April 7, 2009
The world around us is concerned about the future. With Obama in the White House and record government spending during this economic recession, many of our neighbors are sweating what the future holds in store for them.
I worried about it for a bit, and then I realized that those of us who live our business lives on the Internet will not see the same depths of recession that our brick-and-mortar counterparts will experience.
All one has to do is to visit their local restaurants or the retail shop that offers the newest in cell phone products to realize that while people are fearful, they are not broke. People are still spending money to a large extent.
While people are still spending money in the marketplace, some businesses are continuing to fail around us… Not because the businesses do not have good products or people willing to buy those products, but because many industries rely upon bank loans to help them bridge the gap between production and payment from their clients.
For example, the automakers have to carry a huge burden of cost between the production of an automobile and when that vehicle is finally sold to a consumer. It is not the lack of customers that are killing the businesses we all know and respect, but instead, it is a lack of bridge capital (a.k.a. commercial credit) that is killing American businesses.
Look Out For Number One
If you are one of those people who are wondering whether your job will still be there next year, the only person who is going to look out for your best interests is you.
Starting an online business can be a very inexpensive process. Depending on the angle you take with your online business, you may only need to spend less than $50 per month to get on your feet with a viable online business.
For people who are just getting started with an online business, I strongly recommend Site Build It (http://www.thephantomwriters.com/sbi). SBI provides a system that enables anyone – and I do mean anyone – to build a commerce-ready website in just a couple hours. Beyond a user-friendly website building tool, SBI also offers training to help its members to be more successful.
One of the factors that make SBI so attractive in my book is its focus on Affiliate Products.
What Are Affiliate Products?
Affiliate products are products that are set up to enable third-party persons (affiliates) to advertise the product and earn a commission on any sale that is generated from the affiliate’s advertising.
For example, the affiliate program from which I have made the most money over the years – to be honest, thousands of dollars over the years – is the product line offered by World Wide Brands (http://www.thephantomwriters.com/wwb).
World Wide Brands is committed to helping online sellers find the companies who sell products wholesale and the companies who offer drop shipping services to online sellers. If you are not familiar with the term “drop shipping”, it means that you would be able to buy a product from them and have them “drop ship” the product directly to your customer, as if you had that product in stock when the product was purchased from you and you delivered the product from your own warehouse.
I introduce people to the products offered by World Wide Brands, through a special link that tracks my referrals, and if the person I delivered to the World Wide Brands website makes a purchase, I earn a commission on that sale. It is as simple as that.
Another affiliate program that is very similar to World Wide Brands is the program offered by Doba (http://www.thephantomwriters.com/doba). Rather than a catalog of drop-shipping companies, Doba is an Ebay-Certified drop shipper.
Simply put, an Affiliate Program is any product or service from which you can earn a commission, if you do your part by delivering a buying customer to the seller’s website.
There are literally thousands of companies who offer affiliate commissions on the sale of their products or services. Fortunately, we don’t have to search the web for weeks on end to find available products and services that we would like to sell.
There are companies that have been built for the purpose of helping sellers initiate affiliate programs for their products and services. These companies literally represent hundreds and sometimes thousands of sellers who offer affiliate programs.
Within each network, you can shop for the products and services that you wish to sell from your own website. Within some affiliate networks, you can just plug in a product to your website and begin selling. Within other affiliate networks, you may have to request the right to promote a product and wait for the seller to approve your affiliate application.
Clickbank.com is an affiliate network company that enables you to start selling any product in their network, without forcing you to wait on approval to begin selling a product. This is the primary reason why most software developers choose to work almost exclusively with the Clickbank network.
Other affiliate network companies of note include:
- Commission Junction (www.cj.com)
Getting started with these affiliate networks is easy. You simply need to sign up for an account and verify your email address.
Personally, I have accounts with each of the above-mentioned affiliate networks.
Where Most Websites Fail
Where most webmasters fail in their quest to make a living online is in the final step. Once a website is set up with products and services to sell, the final and most important step in the process is to drive traffic to the website.
To be honest, I even failed in this part of the equation when I got started online. Fortunately, I got started way back in 1995 when the Internet was still brand new. Back then, there were not a lot of people who had mastered the Internet marketing concept – well, there were not many people bragging about how well they were doing online with Internet marketing anyway.
I finally started getting my head around this online marketing thing in 1999, when I discovered people who were teaching others how they could be successful with an online business – in the same way that I do now.
In 1998, I started reading articles like this one – articles intended to teach people how to be successful with an online business. But I was a bit slow on the uptake…
It was by chance in 1999 that I saw a link in the one marketing newsletter that I read every week. That link suggested that I could write an article and submit it to the newsletter for consideration of publication.
It is true that I did not know a lot about marketing a business online, but I thought that maybe I could share a lesson that I had learned while operating my online newsletter. So I wrote a short article of about 700 words and submitted it to that newsletter.
It was a full three months later when I received a message from the editor of the publication telling me that my article would be featured in his publication the next day. With that email, my future was forever changed.
When published in that newsletter, my website which had seen 750 visitors over the previous two years suddenly served several thousand visitors in one day. I was ecstatic.
With my initial success, I wrote six more articles in six weeks and sent them through a mailing list that told publishers about the availability of my articles. Then I got distracted for several months and forgot about articles.
By chance, six months later I noticed a sudden and huge surge of traffic to my website, so I did a bit of investigation as to how that had happened. Lo and behold, one of my articles had been published in another large newsletter.
Upon learning this information, I decided that I needed to check on the reprint success of those first six articles. I was able to track a pretty wide swath of newsletters that had reprinted my articles; although I am certain that I missed a few. But with the newsletters that I was able to find that had used my articles, they had a combined circulation of 1.5 million readers.
With this discovery, I never again let articles disappear from my marketing plan. These days, I write a new article every time that I launch a new website, and I strive to put new articles out as frequently as I can manage to do, for all of my income-generating websites.
The trick in using articles as an advertising platform is that the article should teach its readers something of value; otherwise publishers will not want to use them. Sure it is true that you can still get a lot of links to your website from websites that publish your articles, because webmasters tend to be much less selective about the articles they are willing to publish. But I figure that if I am going to take the time to write an article, then I should take the extra time to ensure that a newsletter publisher and any quality-oriented webmaster will be just as likely to publish that article, as the webmaster who has no standards at all.
At the end of every article is a paragraph that tells the author’s biography. When done right, the paragraph that tells you that this article was written by Bill Platt will also tell you what website I am wanting you to visit and why you would want to visit that website. When my article and my “about the author” information is done well, you will visit my website. And hopefully once at my website, you will decide that you may be interested in purchasing what I offer.
Advertising Is Available In Many Formats
Using articles to promote a website is what is referred to as “article marketing”, but it is only one method of dozens that are available to help you promote your new online business.
You should use whatever advertising methods work well for you. For me, article marketing is my primary method of advertising online, but others might prefer pay-per-click advertising in the search engines.
In the end, it does not matter what method of advertising you choose to promote your website, so long as you actually use some method of advertising to bring potential customers to your website.
The Light At The End Of The Tunnel
Once you have your website built and traffic coming to your website, you will notice that light far off in the distance at the end of the tunnel. With your first sale, you will begin to realize that you really do have it in you to be successful online. After a number of sales, you will realize that it is simply a matter of time until you are earning an income substantial enough to protect your income, in the event that your employer decides that they need to cut your job to survive the current recession.
In the end, you are the only person who will do what is necessary to protect your financial future. By starting your own online business, you will begin to gain something even more powerful than money… You will gain a respect for yourself that you have never had before, and you will begin to understand how it is completely within your power to control your own destiny in this life.
Bill Platt owns and operates http://www.ThePhantomWriters.com/ Article Distribution Service. Through his service, he can help you get your articles to newsletter publishers and webmasters interested in using articles written by other people. If you do not feel that you are able to write your own articles, you could always hire a ghost writer, or try out Bill’s new service called Sponsor Articles, which merges co-op advertising with article marketing. Learn more at: http://www.SponsorArticles.com/