Friday, March 7, 2008

How to make money with affiliate marketing

Just got another email from a friend of mine. I'll let you read the main point:

"You told me it was easy to make money on the internet. You said you do it all the time. So I got online and I'm sitting here not making any money. What gives? Is this a scam? I thought we were friends!"

I get phone calls and emails like this all the time. Someone hears I have an online business. They call or email me to see if it's true. They ask how much money I'm making. (Never, EVER, answer that question unless you want to get this phone call: "You told me I could make MILLIONS!"). I tell them I make enough to live on. So they get all excited and the next thing I get is an email or a phone call stating that they too have started an internet business.

Let's get two things straight right now. Starting an internet business involves a bit more than signing up for some affiliate programs and then sitting in front of the computer waiting for the money to start coming in. However, if you have some discipline and can learn from those who really do make millions online, then you can make a decent living on the internet.

So what does it take to get started in affiliate marketing? It's fairly simple. Decide on your market. Try to choose something you are passionate about so you'll stick with it long enough to see some results. Could it be health and fitness, cooking, gardening, travel, crafts, juggling? These are all businesses that have been started by friends of mine and each of them are making a good living.

Next, find affiliate programs that pertain to your market. The best place to do this Affiliate Showcase ( This site gives you access to literally hundreds of the best affiliate programs available. Plus you can also market Affiliate Showcase itself!

The next step is to figure out a way to reach your potential customers. You will need some sort of web presence. While most affiliate programs provide you with a website, these are all cookie cutter sites with nothing to set them apart from every other affiliate. You need something of your own. If you can't afford to hire a web designer and don't know how to build your own website, there are a couple of options. You can try a great product called SiteBuildIt! ( to create your site. Or you can create a blog which works almost as well as a website to get you started.

Once you have identified your business niche, your products, created your website or blog, then it's time to market your products to your prospective customers. There are all kinds of ways to do this and what works for one may not work for you. The best way to learn about internet marketing is to study what the experts have to say. Learn all you can from people like Ken McArthur, Derek Gehl, Mike Filsame, Sterling Valentine, Michael Angier, Yanik Silver, or Mike Litman. If you can buy some of their products, great. If not, at least sign up for their mailing lists and newsletters. They are the "gurus" in this business and can teach you all you need to know. How do I know? Who do you think taught me? (I have even had the honor of personally meeting Ken McArthur and Michael Angier and they are two great guys!).

This is just a brief outline of how to start an online business using affiliate programs. There simply isn't room to go in depth here. But if you will follow these basic steps and listen to the experts, you can make money online.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Are You Excited?

You had better be! How do you expect me to be excited about your offer if I don't see some excitement in you? Everyone responds to excitement - unless they are dead! Let me give you an example.

My sister and I went car shopping this weekend. She wanted a reliable, economical but sporty car - preferably an import. She is young and single and makes great money so she can afford what she wants. She drove home in an Inferno Red Dodge Caliber! What happened? She got excited!

We went to several dealerships. We drove Hondas, Toyotas, Nissans, Hyundais. Nothing seemed to catch her eye. We tried a Ford and a Saturn. All of them handled well, the prices were good - everything she wanted. But there was no excitement. The salespeople listed off all the benefits of the car, gave her a price, resorted to pressure tactics and/or price cutting when she said she wanted to think it over - and ultimately lost the sale.

Then I told her I had read that Dodge had a fairly economical car called a Caliber. I thought it was rather ugly (not a Dodge fan), but we might as well check it out. We walked into the dealership and while we were waiting for a salesperson we started looking at the 300. Suddenly, a voice behind us speaks up. "Beautiful car isn't it?" We agreed that it was. The voice belonged to a young saleswoman who asked if she could help us. My sister told her what she was looking for and the young lady walked us over to the Calibers. (I was right - they ARE ugly!). After talking for a little bit more, my sister gave her the standard "I'll think about it" routine and got ready to leave. Here is where everything changed. Instead of trying to pressure her into a sale, she made one simple statement: "These cars aren't very exciting for a young, single businesswoman like you. I can understand why you need to think about it." My sister stopped and turned around and agreed. They were rather boring. "Let me show you something" the salesgirl said. She led us to the end of the row of cars. There sat another Caliber - a red one. The salesgirl said that this was the R/T model. We asked what that meant. She said it's the top of the line Caliber. "Let me show you what makes this one so different from the others." She got my sister to sit in the car. She showed her all the options it came with. After each one, she told my sister how it would impact her personally. "See the chill zone? It keeps your drinks cold. Won't it be exciting to be able to have cold water with you during the hot summer months? This is the satellite radio. Sirius is free for the first year. You said you travel a lot. Won't it be exciting to be able to listen to your favorite radio station whereever you go? I love that feature! It has side curtain air bags. Won't you be excited when you pick up your niece and nephew (my grandchildren) in your new car, knowing they are protected by the airbags? I am always proud to tell my customers that 5 of our cars received 5-star crash test ratings. The Caliber is one of them. Isn't that exciting?" On and on she went helping my sister see herself in this car and getting her EXCITED about it. By the time she was finished, my sister couldn't see herself in anything else and bought it.

Don't think your prospects are any different. Everybody responds to excitement. How do you convey excitement? Start by listing all the benefits of your product, service or opportunity. Then think about why they excite you. What makes you passionate about it? How can you share that passion? Our saleswoman said she started selling cars because she came from a family of all boys and the boys and her dad loved cars. She was around them all the time and so she learned to be passionate about them too. She said she wanted to help other women learn to love cars as much as she did. When she spoke, you could see her enthusiasm. It was contagious. It even got me excited and I'm not much of a car crazy.

You started your business for a reason. Something about it got you excited. Share that excitement with your prospects. Then you can get excited - over your paycheck!