Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Meat and Potatoes for Your Affiliate Diet

Think of banner ads as the spice in your affiliate diet. Sprinkle them around, but for a heartier helping of sales, you’ll need something more solid! Learn to give your visitors longer, more descriptive pre-sales text. Revamp your affiliate advertising using these simple steps:


To convince your audience that your text is worth reading, make your first sentence or two very interesting. Make a bold statement, say something seemingly ridiculous, or appeal to your prospect’s emotional side. Then, tie this grabber in with the rest of your copy.


What is the product you’re advertising? What does it do? Directly after your grabber, give a compact explanation of your product. Keep this explanation short, while still being very clear. This should still be a very short section of your text.


What will it do for me?

By writing your own copy, you can directly target your unique audience. Make the most of this opportunity! Clearly explain how your readers will benefit from this product.

No one knows your audience like you do. Suggest a variety of product uses just for them, and give examples. This is the time for details – make this section long and rich.


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You’ve come so far – you’ve laid out exactly what the product is and how it will help your unique audience. Now, seal the deal – tell your readers to purchase the product! Include your affiliate link in this section.

This step may sound strange, but it’s necessary. Often, people hear about a product and are genuinely interested, but fail to actually make a purchase. A clear call to a simple action cuts down on buyer ambivalence. Don’t be pushy – just change your verb tenses to the imperative. Instead of:

“If you think that you fit this profile, you might want to think about buying this product.”

Say: “Click here to order an account today.”

Drive Sales – Use Long Copy

If you don’t feel ready to write long copy yourself, ask your affiliate program manager for help! Many companies release well-written articles by respected authors that you can reprint free of charge.

The novelty of the Web is wearing off. People online now are busy. Surfers won’t make a purchase unless you make a great case for what they’ll get out of it. And you’re not going to do that with just a banner ad.



Spam, Where it Came From, and How to Escape It

In 1936, long before the rise of the personal computer, Hormel Foods created SPAM. In 2002, the company will produce it’s six billionth can of the processed food product. But that mark was passed long ago in the world of Internet spam.



The modern meaning of the word “spam” has nothing to do with spiced ham. In the early 1990’s, a skit by British comedy group Monty Python led to the word’s common usage. “The SPAM Skit” follows a couple struggling to order dinner from a menu consisting entirely of Hormel’s canned ham.

Repetition is key to the skit’s hilarity. The actors cram the word “SPAM” into the 2.5 minute skit more than 104 times! This flood prompted Usenet readers to call unwanted newsgroup postings “spam.” The name stuck.

Spammers soon focused on e-mail, and the terminology moved with them. Today, the word has come out of technical obscurity. Now, “spam” is the common term for “Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail”, or “UCE.”



Chances are, you’ve been spammed before. Somehow, your e-mail address has found it’s way into the hands of a spammer, and your inbox is suffering the consequences. How does this happen? There are several possibilities.


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Businesses often keep lists of their customers’ e-mail addresses. This is a completely legitimate practice and, usually, nothing bad comes of it. Sometimes though, the temptation to make a quick buck is too great, and these lists are sold or rented to outside advertisers. The result? A lot of unsolicited e-mail, and a serious breach of trust.

Random Address Generation

Computer programs called random address generators simply “guess” e-mail addresses. Over 100 million hotmail addresses exist – howhard could it be to guess some of them? Unfortunately for many unsuspecting netizens – not too hard. Many spammers also guess at

“standard” addresses, like “support@yourdomain.com”,

“info@yourdomain.com”, and “billing@yourdomain.com.”

Web Spiders

Today’s most insidious list-gathering tools are web spiders. All of the major search engines spider the web, saving information about each page. Spammers use tools that also spider the web, but save any e-mail address they come across. Your personal web page lists your e-mail address? Prepare for an onslaught!

Chat Room Harvesting

ISP’s offer vastly popular chat rooms where users are known only by their screen names. Of course, spammers know that your screen name is the first part of your e-mail address. Why waste time guessing e-mail addresses when a few hours of lurking in a chat room can net a list of actively-used addresses?

The Poor Man’s Bad Marketing Idea

It didn’t work for the phone companies, and it won’t work for e-mail marketers. But, some spammers still keep their own friends-and-family-style e-mail lists. Compiled from the addresses of other known spammers, and people or businesses that the owner has come across in the past, these lists are still illegitimate. Why? Only you can give someone permission to send you e-mail. A friend-of-a-friend’s permission won’t cut it.



Already drowning in spam? Try using your e-mail client’s filters – many provide a way to block specific e-mail addresses. Each time you’re spammed, block the sender’s address. Spammers skip from address to address, and you may be on many lists, but this method will at least slow the flow.

Also, use more than one e-mail address, and keep one “clean.” Many netizens find that this technique turns the spam flood into a trickle. Use one address for only spam-safe activities like e-mailing your friends, or signing on with trustworthy businesses. Never use your clean address on the web! Get a free address to use on the web and in chat rooms.

If nothing else helps, consider changing screen names, or opening an entirely new e-mail account. When you do, you’ll start with a clean, spam-free slate. This time, protect your e-mail address!



Want to surf the web without getting sucked into the spam-flood? Prevention is your best policy. Don’t use an easy-to-guess e-mail address. Keep your address clean by not using it for spam-centric activities. Don’t post it on any web pages, and don’t use it in chat rooms or newsgroups.

Before giving your clean e-mail address to a business, check the company out. Are sections of its user agreement dedicated to anti-spam rules? Does a privacy policy explain exactly what will be done with your address? The most considerate companies also post an anti-spam policy written in plain English, so you can be absolutely sure of what you’re getting into.



Many a first-time marketer has inadvertently spammed his audience. The first several hundred complaints and some nasty phone messages usually stop him in his tracks. But by then, the spammer may be faced with cleanup bills from his ISP, and a bad reputation that it’s not easy to overcome.

The best way to avoid this situation is to have a clear understanding of what spam is: If anyone who receives your mass e-mails did not specifically ask to hear from you, then you are spamming them.

Stick with your gut. Don’t buy a million addresses for $10, no matter how much the seller swears by them! If something sounds fishy, just say no. You’ll save yourself a lot in the end.



The online world is turning the tide on spam. In the end, people will stop sending spam because it stops working. Do your part: never buy from a spammer. When your business seeks out technology companies with which to work, only choose those with a staunch anti-spam stance.

Spam has a long history in both the food and e-mail sectors. This year, Hormel Foods opened a real-world museum dedicated to SPAM. While the museum does feature the Monty Python SPAM Skit, there’s no word yet on an unsolicited commercial e-mail exhibit. But, if all upstanding netizens work together, Hormel’s ham in a can will far outlive the Internet plague that is UCE.

Always send an initial, informative letter as soon as it is requested, and send the first follow up 24 hours afterwards. You want your hot prospects to have information quickly, so that they can make informed buying decisions!

Send the next 2-3 follow up messages between 1 and 3 days apart. Your prospect is still hot, and is probably still shopping around! Tell him about the benefits of your products and services, as opposed to your competitors’. You will make the sale!

Send the final follow up messages later on. You certainly don’t want to annoy your prospect! Make sure that these last letters are at least 4 days apart.

Following up effectively seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! So many potential customers are lost because of poor follow up – don’t you want to be one of the few to get it right?


Do Your Potential Customers Forget About You?

Your web business probably gets product inquiries from potential customers around the globe. Inquiries come via e-mail and your web site, and you try to send information to each hot prospect as quickly as you can.

You know that you can drastically increase the likelihood of making a sale by satisfying each person’s need for information quickly!

But, after you’ve delivered that first bit of information to your prospect, do you send him any further information?

If you are like most Internet marketers, you don’t.

When you don’t follow that initial message with additional information later on, you let a valuable prospect slip from your grasp!

This is a potential customer who may have been very interested in your products, but who lost your contact information, or was too busy to make a purchase when your first message reached him.

Often, a prospect will purposely put off making a purchase, to see if you find him important enough to follow up with later. When he doesn’t receive a follow up message from you, he will take his business elsewhere.


Following up with leads is more than just a process – it’s an art. In order to be effective, you need to design a follow up system, and stick to it, EVERY DAY! If you don’t follow up with your prospects consistently, INDIVIDUALLY, and in a timely fashion, then you might as well forget the whole follow up process.



When I first started marketing and following up with prospects, I used a follow up method that I now call the “List Technique.” I had a large database containing the names and e-mail addresses of people who had specifically requested information about my products and services. These prospects had already received my first letter by the time they requested more information, so I used the company’s latest news as a follow up piece.

I would write follow up newsletters every now and then, and send them, in one mass mailing, to everyone who had previously requested information from me. While this probably did help me win a few additional orders, it wasn’t a very good follow up method. Why isn’t the “List Technique” very effective?

  1. The List Technique isn’t consistent. Proponents of the List Technique tend to only send out follow up messages when their companies have “big news”.
  2. List Technique messages don’t give the potential customer any additional information about the product or service in question. He can’t make a more informed buying decision after receiving a newsletter! If someone is wondering whether your company sells the best knick-knacks, what does he care that you’ve just moved your headquarters?
  3. List Technique messages convey a “big list” mentality to your potential customers. When I used to write follow up messages using the List Technique, I was writing news bulletins to everyone I knew! I should have been sending a personal message to each individual who wanted to know more about my products.


Following up with each lead individually, multiple times, but at set intervals, and with pre-written messages, will dramatically increase sales! Others who use this same technique confirm that they have all at least doubled the sales of various products! In order to set this system up, though, you need to do some planning.

First, you’ll need to develop your follow up messages. If you’ve been marketing on the Internet for any length of time, then you should already have a first informative letter. Your second letter marks the beginning of the follow up process, and should go into more detail than the first letter. Fill this letter with details that you didn’t have the space to add to the first letter. Stress the BENEFITS of your products or services!

Your next 2-3 follow up messages should be rather short. Include lists of the benefits and potential uses of your products and services. Write each letter so that your prospects can skim the contents, and still see the full force of your message.

The next couple of follow up messages should create a sense of urgency in your prospect’s mind. Make a special offer, giving him a reason to order NOW instead of waiting any longer. After reading these follow up messages, your prospect should want to order immediately!

Phrase each of your final 1 or 2 follow up messages in the form of a question. Ask your prospect why he hasn’t yet placed an order? Try to get him to actually respond. Ask if the price is to high, the product isn’t the right color or doesn’t have the right features, or if he is looking for something else entirely. (By this time, it’s unlikely that this person will order from you. However, his feedback can help you modify your follow up letters or products, so that other prospects will order from you.)

The timing of your follow up letters is just as important as their content. You don’t want one prospect to receive a follow up the day after he gets your initial informative letter, while another prospect waits weeks for a follow up!

Always send an initial, informative letter as soon as it is requested, and send the first follow up 24 hours afterwards. You want your hot prospects to have information quickly, so that they can make informed buying decisions!

Send the next 2-3 follow up messages between 1 and 3 days apart. Your prospect is still hot, and is probably still shopping around! Tell him about the benefits of your products and services, as opposed to your competitors’. You will make the sale!

Send the final follow up messages later on. You certainly don’t want to annoy your prospect! Make sure that these last letters are at least 4 days apart.

Following up effectively seems complicated, but it doesn’t have to be! So many potential customers are lost because of poor follow up – don’t you want to be one of the few to get it right?




Email Marketing $19/Month!


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