Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Introduction to Global Affiliate Marketing: for Nigerians

May be you have heard about affiliate marketing severally and, although some people may have offered to teach you the subject for a FEE, I'll teach you for FREE (The letter 'R' makes all the difference).
I want to tell you that affiliate marketing is a money spiner if only you can relax to learn the ropes. Apart from what affiliate marketers in other countries are expected to know about the subject, as a Nigerian, you need far more knowledge as a result of the peculiarity of our country. For instance, the affiliate marketing industry - like any other industry both online and offline - is made up of the good, the bad and the ugly. Every other affiliate marketer is supposed to be able to separate the seed from the chaff. But, in addition to this, a Nigerian would-be affiliate marketer should also know which of the good affiliate networks that accept Nigerians and on what condition. And there are more peculiarities like this that distinguish our country from others in the burgeoning industry.
Don't be scared though. It's easier than you might think. I'm only saying this to get you prepared. But remember this ancient law: to achieve what others will not achieve, be ready to do what others wouldn't do - go an extra mile. Why? If anyone could just wave a hand and have it, then why should anyone be distinguished by having it? Now, the only price you will pay me here is... ATTENTION. Many can't pay this; I hope you know. Don't pay money. Only pay attention for now with patience and diligence as I take you by the hand from one step to another: from the very start to where you have your money physically in your hands. So let's start:
Affiliate Marketing: What kind of Animal is this?
Affiliate marketing is just the good old 'commission sales' made virtual and automated online. It may otherwise be called affiliate program. Commission sales have always been one of the most popular ways for a poor person to break away from the stranglehold of poverty since it involves earning by selling other people's products. But while, in the old form, it involved leg walk from place to place, now all it involves is to be online and develop a means of reaching a mass audience. And, although people use all sorts of tricks to reach a wide audience, the only way that pays long term and stable dividend, is to build real reputation across the web world. Is that not what happens even offline?
How Much Can You Get Paid In Affiliate Marketing?
How Much You Get Paid depends on the product(s) you are promoting, the amount of the commission attached to it and the rate of sales you generate. For instance, if you promote a heavy machinery that sells for fifteen million dollars (USD15,000,000) at 5% commission rate (that is, USD750,000 per sale) and you generate only two sales per month, you get paid USD1.5million. But, it's easier to generate larger sales with more affordable products like a food supplement that sells for USD50 at 50% commission (that is USD25) and you could generate 3000 sales per month. That makes you USD75,000 per month. So, you could make far more sales at far larger percentage commission and yet, you have far less money. So, it's not just about rushing to pick a product to promote. You've got to do a lot of calculations. We'll come to this as time goes on.

How Affiliate Programs Work Generally
The central point of every affiliate program is a type of company called an affiliate network. This is where those who have marketable products (the advertisers) and those who are willing to promote those products for a commission (the affiliates or the publishers) meet. Affiliate networks are similar to employment agencies that bring together those seeking services (the employers) and those offering services for sale (the job seekers). Indeed, affiliate networks are a kind of employment agencies where unnecessary bureaucracies have been done away with.

Once an affiliate network has provided the meeting platform, both advertisers and affiliates can create accounts for themselves. The advertisers would make the products available either physically or virtually to the affiliate network. They reach an agreement concerning such matters as the price, the affiliate network's fees, the commission payable to affiliates, countries where the products could be shipped to, who handles customer care and shipping and more and more. The product gets encoded as a link in a tracking software. With this link, an interaction is formed between the advertiser and the affiliate network on one hand, and between the affiliate network and the affiliates on another. The advertiser is able to track from his accounts such stats as how many units of his products are sold, how much earned and how much commission paid. The affiliate can also monitor his own stats from his accounts: how much earned per product, how much earned in all and more. The affiliate network - being the admin of the tracking software - monitors both sides.

An important part of the tracking software is what is called the affiliate link. Without going into much technical detail, affiliate link is just a set of codes a would-be customer clicks and gets redirected to a version of the product's web page traceable to a particular affiliate (called a landing page). As customers are sent from your affiliate link to a landing page, any purchase or other activities they perform (as the case may be), the credit (in dollars, that is) goes to you. The genres are cost-per-sale (CPS), Cost-per-action (CPA), Cost-per-call (CPC), cost per sign-up, etc. These refer to what a customer will do and an affiliate gets paid a stipulated amount (or percentage).

So, all you do as an affiliate is to choose a product you'd like to promote. You copy its affiliate link from your account (only you have this particular affiliate link in the whole universe) and you 'hawk' the affiliate link around the web world. You use every skill you can muster to reach as many people as you ever could within the shortest possible time (just the way I got you to be reading this page now). We shall talk more on this in fuller details. Meanwhile, let's pay a little more attention to it under 'targeting'.

Targeting In Affiliate Marketing
Imagine that, on a hot January afternoon, you are out in the sun and in some Nasarawa countryside neighborhoods on a hitch-hike and you ran short of drinking water. Then amidst thirst - while your throat is super dry - a water vendor shows up with chilled bottled water and shouts 'buy cold water!' What would be your immediate reaction? Your guess is as good as mine. Now, imagine there are a thousand of you on a hitch-hike and the vendor has a thousand bottles of chilled water! What do you think would happen. This is to say that marketing works out more easily, the more you can meet prospective customers at the point of their need. This is what we mean by 'targeting'. The people who are likely to need your offers are referred to as a target audience.

Even in the conventional parlance, a marketer's skill is always revealed in his ability to locate and reach out to a target audience. To the extent that he does this, sales happen. Targeting is all about locating the interest in the minds of a set of people. What are they interested in? This is in their minds, but there are ways to get into their minds. If you invented a medicine that gets a fracture to heal in few hours without a side effect, people interested in it will likely be found around any orthopedic facility. So, all you needed to hit a big deal is to locate an orthopedic facility and demonstrate the effectiveness of your product.

On the internet, how to locate an interest is by identifying a set of people using certain words (technically, keywords). It is even so offline too. For instance, if someone is always talking or reading about football, you'd immediately notice he has some interest in the game. On the internet, there are different platforms you can use to identify people's interest via keywords. Principal among these is the search engines.

Affiliate Marketing Via Search Engines (Summary)
It has become common for people to say 'google it and find out' which is to say 'search for it on Google'. Google is just one of the many search engines available on the web. There are global/general/multilingual search engines such as Google, Ask, Yahoo, Bing, Yandex and more. There is Baidu, a bilingual (Chinese and Japanese based) search engine. There are general/global/monolingual search engines such as Soso (Chinese). There are search engines tailored to a particular profession or geographic location such as Shodan (Computers), IFACnet (accountancy) or GenieKnows (the US and Canada) and there are other genres.

Search engines are where billions of people are hooked to every minute looking for pieces of information that describe their dominant interest at the moment and they are using certain sets of words to seek those dominant interests. If you are selling anything, all you'd do is to place it in such a way that people searching for related interests can find it when they enter a certain set of keywords. For example, if you are selling cold water in Obajana, Kogi State you may want to know what keywords visitors to the Dangote Cement Plant in the town are using to locate cold water vendors. If you could do this, you will surely be selling more than your competition and they may think you are using 'juju'. Or, if you are selling a downloadable Android software, you might want to know the keywords Android users key in and how to place your product to make a sizeable number of them to find it.

{TO BE CONTINUED BELOW} Please like us on Facebook so you receive new updates as soon as they are published without the need to come back here over and over again. Or, if you prefer working offline and yet overseas from Nigeria, you can check out this opportunity instead.

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