How to Triple Your Online Sales Overnight
Do you make money online?
Or maybe a better question is, Why not?
Last year alone, Amazon.com made $24.5 BILLION dollars in online sales.
Why didn’t you get a piece of that pie?
I’ve been running online businesses and teaching others how to start an online business for over six years now and have learned one main point that I can’t teach clearly enough…
Online Marketing is about SALES!
If you want to actually make money online, you have to provide a product or service that has enough demand and that you won’t have to compete with the likes of Wal-Mart and Costco to sell.
Online marketing is NOT just about selling products ONLINE!
To me, this is one of the most common misconceptions about an internet business – that most, if not all, of the sales are made online.
First off, yes, your eCommerce website can be the PORTAL to sell your products online. But you’re not necessarily LIMITED to only selling them there.
Some of the biggest sales I’ve made online have been because of connections made OFFLINE that then got the ball rolling to finalize the sales online.
Do you have an affiliate program for your website?
I was talking with a client today about his website that sells cool pencil cases. He’s using a website builder that has a custom affiliate program BUILT IN! I was pretty excited for him when I heard that he’d made about 70 sales within the last week.
I asked him how many of those sales he’d made were now affiliates that were promoting his products to their friends and family in exchange for a little commission on sales they helped create.
He told me 1 person was and they’d helped generate FOUR sales already.
I then did the math. 1 person for 4 sales….?
That means, if he got all 75 people who bought from him already to do a bit of affiliate promoting…. He be “in the money” for (at least) 300 sales!
From 4 sales to 300 sales is actually A LOT MORE than TRIPLING YOUR ONLINE SALES!
Are you seeing where I’m going here…?
How to Build a Successful Affiliate Program for Your Ecommerce Store
As we talked more, ideas started coming about what he could be doing. Here are some I want to collect on “paper”.
- Have an affiliate program built for your eCommerce store or find one.
- When a sale is made and a new client is added to your database, email them right away to thank them for their business.
- In that same email, or in follow up emails, ask them questions and build the business relationship:
- How did they find your website?
- Do they have any recommendations or suggestions for your website?
- What did they like about the product(s) or service?
- What can you add to the site that would make it even better for the end user?
- What other products would they like to see in the future?
- Would they buy from your website again in the future? Why or why not?
- If they could refer the product(s) to their friends and family for a commission, would they?
- Do they know what affiliate marketing is?
- Make some of these questions direct links to a page on your website that explains more about what they can do to make money or help a cause or whatever…(a landing page with an invitation to do something)
- On the landing page, teach them how they can set up their own affiliate program on your site and get PAID as they refer your products to friends and family who then BUY your products.
- Teach them about http://bit.ly – a website address shortening service that basically “hides” all the affiliate tracking information and keeps the website address short and easy to remember.
- If they want to do “Offline Sales”, teach them about how they could collect the money from buyers of your products offline and then go through their own affiliate link to make sure they get credit for the sale.
- Encourage them to think about their email list, their friends on Facebook, and offline connections too.
- Start helping them make a list of people they think would be ideal for the product or service you offer.
These were just a few of the ideas that came to mind as we talked about the success he was having so far with his new online business.
What are other suggestions you have to double, triple, even QUADRUPLE your sales online?
(by the way, the title is an example of a Flashy Headline and nothing else; yes, I do think a process like this has potential to triple sales overnight, but I DON’T believe in “get rich quick” schemes at all…)
PayPal Affiliate Program Not Found in CJ.com
For some this may be old news, but on August 1, 2007 my PayPal Affiliate account in CJ.com was terminated. I hadn’t been using that affiliate much but noticed it today as I was trying to resolve a dispute with HostGator.com.
With further research, I found that PayPal has decided to do their own affiliate program.
Each time a new merchant signs up for a PayPal Business or Premier account via the link or banner that you provide, you’ll be eligible for a Merchant Referral Bonus. Your referral bonus is tied to the amount the merchant receives via PayPal’s Website Payment Tools or Send Money.
You’ll immediately start earning 0.5% of the new merchant’s revenue — up to $1,000.00 USD — for the first 12 months that the merchant has his PayPal account.
Note: The Merchant Referral Bonus program is designed to reward referrals of non-eBay merchants. As a result, payments received for eBay items will not contribute toward the Merchant Referral Bonus.
Does anyone know why they decided to go this route?
Here are some of my thoughts:
1) Cost Effectiveness: I know it costs a pretty good chunk of change to be an advertiser with CJ.com.
2) More Direct Control: As PayPal uses their own code and own resources, they have more control over what happens with their accounts.
3) Increased Bottom Line & Link Building: I’ve been reading a lot lately about affiliate programs and why they can be a great resource for your own eCommerce business. Not only are you motivating others to sell your product, but you are also building direct links to your site on other quality sites. It’s called “link love”!
So, although i may be a day late and a dollar short on this discovery, I thought readers would like to know that PayPal has their own affiliate program now.
The Jeremy Palmer Affiliate Marketing Test
Affiliate Marketing is defined as:
a method of promoting web businesses (merchants/advertisers) in which an affiliate (publisher) is rewarded for every visitor, subscriber, customer, and/or sale provided through his/her efforts. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affiliate_marketing
As of today, 10.3.2007, I’ve made a total of $380.55 in commissions from Commission Junction starting in Jan 2007. That’s $2,103.55 in sales, 22 sales, 41 items, 1,059 clicks and 72,654 impressions. My best site to date has made $246.11 in commissions, followed by $105.30 and $17.74. As you can see by the numbers, I’m not an avid or dedicated affiliate marketer by any means and have focused more of my time (and money) on dropshipping for my eCommerce business.
As you’ve read recently, I went to CJU 2007 and had the opportunity to meet the one, the only, Jeremy Palmer. He is one of the “big dogs” of affiliate marketing. Thanks to a friend and fellow Utah blogger, I watched a couple testimonials about how Jeremy Palmer has done amazing things for his clients. I met two of these clients at the CJU 2007 Affiliate Marketing Conference in Santa Barbara, California. One of them, Justin Bowem, actually won the Horizon Award as one of the top performers in 2007. These experiences have opened my mind a bit to the potential of affiliate marketing. Obviously there are people making “bank” with commissions on sales.
I got to talk to Jeremy, Justin, and James Hamby at CJU 2007. My time with Jeremy was only for a few minutes, but I got to talk to Justin and James for quite some time. I love asking questions. Here are a few key points I learned from them that are good to take in to account:
- Learn website design or know someone who does. I’m not a programmer or designer but know a few people around the block that may be able to help me. You can also find people like this at www.guru.com, www.elance.com and www.getafreelancer.com.
- Be prepared to spend money on advertising. Pay Per Click advertising is key if you want to get quick, targeted traffic to your site. However, getting traffic and getting “conversion” are two different things. Just spending the money to get traffic and not knowing what is and isn’t working is like throwing money down the drain.
- Analysis, analysis, analysis! Jeremy uses Google Analytics like it’s going out of style. This is a free analytics tool that will tell you almost anything you want about your visitors and what they are doing. Knowing what they’re doing is only a part of the analysis though. It’s also important to know what you want them to do and how to get them to do it. This comes with time and practice.
So, keeping these things in mind, and realizing it may be a shot in the dark, I’m going to challenge myself in front of all my clients and readers.
The affiliate marketing experiment: I recently downloaded Jeremy Palmers eBook about High Level Affiliate Marketing. I plan to print this ebook out and read it at least 2 times within the next month. With the information I learn, I plan to make at least $1,000 in Commissions within the next 3 months. That is at least $333.33 per month net profit starting in November and ending in January 2008. Granted, this isn’t much, but as I’ve said a thousand times – “Small Success leads to Big Success!” I plan to dedicate $250 per month for 3 months to a PPC marketing campaign, something I’ve never done before.
I look forward to seeing the results and then teaching them, in detail, to my clients. Be prepared to get updates from time to time on my progress.
Learning a “Boat Load” at CJU 2007
Wow, there is so much to know about affiliate marketing. Luckily I’ve been hanging around RMAMA (Rocky Mountain Association of Affiliate Marketers) members to get the insider tips on what this is all about and it’s really paying off.
Here are a few tips I’m learning that may help you choose the best CJ Advertisers to work with:
Criteria to use when selecting an advertiser in affiliate marketing (according to some of the best publishers in the affiliate marketing industry):
- Advertiser Response – How quick does the advertiser respond to questions – communication is key. I’ve learned here that even with affiliate marketing, if you present options and the advertiser is open and willing to help, it can be great for everyone involved. Email works great but using the phone can be so much more effective. Phone conversations encourage brainstorming and getting the answer you need instead of a generic answer.
- Brand – Who is the company and what’s their reputation? This really helps your website build credibility and get better conversion rates (visitor converting to BUYER!)
- Conversion Rate – How likely is a visitor going to convert to a sale, how likely will things close, publishers need to know a “range” for conversion rate and know their chances of ROI and advertisers should include this in their Advertiser details page on CJ.com
- Deep Linking – In order to have good conversion rates, deep linking is crucial. Where does the affiliate link take a visitor, to the home page or to a direct, “deep”, check out page? If all of your advertisers links, even product links, take visitors to the home page, something needs to be done or you need to look for another affiliate advertiser. Communication can again help this situation. You do NOT want all the links to take visitors to the home page of the advertiser’s site!
- Commission – How much will I make when a sale is made, is this really a good opportunity? Time is money!
- Keyword Policy – Keywords are really a key part of affiliate marketing. Many of the publishers I’ve talked with rely on Pay Per Click advertising to get the right visitors to their sites. Does the advertiser you’re considering have a keyword policy? What is it? Is it communicated effectively? Can a publisher do paid search or do they have to rely on natural SEO?
- Network, Network, Network – of all the things I’ve learned here in the last few days, this has been the best one – it’s not what you know all the time, it’s WHO!
Publishers have pre-sales costs. Advertisers have post-sales costs – this is an important factor in the partnership model. It’s got to be a Win/Win! Publishers need to have more control of their clients.
As I learned this today, I thought about one of my clients that sells irish gifts. I’ve told some of you about this. She has made a few sales on her site through CJ.com. However, when her client (who was her sister-in-law) received the product, it included a coupon that said “Next time buy from us directly and save $5.” If I were the in the shoes of my client, I would be pretty upset. I would contact the affiliate advertiser and call them on this. Talk about taking the control right out of your hands. What is a win/win anyway?
It’s important to negotiate program terms with the advertiser. Advertisers need to be willing to negotiate the terms so that once a sale is made, things aren’t completely out of the publishers control. This analogy was presented regarding “control”.
Which would you prefer when dealing with an advertiser?
Control vs. No Control
Commission Junction 2007 Conference in Santa Barbara
Well, in less than 8 hours I’ll be on a flight to Santa Barbara, California for CJU 2007. I look forward to the education about affiliate marketing and the chance it will give me to network with some of the best in the industry.
Since this will be my first affiliate marketing conference, I was wondering if any of my readers have specific questions that they’d like me to find answers to. Questions may include things like:
- Is it really effective to combine affiliate marketing and selling products from a dropshipper on one website?
- What are the best ways to get the most out of an affiliate campaign?
- Is pay per click marketing worth it when it comes to pay per action advertising on my site?
These are a few of the many questions I’ll be looking to answer in the next few days. My good friend and fellow colleague Janet Meiners will be at the conference too. She is an expert at affiliate marketing and has lots to share.
I look forward to a few fun-filled days. Stay tuned for more information to come about the conference.