Promoting an affiliate business for free

 Promoting an affiliate program or business , with strategies  that are cheap or low cost has always been a challenge and yet many people have been very successful in their business using tools and resources that are free or at the very least low cost.

I have noticed that for many people who are new to marketing especially affiliate marketing, promoting an affiliate program or any other kind of business can be overwhelming.

Many of you are being bombarded with new jargon, you are being told that marketing is all about  social media and new methods of advertising are taking over the time honored traditional methods for online marketing.

As many of you know I love social media, I enjoy the people I meet, I have learned so much from people on different social networks and I have witnessed how social media is an awesome way to brand yourself and your business.

What many of you may not realize is that while I enjoy being on social and using social media for marketing I also realize that the reality of promoting an affiliate program is to create a sale and not a bunch of likes or plusses (hmm sound familiar Jim?).

I am always going to say that you need to create ongoing good content, that branding yourself over your affiliate link is very important, understanding the purpose of social media marketing is required, but you still need to  adhere and use those time proven strategies and sometimes adapting those strategies in a creative way  is  important if you are wanting to find new prospects, new customers.

Another thing I have noticed are the many people who join affiliate programs or start new businesses and right away are going around promoting to every Tom Dick or Harry and then are disappointed not to mention  angry when they have not made a dime.

I feel it is important that before you can promote an affiliate program or any other business, brushing up on online advertising, marketing strategies is going to be very important.

To me,this quote by Leo Burnett sums up what  online advertising is

” Advertising should say “Here’s what we’ve got. Here’s what it will do for you. Heres how to get it”

You also  need to understand  that there are 2 important goals for an affiliate marketer –

a) Refer people to the product site and having those people buy a product
b) collect opt-in email addresses to maintain interest and enthusiasm for a product or service and turn those people into paying customers.

These two goals are the holy grail for an affiliate marketer and having a strategy of how to succeed in these goals are a must if there is any hope for success.

While there are many wise and experienced marketers who have shared their thoughts about creating marketing strategy online ( just type in “creating a marketing plan” in a search and you will see what I mean), I would like to make a few points about any strategy you craete which are important to remember:

  •  Your priority in any planning is focusing on the prospect and not your product nor tactics.
  • Every part of your general plan should always be fact-based not only for reliability but to help make it easy to make that “sale”
  • Keep it simple! People may be complicated beings but they still want everything to be simple and easy to understand.

While this may all sound very basic and maybe even boring the fact is many people do not think about these things in their planning and then they wonder why they fail.

One last point before talking about how to promote an affiliate progam, if your are not certain about to how to use internet marketing for building your business, I found a good SlideShare by Louise Rijk of Advanced Media productions. It’s not too long and easy to comprehend.

Finally!

 15 ideas for Promoting an affiliate program with some free resources to get you started

The ideas I am going to share can be done for free, which is important to the person who is on a very tight budget. Once you have the income coming in, then setting aside money to help  promote your business or affiliate program is a wise tactic.  Be assured that these ideas are based on the basics for promoting an affiliate program and while they can all be used, take one or ideas to start with and experiment if they work for you
1 Create your own website or and blog.

Everyone is going to say ( and rightfully so) that you should  need a website or and blog. You need a home  (the website (where you can put the links of those product or services that you are you are recommending to people. You also need a way to create consistent and unique content which is what the blog is used for.

While everyone knows of where to go to create a free blog, how many of you know how to create a good free website?
Just before I went camping, I noticed a status on the Adlandpro social wall where a person had created their own website using a website builder. I found out the name of this  service Wix.
I investigated this site and it seemed interesting, so I joined and had a quick look around. After I got back from camping, I decided to play around with the Wix website maker.
The best way to see how this builder worked meant creating a site and so I decided to create a one page website about Adlandpro .

While you can pay to upgrade to get rid of the advertisments and get other features,the free version is very very good.
Wix is a drop and drag service and with  280 templates that you can play with, there is something for anyone. While I didnt mean to make this a review,it’s only fair to talk about the service. The one downfall is that once you make a website, you cant change the template, so be careful.
Here is the website I built and I hope it will give you ideas to create your own.
promoting an affiliate program using a free website builder
Come see the full website here

2. Create your own banners.
While many people say that banner advertising is dead and gone, I really have to disagree. When you use banner advertising judiciously then banners are very cool to use! There are many places to create banners and here are just a few
 mybannermaker
Bannersketch
If you are wanting to create your own banners from scratch then using this guide from Tim Layton “How to make a blog button or Etsy Banner using PicMonkey is a good post to bookmark and study and as a bonus Mr. Layton has a free download of blank banners for you to download and keep
For the fun of it ( and it was needed on this site) I created a blog banner ad for Adlandpro that you can see at the top left sidebar.
promoting an affiliate program using blog banners

 

3. Create a good looking splash page.
Splash pages are not only a good way to brand your website, and greet your visiters they are awesome for getting people to sign a form.

4.Distributing a Press Release
Creating a press release once a month is a great way to promote an affiliate program  and when it is well drafted, it  is an excellent marketing strategy.
I have heard that there are people who say that press releases don’t work, I say when done properly creating a good press release will create a quick buzz, which will get more visiblity to your business.
Here are a couple of free press release distribution services:
PRLog 
PRCOM 
MarketPressRelease

5. Creating Videos
Everyone knows or should know that creating a video is a popular way to connect with consumers and a great way to market you business or talk about your affiliate product – but – did you know you can create a video and upload to different video networks?
Here are just a few free video hosting sites where you can also upload your marketing video.
**Be aware that you may not get as many views compared to YouTube, but by spreading your marketing message, you have a better chance to be seen ( “hint” Think SEO and tags)
Vimeo.com 
Dailymotion 
Veoh 
Flickr  (Did you know that Flickr is not just for images? you can also upload videos. There are two options free and paid you can upload 2 videos per month with restrictions of 90 seconds max, and 150MB size each.)
ClipsID  This site is specifically for business promotion using video. It allows users to search, upload, and share original video advertisements for free.
One last idea regarding videos. Create a podcast which can then be uploaded as a YouTube video.

6. Podcasts

As I mentioned above creating a podcast is another great way to promote a business and can be easy to do. The biggest issue is finding podcast hosting that is free to use.
Here are a couple of sites to look into:
Ourmedia.org 
Podomatic 
PodBean

7. Submit your site to Directories

Submit your site to every directory you can find.  It is important to be sure that you think keywords and SEO when creating a good description of your website.
List of High PR Directory Submission sites list ( Thanks to Nitesh Choudhary for the hard work in finding these sites)

8. Email signature

Create a good email signature for your business mail. I did a post about email signatures  not that long ago that will help you when thinking and creating an email signature.

9. Get other people to help spread the word
A cheap way (free) way to promote your business is by getting other  people to share you business on Twitter.   Giving people a free gift or free download is something that would be of interest to people.  When you get people to use social the social currency of “pay with a tweet” as a form of free payment for that download  then this one strategy can get your business known very quickly.
Go to Pay with a tweet ( free plan)  to get started

10.Time Management
The day has only so many hours and when marketing you need to learn how to use your time wisely. While many people may not think of this as promoting a business or affiliate program, I firmly believe that this is one of the most important tips you will read. Schedule your time! While there are many ways to create a good schedule, think of the 15 minute a day rule..

3 minutes to reply to comments, posts or questions
2 minutes to share thank-yous, kudos
10 minutes to generate updates to all your social networks.

11. Claim your social media profiles. To make this easier use KnowEm .  This can be valuable especially if you can create a good username ( that will apply to your business) and creating a good SEO profile description of your business ( your affiliate business).

12  Q & A
When you get emails from prospects and customers that are notable comments or questions, turn them into a Q&A for your blog content. Be sure to use the persons website or social profile ( what a great way to build word of mouth marketing and building a relationshp)
Another good way to promote  an affiliate program is joining the different Question and answer sites such as Quora and start answering questions and even ask them.  You will be noticed and your business will get free publicity.

13. Use SlideShare
Slide share is a very good site to create  and then show off presentations, create how-to guides. The beauty of this site is that people can like, comment, embed on their sites and when you create a good SEO description this will show up on a Google search ( if done properly)

14. Build an email subscriber list.
One free way to develop a good email subscriber list is by creating   a great ezine or newswletter.  While this is a very productive way to create relationships, one needs to understand that you will have to commit time and you will have to think of a way to stand out and be unique( think of the newsletters or ezines you have opted out of because they were nothing but sales jobs or were boring).
Remember that every person who subscribes to what you have to say are people who have placed a trust in you to give good information and that should never be mistreated.
If you really work at building a good relationship with your readers, the fact is, you stand a great chance to create a good profit.
You can use a tool like eZineSpace to create an ezine or you can use a service such as Wix ( remember the website I made..yep the same people.) who  launched their  new service fairly recentlyWix ShoutOut.
Instead of going through a long review of the shoutout, it’s easier to just share this YouTube Video

MailChimp  is another service that you can use with their forever free service
“Send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free. No contracts, and no credit card required. It’s free forever.”

15. About.me – create an About.me profile to create more digital content about yourself and backlinks to your blog and website.

16.Free Online Classifieds

Of course the last idea is the one that has been used for many years and has been shown to be effective and that is free classified ads.

While there will be people that will talk about such places as Craigs List, keep in mind that there are some incredibly good free online classifieds sites such as Adlandpro.com
I hope that I have given some ideas on promoting an affiliate program using free resources, I know that  enjoyed sharing them with you.

When it comes to being an affiliate marketer, while you may indeed be promoting someone elses product, you are also a valued business and you need to think of yourself this way.

It’s going to take time and effort to get your income to start flowing ( sorry but that is reality), but when it does you will look back at these free ways to promote any affiliate program and smile.

If you have any questions, comments or know of other free resources, then please use the comment form below.

P.S You are free to share this post with any of your friends on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or even Google Plus.

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