July 20th, 2011 Add Your Comments Bookmark and Share

The figures associated with online shopping are huge, even better they only ever seem to get bigger as more and more people switch to online when it comes to buying everyday objects (In the UK alone over £560 million is spent each WEEK on online retail). In the world of affiliate marketing where there is so much bullshit in the form of dodgy offers and pre-pop rebills etc it’s also good for the soul to promote real life tangible products. If you’re looking long term then I’d be much happier betting that online shopping will still be around and stronger 5/10 years down the line. I’m not so sure about make money online frauducts or shaky poker websites that seem to operate on a whim and a prayer. This is why a while back I made promoting real life products my priority and I think I’ve now got enough experience to offer decent tips.

1. Write About What You Know – You are not going to start an affiliate website that out-muscles Amazon. It’s just not going to happen. You need to play to your strengths, write in-depth UNIQUE content about what you’ve bought. Somebody somewhere will also want to buy it and if you can offer real life practical experience that helps them out then great (something as simple as measuring a product and providing dimensions can be gold dust).

2. Forget Banner Ads – Banner ads don’t work very well in most traditional affiliate marketing spaces. They work even less well when it comes to people shopping online. They are crap, a total waste of time. Use text links embedded into your content, less than 0.1% of all my total sales have come from a result of somebody clicking on a banner ad.

3. Cater For As Many Countries As Possible – Doing this took my affiliate work to the next level. On most of my websites I see a split in traffic of roughly 35% UK, 40% USA with whatever left mostly being Canadian and major European countries. However initially I had no way of serving different inline text links to different countries (OIO Publisher does NOT do this) and so everything was aimed at what I know best, the UK. I found a plugin that lets me edit posts inline to target text links at specific countries and it’s made a massive difference to the amount of money I’m making. It’s just a case of sourcing products through retailers in different countries (As simple as Amazon.co.uk vs Amazon.com in some instances) and you are benefiting from many more of your visitors.

4. Use Amazon As A Last Resort – It’s strange that every hot MMO rip-off course at the moment suggests swapping out Adsense with either Amazon or EBay. Just some of the downsides of Amazon in particular are crappy percentages, capped commissions and ridiculous cookie expirations times. They are the major player right now, they don’t have to have a great affiliate offering! Other major retailers on the other hand are keen to increase their online business and it’s not hard to find “normal” cookie times and percentages 2 or even 3 times that of Amazon. Take a walk down your high street, make a note of any of the major stores – they will have a website and chances are an affiliate program to go with it. I only ever use Amazon for a product if I can’t find that same product on a website with a better deal (It’s also worth noting that Amazon are no longer automatically the cheapest so it may be in your visitors interest to point them elsewhere.)

5. Be Honest – Do you know how much money you make if a product is returned? Jack shit, nada, nil, nothing! It’s not worth bigging something up only for somebody to buy it but then return it. When you are writing about products remember that not everything in the world is great or even good. Sometimes, things are rubbish and you’ll be doing your visitors a favour by letting them know. Are you likely to get a sale from it? Nope. However you might just get some positive feedback and that can be worth a lot!

Making money from online retailing isn’t as easy as pushing the next big MMO product, for now at least. There are no 70%+ commissions, no never expiring cookies, no pre-prepared sales bullshit e-mails to hit your list with. What there is though is solid money and massive potential. Combine real products with solid SEO and you’ve got every chance of making some good money.