Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Selling Other People’s Products

Steve Black
Advanced Business Marketing

More people are getting into online businesses and online marketing either to supplement their income or to become their primary source of income. Because online marketing provides a lot more benefits than conventional off line jobs.

First, you can reach just about anybody in the world who has Internet access if you market your products online. That means a wider market for you, which can translate to larger profits. Second, setting up an online business requires only a fraction of the cost required to set up an actual business establishment, which means a lot of savings for the business owner.

Another aspect that has attracted a lot of people towards online marketing is the fact that one doesn’t have to have his own products to get started. In online marketing, one can start making a lot of money just by selling, or even by just trying to sell, other people’s products. And getting started with this kind of marketing strategy is actually quite easy. All that one needs to do is to set up an agreement with an online retailer or merchant, and after everything is settled, one can immediately start making money by selling the merchant’s or the retailer’s products.

Incidentally, the most popular and the fastest growing method of selling other people’s products online is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing, in its simplest definition, is a relationship between an online merchant or retailer, who has products to sell, and his affiliates, who are willing to promote the merchant’s product on their website.

In a typical affiliate marketing set up, the merchant provides his affiliates with banners and text ads that links to his site. The affiliates will then get these ads posted on their website and they get paid whenever traffic or sales is directed to the merchant’s website. Affiliates are often paid on commission basis, although other online merchants would opt to pay a fixed fee for the affiliate’s compensation.

Starting to make money online with affiliate marketing is relatively quick and easy. All that one has to do is to sign up as an affiliate for an online company that offers affiliate programs. An alternative method, and usually an easier one, is to sign up as a member of an affiliate network—a network that hosts a variety of affiliate programs for different online merchants or retailers. Signing up is usually free, although other companies and networks may require you to pay a particular fee. Such fees, however, are made as payment for additional services that the company may render, like providing you with tools and assistance to jumpstart your online business.

When you sign up with an affiliate marketing program, you are usually required to fill out a form containing information about yourself. Some affiliate programs may also require you to present the URL of your website and describe its contents. This will allow the retailers to verify that you actually have a website with contents that are relevant to their products. Some affiliate programs, however, won’t require you to have a website. After filling out the form and all, you are then allowed to choose the affiliate programs you want to promote.

After signing up with an affiliate program and being an actual affiliate, you are now ready to start making a lot of money by selling other people’s product online. How do you make money? There are actually a number of ways for you to earn money as an affiliate, and most of these ways depends on the type of affiliate marketing program you’ve gotten into.

Many affiliate marketing programs compensate their affiliates in either of three ways: pay-per-click (PPC), pay-per-sale (PPS), or pay-per-lead (PPL). In pay-per-click affiliate marketing, the affiliate is paid whenever he directs traffic to the merchant’s site. PPS and PPL affiliate marketing programs work rather differently. In PPS, the affiliate only gets paid when his referral converts into an actual sale. In typical PPS affiliate programs, the affiliate would usually get 15% to 20% commission for each conversion. PPL affiliate programs work the same way, although affiliates are paid a fixed fee whenever his referral converts into a lead for the company.

Some affiliate marketing programs are two-tier programs, wherein the affiliate is also allowed to recommend other affiliates to the merchant. In such affiliate programs, the affiliate would not only be paid for the traffic or sales that he would direct to the merchant’s site but also for the traffic or sales directed by the affiliates who signed up with the program through his recommendation.

Yet another way of earning more profits with affiliate marketing is through residual affiliate programs. Residual affiliate programs are affiliate programs where the affiliate gets paid a number of times for as long as the merchant keeps the customer the affiliate has referred to his site. One form of residual program gets the affiliate paid a commission every time the referred customer purchases something on the merchant’s site. Another form of residual affiliate program gets the affiliate paid a percentage every month for as long as the company keeps the referred customer.

With a lot of options available and a lot of ways to earn money, affiliate marketing is undoubtedly the most popular and the easiest way to make money by selling other people’s products online. As to how much money one can get from affiliate marketing actually depends on the affiliate. Being a hardworking affiliate will certainly get you more from the programs compared to those affiliates who simply sign up and forget about the program. You would be surprized how many people just do that and wonder why they are not making any money.

Steve Black

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Friday, May 12, 2006

How to find products that will sell

In order to locate products that sell online, we need to understand what people already want to buy. Finding a good choice of idea or product is always accompanied by interfacing the demand for the product in the current market and the level of competition or market share that the product will be having in the long run.

“What should I sell? What products are hot selling? These are the questions most people are trying to find an answer in order for them to make the definite decision. And if we really want to know the answer to this question, our only choice is to do some research. There are all kinds of twists along the road that may lead you to think you have a high-demand idea. We must be able to understand and satisfy the need, wants and expectations of our customers on a certain product that they’re trying to buy. This three are called the basic needs or minimum requirements in a purchase. Needs are the basic reasons or the minimum requirements consumers are looking for in a product or service. They are called the qualifying or “gatekeeper” dimensions in a purchase. Wants are the determining dimensions among many choices. Expectations, on the other hand, are values or intangibles associated with a product or service. Expectations are actually part of “wants” but they become extremely important when products or services are not differentiated.

For example, in reading a logic book, university students look for the following: Relevant logic concepts use of simple language, easy to understand and affordable prices. These similar ideas can be applied to Internet Sales as well. After all, the Internet is just another place to sell products. The basic concept of demand is the same there as it is anywhere else, and has been all the time.

Now, the second thing that must be considered in finding “hot” products to sell are the level of competition or the market shares do your product will have. Market share or level of competition means the ratio of your brand sales versus the total market sales. While companies would naturally define its target competitors, it is actually the consumers who ultimately decide the competitive frame, or the list related products or services that consumers consider when exercising their purchasing power. We must therefore choose the market segment where we can have a potential leadership or at least a strong challenger role. Because the overriding objective of getting into this business is not just to satisfy the needs and wants of our customers but to do so profitably better than his competition. Otherwise, our competition will end up satisfying the customers better than our own interest.

Third factor to be considered in finding hot selling products is finding out the general interest level about the product. General interest in a product helps us to gauge where our demand and competition numbers fall into the big picture. Simply saying, if there isn’t much demand for the product, and there isn’t much competition, it would seem that it might not be good a good put up for sale. But the research doesn’t stop here; there is one last thing to be considered to exactly find the hot selling products that you’ve been looking for. We must also learn how others are advertising those products. If there are a good number of them doing so, it may mean that it’s a good product to get into. Coming to the last phase of the process is analyzing and evaluating all the information that has been collected. We have to look at all of the data we have collected on demand, competition, and advertising, and make decision as how they all balance out.

And here are several factors or aspects that must be measured: (a) not enough demand means not enough people are going to buy (b) too much competition means not enough of a profit to go around (c) too much advertising drives up the price of pay per click ads, and competition as well (d) not enough general interest, combined with low demand, means there may not be a good market even if there is competition trying to make the sales.

Steve Black
http://www.advanced-business-marketing.com/ Advanced Business Marketing
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