation will drive the acceptability of such practices.

Merchant Capability To Track Cookies: Most customers do not buy on their first visit to a merchant's website. Surprise, surprise! For this reason, it is vital that the merchant retain cookies on their website, which is used to ensure that you get credit when the customer returns and buys at a later date. Check out how long the cookies last. The longer time frame the cookies lasts; the better the chance of getting paid!

Does The Merchant Pay On Subsequent Sales?: Some merchants will only pay commission on sales that come through customers visiting their site via a direct link from your site. They pay you nothing for any subsequent purchases that the customer makes if they visit the merchants site directly. It is important that you get paid no matter what route the customer returns by if you are to build a sustainable business.

What Promotional Resources Does The Merchant Offer?: Especially for marketers on a tight budget, look at the type and quality of the promotional material that the merchant provides. Do they provide articles or content that you can use to promote on your site or free guides, special offers or samples? If the promotional resources are good it is likely that the merchant will provide good support for their affiliates as well.

Armed with these basic areas of focus, you should be successful in identifying merchants ideally suited "to meet your needs", not the other way around!

Stephen Wright is President & CEO of InternetMarketingUSA.com
Looking for Internet Marketing Ideas, Tips, and Solutions?
Get everything you need to make money online in "Dotcomology: The Science of Making Money Online". Absolutely Free at: http://www.InternetMarketingUSA.com/dotcomology.html

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

Finding A Home Business That’s Right For You

Copyright © 2006 Stephen Wright

Making a bazillion dollars on the internet. It’s as easy as doing a few Google searches, getting your own website and you are up and running. The only real issue is how to find the time in your leisure activities to make it to the bank to cash all the checks! Yeah, right. Stop dreaming, it just doesn’t happen that way. In fact according to statistics, more internet marketers end up “in the hole” after investing significant resources (time and money) only to give up in dismay and disappointment. But why, what went wrong?

More times than not, many of these efforts fail before they even get off the ground. This most commonly is caused by a failure to establish a solid foundation with which to build upon in your efforts. How does on do that? Simple, start out be a careful and thoughtful evaluation of oneself. What are you good at? What do you like doing, for fun, business, or pleasure? It is really remarkable the amount of successful web-owners and marketers who are successful in doing something they really love or are good at. Some call it finding our “forte”. The “trick” then becomes finding “your niche” and then structuring your efforts and resources with your internet business around those interests.

This then enormously helps the next aspect which is to learn everything about your product, inside and out. Becoming a “guru” of your given niche ensures you set yourself apart from the crowd, makes you and your products, your advice and opinions – desirable and sought after by others. Even beyond the “snake oil salesmen” who could sale anything, gaining this level of expertise propels us along the way to financial freedom.

Beyond our words, people will be able to tell if you believe in your product or not. So if you are looking at a network marketing company, try being their customer for a couple of months before you join the business. Once you try the product or try the service then you will know how you feel about it. This first hand perspective of your ability to understand the product becomes an invaluable resource in helping you deal with customer issues as well as better prepared to address sales/marketing strategies.

Now that you have selected a business that amplifies your strengths and a product or service you can believe in you have to determine resources and funding for your investment. Remember that most home businesses take months before you begin seeing profits. Therefore, establishing and carefully following a strict budget is vital.

No matter how enticing and beneficial a promotional opportunity/program may seem – the reality is you have to pass on those items that are not within your budget.

OK now you have your business, our product, and your budget now you are ready to start your business. Just remember that it is a business and should be treated as such. For some, running a home based business can be more difficult than running a traditional business. Be very careful about all the many distractions; kids, TV, the couch, etc.

To begin a business from home is a serious commitment of time and money. You must keep this perspective in mind and keep it running as a business. Hobbies are hobbies, business is business! If you do not take it seriously you will just be wasting money and wasting time and since how most people start up home based businesses to have more time and more money you would be defeating the purpose. Whenever possible, try to make yourself a home office area, set aside for the disruptions and distractions whenever possible.

You have your business up and running, the website looks great, the products are hot and ready to go. But where are all the people? You can not forget about the marketing and advertising necessary to bring traffic “in the doors”. Whether it is a traditional brick and mortar building or an internet storefront, this reality is one that we all have to embrace, understand and overcome.

The good part is; there are many mediums with which to “diversify” our advertising efforts. These included newspaper ads, flyers for local areas, mailing lists, pay-per-click methods, and many others. More than any other single area, marketing is the one place where budgeting is a must. The amount of funds for marketing can go from a few dollars, to half the national debt. Sticking to a strict budget in this area is critical for your financial well being! Best advise - diversify your efforts, do not put all your advertising dollars in one medium. This technique will pay off in the long run.

There you have it. These are the “basics” to finding a home business that is suited to your uniqueness, with a greater chance at being successful.

About the author:

Stephen Wright is President & CEO of InternetMarketingUSA.com
Get everything you need to make money online in "Dotcomology: The Science of Making Money Online". Includes Over 30 Time-Saving, Profit-Producing, Influence-Expanding Tools And Software Programs Absolutely Free at: http://www.InternetMarketingUSA.com/dotcomology.html

NOTE: You have full permission to reprint this article within your website or newsletter as long as you leave the article fully intact and include the "About The Author" resource box. Thanks! :-)

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Spyware – What Is It? Why Should You Care?

Copyright © Stephen Wright

Not many disagree that the expansion of the internet and technology related to advances with the various aspects of interacting on the internet continues to accelerate at a dizzying pace. As with most advances, with the good side, also comes a not so good – dark side. More than ever, the criminal element continues to make great strides in finding ways to perpetrate mischief, mayhem, and mal-intended scams.

One of the latest growing ways criminals have employed to profit at the expense of unsuspecting internet users is the spread of spyware viruses. Spyware and adware quickly are becoming all too prevalent for anyone. It has become vitally important that everyone take precautions to protect themselves from the malicious effects through the use of virus protection software.

Spyware: What Is It?

By definition, a spyware virus includes a wide variety of virus, some of which are the good kind; some are relatively harmless in nature. For example some spyware programs are “documenters, or scribes” if you will. Their primary purpose is to keep a record of basic information on users’ activities. This can include such things as what websites and other actions you have taken over a period of time. This allows the program to target your IP address with advertisements (many of which are popups) that are related to the theme of the sites you frequent. Giving you what you want, based on where you visit on the internet is the general method for this type of spyware. Again, being a nuisance is the primary offense of this type of virus.

Spyware: Why Should I Care?

Spyware’s “evil cousin” is not so virtuous and clearly much more harmful. These types seek to target financial related information (all personal and private information of course), using the information for criminal purposes. Identity theft is the more common example of this type of spyware virus. The sheer number of attacks, severity of the attacks is growing at alarming rates.

And just when we thought identity theft was bad enough, another type of spyware virus is growing with even more damaging effects. These are essentially key logger programs. This type of spyware is designed to capture highly sensitive data (account numbers and passwords to online banking, financial records, etc.) by recording actual keystrokes by a user on the keyboard. This data is collected and reported back to the author – who in turn uses the information or gives the information to others to undertake criminal actions to steal all they can using this information.

What Can I Do?

By far, the best protection one can use against these kinds of spyware viruses is to obtain (and maintain) a reputable anti virus software program, combined with a good anti spyware program and spyware removal tool. More and more anti virus programs are incorporating spyware detection and removal into their products. However, many still feel that to be 100% safe, it is best to install several different products at once. Of course the best way to keep those spyware viruses off your computer is to run your anti virus software and spyware removal programs: 1) with the option of “real time coverage” whenever possible, and 2) run on a daily basis. Each program will then report back on problems it has found giving users the option of how to handle anything found.

It does not take much thought when you hear the horror stories of unsuspecting internet users who have “lost everything” because of the effects of spyware in its various forms to realize you must be proactive. To ignore the warnings of internet security experts and reports of the damage caused by spyware is truly a formula for disaster. Don’t let yourself be the next victim.

Stephen Wright is President & CEO of InternetMarketingUSA.com
Get everything you need to make money online in "Dotcomology: The Science of Making Money Online". Includes Over 30 Time-Saving, Profit-Producing, Influence-Expanding Tools And Software Programs Absolutely Free at: http://www.InternetMarketingUSA.com/dotcomology.html

NOTE: You have full permission to reprint this article within your website or newsletter as long as you leave the article fully intact and include the "About The Author" resource box. Thanks! :-)