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Article Index

Do-It-Yourself Affiliate Promotion
An Introduction to the Hows, Whens, Whys, and Whats of Affiliate Marketing

by Zac Sutton

Affiliate relationships take time, nurturing, and attention to grow. There is no quick and easy solution for completely monetizing a website - it is a process.

Your traffic* is worth a great deal. You know that. In creating partnerships and joining Affiliate* Marketing Programs, you have demonstrated a desire to capitalize on your traffic and to make money while complementing your current viewers' experience. Below are some ideas on how to promote the program, to make it a success, and to expose it in a beneficial way to your visitors.

Newsletter - Send it out as an advertisement* with your newsletter. A marketing newsletter is typically sent to current or prospective customers free of charge. A good marketing newsletter, in both design and content, strives to turn prospects into customers and customers into repeat customers. Your newsletter is not a sales pitch, but rather an avenue for interested parties to hear about news, offers, and specials that you can bring to them for being valued customers or viewers. With affiliate program cookie tracking, repeat customers will continue to make you money! This approach will work for both Monetization and Information sites. Monetization* sites can take the process one step further, and include campaign offers in past-customer lists. To appreciated patrons of your site, you can offer specials and discounts through affiliate programs that match the demographic and interests of your customers.

Confirmation Page - Monetization Sites are also able to offer these specials and discounts on their confirmation or after-sale pages. In essence, you are offering another product. Monetization sites do not want to disrupt the sales process, and in fact want to make the buy process as short and streamlined as possible. Include the information you want your customer to see after the sale (such as the affiliate link, descriptions, call to action, etc.); you are hereby extending the monetization process but not the buy process.

Integrating Content - Informational Sites should post information about the product or program. Creating a page to include history or reviews about the product would drive interested traffic to the site. This is the clearest form of contextual marketing* and demographic targeting. If you have an informational site, integrating the link into the content of your webpage would bridge whatever gap might exist between your viewers and potential customers. Creating a natural progression through your site and to the affiliate links you have set up will enrich the site as a whole. If you have a nifty custom-created navigation bar, think about creating affiliate links in the same style. This way, your site flows cleanly and the affiliate information is seen as more content on your site.

Blog* Post and Promoting the Second Tier - Write a blog/news entry or post mentioning the program as a business opportunity. You can include a text link in this kind of 'advertorial,' and it will be more targeted than a banner or the randomly placed creative. If you drop your second tier link in the post direct fellow marketers and webmasters to sign up as affiliates and promote the program, you will gain a commission on the sales that they create as well!

Banner* Promotion - If the only option is a banner, make sure to place the ad above the fold, or 'above the scroll'* - Studies have shown that upwards of 20% of visitors do not scroll down. To interest those consumers, and to get that click-through rate that will make you money, people have to be able to see the promotion, right? There are many things to take into account regarding banner placement -

Make sure to set your frequency* cap if you have a series of banners that occupy the same space. If the banner creatives become too repetitious, your viewers can experience banner burnout*, which will significantly decrease click-through rates*. If you want to cycle through banners, use two or three different creatives for the same affiliate program.

If you have a rich media creative, one that is telling a story (15 to 30 second video clip, scrolling text, etc.), make sure to place the banner near a content-rich area of your site. This way, the information being communicated has a chance to get your viewer interested.

As much as you can, make sure to match the style of the creative to the style of your site. If you can't find a creative you like in the program software, contact the program manager. Every good affiliate program and affiliate management team should be available to alter and creative specific tools for their affiliates to use.

It is extraordinarily important to get the offer involved in your content. You have a very specific group of viewers and repeat visitors, and the only way to integrate this potentially lucrative opportunity is to grab the attention of your guests with content-specific products and endorsements. Play to their needs and wants, and this partnership will turn into a benefit for yourself and your viewers.

*(See Glossary Below)

by Zac Sutton
Zac Sutton is currently the Director of Business Development for NetTraction.com and AffiliateTraction. He can be contacted by calling 831.464.1785 ext 3307 or by email at Zac@NetTraction.com.

Glossary Terms:

Above the Fold/Scroll: In reference to ad placement in traditional media, such as newspapers, this defines the top half of a page. On the web, this portion of the page is viewed without scrolling.

Advertisement or Ad: Digital creative that is typically interactive. Banners, buttons, interstitials and key words are all examples of online advertisements.

Affiliate: Typical term for a website that drives traffic to another website in exchange for a percent of sales from users driven to the site.

Banner: An interactive online advertisement in the form of a graphic image that typically runs across the top or bottom of a webpage, or is positioned in a margin or other space reserved for ads. Banner ads are historically GIF images. Many ads are animated GIFs since animation has been shown to be more effective. The standard banner is 468 pixels wide by 60 pixels high. The standard banner is still the mainstay of online advertising, but is quickly giving up ground to newer, potentially more effective forms of online advertising, such as email and interstitials. See Creative.

Banner Burnout: Overexposure of advertising creative that contributes to a drop in click-through rates. Frequency control reduces burnout for a particular creative or campaign.

Blog: Online journal of entries in reverse chronological order that typically features multiple links; short for Web log.

Click, Click-Thru or Click-Through: The activation of a hyperlink using a mouse or other input device. The click-through is essential to the interactivity of online advertising

Contextual marketing: Promoting a product in a setting, environment, or publication that is relevant in terms of content.

Demographics: Statistical data that describes the makeup of a given user base, and includes information such as age range, gender, education levels, and average household income. Demographic data is one of the tools used to match ad space with an advertising campaign.

Frequency: The rate a particular user is exposed to a particular creative or a particular campaign during a single session or period of time. Frequency capping is essential to the success of online advertising campaigns to maximize creative effectiveness.

Monetization: 'Monetize' in its purest form means to convert a substance or an idea into money. Regarding the Internet in particular, monetization is the process of earning money from website visitors, such as through advertising, e-commerce, etc.

Rich Media: A general term used to describe advances in online creative that take advantage of enhanced sensory features such as animation, audio and video. Rich media takes many different digital file forms. The serving of rich media creative can require more bandwidth and software modifications for older systems. Rich media creative will become more useful as user bandwidth increases.

Targeting: The control of the distribution of ad creative to only those websites or those users that fit within the particular targeting parameters. The depth and breadth of potential targeting parameters is unlimited. Targeting has the potential to dramatically improve the advertiser's ROI. Typical targeting parameters are: local user time of day, website category, user country, user age, etc.

Traffic: The volume of visitors to a website. Traffic is the currency of online success, but is not the only factor. Massive, low grade traffic to a website with poor content will inevitably result in failure. To an ad network Traffic Management is the ongoing effort to balance Publisher inventory with booked campaigns.

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