Saturday, March 03, 2007

Add a little revenue with affiliate programs

by Theo Swan

If you are selling a service or product online, and you want to increase your revenue even further, one idea is to join a few relevant affiliate programs. No matter what products you are selling, odds are you can find a profitable affiliate program matching your content. But, be sure you do not join a program offering products to similar to yours, that way you do not risk sending your hard earned customers to shop elsewhere.

Knowing exactly what programs to join is hard - not to say impossible - but if worst comes to worst, you can always join another program if your first choice turns out to be wrong.

Most websites have pages not intended to market their products or services directly, but to explain various details of the site, company or area of expertise. These pages are perfect for promoting products closely related - but not competing products. If you have an art site - perhaps selling your own work - you might have a few pages describing the canvas, paint of choice or the technique used to make your paintings.

Assuming you only sell your paintings and nothing more, you can easily add a few banners for selected affiliate programs on your site. Find a program selling the canvas YOU are using, and explain to your readers why you choose it. If you have a good reason for using that particular brand, people may feel intrigued to try it out them selves.

If you are on the other side - selling art supplies - perhaps you can find a few affiliate programs selling paintings made with your material.

Except for really large websites, most sites are somewhat specialized, making it easier to find non-competing products to promote. The easiest way is to search for affiliate programs using similar keywords, but staying clear of the ones targeting your own top keywords and/or phrases.

Start by trying to figure out what areas of your trade you are NOT covering with your website. After you have figured this out, search or browse for an affiliate program matching any of these areas, more often than not you will find many programs matching your criteria. If you can't find a program matching but NOT competing, you have to broaden your search. The risk of giving your existing customers away - for merely a commission - is worse than the potential profit you can make from the customer. In rare cases, you can find programs good enough to risk it, but that is something every website owner needs to figure out her self.

To broaden your search, try to figure out what your visitors might have in common, except the interest in your website. If you can pinpoint a few likely areas of common interest, you have a good starting point for finding a good affiliate program.

The trick is to find common areas between your site, your customers and the large amount of affiliate programs online. Considering the numerous programs of pretty much all niches, no matter what your site is about, there is a good chance you can find many similar products. For websites with only a few products, this can really help to add to the revenue without risking sending people to competitors.

About the Author

Theo Swan is writing about affiliate programs and how to make a commission promoting them.

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