The Four P’s of Affiliate Marketing

You may have heard before about the four “P’s” of Marketing.   This is a common saying within the marketing niche to describe Product, Price, Promotion, and Placement.

This is something people will often think of when talking about marketing in our day-to-day lives, but I’ve found that it also extends itself well to internet marketing as a whole, and affiliate marketing specifically.

The Four P’s of Affiliate Marketing

  1. Product – Researching and finding the right product to sell.  Would people want to buy this?  Is there are a lot of competition?
  2. Price – This one goes two ways.  Is the product affordable to the consumer and is the affiliate payout worth your time?  Find a product that is in demand and that will pay you a decent share of the earnings (usually 20%+).
  3. Promotion – Possibly the most commonly forgotten.  Most affiliate marketers use a variety of PPC tactics to get traffic, but there are also link building and article marketing methods to promote your new site(s).
  4. Placement – Have you strategically placed your product on the correct domain name?  Especially when dealing with small niche sites, strong generic domains or strong keyword domains will go a long way to help you find success.

Many people think affiliate marketing is easy money.   In my June income report, I mentioned that I made around $2200.00, most of which was profit.   This was an accurate figure, but when you factor in roughly 40-50 hours a week working on it (on top of 40 hours at my day job), that only works out to about $10.00 an hour, which is nothing to get excited about.

The thing I like about this is that work I’ve done in the past continues to generate income each month, so the work I’m doing now will hopefully add to that income.   That is the brilliance of affiliate marketing, especially when a niche you find stays relevant for many years.

Overall, it is all about perspective and motivation, which is why I’ve worked so hard to set you guys up for success.  I have a bunch of things I’ve been trying, but have a lot more risk involved and I don’t want any of you to fail early on and get discouraged.   That is why my early focus has been on things like BANS and keyword sniping.   Things that at worst should make you your money back and help you get use to the world of affiliate marketing.

Traffic Secrets Revealed 2.0 Now Available!

Have you ever heard of John Reese before?  Unless you’re new to the world of internet marketing, chances are this guy is a household name to you.   For those unfamiliar with the name, John is the author of the incredibly popular Traffic Secrets home study course that has propelled the careers of most full time internet marketers today. 

As we all know, getting traffic (especially search engine traffic) is the key to drive any affiliate campaign, but doing so is much easier said than done. This is especially true without purchasing your traffic via PPC or other methods.  Did you know that there are SEO techniques and other methods you could be using to get natural (and free) search engine traffic?   John has covered all of this in his home study course.  

If you would like to check it out, or purchased the original course, I wanted to give you the heads up that as of 1:00 p.m. EST today, the Traffic Secrets 2.0 home study course has been released. 

Check out Traffic Secrets 2.0!

When To Start Your Own Affiliate Business

So you’ve been working really hard and started to make money online.  Now what?   Depending on how much money you are making, the answer could vary, but I recommend you at least consider starting a formalized business and operating under that business name.

What does this mean exactly? In my situation, for many months now I’ve been pulling in $1,000 or more from my online activities.  This income consists of a bunch of different sources with the primary income coming from affiliate marketing, but I also get a portion of it from domain sales and blogging advertisements/AdSense.   When I would get paid each month, I would just send that money over to my checking account and pay bills or drop some into savings, etc.   Sound familiar?

If you are making under $500.00 a month, this probably isn’t for you, but once you start making more than that, it is my belief that you should at least consider moving your activities over to a formalized business.

Should you decide to at least looking into starting a business, you’ll probably be trying to choose between an LLC (limited liability company) and running your business as a sole proprietorship.   Both types have advantages, but to start I recommend most people go with the sole proprietorship because they are easier to setup and you don’t have to completely separate your business assets/debts from personal assets/debts.   The one exception to that rule is domainers who run a signfiicant legal risk due to owning domains with possible trademark violations.  When your domain portfolios value gets into the 5 figure our higher range it is probably a good time to go with an LLC.  Operating under an LLC requires complete seperation from personal and business, so it requires a lot more paperwork, more accounts to manage, etc.   But the significant reduction in risk makes it more than worth it.

Edit: The day after I posted this, Jonathan Volk wrote a very detailed article about finding the best corporate structure which I think our readers will enjoy.

Why Operate Under a Business Name?

To be honest, there are a LOT of advantages to this and very few disadvantages in my opinion.  For the purposes of this post, lets look at the advantages of a sole properietorship:

  • Tax Deductions – This is probably the most important reason.   I know my business expenses (domain renewals, advertising costs, PPC advertising) were going up as my income went up, and now that I am operating under a business name, I am able to deduct these things come tax time.   Before I was paying taxes on my full online income without deducting the expenses I have to run the business.   If you go the route of a sole proprietorship, you are also able to find a lot of additional deductions once you’ve made the switch, such as cell phone costs (if your domains are registered under that phone number), buying new desktop/laptop computers and equipment, etc.  If you aren’t sure what qualifies, you’ll want to consult a qualified accountant.
  • Tax Identification Number (TID) – When you operate under a business name, you can use a TID instead of your social security number when you sign up with all of these companies.  This is more secure for you personally and really convenient.
  • Better Accounting – Having a separate Paypal account, separate checking, savings, and credit card all make it much easier to track income/expenses and figure out exactly how much you truly are making each month after taking out your expenses.   This will also help you figure out how much money to put aside for tax time!
  • More professional appearance – If you are buying advertising from someone, would you rather buy from Joe Blue or Blue Media?   Which one sounds more professional?  Probably a bad example, but you get the idea!
  • Business Cards – This isn’t necessarily needed for people making money online unless you attend a lot of events, but it is nice to have the option available.

Introducing Apricot Media

I guess I haven’t really mentioned it yet here, but it obviously fits with the theme of this post so I will go ahead and make the official announcement.   About a month ago I finally finished making the complete transition over to my business name Apricot Media, and I am already extremely glad that I did.   Things have really gone great so far!   I finished setting up the domain awhile ago (though it is more of a splash page right now) and with the help of my friend Mark, I was able to get a great logo as well, which can also be used for business cards, fax coversheets, or whatever I want to use it on.   More importantly, I have a professional “media” email address that I can use to conduct business under.

RIght now, Apricot Media is more of a name than an internet presence, but remember that it is CRUCIAL to own the dot com version of your business name before you launch your business.  You will want to secure the dot com domain name before you pick your business name, even if you aren’t using it right away.  That is a big reason why when I was able to successfully acquire this incredible multi-thousand dollar domain name, I decided to use it as my business name (after doing a trademark search to verify there wouldn’t be issues there).

One of the great things about the internet is all of the options you have available to you, so I hope everyone is at least considering setting themselves up for success over time.   Have you considered converting to a formalized business?

Affiliate Marketing Tips: Spending Money to Make Money

If you are planning to become an affiliate marketer, it can sometimes be difficult for someone starting out from stratch. That is why I shared my story and suggested people go through their existing content and add affiliate links to it. As a side note, if you are looking for an easy way to do this (which I hadn’t discovered until after I did mine manually, but now use on it on some of my websites), you can use the WP-Affiliate Pro WordPress plugin to search for keywords and replace them with designated affiliate links. It also does a variety of other things to manage your affiliate links from within your dashboard. You can see my recent review of this plugin here.

Anyway, I digress. The one area I’ve found that new affiliate marketers seem to either fail to learn or have a misconception of is that you become an affiliate marketer and suddenly you are rich. That is why in my previous post, I recommended people start by adding affiliate links to their existing content they’ve already written.   This way you get some seed money to start out with.

The main thing people have a hard time grasping is that you need to spend money to make money.  Without advertising, link building, and networking in general, you can still make a little income. With the proper advertising, you can truly make a fortune.

The problem is you can’t make money without people visiting your website, so you have to find ways to get people there. Google AdWords is a great and cost effective way to do this and probably my main advertising expense next to purchasing private advertising. I actually re-invest a large portion of my income into these areas to continue to grow and expand my websites/blogs.

Blog and website directories are also a great way to do link building and to get traffic. This has SEO benefits and will often give you a little bonus traffic as well.  Unfortunately most quality directories also have a cost associated with them, so that is another area where spending that money can help you make money.

If you find that you are making money online, what are you doing to grow your business?   How are you expanding your advertising reach?