E-commerce - Sites that Sell
First, build your site around your affiliate program. Do not just have a bunch of links and banners on your site and nothing else. You need to have good content so your visitors will use your site as a resource. Also try to limit the amount of products you sell. Find a niche that you are comfortable with and sell a few products that are within that niche. If you have too many products, visitors be confused and leave without purchasing.
Make sure that the programs you join are making your work worthwhile. Join programs that give you a high payout for each sale and at least 25-30% on commission for each sale. Your product should be something that you would feel comfortable purchasing and recommending to your visitors. Also, promote your site all the time. Use a newsletter to keep your mailing list informed of new products and articles on your site. Promote to search engines. Build your reciprocal link list. After building your site you should spend 90% of your time on marketing so you can get the visitors you need to make you efforts worth while.
The most important thing is not to give up. If you don't see results within a few weeks keep plugging away. 80% of affiliates make almost nothing with their programs, so if you've seen even a small commission check, you're already ahead of the game.
A great affiliate site is Commission Junction. Commission Junction uses a Pay-for-performance model. Pay-for Performance is a form of online advertising where a marketer pays for results rather than paying to reach a particular audience. This, and affiliate programs in general, is particularly beneficial for small business with little or no marketing budget
Industry & Business Affiliations
One powerful and often overlooked method of advertising, and generating business is to partner with existing business suppliers and related industry associations. Suppliers and existing business partners are a natural place to begin offering your products and services. Having pre-established business relationships with these entities means your foot is in the "door"...and that is half the work. Another way to get your foot in the door is to work to partner with targeted associations whose members would benefit from your offering. These associations benefit from providing value to their members and therefore are often more open and less stringent about testing new business opportunities.
By no means should you use message boards as an aggressive way to promote your site. In the old days (about 2 years ago) webmasters could post whatever they want on message boards, including URL's and other advertisement. Now, this is generally seen as spam and in poor taste. You can use message boards, however, as an effective communication tools with potential visitors.
Message boards are a good way to interact with other webmasters and customers that are interested in your field of products. You can get your foot in the door, by giving advice and guidance to people on the message boards. This can lead to them asking you about a website or particular product you are selling. If you work to become a leader in your product field, visitors will feel more comfortable when visiting your site. They will remember that you know what you are talking about, and that your endorsement of a product is to be trusted.
Message boards are a good way to passively promote your site. Visit them when you feel like doing something different for a change, and get involved in discussions with possible customers. Becoming an "expert" in your product line will increase your sales and enhance your websites credibility.
Press Releases & Publicity
The media provide you with the best way to generate business for your product or service. News is big business and almost everybody has their favorite programs, news services and publications. Every industry has hundreds of specialized TV programs, radio shows, magazines and publications dedicated to their particular topic. Sending a press release is one of the most effective ways to generate publicity for your business. It can drive mountains of customers to your web sites and order lines. Just one mention of your business in any of your industry's major publications can bring targeted prospects to your site and explode your sales. Most companies pay for advertisements in their trade papers or on TV and radio. Press releases are different — besides your time and effort, they are FREE!!
Until recently, sending a press release was both time consuming and expensive. You had to purchase a media database that cost thousands of dollars, or hire a distribution service to send your release to the media for hundreds of dollars each time.
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