#10 / August, 2009
In this issue:
Purpose of the Newsletter
YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT AFFILIATING…
It’s true. You simply have to know about the affiliation process if you want to build a booming empire or even just earn a few thousand bucks a year more…
Why? Two reasons: (1) to make money from others’ affiliation links and/or (2) to have them make money for you by selling your products once your system is solid and flourishing.
First, let me explain why I think this can be a real good deal, then I’ll give you a free password to poke around my own affiliation’s innards…
Here are the basics:
(1) Somebody else has a finished, ready-to-sell product that you think others in your orb should have,
(2) Rather than being reticent about suggesting the product, you feel that you’d be doing those you contact a sincere favor,
(2) That somebody will give you a healthy commission (to me that would be 35% or more) for each item you sell,
(3) They will handle the selling transaction, packing, shipping, and the rare returns or defects,
(4) Optional but very useful, they will provide selling copy, artwork, and other promotional material in digital format to use as/if you wish,
(5) Again optional but very useful, they will provide squeeze page and/or landing page copy that you can use or modify, and
(6) All transactions are transparent, what they owe you is current and verifiable at their affiliate website at any time, and they reliably pay on schedule
There is a presumption here, that you have some sort of contact list through which you can tell others about their product. You may have a six-digit e-list, a thousand like souls on an address list, or even 100 who trust you and won’t be offended if you kindly suggest something they might benefit from.
What I’ve just described is the heart of an affiliation program as I see it operating in our information dissemination world. For you, it could be a huge moneymaker or a solid secondary income font. What I like best about it is that you needn’t stock products, handle the order, clear the credit cards, or do much of anything other than tell those you know about something they may need, then act as a sort of broker (okay, a salesperson) that will lead them to the digital order form. No sweat, no-grease, no lifting—and if you’re talking to your list anyway (like through a monthly newsletter), not much time spent either.
As I said, I have my own affiliation a program that I really like. I’ll let you explore it in a few moments.
To make this easier to envision, let’s use a real product of mine so you can see how it might work for you. Let’s use the “Test Your Niche Book First!” audio CDs that I told you about in my July mid-month e-mail. While I offered that program to you for $19 (see the date extension in the next newsletter item), its everyday cost is $38. It’s a two-CD packet in a plastic holder composed of one CD with a 42-minute audio explanation of the niche testing process and another CD, all text, with the script of the audio section and three testing tools you can download, modify, and use.
To draw a comparison, let’s say you order that packet from me (or off my order form). To do that you must push the shopping cart order button and enter your name, address, and other ordering info, including credit card data. All of that ordering information is being entered into my One Shopping Cart (1SC) account. It is almost simultaneously processed by PayPal, and the amount you just paid is deposited in my account. Since you also indicated how you wanted that sent (media mail or priority) and about $3 or $5 was included for shipping, I then quickly package the program, label it, and send it to you.
What’s different in an affiliation? There, you will recommend “Test Your Niche Book First!” to somebody else and send that person to sign up for the packet. Why would you do that? To tell them about good information and a process they probably know little or nothing about. But also because doing good pays well! You get a commission for sending them, in this case, to my order form.
But how do I know you sent that person to buy my product? (You probably don’t even know if you recommended it to a long list of followers!)
That’s where the affiliation business comes in. And where it’s a hidden blessing for you.
Before you recommend the product, you register in the provider’s affiliation program. Then you have access to the special link codes of every product that he or she offers, all paying you a commission from the amount the buyer pays the seller. If you send them to buy this packet for $38, the special code link tell the software that it was you who sent them and it will take them to my order form to buy what you recommended. (They never see the special link code.) The commission magic is that you have just earned, in this case, 40% of that $38, or $15.20. And a cookie in the link code I gave immediately adds that money to your income due account. (Commissions vary. We pay 40% for any product that must be shipped, like books or audio CDs, and 50% for all instant digital downloads.)
You’ve told your people about this great product, you linked them to my order form with the special coded link, and I would then send the already created product to them by the means they stipulated. (Or it can work in reverse once you have an affiliation program: they send the buyers to you for you to send your products.)
When you seek affiliation programs, look for those that have all or most of the six items above.
Few have (4) and (5). Yet provided copy helps you better explain the product(s) that you recommend. Sometimes you can pluck what you need from the provider’s website. Sometimes they will provide a downloadable file that highlights the benefits and contacts. But squeeze and landing pages are probably the best ways to do this.
Squeeze and landing pages focus tightly on the product you are recommending (without other product distractions). They also help you guide your potential buyer straight to the very order form you want them to use!
Two examples. You may just use a squeeze page, which tells in a few paragraphs or a page about the product’s benefits and features, then displays an ORDER NOW! button that lets them buy.
In our case, it sends them to my order button at 1SC. (See a short nine-paragraph squeeze page here that explains this in more detail.) In many cases, affiliate directors provide similar copy. You can extract what you think works from it and either include that in your original contact copy with your list or you can create another page on your website that your original copy sends them to.
A landing page is a more extensive selling script that is usually stored on a domain page. Often the squeeze page sends the reader to the landing page. In our case, instead of saying ORDER NOW on the squeeze page, I would change the last squeeze page sentence in our example to read “Want to find out more? See www.testyournichebookfirst.com.”
You don’t create the landing page nor must you get the domain, post it, and all the rest. That’s done by the affiliate director. It’s a long selling file that sells only the product in question. All you do is direct your client(s) to it—and it ends up sending them to the order form (but knows the order came from you because of the special linked code.)
Thus, you might tell your customer about my product three ways (or more): (1) Just mention the product in your newsletter or e-mail, and send them [with the special coded link] to my order form; (2) mention the product and include squeeze page copy or send them to a squeeze page (and from there to a landing page or to my order form), or (3) send them directly to the landing page (like www.testyournichebookfirst.com), which sends them to my order form. Don’t worry about where the coded link goes; the affiliation website explains which link you use when.
roads go to
Where do you find affiliate programs and products? The best way is to study all of the producers who serve your particular field, then ask them if they have an affiliate program—if they don’t already promote that at their website. If so, ask them to send you the details. (You can Google this too: affiliations+topic.) Check their commissions, of course, and how frequently they pay (every four months is typical). What is the minimum pay level? (Some are $50; we are $25. If you earn less, we pay that once a year.) Do they provide promo copy? Can you understand their conditions?
What do you have to lose? Not much, if you are picky. Buy a product or two. Is it good stuff? Well produced and closely proofed? Do you fully recommend it? Any qualms?
How does it work in reverse? How do you get others to buy your products through an affiliated structure? First you need enough products to be a player. Maybe five or more would make me comfortable that you aren’t just going to disappear. Plus you need to set up a solid, reliable structure. I like One Shopping Cart, but ask about the others that you see being used, and compare.
Mind you, you don’t need any structure at all to sell others’ products, or they, yours. You can just work out a discount or commission scale with any other product seller (as they can with you), and have them sell on a drop-ship basis: you place the order, you pay, and they ship directly to your buyer—you hope. That’s how I’ve sold probably 50% of others’ products for some 25 years. And it almost always works—though rarely there’s some jerk who simply doesn’t get it. The other way is to lay in discounted stock (a box of books or whatever) and you do it all.
But I sure like affiliations. And, yes, there is a delay getting paid, but I do get paid and I do a lot less for it.
That’s the global idea. You want to see the insides of an affiliation agreement? Then go to this address and register in my system: https://www.mcssl.com/SYS/?m=102033&c=s (that’s a small “L” before .com). There are absolutely no strings at all, and I’m aware that hardly any of you want to sell my products, as good as they are! Just poke around to see how it works, and then just unregister, I guess, if you’re uncomfortable. Or tell me and I’ll remove you. The only thing I might find too nosey is the request for your social security number. Leave it blank or swap a digit. I could care less. If we do business later and it’s needed, we can correct it then.) Take all the time you want looking around. It’s pretty clear about what you can expect in terms of product accessibility, reporting, and so on. (And if in fact your customers are interested in my topics, just stay and let’s both make some money!)
That’s it. You need to know about this ancillary component of empire earning, even if it’s premature now or you just don’t see it working for you yet. Others see it differently, of course, and some have built empires well into six digits all from affiliations! (Or so I’m told by folks I believe. If that’s you, soon, let me know so I can point the doubters your way!)
WE’RE EXTENDING THE $19 WINDFALL UNTIL AUGUST 10!
I just wrote about our audio CD program called “Test Your Niche Book First!” and said it cost my newsletter subscribers just $19 until August 1. WRONG! It will cost $19 for ten days longer—until August 10! (It goes public the next day at $38, still a huge bargain when you consider the alternative of not testing the book before investing the time, effort, and money of simply publishing it without any sense of its acceptance.)
I was late getting the mid-July newsletter out to you. I’d planned to have it in your hands on 7/15. So I got justifiable complaints and requests about the short buying window, thus the extension. More follows…
HOW ABOUT A PERMANENT DISCOUNT ON MY PRODUCTS?
I was cycling the other morning—one of those blessed fresh dewy dawns full of the smell of pine when the cycle seemed to pedal itself—and I found myself asking why I was penalizing you, my newsletter readers, by doubling my “Test Your Niche Book First!” price? And how I could make more sense for you (and, alas, a few less cents for me) of the confusing pricing logic that I see elsewhere.
So I think what I will do starting now and into the future is to first set the “regular” public price, and give you a steep discount from it at the outset. Which is what I did in the product above—from $38 “regular” to $19. But since I’ll usually offer my new products on about the 15th, I will extend that steep discount for three weeks, so you also know about it in the usual monthly text-laden newsletter coming to you on about the first day of the month. (Since these are products I think you’d really benefit from, this will help you if price is the determining factor…)
Then I think I’ll just offer you, for being faithful newsletter subscribers, a permanent discount of 25% (with a coupon number that you can apply at any time in the future as long as that product is sold). There is no way to give you a blanket discount in our shopping cart format, so I will simply give you a link every other newsletter or so telling you the discounts that are available. In fact, let me include my six available products on that link right now, and I will add to it when new products emerge!
Does that work for you?
Thus I’m keeping the price at $19 (50% off) on “Test Your Niche Book First!” until August 10 (a few days longer since I put it on sale a few days late), after which you will get the usual (as of now) 25% off.
(There’s another way to do better, sort of—sell my products to your e-list(s) and earn 40-50%. Affiliation is the magic word, as you know if you just read the first item in this newsletter.)
“NICHE MARKETING FOR WRITERS”
A while back I offered a free copy text script of an interview I had with web marketing expert Fred Gleeck in early 2009 called “Niche Marketing for Writers.” My subscriber list has far more than doubled since then, so if you’d benefit from anything it says, please link and enjoy!
Purpose of the Newsletter
Gordon Burgett specializes in niche publishing and empire-building from writing, speaking, and product development. That is the theme of his monthly newsletter, "Create Your Own Highly Profitable Empire."
He has also given 2000+ paid spoken presentations nationwide, written 36 published books and 1,700+ freelance magazine and newspaper articles. Gordon is the owner and director of two publishing firms. His most recent book is Niche Publishing: Publishing Profitably Every Time.
Burgett is the Executive Editor of www.VisualTravelTours.com,
leading visual travel podcast production firm in world, and for years has
appeared as a talk show guest on radio and TV shows across
If that's not enough, here's Gordon's more extensive website bio!
of the past newsletter issues